Saturday, June 28, 2008

McClatchy reporter leaves out important Obama statement

McClatchy reporter Margaret Talev begins “Is Obama turning out to be just another politician?”

From the beginning, Barack Obama's special appeal was his vow to remain an idealistic outsider, courageous and optimistic, and never to shift his positions for political expediency, or become captive of the Inside-the-Beltway intelligentsia, or kiss up to special interests and big money donors.

In recent weeks, though, Obama has done all those things.

He abandoned public campaign financing after years of championing it. Backed a compromise on wiretap legislation that gives telecom companies retroactive immunity for helping the government conduct spying without warrants. Dumped his controversial pastor of two decades — then his church — after saying he could no more abandon the pastor than abandon his own grandmother. …
The rest of Talev’s article is here.

Talev’s sentence:
"Dumped his controversial pastor of two decades — then his church — after saying he could no more abandon the pastor than abandon his own grandmother."
is of course a reference to what Senator Obama said in his March 18 speech in Philadelphia about no more being able to disown his grandmother who made racists remarks that had made him cringe than he could disown his pastor of 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

But it wasn’t only his grandmother Obama said he could no more disown than Wright. Just before describing his grandmother as a racist, Obama said he could no more disown the black community than disown Wright. (emphasis added)

From the full text of Obama’s speech, here’s the paragraph in which he speaks about his inability to disown the black community, Wright and his grandmother:
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
What if instead of referencing his grandmother, Talev and her McClatchy editors reference Obama’s statement he could no more disown the black community than disown Wright.

In that case, in place of:
“Dumped his controversial pastor of two decades — then his church — after saying he could no more abandon the pastor than abandon his own grandmother.”
Talev's article would have read:
“Dumped his controversial pastor of two decades — then his church — after saying he could no more abandon the pastor than abandon his own black community.”
I think there’s quite a difference between the impact those two sentences would have on most readers.

If you told me Talev and her editors thought of that, I wouldn’t doubt it.

Final thought - It's so ironic Talev's article is titled “Is Obama turning out to be just another politician?” given Obama finally "dumped" Wright after he said Obama was "just another politician."

Dem congressman's disgraceful conduct. See it yourself.

What follows are parts of Powerline's Scott Johnson's post "Delahunt's Disgrace."


Here is the exchange between Rep. William Delahunt (D, Mass.) and Cheney chief of staff David Addington at the House committee hearing broadcast live on C-SPAN on Thursday as accurately recounted by CNN:

Delahunt asked repeatedly whether the topic of waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique that simulates drowning, ever came up.

Addington replied that he could not discuss that because "al Qaeda may watch C-SPAN."

"Right," Delahunt responded. "Well, I'm sure they are watching, and I'm glad they finally have the chance to see you, Mr. Addington."

"Yeah, I'm sure you're pleased," Addington shot back.

"Given your penchant for being unobtrusive," Delahunt said of Addington's ability to stay behind the scenes.

In this exchange, Delahunt identifies himself with a vicious enemy of the United States, implicitly acknowledges the danger they pose to officials such as Addington and professes his satisfaction that he has helped set the enemy's sights on Addington. Delahunt is both a fool and a reprobate. He does not understand that his good will toward al Qaeda means nothing to them, and his encouragement of their mission is simply vile.

As FOX News reports, Delahunt claimed that "under no circumstances" was he implying during the hearing that al Qaeda may target Addington. "That’s absurd. That was not my intent," he told FOX News. "And I’m sure Mr. Addington knows that was not my intent." Addington, however, knows no such thing. He knows that Delahunt was freely expressing his hatred of the Bush administration in a manner that was both disgusting and disgraceful. ...

Johnson's entire post's here.


Now, folks, thanks to You Tube you can see and judge what Delahunt did for yourselves:

Hat tip: Mike Williams

On D. C. gun ban, news orgs tank for Obama

Major news organizations continue to work hard to help elect Senator Barack Obama President.

The following excerpts are from Washington Post media critc Howard Kurtz’s “Pretzel Logic” report. My comments follow below the star line.

… Regardless of what you think of the merits of yesterday's Supreme Court ruling overturning the capital's handgun law, it seems to me we're entitled to a clear position by the presumed Democratic nominee. And I'm a bit confused about how the confusion came about.

Here's how the Illinois senator handled the issue with the Chicago Tribune just last November:

"The campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said that he ' . . . believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional.' " (all emphasis added)

Kind of a flat statement.

And here's what ABC reported yesterday: " 'That statement was obviously an inartful attempt to explain the Senator's consistent position,' Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells ABC News."

Inartful indeed.

But even though the earlier Obama quote and the "inartful" comment have been bouncing around the Net for 24 hours, I'm not seeing any reference to them in the morning papers.

Most do what the New York Times did: "Mr. Obama, who like Mr. McCain has been on record as supporting the individual-rights view, said the ruling would 'provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.' "

Supporting the individual-rights view? Not in November.

Even the Tribune--the very paper that the Obama camp told he supported the gun ban--makes no reference to the November interview. Instead: "Democrat Barack Obama offered a guarded response Thursday to the Supreme Court ruling striking down the District of Columbia's prohibition on handguns and sidestepped providing a view on the 32-year-old local gun ban. Republican rival John McCain's campaign accused him of an 'incredible flip-flop' on gun control."

So McCain accuses Obama of a flip-flop, and the Trib can't check the clips to tell readers whether there's some basis in fact for the charge?

USA Today takes the same tack:

"In a conference call put together by McCain's campaign, Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas said . . . that Obama has been changing his position on the gun issue and said the Democratic senator has done some 'incredible flip-flopping' on key issue."

And? And? That's all we get? He said/he said journalism?

Even if you wanted to maintain that it wasn't really a flip-flop, what about giving the readers the facts?

The rest of Kurtz’s report is here.

Star line


So what about giving readers the facts? Don’t news organizations like the NYT, Chi. Trib. and USA Today insist that’s what they do?

Yes, that's what they claim. But as Kurtz’s report makes clear, they didn’t report Obama’s unequivocal support last November for the D. C. hand gun ban.

The reason seems obvious: Obama’s support for the ban will hurt him in the presidential election.

For months now "Elect-Obama" news organizations have been ignoring, downplaying and distorting news which will hurt the Senator's election chances.

Kurtz's report calls attention to only latest examples of “Anything for Obama” journalism.

They’re part of a long series which include reporting Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s history of racist and anti-American pronouncements as mere “snippets” Obama’s opponents were “taking out of context.”

Has an MSM reporter ever asked Obama: “Senator, we all know you say you were never in church anytime Rev. Wright made one of his ‘controversial’ sermons. But you’ve never explained how you could be a member of the church for 20 years and not hear from other church members, including, Sir, Ms. Obama, what Rev. Wright was saying. When are you going to do that?”

I commend Kurtz for calling attention to the failures of major news organizations to report the simple truth about Obama’s position on the D. C. gun ban.

Hat tips to:, Archer 05 and AC.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jun. 27, 2008

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

In yesterday’s post I asked if anyone knew about whom Churchill said: “If you wanted nothing done, he was your man.”

I thank a knowledgeable commenter who provided the answer:

On Conservative politician and Prime Minister 1902-06 Arthur Balfour: "If you wanted nothing done, Arthur Balfour was the best man for the task. There was no equal to him."
Balfour held a number of government offices including the premiership. We remember him today mostly for his issuance when Foreign Secretary in 1917 of what we call the Balfour Declaration, which promised Jews a homeland in Palestine.

The commenter provided a link to a Churchill site where you can find many Churchill quotes.

It was at that site I found the following:
On the deeply religious, teetotal, austere and clean living socialist Chancellor of the Exchequer, Stafford Cripps, after being told of Cripps's decision to give up smoking: "Too bad - that was his last contact with humanity."

And on another occasion: "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
From memory I’ll offer a few other barbs Churchill tossed Cripps way. I’ll put them in quotation marks and am confident of their substance, but I wouldn’t bet the ranch I have Churchill’s words exactly as he said them.

Nodding in Cripps direction Churchill once told a companion: “There but for the grace of God goes God.”

During WW II an equipment problem forced Churchill and his party to make an emergency landing at a remote airfield in the North African desert. Perspiring in the intense heat and surveying the desert landscape, Churchill remarked: “God, how Cripps would love this place.”

I hope you all have a nice weekend.


Hat tipping JinC Heller commenters

All of you who’ve been commenting here pre- and post-Heller on our Second Amendment right to bear arms will see in George Mason University School of Law Professor David E. Bernstein's post below concordance with the central point you've all made.

Bernstein published his post at Volokh Conspiracy this afternoon.

I’m posting it in full because of its intrinsic value, the interest it'll have for many JinC visitors, and as a “hat tip” to those of you who commented re: Heller.

You’ve added to the blog, and provided much of value to others who’ll visit and read here.

Now Professor Bernstein’s post - - -


The Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, upholding the Second Amendment right of individuals to own firearms, should finally lay to rest the widespread myth that the defining difference between liberal and conservative justices is that the former support "individual rights" and "civil liberties," while the latter routinely defer to government assertions of authority.

The Heller dissent presents the remarkable spectacle of four liberal Supreme Court justices tying themselves into an intellectual knot to narrow the protections the Bill of Rights provides. Or perhaps it's not as remarkable as we've been led to think.
So begins my opinion piece published at I then discuss areas in which the conservative Justices have taken a broader view of individual rights than the liberal Justices--commercial speech, expressive association, election-related speech, property rights, racial preferences, free exercise of religion, "hate speech"--and conclude:
There are many ideological differences between the conservative and liberal justices on the Supreme Court. But a consistent, stronger liberal devotion to supporting individual rights and civil liberties against assertions of government power isn't one of them.

Can Obama make the Clintons look scrupulous?

First, the beginning of Charles Krauthammer’s column today; then my comments below the star line.

Krauthammer begins - - -

"To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."

-- Obama spokesman Bill Burton, Oct. 24, 2007

That was then: Democratic primaries to be won, netroot lefties to be seduced. With all that (and Hillary Clinton) out of the way, Obama now says he'll vote in favor of the new FISA bill that gives the telecom companies blanket immunity for post-Sept. 11 eavesdropping.

Back then, in the yesteryear of primary season, he thoroughly trashed the North American Free Trade Agreement, pledging to force a renegotiation, take "the hammer" to Canada and Mexico and threaten unilateral abrogation.

Today the hammer is holstered. Obama calls his previous NAFTA rhetoric "overheated" and essentially endorses what one of his senior economic advisers privately told the Canadians: The anti-trade stuff was nothing more than populist posturing.

Nor is there much left of his primary season pledge to meet "without preconditions" with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There will be "preparations," you see, which are being spun by his aides into the functional equivalent of preconditions.

Obama's long march to the center has begun.

The rest of Krauthammer’s column is here.



Senator Obama’s supporters seem to be taking his contradictions and reversals of things he’s previously said in stride. It’s as if they expect him to be duplicitous even on some of the most important matters in his life and in public governance.

So they’re not upset he said he could no more disown Rev. Wright than he could “disown the black community” just a few weeks before he disowned Wright. Not even the black community’s upset.

Obamaites who a few months ago hailed Obama’s pledge to use public financing of his presidential campaign so he wouldn’t be beholding to special interests now cheer Obama’s decision to take hundreds of millions from those special interests.
And on it goes.

Obama’s supporters remind me of those Duke professors who supported for more than a year Mike Nifong and his transparent frame-up attempt.

Like Obama’s supporters , each time Nifong flip-flopped his supporters continued to cheer him on. DNA would prove who was guilty and who was innocent. But wait! That was last week. This week its “they used condoms.” Well, whatever it takes to keep Mike going.

It’s the same with Obama.

Krauthammer ends his column with:

Not a flinch. Not a flicker. Not a hint of shame. By the time he's finished, Obama will have made the Clintons look scrupulous.
Make the Clintons look scrupulous?

A year ago – even three months ago – I wouldn’t have believed that possible.

But now? Who knows?

They say Obama can do things no other Chicago politician’s ever done.

If Obama can sit in Wright’s church for 20 years without hearing Wright’s racism and anti-Americanism, maybe he really can make the Clintons look scrupulous.

What do Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton think? And are they next in line for makeovers?

Justice Scalia and my wife’s aunt

When I think about our Second Amendment right to bear arms, I often think of one of my wife’s aunts.

I thought of her especially yesterday when I read accounts of the Supreme Court’s Heller decision which contained the following from Justice Scalia’s opinion for the majority:

“The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of ‘arms’ that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose. The prohibition extends, moreover, to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute.

Under any of the standards of scrutiny that we have applied to enumerated constitutional rights, banning from the home ‘the most preferred firearm in the nation to ‘keep’ and use for protection of one’s home and family,’ would fail constitutional muster.” (56,57)
Aunt Amy was 80, a widow, and living alone. One night she was awoken by what sounded like broken glass. She realized someone was entering her home.

As she later recounted, she was terrified but able to reach for the pistol on her bedside table. She heard footsteps coming down the hallway that led to her bedroom. She remembered hollering something, but she couldn’t recall what.

The footsteps kept coming, She fired a bullet through her bedroom door and heard someone running away down the hall.

Then she called the cops.

They came, as did some of her children and grandchildren who lived nearby.

There was the usual police search for evidence of the break-in and Aunt Amy had to give a statement to police, provide proof of her right to have the gun, etc.

The officer in charge didn’t know Aunt Amy personally, but he knew she was well known in the moderate size city where she’d lived all her live and been a community leader.

The officer, who Aunt Amy said was "very nice," told her that while the incident report was a public document, he felt sure he’d be able to persuade the media to ignore it.

Aunt Amy told the officer she didn’t want that. She wanted the incident to get as much attention as possible. She wanted everyone to know she had a gun by her beside and could use it. She said the press and TV could come and take pictures if they liked.

The officer said OK, that’s how it would be. He also told her he didn’t think she’d have to worry about any break-ins for quite a while.

And it turned out that way. Aunt Amy lived on another five years in her house without incident.

If she was here, Aunt Amy would be cheering Justice Scalia today.

Zimbabwe this fraud “election day”

The AP reports on what it calls "Zimbabwe’s 1-candidate runoff."

VOA ledes with “EU: Zimbabwe's Runoff Vote a Meaningless Sham."

BBC World News just headlined: "Voters snub 'sham' Zimbabwe poll"

At the WaPo-Newsweek blog PostGlobal under the lede "Hold South Africa responsible for Zimbabwe’s mess," journalist Njoroge Wachai posted today an op-ed which friends pointed out to me as making more sense about Zimbabwe’s problems than most of what we read in the Western press. Here’s some of what Wachai’s saying, followed by my brief comments below the star line.

…Considering the manner in which Mugabe is thumbing his nose at the international community, including the UN, it’s unlikely that Zimbabweans, who are already terrified of challenging this dictator, can sort out the mess in their country on their own. International intervention is necessary, from anyone who purports to care about democracy and human rights.

This possibility, unfortunately, is being fervently opposed by none other than Zimbabwe’s powerful neighbor - South Africa. South Africa stands accused of deliberate dereliction of its duty to solve the Zimbabwe crisis.

South Africa has betrayed Zimbabweans by handling Mugabe with children’s gloves. Its president, Thabo Mbeki, has refused to speak forcefully and firmly against Mugabe even while he encourages his supporters to kill and main innocent Zimbabweans.

South Africa’s soft handling of the Zimbabwean situation is perplexing. South Africa has time and again demonstrated its readiness to pick fights with countries willing to speak for millions of Zimbabweans, whom Mugabe and his thugs continue to terrorize.

Mbeki has been massaging Mugabe to talk peace instead of demanding that he stop making a mockery of democracy. He has adopted a wink-wink strategy in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis. At one time, he discounts the existence of a crisis in Zimbabwe. At another time, he lies to the world that he’s doing everything he can to bring peace to Zimbabwe.

When countries such as the U.S., Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, and Australia demand Mugabe respect the Zimbabwean people’s right to choose a president, Mbeki declares they’re ill-suited for the job because they’re outsiders.

When outrage towards Mugabe reaches a crescendo, South Africa -- through the African National Congress (ANC) -- warns against international intervention. It goes further to tie such calls to the dark era of colonization. This is how the ANC puts it: “No colonial power in Africa, least of all Britain in its colony of ‘Rhodesia’, ever demonstrated any respect for these (democratic and human rights) principles.”
What a flawed argument.

What do relics of colonialism have to do with Mugabe’s refusal to accede to an electoral defeat?

Invoking “colonialism” is a diversionary ploy. South Africa and Mugabe hope this colonial legacy will force other African countries to temper their criticism of Zimbabwe. But the world isn’t full of nincompoops. (Let’s hope not. - JinC)

Had the world listened to Mbeki and Mugabe, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, and Haiti -- all of which owe their political stability to outside intervention -- would still be burning today.

Perhaps the world is mistaken to think that South Africa is a model of democracy in Africa. Fourteen years is too short a time to make such a conclusion.

South Africa, through its discredited and ineffective quiet democracy, has failed to persuade Mugabe to postpone elections. Now that Mugabe has defied Mbeki, what next?

Grass will certainly grow beneath our feet if we wait for Mbeki to produce a resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis. It’s time the world looked elsewhere.

Already, many African countries have condemned Zimbabwe. The African Union (AU), still, can move mountains without South Africa. It can, for instance, refuse to recognize Mugabe. Countries disenchanted with Mugabe can even severe diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe until a free and fair election is held.

Now is the time to remind Mugabe that he’s a dark horse.

Njoroge’s entire op-ed post’s here.

Given my limited knowledge of “the situation on the ground,” Njoroge’s words can speak here for themselves except I’ll add people who I respect and who know something about “the ground” say Njoroge’s gotten to the heart of the matter by pointing the finger at Mbaki and South Africa.

They also say he’s performing a brave and crucial service for Zimbabweans by tossing down the gauntlet to those African leaders who shout “colonialism” as an excuse to keep Western nations from joining with those African nations which have the will and ability to bring about desperately needed changes in Zimbabwe.

More soon on Zimbabwe

Hat tip to you all who have provided information and commentary on Zimbabwe, most especially Danvers who’s “on the ground.”

The Churchill Series - Jun. 26, 2008

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

The barbs went back and forth during Churchill’s public life.

Remember this well known one he tossed in the direction of Labour Party leader and his successor as PM Clement Attlee: “A very humble man with much to be humble about?"

His friend F. E. Smith (later Lord Chancellor) said: "Winston spends half his days preparing his impromptu remarks.

When Churchill heard it, he laughed and for years afterwards repeated it to others.

Of Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald, Churchill said: "He has the gift of compressing the largest number of words into the smallest amount of thought."

About Lawrence of Arabia: "He had the art of backing uneasily into the limelight"?

Churchill often got as good as he gave. About his history of the First World War, a political opponent, Sir Samual Hoare, said: "Winston's written an enormous book all about himself and called it "The World Crisis"?

Now a question - who was Churchill referring to when he said: "If you wanted nothing done, he was your man.

The barb is unforgettable, but for the life of me I can't remember its target.

The Attlee quote and "he was your man" are from memory. The other three are found here at the Churchill Centre

Thursday, June 26, 2008

SCOTUS affirms right to bear arms

This from the AP [excerpts] with my comments below the star line

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense in their homes, the justices' first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms restrictions intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home," Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington's requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns.

Scalia noted that the handgun is Americans' preferred weapon of self-defense in part because "it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police."

In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons."

He said such evidence "is nowhere to be found."

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."

Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The other dissenters were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.

Gun rights supporters hailed the decision. "I consider this the opening salvo in a step-by-step process of providing relief for law-abiding Americans everywhere that have been deprived of this freedom," said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.

The NRA will file lawsuits in San Francisco, Chicago and several of its suburbs challenging handgun restrictions there based on Thursday's outcome.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a leading gun control advocate in Congress, criticized the ruling. "I believe the people of this great country will be less safe because of it," she said. …

The entire AP story’s here.


I’m glad for the ruling, but wish the majority had been larger. However, given the current makeup of the Court, 5-4 was all that could be expected.

Today’s decision reminds us: elections matter. Without the President’s victory in ’04 we’d have had justices like Souter and Ginsberg ruling in place of Alito and Roberts.

The NRA is smart to not sit back, but instead file lawsuits based on today’s ruling. All the talk we hear now about “gun rights are not an issue; the NRA has won” is, IMO, just a Trojan horse the anti-gun lobby and its flacks are peddling to downplay gun rights as an election issue.

No one who cares about the right to self-defense should fall for that Trojan horse.

Justice Scalia's observation the handgun is Americans' preferred weapon of self-defense in part because "it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police" will resonate with sensible people who'll understand that no matter what the anti-gun lobby tells them without the gun the bad guys won't let them call the police.

Getting back to how elections matter, the following is an excerpt from a story ABC News posted this morning prior to the Court’s announcement of its Heller decision:

When Obama has been asked on multiple occasions to weigh in on the D.C. gun case he has regularly maintained that the Second Amendment provides an individual right while at the same time saying that right is not absolute and that the Constitution does not prevent local governments from enacting what Obama calls "common sense laws."

Although he has been willing to describe his general views on this topic, Obama has sidestepped the question of whether the ban in the nation's capital runs afoul of the Second Amendment.

Asked by ABC News' Charlie Gibson if he considers the D.C. law to be consistent with an individual's right to bear arms at ABC's April 16, 2008, debate in Philadelphia, Obama said, "Well, Charlie, I confess I obviously haven't listened to the briefs and looked at all the evidence."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., by contrast, has been forthcoming when it comes to the D.C. gun law.

He signed an amicus brief in the District of Columbia v. Heller case, signaling not only his belief in the Second Amendment but also his view that the DC gun ban is incompatible with it.
As of 2 PM ET I haven’t found comments on the decision by McCain and Obama.

McCain’s comment is easily predicted: he’ll applaud the decision.

And Obama’s comment? What would you predict?

I’ll make two predictions. It’ll contain a lot of “nuance;” and it'll not begin: “I can no more disown today’s decision than …. “

Obama & the Canadian oil market

Canadian oil exported to the U.S. is drawn from oil sands using extraction processes which produce more carbon emissions than is typical when extracting crude oil.

Recently, Senator Barack Obama and a group of Democratic mayors railed against America's importation of Canadian oil.

They've drawn a response in the form of an editorial by Canada's National Post. Extracts from the NP's editorial follow with my comments below the star line.

The NP begins - - -

Big-city U. S. mayors and presidential hopeful Barack Obama, who joined the parade this week of ill-informed, U. S. anti-oil sands policies, should be careful what they wish for.

While the aim is undoubtedly to pander to the electorate in an election year charged with oil and climate-change debate, what they are stoking is an increasingly angry Canadian energy industry that is seriously looking at non-U. S. markets for its oil.

Here's what Rick George, chief executive of Suncor Energy Inc., Canada's largest single oil sands producer, said this week, reflecting rising frustration with the wave of American anti-oil sands policies:

"We are down to very limited amounts of spare capacity," he said. "Mexico is in very steep decline. The North Sea is in decline. Venezuela is likely to slip from here. There are problems in Nigeria, Russia. The world will absorb this oil one way or the other. If the U. S. doesn't take it, then we will develop other markets." ...
Yesterday, Mr. Obama vowed to break America's addiction to "dirty, dwindling and dangerously expensive" oil if elected U. S. president -- and he said one of his first targets may well be imports from Canada's oil sands. A senior advisor to Obama's campaign said it's an "open question" whether Alberta's oil sands fit with Obama's vision for shifting the U. S. dramatically away from carbon-intensive fuels. ...

Canada's oil is now exported almost exclusively to the United States because it's dependent on the reach of pipelines. Of the 2.7 million barrels produced daily, 1.6 million is sold to Americans and 15,000 to 25,000 goes to non-U. S. markets, through a Kinder Morgan Energy Partners oil pipeline from Alberta to the West Coast.

That picture could soon change.(all emphasis added)

The sector is looking at reversing Enbridge Inc.'s Line 9, which would allow Western Canadian oil to move all the way to Montreal, and then from there move on another pipeline to the East coast, where it could be loaded on tankers for sale offshore.

Because the pipelines are already built, it's estimated it would take barely a year to reverse the flow of the oil and open that new option.

Meanwhile, interest is perking up yet again to build another pipeline from Alberta to the West Coast, to Kitimat or Prince Rupert, where oil tankers could sail to Asian markets.

Greg Stringham, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said oil-sands companies are studying the alternatives because they want to keep their options open in case U. S. policies reduce their access to the U. S. market. ...

The entire NP editorial is here.



Senator Obama's had so much to do lately including:

Disowning his close friend and pastor of twenty years he said he could "no more disown" than "the black community."

Planning the "free health care" he's going to "give" all 300 million of us.

Counting those tens of millions coming to his campaign from special interest groups.

And accusing people of making bitter racist attacks on him and planning new ones.

With Obama having to do all that and more, I wouldn't be surprised to learn he doesn't know very much about the Canadian oil market.

What do you think?

Hat tip: AC

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jun, 25, 2008

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

It’s brief today - just an amusing anecdote I found in a page note in Martin Gilbert’s Winston S. Churchill: Never Despair, 1945-1965. (p. 846, n. 3)

For the story to work, you need to remember three things: Churchill's Chartwell home is located in the village of Westerham; an autotrip from Central London where our story “unfolds” to Westerham was about a 90 minute drive in the pre-WWII years; and, finally, something we all know: Churchill loved poking gentle fun at himself and those with him.

Now our story.

In 1938 Churchill attended a London dinner party hosted by the art historian, Kenneth Clark, and his wife, Jane. As Clark later told it:

At about 1:30 a.m. Mr. Churchill rose to leave us. He went out into a deserted Portland Place, the pavement glistening with heavy rain, so that it looked like a canal. Mr Churchill’s car was waiting, and he told the chauffeur to take him to Westerham.

“Good heavens,” said Jane, “you’re not going all that way.”

“Yes, my dear, I only come to London to sock the Government or to dine with you.”

First person Zimbabwean history

is provided by JinC Regular Danvers with my brief comments below the star line.

Danvers begins - - -

I grew up in Zimbabwe, and left shortly after 'independence' in 1980, and although South African born, I still consider myself a Zimbabwean.

The entire catastrophe that is the current day Zimbabwe was entirely predictable; [Mugabe’s] ZANU (now ZANU PF) used the same tactics they use today to win the 1980 election.

Lord Soames the representative of Margaret Thatcher was so busy trying to appease the leaders of the "liberation movements' that he almost singlehandedly condemned Zimbabweans to their current day fate.

Mugabe, shortly after independence, showed his real nature, by ordering the Gukurahundi Massacre of members of the Ndebele tribe; the supporters of his main opposition in Parliament, Joshua Nkomo,leader of ZAPU.

Part of Mugabe's army, specifically the 5th Brigade with the support North Korean soldiers murdered between 10 and 20000 Ndebele civilians. They operated and received orders directly from Mugabe's Office (so there will never be any doubt on whose orders the ensuing massacre wascarried out)! Exact figures of those killed will never be known. The 5th Brigade was lead by Perence Shiri, who today is the head of the Zimbabwean Airforce.

This is the same Mugabe who was feted by Western Leaders, knighted by Queen Elizabeth, received honourary degrees from British and American Universities. All this plus a state visit to UK as well.

The failure of the West and others to do anything constructive about the crisis is in my opinion a reaction to the post colonial guilty conscience suffered by the west.

Far better that countless innocent civilians be massacred, than Britain (or the USA) should suffer any finger-pointing by a black African politician.

There was a similar response to the genocide in Rwanda - Britain and the USA knew full well what was about to transpire, but decided it was better to ignore it, in case they offended a black politician.

For similar reasons they pander to [South Afirca's President} Mbeki who, is quite the most duplicitous and reprehensible politician in power today.

But at least let it be said that Thatcher, Major, Blair & Brown didn't offend a Commonwealth head of state.

I also feel that black Zimbabweans are partly to blame; they have known the truth about Mugabe for almost 30 years. If ever there was a case of "be careful what you wish for" this is it. Yet they did nothing to curtail the power of Mugabe for the best part of 22 years.

Mugabe and his cohorts are savages, nothing more. They will eventually get their day in court, facing a war crimes tribunal. A pity it is ~20 000 deaths too late. This is also a factor in why they refuse to give up power.

Message to Danvers: Many thanks and keep commenting.

Message to Readers: Rushed now but more on Zimbabwe tonight.

The Columbia plagiarist prof who cried "race"

First extracts from an AP report yesterday, then my comments below the star line along with a few questions for you.

The AP reported - - -

A Columbia University professor who drew widespread attention when a noose was discovered hanging from her office door has been fired over allegations of plagiarism.

Administrators at Columbia's Teachers College said in a letter to faculty Monday that Madonna G. Constantine also obstructed the school's investigation into the allegations and publicly made accusations of plagiarism against those whose work she had plagiarized.

Bill Anderson, a spokesman for Teachers College, said Constantine had been terminated but that she could challenge the dismissal.

Her attorney, Paul Giacomo, said she has until July 15 to decide. He called the firing "purely retaliatory." ...

She was sanctioned in February for plagiarism after the university determined she had used the work of others without attribution in papers published in academic journals over the past five years.
She was allowed to remain on staff and appeal the ruling, with her lawyer saying at the time that she was targeted because she is black.

The plagiarism investigation began in 2006, well before the noose — a symbol of lynchings in the Deep South — was discovered on her door Oct. 9.

The entire AP story's here.



In February I posted Is Columbia's "noose" prof a plagiarist?

Here's part of what I said:

Race – smace. Is Constantine a plagiarist? That’s the first question I’m asking.

And if she is, then race only enters into it because Constantine doesn’t want to seriously address Columbia’s finding she has plagiarized.

I doubt Columbia made its finding without having before it overwhelming evidence she plagiarized.

In any case, I plan to follow this story, in part to learn whether Columbia has released the material that convinced it Constantine did plagiarize.

For her part, Constantine, if she’s really convinced she didn’t plagiarize, should be presenting her evidence she didn’t, instead of crying “race.”
As far as I know, Constantine has never publicly presented evidence she didn't plagiarize. That's very telling.

It can be hard to prove plagiarism, but it's usually very easy to refute plagiarism charges provided you haven't plagiarized.

The skunk at Constantine's picnic is she's been accused of plagiarizing from multiple sources oven many years; and she's been unable to refute the charges to the satisfaction of a university that's notoriusly PC. Who doubts Columbia bent over backwards to give her every benefit of the doubt; and perhaps even overlook a few things that shouldn't be overlooked.

We can be confident this isn't a case where "To be or not to be" showed up in one of Constantine's papers and now she's having to defend herself from charges she filched from The Bard of Avon.

That said, do any of you know of links to the documents and/or portions thereof Columbia has cited as plagiarized?

Do any of you know of links to any refutation(s)Constantine has made based on content analysis and other recognized means of disproving plagiarism charges.

I think all serious scholars will be interested in the answers to those two questions.

As for Constantine's cries of "race," what do they amount to in the absence of a chance for us to examine the documents in question?

Hat tips to many of you who've called the latest in the Constantine case to my attention.

Should readers pardon McClatchy’s N&O’s Obama bias?

The liberal/leftist McClatchy Company’s liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer’s working hard to elect Sen. Barack Obama our next President.

Today on its front page, above the fold the N&O headlines:

Politics tainted hiring in Justice
Department's watchdog says applicants with liberal leanings were overwhelmingly rejected -- in violation of the law
The story, with an AP byline, begins:
Ivy Leaguers and other top law students were rejected for nonpolitical Justice Department jobs because of their liberal leanings or objections to Bush administration politics, the department's internal watchdog concluded Tuesday.
The rest of the story’s here.

Now compare the N&O’s treatment of today’s story with how it treated the news three weeks ago when Obama picked his friend and former Clinton administration deputy attorney general Eric Holder to serve on a three-person vice-presidential nominee vetting committee.

Holder, according to a 2002 congressional report on the Clinton pardon scandals, was a ''willing participant in the plan to keep the Justice Department from knowing about and opposing'' a pardon for Marc Rich, a fugitive who fled America in 1983 on the eve of his trial on charges of tax evasion, racketeering and trading with the enemy.

On Mar. 13, 2002 the NY Times reported ( "Panel Says Top Justice Dept. Aide Held Information on Rich's Pardon" ):
Mr. Holder, the report says, played a major role [in helping the fugitive Rich obtain the pardon], steering Mr. Rich's lawyers toward Jack Quinn, a former White House counsel. Mr. Rich hired Mr. Quinn, whose Washington contacts and ability to lobby the president made the difference, according to the report.

It says that Mr. Holder's support for the pardon and his failure to alert prosecutors of a pending pardon were just as crucial. …

The panel criticized Mr. Holder's conduct as unconscionable and cited several problems. It cited his admission last year that he had hoped Mr. Quinn would support his becoming attorney general in a Gore administration.
You can read more about Holder’s role in helping secure the Rich pardon and find links in this JinC post.

So how did the Anything for Obama N&O handle the Holder and pardon scandal story?

It did what it often does with news it doesn’t want its readers to have. It simply didn’t report the story.

You can confirm that for yourselves by going to the N&O’s archives and searching.

I just did that. Using the entry words “Eric Holder” and the dates May 1, 2008 to June 25, 2008, the entry “Eric Holder” returned only one hit.

It's a brief item in the June 23 “B” section noting “Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, who leads the Congressional Black Caucus, said that members of Obama's [vice-presidential ]vetting team, Caroline Kennedy and Eric Holder, indicated [former Sens. John Edwards and Sam Nunn] were on the list, The Associated Press reports.”

For those of you who may be new to the N&O, its editors insist it adheres to “the McClatchy Company’s standards of fairness and accuracy.”

N&O executive editor for news John Drescher and its public editor Ted Vaden tell readers the N&O’s news columns are devoted to straight news reporting.

Those McClatchy N&O editors are misleading us and I don't think they should be paronded for it.

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jun. 24, 2008

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

On August 23, 1946, Churchill arrived in Switzerland for a three-week working vacation. He planned to do some work on his WWII memoirs and make a few speeches, but mostly he wanted to rest and paint by the shore of Lake Leman.

The Sunday Express gave its readers a description of what things were like for Churchill at Chateau Choisi, the villa where he stayed.

Martin Gilbert tells us The Daily Express story so amused Churchill that he cut it out and kept it for years. Here’s some of it:

Mr. Winston Churchill, Europe’s most popular personality, has today become known as “The prisoner of the chateau.”

From the moment he set foot on Swiss soil at the airport yesterday, for a three weeks’ holiday, accompanied by Mrs. Churchill and their daughter, Mary, he has held the concerted attention of the Swiss police.

At Chateau Choisi, on the shores of Lake Leman, scores of armed police patrol the grounds and police speedboats manoeuvre constantly within 50 yards of the shore.

The police have built a nest in a high tree in the chateau’s grounds, from where the look-out man can take stock of the surrounding territory and at the same time watch Mr. Churchill’s every movement. …

Rising early in the morning, he went down to the lake side, followed discreetly by two policemen, to look at the scenery. In the afternoon he was seen with brushes and easel wending his way to the private port to start the first of his pictures of Lake Leman. …

Mr Churchill has expressed a desire that no official reception be given while he is holidaying.
We can all understand why Churchill would want no official reception. He just wanted to enjoy a holiday with his family and his new "friends," the Swiss police.
Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill:Never Despair, 1945-1965.(p.261)

Dems struggle with good news from Iraq

Peter Wehner at Contentions reporting on "A Double Dose of Good News from Iraq" (extract):

...These developments confirm the judgment of David Brooks in his New York Times column today: President Bush was right in his decision to move ahead with the so-called surge, and we are seeing the fruits of that decision in the security, economic, and political arenas.

What remains worrisome is the reaction of leading Democrats. Two years ago they were arguing that we should leave Iraq because the war was lost; now they are saying we should leave Iraq because the war is won.

The more subtle reality is that enormous progress has been made but, in the words of the 9010 report, our achievements remain fragile, reversible, and uneven.

To withdraw precipitously from Iraq now, in light of the gains that have been made, would be self-defeating. After far too long a delay, we now have in place the right strategy in Iraq, with the results to prove it.

What matters now is whether our war-weary nation and its political leadership can summon the will to see this endeavor through to completion, and to success....
Can we agree the Dems had a "quit" policy for Iraq which they've tossed aside and replaced with a new "quit" policy?

Wehner's entire post is here.

MSM isn't looking at Obama's "big givers" and their interests

Back on Apr. 4 I posted Where’s Obama’s money coming from?

The short of it:
We were being told Obama was getting his money from millions of “just folks” who were sending in their small dollar contributions. But you don’t raise the kind of money Obama was raising just from “school kids” and “an 87-year-old woman in Snakebite, Montana” sending in their “dimes and dollars.”

My main point: Why wasn’t MSM telling us much about Obama’s “big givers.” Were any of them tied to the “special interests” he loudly condemns?

Since April Obama’s money flow has increased to such an extent that he broke his pledge to rely on public campaign financing. Estimates are he’s on track to raise at least 500 million before the campaign is over. That will be a campaign fund-raising record.

So are MSM news organizations finally taking detailed looks at Obama’s big givers and their interests?

If they are, they've not made much of what they've learned public yet.

This morning I Goggled “Where’s Obama’s money coming from?”

Would you believe my post from April was the second hit?

I’ve averaged about 650 visits a day the last three months and my post is the second hit!

That was for the Web.

When I clicked on “news” with the same entry, guess how many hits it produced?


I guess it depends on what "mean" means

Yesterday I posted Michelle Obama’s “downright mean” America.

It drew a number of comments, including this tongue-in-check one which will leave many of you smiling.

Perhaps Michelle meant that America is downright Excellent!.

You know, like when you say, "Wow Jimmy, that was a MEAN backhand."

Or perhaps she meant America is in the Middle, so far as the rest of the world is concerned. Some are worse, some are better. America is the MEAN, sorta like the mean family income.

I'm sure Michelle didn't mean that America is hateful or evil.

(removing tongue from cheek)

A note about a troll

I owe you an apology for not coming more quickly to the realization Red Mountain is a troll.

Going forward, I do what any sensible blogger does with troll comments: delete them.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jun. 23, 2008

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

November 30, 1955 was Churchill’s eighty-first birthday. Among many gifts and good wishes he received, Churchill was especially touched by a gold medallion and letter from one of those he had worked closest with during the war, the then President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. The medallion, Ike told him, was :

a token of America’s enduring gratitude…

The English-Speaking peoples, and the entire world, are the better for the wisdom of your counsel, for the inspiration of your unflagging optimism and for the heartening example of your shining courage.

You have been a towering leader in the quest for peace, as you were in the battle for freedom through the dark days of war.
Churchill replied that same day with a letter addressed "My dear Friend,"
Your letter has moved me more than I can tell you. As you know, it is my deepest conviction that it is on the friendship between our two nations that the happiness and security of the free peoples rest – and indeed that of the whole world.

Your eloquent words have once more given me proof, if it were needed, that you share my own feeling and reciprocate my personal affection.
Churchill and Eisenhower had many policy difference during the war and when Ike became President. But their relationship was extraordinarily productive and marked by mutual professional respect and personal affection.
Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Never Despair. (Vol. 8)

Did you think those isms were dead?

We read in The Guardain - - -

James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech (pdf) to the US Congress - in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming - to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the "perfect storm" of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable.

Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.

In an interview with the Guardian he said: "When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that's a crime." …

The rest of The Guardian report’s here.


The Guardian doesn’t say whether Hansen would permit the oil executives' families to visit them while they await trial.

Nor does The Guardian say how Hansen wants jurors selected; or what punishment he recommends for jurors who fail to find the executives guilty of “high crimes against humanity.”

And there’s no word on what would be done with “school textbooks [Hansen thinks are] a crime.” Burning, perhaps?

Whatever the case, for anyone who thinks Nazism and Communism are dead, Hansen and those like him are reminders the core isms of those two monstrosities live on in the minds and hearts of many, including one who sat today before Congress.

Michelle Obama’s “downright mean” America

Last Friday I posted Black judges, lawyers cheer Wright, Pfleger.

I subsequently commented on the post’s thread. Among other things, I responded to a commenter who said other commenters here were making JinC into a “Hate Obama” blog.

I said in part:
There are many people who comment here who respect Ms. Obama's right on go on The View and explain what panty hose (sic) do to her.

But they would rather she explain what she meant when she said America is "a downright mean country."
That drew a response from a commenter who insisted:
Mrs. Obama did not say America is "a downright mean country"!
Obviously, I didn’t want to say Michelle Obama said America is “a downright mean country” unless she in fact said that.

A subsequent commenter weighed in with:
Just for the record, The New Yorker magazine, in a puff-piece about Mrs. Obama dated Mar 10, 2008 quoted her as saying "America is a downright mean country." She said it in Jan, 2008 at the Pee Dee Union Baptist Church in Cheraw, SC. If she didn't say that, she's got a bone to pick with The New Yorker.
I Googled “Michelle Obama” and “downright mean country.” Among the hits was one for The New Yorker’s Mar. 10, 2008 article which the commenter above cited – Lauren Collins admiring The Other Obama: Michelle Obama and the politics of candor.

Here’s an extract from page 3 of Collins 10-page article, with my comments following below the star line.

… After warming up the crowd, Obama launched into her stump speech, a forty-five-minute monologue that she composed herself and delivers without notes. Obama has been open about the value of her ability to speak to black audiences in cadences that reflect their experience, but she makes clear her distaste for the notion that she is a niche tool, wielded by her husband’s campaign to woo black voters solely on the basis of their shared racial identity.

“I mean, I’ve been to every early state,” she told me, when I asked her about reports that she was “deployed” in the South to reach black audiences. “I was ‘deployed’ to Iowa,” she said, making air quotes with her fingers. “I was ‘deployed’ to New Hampshire.”

The four times I heard her give the speech—in a ballroom at the University of South Carolina, from the pulpit of Pee Dee Union, at an art gallery in Charleston, and in the auditorium of St. Norbert College, in De Pere, Wisconsin—its content was admirably consistent, with few of the politician’s customary tweaks and nods to the demographic predilections, or prejudices, of a particular audience. (all emphasis added)

Obama begins with a broad assessment of life in America in 2008, and life is not good: we’re a divided country, we’re a country that is “just downright mean,” we are “guided by fear,” we’re a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents. “We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day,” she said, as heads bobbed in the pews. “Folks are just jammed up, and it’s gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I’m young. Forty-four!”

From these bleak generalities, Obama moves into specific complaints. Used to be, she will say, that you could count on a decent education in the neighborhood. But now there are all these charter schools and magnet schools that you have to “finagle” to get into. (Obama herself attended a magnet school, but never mind.) Health care is out of reach (“Let me tell you, don’t get sick in America”), …

Collins' entire article’s here.



One of the things I like best about the Internet is the capacity it gives us to locate and link to source documents.

In this case that capacity leaves no doubt that three months ago The New Yorker reported Michelle Obama said America is “just downright mean.”

As to whether The New Yorker misquoted Michelle Obama, I could find nothing where she or the Obama campaign denied she’d said America is “just downright mean.”

And I could find nothing from Senator Obama such as “That’s not the Michelle Obama I know.”

Message to Obama supporters: Many of you may hate it when people ask why Michelle Obama thinks America’s “downright mean” and why she and her husband took their children to a virulent, anti-American racist pastor’s church for their religious instruction, but those are legitimate and extremely important questions we should all be asking the Obamas before we decide how we’ll vote in November.

Message to all of you: I don’t ever mean to misquote anyone. When you think I have, don’t hesitate to call it to my attention.

Those are human beings in Zimbabwe

From Bridget Johnson at Pajamas Media today with my comments below the star line.

Johnson begins - - -

If you want to challenge Robert Mugabe — who once claimed that he’d be president until 100 years of age — you’ll be lucky to come out of the experience alive.

That’s what makes opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai a true survivor. Tsvangirai’s party announced Sunday that he will pull out of his presidential runoff race against Mugabe in the midst of mounting violence and intimidation.

Tsvangirai is president of the Movement for Democratic Change — something Zimbabwe is aching for after the catastrophic rule of Mugabe — and has survived, by his count, four assassination attempts at the hands of Mugabe’s goons, including a 1997 attempt to throw him out of a 10-story window and a savage beating last year as punishment for proceeding with a banned protest march.

After forcing Mugabe to a runoff in the presidential election this year — and let’s face it, the MDC probably won more than 50 percent outright, besides just edging out Mugabe as claimed — Tsvangirai’s return to Zimbabwe to campaign was delayed by word of an assassination plot that allegedly was organized by military intelligence.

Now the man who revealed the damning details of that plot — which allegedly involved 18 snipers being specially tasked with taking out Tsvangirai — will likely be killed by Mugabe.

Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the MDC, was hauled into a Harare court last Thursday, accused of penning documents that call Mugabe a criminal. Even though that shoe fits, the MDC claims the state’s “evidence” consists of forgeries with “not even an attempt to simulate the accused’s signature.”

This opposition is classified as subversion, with capital punishment as the convenient penalty. Biti has been refused bail.

Also last week, 27-year-old Abigail Chiroto, the wife of the mayor of Harare — Emmanuel Chiroto, a member of the MDC — was abducted along with her 4-year-old son; the couple’s house was also firebombed.

Abigail’s blindfolded body was discovered hours later, and the boy was released. “My son keeps on saying to me, ‘Daddy, go and get mummy from the forest, go and get her and bring her home’,” Emmanuel Chiroto told the Telegraph.

The MDC estimates that since the first round of voting on March 29, “about 70” opposition supporters have been tortured and killed by operatives of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party. …

Johnson’s entire report’s here.

Mugabe’s terrorism is shocking, but nothing new. The world has known about it for decades thanks to courageous journalists and opposition leaders such as Morgan Tsvangirai, Emmanuel and Abigail Chiroto and many others who’ve endured threats, imprisonment, torture and death because of their democratic opposition to Mugabe.

Mugabe’s use of terrorism has been essential to his holding on to power as Zimbabwe has imploded into social and economic chaos that’s included chronic food shortages and famines in a country which, at the time it gained independence from Great Britain, was a net food exporter.

But it isn’t just terrorism that’s enabled Mugabe to wield power. Most Western experts agree that without the staunch support of his friend President Thabo Mbeki and Mbeki's South African government, Mugabe would long ago have been driven from power. But as recently as this past April, Mbeki made the unbelievable comment that there was “no crisis” in Zimbabwe.

When you look at Zimbabwe’s agony you have to ask yourself: “Where are the human rights groups?” “Where is the outrage of Western governments?”

We heard so much from human rights groups and Western governments at the time of Abu Ghraib.

We were told that was because of the rights groups and governments revulsion at the way human beings were treated in Abu Ghraib.

Well, the people of Zimbabwe are human beings, too.

So where’s the outrage?

AP’s political bias shows in energy story

Under Glen Johnson’s byline the Associated Press has posted a story concerning energy proposals Sen. John McCain’s just made. It includes this:

...In his latest speech, McCain expressed exasperation both with the federal government and the private sector.

He said rising costs during a time of stagnant wages evokes the 1970s era of "stagflation."

Without blaming his fellow Republicans in the Bush administration directly, McCain said: "It feels the same today, because the unwise policies of our government have left America's energy future in the control of others."...
The AP doesn’t explain why it began that sentence with:“Without blaming his fellow Republicans in the Bush administration directly, …”: and then followed that introductory phrase with McCain's reference to “unwise policies of our government …”

Why didn't the AP use an introductory phrase like:
Without blaming former President Bill Clinton’s veto of drilling in ANWR and congressional Democrats’ opposition to countless domestic energy development proposals, McCain said ….?
Or something like this:
Without directly blaming either major party, McCain said ...?
Folks, I think most of you know the answer to those questions.

The entire AP story's here.

BTW - Many of you know the AP is very concerned that bloggers are quoting from its stories.

Could at least some of that concern stem from the AP's realization that many bloggers call readers' attention to the AP's liberal/leftist/"Go Dems" bias?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Terror War news & commentary – Jun. 22, 2008

Here’s part of Mike Williams' letter today followed by my comments below the star line.

Mike begins - - -

Strategy Page has two postings today that I think are well worth a read.

The first one starts off:

Everyone is down on the U.S. Air Force these days. Long criticized as being detached, and obsessed with developing and buying the latest (and most expensive) aircraft and technology, the air force was largely a victim of its own success.

Critics should not forget that the U.S. Air Force has been the main reason the U.S. has dominated the skies, worldwide, for the last 65 years. That was no accident, it took a lot of effort and imagination.

A certain amount of myopia regarding jet fighters, and how to shoot down everyone else’s, was necessary to obtain that air supremacy. Without it, winning on the ground is difficult, if not impossible. Let's not forget that the zoomies are, above all, winners….

The article goes on to discuss the recent firings of the civilian Secretary of the Air Force and the military Chief of Staff, the worrisome security missteps in strategic (nuclear) weapons units, and the impact of precision guided munitions on modern warfare.

I would just add, it would be impossible to fight the war on terror as we have since 9/11 without command of the air, or command of the sea for that matter.

We probably would not be winning on the ground in Iraq and in Afghanistan without both. (emphasis JinC)

So as a thought exercise, imagine what more mischief Russia and China might be up to in the world if they could project military power in a competitive way.

The other Strategy Page article is about using in Iraq the Israeli tactic of “going for the brains behind the bombs” to defeat al Qaeda. As many of you know, two people on this email distribution spent a year in Iraq helping hunt roadside bombs – and bombers. For them, catching the bombers in the act of placing the bombs was far more effective than trying to find the bombs themselves.

In their war with the PLO and Hamas, Israel took that one step further: “This included going after terrorist leaders and technical specialists, and either capturing or (failing that) killing them.” Petraeus was astute enough to follow suit. A key [Strategy Page] observation:

For the rest of the world, treating terrorism as if it were just a police matter, allowed the terrorists to continue building support, and the ability to launch more attacks. By going into the terrorist neighborhoods, you disrupted their planning and recruiting efforts, and eventually destroyed the network of support.

The United States clung to the police approach throughout the 1990s [the Clinton years, remember? - JinC], and the attacks continued.

Only after September 11, 2001, was the war carried to the terrorist heartland, and the attacks in the U.S., and against American targets elsewhere, ceased. The terrorists were forced to defend their base, and in doing so they killed many Moslems….

Strategy Page concludes:
That cost al Qaeda their public support in the Moslem world, while the Israeli tactics cost al Qaeda its key people.
Even the MSM isn’t totally oblivious to the ***winds of change blowing in Iraq. So how to enable Obama’s election in the face of his totally wrong call on The Surge?

Resurrecting Abu Ghraib, as McClatchy and the N&O have recently done? Or supporting the Boumediene travesty? Or, even better, outing KSM’s chief interrogator?


We’ve surely made great progress in the War on Terror, but we must remember that doesn’t mean the enemy can’t and won’t still strike with devastating effect.

Just recall December 1944. The German army in the West was effectively beaten, yet still able to launch the Battle of the Bulge.

In a month’s time the Germans inflicted more than 75,000 Allied casualties, about 90% of them American.

Almost all of you reading this are smart enough to know Al Qaeda and its enablers don’t want to face the kind of American assaults they’ve endured since 9/11.

They’d much rather face the kind of “strategies” advocated by Rep. Jack Murtha, former Sen. John Edwards and Speaker Pelosi.

And while Chris Matthews, Fr. Pfleger and the NY Times editorial board are confident a President Obama would be a brilliant commander-in-chief and outstanding foreign policy leader, Al Qaeda’s remaining leaders must smile and smirk at the thought of Warren Christopher and Madeline Albright “back in the game” with Jamie Gorelick and Eric Holder deciding whether the U. S. should seek to indict Osama bin Laden without first getting an opinion from the World Court.

There’s no doubt OBL and Co. would love a return to the Clinton 90s. .

That means they’ll do whatever they can to influence the American election to tip it to Sen. Obama and the Dems.

And that means as we get closer to the November election, the terrorists will do all they can in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere to ramp up attacks on Western targets, particularly American ones, in order to discourage public support for the current Terror War strategies which Sen. McCain favors.

What I’m saying will upset many people, but it’s important and true.

Final words – Thanks, Mike.

Obama makes a trade

We all know about Senator Barack ("Come to save us") Obama and his abandonment of his pledge to rely on public campaign financing.

Obama made the pledge as part of his “uniting America” meme and before special interests began each month pumping tens of millions of dollars into his campaign.

When that happened, it was “about face” for Obama, who welcomed the special interest money and abandoned his pledge to rely on public financing.

So be it. He has a right.

But I couldn’t help smiling when I learned this is out on the Net:

Obama has traded his Unity Pony for a Cash Cow.
Hat tip: Archer 05

Another case of Jack Murtha Syndrome

At Pajamas Media today Raleigh-based blogger Bob Owens (Confederate Yankee) asks: "Why didn't the press ask Physicians for Human Rights about how weak most of their evidence of torture by Americans turned out to be?"

Bob begins - - -

Despite claims uncritically repeated in some media outlets, medical examinations of 11 former detainees of U.S. military prison facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cuba advanced by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) do not provide open-and-shut examples of prisoner abuse.

Instead PHR offers up one-sided accounts based largely upon allegations made by former detainees to an organization with a predefined political agenda and financed in part by Bush Administration opponent and convicted felon George Soros and his group, the Open Society Institute.

Of the eleven former detainees interviewed by Physicians for Human Rights, eight had been captured and abused or wounded in combat prior to be taken into U.S. custody, making it difficult to determine if injuries uncovered during physical examinations were the result of preexisting conditions or whether they were sustained after being transferred to American custody. Two of these eight detainees were picked up and interrogated by local forces sometime after being released from U.S custody but prior to their examinations, also leading to the possibility of post-custodial abuse before PHR’s physical and psychological reviews. …

Owens examines the cases histories of the 11 former detainees. Here’s what he reports concerning “Rasheed”

Captured in Afghanistan in November 2001, he was incarcerated in Bagham, Kandahar, and Guantanamo Bay before his fall 2006 release. A convert to Islam, he was previously arrested on terrorism charges in his home country, and was beaten. He was allowed to leave prison only on the condition that he would be expelled from his home country.

He claims to have been a refugee for months before the nation in which he lived dumped him in Afghanistan. He claims he was captured by bandits, and sold to the Northern Alliance as a prisoner. He says he was beaten and had a medical procedure without his consent (later determined to be a hernia repair by Guantanamo Bay staff).

After being transferred to Guantanamo Bay, he claimed that he faked psychological symptoms to avoid continued abuse, but the effort only led to him being heavily medicated. He claims he was still beaten on more than 300 occasions at Guantanamo Bay.

Unique among the subjects, “Rasheed” provided Physicians for Human Rights with a copy of his 1,200 page Guantanamo Bay medical file that indicated his heavy prior use of alcohol and drugs and a family history of psychiatric issues.

Examination of his musculoskeletal system as reported by PHR did not show extensive lingering injuries a layperson might expect in a survivor of 300 beatings.
”Rasheed” and the other former detainees’ case histories would leave any reasonable person asking Owens asks: “Why didn't the press ask Physicians for Human Rights about how weak most of their evidence of torture by Americans turned out to be?”

The answer may be that most of the MSM press suffer from Jack Murtha Syndrome, whose chief symptom is a chronic willingness to believe the worst about America’s efforts in the War on Terror.

Bob's entire Pahamas Media post is here.

Hat tip:

Obama’s latest race speech

On March 18 Senator Barack Obama, self-described “uniter” and “post racial” candidate for President, delivered a speech in Philadelphia which had his MSM flacks swooning and comparing him to Lincoln.

The flacks especially liked Obama’s outing his still-living white grandmother for what he said was her racism and his avowal he could no more disown his close friend and pastor of 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright "than I can disown the black community."

Obama will still tell you Grandam's a racist.

But once Wright became a major political liability and said Obama was just “another politician,” Obama threw Wright under the bus faster than you can say “Duke did that to its lacrosse team.”

Now Reuters reports on the latest Obama race speech in which the “post racial” Senator issued a dire warning to his fellow Americans:

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said on Friday he expects Republicans to highlight the fact that he is black as part of an effort to make voters afraid of him.

"It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy," Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. "We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid.

"They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?" ...
The entire Reuters report is here.

I’ve listened to Republicans who’ve told me Obama has the most liberal voting record of any Senator.

I’ve listened to what Obama's said about no offshore drilling.

I’ve listened to what he's said up until the eve of the campaign about Wright.

I’ve learned about Obama's confidence in Rep. Jack Murtha’s libels about Hidatha and our Marines.

Having done all of that and more, I’m very worried about an Obama presidency.

And so are millions of Americans who, despite what Senator Obama may preach, are not racists.

BTW – Has Obama yet explained how he sat in the pews of Trinity for 20 years without knowing what his friend and preacher Rev. Wright was saying?