Sunday, May 29, 2005

Black Water

A couple of years ago I attended a CPAC conference in DC where one of the featured speakers included Jeff Baxter, former member of some of the better 70's bands including Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan - both of which were groups I used to really enjoy listening to a hundred years ago when I was a mere college student.

But Baxter is no ordinary entertainer, he also is a brilliant defense consultant for the DOD having been involved in numerous black projects for the government. Fellow RI blogger, Kellipundit, flagged a recent interview with Baxter in the WSJ:

In an interview with
The Wall Street Journal Online on May 24th, we learn that Jeff Baxter does more for his country than just entertain.
The guitarist-turned-defense-consultant does regular work for the Department of Defense and the nation's intelligence community, chairs a congressional advisory board on missile defense, and has lucrative consulting contracts with companies like Science Applications International Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. He says he is in increasing demand for his unconventional views of counterterrorism.
Republican congressman Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, who has worked with Jeff comments:
"Most of Hollywood is from the liberal,'let's hug the tree and be warm and fuzzy and sing Kumbaya,'bent,"....."You put Jeff Baxter up against them, and he cleans their clocks because he actually knows the facts and details." He has appeared in public debates and given numerous press and TV interviews on CNN and Fox News advocating missile defense. He also served as a national spokesman for Americans for Missile Defense, a coalition of conservative organizations devoted to the issue.
My kind of guy.

Idiocy on Stilts

This came via Donald B. Hawthorne at Anchor Rising via JunkYardBlog:

A rightwing Republican Congressman has introduced a bill in the House demanding respectful treatment of the Bible. Get yer torches and pitchforks, people, and make sure to ring up the press.


Before you do all of that, I need to clarify a couple of details.

The Congressman isn't a rightwing Republican. He's a leftwing Democrat. And it's not the Bible's respectful treatment he is trying to be made law of the land. It's the Koran.

Where did all the pitchforks go? And where's the ACLU to decry this encroachment on the separation of church and state? Hmmm?

From the blog of Rep. John Conyers (D-MI):

Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) condemns bigotry, acts of violence, and intolerance against any religious group, including our friends, neighbors, and citizens of the Islamic faith;

(2) declares that the civil rights and civil liberties of all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith, should be protected;

(3) recognizes that the Quran, the holy book of Islam, as any other holy book of any religion, should be treated with dignity and respect; and

(4) calls upon local, State, and Federal authorities to work to prevent bias-motivated crimes and acts against all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith.

This is idiocy on stilts. It goes against the letter and spirit of the First Amendment and is a true step in the direction of establishing a state religion. And it's pandering based on a fake and retracted Newsweek story that probably started when some terrorist made up a story to inflame the press and irritate the Muslim world!...

...the silence with which [Conyers] is being greeted by the MSM is more than telling.

RELATED:...If passed Conyers' proposed law might open the way for similar prosecutions right here in the US. You, blogger and blog reader, could find yourself prosecuted for mishandling or in any way disparaging the Koran or Islam. Islam would become more equal than other religions here--the bill's language refers to religious tolerance but singles out Islam and the Koran for special protection.

And that amounts to bringing in sharia, Islamic law, in baby steps. Right here in the US...

The fourth element of his bill, noted above, marries mistreatment of the Koran to hate-crimes legislation already on the books. That puts some teeth into it, and it's truly chilling.

Sometimes I wonder how safe we are when I come to the cold realization that these turkeys are running things in Washington DC.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

What Makes Them Tick

From Hugh Hewitt on a recent interview with the Washington Post's Dana Milbank. It reveals the heart of the MSM:

The Post's Dana Milbank, in an interview with me yesterday, provided the key to understanding the officials Beltway reporters like and those they don't. Milbank had just revealed to me that he voted for Chuck Hagel for president, and the exchange followed:

"HH: Who'd you vote for?

DM: I voted for Chuck Hagel.

HH: For president?

DM: I did. I wrote him in.

HH: Really?

DM: I did.

HH: Why?

DM: Well, I, you know, my executive editor, Len Downey, has this policy of not voting at all, you know, so he doesn't have to form that judgment in his own head. I don't go that far. I, you know, as I say, we...we should be capable of making judgments, so I...what I do is I write in a candidate that I think, regardless of who's actually in the race, who I'd think would make a terrific president.

HH: Why do you think Chuck Hagel would make a terrific president?

DM: Well, for one, you know, a strong military background. So I guess we can add that up against what my colleague Terry had to say. And then, you know, sort of an ability to work across the aisle. And also, he's just very candid and refreshing in the way McCain was, who I've also voted for in previous elections.

HH: Now, that ability to work across the aisle...a specific please. I followed Senator Hagel's career pretty closely, and it's not immediately occurring to me.

DM: Well, you know, actually, this past week, we have an instance where he talked a very good game on the judges, and then ultimately turned against...

HH: But there must be something there where he worked across the aisle that sticks in your...

DM: Oh, sure. I mean we've seen it on, you know, on the tax issue. We've seen him standing up on a variety of health care issues, and the other half of what I'm talking about is sort of the candor factor in which he's said, look. You know, we made mistakes in Iraq, we didn't go in with enough troops, being willing to step away from the party line.

HH: Now, is it possible that as a journalist, you prefer elected officials who embrace those qualities that make your life easiest, and give you leads, and have candor, and you know...

DM: Oh, no question about it.

HH: And so, McCain, Hagel, and anyone who'll let you guys on the bus, are going to get a boost from you people.

DM: Oh, yea. No, No. In fact, that was a major theme of Smashmouth.

HH: I remember that now.

DM: We're just suckers for somebody who'll be nice to us."

This isn't complicated stuff. Dionne, Milbank, a thousand other big names and worker bees in MSM like the people who build them up, and dislike the people who treat them like they treat every other citizen. What it would take a tractor to pull out of Milbank is the admission that his love for Hagel or McCain colors his reporting of them or his reporting of Bush. The fact --the fact-- is that the vast majority of the public believes that the media's bias affects its collective reporting because they understand that their own likes and dislikes affect their own perceptions. Common human experience tells us that the idea of an iron-willed objectivity on the part of MSM is just a story they tell themselves at seminars. Insisting on their objectivity is every day a new reason to doubt it. The antidote to media hostility --the real and deep sort, not the sort alleged by Dionne to have been invented by "conservative activists" (who I guess made Mary Mapes do it and Dan Rather read it)-- is transparency of belief, not the cagey denial of belief's importance.

Victor Davis Hanson begins his column today at NRO with a reference to Pepsico President Indira Nooyi's "middle finger" speech, which had to be explained to the reader because the vast majority of them will not have heard about the speech via any MSM outlet. Not the MSM is biased in its story selection.

Help may be on the Way in MD

Via Polipundit:

Michael Steele, the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, is about to declare his candidacy for the Senate seat currently held by the retiring Paul Sarbanes.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Chafee Overboard

I know what you're thinking. Is the Senescent Man sick or dead? Nothing emerging from the site in days. What gives?

It's been a busy season. Eye operations, and planning reviews. Not to mention the extracurricular.

I've been meaning to comment on a few exciting events. The Republican moderates who think they did us a favor, and buried in the middle of that the actions of Senator Lincoln Chafee, about whom I've been promising to keep updating readers as election day draws near.

Well National Review has gotten the jump on me with this fine piece by
Timothy P. Carney and David Freddoso. Some excerpts:

If there was ever any doubt, Sen. Lincoln Chafee’s vote Wednesday against the nomination of Priscilla Owen has made it clear that, save for leadership numbers games, conservatives would not be any worse off with a Democrat than with Chafee (R., R.I.) in the Senate. Rhode Island Republicans will have a chance next year to avert that painful choice only if a serious primary challenger emerges — and it could happen as soon as next week....[but o]n Wednesday, Chafee’s office confirmed that it was Owen’s dissent in a 2000 parental-notification case that pushed Chafee to vote against her. In that Texas supreme-court case, the four-judge majority effectively nullified the state’s parental-notification requirement for minors seeking abortions."


"As Chafee looks forward to his November 2006 reelection campaign, Rhode Island Republicans are baffled by the sloppiness of his political operation — a fact that the fundraising numbers bear out entirely. Chafee’s first-quarter figures were an absolute embarrassment for a sitting senator, even though they cover a time period when he expected the extremely popular Democrat Rep. James Langevin to challenge him. Chafee netted a pitiful $139,000, whereas both of his potential Democratic opponents raised more than twice as much by the end of March and are rapidly closing in on his $750,000 war chest.

A February 18 fundraiser for Chafee by Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) was disappointing in its sparse turnout, according to attendees. But even worse than the turnout was the campaign pitch his supporters were making at the event — the strained argument that Rhode Island cannot afford to send a congressional delegation composed entirely of Democrats to Washington. (Note to Chafee: It’s worked pretty well for North Dakota.)"


"If he chooses to run (and our sources say he will), moderate Cranston mayor Stephen Laffey (R) will be an easy choice for conservatives over Chafee in next year’s September primary. The popular two-term mayor of a thoroughly Democratic town, Laffey remains cagey about his intentions for next year. But his ambition is legendary to those who know him (smaller only than his ego) and he has to date resisted pleas from the White House, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman to swear off the race.

As one wag told us of Laffey’s plans to enter the race, “I’m pretty sure he’s waiting until he can be the only thing in the newspaper.”

In some ways the conservative label does not fit Laffey well. Although he says he is pro-life, he recently described Sen. Hillary Clinton’s attempt to position herself on the middle ground on abortion as “reasonable.” But even in this, Laffey is substantially more conservative than Chafee, and he may actually have a better chance in the general election to keep the seat in GOP hands."

Mac Owens over at Anchor Rising picked up on this bit by Hugh Hewitt for the Daily Standard a little while ago:

"Stephen Laffey, the mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, is being urged to take on Senator Lincoln Chafee in the 2006 primary so that GOP voters don't have to vote for a Democrat in November 2006. (Chafee voted against the war, against the president's reelection, and now for the filibuster. Chafee's presence was necessary with a Senate closely divided, but with a healthy majority, he should be booted before seniority puts him in a position to do real damage. Even big tent Republicans like me believe every tent needs an inside and an outside, and Chafee's way outside.)"

"A very well-known reporter whose poltics are conventionally liberal told me a couple of years ago that right after 9/11, he asked for Sen. Chafee's reaction to the attack. Chafee wouldn't answer him because he hadn't yet determined what OTHERS would say. Needless to say this honorable liberal was offended."

"The vote against Owen was the last straw. Chafee needs to go."

Hold on, it's coming.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Brooks on Newsweek

David Brooks at the NYT's has an interesting point to make about the Newsweek fiasco,...

Maybe we should all focus on what's important. Newsweek's little item was seized and exploited by America's enemies in a way that was characteristically cynical, delusional and fascistic.

The people who seized upon this item, like the radical clerics in Afghanistan, are cynical in the way they manipulate episodes like this to whip up hatred and so magnify their own standing.

At the same time, they believe everything that could be alleged about America - and more. They've spent so many years inhabiting a delusional mental landscape filled with conspiracy theories and paranoia that you could drill deep into their minds without ever touching reality.

Finally, they are strategically ruthless. Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker, who has spent years reporting on extremists, says they use manufactured spasms of hatred to desensitize their followers. After followers spend a few years living through rabid riots and vicious sermons, killing an American or a Jew or even a fellow Muslim seems no more consequential than killing a mosquito. That's how suicide bombers are made.

The rioters are the real enemy, not Newsweek and not the American soldiers serving as prison guards.

I have a tendency to agree, but read the whole thing (free online subscription required).

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Newsweek's Koran Abuse Part 5

Claudia Rosett at the WSJ has a great piece on the Newsweek fiasco. Some excerpts:

With Newsweek's retraction of its story about Koran abuse at Guantanomo Bay, we are now deep into yet another bout of soul-searching by the U.S. media. The pity would be if, in all the parsing of media methods and pondering of the mysteries of anonymous sources, we missed the bigger picture--which is all about why Muslims offended by an item in a U.S. magazine, true or false, would react with riots that end in the maiming and killing of their own....

...Let's pause right there. We are hearing that Muslims, infuriated by a report of blasphemy, went on violent rampages that resulted in . . . dead Muslims and burned mosques. Meanwhile, not only is Newsweek apologizing and retracting, but the U.S. government is regretting the loss of life.

What's really going on here is two stories. One involves Newsweek and the ups and downs of U.S. journalism. The other involves a swath of the Islamic world in which anger, fueled by years of gross political misrule, is a chronic feature of life--seeking to acquire a target. What produced these particular riots was the intersection of Islamic-world furies and that brand of U.S. self-absorption in which no subject is more fascinating to the American media than any possible misdeeds of the U.S. itself....

...The tragedy in all this is that while the entire world is by now acquainted with tales--true and false--about Abu Ghraib and Guantanomo Bay, the information pretty much ends there. When it comes to the Islamic world's most despotic states, almost no one outside their borders can reel off the names of the prisons they run, let alone tales of what happens within. Afghanistan is still recovering from the Taliban blackout of the human soul--which at the time received almost no coverage. Saudi Arabia--whence the Arab News, in its disquisition on Newsweek's story, denounces the U.S. as "ignorant and insensitive"--provides no accounting to the world of its dungeons. Can anyone name a prison in Yemen?

The point is not to engage in a tit-for-tat recitation of prison management, or invite a reprise of those absurd old Soviet debates, in which Moscow's reply to charges of millions dead in the gulag was that America had street crime....

...But to whatever extent the press is engaged in the business of trying to report the truth, or contribute to the making of a better world, it would be a service not only to U.S. journalism, but to the wider world--including Muslims--to spend less effort dredging Guantanomo Bay, and more time wielding the huge resources at our disposal to report on the prisons of the Islamic world. It is in such places that the recent riots had their true origins.

But read the whole thing.

Monday, May 16, 2005

According to ABC, Newsweek's Report was Fake; But We Are, at Least, Worthy of Derision

LGF has a piece on ABC's derisive views toward American Anti-Islamic sentiments.

One small item, not a full-blown investigative or cover story, just one small 320-word item inside Newsweek has caused reverberations across the globe. Now, two weeks after that first publication, Newsweek acknowledges errors in a 1,500-word correction, but at least 15 people are dead and many more are injured. It is a story about journalism, but it is also a story about the standing of the United States in the Muslim world.

You have to ask yourself, why did this story take? For many it is easy to explain; it’s because in the minds of the people who have expressed outrage it was so believable. We have heard a continuous trickle of reports from Guantanamo Bay, where some 520 detainees (primarily picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan) remain. There have been stories from former detainees about lack of respect for Islam on the part of guards, and even from a former translator at Guantanamo, Eric Saar, about the sexual humiliation of detainees by female American guards and interrogators. So when Newsweek reported that a U.S. military investigation had found that interrogators had flushed a copy of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, down the toilet, for a lot of people it fit a pattern. Protests ensued and people died. The protests were particularly large in Afghanistan and Pakistan, two allies of the United States in the war on terror. So were the protests opportunistic efforts on the part of the opposition in those countries or do they reflect a real sense of outrage? Probably both.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Lou Dobbs Gets it Wrong Again - Can Something be Done About That?

What of the base closings?

Last night, returning from a business trip, I had the privilege of watching CNN at the airport, waiting to board a plane. Lou Dobbs was giving us all the bad news: the job losses, the hit to the local economies, the devestation of it all.

But as it turns out, despite his naysaying, the realignment of these bases will accomplish a number of GOOD things. None of which was shared by Lou, at least not while I was waiting to board.

First of all, the old base infrastructure is still founded on a cold war posture. They should, instead, be organized around the period we live in, with terror threats, and quick responses to hotspots around the world.

Secondly, the bases need to take into account a growing private sector that can economically accomplish a lot of what base personnel try to do. This is no reflection on the war fighter or the enlisted man or woman. It is a reflection, however, on government bureaucracy, and anything that can be accomplished privately would release the assets at these bases to more effective use.

Thirdly, the equipment at these bases are becoming more 21st century state-of-the-art. This new weaponry is smaller, smarter, more lethal, and the infrastructure around such systems and equipment needs to change in order to support them.

We're well overdue for this needed change. And it will be of benefit not only to the taxpayer, but also to the war fighter and those in the supporting infrastructure.

And regardless of Lou Dobbs whining, it will result in a net positive for jobs -- that's right, the aggregate affect will be MORE not FEWER jobs, and it will stimulate economic development in the support of these changes, as well as, not to mention, better posture our working military and supporting civilian personnel around the world.

Must we be continually harranged by these nincompoops on CNN?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

How Wrong They Were

Ann Coulter has a piece on the predictions that were made about Iraq by your average, garden variety liberal.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

This Might be a Good Time to Focus on Bin Laden

Today (Sunday, May 8) on Meet the Press, Gary Schroen, a former senior CIA official, had this to say about the possible capture of Bin Laden:

MR. RUSSERT: Before you go, will we ever capture Osama bin Laden?

MR. SCHROEN: I think with the capture of Al-Libbi recently--gives some hope that the Pakistanis will cooperate if we put enough pressure on them, and maybe we end up doing it unilaterally but I think we're going to get him within the next three to four months.

MR. RUSSERT: Three to four months.

MR. SCHROEN: Well, that's my hope.

He also felt that that the Pakistani Intelligence knows where Bin Laden is, but won't say out of fear of the reaction of Islamic people everywhere:

MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that we know where bin Laden is right now?

MR. SCHROEN: No, we don't know where he's at other than the general area.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you think the Pakistanis have a pretty good sense where he is?

MR. SCHROEN: I think within the military and ISID at a a certain level, they certainly do now where he is.

MR. RUSSERT: ISID being Pakistani Intelligence...

MR. SCHROEN: Pakistani Intelligence Service.


MR. RUSSERT: ...Is there a distinct possibility that Mr. Musharraf is afraid of capturing Osama bin Laden because he would fear that his government would be toppled?

MR. SCHROEN: In my opinion, that's a real likelihood, that the Pakistanis have cooperated pretty wholesomely in helping us capture a lot of al-Qaeda officers up to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and this-- the capture of Al-Libbi recently is a significant event but to take on bin Laden, there would be an uproar within that country and around the Islamic world that would really cause the foundations of the Pakistani government to be shaken.

My view of this is, if this indeed true, and it is possible Schroen has an axe to grind, but if he's right, in a situation like this, there is always someone in the know who can be persuaded to tell us where Bin Laden is hidden. Let's do that and get this guy ourselves.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Happy Mothers Day Weekend

Happy Mothers Day
Hot Tip: Michelle Malkin. This "Mommy Liberty" sketch was created by teenager Eliza Gauger (who herself now opposes the war in Iraq) yet this cartoon has a "ring" to it nonetheless for those on both sides of the argument.

Let freedom ring.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sixty Years

It was 60 years ago that the dark doors of the Nazi concentration camps were flung open by valiant American soldiers. Only a few days from now we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the victory in Europe, followed later this summer by the 60th anniversary of the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and then the 60th anniversary of the Japanese surrender.

These were important events, and we can pace them in time as we walk through the coming months and imagine what it was like, 60 years ago, as these amazing events unfolded. And we can watch it from afar with a reverence and awe for those wonderful American pilots, those foot soldiers, those brave sea mariners, those marines, who put it all out there for the country they loved and love.

And we can also feel the energy and anxiety of those events as our very own young soldiers fight a similarly horrid evil in the Middle East.

To our Americans in uniform, both old and young, I salute you.

MSM Short Sightedness

I am concerned at the way the mainstream media continues to focus its attention on the bad news in the Middle East, while giving short shrift to the good news. I think it is because of short mindedness and the immediate satisfaction of bringing something deemed "newsworthy" into the public eye sooner than the next guy, but this approach lacks vision. It is also a hopeless view. I used to think that the pressure on the MSM from new media like blogs would change that, but all I can see is a recalcitrance, a stiffening resistance to change.

The bad guys are losing. The Book of Revelation foreshadows a spurt of devilish activity just before the end, and so it goes with these demons.

What of the reports of complaining Al Qaeda insurgents? What about the recent capture of a Number 3 guy in Pakistan for which we had to be reminded today that nothing too good could be said about it since we've all stopped paying attention. What of the reports that soldiers in Iraq, when asked what do they want the most, their answer is not "to go home" like it was in Vietnam (and understandably so), but "to kill bad guys."

The bloggosphere really needs to keep the pressure on the MSM even though we're in a kind of news lull right now.

Belmont Club has several posts on what our good soldiers are accomplishing "over there." Check it out.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Coulter Under Attack (Again)

Poor Ann is being harrassed again and again.

Bad Guy Caught

Good news. Another Al Qaeda bad guy was caught.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Making a Difference

The world is a big place and it often seems that anything we do can't make much of a difference. It turns out that we can make a difference, however, -- even on the other side of the world -- just by making a determined effort to do so when an opportunity is presented.

Recently the students at West Bay Christian Academy have been helping to provide gift packages for the children of Fallujah, Iraq. The father of two academy students is serving there and state-side their mother began this project as a way to make a difference. This link will tell you more about it. The gifts may be small in the face of so much tragedy, but a better future is built on small beginnings.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Welcome Back Carter?

From today's (May 1) Meet the Press:

MR. RUSSERT: How about the 55-mile-an-hour speed limit [to address rising fuel costs]?

MR. CARD: Well, I think the regions of this country vary so much that, you know, in Rhode Island-- maybe Rhode Island wants to consider changing speed limits. But I think in Montana, in Texas, I don't think that going back to those kinds of solutions are the best thing to do.

Nah! Massachusetts maybe - but Rhode Island? NOT.


From LGF:

The left is seething mad about the appointment of John Bolton as the US ambassador to the United Nations. They’re worried that the dictators, cronies, and bag men of the UN may not like us if our ambassador (gasp!) tells the truth.

But if you need any more evidence that a tough, unrelenting, blunt-talking sheriff is needed to make a start at cleaning up that astonishingly corrupt organization, take a gander at this: UN peacekeepers sexually abused Liberia women, girls. (Hat tip: zulubaby.)

Malkin on Sgrena

The following is from Michelle Malkin:

According to a CBS News report on Thursday, a US satellite reportedly recorded the Sgrena incident--and was used by investigators to reconstruct how fast her car was traveling when U.S. troops opened fire. CBS News reported that US investigators concluded from the recording that the car was traveling at a speed of more than 60 miles (96 km) per hour.

As noted by LGF, Captain Ed and others, the military satellite evidence torpedoes Sgrena's claim that her car was going no faster than 30 miles an hour. (The Jawa Report, it should be noted, expresses some skepticism about CBS News' reportage.)

Strangely, as Patterico notes, the information about the satellite data was edited out of a Reuters story published by the LA Times--which had repeatedly emphasized Sgrena's claim that the car was traveling at low speed. LGF notes a similar omission in the latest CBS coverage of the incident--even though it was CBS that broke news of the satellite evidence.

No surprise. We've seen this selective editing and MSM whitewashing of key details in the Sgrena case before.

Meanwhile, the Italians are having a hissy fit over the U.S. report and Sgrena's newspaper, Il Manifesto, is clamoring for a pullout of 3,000 Italian troops stationed in Iraq. Beleaguered PM Silvio Berlusconi has signaled withdrawal by September. Al Jazeera is playing up the bad blood. Rome prosecutors are continuing their own investigation and 18 police scientists will begin forensic examination of the Toyota Corolla car in which Sgrena and slain Italian agent Nicola Calipari were traveling.

We'll see what the Italians come up with, but Sgrena's tale seems to be melting faster than butter on a hot plate of linguini.

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