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Monday, January 02, 2006

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Don Surber: Bush Cracks Down On White Collar Crime

Don Surber: Bush Cracks Down On White Collar Crime


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

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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.