Saturday, December 30, 2006

Carter vs. Dershowitz.

Jimmy Carter always struck me as the least competent President of my lifetime, and recent events only serve to confirm my conclusion. Like the recent report of the Iraq Study Group, Carter’s latest book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, concludes that the problems in the middle east are mostly Israel’s fault and all would be made well if only Israel would give some land (then maybe some more) to the Arabs.

Powerline points out an interesting disagreement between Carter and Alan Dershowitz that resulted in an exchange through the media. Dershowitz, who has written books on the subject, wants to debate Carter on the Israeli/Palistine issue. Carter will have none of it, saying "There is no need to for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine." This despite the fact that Carter intends his book to create debate and dialogue on the issue.

Carter seems to have become a kinder, gentler version of John Kerry, arrogant and condescending. Dershowitz hit at least one nail on the head when he responded “Books shouldn't be like chapel, delivered from on high and believed on faith.” Read his whole response here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ennui Rulz

Yes it has been quite a while. After all, this isn’t Lazy Gopher Pachyderm for nothing. And I can’t for sure say why the lack of posting. Pressing holiday matters? Post-election fatigue? Results disappointment? Lack-of-leadership frustration? The rise of ‘Realists in Wonderland’ (like the Iraq Study Group)? The cluelessness in the GOP leadership on why they got trounced in the election? The lost opportunity of positioning in the lame duck session before the Christmas break?

Any and all of the above will do, I suppose. The political landscape thus far adds up to a forecast of a very unproductive 2008. Things can change rapidly and the GOP just might re-discover what got them the majority in 1994, but I doubt it. There are some beacons of hope like Sen. McConnell as minority leader, and House Speaker to be Nancy Pelosi’s attempt at herding her caucus cats into her barn (with amusing results), but not enough to give the party a winning direction and hope to the GOP base.

I’m tempted to say wake me up when the GOP leadership gets a clue (hint: when the Gerald Ford wing of the party starts getting upset and dismissive like they were toward Gingrich in the early ‘90s or Reagan in the ‘80s, you’ll know we’re back on the road to recovery).

Perhaps we just need to generate a few laughs. The Baker-Hamilton report on Iraq would be a good start if the stakes weren’t so gol-darned high. But Jimmy Carter is back on the scene and he’s always worth a chuckle and groan.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The envelope, please...

Given the ongoing AP debacles, some very good quotes of the week...

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." -Thomas Jefferson

“I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. - General William Sherman

"Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR. That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse." - Mark Twain

Saturday, December 02, 2006

What passes for thinking on the left.

Dennis Preager (radio talk show host, speaker, author, columnist) has taken a rather brave position. By ‘brave’ I mean that, regardless of how reasoned as its thoughts and basis are presented (and precluding agreement), it will be misread and he tarred and feathered because the premise violates the sensibilities of those who seek to define our standards down.

Representative elect, Keith Ellison, a Muslim, has stated he will replace the traditional Bible with the Koran. Mr. Praeger’s position is as follows: when it comes to using a book upon taking the oath of office, the Bible should be used. Other tomes may be used in addition, but the Bible should not be wholly displaced.

A liberal Blog, Think Progress, has taken Mr. Praeger’s thesis and twisted it completely. Oh, let’s just say it…they made it up…they lied. It’s the sort of the thing I’ve seen, experienced and come to expect when the left address a conservative thought or argument.

Think Progress accuses Mr. Preager of 1) “…[comparing being sworn in with a Koran] to being sworn in with a copy of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf.’” and 2) the egregious error of thinking that religious books are used for the oath of office. Think Progress asserts that they are never used.

The first point simply amounts to libel. While Think Progress links to the Preager article, they apparently didn’t bother to read it:

“…imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler's "Mein Kampf," the Nazis' bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison's right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?”

The point cannot be simply dismissed, unless it is to assert that there is no standard that must be adhered to on such a solemn occasion, which Think Progress doesn’t do. Mr. Preager’s supporting arguments should at least be the source of some applied thought on the issue:

“Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible…When all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book, they all affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization.”

Yet for Think Progress and its liberal devotees, the response is not thoughtful opposition in-kind, but typically screeching in non-sequitorial condemnation. Destroying the messenger is to more highly favored on the left than dealing with the message.

This is not to say that there are no good countervailing arguments. They do exist, as Eugene Volokh shows at National Review On-line. But the left, mired in hatred of the right and an inability to discuss things in a civilized fashion, seems incapable of making them. Such a mindset cannot be counted on to contribute seriously to any debate on any topic. Should you doubt this, read the comments attached to both Mr. Preager’s and Think Progress’s columns.

As for the second assertion, Think Progress ignores the fact that there is a second ceremony which does make use of the Bible, and chastises Mr. Praeger for thiking that there is. Yet if there is no such ceremony, why is Mr. Ellison demanding a Koran replace the Bible? Mr. Preager asserts that every member of Congress who has availed himself of this second venue has done so using the Bible, and sometimes an additional tome. So far I’ve not read any contradiction to this assertion. As such, it cannot be denied that should Mr. Ellison use a non-Biblical text exclusively, it will be a first.

Is Mr. Preager wrong in his assessment? Quite possibly. Is the response of Think Progress and its leftward posse devoid of decency and thought? Most definitely.

Friday, December 01, 2006

So how bad is Iraq, really? Another brewing media scandal

Let us first set the table of confirmed recent media debacles:

The forged CBS Bush National Guard memos.

The non-existant Jenin massacre swallowed hook, line and sinker by every major news outlet in world.

Reuters publishing doctored and staged photographs during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict this past summer.

Blogger Flopping Aces, in a post entitled Getting The News From The Enemy, has uncovered a major developing scandal in the coverage we see coming from Iraq. Read the whole series of examinations and fact-digging. I won’t go into huge detail, but here is a brief executive summary of what I’ve read so far.

The widely reported burning of four mosques never took place.

The same for six Muslim worshippers being dragged from a mosque and burned to death. Looks like it also is a fabrication.

The AP has often quoted a Capt. Jamil Hussein of the “of the al-Yarmouk police station” often as a source of atrocities. Funny thing, though, he only reports on Shiite on Sunni atrocities. CENTCOM has done some investigating; they confirm that he is neither a poli9ce officer nor is he employed by the Ministry of Interior.

It appears that the AP has been simply taking phone calls and filing stories without corroboration, and these stories become front-page news or evening TV leads. Their response:

"The attempt to question the existence of the known police officer who spoke to the AP is frankly ludicrous and hints at a certain level of desperation to dispute or suppress the facts of the incident in question…we have conducted a thorough review of the sourcing and reporting involved and plan to move a more detailed report about the entire incident soon, with greater detail provided by multiple eye witnesses…The police captain cited in our story has long been known to the AP reporters…"

Note that the basis for AP’s certainty remains a mystery, aside from him wearing the correct uniform and standing in a police office (which means nothing according to their own reporting of other stories involving fake police). The AP never says they confirmed his employment with any of his superiors. In other words, they give us no reason to believe them in the face of official investigations that reveal there is no such person employed in the capacity AP claims.

This is still developing, and the AP will likely continue to issue defenses, but it’s clear that what your seeing on your TV screen and read in the morning paper about Iraq may be where the real propaganda is.

It’s a huge story. Keep an eye on it.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?