Saturday, June 21, 2008

More troubling Obama news

While I don't doubt that Mike Williams didn't set out to upset Obama supporters, especially those who believe all the amanzing claims the Senator keeps making about himself and "Change you can believe in," portions of his letter today surely will.

Mike begins - - -

Michael Ledeen, writing at the NRO:

In the unlikely event you haven't read this yet, do it over the weekend when you have some time to ponder its implications. I'm talking about Richard Fernandez' exemplary research and analysis of Obama's shifting positions on Iraq, alongside the business activities of his pal Rezko and an Iraqi partner.

In a serious world, this article would win awards, and be discussed in every major forum. It's outstanding journalism. One of the best articles on Obama to date.

Believe it or not, between 2004 and 2006, Obama was all for staying in Iraq. But as Fernandez points out, “there appears to be a direct correlation between the rising and falling prospects of his longtime friend and fundraiser Tony Rezko’s attempts to secure multi-million-dollar contracts to build and operate a power plant in Kurdish Iraq and the senator’s Iraq flip-flops.”

So what are you waiting for? Go read the article! It’s the kind of thing the MSM used to be good at and a real eye-opener.

Over at Power Line, Scott Johnson wonders once again, “Does Obama know what he's talking about?

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania last Saturday, Obama addressed the Supreme Court's Boumediene decision granting Guantanamo detainees the right to challenge their confinement through habeas corpus proceedings in federal court.

Obama asserted that the "principle of habeas corpus, that a state can't just hold you for any reason without charging you and without giving you any kind of due process -- that’s the essence of who we are." He explained:

I mean, you remember during the Nuremberg trials, part of what made us different was even after these Nazis had performed atrocities that no one had ever seen before, we still gave them a day in court and that taught the entire world about who we are but also the basic principles of rule of law.

Now the Supreme Court upheld that principle yesterday.

Except [attorney Johnson continues]:

…the Nuremberg trial was conducted before a military commission composed of representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union. The most prominent surviving Nazi leaders were brought for trial before the Nuremberg tribunal in late 1945. Winston Churchill had proposed, not unreasonably, that they be summarily shot. The victorious allies nevertheless subsequently agreed that they would be brought before a military commission to be convened pursuant to the London Agreement of August 8, 1945.

In Boumediene, the Supreme Court disapproved of the system of military commissions Congress had adopted at the Supreme Court's urging. Obama to the contrary notwithstanding, the Nuremberg defendants' "day in court" occurred before the kind of tribunal the Supreme Court found constitutionally inadequate in Boumediene.

The Nazi war criminals were given no access to American courts. (emphasis JinC)

Johnson concludes:

In short, the procedural protections afforded the Guantanamo detainees under the statute before the Supreme Court in Boumediene substantially exceed those accorded the Nuremberg defendants. Obama's unfavorable comparison of the legal treatment of the Guantanamo detainees with that of the Nuremberg defendants suggest either that he does not know what he's talking about, or that he feels free to take great liberties with the truth.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is also wondering, “Will the newspapers toss Obama under the bus now?” It’s about Obama’s recent reversal on public financing of his general-election campaign:

Many newspapers consider that to be a key reform issue, and Obama had received over 100 endorsements in the primary on the basis of his reform message. This week’s responses to his abandonment of public financing reflected a great deal of anger at the betrayal, and it could signal a sharp turn in tone from the print media….

Even more damning may be the reasons why he claims to have abandoned the public financing system, in essence charging the GOP with forcing him into it through what turns out to be non-existent 527 efforts and PAC/lobbyist contributions that amounts to less than 2% of the Republican totals — when Democrats raised 10% of their 2004 funds from the same sources.
If Obama can’t keep to his principles under fire, when would he ever keep to them?

Plus, for some of these editors, the issue has become personal. Obama spoke to several of these editors in meetings during the campaign and insisted that he supported the public financing system, including and especially the Washington Post. They now know he flat-out lied to them, personally, and nothing quite gets the blood boiling than that kind of betrayal….

Nevertheless, Obama remains supremely confident:

Yesterday Barack Obama rolled out his very own seal. The New York Daily News reports the comments of the Obama and McCain campaigns in "Barack Obama appears with personalized presidential seal." As the Daily News notes, the Seal of Barack Obama bears an uncanny resemblance to the Great Seal of the presidential seal, though it incorporates the Obama campaign graphic and a nifty new Latin motto: "Vero Possumus."

Andrew Malcolm helps with the translation of the Latin motto. Malcolm explains:

The seal' a terrifically impressive motto in Latin -- "Vero Possumus" -- which means "The possum speaks truthily."

No, just kidding. It actually means "Truly we're able" which translates as "Si se puede" which translates as "Yes, we can." [...]

Scott Johnson, again:

I think the campaign may have missed a beat with "Vero Possumus." My Latin is a little rusty, but I think the Seal of Barack Obama clearly calls for something more along the lines of "Obamanum Credimus." You know, "We believe in Obama."


Message to Mike: You've given all of us - Obama supporters, Obama non-supporters and folks who haven't yet made up their mind about the Senator - a fine summary and links to material we should all consider.

Thank you.

Message to JinC Readers: MSM needs to be providing more information and commentary of the kind Mike offers than "the news" that Michelle Obama is 5'11" and finds panty hose downright uncomfortable.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jun. 20, 2008

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

Today I'll offer some Churchill facts and ask whether you can help confirm others

His favorite whiskey? Johnnie Walker.

But did he prefer JW Black, Red, Green, Blue, etc?

His favorite brandy? Hine.

But which of Hine's brandies?

His favorite champagne? Pol Roger.

His first confirmed purchase of Pol Roger?

The firm has a purchase request from 1908, when Churchill was 34.

His favorite PR vintage?

1928. For many years PR sent him a case a week of its '28.

Now this quote I came upon recently for the first time in a newspaper article: “Between a crisis and a catastrophe, there’s always time for a glass of Champagne.”

It's a great quote, but did Churchill really say it?

It sounds like something he'd say, but I tend to doubt it because I think most of his biographers would have been unable to resist using it.
Can any of you confirm the quote as "a Churchill."

Cheers and see you Monday.


Black judges, lawyers cheer Wright, Pfleger

A news report in today’s Chicago Sun-Times should disturb every American concerned with the fair treatment of all citizens in our courts and the responsible administration of justice.

The S-T report begins:

About 600 of Chicago’s top African-American lawyers and judges gave standing ovations Thursday to two preachers who’ve been vilified in recent months for their sermons that went nationwide on the Web.

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the Rev. Michael Pfleger became headaches for Democrat Barack Obama’s presidential campaign when their controversial comments became fodder for conservative talk-show hosts.

Wright said “God damn America” in arguing that American foreign policy helped bring on the 9/11 attacks. Pfleger said Hillary Clinton resented Obama as a black man taking the nomination she felt was hers.

But despite the heat on them, the two clergymen kept a previously scheduled date to double-team the annual banquet of the Cook County Bar Association, the country’s oldest black lawyers’ association.

Sticking a finger in the eye of Wright’s chief critic, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Pfleger introduced Wright by listing his degrees, then saying, “And, Mr. O’Reilly, he was a Marine!”

And Wright jabbed comedian Bill Cosby, who has been critical of how many African Americans have been raising their children.

“I have no problem with Cosby . . . going around the country diagnosing our problems,” Wright said. But Wright said he preferred the actions of so many of the lawyers and judges who attend his church and work with his youth programs. …
The entire S-T report’s here.

Revs. Wright and Plfeger have histories of making racist, sexist and anti-American remarks. That 600 judges and attorneys would stand and cheer them is therefore very troubling.

Would the 600 cheer Revs. who made anti-black remarks? Of course not.

Would they want attorneys and judges who cheer white racists holding sway over them within our court system? Of course not.

What is in the heads of those African-American judges and attorneys that leads them to cheer a cleric who’s said our government deliberately spread the AIDS virus to hold down the black population?

The knowledge that there are 600 such judges and attorneys in just one America city is deeply troubling. How can such people responssibly administer the laws of the land when they carry in their heads whatever psychic poison it is that gets them on their feet and cheering Wright and Pflegger?

The two are abominations who ought to be shunned.

Hat tip: Archer 05

This fellow hypes for Obama

In January John K. Wilson posted at concerning Sen. Obama’s connections to real estate developer and political fixer Tony Rezko, recently convicted of a raft of crimes involving political corruption.

Wilson’s post included this:

When Obama began his first run for public office in 1995, Rezko was among his first contributors. After Obama began looking for a new home in Hyde Park in 2005, it’s not surprising that he asked for advice from Rezko, a real-estate developer who was familiar with the neighborhood.

Rezko discovered that the lot next door to the house Obama was eyeing was for sale by the same owner, and he bought it the same day the Obamas closed on their home.
But Wilson's post left out some very important details that had been reported more than six months before.

From the June 13, 2007 Chicago Sun Times:
… Two years ago, the two men were involved in a real estate deal that Obama later apologized for, calling it "boneheaded'' and a "mistake'' because the transaction occurred while Rezko was widely known to be under federal investigation.

Rezko's wife paid full price for a vacant lot in Chicago's historic Kenwood district on the same day Obama bought the mansion next door from the same property owner for $300,000 below the asking price. Rezko's wife subsequently sold a sliver of the land to Obama.
I call your attention to Obama supporter Wilson because he’s begun posting at Huffington and has a new book out - “Barack Obama: This Improbable Quest.”

Easy prediction: Many in MSM are going to like the book. We’ll be hearing and reading many “interviews” with its author. He’ll be treated not as a hagiographer, but as “someone who's studied Senator Obama's career extensively and we’re happy to welcome as our guest today on NPR affiliate ..."

Wilson's post is here; the Chi. S-T report is here.

Obama smarter than Bill Clinton?

The NY Times' David Brooks says:

All I know for sure is that this guy is no liberal goo-goo. Republicans keep calling him naïve. But naïve is the last word I’d use to describe Barack Obama. He’s the most effectively political creature we’ve seen in decades. Even Bill Clinton wasn’t smart enough to succeed in politics by pretending to renounce politics.
That comes at the end of Brooks’ column today which begins - - -

God, Republicans are saps. They think that they’re running against some academic liberal who wouldn’t wear flag pins on his lapel, whose wife isn’t proud of America and who went to some liberationist church where the pastor damned his own country. They think they’re running against some naïve university-town dreamer, the second coming of Adlai Stevenson.

But as recent weeks have made clear, Barack Obama is the most split-personality politician in the country today. On the one hand, there is Dr. Barack, the high-minded, Niebuhr-quoting speechifier who spent this past winter thrilling the Scarlett Johansson set and feeling the fierce urgency of now. But then on the other side, there’s Fast Eddie Obama, the promise-breaking, tough-minded Chicago pol who’d throw you under the truck for votes.

This guy is the whole Chicago package: an idealistic, lakefront liberal fronting a sharp-elbowed machine operator. He’s the only politician of our lifetime who is underestimated because he’s too intelligent. He speaks so calmly and polysyllabically that people fail to appreciate the Machiavellian ambition inside.

But he’s been giving us an education, for anybody who cares to pay attention. Just try to imagine Mister Rogers playing the agent Ari in “Entourage” and it all falls into place.

Back when he was in the Illinois State Senate, Dr. Barack could have taken positions on politically uncomfortable issues. But Fast Eddie Obama voted “present” nearly 130 times. From time to time, he threw his voting power under the truck.

Dr. Barack said he could no more disown the Rev. Jeremiah Wright than disown his own grandmother. Then the political costs of Rev. Wright escalated and Fast Eddie Obama threw Wright under the truck.

Dr. Barack could have been a workhorse senator. But primary candidates don’t do tough votes, so Fast Eddie Obama threw the workhorse duties under the truck.

Dr. Barack could have changed the way presidential campaigning works. John McCain offered to have a series of extended town-hall meetings around the country. But favored candidates don’t go in for unscripted free-range conversations. Fast Eddie Obama threw the new-politics mantra under the truck.

And then on Thursday, Fast Eddie Obama had his finest hour. Barack Obama has worked on political reform more than any other issue. He aspires to be to political reform what Bono is to fighting disease in Africa. He’s spent much of his career talking about how much he believes in public financing. . . .

But Thursday, at the first breath of political inconvenience, Fast Eddie Obama threw public financing under the truck. In so doing, he probably dealt a death-blow to the cause of campaign-finance reform. And the only thing that changed between Thursday and when he lauded the system is that Obama’s got more money now.

And Fast Eddie Obama didn’t just sell out the primary cause of his life. He did it with style. He did it with a video so risibly insincere that somewhere down in the shadow world, Lee Atwater is gaping and applauding.

Obama blamed the (so far marginal) Republican 527s. He claimed that private donations are really public financing. He made a cut-throat political calculation seem like Mother Teresa’s final steps to sainthood. …

The rest of Brooks column’s here.

How long will it be before we’re talking about “Obama: Change we can’t believe in?”

Hat tip: Jack in Silver Spring

N&O's Duke Hoax photojournalism exposed

Today at the Raleigh News & Observer’s Editors Blog senior editor Dan Barkin posts “The Perp Walk” which begins [extracts] below, after which I've posted below the star line a comment I've left on Barkin's post thread.

Barkin begins - - -

On the front of our Business section today was a photo of a former Bear Sterns hedge fund manager, Matthew Tannin, being helped into a car by a federal law enforcement agent. [Tannin was handcuffed.] This is what is known among journalists as the "perp walk." Perp being short for perpetrator.

This is the occasion, after an arrest is made, when the accused is being taken from one place -- like a lockup -- to another place -- like a courthouse. Or maybe from the courthouse to another place. This is usually the best opportunity for photographers to get pictures or video of the perp.

In high profile cases, the perp walk takes on special symbolism. It conveys a message from law enforcement: We got him. We are on the case. ....

There is a good chance that the perp being walked today will never see the inside of a prison cell when all is said and done. ...

[But] even if the accused win in court, they'll still have to live down the images of being perp walked being seen on CNN by everyone who went to high school with them.

Barkin’s entire post is here.


Dear Editor Barkin:

Your post today raises a number of important questions concerning N&O photojournalism.

The N&O knew in Spring 2006 that under the worst circumstances only three of the Duke lacrosse players could have been guilty of the wildly improbable gang rape, beating and robbery the liar Crystal Mangum claimed occurred.

Nevertheless, the N&O when ahead and published a large, color photo of team members engaged in the “cover your heads with jackets” type perp walk we often seen Mafiosos engage in.

But, as you know, the players were covering their heads not because of shame for who they were, but because they knew then they would be targeted by hate groups and other unstable people inflamed by false and racially divisive media coverage.

The N&O on Apr. 2, 2006 published a photo of the Vigilante poster containing face photos and the names of 43 white members of the lacrosse team. You published it after concerns for the players’ safety had been expressed. I believe you were the only daily in North Carolina to do so.

The N&O's publication of the Vigilante poster photo came a few weeks after the N&O promised angry Muslims it would not reproduce even one of the Danish cartoons which were the subject of an international story following riots and killings by outraged Muslims in many countries.

Based on the N&O’s decisions in the three instances I cite, a reasonable person will conclude the N&O has double standards for its photojournalism.

It is alright at the N&O to publish the Duke Lax perp walk and Vigilante poster photos because the people pictured are white males. However, in similar news circumstances we can be confident the N&O wouldn't have published those photos had the subjects been black males.

Another double standard the N&O practices can be summarized as follows: Do nothing that will anger Muslims here in the Triangle or endanger McClatchy journalists in the Middle East and elsewhere. On the other hand, when white males are accused by liars like Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong and enabled by many at Duke, in “advocacy” and “rights” groups, and cheered on by the liberal/leftist media, it’s open season on those white males. Anything goes.

I’d like to think the N&O will adopt a single photojournalism standard, but I seriously doubt it.

In any case, Editor Barkin, I’ve once again called these very serious matters to the N&O’s attention.

I hope you’ll comment. If you do, I’ll publish your comment in full at my blog.


John in Carolina

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jun, 19, 2008

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

We've read some very serious posts recently, so today let's go for a bit of fun and nothing more.

From the introduction to Martin Gilbert's excellent Churchill and America:

Churchill was proud of his American ancestry. During a discussion at the Truman White House in 1952, to standardize the type of rifle to be used by the two countries' armies, the following exchange took place between Churchill and the senior British officer present [Field Marshall Slim]:

Slim: "Well, I suppose we could experiment with a bastard rifle, partly American, partly British."

Churchill: "Kindly moderate your language, Field Marshall. It may be recalled that I am myself partly British, partly American."

At the N&O: job cuts; then a scolding

At his eponymous blog former N&O columnist G. D. Gearino posted about a “surprise scolding from the boss.” Here are excerpts from Gearino's post, with my comments below the star line.

When the News & Observer’s journalists gathered Tuesday afternoon for a post-layoff talk with publisher Orage Quarles, they surely expected some combination of condolences on the loss of 16 people from the newsroom and pep talk as they head into a still-uncertain future — with perhaps a word of thanks for good work under trying circumstances thrown in for good measure.

Boy, were they wrong.

Instead, a visibly angry Quarles scolded the news staffers at length.

He didn’t like the fact that somebody from the newsroom had apparently talked to WRAL television, which last week featured a story on the N&O’s then-pending layoffs.

He didn’t like what he saw as a lack of enthusiasm about the announced merger of some news functions with the Charlotte Observer, the one-time rival and now uneasy corporate bedfellow. . . .

Gearino’s entire post is here.



If you’ve already read Gearino’s post, you’ve seen his civil email intended to give Quarles a chance to respond to N&O staffers with less heat and more light. And you’ve seen Quarles’ response which can fairly be called "dismissive."

Quarles’ response led me to leave the following comment on Gearino's post thread:

The treatment N&O staffers are complaining about is a lot like the treatment many N&O readers have received from senior editors and Mr. Quarles.

Anyone who doubts that can read the comment threads at the Editors’ Blog.

Threads of posts having to do with the N&O’s biased, often wrong and racially inflammatory Duke lacrosse coverage are especially revealing.

John in Carolina
One more time: Gearino’s post.

Obama’s foreign policy panel: Clinton redux

Reuters reports:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has named a foreign policy panel of former U.S. officials from whom he will seek advice on weighty foreign policy matters such as Iraq and Afghanistan. …
The entire report’s here. It includes a list of panel members released by Obama headquarters.

Here’s the list (cue the piano player for "Seems like old times"):

* MADELEINE ALBRIGHT - Served a secretary of state in former President Bill Clinton’s administration and was a top adviser to the campaign of Obama’s former rival, Hillary Clinton.

* DAVID BOREN - The former governor and senator from Oklahoma chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [and was one of Bill Clinton's top choices in 1994 to serve as ecretary of defense. The job eventually went to William Perry (see below) - JinC]

* WARREN CHRISTOPHER - Was Bill Clinton’s first secretary of state and also served as deputy secretary of state in the Carter administration.

* GREG CRAIG - Was a former senior adviser to Albright in the Clinton administration and later led the team defending Bill Clinton against the impeachment charges involving Clinton’s affair with a White House intern. Despite long ties to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, Craig was an early supporter of Obama and has been part of his inner circle of advisers.

* RICHARD DANZIG - Served as secretary of the Navy under Bill Clinton and is an expert on counterterrorism.

* LEE HAMILTON - The former Indiana congressman co-chaired the blue-ribbon commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks and was a lead author of Iraq Study Group report that offered recommendations on Iraq to President George W. Bush in 2006.

* ERIC HOLDER - Was deputy attorney general in Bill Clinton’s administration and is working with Caroline Kennedy, daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy, in helping to guide Obama’s search for a vice presidential running mate.

* ANTHONY LAKE - Was national security adviser to Bill Clinton and has been part of the inner circle of Obama’s campaign.

* SAM NUNN - A former senator from Georgia who chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee, Nunn has long been viewed as a leading Democratic voice on foreign policy and some have speculated he might be looked at by Obama as a potential running mate.

* WILLIAM PERRY - Was secretary of defense under Bill Clinton.

* SUSAN RICE - The former assistant secretary of state for African Affairs [in the Clinton administration] is Obama’s senior foreign policy adviser.

* TIM ROEMER - The former Indiana congressman was a member of the 9/11 commission.

* JAMES STEINBERG - Was deputy national security adviser to Bill Clinton.

The panel’s Clinton dedux.

Hat tip: AC

Can the disgraced Murtha be sued?

An Anon commenter asks that question. Based on what I've read at other blogs, the answer appears to be yes, but it will be tough to succeed.

The following is from World Net Daily yesterday with my comments below the star line.

WND begins - - -

With most of the eight Marines charged in the Haditha, Iraq, incident now exonerated, the highest-ranking officer among the accused is considering a lawsuit against Democratic Rep. John Murtha, who fueled the case by declaring the men cold-blooded killers.

In an interview with nationally syndicated radio talk host Michael Savage, the lead attorney for Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani said he and his client will look into suing Murtha and the Time magazine reporter, Tim McGuirk, who first published the accusations by Iraqi insurgents.

But the attorney, Brian Rooney, said nothing will happen immediately because he wants Chessani, described as a devout Christian and the father of six homeschooled children, completely "out of the woods" legally before any action is taken.

The government, through Lt. Col. S.M. Sullivan, today filed a notice that it would appeal the case to the next judicial level.

As WND reported, a military judge at Camp Pendleton in California yesterday dismissed charges that Chessani failed to properly investigate the Nov. 19, 2005 incident in which 24 Iraqi men, women and children were killed.

Rooney, an attorney for the Thomas More Law Center who served a tour of duty in Iraq himself, is urging citizens to tell their representatives in Congress and military officials that they want the case to come to an end.

"At some point you have to have somebody in the chain of command, whether it's civilian or military, saying enough is enough," said Rooney, who served with Chessani in the second battle of Fallujah.

Rooney told Savage the Haditha case is the largest investigation in the history of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, with 65 agents assigned by the government.

The filing of charges against Chessani was approved by Gen. James Mattis, then commander of the Marine Corps Forces Central Command and commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton. Mattis has been promoted to commander of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and commander of U.S. Joint Forces.

"This is the most important case since Vietnam, if not before," Rooney said. "There's no doubt about it."

He noted the New York Times featured the case on the front page when it was being compared by war critics to the infamous My Lai massacre in Vietnam. But now, with evidence the Haditha accusations were a smear, the story has been relegated to the back pages. . . .

Four Marines were charged with murder and another four with not properly investigating the incident.

Defense lawyers contend insurgents deliberately attacked the Marines from hiding places where they surrounded themselves with civilians to use as shields. The defense insisted Chessani promptly reported the events to his superiors and that nobody in the chain of command believed there was any wrongdoing on the part of the Marines. . . .

The entire WND report's here.



WND has been all over this terrible smear of American marines launched by TIME and Democrat Rep. Jack Murtha. See, for exampe. this WND report: "Case against Marine blamed on Murtha politics" (Mar. 6, 2007)

Be sure to check out Murtha Must Go. It's done outstanding work on every aspect of this story of shameless media bias and political partisanship which have smeared and further endangered American and allied military personel.

In this post, Murtha Must Go founder Leo Puseteri says [excerpts]:

I hold John Murtha personally responsible for laying a dubious cover of deceit under which the Democrat party was able to engage its anti-war, anti-troop, and anti-American pogrom, under which our enemies in Iraq and elsewhere became emboldened to carry on the fight much longer than they otherwise would have; in the process, killing more and more of our American and allied women and men than would have otherwise been the case.

Yes, it is my opinion that John Murtha has blood on his hands, and needs to answer for his misdeeds.

As the founding editor of this blog, I call on Congress to investigate John Murtha on exactly what he "knew" and when he "knew it" before coming out with his Haditha accusations and declarations of and implications of guilt.

I call on Congress to investigate John Murtha of ethics violations and criminal charges in denying the Haditha Marines their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to the presumption of innocence, and to censure and strip Murtha of any committee assignments, and in turn demand his resignation from Congress. ...

A decent House of Representatives that really supported the troops would long ago have censured Murtha and stripped him of favored committee assignments.

Hat tips go to WND, Puseteri, Michael Savage, Michelle Malkin among others who've taken the lead in speaking out and uncovering the Haditha lies and smears.

JinC Regulars know Mike Williams has been on top of the story in his electronic letters published here. Thanks, Mike.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Churchill Series – Jun. 18, 2008

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

If on the morning of June 18, 1940 you’d bought The Guardian off a London newsstand, here’s the war news article you’d have read:

"Sole Champions to defend the world cause" - Mr Churchill


· A Franco-British Union · The offer we made to the French Government on Sunday · "No dishonourable peace" - French Foreign Minister

The Guardian,
Tuesday June 18 1940

France is seeking an armistice with Germany, but Britain and the Empire are to continue the fight.

Marshal Petain, the new French Premier, in a broadcast yesterday afternoon said: "It is with broken heart that I tell you today that fighting must cease."

Mr. Churchill, the British Prime Minister, in a broadcast last night said: "We shall defend out island, and, with the British Empire around us, we shall fight on unconquerable until the curse of Hitler is lifted form the brows of men."

Today's meeting of the dictators

Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini are meeting to-day to discuss the terms to be put to France. In the meantime the fighting goes on.

Signor Mussolini and Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister, left Rome last night for the meeting. One report says that it will take place in Munich, another suggests Versailles, but these reports are not officially confirmed. Count Ciano had flown from the front to Rome yesterday evening to see Signor Mussolini.

The Germans have not yet made any reply to France, and Italian reports are suggesting that Germany and Italy will not agree to an armistice. The only alternative to a dictated peace, it was said, was a fight to the finish.

The French, however, will not agree to a dishonourable peace said the French Foreign Minister in a broadcast last night. He said: "France is not ready and it will never be ready to accept dishonourable conditions nor to abandon the spiritual liberties of our people and betray the soul of France ... If the French people are obliged to choose between existence and honour their choice is made."

And last night the French war communiqué declared of the day's fighting "At all points of contact our troops are still fighting with the same bravery for the honour of the flag."

Britain's offer of union

The British Government made it known last night that with the subject of supporting France to the utmost and also in the hope of encouraging the French Government to continue its resistance. Britain offered on Sunday a solemn Act of Union between the two countries.

The constitution of the proposed Franco-British Union provided for joint organs of defence, foreign, financial and economic policies. There was to be a single War Cabinet governing "from wherever it best can, directing all the fighting forces of Britains and France."

Marshal Petain's broadcast

The French decision to ask Germany for peace was taken after prolonged meetings of the Reynaud Cabinet on Saturday and Sunday. The resignation of this Government was announced about midnight on Sunday.

Marshal Petain was appointed Premier, and some twelve hours later he announced that he has asked for an armistice.

In his broadcast he said: "Frenchmen, - At the appeal of the President I have assumed from today the direction of the French Government.

"Sure of the affection of our admirable Army, which is fighting with heroism worthy of its noble military traditions against an enemy superior in numbers and in arms; certain that by its magnificent resistance it has fulfilled our duty to our allies; certain of the support of ex-Service men whom I am proud to have commanded; sure of the confidence of the entire nation - I give myself to France in order to mitigate its misfortunes.

"In these sorrowful hours I think of the unhappy refuges who, in utter distress, flee along the roads. I express to them my compassion and my solicitude.

"It is with broken heart that I tell you today that fighting must cease.

"I addressed myself last night to the enemy to ask him if he is prepared to seek with me, as between soldiers after the fight and with honour, the means of putting an end to hostilities.

"May all French people rally round the Government over which I preside in these hours of hard trial. May they keep their anguish to themselves and obey nothing but their faith in the destiny of their country.'

"The approach to Germany has been made through Spain - Marshal Petain is a close friend of General Franco, - and Spain, it is stated in Madrid, is to take part in the peace negotiations.

Mr Churchill's broadcast

In his broadcast last night Mr Churchill said:

"The news from France is very bad, and I grieve for the gallant French people who have fallen into this terrible misfortune.

"Nothing will alter our feelings towards them, or our faith that the genius of France will rise again."

"What has happened in France makes no difference to British faith and purpose.

"We have become the sole champions now in arms to defend the world's cause. We shall do our best to be worthy of that high honour. We shall defend our island, and, with the British Empire around us, we shall fight on unconquerable until the curse of Hitler is lifted from the brows of men.

"We are sure that in the end all will be well."

Mr Churchill is due to make a full statement on the situation in the House of Commons today.

All French orders for the purchase of military supplies in the United States are being taken over by the British Government, our New York correspondent reports.

No one’s oil wrong and you’re welcome

Sunday I posted NY Post:“McCain’s Oil Wrong.”

It drew a number of comments. I want to respond to one here.

The commenter’s in italics; I’m in plain.

I agree with you on McCain's rant against the energy companies (and that's why he was not my first choice for Republican standard-bearer). As for oil company profits, remember that total government taxes are about five times larger, so who's calling the kettle black?

I’m not down on the oil companies. I just think they should be doing more energy conservation research and development.

I do disagree with you, though, on some of your proposals for energy conservation and alternative energy sources. I should point out that in terms of GDP, the American public has done a seemingly magnificent job at conservation. Our energy usage per dollar of real GDP is one-quarter what it was in the 1970s.

The American public hasn’t done anywhere near a “magnificent job at conservation.”

If you meant to say American industry instead of "the American public" I’m with you, and thank you for pointing out something few in MSM bother to mention, assuming they even know it: Based on energy input/product output measures, American corporations are among the world’s leaders in energy efficiency.

The absolute size of energy usage is of course larger than in the 1970s, but then the country is much larger in terms of people and GDP. (I note, though, that some of the conservation is really overstated; what we as a country have done with our environmental laws has been to push energy/labor intensive manufacturers offshore, mostly to China and India. The likelihood is that if we had not had the environmental laws, those manufacturers would have stayed here, and total oil consumption would have been lower because we are so much more efficient than the Chinese and Indians. Chalk up another "win" for the environmentalists.)

The foregoing paragraph is so fact-based, so sensible and so well stated that I suspect you’re really Charles Krauthammer.

If I’m right, I hope you’ll fess up.

If all those alternative energy sources you recommend were so profitable, they wouldn't need government hand-outs.

I’m not talking government hand-outs. I’m talking targeted government support for certain critical needs, with the support based on measurable production. Some examples: the Homestead Act, land grants for the transcontinental railroad miles complated, the GI Bill.

The important thing is to let the markets work, and in particular, to get rid of environmental laws that prevent us from drilling off-shore.

Getting rid of laws which prevent drilling off-shore should be part of a package which includes development of alternate energy. Example, the Cape Wind project.

As for the oil companies, their incentives are not to conserve oil. That research should be on the part of the oil users (not producers).

I spoke to this above.

McCain's campaign should concentrate on changing environmental laws to allow more drilling, the building of more atomic energy plants, the building of more refineries, etc.

If McCain proposes only more development of traditional energy sources I think he will be offering a needlessly limited energy policy and engaging in poor politics as well.

I thank you for your comments, including the ones critical of my positions.

Others are welcome to join the discussion on the thread.


Russert Took Media Bias Seriously

Excerpts from a WSJ column today by Bernard Goldberg, former CBS News correspondent with my comments below the star line - - -

[W]hat made Tim Russert different, and better, I think was his willingness to listen to -- and take seriously -- criticism about his own profession. He was willing, for example, to keep an open mind about a hot-button issue like media bias -- an issue that so many of his colleagues dismiss as the delusions of right-wing media haters. (Trust me on this one, I worked at CBS News for 28 years and know Dan Ratherpersonally.)

In 2001, my first book, "Bias," came out. It was an insider's look at bias in the media. Not one network news correspondent would have anything to do with me. I couldn't get on any of their morning news shows to talk about the book (which was a national best seller), or their evening shows or their weekend shows or even their middle-of-the-night news shows.

No one in network television wanted to discuss the issue, no matter how many Middle Americans thought it was important. (emphasis added)

Russert was the lone exception.

He had me on his CNBC interview show, and we talked about bias for a full hour. He had me on his show two other times. About five years ago, we turned the tables and I interviewed him for a book I was writing on the arrogance that I believe pervades too much of American journalism.

Tim was a big proponent of diversity, but he wanted to go further than the usual stuff. "I am for having women in the newsroom and minorities in the newsroom -- I'm all for it. It opens up our eyes and gives us different perspectives. But just as well, let's have people with military experience; let's have people from all walks of life, people from the top-echelon schools but also people from junior colleges and the so-called middling schools -- that's the pageantry of America . . . You need cultural diversity, you need ideological diversity. You need it."

Tim understood that without that kind of diversity, journalism would be in trouble. He knew it wasn't good for journalism or America if almost all the people reporting the news lived and worked in the same bubble.

"There's a potential cultural bias. And I think it's very real and very important to recognize and to deal with," he told me. "Because of backgrounds and training you come to issues with a preconceived notion or a preordained view on subjects like abortion, gun control, campaign finance. I think many journalists growing up in the '60s and the '70s have to be very careful about attitudes toward government, attitudes toward the military, attitudes toward authority. It doesn't mean there's a rightness or a wrongness. It means you have to constantly check yourself."

"Why the closed-mindedness when the subject comes around to media bias?" I asked him.

"That, to me, is totally contrary to who we're supposed to be as journalists. . . .

If someone suggested there was an anti-black bias, an anti-gay bias, an anti-American bias, we'd sit up and say, 'Let's talk about this, let's tackle it.' Well, if there's a liberal bias or a cultural bias we have to sit up and tackle it and discuss it. We have got to be open to these things."

His many friends in journalism -- the ones who spend their lives inside that comfortable, elitist bubble -- would do well to take those words to heart. Facing up to their biases and making a conscious effort to get rid of what Tim called "preferred positions" on important social issues (for abortion and against guns, for example) would be a lasting tribute to Tim.

Goldberg’s entire column is here.


Goldberg’s column is both a powerful tribute to a colleague and a powerful reminder of one of the most serious and insidious problems facing America today: media bias which often bleeds over into outright dishonesty.

We saw that, for example, when Dan Rather and CBS News went days assuring us the anonymous source of what proved to be forged Texas Air National Guard documents was “unimpeachable,” when they knew all the while he was long-time Bush-hater and Democratic activist Bill Burkett.

“Facing up to their biases and making a conscious effort to get rid of what [Russert] called ‘preferred positions’ … would be a lasting tribute to Tim.”

But I doubt that will happen. More likely, most MSMers will continue peddling their biases and bashing those few like Goldberg who call attention to what they’re doing.

Murtha and MSM Haditha Smear Merchants

Michelle Malkin reminds us today of "the slanderous propaganda of [Democrat] Rep. Murtha -- the stab in the Marines' backs heard 'round the world: "Our troops [at Haditha] overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

Then she cites others in MSM who did likewise:

MSNBC hangman Keith Olbermann, who couldn't wait to define the entire war in Iraq by a single moment about which he knew nothing, inveighed that the incident was "willful targeted brutality."

Due process? For convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, of course. For our military? Never mind.

Far-left The Nation magazine railed, "Enough details have emerged ... to conclude that ... members of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment perpetrated a massacre." …

Singing the same tune as The Nation, The New York Times spilled a flood of front-page ink on the case and took things a step further in a lead editorial blaming not just President Bush, but also top Pentagon brass for the "nightmare" killings in Haditha.

Times reporter Paul von Zielbauer filed over 30 stories on the case, which the paper wishfully called the "defining atrocity" of the Iraq war.

Hoping to facilitate a self-fulfilling prophecy, media tools around the world likened Haditha to the Vietnam War's most infamous atrocity -- from The Guardian ("My Lai on the Euphrates?") to the Daily Telegraph ("Massacre in Iraq just like My Lai") to the Los Angeles Times ("What happened at the Iraqi My Lai?") to The New York Times' Maureen Dowd ("My Lai acid flashback") and the Associated Press, which reached into its photo archives to run a 1970 file photo of My Lai to illustrate a Haditha article.
There’s more of that kind of MSM libel in Malkin’s column which also includes this:
Yet another U.S. Marine, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, had charges dropped Tuesday in the so-called Haditha massacre -- bringing the total number of Marines who've been cleared or won case dismissals in the Iraq war incident to seven.

"Undue command influence" on the prosecution led to the outcome in Chessani's case. Bottom line: That's zero for seven for military prosecutors, with one trial left to go.
Today not even the disgraced Murtha claims there was a massacre at Haditha.

But will Murtha and those in MSM who screamed “massacre” now apologize for their false claims which stirred the passions of millions of Iraqis against our military forces, thereby making their already very dangerous service even more dangerous?

I doubt it.

I hope you read all of Malkin’s column.

But I want to caution regarding Malkin’s statement My Lai was “the Vietnam War's most infamous atrocity.”

Infamous it was, with American troops deliberately killing an estimated 350 innocent civilians.

And My Lai is certainly the Vietnam War’s most widely known atrocity. American news organizations and leftists eager to make our military out to be the war's bad guys have seen to that.

But the most infamous atrocity of the war was the Viet Cong’s deliberate slaughter of defenseless civilians, including children, in Hue during the 1968 Tet offensive.

That massive atrocity involving the killing of an estimated 2,300 has never received anything like the publicity My Lai has because the Hue massacre doesn’t fit the bash-America agenda of so much of MSM.

Duke, Durham Seek Discovery Delay

In motions filed yesterday, Duke and Durham defendants seek to delay discovery in the suit brought by attorney Bob Ekstrand on behalf of 38 members of the 2006 Duke Men’s lacrosse team and some of their family members.

The Duke and Durham motions are here at

Both Liestoppers here and KC Johnson here comment on the motions.

I don’t plan to comment on the motions at this time other than noting the irony of Duke and Durham seeking to delay discovery concerning matters about which both once publicly and repeatedly urged the plaintiffs to tell all they knew.

McClatchy’s Sacbee 14 – N&O 10

McClatchy Watch reports McClatchy’s flagship Sacramento Bee’s June 17, 2008 “A” section contained just 14 pages.

The same day, McClatchy’s Raleigh News & Observer’s “A” section contained 10 pages.

According to Market Watch at 10:20 ET today, June 18, McClatchy was trading at 7.85, close to its 52-week low of 7.51 and down from a 52-week high of 28.73.

During the first half of 2005, McClatchy treaded as high as 75.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Churchill Series – Jun. 17, 2008

Readers Note: An Anon commenter noted on the thread of yesterday’s series post that I hadn’t included in the post that part of Churchill’s letter excoriating American newspapers circa 1895. The commenter also noted the NY Times was publishing then.

Hmm. Perhaps I was too kind or maybe just careless.

Whatever the case, the comment made me smile and I thank Anon.


Something different today: from Foreign Affairs (Summer, 1992) Fritz Stern’s brief, informative and judicious review of three outstanding works:

Hitler And Stalin: Parallel Lives. Alan Bullock. New York: Knopf, 1992, 1081 pp.

De Gaulle.
Vol. II: The Ruler, 1945-1970. Jean Lacouture. New York: Norton, 1992, 640 pp.

Churchill: A Life. Martin Gilbert. New York: Henry Holt, 1991, 1066 pp.

By some special cunning of history these three weighty tomes have appeared simultaneously in the United States-and furnish excellent accounts of the European leaders who dominated the political scene of so much of our century.

These biographies, with their expert summaries of historical contexts, once more document what most people once knew-that in some historical circumstances individuals do matter and matter decisively.

The best of these works deals with the worst of men: the master historian and brilliant biographer Alan Bullock has written a gripping study of the two tyrants who transformed their countries and much of the world. Bullock details the public careers of Hitler and Stalin, while shrewdly analyzing the inner dynamism that made triumph and unparalleled terror possible.

In reconstructing their lives, he reminds the general reader (for whom the book is felicitously written) just how important was the German-Russian axis in the first half of the century and how the interaction between these hostile yet similar regimes shaped world politics. A synthesis of vast scholarship, the book is also riveting reading.

Lacouture's second volume of his biography of DeGaulle is a thorough, splendid account of the great political dramatist, the very conscious creator of his own legend.

Lacouture, France's best known political biographer, continues in this volume to set DeGaulle in the context of mostly adversarial conditions, beginning with his conflicts with the Anglo-Americans during the Liberation. As ever, DeGaulle merged his ego with the demands of France's honor, damaged by defeat and collaboration.

Lacouture depicts the complexities of French politics and corrects the general's own version of his "withdrawal" after 1946; he sought his return to power and understood that Algeria offered both the means and the test of that return.

A balanced, indispensable work about a man whose personal power was so much greater than his country's. As Abba Eban noted when he visited DeGaulle on the eve of the Six Day War: "Authority flowed from him like a steady tide." There was also a dark and disagreeable side; in June 1940 Churchill, referring to the newly arrived self-proclaimed savior of France, described it as "an aptitude for suffering."

Lacouture's work, based on the rich literature and many interviews, depicts a shrewd and cleverly opportunistic man-as well as a realistic and courageous leader, as attested by his ending of the Algerian war.

Churchill depicts the engrossing life of perhaps the most appealing European statesman of the century. Narrowly focused on the essentials of Churchill's public and private life, Gilbert (the authorized biographer who has completed a magisterial, multivolumed biography) nevertheless recreates a large slice of British history.

A compelling story-from the earliest days of Churchill as radical reformer-much of it told in Churchill's own incomparable voice, including his letters to Clementine, recording triumph and failure in two wars and in the never peaceful years in between. Gilbert is understandably under the spell of Churchill's greatness-at which other historians and writers are trying to chip away.

Churchill, the romantic realist, the rebellious traditionalist, had a horror of Bolshevism and yet grasped Soviet help in order to defeat the still greater horror of Hitler, against whom he had relentlessly warned. In material power weaker than either, Churchill was Hitler's most determined enemy and understood Stalin better than most.

For anyone who wants an authoritative account of our epoch, these three works would make a good beginning-and they suggest that serious biography can recapture the true drama of history.

Bush made the world a safer place

So says The Guardian’s Oliver Kemm whose column today includes the following:

… His office, and the system of collective security from which we benefit, would be justification enough to welcome President Bush's visit to London this week.

But there is an additional reason peculiar to the Bush presidency. For all Bush's verbal infelicity, diplomatic brusqueness, negligence in planning for post-Saddam Iraq, and insouciance regarding standards of due process when prosecuting the war on terror, the world is a safer place for the influence he has exercised.

When Bush ran for president in 2000 he was an isolationist advocate of scaling back America's overseas commitments. But after 9/11, he was right in not interpreting the attack as confirmation that America was stirring up trouble for itself.

The theocratic barbarism responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers was driven not by what America and its allies had done, but by what we represented. In the words of Osama bin Laden, illegitimately appropriating for himself the mantel of Islam, "every Muslim, the minute he can start differentiating, carries hate toward Americans, Jew, and Christians".

The most fundamental decision in western security policy in the past seven years has not been the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. It has been the recognition that the most voluble adversaries of western society are not merely a criminal subculture, and still less an incipient liberation movement.

Rather, they are a reactionary, millenarian and atavistic force with whom accommodation is impossible as well as intensely undesirable.

The grand strategy pursued by the US under Bush has overestimated the plasticity of the international order, but it has got one big thing right. There is an integral connection between the terrorism that targets western societies and the autocratic states in which Islamist fanaticism is incubated. …

Kamm’s entire column is

I’m pressed for time today so I won’t make any comment other than to say Kamm’s column contains so much wisdom and spine I just had to call it to your attention.

Hat tip:

At the Raleigh N&O – pablum, anger, silence

Yesterday with long-rumored job cuts at McClatchy’s Raleigh News & Observer imminent, former N&O columnist G. D. Gearino posted: What’s up at the N&O? Don’t dare ask.

Gearino's post began:

It is one of the more appalling hypocrisies of the journalism business that the people who report on others typically cannot abide being the focus of reporting themselves.

This is not universally true, of course. Many news people are happy to talk to other reporters who call them.

But as a rule, the higher a journalist is in the hierarchy, the less inclined he or she is to cooperate with anyone who is so bold as to believe that news operations ought to be held to the same level of scrutiny as any other high-profile, important institution.

Consider the treatment Raleigh television station WRAL got when it dared to ask about pending staff cuts at the News & Observer:
Asked about layoffs, Felicia Gressette, vice president of marketing for the N&O who spoke on behalf of publisher Orage Quarles III, said, “We’re just not going to comment.”

When asked about other cost-cutting moves, Gressette noted: “Any changes will be announced in the N&O, not”
Let me note that Gressette is a long-time journalist who a few years ago moved to the business side. Her contempt, not to mention the discourtesy to a fellow professional, is unmistakable in that exchange.

It also pulls back the curtain on a mindset that is precisely at odds with two of the fundamental principles of the business.

The first is the belief by journalists that theirs is a business which exists for the good of, and as a stand-in for, the public. They believe their work is a vital cog in the workings of a democratic society. If that’s true, then the converse is likewise true: A community has a stake in its newspaper that is greater than the stake it might have in any other local business. …

The second principle is the news industry’s belief in the importance of a free flow of information. Journalists spend their careers doing battle with powerful people who think news is a commodity which can be controlled, and the public should only know things when they decide to tell them.

Now we’ve reached that moment when the N&O baldly becomes one of those controllers of information. It’ll decide what you get to know, and when you get to know it. …
Gearino concluded:
The much-anticipated layoffs at the N&O, expected last week but delayed reportedly until this week, will be an opportunity for the paper’s management to treat readers as stakeholders, rather than sheep to be fed pablum.

Sadly, you should expect pablum.
Informed readers who’ve followed the N&O’s grossly biased, sometimes deliberately fraudulent and racially inflammatory Duke lacrosse coverage in Spring 2006 and its ongoing cover-up of the mistakes it made then are not surprised the N&O would serve pablum and much worse.

And how are things today at the N&O following yesterday's announcement of 70 job cuts?

I’m hearing from journalists friends there are mostly angry employees at the N&O with much of the anger based on employees' beliefs they're victims of mismanagement by senior editors and publisher Orage Quarles and have also been lied to.

Here from Gearino’s post thread are parts of two comments which state those beliefs:
Over a week ago I was sent a copy of what I was told was an email from [McClatchy sister paper] Charlotte Observer publisher Ann Caulkins which clearly hinted at impending job cuts.

I emailed Observer editor Rick Thames asking for confirmation of such an email from Caulkins. I never heard back.

Super management. What is really sad is all the good reporters who will take the fall for really poor performance from the masthead for several years now.
And this:
Orage has blatantly lied to the community newspapers for years.

“We’re cutting back expenses in Raleigh, just like you.”

Yeah right. While reporters on the fringe are having to use “comp time,” Raleigh blithely sends its features reporters to California and France to cover the important stories.
Those comments won’t surprise many of us who’ve been treated the same way by top N&O editors and Quarles.

I’m in a rush now, but this evening I’ll repost some of the N&O Arrogance series as well as Quarles' brush-off response to posts I provided him which contained extensive, documented data concerning the N&O’s use of Mike Nifong as an anonymous source for Ruth Sheehan’s Mar. 27, 2006 “Team’s silence is sickening” column.

Further along Gearino’s thread Walter Abbott asks:
We at LieStoppers need to know specifically who in the NandO newsroom lost their jobs.
Abbott's comment was followed by this one:
IAW Walter - let’s see the N&O publish a list. Who’s staying and who is gone?
At 5 PM ET I checked and the N&O's Editors' Blog at which time there was only silence concerning who'd been axed and nothing about the separation packages they'd been offered.

Pablum anyone?

Gearino's entire post is here; the entire WRAL story's here.

Two Dems hyped debunked “whitey” tape

Glenn Reynolds at makes that point with extracts from Jim Geraghty’s NRO post:

... If the media is going to write about the debunked "whitey" tape, particularly as a trigger for Obama's anti-smear site, there's really no excuse for not mentioning the two sources more responsible than anyone else for hyping the story: pro-Hillary blogger Larry Johnson and Democratic strategist Bob Beckel, who appeared on Fox News claiming a "mighty big shoe" was about to drop regarding Michelle Obama. . . .

The behavior of the mainstream media is sending a clear message to those of us on the right: do not ever help out the Obama campaign, even if you think the world would be well-served by debunking a ridiculous accusation, because no one will ever remember your efforts to get to the truth. Instead, you'll get blamed for spreading the malicious rumors. …
Geraghty’s post is here. He has much more to say and provides links.

As for Reynolds, few bloggers do a better job of highlighting the most telling portions of other bloggers' posts and then adding what Bill O’Reilly calls “pithy comments.”

That’s why I visit every day.

The Churchill Series - June 16, 2008

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

In late 1895 Churchill, about to turn 21, visited America for the first time.

He'd just graduated from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst where the course of study lasted only 18 months and the rules permitted cadets to go up to London for balls, threatre and other social events.

Here’s the beginning of a letter Churchill wrote his brother John (Jack), then 15, just days after he arrived in the country he came to call The Great Republic :

I daresay Mamma showed you my letter of the 10th, which gave an account of the voyage and such news as was to hand at that time.

I am still staying with Mr. Bourke Cockran, whom you met in Paris, in his very comfortable and convenient flat in 5th avenue. We have postponed our departure from New York for three days - as there was lots to see and do. On Sunday we start for Havana by the route of Philadelphia - Washington - Savannah - Tampa Bay & Key West - arriving there on Wednesday morning, all being well.

Mr. Cockran, who has great influence over here, procured us orders to visit the Forts of the Harbour and West Point - which is the American Sandhurst.

I am sure you will be horrified by some of the Regulations of the Military Academy. The cadets enter from 19-22 & stay 4 years. This means that they are most of them 24 years of age. They are not allowed to smoke - or have any money in their possession nor are they given any leave except 2 months the 1st two years. In fact they have far less liberty than any private school boys in our country.

I think such a state of things is positively disgraceful and young men of 24 or 25 who would resign their personal liberty to such an extent can never make good citizens or fine soldiers. A child who rebels against that sort of control should be whipped--so should a man who does not rebel.

The other night Mr. Cockran got the Fire Commissioners to come with us and we alarmed four or five fire stations. This would have interested you very much.
On the alarm bell sounding the horses at once rushed into the shafts - the harness fell on to them - the men slid half dressed down a pole from their sleeping room and in 5 ½ seconds the engine was galloping down the street to the scene of the fire. An extraordinary feat which seems incredible - unless you have seen it. …
The rest of Churchill’s letter is here.

I hope you give it a read. It’s extremely interesting and one of my favorite Churchill letters.

Monday, June 16, 2008

McClatchy cuts 1400 jobs. N&O axes 70

The following is from with my comments below the star line.

The News & Observer will cut 70 jobs, or about 8 percent of its work force, as part of a reduction in employment announced today by its parent company, McClatchy.

McClatchy, the publisher of 30 daily newspapers, said it will cut about 1,400 jobs nationwide -- or 10 percent of its work force -- as the company contends with declining revenue.

As part of the reductions, 16 full-time and part-time newsroom employees will be affected, John Drescher, the newspaper's executive editor, wrote in e-mail to the newsroom.

The remainder of the cuts will take place in advertising, marketing, circulation, production and technical support.

"This is a painful but necessary step," N&O publisher Orage Quarles III said in e-mail to employees this afternoon. "We're operating in a time of great change and challenge for our operations, for the McClatchy Company and for the newspaper industry overall."

McClatchy, which is based in Sacramento, Calif., has been hurt by an advertising slump, particularly in Florida and California where it gets a third of advertising revenue. The company this morning said advertising revenue in May fell almost 17 percent, compared with May 2007.

The job cuts, which will save the company $70 million annually, are part of a broader plan to reduce expenses. ...

With the latest round of cuts, The N&O's employment will fall to about 805. Those affected will receive severance and outplacement assistance.

"This is a traumatic day," Drescher said in the e-mail message. "We will be saying goodbye to some colleagues, then embarking upon more change than we've ever seen before."

The N&O has already seen significant changes this year. In April, the company offered voluntary buyouts to about 200 employees to save money. Quarles said 33 people took the package, including six in the newsroom.

The N&O also has closed its Greenville office and decided to leave unfilled several positions vacated by employees who retired or left for new jobs.
All newspaper companies have suffered as advertising migrates online. But the economic slowdown has exacerbated the effect. ...

"The effects of the current national economic downturn ... make it essential that we move faster now to realign our work force and make our operations more efficient," Gary Pruitt, McClatchy's chief executive, said in a statement. "I'm sorry this requires the painful announcement we are making today, but we're taking this action to help ensure a healthy future for our company."



The job cuts announced today were expected and reported in News from “inside” the Raleigh N&O (6/13/08) citing information provided by WRAL.

For more about recent job cuts at the N&O, see At Raleigh N&O, Job Cuts Loom. (4/17/08)

For more news about financial trouble within the McClatchy chain, see McClatchy gets more grim market news. (6/15/08)

There’s a lot more I want to say about today’s job cuts and related matters at the N&O.

So please stay tuned.

For now, I’ll just repeat what I've said before:

I’m never glad to hear hard-working, able and honest employees are losing their jobs.

At the N&O, there are some reporters and editors of the type I’ve just mentioned.

There are also hundreds of N&O support staff – phone operators, accountants, security staff, subscription services staff and others – who are also “hard-working, able and honest employees.”

For all of those people, I’m sorry their jobs are at risk.

As for the people at the N&O who brought us those Duke lacrosse framing stories in Spring 2006, which they knew they were biased or even outright false, I can’t summon any regret if they lose their jobs in the news industry.

I feel the same way about the people at the N&O who made the decision not to tell us our former ground commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, said in a prepared speech that most MSM in Iraq was biased against our military and that their reporting had caused the deaths of some of our forces. ( See On Sanchez: The N&O deceived us )

News reporting jobs need to be for people who report news.

Those who deceive us don’t belong at news organizations.

Hat tips: Archer 05, Ed in NY, & AC.

Jack comments again on Duke. I respond

I don’t know Jack other than through comments Jack’s made here, including one particularly memorable one in which Jack said, in effect, that Duke as many people remember it had been “stolen,” and everyone would do well to recognize that.

Here, as I recall it, is the essence of Jack’s comment:

Duke under Dick Brodhead is nothing like Duke under Terry Sanford. That’s why you have the faculty Group of 88 and Nifong and DPD framing students.

I gives me no joy to say this, but you need to see the truth. Sorry if it offends you, but the Duke you knew was stolen by the left.
That was a year or two ago.

I didn't hear from Jack again until yesterday.

I’m going to respond here to some of what Jack's just said.

Jack’s comments are in italics; mine are in plain and directly address Jack.

I have not posted here in quite some time, but I continue to follow events in the aftermath of the lacrosse scandal. I have no connection to Duke University, but I have four children in and around college age (one 2007 graduate, two enrolled and a HS junior) and am very much interested in the quality, direction and agenda of our Higher Education Establishment.

Watching events unfold in Durham over the past two years, my reaction has been similar to many – disbelief to dismay, outrage and anger.

Unlike you, I did not feel the pain and sorrow in seeing my alma mater abdicate all vestiges of decency, the abandonment of the kind of values that has made our society the most decent and caring in history.

Most at Duke have not abdicated “all vestiges of decency” so much as they’ve just not gotten involved. Their lack of involvement, IMO, reflects both a failure to appreciate what’s at stake and a reluctance to take a public stand that goes counter to the stand of the powers that be.

I don’t find it hard to understand that many Duke people would acknowledge Crystal Mangum told lies that had terrible consequences; whisper to friends that Duke’s BOT, President Brodhead, “Dick’s senior team,” and “a lot of the faculty botched it;” and wish no other involvement with the Duke Hoax.

If I were working at Duke as an office secretary, a med tech or at one of the libraries, I'd very probably be one of those people.

But I contrast those Duke people with others - for example, Duke’s Law School faculty – from whom by virtue of their professions and positions we had a right to expect more of.

With Mike Nifong’s public conduct so outrageous that just days after he began speaking publicly about the lacrosse, the State Bar opened a file in anticipation of ethics violation charges being brought against him, we had a right to expect the Duke Law School faculty would speak out about the district attorney’s travesties.

But for months, none did. Even now, only a few have.

What can you say about a law school faculty which remains silent when Reade Seligman is threatened by racists shouting “Justice will be done, rapist” outside the Durham County Courthouse and “Dead man walking” inside Judge Ron Stephens’ courtroom?

A law school faculty which remains silent in such circumstances certainly loses a good deal of its “vestiges of decency.”

How does such a faculty preach and teach due process and professional ethics to its students?

I'm sorry to acknowledge that Duke's Law School faculty, with a few commendable exceptions, was typical of almost all groups at Duke who by profession and position were responsible for upholding right and truth, but instead abdicated their responsibilities in the face of the lies and injustices that are the Duke Hoax, the frame-up attempt and the ongoing cover-up.

Even worse than those groups are the faculty Group of 88 and others supporting them who made an already dangerous situation more dangerous, and those administrators who've promoted some of the 88 to positions of greater responsibility.

Jack, I want to mention one other group we should keep in mind when talking about Duke’s response to the Hoax: those who acted with courage and spoke up for fairness and reason. I'll mention the 2006 Women’s lacrosse team and its coach, Kerstin Kimel, as representing all of them.

You’re owed a big hat tip for reminding us that our society, for all its faults, is one of the most caring and decent in history. I wish Duke had more faculty that felt that way.

Richard Brodhead and the BOT’s behavior since the scandal indicates they no longer feel they must go about their work under the cover of darkness. The appointments at Duke are nothing more than a middle finger at Duke’s traditional, if ignorant, constituencies.

Lee Baker’s appointment is the latest, and among the more important steps the radical left has taken to ensure their philosophy, their brand of “thinking” gets the seal of approval in a Big Brand Elite University. Duke is not at all elite, it has become elitist.

I don’t doubt Duke’s “radical left” did its part to encourage Dean Lee Baker’s appointment. But it was President Brodhead, top administrators and key trustees who made the appointment possible.

I don't doubt you agree that's much more troubling than if only Duke's radical left was responsible for Baker's appointment.

I take no pleasure in the disappointment you must feel for an institution that evidently had such an important part in your education, your development and personal identity, but the benign neglect of the alumni cannot be discounted as a contributing factor.

I agree with you 100%.

Like I said before – Duke has been hijacked, and you wanted to believe that all is not lost. Perhaps not, but for the past year, the enemy within Duke has been consolidating its position. Not that Bob Steele, Richard Wagoner or Melinda Gates are doing anything to stop it, not the impudent snots at the Chronicle. So what is it you think you can do?

I agree those with a vested interest in protecting themselves and hiding what was done to “throw them under the bus” have been consolidating their position.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re stronger relative to the forces at work to expose them and what they did.

Within the last year the power balance between those seeking to hide the truth and those seeking to get it out there, while still weighted in favor of those wanting to hide the truth, has in recent months begun shifting in the direction of those seeking to get the truth out there.

You may doubt that, but those called “The Duke Defendants”in the suit brought by attorney Bob Ekstrand on behalf of 2006 lacrosse team members Breck Archer, Ryan McFedyan and Matthews Wilson don't.

After two years of spending large sums to promote MoveOn.Duke and then suggesting the plaintiffs didn't have much of a case, Duke turned around and hired Washington attorney and Democratic operative Jamie Gorelick this past February just weeks after it got a look at Ekstrand's suit complaint filing.

The Duke defendants already had tremendous legal firepower. Why retain Gorelick?

Because Duke knows legal firepower may not be enough to successfully defend itself against the suit and its consequences.

Gorelick's hiring proves those trying to push the truth out there are growing stronger.

Thanks for commenting.

And don’t worry that I take offense at what you say. Your genuine care comes through.


Dems, Independents join McCain

This posted today by Mark Halperin at TIME's The Page - - -

U.S. Senator John McCain’s campaign today announced a group of prominent Democratic and unaffiliated leaders and activists who have joined “Citizens for McCain,” a new grassroots effort headed by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to rally Americans of all political parties to support John McCain’s candidacy.

“Citizens for McCain is an organization within the McCain campaign for people who put country before political party and support the presidential candidate who has a proven record of bipartisanship,” said Senator Joe Lieberman.

As part of the campaign’s continued effort to build on growing support from voters joining “Citizens for McCain,” John McCain, along with RNC Victory Chair Carly Fiorina, will participate in a virtual town hall with Democrats and Independents today to discuss John McCain’s record of putting country before political party.

Many town hall participants are expected to be former supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The town hall will be held today Saturday, June 14th at 3:30pm EDT. To participate, the general public should please visit Members of the media should email to receive call-in information.


Former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson (Arizona)
Former Arizona State Legislator Phil Hubbard (Arizona)
Mammoth Mayor Craig Williams (Arizona)
Former Arizona LULAC Director Ray Gans (Arizona)
Democratic 25th Precinct Chair Silverio “Silver” Salazar (Colorado)
Adviser to Democratic Presidential Candidates and Georgetown University Professor Robert Lieber (District of Columbia)
Blogger on Renee Slater (Florida)
Former Sheriff of Highlands County Howard Godwin (Florida)
Jewish Outreach Adviser to Senator Hillary Clinton Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs
Georgia Political Director for Gore-Lieberman ‘00 Joseph O’Farrell Jr. (Georgia)
Former Democratic Des Moines County Chair Bruce Shulte (Illinois)
Former State Representative Brian Golden (Massachusetts)
Commander of Newport Memorial-VFW Post 1119 Francis Harding, Jr. (Maine)
Former Palmyra Budget Committee Member Herb Bates (Maine)
Former Lt. Governor and State Supreme Court Justice Alexander “Sandy” Keith (Minnesota)
Former U.S Representative and 2002 Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tim Penny (Minnesota)
Former State Representative Steve Wenzel (Minnesota)
City Clerk Judi May (Mississippi)
County Supervisor Gary Dearman (Mississippi)
Alderman Bill Mosby (Mississippi)
Former State Representative Jim Gamache (Missouri)
Presiding Commissioner in New Madrid County, Clyde Hawes (Missouri)
Former Concord Mayor Bill Veroneau (New Hampshire)
Former Democratic Mayor of Waterford Township George Fallon (New J ersey)
Former Democratic Committeeman in Warren Township Jeffrey Golkin (New Jersey)
Former State Chair of Environmentalists for Clinton-Gore 1992 Roberta Weisbrod (New York)
Former Majority Leader in the State Senate David Carlin (Rhode Island)
Former Texas Democratic Party Chairman Roy Orr (Texas)
Elected National Delegate for Senator Hillary Clinton Debra Bartoshevich (Wisconsin)
Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Frye (West Virginia)

Hanson exposes Buchanan & his distortions

What follow is the start of Victor Davis Hanson’s June 13 column at Pajama Media. I comment below the star line.

Hanson begins - - -

Patrick J. Buchanan got upset that I wrote a column about the World War II revisionists, especially his book, and that of Nicholson Baker’s on the allied “crimes” of bombing German cities. I produce his column by paragraph and then comment in brackets.

In attacking my book “Churchill, Hitler and ‘The Unnecessary War’: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World,” Victor Davis Hanson, the court historian of the neoconservatives, charges me with “rewriting … facts” and showing “ingratitude” to American and British soldiers who fought World Wars I and II.

[In dealing with Mr. Buchanan, one must accept at the beginning two caveats. First, as is his style, he will always resort to ad hominem attacks in lieu of an argument. Thus note at the very beginning his sneering “court historian of the neoconservatives.”

Second, Buchanan unfortunately is neither a reliable journalist nor an historian, and thus simply cannot be trusted to report accurately what is written. He says I charge him with “rewriting… facts” (note those convenient three dots).

I did not charge him with rewriting facts, but simply advancing a thesis contrary to them: “Questioning the past is a good thing, but rewriting it contrary to facts is quite another.” (emphasis added)

And I didn’t just criticize Buchanan’s book, but in a brief 750 word newspaper column lumped it together with the novelist Nicholson Baker’s (Human Smoke) equally critical attack on the allies in World War II—both as signs of the sorry state of historical revisionism that has sprung up in the climate of the Iraq war.

Writing a book whose theme is that the allies, and especially the British, unwisely and unduly pressured Hitler, and therefore were culpable for much of the carnage of World War II, again, does not “rewrite… facts”, but simply ignores them.

And, yes, it does indeed serve to lessen the enormous sacrifices that American and British soldiers endured to stop a monstrosity like National Socialism, whose doctrine of racial hatred and territorial expansion logically led to a German government attacking by 1940 most of its neighbors, to the east, west, north and south, and eventually, in industrial fashion, murdering 6 million Jews.

Much of Hitler’s madness was outlined well in advance in Mein Kampf. By the late 1930s his harsh treatment of the Jews was a harbinger of things to come, once his own power was consolidated and Germany free from outside objection.]

Both charges are false, and transparently so.

Hanson cites not a single fact I got wrong and ignores the fact that the book is dedicated to my mother’s four brothers who fought in World War II. Moreover, the book begins by celebrating the greatness of the British nation and heroism of its soldier-sons.

[Within a 350-word critique devoted to the theme of his book, I cited his misreading of the Versailles Treaty (see below), and his special pleading that serves to exculpate Hitler’s Nazi government.

Again, the thesis of Buchanan’s’ book is not based on facts, but can only be advanced by contradicting them. And it has a disturbing habit of mechanically at times praising those who are his natural targets—or supposedly naive victims—of the book, as if that allows him to further denigrate their wisdom and sacrifice.]

Did Hanson even read it?

[Unfortunately I did read it, and was appalled by his absence of logic—hence the column.] ...

The rest of Hanson's column is here.


I haven't read Buchanan's book, but all its critics I've read agree Buchanan holds that the allies, and especially the British, provoked Hitler and thereby brought on WWII.

That's nonsense as Hanson demonstrates in his Pajama Media response to Buchanan, and as he demonstrated in his original June 5 NRO column which provoked Buchanan's attack on Hanson which just further exposed Buchanan as illogical and a distorter.

This from Hanson's June 5 NRO column:

Questioning the past is a good thing, but rewriting it contrary to facts is quite another. In the latest round of revisionism about the Second World War, the awful British and naive Americans, not the poor Germans, have ended up as the real culprits.

Take the new book by conservative pundit Patrick Buchanan, Churchill, Hitler and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World. Buchanan argues that, had the imperialist Winston Churchill not pushed poor Hitler into a corner, he would have never invaded Poland in 1939, which triggered an unnecessary Allied response.

Maybe then the subsequent world war, and its 50 million dead, could have been avoided. Taking that faulty argument to its logical end, I suppose today a united West might live in peace with a reformed (and victorious) Nazi Third Reich....
Many of you know Churchill was out of office when Germany invaded Poland; just as he was the year before when Hitler grabbed first one part of Czechoslovakia via the Munich Treaty, and later the rest of it through naked military aggression.

And on it goes.

Hanson's NRO column is here.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Was the prof a Dem all along? reports today historians give Sen. McCain little chance of winning in November. The story includes this:

“This should be an overwhelming Democratic victory,” said Allan Lichtman, an American University presidential historian who ran in a Maryland Democratic senatorial primary in 2006.(emphasis added)

Lichtman, whose forecasting model has correctly predicted the last six presidential popular vote winners, predicts that this year, “Republicans face what have always been insurmountable historical odds.” His system gives McCain a score on par with Jimmy Carter’s in 1980.
Does the name Allan Lichtman sound familiar?

Following the 2000 presidential election, Lichtman served as the lead expert and author of the Democratic-dominated U. S. Commission on Civil Rights’ report on race as a factor in vote rejection in Florida in 2000.

Excerpts from a June 9, 2001 NY Times report:
A divided United States Commission on Civil Rights approved a report today that said black voters in Florida were at least 10 times more likely than other voters to have their ballots rejected in last year's presidential election, and it called on the Justice Department to investigate the state's voting irregularities. …

[Republican Commission member Abigail] Thernstrom took particular issue with a sentence in the report that, by the way it was worded, suggested that someone other than voters themselves were responsible for their spoiled ballots.

The sentence read: ''Persons living in a county with a substantial African-American or people-of-color population are more likely to have their vote spoiled or discounted than persons living in the rest of Florida.''

''Is there a spoiler out there?'' she asked. ''If voters themselves are the source of the errors, you don't have disparate impact.'' She said that factors like illiteracy and lack of familiarity with the voting system could have caused the voting problems.

Allan J. Lichtman, a history professor at American University and an elections expert who prepared the report's statistical analysis, said he had been asked to determine whether there were disparities, not whether they were intentional. He said he had come to the task a skeptic and was ''amazed and shocked'' to find vast differences.

He said ballots cast by blacks were rejected at a rate of 14.4 percent and those cast by nonblacks were rejected at a rate of 1.6 percent.

He said that factors other than voter error, such as poorly trained poll workers, bad equipment and less money devoted to elections, could have accounted for the disparities. ...
At the time Lichtman was selected by the Democratic-dominated Commission, he said he was non-partisan and MSM consistently identified him as such.

I suppose it’s possible that in 2001 Lichtman and the Dems who hired him at taxpayers’ expense really believed he’d be non-partisan when gathering, assessing and interpreting vote data; and that it was only after all his work for the Commission was done that Lichtman developed the partisan intensity needed to seek a Democratic Senate nomination in Maryland.

But I doubt it.

The report's here; the NYT's report's here.