Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ms. Foster, your taxi is here!

The Democrat moneymen are being dunned by Soros to develop a liberal think tank. The problem I see is that they're positing the existence of "new ideas" that will enhance the appeal of liberalism. If they were capable of comprehending new ideas, they'd be Neocons.

The first thing they need to do, if they want to have a future, is to shut up all their supporters proclaiming that conservatives are pursuing theocracy, that Bush perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, and get real about their fondest myth, that Saddam wasn't a threat to anybody, only having invaded two of his neighbors and gassed his own population.

They need to get serious and quit supporting idiotic, hysterical claims and start figuring out how to reach swing voters. The MSM collapse is accelerating, due to the willingness of prominent newspapers and newspersons to drink their Koolaid. So far, they've been able to create a vague unease with Bush, but he's allowed it by refusing to answer the cheap shots and falsehoods. That won't continue forever, and once it starts to penetrate the public consciousness how brazenly they've been lied to, the jig will be up.

The best thing the right has going is that most of its commentators are reality-based and deal in facts and arguments, not insane rants, while the left is in love with Kos, Huffington, and other models of rational discourse.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Oh, Reason Not the Flag!

Christopher Hitchens, whom I greatly admire, is against the amendment authorizing Congress to forbid burning the flag. His point, don't clutter up the Constitution, is persuasive, but not on the larger point: why is this being made such a big deal of by either side? Goofy court decisions interfering with democracy do as much to clutter up and dishonor the Constitution as such amendments do. They're all amendments, after all. The court just doesn't have to get more than 5 votes.

The flag IS a symbol, but that doesn't mean it should be meaningless to deface it or use it to offend offend people. It's not as though anybody ever really needed to use flags in their protests. They use it to get attention, not to express anything they can't say in some other way. That's not a Constitutional right. Sorry.


North Korea has fired its ICBM along with two Scuds apparently intended as diversionss. The missle failed dismally.

Too bad. We could have used the target practice.

The attempt nevertheless deserves international condemnation as a threat to peace. Maybe we should fire one of our own over their territory to demonstrated once again how it's done.

Update: Later reports came in that upped the number of missiles to about a half-dozen. If they hoped to impress us, chosing the same day as a shuttle launch was a big mistake. Trying to worry us on the Fourth of July seemed pretty weak as well. I wonder how many North Koreans could have been fed with the money burned in these launches. It would be comic if this regime weren't real and so, so brutal.

How can you take a country seriously that uses the syllable "dong" in the names of their rockets?

Me neither

Ann Coulter doesn't speak for me. It's not her views so much as her poor, disjointed writing and her chronic high dudgeon and incivility. I also don't understand the buzz about her being beautiful and glamorous. I've tried to read two of her books but they were so offputting that I couldn't finish. In her latest, she's just performing an old shtick that was tired 15 years ago.

Another case of bizarre commentary is this piece by Nick Kristof in which he states, "Historically, we in the press have done more damage to our nation by withholding secret information than by publishing it." How that excuses their latest support to the terrorists, I don't know, but it's probably true, if you take into account the selective reporting of FDR and JFK and other Democrats. Their policy about the "people's right to know" doesn't seem to have applied when the newsmakers were Democrats. During FDR's presidency, the public never knew that he was crippled by polio, nor did we learn until later what a hound JFK was, how he routinely dishonored his marital vows and exposed himself to potential blackmail. We now know that his health was cynically misrepresented. We were told repeatedly about his "vigor," never a mention of the amount of drugs he was taking or the serious infections affecting him. The press coverage of the Kennedy family is now as big a joke as the portrayal of his "Camelot" family life with Jackie and those beautiful children was a charade.

In the end, Watergate may have been more significant for its effect on the long-lived coverups by the media than for Nixon's clumsy attempts to hide his sins. Perhaps, it was the extraordinary hostility toward him throughout his careers contrasted with the whitewashing of Kennedy's personal life that drove him around the bend and caused him to surround himself with people he saw as tough, aggressive and practioners of hardball.

Still, there has never been a case of harm done to the nation by the press withholding secret information like that done by revealing details of our counter-terrorism programs. The Bay of Pigs example is small potatoes, and the "scandals" revealed by the Church Committee were more hype and gossip than examples of real harm. Least persuasive of all is his assertion that the Times' failure to reveal how little evidence their was of WMD in Iraq is just a wholesale rewriting of history, ignoring the beliefs and policies of the Clinton administration and Saddam's history of warfare and use of WMD against his own citizens. The claim that the Times covered up the truth is self-serving in retrospect and a distortion of the importance of that detail in the decision to overthrow this madman.

This whiny bit of misdirection is not just mealy-mouthed, to say the least, but it also attempts to jusify the Times' perfidy with a cheap attack on Fox News Channel. It reminds me of Joe McCarthy, with the exception that the Senator's charges actually had some basis in fact.

What would Clinton do?

Byron York considers how Democrats would handle the publication of classified material in the newspapers.

By now, though, most people in Washington are pretty disenchanted with the special prosecutor model. I hope that a grand jury will call all those at the Times had anything to do with reporting the NSA datamining operation and the Swift program, but let career Justice Department people handle the investigation in a normal way. Then stick it to anybody who conspired in disclosing the information.

The Ingrown Party

RJ Eskow demonstrates the perspicacity of Byron York. These guys are still not ready to win or to run the country. They're still living in the past. New Summer of Freedom, indeed.

Somehow they've persuaded themselves that their "ideas" and screwy beliefs about Bush and the war make sense to anybody but those who already hate the man. The New York Times has escalated its blunders until not even its editors can defend its actions. If I were an editor of another newspaper, I'd cancel my subscription, just to avoid the contamination.

Reid's Pork on Wheels

Alaska's "bridge to nowhere," wasn't really to "nowhere." Harry Reid is working on pork barrel legislation to build a high speed rail from Disneyland to Las Vegas. Excuse me, but if this is a good idea, why can't it pay for itself. I thought Democrats were opposed to big business boondoggles.

Time for a Debate on the Rights of the Press.

Cassandra eviscerates Bill Keller and the NYTimes and what she calls Keller's Unitary Editor doctrine, the view that the Press is a law unto itself, intended by the Constitution to be the real ultimate authority in the United States. One salutary effect of the blogosphere is that it has shown the Times to have feet clay or glass as thin as that of a light bulb. One would think such an institution would want to avoid kicking up too much dust.

I hope this is just the beginning of the questioning of thise dumb idea. The press works when there is diversity of opinion among the various media. When they all follow a single leader such as the New York Times, the priniciple is violated. This should be the demand from everyone: The Times is not a government institution. It's power comes from trust and respect. Lose that, and you're nothing more than a P.R. device.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hugh's News

Hugh Hewitt's blog will now be part of I don't know if this will help him or turn him into just another columnist. Apparently, Hugh is part of a group which has taken over the conservative website. If anybody can give it some zing, Hugh can, but we already have some pretty good sites of that kind, like Real Clear Politics. Time will tell.

Running for Cover

Another NYTimes disclosure so powerful that not even the Times itself can keep straight whose side we were on.

The Times' big scoop was that the SWIFT program was highly secret and that the American people needed to know about it. Now they're claiming it wasn't even really news and that the terrorists all knew about it. The American people don't seem to feel that they needed to know either, by about two to one. Nope, no anti-Bush bias here!

For a savvy news organization, they're pretty stupid. If they'd read Byron York's The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy, they'd have been able to see that following the current nutcases calling the shots on the left, they'd end up in a ditch. They still maintain that the Democrats are going to retake Congress, but that would almost guarantee impeachment hearings against Bush that would hurt them more than the Clinton impeachment hurt Republicans. After all, Clinton did what he was accused of. Most people opposed the impeachment because they didn't want to talk about the sordid details contained in the Starr Report. Are they really going to want to punish Bush when the war is winding down and appears to have played out just as he said it would? The House, being full of furious lefties, might push through a bill of impeachment but it would end in sound and fury signifying nothing, like Clinton's trial did, a tale told by John Conyers.

What is it that keeps driving these people down dead ends that only disgust the voters?

Returning to the NYTimes, I was wondering this afternoon why so many reporters seem so willing to fall on their swords rather than acknowledge its left wing bias. Then I remembered how surprised I was when I first subscribed to the Wall Street Journal for the first time, and realized how many of the interesting stories I'd heard on NPR had come from the WSJ originally. It wasn't long before I discovered that our independent, free media get their lead on what stories are "news" from a few big Eastern newspapers. Between that and the news services, there just isn't all that much free, new or independent in the news media. It kind of ticked me off to realize that all these assurances about defending the peoples' right to know and holding government accountable and speaking truth to power were covering an industry marching in lockstep down the paths defined by the Times and WaPo. That's fraud in my book. And the reliance on cozy relationships with leakers is biased and lazy, and now has crossed into violations of national security laws.

The New York Times isn't even fit to burn, let alone read.

A few thoughts on July 4, 2006

This is the 230th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

This country was established under the inspiration of God, the ACLU and Supreme Court notwithstanding. We will be judged for our behavior toward this gift.

Read this. Then read this
According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another, [including Arabs]

And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
I don't want to be part of the generation that throws that all away.

Journalism, not Reporting

Best of the Web for July 3 notes the triumphalism in the media coverage of the Hamdan decision. You'd think they were cheering. I'm sure there are plenty of James Taranto's associates who consider such comments as old fashioned and reactionary, but I'd love to see a poll on what the public expects from a news outlet. I'd bet that "Being told what to think" is not high on the results list.

As Taranto notes, this tone is not good reporting, since commentators, but not reporters, are supposed to express opinions, not that you'd know this from observing their product over the past 40 years. Apparently, this is one of those teachings that is taught in Journalism School and repeated endlessly to the public, but ignored in practice, like so many of the principles taught in Business Schools.

Is it ironic then that the MSM is failing both in reporting AND in business? Not really, since the basic ethical rules in both endeavors begin with basic honesty. Newspapers today have become so focused on the Watergate rewards, such as "bringing down" government officials, crusading for liberal causes, providing leaked information, etc. that they have forgotten that they're supposed to be ojective, fair and non-partisan in their news pages, even if they feature Opinion on the Op-Ed pages as well. There's a reason that reporters aren't supposed to insert their opinions in straight news and why they don't get to be columnists right off the bat. They're supposed to learn the craft of reporting first and only after it's clear that they know the distinction, are they usuallly allowed to telll us what their views are. The problem is that very few with that arcane knowledge are still active as editors, apparenlty. Everybody want his/her own by-line and then a column of one's own, but few are willing to go through the apprenticeship anymore.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

We have met the press,

and I think it's about time for them to go home and leave us alone.

Will this Dogma hunt?

I don't know if Ann Coulter is a plagiarist, but she certainly is repetitive. I've been trying to read "Godless," but so far it's not new, or even insightful. More like a bunch sarcastic one-liners concatenated.

I've never liked her style, even when I agree with her arguments. I was kind of hoping this book would break new ground, but it doesn't. So far, all she talks about are thirty-year-old court cases.

There's a good case to be made that liberalism bears the earmarks of a new age non-traditional religion, but this books, at least so far, doesn't do it. I had hoped for some discussion of what a religion, or a church, is, and more details to support her allegations. I'd love to see a compilation of all the environmental rhetoric that uses religious terms, like "holy," "sacred," "cathedral," etc. when speaking about stuff like Caribou calving grounds and other "threatened wilderness."

The current obsession with alleged plans for "theocracy" being promoted by evangelical Christians is a fat target, considering the extent to which Anti-religion has been made the State Religion of the United States. It could be a devastating study, but Coulter hasn't done it.

The "plagiarism" being charged by a promoter of anti-plagiarism software, sounds sloppy, but no worse that Dore Kearnes Goodwin's or Stephen Ambrose. Don't expect this to go away as quickly as those did, though. Coulter is the left's Anti-Christ, and they're out to crucify her.

Momentum or Nomentum?

James Carville and Mark Penn:
Our problems as a party are less ideological than anatomical: Our candidates have been made to look like they have no backbone.
I don't think they lack backbone. I just think they've got it in upside down. They can get really tough, but only against Republicans, not terrorists.

I suspect that Hillary is still the best candidate the Democrats have got, but she's going to have to take the party back from the BDS crowd first. Bush isn't running any more.

Through the looking glass.

The NYTimes publishes classified information that could aid terrorists, and the White House is guilty of "scapegoating?" And, maybe the Times is really working for Karl Rove.

George Soros, Steven Bing, Nan Aron and Ralph Neas, the New Populists

They'll have to explain how raising and spending vast funds through 527 organizations works as "populism." This is how they plan to win back control of the Senate. Like "progressive" and "liberal," calling yourself "populist" while you have to kowtow to San Francisco and Berkeley activists before you can even run?

Can it be "racial" if both participants are black?

"Etnicity," not "Race." I wonder if it would be different wording, if the white candidate were ahead. He's got to raise name recognition, but he has to tiptoe around the fact that he's a white man running against Kweisi Mfume, former head of the NAACP. And that's only the primary.

Maybe all the farming scams can be devoted to solar power

It's not Pollyannaish to be hopeful about new energy tech, but don't be surprised if the environmentalists don't turn out to be all that enthusiastic. Their real goal isn't sustainable energy, or clean energy, so much as no fewer people. They'll object to using surface to generate solar power as much as they do to urban sprawl. The more clean energy, the more cars and the more people.

And don't forget, their business is fundraising, which tends to fall off once the perceived problem gets solved. Fear and panic drive fundraising far more than achievement of goals. As pollution continues to decline, expect demands for more wilderness and ever shriller claims that we're destroying the earth. The truth is that they just don't want to share it with people they don't like.

Technology will continue to advance, giving people more leisure and wealth, which translates into more ATVs, PWCs, boats, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and recreation gear, and more pressure on public lands. The best and most scenic of these are increasingly being closed to mechanical conveyances, the better to protect the "wilderness experience" of the environmentally pure. Of course, one of the lesser understood parts of the wilderness experience is solitude, which has never been adequately defined. The problem with most environmental standards is that they are either subjective or arbitrary.