Illuminating the untempered soul and the blunt mind by hammering out sparks of Clarity and Truth on the Anvil of Debate.
"Sometimes, you go to war with the media you have, not the media you wish you had"
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Simple Question for You Bloggers:
Why do you blog?
I first really started paying more attention to blogs during the 2004 run-up to the Election. And listening to Hugh Hewitt during the week following the 60 Minutes RatherGate scandal (on President Bush's national guard record), it was quite fascinating. Stories like that, Eason Jordan of CNN, Christmas in Cambodia...I heard all of this on Hugh Hewitt first, sometimes a week before the mainstream media sludgingly would come around to acknowledging that there is a story there to be reported on. So through talk radio (which I've been wanting to do a post on for some time now as well), and Hugh Hewitt's "rapid response radio" specifically, I discovered the blogosphere. It is a great addition to news dissemination, opinion journalism, and just plain venting your feelings and interpretation of the news around you, and across the globe.
I know some bloggers see themselves as citizen journalists. I don't see myself as such. I'm just a regular joe, expressing his thoughts and feelings to anyone caring to listen. Primarily though, I write for myself and to opine on the articles and topics I come across that interests me. What are your thoughts?
Quit waving the flag of the country you left, please
Because doing that is not the way to earn my sympathy and support.
This is how the Los Angeles Times wants you to remember the 500,000 protestors last Saturday in the city of Los Angeles:
Many protesters carried American flags as they marched. (Gina Ferazzi / LAT) Mar. 25, 2005
Uh....yeah. And many protestors also expressed their loyalty and "patriotism" this way:
Disrupting classes at more than half a dozen schools, students marched onto city streets waving Mexican flags and clutching red, white and green balloons as they chanted "Viva Mexico!"
Am I the only one who sees something distasteful in this form of expression?
This is the caption that follows one of the other LA Times photos:
Thousands protest against House-passed HR 4437, an anti-immigration bill that opponents say will criminalize [excuse me...but the fact that they came here illegally, breaking and disrespecting our laws, makes for the definition of a crime] millions of immigrant families and anyone who comes into contact with them. (Bob Chamberlin / LAT) Mar. 25, 2006
First off.....being "anti-illegal immigration" is not the same as being "anti-immigration". I don't know a single Republican leader or any of my fellow conservative bloggers who is "anti-immgrant". It is frustrating to me how those on the left constantly mischaracterize the argument, from "ban on gay marriage", "ban on stem cell research", to "anti-immigration". No one is pushing for those bans!!! AND NO ONE IS AGAINST IMMIGRANTS!!!
The issues of dealing with the illegal problem are complex. What I am truly sick of, are the multicultural idiots who don't understand the arguments against illegal aliens and want to framework it into a picture of racism, simply because the rest of us want our borders and laws enforced, and value the concept of national identity and see meaningfulness in the concept of "citizenship". You want to know who is racist? Groups like La Raza and MEChA are the racists. Quit fixating on race if you want to ever dissolve those color barriers!
The Ingraham Effect: "Laying the Smacketh Down on MSM"
"I don't know how you can cover a war and not cover the war, itself; and not all this reconstruction- that's not a news story, is it?"- Chris Matthews
Laura Ingraham made the trip to Iraq in February. This past week, she had gone on the Today Show and broke lances with James Carville and host David Gregory. On The O'Reilly Factor, she discusses her Today Show appearance. It obviously struck a raw nerve with MSM, as all week long, I've been hearing the mantra, "Don't attack the messenger" because we aren't liking the message. Methinks they doth protest too much. What MSM doesn't seem to understand (one of the things they don't get, at any rate), is that we are angry at the messenger not because of the message; but because they are delivering only half the message, and in a language that is mired in quag. What I mean by that is, journalists color their reportings with their own bias. You can tell in many cases, when the frontpage straight news begins sounding like an op-ed piece; when a writer is anti-war or pro-victory by the words and tone he chooses; and the context he puts a news event into. The event itself often doesn't demoralize; it's the gloom-and-doom language of the reporter that can influence a reader to think a certain way. So, then that brings me to this important question: Does the American media have a responsibility to help win the war? What is the moral responsibility here, when impartiality gets lost anyway in subtle and not-so-subtle agenda-driven news-telling?
On Tuesday, President Bush rightly made mention of how the insurgents do work the media ("they're capable of blowing up innocent life so it ends up on your tv show") ; in fact, their life expectancy depends upon it! On Wednesday, President Bush himself, was asked by Gayle Taylor about the negative coverage by the media. He talked about how we have a free press to do whatever they want (despite those claiming President Bush is attacking the media); and encouraged people to check out alternative media outlets that do report the good (including a plug for blogs).
The following morning on The Today Show, after the Ingraham appearance, The Today Show tried to save face with Richard Engel in Baghdad doing a piece, "Blaming the Messenger/Missing the Good in Iraq?". Engel actually confirms for the Today Show audience that from his perspective, the insurgents are sophisticated to play the media. He does however feel that the security issue is the story in Iraq.
And then the next day after that....could it be that the Ingraham Effect is taking place? What do we get from The Today Show? Some good news! Coincidence? Maybe. But David Gregory sounded suspiciously like he and Katie Couric were trying too hard.
Wednesday also saw Hugh Hewitt and Michael Yon on CNN, along with Michael Ware (click, and tell me this Aussie embed doesn't have an agenda) and CNN's Nick Robertson. When the they lost the satellite feed to Yon, Hugh laid his cards out bluntly and said, the media is losing this war and getting Americans killed, as the insurgents are "playing the media like a bongo drum" (one of Hugh's catchphrases).
I heard the interview on CNN with Mike Yon and yourself and that irritating Aussie. (All I can think of when I hear him is Robert Downey Jr.'s "Wayne Gale" portrayal in Natural Born Killers).
Let me just say Cooper's argument that troops only "hide out on their bases" and don't see the "full picture" like those brave embeds do is total nonsense. They embeds are the ones never leaving the bases, and they are left to interview the support soldiers that never leave the wire either.
The infantry platoons spend more time out in the streets than any normal Iraqi would, and we spend up to 12 hours a day patrolling throughout the city and actually seeking out trouble wherever it may be. And we keep this pace up for a year straight. What Iraqi or reporter can make that claim? So to say we don't know what's going on is preposterous.
Journalists like Michael Ware are gloryhounds (you can hear it in his voice) that come to Iraq to make a name for themselves as "war correspondents", and the only way they can do that is if all they do is cover nothing but blood and guts and gore. It's not exactly great copy to file a report that says, "I spent eight hours on patrol and absolutely nothing remarkable happened and I was bored stiff." That would be the truth on the majority of patrols, but it's not exciting and no one wants to read that so it's not going to get filed.
Ware seems to believe that being objective means not taking sides. But you can still tell the whole truth and root for your country to win. I don't see that as cheerleading, it's common sense. As it currently stands, the MSM is not telling the whole truth and actually siding with the enemy on occasion. They'll jump at the chance to report completely unsubstantiated claims by Iraqis of killings or theft or abuse that simply isn't credible when you know even the first thing about the American "militry" (as Ware calls it). They give the ruthless killers the benefit of the doubt every time, just to spread more nonsense about us.
Most soldiers don't follow the news back home, and it's a good thing, because it would make them sick to know how they're being portrayed in the media. But I must be a bit of a masochist, because I can't seem to get enough. And it certainly takes a toll when you read time and time again in the NYT about things you know to be untrue or misrepresented.
The media wants us to lose, and they're doing their damndest to see it happen. But I have faith that the American people are too smart to fall for that trick twice.
No...not Enjolras and Marius at the barricades fighting for the miserable poor and downtrodden, but French students protesting for themselves, regarding job security. France has suffered for years from a high unemployment rate- hovering around 10%, plus or minus a decimal point or 2. Among French youth, unemployment is around 23%.
The law allows employers to end job contracts for under-26s at any time during a two-year trial period without having to offer an explanation or give prior warning.
The government says the law will encourage employers to hire young people, who in some inner cities make up 50% of the unemployed.
But students fear it will erode job stability.
So the French government has finally smartened up and is trying to actually improve the job market by allowing bosses the power to get rid of employees under the age of 26 during a 2-year trial period. And these coddled students are throwing a hissy fit over this?!? This is tyranny of the employee over the employer. Who is the real victim here?
As Michael Medved put it this past week: "Jobs are not an entitlement. Jobs are an opportunity."
A big reason France has such a high unemployment record is because bosses are unable to fire their employees, no matter how incompetent. Supposedly, according to leftists, the compassion of such job security laws will insure low unemployment rates.
Yesterday, the trade unions were adamant that they will only negotiate after the new law be withdrawn; not negotiate with Dominique de Villepin on the law itself. I'm still scratching my head on that one.
I'm beginning to wonder what exactly is it about "higher education" that produces so many misguided young people. Of course, I don't think there is a single French university that ranks high on the list of colleges to attend. France's descent into socialist programs of the past 50 years should be an example to us here in the U.S., that liberal entitlement and welfare programs are a thing to be shunned, producing the exact opposite of the desired result.
Looks like President Bush's approval rating isn't the only poll number to drop in points for doing the right thing:
French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who supports the new labor law, has seen his approval rating drop to 36 percent. That is what happens when you try to talk sense to people who prefer to believe nonsense.
The fact that such profound ignorance of basic economics and such self-indulgent emotionalism should be prevalent at elite institutions of higher education is one of the many deep-seated failures of universities on both sides of the Atlantic.
If they were, they'd protest the terrorists who did this to their member:
Mr. Fox's body was found this month. He had apparently been tortured by his captors before being shot multiple times in the head and dumped on a trash heap next to a railway line in western Baghdad.
This was brought to my attention between work, listening to Dennis Prager, first hour. I found more at Michelle Malkin's regarding how the CPT statement on their website doesn't even acknowledge let alone thank the true peacemakers- the soldiers- who worked hard to bring about their rescue. The only reference to the military is to blame them for the kidnappings in the first place:
They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers. We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end.
How about the power of the U.S. and British special forces? From today's NY Times:
The men were freed by multinational forces in a military operation.
The hostages were found when American-led forces raided a house in western Baghdad, acting on information from one of two detainees interrogated late Wednesday night, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a spokesman for the American military, said at a news conference in Baghdad.
In London, the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, said the mission had included British forces.
"It follows weeks and weeks of very careful work by military and coalition personnel in Iraq and many civilians as well," Mr. Straw said, adding that it involved a number of countries, including Canadian personnel.
Also from the CPT statement:
We pray that Christians throughout the world will, in the same spirit, call for justice and for respect for the human rights of the thousands of Iraqis who are being detained illegally by the U.S. and British forces occupying Iraq.
Ok...why don't they go protest where real genocide is occurring? Sudan? Darfur, anyone? If they really wanted to work toward peace, maybe they should protest ALL VIOLENCE BEING COMMITTED. By only coming down on U.S. and Coalition forces trying to help with reconstruction and security in Iraq, they are siding with the terrorists and complicit in the violence of the insurgents against Iraqi civilians. It is their presence that adds fuel to the violence. It is the Christian Peacemaker Teams message of outcry against the U.S. that gives the insurgency hope; that what they are doing- i.e. terrorizing the Iraqi people, is working and to keep it up. So long as tragedy TV and the mainstream media and the "anti-war" peace activists such as the CPT give the terrorists a loud voice to shout with and a prominent platform to stand upon, there will be violence and there will be the slaughter of the innocents.
Peace activists piss me off, because they are not pro-peace. They are blind to the evils that their actions give aid and comfort to. Do you want to see what a real peacemaker looks like? Here you go:
I found this USA Today article from last week, interesting (hat tip: The Michael Medved Show). It seems to suggest that President Bush's biggest problem in the federal budget isn't expansion of government, but growth in pre-existing programs. The difficulty isn't that he's been Lyndon Johnson, spending like a drunken sailor. It's that he hasn't fought harder to cut existing, wasteful government programs that have been around for years.
Last Thursday, Congress increased the national debt ceiling upward to almost $9 trillion (an increase of $781 billion).From the AP:
The spending blueprint, approved 51-49, little resembles President Bush's proposal last month for the budget year that begins Oct. 1. (On Deadline: What can you buy with $9 trillion?)
To the disappointment of budget hawks, the Senate's measure would break Bush's proposed caps on spending for programs such as education, low-income heating subsidies and health research. All told, senators endorsed more than $16 billion in increases above Bush's proposed $873 billion cap on spending appropriated by Congress each year.
This has been a pattern throughout President Bush's presidency, where he will submit a budget in an attempt to control spending, and Congress will spend more and more and more.
I see entitlement programs as a huge problem in the spending. The prescription drug plan was probably a huge mistake (it would have happened anyway, as Democrats would have imposed it as a part of medicare); but other than that and military/national security spending, where else has President Bush been responsible for actually expanding upon new government programs? He may not be a fiscal conservative (and an argument can be made that neither was President Reagan), but neither is he a record spending Lyndon B. Johnson.
A sweeping expansion of social programs since 2000 has sparked a record increase in the number of Americans receiving federal government benefits such as college aid, food stamps and health care.
A USA TODAY analysis of 25 major government programs found that enrollment increased an average of 17% in the programs from 2000 to 2005. The nation's population grew 5% during that time. (Related: Federal entitlements have changed)
It was the largest five-year expansion of the federal safety net since the Great Society created programs such as Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s.
Spending on these social programs was $1.3 trillion in 2005, up an inflation-adjusted 22% since 2000 and accounting for more than half of federal spending. Enrollment growth was responsible for three-fourths of the spending increase, according to USA TODAY's analysis of federal enrollment and spending data. Higher benefits accounted for the rest.
The biggest expansion: Medicaid, the health care program for the poor. It added 15 million beneficiaries over five years to become the nation's largest entitlement program.
Not a factor: Social Security and Medicare. Those retirement programs will not see their enrollment explode until 79 million baby boomers start to become eligible for Social Security in 2008 and Medicare in 2011.
Programs that grew over the past five years are aimed at the under-65 population, especially families earning less than $40,000 a year. For example, the number of mostly low-income college students receiving Pell grants rose 41% over five years to 5.3 million.
Robert Greenstein, head of the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, says the growth in the number of people in many programs is due to a rise in the poverty rate from 11.3% in 2000 to 12.7% in 2004, the most recent year available. "It's certainly better that people falling into poverty can get Medicaid, but I'd prefer fewer poor people and employers not dropping medical coverage," he says.
Rep. Gil Gutknecht, a conservative Republican from Minnesota, says the number of people in entitlement programs should not be growing when unemployment is near a record low. "It's probably time to revisit food stamps and its goals and costs," says Gutknecht, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees food stamps. Food stamp enrollment climbed from 17.2 million in 2000 to 25.7 million in 2005.
USA TODAY found three major causes for soaring enrollment in government programs:
•Expanded eligibility: Congress has expanded eligibility for programs in ways that attracted little attention but added greatly to the scope and cost of programs. Congress added food stamp eligibility for 2.7 million people by ending a rule that disqualified people from receiving food stamps if they had a car or truck worth $4,650 or more. The change, one of a series of expansions in 2001 and 2002, was designed to make it easier for food stamp recipients to work.
•Increased participation: The government has made applying for benefits easier, prompting more eligible people to get them. Forms have been shortened, office visits reduced and verification streamlined.
•Welfare reform: 996 overhaul pushed millions of people off cash assistance and into the workforce. Congress expanded eligibility for benefits to support people with low-wage jobs.
I caught the MSNBC evening rerun of Meet the (de)Press(ed). I don't have time to run through Representative Murtha's rantings. He got a lot of air-time to spew his version of events in Iraq. This is how CrooksandLiars sees it:
"[Murtha]got the full body treatment from Timmy. Russert wailed away at John (who wouldn't like to see that same treatment with Condi or Cheney?) and threw everything and the kitchen sink at him"
I felt Tim Russert was characteristically easy on him, in comparison to the grilling he gives pro-Iraq war politicians and military officials. After all of Rep Murtha's portrayal of Iraq as being in the grips of civil war, and the Vietnam comparisons, and the quoting of figures that I recognized as coming from questionable stats and polling, the bottomline is this: cut-and-run strategy. Rather than doing the run-around and denying it, just admit that this simple phrase describes your solution perfectly. Everything he said on Meet the Press can all be summed up as "cutting and running." Just face it, Representative Murtha, and quit beating around the Bush about it.
The attack on the United States this week leaves all of us jolted and angered. To respond to this terror is both our fate and our challenge. Our response to that attack must reflect our national character. As a great nation, we must respond powerfully. But our response must be guided by justice and by our right to self defense, not by vengeance. We must act to hold accountable those responsible for these terrorist attacks. But to be true to our traditions and our Founders, we must act within the confines of the Constitution and the law. I believe that the resolution before us achieves that goal.
The War Powers Resolution of 1973 explicitly recognizes the President's authority to take immediate action as Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces to respond to this unprovoked attack on the United States. As such, there is no reason to suggest that the action we take here today is required in advance of any immediate military response by the President. In the interest of demonstrating our national resolve to act firmly and decisively, however, and as a demonstration of our commitment to working in close cooperation with our Commander in Chief to respond to this aggression, we act today to authorize the use of force, as required by the War Powers Resolution.
I commend the President and his administration for seeking the resolution before us today, for working with the Congress, and for recognizing the requirement under the Constitution and the law for joint authorization. As well, I commend those who negotiated the specific language of this resolution, and in particular, Senators Biden, Levin, and Kerry. They deserve our thanks for insisting that we honor the War Powers Resolution.
Like any legislation, this resolution is not perfect. I have some concern that readers may misinterpret the preamble language that the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism as a new grant of power; rather it is merely a statement that the President has existing constitutional powers.I am gratified that in the body of this resolution, it does not contain a broad grant of powers, but is appropriately limited to those entities involved in the attacks that occurred on September 11. And I am particularly gratified that this resolution explicitly abides by and invokes the War Powers Resolution.
In taking this action today, we are not responding to a distant threat to international peace and security; we are responding to a direct attack on the United States. This is not a humanitarian response to a foreign crisis, but a defensive action to protect the lives of Americans here at home.
At the same time, we must recognize that this war will be unlike any other we have fought in the past. Our enemy is not a state with clearly defined borders. We must respond instead to what is quite likely a loose network of terrorists that do not function according to a strict hierarchy. We must respond to a highly mobile, diffuse enemy that operates largely beyond the reach of our conventional war-fighting techniques.
Given the immense difficulties involved in identifying our enemies, we must take great care to guard against making mistakes as we pursue them across an obscured terrain. We must not act on misguided prejudices or incomplete information. We must not cause needless harm to innocent bystanders. Our response will be judged by friends and foes, by history, and by ourselves. It must stand up to the highest level of scrutiny: It must be appropriate and constitutional.
Within this confusing scenario, it will be easy to point fingers at an ever increasing number of enemies, to believe that the "the enemy" is all around us, that the enemy may even be our neighbor. The target can seem to grow larger and larger every day, before the first strike even occurs. And this, of course, is exactly what the terrorists want. They seek to inflate their numbers and their influence by retreating into the shadows. They seek to turn us against each other, and to turn us against our friends and allies across the world, but we will not allow this to happen.
We must also take great care to maintain a careful distinction between those organizations or states that have knowingly harbored or assisted terrorists, and those that have acted carelessly in providing unintended aid or shelter. We must punish those who have knowingly supported our enemy, we must strengthen the capacity of all others to respond appropriately. We must invite those who have unintentionally harbored terrorists to work with us to locate them, to eliminate them, to renounce them, and to begin a new era of vigilance, if they are to be regarded as friends of the United States.
Our fight against a faceless, shadow enemy also raises another difficult dilemma, for how will we know when we have defeated this enemy? How can we tell whether our enemy has merely regrouped to strike again on another day or at another hour? There can be no peace treaty with such an enemy, but there must be a lasting and discernible peace. We should consider this in determining the frequency and duration of consultations between the Congress and the President over the conduct and status of this demanding struggle.
It would have been great if the Senate were able to call for an immediate vote yesterday, the way the House did during Representative Murtha's "cut and run" strategy last year. Looks like Senator Feingold decided to show us firsthand what a cut-and-run strategy really looks like: foolish!
It's conclusion is that 47% of California residents think illegals are having a favorable impact on the State.
Interestingly enough, they decided to poll voters and nonvoters. Unsuprisingly, a strong difference in opinion arises:
About 36% of voters believe illegal immigrants have a favorable impact on the state, compared to 64% of nonvoters.
Hmmm......Could it possibly be that some of these "nonvoters" are.....illegal immigrants?
It's only a wild guess here. But consider the following statements also in the article:
Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said Thursday's poll results reflect the increasing population of noncitizens in the state.
And on the issue of handing out driver's licenses to illegals:
But again, there are stark differences between those who are registered to vote and those who are not. Only 33% of voters support licenses, compared to 61% of nonvoters.
the article concludes with this:
The poll was based on a random telephone survey of 500 California adults conducted in both English and Spanish over a two-week period in February, according to the director. The sample included 337 registered voters and 163 who were not registered to vote. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Color me suspicious, if I don't believe in the validity of the polling.
The USA Today headline blurb reads: "8,000 desert during Iraq War". Now I'm not one to jump quick to shouting out "liberal media bias!"; but it most certainly is a misleading blurb. Not because it is saying something untruthful. 8,000 have indeed deserted. That is fact. But what if I am someone who doesn't really pay close attention to the news? Someone who likes news in 30 second tv soundbytes? Sure that's my problem, but it's also the responsibility of newspapers not to mislead, in my opinion. How many USA Today "readers" and subscribers, do you suppose, saw the headline, and just skimmed over it, not really bothering to read the article? I can tell you that I skim by tons of news articles that don't really interest me; with my one source of judgment of whether to read or not to read, being the headline blurb. (Sometimes it's a matter of economizing my time, and not just that I am flat-out uninterested in a topic matter). All those headline blurb-readers who did not read the article are probably now floating around out there thinking, "our soldiers hate it so much over there...they so disagree with the war in Iraq and this Administration, that they are deserting in droves." Perhaps a conversation touching upon the war makes that person recall seeing the article headline, and he now perpetuates this false impression- that the desertion rate is unparalleled, since the war began. I mean, if it wasn't, why then would USA Today report it?
I understand blurbs are supposed to be eye-catching, and that they are often created by someone in the newsroom, other than the one who did the article report. But they should also not leave a casual glancer with false impressions. The following headline could also be eye-catching: "Desertion rate drops, since the Iraq War". Such a headline would also pique my curiousity enough to stop and read, as much as the actual headline might do.
Now that I have your attention, here's the substance of the article itself:
At least 8,000 members of the all-volunteer U.S. military have deserted since the Iraq war began, Pentagon records show, although the overall desertion rate has plunged since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
Gets even more interesting....
Some lawyers who represent deserters say the war in Iraq is driving more soldiers to question their service
The only problem here, is the fact that desertion has dropped since 9/11. During Vietnam in '71, Army deserters numbered at 33,094. That's 3.4% of the Army. Contrast this to 2005, when desertions amounted to 0.24% of U.S. armed forces.
Opposition to the war prompts a small fraction of desertions, says Army spokeswoman Maj. Elizabeth Robbins. "People always desert, and most do it because they don't adapt well to the military," she says. The vast majority of desertions happen inside the USA, Robbins says. There is only one known case of desertion in Iraq.
I think those who serve in today's military have so much to be proud of. They are not only serving to protect this country in an important global conflict in a new kind of war; but they are also taking part in the shaping and writing of history. The hard work they do today- the blood, sweat, and tears- will benefit Americans, Iraqis, and world civilization for generations to come. May we never let a moment go by that we don't thank a uniformed soldier; may we always honor the sacrifices of the military enlisted, and that of military families. God bless.
Perhaps a bit silly to put up, but hey! It's the weekend and I should post something- anything- just to keep my blog-visitors coming(I've noticed the decline since the frequency of my posting absences):
Found it on the Chris Jericho message board. The only one I was really a bit unsure of was the question regarding the 13 states. I went with gut instinct, a bit of memory, and eenie-meenie-miney-moeing. I thought for sure it was going to make me feel foolish, like Jay Walking.
And I'm not happy about it. For those of you who know my feelings on the Ports issue, those feelings haven't changed. I'm entrenched with my President, Curt, and Mike's America on this. I may stand amongst the minority, but I don't think I am wrong in my understanding of why this transaction was so much to do about nothing in the end. Here's an editorial from the LA Times today:
PROTECTIONISTS, REJOICE! The dastardly United Arab Emirates company that would have presumed to unload containers of underwear and toothpaste on U.S. soil has backed down, and it will now divest its U.S. port interests to an American entity. Rest assured, the nation is now safe from dangerous Middle Eastern accountants and port logistics specialists.
Dubai Ports World did what was necessary, if not necessarily fair, on Thursday by agreeing to give up the U.S. operations of its newly acquired British ports company. The House Appropriations Committee had voted 62 to 2 on Wednesday to block the deal; a similar bill was pending in the Senate.
Although President Bush rightly stood by the acquisition and vowed to veto any bill that stood in its way, he was fighting a losing battle that only deepened a growing rift in the Republican Party. Dubai Ports World officials wisely recognized that they had to put some distance between themselves and their new U.S. assets. The company probably will sell its U.S. assets or create a U.S. company with a separate board to run them.
Much as we wish it would go away, the fight may not be over yet.
For one, the terms of the divestiture remain unclear, and some members of Congress are demanding more details. Will it be enough for Dubai Ports World to create a U.S. subsidiary? Will it have to open headquarters in the United States? Pay its employees in dollars?
For another, the flurry of disastrous bills the deal has inspired may yet find their way into law. Besides efforts to block the U.S. portion of the Dubai Ports World transaction, these include bills that would damage trade relations even further by restricting other foreign companies from taking over port operations. This despite the facts that such operations are dominated by foreign companies, that the bulk of the workers who actually load and unload containers are American longshoremen and that these companies have nothing whatsoever to do with port security, which is handled by U.S. government agencies such as the Coast Guard and Customs.
One has to wonder where this will end. Should a Saudi-owned airline be denied landing rights in the United States because most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis? That's the logic used by opponents of the Dubai Ports World deal, who fret that two of the hijackers came from the UAE and that its government supported the Taliban before the invasion of Afghanistan. Never mind that the UAE is a key ally and a hub for U.S. military operations in the Middle East.
The Dubai Ports World fiasco is unfortunate and embarrassing on many levels. But the damage can be contained as long as Congress does not start treating every private transaction involving ports the way it treats any deal involving defense contractors. (Foreign companies often must create a U.S. subsidiary to get business from the Pentagon — which makes sense, given that they are directly involved in U.S. security in the way that port operators aren't.)
It's true that keeping the United States secure in an increasingly globalized economy is a delicate balancing act. But members of Congress should realize that boosting trade with Middle Eastern countries is crucial to defusing tensions in the region and improving the U.S. image there. By that standard, this deal was a no-brainer — to go forward.
The popular opinion is not always the right opinion. I have problems with those critical that President Bush did not know far in advance of the ports deal, as if this is something unusual. This only became a big deal because people made it into such. The Ports controversy was a mid-level management issue. Presidents need to lead and not try and micromanage everything. Buried in there are some legitimate concerns, but they are out of proportion and out of touch with the bigger picture.
The source said that Dubai’s royals were “furious” at both Republicans and Democrats over the rebuff.
At stake are two major U.S. bases in the UAE. The port of Jebel Ali docked over 500 Navy warships last year, and played host over 70,000 American troops.
The Air Force flies reconnaissance and refueling missions out of the Al Dahfra airbase, which played a critical role in the air wars over Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, said the ports episode would make it harder for Bush to accomplish his goals in the Middle East.
“The message is that we’re not distinguishing between countries that help us in the war on terrorism and countries that don’t. So the obvious question is why cooperate with the United States, if we’re going to treat you as a terrorist anyway?” Reinsch said.
The chairman of Israel's largest shipping firm STRONGLY ENDORSED the DPW deal. "During our long association with DP World, we have not experienced a single security issue in these ports or in any of the terminals operated by DP World," Zim Integrated Shipping Services CEO Idon Ofer said in a letter to Senator Hildebeast Clinton (D-NY) written February 22. The letter goes on to state: "We are proud to be associated with DP World and look forward to working with them into the future."
Israel doesn't have a problem with DPW, why do you? [This in response to a commenter who refused to support the Dubai transaction of anyone who does not recognize the state of Israel-W of N]
Anyone else note the downturn in the stock market after the announcement the DPW was withdrawing their offer?
This is just the beginning of a maelstrom of backlash against the US economic interests.
The UAE is the hub of Middle Eastern shipping and banking. Last year alone, US companies shipped goods worth 8.5 BILLION dollars to the UAE.
The Democrats, MSM and spineless Republicans have put US citizens in physical and economic peril by killing this deal. Bravo! Well Done! OBL is soo proud of you.
In an earlier post, I made mention of this. Since then, I had learned that the person putting this together is none other than Kat of Yikes! fame. She is the best friend that our military could possibly have. As of her e-mail from 2 days ago, she mentioned that she had only received 15 e-mails of support to put into the gift scrapbook she is making for the family of the fallen hero. So I implore anyone reading this to take one minute of your time and send over a letter of support to email@example.com. Here, in part, is what she wrote me:
Since you are not local (I'm doing this for a local family, trying to stay anonymous so the family does not find out...this is going to be a gift to them for what would have been his 24th birthday), I would like to share with you this tribute I wrote for this dear fallen Soldier.
God bless you - thank you for helping out. anything you can do to help get the word out about this project would be GREATLY appreciated...so far, i only have 15 emails, and need many more. I'm going to be putting together three scrapbooks...one for mom, one for dad adn one for his very young widow.... so, the more emails I can get, the better......
Don't forget to read the link. Kat is a beautiful soul to care so deeply about those who stand in harm's way to protect the rest of us here at home.
Found this at lmao. Looks like a fun blog. Check it out. I did not watch the Oscars last night, as I always don't. Not just because of the outspokenness of Hollywood liberals that makes me want to vomit; but also because It's just so much frivolity and extravagance and self-indulgence...that makes me want to vomit. George Clooney's smug arrogance makes me want to smack the silly right off his asinine mug. He makes so many masturbatory comments in interviews, that this gif is perfect for him.
If you haven't read Charles Krauthammer's review of "Syriana", "Oscars for Osama", what are you waiting around for? Here's a quote:
until you see "Syriana," nominated for best screenplay (and George Clooney, for best supporting actor) you have no idea how self-flagellation and self-loathing pass for complexity and moral seriousness in Hollywood.
Sister Toldjah makes mention of Barbra Streisand's latest rant on George Dubbya, where she calls him a "C student". Frankly, I'm surprised she didn't grade him an "F---student". But let's just do a little educational background comparison, shall we?
President George W. Bush:
Received a Bachelors Degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard. He began his career in the oil and gas business in Midland in 1975 and worked in the energy industry until 1986. He was elected Governor on November 8, 1994, with 53.5 percent of the vote. In a historic reelection victory, he became the first Texas Governor to be elected to consecutive four-year terms on November 3, 1998, winning 68.6 percent of the vote. In 1998 Governor Bush won 49 percent of the Hispanic vote, 27 percent of the African-American vote, 27 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of women. He won more Texas counties, 240 of 254, than any modern Republican other that Richard Nixon in 1972 and is the first Republican gubernatorial candidate to win the heavily Hispanic and Democratic border counties of El Paso, Cameron and Hidalgo.
Now we go to singer Barbra Streisand:
Barbra Streisand: Completed high school Career: Singing and acting
If you've never read any of Streisand's essay tirades, go hither, shake your head and laugh at another prime example of out-of-touch-Hollywood-moonbattery. I love her take on the UAE port issue.
Barbra Streisand: Though she claims to be a champion of the working class, the environment and women's rights, in private her actions contradict her public proclamations. Brad Meltzer, a former employee who was on good terms with Striesand during his 18 months working for her, states, "She was generous in terms of large amounts—big charities, things like that, but absolutely mean and niggardly about the salaries of the working people she hired. I recall once that Jon [Peters] had hired some young Mexican workers who had no green cards and paid them $3.50 an hour, but the work wasn't getting done fast enough. Barbra wanted them to work overtime. She told me to fire them and have them replaced. It killed me, but I did it." Also, any contractors hired to do work on her Malibu ranch have had to place liens on the property in order to get paid, the bills ranging from $4,500 to $50,000. Kris Kristofferson, her co-star in the film A Star is Born, once said, "Filming with Streisand is an experience which may have cured me of the movies."
Although she claims that the working men and women of America deserve higher wages, her production company, Barwood Films, usually films in Canada, where she can pay lower wages and receive tax breaks that she cannot get in the United States. Ms. Streisand has often accused Republicans and conservatives of greed, yet, in 1993, she admitted to the Washington Post she was almost broke due to her lavish spending. Despite claiming she would "rather pay more taxes" than receive tax breaks, Streisand took a $15 million write-off for Malibu property she donated to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, even though she had failed to find a buyer when the property was on the market for $11.9 million. This landed her in trouble with the IRS, and she ended up negotiating a settlement for an undisclosed amount.
Streisand told Tikkun magazine that "We continue to thrive on this earth, but in order to do so, we must adapt to a more sustainable way of life. While there is still some time to alter our way of living, we must begin to behave respectfully and honor these sacred gifts—our rolling hills, the depths of our blue oceans and rivers, the richness of our forests and plants and the vastness of our land." Contradicting this statement, Ms. Streisand has consumed in excess both water and air conditioning in her private life, and invested greatly in oil companies and Halliburton. She also sued Ken and Gabrielle Adelman for $50 million when the Adelmans posted aerial photos of her Point Dume estate while it was undergoing extensive development. This raised the ire of many in the environmentalest movement, who opposed such development, and the case was thrown out by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Finally, while she publicly supports affirmative action for blacks, and has publicly stated her deep kinship with black Americans, Ms. Streisand rarely hires blacks to produce or direct her films. Out of 63 producers and directors she has hired over the years, only one was black.
60 Minutes did a hatchet job on the embryonic stem cell debate, about 4 weekends ago. Listen to Laura Ingraham's interview about a week later, with professor Robert George of Princeton University (featured in the 60 Minutes piece), who is on President Bush's council on bio-ethics. The audio is under 5 minutes, and they had a longer conversation than what is actually provided on this audio clip. But hey: beggars can't be choosers. Especially if you're not a Laura 365 member.
The professor points out among the biggest distortions in the 60 Minutes segment are the omissions; such as how only a small number of the 400,000 embryos in cryogenic preserve would be available for the research even if the President lifted his limitation on federal funding; or how there is no limit to private funding of embryonic stem cell research. And if it is such promising science, why then isn't the money flowing in? Why must we be led to believe that without government funding, President Bush has somehow banned the research from taking place? That's the perception that many people are left with.
The ethics may be questioned, but there is nothing unlawful about the destruction of embryos for research. And if there is so much potential, the beauty of capitalism is, as Professor Robert George puts it, that "money will flow where money is needed". But the money isn't really flowing. Why isn't it? Think of the financial rewards for firms that among helped to cure such human conditions as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and spinal cord injuries. Perhaps it is because the actual science doesn't support the findings, thus far, of embryonic stem cell research. Maybe it's not just "religious nuts" who have a good reason not to see the promise in the message of Ron Reagan Jr. and John Edwards, saying "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."
There was a time when fetal tissue transplant was hyped as the science miracle that will provide the cure. It was the latest in a series of fads, and nothing came of it.
I am not saying that embryonic stem cell research will not one day provide us with the fruits of its research. It may, and it may not. It is wrong to make exaggerated claims, though. We should not be misled into believing that the miracle cure lies just around the bend. To date, not a single one is in clincial trial, much less of any kind of help to anyone. At best, its therapeutic value is speculative. Contrast this to the more than 65 diseases that have been treated thanks to adult stem cell research. Sometimes it's as if news of adult stem cell research has been suppressed and embryonic stem cell research hyped. Actually, I shouldn't say "sometimes", because that IS the perception pushed by the popular media.
This is how Ed Bradley describes the restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research:
a field which shows enormous promise but "restricted by a ban on federal funding for research because it involves the destruction of human embryos. To move the science forward, California allocated its own money to pay for stem cell research.
Yes, through bond measures, which is the most expensive way to fund government projects. And the California Prop 71 was sold in large part on the hyped supposed research by a South Korean scientist who had his results published in a reputable and prestigious journal, Science Magazine. And now, as it turns out, he had faked the research.
"scientists say the pace of research has been slowed down by President Bush's banin 2001 on the use of federal fundsto create new lines of embryonic stem cells."
Why is it, that it is always described as a "ban"? Same with "ban" on gay marriage. President Bush has created no such "ban".
I started this piece before the 2nd 60 Minutes segment aired on February 26th (I was on my Phoenix trip when it aired, and caught the tail end of it from my hotel room), but have been slow on finishing this post. I might as well go ahead and address that one as well. You can see the video here:
Ed Bradley: "Laboratory rats whose hind legs were completely paralyzed — until they were injected with human stem cells. Remarkably, afterwards, the rats were able to walk again."
Pending FDA approval, correspondent Ed Bradley reports that would make him the first scientist in the United States to transplant embryonic stem cells into humans.
Steven Edwards, who has spinal cord injury and who is a research advocate, points out the treatment was not with stem cells but with human oligodendroglial precursor cells.
He writes in a letter to 60 Minutes:
Hans Kierstead's team does *not* transplant embryonic stem cells into the spinal cord. They generate a specific type of cells known as oligodendroglial precursor cells (OPCs) by culturing the embryonic stem cells and then transplant these OPCs, which remyelinate the demyelinated axons.
Also check out another post of his here, regarding the 2nd 60 Minutes piece from February 26th. I think he is free of the political divisions of Left and Right, and speaks honestly from an informed perspective, and as someone with a vested interest in the research, being one who stands to benefit from any advances in the field research. Check out his other posts at Spinal Confusion.
"Nothing is more dangerous than to live in the temperamental atmosphere of a Gallup Poll, always taking one's temperature." - Winston Churchill
Polls seem to be all that the Democrats have to go on, at times. Former President Clinton ran his Presidency on polling.
The latest polls to hit the news last week were the CBS poll and the Zogby poll. The former indicated what we already know: That President Bush's approval rating is in the tanker. And that it was at an all-time low of 34%. What the poll doesn't tell you is that Democrats were oversampled, by about 2 to 1. Then there is the troop poll. Hugh Hewitt the other day, had on John Zogby, who didn't like answering any of Hugh's questions, and consequently hung up on him. (A number of his guests from the Left side of the field have been doing that to him lately). Go here to see the documentation on how the poll was conducted; and here for the audio and transcript of Hugh's interview.
If that angers you to high heaven, if you care, then channel your feelings into action and show your support for the soldier's family: Letter writing request. It is the right thing to do for a family who has lost a son defending this country, and then having citizens of this country violate his home.
It would be nice if everyone would spread the word and post this onto their blog.
While I'm at it, Rosemary over at The Bos'un Locker mentions that e-mails of support are being sought after on behalf of another military hero. All that is being asked of you is an e-mail. They will be collecting until April 2nd, and arranging them into a gift scrapbook for the family.
Also, take a look at the Iraqi Index of Violence. Apparently, despite even the violence in wake of the thousand year old golden dome of the Al Askariya shrine, February experienced the lowest fatality rate for U.S. troops in 5 months. Reported by Antimedia.
Yes, I am back, but still not posting (ok...this just contradicts this very sentence- just humor me). I am working on a post for Gayle, regarding the 60 Minutes stem cell issue. They did 2 agenda-driven stem cell segments in the space of 3 weeks! And if you go to their site, it appears to be another anti-military story and a scare-piece on the ports issue for this Sunday.
In the meanwhile, I leave you with this Saturday morning cartoon, in relation to the Danish cartoon controversy:
I found a site (do take a click...it really is a fascinating study)that had some interesting explication on stereotypes in cartoons for the past several decades. Some are pretty offensive by today's standards (and perhaps, by any standards). And downright racist! But I think they should be appreciated for what they are and what they offer, recognizing stereotypes where you see them, but not be enslaved by the knee-jerk political correctness which we have been conditioned into for the past 3 decades. Whenever one feels the need to judge works of the past, one should also take into account the context of the times in which it was created.As an Asian-American with ties to Japanese heritage, I approve of the unflattering caricature of a Nip.
One thing to keep in mind too, if you feel yourself wince when you recognize your ethnicity offensively caricaturized in art and print, is that these cartoons are equal-opportunity caricaturists. White folk are equally lampooned in stereotypes and made to look ridiculous.
I remember watching this Bugs Bunny cartoon, and others when I was a wee lad. The two Arabic characters who appear in this episode, "Ali Baba Bunny", are made to look stupid and the butt of Bugs Bunny's jokes and antics. Well, as a kid, I don't remember coming away from it, thinking all Arabs are stupid and like this. What I saw were two stupid cartoon characters who are the foil to my hero Bugs. Of course they are to be made stupid and ridiculous. No character in these is made to be dignified.
Gary's responsible for tagging me with this. I know you folks could care less about what I've been listening to, but I respect Gary (damn you!), and so in respect to him, I bring you the following:
Walking Away by the Ben Swift Band. No one has heard of it. You won't find it available in your record store. This is part of the attraction. It's like having something special because no one else has it. However, if you ever watched the tv series "Brimstone", starring Peter Horton, short-lived on FOX TV, like other promising shows axed by the network (Space: Above and Beyond being a favorite), you might have heard this. It figured in, I believe the final filmed episode, at the beginning and playing once again at the end. For 2 years, I searched for the song title and artist name. I finally found it on the sci-fi boards, for the series. I e-mailed the artist, and he was kind enough to send me 2 albums, even though I only purchased the one with the song I wanted. It remains a constant regular favorite. After 3 years I have not yet grown weary of it.
Out of the Blue by Lillian Carrico. Lillian is my coworker. She's a great singer who needs to go places with her music. I used the song in a music video I made for one of the kids I work with: Go here. I could definitely see it in a WB tv show, and becoming a hit single for the teen angst crowd.
I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free by Nina Simone. Heard it recently on a Leftist site that talked about Coretta Scott King's funeral from a black, leftist standpoint. Left behind their opinions, but came away with a fabulous love for this song. (Click the title to listen).