May 23, 2003


Well, it seems that my Salam Pax piece yesterday ginned up quite a bit of arguing, though none of it has turned up here. It's all over at Jeff Jarvis' Buzzmachine. That's probably blogspot's fault as much as anything--it's been even slower and more unreliable than usual lately. Yes, we're looking for a new home for the JYB. But that's another post, another day.

The consensus among critics seems to be that my article was some kind of hit job on a guy that shan't be criticized. Frankly, I don't get this line of thinking at all. Why is one pseudonymous Iraqi beyond doubt, but I'm not? We bloggers criticize one another every day. Why should "Salam Pax" be any different? As the saying goes, if you can't stand the heat get out of the blogosphere. The circumstances of Salam's blogging are what make it interesting--if some kid from Berkeley wrote what he writes, the blogosphere wouldn't give two spits for it. Additionally, if there were more Iraqi bloggers (which there probably will be before long), Salam's writing would matter less. His opinion would carry less weight with so many who seem to idolize him. But Salam is all we have right now, and context matters. I also don't get the line of thinking that because I have actually taken the time to examine Salam a bit, that I'm saying that his blog or opinions have absolutely no value. That's a line that Jeff seems to believe, and he goes as far as to draw an analogy between Salam's Baathist connections and the value of hypothetical wartime writing by someone like Albert Speer. Sure, I suppose if Speer had been publishing during World War II it would've made for interesting reading. But shouldn't readers have been informed that Speer was a high-ranking Nazi? Wouldn't that matter when evaluating his opinions on, say, the progress of the war or Germany's treatment of the Jews? It would've mattered a great deal. Context would have mattered a great deal there, and it matters a great deal here. We just fought our second war against a regime to which Salam is connected; it matters. To believe it doesn't is just turning a blind eye to the facts of the case. And none of this makes Salam's blog useless or something that we should push to shut down. I still read his blog. It's interesting. He's a good writer. But you have to take his opinions in context, or you won't understand them in toto. I hope he keeps writing. But I will take his writing for what it is, and from whom it comes.

Reality is often an unwelcome intruder into our lives. And so apparently is the messenger that forces us to confront it.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:05 PM | Comments (38) | TrackBack


I read this article and the examples of propaganda recently: Journalists or Propagandists?

The basic problem is a desire to push a political and social agenda, as opposed to a passion for the truth. The New York Times scandal is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Plagiarizing a story is wrong. So is describing a scene one hasn’t visited.

But what’s worse is slanting the news to suit an agenda. What’s more destructive to freedom is feeding citizens bogus "news" designed to influence them.

What we need are people who believe their job is to uncover facts, not fabricate them.

Then I read about the effect of Maureen Dowd's latest hit on President Bush, where she used Michael Moore editing techniques to fabricate a misquote with Bush supposedly saying Al Qaeda is no longer a problem: Dowd spawns Bush media myth

Conclusion: Maureen Dowd is definitely a propagandist, not a columnist or journalist. The fact that the post-Jayson Blair Times still supports malicious quote distortions with national security significance shows that Jayson Blair wasn't the problem. It's also no surprise that the Dowd Distortion was all over CNN the next few days. The people who spun it out on CNN also knew exactly what the real quote was, but they used Dowd's Distortion instead of Bush's words.
Posted by Chris Regan at 02:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


US Army troops apparently stormed the Iraqi National Congress' HQ at the former Iraqi Hunting Club. For those of you really into the minutae, that's one of the two clubs Baathist blogger Salam Pax lamented when the INC took them over. According to the story, the raid came on a tip from someone who seems to have had an axe to grind with the INC. Or wanted to drive a wedge between the US and that pro-American, anti-Baathist group.


(via The Corner)
Posted by B. Preston at 11:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Why is the press writing stories about an FBI sketch of a possible suspect without showing the actual sketch? What's the point of the sketch if we're not allowed to see it? Here's a description from a student who helped the feds develop it:

Law student Carsten Jungmann said he helped the FBI draw a sketch of a man he saw leaving the classroom about two minutes before the explosion. The man was clean-shaven and appeared to be in his 20s or 30s, with black hair that hung just below the ears, Jungmann said.

One FBI agent is quoted that the bomber was "trying to send a message." Could the suspect's identity have something to do with that message?

It's odd. We have a bombing at the school attended by one of the president's daughters. It's a school he attended himself. The nation is on high terror alert, yet we're not shown a sketch of a guy that the feds believed detonated a bomb at a time when the president was about 50 miles away.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 22, 2003


As a social conservative, I'm the type of person that seems to send Andrew Sullivan into true hysterics. I lead such a threatening lifestyle, you see, that he feels he must demonize me and my fellow travelers--all 20 million or so of us--each and every last chance he gets. Well, I'm sick of it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. The gloves are coming off.

Sullivan's an overrated blowhard who only became "proud" of his status as America's leading gay conservative when he was outed against his will. But that's not the point of this post. Sullivan often says with glee that the number of social conservatives is swiftly dwindling. Oh? Then why is the party we support with our dollars and our votes the ascendant party in America? Why are evangelical churches--our churches--the fastest growing, not just in America, but in the world? Why are evangelicals sweeping South America, South Korea, and Africa like never before? And while all other Christian churches are having trouble filling the pews. Our growth outpaces every sector of every other religion, too, wherever it is allowed to flourish.

We're dwindling? Even if it were true, why would this be a good thing? Evangelicals are the backbone of this country. We work hard, pay our taxes, stay out of trouble and promote strong communities. We get divorced less, raise well-adjusted children, pursue responsible lives, give generously to charity, and we're the very first to defend this country in time of need. Unlike the libertines, we can organize a society. Unlike the liberals, we can keep it organized. Unlike the extremes on right and left, we can do so without resorting to unspeakable violence.

We're dwindling? Even if that were true, we'd still outnumber the gays, and we'd outgun them financially, and in the end we should have a bigger voice in politics because there are just more of us--and there always will be. Get used to it.

Sullivan likes to decry our "intolerance." This, while calling us names, impugning our motives, and casting curses our way. If we were even half as intolerant as Sullivan himself is of us, this country would be in a world of hurt. Because we're everywhere. We're farmers, soldiers, cops, firemen, lawmakers and judges, writers and thinkers and preachers and teachers. If we were as bad as Sullivan makes us out to be, this country would look like Taliban Afghanistan. But it doesn't. Because we're not as bad as Sullivan dreams we are. We're just not, and no amount of demagoguery from him will change that.

We're not the marching types, us 20 million or so "dwindling" social conservatives. We don't spit on or burn the flag or go out of our way to offend anybody. We know we're not perfect, and we don't expect perfection from anyone else. What we do expect is to be treated fairly, given the respect due our positions and our numbers, and to be free to live and worship according to our conscience. We expect to have a say because this is our country too, and we're a sizable and important part of it. We defend life because it is sacred. We oppose most of the gay agenda because it's destructive to society as a whole. Sullivan seems to be incapable of affording us the rights he demands we all give him. He plays identity politics--the very politics he often claims to dislike--to the hilt whenever it suits him. It's identity politics for me but not for thee in Sullivan's world.

Let me end this screed on a positive note. I don't think social conservatives will run out on President Bush in 2004, no matter what Marc Racicot did or didn't say to HRC and no matter what the Family Research Council says. Racicot isn't the president. George W. Bush is, and most of us social cons trust him to lead this country through the dark times ahead as he has during the dark times behind us. We might leave for some other reason, but honestly I don't think Bush will give us any such reason. He's a smart man; he knows where the numbers are, and they aren't with Andrew Sullivan.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Bayer Pharmaceuticals is their only target here:

A division of the pharmaceutical company Bayer sold millions of dollars of blood-clotting medicine for hemophiliacs — medicine that carried a high risk of transmitting AIDS — to Asia and Latin America in the mid-1980's while selling a new, safer product in the West, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.

The Bayer unit, Cutter Biological, introduced its safer medicine in late February 1984 as evidence mounted that the earlier version was infecting hemophiliacs with H.I.V. Yet for over a year, the company continued to sell the old medicine overseas, prompting a United States regulator to accuse Cutter of breaking its promise to stop selling the product.

OK -- sold for another year until 1985. Bad money-grubbing drug companies!

I'm curious though, was the New York Times ever concerned about Clinton's role in the 80's tainted blood scandal? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they decided that news wasn't fit to print. It was very similar though, if not creepier and more newsworthy. The politically connected in Arkansas raked in cash from blood drawn out of Arkansas prisoners until 1993 (often with dirty needles) and sold it illicitly outside the U.S. to unwitting hemophiliacs. CNN once reported only part of the story. Here's what the NY Times reported recently when covering it as simply a Canadian scandal involving greedy Armour Pharmaceutical Co:

About 1,200 people were infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, and thousands more contracted hepatitis C after receiving tainted blood and blood products in the 1970's and 1980's, including some that may have been donated by prison inmates in the United States.

Hmm...I wonder what state and governor allowed that? I can't find anything in the Times archives covering the Arkansas scandal at all. I know online news reporters did a much better job, even those on the left. Back when had real reporting, they covered it:

Problems with the prison plasma program were well known to Clinton throughout the 1980s. The FDA cited HMA for safety deficiencies and shut it down for over a year in 1983, following a recall of hepatitis B-tainted products that had been shipped to Canada and distributed to hemophiliacs. In 1984, the FDA revoked the center's license to operate, and in 1985, an inmate filed a lawsuit against HMA for inadequate medical care. In 1986, Clinton's state police investigated problems at the prison and found little cause for concern, while an outside investigator looked at the same allegations and found dozens of safety violations.

Now, more than a decade later, those old Arkansas scandals are getting new attention, thanks to lawsuits and agitation in Canada. To date, the scandal has gotten almost no media attention in the United States. While reporters are riveted by the Monica Lewinsky mess, they've ignored a real Clinton scandal, maybe because it involves two groups no one cares much about -- people who aren't Americans, and prisoners.

Counterpunch also covered it well:

The year Bill Clinton became governor of Arkansas, the Arkansas state prison board awarded a lucrative contract to a Little Rock company called Health Management Associates or HMA. The company was paid $3 million a year to run medical services for the state's troubled prison system, which had been excoriated in a ruling by the US Supreme Court as an "evil place run by some evil men."

HMA not only made money from providing medical care to prisoners, but it also started a profitable side venture: blood mining. The company paid prisoners $7 a pint to have their blood drawn. HMA then sold the blood on the international plasma market for $50 a pint, splitting 50 percent of the proceeds with the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Since Arkansas is one of the few states that does not pay prisoners for their labor, inmates were frequent donors at the so-called "blood clinic". Hundreds of prisoners sold as much as two pints a week to HMA. The blood was then sold to pharmaceutical companies, such as Bayer...

When investigators began probing the company's practices, Dunn repeatedly boasted of his ties to Bill Clinton. "Mr. Dunn spoke openly and freely and explained to these investigators that he was the financial portion of the corporation as well as its political arm," noted investigator Sam Probasco in his report. "Dunn advised that he was close to Gov. Clinton as well as the majority of state politicians presently in office."

The allegations against the company involved numerous health and safety violations, failure to test for diseases such as hepatitis and syphilis, bad record-keeping, falsification of records, drawing blood from multiple patients with the same needle.

...The Arkansas State police launched a half-hearted investigation into allegations that HMA was awarded a renewal of its contract after bribing members of the state prison board. The investigation soon focused an attorney named Richard Mays, a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Mays was given at least $25,000 by HMA to act as an "ombudsman" for the company, a position that had no job description and no apparent responsibilities.

Mays, who served as a vice-president for finance at the DNC, has been at the heart of several Clinton scandals.

By the late 1980s, Arkansas was the only prison in the United States still running a blood program. In 1991, a reporter for the Arkansas Times asked John Byus, medical director of the Arkansas Corrections Department, how much longer they planned to continue the operation: "We plan to stick with it till the last day, to the last drop we're able to sell." The program stayed in operation until Bill Clinton moved to Washington. It was finally shut down in 1993 by his successor, Jim "Guy" Tucker.

Clinton's gubernatorial legacy safely protected by the NY Times.
Posted by Chris Regan at 07:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Viewers of the blockbuster Matrix Reloaded are now wondering about Hollywood politics in the movie after seeing Hitler and President(s) Bush displayed as representatives of evil flashed large on a screen together when discussing the history of evil. Not coincidentally, I'm sure, the writer/director Warchowski brothers are huge Prof. Cornel West fans, and they gave him a role as an actor -- and philosophical consultant -- in the movie. Cornel West also happens to be a political consultant to presidential candidates -- currently Al Sharpton, but formerly Ralph Nadar and Bill Bradley (for whom he co-chaired the Massachusetts campaign in 2000).

It's no big deal in one sense, but then you have to wonder how truly evil they must think the Bush family is to risk their Matrix movie and merchandising franchise with leftist politics and petty "Bush=Hitler" statements. You have to know everything in that movie is carefully arranged for philosophical meaning, so it wasn't like Mother Teresa could have shown up with Hitler.


The creators of American Idol are also under fire. They're being sued for ripping off the show concept, while Drudge is splashing A.I.'s Florida-style dead-heat voting controversy and upcoming recount. Maybe Simon Cowell shouldn't have said things like this:

“We have a problem,” Cowell is overheard carping outside the soundstage later. “I want Ruben to be in the final two, and Kimberley just had a great rehearsal.”

[Kimberly tells Newsweek] “I believe they want Ruben. Simon says that every opportunity he gets.”

...Cowell admits. “What you’re trying to do, if you can, is to tell the audience who you want to be in the final. You’re not getting accurate judging. You’re not.”

Then again, the controversy might just be a publicity tactic for CD sales.
Posted by Chris Regan at 12:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


My latest, an investigation into claims that Salam Pax is a Baathist (he is) and that he's a Saddamite agent (you'll just have to read the article to figure out my conclusion and how I reached it) is up at National Review Online.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:07 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


I think MTPolitics switched to Catholicism just for the jokes.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Heh. I wish I'd thought of this. Nice one, Gene.
Posted by B. Preston at 08:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Lots of liberals--Eric Alterman among them--have been selectively quoting and distorting a passage from one of President Bush's recent speeches. In it, he says:

"Al-Qaida is on the run,” President Bush said on May 5. “Right now, about half of all the top al-Qaida operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they’re not a problem anymore."

Now, anyone who can read above a second grade level understands who he's saying are "not a problem anymore"--the high-ranking ones we've captured or killed. The statement is in every way true to the facts--the dead and captured are no longer a threat. He never said al Qaeda as a whole is not a problem--just the terrorists that have been taken out of the war one way or the other.

Well, since the recent attack in Saudi Arabia, liberals like Alterman have been abusing that quote, twisting it and generally lying through their teeth about it. Alterman quotes, then links to a few stories that say al Qaeda may have 17,000 operatives still in action, still planning, etc.

Of course, any honest person with an IQ above room temperature can figure out that al Qaeda doesn't have--and never had--17,000 "top operatives." The 17,000, if that number is even accurate (how can you count the members of a cowardly underground stateless quasi-army--ask the French?), are grunts of the type that the top people send away to blow themselves up, crash into things, and get themselves killed in other spectacularly murderous ways. I had assumed Alterman had the sufficient brain batteries to understand the distinction between al Qaeda leaders and their walking bombs. Guess not.

Besides, it's disingenuous (and here I'm being extremely charitable) for an anti-war lefty like Alterman, who supported Bill Clinton at every perjurious turn, to try and hit President Bush for not being effective enough against terrorism. Bush has gone after--and probably already killed--Osama bin Laden. Clinton had the chance to apprehend bin Laden, and had even drawn up plans to wipe him out--but he and his administration lost the nerve. Three thousand died on US soil as a direct result. We have been at war since 9-11 as a direct result. Nearly 200 Americans died liberating--note the lack of quotes surrounding that word--Iraq, and scores of others die liberating--again, no quotes--Afghanistan as a direct result.

Liberals like Alterman should look into the old saw about glass houses being inappropriate places from which to throw stones. And they should stop lying about what President Bush says.

We're facting checking your sorry backsides.

(thanks to Hanks on the ABC link, and for this link to a Spinsantiy round-up of liberals and journalists outrageously distorting the "on the run" quote. These people are shameless liars, nothing more and nothing less.)
Posted by B. Preston at 01:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Today Gov. Bob Ehrlich vetoed a bunch of silly bills that the Maryland legislature put on his desk during this year's legislative session. He killed 19 bills. Here' how the Baltimore Sun characterized the move:

As promised, Ehrlich vetoes tax package
Corporations put ahead of citizens, critics say

Ah, the objective dispassionate press, so fair and balanced on the politics of the day. This must be Rupert Murdoch's fault. Oh wait, he doesn't own the Sun. It's a lib'ral paper. I guess imbalanced reporting is fine then.

Do you know what kind of stuff the gov actually had to kill today? He had to veto a bill that would have given illegal aliens access to Maryland universities at in-state tuition fees. I'm not making this up--the Maryland General Assembly, already a gadzillion dollars in the hole from the drunken-sailor spending of the bastard-making Parris Glendenning years (research his last year in office, you'll figure out what I mean), actually passed a bill that would give foreigners with no respect for American immigration law better prices to attend Maryland schools than most of you reading this could get. You would still have to pay out-of-state tuition if you were crazy enough you elected to attend college in Maryland.

Now don't get me wrong, got nothin' agin them ferriners. Married one, actually, but we got her in this here country right and legal. We got married in Japan, then a couple years later got sneered at by INS officials in downtown Baltimore, after filling out a couple of reems of paperwork. We paid fees, had pictures taken, all that stuff that the Maryland General Assembly apparently thinks is just so much busywork. Ehrlich's college bill veto didn't amuse the state's Hispanic mouthpieces:

Hispanic activists condemned Ehrlich's veto of the immigrant tuition bill, which would have allowed undocumented immigrants who graduate from Maryland high schools to pay the lower in-state tuition rates. It conflicts, they said, with his earlier pledges to show compassion for people in need.

Don't you love that phrase, "undocumented aliens." It's a politically correct way of describing people who have no respect for American law, for the value of citizenship and for the integrity of our country's borders. It also has a certain menacing cache after 9-11. But in this case, we're not talking about terrorists, just freeloaders. People who don't pay taxes and should be deported, but get mad when an elected official has the spine necessary to actually side with the people who a) live here legally and b) put him in office in the first place. And these people have been here long enough to graduate from high school, but for some reason couldn't work in a day or two down at INS. Giving them a free ride at our primary schools apparently isn't enough--they want to suck at the state teet on the collegiate level too. Compassion? How about a little compassion on the people who actually make this state tick, keeping it financially afloat with our income tax dollars and our property tax dollars? Ehrlich's veto showed that kind of compassion--the kind that makes some sense and may just keep him around for another four years.

The gov also killed a gigantic tax bill that would've slapped it to the state's larger businesses by closing up methods they use to shelter their dollars from Annapolis' grubby hands. Had he signed it, those businesses would have had one more reason to leave a state that's already riddled with crime and still reeling from a) its proximity to Washington, terror target central, and b) last fall's sniper spree. No one wants to come here because of that stuff. Businesses know that Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virgina--Maryland's major neighbors--already have friendlier tax climates. The dead bill probably would've driven more than a few of them across state lines for good.

The gov managed to keep from legalizing speed radar cameras, which I think is a good move on civil liberties grounds (the things are all too easily manipulated and abused) and--get this--had the gall to veto a bill that would've made walking the official state exercise. The nerve. Montogomery County Executive Doug Duncan called Ehrlich "mean spirited" for the above vetoes, plus one that barred him from using a statewide hike on vehicle fees for use in his little fiefdom. Calling someone "mean" is one of the supreme liberal insults, along with "intolerant" and "insensitive." Gov. Ehrlich has been called those, too. It doesn't seem to bother him.

Taken as whole, I'd say Bob Ehrlich had a good day today. Fifty-two percent of Marylanders had the good sense to put him in office to get a handle on the state's rampaging budget, keep taxes to a minimum, and knock off the PC nonsense that has gripped Annapolis for a generation. He heeded us, and while he hasn't had a perfect first session, he's done about as well as can be expected given the environment.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:22 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 21, 2003


There are far too many definitions in use for this term. It's a popular subject lately for conservatives trying to clarify the muddied water and expose those using the term to smear Jews. So, I thought some links would be in order.

Michaek Novak: Neocons -- covers his memories of the beginnings of neoconservatism.

The Chronicle Review: Debunking the Jewish neocon-conspiracy theory

Jonah Goldberg has an ongoing series on the subject and, as always, makes us laugh while we think. This is from Part 3:

Meanwhile, on a near-nightly basis over the last two years, Chris Matthews did his best impersonations of Tail-Gunner Joe demanding to know about the neoconservative conspiracy inside the White House asking, for example, "Are they loyal to the Kristol neoconservative movement, or to the president?" and "Is Bill Kristol, leader of the neoconservatives — so-called — taking over the Bush White House?"

While we're clarifying conservatism, here's Derbyshire's Confessions of a Metropolitan Conservative
Posted by Chris Regan at 07:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Saudis (those not actually flying airplanes into our buildings, or financing such attacks, or holding big telethons for Palestinian murderers, or...) want the world to think well of them. To think that the religion upon which their sandy domain is founded, the one that sounds more like a Japanese mustard than an actual faith, is nothing but wine and roses for all. Except the part about banning wine, but I digress, and if you're a Jew--No roses for you! We are all supposed to think, because Diversity! demands it and all, that the average Abdullah is a nice bloke, live and let live and so forth.

The problem with all that is the facts keep getting in the way. Exhibit A: A Saudi table tennis player has withdrawn from a tournament because his next opponent was to be a Jew. And he'd rather just bow out than play against and possibly lose to a Jew.

This is table tennis, for goodness sake. Not even a sport that matters, like soccer or something. Table freakin' tennis! It must be a Zionist plot to dominate a church camp sport that most people stop playing by age 12.

Or the average Abdullah isn't as tolerant as Diversity! insists.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The latest question at Instapundit and Media Minded is about what -- or if -- reporter Chris Hedges (D-NYT) was thinking when he gave the Rockford College commencement tirade. My take is that his "gratuitous and senseless act" (his words) of violenceation was well thought-out for effect. Imagine if pacifists/Islamists sent the execution video of Daniel Pearl -- or that of our POWs -- as bulk-email on campus. Chris Hedges was the verbal equivalent of that spam. I willingly listened to the Hedges audio clip, and blame only myself for the mistake. Don't do it; I'm warning you ahead of time.

It was an assault on the senses, regardless of the content. The bizarre Tim Robbins-like intonation and out-of-place "Chomskyite" incantations embedded in the sonic torture were designed to provoke the reaction it did, ruin the commencement, and to draw attention to Hedges and the latest liberal crusade to paint opponents as intolerant of dissent. He rudely sent it out through his microphone like a spammer pressing the send button, knowing it would infuriate and provoke the bulk of his listeners. He wasn't even addressing the specific audience in his "address" lines either.

I don't see any way even he expected that vile mess to fly very far without hitting the fan. It was sort of like post-rational culture jamming without the humor. Or, better yet, imagine a "speech" that consisted of burning the American flag with the audio accompaniment of nails on a chalkboard. OK you don't need to listen to Hedges. It was actually performance art, not a speech. Picture the infamous cross in urine "art" super-sized, then splashed on audience members, followed by beating those who wished they could flee with "their" cross. It would all be done to "show them how Iraqis feel." Yes, he made an obligatory mocking reference to Jesus in the speech as well -- twice. The plug was pulled after the first mention, so he made sure to say it again (like backing over the audience for good measure after hitting them).

It appears he just strung together the most controversial faux-intellectual stuff he could find, and was probably shocked he got as far as he did. Find someone who knows the guy well and you'll find someone he told to: "just watch how these idiots react, it will be great!" The audience reacted like any other post 9/11 group of people would react to the hijacking of an event to make a political statement. They took matters into their own hands. Other than all that, it was a harmless send-off for grads.

A.M. Siriano has some excellent comments on it too. Here's just part of it:
Liberals have no problem with shouting down Linda Chavez or David Horowitz, who choose appropriate forums to command, but woe unto conservatives when the tables are turned!

...To a liberal, freedom of speech has a unique definition: It is the freedom to speak anywhere, at any time, without regard to decorum, unhindered and without opposition. It includes a clause that compels the rest of the world to listen. And it includes the assumption that tax dollars, in the form of protection from "rightwing aggression," or to fund provisions (stages, bullhorns, etc.), will be available to support the exercise thereof.

This is hardly the vision of the Founding Fathers, but, hey, the Constitution's a work-in-progress, right?
Posted by Chris Regan at 04:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Ok, this post isn't about that--I just wanted to get Glenn's attention. Blame it on my withdrawal pains--it's been nearly a week since an Instalanche.

This post is about former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who says that former President Clinton actively blocked the FBI's Khobar Towers bombing investigation. That bombing, which took place in 1996 and has been blamed on Hezbollah, killed 19 Americans stationed in Saudi Arabia to defend it from Iraq. Nineteen young American airmen, voluntarily serving their country, died at the hands of terrorists, and Mr. Freeh says that Clinton thwarted the FBI's efforts to catch the killers.

I catch a slight whiff of butt-covering in the story (note to self--never again include "whiff" and "butt" in the same clause of a sentence)--because the FBI did in fact get nowhere in that investigation until the Saudis mysteriously cooperated, at least in a nominal and slightly non-trivial fashion. And the FBI, CIA--the whole alphabet soup of US counter-terrorism intel agencies--missed most of the major clues hinting that 9-11 was coming. But still...

Freeh says he had to go to the former president--George H. W. Bush--to ask the Saudis to cooperate. Which he did, and then they did. If Freeh's version of events is true, it casts a new light on why the Bush family has maintained its friendly relations with the House of Saud all this time. The poweful Bush clan, currently the most dominant political family on earth, finds the sand kings useful in a limited sort of way. They don't love them, but they recognize that there are members of the Saud family that will lend a hand to knock off terrorists--especially terrorists that hate the Sauds as much as they hate us. The Bushes recognize that we get enough oil from the sand kingdom that its ruling family matters to some extent. Until we can all run our cars on vegetable oil the need for Middle Eastern oil isn't likely to go away. Which isn't to say that the Bushes are incapable of dealing harshly with the Sauds if it comes to that. I think that if George W. Bush has proven one thing, it's that he can get tough with anybody and drive them from power if he has to. If it comes down to it, he'll shout "Riyadh delenda est" and do what needs doing.

But just ponder what Freeh is saying. Terrorists killed 19 Americans forward deployed in Saudi Arabia, and the sitting President of the United States not only didn't immediately order some relevant spot on the globe Tomahawked out of existence--Clinton actually got in the way of the investigation because he found a foreign conflict inconvenient. When he did get around to Tomahawking, he struck empty tents and a pill factory.

Why does all this make me think of a certain bombing that took place in Oklahoma a year before Khobar? Or of a multiple hijacking that ended with 3,000 dead and a couple of large buildings razed?

UPDATE: I blog corrected--Glenn just lent Chris a link on his excellent Howell Raines post, below. Thanks Glenn, and good job Chris.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Just a year ago, NYT editor Howell Raines refused to allow the Times to review a book by Bill McGowan on How Crusading for Diversity Has Corrupted American Journalism. That was at a time he knew it was actually happening to himself at the NY Times, but before he "flooded the zone" with Augusta Golf Course crusading. It was also before he employed what some call "nice" racism by nominating the irresponsible Blair to cover the D.C. sniper case -- and allowing him to embellish that coverage to slam the White House.

That assignment was not only cruel to Blair, but it has now created a brand new racial tension in newsrooms and readers as some wonder if other black journalists at lesser liberal papers are being given a similar pass on incompetence. That's because the root of the liberal diversity problem is obvious. Liberals in the media leave a much smaller pool for potential success when, in hiring decisions, they start off by discriminating against minorities who don't fit their intellectual stereotype. At least conservatives will generally hire all qualified minorities, then keep and promote only the most competent.

Howell Raines recently "looked into his heart," just like Trent Lott did, and reflected on the racial angst that led to his decision to set high-school grad Jayson Blair up (for national humiliation) with the sniper story assignment. Raines admitted race played a part. Jayson Blair adds that race was everything at the Times.

"Anyone who tells you that my race didn't play a role in my career at The New York Times is lying to you,” he said. “Both racial preferences and racism played a role. And I would argue that they didn't balance each other out. Racism had much more of an impact."

"Howell and Gerald have certainly had their problems. But using me against them is kind of unfair. Because what I'm a symbol of is what's wrong with The New York Times. And what's been wrong with The New York Times for a long time."

That brings us back to the NYT book review story. Let's just have the liberal Nat Hentoff tell it:

But the editor of the Times Book Review gave the San Francisco Chronicle another reason for his dismissal of Coloring the News: "I also think there's a question, and I don't know the answer: Is this newspaper . . . the best place to discuss a book that is so critical of this newspaper?" The book review editors of The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times had no difficulty answering that question.

...McGowan quotes Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.'s remark in 1992 that "diversity is the single most important issue" facing the Times ". . . . We can no longer offer our reader a predominantly white, straight version of events." He was right, of course.

But the failure to seriously cover diverse viewpoints on issues has led to clear political correctness in the pages of the Times—as in the paper's unflagging support of collective affirmative action that violates the "equal protection of the laws" guarantee of the 14th Amendment. As McGowan notes, Sulzberger has neglected a very important issue of fairness still facing the Times.

Dan Seligman captures an essence of the book in his review in The Wall Street Journal: "Paul Teetor, an award-winning reporter at Vermont's Gannett-owned Burlington Free Press, is covering a local forum on racism. A young white woman tries to speak and is told by the moderator, a [black] mayoral aide, that only 'people of color' are allowed to speak. Mr. Teetor agrees with the woman that this is 'reverse racism' and says so in his next-day news story. The mayoral aide says he will organize a march on the Free Press if Mr. Teetor isn't instantly fired. He is indeed fired, in a 90-second meeting at which he has no chance to defend himself. . . .

"The editor who fired him is under pressure from Gannett to improve his 'mainstreaming' scores. . . . Editors are supposed to meet a variety of racial targets in hiring, in the use of sources, and in positive news coverage."

That diversity goal misfires when it leads to identity politics masquerading as reliable journalism. [emphasis mine]

As far as the Times and Jayson Blair, he often injected racially provocative quotes into stories that weren't really much about race. I'm wondering if that was that something he was hired for, or else maybe just pressured to play up for diversity points?

Finally, last year Raines tried to avoid the book author at an awards dinner:

[Coloring the News author Bill] McGowan actually applauds efforts to increase the number of minority journalists, but deplores the effects he says it’s had on many newsrooms: political conformity, ethnic hypersensitivity and racial favoritism.

...In accepting his award for media criticism, McGowan thanked the National Press Club. Looking at Raines, he said, “It would have been easy to turn an eye of polite indifference to this book as some in the profession have done.”

Ouch. Raines refused to even review a book that should have become his bible. It could have saved his career and the paper. Instead he's being offered advice from Jayson Blair:
Mr. Blair said. "I feel bad for the situation he’s in. But I think a lot of it is by his own hand. He is a good man. He is well-intentioned.

"Maybe it’ll make him a little mature," he said. He broke out into laughter, stomping his foot on the ground. "That’s coming from me!"

I don't blame him for mocking Raines' immaturity. Patronizing minorities with "benign" racism can sometimes be more destructive than blatant bigotry. When the two are combined in one newsroom, the difference may become indistinguishable -- as "nice" and "mean" racists feed off each other's racial biases.
Posted by Chris Regan at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


That's what average Iraqis are doing--hunting them down and killing them. Apparently our lack of a crackdown, and the slowness with which we have established law and order, has left many Iraqis unsatisfied with American justice overall.

As awful as it may be to witness such a hunter-killer operation, I actually see this as a sign of hope. The Iraqi people know who Saddam's henchmen were, and they're ridding themselves and their country of them. They're de-Baathifying Iraq, so we won't have to. In scouring out the Baathists, Iraqis may be giving themselves a decent shot at real peace. Left alive, the Baathists will just do everything possible to undermine the American-led provisional government and try to resume power at some point.

It looks like the killings aren't indiscriminate:

The killers appear to be working from lists looted from Iraq's bombed-out security service buildings, which kept records on informants and victims alike. But others are simply killing Baathist icons or irksome party officials identified with the Hussein government. The singer Daoud Qais, known for his odes to Hussein, was shot dead on Saturday. So was the president of the Iraqi Artists Union.

"We want the Americans to kill them, but we don't think they are going to," said Muntathar Mohammed, a 40-year-old unemployed Sadr City resident. "Why can Americans kill anyone they want? Why can't we? I will kill Baathists myself. This is my right."

Baathists masquerading as human rights workers, or simply trying to be a Baathist by another name in post-Saddam Iraq, ought to take note of this campaign.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:30 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 20, 2003


Just when you think lefty journalists and lefties in general can't get any lower, we now have the BBC's John Kampfner charging and then retreating from his charge that the daring rescue of PFC Lynch was a hoax. Once again, the left is taking a great and inspiring shared moment from the war and denigrating it, casting undue doubt on it, in an effort to deny it and rob the public of the joy and confidence that comes from it.

This is a pattern, I tell you. In fact, I already said as much a few weeks back, in this post. The left hates the times we live in, not because they're dangerous to our civilization, but because the times reflect poorly on them. And because the rest of us are proving that we can defend our civilization without, indeed in spite of, their best efforts. They don't care at all for a civilization that doesn't place them in power for life. And they'll apparently do anything and say anything to destroy any other kind of civilization. Tearing down Private Lynch's rescue is just one more small attempt to do that.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Each year on May 4 and 5, Holland commemorates those killed in World War II with silence, and with the lonely tolling of bells and the laying of wreaths. That takes place on the fourth; the fifth is Liberation Day. This year, the solemn remembrances were marred by roving gangs of Muslim youth, chanting things like "We must kill the Jews." The Dilacerator has the details on all this.

Europe is a continent and society that likes to lecture the rest of the world, and especially the US, how to behave. We non-Europeans usually accept its admonitions with equal parts skepticism and grace. But Europe today is simply a place that boggles the rational mind. Its powers want to form a coalition, not to stop terrorism or to resist any real threat of outside invasion by a hostile power, but simply to rein us in. Its powers want to create a military to "counter" ours, and a economy to rival ours, and a political clout to balance or even defeat ours.

The problem with that is, we, the United States, are one of the few societies that still cares a whit about liberty and human dignity. Europe doesn't, as exemplified in Holland's reaction to the May 4 problems. It swept them under the rug, as it does when Jews are assaulted by Muslim youths simply because they're Jews. Ignore it, keep it out of the official police records and out of the press. No muss, no fuss, problem solved.

Or at least delayed.

Europe, and therefore the West, has a massive problem on its hands: How do we defeat terrorism? America's, and Britian's and Australia's answer is to confront and defeat it. Europe's answer answer seems to come from an old playbook--appease the aggressors.

They never learn, do they. They never learn.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 19, 2003


May I make a modest proposal regarding the spate of bombings in Israel? I propose that until Yassir Arafat is dead, there will be no peace. As long as he is alive, there will only be more murder. The sooner the powers that be figure that out, the sooner we can drop some high explosives on him and get on with the business of making peace. Blessed are the peace makers, a famous Jewish carpenter once said. Let's make some peace.

That may sound harsh, but there's more blood on Arafat's hands than in his veins. The killing spree that's currently underway in Israel is nothing but the extension of Arafat's career as the most publicly lauded serial killer in history. The most prolific, too.

He keeps killing because it keeps him relevant. The second Abu Mazen or anyone else on his side makes a real peace with Israel, Arafat becomes an anachronism. A peaceful Palestinian state, should one ever exist, would no longer need Arafat. He's proven that since his return from exile. He's a boorish autocrat, just another tinpot thug in a region full of bigger, stronger tinpot thugs. Peace would render him irrelvant. So as long as he lives, there will be no peace. It's as simple as that.

So let's make some peace.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:27 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


Great stuff on the lasting positive effects of welfare reform. Also, he hits Pinch Sulzberger for having a Total Quality Management fetish. That alone should get the guy fired. The Air Force tried TQM back when I was in, and it was a joke. How can you have an "empowered" work force when that force is built to take orders from the top down and fight and win wars? It never made any sense. And the whole mission statement nonsense--the military has a mission, which is to win wars. Defend the Constitution, etc. What more do you need? How can some nebulous vision statement capture the military's purpose as succinctly as "kill the other guy, don't get killed yourself?" Which was never anyone's mission or vision statement, but probably could've been. I would have found it motivational.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Noah Feldman is a bright, young legal type currently assisting in the effort to write Iraq a new, democratic constitution. He's the wrong man for the job, as Martin Kramer warns on Sandstorm today. The basic problem with Feldman is that he's an agologist for the Islamo-nazis who started this whole war. NRO's Stanley Kurtz argues that Feldman is "another John Esposito," referring to another ME scholar with similarly dangerous views on Islamism. Feldman and Esposito's basic position is that Islamism is the ME's greatest hope for democracy, disregarding the widespread murder and terrorism that accompanies Islamism pretty much wherever it takes root. Feldman has no business writing a new constitution for Iraq.

I first warned readers about Feldman's ideas last month.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


These are not unrelated stories!

UPDATE: Who was that doctor that Hawkeye and BJ made up on M*A*S*H? Remember, the one everbody said they loved but whom no one had actually met, because he didn't exist? Well, PFC Lynch's rescuer isn't that guy, as Hanks reveals. He even has a job here in the US, thanks to a former Republican congressman. Heh. TAPPED's sweatshop child bloggers should learn to do a little research once in a while.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Starting off with Jayson Blair's personal connection to Raines...the saga gets more interesting:

Raines may be more deeply tainted by the [Jayson Blair] scandal than had immediately been apparent.

News clerk Zuza Glowacka, who reportedly had a romantic relationship with Blair, has left the paper, although it’s unclear if it was voluntary. The 23-year-old has not been at work since Blair left May 1.

Fair or not, that’s led to in-house speculation that she may have helped Blair with his misdeeds. She worked on the photo desk during part of Blair’s tenure and would have had access to pictures of sites that he claimed to be reporting from while he was actually in New York. This friendship with a photo desk employee was not mentioned in the Times story.

...Glowacka’s mother, journalist [and Public Relations specialist] Ewa Zadrzynska, is good friends with Raines’ wife, Krystyna Stachowiak.

The buzz around the newsroom is that Raines may have given Blair second and third chances that other reporters would not have received because of his romance with a family friend.

Reaction within the Times to the case has ranged from anger that editors let Blair continue when they’d known about his sloppiness to suspicion about Glowacka and her relationship with Raines’ family. [bold mine]

Looks like his girlfriend lived with her P.R. specialist mom:
Glowacka's last known address was her parents' Upper West Side apartment where Blair was a regular visitor, neighbors said.

It's interesting that these PR types are swarming all over selected incompetent men working for the NY Times -- especially when they might have a business reason to influence or plant stories. And speaking of that, let's flashback to the New York Post's Page Six on Jan 24, titled Flack Howells Over a Column:

The spiking of a piece about the public relations business has staffers at the New York Times wondering: was the column killed because it attacked a P.R. technique often used by flack Krystyna Stachowiak, fiancee of Times executive editor Howell Raines?

The axed piece by Manhattan publicity executive Jeff Barge blasted his industry as a 'deceptive business' in which newspapers are fed 'quotes that are just plain fabricated by the P.R. people.'
It might have cut too close to the bone, because eloquent Stachowiak, 38, has in the past provided newspapers with English-language quotes from her non-English-speaking client, Polish president Alexander Kwasniewski."

It looks like this one cut too close to a main artery. Howard Kurtz had more details:
Times editor Brent Bowers told Barge in an e-mail that Sunday Business Editor Judith Dobrzynski "just now killed the piece. She says it is too self-promotional and didn't like the anecdotes. I totally disagree with her, and argued my case, but she is the boss."

The explanation was odd because most of the "My Job" columns are self-serving, while Barge was trashing his own profession. "I AGREE!!!!" Bowers wrote Barge after he pointed this out. "I made the same argument. That was when her jaw tightened and her face froze in an unfriendly way."

In the spiked column, Barge also boasts of press releases that spurred articles in Business Week and The Washington Post. He now accuses the Times of "a form of censorship" to spare the paper "possible embarrassment."
Posted by Chris Regan at 01:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack