Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Peace Studies in DC High Schools

James Taranto writes about a Peace Studies Course at a local high school in the DC area. We lived near the high school and knew Colman McCarthy, a former Trappist monk, who once was a guest of ours for dinner when he was a columnist for the Washington Post. The Post Article Taranto pulled his quotes and commentary from did not mention McCarthy's former employment with the newspaper, nor his former religious affiliation.

Colman McCarthy is a deeply sincere man with bedrock convictions who somehow does not have a mean bone in his body nor evidently, from the conversations I had with him over the years we lived nearby, can understand someone who does. In that sense, he is unworldly to an extent that might be classified as delusional. He does make a very good case that the chain of violence around the world must be broken. Gandhi is his model, and McCarthy's views should be respected.

But teaching a class should present the reasons for a just war, which as a former Catholic steeped in theology, McCarthy knows exist in Catholic thought as well as international law.

Taranto is right that the liberal educational establishment simply hijacks issues and tries to stifle dissent, not by physical means but by ridicule and demeaning remarks. If he has a questioning or critical intellect, almost every college student has had such a moment when he is "put down" by a sanctimonious or intellectually overbearing instructor, often in public and to his acute embarrassment, for expressing unpopular opinions. I know I have.

Colman McCarthy is not that kind of teacher. But the two students who object to his one-sided approach have a point.

Hardy Perennial: Extinction of Blondes

John Hawks notes that the momentary panic spread by the TimesOnLine last weekend about the gradual extinction of blondes in about 200 years wasn't necessary.

Hawks pointed out a debunking of the hoax by the Washington Post four years ago, which tracked back the origin to a German magazine.

CNN had gone for the original story hook, line, and sinker, but later recanted:
A CNN statement said it carried the report "from one of its highly reputable international broadcast partners," ITN, and would correct it as many times as the story aired. "CNN regrets the error," the statement said.

Steve Sailer as usual, has a thoughtful take on the subject in VDARE as well as on Steve's blog which looks at still another angle of the TimesOnLine piece.

Good News Out of Iraq

Michael Totten has an excellent piece on how he gets the story while the mainstream media keep avoiding bits of good news coming out of Iraq.

Andrew Sullivan seconds the emotion that rebuilding a country ravaged by autocratic socialism for four-plus decades takes many years and that hope abides even in the Middle East.

Confused by Syriana? Director Gaghan More Confused Than You Are!

Today's Financial Times [regrettably offline except for expensive subscription] has a conversation on its Arts page with a fellow named Stephan Gaghan, whose photo accompanying the piece displays a louche, lanky version of Truman Capote posing languorously and sub-titled: "The radical at work:...." The interviewer is Nigel Andrews, whose tastes run towards the bizarre and off-kilter, but even Nigel seems to find Gaghan a bit much.

Much has been made of the almost non-existent plot of Syriana. The assemblage of cartoon-depth portrayals and fast action in Syriana make 24 look like Tolstoy. So many cliches, so little time! Gaghan imitates his studio detractors during production: "we're confused, we don't understand this, what are you trying to do?"

Then Gaghan explains: "We [papal?] always held that Iran was the player. Stable regime. 80 million people not 10 million. 50% of the power in government held by women, battle-tested army and intelligence."

Sounds like a Robert Fisk wannabee. Let's Fisk this confused dude with a few facts:
"Stable regime" except for an oligarcy or theocracy of universally hated clerics, especially by women. "80 m not 10 m" But, Stephan, the World Bank says 66 million for Iran, and UNICEF says that Iraq has 28 million folks, but maybe you were just rounding off. "50% of the power in govt held by women" This would be a surprise for Iran's persecuted women, but Gaghan has his own demographers at work, [and maybe surreptitiously added a zero after the 5%?] presumably. "battle-tested army" yes, and the Iranian army, when tested, succumbed to Iraq's army, which the US Army went through like hot butter. "intelligence" if Gaghan is relying on his oracular sources, he is wrong again.

Maybe Gaghan gets his facts from astrologers, with the difference being that they are occasionally right!

True to his pouty-lipped photo, he blames Steven Soderburgh who "ruined my movie" by taking a half-hour off the film to pare it down to two hours. Then Gaghan went "off the record" and "launches into a blistering attack on another significant player in Syriana" {GEE, I WONDER WHO THAT COULD BE? ARE HIS INITIALS GC?]

George Clooney looks a lot like Jack Bauer compared to this orchidaceous creature.

Dubai gets curiouser and curiouser

Richard Cohen has an uplifting article in today's Washington Post which shows there is a lot of thoughtfulness on the left about the racial-profiling leading Democrats are indulging in.

We are in an odd era of symbolic news events[my emphasis]. The Dick Cheney shooting was treated as if it were of cosmic political importance. Some pundits even called on the vice president to resign, while others merely saw everything the Bush administration had gotten wrong -- an almost inexhaustible list -- as distilled in a single bad shot and the resultant pout. Now it is the port controversy. But if the Cheney story was about everything else -- including, of course, the taciturn and slippery Cheney himself -- then this port controversy is really about security anxiety and a dislike of things and people Arab. The deal may not be perfect, but it is a long way from a Page One story.

America has many friends in the Arab world. You can go to Saudi Arabia, for instance, and talk "American" at a dinner party -- banter about the Washington Redskins or California real estate prices or, of course, politics. The region is home to many people who have gone to school in the United States and admire it greatly. They are not the majority by any means, but they are important and influential -- and they are being slowly alienated by knee-jerk insults and brainless policies that reflect panic and prejudice. The true security cost of the Dubai deal has already been inflicted.

Maybe because Bush is a Bush -- son of a president who got to know many Arabs -- or maybe because he just naturally recoils from prejudice, his initial stance on this controversy has been refreshingly admirable. Whatever the case, the president has done the right thing. Attention must be paid.

But before you take a deep breath and assume the sun salute yoga pose in celebration, the latest Jerusalem Post article that the DP World enforces the Israeli Boycott will predictably panic the panderers into baying at the mid-day sun.

The fact is that the entire continent of Asia, especially India, regards the American political elite, with some exceptions, and with the Rasmussen Poll, the American People, as selective racial profilers in this train wreck.

James Taranto sort of sums up the whole sorry affair with a quick take on racism:
We've argued that the likely result of another terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 would be "a retreat into isolationism and an emphasis on homeland security":

Its elements could include genuine curtailments of civil liberties, an end to the taboo against ethnic and religious profiling, restrictions on immigration, and heightened security that introduces enormous inconveniences into everyday life while constraining the flow of people and goods into America.

The public's receptivity to Dubai hysteria suggests that there is an appetite for just such an approach--one that, in our view would be very bad for America and even worse for the rest of the world. Politicians who agree would do well to be more circumspect about pandering to such impulses.

Asking politicians to take the high road is like telling Motor Mouth Schumer to avoid microphones----the AP story originating the whole controversy actually had Schumer's alarmist quotes embedded----so patent panderer Chuckie probably is congratulating himself right now in leading the pander-pack to the Promised Land.

Monday, February 27, 2006

NUTCASE WH Press made to "Look Foolish"

The New York Times has allowed Kathryn Seelye to touch on the touchy relationship between the Bush White House and the White House Press Corps:

The live briefings, held almost daily, do serve a purpose for both sides. They give the White House an everyday entree into the news cycle and let officials speak directly to the public. And they give reporters the chance to hold officials accountable and on the record (and help reporters get time on camera). [My emphasis]

Turns out a lot of the antics are posturing for the cameras:

"Reporters can be perfectly civil and launch good, hard-hitting questions" in private, he said, then in the briefing room two minutes later, "they turn into barbarians."

That image of reporters yelling at a press secretary and demanding answers to repeated questions works against them, said Donald A. Ritchie, author of "Reporting From Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps." They reinforce the public's negative view of them, he said, which in turn plays into the hands of the administration because now reporters, not the original subject that had them agitated, become the news.

There are two sides to the story, according to Seelye:

Commentators on the left say that the press is manipulated, and that it failed to challenge the administration enough after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the ramp-up to the Iraq war in March 2003. The right says the press is petty, irrelevant and politically biased against President Bush.

Why does the Bush Administration despise them? Perhaps it is because they are despicable.

Many reporters said they are mindful they are up against a White House that holds them in low regard. They point to a revealing article in The New Yorker from Jan. 19, 2004, in which Karl Rove, the president's closest adviser, told Ken Auletta, the author, that Mr. Bush saw the press as "elitist."

Mr. Auletta concluded that "perhaps for the first time," the White House had come to view reporters as special pleaders, as if they were just another interest group and one that was "not nearly as powerful as it once was."

Mr. McClellan, for one, said he wouldn't dream of trying to unplug the briefings.

"We have no intention of not broadcasting them," he said. "They serve a purpose for both the White House and reporters."

And when those purposes collide, a tight-lipped administration, adept at image management, can simply let the cameras do their work for them.

"We're one of the most reviled subsets of one of the most reviled professions," Dana Milbank, a Washington Post reporter who covered the White House during Mr. Bush's first term, said. "We're going to lose the battle every time."

Mr. Fleischer recalled a virulent period with the media (and Democrats) in May 2002 after a New York Post headline proclaimed that "Bush Knew" in advance about the Sept. 11 attacks.

"That was a vicious explosion that lasted a week," he said. "But the president calculated the press would go too far, and they went so far in their accusations that the country was far more inclined to believe the president than the press." Several polls at the time showed President Bush maintaining his high approval ratings of 75 percent throughout the episode.

"The public perceives the press not as watchdogs but as attack dogs," Mr. Fleischer said.

But Seelye admits, it isn't the White House's fault at all, it's the American People's fault. [Clinton WH Spokesman] Mr. McCurry saw the same dynamic.

"The public hates the people in that room," he said. "My standing up there and getting pelted with rotten tomatoes during Monica probably helped Bill Clinton because people say, 'What is wrong with the people in this room?' "

Scott McClellan just is the cat that licks the cream off his whiskers.
Mr. McClellan declined to discuss any podium strategy, saying simply, "I have great trust in the ability of the American people to see through these things and make the right judgments." Referring to the Cheney episode, he added: "The American people probably looked at this and felt like the press corps went a little over the top. It reached a point where people said, 'Enough already.' "

David Gregory, perhaps the nuttiest on-camera performer, blurted the truth, but then tried to back out of it.

"There is a desire by some, particularly on the right, to morph these situations into a different kind of debate — it's the vice president against an angry, left-wing, cynical, hate-filled press corps that wants to expose him as a liar," he said. "This is a false debate, stoked by a president and vice president who have made no bones about the fact that they don't have much respect for the press corps as an institution."

Neither do the American people, David.

FT Wins Hands Down over NYT

Despite embarrassing snafus like today's sidebar on the FT front page adverting to a page 7 article on Dan Brown's lawsuit on The Da Vinci Code being commandeered by a full-page ad for AT&T, the FT is clearly a superior broadsheet to the NYT, both in its world section articles and its Op-Ed variety.

The NYT's solemn sanctimony on the left is obvious; an editorial today advocates the vote for convicted felons, a party plank for the Democrats as criminals naturally vote the Dem ticket, other editorials by Barry Rosen, Bob Herbert, and Paul Krugman parrot the left's world view faithfully and not very well.

FT's take on Venezuela and Uganda in its ed-page, the NYT takes on Nigeria. The FT has an Op-Ed by Foreign Affairs managing editor, Gideon Rose, which describes the opposition to the DP port takeover as racism, pure and simple, especially hypocritical coming from Democrats habitually incensed over "racial profiling." One should recall that Foreign Affairs tends to the left on its selection of articles on foreign policy, so this is a signal from a supporter that the Dem base is out of line. Rose even calls GWB "far wiser than his critics."

Actually, the comparison is more apples and oranges, as the FT verges on the WSJ's turf as often as the NYT. One could call the FT a two-fer, as its editorial base is wider than either the NYT or WSJ. Colin Powell read the FT every day while Sec State and I suspect Condi Rice does the same.

The FT has added Christopher Caldwell and Jacob Weisberg, one from each end of the spectrum, to their stable of columnists.

But the best thing in the FT on Mondays is the irrepressible Lucy Kellaway who this week takes the cake with her take-down of academics. Although she describes Larry Summers of Harvard "brilliant, infantile, and insensitive, with an EQ of almost zero," she pegs the following tails on the asses of the perfessoriate:

The reason is that academics, especially good ones, make employees from hell. There is little about their abilities, dispositions or the structure of their work that equips them to be components in a modern, flexible organisation. I can think of seven things that make them entirely unsuited for such a part.

■They are very clever. This is not an advantage in most institutions as it means that they can think for themselves. (They may not actually be that clever, but they think they are – which may be worse.)

■Some have spectacularly low levels of emotional intelligence, which is often more important than IQ in getting things done.

■They are not team players, to put it mildly. Many are introverted. Moreover, the structure of university life means their colleagues (in most subjects save science) are their rivals.

■Criticism is a way of life. The mind of the academic is trained to pull holes in things. So when presented with a new initiative, they question it and deem it a waste of time as a matter of course.

■There is no line of authority. In a big company everyone sucks up to their bosses and agrees with them. In a university, there is less to be gained by brown-nosing, so disagreement prevails.

■They are complacent and have an interest in the status quo that has given them secure jobs and pensions.

■Because their status largely depends on their research, which may only be understood by a tiny number of people, insecurity, pettiness and bitchiness often result.

She could have added that the tenured radicals don't like to teach undergraduate classes and one famously told Summers when she was asked to do so: "You are talking to me like an employee...." Gosh, must have been a "dollar-a-year" prof.

But I'll bet not.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Odds and Ends about "Passionate" Reporting

A few gleanings from the morning TV news reports:

Howie Kurtz did throw a couple of softballs to Anderson Cooper about "passionate" reporting, which is all the ["literally"] rage now that everything is politicized to the detriment of Republican/conservative positions. However, Ted Koppel came on a pre-recorded clip calling for "dispassionate" reporting, a la Aaron Brown. Kind of puts Koppel in a non-employment situation with Jon Klein of CNN, who is lauding Cooper for his "missionary" approach to newscasting. As in the "missionary position?"

Kurtz also played moderator among Howard Sesco, Gloria Borger and CNN new-hire John Roberts, concerning the Dubai Ports role. When Borger and Sesco suggested that the Cheney story was hyped beyond belief, Roberts, who played the Dan Rather far-left role that evidently Jon Klein hired him for, actually thought that a week and change of coverage [which incidentally kept the press from uncovering the Dubai Port acquisition] was apparently not enough, or at least not too much! Clearly, CBS would not have been well-served had this Canadian become anchor.

Also interesting was the play-up of Republican opposition to the deal, with no mention of Democratic support for the deal [LAT, WaPo editorials].

George Stephanopoulos had a good group on, including Fareed Zakaria, who always brings a broader perspective. Zakaria was in India when the Dubai blow-up occurred and correctly pointed out that everyone immediately thought the US Congressional reaction was "racism against brown people." FZ pointed out that Democrats who abhor racial profiling stateside have a horror of brown people buying US properties. Dionne professed mock-shock at the Dems hypocrisy. The fact is that the Bush GWOT has probably inspired deep xenophobia about Arabs and Muslims, and the situation isn't getting better when the Krauthammers, Podhoretzes and Ledeens call for cutting off the deal. Plus the increasingly provincial NYT. The Rasmusson Poll over at RCP indicates broad-based national security concerns and the Dems aren't going to stand on principle, racial profiling or not.

Jaafari in Iraq got slammed by Zakaria as a "Gucci guerrilla," although those words were not used. Zalmay Khalilizad got stereotyped as a Sunni after implying that Shi'ite militias and Shi'ite goon squads in the Interior Ministry were not part of the US militarization plan. Again and again, US inability to leverage much out of 130,000 troops was commented upon, and US de-facto support of the Shi'ites, unintentional though it has been, has our Ambassador there cornered when he tries to get Jaafari, a very slippery negotiator according to all accounts, to give the Sunnis enough ministries in the new government to stave off a general insurgency from the remaining Sunni "moderates." Scoffed at was what Jaafari deserved to be when he protested US "interference" in the negotiations by the US Ambassador, as if he would be PM designate had the US stayed away from Iraq. George Will had a good observation about the mayor of LA asking the Crips and the Bloods to police the streets!

Fareed Zakaria had Christopher Hitchens as his guest, and CH got things off after FZ provocatively asked whether Martin Luther King could be pilloried the way Muhammed has in cartoons. CH replied that MLK was the world champion at indoor sports in the adultery department! But it would be fear that ruled the day.

Then in the middle of the WXEL FZ/CH interview, the station went dead! Hmmm!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Indonesian Muslims have Some Good Moral Leadership

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting editorial piece on how Indonesian Muslims may not follow the pattern of some other nationalities.

As my brother is going to work in a senior position in Aceh, Sumatra, the city clobbered by the tsunami at the end of 2004, and also the cynosure of an endemic Muslim religious uprising, I am heartened that the sort of fanaticism we have seen in the Middle East is not quite the same in Indonesia.

A very edifying example of Muslim selflessness is demonstrated in the piece:
For a true definition of martyrdom, she points to the sacrifice of Riyanto, a young man dispatched with other members of the Nahdlatul Ulama youth militia during Christmas several years ago to guard churches threatened with attacks. When he discovered a bomb outside a church, he tried to throw it out of the way of the crowds and was killed when it blew up. Ms. Wahid and others mark the anniversary of his death every year. "We always tell this message: This is the real case of martyrdom. That's the way to defend religion, not by killing others but by defending others' rights to practice their religion."

We must always remember that out of more than a billion Muslims in the world, a great number and perhaps the vast majority are good, decent human beings like ourselves.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Clerics may take helm from Politicians in Iraq

The New York Times has a piece on how the politicians are seeking to defuse the crisis caused by the Golden Dome of Samarra atrocity.

It’s good that Zalmay Khalilizad is appearing on local TV and a member of the deliberations among all parties trying to keep an uneasy truce from erupting into a widespread civil conflict.

However, a lot of the politicians are what one US general called Gucci Guerrillas who spent the years of Saddam’s tyranny in exile like Ahmed Chalabi, to cite the most flagrant example.

As the article hints, but does not say, the clerical leaders have perhaps the paramount role to play:
And in their Friday sermons and public statements, political and clerical leaders betrayed an ominous polarization of attitudes about who was at fault in the recent violence, along with a renewed hostility to the American role in Iraq on both sides of the sectarian divide.

The leading Sunni clerics must join with Ayatollah Sistani and Moqtada Al-Sadr to quell widespread violence. A bad omen was the slaughter of 27 participants in a peace rally today. A good omen was a Friday prayer in Basra with both Sunni and Shi'ite participants.

The State Dept had predicted that Saddam's demise would lead to somewhat the same situation as Yugoslavia after Tito. Now that the strongman is gone, new sources of legitimacy must be found, and the clerics who weathered the Saddam autocracy certainly have earned their stripes.

If the politicians elected in December keep dithering, the clerics will become the real leaders by default, not because of democratic methods.


The New Republic has a piece on the sad demise of President Larry Summers written by
Martin Peretz. A bit of the flavor of the article follows:
I know something about the Harvard academy's propensity for self-pampering and self-importance. And the problem with Larry Summers is that he never joined what the American cultural critic Harold Rosenberg devastatingly called "the herd of independent minds." Summers's arrival at Harvard was bracing. The Harvard Corporation had finally decided to bring the university into modern times, and it had chosen an at once dazzling and sober intellectual to do it. You could feel the walls of the faculty club tremble. Well, the walls of the club that serves the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), anyway. This is an important distinction. There are other faculties at Harvard--law, medicine, public health, business, et cetera--and it's hard to find more than a handful of professors at these places offended by what Summers has said or done. They, in fact, have been cheering him on. So, in forcing Summers's resignation, the FAS, in an alliance of frightened souls and hyped-up orators, has pulled off a coup--facilitated by the fact that hard scientists, true social scientists, and serious humanists lack the inclination to go to conspiratorial caucus meetings......
The rest is for subscribers only, but my question about the whole episode is why Summers caved to a bunch of people than Alan Dershowitz, no mean slouch in the left-leaning department, described as people who regard him [Dershowitz] as a right-winger.

Why did Summers surrender to a bunch of scheming apodictic idiot-savants who act like scholastic schoolmen when addressing social issues [medieval is what I'm getting at], and why didn’t the Corporation support him in his hour of need?

Inquiring minds would love to know.....

Time to Take a Deep Breath

I had just finished watching an imbecile on CNN named Cafferty do an Arab-bashing routine on the Dubai sale and then ask viewers to tune in to his weekend program on economics[!?!], so it was with some relief that I found David Ignatius' sane and sober article on how Congress and irresponsible media types try to make cartoons out of serious economic issues.

I mentioned in a blog yesterday that recycling petrodollars and other US monies back stateside has been a long-time goal of American economic policy. David Ignatius sounds the alarm:

Here's how bad it is: The worst thing that could happen to the United States, paradoxically, would be for Arab and other foreign investors to take us at our xenophobic word and decide that America doesn't really want foreign investment. If they pulled out their money, U.S. financial markets would plummet in a crash that might make 1929 look like a sleigh ride.

It’s good to see that voices of sanity and level-headed long term foresight are being heard, even from unexpected quarters like the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and two Democratic ex-Presidents.

Let’s let CFIUS look the Dubai deal over for the mandated 45 days when a foreign government makes an acquisition and turn off the hysteria button both Dems and Repubs are pushing like arcade junkies.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

STATE Dept Flubs Up---Again and Again

The Washington Post has a story on how a junior consular officer insulted a senior Indian scientist by denying him and his wife a visa because of his expertise in chemistry.

The dark side of this comedy is apparent to me, as I served for two years as Vice Consul in the former Consulate General in Lyon, France, during a time when there were cumbrous procedures code-named BOULDER that prevented many applicants of Middle East or North African origin to undergo close questioning as to their reason for US travel. I participated in several face-to-face interviews, but find it hard to excuse the behavior of the American consular official who botched the interview according to the Post article.

First, if the scientist had the letter of invitation from the University of Florida, and had previous visas in his passport for the States, what could have been the problem? The only surmise that could excuse this ridiculous turn-down would be that the senior scientist had a new passport without the previous visas and had forgotten the letter of invitation. Even so, his past visas should have been on the computers at the Consulate.

Second, why does the State Dept spokesman deny the rejection?

State Department spokesman Justin Higgins denied yesterday that the United States had rejected Mehta's visa and said the consulate had merely followed standard procedure in dealing with applicants with certain kinds of scientific expertise.

Talk about "tone deaf! And later in the story, it sounds like this spokesman is "stuck on stupid." The officious little jerk

Next question is why the US State Dept has no consulate in Bangalore where the professor lives, and where India's largest aggregation of US-linked computer industries are located?
In his written account, the scientist said that after traveling 200 miles, waiting three hours with his wife for an interview and being accused of deception, he was outraged when his accounts of his research were questioned and he was told he needed to fill out a detailed questionnaire.

The predictable answer to that is Congressional underfunding, which has been the bane of Foggy Bottom since forever. State just doesn't have a natural constituency among the powers-that-be in the national and international arena and therefore is a cheap-shot target for lots of less than responsible Congressmen.

But the post 9/11 butt-covering has reached cosmic disproportion. One scientist familiar with the case makes an invidious comparison:
"If you tell an American, 'If you want a visa to go to India, you have to go to Dallas, Chicago, L.A. or New York, and while you are there, you are going to be fingerprinted, photographed and asked about everything you have done in your research for the last 40 years,' we would find this procedure untenable as Americans,"

And when the professor eventually reaches the USA, he is greeted by the Homeland Security's goon squad, called the TSA, who treats him and his wife even worse than it treats ordinary Americans! See today's previous blog: "The clerks are revolting"

Finally, the situation is explained by scientists as understandable, if not excusable:
William Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering, acknowledged that young American consular officers in foreign countries have been under tremendous pressure since the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Making the wrong decision would be career-ending, so they play it safe, not really understanding the macroscopic implications of their decision," Wulf said. "Denying a visa to the president of ICSU is probably as dumb as you can get. This is not the way we can make friends."

Message to Indian brainiacs who want to study or work in the USA. Get ready for the hazing!

President Bush is visiting New Delhi March 1st and this is sure to come up as a talking point somewhere in the proceedings.

I hope the Vice Consul who messed up gets reprimanded for being an officious little twit.

The Clerks are Revolting!

Peggy Noonan has an excellent editorial piece on the pandemic nasty incompetence that the TSA displays at West Palm Beach Airport, where I often arrive and depart. Actually, the last time I used Ft. Lauderdale's air facilities the personnel were relatively kind and gentle. Must have been one of those rare days.

The funniest truest moment is the “Linfah” anecdote, as the Hispanics here in South Florida often flaunt their disdain for the English language in insulting ways, making themselves as incomprehensible as possible.

Another bell rung for me when I recalled how some of our English friends here at Boca complained about the rigorous fingerprinting and other "procedures" they were forced to endure each time they flew out of country, which was often because of business, and in one family, the illness of parents.

And these were civilized English, not the chronic complainers one encounters among other nationalities.

I wish Chertoff and other senior functionaries of the Bush Administration flew on commercial flights and had to endure some of the disrespectful ethnic hazing that Noonan points out!

Prophetic Words Concerning the Downfall of Harvard

Here are a couple of thoughts from the New Criterion'sRoger Kimball with a couple of observations on O Tempora, O Mores:
Those whom Finkielkraut calls "postmodernists," waving the standard of radical chic, declare that Shakespeare is no better than the latest fashion—no better, say, than the newest item offered by Calvin Klein. The litany that Finkielkraut recites is familiar:
A comic which combines exciting intrigue and some pretty pictures is just as good as a Nabokov novel. What little Lolitas read is as good as Lolita. An effective publicity slogan counts for as much as a poem by Apollinaire or Francis Ponge. … The footballer and the choreographer, the painter and the couturier, the writer and the ad-man, the musician and the rock-and-roller, are all the same: creators. We must scrap the prejudice which restricts that title to certain people and regards others as sub-cultural.

Kimball, an outpost of civilization on the frontier of the urban wasteland, continues:
"The upshot is not only that Shakespeare is downgraded, but also that the bootmaker is elevated. "It is not just that high culture must be demystified; sport, fashion and leisure now lay claim to high cultural status." A grotesque fantasy? Anyone who thinks so should take a moment to recall the major exhibition called "High & Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture" that the Museum of Modern Art mounted a few years ago: it might have been called "Krazy Kat Meets Picasso." Few events can have so consummately summed up the corrosive trivialization of culture now perpetrated by those entrusted with preserving it. Among other things, that exhibition demonstrated the extent to which the apotheosis of popular culture undermines the very possibility of appreciating high art on its own terms. When the distinction between culture and entertainment is obliterated, high art is orphaned, exiled from the only context in which its distinctive meaning can manifest itself: Picasso becomes a kind of cartoon. This, more than any elitism or obscurity, is the real threat to culture today. As Hannah Arendt once observed, "there are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect, but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say."

Just to show how far the advance of the cultural Sahara is proceeding, the quote above was fourteen years ago. Today, the FAS at Harvard rules supreme over the landscape of desolation formerly called the "groves of academe."

To sum up:

When hatred of culture becomes itself a part of culture, the life of the mind loses all meaning.
—Alain Finkielkraut, The Undoing of Thought

Today we are trying to spread knowledge everywhere. Who knows if in centuries to come there will not be universities for re-establishing our former ignorance? —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799)

HESPEROPHOBIA, or hatred/fear of the West

Steve Sailer has posted an article that the National Review has rejected written by John Derbyshire. It is worth the read, employing the word Hesperophobia to describe the intense hatred of European and American values widespread in the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, as the resignation of Harvard President Larry Summers demonstrates, Hesperophobia is also prevalent in the U.S, particularly in the academic community.

The final paragraph of Derbyshire’s pessimistic piece is worth repeating here:

As I said, time is short. The Hun is at the gate. In the case of most European countries, in fact, the Hun, the hesperophobe, is inside the gate. We can dream on for a while, dream that our cultural superiority, our technological superiority, our political superiority, will preserve us against all assaults. Perhaps we should remember that the Huns were cultural illiterates, technological ignoramuses, and political incompetents. It doesn’t take much in the way of culture, technology, or statecraft to deliver a crippling blow to a weary, sybaritic, over-governed civilization that is near the end of its allotted span and has lost all faith in its own founding values. Time is short.

Now this sort of thinking is not new: The Decline of the West or Untergang des Abendlands was written in the early 20th century by Oswald Spengler and posited the supremacy of the West over other cultures by a Faustian strong-minded will to power over Dionysian cultures prone to static economic principles and punctuated by occasional spasms of religious or tribal/ethnic fanaticism. As the title suggests, this supremacy is presumed to be fleeting and bound to diminish.

Gibbons’ Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire also stands as an example of the genre.

A good antidote for at least another half-century of relative optimism can be found in a recent piece by Michael Lind in the Financial Times, unfortunately off-line. Lind points out that the U.S. has had a paramount position in the world economy since the early 20th century and is likely to continue its dominant position, for a number of reasons, for the next few decades, despite the alarming trade and financial deficit’s the U.S. is running up on a yearly basis.

Armchair philosophers will differ according to learning and temperament on these issues. Just today, the Financial Times bemoans a trahison des clercs as leading to the resignation of President of Harvard Larry Summers. Maybe the US is going the way of France in this respect.

But "one day at a time" still remains a good way to proceed when faced with daunting historical questions such as Derbyshire proposes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


There is a very astute piece in today’s Washington Post by David Ignatius that quotes a former boss of mine, Raja Sadawi, who owned the Oil Daily when I worked there in the late 80s. Sadawi has excellent insight into the dysfunction of Arab and Muslim elites as he himself was son of a Syrian journalist who spent much of his career in Hafez Al-Assads jails. As a young man, Raja made his fortune working for Adnan Khashoggi, whose grand-daughter goes to High School here in Boca Raton and is a frequent house-guest. Raja became a publisher with his money and now has a veritable energy-publishing empire.

Here is a large part of Ignatius' excellent analysis:

One of the baseline assumptions of U.S. foreign policy is that "connectedness" is a good thing. Linkage to the global economy fosters the growth of democracy and free markets, the theory goes, and that in turn creates the conditions for stability and security. But if that's true, why is an increasingly "connected" world such a mess?

This paradox of the 21st century is confounding the Bush administration's hopes for democratization in the Middle East. It turns out that in Iraq, Iran, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and perhaps nations yet to come, the growth of democracy and technology has had the effect of enfranchising pre-modern political movements -- ones linked to religious sects, ethnic minorities and tribes. This trend astonishes Westerners who meet with Arab modernizers at events such as the World Economic Forum or see the skyscrapers of Dubai and think the world is coming our way.

Among military strategists, the bible of connectedness is a book called "The Pentagon's New Map," by Thomas P.M. Barnett. He argues that the world today is divided between an "integrating core" of orderly commerce, stretching from America and Europe across to China and India, and a "non-integrating gap," which is his shorthand for the messy rest of the world. The task of U.S. foreign policy is to connect the two. Thomas Friedman's influential book, "The World Is Flat," argues that technology is driving this process of integration, and that it's creating a richer, smarter global community.

So why does the world feel so chaotic? Why is there a growing sense that, as Francis Fukuyama put it in a provocative essay in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, "More democracy will mean more alienation, radicalization and -- yes, unfortunately -- terrorism"? I have been discussing this conundrum with friends, and I've heard two interesting theories worth sharing.

The first comes from Raja Sidawi, a Syrian businessman who owns Petroleum Intelligence Weekly and is one of the most astute analysts of the Arab world I know. He argues that Barnett misses the fact that as elites around the world become more connected with the global economy, they become more disconnected from their own cultures and political systems. The local elites "lose touch with what's going on around them," opening up a vacuum that is filled by religious parties and sectarian groups, Sidawi contends. The modernizers think they are plugging their nations into the global economy, but what's also happening is that they are unplugging themselves politically at home.

Sidawi's theory -- that connectedness produces a political disconnect -- helps explain some of what we see in the Middle East. Take the case of Iran: A visitor to Tehran in 1975 would have thought the country was rushing toward the First World. The Iranian elite looked and talked just like the Western bankers, business executives and political leaders who were embracing the shah's modernizing regime. And yet a few years later, that image of connectedness had been shattered by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution, whose aftershocks still rumble across the region. The Iranian modernizers had lost touch with the masses. That process has been repeated in Iraq, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority -- where the secular elites who talked the West's line have proved to be politically weak.

A second explanation of the connectedness paradox comes from Charles M. McLean, who runs a trend-analysis company called Denver Research Group Inc. (I wrote a 2004 column called "Google With Judgment" that explained how his company samples thousands of online sources to assess where global opinion is heading.) I asked McLean last week if he could explain the latest explosion of rage in our connected world -- namely the violent Islamic reaction to Danish cartoon images of the prophet Muhammad.

McLean argues that the Internet is a "rage enabler." By providing instant, persistent, real-time stimuli, the new technology takes anger to a higher level. "Rage needs to be fed or stimulated continually to build or maintain it," he explains. The Internet provides that instantaneous, persistent poke in the eye. What's more, it provides an environment in which enraged people can gather at cause-centered Web sites and make themselves even angrier. The technology, McLean notes, "eliminates the opportunity for filtering or rage-dissipating communications to intrude." I think McLean is right. And you don't have to travel to Cairo to see how the Internet fuels rage and poisons reasoned debate. Just take a tour of the American blogosphere.

The connected world is inescapable, like the global economy itself. But if we can begin to understand how it undermines political stability -- how it can separate elites from masses, and how it can enhance rage rather than reason -- then perhaps we will have a better chance of restabilizing a very disorderly world.

Actually, Friedman's fatuous Pollyanna views of technology are being overcome by Fukuyama's hard-headed realism.

The soft-left has never understood the abyss between the friendly foreigners from exotic places they meet in international forums and the Arab-street or Mumbai slums or whereever these few lucky foreigners have escaped from. Sadawi works in the oil business, which does not offer a soft-landing for those who make slight mistakes. And he comes from a part of the world steeped in despotic practices from family patriarchies to national tyrannies to theocratic oligarchies.

McLean's observations about the internet enabling rage to be sustained certainly accounts for the hysterical hyperventilating White House Press Corps' mindlessness over the Cheney hunting accident, and Katrina, and Abramoff, and the NSA, and pick a number...... The incessant spew of obscenities and sputum-froth on the left side of the blogosphere suggests that the emotional balance of this mode of thought is seriously off-kilter. Ann Althouse, among other centrist bloggers, noted this recently.

What is most worrisome is the combination of primitive tribal or religion or ethnic based outrage being channeled by an internet-connected blogosphere that not only whips up violent emotions, but organizes the rioting and demonstrations that ensue.

Most dangerous, of course, in a flat world, is the internet-enabled ability to organize complex operations like the 9/11 catastrophe.

Connectedness is certainly a two-edged sword.

Coup D'Etat at Harvard

When I was at Amoco Corporation in the early nineties, I participated in a small lunch with Larry Summers, then visiting the University of Chicago and not yet a political heavyweight. I recall his antic charm and vivid intellect, as well as a sort of lets-cut-to-the-chase and forgo the niceties bluntness about issues. In the end, it perhaps was this no-nonsense style to cut the BS which got him in Dutch with the mandarinate of intellectual eunuchs who have taken over Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Alan Dershowitz has more in theBoston Globe today:

A PLURALITY of one faculty has brought about an academic coup d'etat against not only Harvard University president Lawrence Summers but also against the majority of students, faculty, and alumni. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which forced Summers's resignation by voting a lack of confidence in him last March and threatening to do so again on Feb. 28, is only one component of Harvard University and is hardly representative of widespread attitudes on the campus toward Summers. The graduate faculties, the students, and the alumni generally supported Summers for his many accomplishments. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences includes, in general, some of the most radical, hard-left elements within Harvard's diverse constituencies. And let there be no mistake about the origin of Summers's problem with that particular faculty: It started as a hard left-center conflict. Summers committed the cardinal sin against the academic hard left: He expressed politically incorrect views regarding gender, race, religion, sexual preference, and the military.

The original no-confidence motion contained an explanatory note that explicitly referenced ''Mr. Summers' apparently ongoing convictions about the capacities and rights not only of women but also of African-Americans, third-world nations, gay people, and colonized peoples." The note also condemned Summers for his 2002 speech in which he said calls from professors and students for divestment from Israel were ''anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent."

Although the explanatory note was eventually removed from the motion, it was the 400-pound gorilla in the room. Summers was being condemned for expressing views deemed offensive by some of the faculty. I personally disagreed with some of Summers's statements, but that is beside the point in an institution committed to academic freedom and diversity of viewpoints.

In the minds of at least some vocal members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, expressing such politically incorrect views is the academic equivalent of provoking Islamic extremists by depicting Prophet Mohammed in a political cartoon. Radical academics do not, of course, burn down buildings, at least not since the 1970s. Instead they introduce motions of no confidence and demand resignations of those who offend their sensibilities (while insisting on complete freedom of speech for those with whom they agree -- free speech for me but not for thee!).

Once the academic bloodletting began, it was difficult to stanch the wound. Everything Summers did, or did not do, became the object of criticism. Not only was the honeymoon over, the divorce had begun, at least in the minds of those determined to get rid of Summers. When he selected a new dean of Arts and Sciences, there were complaints. When the new dean resigned, there were complaints, some from the same faculty members who opposed the original selection.

Summers could do no right in the eyes of his radical critics, who could never forgive him for his perceived original sins and who saw an opportunity to build wider coalitions every time Summers took actions that alienated other groups, as a president -- especially an activist and sometimes abrasive president -- will inevitably do. Some less ideological critics of Summers's leadership style then joined the radicals in a cacophony of strange bedfellows, but the core of the opposition always remained the hard left.
It was arrogant in the extreme for a plurality of a single faculty to purport to speak for the entire university, especially when that plurality is out of synch with the mainstream of Harvard. It was dangerous for the corporation to listen primarily to that faculty, without widely consulting other professors, students, and alumni who supported Summers. Now that this plurality of one faculty has succeeded in ousting the president, the most radical elements of Harvard will be emboldened to seek to mold all of Harvard in its image. If they succeed, Harvard will become a less diverse and less interesting institution of learning governed by political-correctness cops of the hard left. This is what happened in many European universities after the violent student protests of the late 1960s. It should not be allowed to happen at Harvard in the wake of the coup d'etat engineered by some in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Look for pass-fail courses to supplant the rampant grade inflation already inflicting harm on the value of Ivy League degrees. Look for frauds and plagiarists and ex-cons like Ward Churchill and Susan Rosenberg and other artifacts of leftist arcana to infest Harvard now that Summers has thrown in the towel.

What will always puzzle me is why Summers did not hold out for a political end-run around the flanks of the fossilized 60's tenure-tyrants?

Three quarters of the student body supported him, according to a Crimson poll, and the other faculties and administration bodies opposed his decapitation. He would have the support of soft-left purveyors like the Globe and Dershowitz, who appreciate Summers dynamic vision for the future.

The angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin lefter-than-thou ideologues are counting coup after this scalping of a genuine reformer. Look for Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers to get faculty appointments and instant tenure in the near future.

Golden Dome Mosque Explosion

The NYT notes:
The golden-domed shrine housed the tombs of two revered leaders of Shiite Islam and symbolized the place where the Imam Mahdi, a mythical, messianic figure, disappeared from this earth. Believers in the imam say he will return when the apocalypse is near, to cleanse the world of its evils.

Juan Cole points out that the Observance of 10 Muharram, demonstrations concerning the Danish cartoons, and previous bomb attacks have heated the Shi‘ite community to feverish levels. As a result, Cole notes, some

Shiites think his second coming is imminent. Muqtada all-Sadr and his followers are among them. They are livid about this attack on the shrine of the Mahdi's father.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also a firm believer in the imminent coming of the Mahdi. I worry that Iranian anger will boil over as a result of this bombing of a Shiite millenarian symbol.

Iraq the Model points out the numerous efforts, including by Muqtada Al-Sadr and Ayatollah Sistani, to dampen the volatile Shia reaction to desecration of the Mosque of the Golden Dome. Sunni clerics are joining the Shi’ite leaders’ exhortations to avoid violence and are also pledging money to rebuild the dome.

The Hidden Imam remains a touchstone of Shi’ite belief in a messianic return by the Mahdi to cleanse the world of evil and right historical wrongs.

Both the US and Sunnis are high on the Shi'ite list of evils and historical wrongs to be put right.

WaPo & LAT support GWB

Both the Washington Post and the
Los Angeles Times have editorials supporting President Bush and condemning the Congressional firestorm about the Dubai purchase of P & O. The LAT says:
Compared to airport security, port security is woefully underfunded and undeveloped. A paper written by former Coast Guard Cmdr. Stephen E. Flynn in the current issue of the Far Eastern Economic Review calls the system a "house of cards." Flynn argues that any terrorist worth his salt could simply seek out a well-known "trusted" shipper's containers to stash his deadly contraband. He calls for a slate of inspection-oriented reforms, including the adoption of better screening technologies. Who owns the companies that operate the ports isn't the point — it's how those companies work together with federal and local authorities to keep ports safe. And the Department of Homeland Security has a long way to go before it figures out how best to get that done.

Even Jimmy Carter, a personage who comes under much derision from this particular blog, comes out on the right side in support of GWB’s approval of this purchase. Although Carter might waffle out of his current stance, given his track record.

When I worked in the Middle East, recycling petrodollars was the order of business. Now, as the US comes under more dependence from this region’s oil supplies, we are supposed to reject doing business with our allies in the troubled region. Smacks of Arab-bashing. The always hypocritical Democrats, ever indignant about ethnic or racial profiling, toss their objections to stereotyping aside to wax indignant about the purchase. No surprise there.

But free-marketers like Frist and Hastert should know better. Gutter politics does make strange bedfellows again and again, as when Bill Frist, Hillary Clinton, Hastert and Schumer all are under the covers together in this fight.

The always-wrong New York Times disgraces itself by taking numerous cheap shots at Bush for having cabinet members with ties to big business. This would sit better if the NYT had not heretofore consistently labeled GWB some sort of obsessive madman on security issues. But the NYT has for a long while now been unmoored from all pretense of journalistic consistency and editorial integrity.

The WSJ lets loose on both mugwump Republicans and Dems, but especially Dems!

As for the Democrats, we suppose this is a two-fer: They have a rare opportunity to get to the right of the GOP on national security, and they can play to their union, anti-foreign investment base as well. At a news conference in front of New York harbor, Senator Chuck Schumer said allowing the Arab company to manage ports "is a homeland security accident waiting to happen." Hillary Clinton is also along for this political ride.
So the same Democrats who lecture that the war on terror is really a battle for "hearts and minds" now apparently favor bald discrimination against even friendly Arabs investing in the U.S.? Guantanamo must be closed because it's terrible PR, wiretapping al Qaeda in the U.S. is illegal, and the U.S. needs to withdraw from Iraq, but these Democratic superhawks simply will not allow Arabs to be put in charge of American longshoremen. That's all sure to play well on al Jazeera.

Actually, the NYT did have one suggestion which could damp down the silliness and political posturing. The CFIU department in Treasury has a 1993 amendment calling for an extra 45 day extension on inquiries if the foreign investment is by a "foreign government," which is the case in this transaction.

How about a time-out so that a more sane and balanced dialogue can take place?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

WMD? Oh that WMD!

At a private "intelligence summit" attended by a number of former senior administration officials, a top Pentagon official who was responsible for tracking Saddam Hussein's weapons programs before and after the 2003 liberation of Iraq, has provided the first-ever account of how Saddam Hussein "cleaned up" his weapons of mass destruction stockpiles to prevent the United States from discovering them.

"The short answer to the question of where the WMD Saddam bought from the Russians went was that they went to Syria and Lebanon," former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense John A. Shaw told an audience Saturday at a privately sponsored "Intelligence Summit" in Alexandria, Va.

"They were moved by Russian Spetsnaz (special forces) units out of uniform, that were specifically sent to Iraq to move the weaponry and eradicate any evidence of its existence," he said.

Shaw has dealt with weapons-related issues and export controls as a U.S. government official for 30 years, and was serving as deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security when the events he described today occurred.

He called the evacuation of Saddam's WMD stockpiles "a well-orchestrated campaign using two neighboring client states with which the Russian leadership had a long time security relationship."

Shaw was initially tapped to make an inventory of Saddam's conventional weapons stockpiles, based on intelligence estimates of arms deals he had concluded with the former Soviet Union, China and France.

He estimated that Saddam had amassed 100 million tons of munitions - roughly 60 percent of the entire U.S. arsenal. "The origins of these weapons were Russian, Chinese and French in declining order of magnitude, with the Russians holding the lion's share and the Chinese just edging out the French for second place."

But as Shaw's office increasingly got involved in ongoing intelligence to identify Iraqi weapons programs before the war, he also got "a flow of information from British contacts on the ground at the Syrian border and from London" via non-U.S. government contacts.

"The intelligence included multiple sitings of truck convoys, convoys going north to the Syrian border and returning empty," he said.

Shaw worked closely with Julian Walker, a former British ambassador who had decades of experience in Iraq, and an unnamed Ukrainian-American who was directly plugged in to the head of Ukraine's intelligence service.

John Shaw later on accuses the DIA and CIA of trying to interfere with his DOD findings:

In addition to the convoys heading to Syria, Shaw said his contacts "provided information about steel drums with painted warnings that had been moved to a cellar of a hospital in Beirut."

But when Shaw passed on his information to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and others within the U.S. intelligence community, he was stunned by their response.

"My report on the convoys was brushed off as ‘Israeli disinformation,'" he said.

One month later, Shaw learned that the DIA general counsel complained to his own superiors that Shaw had eaten from the DIA "rice bowl." It was a Washington euphemism that meant he had commited the unpardonable sin of violating another agency's turf.

The CIA responded in even more diabolical fashion. "They trashed one of my Brits and tried to declare him persona non grata to the intelligence community,"

Whether or not Shaw's allegations are all true, there is an overall pattern in the CIA at least that suggests that politicization at the working levels has influenced Agency judgments AGAINST the Bush Administration, perhaps nudged by VP Cheney's badgering of working level intelligence analysts and the rival operation set up in DOD by Douglas Feith.

Even Paul Pillar, author of a controversial Foreign Affairs article on the Iraq War which criticizes the raison d'etre of its inception, admits in interviews with Charlie Rose and Jim Lehrer that the leaking of sensitive NSA information to the NYT has severely damaged the CIA among its allied intelligence agencies who fear sharing with the CIA may compromise their own methods and sources.

Gen. Georges Sada also claims that Saddam removed WMD from Iraq to Syria in June 2002 via an airlift once SH became convinced that GWB was going to invade Iraq.

Also, there are tapes revealed at the "intelligence summit" of SH voicing his intention to employ gas and nerve agents in Washington and other U.S. cities.

"Israeli Disinformation" may now be becoming palpable intelligence coinage for rejecting scenarios that let the Bush Administration off the hook, since the DOD neo-con shop of Feith has been implicated in passing information to AIPAC and presumably this might be a two-way street.

However, the efforts of the Democrats to employ the WMD card and other mainstream media campaigns against Bush may hit speed bumps if additional credible information about Saddam and his coterie comes to light.

Globalization a Two-Way Street

The Financial Times editorial on the Dubai proposal to buy port facilities on the East Coast of the US. The gist is: better to have an ally in Bush's GWOT in the tent pissing out than vice versa:

The current furore in Washington about the takeover of P&O, the UK-based ports operator, by Dubai Ports World says more about the United States Congress than the United Arab Emirates. The bluster about national security conceals one of the uglier faces of US protectionism - the one with the slightly racist tinge.

DP World, the mainly Dubai government-owned ports operator, paid top dollar, $6.8bn (£3.9bn), for P&O, part of its bid to build a worldwide network of maritime terminals with Dubai at its centre. The bold move was very much in character with the vaulting ambition of Dubai - one of the seven emirates in the UAE federation led by Abu Dhabi - and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, its restless ruler.

Dubai is the most dynamic of the glittering city-states that run down the east of the Arabian peninsula. It long ago decided to invest its (relatively modest) endowment of oil in other ways of making a living. So far, it has done very well. By creating excellent airport infrastructure and Emirates, one of the world's best and most profitable airlines, it seeded not just a regional but international air transport, transhipment and tourism hub. It has also become a regional financial and services centre. Oil revenue now amounts to only 7 per cent of Dubai's income, although it benefits from its federal ties with oil-flush Abu Dhabi.

It excites a bit of derision by seeming to want the biggest of everything: the largest man-made island, the highest tower (the planned 3,000 feet-plus Burj Dubai), the richest horse-racing prize or the biggest airliners' order. Yet its diversification strategy is increasingly admired and copied in a region that desperately needs to create jobs.

But some western governments and international companies - while benefiting from the boom in Dubai and the UAE - tend to be either patronising or paranoid. Either Dubai's success is overreach and financial levitation, or murky and in hock to sinister Arab aims. Being the Singapore of the Gulf is not the same as being Singapore.

Because DP World acquires through P&O American ports including New York, New Jersey and Miami, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are denouncing a possible breach in the frontline against terrorism.

This is a more strident response than last year's rebuff of CNOOC, the Chinese state-owned oil company, and its $18bn bid for Unocal. The UAE is a strategic US ally in the Middle East. The Bush administration is right to defend the deal and the alliance.

First, the deal has been vetted by an inter-agency committee. And ports, in any case, are in one of the most highly regulated sectors in the US. What matters is how they are managed, not who owns them.

Second, leading Dubai companies such as DP World bring with them certain advantages. They habitually: spend money to make money; headhunt the best professionals (in DP World that includes top Americans); and produce high rates of growth. The ambitious new $15bn aerospace enterprise Dubai announced this week will be built around that formula.

Third, the honourable senators might get this purchase in perspective by pondering the extent to which the Gulf allies they so distrust already own vast quantities of US assets, as well as dollar assets held offshore. For Abu Dhabi alone, a 1 percentage point move in US interest rates now means more than a $10 per barrel swing in the price of oil. Do the math.

I support this view, as does RCP Blog in its substance. Not its politics. Even the sometimes strident Counterterrorism Blog give a qualified affirmative.

However, both blogs agree, as I do, that the run-up to this deal could have been handled much better, as the politics of the situation appear insane at first glance.

But former New Jersey Gov Christy Todd Whitman, admitting she blanched at first hearing the proposal, now supports it with suitable security from Chertoff's shop at Homeland Security.

But the clumsiness of the GWB White House again is displayed as bipartisan opposition reveals the U.S.'s near-racist protectionism in full view on the world stage.

Globalization is a two-way street.

Christian Payback

Transterrestrial Musings has the following on Christian violence against Muslims in southern Nigeria.
Expect the usual mindless platitudes from the usual suspects about the "cycle of violence." But as in Israel, such language indicates a symmetry that doesn't exist. The Islamists were rioting and killing people and burning chuches over cartoons. The Christians are rioting and killing people and burning mosques because they're finally, at long last, tired of the Islamists rioting and killing them, and burning their churches, and aren't going to take it any more.

If the Islamists really seek a war with the west, they should be careful what they wish for. Any time that they've had to seriously engage a motivated western military, they haven't done well.


Modern America's Roman Predicament

The Financial Times has an interesting commentary on U.S. hegemony written by Princeton Prof Harold James, the article is available by subscription on-line, I have my home paper to quote from:
Before September 11 2001, it was widely assumed that globalisation bred peace and stability. But over the past five years, there has been increased nervousness about this concept in many parts of the world. It is not worry about the state of the world economy, which has proved amazingly robust, but about the framework for world governance. In particular, there is widespread mistrust of the world's only superpower and increased doubt about the sort of politics that America tries to impose on the rest of the world.

As the Bush presidency gets bogged down in the quagmire of Iraq, there is still a widespread assumption that there might be a quick and easy fix. Critics of the administration think that the world's view of America would be transformed if only the US president sounded kinder. Many officials in Washington believe that if the world understood all they really wanted was peace, prosperity and democracy, the criticism would subside. Such optimistic beliefs are mistaken but are characteristic of an ever-recurring dilemma of an interconnected world. Consider some historical parallels: in 1776, the year of the US Declaration of Independence, Adam Smith and Edward Gibbon published the first volumes of two works that both used history to illuminate Britain's own problems with the globalisation of that age: The Wealth of Nations and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Prof James goes on to cite Robert Kagan's famous juxtaposition of the Mars views of Americans versus the Venus views of Europeans. Americans have universal rules and Europeans see American power behind the rules and can scarcely, with some exceptions, deal with American Manichaean viewpoints.

The question at the heart of the projection of American power/European multicultural multilateralism lies in the cultural and political differences between the two, but James claims they are both based on "challenge and response" of the West confronting a rapidly developing Islamic/radical/underdeveloped world. James asks:

Should we fight off [American] or buy off [EU] the barbarians at the gates? Conquer and/or provide prosperity? The first is arrogantly belligerent and the second arrogantly patronizing. Both recommend more power and more modernization.

Before we lapse into a "Clash of Civilizations" mindset, James finally poses a question about values and traditions:

Instead of thinking that technical development will automatically produce prosperity and thus solve, as if by magic, the problem of values, policymakers in the industrialized world need to think and talk explicitly about values and traditions.

What does the Islamic tradition have in common with western traditions that respects human dignity and how can modern America show that it respects these values too?

James ends by claiming that resolving Guantanamo Bay detentions "would be an obvious first step to showing how the US can accept as well as invent universal values."

I disagree. The detainees were and are non-POWs in the Geneva Convention sense, as they were in civilian garb when captured. This would amount to putting potential terrorists now possibly radicalized by Gitmo back into circulation. Already, several released detainees have been recidivists on the terror scene.

James has a nugget of fool's gold with a little 24-carat gilding. James assumes that an international system of values and traditions can avoid the "Clash of Civilizations" Again, Robert Kagan provides a bit of cold water to the face:
George F. Kennan assumed only his na?ve fellow Americans succumbed to such "Wilsonian" legalistic and moralistic fancies, not those war-tested, historically minded European Machiavels. But, really, why shouldn’t Europeans be idealistic about international affairs, at least as they are conducted in Europe’s “postmodern system”? Within the confines of Europe, the age-old laws of international relations have been repealed. Europeans have stepped out of the Hobbesian world of anarchy into the Kantian world of perpetual peace. European life during the more than five decades since the end of World War II has been shaped not by the brutal laws of power politics but by the unfolding of a geopolitical fantasy, a miracle of world-historical importance: The German lion has laid down with the French lamb. The conflict that ravaged Europe ever since the violent birth of Germany in the nineteenth century has been put to rest.

The cartoon controversy, sparked by a 220,000 unassimilated minority in 6 million Denmark, demonstrates that the Kantian perpetual peace has subversives within. Denmark has the lowest unemployment rate in the EU, but over 80% of the Muslim "refugees" are unemployed and living in subsidized housing and stipends from the state. Ditto for Sweden, according to Christopher Caldwell in The New York Times magazine a week ago.

There is a Trojan Horse of values and traditions anti-thetical to Enlightenment Europe's Kantian la-la land. Burnt cars in France, Ghettostans in the UK, Guest Workers in Germany and Scandanavian refugee/squatters. And the votes in France and Holland last year against continuing the EU fantasy mission civilitrice are perhaps a result of the murders of the Dutchmen Pym Fortyn and Theo Van Gogh as symbols of Islamic intolerance of criticism or abiding by the cultural norms of host countries.

In the end, the US applications of power may be more appropriate for the Hobbesian realities prevailing in much of the geopolitical planet. Harold James may have confused the Categorical Imperative with the EU's patronizing view that it won the Cold War all by itself.

Let's see Europe assimilate the former East Bloc's migratory labor before it claims moral superiority over other inclusionary cultures, like the USA.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Historical Truth Speaks for Itself

Christopher Caldwell wrote an interesting comment piece in the FT Weekend on February 17th an interesting piece on the whole problem on free speech and Holocaust denial, called Historical truth speaks for itself
At the height of the worldwide demonstrations over caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, some protesters claimed the west did not value free speech as much as it said. After all, the argument ran, many western countries ban Holocaust denial. Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the Iranian leader, has recently thumbed his nose at the west by denying the Holocaust himself. A Belgian Arab group released a cartoon showing Adolf Hitler in bed with Anne Frank. "Europe, too, has its sacred cows," said the group's leader, Dyab Abou Jahjah, "even if they are not religious sacred cows."
The gesture may be tawdry, but the point is essentially correct. In much of Europe, there is a legislated "official truth" about the Holocaust. France passed its so-called Gayssot law, making Holocaust denial a crime, in 1990. Germany and Switzerland soon followed suit. Denying or minimising the Holocaust is now also a crime in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.

The rest of the excellent commentary is regrettably for subscribers only, but my home edition of the FT has his interesting catalogue of the consequences of laws which now make it illegal to deny Armenian genocide and the evils of French colonialism, and commit "hate crimes," to name only major French infractions against freedom of speech.

The gist of Caldwell’s piece is that all sorts of new "memory laws" and other "hate crimes" have sprouted, even including a member of French National Assembly convicted of homophobia for venturing the opinion that "heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality on the moral level."

Caldwell notes that
"once the state admits that there are other prejudices in society besides anti-Semitism, other minority groups …reason that the principle of protecting minorities by restricting certain utterances about their history, and new groups pop up to agitate for special protections against the prejudice that threatens them most."

UK legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin suggests using the European Convention on Human Rights to strike down laws banning Holocaust denial.

This now becomes more topical than ever because noted Holocaust denier David Irving has been sentenced to three years in jail in Austria for statements made fifteen years ago. He has written thirty books of history and even Sir John Keegan was on the record as saying that Irving is unparalleled in his command of primary documents of the Nazi era, adding that his opinions are "perverse." Irving now has recanted some of his views, citing new documents that came his way after his remarks in 1989 that have now sent him to jail.

The problem, of course, is that once historical opinion becomes entangled in legal tangles, freedom of speech is the first to suffer. The Muslims have a point that freedom of speech depends on the strength of political lobbies in various countries and is a sham when used to excuse inflammatory words or pictures of cultural or religious icons.

Caldwell finishes up his piece on laws and free speech
Mr. Dworkin’s case for abolishing laws against Holocaust denial on grounds of political legitimacy is the right one. Of course, no one should be under the illusion that being able to go out and deny the Holocaust will add much to any "debate."....... So those western countries with laws against Holocaust denial are now in a tricky position. They must undo laws that have proved unworkable and counterproductive---and at a moment when some of those laws’ most vocal detractors are violent people of ill will.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Christian Deathwish

Michelle Malkin has a list of atrocities committed by Muslims against Christians that starts with this weekend's slaughter of Christians in northeast Nigeria and goes back a decade.

Remaining silent and/or "turning the other cheek" simply demonstrates to terrorists that Christians are an easy mark, and have no innate self-defense skills. Perhaps Pope John Paul II was correct that Christianity is at its best when it is under siege as the East Bloc proved. But how does that help the Christian community in Nigeria, Sudan, the West Bank, Lebanon, East Timor, the People's Republic of China?

The mainstream media despises Christians as a bunch of feminized Anglican vicars eager to surrender before being challenged.

Malkin's list should be read from the pulpit of every self-respecting Christian Church every Sunday until the fat, well-off churchgoers begin to realize their brethren elsewhere are suffering for the faith they take for granted.

A Ride with Teddy and searching for the air bubble...

Mark Steyn skewers the autistic moronic collection of apodictic twits called the White House Press Corps in the Chicago Sun-Times. Teddy Kennedy gets roundly roughed up:
The third jolly event of the week was those other excitable fellows -- the Big Media White House reporters -- jumping up and down shouting "Death to Dick Cheney!" NBC's David Gregory, the George Clooney of the press corps, was yelling truth to power about why the Elmer-Fudd-in-gun-rampage story was released to "a local Corpus Christi newspaper, not the White House press corps at large.'' I know how he feels. I remember, like, four or five years ago -- early September, maybe second week -- there was this building collapse in New York and I had to learn about it from the TV because this notoriously secretive paranoid administration couldn't even e-mail me a timely press release. For an NBC guy discovering that some hicksville nowhere-burg one-stop-light feed-price sheet got tipped off before he did is like a dowager duchess turning up at the royal banquet to discover the scullery maid's been seated next to the queen.

So anyway David Gregory's going bananas and yelling "I will yell!" and "Don't be a jerk!" at the White House press secretary, and there's more smoke coming out of his ears than from Ronald McDonald in Lahore, and I'm thinking, you know, maybe Karl's latest range of Rovebots that he planted in American media corporations are just a wee bit too parodically self-absorbed to be plausible. And then this lady pipes up and asks, "Would this be much more serious if the man had died?"

Well, maybe. And maybe it would be even ever so much more serious still if, after peppering him with birdshot, Cheney had dragged him into a safe house in the Sunni Triangle and decapitated him with a rusty scimitar while shouting "Allahu Ahkbar!" and then sold the video to al-Jazeera.

Fortunately, the Washington Post had that wise old bird David Ignatius to put it in the proper historical context: "This incident," he mused, "reminds me a bit of Sen. Edward Kennedy's delay in informing Massachusetts authorities about his role in the fatal automobile accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969."

Hmm. Let's see. On the one hand, the guy leaves the gal at the bottom of the river struggling for breath pressed up against the window in some small air pocket while he pulls himself out of the briny, staggers home, sleeps it off and saunters in to inform the cops the following day that, oh yeah, there was some broad down there. And, on the other hand, the guy calls 911, has the other fellow taken to the hospital, lets the sheriff know promptly but neglects to fax David Gregory's make-up girl!

One can only hope others agree with Ignatius' insightful analogy, and that the reprehensible Cheney will be hounded from public life the way Kennedy was all those years ago. One would hate to think folks would just let it slide and three decades from now this Cheney guy will be sitting on some committee picking Supreme Court justices and whatnot.

He even manages to put Voltaire and Canada in the same sentence:

In Canada, by contrast, the Western Standard (for which I also write) stood firm in its decision to publish the cartoons, and as a result is suffering legal harassment from Muslim lobby groups and has been banned from both Air Canada and two of the country's leading bookstore chains, Indigo-Chapters and McNally Robinson. Paul McNally of the latter defended his action this way: "We feel there is nothing to gain on the side of freedom of expression and much to lose on the side of hurting feelings." Not exactly Voltaire, is it? "I disagree strongly with what you say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it as long as it doesn't hurt anybody's feelings." Maybe it could be Canada's new national motto.

Or maybe, "let's surrender unconditionally and then beg for mercy from our Sharia overlords."

Sounds like the theme for their new national anthem, which could be named, Ow, Canada!

"The White House Makes Us Look Foolish..."

Drudgereport has some quotes from CNN's Reliable Sources which show how clueless the Mainstream Media has become about its own ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM!

Now the White House is using the Press's behaviour to make it look stupid!

What an ingenious trick and of course, you can blame Bush now for making the press look like "awful, whining," and "using the constant press coverage of this story as a wedge..." That's right, the constant coverage is being used "to distract attention from what happened..."

Bill Plante of CBS, whose head will soon be lopped off by Sean McManus if he already hasn't left like John Roberts for CNN, is responsible for the last observation. Here it is in quotes:

On CNN's RELIABLE SOURCES, WASHINGTON POST reporter Dana Milbank fretted that the White House is exploiting the public's growing disdain for the mainstream media. "Of course they succeed,” Milbank said of Bush aides. "The press always looks awful. They will once again make us look awful."

CNN's Candy Crowley added: "The perception is that we're whining."

White House correspondent Bill Plante of CBS agreed.

"The vice president and the White House have both used the constant press coverage of this story as a wedge,” he told RELIABLE SOURCES host Howard Kurtz. "It plays to the prejudices of the people who are predisposed not to like us, and it's one way to distract attention from what happened."

Actually, the pack of fools inside the Beltway is doing a great job of making themselves look silly all by themselves!

Do they have even an inkling on how stupid they look to people who actually work for a living or have to meet a payroll?

Guess not.

The Pursuit of Happiness

George Stephanopoulos has an excellent Sunday morning hour-long news show with a variety of opinion and the Sunday funnies, usually snippets of Jay Leno and Letterman and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel making fun of the newsies.

Jay Leno had the funniest laugh when he mentioned a nightmare he had on whether to go hunting with Cheney or for a car ride with Teddy Kennedy.

But at the end of his show, he mentioned a recent Pew poll that showed that when asked, 45% of Republicans said they were happy and only 30% of Democrats felt the same way.

While the Nation editor Katrina van den Heuvel tried to explain this was because of politics, the ever wise and always on the money Cokie Roberts let the truth slip out.

Cokie noted: That's probably because Republicans go to Church and they tend to stay married.


Dana Milbank gets spanked, sorta....

Washington Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell responds today to the appearance of one of the WaPo News Reporters on MSNBC in a hunting costume.

Actually, Howell explains that washingtonpost.com is under "different management" and under the online auspices, Milbank is an "opinion writer."

Got that? So Milbank wears two hats, an orange one for opinion ["clockwork orange" which is cockney for 'crazy' comes to mind] and perhaps a fedora for his news mode?

Like Captain's Quarters, I find Milbank amusing from time to time, although ninety-five on the ADA rating scale.

At least he has a day job, unlike another MSNBC denizen, David Gregory, who can't write down his thoughts [and has a limited range of thinking, from his on-air antics over the Cheney accident].

The seepage of editorial opinion into straight news reporting is even more prevalent in the UK, according to Trevor Butterworth in an FT Weekend piece on blogging. But the bias in the NYT and WaPo against G.W.Bush exceeds any level against any sitting President, except for Richard Nixon, in my memory.

Demonizing the opposition is the Democrats' way of obscuring the sad fact that they themselves lack any policy initiatives of their own, and are simply against the status quo. Nancy Pelosi seems to think that the news media will waft the Democrats into a majority in the House and Senate in the fall of this year.

That might happen, but the US national press is becoming a bit like the Middle East press I used to read in Lebanon, where various parties owned papers and various countries like Libya and Syria owned other papers and the truth had to by and large be squeezed out of the foreign press.

But at the moment, the U.S. mainstream media reflects the conurbations on the East and Left Coasts, by and large, and the "flyover" red states aren't going to change much if they are ignored or condescended to.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Unhinged Left goes bonkers

Alcohol-and-drug-addict Baldwin accuses Dick Cheney of being "a terrorist to our enemies" and to innocent by-standers here in the USA.

If Cheney terrorizes our Al-Qaeda enemies, that makes him anathema to America-haters like Baldwin, who famously shouted for a congressman to be murdered because he favored Clinton's Impeachment.

Chronic drunk Baldwin in his delirium tremens thinks Cheney had a lot of beers, which an alcoholic like Baldwin does before breakfast, and is going to court. The rest of the left cannot be far behind in calling for Cheney's impeachment. Just another chance to demonstrate how loose living damages neuro-ruts in the feverish brains of the far-left.

The exempt left pays no penalty for slander and calumny. The right gets hammered by a hunting accident. No network save Fox cable even tries to defend what hunters know is simply an unfortunate mishap.

The only hunt the left side of the political spectrum engages in is for scalps of the party in power.

FT Weekend on Blogging

FT Weekend has a piece, regrettably offline, on blogging and bloggers. The piece is written by a fellow named Trevor Butterworth, who mentions the Guardian as one of his previous writing stints, so it takes little imagination to discern his bias.

Butterworth concentrates on Gawker and Wonkette, and describes the political side of the blogosphere as fleas feeding on fleas feeding on the mainstream media, which are a pack of fleas themselves, come to think of it.

Just to give an idea of his own journalistic accuracy, Butterworth neglects to mention Mickey Kaus' former stint with The New Republic.

Just another fad, fed by prolix scribblers and wannabee journalists, the FT article sums up. The NYT has nothing to fear, Butterworth says, and will remain the narrative touchstone of our daily lives, or some such blather.....

Given the flotsam and jetsam that fetches up on the White House Press beachhead, some sort of different narratives might be less mortifying to thoughtful observers....

Katie Couric on CBS?

John Roberts has defected from CBS to CNN, where his Canadian-bland brand of leftism will flourish. Sean McManus continues to clean house, which Andrew Heyward had mussed up with his various pro-Democratic agenda enterprises. Heyward had told a Congressional Cte years ago that it was the "right" of CBS to promote a political agenda, FCC Fair Practices guidelines to the contrary notwithstanding.

But is McManus serious about Katie Couric as evening anchor?

Friday, February 17, 2006

NYT Attacks Wal-Mart

The New York Times continued the steady cascade of articles by the left-wing MSM against Wal-Mart, castigating its CEO Lee Scott for comments made by Wal-Mart's in-house web-site, Lee's Garage.

The NYT also posted a web site called Wal-Mart Watch supported by unions and foundations which monitor and frequently oppose Wal-Mart's policies and expansion plans.

After the usual shrill agitprop NYT readers are routinely exposed to concerning Mr. Scott's large salary and the fact that he
hops around the globe on Wal-Mart's fleet of jets and who lives in a gated community called Pinnacle

the piece suddenly does a 180 degree turnaround and, as if written by another author with a "good cop" attitude, displays Mr. Scott and his concerns much more sympathetically.

As though the NYT political commissar didn't have time to edit page two!

New York, like Chicago, refuses to allow Wal-Marts within its city borders, although Wal-Mart got huge publicity in Chicagoland recently when Evergreen Park opened a store just across the city line from Chicago and got over 30,000 job applications.

Unions portray Wal-Mart as a bad employer, but the company has three times the sales volume of its nearest competitor, the tony and over-hyped Target chain, which coincidentally is owned and managed by the Dayton family, whose scion is a far-left Democratic Senator in Minnesota. Target contributes heavily to Democratic Party causes, and Wal-Mart does the same for Republican causes and foundations.

Stay tuned as it is becoming apparent that the crusade against Wal-Mart will activate more ultra-left journalism on PBS, the networks, the legacy exempt media NYT-LAT-WaPo-Globe axis of weasals, and other bulwarks of anti-capitalism.

This "invisible hand" is leaving fingerprints all over its media playground sites.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cheney beset by "Spoiled Brat Media"

The redoubtable Thomas Sowell spanks the entitled-legacy exempt-media White House Press Corps as "spoiled brat media." Beating the wacko-left dead-horse on the Cheney accident one last time, here are a couple of choice observations on chimp-change showoffs like David Gregory, who spent the first twenty minutes each day this week on Chris Mathews' Hardball explaining how important he is. Sowell writes:

It was a classic example of a special interest demanding special privileges -- as if they were rights.
There is nothing in the Constitution or the laws that says that the media have a right to be in the White House at all, much less to have press conferences.
This has become a customary courtesy over the years, but courtesy is a two-way street, except for those in the media who act like spoiled brats, as if they have some inherent right to whatever serves their institutional, career, or ideological purposes.
The media love to wrap themselves in the mantle of "the public's right to know" but there is no such dedication to that right when it goes against the journalists' own prejudices.
The public's right to know what a "partial birth abortion" is has been consistently disregarded for years by whole networks, even when they have given wide coverage to abortion controversies. Whatever your position on abortions, you need to know what you are talking about but the media recognize no such "right to know."
If you knew, you might not agree with them.
The same journalists who used phony documents to attack President Bush's military service recognize no "right to know" why Senator John Kerry's honorable discharge is dated long after his service was over and during the Carter administration, when less than honorable discharges were allowed to be upgraded to honorable.
The "public's right to know" apparently extends only to such things as will not cause the public to reach conclusions different from those of the liberal media.
My favorite press secretary was Margaret Tutwiler, who treated reporters like misbehaving little boys, which is how they often acted. Nor were the reporters' antics due solely to personal boorishness.
They had before them the example of Dan Rather and Sam Donaldson, who reached the big time on TV by being snotty to Presidents. At the very least, White House correspondents can get more time on the tube by waxing indignant at what they choose to portray as violations of "the public's right to know" while the cameras are rolling.

Of course, you have to be a complete ignoramus not to know that clowns like Gregory and WaPo chimp Milbank ape Rather and Donaldson in order to rise in their liberal-run print and electronic networks. And the fact that fake-hero Kerry has not been held accountable for the extremely suspicious circumstances of his three Purple Hearts for one tiny scratch-wound HAT TRICK, nor the non-release of his military records to the media, demonstrates the completely fraudulent nature of the mainstream media.

The American MSM is about 93% pro-Democrat [which is the percentage of the Washington Press who voted for Clinton in '92] and should be listed as an UNREGISTERED LOBBYISTS or identified as a SPECIAL INTEREST and pay taxes like lobbyists and interest groups are obliged to pay.

The lack of popularity and the persistent bias against the media is largely unknown BECAUSE THE MEDIA FAILS TO REPORT IT!

The results of a three-year UCLA/U. of Missouri study prove incontestably that the top-20 media outlets in the USA have a median which lies around 70 on the ADA graph, meaning more liberal than most Democratic politicians are in their voting record. Instinctively, the American man-on-the-street mistrusts the left-leaning media, because the constant liberal MSM agitprop continues to openly politicize non-political issues. Most Americans realize that the mainstream media is out to get Bush, pure and simple, and has no real desire to investigate the constant peculations on the left, as the Harry Reid involvement with Abramoff demonstrates.

Sowell finishes off the pompous blowhards of the leftist MSM with the following broadside:
The media are so full of themselves -- among other things that they are full of -- that they act as if the government exists to provide them with something to publicize. The time is long overdue to put these people in their place. Where is Margaret Tutwiler when we need her?
The New York Times informs us solemnly that, if Mr. Whittington dies, there will be a grand jury investigation.
If Mr. Whittington is so uncooperative as not to die, there will be much disappointment and frustration in Beltway media circles.