Friday, May 08, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 8, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

You know about nit-pickers, don’t you?

You do something and get it 99% right. But there’s Nitty Picker standing up before the whole town saying:

“Did you all see what that person who reads The Churchill Series got wrong? You did? Well, let me tell you about it anyway.”
Churchill knew all about nit-pickers. Some in the press were on him even during WW II, when he gave magnificent leadership.

Churchill was fond of telling this apt, humorous story to put the nit-pickers in their place.
“A sailor jumped into the water at Plymouth to rescue a small boy from drowning. A week later the sailor was accosted by a woman who asked, “Are you the man who picked my son out of the water the other night?

“That is true, ma’am” replied the sailor. “I am the man.”

“Ah,” said the woman. “You are the man I am looking for. Where is his cap?”
I hope you all have a nice weekend. If you have the time, give a look to historian John Plumton's speech in which I found the sailor and cap story. I think you'll be glad you did.

Best,

John
_________________________________________________________
Sailor and cap story from John Plumpton, "Two Great Men, Two Great Themes," speech, The Churchill Centre.

Queen’s Medal Deemed Too Christian

PC continues to run amuck.

London’s Daily Mail reports - - -

A medal personally established by the Queen is being withdrawn after it was deemed offensive to Muslims and Hindus.

The honour - known as The Trinity Cross of the Order of Trinity - has been ruled unlawful and too Christian.

It has been awarded to 62 distinguished residents of the former colony of Trinidad and Tobago over more than 40 years, including cricketers Brian Lara and Garfield Sobers, novelist V.S. Naipaul and many diplomats and politicians.

But groups representing the Caribbean islands' Muslim and Hindu communities - which account for around a third of their 1.3million-strong population - had argued that the words 'Trinity' and 'Cross' were 'overtly Christian'. They also said the use of a cross insignia was offensive. . . .

Five British law lords, all members of the Privy Council, have ruled that the honour breached the right to equality and the right to freedom of conscience and belief.
The Council is an obscure body made up of senior politicians, bishops and peers. They advise the monarch on the exercise of the Royal Prerogative and act as a final court of appeal for many former colonies. …

The implications of the ruling are being studied by lawyers in the Cabinet Office, which oversees the honours system. Hugh Peskett, editor-in-chief of Burke's Peerage and Gentry, warned that changing the names of titles to remove Christian references would destroy hundreds of years of history. 'Part of the significance of an honour is its antiquity,' he said.

The entire DM story’s here.

What will the British law lords do next?

Trinidad and Tobago’s ensign carries the cross of St. George. Will the law judges rule the cross must be removed?

And dare I mention Scotland’s flag bears the cross of St. Andrew.

England’s flag has the red cross of St. George imposed on a white field. Remove St. George’s cross and England’s flag will simply be white.

That may be fitting given how thoroughly Britain’s surrendering to PC domination.

Both Britain and America need to stop and think what will happen if they don’t start saying "No" to the PC crowd.

Hat tip: Hot Air



Parody Of Obama's Tax Cheating Treasury Secretary

Give a look and listen, folks.



H/t: Instapundit

Will Duke Lax Defendants Seek An “Empathic” Judge?

Let’s think about that question starting with this excerpt from Thomas Sowell’s latest column:

There is a reason why the statue of Justice wears a blindfold. There are things that courts are not supposed to see or recognize when making their decisions-- the race you belong to, whether you are rich or poor, and other personal things that could bias decisions by judges and juries.

It is an ideal that a society strives for, even if particular judges or juries fall short of that ideal.

Now, however, President Barack Obama has repudiated that ideal itself by saying that he wants to appoint judges with "empathy" for particular groups.

This was not an isolated slip of the tongue. Barack Obama said the same thing during last year's election campaign.

Moreover, it is completely consistent with his behavior and associations over a period of years-- and inconsistent with fundamental principles of American government and society. …
It certainly is “inconsistent with fundamental principles of American government and society.”

But as America saw during the Duke lacrosse frame-up attempt and as we still see during the ongoing attempt to cover-up the framing activities, there are many attorneys, activists and Democratic-party-supporting interests groups who favor judges with what President Obama calls “empathy.”

In fact, such people and groups believe the entire American justice system should embrace “empathy” by taking into account not simply evidence in a case, but factors such the race, class and gender of accusers, defendants, witnesses and others.

Those loudest in their support of the Duke-Durham frame-up attempt repeatedly expressed their belief the race, class and gender of the accuser and the lacrosse players should be taken into account by the investigators, the DA’s office and at the trial they hoped for.

Why now wouldn’t those investigators, the disgraced former DA Mike Nifong and some others named as defendants in civil suits brought by the frame-up attempt victims ask that the suits and a possible trial be argued before a judge known to have the “empathy” Obama wants in his Supreme Court nominee?

I don't doubt Nifong and other defendants will consider making such a request.

Attorneys familiar with his work tell me federal judge James Beaty, in whose court the suits are currently being argued, is as a careful, able judge who rules based on case evidence, case and statutory law, and existing judicial precedents.

In short, Beaty strives to meet the traditional American ideal of blind justice enshrined in our Constitution.

That kind of judge won't be good for Nifong, Brodhead, Gottlieb, Steel, Levicy et al.

Given that Nifong and so many other defendants and their supporters invoked race, class and gender to subvert the ideal of blind justice, it's reasonable to suggest that at some point the Duke-Durham defendants will ask judge Beaty to recuse himself from the suits, possibly after they think they’ve goaded him into making what they’ll argue was an intemperate remark or ruling showing favoritism to the plaintiffs.

The defendants will then engage in “judge shopping” to find one with “empathy” to preside over the suits.

Do you agree that's something to think about?

Sowell’s entire column’s here.

Put Pelosi Under Oath Now

WaPo headlines - "CIA Says Pelosi Was Briefed on Use of 'Enhanced Interrogations'"

It's report begins - - -

Intelligence officials released documents this evening saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was briefed in September 2002 about the use of harsh interrogation tactics against al-Qaeda prisoners, seemingly contradicting her repeated statements over the past 18 months that she was never told that these techniques were actually being used.

In a 10-page memo outlining an almost seven-year history of classified briefings, intelligence officials said that Pelosi and then-Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.) were the first two members of Congress ever briefed on the interrogation tactics. Then the ranking member and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, respectively, Pelosi and Goss were briefed Sept. 4, 2002, one week before the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The memo, issued by the Director of National Intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency to Capitol Hill, notes the Pelosi-Goss briefing covered "EITs including the use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah." EIT is an acronym for enhanced interrogation technique.

Zubaydah was one of the earliest valuable al-Qaeda members captured and the first to have the controversial tactic known as water boarding used against him. . . .

The AP gives the story a pro-Pelosi spin as its headline - "CIA docs unclear on Pelosi interrogation briefings" - makes clear.

As of 8 AM ET I could find at the NY Times site no story on the latest CIA release.

I think the Times realizes how incriminating this latest release is. It's likely doing everything it can to make sure the story it finally does publish casts Pelosi in the best light possible, without exposing the Times to ridicule down the road when I'm betting we'll learn Pelosi knew a lot more than she's admitting now.

Pelosi really needs to temporarily relinquish the Speakership and cooperate in an investigation of what she knew and when.

Given President Obama's release of classified interrogation memos and all the selective leaks gushing from his administration, I can't see what need there is now to conduct the Pelosi investigation behind closed doors.

We need a nonpartisan commission to conduct the Pelosi investigation in public with the Speaker of many stories testifying under oath.

That's what I think. What about you?

The entire WaPo story's here; the AP's is here.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 7, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

On March 11, 1938 German troops crossed the border and entered Austria. Two days later, Hitler rode in triumph through Vienna.

Churchill warned Czechoslovakia would be next. Six months later his prophesy was fulfilled at Munich when England and France agreed they wouldn’t oppose Germany’s dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in exchange for Hitler's "solemn promise" of "peace in our time."

On July 8, 1938 Churchill wrote Clementine. He regretted the appeasement of the Nazis. Why weren’t people standing up to them? He answered his own question:

Apparently, you always have to have a disaster before anything sensible can be done which would prevent it.
His words are as true today as they were then.
______________________________________
Speaking for Themselves: The Personal letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill, edited by their daughter, Mary Soames. (p. 435)

Raleigh N&O's Interrogation Memo Propaganda

The May 6 front page of McClatchy’s liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer headlines a story:

Interrogation memo authors unlikely to be charged

But report suggests professional sanctions against trio of Bush lawyers
The N&O’s story runs under the bylines of NY Times reporters David Johnson and Scott Shane with attribution to the NY Times.

I did a paragraph-by-paragraph check of the N&O’s print story (not available at newsobserver.com) with the NYT’s story online. They match paragraph-for-paragraph except the N&O’s story has this added paragraph:
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity. Several other news sources reported the details of the inquiry, also citing anonymous sources, ncluding The Associated Press and CNN.
The N&O/NYT story begins:
An internal Justice Department inquiry has concluded that Bush administration lawyers committed serious lapses of judgment in writing secret memorandums authorizing brutal interrogations but that they should not be prosecuted, according to government officials briefed on its findings.

The report by the Office of Professional Responsibility, an internal ethics unit within the Justice Department, is also likely to ask state bar associations to consider possible disciplinary action, which could include reprimands or even disbarment, for some of the lawyers involved in writing the legal opinions, the officials said.

The conclusions of the 220-page draft report are not final and have not yet been approved by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. The officials said that it is possible that the final report might be subject to further revision but that they did not expect major alterations in its main findings or recommendations. ...
The rest of the N&O/NYT story’s here.

Nowhere in the almost 900-word story the N&O ran does it tell readers something the AP told its readers:
The inquiry has become a politically-loaded guessing game, with some advocating criminal charges against the lawyers, and others urging the matter be dropped.
The N&O certainly could have.

All it had to do was attribute its story to both the NYT & AP and write a few words of introduction for the AP part of its story. Newspapers do that kind of thing all the time when editors are so inclined.

But if N&O editors had told their readers “others [are] urging the matter be dropped,” that information would have weakened the story’s political propaganda value.

The N&O’s story includes this:
Several legal scholars have remarked that in approving waterboarding, the near-drowning method Mr. Obama and his aides have described as torture, the Justice Department lawyers did not cite cases in which the United States government previously prosecuted American law enforcement officials and Japanese World War II interrogators for using the procedure.
But it doesn’t include any mention of the many legal scholars who say comparisons to what the Japanese did in WW II are not valid and who’ve criticized Democrats and news organizations for what they see as playing politics with America’s national security.

There are other examples I could cite in the N&O story that make it political propaganda but I think you see what I’m saying.

If you’d like to do some comparing of your own to see how the three news orgs handled the same story, here are the NYT’s, the AP’s and CNN’s.

Final word: Some people might insist the story wasn’t the N&O’s but the NYT’s. That’s not the case. While the story originated with the NYT as soon as the N&O editors put it in their paper, the N&O “owned” what they put there.

That’s why the N&O was able to literally sell that story and the rest of the May 6 paper to its readers, many of whom didn’t know that part of what they were buying was front page political propaganda.

Dem Wants To Treat Terrorists Like Our Military

You have to see it to believe it. This video lasts less than 20 seconds and has a stop-glitch in the middle that lasts about 3 seconds.

I wonder what the Dems will propose next for the terrorists. Maybe cars and welfare payments.

Mike Williams Obama Watch - May 7, 2009

It’s looking like the end game is approaching in Obama’s torture fiasco.


John Hinderaker at Power Line:


The "torture" controversy is winding down, with the Obama administration letting it be known that the lawyers who wrote memos interpreting Congress's broad prohibition of "torture" won't be criminally prosecuted. (Nor will the Congressional Democrats who knew all about the interrogation techniques and endorsed them.) Of course not: the idea that they could convince a court that writing a legal analysis with which Eric Holder disagrees could be a criminal act, or convince a jury to convict, was ludicrous from the beginning.


Instead, the administration says it may refer the matter to various state bar associations to see whether their ethics arms might want to impose some penalty on the offending lawyers. That's a little more like it: it is at least barely possible that some state bar's ethics committee might be staffed with liberals who would make a politicized decision to impose some sort of discipline. The real purpose, of course, is to discourage lawyers and others from serving in any future Republican administration.


So just to recap: Belatedly realizing that he may have alienated the CIA (who requested legal authorization to use the techniques in the first place), Obama rushed off to Langley to inform the spooks that justice department lawyers – not they -- would be held accountable.


He also considered and rejected the idea of a “truth commission”. He then lateraled off to his justice department, who has punted to the states. Talk about a profile in courage.


As you’ll recall, Obama declassified four memos on CIA interrogation (according to the NRO, “to signal the end of ‘a dark and painful chapter in our history,’ as President Obama put it — See, we’re not like those lawless Bushies.” )


Turning aside objections from four former CIA directors that national security had been recklessly endangered, Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, elaborated:


… the Obama administration was guided by higher concerns. He [Emanuel] proceeded patiently, to explain. By revealing the memos, with their detailed information on those interrogation techniques (now banned), we had elevated our moral status in the eyes of the world. More important, we had improved our standing in the eyes of potential terrorists.


This would undermine al Qaeda, Mr. Emanuel explained, because those interrogations of ours helped to enlist terrorists to their cause. All of which was why the publication of the memos -- news of which would presumably touch the hearts of militants around the world -- would make America safer.


Obama also redacted portions of the memos showing that valuable – even lifesaving – intelligence was gleaned from the interrogations. And when his own DNI admitted this in a memo, Obama had it deleted from the version he released to the MSM.


Let’s pause a moment to reprise a recent WSJ Online article by Rivkin and Casey. Some excerpts:


The four memos on CIA interrogation released by the White House last week reveal a cautious and conservative Justice Department advising a CIA that cared deeply about staying within the law. Far from "green lighting" torture -- or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees -- the memos detail the actual techniques used and the many measures taken to ensure that interrogations did not cause severe pain or degradation.


Interrogations were to be "continuously monitored" and "the interrogation team will stop the use of particular techniques or the interrogation altogether if the detainee's medical or psychological conditions indicates that the detainee might suffer significant physical or mental harm."

[…]


All of these interrogation methods have been adapted from the U.S. military's own Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (or SERE) training program, and have been used for years on thousands of American service members with the full knowledge of Congress. This has created a large body of information about the effect of these techniques, on which the CIA was able to draw in assessing the likely impact on the detainees….


Andy McCarthy, commenting on the torture issue in the Pierre Case:


By a whopping 10–3 margin, the Third Circuit [Court] judges agreed that to…prove torture, it would be necessary for a prosecutor to show “the additional deliberate and conscious purpose of accomplishing” severe pain and suffering. Without an evil motive to torture the victim, there is no torture even if great pain and suffering result.


After 9/11 many of us thought that another catastrophic attack was inevitable. Our knowledge of al Qaeda was limited. The purpose of “enhanced interrogation” was to extract intelligence to prevent another attack– not to inflict “severe pain and suffering” on the terrorists (who as far as we know are all still hale and hearty).


In closing, would it surprise you that in 2002, AG Holder had this to say about interrogating unlawful combatants:


"One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention that you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people.


"It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohamed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not."


And would it surprise you to learn that in 2009, in Demjanjuk v. Holder, our AG now “urges the federal courts to consider the same torture analysis over which Holder is targeting the Bush lawyers with such fanfare”?


Mike

NYC Flyby Photos & Report: What’s Taking So Long?

It’s been 10 days since an Air Force One backup and an accompanying Air Force fighter plane buzzed lower Manhattan frightening thousands and costing the taxpayers $300,000 plus.

Yet the Obama White House still hasn’t issued a report explaining the event, identified who was on board the 747 AF 1 backup, explained why an AF fighter was accompanying it, or released the photos taken of the two planes during what we’re being told was a “publicity event.”

It all stinks, doesn’t it?

From Michelle Malkin:White House press secretary Robert Gibbs stated at today’s press briefing that the Obama administration has reversed itself and will release “a photo” of the Scare Force One flyover.

Still does not satisfy even a minimum level of public disclosure. And no way in hell I’m withdrawing my FOIA requests.

More: Gibbs says its “review” of the incident will be concluded this week.

Bold prediction: Like all of Obama’s self-initiated reviews, this one will exonerate the White House of any wrongdoing or taxpayer malfeasance.

Just another shining moment in the short history of the presidency with the Greatest Transparency Ever.Keep checking in with Malkin. She won’t let Team Obama fob her off.

ABC News has just posted a lengthy story that doesn’t add anything to what we already know.

But it does include a link to photos viewers took of the flyby and sent to ABC.

Checkout photo #6 in which you can see the fighter’s tail is red.

On the thread of this post commenter Mike Williams explains why the Obama White House needs to explain that red tail even as the grade “A” Obama flacks in the WH press corps remain silent on the matter:

Blogger Spook86 at "In from the Cold" claims that the F-16s were from the Alabama ANG, and that at least one of them had the distinctive red tail markings of the WWII Tuskegee Airmen. Others have linked this to an upcoming George Lucas movie on the Tuskegee Airmen, Lucas being a big Obama supporter.

That said, if one of the F-16s was a B-model (which I've flown in), then a photographer could have been in the rear seat. But why use F-16s from Alabama? (And why use F-16s at all for that matter?)

Plus if the crews were all Air Force, why keep it secret from the public, especially if you knew beforehand that the flyby might scare people on the ground?

And finally, since the pics were reportedly PR shots, how come they're suddenly classified? This is after all the same Obama who released the so-called torture memos and is making public more prisoner abuse pictures a la Abu Ghraib.
Full disclosure: Mike Williams and I agree One Spook’s post says the AF has confirmed the fighter was from the Alabama ANG, but neither of us have been able to find such a confirmation. I’ve let a comment at One Spook asking for a link and will keep you posted.

With that said, the questions Mike Williams raises are important ones a WH report should answer. They are also ones Obama's MSM in the tank corp would be pursuing if they involved President Bush and his White House.

Final comment: Ten days is an awfully long time to go without releasing “publicity photos,” a passenger list and a report on the flyby.

The delay brings to mind that old political truism: a cover-up always takes time.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 6, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Churchill’s friend of sixty years, Charlotte Bonham Carter, observed him painting on a June day in 1915 when his political career was at its lowest point because he'd been wrongly blamed for the failure of the Gallipoli campaign:

Watching him paint for the first time on that June morning I became suddenly aware that it was the only occupation I had ever seen him practice in silence. When golfing, bathing, rock climbing, building sand castles on the beach, even when playing bezique or bridge he talked – and thus enhanced for all the drama and excitement of these pastimes.

But he painted silently, rapt in intense appraisal, observation, and assessment of the scene he meant to capture and to transfer to his canvas. He has (characteristically) compared painting a picture to fighting a battle.“It is, if anything, more exciting than fighting it successfully. ... It is the same kind of problem as unfolding a long, sustained, interlocked argument. ... It is a proposition which, whether of few or numberless parts, in commanded by a single unity of conception.”

Painting challenged his intellect, appealed to his sense of beauty and proportion, unleashed his creative impulse, and it was because he was thus once more wholly engaged that painting brought him peace..
I hope you’re back tomorrow.
____________________________________________________
Charlotte Bonham Carter,
Winston Churchill: An Intimate Portrait. (p.382)

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - May 6, 2009

Not long ago I mentioned that Sen. Specter’s party switch was a Faustian bargain with Sen. Reid, who promised Specter he’d retain his seniority as a Dem.

Today we learn that the Dems sent Specter to the back of the bus. Ed Morrissey:

This goes beyond the denial of the chair on a subcommittee Specter wanted. He actually got demoted on his existing committee assignments, moving from the top or near top of the opposition to the bottom of the majority. When Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court meets with the Judiciary Committee, Specter will be the last person to ask questions, instead of second — a dramatic comedown.

Democrats sent a more practical message with this vote. Specter needed to retain his seniority in order to make the argument that electing him would keep Pennsylvania in a position of power in Congress. The caucus has made it much easier for a Democratic primary challenger to beat Specter by taking that advantage away from him. It’s practically a signal flare to Joe Sestak, approving of his run against Specter….
Specter reportedly switched because he felt he’d lose in the 2010 Republican primary, and as Ed points out, the Dems have now yanked the rug out from under him in the Dem primary. So Specter could retaliate by voting with his former Republican colleagues, as he says he’ll do on Card Check.

That would deny the Dems their filibuster-proof majority when Al Franken takes Sen. Coleman’s Minnesota seat. The other interesting thing is that Reid’s Dem colleagues apparently told their own majority leader to pound sand.

In other news, I think we knew this was coming:
Chrysler LLC will not repay U.S. taxpayers more than $7 billion in bailout money it received earlier this year and as part of its bankruptcy filing.

This revelation was buried within Chrysler's bankruptcy filings last week and confirmed by the Obama administration Tuesday. The filings included a list of business assumptions from one of the company's key financial advisers in the bankruptcy case.
Rick Moran at American Thinker:
This will be the first of many [giveaways], I'm afraid. Recall if you will the assurances we received that this bail out money would be paid back with interest. Recall also the laughter of serious economists who said the Obama administration was dreaming.

There are a couple of trillion bucks floating around out there that are at risk of simply disappearing. Do you think that Chrysler will be the exception rather than the rule? How much do you want to bet that the banks will look for similar "forgiveness" from the taxpayer?

We have given considerably more to GM - almost $70 billion. Would they dare stiff the taxpayer when they file bankruptcy?

With these guys in charge? You're kidding, right?
On climate change, Randall Hoven at American Thinker:
How do we know the globe is warming? Because glaciers are melting, silly.

Well recently, we found that glaciers have been shrinking for the last 700 to 6500 years , depending on where you look. I don't know about you, but I wasn't driving a car, cutting a lawn, barbequing, or even breathing that long ago. It wasn't my fault.

But apparently, not all glaciers are shrinking now. Discovery reports on a group of 230 glaciers that are growing, and have been for three decades.

But I'm sure this has nothing to do with a more quiescent sun [my link]….

This doesn’t look to be stopping cap-and-trade, however. And would you be surprised to learn that Al Gore stands to make a lot of money if this legislation passes?
Let’s end it for today with this American Thinkerr article on where our foreign debt is headed. An excerpt:
The United States is experiencing a huge debt problem at present. Not only are our households over-borrowed and our corporations over-leveraged, but our federal government is in the process of rapidly increasing its debt.

On top of all that, by the end of this year we will owe foreigners about 35% of our GDP. As we continue to run trade deficits, payments to foreigners will be an increasing drag upon our incomes.

As wise economist and presidential adviser Herb Stein once said: "If something cannot go on forever it won't." Something will have to give. The next stage in our economic crisis could be some combination of dollar-collapse, high interest rates, and high inflation….
This is a very educational read if you’re interested in where Obama and the Dems may be taking us.

Mike

Why Won’t Obama Release WTC Fly By Photos?

The NY Post reports - - -

The $328,835 snapshots of an Air Force One backup plane buzzing lower Manhattan last week will not be shown to the public, the White House said yesterday.

"We have no plans to release them," an aide to President Obama told The Post, refusing to comment further.

The entire Post story's here.


James Taranto at WSJ's Best of the Web reacts with "You Can't See These, They're Publicity Photos!"

Taranto tongue in cheek concludes:

Apparently the Obama administration's policy is to release photos only when doing so might pose a danger to national security.
Why won't President Obama release them?

I doubt it's fear of more bad publicity on top of the bad publicity the story's already generated because refusing to release the photos is likely going to generate more questioning and bad publicity then a release would.

Why is Obama, who promised us transparency, hunkering down?

There's got to be a reason.

H/t - Instapundit

Langworth on Obama, Churchill & Torture

Among the most informed and soundly reasoned examinations of the questions raised by President Obama’s recent claims about Churchill and torture is that of Churchill historian Richard M. Langworth, author of the recently published Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations.

Here’s part of what Langworth’s posted at his eponymous blog - - -

In his press conference of 29 April, in response to a question on the disclosure of top secret memos on the use of “enhanced interrogation methods,” Mr. Obama said:

I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day talking about the fact that the British during World War II, when London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees. And Churchill said, ‘We don’t torture,’ when the entire British—all of the British people—were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat….the reason was that Churchill understood — you start taking shortcuts, over time, that corrodes what’s best in a people. It corrodes the character of a country.
While it’s nice to hear the President invoke Sir Winston, the quotation is unattributed and almost certainly incorrect.

While Churchill did express such sentiments with regard to prison inmates, he said no such thing about prisoners of war, enemy combatants or terrorists, who were in fact tortured by British interrogators during World War II.

The word “torture” appears 156 times in my digital transcript of Churchill’s 15 million published words (books, articles, speeches, papers) and 35 million words about him—but not once in the subject context. Similarly, key phrases like “character of a country” or “erodes the character” do not track.

Obama seems to have been misled by Andrew Sullivan’s recent article in The Atlantic, “Churchill vs. Cheney,” which calmly urges that Vice President Cheney be prosecuted. The British, Sullivan wrote,
captured over 500 enemy spies operating in Britain and elsewhere. Most went through Camp 020, a Victorian pile crammed with interrogators. As Britain’s very survival hung in the balance, as women and children were being killed on a daily basis and London turned into rubble, Churchill nonetheless knew that embracing torture was the equivalent of surrender to the barbarism he was fighting….
“Churchill nonetheless knew” appears suddenly and with no evidence to back it up. Sullivan makes no other reference to Churchill, or to how he divined Churchill’s views on torture. ...

The rest of Langworth’s post is here.

I hope you read the whole thing. It’s a scholarly prĂ©cis properly critical of Sullivan’s at best “loose” treatment of what little data he had.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 5, 2009

Folks,

In place of today's regular series post I'm posting on the main page Langworth on Obama, Churchill & Torture.

Please give it a look and let me know what you think.

Best,

John

Mike Williams Obama Watch - May 5, 2009

It’s no big secret that Obama and the Dems need additional revenues to fund their social agenda and to offset the deficits they’ve helped to create. Here’s one take on the $100M Obama ordered government to save. And here Obama goes after “tax cheats”:

President Obama, today: "The Treasury Department and the IRS, under Secretary Geithner's leadership and Commissioner Shulman's, are already taking far-reaching steps to catch overseas tax cheats — but they need more support."

What, is Geithner telling the IRS, "Look for these signs, because that's how I did it"?

Well, at least the president only praised one tax cheat in his speech denouncing tax cheats

. . . oh, wait:

"These problems have been highlighted by Chairmen Charlie Rangel and Max Baucus, by leaders like Senator Carl Levin and Congressman Lloyd Doggett."

Geithner and Rangel thanked for helping crack down on tax cheats? What's next, a ceremony on the importance of accurate information in public-health communication, thanking Joe Biden?
Ed Morrissey:
…In the middle of a deep recession, Obama has proposed massive new government spending while revenues drop dramatically. The predicted $1.85 trillion budget for this year is a massive fantasy, and the rosy economic predictions for this year and next make the next few years’ deficit predictions seem even more ridiculous.

Obama has to find revenue to counter the bleeding. This attempt will backfire in a couple of ways. First, as ATR noted, companies with the wherewithal will simply move overseas to take advantage of better tax environments, limiting their exposure to Obama’s tax-hiking fever and protecting their revenues. He can try to make this as painful as possible, but in the end businesses will act in their own interest.

Obama seems to either not realize this or not care much whether companies flee the US, nor does he appear to have learned the value of dynamic tax analysis.

For the rest, the high American corporate tax rate will cause them to invest less in their own businesses, killing expansion and development. It will curtail employment, and in the end, the businesses won’t pay most of the tax anyway.

They will do what all businesses do — pass their internal costs to their customers in the form of higher prices. Those higher prices will depress demand, as well as creating inflation on top of stagnation. This will not only cripple the American economy in a similar manner to what we saw in the 1970s, but it will also mean less revenue for the federal and state governments….
A John in Carolina reader agrees.

Moving along, we’ve talked recently about Obama’s declassification of the so-called torture memos. Jack Kelly, writing at Real Clear Politics:
Has Barack Obama made an enemy who can sabotage his presidency?

The presidency of George W. Bush began to unravel when some in high positions at the Central Intelligence Agency began waging a covert campaign against him….

Why would some at the CIA want to sabotage President Bush? One motive might have been to deflect blame for intelligence failures. The CIA confidently had predicted Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. But none were found.

The tactical intelligence the CIA provided to the U.S. military forces invading Iraq proved nearly worthless. And the CIA was caught flat-footed by the insurgency that developed several months after Saddam's fall.

There may have been a simpler motive. The novelist Charles McCarry was a deep cover CIA operative for ten years. "I never met a stupid person in the agency," he said in a 2004 interview. "Or an assassin. Or a Republican."

The CIA's war against President Bush was motivated by ass covering, or by political partisanship. But with President Obama, it's personal….
This is a very good read if you have some time.

Finally, one thing Obama apparently won’t declassify is the recent pictures of Air Force One in Manhattan. Ed Morrissey, again:
I can understand why the White House would choose not to use the pictures, and remind everyone of the almost-criminal stupidity of the Obama administration in doing flybys of New York City skyscrapers with a big jet plane without warning people.

But keeping them classified? We have plenty of shots in the public domain of Scare Force One buzzing terrified New Yorkers, most of them taken by the people who wondered whether al-Qaeda had launched another attack on the city. The stupidity of this public-relations mission has already leaked to the public….

Mike


Treasury Recalling All Money (Parody)

Well, only an Onion parody at least so far. But with the Obama administration, who knows?

H/t - Instapundit



Treasury Department Issues Emergency Recall Of All US Dollars

How Churchill Dealt With Thugs

You may know Arthur Herman as author of the best selling and scholarly How the Scots Invented the Modern World, an account of the Scottish Enlightenment.

Another of Herman’s books, Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

In today's NY Post Herman writes about “How Churchill Dealt With Thugs.”

Here’s some of what he says, after which I've placed an endnote.

President Obama's forays into history, especially European history, are interesting but not always accurate.

Who can forget his description during the presidential campaign of African-American GIs liberating Auschwitz? (It was the Russians.) Or his admission during his recent European trip that he didn't know how to translate a certain word into Austrian? (There is no "Austrian"; Austrians speak German.)

His evocation of Winston Churchill in his press conference last Wednesday took confusion to a new height. The president cited the great British prime minister in support of his ban on enhanced interrogation techniques at Gitmo and elsewhere, noting that Churchill never allowed torture of German detainees in World War II "even when London was being bombed to smithereens."

Strange words of praise from the president -- who in February ordered that Churchill's bust be removed from the Oval Office. (We're told this was because British authorities roughly interrogated Obama's Kenyan grandfather in the Mau Mau rebellion, during Churchill's second tour as prime minister.

Not exactly an advertisement for "Winston Churchill, foe of torture.")

Apparently, Obama got his new, sunny view of Churchill not from reading [Sir Martin Gilbert's classic, multi-volume ] Churchill biography that Prime Minster Gordon Brown gave him last month but from Andrew Sullivan's blog.

Maybe we should be grateful to Sullivan and Obama for their confusion, however, because Churchill's actual position on what is morally permitted against a nation's enemies illuminates much more about the relationship between torture and civilization than their fictitious version.

Churchill recognized that torture -- the cruel, needless infliction of pain as a means of domination and control of others -- was emblematic of man's barbarism, as opposed to the values of what he called "Christian civilization."

It was precisely this barbarism that he saw in the Nazi death camps and the Soviet gulag -- and that we see among the Muslim fanatics who will stone women to death for refusing to wear the veil or behead reporters.

But Churchill also understood that, if barbarism was one enemy of civilization, another was a moral cowardice disguised as moral qualms -- an instinctive flinching in the face of danger, dressed up as "upholding our values."

Churchill had seen this flinching in such 1930s appeasers as Neville Chamberlain, and he feared that he'd see it again among Britons and their leaders after the war.

"There is no place for compromise in war," Churchill wrote. In choosing between civilized restraint and the British people's survival, he never hesitated.

He contemplated using mustard gas if the Nazis invaded England.

He authorized the fire bombing of German cities, the so-called terror bombings, in order to cripple the German war effort and morale.

He was prepared to let Mahatma Gandhi die during his hunger strike in 1943 rather than be blackmailed into abandoning India, the last bastion against Japanese domination of Asia. …

Herman offers readers a great deal more information before he closes with - - -

"Moral force," Churchill once said, "is no substitute for armed force, but it is a very great reinforcement."

On this point, Churchill takes his stand firmly on the side of Vice President Dick Cheney and the Bush administration. Flinching from steps necessary to protect a nation's citizens from barbarous violence doesn't reinforce our moral values. It's a way of running from them.

Unfortunately, too many politicians are willing to take to their heels in that race.

Herman’s entire column’s here and well worth reading in full.

Endnote:


President Obama, Andrew Sullivan, and others misjudge Churchill and seem to misjudge what’s at stake in the war to preserve civilization that America and other nations have had thrust upon them by Islamic terrorists and their abettors here and around the world.

Churchill knew what was at stake in the fight he led. This excerpt’s from his “Finest Hour” speech delivered in the House of Commons on June 18, 1940:

Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may more forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.
Today we fight an enemy every bit as evil as the Nazis, and with the stakes as great now as they were in 1940.

Previous posts on the Churchill/torture topic:

Responses To Historian's Churchill/Torture Comments 5/3/09

Historian D'Este On Churchill & Torture 5/1/09

Obama, Churchill & Torture - 4/30/09

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 4, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Today's post is very brief but it contains some of Churchill’s wisest words.

In 1929, in a now almost entirely forgotten incident, a group of Chinese warlords attacked and destroyed British property in China.

Many cabinet members and others urged the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, to overlook the matter. The warlords had done wrong, certainly, but they were just a bother; not a real problem. Let the matter go, Baldwin was told, or better yet, find some way to appease the warlords so they won’t do such things in the future.

Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was not, as we would all know, one of those counseling appeasement. In 1991 his biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, told a London audiencee about a letter Churchill wrote Baldwin at the time of the incident. In it, Churchill set out beliefs he’d held throughout his public life :

[T]here is no evil worse than submitting to wrong and violence for fear of war. Once you take the position of not being able in any circumstance to defend your rights against the aggression of some particular set of people, there is no end to the demands that will be made upon you or to the humiliations that must be accepted.

Duke’s Brodhead Doesn’t Get Institutional Fairness

Erin O’Connor in Critical Mass (Feb. ’08) -

There's something embarrassing--and vaguely pornographic--in the spectacle of a leader who is not at all up to leadership.

This is particularly true in higher ed, where the idealism of the enterprise tends to get a bit tarnished when those charged with ensuring it just can't manage to do so.

Duke president Richard Brodhead has been living in a hell of his own making ever since the lacrosse scandal revealed his total incapacity to uphold--or even really grasp--foundational principles such as fairness, due process, and Doing the Right Thing.

Brodhead pandered and cowered and skulked his way through the extended tag-team beating administered to the falsely accused lacrosse team by the Durham D.A.'s office, the national media, and the Duke faculty, and wound up shaming himself and his university in ways that can never be undone. (This is all shorthand, I know, and if you are unclear where my statements come from, do read KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor's Until Proven Innocent).

The never-to-be-undoneness of the policy of procedural and political expediency Brodhead adopted during the long, damaging months of the lacrosse scandal were most recently on display during Duke's Sex Workers Art Show. Jay Schalin has the details:

You would think Duke University might be a little cautious about paying strippers to perform on campus. After all, there was that little incident that happened about two years ago -- something to do with a couple of strippers and some lacrosse players.

But inviting strippers to perform does not appear to be a problem as long as the intent is not to titillate men, but to shock a mixed audience with vulgarity and disparage mainstream American values.

In the latter case, the university is quite willing to pay, despite a regulation reintroduced into [Duke’s] Bulletin of Information and Regulations after the lacrosse case that explicitly states "strippers may not be invited or paid to perform at events sponsored by individual students, residential living groups, or cohesive units."

At least, it was willing on Sunday night, when a variety of university organizations paid for a performance of the Sex Workers Art Show at the campus' Reynolds Theater.

The show was sponsored by the following official university departments, centers and student organizations: the Duke Women's Center, …
After listing Duke organizations generously supported by alumni and benefiting from nonprofit tax breaks, O'Connor provides descriptions of the Brodhead administration’s approved sexcapade show for students.

Here are some of them::
A transvestite, naked except for some strategically placed tape, with the words "F___ Bush" painted on his chest, kneeled on all fours and lit a sparkler protruding out of his rectum with "America the Beautiful" playing.

--A bare-breasted stripper sang a lewd song about Saint Bridget of Ireland, with lyrics mocking the act of ascension as she climbed to the top of a stripper's pole.

--A stripper, in the guise of a U.S. flag-draped Lady Justice, emptied coins out of her scales, pulled dollar bills out of her clothes as she removed them, and yanked a string of dollar bills out of her posterior as the sound system played Dolly Parton's version of "God Bless the U.S.A."

She ended her act by saluting and holding up her middle finger to the crowd. The announcer referred to it as her "Infamous Patriot Act." Her most private area was kept covered by a small American flag.
Folks, if you know what Duke's now like under Brodhead-Steel, you’re not surprised.

And if you’re contributing to Duke because you’re “ooh la la” for that kind of "entertainment" and/or you just like Brodhead, Steel, Nifong, the trustees, "Dick's senior team," and their many faculty enablers, that’s your right.

And don’t feel embarrassed about why you're contributing to Duke under Brodhead-Steel; most Duke trustees are OK with it, too. So is The Chronicle's editorial board and the trustees-in-waiting who've been approved by the Allen Building to "lead" the Duke Alumni Association.

O’Connor closes with:
[I] wouldn't have wanted to spend my own Sunday night attending a show like this. But I don't care if others do.

The issue has to do with the double standards at work at Duke, both in allocation of funds and in application of policy.
The "no strippers" rule was bound to run into a wrinkle like this one--and that shows the stupidity of the rule. But even dumber is the Duke administration's clear expectation that it can enforce this rule selectively ... which is rather the sort of logic that got the university so embroiled in the lacrosse scandal in the first place.

Clarity of policy and consistency of application are the first rules in institutional fairness. Duke didn't get that when the non-rape case first unfolded--and it still doesn't.
O'Connor's entire post's here.

A big hat tip goes to Hershal Parker commenting on 5/04/09 @ 6:18 PM EST at this Chronicle thread for linking to O'Conner's post.


Who Will Obama's Offshore Tax Proposels Help?

The NY Times’ Jeff ( “most enchanting”) Zeleny and Brian Knowlton report - - -

President Obama presented a far-reaching set of proposals on Monday that are aimed at the tax benefits enjoyed by companies and wealthy individuals harboring cash in offshore accounts.

These steps, he said, would be the first in a much broader effort to fix a “broken tax system.”

Mr. Obama made the announcement in the Grand Foyer of the White House, standing alongside Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and the Internal Revenue Service commissioner, Douglas Shulman. His remarks echoed the sentiment he voiced again and again during the presidential campaign when he pledged to crack down on overseas tax evaders.

The proposed tax overhaul, which will be fully unveiled later this week when the White House presents a more detailed budget, could help raise $210 billion in revenues over 10 years, the administration estimates.

While most Americans pay their fair share of taxes, Mr. Obama said, “there are others who are shirking theirs, and many are aided and abetted by a broken tax system.” Multinational corporations, he said, paid an average tax rate of just 2 percent on their foreign revenue. And some wealthy individuals hide their fortunes in foreign tax havens.

The president thus set up a frontal clash with big business over the tax advantages enjoyed by companies with extensive overseas operations. …

The entire NYT story’s here.

A friend with considerable business and accounting experience just emailed the following:

In response to these tax increases, U.S. corporations will either raise the prices of their products and/or reduce expenses, i.e. cut jobs. And most of the job cuts will likely be in the U.S. where labor costs are higher than those in many foreign countries.

These ill conceived proposals will have the exact opposite effect of what President Obama says -- less, not more U.S. jobs.

Increasing taxes on the earnings of U.S. companies' foreign subsidiaries will make these subsidiaries relatively less competitive with non U.S. companies and could cause U.S. based multinational corporations to become non U.S. based.

A better proposal would be to temporarily ( e.g. for one year ) decrease the tax rate on foreign earnings of U.S. corporations which are repatriated to the U.S. ( e.g. from 35 % to 5 or 10 % ).

This would likely result in hundreds of billions of dollars coming back fairly quickly to the U.S., which would stimulate our economy and create jobs.

Before Obama unveiled his tax proposals today, Treasury’s Tim Geithner spoke briefly about the IRS stepping up efforts to identify those who, in effect, cheat on their taxes.

Given that Geithner admittedly, and knowingly, underpaid his own taxes, this seemed like the epitome of hypocrisy.

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - May 5, 2009

Today’s blogs focus mainly on foreign affairs.

First up – Michael Rubin, writing at The Weekly Standard:


So what should the Obama administration learn from the Taliban's tactical victory [in Pakistan]? First, soft power and economic development are irrelevant to this situation unless they are enabled by hard power.

Second, engagement is no panacea. Not all our adversaries share Obama's good faith. The Taliban--or, for that matter, the Iranian leadership--are motivated not by earthly desires, but by a religious ideology, one that brands any government unwilling to bow to their demands as illegitimate and Satanic. To them, negotiations can be useful only for gaining immediate advantage: The Taliban might gain safe haven; Tehran might gain time.

While it would be unfair to suggest that Obama himself has sought to engage the Taliban, senior officials surrounding the president do urge talks. (The Clinton administration, it should be remembered, actually sent an emissary to meet with the Taliban in 1997, and even after 9/11 Secretary of State Colin Powell counseled reaching out to the "moderate Taliban.")

Further, it is clear that the president does not appreciate the dangers of granting Islamists a safe haven. Weak condemnations of Zardari for doing this are meaningless, especially when the administration simultaneously pursues policies that will provide terrorists and their supporters safe haven in Iraq and Gaza.

Indeed, unless the president and the secretary of state understand that soft power and accommodation are about as effective at countering Islamism as lollipops are at curing cancer, the march to Buner may become the symbol of the Obama presidency, played out repeatedly, from Baghdad to Basra to Beirut.

Amir Taheri, writing at the WSJ Online:

Tehran plays a patient game. Wherever possible, it is determined to pursue its goals through open political means, including elections. With pro-American and other democratic groups disheartened by the perceived weakness of the Obama administration, Tehran hopes its allies will win all the elections planned for this year in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

"There is this perception that the new U.S. administration is not interested in the democratization strategy," a senior Lebanese political leader told me. That perception only grows as President Obama calls for an "exit strategy" from Afghanistan and Iraq. Power abhors a vacuum, which the Islamic Republic of Iran is only too happy to fill.

Newt Gingrich, writing in The Jerusalem Post:

"They [the Obama administration] are systematically setting up the most decisive confrontation that we've ever seen," the leading Republican politician told The Jerusalem Post, referring to news reports about the administration's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"There's almost an eagerness to take on the Israeli government to make a point with the Arab world," he said, speaking to the Post ahead of his speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference….

And Bill Katz at Urgent Affairs:

Recently, the administration handed Iran two gifts: [Secretary of Defense] Gates himself essentially took the military option off the table, a major strategic blunder, in my view. It wasn't necessary and wasn't called for. And the State Department announced that it wasn't placing any time limit on talks with Iran, something that key members of Congress had recommended that it do. Again, that was neither necessary nor called for.

So Iran now knows that the military pressure is off and that, officially at least, we're not watching the clock. If you were Tehran, what would you do? I suggest that extending the slightly open fist would be the wise strategy - talk, smile a bit, and concede nothing. [Katz is referring here to Obama’s opened hand/closed fist analogy.]

The Persians are known, historically, as superb negotiators. I suspect they're about to prove it once more, at our expense.

Slightly off today's foreign affairs focus but on an very important story is Ed Morrissey's post at Hot Air:

There are two Americas after all. In one, people pay off mistresses with their own money, while in the other, the very wealthy ironically use other people’s money to do it. Federal investigators have begun probing John Edwards’ campaign records to see whether he broke the law in paying off Rielle Hunter, the mistress and apparently the mother of his youngest child….

Over the last few years, Edwards helped promote political populism, but he was always an unlikely banner-carrier for that effort. He make [sic] hundreds of millions of dollars for himself first as a personal-injury lawyer, and then later working for a hedge fund, one of the big class-warfare targets of the Left.

He railed about “two Americas” while he built a 28,000-square-foot mansion for himself. And he preached about universal health care, exploiting his wife’s illness on the campaign trail, while betraying her with one of his aides.

His wife Elizabeth continues to fight cancer, and in her memoir recalls that she threw up when Edwards told her of his betrayal — and predictably lied about the extent of the affair.

The rest of Edwards’ supporters should be throwing up as well, if the investigation concludes that Edwards paid off Hunter with campaign funds. The rest of us found ambulance-chasing populism nauseating from the beginning.

____________________________________________

If you only have time to read only a few of the articles I've linked to here, I suggest Amir Taheri's and Ed Morrissey's.

Mike

An Official White House Fool?

With his tongue at least partly in his cheek, Roger Kimball sees the need for still one more fool in the Obama White House only this one Kimball says could do some good - - -

A headline from Reuters confirms what we all know: “Barack Obama is revelling in presidential power and influence unseen in Washington for decades.”

Since we’re rolling back the clock on quaint traditions like democracy and free speech, I’d like to suggest we consider resuscitating an office that flourished in the age of monarchs. I mean the office of court jester.

Now that we have a President who requires instant acquiescence in his schemes to spend your money and realize his socialist dream, isn’t it prudent to assure that there is at least one person installed in the corridors of power who can whisper home truths into the President’s ear?

In the age of monarchy, indulging in free speech, especially on matters political, was a dangerous pastime. Kings, emperors, and others who proclaim that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” who actually believe that, with their ascension “the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal” — such folks have a serious problem with hubris, not to say narcissism.

As anyone who can pronounce “Aeschylus” knows, hubris is followed regularly by nemesis, and it was to forestall that eventuality that monarchs of yore instituted the office of the court jester or fool. Here was one person allowed to speak his mind, to impart unpalatable truths to the sovereign.

Queen Elizabeth (the first, not the one hugged by Michelle Obama) even rebuked her fool for not being sufficiently candid. (It was a narrow path, though, that the fool had to walk: Lear threatened to whip his fool for speaking free.)

The White House has not yet gotten around to announcing the position. That’s hardly surprising. They’ve been awfully busy these last 100 days and more, what with all that “spreading the wealth around,” taking over the auto industry, demonizing conservatives, setting terrorists free, plotting to nationalize health care, conspiring to impoverish us all not just by raising taxes but also through the ruinous cap-and-trade proposal that will cost the average household about $3,100 a year. ...

The rest of Kimball's spoof is here.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Obama's "A" White House Press Corp

Team Obama recently awarded the sycophantic White House press corps an "A" grade for its fawning coverage of the President and his administration.

Hat tip: Drudge Report



Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Brief Look At A Duke Lax Troll

Trolls differ one from another in important respects.

Some use profanity; others don’t.

Some make racist or factually false comments and then, if a blogger posts them, those trolls assume other cyber-names and attack the blogger as being racist or hosting falsehoods.

Other trolls are content to just make racist and/or false statements and don't blame the blogger.

But for all their many differences, trolls have at least one thing in common: they avoid honest discussion.

You’ll find examples of some trolls doing that on the thread of a recent Chronicle story: "BOT Expected To Select Blue As Next Chair"

This exchange between an Anon and a well-known troll, Red Mountain (who uses other cyber-names as well), illustrates what I’m talking about:

Anon

posted 5/02/09 @ 3:39 PM EST

The Durham PD has admitted it has a Zero Tolerance Policy that it applies only to Duke students for minor violations, such as noise violations. Thus, Duke students are, in effect, second class citizens in Durham.

Why have Brodhead, Steel, and the Duke faculty not objected to this constitutionally-challenged policy which discriminates against Duke students?

Why did Brodhead wait until December, 2006 to question Nifong's actions? Why has Brodhead never raised questions about the activities of the Durham PD, such as those undertaken by Gottlieb and Himan?

Why has Brodhead never address the actions of a Duke employee, Tara Levicy R.N., in fomenting the crisis?

(Well, I guess the estimated $18 million voluntary settlement by Duke with Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann did address that point, in part).

If a Truth Commission will never be appointed, then at least the civil lawsuits and their depositions will answer some of these issues.

On with the depositions!!

Now Red Mountain's response - - -



RedMountain

posted 5/02/09 @ 4:08 PM EST

I think the Durham Police department is tired of responding to resident's calls about wild parties. They feel (rightly so) that they have better and more important things to do. I also think the residents are tired of having to call the Durham police department, they feel (rightly so) that existing laws regarding this type of thing should be enforced. The policy is designed to limit the calls and man hours involved by discouraging Duke students from having their fun get out of hand. I agree with you that is not a fair solution, but I have not seen a "final solution" to this that will actually work.
____________________________________________

Folks, I’m sure you noticed Red Mountain didn’t respond to
even one of the direct, fact-based, and important questions Anon asked.

Instead, the oleaginous RM goes on about DPD and residents “tired” (“and rightly so”) of students’ “wild parties” about which RM says he’s not seen “a ‘final solution’ . . . that will actually work.”

RM’s response is no more than an attempt to make the students appear to be the “bad guys” while avoiding any forthright response to Anon’s questions about the disgraceful actions and inactions of President Brodhead and others at Duke which did so much to support the frame-up attempt.

RM’s response is classic troll.

Pelosi’s Utterly Contemptible

Charles Krauthammer explains why - - -

. . . The time to protest torture, if you really are as outraged as [Pelosi] now pretend [s] to be, is when the CIA tells you what it is planning to do "in the future."

But Pelosi did nothing. No protest. No move to cut off funding. No letter to the president or the CIA chief or anyone else saying "Don't do it."

On the contrary, notes Porter Goss, then chairman of the House intelligence committee: The members briefed on these techniques did not just refrain from objecting, "on a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda."

More support, mind you. Which makes the current spectacle of self-righteous condemnation not just cowardly but hollow.

It is one thing to have disagreed at the time and said so.

It is utterly contemptible, however, to have been silent then and to rise now "on a bright, sunny, safe day in April 2009" (the words are [ Obama's director of national intelligence Dennis] Blair's) to excoriate those who kept us safe these harrowing last eight years.

Krauthammer's entire column's here at RealClearPolitics.com

Hat tip: BN

Rasmussen's Surprising Poll Finding


Yesterday a Rasmussen Reports review of its poll results for last week included this - - -

To be relevant in politics, you need either formal power or a lot of people willing to follow your lead. The governing Republicans in the nation’s capital have lost both on their continuing path to irrelevance, according to Scott Rasmussen’s analysis.

But then just 21% of GOP voters believe Republicans in Congress have done a good job representing their own party’s values.

Ironically, for just the second time in more than five years of tracking, Democrats have fallen below Republicans in the Generic Congressional Ballot. However, in April, for the second straight month, the number of Republicans in the nation fell by roughly half a percentage point. The number of Democrats remained unchanged from a month ago. …

Rasmussen's entire review’s here.

Folks, its no surprise that congressional Republicans are held in low esteem by most voters, including most GOP voters. MSM news orgs regularly report and “analyze” those findings. Their reports and “analysis” often include some reference to the GOP as a dying party.

But Rasmussen’s finding that Dems have fallen below the GOP on the Generic Congressional Ballot (other polls give a small edge to the Dems) will surprise many people.

What explains the finding?

For one thing, Congress as a whole has very low public approval ratings. Since the Dems run Congress voters, especially independents, very likely see a generic ballot party preference choice as a chance to register their disapproval of Congress by expressing a preference for the congressional GOP which, say what you will about its shortcomings (and they are many), at least isn't running Congress.

Something else: most voters have caught on to Congress’ culture of corruption; and they associate it with Dems such as Sen. Dodd, Reps. Rangel and other Dems who are getting rich and abusing the public trust in the name of serving "the little guy."

There’s more I could say but I want to get to other posts.

What do you think?