Saturday, May 10, 2008

Obama Changes His "Unconditional" Position

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs today - - -

In yet another New York Times advocacy piece for Barack Obama, we discover that the Obama campaign is trying to rewrite history again:

Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate, said that “for political purposes, Senator Obama’s opponents on the right have distorted and reframed” his views. Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad.

But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state. Mr. Obama believes “that engagement at the presidential level, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate preparation, can be used to leverage the change we need,” Dr. Rice said. “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”...

That all sounds fine, folks, until Charles Johnson points out the Times didn't tell us - - -

The problem is, Barack Obama did say he’d meet with Iran unconditionally, in front of a lot of people, at the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate last July.

He was specifically and directly asked if he would meet with the leader of Iran (and the leaders of several other “so-called rogue states”) without preconditions, in the first year of his presidency, and his answer was, “I would.”

Democratic Debate Transcript, CNN/YouTube - Council on Foreign Relations.

QUESTION: In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since.

In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous.

There’s some “reframing” going on here, all right. . . .

The rest of Johnson's post is here. Don't miss the video and the update.

Hat tips: Instapundit and some JinC Regulars.

May 10, 1940 and our debt to Churchill

We must never forget May 10, 1940 and our debt to Sir Winston Churchill.

At 5:30 AM that day, Churchill, then eligible for an old age pension, was awakened in his bedroom at the Admiralty. Germany had just launched air and ground attacks on the Low Countries and France. It was not yet certain whether they were probing actions or the start of a major offensive.

Churchill immediately began gathering intelligence. As First Lord of the Admiralty, he called a 6 AM meeting with the Secretaries of State for War and for Air to assess the situation and coordinate strategy.

About an hour later he met with a special military planning committee. Once that meeting was over, he walked to 10 Downing Street to attend the first of three Cabinet meetings that day.

By the time the third Cabinet meeting began in the late afternoon, the British knew the Germans had launched a major offensive.

Most of the meeting was taken up with military questions, but at its end Prime Minister Chamberlain informed his Cabinet colleagues that he did not have sufficient support to form what the crisis called for: a government of national unity.

Therefore, after the meeting, he would go to the palace and submit his resignation to the King George VI. He did not say whom he would recommend the King ask to form a new Government.

The Cabinet Ministers were expecting Chamberlain’s announcement, and they knew he would give King George Churchill’s name.

Later that evening Churchill was called to the palace. The only person to accompany him from the Admiralty was his principal bodyguard, Detective-Inspector Walter Thompson. Churchill didn't say why they were going to the palace.

Thompson later wrote they made the trip back to the Admiralty “in complete silence.” Churchill didn’t speak until after he had gotten out of the car :

”You know why I have been to Buckingham Palace, Thompson?”

“Yes, sir,” I answered, and congratulated him. He looked pleased, but he was tense and strained.

I went on: “I am very pleased that you have at last become Prime Minister, sir, but I wish that the position had come your way in better times, for you have undertaken an enormous task.”

Gravely he replied: “God alone knows how great it is. All I hope is that it is not too late. I am very much afraid it is, but we can only do our best.” Tears came into his eyes, and as he turned away he muttered something to himself.

Then he set his jaw, and with a look of determination, mastering all emotion, he entered the side door of the Admiralty and began to climb the stairs.
Martin Gilbert’s, Winston S. Churchill: Finest Hour, 1939-1941, provides a detailed account of the events mentioned here. See especially Chapters 15 & 16. Thompson's recollection is found in Tom Hickman’s Churchill’s Bodyguard. (pgs. 90-91)

“We're All Gun Nuts Now”

John McCormack at The Weekly Standard:

. . .With both contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination evading the gun control issue as if it were sniper fire, you couldn't blame gun control advocates for feeling bitter.

Yet Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence--the pro-gun control counterweight to the National Rifle Association--says Obama and Clinton are "coming fairly close to delivering the message we'd like."

On licensing and registering guns, Helmke says, they are "being realistic" in recognizing "there's no support for pushing that forward at this stage." His thoughts on the candidates' ducking questions on the D.C. gun ban? "They're politicians, and most politicians on tough calls do not answer." . . .
McCormack’s “We're All Gun Nuts Now” article is here.


I believe the Second Amendment was meant to assure individual citizens the right to keep and bear arms.

I also favor some restrictions of who can own and keep guns and the type of guns involved. But with more than 20,000 gun laws already on the books in this country, I don’t think we need still more laws.

BTW – Does everyone agree that some of the places with the strictest gun laws are also places where guns are most easily available to criminals? I’m thinking DC and NYC, for example.

And no, Obama supporters, I don’t think I’m a bitter person. I don’t even think I’m a “typical white person”, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Clinton as Obama’s VP choice?

Robert Novak says today:

Close-in supporters of Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign are convinced he never will offer the vice presidential nomination to Sen. Hillary Clinton for one overriding reason: Michelle Obama.

The Democratic front-runner's wife did not comment on other rival candidates for the party's nomination, but she has been sniping at Clinton since last summer. According to Obama sources, those public utterances do not reveal the extent of her hostility. …
The rest of Novak’s piece is here.


I don’t know what Ms. Obama’s really saying to the Senator privately about Sen. Clinton as a VP choice.

I don't know how much weight he’ll give what his wife says, assuming she expresses an opinion.

But I can think of some very important reasons for Sen. Obama's not putting Hillary on the ticket.

For one thing, he says he’s “new politics,” whatever they are. Hillary is very “old politics,” and we know what they are.

It would be an odd match with Obama repudiating the “old politics” of the person he picked as his running mate.

For another thing, Hillary has so much “baggage.” Why add her “baggage” to the ticket when Obama already has enough of his own?

I think adding Hillary to the ticket would be a kind of Wright-move.

What do you think?

"The true feminist”" & mother's "scolding"

Fair warning before you read this post: it may leave some of you laughing and others wanting to cry.

Excerpts from an AP report follow, after which my comments are below the star line.

The AP begins - - -

No constituency is more eager to see a woman win the presidency than America's feminists, yet — despite Hillary Rodham Clinton's historic candidacy — the women's movement finds itself wrenchingly divided over the Democratic race as it heads toward the finish.

At breakfast forums, in op-ed columns, across the blogosphere, the debate has been heartfelt and sometimes bitter. …

At times, Bravo, 64, has been dismayed by the harsh criticism directed at women like herself from pro-Clinton feminists.

"I felt it was an ultimatum — vote for Hillary Clinton or you're betraying the women's movement," Bravo said. "It's very self-defeating and alienating, particularly to younger women who, regardless of who they support, don't like to be told, 'Do this. Do that.'"

Clinton supporter Gloria Feldt, former president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, accepts that the women's movement is not single-minded, yet worries that the Obama-Clinton rift is eroding whatever clout it might have.

"We're squandering an opportunity to be seen as a voting bloc that turns elections," Feldt said. "Unless we are working together, in a strategically thought-out effort to vote in our own best interests, we are in danger of never having another election where people will say women can determine the outcome." . . .

Gloria Steinem, a Clinton supporter and icon of the women's movement, riled some younger, pro-Obama feminists with a New York Times op-ed suggesting that [younger feminists] were in denial about America's persisting "sexual caste system."

Ariel Garfinkel, a sophomore at Mount Holyoke College, wrote one of the many counter-arguments in an online column. She and many other young feminists supported Obama because they perceived the Clinton campaign as trying to capitalize on racial divisions and to impugn Obama's patriotism.

"This pattern of old-style politics and adherence to un-feminist values is part and parcel of the campaign Hillary Clinton has run," Garfinkel wrote. "In this race, Barack Obama is the true feminist."

New York-based author Courtney Martin, also an Obama supporter, wrote on Glamour magazine's blog Glamocracy last month that she was not backing Clinton "in part because she reminds me of being scolded by my mother." . . .

The entire article’s here.


Do you see what I mean about laugh/cry?

Sen. Obama’s now “the true feminist.”

But haven't feminists said for years Sen. Clinton's a "true feminist."

What's changed so that now Hillary reminds some feminists of their mothers' scoldings?

And speaking of mothers' scoldings: I can remember when saying something like that was considered sexist. It was worse than saying your wife was a wonderful "gal."

Do the PC Speech Police know about this AP story?

But I don’t want to take all this too far, especially as it’s Mother's Day weekend.

Will someone please pass the Glamour magazine?

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 9, 2008

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

In yesterday's post I quoted from Jon Meacham's Franklin and Winston something FDR is alleged to have said of Churchill in 1939:

“I always disliked him since the time I went to England in 1917 or 1918,” Roosevelt said to Joseph P. Kennedy, the American ambassador to Britain, in a conversation in 1939. “At a dinner I attended he acted like a stinker.”
Kennedy is the only source of that quote.

I can accept that Roosevelt may have said it, but if he did, I'm not sure he meant what he said.

FDR often told visitors what they wanted to hear. Kennedy disliked Churchill and FDR had his eye on the 1940 presidential election. He knew Kennedy’s support would be very helpful with Irish-American Catholic voters.

With that as the backdrop, let’s consider some events which leave me skeptical FDR meant what he may have said about Churchill.

In September, 1939 FDR did something extraordinary. He reached out to Churchill who had just been made First Lord of the Admiralty.

In a letter sent directly to Churchill, FDR said given their common experiences in WW I as administrators of their countries navies, he wanted Churchill to feel free to correspond directly with him on matters about which Churchill felt FDR should be informed and might be helpful.

As far as I know, it was a presidential act without precedent in the Anglo-American relationship.

America’s head of state bypassed the British head of state, King George VI; the head of British government, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain; Britain’s Foreign Office; our State Department and America’s Ambassador in Britain, Joseph P Kennedy; all to invite a member of the Prime Minister’s cabinet to correspond directly with him.

FDR knew Churchill had for years been the Prime Minister's and the Government’s fiercest and most outspoken critic.

FDR not only proposed direct correspondence with Churchill, he wanted it to be confidential, something the British government agreed to after discussions.

Later in September 1939 FDR was reading intelligence reports. He noticed one item suggesting German subs might be planning to attack a British passenger ship.

Normally such intelligence was passed to the British “through channels.”

But FDR decided in this case to do something unusual. He telephoned Churchill directly at his home and delivered the warning. I believe it was their first phone conversation.

There’s more I could say, but can you see why I’m skeptical that FDR really felt Churchill was a "stinker" although I'm not say he didn't lead old Joe Kennedy to beleive that.

I hope you all have a nice weekend.


Obama's plus 7

I don't have the latest on Sen. Obama's poll standings and delegate count , but he's just added 7 states to The Union. Give a listen.

Who said it was Sen. McCain who'd "lost his bearings?"

Obama and “all-too-human transgressions.”

No, I’m not referring to Sen. Obama’s still-living grandmother whom he’s publicly criticized for transgressions he said were racist remarks she made to him in private. I'm leading into a short post by Victor Davis Hanson at NRO, after which I comment below the star line.

Hanson says - - -

Almost imperceptibly to the McCain campaign, I think Obama has already established quite new messianic rules of engagement that will be difficult to overturn: he talks about supposedly illiberal Pennsylvanians as a racial group or quips “typical white person”, associates with the racist Wright, and counts on a solid base that votes 90 percent along racial lines, and you are a racist for being disturbed by that Manichaeism.

He talks of hope/change, new politics, unity, and bipartisanship and you are cynical and hateful for not buying it and instead worrying that he has a serial propensity for distortion (“100 years”) and invective (“lost his bearings”).

The immediate advantage is that the nonbeliever is always ridiculed for his devilish skepticism; the eventual downside for Obama is that the loftier the prophet, the more transparent his all-too-human transgressions.


One of the most important dynamics of the almost certain McCain-Obama match-up involves the willingness of whites to accept the new racial double standard now operating in so many places in America.

Here in Durham, NC Sen. Obama, “the post racial candidate”, received the endorsement of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, the county’s most powerful political action committee.

The Durham Committee restricts membership based on race. It’s the only PAC in Durham to do so.

But neither of the two daily newspapers which circulate in Durham – the Herald Sun and the Raleigh News & Observer – called attention to that.

Early in 2007 when he was working to build support for himself as a “post racial” candidate, Obama called for a U. S. Department of Justice investigation of the attempted frame-up of three white Duke students later declared innocent by NC’s attorney general.

Obama campaigned often in Durham recently. He expressed his appreciation for the Durham Committee’s support and for the support of others who are defendants in civil rights violation suits brought by the three young white men wrongly indicted.

But Obama didn’t say anything about his 2007 call for a DOJ investigation of the frame-up attempt.

I was reminded of what I’ve just said here when I read Hanson’s last sentence: “The immediate advantage is that the nonbeliever is always ridiculed for his devilish skepticism; the eventual downside for Obama is that the loftier the prophet, the more transparent his all-too-human transgressions.”

Mike on Burma, Lebanon and Campaign '08

Here's Mike Williams' letter today.


Things are going from bad to worse in Burma:

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar's junta seized U.N. aid shipments headed for hungry and homeless survivors of last week's devastating cyclone, prompting the world body to suspend further help on Friday.

The U.N. said the aid included 38 tons of high-energy biscuits and arrived in Myanmar on Friday on two flights from Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates.

"All of the food aid and equipment that we managed to get in has been confiscated," U.N. World Food Program spokesman Paul Risley said. "For the time being, we have no choice but to end further efforts to bring critical needed food aid into Myanmar at this time."


At least 65,000 people are dead or missing and entire villages are submerged in the Irrawaddy delta after Saturday's cyclone. Many of the survivors waiting for food, clean water and medicine were crammed into Buddhist monasteries or camped outdoors.

Aid groups warned the area is on the verge of a medical disaster and that thousands of children may have been orphaned. The U.N. estimates 1.5 million people have been "severely affected" and has voiced "significant concern" about the disposal of dead bodies.

"Many are not buried and lie in the water. They have started rotting and the stench is beyond words," Anders Ladekarl, head of the Danish Red Cross….

Things aren’t so hot in Beirut, either:

As many among us have warned several times over the past year, and many articles later, Hezbollah has indeed waged its expected blitzkrieg against the democratically elected Government of Lebanon. Within 24 hours, the pro-Iranian super-militia blocked all accesses to the Beirut International Airport, established an exclusive security zone around the organization’s headquarters in south Beirut, deployed its forces into several Sunni neighborhoods in the capital and erected check points across the country.

Within 48 hours or more the “Party of Allah” may be in control of large areas of the Lebanese Republic. In short, this could mutate into a slow motion coup d’Etat. What’s behind the blitz?

The big picture was very predictable. The Syro-Iranian “axis” which is flaring up various battlefields in the region, from Basra to Gaza, has instructed its local “force” on the Lebanese battlefield to surge against the pro-Western Government of Fuad Seniora.

Hezbollah is a disciplined Iranian asset on the Eastern Mediterranean. All of the arguments advanced by its secretary general Hassan Nasrallah in his last press conference and grievances against the Government have always been raised since the summer of 2005. These criticisms of the cabinet are invoked when a large scale action is ordered by the Tehran strategists….

That’s Dr. Walid Phares writing. For an on the ground report from Lebanon, go here.

In Campaign ’08, Obama tells CNN that McCain is “losing his bearing.” The comment was related to this:

Barack Obama accused John McCain of “smearing him” by claiming that Hamas wants Obama to be President. But this isn’t a smear, it is fact. A spokesman for Hamas, you will recall, did endorse Obama. This report is fairly straightforward….

As for the McCain camp, this will be an early test of their willingness to go toe-to-toe with Obama. Will they let this Obama remark pass? Or set the record straight and make clear Obama is, as he did in the “100 year” fight, fudging the facts?

And we can expect more of this. Every bad fact for Obama or questionable association is a “smear” and every attempt by the McCain camp to set the record straight is “gutter politics.” It is up to McCain’s team to decide whether they will play along or call foul.

Team McCain did indeed cry foul on this one:

First, let us be clear about the nature of Senator Obama's attack today: He used the words 'losing his bearings' intentionally, a not particularly clever way of raising John McCain's age as an issue. This is typical of the Obama style of campaigning.

We have all become familiar with Senator Obama's new brand of politics. First, you demand civility from your opponent, then you attack him, distort his record and send out surrogates to question his integrity. It is called hypocrisy, and it is the oldest kind of politics there is.

It is important to focus on what Senator Obama is attempting to do here: He is trying desperately to delegitimize the discussion of issues that raise legitimate questions about his judgment and preparedness to be President of the United States.

Through their actions and words, Senator Obama and his supporters have made clear that ANY criticism on ANY issue — from his desire to raise taxes on millions of small investors to his radical plans to sit down face-to-face with Iranian President Ahmadinejad – constitute negative, personal attacks.

Senator Obama is hopeful that the media will continue to form a protective barrier around him, declaring serious limits to the questions, discussion and debate in this race.

Senator Obama has good reason to think this plan will succeed. [...]

At least it’s a start for Team McCain.

Ed Morrissey calls Obama Neville Chamberlain, without the umbrella.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Churchill Series – May 8, 2008

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

Yesterday we looked at some of what Jon Meacham said in Franklin and Winston about Churchill and Roosevelt's first meeting in July 1918 at a formal London dinner. FDR attended in his capactiy as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and deliverd a brief speech. Today, more about that meeting and some of what followed.

Here's more from Meacham:

In later years, Churchill would not recall meeting the American visitor. Roosevelt certainly recalled meeting Churchill, however, and long remembered Churchill’s brusqueness. “I always disliked him since the time I went to England in 1917 or 1918,” Roosevelt said to Joseph P. Kennedy, the American ambassador to Britain, in a conversation in 1939. “At a dinner I attended he acted like a stinker.” Roosevelt and Churchill would not be in contact again for another twenty-one years. When they were, Churchill, not Roosevelt, would be the one sounding the trumpet about the indispensability of an “intimate personal relationship.”
Every historian I've read on the subject says Churchill didn't remember their first meeting and FDR was bothered by that. I don't doubt what the historians say.

As to whether FDR told Kennedy in 1939 that he'd disliked Churchill for acting like "a stinker" at the dinner, I want to pause and consider with you.

Kennedy is the source of that remark, which FDR may very well have made.

The question is did FDR really mean what he said about Churchill, or was he perhaps doing a little play-acting for Kennedy?

We know Roosevelt wasn't above such things. In fact, we know that, along with his many admirable virtues, FDR frequently lied to people if doing so advanced his aims.

In 1939 Kennedy was an outspoken appeaser and critic of Churchill. FDR needed Kennedy's support in the 1940 presidential election. Kennedy was the country's best known Irish-American and Catholic.

So you can see what FDR might have been doing.

Tomorrow I'll say some more about the interplay in 1939/40 among FDR, Joe Kennedy and Churchill.

You'll see that for all Joe Kennedy's drive, intelligence, ruthlessness, and experience, he was no match for Churchill or FDR, who used Kennedy for his political ends and then abandoned him.
The quote from Meacham's book can be found here.

Here's another fishy NY Times story

How many times will The New York Times publish a disreputable reporter's work before it learns its lesson?

That’s the question blogger Jeff Poor asks in a post I’ve excerpted, after which I comment below the star line.

From Poor’s post - - -

. . . Perhaps the third time will be the charm. Alexei Barrionuevo has come under fire for plagiarism on two separate occasions, but the Times printed a story March 27 ("Salmon Virus Indicts Chile's Fishing Methods") by Barrionuevo anyway, prompting a response from the salmon industry.

Barrionuevo quotes Adolfo Flores in his article, identifying him as Port Director of Castro, Chiloe Island. But in a letter to the Times May 2, Eric McErlain, writing on behalf of Salmon of the Americas Inc (an industry group), pointed out major problems with the report.

"In actuality, Mr. Flores is simply a security guard who works for a third party contractor," McErlain wrote. "I've enclosed an English translation of a letter from Patricio Cuello, the general manager of the Port of Puerto Montt, which administers Castro, confirming this." . . .

Poor’s entire post is here.

So The Times publishes a story by Alexei Barrionuevo who it knows has a deserved reputation as a disreputable reporter.

And it doesn’t even bother to fact-check Barrionuevo to make sure Adolfo Flores is Port Director of Castro, Chiloe Island.

Yet NYT's top heavy with editors and claims to be “the journal of record.”

So why didn’t The Times fact-check?

I think it was because Barrionuevo had given The Times the kind of story it wanted.

At The Times getting the facts right is not nearly as important as spinning the day’s meta-narrative.

Barrionuevo has a future at the NYT.

But where?

What about this: With Summer almost here, The Times can ask Barrionuevo to serve as vacation fill-in for columnist and former Enron consultant Paul Krugman?

It would be “a seamless transition.”

Hat tip: AC

Responding to Send U.S. Justice Department to NC comments

Yesterday I posted Send the U.S. Justice Department to North Carolina.

Here I want to respond to parts or all of comments on its thread.

Commenters' remarks are in italics; mine are in plain

Let's begin - - -

Seeing the absolute lack of concern by our elected officials, state and federal, for issues such as this makes me ashamed to be a Tarheel. I have asked both United States Senators, my own State Senator, and one of the Republican gubernatorial candidates to speak out about the grand jury system that allowed indictments to be returned based on bald-faced lies by two police officers who have been proven to be serial perjurers. So far, no response from any of them. One of them, Liddy Dole, proved she didn't even know what had occurred in her own state! This is not a partisan issue--Democrat and Republican alike are clueless.

We can agree NC leaders of both parties – with few exceptions - have been reluctant to ask the Justice Department to investigate the travesties which have been uncovered.

But I don’t think it’s because they’re clueless, although Sen. Dole certainly was at one point during the Duke frame-up attempt.

I think a lot of factors explain why the DOJ hasn’t yet come in, and in fact has refused a request from NC AG Roy Cooper that it do so in the Duke frame-up attempt, and what Cooper and the rest of us know is an ongoing cover-up of the framing attempt.

The major factor working against a DOJ investigation of the Duke/Nifong/Durham travesties is the skin color of the victims. If their skin was black instead of white, DOJ would have been here long ago.

Then again, if their skin had been black, they wouldn’t have been frame-up victims in the first place, would they?

I think even Mike Nifong and Duke's board of trustee chair Bob Steel will tell you that.

Where were all those "liberals" in the Duke lacrosse case?

Many of them were very busy in 2006 enabling the frame-up attempt, stirring racial passions, and working hard in Mike Nifong’s primary and general election campaigns.

Recently many of those same people have been working hard to help Sen. Barack Obama, the self-described "post racial candidate," win the presidential primary race and former Nifong crony and current chief assistant district attorney Tracey Cline win the remainder of the DA's term to which Nifong was elected but later forced to resign following his disbarment.

While the accused were not going to be on death row, thirty years can be a slow death. As for the US Justice Department, it continues to disappoint. It can go after Scooter Libby for a non-crime, but it sees nothing wrong when DA's frame innocent victims.

I’m very sorry to say you’re right. We’ve got to work to change things, so that in the future you won’t be right.

And the sooner the better, with a broad mandate to investigate misconduct by all elected and appointed NC officials. Got to start somewhere.

I think you’ve put your finger on another reason the DOJ hasn’t come in. There were so many connected to the framing attempt and the ongoing coverup that once you start looking into it there’s no telling where it will lead. This wasn’t just a case of a single rouge prosecutor hiding say the fingerprints of someone else who was at the crime scene and had a motive. The Duke/Nifong/Durham framing attempt and cover-up involves many in Durham and at Duke and perhaps elsewhere.

The Justice Dept. will race to investigate a suspected hate crime almost anywhere; but nothing in the world can get it to investigate Durham.

I'm disillusioned, disappointed, and disgusted.

I don’t blame you for feeling as you do. Some smart people tell me they think there’s no chance the DOJ will ever investigate the Duke/Nifong/Durham case.

But others, equally as smart, speculate the DOJ might still come in if there’s discovery and a trial that reveals what many people think they’ll reveal – a systematic, extensive frame-up attempt and cover-up by certain police, a DA and some of his staff, and Duke University trustees and senior administrators, plus lower echelon Duke employees who were pressured by Duke higher-ups to do things they’d not otherwise have done.

In that case these folks reason, public pressure might be so great as to force the DOJ to launch an investigation.

I thank each of you for commenting.


Law prof to certain Duke faculty: "stop digging"

A few weeks back I published Duke faculty hoax-believers are rewriting their history and Duke’s hoax-believers and “Sokal’s Hoax.” I also linked to KC Johnson's post: A Lubiano “Publication.”

Today, at The Volakh Conspiracy Northwestern University Law Professor Jim Lindgren posts extracts from KC's post and adds some comments of his own.

What follows are Lindgren's introduction, some extracts he used from KC's post here in italics; and them Lindgren's comments in plain.

Now portions of Lindgren's post - - -

KC Johnson has a long post taking apart a recent scholarly article on the Duke Rape Hoax by three faculty members — Wahneema Lubiano, Michael Hardt, and Robyn Weigman -- the first two of whom were involved in stirring up hatred against the Lacrosse players.

Apparently, some of the Social Text article is unintentionally funny:

. . . Lubiano, Weigman, and Hardt had little difficulty in identifying the true victims of 2006-2007 events in Durham—themselves, and their fellow members of the Group of 88.

Although the Lubiano Trio’s article does contain footnotes, the Group members elected to supply not even one citation for any of these outlandish claims. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to figure out why.

What does the inclusion of these unsourced ramblings say about the editorial policies of the Duke University Press journal Social Text? . . .

Here is what the scholars wrote in Social Text regarding the Group of 88:

[They] would become the objects not simply of hostility, on campus and off, but also of enormous faux-juridical speculation that sets forth the “legal” case against them and establishes the terms of the judgment they “owe” to make amends. (Typically we should resign, work as maids for the players’ families, return to the slave quarters, apologize, or simply hide in shame. At the very least, as Joseph W. Bellacosa has argued in a Newsday opinion piece, “Duke Faculty Should Be Shunned by Students.”). . . . In the language of the blogs, we were not just communists but traitors, and the fields of study we occupied were not areas of scholarly inquiry but pathological hothouses in the service of anti-American sentiment and reverse racism.
Here is the confusingly written footnote supporting the last quoted sentence:
A number of blogs have focused on discrediting the scholarly projects of specific members of the so-called 88 as a means of casting suspicion on their possible standing in the Communist Party and their complicity with terrorism and anti-Israeli sentiment. They have also been found guilty of numerous crimes, including treason, sedition, and tax evasion.
First, I strongly doubt that suggestions that the offending professors should "work as maids" or "return to the slave quarters" were "Typically" offered by their critics.

Indeed, in a very quick Google search, I couldn't find any instances of these two suggestions. Such disgusting insults must have been relatively rarely made by their editorial and blogger critics, if made by them at all.

Second, the way that the footnote's comment about being a communist is presented makes it appear that such a claim is unwarranted. But according to a mainstream news magazine review of Johnson's book, Michael Hardt is a "self-described 'joyful communist.'"

Is Hardt now implying that he was misquoted, or is he objecting to people describing him in the same terms that he describes himself? Certainly, there is nothing sleazy about calling a self-described communist a communist, just as it would be fair to call a self-described fascist a fascist.

Third, as KC Johnson notes, it was bad form for the professors not to have supported their claims about the blogs with actual citations to the offending posts. Assuming that the professors are not engaged in their own little hoax, I wonder whether their complaints about blogs aren't mostly about commenters to the blogs, rather than the posts of actual bloggers.

Given the three professors' documented sloppiness with the truth and their unusual claims in their new article, the editors of Social Text should have required citations before allowing them to make such questionable claims in a scholarly article. (Indeed, it's not too late for the editors to publish an errata online giving citations for each claim I quoted and indicating which of them were actually made by bloggers themselves.)

Last, why do these Duke professors bother to write about the Duke lacrosse hoax if they are not going to deal with their own actions honestly?

If they can't simply face the truth, they should put down their shovels and stop digging.

Lindgren's entire post "KC Johnson on New Duke Hoax Scholarship" is here.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Dick Morris: Is Hillary Looking to 2012?

Former Clinton White House aide turned Clintons' critic Dick Morris speculates on what Sen. Clinton will do now:

OK, so Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is staying in the presidential race despite losing among elected delegates, facing a slimming lead among superdelegates, losing the popular vote and behind by 2-to-1 in the number of states carried. She slogs on, hoping against hope for a sudden turnaround in the race.

Apart from the psychological reasons for her stubbornness, is there a more subtle political calculation going on?

Is she continuing her race so as to have a platform from which to continue to bash Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the hopes of so damaging him that he can’t win the general election? Is she doing this to keep her options alive for the 2012 presidential race? . . .
Morris allows that Clinton is entitled to stay in the race. But he suggests she’s running “a negative, slash-and-burn campaign.”

Morris compares Clinton’s current “negative” campaign to that of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s once it was all but certain Sen. John McCain would be the GOP presidential nominee. Huckabee, Morris says, “didn’t knock McCain. He just articulated the case for his own candidacy.”

But according to Morris:
Hillary won’t avail herself of that option because it does not serve her long-term fallback position: a shot at the nomination in 2012.

If Obama is elected this year, he will seek reelection in 2012 and Hillary would have to face taking on an incumbent in a primary in her own party if she wanted to run, a daunting task. But if McCain wins, the nomination in 2012 will be open.

And it might be worth having. McCain will be 76 years old and the Republican Party will have been in power for 12 years. Not since FDR and Truman has a party lasted that long in power. When the Republicans tried to do so, in 1980 and 1992, they fell flat on their face. [Morris is wrong about the GOP in 1980 having “been in power for 12 years.” Democrat Jimmy Carter was president in 1980. But who can blame Morris for trying to forget the Carter years? -- JinC]

Hillary is using white, blue-collar fears of Barack Obama to try to stop him from getting nominated or elected.

She is playing on his “elitism” by hammering him on blue-collar issues and is mincing no words in painting him as a stranger to blue-collar white America.

Hillary is attracting the votes of cops, firefighters, construction workers, union members. Are they in love with Hillary? They can’t stand her.

But they are terrified of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers and the various influences to which Obama seems to be subject.

By playing on those fears, Hillary is undermining Obama’s ability to get elected.
The entire column’s here.


Sen. Clinton's not running "a negative slash-and-burn" campaign. Most of what both candidates have done during the primary campaign amounts to "patty cake" between two of the Senate's most liberal members with identical records.

Yes, Hillary's mentioned Rev. Jeremiah Wright a few times. How could she not? But she hasn't pushed the question about Obama that's troubling millions of Americans: How could he sit in the pews for 20 years and then tell us with a straight face he never knew what Wright was saying?

Moving on.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that in her most private moments Sen. Clinton realizes ’08 is very likely not her year and hopes ’12 will be.

But I’d be very surprised to learn she thinks the best way to position herself for ’12 is to now engage in “a negative, slash-and-burn campaign” against Sen. Obama.

That IMO is the worst thing she could do right now.

Assuming he gets the nomination, if Obama wins in Nov. a Clinton “slash-and-burn” now would diminish whatever influence Hillary would have in an Obama administration. She could also find herself somewhat isolated from her Senate Democratic colleagues.

And it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that she’d face a "pay back" primary fight to retain the Dems’ Senate nomination in ’12 when she’s up for reelection.

Looking to ’12, Hillary’s best strategy is to “cool it” now and go the Huckabee route. Then hope McCain defeats Obama during a campaign in which she’s seen as doing all she can to help elect Obama.

If that doesn’t happen, the problems she’s having now getting blacks to vote for her will be nothing compared to the problems she would have with blacks in ’12, even if her opponent were an albino of Swedish decent.

And then there's this question: If somehow Hillary could now wrest the nomination from Obama with a “slash-and-burn,” what would the nomination be worth with millions of angry blacks staying home in Nov. or voting for McCain?

Look for Hillary to start to cool things.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 7, 2008

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

Many people think Churchill and FDR meet for the first time in December 1941 at the White House. Others think it was at Placentia Bay in August 1941 at what became known as the Atlantic Charter meeting. But as some of you no doubt know, their first meeting took place on July 29, 1918 at a dinner at Gray’s Inn, London.

Jon Meacham, author of Franklin and Winston, tells us something about the event:

In the opening hours of a mission to wartime Europe in July 1918, Franklin Roosevelt, then thirty-six and working for the Navy Department, looked over a typewritten “Memorandum For Assistant Secretary” to discover what was in store for him in London.

Reading the schedule’s description of his evening engagement for Monday, July 29, Roosevelt learned that he was “to dine at a function given for the Allied Ministers Prosecuting the War.”

Hosted by F. E. Smith, a government minister and good friend of Winston Churchill’s, the banquet was held in the hall of Gray’s Inn in London. It was a clear evening-the wind was calm-and Roosevelt and Churchill, the forty-three-year-old former first lord of the Admiralty who was then minister of munitions, mingled among the guests below a portrait of Elizabeth I. […]

The Gray’s Inn dinner was a glittering occasion, with high British officials going out of their way to pay homage to Roosevelt as the representative of their American ally. […]

Then Roosevelt — to his “horror,” he said-was unexpectedly asked to say a few words. He stumbled a bit as he began. Uncertainly, trying to find the right note, Roosevelt said he had been “given to understand that I should not be called upon to speak” and in his nervousness, looking around at the faces of his hosts, began to talk about the importance of the personal in politics and war.[…]
When they met again in 1941 at Placentia Bay, Roosevelt reminded Churchill of their first meeting.

Churchill couldn’t recall it which, as you'd guess, irritated FDR.

But the two leaders got on with doing their work.

Tomorrow I’ll post again about the two statesmen’s first meeting and some subsequent events related to it.
The passages from Meacham used in this post may be found here.

What did Tracey Cline know and do when?

This is a 1,2, 3 post.

1) Excerpts from the AP’s report of Mike Nifong crony and current Durham chief assistant district attorney Tracey Cline’s victory in yesterday’s Democratic primary race to complete the remainder of Nifong’s term as DA after he was forced to resign following his disbarment.

2) Excerpts from attorney and Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren’s Greta Wire blog post today expressing her understandable outrage in response to Cline’s election victory.

3) Some JinC comments.

Let’s begin - - -

1) - - - Under the headline - “Cline wins Dem primary for Durham DA, job tainted by Nifong” – the AP reported:

Two years after Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong began his ill-fated pursuit of the Duke lacrosse rape case, voters turned to 1 of his colleagues to take the office beyond the scandal.

Tracey Cline won the Democratic primary for district attorney Tuesday night, beating three challengers in an election that focused as much on a trouble-filled past as the future.

With all but one precinct counted, Cline had 46% of the vote in unofficial results. Former prosecutor Freda Black was second with 34%, while private practice lawyer Keith Bishop was third with 13%. Assistant District Attorney Mitchell Garrell had 7%.

No Republicans are in the race, making it likely Cline will claim the office made infamous by Nifong and his disastrous prosecution of 3 Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape. …
The rest of the AP’s story's here.

2) - - - Van Susteren responded at her blog Greta Wire [excerpts]:
If I were a voter in Durham County, I would have wanted to cross examine Tracey Cline about what she knew about Mike Nifong’s handling of the Duke Lacrosse case. She worked in the office at the time the case was the high profile case in the office…and I can’t believe it was not discussed a great deal.

If it was not discussed, I would like to know why she did not quiz Nifong about it.

Certainly she heard all the lawyers on TV and in the local press complaining about his handling of it as early as 2 weeks after the dancer was at the house.

Important issues - including the withholding of evidence — were constantly discussed on TV.

Every Assistant DA in that office while Nifong was handling that case should have had the courage to step forward….before I would vote for her, I would want to know why she did not.

Prosecutors have enormous power — and communities must be confidant that those with great courage hold those jobs.
3) - - - My comments:
I’m with Greta. What about you?

Why haven't Durham’s two print publications – The Herald Sun and Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle – addressed in editorials the critical issues regarding Cline and the attempted frame-up of three Duke students Greta's addressed?

It was no surprise that the Herald Sun endorsed Cline. The paper’s been anti-Duke students from the time Crystal Mangum and Nifong began telling their lies with enablement from Duke’s trustees, senior administration and most of its faculty.

But why did The Chronicle’s editorial board, which claims to represent Duke's students, remain silent during the primary campaign?

Couldn’t at least some of The Chronicle’s editorial board members think of a few important questions Cline should’ve answered before yesterday’s election?

So what if the questions upset President Brodhead, the trustees and those faculty members who did the most to support what Nifong did, and what DPD Inv. Himan testified Cline did?

Is that any reason not to ask them?

There’s one thing we can all count on: Attorneys for the Duke students in the civil rights suits brought against Duke and Durham will have plenty of questions to ask Cline.

When we all hear those questions, even some of the most credulous H-S and TC readers may ask: “Now why didn’t my newspaper ask those question?”

In the meantime, the editors at both papers keep telling us how good they are.

Hat tip: Archer 05

Send the U.S. Justice Department to North Carolina

In The NY Times today:

The release of the third death row inmate in six months in North Carolina last week is raising fresh questions about whether states are supplying capital-murder defendants with adequate counsel, even as an execution on Tuesday night in Georgia ended a seven-month national suspension.

In all three cases, North Carolina appeals courts found that evidence that would have favored the defendants was withheld from defense lawyers by prosecutors or investigators. In two of the cases, including that of Levon Jones, who was released on Friday after 14 years on death row, the courts said the defendants’ lawyers had failed to mount an adequate defense. Nationwide, Mr. Jones’s release was the sixth in a year.

John Holdridge, director of the A.C.L.U. Capital Punishment Project, which provided representation for Mr. Jones, said the successful appeals showed that the problem with the death penalty was not the method of execution — the issue ruled on by the Supreme Court last month — but instead “poor people getting lousy lawyers.”

“All these states are gearing up to start executing people again, and nobody seems to be concerned about these systemic problems,” Mr. Holdridge said. …
The rest of the story’s here.

Attorney and Fox News’ On The Record’s Greta Van Susteren reacts at her Greta Wire blog:

It is time to send the United States Department of Justice into North Carolina…and prosecutors who are withholding evidence need to have the full force of the law coming down on them.

…..for the 3rd time in 6 months, a death row inmate in North Carolina (yes, death row!!!) was released because of misconduct…..the courts having found, according to the NY Times linked below, that evidence that would have favored the defendants was withheld from defense lawyers by prosecutors and investigators.

Many of you were flipped out to learn about former prosecutor Nifong ….and to think the penalty in the Duke Lacrosse case was “merely” about 30 years in prison!! This is DEATH. Something is very, very, very wrong with the North Carolina state system and the US Justice Department needs to investigate it now.

The Justice Department should not turn its back on going after prosecutors who withhold evidence.


I don't know what's worse: that such disgraceful and possibly criminal activity by prosecutors and investigators goes on in the first place; or that most of North Carolina's political and judicial leaders have for years reacted to the kind of news we read today with what amounts to: "Gee, yes, that's awful. A stain on the old Tar Heel State. Now can we go back to business as usual?"

It's past time that North Carolina's Democratic Governor Mike Easley and its Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper joined with our Republican U.S. Senators Elizabeth Dole and Robert Barr to publicly call for the kind of investigation Van Susteren's calling for.

To his credit, Cooper did call for a Justice Department investigation into the Duke frame-up attempt but was turned down.

Hat tip: Archer 05

Mike's letter: Burma first; then Campaign '08 items

Here's today's electronic letter from Mike Williams, the best non-blogging blogger I know.


First things first. Before we get to Campaign 2008, there’s a tragedy unfolding in Burma. Cyclone Nargis has already claimed 22,000 lives, with some 40,000 more unaccounted for. Then there’s this:

Millions of Burmese live in the disaster zone, now cut off from essential services. The wounded, displaced and vulnerable are waiting for help, but they cannot wait for long and the clock is ticking.

The tragedy is that these people do not have to die. Response to the 2004 tsunami demonstrated that rapid, targeted relief can make an enormous difference in the aftermath of a disaster. Yet such help is being denied to the people of Burma by their own government, which is accountable to no one and so has no incentive to act.

It is to be hoped that the United Nations can stir itself to take some action both to help the Burmese and to condemn the disgraceful behavior of this junta, which may well prove far more deadly to the country than Cyclone Nargis.

Speaking of the UN, did you know that we are about to kick in 22% ($440 million) of the $2 billion Turtle Bay claims it needs for renovations?

About yesterdays primaries, Drudge looks to have gotten it mostly right in NC, where Obama cruised to a 14 point win. In Indiana, Clinton eked out a 51% to 49% victory. This was Ed Morrissey’s second scenario:

Hillary narrowly wins Indiana and loses big in North Carolina - Obama can claim some recovery for his campaign, but Hillary can still show a win, making this a murky outcome for the superdelegates. This would have everyone focusing on the demographics to see where Hillary got her votes and where Obama resonates. Hillary would remind people that North Carolina always looked like a big Obama victory anyway, and that she still demonstrates better strength in middle America.

About those demographics:

[Obama’s] victory in North Carolina depended heavily on his overwhelming (91%) share of the black vote, which made up about a third of the primary electorate. Mrs. Clinton won 61% of white Democrats in North Carolina, according to the exit polls, and…also broke even among independents. Clearly Mr. Obama's early promise of a transracial, postpartisan coalition has dimmed as the campaign has progressed and voters have learned more about him.

The controversy over his 20-year association with his pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, seems to have hurt in particular. About half of North Carolina Democrats said the Wright issue mattered to them, and they voted decisively for Senator Clinton. The former First Lady won easily among late deciders, which also suggests that Mr. Obama's rocky recent performance has cost him. And the Chicagoan continued his poor showing with rural voters….

Exit polls in Indiana showed about half the voters saying the [Wright] controversy was an important factor in their vote. Those who said the…situation influenced their decision were leaning heavily toward Clinton, while those who dismissed his importance were leaning nearly as strongly toward Obama.

The exit polls also showed that Clinton was continuing to win strong support from working-class white voters, a pivotal group that Obama has been struggling to win over. Two-thirds of working-class whites were backing Clinton, while blacks were overwhelmingly supporting Obama.

Obama won the population centers, including Marion, Allen and St. Joseph counties, as well as the college counties of Monroe and Tippecanoe, where Indiana University and Purdue University are located. Clinton won the rural and small-town voters, worried about a sinking economy and soaring prices. Her proposal for a federal gasoline tax this summer — which Obama had dismissed as political pandering — was aimed squarely at those folks.

Although there was a record turnout statewide, in my rural NC county it was only 6%. John Hood, again:

In North Carolina, the demographic number-crunchers proved to be better predictors of the outcome than most of the public pollsters. The black share of the Democratic vote exceeded a third, while Clinton got a bit less than the two-thirds of the white vote she would have needed to produce a competitive result. Turnout was massive in the Triangle area [Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill], where Obama devastated Clinton among upscale voters and the young. Turnout was less impressive in the small towns and rural areas down east and through the Piedmont where the Clintons had more of a potential following. Her best counties were in the western mountains, not exactly the place that typically decides statewide Democratic primaries.

A single-digit loss in North Carolina wouldn’t have stung the Clinton campaign much. They had come to expect a loss. It was factored into their popular-vote strategy as a hurdle to overcome by winning big margins in the upcoming contests in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico. But a 14-point, 220,000-or-so-vote blowout? In a stroke, this result erased the popular-vote gain Clinton won in Pennsylvania.

Turning to Indiana, Clinton managed only a modest victory. Sure, her team immediately spun the win as a major achievement because of Obama’s media-attracting tenure as senator from a neighboring state, but there’s not a lot of cyclonic action in that spin. He is a freshman, after all. The truth of the matter is that Indiana was enough like Ohio and Pennsylvania to give Clinton a real opportunity to keep her momentum alive. It just didn’t work out for her. Team Clinton (and Operation Chaotics) may feel a crushing sense of disappointment, but that’s life. My advice is to try not to be bitter about it.

Here’s what I think happens next. The Clintons won’t be willing to go out on Tuesday’s poor showing. They’ll wait to win the West Virginia and Kentucky contests, at least. But the uncommitted super-delegates are going to stop trickling and start streaming into the Obama fold….

Please don’t forget Burma.


"Liberals' new cause: Religious extremism"

At today James Kirchick, assistant editor of the liberal New Republic, offers “Liberals’ new cause: Religious extremism.”

Kirchick castigates liberals and Leftists who’ve excused and even relished Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s vile racism and anti-Americanism. Here are excerpts from Kirchick, followed by my comments below the star line.

. . .Indeed, many on the left are trying to outdo one another comparing great historical figures to Wright, whose most proximate antecedent would be a black, religious Lyndon LaRouche.

Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell called Wright “Our Jeremiah,” in that he is akin to the “biblical truth tellers who regularly warned the government that divine destruction was imminent if the nation continued to oppress the powerless.” She then decided to insult the very notion of historical memory by comparing Wright to Frederick Douglass.

Don Wycliff, former public editor of the Chicago Tribune, was perplexed as to what all the fuss over Wright was about. “I’m trying to figure out what it was that got everybody’s shorts into a twist,” he wrote in Commonweal magazine. (Wycliff’s bewilderment over the reaction to Wright’s lies and hyperbole does not speak well to his skills as an ombudsman.)

The double standard some liberals have employed in response to Wright makes one seriously consider their oft-stated preference for rationality, reason and secularism over superstition and prejudice.

Wright attacks capitalism throughout his sermons, an odd ideological target for a man who reportedly drives a Porsche and whose grateful congregants are building him a $1 million, four-garage home in a predominantly white suburb of Chicago (so much for being “unapologetically black”).

He has also praised Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Libya’s Muammar al-Qadhafi. So it’s really no wonder that a huckster such as Wright has emerged as some sort of “reality-based community” folk hero.

The political left finds common cause with the religious left and is apparently willing to overlook exactly the sort of racist sectarianism that it would be so quick to condemn were its perpetrator a white conservative.

Last Monday, Wright claimed that criticism directed toward him represents “an attack on the black church.”

With this shot across the bow, Wright perpetrated a solipsistic conflation of the mainstream African-American religious tradition (which, despite the protestations of his apologists, he does not represent) with his own bigoted paranoias: anti-Zionism, anti-white racism and the lie (especially dangerous in the black community, where HIV infection is skyrocketing) that the government created the virus to kill African-Americans.

As much as Obama may now try to separate himself from his former preacher, he unwittingly justified Wright’s barnstorming performance with his initial justification that “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.”
Unfortunately, some in the reality-based community seem to agree.

Kirchick’s entire essay is here.


Be sure to read the whole thing.

Perhaps my memory is fooling me, but Kirchick’s calling out of his fellow liberals who are Wright-apologists is something which in the 50s and 60s I’d have expected to see in the editorial columns of papers such as The New York Times and Boston Globe.

But no more.

Kirchick’s essay, like Roger Simon’s which I posted about here, is a service to America.

Wright and his enablers need to be roundly criticized again and again, just as Rev. Jerry Falwell deserved our unrelenting criticisms. As we’ve seen throughout history, if you don’t label and expose extremists for what they are, they can move quickly and with disastrous consequences to the power centers of government and other vital societal organizations.

I expect the Left to embrace Wright. He speaks its language and serves its purposes.

But to have watched so many liberals these past few months excuse and embrace Wright’s vile isms has been shocking.

Do those liberals know what they’re telling us about themselves?

Message to James Kirchick: Thank you for a superb essay.

Question for Have you decided there’s a place for an electronic newspaper that prints “the truth without fear or favor?”

Mind you, I’m not saying you’re that. I haven’t read you enough. But my fingers are crossed.

You Won't Go Wrong With John Stossel

ABC 20/20 investigative reporter and author John Stossel is one of my favorite pundits. But I almost passed on his column today at That’s because it’s about Arianna Huffington.

Arianna Huffington? Ho-hum.

But I gave the column a glance; wound up reading it all; and was glad I did.

It was not because of what Stossel reports Huffington said during an interview, but for what he did with her comments. Here’s some of it:

… I interviewed her for "20/20" last week ( because I was impressed by the success of the website she created. In just three years she made the Huffington Post a hot liberal opinion site.

What happened to Huffington's beliefs? In 1994, she worked to promote the Gingrich Revolution. She appeared at political events with Bob Dole.

"I definitely called myself a conservative," she told me. "I actually believed that the private sector would be able to address a lot of the issues that I believed were very important, like taking care of those in need. And then I saw firsthand how difficult it was. ...

"One of the problems with the Right is that they don't believe in facts, and they don't believe in evidence. And I was willing to change my mind, confronted with new evidence. And we would all be better off if we were willing to look at new evidence."

So she turned to big government.

"What we need is serious government policies to address poverty."

But they don't work, I said.

"They don't work as well as they should be working, but there's a lot more we can do."

She believes the old AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) program helped the poor and therefore welfare reform was not a good thing.

"[Reform was] not a success. A lot of people have been left without job training and therefore without the ability to really lead productive lives."

I pointed out that since welfare reform, eight million people left the welfare rolls ( and, and many found jobs they like, jobs that pay better than welfare.

Although her favorite political candidates say life for the poor has gotten worse, incomes of the poorest Americans are actually higher today (

Confronted with a chart showing that, Huffington acknowledged that lower-income people are generally better off.

"In general. In general ... But you know we have over 30 million Americans living below the poverty line."

But the Census Bureau says the percentage of families living below the poverty line fell from 11 percent in 1996 to 9.8 percent in 2006 (

The percentage of single mothers below the poverty line fell from 32.6 percent in 1996 to 28.3 in 2006 (

That looks like progress to me.
There’s more like that before Stossel closes with this that left me smiling:
Huffington has also joined the war on global warming. "We have two Priuses," she says.

I pointed out that she also has a $7-million house that burns more carbon than a hundred people in the Third World.

She said: "There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes -- all those things are contradictions. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle."

That honesty is a relief. If only she and others would own up to the other contradictions in the Left's call for endlessly intrusive government.
The entire column’s here.

It’s title: The Left Is Wrong.

True enough.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 6, 2008

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

The Conservatives swept the 1924 General Election. Shortly thereafter Churchill was invited to meet with Stanley Baldwin, who would serve as Prime Minister in the new government.

The invitation surprised Churchill who knew it could only mean Baldwin was planning to offer him a post in the new government. Since he had only recently been a member of the Liberal Party, had run in the election as an independent candidate (although with tacit Conservative support), and had not even yet rejoined the Conservative Party, Churchill thought whatever post he’d be offered would be a minor one.

Many of Churchill’s friends urged him to accept whatever post he was offered, however minor it might be. They reasoned it could only help revive his political career, then at a low point.

When they met, Baldwin asked Churchill if he’d be willing to serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer, then as now the second most important Cabinet post.

Churchill later recorded he told Baldwin:

This fulfills my ambition. I still have my father’s robe as Chancellor. I shall be proud to serve you in this splendid Office.
But Churchill added that he only spoke that way because it was “a formal and important conversation.” What he'd really wanted to say was:
Will a bloody duck swim?
Among the many congratulatory letters Churchill received was one from George Lambert, a former Liberal Party chairman who had served with Churchill in the Admiralty from 1911 to 1915:
Winston dear boy, I have got a fair instinct for politics. I think I shall live to see you as Prime Minister.
Lambert, who entered Parliament in 1891, lived to see his prediction fulfilled. In July 1940, two months after Churchill assumed the premiership, Lambert called his leadership “incomparably the most brilliant that I can remember, save perhaps that of Mr. Gladstone."
All material for this post can be found on pages 464-65 in Martin Gilbert’s Churchill: A Life, except Lambert’s July, 1940 assessment which can be found on page 696 in Gilbert’s Finest Hour: 1939-1941. gives the AP a "move over"

It used to be that on the afternoon of an election like the one we’re having today in North Carolina, the Associated Press’ wire carried a story with a lot of “what to look for tonight” and demographic information, plus quotes from state-based political experts.

Parts, but usually not much, of the story appeared the next day in hundreds of newspapers across America .

However, the AP’s story often served as the major "information base” for opinion columnists and editorialists at local newspapers.

They put on their “pundit hats” and "explained" to their credulous readers “the results in North Carolina.”

No matter that the columnists and editors knew almost nothing in the AP's story before they read it. It was just "read it, rewrite it and print it."

Anyway, the kind of story the AP used to “feed” to its subscriber newsrooms appeared this afternoon.

But not anywhere on the AP wire that I could find.

But I did find “the story” here at the new “Net political newspaper” –

Take a look at it.

I think, in which I have no financial interest, today gave the “old media” AP a “move over” push.

What do you think?

NY Times strikes back for Obama

New York's ( “All the news that helps Obama”) Times headlines at its blog The Caucus:

Obama Strikes Back With Negative Advertisement
NYT follows with a story which begins:
As the campaigning for the Indiana and North Carolina primaries comes to a close, the Democratic presidential candidates are letting loose on one another over the TV airwaves.

Just hours after Hillary Rodham Clinton revealed a new advertisement attacking Barack Obama for not supporting a gas tax holiday, the Obama camp is hitting back with a negative spot called “Hometown.”

Mr. Obama’s advertisement accuses Mrs. Clinton of ...
The rest of the story’s here.

The NYT's headline could have been:
Obama Lashes Out With Negative Ad
Or this:
Clinton, Obama Air Negative Ads
That last headline favors neither candidate. It's what headline writers called "a neutral." It recognizes that both candidates have been running negative ads.

The Obama Lashes Out With Negative Ad headline would've been more accurate in this particular case. Obama was responding to a Clinton ad and he surely was lashing out.

But only the Obama Strikes Back With Negative Advertisement headline presented an excuse for Obama’s running the ad by putting the blame on the Clinton campaign for a negative ad to which Obama stuck back.

That The Times, at the end of a hotly contested campaign, would use the headline it did instead of a neutral headline I think is telling.

How about you?

More McClatchy buyouts. No package details

The liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer is one of a number of papers owned by the McClatchy News Company.

As McClatchy's newspapers have lost circulation and ad revenue, the company's been cutting jobs.

Job cuts at the N&O have been going on for many months. ( See JinC posts here and here)

Now at AOL Financial we read - - -

The [McClatchy owned] Charlotte Observer says it expects to reduce the newspaper's work force by less than 5 percent with a series of voluntary buyouts offered to some employees.

The paper reported Monday that executives say they need to trim staff in the wake of declining advertising revenue. They would not say how many of the Observer's less than 1,200 employees will receive a buyout offer.

Editor Rick Thames stressed the program is voluntary, describing each buyout offer as ``a proposal, not a done deal.''

In a note to employees, publisher Ann Caulkins said The Observer also plans to eliminate 13 part-time telemarketing positions. She said those workers will be offered severance packages. ...

The buyout program is to be completed by May 30.


As with previous announcements of buyouts at the N&O, no details are provided concerning the packages.

Many companies facing buyout situations do provide details. We can all recall stories reporting things like "the company said it would provide the effected employees two weeks pay for each year of employment and health insurance coverage for up to three years from the time they leave the company."

I think McClatchy would be cluck-clucking if it was making decent buyout offers.

It's silence suggests its not.

According to Yahoo Financial McClatchy was trading just before 1 PM ET at 9.73, close to its 52-week low of 7.93 and down from its 52-week high of 30.57.

Two years ago McClatchy traded close to 50.

Former NYC Mayor doesn't buy Obama's latest explanation

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch has a column filled with recent Obama quotes condemning his former close friend and pastor Jeremiah Wright's hatreds and what Obama used to call "snippets."

Koch provides more of Obama's Wright-condemnations of in one column than any Obama-supporting pundit I read.

But Koch also points out that for all of Obama's recent condemnations:
He has not explained why he sat in the church's pews for 20 years without complaint.
Koch continues:
Do voters accept his explanation on Tim Russert's "Meet the Press" on May 4th, when he said: "Well, you know, previously, there were a bunch of sermons that had been spliced from a collection of sermons for 30 years. And that's not who I thought he was. That's not what I thought defined him. He's somebody who's a Marine, he's somebody who has served on city colleges boards, somebody who was a respected pillar in the community. And so I thought it was important to--for him to explain or at least provide some context for some of the things that he had said previously.

"But when he came out at the press conference of the National Press Club, not only did he amplify some of those comments and defend them vigorously, but he added to it. He put gasoline on the fire. And what that told me was not only was he interested in using this platform to continue to make statements that I fundamentally disagree with and that offend me, but also that he didn't have much regard for the moment that we're in right now here in the United States where we can't be distracted or engaged in this divisive, hateful language."

Or, do voters believe, as some do, including me, that Obama cut his ties with Wright because of Wright's attack on Senator Obama in which he made clear that Senator Obama, in his opinion, was like every other politician, a hypocrite who is willing to say whatever will get him elected?

Wright said at the National Press Club on April 28th, "We both know that, if Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected. Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls, Huffington, whoever's doing the polls. Preachers say what they say because they're pastors."

The interview with Tim Russert, regrettably, did not touch that area of their disagreement. ...

Koch's entire column is here.


No, the interview with Tim Russert "did not touch that area of their disagreement."

Or to put it more precisely, Tim Russert "did not touch that area of their disagreement."

It tells us a lot about MSM's "candy land" treatment of Sen. Obama that almost two months after Wright's racist and anti-American "snippets" began to break through the MSM "filter," Obama has yet to be pressed by the media to the point where he's had to explain how he could not know all those years about Wright's ravings and other activities.

ADA Tracey Cline's well known problems

University of Maryland Law Professor Jason Trumpbour at Friends of Duke Universityreminds us why Durhamites and justice-seekers everywhere should be concerned about the outcome of today’s primary for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Durham District Attorney to fill the remaining two years of the now disbarred Mike Nifong’s term.

Trumpbour begins - - -

Today is election day in North Carolina and voters will choose the next District Attorney for Durham County. The Herald-Sun, the great defender of the status quo, predictably endorsed current Assistant District Attorney Tracy Cline. In doing so, it presented a variation of the Durham government party line that Mike Nifong and Mike Nifong alone is to blame for the Lacrosse Hoax stating, “[Nifong’s] actions did not reflect deep flaws within the DA's office.” On the contrary, the Lacrosse Hoax revealed some very deep flaws within the District Attorney’s office indeed.

Tracy Cline’s problems are well known. She was Nifong’s second chair in the lacrosse case and would have helped him try the case had it gone to trial. In October, however, she claimed that she had very little role in the hoax.

According to the Herald-Sun,

Some suggested during the lacrosse meltdown that Nifong’s assistants dropped the ball by not reining in their boss, halting the scandal in its tracks.

Cline agreed last week that attorneys have a duty to report unethical conduct among their colleagues.

But she said she lacked insights into what Nifong was doing.

“I didn’t have any personal information about what went on in the lacrosse case, other than what the media reported,” she said. “My job was to keep the courtrooms running. That is what I was focused on.”
First, the assertion that she did not know the facts of the case is almost certainly false. Having worked as second chair, I can tell you that the second chair knows as much about the case as the lead attorney and often knows more. In fact, in the normal course of things, the second chair handles the day to day chores and basic prep work. Evidence presented at Nifong’s bar hearings suggests that was the case here.

More importantly, Cline did not need to know one thing about the Lacrosse case to know that Mike Nifong was an unethical attorney and that he should have been reported to the bar. From the very beginning of the hoax, I tried to make the distinction between Nifong’s conduct and the facts of the case. Even if one could plausibly claim not to know all of the facts of the case, all of Nifong’s misconduct took place in public for all to see. Anyone with a television set could watch him do it.

North Carolina Rule or Professional Conduct 8.3(a) states,

A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the North Carolina State Bar or the court having jurisdiction over the matter.

It is no exaggeration in the least to say that every single lawyer in the District Attorney’s office is an unethical attorney. Mitchell Garrell, another assistant district attorney who is running against Cline tried to make an issue of Cline’s involvement in the hoax at a candidates forum. However, Garrell has some explaining of his own to do. ...

The rest of Trumpbour's post is here. He has some very revealing things to say about the Durham DA's office and what needs to be done there. It's a "don't miss" post.

For more on Cline's well known problems, see these JinC posts:

Who owns that “toxic” NTO? (1/13/08)

NTO battle - Durham DA v. Police (1/17/08)

Durham ADA changes NTO story (2/2/08)

Durham DA Indy endorsement: be wary (4/25/08)

DA candidate Cline’s Duke lacrosse “explanations” (Post 1) (4/27/08)

See also this Liestoppers post - Don't Get NIFONGED Again - which contains a poster with a photo of Cline campaigning for Nifong and the text of an ad by attorney Freda Black, one of Cline's opponents in today's primary race.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 5, 2008

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

Churchill certainly had his critics. One was Field Marshal Alan Brooke (later Lord Alanbrooke), Chief of the Imperial General Staff for most of WW II.

Brooke kept a diary during the war. Here are some of historian Christopher Harmon's comments on aspects of it concerning the Churchill-Alanbrooke relationship.

Another reason for (his) criticism of Churchill is high-minded and strategic, if not necessarily correct.

Alanbrooke felt that this admittedly-great man had no strategy; as late as December 1941, when Alanbrooke became C.I.G.S., he remained "appalled" by the "lack of a definite policy....Planned strategy was not Winston's strong card. He preferred to work by intuition and impulse."

Proving he does possess a sense of humor, Alanbrooke twice formulates the problem as antithesis: "God knows where we would be without him, but God knows where we shall go with him," says an entry for 1941. Three years hence he writes: "Without him England was lost for a certainty, with him England has been on the verge of disaster time and again." […]

What Alanbrooke never adds to such accounts of conference room combat is that Churchill would never overrule the Chiefs of Staff when they agreed among themselves. Arguing, testing and debating were part of proper civilian oversight. Alanbrooke missed the point. He thought he was saving Britain from wild variants of hare-brained strategies.

Alanbrooke's diaries are remarkably silent about most of the many things these two war horses agreed about. Both believed Germany must be defeated before Japan. Both emphasized Mediterranean operations, where British and Allied troops retook North Africa, Sicily, and southern Italy.

Both felt in 1943 and 1944 that Alexander's army in Italy was neglected and condemned to fighting without real offensive power by various Pacific ventures and the unnecessary plan to invade southern France (Dragoon). Both believed in what is today called "joint warfare," and pushed air power.[…]
Alanbrooke, by the way, was an avid birder and photographer. Shortly after he returned to England from the Casablanca Conference he called a staff officer into his office. The officer was expecting to hear of war plans; instead he was shown photo of a bird which Alanbrooke said was "quite rare really. I was very lucky."
Christopher Harmon, "Churchill and Alanbrooke." Finest Hour (No. 112)