Monday, February 28, 2005

MSM Screw the Pooch Again

The resignation of the Syrian-backed Lebanese government didn't top the news in the US. ABC's website fronts creepy pop-mutant Michael Jackson's trial; the Lebanon story is below the fold. CBS also fronts Jacko, with the Lebanon bombshell non-prominently featured, and MSNBC also considers Michael Jackson the most earthshaking event of the day; a search for "Lebanon" on the MSNBC page doesn't even get a hit. NBC Nightly News did cover the story in their broadcast, however, they gave precedence to two other stories: reports that bin Laden has ordered al-Zarqawi to step up terror attacks, and the suicide bombing in Hillah, Iraq.

What explains the Eason Jordan-like near blackout of an event as newsworthy as the resignation of a country's entire ruling government?

Two things. First, and always foremost in the minds of mainstream media newsmakers is to avoid giving too much credit to Republicans in general and George W. Bush in particular. It's getting too easy now for people to start noticing the falling dominoes in the middle east and concluding that the Bush Doctrine seems to be working. To that end, NBC made sure to load up the front end of their newscast with negative middle east stories before mentioning Lebanon.

The second reason for downplaying the story is that the MSM missed the significance of the Rafiq Hariri assassination, the catalyst for today's events. They covered it as a one-day event and failed to realize or report that it was consuming not only the Lebanese people, but the entire middle east. Having blown a story this big, giving play to the consequences of the story only emphasizes the magnitude of the MSM's mistakes.

Today's Top Story

Lebanon Government Resigns

ABC News has published a report from Reuters saying that the Lebanese puppet government backed by Syria has resigned in the wake of public outcries over the Rafiq Hariri assassination, widely believed to have been engineered by Syria.
Feb 28, 2005 BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's Syrian-backed Prime Minister Omar Karami, under popular pressure after the assassination of an ex-prime minister, said Monday his government was resigning.
For more background on this story see here.

Update: Publius has a roundup of stories about the resignation.

NYT: Terrorism or Military Action?

The New York Times reports that a suicide bombing in Iraq today killed at least 122 people:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 28 - A suicide car bomber drove into a line of about 400 volunteers for the Iraqi National Guard and police force today in Hilla, south of Baghdad, killing at least 122 people and wounding at least 170, an official at the Interior Ministry said.
Much as I loathe the oppression that the former Baathists and their al-Qaeda allies stand for, this was a legitimate insurgency action, directed against combatants. Likewise, actions against American troops cannot be considered terrorism. The NYT is correct in calling them "insurgents" in this case.

But here, the NYT refers to terrorists as "gunmen", even though they opened fire on civilians in a bakery:
In Baghdad, gunmen opened fire inside a bakery, killing two people and wounding a third.
And in this report about the recent Tel Aviv night club suicide bombing, the only mention of "terror" or "terrorists" comes in attributed quotes. The NYT should have called a spade a spade.

Finally, in this story, a man who has cut off the heads of helpless captives on camera is referred to as, "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant who is Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq..."

Just who is the Gray Lady afraid of offending? The terrorists? The New York Times' conventions in these examples are irresponsible, illogical, and actually lend legitimacy to terrorist organizations. They should rethink their editorial policy.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Syria Gave Up Saddam's Half-Brother

The Washington Times story referenced in the post below was partially in error. Saddam's half-brother, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan was not captured by "Iraqi security forces". According to Yahoo News he was turned over by Syria along with 29 other Baathists! Apparently, Syria has decided to follow the path of least resistance, mutual protection alliance with Iran notwithstanding.

Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, a former Saddam adviser suspected of financing insurgents after U.S. troops ousted Saddam, was captured in Hasakah in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border, two senior Iraqi officials told The Associated Press by telephone on condition of anonymity. Hasakah is about 30 miles from the Iraqi border.

They added that al-Hassan was captured and handed over to Iraqi authorities along with 29 other members of Saddam's collapsed Baath Party, whose Syrian branch has been in power in Damascus since 1963.
Maybe Syria has seen the same handwriting on the wall that Druze Muslim leader Walid Jumblatt has ("Beirut's Berlin Wall").

Via Captain's Quarters

Saddam's Half-Brother Captured

According to the Washington Times Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan has been captured in Iraq.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi security forces captured Saddam Hussein's half brother and former adviser, government officials said Sunday, dealing a blow to an insurgency that some Iraqi officials claim the former fugitive was helping organize and fund, perhaps from Syria. The U.S. military also said two American soldiers were killed Sunday in an ambush in the capital.
The insurgency faction lead by al-Hassan is said by Global Security to be the largest of three Baathist factions.
The main one, still owing allegiance to jailed dictator Saddam Hussein, is operating out of Syria. It is led by Saddam's half-brother Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan and former aide Mohamed Yunis al-Ahmed, who provide funding to their connections in Mosul, Samarra, Baquba, Kirkuk and Tikrit.

Syria Accuses Israel of Bombing Itself

Syria denied Israeli claims of Syrian involvement in the Friday suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv nightclub and accused Israel of bombing its own citizens to short circuit the peace process. Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group with links to Syria has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Syria has been widely suspected of complicity in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, which has caused a backlash against Syria and the Syrian-backed Lebanese government. Syria has suggested that the Israeli security agency Mossad killed Hariri.

The terrorist attack in Tel Aviv could be just what Syria needed to take attention off itself in the Hariri assassination and refocus it on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, reinvigorated since Yassir Arafat's death.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Ted Rall's Challenge Answered

Once again I am indebted to Mr. Pundit, The Great White North's most illustrious blogger, for posting a link to Ted Rall's challenge. Rall has challenged bloggers to find examples of left-wing vitriol and calls to violence, and email them to him. Rall claims that only right-wing blogs use vitriol and calls to violence. Rall didn't specify that the vitriol and call to violence had to be against a right-wing target, and the Dread Pundit Bluto just loves irony, so I selected the following example, posted by a self-proclaimed proud liberal. I have highlighted the vitriol and call to violence.

From comments to a post in A Small Victory:
As a self defined liberal.. and proud of that fact. I am truly appalled and disgusted by this kind of shit. People look at the "liberal" point he is trying to make, and think that he is some kind of a representative.

Please don't think that everyone who is "liberal" or "anti-war" is like Ted Rall.

This is tasteless. (extreme understatement of the year)

He no more represents liberals than Fred Phelps represents Christians.

He should be ashamed. and bitchslapped.

Posted by Karrie on May 3, 2004 12:20 PM
Having mucked a bit through the sewer which is Ted Rall's website, I have doubts as to his honor and honesty; so I've posted my example here on the chance that Ted won't follow through and post it on his own site.

Update: Big surprise, Ted Rall lied. Far from eagerly accepting proof of his own stupidity, Rall's server is rejecting new email, though the contest supposedly runs through Monday.

Update-(2-28): Rall has admitted he was wrong on his blog. The Dread Pundit Bluto withdraws the earlier update.

Gorilla Koko Under Fire Again

As I originally reported here, the voyeuristic propensities of sign language-using lesbian gorilla Koko have resulted in a lawsuit against the Gorilla Foundation. Now, the insatiable desires of Koko have caused another trainer to sue: Yahoo! News
WOODSIDE, Calif. - A third woman has filed a lawsuit claiming a caretaker for Koko, the world-famous sign-language-speaking gorilla, pressured her to expose her breasts as a way to bond with the animal.

Iris Rivera, 39, sued the Gorilla Foundation this week in San Mateo County Superior Court, saying the foundation's president, Francine Patterson, repeatedly told her to expose her breasts.

Rivera, an administrative assistant at the foundation until she quit last month, claims Patterson told her last year that Koko was signing that "she wants to see your nipples."
But, while the first two women to sue did not expose their breasts to Koko, Rivera succumbed to Koko's charms and smooth talk.

The Dread Pundit Bluto has uncovered evidence that Koko's activities may not be restricted to the laboratory. Could this "unidentified gorilla" be Koko?

Unidentified Gorilla on Nude Beach in Uzbekistan

Ward Churchill: Art Forger?

A story, complete with damning photos, by Colorado television station CBS4 seems to show that embattled University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill made a mirror image of artwork by late artist Thomas E. Mails and signed it as his own:
Placing Churchill's work beside that of renowned artist Thomas E. Mails and the two look like mirror images. But one is a copyrighted drawing. The other is an autographed print by Churchill.
When confronted by a reporter and cameraman for the CBS4, Churchill flew into a snit and refused to comment about the artworks.

Churchill is already under fire for repeatedly referring to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as "little Eichmanns" and implying that they deserved to die.

Via Mr. Pundit

Friday, February 25, 2005

US Suspends Wire Transfers for Bank Linked to Suicide Bombers

The New York branch the Jordan-based Arab Bank Group has effectively had its wire transfer business ended by being at the order of the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency according to a story in The Daily Star (Lebanon):
A U.S. bank regulator has ordered Palestinian-managed Arab Bank Group to convert its New York branch to a federal banking agency, ending the bank's wire transfer business.

Arab Bank, by far the largest bank operating in the Palestinian territories, has had several lawsuits brought against it on behalf of relatives of U.S. citizens killed or injured in violence in the Middle East, accusing the bank of helping move money to families of suicide bombers.
According to an earlier story in the Arab Bank claimed to be unaware that its branches were being used to transfer money to the families of suicide bombers.
Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Arab Bank Plc didn't know payments made by a Saudi charity through the bank's branches in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were going to the families of suicide bombers, said Shukry Bishara, Arab Bank's chief banking officer.

The Saudi Committee in Support of the Intifada Al-Quds used Arab Bank to make at least six payments of 20,000 Saudi riyals ($5,332) each to relatives of bombers and gunmen, according to two lawsuits filed in the U.S. by the families of those who died in the attacks. The charity has raised more than $100 million to aid Palestinians injured in the conflict with Israel.
Relatives of September 11th victims are seeking $2 billion in damages from Arab Bank.

Germany Shuts Down Islamist Newspaper

According to Expatica Germany has banned a Turkish-language Islamist newspaper for inciting racial hatred and denying the Holocaust, both crimes under German law.
Despite warnings, the newspaper recently ran a letter headed "Hitler was right". In December last year, a member of parliament held up an issue that claimed "There Was No Holocaust" and appealed to the government to ban the paper.

Top Five Stories the MSM Aren't Covering

1. The Rafiq Hariri assassination - one of the most significant events of the year, if not the decade.

2. The Eason Jordan Scandal - we know why they're trying to bury this one.

3. Humvee up armor progress - my sources in Kuwait confirm the details of this press release, but also mention issues with smaller Humvee engines blowing under the added weight.

4. The success of Kuwaiti security forces in stifling al-Qaeda-related terrorism in Kuwait.

5. American companies accepting money to enable terrorist propaganda.

No Charges For Fallujah Marine

From CBS News
CBS News has learned that military investigators conclude there is not enough evidence to formally charge that Marine.
CBS News seems to be bitterly disappointed by the news:
The original video added to popular anger over the Fallujah crackdown. Many Iraqis felt Fallujah's unarmed civilians bore the brunt of the U.S. campaign.
What the hell do "unarmed civilians" have to do with this story? The man shot by the Marine was an insurgent. No one has questioned that.

When news breaks that the Marine will not be prosecuted, it will not go over well here.
And if it does go well, or at least unnoticed, I'm sure that we can count on CBS and their cronies to stir the pot.

Via Riding Sun

Yes, Jack, that's nice, but...

And as long as I'm doing Slate, Jack Shafer's self-conscious "10-days-late Valentine" to New York Times executive editor Bill Keller quite correctly compliments Keller for changing the worship me, you worms attitude of his predecessor:
I know this piece sounds like a 10-days-late Valentine, but I find Keller's openness (by traditional Times standards) so ...adorable.
But Shafer's piece only mentions in passing the elephant sitting in the living room when he quotes Keller as admitting:
"Traditionally, because our origins are urban, urban cultural liberals tend to come across [in coverage] as more three-dimensional than conservatives or suburban Republicans," Keller told the paper. "But we have made a concrete effort, for a while, to make sure we are doing the America stories as well as the urban stories."
Are you reporting the news, or sucking up to effete little urban pantywaists? Why has OBJECTIVITY been thrown out the window by the mainstream media? If you're not objective, but pretend to be, how do you distinguish yourself from al-Jazeera or the Korean Central News Agency of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea?

If you simply do honest journalism, you won't have to worry about balancing the slant of your stories. Bill, if you'll eschew advocacy journalism and interpretive reporting, and make sure that your reporters and editors are reporting the news without bias, you can ignore every blog and media critic who ever lived and it won't bother me a whit.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Josh Levin and Britney Spears

They must be getting tired over at Slate these days. Why else would they send an Assistant Editor to do a man's job, namely, dis the big, bad blogs (Rappers and Bloggers)?
Although bloggers have a certain buzz about them these days, they'll never be cool the way rappers are cool. The blogger lifestyle is dangerous—staying up all night and eating Cheetos will eventually kill you—but not sexy dangerous.
{Yawn} Really Slate, next time send a real aesthete, instead of a trainee, and skip the humiliation.

WaPo: "Beirut's Berlin Wall"

As I've been reporting all along, the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, like the Boston Massacre, marked a watershed in the movement toward democracy in the middle east. Yesterday, David Ignatius of the Washington Post quotes Walid Jumblatt, head of the Druze Muslims:
"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."
That swelling in your breast that you felt when you saw the ink-stained fingers of the Iraqis raised in triumph was a portent. Hearts and minds are changing. Liberty is on the march.

Hariri Assassination Fuels Demand That Lebanese Government Resign

The murder of Rafiq Hariri, widely suspected to have had Syrian backing, continues to drive outrage at the Syrian-dominated government of Lebanon.
BEIRUT, Feb 23 (AFP) - Leaders of Lebanon's banking, industrial and commercial sectors said they would shut down next Monday to demand the country's pro-Syrian government resign and that a "neutral" one replace it.

The strike would coincide with an expected vote of confidence in parliament, two weeks after the murder of former premier Rafiq Hariri in a bomb blast for which the opposition has pinned blame on the government and its Syrian backers.

Beleaguered Prime Minister Omar Karameh said earlier Wednesday that he was ready to quit in the face of intense pressure to end Syrian domination of his country and find Hariri's killers.
The unrest following the assassination of Hariri, which has been called "Lebanon's 9/11" has dominated Middle East news outlets, despite a virtual lack of coverage in the West.

Via Publius Pundit

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

USS Bonhomme Richard Repels Pirates

The Gulf Daily News (Bahrain) reports that pirates attacked a Kuwaiti fishing boat, but were repelled by the sailors and Marines of the Bonhomme Richard. With lawless regimes and readily available weapons, piracy is still practiced in the Persian Gulf.
Bahraini fishermen have not encountered any pirates this year, but suffered a series of attacks last year, said Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife fisheries resources director.

USS Bonhomme Richard
The Dread Pundit Bluto suspects that the pirates experienced full sphincter lock when the Bonhomme Richard responded to the Kuwaitis' distress call.

Imbecilic Teacher Apologizes

Alex Kunhardt, the "teacher" responsible for this atrocity apologized today, according to the New York Post:
February 23, 2005 -- The Brooklyn teacher who sent an American soldier demoralizing letters written by sixth-graders apologized yesterday and admitted blame.

"It was never my intention to demean or insult anyone," said Kunhardt, "I never meant for the words of my students to hurt any of our troops. The responsibility for this action is mine alone, and I apologize."

Jacobs, who is stationed 10 miles from the North Korea border, could not be reached for comment yesterday, but previously said he found the letters demoralizing.

His father, Robert Jacobs Sr., a Manhattan lawyer, accepted Kunhardt's apology.

"I am satisfied with that apology and I won't take this any further with him," Jacobs Sr. said, adding that he would push the Education Department to institute a screening policy.
Mr. Jacobs is a better man than I am. I'd like an explanation for this teacher's swinish conduct, in addition to the apology. And five minutes alone with him to discuss the incident.

Brilliant Minimalism in Mainz

"It permanently changed our outlook on the world." - President George W. Bush, explaining to European leaders why the 9/11 attack was not just a fleeting moment in history for most Americans.

Bush and Schroeder in Mainz, Germany

In less than ten words, this President, so maligned by the Left for lacking the mannerisms of the intellectual, has succinctly articulated the source of the misunderstanding and tension between Europe and the US of late. This simple, declarative sentence is one of the most profound statements ever uttered by a politician.

Is This Blog For Real?

Sometimes the things that get written are so over-the-top that one suspects the writer of being a double agent, intent on discrediting the cause he ostensibly supports. In this case, Don Myers, who runs Captain Normal, a militant gay rights blog, has been writing things so utterly boneheaded that The Dread Pundit Bluto is more than half convinced that Myers is actually a homophobe.

Writing about the soldier, serving in Korea, who received hate mail from sixth grade students, apparently at the instigation of their teacher, Myers says that, "...Pfc. Rob Jacobs of New Jersey balls[sic] his eyes out and writes home to taddle on the big bad sixth graders." Then Myers makes an obscene and insulting post to the soldier's mother.

The most likely scenario is that Myers is the type of person who hates homosexuals with a passion and is trying to foment anti-gay violence by pretending to run a pro-gay website. Either that or he has a room temperature IQ, Occam's Razor doesn't help much with this one.

Via The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler

Did Khaled el-Masri Hoax Newsweek?

In its normal melodramatic style, Newsweek reports about nefarious doings by the CIA:
Feb. 28 issue - Like many detainees with tales of abuse, Khaled el-Masri had a hard time getting people to believe him. Even his wife didn't know what to make of his abrupt, five-month disappearance last year. Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, says he was taken off a bus in Macedonia in south-central Europe while on holiday on Dec. 31, 2003, then whisked in handcuffs to a motel outside the capital city of Skopje. Three weeks later, on the evening of Jan. 23, 2004, he was brought blindfolded aboard a jet with engines noisily revving, according to his lawyer, Manfred Gnjidic. Masri says he climbed high stairs "like onto a regular passenger airplane" and was chained to clamps on the bare metal floor and wall of the jet.
And, of course the story is proved because "previously unpublished flight plans" confirm the comings and goings of the plane owned by Premier Executive Transport Services. How could el-Masri know unless everything he says is true?

But wait, leftist terrorist-sympathizers have been suspicious of Premier Executive Transport Services for years. In fact, as the Washington Post reported last year:
According to airport officials, public documents and hobbyist plane spotters, the Gulfstream V, with tail number N379P, has been used to whisk detainees into or out of Jakarta, Indonesia; Pakistan; Egypt; and Sweden, usually at night, and has landed at well-known U.S. government refueling stops.
In their haste to subvert America's anti-terrorism efforts didn't it occur to anyone at Newsweek that el-Masri just might have been privy to their supposedly heretofore "unpublished" data?

Via The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Sick Hoaxer Tries To Victimize Soldier's Wife

A disturbing story from MSNBC
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Military police are investigating a cruel hoax in which a man wearing an Army dress uniform falsely told the wife of a soldier that her husband had been killed in Iraq.

“We’re taking it extremely seriously. Whatever motivation was behind it, it was a sick thing to do,” said Fort Stewart spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Whetstone.

“Right off the bat, she noticed some things were not right,” Whetstone said. “The individual’s uniform wasn’t correct — there were no markings or name tags. Plus, the person was alone, and she knew one person does not make (death) notifications.”

The UN's Time Has Come and Gone

Writing today in the WSJ Opinion Journal UN Secretary General Kofi Annan opines:
In the past year I have read many attacks on the United Nations--quite a few, but by no means all, in the pages of this newspaper.

That pains me, because I have served the U.N. all my life. I have done, and am still doing, everything I can to correct its imperfections, and to improve and strengthen it. And I believe profoundly in the importance of that task, because a strong U.N. is of vital importance to humanity.
It should pain him. The UN has become nothing more than a nest of anti-American vipers who obstruct efforts to make the world a more peaceful and just place, but are glad to skim a little pishkesh or pass a blatantly anti-Semitic resolution or two. When the delegates can be roused to pass resolutions against injustice they expect the US to do all the heavy lifting; then moan about the results. A stronger UN would only mean a more dangerous world.

Canadians Grant Bail to Terror Suspect

Adil Charkaoui, who was fingered by two known terrorists, Ahmed Ressam and Abou Zubaida as having been at an Afghanistan training camp in 1998, has been released on $50,000 bail raised by, among others, a filmmaker, Pierre Trudeau's son, and two Canadian politicians, liberal Warren Allmand and "Red Tory" (fiscally conservative and socially progressive) Flora MacDonald.

Charkaoui is fighting deportation to his native Morocco because he claims he'll be tortured there.

From The London Free Press:
Anne McLellan, minister of public safety, said the government "absolutely" considers Charkaoui a threat to national security.

Today's Argument Against Tenure for Public School Teachers

The New York Post reports that a soldier serving in Korea received hate mail from students at a Brooklyn middle school, apparently at the encouragement of their social studies teacher:
February 21, 2005 -- An American soldier overseas is fuming over letters he received from Brooklyn middle-school children accusing GIs of destroying mosques and killing civilians in Iraq.

One Muslim boy wrote: "Even thoe [sic] you are risking your life for our country, have you seen how many civilians you or some other soldier killed?"

His letter, which was stamped with a smiley face, went on: "I know your [sic] trying to save our country and kill the terrorists but you are also destroying holy places like Mosques."

Most of the 21 letters Jacobs provided to The Post mentioned some support for the armed forces, if not the Iraq war, and thanked him for his service. But nine of the students made clear their distaste for the president or the war.

The JHS 51 teacher, Alex Kunhardt, did not return phone calls, but the school principal, Xavier Costello, responded with a statement:

"While we would never censor anything that our children write, we sincerely apologize for forwarding letters that were in any way inappropriate to Pfc. Jacobs. This assignment was not intended to be insensitive, but to be supportive of the men and women in service to our nation."
Indeed Xavier, how about if one of your students happens to write that you and teacher Kunhardt are "ignorant sacks of shit with the reasoning power of erect penises" - would you censor that?

Via The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler

Update: NYC Department of Education to send letter of apology to GI. From The New York Post
February 22, 2005 -- The city Department of Education, red-faced over Brooklyn sixth-graders who slammed a GI with demoralizing anti-Iraq-war letters as part of a school assignment, will send the 20-year-old private a letter of apology today.
That's a start. Now if they follow up by firing the idiot teacher who created the mess we can call it a day.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Amnesty International Report Accuses US Troops of Sexual Abuse

In a new report, Amnesty International claims not only that "women are no better off" now than they were under brutal dictator Saddam Hussein and his depraved sons, but that, "Women have been subjected to sexual threats by members of the US-led forces and some women detained by US forces have been sexually abused, possibly raped."

Frankly, this sounds like Eason Jordan's vague accusations all over again.

Too bad Amnesty International wasn't around in 1945 to tell everyone how much better off the Germans were under Hitler (who really got the economy cooking), the Italians under Mussolini (who made the trains run on time, or else), and the Japanese under Tojo (who gave them back their national pride). Amnesty International: a good idea ruined by radical nitwits.

Full story at

The Problem at UCB is Deeper Than Just Ward Churchill

Excerpts from a few of the many passionate defenses of Ward Churchill from University of Colorado (Boulder) faculty members:

Margaret D. LeCompte sneers:
...the United States should look seriously at its actions in the international sphere, and not be surprised if doing harm elsewhere redounds with bad consequences for us at home.
This is the same thing as arguing in court that a rape victim "asked for it" because she wore provocative clothing. The Dread Pundit Bluto smells High Hypocrisy at work here.

AnnJanette Rosga sniffs:
The fact that Professor Churchill's essay in question was publicly available more than two years ago makes it apparent that the University's reaction now is *not* to the content of this essay but to the public hysteria that has only recently been whipped up by media distortions of it.
Interesting, AnnJanette is arguing for a statute of limitations on ignorant, boorish, slanderous remarks. This letter absolutely reeks of Academic Elitism. I believe AnnJanette has issues with the little people.

Ken Bonetti whines:
Professor Churchill is the victim of a sinister smear campaign designed to intimidate academics, not only at the University of Colorado, but nationwide.
What good ivory tower drama is complete without a paranoid fantasy? Thank you Ken, for being so predictable. Now wipe the saliva off your lips.

The source linked to 14 of these little missives defending Ward Churchill. The Dread Pundit Bluto suggests that the people of Colorado demand an examination of the hiring practices of the University. Someone is asleep at the switch if this many jackasses are on the faculty.

Thousands of Lebanese Protesters Gather to Denounce Syria

As I've been reporting, even though this story had virtually disappeared from Western news radar it continued to seethe at full boil throughout the middle east. Now some Western news sources are paying attention again.

Thousands of Lebanese protesters have gathered in Beirut, a week after the killing of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The protesters, led by opposition figures, shouted slogans blaming Syria for the killing.
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Thousands of flag-waving Lebanese took to Beirut's streets shouting "Syria out" on Monday, falling silent for one minute at the exact time former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri was assassinated one week ago.
Voice of America
Thousands of demonstrators marched in central Beirut to call for an international investigation into the assassination last week of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. The massive demonstration also called for the quick removal of Syrian troops in Lebanon, as well as an end to Syrian dominance of the Lebanese government.
This is a story that's not going to go away. The Hariri assassination may be the beginning of the end for the oppressive Damascus regime and its puppet Lebanese government.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

How Stupid Are Liberals Really?

Media Matters: How liberal is CBS really?

A Media Matters for America analysis of CBS Evening News broadcasts since the November 2, 2004, presidential election found that the program featured Republicans and conservatives more often than Democrats and progressives.

CBS Evening News segments on political topics broadcast between November 3, 2004, and February 17, 2005, featured 65 clips of Democratic officials or commentators representing progressive organizations and 83 clips of Republican officials or commentators representing conservative organizations.
Strike One: 15 of the supposed conservative agenda appearances are really stories about administration officials performing their duties; in addition, six of the so-called conservative appearances are because these people were being critical of President Bush or his administration. That makes it 61 (not 83) conservative appearances vs. 71 "progressive agenda" appearances.

Strike Two: The study was done after the election. The real smearing went on during the election for the purpose of affecting the outcome! Duh.

Strike Three: The study was done after Dan Rather's and CBS's cataclysmic spankings by the blogosphere. Is it any wonder they're on their best behavior for a while?

Via Mister Pundit

US Company Facilitating Hamas Website

Two months after 9/11 this question was posed on Harvard's cyberlaw discussion forum:
joanna lane (
(Panle: Registries and Registrars, 11/13/2001 1:47:48 PM, #1380)

U.S.-based ICANN-accredited registrars are doing business with registrants who are members of terrorist organizations such as Hamas, and with registrants from countries where US trade embargoes are in force, such as Afghanistan. The ICANN Registrar Accreditation agreement specifies, Para. 3.7.2 Registrar shall abide by applicable laws and governmental regulations. Is this requirement in Para. 3. 7.2 necessary only to achieve ICANN accreditation, or to maintain ICANN accreditation as well?
More than three years later, they're still doing business with this scum. Enom,Inc., a Bellevue, Washington-based company, provides registrar and whois protection services for Hamasonline.

In 2003, the CEO of Enom, Inc., Paul Stahura, even addressed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation. Mr. Stahura didn't mention Hamas during his address.

Update: Enom, Inc. also provides services to, an umbrella company for a number of terrorist sympathizer websites (earlier post about 357Hosting here). Apparently, if you're someone who wants to get terrorist propaganda out on the web, you should contact Paul Stahura.

Kuwait Continues to Stifle Terrorist Activity

Acting on tips (related post), Kuwaiti security forces captured two suspected militants in Al Andalus, southwest of Kuwait City. This is part of Kuwait's continuing effort to root out Islamist militants before they have a chance to commit terrorist acts. From the Kuwait News Agency:
KUWAIT, Feb 19 (KUNA) -- In a successful police operation, two citizens wanted by the security authorities were apprehended in a residential suburb on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Mullet Should Have Tipped Them Off

Lesbian Gorilla Demands to See Trainers' Breasts
Two women who worked as trainers for the Gorilla Foundation, home to the famous gorilla Koko, who supposedly uses sign language, are suing the Foundation. They say that Koko demanded to see their breasts.

The Argus
REDWOOD CITY — Two former employees of the Gorilla Foundation are suing because, they say, the foundation expected them to show their breasts to Koko — a famous gorilla who supposedly has a nipple fetish.
Nancy Alperin and Kendra Keller are seeking more than $1 million from the foundation and its president, Francine "Penny" Patterson.

Greenpeace Protesters Encounter Reality

The Timesonline reports that a group of Greenpeace protesters, intent on disrupting business at the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) were set upon by the traders and bitchslapped unmercifully.
We bit off more than we could chew. They were just Cockney barrow boy spivs. Total thugs,” one protester said, rubbing his bruised skull. “I’ve never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view.
Maybe they would have been more "amenable" if the Greenpeacers hadn't behaved like complete jackasses:
They made their way to the trading floor, blowing whistles and sounding fog horns, encountering little resistance from security guards. Rape alarms were tied to helium balloons to float to the ceiling and create noise out of reach. The IPE conducts “open outcry” trading where deals are shouted across the pit. By making so much noise, the protesters hoped to paralyse trading.
Every once in a while the Universe asserts its own rough brand of justice. Stupidity has never been a survival trait.

Via The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler

Blog Centrism Will Be the Death of Us

Blogcentric posts, those that discuss blogs and blogging, are of great interest to bloggers. Unfortunately, they don't convey much to the majority of readers, who are not bloggers. The proliferation of blogcentric buzz portends a potential problem for the blogosphere - irrelevance. Few people are going to be interested in reading about blogs and the blogosphere. Many readers are going to be turned off by self-congratulatory chest thumping in the wake of the Dan Rather and Eason Jordan scandals. Bloggers should quickly get back to doing what they do best - keeping the mainstream media honest (relatively) and reporting important issues ignored by the MSM.

This is not to say that there's no place for writing about blogs and bloggers, just that it shouldn't be the dominant message of the blogosphere.

Priorities. From Technorati search:

blog - 2,208,643 posts

blogger - 336,364 posts

blogging - 308,428 posts

blogosphere - 39,644

In the same time period, this was the number of posts about the Rafiq Hariri assassination, an issue which has absolutely consumed middle east news outlets since its occurrence.

Hariri - 1,972 posts

Yes, The Dread Pundit Bluto recognizes the irony of decrying blogcentrism by writing a blogcentric post.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Hariri Assassination Continues to Dominate Middle East News Outlets

Though mentioned rarely now in the US, with its breakneck-speed news cycles, former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri's assassination continues to dominate headlines throughout the middle east. It's hard to think of an analogue for Hariri in the West, but then, in the West former political figures aren't usually targets. Some sample headlines:

Lebanese government calls the opposition not to play with Hariri's blood

From The Daily Star (Lebanon):
Was Hariri too big for such a small country? and, Everyone is sad over Hariri's loss

Each day since the assassination, Dar Al-Hayat has devoted its front page to coverage of Hariri, with a drawing of Lebanon holding Hariri's lifeless body at the top. Excerpt:
A Declared Crime… It Will Be Repeated
Abdulwahab Badrakhan - Rafiq Al Hariri was the staunchest opponent, even if he did not classify himself as one of them. He was the staunchest supporter, even if he was outside their ranks. The killers did not recognize him this middle position. Perhaps, targeting him is the mistake that will be the beginning of their end.
Syria is considered by most to be the leading suspect in Hariri's murder.

Did Oswald Really Act Alone?

A reliable source who wishes to remain anonymous has provided this photo to The Dread Pundit Bluto. I just knew the Warren Commission was hiding something earthshaking.

Lee Harvey Oswald (right) with an unidentified possible
accomplice outside the infamous Texas School Book Depository

Update (3/10/05):
The Alliance asks: What should Dan Rather have done to make his last CBS Evening News broadcast more memorable?

Answer: Dan should have come clean about this photo.

Most Asinine Eason Jordan Excuse of the Day (So Far)

Jay Rosen, writing today in Pressthink discusses a theory put forward by Doug McGill (Glocal Man):
McGill observes that an executive hopping time zones and traveling the world for CNN jumps in and out of truth frames. "Because things that are accepted as inoffensive and obvious truisms in one part of the world, can be considered outrages in another," he writes. "Such as the assertion that the U.S. military targets journalists from time to time in its operations. That's a truism in much of the Middle East. And it's an almost treasonous claim in today's U.S."
Really, Jay, Doug, you didn't have to invent a new term (truth frames) to explain an already disgraced concept - situational ethics. Situational ethics or ("truth frames") is the refuge of the true weasel; weak people with no core values. It's amazing what a couple of establishment MSM journalists can come up with when they put their minds to excusing the inexcusable, but did we really need another euphemism to explain trendy journalistic nihilism? The Dread Pundit Bluto doesn't think so.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Terrorist Sympathizer Operates Openly in the Netherlands

The most notorious terrorist mouthpiece in the Netherlands is probably Nada al-Rubaiee, a central committee member of the so-called "Iraqi Patriotic Resistance" (IPA). Ms. al-Rubaiee explains the role of the IPA in this story from the Decatur Daily News
"We politically support the armed resistance of the Iraqi people against the occupation forces and their agents," said Nada Al-Rubaiee, who said she is a member of IPA's Central Committee, in an e-mail interview.
Al-Rubaiee brags about insurgent attacks in Iraq in a posting on the al-Basrah website:
Here, we would like to share with you some of the heroic achievements of the Iraqi resistance:

The Iraqi resistance was able to cause a high number of casualties in material and soldiers among the occupying forces.

The resistance fighters were able to liberate 30 cities: creating a suitable environment for the resistant fighters by forming a death-zone for the occupying forces and their agents.
In the same message, al-Rubaiee comes very close to admitting complicity in the terrorist bombings in Spain last year and acknowledges close ties with imprisoned terrorists:
The Iraqi resistance has defeated the Spanish imperialism and has forced 9 out of the occupying/ allying countries to leave Iraq. The Netherlands, Hungary and Poland are leaving Iraq next year.

As to the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, we are proud to inform you that our secretary general in Iraq Mr. Abduljabbar al-Kubaysi was arrested on 3rd of September in Baghdad. The house he had temporarily stayed in was surrounded and stormed by about 50 US occupation soldiers employing helicopters and tanks. Mr. Al-Kubaysi was leading the IPA since the 90’s against the economic sanctions and the Zionistic and imperialistic plans of the US in Iraq.
She closes the missive with her contact information, which includes this Dutch-prefixed phone number: Tel: 0031- (0)-645542498.

The hosting service for al-Rubaiee's IPA-related sites is, which has an address in Nieuwegein, the Netherlands. It's possible that 357Hosting is a front for al-Rubaiee.

The Dutch have gotten serious since the murder of Theo Van Gogh by a radical Islamist. Perhaps they will finally take action to root out people like al-Rubaiee, operating openly on Dutch soil.

Tomorrow: US-based websites with banner links on

Update: These US-based websites have banner links on
Informationclearinghouse - Imperial Beach, CA - Redwood City CA - Concord NH
FAIR.ORG - New York NY

Kuwaitis Unsupportive of Islamic Terrorism

The Kuwait Times has an enlightening story concerning the reaction of one group of young men to recent terrorist incidents there. A couple of quotes:
"All the Kuwaiti people are against terrorism and its destructive actions," says Abdullah Fadli, a student of the Quran with a long straggly beard and wire-rimmed glasses. "Those who call themselves radicals are nothing more than criminals and deviants."

"The resistance in Iraq are all followers of Saddam Hussein and have nothing to do with jihad and Islam," says Mubarak. "We support stability and it is very important for the American forces to stay for the time being."
What makes these quotes even more interesting is that the men are members of a Salafist sect - fundamentalist Muslim purists, just like al-Qaeda. This story does a good job of explaining why Americans are more welcome in Kuwait than in most other parts of the middle east.
In contrast to the pervasive anti-American sentiment found in many Arab countries, most Kuwaitis tend to have a benign view of the US, a legacy of Washington's role in driving Iraqi occupation troops out of their country in 1991. They reject the brutal insurgency in Iraq and regard the presence of some 25,000 American troops in Kuwait as a necessary bulwark against external threats.
Of course Amer al-Enezi, the captured terrorist who was involved in most of the recent violence in Kuwait and who died in custody was one Kuwaiti who was not friendly to America.

Stupid Liberal Questions Answered, Part Two

The question this time comes from Mike Moran, writing in MSNBC's pseudo-blog, Hardblogging:
But should Eason Jordan lose his job for this? Or, to mine the deeper shaft here, was it wise for CNN to provide the enemies of free expression, critical thinking and The First Amendment with a victory on this count?
To answer the first part of your question, Mike, yes, he should lose his job. For base stupidity, if not slander.

Before I answer your second question, Mike, let me ask you a similar one of my own. When did you stop attending sleepovers for plump little boys at the Neverland Ranch? What? You say the question assumes facts that are not in evidence? Well, sauce for the goose and all that.

Now about the freedom of expression/First Amendment thing, if you check your copy of the Constitution you'll find that the Bill of Rights applies not only to leftist, military-loathing, pathetic mincing nancy-boy, elitist media-weasels; but to all Americans. That means bloggers, too. Even conservative bloggers.

As to critical thinking, I suggest you re-examine the matter of Dan Rather and his memos and compare the critical thinking skills of this icon of American journalism to those of the scruffy bloggers who exposed him.

Iran Claims "Psychological Warfare" By Western Media

The mysterious explosion in southwestern Iran that caused conflicting media reports has given an indication of just how nervous the Iranian regime has become in its showdown with the civilized world over nuclear capabilities. Reactions from Iran to what is now being reported as a planned demolition at a dam under construction have ranged from pugnacious to hysterical.
Iran lambasted what it called foreign "psychological warfare" and warned on Thursday it would respond to any military strike after a blast near a nuclear site sparked fears of attack.
Rumors of the massive explosion being connected to an airplane continue, even from official Iranian outlets.

ABC Says It's Negroponte

ABC News is reporting that President Bush will name John Negroponte as National Intelligence Director at his 10:00 AM (ET) news conference.
Feb. 17, 2005 — President Bush plans to tap John Negroponte, the current U.S. ambassador to Iraq, as his nominee to become the nation's first national intelligence director, ABC News has learned
Negroponte faces a huge (and probably thankless) job in riding herd on the nation's intelligence bureaucracies.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

What's in a Jack Shafer?

In Slate's Pressbox column today Jack "bloggers rip my flesh" Shafer takes note of a new promotion by Starbucks that features cups with quotes by journalists and celebrities. Shafer speculates on custom signature brews for writers and journalists, then asks, "What's in a Jack Shafer?"

I'll get to that in a minute, but first I want to address what's in a Ken Auletta, whose cup Shafer quotes in his column:
There are those who believe a liberal or a conservative bias permeates the media. I don't. The operative press bias is one that favors conflict, not ideology, and it is lashed by a market-driven bias to boost ratings or circulation with more wow stories, more sizzle.
Wow. Based on Auletta's words here I'd have to say that his signature brew would be a lukewarm café au lait with a large, honking dollop of merde de taureau, a soupçon of jamais vu, and a broad cligne de l'oeil, stirred with Auletta's disingenuous tongue.

The idea that the MSM is motivated only by conflict, and not by liberal ideology is laughable. The notion that the press has a conservative bias is the province of folks who mutter darkly of Project Echelon and cover their windows with tinfoil.

Now, what's in a Jack Shafer? It's got to be espresso, nothing else will cover the taste of weasel purée.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

It's Finally Here! The Day of Days! The birthday of the Champion of the Songun Revolution, Honored Father and Protector of the Peaceful Peoples of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Mighty Antagonist of the Running Dog Lackeys of American Imperialist Aggression and Crypto-Capitalist Revisionism, Adherent and Preserver of the Wisdom of the Juche, Inspiration for the Transcendent Beauty of Kimjongilia, Most Beautiful of the World's Flowers...Kim Jong Il turns 63 today!

Beloved Leader Debates Whether to Spit or Swallow

This post has been submitted to an Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam

Time's Eason Jordan Fig Leaf

Time magazine's coverage of the Eason Jordan scandal consists of 48 words, including the title, in Milestones. Give Time credit, however, for not referring to a "controversy", as other MSM did without mentioning who was party to the "controversy" other than Jordan. Time refers to the scandal as a "furor", but, of course, makes no mention of blogs or bloggers.

Suspected Suicide Bomber Beaten to Death By Crowd

A CROWD of Shiite Muslims marking a religious ceremony spotted a suspected suicide bomber amongst them and, fearing he might blow himself up, beat the man to death, Iraqi police said today.

The incident occurred in the western Baghdad neighbourhood of Bayaa, a largely Shiite district, where residents were celebrating Ashura, a religious ritual honouring the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.
The police said the crowd spied a man mingling amongst them who appeared to be wearing a vest strapped with explosives, like those used in suicide bombings.

"They attacked him and beat the man to death," a police source said, adding that security forces had been powerless to prevent the mass onslaught. It was not clear if the man had actually been planning a suicide attack.

Mystery Blast in Southern Iran

From The Guardian
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iranian state television reported Wednesday that an explosion near the southwestern town of Deylam, about 110 miles from a nuclear facility, may have been caused by a fuel tank dropping from an Iranian plane. A government spokesman said the blast may have been caused by friendly fire.
However, Israel's Debkafile contradicts The Guardian:
Mystery deepens over big explosion above S. Iranian town of Deylam north of Bushehr Wednesday. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards now deny any attack or even a falling aircraft fuel tank.

Undeniable blast caused oil prices to shoot up by more than dollar past $48 per barrel and interrupted Iranian TV broadcasts. Nuclear installation is due to start operating in Deylam this year. quotes CNN as reporting:
"A powerful explosion was heard this morning on the outskirts of Dailam in the Bushehr province. Witnesses said that the missile was fired from an unknown plane 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the city," CNN quoted Iran's Arabic language Al-Alam as saying.
But CNN's website does not mention the missile.

Update: Fox reports that Iran is now attributing the blast to an "industrial accident".

Marine May Not Be Charged After All

The Washington Times reports that Marine Ilario Pantano may not be charged with a crime by the Marine Corps after all:
Last week, the Corps initially announced that 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano faced unspecified charges in the shooting deaths. Lt. Pantano's civilian attorney, Charles Gittins, told reporters his client faced two murder charges.

But later, spokesman Maj. Matt Morgan, at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where Lt. Pantano is based, said the officer had not been charged.

"I think it is because they are embarrassed by the fact they have charged him with premeditated murder," Mr. Gittins said yesterday. "They are looking for a way out."
It seems someone is finally waking up at Eighth and Eye.

Thanks to Riding Sun.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Kuwaiti Citizen Accused of Terror Ties, Assets Frozen by US Treasury Department

The US Treasury Department has ordered banks to freeze the assets of Muhsin al-Fadhli, a Kuwaiti citizen, accusing him of helping to finance the Iraqi insurgency and al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Kuwaiti authorities have been hunting for al-Fahdli for months.

In a story Tuesday, the Kuwaiti News agency (KUNA) reported:
The United States said al-Fadhli, who was designated as a terrorist by the United States in 2003, is considered an al Qaeda leader in Gulf countries and fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and against Russian forces in Chechnya.
A report in the Washington Post adds this:
The administration contends that al-Fadhli provided financial and material support to terrorist networks run by Abu Musab Zarqawi, al Qaeda's top operative in Iraq. "In an effort to solidify the support of key financial backers sponsoring attacks, al-Fadhli requested that tapes be made showing evidence of successful attacks in Iraq," the department said.

Championing the Legitimacy of the Iraqi Vote - Iran?

The Tehran Times published an editorial today lauding the recent Iraqi election (without, of course, mentioning the role of the United States and the Coalition forces in its success) and advocating a place in the new Iraqi constitution for Islamic law.
The constitution must also pay due attention to the tenets of religion, which are a part of Iraqi society, with the aim of encouraging public participation in the country’s political and social affairs.
Iran would like nothing better than to see an Islamic fundamentalist theocracy arise in Iraq, considering majority Iraqi Shiites to be natural allies.

Reading these words from a mullah-controlled house organ in one of the most oppressive regimes in the world is truly bizarre:
One of the major obstacles Iraq will face is the attempt of some regional Arab countries to prevent the establishment of a democratic and popular government.

These countries are trying to call into question the legitimacy of the election by exaggerating the size of the Iraqi minority’s boycott of the poll.
The article concludes with some self-serving platitudes:
Obviously, regional countries, including Iran, which anxiously followed developments in Iraq, want to see a stable and calm Iraq in the future. They also want Iraq to be reconstructed in a tension-free atmosphere.
Of course, the fact that the author of this article, Hassan Hanizadeh, has this piece in the same issue blaming Mossad (with no evidence) for the assassination of Former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, brings into question the sincerity of the Tehran government.

Iran's stance on the election could be taken as acceptance of the fait accompli by the US and the failure of Iran's efforts to subvert the election.

Snipers Having Deadly Effect on Insurgents

As I reported earlier, snipers have been deployed to Iraq to discourage insurgents from getting within rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) range. This is what happens to insurgents who get too close. I've blurred the gruesome wound suffered by the insurgent.

Insurgent killed by sniper

The snipers were deployed with M-14 rifles which have an effective range of about 800 meters. RPGs are only effective at up to 400-500 meters. I believe this insurgent, however, was actually killed with this weapon:

Barrett "Light Fifty" Model 82A1

The .50 caliber Barrett has an effective range of 1800 meters.

Update: Use of .50 caliber weapons, with their flat trajectory, for sniping was pioneered by Carlos "Whitefeather" Hathcock, the legendary Marine sniper, who never faced murder charges brought by politically correct brasshat REMFs.
Update: The unedited insurgent photo is located here. Don't click on the link if you're even a little bit squeamish.

Marine Faces Death Penalty For Killing Suspected Insurgents

Via Michelle Malkin

I'm tentatively filing this under "Brass Without Balls", at least until the full story comes out. There will have to be a hell of a lot more to it that has gone unreported to make me change the category.

Marine 2nd lieutenant Ilario Pantano is facing the death penalty for killing two captured Iraqis who continued to advance on him as he ordered them to stop in Arabic.

From The New York Times
A Marine lieutenant from New York City who shot and killed two Iraqis last spring during a vehicle search south of Baghdad has been charged with premeditated murder, a crime that carries the death penalty, his lawyer said yesterday.
Pantano's mother has set up a website to organize his defense at Defend the Defenders, but the site is down due to exceeding allowed bandwidth.

Michelle Malkin has other links to this story, including analysis by an elected prosecutor.

Barone of US News & World Report: Seeing the Blogosphere Clearly

US News & World Report has always been a favorite source of mine because they come closest to the ideal of unbiased, objective journalism. They also keep a great stable of perceptive columnists. Writing in the February 21st issue, Michael Barone shows a keen understanding of the conflict between blogs and the mainstream media, and isn't afraid to call a spade a spade:
The focus of hatred in the right blogosphere is not Kerry or the Democrats but what these bloggers call Mainstream Media, or MSM. They argue, correctly in my view, that the New York Times, CBS News, and others distorted the news in an attempt to defeat Bush in 2004.
Barone has also accurately characterized the left/right lobes of the blogosphere:
So what hath the blogosphere wrought? The left blogosphere has moved the Democrats off to the left, and the right blogosphere has undermined the credibility of the Republicans' adversaries in Old Media. Both changes help Bush and the Republicans.
The column seems to have been written before the Eason Jordan scandal, which would further amplify Barone's points. He almost touches on the real cause of the dichotomy of methods and results of the left and right bloggers. That root cause is found in the fact that the MSM have been tilted so far to the left for so long, that rightwing blogging immediately found a natural enemy (biased MSM journalists) while the leftist bloggers can only repeat the liberal messages already coming from the MSM.

This forced, hothouse evolution has resulted in a surfeit of skilled, motivated, and tenacious conservative bloggers, all with chips on their shoulders after decades of slanted reporting by the MSM. The leftists, by contrast, have devolved into so many chattering monkeys, flinging feces at passersby and puzzled by their own lack of impact.

Vintage - Mint Condition

Bidding Ends Soon - Hurry!

An Honest Voice With a Realistic View

Salameh Nematt is a Jordanian columnist for Dar al-Hayat, an Arabic daily based in London. He seems to believe that the only way democracy will come to the middle east is if it is imposed from without, as the US and its Allies have done in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nematt had this to say prior to the Iraqi elections in an interview for Newsweek, published on MSNBC:
The whole concept of democratizing the Middle East is terrorizing the regimes. Not a single regime in the Arab world would survive in a democratic context. None of them can run in free elections and win. Why else aren't they holding elections?
If that wasn't clear enough, Nematt continued:
I'd tell them they're hypocrites. They want full representation of Iraqis, when they're not doing that in any Arab country. They should be ashamed of themselves. How dare they go and make these declarations about the need for every single Iraqi to have the right to vote when they don't do it at home?
Now that the elections have been successfully completed in Iraq, Nematt is a rare optimistic voice for the region. Yesterday, Nematt wrote this in Dar al-Hayat:
Following the Palestinian and Afghan elections, the success of the Iraqi elections has directed an impressive strike at the powers that sought to thwart them and increased attention to the notion of spreading democracy in the region, from Morocco to Pakistan. However, certain Arab governments did not conceal their distress, or disturbance, from the significance of what took place last month.

Is it possible that so far not even one Arab official has visited Baghdad? Is it possible that not even one Arab official has congratulated the Iraqi people on the triumph of their elections?
Nematt has received death threats for daring to call terrorists evil, for daring to criticize repressive middle east regimes, and for promoting democracy in the middle east.

Valentine's Day Banned

Valentine's Day has been banned in Saudi Arabia. From the Gulf Times:
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s religious Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice yesterday announced it has banned any celebration of Valentine’s Day, deeming it a ‘pagan’ holiday.

A source at the committee said: “Muslims are not to be involved in any pagan and Christian holidays.”

He said Saudi shop owners were told last week to get rid of their red roses, red clothing “and anything else that implies celebration of this day.”
I suppose St. Patrick's Day is out, too. Damn.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Even Nixon Coughed Up His Tapes

When you're right, you're right, and The Pink Flamingo Bar and Grill is absolutely right here. Bloggers in general and conservative bloggers in particular have no reason to apologize for their part in the investigation of the Eason Jordan scandal and Jordan's eventual resignation. On the contrary, the bloggers who pursued the Jordan story did so with dogged determination and a relentless pursuit of the truth in the face of mainstream media "professional courtesies" extended to Jordan and CNN.

The only bloggers who should be ashamed are those on the left who referred to "lynch mobs" and "blog-thuggery" in an attempt to obfuscate the facts. Also, those bloggers who linked to hysterical stories about "lynch mobs" and "blog-thuggery" and called them voices that "matter" should be ashamed of their conduct.

A grossly biased man with poor judgement has resigned from a responsible position at CNN that, nominally at least, requires objectivity and sound judgement. CNN should thank the bloggers for helping them get rid of dead wood. And CNN should demand the videotape of the discussion in question. Watergate couldn't end until Nixon surrendered the tapes.

Eason Jordan: The Stealth "Controversy"

Journalism at its most inept, or disingenuous; articles about Eason Jordan's resignation that mention the "controversy", but fail to mention "weblogs", "blogs", or "bloggers": CNN, BBC, The Guardian.

Stories from CBS, Fox, and ABC mention the word "blogger" only in a quote from MSNBC via Reuters, mentions "bloggers" once. The reporting begs the question, for the average reader, "who's the other party to the controversy"?

Of course when we are mentioned, it's as a bloodthirsty, unevolved, knuckledragging, renegade, reactionary, drooling, ultra-right wing, scalp-hunting, lynch mob. Maybe it's better not to be mentioned at all...nah.

Bloggers Supporting the Troops

As I mentioned earlier here, our troops who man the convoys from Kuwait to Iraq have only limited access to news about their area of operations, and they don't have time to cull information from obscure websites. To that end, I have been recruiting bloggers to get the word out to have people send me their links to information about events in Kuwait at

So far, three bloggers have joined the effort:

Publius Pundit

Arab World Analysis

The Daily Grind

Gray Lady Trying to Whitewash the Jordan Scandal

The mainstream media have begun to cover up the real significance of the Eason Jordan resignation by portraying the entire incident as a pack attack by politically motivated blogs. Writing in The New York Times, Katharine Q. Seelye prefaces the Jordan scandal with: "In September, conservative bloggers exposed flaws in a report by Dan Rather..."

Later, there is this: "...thousands of messages, many of them from conservatives, had been posted." Then she quotes Steve Lovelady, "The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob prevail."

More: "Mr. Jordan's comments zipped around the Web and fired up the conservative bloggers..."

David Gergen is quoted: "I think he was attacked because of what he represented as much as what he said..." Gergen is said to be troubled by " media...being drawn into the nation's culture wars."

And there's this: "Rebecca MacKinnon...contacted him after seeing that conservative blogs had picked up on his remarks."

And this: "The online attack of Mr. Jordan, particularly among conservative commentators, appeared to gain momentum when they were seized on by other conservative outlets."

And closes with this quote from Rony Abovitz: "At times it did seem like an angry mob, and an angry mob using high technology, that's not good."

Whether Seelye is deliberately trying to marginalize the bloggers who kept the Eason Jordan scandal from being buried, or is simply displaying typical journalistic superficiality is open to debate. The fact is, any loyal American would have been outraged by Jordan's unsubstantiated slander against American troops. The Dread Pundit Bluto thinks that Seelye's article is a deliberate attempt to relegate Jordan's remarks and subsequent resignation to petty partisan politics. She should be asking why her profession has tolerated the likes of Dan Rather and Eason Jordan, not trying to smear the bloggers.

Ranks Closing: WSJ Opinion Journal Joins Pity Party for Jordan: "Yet the worst that can reasonably be said about his performance is that he made an indefensible remark from which he ineptly tried to climb down at first prompting. This may have been dumb but it wasn't a journalistic felony." That's a large part of the problem. It should be.

Not One Phyong To The Yankees!

A message from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea:
Pyongyang, February 13 (KCNA) -- The U.S. recently forced the south Korean authorities to offer the Ryongsan base in Seoul as a new building site of the U.S. embassy, which is a shameless action violating the sovereignty and dignity of the south Korean people and another plunder of the inviolable land of Korea. Minju Joson says this Sunday in a signed commentary.
It goes on:
We cannot offer even one phyong of our land to Yankees.
Just so you know, a phyong is 3.3 square meters. The people who wrote this news release, and expect it to sway the thinking of English-speakers to their cause, may have nuclear weapons.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Kuwaiti Security Arrests Man Observing Patriot Missiles With Binoculars

From the Kuwait Times
KUWAIT: Security men took a young man into custody Friday morning while he was looking at the Patriot missile launchers near Seventh Ring Road. Spotting a car stopped in the vicinity of the restricted military zone where the missiles were erected, the patrol police went closer and saw a bearded youth in his 30s observing the camp through his binoculars. Police transferred the suspect to concerned authorities for further investigations.
The Kuwait Times is an independent Kuwaiti news source. Good information sometimes if you can get past the fact that they don't believe in paragraphs.

Iraq Election Results Close to Pre-Election Projection by Washington Thinktank

From CBS News:
The Shiite-dominated ticket received more than 4 million votes, or about 48 percent of the total cast, Iraqi election officials said. A Kurdish alliance was second with 2.175 million votes, or 26 percent, and Allawi's list was third with about 1.168 million, or 13.8 percent.

Of Iraq's 14 million eligible voters, 8,456,266 cast ballots for 111 candidate lists, the commission said. That represents a turnout of about 60 percent, several points higher than the predicted 57 percent.
This is the prediction made by Gregory Hooker in a study for the Washington Institute for Near East Studies:
Shiite Unified Iraqi Alliance list – 43.8% = 120 national assembly seats.
The Kurdish list – a surprising 36.4% (more than twice their 16-18% proportion of the general population) = 100 seats.
The Iraqi National Accord [party of interim leader Iyad Allawi] – 8.1% = 22 seats. (A formula is being actively sought to retain him as premier even if his showing is low.)
The Iraqi Communist party (the best organized) – 1.6% = 5 seats.
All the Assyrian, Turkomen and Yazdi minorities together – 4 seats.
All others – 5 seats.

Analysis of Terrorist Threat in Kuwait

Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy analyzes the sources and causes of the increasing threat of terrorism in Kuwait:
Five firefights between Kuwaiti government forces and terrorist cells since January 10, 2005, have brought the hitherto low-profile issue of Kuwait's role in the war on terror to the fore.
Knights finds reason for optimism if the threat is addressed promptly:
Unlike in Saudi Arabia, the Salafist community in Kuwait is small and can still be isolated from the broader Salafist network forming in the Gulf. Moreover, the recent disturbances in Kuwait were indicators of successful action against discovered cells, not actual terrorist attacks.
Note: Salafist refers to violent Islamic fundamentalist organizations and individuals. There's a good definition and analysis of Salafism here.

The Silence of the Shams

There has still been no significant mainstream media coverage of the Eason Jordan scandal - two days after he resigned. The mainstream has apparently decided to make Jordan an unperson, and his resignation due to pressure from bloggers a non-event. Many have speculated that the mainstream, especially television news, can't sustain the perception of another Dan Rather-like defeat at the hands of bloggers.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Update For US Troops Serving in Kuwait

My contact in Kuwait has told me that US troops serving in Kuwait do not have access to comprehensive news about their area of operation, and have been reading blogs for more information. The Dread Pundit Bluto has been reporting about recent events in Kuwait, but I will pay more attention to the area in the future. I ask any bloggers who are interested in helping and have information they think would be valuable to our servicepeople to email me at Below are summaries and links to my previous stories.

Terror Cell Planned Attacks on US Nationals in Kuwait
The Daily Star (Lebanon) reports that Kuwait has broken up an al Qaida-linked terrorist group that was planning to carry out attacks on American interests and the headquarters of Kuwaiti state security...02/01/05

More Details of Kuwait al-Qaeda Terror Cell Revealed
According to a report in the Gulf Daily News the brother of one of the al-Qaeda terrorists killed last month during raids by security forces confirmed their plans under questioning...02/05/05

Kuwait Blocking Islamic Websites
Despite their success in killing and capturing terror cell members, Kuwait is warning that violence may spread to other Gulf States. According to The Daily Star (Lebanon), Kuwait has started blocking Islamic websites that promote violence...02/07/05

Al-Qaeda Terrorists Wanted To Attack US Convoys in Kuwait
The Kuwaiti Times reports that the al-Qaeda terrorist cell in Kuwait that was virtually destroyed in pitched battles with Kuwaiti police in January, planned to attack American military convoys traveling to Iraq...02/08/05

Accused Al-Qaeda Terrorist Dies in Kuwaiti Custody
The alleged leader of a Kuwaiti al-Qaeda terror cell captured in raids last month has died while in Kuwaiti custody...02/09/05

Update: Thanks to Publius Pundit for helping to spread the word.

She's Not Really A Judge, But She Played One On TV

From Politically Incorrect September 24, 2001 via Artist Network. Exchange between television actress Holland Taylor and host Bill Maher:
Holland: Can I say something on the hate America theme? Speaking after such brilliance, Mike, forgive me, but just, from my point of view, the thing that I find myself thinking again and again since the 11th is that a lot of us say, and the phrase that comes to everybody's mind, it's a new world, it's a different world. The fact is, it's a new America. It's a different America. It's the same old world. And what I find, in terms of everyone hating us, which is the theme, that, on the contrary, not speaking of the Arab world specifically or our enemies there specifically, but generally I find the world has been kind to us and tolerant because we are like a prodigal bad child who has all the goodies and our face smeared with candy and our pockets stuffed with dollar bills and our tricycles and our guns and our six-shooters. And we've been having a whale of time over here on our continent, and nothing has happened to us. And something has happened to us. The scale of it was so spectacular that it stopped the world. But, really, European nations around the globe could have said, "Grow up, wake up. So now you're like -- now you understand what the world is really like." Because they live with the potential of this kind of thing all the time. It's just the scale of it was like -- it was like a child that was whipped unseemly, in an unseemly way. So the world is now saying, "That was a hell of beating that young nation had to get to wake up, to grow up and enter the world which already was there."

Bill: Right. [ Applause ] Very true.
The Dread Pundit Bluto was watching that night. I will never forget hearing this pompous, ignorant, self-absorbed jackass equate the horror of 9/11 to coporal punishment for a spoiled child less than two weeks after the victims died.

Holland is currently appearing in The Wedding Date as "Bunny". She has never recanted her grotesque metaphor.

Omens and Portents

Regarding Eason Jordan (what else?): having slept on the extraordinary dénouement of this episode I think there are some conclusions and predictions that can be drawn.

1) My conviction that "the most glorious mission of the blog is to watch the watchers" has been validated, especially given that this was a purely blogger action; Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck - all were silent on Jordan for one reason or another. Bloggers have demonstrated that they have the power to affect history. Imagine how different things would be today if blogs had been around during the Tet Offensive to point out the absolute incompetence of people who later became major influences in Western journalism.

2) Some of the comments to posts in Jay Rosen's PressThink (look for "witchhunter" remarks) indicate a widening of the left-right blogger divide in the wake of Jordan's resignation. I've given Rosen a hard time mainly because I perceive him to be left-leaning, and, as a journalism professor, inclined to give too much benefit of the doubt to Jordan. Also, Rosen believes in Advocacy Journalism, which is anathema to me. My own journalism professor was an old school print reporter who did not allow his students to call him by any honorific other than "Mr." To be fair, I think Rosen, as a representative of the left lobe of the blogosphere has a tougher row to hoe. The mainstream media have been biased to the left for so long that leftist bloggers just don't have the opportunities to be "watchers", and to feel the outrage at slanted reporting that acts as a hothouse for developing research and writing skills.

3) A note of caution: it would be wrong to assume sinister motives for everyone involved who either disagreed with the newsworthiness of the Jordan story or didn't report on it at all. I can't say why Rush or Drudge ignored the story, but I did email Jack Shafer to ask why he published a story about a Washington DC daily the day before Jordan resigned. His reply, "I thought Mickey [Kaus] was doing such a good job in his column that I'd look like too little too late with my jawing. Also, I was consumed in writing a bigger piece, which posted yesterday." - being deeply involved in a story, as so many bloggers were in this case, can alter one's perspective.

4) It seems that bloggers have developed an adversarial relationship with the mainstream media that parallels the one that so many journalists celebrate having with the government. I think we've swung too far in that direction, just as mainstream reporters have. Jack Shafer wrote The Propaganda President recently in Slate, decrying the lack of access the Bush administration grants mainstream journalists. What Shafer didn't say is that this is a direct result of that adversarial relationship. The same will happen to bloggers with the mainstream media if we become too hostile to them. Some of the victory dances following Jordan's resignation were unseemly. That behavior should be discouraged.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Eason Jordan Resigns

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan resigned Friday, saying the controversy over his remarks about the deaths of journalists in Iraq threatened to tarnish the network he helped build.
Via Captain's Quarters

Update: I still want to see that videotape. I suspect that the top brass at CNN have seen it, and that's the reason for this shockingly sudden resignation. As for tarnishing CNN, why didn't Jordan feel compelled to resign after his admission that he had suppressed stories earlier to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open (The News We Kept to Ourselves)? This was too easy. Something else is up.

Niggardly Coverage of the Eason Jordan Scandal

"Niggardly" accurately sums up the mainstream media's response to allegations that Eason Jordan of CNN accused US military personnel of deliberately targeting and killing journalists in Iraq. Apparently, whatever Jordan did or did not say in Davos is not considered newsworthy. There just isn't enough there to justify a story, so coverage has been limited to a few opinion pieces, and, of course, the blogs.

In 1999, though, one word was considered so newsworthy that it generated enough attention to force a high official of the Washington, DC Mayor's office to resign 12 days after he used it in a meeting. That word was "niggardly".

Backwards Coverage of the Eason Jordan Scandal Equals Coverup

While it's gratifying finally to see acknowledgement of CNN's perfidy in the mainstream media, this story isn't being covered the way news should. In fact, technically, it's not being "covered" at all. The mainstream mentions I've seen are all commentaries: Kudlow & Cramer, Scarborough Country, and now Oliver North for FoxNews:
There is a lesson in all of this, and not just for CNN but for all the media. Eason Jordan's disparaging duplicity wasn't exposed by the barons of broadcasting or the potentates of print, but by "amateurs" "bloggers" the same "unwashed masses" who brought down Dan Rather. These e-mailing, web-surfing, call-'em as you see-'em bloggers are the electronic equivalent of the pamphleteers who brought about our revolution. Today they "pass the word" faster than an official spokesman can draft a denial. They are the small "d" democrats of the new "news business" and more believable to many than what is presented on the tube or in the paper. To the bloggers it's clear that if Dan Rather worked for CNN he'd still have a job. Apparently the network that bills itself as "the most trusted name in news" has even lower standards of proof than CBS.
Usually the commentary comes after the story is reported, and commentary by itself means little. In fact, the presence of commentary without reporting simply gives Fox and MSNBC fig leaves to mask the fact that they have not covered the story as news.

So long as no straight news reports exist in the mainstream media, particularly the big four television networks, the Eason Jordan case is still being covered up.

The Shame of the Left

Jay Rosen, of PressThink, and others have been criticizing those of us who have kept the Eason Jordan story alive as politically motivated:
I also agree with Robert Cox of The National Debate who said to an e-mail list we're both on: "Right-wing bloggers have swarmed." They "think they have the next Rathergate when they may well have the next Kerry Intern rumor." We still have to see the tape to know.
This is wrong. The reason for the continued life of this story in the blogosphere is that apparently outrageous and unfounded allegations were made against US troops, then the mainstream media stonewalled the story.

If a conservative media exec had made the allegations of which Eason Jordan is accused, the blogs on the right would have responded in much the same way. The simple fact is that right-wing bloggers tend to support the troops wholeheartedly; it's not pro forma lip service as it is for so many on the left. That's a cause for shame on the left, and an indication that the liberal lobe of the blogosphere is not fully mature.