Friday, July 29, 2005

Orwell for the "London caused by Iraq" folks

To all those saying that in one way or another the London bombings are the understandable outcome of American action in Iraq, I offer some words of George Orwell's:

One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man would be such a fool.

In Notes on Nationalism, 1945

Hats off for London's police

xI visit London about twice a year. My admiration for the police there has always been high, but since the 7/7 bombings it's soared. Their professionalism and courage have been outstanding.

Daily, London's police are strapping on bullet-proof vests, searching suspicious packages, chasing down terrorists who might turn to kill them, and entering places they know may be booby-trapped.

They're doing all that while also carrying on with the normal but demanding police functions of providing public safety, traffic control, and emergency health service in a complex city with what is now an international population of almost 8 million.

London's police do it all under the constant watch of a media that will harshly exploit any mistake they make.

Hats off for London's police.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Are there trolls in the Grey Lady's newsroom?

The New York Times (online) has an long article (Registration required. It's free.) about House passage of the energy bill.

The headline: House Passes Energy Bill

But after 19 paragraphs dealing with the energy bill, The Times makes an unexplained shift to a different piece of legislation in the Senate.

Here are paragraphs 19 and 20:

Critics of the energy bill continued to condemn it on Wednesday, saying the tax breaks rewarded oil and gas companies that do not require taxpayer-financed incentives. They pointed to a late addition to the measure that provided $500 million to underwrite research into drilling in deep water or producing gas from unconventional sources.

As the Senate concentrated on legislation to protect gun manufacturers, its passage was virtually guaranteed Wednesday when Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Republican majority leader, used a procedural maneuver to sharply limit efforts by Democrats to amend the bill.

The rest of article continues to report on the gun bill.

What explains the shift from reporting on a House energy bill to a Senate gun bill?

Are there trolls in the Grey Lady's newsroom?

What were The Seattle Times reporters thinking?

Today's Seattle Times online edition has a lengthy article on the sentencing of terrorist Ahmed Ressam in a Seattle federal court for attempting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the millennium eve.

At the very end of the article, reporters Hal Bernton and Sara Jane Green stretch and drop this "Oh, by the way" on readers:

Recently, Ressam was asked by a U.S. marshal about the London bombing.

"It's terrible — it shouldn't have happened," Ressam said. "But what about the U.S. bombing in Iraq, and innocent civilians being killed?"

Why do Berenton and Green stretch for the unsourced marshal story? And why give the last word to Ressam? Why not a last comment from a citizen who's glad Ressam is now behind bars.

Most importantly, why give Ressam an opportunity to assert the moral equivalence claim so often made by terrorists and their sympathizers on the left?

Here are three possible explanations:

1) Bernton and Green were doing the kind of reporting they know will get them noticed by recruiters at the big MSM news organizations where moral equivalence is the accepted point of view.

2) Bernton and Green wanted an ending that would be well received by readers in politically liberal Seattle.

3) Bernton and Green really believe what they did was just good, unbiased reporting. The questions are invalid.

Explanation three, if true, would trouble me the most. How about you? Please share your thoughts.

I'm sending this post to Berenton and Green. I'll post any response they make, keeping the last word for myself.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Krugman Truth Squad is working today

Paul Krugman. The Bush-hating former Enron consultant. Always talking down the economy. Writes op-eds for The New York Times. Loves Michael Moore.

Didn't The Times’ former public editor, Dan Okrant, have some things to say about Krugman in his final public editor column?

You bet. Here's part of what Okrant said:

Op-ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults.

One of those who picks up on Krugman’s “shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers” is Donald Luskin, head of the Krugman Truth Squad and National Review contributer.

At National Review Online, Luskin responds today in fine Truth Squad fashion to Krugman’s July 22 op-ed. Luskin begins:

China's announcement last week that it was abandoning its decade-old fixed exchange rate between the Chinese yuan and the U.S. dollar was world-shaking economic news. But for Paul Krugman — America's most dangerous liberal pundit — it's only an occasion for more of his usual left-wing economic doomsaying, leavened with crude humor based on ethnic stereotypes.

Krugman began his New York Times column Friday saying,

Thursday's statement from the People's Bank of China, announcing that the yuan is no longer pegged to the dollar, was terse and uninformative — you might say inscrutable.

One assumes that if the nation in question had been an African one, the guardians of politically correct speech at the Times would have been more alert. Surely they would never have allowed Krugman to say the announcement had, “you might say, natural rhythm”?

Krugman stoops to cheap attempts at humor because he has no grasp of what's really going on with China's currency. His characterization of China's currency policies is simply:

To keep China's currency from rising, the Chinese government has been buying up huge quantities of dollars and investing the proceeds in U.S. bonds.

Krugman offers no explanation for why China's currency should rise in the absence of their preventing it from doing so — he treats it as a foregone conclusion. And what he calls China's “buying up” dollars is exactly the opposite of what's been happening for the last decade — dollars have been raining in on China from foreign investors eager to set up business there and needing yuan to do so.

China has simply accepted those dollars and issued yuan in exchange for them — at a constant rate of exchange designed not to “keep China's currency from rising” but rather to guarantee its value. For a decade, China has pegged the yuan to the dollar at an official exchange rate of about 8.28 yuan per dollar. Pegging the currency to the dollar has set an objective standard of value for it — just as a peg to gold once set such a standard for the dollar itself.

I think you'll appreciate Luskin's column unless you're Paul Krugman or one of his Bush-hating acolytes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Question time at Mudville Gazette

In Britain's Parliament, Prime Minister's question time is a period set aside each week during which any member can stand and ask the PM a question. It's an ancient practice originally intended to hold the government to truthful account by means of sharp, fact-driven questions the PM and government would rather ignore.

In opposition during the 1930s, Winston Churchill used question time to expose the government's drift and appeasement in the face of first, the Nazis' insurgency in Germany, and then, after their takeover of Germany, their preparations for further conquests.

Today, question time is used mostly as a PR opportunity ("Can the Prime Minister assure me and this House that the tremendous strides made in health services since he and I came to Parliament will continue?").

In a post here, Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette reminds us of how important and revealing a pointed, fact-driven question can be.

Greyhawk first references the abominations of Pennsylvania's Lt. Gov. Knoll. She went uninvited to the funeral of a Marine killed in Iraq. She passed out her business card and told a member of the Marine's family the state's government was opposed to the war. Then, she stepped before the TV cameras for some "face time."

Greyhawk's post links to Michelle Malkin who provides detail on Knoll's abominations. And then he asks his question.

Don't miss it.

Latest New York Times error. It's huge.

The following correction appears in today’s New York Times.

An article on Saturday about a federal judge's order regarding photographs and videotapes related to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal misstated a deadline and the response by Defense Department lawyers. The government was given until Friday to black out some identifying details in the material, not to release it. Defense Department lawyers met that deadline, but asked the court to block the public release of the materials. They did not refuse to cooperate with an order for the materials' release.

You can find the article here. (NYT free registration may be required)

Here’s the headline Times’ editors gave the article:

Government Defies an Order to Release Iraq Abuse Photos
But the correction says nothing about the false headline, or how and why it was put in The Times.

Here’s the article’s first sentence:

Lawyers for the Defense Department are refusing to cooperate with a federal judge's order to release secret photographs and videotapes related to the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.

We know now that sentence, like the headline, is false. But again, as with the headline, we don’t know how or why something so manifestly false was written and published in The Times because so far The Times is refusing to say.

Folks, if the federal government refuses to comply with a court order, that’s a really big deal.

And when a major newspaper reports the government is refusing to comply with a court order it’s also a really big deal, not to be dismissed with one sentence at the end of a one paragraph correction noting other errors in the article.

The Times’ faithful readers may not expect a full and honest explanation of how such a monumental mistake was made, but thoughtful readers surely deserve one.

Blogger and attorney John Hinderaker notes that Times reporter Kate Zernike talked to a representative of the ACLU which brought the suit seeking release of the photos and videotapes; however she:

“quoted no representative of the government, and apparently talked to none; if she had, she would have realized that the entire premise for her story was incorrect. So millions of people were wrongly told that the "Government"--i.e., the Bush administration--had "defied" the order of a federal judge. If true, this would have been a noteworthy story. But it was a complete falsehood.”

Hinderaker is absolutely right.

Why didn’t Times’ editors think about the things he’s pointing out before they ran the story?

We need answers. A single sentence stuck at the end of a correction won’t do for something of this magnitude.

Hat Tip: Mudville Gazette

Pennsylvania pols act to save their hides

First, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Knoll crashed the funeral of Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, killed fighting in Iraq.

Then she used the funeral to distribute her business cards, tell a member of the S/Sgt. Goodrich's that the state's government opposed the war, and, of course, get face time before the TV cameras.

The last was not easy since a large crowd attended, but Knoll managed it.

Later, apparently surprised that S/Sgt. Goodrich's family would resent any of her actions, Knoll became "unavailable" for days as public outrage mounted.

Now, Knoll and her political ally, Gov. Ed. Rendell, are in full damage control mode.

They appear most concerned to protect their own hides. That most likely explains why Knoll has failed so far to issue a full and unequivocal apology to the Goodrich family while Rendell has made excuses for her.

Gov. Rendell also appears to have seen an opportunity to shore up his liberal base for next year's election. How else to explain his saying, "It's not the business of state government to support the war."

Michelle Malkin is on top of the latest developments in this sad story of political leaders who appear out of touch with a lot of what's important to people who love America.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Is Roberts now or has he ever been a member?

Michelle Malkin calls the Left's opposition to Judge Roberts a "Parody unto itself." She links to a raft of bloggers picking up on what MSM and the Dems are trying to convince people is a serious and fair examination of Roberts.

At Mudville Gazette Mrs. Greyhawk’s Dawn Patrol post links to a lengthy Washington Post story (950 plus words) asking whether Judge John Roberts was ever a member of the conservative Federalist Society (see under MSM Reports On Politics).

MSM and Democrats’ efforts to determine whether Roberts is now or ever has been a member of a conservative legal organization is quite a contrast to how, for more than a half-century, they've reacted whenever anyone asked if a person was a member of the leftist National Lawyers Guild, considered by many a front for the Communist Party USA.

A question about anyone's Guild membership would immediately lead to MSM and Democrats charging the questioner with "McCarthyism," “smearing,” and "assigning guilt by association."

Even today, with the Guild alive, well, and still misty for Che, you'll get yourself labeled a “red-baiter” if you ask, “Is he/she a member of the Guild.”

Why is it wrong to ask about Guild membership? Well, we've been told, in a free society you don't judge people by who they associate with, and that includes their professional memberships.

But asking about membership in a conservative legal organization? Well, that's different; and it's just fine. In fact, MSM and the Dems say it's their duty to the America people to inquire.

Watching the MSM and Dems pursue the Federalist Society question has me thinking of the song classic, "That Old Devil Moon." Only here we have that old double standard.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Can you quess who said it?

No prizes. And no tallying responses at this low tech blog. But then you don't have to click anything to find the answer; it follows right after the question.


Who said:

Every time terrorists strike anywhere all of us who believe in democracy and the rule of law must stand together and affirm our firm commitment to fight this scourge resolutely and unitedly.

a) New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd

b) New York Times columnist Paul Krugman

c) New York Times editor Frank Rich

d) India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

e) Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)

f) Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia)

g) Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan)

Answer: The Prime Minister.The quote is drawn from his acceptance speech of July 11 delivered following his receiving an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Oxford University.

But you all knew it was the Prime Minister, didn't you?

Way too easy?

Sure, and that's why there's no prize.

I hope you start the week smiling.

Hat Tip:

Wise words in The London Times

(Welcome visitors from Michelle Malkin, Mudville Gazette and other blogs. Look around all you like.)

In the July 24 London Times (registration may be necessary), Janet Daly responds to events in London, providing clarity and wisdom you rarely see in newspapers such as the NY Times. Here’s part of what she says (For ease of reading, I’ve broken her op-ed into shorter paragraphs).

It was probably bound to happen — if not now, then eventually. There is an all-out war on the streets and almost inevitably somebody was going to be killed by the authorities who was believed to be implicated but then turned out not to be.

Given the peculiarly ruthless tactic of suicide bombing, who could take the risk of allowing someone who seemed to be a plausible suspect to ignite himself in a public place?

Given that we are up against an enemy who states categorically that he “loves death” as opposed to the weak and decadent West which so pathetically clings to life, how could anyone dare to assume that the likely man who chooses to run to the London Underground rather than stop on order is blameless?

The Metropolitan police say this shooting of an apparently innocent man in Stockwell is a “tragedy”, as indeed it is.

But what would the scale of the tragedy have been if they had given him the benefit of the doubt and got it wrong? How many nanoseconds do you have in which to make the choice? And what, as a law enforcement officer, is the inescapable priority?

The Muslim extremists have produced something of a genuine martyr: a victim of what — if he proves to have been Muslim — may be described as the West’s Islamophobia, when he was a victim of the terrorist campaign itself.

We must not equivocate about this. The outrage of the Muslim community will be genuine. The protests of the civil liberties lobby have so far been commendably muted, but the anti-war brigade, who will find yet more grounds for condemning our foreign policy, will be more vociferous than ever.

But we are not to blame — that is, we as a society, we as a democracy, we as a population. We must not lose our grip on the truth: that Britain is a free, tolerant and generous country that has bent over backwards to accommodate its culturally diverse migrants.

So “We must not equivocate?” And “Britain is a free, tolerant and generous country that has bent over backwards to accommodate its culturally diverse migrants?”

Can we ever convince most of the PCs, Democrats and Leftists on both sides of the pond of that?

I hope, so but it’ll be a tall order.

Daly closes with this:

The terrorists have provided the irreducible axiom for this confrontation: “We love death; you love life.” What happened at Stockwell Tube station was a hideous mistake but one that was made in the name of protecting life. There can be no moral equivalence between that killing and the deliberate murder of innocents that was the object of the successful terrorist attack of July 7 and the mercifully unsuccessful one of July 21. Life — and the preciousness of it — is what this is all about. Somehow, we have to hold on to that.

Yes, we do. It'a an important part of why we fight no matter what Sens. Clinton, Durbin, and Kennedy, and NPR, the BBC, the NY and LA Times et al tell us.

There’s probably no chance the NY or LA Times or any of the other major liberal dailies here will publish Daly’s op-ed. That’s truly sad and needs to change.

Hat Tip:

Iraq vet disputes MSM's war reporting

Lt. David M. Lucas has just returned from Iraq where he served more than a year as a platoon leader with the 10th Mountain Division. Today, he has an op-ed in the Knoxville News Sentinel (A Soldier speaks out: The good military is doing often not reported, July 24).

Lucas' main point:

I know that the war my men and I fought is a totally different war than the one I see being reported by almost the entire media. There are a few exceptions to this, but they are generally overwhelmed by the massive anti-war/anti-Bush crowd.

Lucas offers many first hand examples of what he's talking about.

How do MSM reporters manage to miss so much and distort so much of what they do report?

Lucas also has some words for "Support the troops. Bring them home" people.

"Let's support our troops. Bring them home." Please don't ever say those words again. Nothing is so disheartening to our troops who are in harm's way than to hear our own citizens say things like that.

He concludes with this:

Don't pretend to support troops by trying to undercut their efforts at the same time. Just go to bed at night and pray for their safety and thank God that they are there to protect you and your family, no matter your beliefs.

Do the "Support our troops. Bring them home" people really fool anyone, even themselves?

We need to hear more from people like Lt. Lucas who have been in Iraq and "done it."

Thank you, Lt. Lucas for your service as a soldier and a writer. And congratulations on your Bronze Star (Lucas was awarded the Bronze Star for his role in the rescue of two Egyptian hostages in Baghdad in February. You can read about it at this Mudville Gazette post).

Hat Tip:

Democrats' military abuse just got worse

Sen. Ted Kennedy responded to Abu Ghraib with a Senate floor speech accusing America's military of running the same kind of prison system Saddam ran. Sen. Dick Durbin compared our military at Guantanamo to Nazis, communists who ran the Soviet gulag, and Pol Pot's murderers of 2 million. And an angry Sen. Hillary Clinton had no problem with Durbin attacks while demanding Karl Rove apologize for saying liberals offered a soft response to 9/11.

Given the above, an American who respects the military might think, "There isn't much else Democrats can do by way of abusing our military."

Well, one Democrat officeholder just thought of something else. It's a shocker even by Clinton/Kennedy/Durbin standards. A report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette begins:

The family of a Marine who was killed in Iraq is furious with (Pennsylvania's) Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll for showing up uninvited at his funeral this week, handing out her business card and then saying "our government" is against the war.

Rhonda Goodrich of Indiana, Pa., said yesterday that a funeral was held Tuesday at a church in Carnegie for her brother-in-law, Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, 32.

She said he "died bravely and courageously in Iraq on July 10, serving his country."

In a phone interview, Goodrich said the funeral service was packed with people "who wanted to tell his family how Joe had impacted their lives."

Then, suddenly, "one uninvited guest made an appearance, Catherine Baker Knoll."

Michelle Malkin not only links to the Post-Gazette report; she has links to other bloggers posts and some thoughts of her own.

So far Knoll has been unavailable for comment. There's also been no comment from her fellow Democrat, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. Most likely they are available to each other and using the time to work with aides to put a cover story together.

I couldn't find an e-mail address for Knoll but I found one for Rendell here.

Rendell, a former Democrat Party National Committee chair, strikes me as a sensible person. Ask him to pass on your thoughts to his political ally. And be sure to ask him if she was correct in saying "our (Pennsylvania's)government" is against the war.