Sunday, October 23, 2005

Anti-parrot bias at Reuters?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The vision of evil

The full text of Zawahiri's letter to his protege Zarqawi is required reading for anyone who claims understanding of the jihad we face and the War on Terror that may save us.

The U.S. Department of National Intelligence has taken the rare step of releasing the letter, both in the original Arabic and in the English translation.

Here's a taste--Zawahiri's to-do list for the Middle East:

The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq.

The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or amirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate- over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq ...

The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq ...

The fourth stage: It may coincide with what came before: the clash with Israel ...

Read the whole horrifying thing.

Why do we bother?

A Pew Research Center survey done in 2004 found that 61 percent of Pakistanis view the United States unfavorably.
Forty-one percent believe that suicide attacks against civilians are often or sometimes justified "in order to defend Islam against its enemies."Pakistanburqa
Sixty-five percent view Osama bin Laden favorably.

The United States has promised long-term support for the earthquake relief effort in Pakistan, pledging 50 million dollars thus far. Twelve helicopters and an undisclosed number of transport planes from the despised U.S. military are at this moment shuttling aid to survivors. For a complete breakdown of the aid provided and planned by the U.S., read the State Department fact sheet released yesterday.

I'm not suggesting that spite makes a good foreign policy tool, but neither does acting like gullible fools. There should be no strings attached to this relief, but it should be followed (after a respectful pause) by serious pressure for Pakistanis to secularize and liberalize their society. If they don't respect our values, they should do without our help.

PakistankidsIf we can save their lives, can't we change their minds?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Be sad, or be angry, but don't be surprised:
Islamists slit the throats of quake victims

An Associated Press story yesterday reported that the ubiquitous "some" thought for a moment that tragedy might help bring peace to Kashmir, where Islamists continue to fight for their right not to suffer the existence of anyone unlike them:
Some think tragedy can unite India, Pakistan

Beware when writers try to tell you about what "some think." It's often Doublespeak for "nobody thinks" or "no one in his right mind thinks" or sometimes "this reporter and her editor think." Here are some of my favorites:
Does Bigfoot live in Pennsylvania's woods? Some think so

Some think attacks on homeless should be considered hate crimes

Some think F-16s chased UFO over Washington

Gore's CurrentTV Actually Works, Some Think

Other times "some think" is code for "here's an obvious fact that this reporter is just now getting":
Some Think Many of Yogi Berra’s Malaprops May Not Be Accidental

Some think Bush speech clear, concise

Some think [Democrat] Party Agenda Still Missing in Inaction

Anyway, the "some" in this case were represented by one starry-eyed relief director.
To N.M. Prusty, the head of emergency relief at the international aid agency CARE's India office, this is a golden opportunity.

"The mutual help in humanitarian crisis will be the most powerful confidence-building measure in the history of India-Pakistan relationship," he said.

"History shows that at the time of natural disasters we have come together in this region. This is an opportunity when both India and Pakistan can forget their differences," he said.

Well, as has been said of Arafat, Islamists never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity:
Terrorists kill 10 in Kashmir despite quake

To its credit, the Associated Press has reported on the killings, though ugly reality gets buried in the eighth paragraph, while Sunday's blinkered optimism got a headline.
In a reminder that the disputed Kashmir region is in the grip of an Islamic insurgency, suspected militants killed 10 people, including four Hindus whose throats were slit in three quake-hit villages, said J.P. Singh, senior superintendent of police.

We cannot expect humane or rational behavior from Islamists. Believing otherwise is about as smart as driving with your eyes closed. Media outlets like the Associated Press should stop feeding us tales of what they wish were true. Stick to reporting what is true.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mohamed "Da Bomb" ElBaradei
wins a prize! (Should we care?)

A peace prize funded by a man who got rich making explosives. Sounds like an idea someone should have nixed early on, like letting the Taliban host a beauty contest. The Nobel Foundation could avoid a considerable amount of controversy by sticking to the sciences and literature. In fact, the peace award kind of sticks out as an ill-conceived afterthought.

The committee has attempted to explain away some of its odd choices of laureates by suggesting that the prize is not given necessarily for achievement but as "encouragement" for those who may someday achieve something in the field of peacemaking. By that reasoning, I'd like them to send over my Nobel Prize for literature now. No sense waiting until the novel is finished, and I could really use the cash.

The list of past recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize contains more eyebrow-raising names than can be explained away as errors or flukes. The foundation seems determined to mock real efforts to achieve a peaceful world. By lauding bureaucrats and politicians who actually stand in the way of peace, they impede real progress toward peace. Here are some of the committee's dubious selections from the past century:

Jimmy Carter (2002): His efforts to end the Arab-Israeli conflict amounted to nothing more than self-congratulatory photo opportunities. He also has a perverse affinity for African dictators.

Kofi Annan (2001): Back in Ghana, "Kofi" must be Akan for "crony." If what the world needs most is corruption and obstructionism, then he's your man. Or maybe his cousin. Or his nephew. Or his brother-in-law.

Yassir Arafat (1994): Oh, brother. Where to begin ... Here's a quote from a speech Arafat gave at his daughter's birthday party less than one year after receiving the prize: "The Israelis are mistaken if they think we do not have an alternative to negotiations. By Allah I swear they are wrong. The Palestinian people are prepared to sacrifice the last boy and the last girl so that the Palestinian flag will be flown over the walls, the churches and the mosques of Jerusalem." Peacemaker, indeed. He was also a thief.

F.W. de Klerk (1993): Many people consider this one debatable, though the controversy swirling around de Klerk is so thick and noxious that he should have been passed over, in my opinion. Even his critics admit that he played a crucial role in ending Apartheid in South Africa, but the Nobel committee should have considered the feelings of the families of those murdered by death squads while de Klerk was president. De Klerk's claim before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that he knew nothing of the activities of groups like the Vlakplass Unit is patently absurd. Perhaps releasing Mandela and ending Apartheid should earn de Klerk the right not to spend the rest of his life in prison, but a peace prize is too much.

Dalai Lama (1989): The current Dalai Lama is one peaceful dude. He's also wildly popular, rich, and in a cult. Why doesn't John Travolta get a peace prize? Tenzin Gyatso (takes away some of the mystique when we call him by his name) spends his time doing the lecture circuit while the Chinese erase his nation by moving millions of settlers there. The Chinese also say they will handle finding the next Dalai Lama once Gyatso dies, meaning they will locate the child in whose body Gyatso's soul is reincarnated. Gyatso has responded by vowing he will not be reincarnated into anyone in China, or maybe he won't be reincarnated at all. So there. Nya-nya.

Henry Kissinger (1973): This makes Kissinger the first person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize while coordinating the secret and illegal bombing of civilians in Southeast Asia and giving murderous Latin American dictators a boost to power. Brilliant.

Ralph Bunche (1950): Bunche was a member of the Communist fifth column that infiltrated the U.S. government during the Cold War. He worked directly under Alger Hiss.

Frank B. Kellogg (1929): In 1928, Kellogg--then the U.S. Secretary of State--co-authored the Kellogg-Briand pact, which outlawed war. That worked.

Theodore Roosevelt (1906): Roosevelt received the prize for his efforts to make peace between the Russians and the Japanese. What makes his selection odd is that he believed firmly that America should have an imperial role in the world, and he saw militarism as a necessary element of success in that role. He despised Woodrow Wilson. Roosevelt's and Wilson's respective philosophies make them practically polar opposites, yet the Nobel Foundation gave them identical prizes. Go figure.

All in all, it's no surprise that the Nobel Foundation decided to give this year's peace prize to Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, which is notable for having prevented exactly nobody from acquiring nuclear weapons technology. During his tenure as head of IAEA, both Pakistan and North Korea have gained nuclear weapons. Iran is poised to do the same. I guess this is one of those prizes they give for "encouragement," because it sure as hell can't be for achievement.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Pay no attention to that bearded man with the backpack

The media response to the bomb set off near a packed Oklahoma University football game last week can hardly be called a "response." There couldn't be less coverage of the event if there were a media blackout. What we know so far is this:

1. Last Saturday night, Joel Hinrichs III died in an explosion while sitting on a bench less than one hundred yards from the OU football stadium. The blast reportedly vaporized the upper half of his body, indicating that he may have been wearing a bomb vest or carrying a bomb in a backpack.

2. One guard from the football game reported seeing Hinrichs bolt from the line of spectators entering the stadium when he was asked to open his bag. (University officials deny Hinrichs attempted to enter the stadium, saying he's nowhere on the security tapes.)

Now just by themselves, these two reports warrant media attention. No matter what his motivation, Hinrichs may have intended to end more lives than just his own that night. The fact that he may have been deterred by vigilant security is significant. The fact that no one pursued him when he declined to be searched is also significant. So why did is the story being ignored? Well, it did get some press, mainly to spread the word that Hinrichs was an American kid with no apparent ties to Islam who decided to blow himself to smithereens and happened to do it near a crowded stadium. The media spotlight grew dimmer and dimmer as the following information emerged:

3. Hinrichs' roommate is Muslim.

4. That Muslim roommate attends a mosque that was also a favorite haunt of Zacaria Moussaoui.

5. The explosive that killed Hinrichs was of the same type that the shoe bomber tried to use to bring down a commercial airliner.

The plot thickens. Well, not if you trust the mainstream media. These revelations led to almost no additional reporting on the story. Instead, we got nonsense like "Aftermath Affects Muslim Community," one of those articles that manages to refute its own premise before it's done:
"You take the actions of a minority of a group and apply them to the group overall," he said. "Some Malaysian sees on TV reports of Catholic priests (molesting children) a few years ago‚--What'‚s he going to think about priests?"

Still, Khan said that, generally, most OU students have reacted reasonably.

"I'd have to say there's been no negativity directed at me or my friends," he said.

The way the Muslim community has been "affected," apparently, is that it might have to endure some scrutiny. This, it seems, is too much to bear, even in the interest of security:
Ashraf Hussein, president of Muslim Student Association and petroleum and electrical engineering junior, said he is disturbed by the media's focus.

"(Hinrichs) had a Muslim roommate; he had a Muslim roommate--That's all they're mentioning," Hussein said."

Right, that's all we're mentioning because it's a development we'd be foolish to overlook. According to Muslims like Hussein, we should ignore these coincidences in the interest of political correctness. Well, then this photo of Hinrichs surfaced.

Oh, dear.

Hinrichs was reportedly a little strapped, so maybe he was conserving his Mach-3 blades by shaving only his moustache. Then again, he had enough dough to attempt a big fertilizer purchase a few days prior to the bombing. Still, there must be some perfectly innocent reason the misguided young man decided to go for the Taliban look. (The Oklahoma Daily student newspaper actually had the balls to run this photo with a 900-word profile of Hinrichs that completely avoids the issue of Islam, as if the beard is some kind of engineering-student fad.)

The desperate attempts by mainstream media outlets to shield Muslims from reasonable scrutiny will leave them vulnerable to charges of complicity should Zarqawi's promise of a "Ramadan offensive" on American soil come to fruition.

Bloggers are doing what old-media reporters will not. Zombie is maintaining a thorough compendium of reports on the bombing, along with a detailed map showing the locations of Hinrichs' apartment, the mosque his roommate attended, the stadium, and the site of the blast.'s spell-checker wants to replace "Hinrichs" with "anarchic." Is that a clue?

Rescuing the Democrats

The Democrats are foundering, but water isn't the only thing they need to toss over the side.

The American left is killing the Democrat Party, and despite the fact that I haven't voted for a Democrat in over a decade, I do care. A democracy dominated by a single political party lacks meaningful choice, and the dominant party runs the obvious risk of growing complacent. Oddly, dissent and debate within the Republican Party have replaced the old Republican/Democrat divide as the front where all the interesting political skirmishes take place. The recent mutiny in the Senate on a bill protecting the rights of detainees is a case in point. The conflict between Bush and his fellow conservatives over the Miers nomination is another. These instances of healthy disagreement occur only because Republicans don't feel obligated to toe the party line. It's hard for Democrats to even find their party line, they've been dancing around it for so long. (If the metaphor doesn't make sense to you, please read Michael Quinion's explanation of the origins of the phrase "toe the line.")

Don't get me wrong. This voter is not swinging. My memories of the Clinton years (those Days of Pizza and Ambivalence) are too fresh for me to stomach supporting a Democrat yet. Plus, I can't go near a party that keeps getting the Sammy-Davis-Jr. hug from morons like Michael Moore and demons like Mahathir bin Mohamad. Locally, I'll be voting for Bloomberg in a month (even though the fascist bastard took away my smoky bars). I just listened to Fernando Ferrer and Thomas Ognibene making fools of themselves in a debate at the Apollo Theater. Bloomberg wisely avoided this fiasco, in part because he objected to the debate's "lightning round," in which the candidates must field simple-minded questions with yes-or-no answers while the audience morphs into a vulgarian peanut gallery that would make Jerry Springer jealous. The Democrats are so blinded by the glare of the spotlight that they can't see how small that loud crowd really is. They also don't seem to realize that dignity is a big selling point for voters who actually vote. Hillary Clinton will be running for re-election in 2006, so I guess I'll be casting another Republican or Independent vote for senator from New York as well. Every time she plunks her ass down in that seat in the Senate, Patrick Moynihan does another subterranean pirouette. (Now there was a Democrat worth voting for.) As far as 2008 goes, I won't be voting for Bush, but then, no one will--a fact that the Democrats seem to be forgetting. Hating Bush will be nothing more than a quaint hobby in a couple of years, and connecting his shortcomings to Republicans in general may become increasingly difficult if they keep breaking ranks and voting on principle rather than allegiance. (Principle ... now there's a concept.) The Democrats are not likely to put anyone forward who'll win my vote or the votes of other liberal hawks in 2008, but if they want even a fighting chance, they need to listen to reason.

Surprisingly, the voice of reason whispering in the party's ear these days is coming from a couple of former Clinton advisors. Thomas B. Edsall writes in the Washington Post that William A. Galston and Elaine C. Kamarck have advised Democrat party leaders to cut the lunatics loose and steer back toward the center if they want to win any elections anytime soon.
On defense and social issues, "liberals espouse views diverging not only from those of other Democrats, but from Americans as a whole. To the extent that liberals now constitute both the largest bloc within the Democratic coalition and the public face of the party, Democratic candidates for national office will be running uphill."

They go on to recommend that the party should drop the failed strategy of growing a base of highly partisan, left-leaning voters, and look to luring moderates away from the GOP and into a more centrist Democrat camp. Galston and Kamarck have the right idea, but I wish they'd stop abusing the term "liberal." True liberals do not cozy up to dictators like the left's favorite Brit, George Galloway. True liberals do not make excuses for theocracies that subjugate women, like the left's favorite foreign correspondent, Sean Penn. Please stop calling them liberals. Call them leftists (especially since the left keeps embracing them.) Call them rejectionists. Call them idiots. And then get them out of the Democrats' "big tent," and don't let the flap hit their asses on the way out. Let Sheehan, Moore, Streisand, and all the Baldwins join forces with the petrified radical left of Chomsky and Nader. Let them have their own party so they can stop scaring people away from the Democrats. For our democracy to function, we need two viable parties (at least). The Democrat Party must reform, not just for its own sake, but for the sake of the nation.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bias ... what bias?

Reuters doesn't usually let the Associated Press beat it to the punch when it comes to bias. Today's coverage of Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court is the exception to the rule:

AP: High Court Nominee Has Never Been a Judge
WASHINGTON - President Bush nominated White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court on Monday, turning to a lawyer who has never been a judge to replace Sandra Day O'Connor and help reshape the nation's judiciary.

Never been a judge. That's true. But did she ever play for the Steelers?

The only bench Justice Byron White sat on prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court was next to a sideline.


But he was appointed by a Democrat, so that was okay.

UPDATE: The inimitable Fausta at Bad Hair Blog has coined a term for the disconnect from reality exhibited by the Associated Press from time to time: APDD, or Associated Press Deficit Disorder. The AP reporter attending Condoleezza Rice's recent speech at Princeton was apparently suffering from a severe case of APDD. The outcome can be tragic when this syndrome goes untreated. Check out Dr. Fausta's diagnosis.

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Hindu Balinese women light candles to protest the bombings perpetrated there yesterday by jihadis.

Palestinians set tires aflame in Gaza to protest the killing of Ahmed Yassin by the Israeli military, March 2004.