web counter Media Lies: March 2005

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
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Media Lies has moved

Please update your bookmarks to point to http://www.antimedia.us/. I will no longer be posting on blogspot.com. All new posts will be at http://www.antimedia.us/.


Monday, March 14, 2005

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It's a Monday....

....so Chrenkoff has published part 23 of his Good News From Iraq series. He begins
Is the situation in Iraq getting better? It's not really up to me to answer that question, but I can try to answer another one: is reporting from Iraq getting better? To find out, I decided to look back at the past installments of this series and do a little count. For the sake of simplicity I started with Part 6, which happened to be the first one to be also published by the "Opinion Journal". When printed out, that July 19, 2004 edition of "Good news from Iraq" is 10 and a half pages long, and contains links to 71 "good news" stories. Since then, the length of each installment has fluctuated, but the overall trend has been up. So much so that the "Good news from Iraq" you're reading now is 23 and a half pages long and contains 178 links to "good news stories."

The same trend in evident in my "Good news from Afghanistan". The first installment published by the "Opinion Journal" (and second overall in the series) of July 26, 2004, was 6 and a half pages long when printed out and contained 55 links. The latest one, number 10 of March 7, 2005, is 19 pages long and contains 124 links.

Either there is more and more good news coming out of both Iraq or Afghanistan, or the reporters are getting increasingly optimistic about the situation there, or both. Whatever's the answer, it's good news.
Personally I think it's a combination of more and more good news and more optimistic reporting.

In any case, it's nice to know it will take you a while to read this installment. :-)


If you want to know what's going on....

....in Iran, Adventures of Chester has a detailed roundup. Lots of interesting events have occurred.


Sunday, March 13, 2005

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Not so fast

Is the Shiite-Kurd coalition falling apart? Only time will tell, but this doesn't look good.


Well said

Athena blogs about one-sided reporting and hits the nail directly on the head.
What I have a problem with is one-side Oprah-style stories. I want to also read a story about an Iraqi man who was once tortured under Saddam's regime. I want the specifics like how many fingernails were pulled out, how many times his genitals were shocked, how much skin was peeled off his body, how many times he was hung by his skin from hooks in the air, and how many broken bones that protruded out of thin, malnourished muscle tissue, how many times they brought in a female family member and raped her where he could hear the screams.

And I also want the news concerning the government coalitions, the Kurds in the north working with the Shia, the Sunni groups deciding that they have a stake in an Iraqi country, the new constitution (and how many times it refers to tolerance), the new schools, and the women who are grasping more freedom? Oh, and I want regional reports concerning how Iraq is affecting the broader Middle East as well.
Athena speaks for many of us who are fed up with modern "reporting".


The reason people are disgusted....

....with politicians is because they do things like this
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay traveled to Britain with his wife, several aides and lobbyists on a $70,000 junket mostly paid for with money from an Indian tribe and a gambling services company, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Not long after the outing, Rep. DeLay, the second most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives, played a key role in killing gaming-related legislation opposed by the company and tribe.

DeLay, R-Texas, reported in House financial disclosures that the weeklong May 2000 trip was paid for by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a nonprofit organization. However, the Post reported, lobbyist Jack Abramoff suggested the trip and arranged for two of his clients, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and eLottery Inc., to send checks to the center to cover the travel.
and, when caught, they make facile excuses like this
A spokesman for DeLay, Dan Allen, told the Post: "The trip was sponsored, organized and paid for by the National Centers for Public Policy Research, as our travel disclosures accurately reflect and what the National Centers has publicly said."

A lawyer for Abramoff, Abbe David Lowell, had no comment.

Two months after the trip, DeLay joined 43 other Republicans and 114 Democrats in killing the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act (search), which would have made it a crime to bet over the Internet. The Choctaws and eLottery opposed the bill.

The tribe runs a profitable casino near Philadelphia, Miss. ELottery, a Connecticut company, provides Internet services to state lotteries.
And I've got some land in a bayou that I'll be happy to sell you.


Deconstructing the chicken hawk meme

One of the enduring memories of this period in history will be the cry of "chickenhawk" directed at those who support the war. It is helpful, then, to remember that some members of Congress put their own children's lives on the line when they voted for the war. The comments of one child, Brooks Johnson, 32, son of Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, are especially apropos.
His dad voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq with a heavy heart; Brooks, he knew, was likely to go to Iraq.

"I talked to Brooks prior to this vote and his response was, 'Dad, you do what is right for the country and I'll do what is right as a soldier,"' Johnson recalled. "I said on the (Senate) floor that it's very likely I would be sending my own son into combat."

Not all lawmakers with children serving in the armed forces were willing to discuss the overseas deployments.
What a great country this would be if everyone adopted the attitude of the Johnsons.

The cry of "chickenhawk" is meant to denigrate, yet it ignores the fact that many of us have served our country in times of war and understand exactly what sacrifice means. Yet we support the war because the outcome will be a better world, just as it would have been had we stayed in Vietnam and finished the job.

Instead, we abandoned Vietnam and millions of people died. Now we have stayed the course in Iraq and Afghanistan and millions of people have been freed. The contrast could not be more stark, the refutation of the anti-war position no more complete. Yet some refuse to acknowledge the truth, so set are they in their position of ignorance.


This cracks me up

Democrats in California have gotten their panties in a wad because Governor Schwarzenegger's office has produced some videos explaining regulatory changes their proposing and distributed them to TV stations all over the state.
But recent disclosures that several state agencies have distributed video press releases masquerading as TV news reports have Democrats crying foul and news directors re-examining their policies about airing such material.

Aides to Schwarzenegger acknowledge using state money to produce "video news releases," or VNRs, that cast an entirely favorable light on some of the administration's most controversial policies.

The videos resemble local television news stories, complete with a suggested introductory script for anchors to read. They're distributed via satellite for stations to use as they wish. There were no reports of any station using one in its entirety.

Democrats, who oppose most of the policy changes the videos are advocating, have denounced the videos as little more than taxpayer-funded propaganda and have asked Attorney General Bill Lockyer to intervene.
Considering how hard Democrats work to coordinate their message with the media (and how willingly the media cooperates in their efforts) it's more than a little hypocritical of them to cry foul when a Republican administration employs a similar tactic.

If Democrats want to stop the practice of influencing the media, they should clean up their own house first.

UPDATE: Instapundit has more much more on the same topic.


They shoot horses, don't they?

A big legal battle is brewing in Kaufman, TX over a horse rendering plant. The mayor thinks it's "a stigma" on the town.
The stable-to-table transaction leaves little room for middle ground in the town of 6,600 southeast of Dallas, where the plant has generated controversy since it began processing horses in the 1980s. Many residents accept the plant, which began as a cattle slaughter operation in the 1950s and employs about 50 people, a significant number in such a small town. Others want it closed.

Kaufman Mayor Paula Bacon falls into the second category, calling Dallas Crown "a stigma in our little town."

Responds Kaufman attorney Mark Calabria, who represents the plant: "Dallas Crown has been in business here for a long time. It's a good corporate citizen. We feel the mayor has unfairly singled us out."
This is a classic battle between activists who push idealism and pratical people who see the benefits of a 50 employee business in a town of about 6,000 people.

Now the Federal courts are involved, state's rights are at stake and powerful forces are lining up against the plant.
A little-known Texas statute dating to 1949 prohibits the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The law gained new prominence in August 2002 when its legality was affirmed by John Cornyn, the attorney general at the time. Opponents of the slaughterhouses hoped to use the law to shut down the two plants.

Soon after, Dallas Crown and Beltex received a temporary injunction in U.S. District Court to stay in business.

Mr. Linebarger argues that Texas doesn't have jurisdiction over interstate and international commerce, which are federal issues. Besides, he says, the state taxes and regulates the horse slaughter industry.
Seems a bit hypocritical for Texas to say that you can't slaughter horses, but if you do, you owe us taxes. Politicians, I'm sure, don't see the irony — only the revenue source. Sort of like cigarette taxes.


The UN sex scandal worsens

In another body blow to UN credibility, WaPo reports widespread sexual abuse in many UN missions.
The United Nations is facing new allegations of sexual misconduct by U.N. personnel in Burundi, Haiti, Liberia and elsewhere, which is complicating the organization's efforts to contain a sexual abuse scandal that has tarnished its Nobel Prize-winning peacekeepers in Congo.

The allegations indicate that a series of measures the United Nations has taken in recent years have failed to eliminate a culture of sexual permissiveness that has plagued its far-flung peacekeeping operations over the last 12 years. But senior U.N. officials say they have signaled their seriousness by imposing new reforms and forcing senior U.N. military commanders and officials to step down if they do not curb such practices.
Given that the UN's mission is to rescue people who have been oppressed or are under stress through various causes, the sexual exploitation of these people is especially reprehensible and should be condemned in the most certain terms. That it is not is damning not only of the UN but of all the involved nations.


Moving in the right direction

That's what Alaa says about Iraq.
Regarding the situation here, and despite the horrible news you hear about the massive casualties caused by cowardly and criminal attacks against soft targets like funeral receptions and medical clinics; the terrorists are being rounded up and are really under pressure now. Things are moving in the right direction; albeit painfully and at a high price. We have said it since long time ago; and now they are forced to follow that course; because it is the only wise solution that there is. The Iraqis are the ones who can really clear this matter up. The presence of the American friends and their allies, remains important, but they should keep more and more in the background and provide the technical and material support required to the growing Iraqi forces.
It seems the nightly televised interrogations are a highlight of Iraqi TV.
Nobody can deny the considerable successes of the new Iraqi security formations lately, with quite modest equipment and resources. Also the great stir created by the new information policy of exhibiting terrorists and their candid confessions on TV screens. Nowadays, the 9 o’clock daily show of interrogations on “Al-Iraqia” of the thugs and terrorists is absolutely the top favorite of people that is eagerly awaited by everybody.
The televised interrogations have had a beneficial effect on Iraqis. It has turned them against the terrorists and against the states that support them, send streams of gullible young men into the jaws of certain death, and pervert families to the point that they celebrate their children's suicides!


Saturday, March 12, 2005

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More than anyone else....

....Hammorabi has clung to the news that Zarqawi has been arrested. Now he claims that information on terrorist websites may confirm his belief.
The rumours about the capture of the terrorist Abo Mosab Zarqawi last month near Mosel in the North West of Iraq looks true. The prove is not the outbreaks of its news in its city in Jordan last week neither his new released pictures and the arrest of his driver and his postman but the smell of the same news when one read the sites supporting them. The extremists who support the terrorists called for the last few days to be patient and pray and don't make false assumptions. It is like some one calling its fellow to restrain themselves about a nearly certain news which just need some approval!
I'm not sure what to make of it, but I thought I point it out simply because you never know. There is a pattern of major terrorist figures' arrests not being revealed for some time after their arrest.

He also reports that more Syrian intelligence agents have been captured.
The Fox Special Force (FSF) of the Iraqi Special Forces in Mosel arrested three serious terrorists who committed ugly crimes against the Iraqi civilians and police. All of the arrested confessed that they work with the Syrian Intelligence secret services. One of them was Syrian whose ID was withheld. The other two are Sudanese work with Adam Doma who was recently arrested in Mosel by FSF. AD was the lead for Tahrer Party which is linked with Al-Qaeda and got branches in North Africa like Sudan, Algeria, and Morocco as well as in Europe.

Mohamad Mosa 39 years old confessed of beheading 6 wounded Iraqi National Guards after he implanted a bomb in their site. The other one called Osman Kader 34 years who received $ 1200 for beheading 6 Iraqis by his dirty hands.
This news should help to increase the pressure on Syria just when they're trying to regain the momentum in Lebanon.

In other news, Omar reports that Iraqi merchants are boycotting Syria because of what they've seen on TV.
When I asked him for the reason behind this decision he repeated the wholesaler's words to me:

After what we've seen on TV, we thought that it's totally unpatriotic to trade with that country; the Syrian government is benefiting from trade with Iraq and using the money they get to fund the criminals who slaughter our people. Not only that; the ordinary people themselves started to prefer products from other origins over Syrian products so we thought that it's better to search for alternatives for the boycotted items.
News from the MidEast just keeps getting better and better.


Friday, March 11, 2005

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Buried in the bad news of another bombing....

....is some very good news from Iraq.
The bombing in Mosul followed intense negotiations between Shiite and Kurdish leaders. If the main Shiite umbrella group and the Kurdish alliance reach a final agreement, they will have enough seats for the two-thirds vote in the constitutional assembly that is required to form a new government. The winners of the Jan. 30 elections, particularly the Shiites, have come under intense criticism for allowing negotiations over a new government to drag on.

Adnan Ali, a deputy of the Dawa Islamic Party, whose leader is the Shiite nominee for prime minister, said the Shiites and Kurds drafted a document on Wednesday that laid out the guiding principles under which they would form a coalition. The two sides have agreed that the transitional law approved last spring will be the foundation of the government, Mr. Ali said. Although some religious Shiites have been pressing to make Islam the foundation of all Iraqi law, the transitional law does not make Islam the sole source of legislation.

The Shiites and Kurds are also trying to bring Sunni Arab leaders, many of whom boycotted the elections, into the political process to dampen the insurgency and isolate those who carry out attacks. If the former governing Sunnis continue to feel disenfranchised, the chances of a full civil war will grow, many Iraqi leaders say.
Apparently the fears of a theocracy, whipped up by the negapuss "experts" will not be realized after all.

I'm certain they are disappointed. (Hat tip to Cori Dauber.)


In a retrospective review....

....of our accomplishments since 9/11 Victor Davis Hanson demonstrates the wealth of knowledge that leads to cautious optimism and a deep appreciation of what George Bush has wrought.
I know that things are going pretty well in America's efforts in the Middle East when Fareed Zakaria, who was a sharp critic over the last two years, now assures us that events are working out in Iraq — just about, he tells us, like he saw all along. Joseph Nye intones that at last Bush came around to his very own idea of "soft power," while Jackson Diehl gushes that Bush was sort of right all along — to nods of approval even from Daniel Schorr.

Even former Clinton National Security Council member Nancy Soderberg recently lamented to Jon Stewart, "It's scary for Democrats, I have to say." And then she added, "Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's still hope for the rest of us....There's always hope that this might not work."
Isn't that disgusting? A former Clinton official sees "hope"!!! in the possibility that things might not work out well for the US? I hardly know how to react.

Hanson, however, ignores the pusillanimous commentary and plows ahead, moving to his conclusion with alacrity.
Every time the United States the last quarter century had acted boldly — its removal of Noriega and aid for the Contras, instantaneous support for a reunified Germany, extension of NATO, preference for Yeltsin instead of Gorbachev, Gulf War I, bombing of Milosevic, support for Sharon's fence, withdrawal from Gaza and decapitation of the Hamas killer elite, taking out the Taliban and Saddam-good things have ensued. In contrast, on every occasion that we have temporized — abject withdrawal from Lebanon, appeasement of Arafat at Oslo, a decade of inaction in the Balkans, paralysis in Rwanda, sloth in the face of terrorist attacks, not going to Baghdad in 1991 — corpses pile up and the United States became either less secure or less respected or both.

So it is also in this present war, in which our unheralded successes far outweigh our notorious mistakes. A number of books right now in galleys are going to look very, very silly, as they forecast American defeat, a failed Middle East, and the wages of not listening to their far smarter recommendations of using the U.N. more, listening to Europe, or bringing back the Clinton A-Team.

America's daring, not its support for the familiar — but ultimately unstable and corrupt — status quo, explains why less than three years after September 11, the Middle East is a world away from where it was on the first day of the war. And that is a very good thing indeed.
The man who must be given credit for this is George Bush. He withstood withering criticism and worldwide outrage, overcame the reluctance of the American people, corralled Congress and led them to the right outcome, all the while believing that if he was stedfast, the outcome would justify the abuse.

When the history books are written, when the acrimony of the present is a fading memory, when you and I are long gone, George Bush will be recognized as one of the greatest Presidents ever to lead this country.


Things that make you go....



It made me proud as fire....

....when I read about Widener College's scholarship fund for the children of military slain in battle.
A Pennsylvania university is putting its values and money to work for the sons and daughters of servicemembers who make the ultimate sacrifice.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” said Widener University President James T. Harris said during a telephone interview with the American Forces Press Service.

The genesis of the idea came when faculty and students at the four-year undergraduate school began being called up and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. “I was speaking with a fellow faculty member,” Harris said, “and we wondered if there was something we could do.”

Harris said he went back to his office and began “crunching numbers.” He found enough money in the scholarship budget to offer four full scholarships to the university. The offer equals $100,000 for one student for a four-year degree.
We've come a long way since the despicable treatment we received during the Vietnam war. America is once again proud of her brave fighting men and women and willing to support their sacrifices with more than vacant platitudes. And I am proud of America. (Hat tip to Blackfive.)


According to an Italian paper....

....the US was not informed of the details of Sgrena's rescue. In fact an Italian general in Iraq, with responsibility to liase with US leadership, claims even he wasn't aware of the rescue.
US forces might not have known that slain Italian secret agent Nicola Calipari was in Iraq to secure a hostage's freedom, Italian papers say.

Calipari was killed by US troops' fire while escorting journalist Giuliana Sgrena by car to Baghdad airport.

But the press quotes an Italian general who liaised between US forces and Italian intelligence as saying he did not know Calipari was on a rescue bid.

His report is now in the hands of Rome prosecutors investigating the killing.
I don't know the reasons for keeping the mission secret, but it was obviously a mistake — a tragic mistake. Only the remaining living agent can explain why the Americans weren't warned that they would be coming down that road, headed to the airport.

UPDATE: LGF reports that Italian authorities aren't very happy with Sgrena and wish she would shut up.


If Hammorabi is any indication....

....the Iraqis are getting fed up with the terrorists coming from other lands to kill Iraqis for the "crime" of wanting freedom.
Following the suicidal attack against the Shiite funeral in Mosel by a cockroach the other cockroaches fired rockets to prevent a mass funeral for those who were killed.

After this many Tribal and local leaders called the justice authorities today to hang all those who are involved in the terrorism in the main squares in Baghdad and other cities to make them example for the others. Most of the Iraqis are now demanding to hang the criminals in public.

There is no solution but to hang in public the rapists who confessed that they came from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, and others to kill and rape!
The longer they keep this up, the more they drive the Iraqis into the American camp and convince moderate Muslims that they are not worthy of support.


I wonder if the Saudis will sit up....

....and take notice when they read a bipartisan letter signed by fifteen US Senators asking Dr. Rice "to persuade the Saudi government to stop the distribution of such material and to implement other measures to curtail Saudi-based extremism."
Sen. Schumer, Sen. Collins, and the other Senators got it right today: "Saudi Arabia’s efforts to export militant Wahhabi ideology throughout the world inflame the type of anti-American sentiments that lie behind the potential of terrorist attacks that continue to be the greatest threat to our national security. Therefore, it is essential that Saudi Arabia be held accountable for its support of radical Islamic ideology.”

These and the other Senators signing the letter - Brownback, Santorum, Bayh, Chambliss, Smith, Ensign, Lautenberg, Coleman, Wyden, Dodd, Kohl, Nelson (NE), and Dorgan - should be commended.
Hopefully, the Bush administration will use this opportunity to continue to pressure the Saudis to reform.


I'm sure the Mullahs....

....are quaking in their boots over this latest threat.
In a policy shift, the Bush administration will go along with European efforts to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon by using diplomatic carrots now, with the threat of U.N. sticks later.
The carrots are nice, but the threat of UN sticks has to be overwhelming. After all, look what they did to Iraq — and Sudan — and the Congo — and Kosovo .....

Now if George Bush says he's going to do something about Iran......


A heads up for my readers

I sent off a check today to American Powerblogs. I will be leaving blogspot.com for powerblogs in the near future. If everything goes as planned, you will find me at http://www.antimedia.com in the future. I will announce the change here when it's finalized, and this blog will remain accessible for a while, but you should update your bookmarks and rss feeds once I've made the formal announcement. (Don't do it now.)


Thursday, March 10, 2005

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She may not win....

....but Hillary is definitely running for President. Why else would she cozy up to pro-life advocates and promote censorship? The Clintons are nothing if not politically astute. They fully realize that image is everything for many in the US, and Hillary will take full advantage of their ignorance of her true positions.


Stunning news from Spain

Spanish Muslim clerics have issued a fatwa against Osama bin Laden calling him "apostate" and urging fellow Muslims to denounce him.
The fatwa said that according to the Quran "the terrorist acts of Osama bin Laden and his organization al-Qaida ... are totally banned and must be roundly condemned as part of Islam."

It added: "Inasmuch as Osama bin Laden and his organization defend terrorism as legal and try to base it on the Quran ... they are committing the crime of 'istihlal' and thus become apostates that should not be considered Muslims or treated as such." The Arabic term 'istihlal' refers to the act of making up one's own laws.
I have wondered for a long time when a Muslim leader would stand up and say to the world that what bin Laden is doing is wrong.

The force of this fatwa is strengthened by the fact that the Spanish Muslims are Sunni muslims, as is bin Laden. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the Muslim community, especially in the MidEast, in the next few days.


What remains of the Zarqawi network....

....isn't much according to Iraq authorities. The Counterterrorims blog has posted a link to a pdf file that shows that, of the 19 men that made up Zarqawi's inner circle, 7 have been killed, 11 have been captured, and only one remains on the loose (as well as Zarqawi himself.) They also claim to have "come very close to capturing al-Zarqawi on several occasions".

Allah doesn't seem to be doing a very good job of supporting his jihad. The infidels seem to be winning.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

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The reason I despise death penalty opponents....

....is because they insult death penalty proponents like me without giving it a second's thought.
An Oscar nominee for directing the movie, Mr. Robbins wrote the play at Sister Helen's urging. And, at her suggestion, he's made it available only to student productions – principally, at Jesuit schools such as the one in Dallas.

"The important thing is that they are immersed in it," said the actor, who was raised Catholic and opposes capital punishment. "The problem right now is that most people who support the death penalty do it without really thinking about it."
I've got your "haven't thought about it" right here, Tim.

Here's why I favor the death penalty and what I think of some of the arguments that are made against it.

1) The death penalty is not a deterrent.
Well doh! It's called capital punishment bozo. It's not designed to be a deterrent. It's punishment for a crime already committed.

2) It lowers the state to the level of murderers.
Right! The state spends millions of dollars providing for the defense of the murderer, provides for their care while they are incarcerated, grants them almost unlimited appeals before finally carrying out their well-deserved sentences and puts them to death in the most humane way possible. The murderer, on the other hand, took the lives of his victims without the slightest thought of fairness, without consideration of the victim's "guilt" and without any remorse. If you call that moral equivalence, then you're incapable of rational thought.

3) It costs the state more to put someone to death than it does to incarcerate them for life.
Should justice be based upon cost? If so, lets forgo the trials and endless appeals and shoot them in the head when we capture them. That will cost less, won't it?

4) The death penalty system is flawed. We might execute an innocent man.
No, the legal system is flawed. Would you prefer we simply incarcerate innocent people for life rather than execute them? I would prefer we fix the system. No innocent person should be convicted of a crime, much less put to death.

5) The death penalty is about revenge. We're more civilised than that.
No, it's not. It's about punishment for the worst crime you can commit — the taking of an innocent life. If it was about revenge, we would allow the victims' families to pull the lever.

Facetious arguments are still facetious no matter how fancy the clothing.

Here's why I support capital punishment.

1) Some people are simply beyond redemption and have proven so in no uncertain terms. The poster boy for this argument is Kenneth Allen McDuff. Society is safer when they are permanently removed from our midst.

2) If the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, then what is subjecting prison inmates to the constant threat of a murderer in their midst? Is society better off by exposing inmates to this threat? I don't think so. I think we devalue other prison inmates when we expose them to asocial murderers.

3) Murderers who are put to death will never kill again — in prison or out of prison. In that sense, capital punishment is a deterrent.

Society benefits from removing the worst elements forever. This country is inundated with the stories of criminals who received light punishments, were paroled and re-offended — the Willie Horton's if you will. This should never be the case with murderers who have committed heinous crimes.

I have a fantasy. Ardent death penalty opponents should have their hand tied to the lever that drops the pills into the acid. Then their heads should be encased in a virtual reality device, and they should have to watch a virtual recreation of the crimes the convict committed — complete with color, sound and 3-D vision. They should be subjected to every scream, every cry for help, every begging, sobbing, choking word of the victims as their life ebbs away. If at any time they want the recreation to stop all they have to do is pull the lever. I suspect, exposed to the reality of the crimes these beasts commit, many so-called opponents would quickly seek relief.

It's easy to be opposed to the death penalty. All you have to do is not care at all about the victims of crime. I am constantly struck by the opponents who say, "If it was a member of my family, I would want to kill the guy myself. That's why the law should separate us from the passion."

Has it ever occurred to them that the desire to rid the world of a murderer is normal? That the desire to save their life is abnormal?


I read this Steven Vincent post....

....with great interest. Steven reports that shariah law may be instituted in Iraq.
Second, we should not be surprised by Ms. Yaqoub's sentiments. There are many feminists in Iraq who believe the Koran, and shari'a law, are the proper avenues for women's liberation. Some argue that Islam provides women distinct rights which counter the patriarchal customs of tribalism. Others--Ms. Yaqoub apparently among them--believe that women must not contravene Islamic law and, by extension, Allah. Western reporters have tended to ignore voices like these, because they don't fit our concept of "feminism": how can a woman be both for women's rights and affirm shari'a? But there are many Iraqi women who agree with Ms. Yaqoub, more than we think, or wish.
Apparently, in exchange for instituting shariah law, the Shiites are willing to bargain with the Kurds and exempt members of other religions.
In other words, the Shiites seem ready to bargain away many chits in return for their right to control the lives of Muslim women. It is that important to them. As I've argued before, we face a situation similar to the Reconstruction Era when, in order to assure nationwide stability and expedite the end of an unpopular occupation, the North abandoned the Abolitionist cause and allowed the South to re-enslave its black citizens. No doubt Washington will look the other way again. African-Americans were expendable over a century ago; today, in another time, and another land, it is women. But the result is the same. In the name of order and stability, freedom for an entire class of people will be deferred for an indefinite period of time--or until the next revolution occurs.
Vincent ignores a major difference between the despicable compromise made by the North after the Civil War and the present situation in Iraq. In Iraq women support the return to Shariah law. Black Americans were never given such a choice. They were enslaved against their will.

I once had a black friend who told me something startling that I had never considered. He pointed out that blacks are the only people living in America whose ancestors, rather than emigrating to the land of freedom, were brought here against their will.

An Iraqi woman counciled another with these words.
I told her that our country has had three wars and there are not enough men for every woman to marry. So she should not be so selfish and share her husband like a good Muslim wife. I reminded her that God had allowed men to take more than one wife and you don't defy God's orders.
If Iraqis institute shariah law, it will be with the approval of a majority of Iraqis, including women. We may not like that, but that is their choice, not ours.


In perhaps the most ironic twist of all....

....the war in Iraq may have an impact on Vietnam.

Nguyen Dan Que is a Vietnamese doctor who has spent more than 20 years in Vietnamese prisons because he insists on demanding that the communist government free his people. He has now been released from prison, for the second time, and immediately began to speak out again.
"The world is changing," says Dr. Que. "There are more opportunities than ever."

He is right, and if the world is changing, it is because the U.S. is hardly alone in prizing freedom. In every country are people who care about liberty--and in most places there are a few willing to pay dearly and take extraordinary risks to lead the way. Dr. Que is one, and as we watch the Middle East, it bears remembering, as he says, that these are "universal values," that in many places there are people who given any chance at all will answer freedom's call.
When we abandoned Vietnam, over three million people died. It would be the sweetest of all ironies if the Iraqi war was the impetus for freedom in Vietnam. It would make the terrible sacrifices that my brothers made seem more worthwhile, and my cousin, Donald, could finally rest in peace.


Last night I called John McCain....

....hypocrite of the decade. Tonight I'm calling him the worst kind of hypocritical scum. You'll have to read this entire post from Captain Ed to understand how he's done it, but McCain has built a backdoor system, using a non-profit organization, to bypass his own Campaign Finance Reform bill and keep his campaign staff employed, with six-figure incomes, during the "off season".
John McCain, who has long campaigned on a promise to rid politics of big money, not only has built himself a lucrative third-party solution for fundraising but also a shelter to keep two of his top campaign operatives employed between elections. These top strategists also have an odd taste for funding sources, considering McCain's public positions on key issues for his base. That money pays their salaries and indicates a certain amount of influence among McCain's political staff. It demonstrates better than anything else could the corrosive nature of hidden money and back-channel dealings, which the BCRA not only doesn't resolve but almost requires for campaign fundraising.
Even more disgusting, the money that pays John McCain's staff comes from people like George Soros, David Geffen, Teresa Heinz Kerry and People For the American Way!

John McCain is the worst kind of liar. He actively promotes campaign finance reform while slyly bypassing the very reforms he is promoting using a non-profit institute brazenly named "The Reform Institute". This "do as I say, not as I do" behavior is worthy of the strongest opprobrium possible. He should be drummed out of the Senate for ethics violations and never be allowed to "serve" the public again.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Hypocrite of the decade

The dubious award goes to John McCain, co-author of the Campaign Finance Reform bill, who wants to take the financial influence out of politics — so long as it doesn't affect his finances.
Sen. John McCain pressed a cable company's case for pricing changes with regulators at the same time a tax-exempt group that he has worked with since its founding solicited $200,000 in contributions from the company.

Help from McCain, who argues for ridding politics of big money, included giving the CEO of Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC) the opportunity to testify before his Senate committee, writing a letter of support to the Federal Communication Commission and asking other cable companies to support so-called a la carte pricing.
That isn't all.
McCain's assistance in 2003 and 2004 was sandwiched around two donations of $100,000 each from Cablevision to The Reform Institute, the tax-exempt group that touts McCain's views and has showcased him at events since his unsuccessful 2000 presidential campaign.

The group also pays $110,000 a year to McCain's chief political adviser, Rick Davis, who ran the senator's 2000 presidential campaign. Cablevision's money accounted for 15 percent of the institute's fund raising in 2003, according to its most recent tax filing.
Anyone who has ever had to deal with the legislative process at any level knows that entree is everything. How difficult do you think it would be for a large donor who pays a Senator's assistant six figures annually to get an audience with the Senator to discuss an issue that matters to the donor?

As if that isn't enough, McCain actually has the temerity to argue that there's no conflict of interest in this cozy arrangement.
The Arizona Republican said he saw nothing wrong with the group raising money from a company whose issue he championed, because the donations didn't go to his re-election campaign. McCain and documents provided by his office show he has supported a la carte pricing since at least 1998, well before Cablevision advocated it.

"If it was a PAC (political action committee) or if it was somehow connected to any campaign of mine, I would say to you, that's a legitimate appearance of conflict of interest. But it's not," McCain told The Associated Press.
Notice how McCain couches his comments with "legitimate appearance" of a conflict? He can't even bring himself to admit an obvious conflict!
"There's not a conflict of interest when you're involved in an organization that is nonpartisan, nonprofit, nonpolitical."
Uh, John, please look up "quid pro quo" in any decent dictionary.

There are no words to describe the level of disgust I have for a politician who will exclaim, without a hint of sarcasm, that donations to a non-profit organization that he personally supports and corresponding votes in favor of issues that the donors are championing are unrelated and don't constitute a conflict of interest.

What galls me even more is that McCain's dissembling will earn him a pass from many who are enamored by his POW story or his "bi-partisanship". He should be drummed out of town on a rail. At least other politicians that are on the take don't insult our intelligence with lies that are so obvious.


What is the truth about Giuliana Sgrena?

According to Giuliana Sgrena, she and her escorts endured a hail of "300 to 400" bullets. Unless this photo is faked, she cannot be telling the truth. (You can view more by clicking on "IMMAGINI: l'auto colpita dai soldati Usa" under the story.)

The pictures of the car Guiliana was riding in disprove the claim that a hail of "300 to 400" bullets hit the car. Sgrena is a bald-faced liar. (Hat tip to Captain Ed

UPDATE: LGF has information about Guiliana from a reporter who traveled with her. It's not flattering.


Pro-Syrian demonstrations in Lebanon....

....are unconvincing to Omar who thinks they're trumped-up, manufactured and altogether calculated.
The reason why I adopt this opinion is very simple; the opposition rallies were calling for liberty to their country and rejecting the Syrian interference which has infiltrated all important life sectors in Lebanon in the last 15 years.
While Hizbollah's rallies are allegedly opposing the "western foreign interference" which in fact doesn't exist!
Moreover, these rallies are actually encouraging the Syrian interference (that's foreign interference, right?) in the interior affairs of Lebanon and condemning the decision of international community represented by resolution 1559.

I see no patriotism at all in holding pictures of another country's president (err…I mean tyrant) and chanting "Long live Asad…Long live Syria" when that very administration you're cheering and chanting for has been keeping your country a hostage for over a decade.

Another point is that bringing too many people by buses doesn't mean that you're right. Actually it reminds me of demonstrations in Iraq under the Ba'athist regime (Oops, I forgot that the Ba'athists still rule in Syria!)

At least one opposition leader said the pro-Syrian government pressured people to turn out Tuesday and some reports said Syria bused in people from across the border. The MSNBC reports.
Color Omar unimpressed.

The media is impressed, however. They see the today's rally as strong support for Syria, even though that support is somewhat questionable.
But that was not the sentiment among the protesters in Riad Solh square, where two huge banners read, in English: "Thank you Syria" and "No to foreign interference." The latter was a reference to U.S. and U.N. pressure on Syria — but not to the Syrian military, which the protesters made clear they were happy to have stay.
So...they're opposed to foreign interference — except when it's Syrian foreign influence?

Omar sees a different picture.
I see no courage at all in today's demonstrations unlike the previous demonstrations that defied tyranny and challenged the dangers for the sake of liberty.
Comparing these pictures says it all! (the 1st one from Hizbollah's demonstartions while the other two are from the previous real demonstrations)
If you look at the pictures Omar has posted, the pro-Syrian demonstrators seem singularly uninspired, while you can see great enthusiam in the faces of the anti-Syrian demonstrators.


Centcom announces task force....

....to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Italian security officer Nicola Calipari and the wounding of Italian journalist Guiliana Sgrena at a Baghdad checkpoint. This is a "follow-on investigation to the Multi-National Division-Baghdad commander's initial inquiry" and is projected to take three to four weeks to complete.


I have no idea how this happened....

....but yours truly was quoted and linked in a Slate article. For those Slate readers who come to my blog, welcome, and let me assure you that the "mainstream media haters" here at Media Lies are me. There is no one else contributing to this blog, and I take full responsibility for all the content.

Frankly, I don't hate the mainstream media (which I call "old media"). I mistrust them.


Monday, March 07, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Getting right to the point....

....Cori Dauber makes the complex simple.
Here's the bottom line: there are calls for making checkpoints safer on the margins (larger signs, bigger, brighter lights) and those all sound like good ideas. But the real heart of the matter is that the troops have clearly been told to act as if any vehicle that fails to slow down after a certain number of warnings is hostile. That's where they place presumption: the risk of letting through a suicide bomber is greater than the risk of fatally shooting civilians.

And that's what's really upsetting the critics. They want presumption placed the other way. They want the troops to act as if the risk of shooting civilians, fatally or not, is a greater risk than letting through a suicide bomber or a drive-by shooter.

The dispute is absolutely that simple.
(Emphasis in the original.) The Europeans have never been loathe to sacrifice American lives on the altar of political correctness.


This passes for intelligent argument?

WaPo published an editorial today on redistricting. It seems they're a bit upset about what we did down here in Texas.
WHEN TEXAS Republicans embarked on their unusual effort to redraw legislative district lines in the middle of a decennial census cycle, the ugly future of one of the ugliest features of American democracy was not hard to foresee. Redistricting fights and abuses, instead of taking place only every 10 years, would become an ongoing fixture of politics. Whenever one party obtained a momentary dominance in a state, it would rearrange the legislative boundaries both to maintain its electoral advantages within the state and to bolster its representation in the House of Representatives at the expense of incumbents of the other party. Barely a year after the Texas fiasco, that future is now.

Republicans in Georgia, newly in control of the major levers of government for the first time since Reconstruction, are finishing a redistricting bill that would put two Democratic members of the House in jeopardy. Democrats are getting into the act, too. At a news conference last week, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) insisted that while he believes "on principle" that "this ought to be done every 10 years as it has been historically done," Democrats "would be foolish to sit on the sidelines and have our heads beaten in and not . . . see what we can do in response." National Democrats have reportedly been urging their parties in Louisiana, New Mexico and Illinois -- states where Democrats have gained control over government since the last redistricting -- to reconsider the political maps.
Keep in mind that our forefathers, whose record has been pretty good so far, designed the system to be political. Furthermore, there's nothing in the Constitution that requires redistricting every tenth year nor does it prohibit redistricting more often, although I don't think that was the intent of the forefathers.

In fact, Article 1, Section 2 specifically states, "The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct." (Emphasis mine.)

"Within every subsequent Term of ten Years" means sometime during that ten years. The redistricting that was done in Texas was done in accordance with that clause. In 2000, the Texas legislature was unable to come to an agreement and redistricting was done by the courts. That was not in accordance with the Constitution.

I suppose it's a matter for the courts to decide if "The enumeration" means one and only one each ten years, but the language certainly allows for redistricting any time during the ten year period if it's the first time.

But WaPo's arguments for changing redistricting are sophistry at its finest.
Redistricting is already playing a deeply corrosive role in American politics, allowing politicians to choose the voters who will maintain them in power. American legislative elections are dramatically noncompetitive; the incumbents nearly always win -- except, that is, when a district has been set up specifically to target someone of the other party. The result is an ever more polarized Congress unaccountable to the voters who nominally elect it.
First of all, redistricting has always been political. It was designed that way.

Secondly, elections are not "dramatically noncompetitive" only because of redistricting. The franking privilege as well as pork-barrel spending are at least as corrosive as redistricting is. If WaPo was really serious about desiring turnover in Congress, then why don't they argue for term limits? (And if term limits are unconstitutional as some contend, then how is it that the Presidents' terms were limited to two by the 22nd Amendment?)

Finally, the idea that "The result is an ever more polarized Congress unaccountable to the voters who nominally elect it" is preposterous on its face. You may not like who represents you (and this is the case for perhaps almost 50% of the population in every election), but that person does represent you. To claim that a Republican in New York is not represented simply because their representative and Senators are Democrats is a syllogistic fallacy. To claim that a Democrat in Texas is not represented simply because their representative and Senators are Republicans is the same specious argument.

WaPo's solution?
An alternative exists to Republicans' repeating their mischief and Democrats' mimicking it. Both sides could agree on a national law that sets standards for legislative line-drawing. Clarifying that redistricting can take place only immediately after a census would be a good place to start.
The problem with this "solution" is that the Constitution defines how redistricting works not the Congress. If the writers really want to see these changes made, they should be arguing for an amendment not a law.

But then that would be discontinuous with their entire argumentation, wouldn't it?


Today's news from Iraq

Friends of Democracy calls the Ba'athists "a criminal gang or mafia".
I am not exaggerating when I say the word Baath is now synonymous with terrorism and racism. The experiments of two peoples – Syrians and Iraqis – prove that terrorism is a part of the Baath’s ideology.

The party relies in part on the Arab Nationalism of its founder Michel Aflak. I have some doubts about his roots. Was he really a citizen of Syria or France, as he claimed? His party has made killing, perfidy, assassination, and terrorism the primary method of attaining power and achieving its goals. The Baath is more like a criminal gang or mafia than a political party.

This gang has adopted terrorism and wrapped its evil ideas in attractive titles. It deceives naïve people such as nationalist youths and indoctrinates them with aggressive thoughts that lead them to destroy their nations and people in the name of nationalism.
Hammorabi wonders why the media isn't covering the ongoing demonstrations against terrorism in Hilla. I'm not sure if his question is rhetorical, but it should be.

I Should Have Stayed Home has a picture of an Iraqi soldier that is striking for his youth. He looks like a teenager.

Meanwhile the terrorists are still killing people, exploding car bombs and attacking Iraqi police.

Finally, if you're interested in learning more about the presumptive new Prime Minister of Iraq, MEMRI has a detailed biographical sketch of Ibrahim al-Ja'fari.


Sunday, March 06, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Chrenkoff has published his....

....10th Good News From Afghanistan. He also points to another good news story that the media seems to have missed.
"In the first substantial shift of public opinion in the Muslim world since the beginning of the United States' global war on terrorism, more people in the world's largest Muslim country now favor American efforts against terrorism than oppose them.

"This is just one of many dramatic findings of a new nationwide poll in Indonesia conducted February 1-6, 2005, and just translated and released...

"Key Findings of the Poll:

"- For the first time ever in a major Muslim nation, more people favor US-led efforts to fight terrorism than oppose them (40% to 36%). Importantly, those who oppose US efforts against terrorism have declined by half, from 72% in 2003 to just 36% today.

"- For the first time ever in a Muslim nation since 9/11, support for Osama Bin Laden has dropped significantly (58% favorable to just 23%).

"- 65% of Indonesians now are more favorable to the United States because of the American response to the tsunami, with the highest percentage among people under 30.

"- Indeed, 71% of the people who express confidence in Bin Laden are now more favorable to the United States because of American aid to tsunami victims."
Interesting? Frustrating? Infuriating?

All of the above.


Powerline highlights an Iraqi poll....

....on terrorism.
Haider Ajina has translated for us a poll that appeared today in the Iraqi newspaper Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed. The poll surveyed 2,878 Iraqis in and around Baghdad:

Do you support the severe measures the Iraqi Government is taking against terrorist acts in Iraq?
93.56% = Yes
6.44% = No

How do you think Arabic satellite news companies are covering Iraqi news?

Neutral = 16.75%
Not Neutral = 7.25%
Negatively Biased = 76%

What is your opinion of U.N. Resolution 1546?

It achieves the ambitions of Iraqis for sovereignty = 73.12%
It satisfies ambition of certain Iraqi groups = 12.90%
It helps legitimise the American occupation = 13.98%
Obviously the Iraqis see the present violence as terrorism and criminal activity, not an "insurgency" as the media likes to frame it.


I don't know why....

....but Jennifer has reposted my interview, so if you missed it the first time, here's another chance to read it.


The beat goes on

Instapundit points out an amazing development in Egypt.
Someone hit me now. Someone punch me in the face because I still cannot believe what I read today on the front page of Al Ahram newspaper. They published a picture of an Iraqi man rescuing a young girl right after a motorcycle suicide bombing in Iraq. The caption under the photo went like this: Iraqi man helps young girl after a terrorist attack in Azamiyah in Iraq.

My jaws dropped when I read this caption. This is the FIRST time Al Ahram, Egypt’s largest newspaper, uses the word terrorist to describe an attack on Iraqi civilians in Iraq!!! It never happened before. Such attacks were simply described as “bombings” without the word “terrorist”.
The pace of change in the MidEast is increasing furiously.


The impact of the war on terror....

....is not only broad but deep.
Inayat Bunglawala had just finished his talk on "Islamophobia and the Media" at the London Muslim Center when a man stood and berated him. "Where is your beard and your thobe?" Mr. Bunglawala said the man shouted, referring to the long garment worn by some Muslim men. "How dare you come to the mosque without them. How dare you preach about the new Koran."
Then something unusual happened on that day in January, said Mr. Bunglawala and others who were there. The several Islamic militants in the room were chased outside by the crowd, and a fistfight broke out. The militants, followers of Abu Abdullah, a firebrand imam, quickly retreated. "These jihadis are like schoolhouse bullies," said Mr. Bunglawala, the communications director for the Muslim Council of Britain, the country's largest Muslim organization. "We sense a feeling of enough is enough now."

If the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks plunged the Islamic population in Britain and elsewhere into a state of alarm and dread, then the Iraq war and its aftermath have had an unforeseen consequence here: they have helped galvanize and embolden a core group of mainstream British Muslims to find its voice and make demands.

Mainstream Muslims have lined up against the war and Prime Minister Tony Blair, opposed new restrictive antiterror laws and warned of the dangers of Islamophobia. But they are also speaking out with uncharacteristic fervor against Islamic militants, making sharp moves to isolate them, and working to strengthen ties between moderates and the British establishment.
Previously cowed by the ferocity and violence of the militants, moderate Muslims now seem emboldened by the stedfastness of the coalition presence in Iraq.

Perhaps this is in no small part due to Fallujah. Fallujah proved that the militants' power was a phantasm, an eidolon constructed from ancient myths of Saracen prowess, embellished with strident assertions and pretentious braggadocio.

When faced with real power, American Marines who carried the fight to the center of their "caliphate", the militant leadership ran, abandoning their young, impressionable followers to die at the end of an American projectile. As the bullets, shells and lethal fragments entered the bodies of those young men, the power of the terrorists died with them, exposed for all the world to see as the fantasy it has always been — a figment of the sick imagination of fevered minds.


Saturday, March 05, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

If at first you don't succeed....

....try, try again.
Islamic terror groups are becoming increasingly active in Germany and coordinating with militants across Europe to recruit fighters to join the insurgency in Iraq, equipping them with fake passports, money and medical supplies, security officials say.

One of the best examples of the cross-continent cooperation involves an Algerian man arrested in Germany and now on trial in Italy for allegedly helping Muslims from Somalia, Egypt, Iraq and Morocco recruit some 200 militants from around Europe to fight in Iraq.

Many in Germany's Islamic communities have shown sympathy for Muslims fighting jihad, or holy war, in places like Chechnya or Bosnia, but authorities say a growing number of sympathizers are taking an active role themselves since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Of course the same could be said for the media, which keeps shopping this story around in the hope that someone will finally believe that the Iraq was has created more terrorists.


Now here's a thought

Why would a French reporter who was kidnapped in Iraq plead with the French authorities to save her in English? Because the only thing that matters is that Americans see her beg.


Not every journalist....

....thinks thinks blogs are bad. Some are actually excited about them.
Bloggers are the best thing that has ever happened to journalism.

They make a good reporter look better. They expose the phonies, the poseurs, the fast-writing conmen, with the speed of light.

They give the journalist a greater access to more information and informational context than ever before.

They provide swift exposure to varied points of view, and, most importantly, a constant, sometimes rough, but always important gauge of a reporter's skill, judgment, industriousness and integrity.

Never before has weak reporting, biased reporting, dishonest reporting, or lazy reporting been more swiftly exposed.

Indeed, the whole idea of whether journalism is indeed a profession -- or just a happy combination of craft, curiosity, cleverness and confidence tricks -- is being tested for the first time out there in the ether.

As a semi-retired veteran of what we long ago called "the newspaper game," I find the whole advent of the blogs exhilarating. They have made the game more exciting and challenging than ever.
In life, when someone is good at what they do and loves it, they never feel threatened by competition or criticism. In fact they welcome criticism because they see it as an opportunity to learn and grow in their profession.

Ralph Bennett was obviously a good journalist.


Troublesome indicators....

....from Beirut.
Gunfire erupted late Saturday after pro-Syrian protesters arrived in Beirut's Christian sector that is the center of anti-Syrian sentiment, witnesses said.

Volleys of gunfire were heard shortly after a convoy of cars carrying pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which had earlier demonstrated in Muslim south Beirut, headed later to the Christian sector of Ashrafieh.

People in the cars exchanged insults with about a dozen men on Sassine Square. The cars drove around and gunmen opened fire from the cars toward the men, the witnesses said.

There appeared to be no casualties.

Elsewhere in the city, including the main Martyrs' Square, protests for or against Syria continued peacefully, with people driving around in cars and honking amid heavy Lebanese army presence.
Obviously these were troublemakers looking for a fight. Hopefully this was an isolated incident, but given the history of Lebanon, it could easily devolve into civil war again.


Sex, lies and the UN

As the UN sex scandal continues to unfold the despicable details continue to indict the UN in every more disgusting ways.
Although U.N. peacekeepers were dispatched to the Congo to keep order and improve the lives of Congolese, some leave behind disease and heartbreak.

Juliette, a Congolese woman who had a relationship with a peacekeeper (search), is the mother of one of an estimated hundreds of mixed-race children abandoned by U.N. workers at the end of their 6-month tours of duty, despite an official policy of no contact between U.N. peacekeepers and local women.

"There is no help from the U.N.," Juliette said. "They just make women pregnant and leave. They never take care of their kids."

The single mothers, however, are more fortunate than 17-year-old Bijou, who said she contracted the AIDS virus from a peacekeeper — and has since passed it on to her husband and child.
When will the world unite in condemnation of such behavior? When will the rights of the common man be as important to us as the privileged and the elite? When will the UN clean its house?


Shiite coalition showing cracks?

Ali reports that two parties in the Shiite coalition have left the coalition and are actively courting other groups (both Kurds and Allawi).
Yesterday two She'at parties withdrew from the "Unified Coalition List" after stating that "the major powers in the Coalition List are only after positions in the government and not people's interests and that they have marginalized the role of the smaller parties inside the list". The two parties, "Hizbullah in Iraq" and "National Coalition" (which is an Arab nationalist She'at party) hold together about 10 seats of the Coalition List seats in the National Assembly(I'm not sure of the exact number of seats as I found no accurate reference but I know it's very close to 10 if it's not that). Spokesman of the Coalition List called the action "unjustified" and called on the two parties to reconsider.
From Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper (Arabic link)

While such loss may not seriously affect the Coalition List's ambitions, it'll certainly harm it especially if these two parties allied with Allawi or the Kurdish Alliance which remains possible since their spokesmen said that their parties will remain "open to cooperation with other political parties"
However, I see that the decision of these two parties will have a long term effect that's more significant than the immediate one.
According to Ali, some of his Shiite friends see this as a positive change, because they were concerned about too much religious influence in the government.

It's really fascinating how men can adopt the wrangling of politics almost immediately after being freed from tyranny. Perhaps it's built in to the human psyche?


Remember the Palestinian boy....

....who was killed by Israeli soldiers, initiating the intifada? The story is false. In what sadly is an unsurprising revelation, the media lied.
Clifford May has an important column in today's Washington Times about the 12 year-old Palestinian boy who allegedly was shot and killed by Israeli gunfire in September 2000. The death of the boy, Mohammed al-Durra, helped set off an intifada, according to former Senator Mitchell's 2001 report. However, May argues that Israeli gunfire did not kill al-Durra, and suggests that a government-owned French television network cameraman may have staged the "death."

That Israeli gunfire could not have killed the boy was the conclusion of (1) a German television documentary in 2002, (2) liberal journalist James Fallows writing in Atlantic Monthly a year later, (3) the editor-in-chief of L'Express and a French documentary filmmaker who reviewed the unedited video of the shooting, and (4) Nahum Shahaf, the physicist assigned by the Isreali government to review the incident. Each concluded that it was physically impossible for the Israelis to have killed al-Durra given the position of the troops in relation to the boy. Even France 2, the television station that initially claimed the deadly gunfire was coming from the Isreali position, now states that no one cansay for certain who killed al-Durra.

But there is more. The film was shot by a Palestinian cameraman. No one else representing France 2 was present. The information used by the France 2 reporter in the voiceover came solely from the Palestinian cameraman. The reporter now states that he doesn't know the facts, but defends his claim that the Israelis killed al-Durra on the theory that it "corresponded to the reality of the situation not only in Gaza, but in the West Bank." In short, the facts of the case don't matter. Indeed, they can be fabricated as long as they correspond with the beliefs of those who "report" them.
As Hindrocket points out, we've heard this claim before. Apparently "fake but accurate" has been the standard in news media for a while now.


As I frequently do....

....I agree with Patterico, who agrees with Beldar, who agrees with Captain Ed, yada, yada, yada. Nothing that the FEC can or would do will stop me from blogging or changing how or what I blog one iota. And yes, I'm ready and willing to go to jail, if it comes to that, but I suspect I can drive up the road a ways and get the Liberty Legal Institute to take my case, keep my out of jail and embarrass the idiots who try to enforce the unenforceable.

UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge has an interesting take on the controversy.
Friends of freedom clearly need to remember this incident if and when John McCain (or Russ Feingold, for that matter) runs again for President. And we need to roast President George Bush one more time for spinelessly signing the excrescence that is McCain-Feingold.
I completely agree. I've not been a fan of McCain's for a long time. I'm not at all impressed by his squishy political positions, and he doesn't get a lifetime pass from me simply because he was a prisoner of war. I was particularly disgusted by his support of Kerry and criticism of the Swiftvets.

I also think President Bush displayed uncharacteristic cowardice in signing McCain-Feingold. Yes, it was approaching the campaign season, and yes he would have been excoriated for it, but he's shown so much courage in foreign affairs, his weakness here was inexplicable.


If you enjoy reading war stories....

....then you're really enjoy reading this one. Filled with the palpable tension of combat missions, the hilarious misadventures of men at war and the painful memories of man's inhumanity to man, it's a compelling read from start to finish.


Friday, March 04, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Sometimes the best thing about blogs....

....is the "new" blogs you find by clicking on the links in the comments. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading this post from Riding Sun. Tightly written, cogently argued, extensively documented, leading to a conclusion that is at the same time surprising and eminently sensible, Riding Sun discusses selling "Bush stock" short and the consequences of such a foolhardy strategy. Then he names names and exposes those who've lost the most.

I can't quote it here and do it justice, so click on the link, read it through to the end and enjoy the delicious irony as much as I did.


Surprise, surprise!

According to Factcheck.org, Democrats in Louisiana are running "grossly misleading" ads on Bush's suggested private accounts for Social Security.

So what else is new?


The sun is slowly rising....

....and the scales are coming off.
One of my favourite cinematic moments is the scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian when Reg, aka John Cleese, the leader of the People’s Front of Judea, is trying to whip up anti-Roman sentiment among his team of slightly hesitant commandos.
“What have the Romans ever done for us?” he asks.

“Well, there’s the aqueduct,” somebody says, thoughtfully. “The sanitation,” says another. “Public order,” offers a third. Reg reluctantly acknowledges that there may have been a couple of benefits. But then steadily, and with increasing enthusiasm, his men reel off a litany of the good things the Romans have wrought with their occupation of the Holy Land.

By the time they’re finished they’re not so sure about the whole insurgency idea after all and an exasperated Reg tries to rally them: “All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

I can’t help but think of that scene as I watch the contortions of the anti-American hordes in Britain, Europe and even in the US itself in response to the remarkable events that are unfolding in the real Middle East today.
Blackfive gets the hat tip for this remarkable article that reviews what's taken place and cautiously predicts a better future.

Then closes with this.
In a speech one month before the start of the Iraq war in 2003, Mr Bush laid out the strategy: “The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life.”

I doubt that anybody, even the most prescient in the Bush Administration or at 10 Downing Street, thought the progress we are now seeing would come as quickly as it has.

But what was clear to the bold foreign policy strategists in Washington was that the status quo that existed before September 11 could no longer be tolerated. Much of the Muslim world represented decay and stagnation, and bred anger and resentment. That was the root cause of the terrorism that had attacked America with increasing ferocity between 1969 and 2001.

America’s critics craved stability in the Middle East. Don’t rock the boat, they said. But to the US this stability was that of the mass grave; the calm was the eerie quiet that precedes the detonation of the suicide bomb. The boat was holed and listing viciously.

As a foreign policy thinker close to the Administration put it to me, in the weeks before the Iraq war two years ago: “Shake it and see. That’s what we are going to do.” The US couldn’t be certain of the outcome, but it could be sure that whatever happened would be better than the status quo.

And so America, the revolutionary power, plunged in and shook the region to its foundations. And it is already liking what it sees.
Some have mocked Bush's religion. Other's have expressed fear at the open expression of his faith and the possibility that it informs his decisions. Yet it is that very faith that led Bush to believe that Arabs, like all other men, yearned to be free and needed only the evidence that change could happen to press forward on their own.

Was he mistaken? It doesn't look like it, does it?


Good news from....

....an unusual place. When the Swiss, famous for their neutrality, start arresting extremists, things are going right in the world.
Swiss authorities said Friday they have detained five Islamic extremists suspected of using the Internet to show the killing of hostages — which reportedly included the beheading of an American — and to give bomb-making instructions.

It was unclear if any of the slayings took place in Iraq, where they have been blamed on the group led by Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Video recordings of those killings have been posted on various Islamic Web sites.

"The sites — which were actively exploited by at least one of the arrested persons — included numerous videos showing the putting to death of hostages and the mutilation of human beings," said a statement by the Federal Prosecutor's Office.
The five are being investigated for "for incitement to crime and for supporting a terrorist organization".

Good. When the whole world agrees that it must be stopped, terrorism will no longer threaten civilization.


The next major news story....

....is right here.
American troops fired on a car rushing Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena to freedom on Friday after a month in captivity, killing the Italian intelligence officer who helped negotiate her release and wounding the reporter in another friendly-fire tragedy at a U.S. checkpoint.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an ally of the United States who has kept Italian troops in Iraq despite public opposition at home, demanded an explanation "for such a serious incident, for which someone must take the responsibility."

The U.S. military said the car was speeding as it approached a coalition checkpoint in western Baghdad at 8:55 p.m. It said soldiers shot into the engine block only after trying to warn the driver to stop by "hand and arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots."
Watch for the media to blow this in to a major story.

Events like this are always a tragedy. Why a car would continue to speed toward a checkpoint despite repeated warnings is beyond me. Obviously the military will have to investigate (and they will) and determine if any procedures need to change, but the media won't wait for the facts nor will they publish them when they're known. A journalist was almost killed, and that is all the fodder that they need.

We'll probably have politicians wringing their hands on the Sunday blab shows and feature stories on the Sunday news shows — all without knowing the details of what took place. Some will probably even use the occasion to complain about the lack of training of our military and the use of the Guard (who are obviously unprepared for such duty the talking point goes) in critical situations.

It's a wonderful world we live in, isn't it? Or am I being too cynical?



Thursday, March 03, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

I don't know how to react....

....to this.
Something remarkable is happening in the Middle East - a grass-roots movement against autocracy without any significant "Great Satan" anti-American component.
That's the opening.

This is the closing.
The movements for democratic change in Egypt and Lebanon have happened since the successful Iraqi election on Jan. 30. And one can speculate on whether Iraq has served as a beacon for democratic change in the Middle East.

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush said that "a liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region."

He may have had it right.
What should I say? "Duh!"? "Gee, ya think!"? Or "You really should be reading blogs!"?


Chrenkoff interviews....

....Victor Davis Hanson. Blogging is coming of age.


The country needs you

Please copy this letter (if you're an American citizen) and mail it to your Senators and Representative. Blogging should not be considered an in-kind contribution to a political campaign. This is important. Please do it now.

UPDATE: One of my readers is blogging about this and points out that, even if it passes, there will be ways around any restrictions. While I agree with Don, I think the mere fact that our government officials could consider such a move displays a breathtaking lack of understanding of the First Amendment and a disregard for the constitutional safeguards that exist in our Bill of Rights.

An idea like this should never have been proposed, much less see the light of day in open discussions.

UPDATE2: Captain Ed reveals the hypocrisy of the proponents of McCain-Feingold, who seek to obscure the fact that the wording of the law and the ruling of a judge clearly leaves the door open for the FEC to do exactly what Captain Ed has claimed they could do.

UPDATE3: Michael Totten wants to "sink" McCain-Feingold. Michelle Malkin is trying to measure the impact of the issue.

UPDATE4: Powerline weighs in on the controversy.


Political correctness runs amok....

....at Harvard. How much longer can Harvard maintain its reputation when things like this happen?
After some students were offended by Jada Pinkett Smith’s comments at Saturday’s Cultural Rhythms show, the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) and the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations have begun working together to increase sensitivity toward issues of sexuality at Harvard.

Students said that some of Pinkett Smith’s remarks concerning appropriate gender roles were specific to heterosexual relationships.

In a press release circulated yesterday by the BGLTSA—and developed in coordination with the Foundation—the BGLTSA called for an apology from the Foundation and encouraged future discussion of the issue.

According to the Foundation’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC) Co-Chair Yannis M. Paulus ’05, the two groups have already planned concrete ways to address the concerns that Pinkett Smith’s speech rose.

The BGLTSA release acknowledged that the Foundation was not responsible for Pinkett Smith’s comments. But the Foundation has pledged to “take responsibility to inform future speakers that they will be speaking to an audience diverse in race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender and class,” according to the release.

Pinkett Smith was honored as the Foundation’s “Artist of the Year” at its 20th annual Cultural Rhythms show, which she also hosted.

BGLTSA Co-Chair Jordan B. Woods ’06 said that, while many BGLTSA members thought Pinkett Smith’s speech was “motivational,” some were insulted because they thought she narrowly defined the roles of men and women in relationships.

“Some of the content was extremely heteronormative, and made BGLTSA members feel uncomfortable,” he said.

Calling the comments heteronormative, according to Woods, means they implied that standard sexual relationships are only between males and females.

“Our position is that the comments weren’t homophobic, but the content was specific to male-female relationships,” Woods said.
Here's a clue for the heteroabnormal at Harvard. Grow up! The world's a tough place. People are always going to disagree with your views, and most normal people express their thoughts within the framework of their own life experiences.

What that means to you intellectually challenged geniuses is that a heterosexual will normally express relationship ideas in heterosexual terms because that's what they've experienced. It's a pain, I know, but you might as well get used to it now, because most people aren't going to corkscrew their thinking to fit into your box.


The world is turned upside down

Saudi leaders are insisting that Syria get out of Lebanon.
Arab leaders grew increasingly impatient at Syria's resistance to a quick, complete withdrawal of its troops from Lebanon, with Saudi leader Crown Prince Abdullah sharply telling Syria's president on Thursday to start getting out soon or face deeper isolation, according to a Saudi official.

The unusually tough message came when Syrian President Bashar Assad met Abdullah and other Saudi leaders in the kingdom's capital, the Saudi official told The Associated Press by telephone from Riyadh. Arab League foreign ministers, meeting in Cairo on Thursday, added to the pressure, expressing support for the diplomatic push by Saudia Arabia and Egypt.

Syria has resisted Arab pressure to withdraw, saying in behind-the-scenes diplomacy in recent days that it wants to keep 3,000 troops and early-warning stations in Lebanon, according to an Arab diplomat in Cairo. The Syrian army already operates radar stations in Dahr el-Baidar, on mountain tops bordering Syria. Israeli warplanes have attacked the sites in the past.
I'm not sure what to make of this. Have the Saudis found religion? Is there some backdoor play here that isn't obvious? Or have they seen the handwriting on the wall (ironic that Babylon is the origin of that story, isn't it?) and decided to cut their losses in the hope that the pressure on them will recede?

In any case, Assad is in a world of trouble, and it's hard to see how he can wiggle out of it short of defying the entire world, and that is an outright invitation to trouble of another kind. (Although we already know France's bark is not backed up by bite — nor is much of Europe's either.)

The whirlwind of events in the middle East is turning into a tornado.


Not everyone in Vermont....

....is a bozo. From Mudville Gazette comes these inspiring comments from one who has been there, done that and can't stand the liberal jerks that have taken over the state.

The Guardsmen who are returning are having an impact as well.
Last point, one of our young officers who did a tour in Afghanistan stood up in the town meeting on Tuesday and told the crowd in attendance what he and our troops did there and the good that was being accomplished. He even spoke to what was going on in Iraq and the good being done there and how our guys feel about it. He was given a standing ovation and the town voted down the resolution. I couldn't believe it as it was my town. I guess you could call say it was a good demonstration of information operations.
Truth will often overcome stupidity — often, but not always.


When I read....

....this post on the Counterterrorism blog about the "Algerian Salafist Group for Prayer and Combat (GSPC)", I couldn't help but wonder — how far do you think the "American Fundamenalist Christian Group for Prayer and Combat" would get before demands were made to shut it down? Why is it that we have a double standard like this? That we wouldn't even dream of doing something like this, and if we did, liberals would scream bloody murder about our "hate group"? Yet when the Muslims do it, the silence is deafening both from the liberals and from the Muslims?

Answer that, and you've gone a long way toward explaining why there's so much trouble in the world.


Some of my readers may wonder....

....why I'm so intense and never post jokes or off-topic stuff. This is why.
"Back to the story: there were seven other soldiers that came home with me that day. We flew into JFK, and we were talking on the way back: What's going to happen? What will we be facing? Is it going to be like the Vietnam era, are there going to be people spitting at us?

"We didn't know. We had that much trepidation about it.

"We get into JFK, we step out of the breezeway into the main terminal, and directly in front of us was an elderly gentleman carrying a bag. And he immediately stopped, set his bag down, and the first thing we all thought was, 'Oh, Lord, here we go already.' He just stopped and looked at us for a second, and then tears came to his eyes and he saluted us.

"And -- I'm breaking up now [editor's note: with tears] -- every one of us just started crying like babies. Everybody in the terminal -- I kid you not, at least two to three hundred people -- just started clapping, spontaneously. To me, it was so much worth what we were doing, to realize that people over here actually get what we were doing. We weren't over there because it's fun. We're over there doing a job.

"When I saw the Super Bowl commercial, I just started bawling like a baby again because that was something totally unexpected. We had no idea that people actually appreciated what we're doing, from what we see on the news. We thought we were going to come back and get eggs thrown at us. It was so refreshing to know that what we were seeing on the news is just a bunch of garbage that's being concocted by the media, that 99.9 percent of the country doesn't believe that way.
There's more to the story — and you should read it all. But here's my point. Look at what those soldiers thought they might be facing when they got home. Contrast that with the reception they actually received.

Now think about the reverse. You have an impression of what's going on in Iraq. You get that impression from the media. Given how completely different the soldiers' reception was from their expectations, how accurate do you think your perception of what's going on in Iraq (and other locations) is?

Think about that, and you'll understand why I don't waste time with frivolities. There is no time to waste!

UPDATE: I forgot to credit Blackfive for a hat tip on this story. I apologize. It was an oversight.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Is there an echo in here?

The removal of the dictator could lead to sectarian violence and anarchy.

Sound familiar? No, the story isn't about Iraq. It's about Syria and Lebanon. Change the names, however, and the story could have been written a year ago — or two years ago — or three years ago.
A speedy Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon may fulfill the dreams of many Lebanese, but lifting the tight lid Syria has kept on its smaller neighbor carries risks: a security vacuum and possible return to sectarian disputes that bedeviled this country throughout its history.

The outgoing pro-Syrian premier even warned that the Lebanese military, built up by the Syrians, could again splinter into warring factions — a comment that angered some Lebanese and prompted the army to insist it is capable of maintaining unity.

Another question is how Hezbollah, the anti-Israeli guerrilla movement based in southern Lebanon, would react to the withdrawal of Syria, one of its principal backers. The well-armed Shiite militia, which is also supported by Iran, has so far stayed out of the fray in Lebanon's political crisis — but could feel its position is threatened if Damascus pulls out.

The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a Muslim, has united Lebanese Christians and Muslims in grief and anger at Syria and its allied Lebanese government, which the opposition accuses of involvement in his killing.
We hear this same song and dance over and over again.

Why should we believe it?


The case for Al Jazeera

Ali argues that despite its obvious bias, Al Jazeera has benefited (albeit unwittingly) democracy and reform in the MidEast.
But Al Jazeera and Al Arabyia served another role whether they wanted or not. Of course Al Arabyia has changed its attitude and now it's considered a pro-west channel by some Arab regimes and lately their crew in Lebanon even received threats from the Syrian intelligence as the channel officials stated. However, even before that both channels offered a great service to democracy and freedom in the ME even when they wanted exactly the opposite! For example, Al Jazzera focused, as part of its coverage for the "deteriorated situations in Iraq" on every single demonstration against the interim government or the American presence in Iraq even if it was 10 people that are demonstrating! But this coverage, that was missed in the official Arab media most of the times, showed the Arab street an unusual scene. 'Arab' citizens demonstrating freely against their government and the supposed brutal occupiers under the eyes of police!

These days we hear every now and then about demonstrations almost everywhere in the Arab world. Excuse me, but this is far from usual! I haven't seen *any* demonstration against Saddam all my life and similarly I haven't heard of any in Syria or Saudi Arabia prior to the 9th of April. Most of us think it's what happened in Iraq that encouraged Arabs to demand more rights, but how could Arab citizens know the details of what's happening in Iraq if it wasn't for Al Jazeera and Al Arabyia? They don't watch western media, and the official TVs and newspapers give you only one point of view, that of the government, while Al Jazeera with all its bias host Iraqi officials and receive phone calls from Iraqi citizens on their talk shows. They twist facts, favor conspiracy theorists but in the end the audience gets more than one point of view and that's a crucial difference.
So, by attempting to portray negative news in Iraq, Al Jazeera has exposed the Arab world to information they would otherwise not have had.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, they say.

You should also read this story of heroism linked by Ali. Critics say the Iraqis aren't ready to defend themselves. I say they have demonstrated their bravery repeatedly. Only a fool or a cynic would claim otherwise. Like the writer, I too hope that Iraq will grant the highest possible award to these four brave men. It's very humbling to think that these men gave their lives for American "occupiers".