Saturday, September 30, 2006

Environmentalism and its contradictions

The EPA must now decide how to make nature stop polluting itself. The publication of Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring" in 1962 inspired the growth of an environmental movement that claimed that the natural state is ideal and man pollutes it. However, new case studies show that the majority of "pollution" now comes from "nature." In the Potomac river, for example, 59% of bacteria comes from wildlife and while merely 16% comes from humans. Potty-training the wildlife is not option, so what is an enviromentalist to do? Kill wildlife? Yes. The Washington Post reports that "Maryland does kill a few hundred geese annually to reduce water pollution."

This all makes clear a problem with the ideology: Nature is not "pure" and not "ideal."

15% of the Potomac's bacteria comes from pets. Will back-to-nature environmentalists insist on taking our pets away from us?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Deterrence works

The law in High Point, NC, tried a new approach when dealing with street-level drug dealers. From the WSJ, they didn't actually prosecute the dealers. Instead, they explained to the drug dealer and his parents a new policy:
The district attorney promised to seek the maximum possible sentences, and the assistant U.S. attorney threatened to bring federal charges, which, he stressed, don't allow for parole. Police from surrounding areas warned them against trying to relocate operations, noting that their names were flagged on statewide law-enforcement computers.

Rev. Stevenson recalls that the alleged dealers "seemed to be paying a lot more attention."

The West End street drug market closed "overnight" and hasn't reopened in more than two years, says Chief Fealy, who was "shocked" at the success.

Clintons continue blame game

From the San Jose Mercury News:
"I'm certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled `Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside United States,' he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team," Hillary Clinton said.
So if, as the Senator claims, the Clinton team would have taken a classified report "seriously," why didn't they take the 1993 WTC bombing "seriously"? After that strike was there any doubt that terrorists were determined to "attack inside the United States"?

If the Clintons don't want to be faulted (see below), they should stop making rediculous claims.

UPDATE: Apparently Bill Clinton not only saw such a document, he signed it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Civil vs. Uncivil

Discussing people who disagree with his Iraq policy, Pres. Bush today said:
....And those are good, decent, patriotic people who believe that way -- I just happen to believe they're absolutely wrong.
Contrast that with a Democrat discussing the same topic (as reported by the Guardian):
Al Gore has made his sharpest attack yet on the George Bush presidency, describing the current US administration as "a renegade band of rightwing extremists".
The Anchoress has noticed the same thing. She remembers viewing one of the Bush-Gore presidential debates:
At the time of that debate, I was no longer calling myself a “liberal democrat” but I still had not gone over to “the dark side” and pulled a lever for a Republican. But I was struck by Dubya in this debate, both by his amused look at Gore, and by a response he made to a woman in the audience. She got up with a little bit of an attitude, doing the “powerful woman and angry Dem” thing. I don’t recall the question, but Dubya’s answer made me pick my head up from my needlework. He said, simply, “well, this is just a difference of opinion…”

A difference of opinion…after 8 years of the Clintonistas turning every issue into a morality play with the Democrats always on the side of the angels against the “morally reprehensible” Republicans, after listening to Al Gore declare that the 2000 election was “a fight between good and evil…” I was more than relieved to hear “this is just a difference of opinion…”
While the MSM contempt for Republicans long preceded Clinton, I think she is right that Clinton's approach of replacing rational debates with name-calling does seem to have been widely adopted by establishment Democratic politicians. While Hubert Humphrey strongly disagreed with Richard Nixon, it is hard to imagine him referring to Republicans as "renegade right-wing extremists."

History of climate change scares

Sen. Inhofe, chairman of the senate environment and public works committee, has produced a summary of global warming/climate change issues that is, coming from a politician, surprisingly good. For example, he outlines a history of media scares about climate change going back over a century:
Here is a quote form the New York Times reporting on fears of an approaching ice age.

“Geologists Think the World May be Frozen Up Again.”

That sentence appeared over 100 years ago in the February 24, 1895 edition of the New York Times.

Let me repeat. 1895, not 1995.

A front page article in the October 7, 1912 New York Times, just a few months after the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank, declared that a prominent professor “Warns Us of an Encroaching Ice Age.”

The very same day in 1912, the Los Angeles Times ran an article warning that the “Human race will have to fight for its existence against cold.” An August 10, 1923 Washington Post article declared: “Ice Age Coming Here.”

By the 1930’s, the media took a break from reporting on the coming ice age and instead switched gears to promoting global warming:

“America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-year Rise” stated an article in the New York Times on March 27, 1933. The media of yesteryear was also not above injecting large amounts of fear and alarmism into their climate articles.

An August 9, 1923 front page article in the Chicago Tribune declared:

“Scientist Says Arctic Ice Will Wipe Out Canada.” The article quoted a Yale University professor who predicted that large parts of Europe and Asia would be “wiped out” and Switzerland would be “entirely obliterated.”

A December 29, 1974 New York Times article on global cooling reported that climatologists believed “the facts of the present climate change are such that the most optimistic experts would assign near certainty to major crop failure in a decade.”

The article also warned that unless government officials reacted to the coming catastrophe, “mass deaths by starvation and probably in anarchy and violence” would result. In 1975, the New York Times reported that “A major cooling [was] widely considered to be inevitable.” These past predictions of doom have a familiar ring, don’t they? They sound strikingly similar to our modern media promotion of former Vice president’s brand of climate alarmism.
The whole thing is worth reading.

UPDATE: The senator responds to his critics at CNN here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

AP as propaganda

Usually when the press talks about the press, they talk about their high standards, unbiased reporting, and many layers of fact-checkers. In other words, they are in deep denial. That makes it interesting when the Boston Herald's City Editor writes honestly about the problems with wire services:
The Associated Press, the reliable just-the-facts news agency you and I once knew, no longer exists. Amoral propagandists have taken over.

Previously: an NBC correspondent explains the problems with foreign news.

UPDATE: More MSM admissions of bias are here (scroll to "Pope Is Catholic, Media Are Liberal").

Saturday, September 23, 2006

CIA war on Bush Administration Continues

The New York Times-CIA alliance continues with another attack on the Bush administration with a story entitled "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat." In the text of the article, the source for this allegation is "one American intelligence official." So the headline is based on a single anonymous source. The source says his claim backed merely a "passing mention" of Iraq in a larger report. So the NY Times makes a single anonymous source's claim of a passing mention of something into a headline.

UPDATE: In From The Cold has more info from the full report and concludes, not surprisingly, that the NY Times coveraged was biased.

Newsmedia Perfidy

Pham Xuan An died Wednesday. He spent 15 years working as a reporter for AP, Reuters, and Time. He went to off-the-record briefings by US military in South Vietnam and then transferred all he learned to the North Vietnamese. As the NY Times writes:
Mr. An proved invaluable to his spy masters. “I had access to all the Vietnamese bases and their commanders,” he is quoted as telling Mr. [Morley] Safer.... “My superiors wanted to know the strengths of various units. They wanted estimates of the capabilities of commanders — who was corrupt and who was corruptible. They wanted all the political stuff, the same stuff you guys wanted.”
When someone says the press is working for the other side, history shows it might be literally true.

The Blame game works both ways

For years, Democrats have pretended that 9-11 was all Pres. Bush's fault. Remember all the hopes that were placed on a presidential daily briefing that was to prove that Bush knew. Bill Clinton is now red-faced and outraged that anyone could blame him. This seems to be part of Clinton's reaction to the "Path to 9-11" docudrama. The docudrama, using 20/20 hindsight, makes both the Clinton and Bush administrations look stuck on political correctness rather than public safety. The truth is likely that presidents face many priorities and, before 9-11, no one envisioned al Queda as a critically important one.

Helping the poor, not

AP reports on Hugo Chavez's plan to help the poor in the US:
Accusing Bush of neglecting the poor, Chavez started a program last winter for Venezuela's U.S.-based oil company Citgo to sell discounted heating oil to poor American families. It distributed more than 40 million gallons of oil last winter to low-income Americans, and Chavez announced a doubling of that this winter.
The GDP per capital is $40,100 in the US while it is merely $5,800 in Venezuela. If Chavez was interested in helping the truly poor, as opposed to scoring political points, he would be providing his aid to the people of Venezuela. Since Chavez assumed office, the income in Venezuela has not only remained low, it has dropped sharply (contrast with US): If he truly cared about the poor, Chavez would let someone more competent run Venezuela.

California sues laws of physics

California has filed suit against Ford, GM, Toyota, DaimlerChrysler, Honda, and Nissan, "charging that greenhouse gases [CO2] from their vehicles have cost the state millions of dollars."

Pause for a moment and reflect a moment of the nature of fossil fuel (hydrocarbon) combustion and why the "global warming" gas CO2 is produced. When combustion is done, the carbon doesn't disappear. It has to go somewhere. Further, the amount of energy released by combustion (which controls gas mileage) is highest if the carbon ends up as CO2 (which is the lowest energy form of carbon available). So, when a car that burns gasoline produces CO2, it is working at its best. The same, by the way, is true for fossil fuel power plants, whether oil, natural gas, or coal: they all produce CO2 when working properly.

If man-made activities are responsible for global warming, then governments should set policies and enact laws regulating the burning of fuels. California Attorney General Lockyer's lawsuit, however, is merely a political stunt.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A How-to on civilized conversation

Do muslims have a right to be annoyed with Pope Benedict's remarks not violent, just annoyed)? The Anchoress has an answer:
In our house, we have a rule: You have the right to disagree with and be annoyed by anything someone else says, just as soon as you can accurately repeat back to your opponent the thing they said.

I would say that holds true for these fundamentalist Muslims, too. Can they first repeat Benedict’s arguement back to him, accurately? It means reading the speech though, with an honest attempt to comprehend his meaning, and then saying, “this is what you said, Benedict - do we have the right of it?”

If they can do that, then yes..they have a right to be annoyed, if they like. Annoyed. Just like Catholics get “annoyed” when they feel they have been treated obnoxiously at the hands of, say, Hollywood. Annoyed does not mean killing, burning, calling for blood and death or converting people under a sword.
Of course, few will take her suggestion. For many people, outrage seems to be a pleasurable emotion.

The party of hate

I discussed anti-semitism in the Connecticut Democratic primary below. Today, Powerline has a summary of anti-semitism on the part of the Democrats in the Virginia senate race.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Government lost 1,100 laptops

Since 2001, the US Commerce Dept. has lost over 1,100 laptops, including 246 laptops from the Census Bureau which contained personal data on US citizens.

Newspapers continue committing suicide

The Miami Herald attacks Cuban-Americans and, reportedly, loses 1,200 subscriptions. This is reminiscent of the LA Times in 2003 which did a partisan attack on Arnold Schwarzenegger and reportedly lost 1,000 subscriptions.

Newspaper circulation has been declining anyway. They shouldn't be chasing their customers away.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

When is a freedom not a freedom?

In Turkey, the government is considering a petition to arrest the Pope when he arrives for violating "freedom of belief and thought":
They said the pontiff had violated Turkish laws upholding freedom of belief and thought by "insulting" Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.
So, how did "freedom of belief and thought" turn into freedom from hearing "insults"?

Proponents of modern multi-culturalism often want to ban insults. Since "insults" are in the mind of the beholder and, for any statement, there is likely to be somebody in this wide world who finds it "insulting," banning "insults" the same is nearly the same as banning speech.

UPDATE: The laws against insulting Turkey will be enforced tomorrow as a novelist is put on trial for having fictional characters in the novel mention the alleged Armenian massacre.

A Democrat discovers supply side economics

Reuters reports:
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore on Monday suggested taxing carbon dioxide emissions instead of employees' pay in a bid to stem global warming.

"Penalizing pollution instead of penalizing employment will work to reduce that pollution," Gore said in a speech at New York University School of Law. ....

"Instead of discouraging businesses from hiring more employees it would discourage business from producing more pollution," Gore said.
This is the opposite of the usual Democratric claim, loudly advocated when tax reduction legislation is before Congress, that taxes would cause no one to change behavior.

The thought of taxing pollution instead of employment is interesting, worthy of consideration if a concrete plan is developed.

France advocates pre-emptive surrender

From today's Independent:
President Jacques Chirac has broken ranks with the US and Britain by calling for the suspension of UN Security Council action against Iran during negotiations over its nuclear programme.....

The concession to Iran seems to be linked to events in Lebanon, where there had been concern that French soldiers may be targeted by Iran's proxy militia, Hizbollah, over France's previously hardline stance in the nuclear negotiations.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sen. Clinton dissents

While art and movies on the assassination of Pres. Bush are popular on the left, Sen. Clinton stakes out a contrary opinion:
"I think it's despicable," Clinton said of "Death of a President," a fictional film that features a staged assassination of the president in 2007. "I think it's absolutely outrageous. That anyone would even attempt to profit on such a horrible scenario makes me sick."
It will be interesting to see if this hurts her in the 2008 Democratic primaries.

UPDATE: 'Death of a President' wins the Fipresci prize at the Toronto film festival with the jury praising its telling a "larger truth."

UPDATE: Dr. Sanity comments on the "larger truth" angle of this movie:

When people "distort reality" and have the delusion that by doing so they are revealing a "larger truth"--we tend to refer to them as mentally ill; and, in general do not give them awards for such behavior....

More on tolerance, San Francisco style

Apropos of the meaning of tolerance in Pakistan (see below), TORiSF has an excellent collection of posts on the meaning of tolerance in San Francisco: see here, here, and here.

In both cases (San Francisco and Pakistan), an appeal to 'tolerance' appears to be a one-sided request meaning "you are instructed to do nothing which I might find offensive." This, of course, is the opposite of the dictionary definition: "indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Neo-con agenda, fully explained

Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui of the UK Muslim Parliament said:
Muslim failure to act robustly against extremist ideology provides ammunition to those who wish to pursue the Neo-con agenda by demonising Muslims and creating an atmosphere of fear and hatred within society.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Does "tolerance" mean "agree with us or we'll kill you"?

Tasnim Aslam, spokeswoman for the Pakistan Foreign Ministry, says:
Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence.

Lesbians vs Islamism

In the Oct. 21, 2001 Newsweek, Rachel Newman wrote:
"When I was 19, I moved to New York City. . . . If you had asked me to describe myself then, I would have told you I was a musician, an artist and, on a somewhat political level, a woman, a lesbian and a Jew. Being an American wouldn't have made my list. On Sept. 11, all that changed. I realized that I had been taking the freedoms I have here for granted. Now I have an American flag on my backpack, I cheer at the fighter jets as they pass overhead and I am calling myself a patriot."
Ms. Newman discerned clearly that Islamists would happily kill her for being either lesbian or Jewish and that this would be a problem for her. Contrast this with Rosie O'Donnell who claims:
Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America
While both religions may find her lesbianism to be a sin, the "radical Christians" say "love the sinner" and Islamists say behead the sinner. Ms. O'Donnell claims to see the two as the same. Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal has observed that it is curious that the left often appears unaware that it has the most to lose in our fight against Islamism. Shrinkwrapped puts this in a psychological perspective.

Culture of Corruption

Senator Robert Menendez, D-NJ, is reportedly under an ethics cloud for an alleged kickback scheme involving government contractors. The NJ Democratic party denies that it is considering throwing him off November's ballot and replacing him with Rep. Bob Andrews.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

New York Times caught again

This is what a New York Times correction looks like when they are caught having published an article that they never should have written.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Command and control economic model fails again

Some think that businesses can be created as easily as a government bureaucracy: give it a name and a purpose and adequate funding and after that all is easy. That was the approach used for Air America which is expected to file for bankruptcy on Friday. While it had lots of high level supporters, endless free publicity, and spent lots of cash, it lacks one key element: on-air talent.

The command-and-control theorists figured that all they had to do was put liberals on the air and they would have an audience. But the talk show host's politics are nearly irrelevant: the key issue is whether the host is engaging, entertaining, or informing in a way that the audience likes. By contrast, in the creative chaos of free enterprise, personalities like Rush or Sean Hannity usually start on a single radio station and, only after they prove successful in attracting an audience do other stations join to broadcast them. Regardless of high level political support or big cash infusions, big liberal talk radio networks will succeed only after they first cultivate and develop on-air talent.

UPDATE: As usual RadioEqualizer has more on Air America's status.

Is the oil well half-full or half-empty?

Saudi Arabia is predicting that world oil reserves will continue to increase in coming years, discrediting the theory that "peak oil" production has already been reached. The CEO of Aramco estimates enough oil for more 140 years at current production levels. After that time, we better have developed practical solar, wind, ocean, fusion, or fission power sources.

UPDATE: A University of Washington economic geologist, Eric Cheney, claims that there is lots of oil left.

UPDATE II: Cambridge Energy Research Associates, Inc. also disputes the peak oil theory.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

ABC video

"Do the right thing for the country and pull this despicable work of fiction from the air," urged Jay Carson, a Clinton spokesman.

Even if Clinton succeeds, this site claims to have all the disputed video clips. Judge them for yourself.

How the Republicans lost control of the Intelligence Committee

Although the Senate is nominally controlled by Republicans, the Senate intelligence (sic.) committee released a report that followed Democratic party talking points about Saddam and terrorism and contradicting publicly well-known facts. CBS reports that "the Republican chairman of the committee, Pat Roberts, left town without doing interviews, calling the report a rehash of unfounded partisan allegations." The causes of his frustration with his own committee were Senators Hagel (R-Nebraska) and Snowe (R-Maine) who sided with the Democrats on key votes. Interestingly, Byron York's research has also found that Sen. Hagel selected, as a key aide on this work, a former Kerry 2004 campaign volunteer.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Congress' Imam

In 1991, Imam Siraj Wahaj became the first Muslim to give an invocation to the U.S. Congress. Robert Spencer talks about Imam Wahaj's other activities:
In the early 1990s he sponsored talks by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman in mosques in New York City and New Jersey; Rahman was later convicted for conspiring to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993, and Wahaj was designated a "potential unindicted co-conspirator."
Iman Wahaj has also suggested “if only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.” It would be nice if there were prominent imams with more convincing claims to being moderate.

Refugees and Islam

Blogger Isaac Schrödinger, a native of Pakistan and now a critic of Islam, is applying to Canada to immigrate as a refugee. Canada is not yet convinced: On the "Claim Description" part of the Screening Form, the Canadian immigration officer wrote:
Fear is unspecified/unclear appears to fear persecution because of his anti-Islamic views.
Traditionally, apostates to Islam were given the death penalty. However, it appears to be rarely enforced in modern times: three Christians have been arrested Afghanistan, for example, in recent few months but one has released and the other two have not yet received a sentence. So is apostasy against Islam a sufficient reason for refugee status?

A complication is that doing what is right for one person is not always good policy for everyone. It could, for example, make refugee laws into open admission for anyone who adopted an easy claim to being an apostate from Islam.

Denial is comfortable, II

On the fifth anniversary of 9/11, the residents of Kitsap, Washington, will gather at their public library to avoid discussing 9/11. Library spokeswoman Audrey Newell explains "We’re not going to show footage of the attacks. We didn’t think that would really help anyone." So to help their residents cope with 9/11, the library decided on a series of performances centering on immigration. On why they chose that subject, Newell says "The last thing we need is something else to divide us We figure this is the best way to bring us together."

By contrast, the American public is not in denial: by 56%-33%, Americans think that the 9/11 attack is historically "more significant" than Pearl Harbor, according to a Quinnipiac poll. These results could be dismissed as evidence that (1) the American public has a short attention span, (2) Pearl Harbor was long ago, and (3) schools do a poor job of teaching history. But, as discussed by the Sanity Squad in a podcast, it may not be that simple. The Islamist's non-conventional style of warfare is a new an unfamiliar threat to which we still don't know how to respond. Further, it is hard to imagine a deadlier threat than the combination of (1) a large number of fanatics happy to die as long as they also kill as many innocents as possible, and (2) Iranian nuclear bombs

They didn't get the script

According to Al Jazeera (and via lgf), the two 9/11 hijackers on the recent videotape with bin Laden said they were motivated by a Clinton-era policy:
The men said that their actions were inspired by an urge to avenge the suffering of Muslims in Bosnia and Chechnya.
Obviously, the didn't get the memo that they were supposed to blame Bush. They also didn't seem to notice that Clinton intervened on behalf of the muslims in Bosnia and Chechnya.

Clinton asks ABC to change the subject

Bill Clinton's lawyers have written asking ABC to withdraw the "Path to 9/11." They don't cite any specific factual problems, other than it being a docu-drama. Instead, they ask ABC to change the subject:
Indeed, the millions spent on the production of this fictional drama would have been better spent informing the public about the [9/11] Commission's actual findings and the many recommendations that have yet to be acted upon.
I have written about the near-religious devotion to the 9/11 report's "recommendations" before. Obviously, those recommendations provide a comfort-zone for Democrats.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Science vs. vegetative states

Intriguing new findings were published in Science today: a team at Cambridge studied the mental activity of a woman diagnosed as being in a vegetative state. Using fMRI imaging, they found that her brain processed spoken sentences and reacted just like normal people. For example, they asked her to imagine playing a game of tennis and, not only did the speech processing areas of the brain light up, but also the motor processing areas, indicating that she was think about a physical activity. The authors write:
These results confirm that, despite fulfilling
the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of vegetative
state, this patient retained the ability to under-
stand spoken commands and to respond to them
through her brain activity, rather than through
speech or movement. Moreover, her decision to
cooperate with the authors by imagining partic-
ular tasks when asked to do so represents a clear
act of intention, which confirmed beyond any
doubt that she was consciously aware of herself
and her surroundings.
It also opens the clear possibility of communicating with such patients ("if you want to answer yes, think about tennis, if you want to answer no, think about reading").

Since this study was on a single vegetative patient, it doesn't say anything about other similar patients. It does indicate that that there should be no enthusiastic rush to treat vegetative patients, like Terri Shiavo, as if they were already dead.

The "complicated" rationalization

For the past 5 months, Chris Matthews has been averaging over 5 stories a month on the Plame affair. He has had no stories on it since the original leaker was revealed. When asked why, he said:
Well, the story's just gotten so complicated.
Of course, it hasn't. With the facts available, it is now much simpler.

During the Clinton years, the MSM often offered the same excuse: whitewater was too "complicated." The basic whitewater story, public officials taking bribes, was not "complicated." At least now we know the meaning of "complicated" when used by a journalist: it means that the topic doesn't serve his agenda.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dems to ABC: Obey or lose your broadcasting license

Reportedly, The senate Democrats are threatening ABC with loss of their broadcasting license it they don't do as Bill Clinton asks and "pull the drama":
The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license.... We urge you ... as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.


Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Byron Dorgan
Invoking governmental powers to silence critics is censorship.

A thin skin

When conservatives objected to the bizarre portrayal of Ronald Reagan in the CBS miniseries "The Reagans," liberals cried censorship. The editors at the New York Times went so far as to proclaim that the criticism created a "Soviet-style chill." Now that an ABC miniseries put the Clinton administration in a poor light, no one is claiming that Clinton's effort to "pull the drama" is censorship even though the critiques seem like nitpicking. For example, Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright claims the series is "false and defamatory" because it shows her giving advance warning to Pakistan about the missile attack on bin Laden, possibly enabling bin Laden to escape. Her complaint, though, is not that the Clinton administration didn't warn Pakistan but that the warning was given by a military official, not by herself personally. As the ABC production is a time-compressed docu-drama, the ABC seems like a reasonable simplification as long as Ms. Albright supported the giving of the warning. Interestingly, she is not quoted as denying that she approved the warning.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

UPI seeking the truth about "Path to 9/11"

On DailyKos, they are outraged that Sandy Berger was not allowed to vet the facts in ABC's miniseries on 9/11. UPI calls the series "under fire" and notes:
A statement from Samuel "Sandy" Berger, who was national security adviser to President Bill Clinton at the time, calls the scenes involving him "complete fabrications."
Of course, to get the truth on what happened we could go back to the national archives and look at the documents except for one thing: Sandy Berger destroyed them. As reported:
Sandy Berger pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in federal court. Berger, who served as President Clinton's national security adviser, is acknowledging that it wasn't an honest mistake and that he intentionally took and destroyed copies of classified documents from the National Archives and cut them up with scissors.
The UPI left out that detail.

Repeating propaganda is so much easer than doing real news reporting

On July 24 and 25, the news media ran with a story with photographs alleging that Israel attacked a Red Cross ambulance in Lebanon with a missile. It was later pointed out that the ambulance in the photograph appeared to suffer more from rust damage than a missile attack. The media responded with a revised story claiming that it was actually another ambulance, not the one in their photos, that suffered the missile attack. Zombietime examines this new claim and it appears as weak as the original story.

Occasionally the news media admit that they are just being used for anti-western propaganda. They don't seem to care.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It is a Quagmire

justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities
So declared the Democratic party platform of 1864. The quagmire at that time was the Civil War. The Democrat's solution was the let the South keep their slaves. In the euphemism of the time, they wanted to preserve the "rights of the States unimpaired."

Today, Democrats argue that the US should abandon the fledgling democracy in Iraq and they argue using the same high-minded words like "rights" and "liberty" that were used to defend slavery.

Social Justice

Norman Borlaug, 92, developed new varieties of wheat that have helped feed the world. For this he won the Nobel Prize in 1970. But the wheat wasn't enough on its own. As told in today's Wall Street Journal, countries like Pakistan and India, eager to feed their populations, insisted on price controls: they required farmers to sell their grain to the government at less than half the world price. Mr. Borlaug used his prestige to insist on fair prices for farmers. Fair prices combined the new grains enabled Pakistan to become self-sufficient in grain by 1968 and India by 1974.

The law of supply and demand cannot be defeated by mere governments. It is unfortunate that governments have been willing to starve their citizens while trying to prove otherwise.

Monday, September 04, 2006

By any means necessary?

Allegedly, Luke Massie threatened Jennifer Gratz, spokewoman for Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, with a switchblade outside a Civil Rights Commission meeting in Detroit. Luke Massie is the national chairman of a civil rights group called "By Any Means Necessary". With a name like that, it is not surprising that switchblades might be used even though it might not seem consonant with the goal "civil rights."

There is a long history, though, of thugs and autocrats abusing the banner of "civil rights" or "human rights." Joshua Muravchik has published a nicely researched summary of the issue.

Adam Gadahn's Imam

After 9/11, the White House chose Muzammil Siddiqi of Orange County as the Muslim representative to lead the national prayer service at National Cathedral. Mr. Siddiqi's idea of US citizenship is a bit different from other immigrant groups that America has absorbed:
Islam will not allow a Muslim to be drafted by non-Muslims to defend concepts, ideologies and values other than those of Islam...
The US has had many religious groups that opposed military service because they were pacifists. Mr. Siddiqi's version of Islam is not pacifist. As for jihad and martyrdom, he had this to say:
“Those who die on the part of justice are alive, and their place is with the Lord, and they receive the highest position, because this is the highest honor”
So, it is not surprising that one of Imam Siddiqi's flock, Adam Gadahn AKA "Azzam the American," appears periodically on tape with Osama bin Laden. When choosing a representative of Islam for the national prayer service, I wonder who the other candidates were.

WMD in Iraq

There apparently have been over 700 chemical weapons found in Iraq since 2003, including sarin and mustard gas weapons. Some details are in these pages (pdf) from the declassified section of a NGIC report. These weapons are largely old (pre-1991). Some claim that the UN inspections were working although the failure of the inspectors to find these weapons over all their years of inspecting indicates otherwise.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Stubborn Poverty

Since Yemen has an annual income of $730(US-PPP) per person, you would think that they would welcome foreign aid. The Wall Street Journal reports otherwise.
"I am stunned how hard it is. We want to help people and there is an obvious need, but we can't seem to get through the bureaucracy," says the team's senior noncommissioned officer....
Based in the capital city of Sana, they report:
Just leaving Sana needed approval from a regional government and as many as five national ministries.
On the other hand, if they didn't have so many ministries of busybodies, Yemen might have a much stronger native economy and it wouldn't be in need of aid.
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