Saturday, January 20, 2007

And Mr. Obama will run as the New Martin Luther King

It's the first major campaign gaffe of the 2008 campaign, although not quite on the level with John Kerry's "Reporting for duty!" salute. Mrs. Clinton is far more believable as a cold warrior than Kerry is as any kind of warrior.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Warriors as Victims

Those in Congress trying to hurt George W. Bush are doing better at hurting the morale of our troops. Jimmy Carter is probably senile, but his party keeps him propped up and his mouth moving while he repeats MoveOn talking points.

I've said this before, but this reminds me more and more of this chapter of the Book of Mormon, where the Nephites were engaged in war and a group the author calls king-men began a revolt at home to overthrow the government. Captain Moroni (not the Angel Moroni, lived later and was named after him, the leader of the military came back an put those who refused to support the nation to the sword.

I'm not advocating that, but it is too similar to our present circumstances to just be ignored. I don't know what we can do to move the sour mood among our media and the people participating in opinion polls, but somehow we must rally them to this cause.

Obama attended did not attend Wahhabi madrassah for 4 years

UPDATE: The following report is now being disputed and Fox News has withdrawn it. So much for Steve Doocy's credentials as a news man. As a reporter, he's a great weatherman.

Fox News' Fox and Friends talked about this report that Hillary's campaign staff have been looking into Obama's history and found that he attended a madrassa school as a child:
Are the American people ready for an elected president who was educated in a Madrassa as a young boy and has not been forthcoming about his Muslim heritage?

This is the question Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s camp is asking about Sen. Barack Obama.

An investigation of Mr. Obama by political opponents within the Democratic Party has discovered that Mr. Obama was raised as a Muslim by his stepfather in Indonesia. Sources close to the background check, which has not yet been released, said Mr. Obama, 45, spent at least four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia.

"He was a Muslim, but he concealed it," the source said. "His opponents within the Democrats hope this will become a major issue in the campaign."
This should set a cat among the pigeons. Obama will denounce the story, and Hillary will disclaim having anything to do with feeding it to the press, and the lefty blogosphere will all point at Karl Rove.

These madrassas expect kids to memorize the Koran word for word, which is a skill (memorization, not the Koran) which helps them excel in American schools if they get here.

Update: The Washington Post whose readers specialize in making up things to call President Bush like "Chimpy McBushitler" takes deep umbrage to people insisting on referring to Mr. Obama's middle name, Hussein, and points out the now-debunked report that Obama had attended a madrassa school in his boyhood as proof of the low character of his conservative critics:
When the madrassa story was debunked by CNN and the Associated Press, Insight didn't even have the decency to slink away.
But the "debunking" reads as follows:
Obama lived in Indonesia as a child, from 1967 to 1971, with his mother and stepfather and has acknowledged attending a Muslim school, but an aide said it was not a madrassa.
Whose aide? An aide at the school or an aide to Obama? And they take the denial by Hillary's campaign at face value. As though calling it a "right wing hit job" is all the debunking necessary.

Insight is standing by its story which was that Hillary's campaign had discovered that Obama had attended a Muslim school, and was weighing whether to publicize it. The CNN and Howard Kurtz reports denouncing the story don't sound all that definitive either, since they feature only a blank denial from Hillary's camp.

Nevertheless, the whole thing has shrunk to a squabble between the mighty WaPo, CNN and the Unification-Church-owned Insight Magazine. We know that Obama himself called it a Muslim school, but now there's a distinction between a Muslim school and a madrassa, which is more in the line of a religious seminary. The school was probably NOT a Wahhabi school, which are generally funded by the Saudis. In any event, it's pretty much a non-story except for Insight's report that Hillary's campaign people were discussing it.

Do I think Sen. Obama is a crypto-Muslim? No. Do I think pointing out his middle name is unfair? Not really. Do I think Hillary's people would stoop this low? Indubitably.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Plunge and the Surge

More good news from old media. You'd think these old walruses would look around and realize that there are millions of potential customers out here who might buy their product if they would quit ignoring them. They seem to think that citing Fox News' declining ratings proves that leaning more right is an answer, but their perception of FNC as merely a right-wing gimmick misses the point, which is that there really is a large market out here for more evenhanded news coverage, but catering to the more angry part of it isn't exactly the best way to serve it.

The problem is that organizations who see reality only through an Ivy League or San Francisco "progressive" lens don't realize that their view is distorted. I understand that. Whenever I try to read without my glasses, I find it surprising that the letters seem so much bigger, until I remember that they really are that big, and that my glasses make them look smaller in the process of correcting for my myopia. The only other way I can think of to fix my near-sightedness is to replace the lenses of my eyes, or tinker with the corneas or shape of my eyeballs. (I don't know whether any of those could also fix my astigmatism, though.) The point is that I'm aware that what I experience is not necessarily the same as what normally sighted people do. The MSM aren't. They think they're reporting reality and it confirms their biases, but that cart-horse problem is important, and unless they figure that out, they may have to go out of business or be replaced by people who get it.

Old Media bastions of liberalism frightened by the blasts of criticism, and unanswerable criticism at that, are trying to embrace the forms of new media but without the substance. The fact that the New York Times keeps David Brooks on staff as a columnist is not a corrective for "reporting" like this which is demolished by a blog post like this. A casual perusal of Memeorandum's main headings and following a few links to blogs and columns commenting on the original item is enough to demonstrate what I'm saying. There is a predictable spread of opinions among bloggers, but the originating reports are nearly all biased or selectively reported in some way. It doesn't take more than a few scandals like the use of photoshopped pictures and "fake but accurate" documents by major news organizations to make a fair-minded person conclude that these reports are not trustworthy, not complete or both.

And that doesn't even approach the bad logic and condescension in their "analyses."

The decline of marriage seems to be a goal fof the left.

At least, if you think about this triumphal article, you could get that impression. James Lileks has been thinking about it, and is familiar with some of the milieus mentioned in the piece. The first invitation to eye-rolling is that the range of ages begins at 15 years, which one would expect to skew the average. I'm no statistician, but that seem kind of dishonest. Not that many 15-year-old girls, except in polygamist cults, get married. Many in that age group among African Americans get pregnant out of wedlock, but that doesn't seem as "freeing" a decision as the Times reporters would have it.

The only people I can think of who think a decline in married women is a good thing are feminists, but they tend to believe a lot of screwy things.

I especially dislike the kind of "reporting" that singles out a few examples and proceeds as if these few cases represent the whole. Lileks knows the "the vibrant Adams Morgan neighborhood" of Washington and furnishes a photo. Funny, it doesn't look all that vibrant. In fact, it looks kind of shabby.

I think what bothers Lileks and Medved, and anybody else who understands that reporting is supposed to mean the same thing as propaganda, is the positive light in which this statistic portrayed, as if it were some milestone on the road to enlightenment. It quotes a number of academics who are, if their comments are an indication, are the kind who are likely to read a lot of nonsense into such indicia, as well as a few who see single life as a change from a life being a wife and mother, which the reporters imply is a synonym to "slavery." Sure, divorce is an answer for really dysfunctional marriages, but it's not a good thing for society or the family when it plunges a woman and her children into poverty, as it often does. I have several aunts who have remained widows after their husbands died. They don't seem all that relieved or happy about doing so. One of them raised three children after losing her husband and seems to have gotten along fine, but I'm not sure she would advocate it for others. The others were somewhat elderly themselves, and the prospect of dating and getting used to a new husband probably wasn't all that appealing. My brother lost his wife to kidney disease a few years ago and he remarried about 6 months later. I doubt that he would be as happy now had he remained single, but I'm not sure what feminist doctrine is for what a man without a woman is.

I've never really thought of families in this balance-sheet way before. I think of happy families as something to be sought for, but more as a team endeavor than as a zero-sum game. How many children look at their parents and pick their sexuality based on who seems to be getting the better end of the marriage contract? Maybe, in this day and age they're encouraged to think that way by therapists, but to me it sounds like a Sophie's choice kind of calculus, not a progessive one.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fiddling while Baghdad Burns?

Peter Mulhern:
Our leaders speak as if they can avoid responsibility for the next attack by predicting it. They don't seem aware that a grieving and enraged public isn't likely to get much satisfaction from a chorus of "I told you so."

Let's suppose that conventional wisdom is uncharacteristically correct about the prospects for more terrorism in the United States. How will the American public deal with the political class that saw attacks coming years ahead and frittered away the opportunity to deter them?
How indeed? Bush can be faulted for not winning fast enough to suit the hostile media, but those who are so anxious to follow John Murtha off the cliff will have no excuse.

The problem is that the mass media are mostly on the left end of the spectrum and will be loath to point this out. I suspect that the Republican Party will have to set up its own cable network to get its view of matters heard, especially if idiots like Dennis Kucinich succeeds in bringing back the Fairness Doctrine.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

< a HREF="">Richard Cohen is a pretentious prig. What is it with reporters that makes them think they're experts on everything, when they really are just dilettantes who get most of their opinions from each other? They seem to think they should be the last word on everything, when all they really do is select sources who agree with their own predilections.

The Unit

It's CBS' answer to 24, featuring Dennis Haysbert (President "Allstate Insurance"), in a role so much more manly and tough than President Palmer, whose brother, Wayne Palmer, is now president and whose little sister is the African-American version of Lynne Stewart, but more annoying. (I don't hate or fear strong women, only obnoxious ones.)

Anyway, The Unit is a whole team of Jack Bauers, and they're military, not that wimpy CTU. It was created by David Mamet, which makes me wonder how they were able to clean it up for TV. It has a much more real feel to it, and I really liked its Senator "Pit Bull," who reminds me of Hillary on a particular bitchy day. Predictably, she insists on ignoring her body guard team and getting kidnapped.

Why do they want her back? Good question. I think it's has something to do with professional pride.

I wonder what real Rangers/SEALS/SpecOps guys think of this program. Do they really march into obvious danger and talk to everybody like they're engaged in a password, counter password, Kabuki dance. The show has two story lines, one for the men and one for their wives and girlfriends, who are a pretty tough sub-unit of their own.

Tour de force

That's what I have to call this analysis by Spengler of the Asia Times. Or maybe "ecrof ed ruoT" given the way he flips conventional wisdom so persuasively. The lynch pin of it all is the accuracy of the intelligence estimates that Iran is still three years from achieving critical mass for its weapons project. I'm not exactly a big fan of the CIA which, after all, assured Bush that Saddam's WMD were a slam dunk, and then went into reverse like a crayfish and launched its own war of leaks on the White House. I don't believe that anybody except the Iranians really knows how close they are. Who knew that A. Q. Khan was shopping around his designs for the Pakistani Nuke?

Still, I think there's an invisible hand moving pieces on this chessboard, and the potential for civil war throughout the Muslim world seems to be rising, regardless of what we do from here on. That's not a reason to bug out, but Bush can take some comfort in the fact that we may have already won. The rest is keeping the vacuum sealed until the Iraqis fill it themselves. If they don't do it, we can't do it for them.

At least they didn't drop him into a shredder.

Does it seem just a little hypocritical to anyone else, the way the execution of Saddam's half-brother, which accidentally decapitated him, is being so vehemently criticized by the Western Press and the Sunnis and Baathists who've had nothing to say about "Chemical Ali's" engineering of the gassing of Halibja in Northern Iraq or the regular beheadings of women for the crime of adultery in Saudi Arabia, and before the fall of the Taliban, in Afghanistan. By all rights, he and his fellow condemned, should have been hung on meat hooks and zapped with batteries and jumper cables, beaten bloody and force fed Drano, before being raped and having their throats slit. Of course, no civilized nation would want to employ people capable such abuse, or even the comparatively mild atrocities at Abu Ghraib, so they settled for hanging instead. The Maliki government explained that the severing of Ali's head was "an act of God." Apparently the Almighty thought that hanging was too good for him.

It all goes to show, as Phillip Carter points out, you can't win a Pulitzer with nothing but a cell phone camera.

Shame on them!

The Martin Luther King holiday has been turned into a day of demagoguery. Sad to say, but the sight of John Edwards delivering a version of his finely honed closing argument, revised to fit this occasion, telling his audience, "You have the power!" and urging them to put a stop to the war in Iraq, followed by the blatant political rantings of Dr. T. Dewitt Smith, Jr. and Rev. Otis Moss preaching to black congregations, denouncing the president and demanding more government spending on social causes, left me shaking my head. They're headed toward turning a lot of people against the holiday, because of the rank politicization of it. I couldn't help but think of how such virulent screeds against opponents of the war would be played in the MSM if they'd been uttered by Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson. If this is what Dr. King would have become had he lived, it's a blessing to his memory that he was martyred at the height of his achievements. Seeing what Jesse Jackson did with the legacy of Dr. King, turning it into a cash cow by shaking down corporations, and the absurd and shameful demands for reparations for slavery by blacks whose lot today is immeasurably better, because of the blood shed by hundreds of thousands of Americans to do away with it, and to cash in on it seems the very opposite of Dr. King's dream for his children to be judged by the content of their character and not by their race or skin color.

This is only exacerbated by the fact that this kind of abuse has become standard fare on this "holiday." Where is the ACLU on this? The least it could do is denounce the hypocrisy of demanding the separation only of white religion and government.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Pointlessness of Religious Bigotry

Hugh Hewitt, a doctor of the law and growing in repute in this land, has, like a modern Gamaliel, made a cogent argument against religious bigotry against Mitt Romney because Romney is LDS.

Anybody who knows me knows that I'm LDS, as well. I didn't always live in Utah, however, and I know what it feels like to be thought of as part of a a peculiar people. I've been taught all my life that bigotry of any kind is wrong, that freedom of faith is God's gift and is not to be trifled with, and that any kind of rancor toward another person drives away the Holy Spirit and leaves you to your own devices. You can't be unfair without turning some of your audience against you.

Besides that, denouncing someone on the basis of his religion is unamerican. You do that and you forfeit any claim to respect. Mitt Romney will stand or fall on the basis of his character, experience and talent. He's an impressive person, which is probably why people who oppose him seem to keep bringing up his religion. He would be just as impressive if he were Catholic, Jewish, Methodist or Baptist. He's candid and honest. He hasn't tried to distance himself from his faith or attack anybody else's. Sometimes it has been used against him, as when he ran for the Senate against Ted Kennedy and lost. But it didn't stop him from being elected Governor in the same liberal state.

Living in Utah and being one, I know a lot of Mormons both good and bad. Some are good people, who don't go to church. Some go to church, but aren't all that impressive character-wise. In that, they're just like any other religion I know of. I know that the LDS Church teaches tolerance and respect and honors the right of everyone to religious freedom. It doesn't respond in kind to scurrilous attacks. It states its position and leaves it to the fair-minded to judge.

Hugh Hewitt is an Evangelical. He's not LDS nor interested in proselyting for the LDS church, but he's always impressed me as an honest and fair man (except when it comes to college football). He's also a solid Republican. He knows that attacking a person on the basis of his religion is one of those political tactics that can backfire badly. I hope Republicans will pay attention to him, because a failure to do so could mean President Hillary.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The difference between Democrats and Republicans

If Richard Nixon had done what Sandy Berger did, he'd probably have failed to destroy the documents. Of course, he'd have then been ordered to produce them and complied.

Of course, Berger's actions are like invoking the Fifth Amendment -- to everybody but the courts, it means you're guilty. He's even pleaded guilty and he's still being given his security clearance back. I've got better credentials for a security clearance than he does.