Friday, June 30, 2006

Althouse's Interesting (and Telling) Point

Althouse: "But the majority's straining to read the DTA to preserve jurisdiction does not at all surprise me (a federal jurisdiction scholar). It is standard practice for the Court to read statutes that purport to cut back jurisdiction in a way that is defensive of the role of the judiciary. Justice Stevens's opinion discusses some of those cases. He doesn't even reach the question of whether the Constitution permits the cut back. This is an issue that he avoids -- in the style of many other cases."

Villainous Company

Villainous Company: "While declining to explicitly say America is at war, Hamden does say that AUMF activated the President's war powers whatever those might be. Those of a skeptical bent may well be wondering why a nation that isn't at war needs a President with wartime powers, but the Court does not trouble itself with such mundane matters. At any rate, this qualified endorsement effectively legitimizes the President's war standing before Congress while leaving the Court's hands free, should it feel the need to rebuke the Executive branch in future."

Good new blog, just discovered it via patterico.

Oil Flows Freely Again in Northern Iraq -

Oil Flows Freely Again in Northern Iraq - "BEIJI, Iraq - For more than two years the attacks came like clockwork. As soon as the military secured and workers repaired the pipelines from Iraq's northern oil fields, just when the valves were about to open, insurgents would strike. But roughly three weeks ago they suddenly stopped, letting crude oil flow freely from Iraq's vast reserves near Kirkuk."

A Bit of Cold Water for Hot Air?

This interesting summary by Roy Spencer of the recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report raises interesting questions about the scientific "consensus" regarding anthropogenic global warming.
One rather amazing characteristic of the hockey stick is the so-called "divergence problem": the strong warming in the late 20th century is not even indicated in the tree ring data that were used to reconstruct the last 1,000 years of supposed temperature variations. Much of the 20th century warming (the blade of the hockey stick) represents real temperature measurements, not tree ring reconstructions, since they don't show the warming. This raises a natural question, which the panel shrugged off: If tree rings do not show the strong warming of the late 20th century, how do we know there wasn't a similar temperature spike 1,000 years ago?

The temperature readings of the 20th century are from thermometers, while the temperature readings from hundreds of years ago are from proxies of various sorts. The particular proxies (bristlecones) have been called into question. But even if the proxies were very good, how close to thermometer readings would they be? The Hockey Stick might be a Hockey Puck. If the earth was coming out of "the Little Ice Age" within the last 400 years, what does that do to the NAS conclusions of the 20th century and late 20th century being the warmest period over the last 400 years?


INDCJournal: "The current Democrat position isn't that of a peacemaker. 'Let's you and him fight. Hey, did I say stop? Keep fighting.' The only logical end I see to the Democrats' varying positions is that the insurgents need to be fought to avenge US soldiers, but US soldiers themselves should not be a part of that fight. The Iraqis should fight our battles for us, but we should not help them fight our battles. There are essentially only two ways Iraq can end up as a stable democracy: kill enough insurgents to effectively neuter them, or make some sort of deal with them. Democrats are opposed to both. Then again, the incoherence comes from assuming the Democrats want Iraq to become a stable democracy."

More accusations against the troops

Read this article and notice how they manage to accuse soldiers of rape and murder and at the same time besmirch the memory and reputations of the two young men who were kidnapped and killed in Iraq.

The story is based on an anonymous tip about something said by someone who wasn't actually there but felt guilty anyway.

These soldiers have been in Iraq for more than three years and there have been more allegations of atrocities in the last three months than there have been in the last three years.

I thought about mentioning this in one of Rick Ballard's AP watches but I thought it deserved a post of its own.

Some of the five soldiers also allegedly burned the body of the woman they are accused of assaulting in the March incident, a U.S. military official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

The U.S. command issued a statement saying only that Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of coalition troops in Baghdad, had ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged killing of a family of four in Mahmoudiyah, south of Baghdad.

At least 14 American troops have been convicted in other cases.

The United States also is investigating allegations that two dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians were killed by Marines in the western town of Haditha on Nov. 19 in a revenge attack after one of their own died in a roadside bombing.

"The entire investigation will encompass everything that could have happened that evening. We're not releasing any specifics of an ongoing investigation," military spokesman Maj. Todd Breasseale said of the Mahmoudiyah allegations.

"There is no indication what led soldiers to this home. The investigation just cracked open. We're just beginning to dig into the details."

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said he had no additional details on the inciden
t but added that the military routinely investigates all allegations of misconduct.

However, a U.S. official close to the investigation said at least one of the soldiers, all assigned to the 502nd Infantry Regiment, has admitted his role and been arrested. Two soldiers from the same regiment were slain this month when they were kidnapped at a checkpoint near Youssifiyah.

The official told the AP the accused soldiers were from the same platoon as the two slain soldiers. The military has said one and possibly both of the slain soldiers were tortured and beheaded.

The official said the mutilation of the slain soldiers stirred feelings of guilt and led at least one of them to reveal the rape-slaying on June 22.

According to a senior Army official, the alleged incident was first revealed by a soldier during a routine counseling-type session. The official, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said that soldier did not witness the incident but heard about it.

A second soldier, who also was not involved, said he overhead soldiers conspiring to commit the crimes, and then later saw bloodstains on their clothes, the official said.

So they say one soldier has admitted his role and yet they have not arrested the others? And what was his role? Maybe I am just having problems absorbing this but it sounds as if the soldier who admitted his role was not at the scene. How credible is this? Or am I just not reading it correctly?

If this is true it is the kind of crime that can get you lethal injection in this country, but the whole scenario seems bizarre to me.

It seems to me that the media could at least wait until the facts are in before they run a story like this. I know the people who took those soldiers and killed them also killed the Russian diplomats who certainly were not involved in any alleged rape and murder so why drag them into it without a shred of real evidence to back up the story?

Jonah Goldberg on Progressivism on National Review Online

Jonah Goldberg on Progressivism on National Review Online: "Progressivism is not merely the faux populism of the Internet. Nor is it solely the label for whatever policies self-described Progressives prefer. It is a faith — often grounded in Christianity, but not necessarily so — in the redemptive power and professional competence of the state. And, frankly, I despise it."

Some of my best friends are journalists by Hugh Hewitt - Jun 29, 2006 :: Columns :: Some of my best friends are journalists by Hugh Hewitt - Jun 29, 2006: "[T]here is no honor in endangering Americans, and no pose of world-weary knowledge will dress up scribblers as sages, or perfume their low deeds with any thing except the odor of spoiled goods."

OpinionJournal - Featured Article

OpinionJournal - Featured Article: "As Alexander Bickel wrote, the relationship between government and the press in the free society is an inevitable and essential contest. The government needs a certain amount of secrecy to function, especially on national security, and the press in its watchdog role tries to discover what it can. The government can't expect total secrecy, Bickel writes, 'but the game similarly calls on the press to consider the responsibilities that its position implies. Not everything is fit to print.' The obligation of the press is to take the government seriously when it makes a request not to publish. Is the motive mainly political? How important are the national security concerns? And how do those concerns balance against the public's right to know?"

The Cranky Insomniac: Al-Qaeda Expresses Appreciation to NY Times (Death to America)

The Cranky Insomniac: Al-Qaeda Expresses Appreciation to NY Times (Death to America): "'Truly the New York Times once again has shown its solidarity with Jihad by its actions,' bin Laden declared. 'I am grateful to He Who Edits for the showing us of the path to avoid the watching of the infidel Bush and his pigbathing Jew Agents of the Treasury, may jackals eat of their livers and hyenas feast on their colons, Inshallah! Death to America.'"

AP Watch 6/30

AP's headline Convicted Child Molester to Get New Trial prepares the reader for the propaganda which follows in Adam Gorlick's poorly reported account. After all, we wouldn't expect AP to crow about leading the largest witch hunt since Salem, would we? Gorlick can't seem to remember Dorothy Rabinowitz's name, or the fact that her expose of the press hyteria surrounding the day care "trials" won a Pulitzer. Nor does he find space to mention that Janet Reno rose to fame based upon her malicious prosecution of the innocent in Florida. Perhaps AP was just short of pixels.
Ryan Lenz continues AP's war against the military with an anonymously sourced account of another allegation involving US troops. Why is this "U.S. military official" spouting to AP? Is a "military official" a member of the military or something else?

The 101st should exercise great care with this "reporter" embedded among them. Vipers are always poisonous and feeding them doesn't make them less so.
__________________________________________________________________________________ AP Watch is a Flares feature which takes the Associated Press declaration in its
STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES: "we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions" to heart and offers a helping hand by pointing out egregious examples of abhorrent practice as they occur. Day after day after day.
Examples found by readers and posted in comments will be placed in the main post with credit. All Flares contributors are invited to edit and/or update AP Watch posts.
NOTE: Articles at AP are updated throughout the day. Some of their updates may obviate criticism made here.

The Difference, Part 2

The Chinese government is responding to dissidents with brutality.

The local police chief, Wang Qiankui, had Fu brought in to the station and warned him against making any further contacts with the Western press. As he was walking home from the station, Fu was attacked by thugs who beat him so brutally that he broke a cervical vertebra and has since been paralyzed. Although there is no evidence that the attack had anything to do with Fu's brief television appearance, some suspect that he was attacked because party leaders wanted to give the troublemaker a lesson. Fu had already been attacked and seriously injured one year earlier.


Acts of violence against difficult citizens is par for the course in China. As in the Yangtze dam case, money and justice are often at issue. Hundreds of thousands find themselves having to make way for dams, factories and roads, all in the name of the Chinese economic miracle. But instead of benefiting residents, a sizeable share of government compensation ends up in the hands of greedy party officials, prompting angry protests against this form of official corruption.

The government response to the protests has been severe. At least three people were killed in December when security forces fired on villagers objecting to the confiscation of their fields in Dongzhou in the southern province of Guangdong. In Taishi, also in Guangdong Province, thugs seriously injured civil rights activist Lu Banglie following a dispute over village elections in October. The police almost always look the other way.

In Dingzhou, southwest of Beijing, the local party leader hired gangsters in June 2005 to kill six farmers who refused to turn over their land for the construction of a power plant. In February, a journalist was killed in Taizhou, not far from Shanghai, when he was severely beaten by police officers in retribution for his reporting on arbitrary criminal sentences for traffic offenders.

And on and on. Time to go protest Bush again I guess.

The previous article in this series can be found here.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cutting Through the Hyperbole on Hamdan

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Cutting Through the Hyperbole on Hamdan: "With all the confusion, rushed judgments and overheated rhetoric created by the U.S. Supreme Court's Hamdan complex decision, it's perhaps best to first look at what it does not do.

It does not:

• Satisfy the supposed demands of 'world opinion:' the closing of the Guantanamo Bay camp and the immediate release of its detainees.

• Free Salim Ahmed Hamdan, the acknowledged driver and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden.

• Exclude Hamdan from a court martial or, if Congress decides, trail by a military tribunal.

• Say that Hamdan or any others cannot be held 'for the duration of active hostilities.'

• Require that he, or other detainees, be tried before a civilian court, as some anti-war activists had demanded.

• Prohibit the United States from detaining future enemy combatants.

Truth is, Hamdan remains ours, and the Bush administration and Congress still have plenty of ways to ladle out justice to him and other enemy combatants. Despite the hysteria of both sides, the war on terror continues as before."

Gitmo and SCOTUS

No doubt everyone has heard about the Supreme Court decision on Hamdan today. The press is calling the decision by the Court a rebuke of the Bush administration's attempts to use military tribunals to try the detainees at Gitmo. It seems to me the media by and large is getting a kick out of it all too. Bad news for Bush is good news for them. Some dictator that Bush turned out to be.

Members of Congress are already looking at ways to fashion legislation to deal with the Constitutional questions. However, if the Captain is right they might be better off leaving well enough alone:

In reviewing the opinions of the Supreme Court in their Hamdan decision today, it seems pretty clear what action the Bush administration will take in the future with the detainees of the war on terror. More to the point, we know what action they will not take, at least if we rely on Justice Stevens' opinion. On page 80, in section VII of his opinion, Stevens writes:

We have assumed, as we must, that the allegations made in the Government’s charge against Hamdan are true. We have assumed, moreover, the truth of the message implicit in that charge—viz., that Hamdan is a dangerous individual whose beliefs, if acted upon, would causegreat harm and even death to innocent civilians, and who would act upon those beliefs if given the opportunity. It bears emphasizing that Hamdan does not challenge, and we do not today address, the Government’s power to detain him for the duration of active hostilities in order to prevent such harm. But in undertaking to try Hamdanand subject him to criminal punishment, the Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails in thisjurisdiction.

Shorter Stevens: Don't attempt to hold trials at all for GWOT detainees, and you will have no problems with us. That affirms the treatment of these detainees as POWs in some sense, but in that effort, it makes clear that these detainees have no rights to any court. Stevens only says that if the government wants to try them, then the government must use civil courts, a strange ruling nonetheless when one reviews the relevant articles of the Geneva Convention.

I'm satisfied with that agreement. Lock all of them up until Islamofascists surrender or die. When the Islamist terror networks give up their war on the United States, then we will release them. Until then, they can remain in Guantanamo Bay or wherever we set up detention facilities for them.

In other words the Left whined that we could not hold these people without a trial and now the Supreme Court says we can hold them but can't try them, at least not in the venue Bush wants. I don't think that AlQaida and its enablers should be planning any coming home parties just yet.

But I think maybe Bush is looking for away out of either keeping them forever or turning them loose. It reminds me of a story I heard about Lincoln years ago. Someone asked him why he did not just end the war. He answered with a story. Once there was this farmer who chased after a pig that had escaped its pen. The farmer grabbed that pig's tail and held on for dear life. After he awhile he called out for help saying, "Someone come help me let this pig go." Like Lincoln, Bush can not just let that pig go.

The Future of Terrorism is Here Today

Just in case NPCR and the Slimes aren't carrying this yet. Gaza militants say fired chemical-tipped warhead

Question: Where did the chemical weapons come from? Where does a dysfunctional state like Palestine which can't even maintain its own greeenhouses get the wherewithal to produce chemical weapons? And biological weapons? "The group had recently claimed to possess about 20 biological warheads for the makeshift rockets commonly fired from Gaza at Israeli towns."

If only Bushitler hadn't invaded Iraq, this would never have happened.

t.f. boggs on the Times

t.f. boggs: "Whether or not the information revealed this past week will affect lives remains to be seen but like I noted in my letter money is a huge part of the equation for terrorists. Without money they would be unable to buy the supplies needed to attack us. If, as a result of their reading the story in one of their favorite (NYT, LAT, and WSJ) American papers, it is now easier for terrorists to escape the eye of our security agencies then lives will be in danger in the future and you can count on that. "

Americans deserve better than Keller’s open letter

Robert Cox: Americans deserve better than Keller’s open letter - "We will never know the full extent of the damage caused by The New York Times in disclosing the SWIFT monitoring program but have no doubt it was not a benign act. Whatever agony Keller may have gone through in deciding to publish the story will pale in comparison to the agony of the victims of the next terror attack, an attack that might have been prevented save for Keller’s choice."

LILEKS (James) Screedblog

LILEKS (James) Screedblog: "It seems like the New York Times is revealing all our national security secrets, but relax: they have their limits. If the Times learned that US troops were force-feeding Gitmo detainees with Coca-cola, they wouldn’t publish Coke’s secret formula. They might get sued. If there’s a CIA program that uses offensive cartoons of Mohammed to communicate with agents, they’ll keep mum, lest they have to publish the images. They might get stabbed. But secret law-enforcement-type programs as classified as the access code to the Times top-floor elevator? Fair game. You’ve the right to know."

The John Birch Left?

Enchiridion Militis · The enemy within.: "But for all his generally good circumstances, he’s been on the political and cultural losing side all his adult life. He’s tired of it. And he’s found a website which, at last, makes him feel empowered. He is, in short, the typical member of the so-called netroots: the left-wing movement, organized around blogs, that seeks to “take back” this country from its usurpers. The netroots is a movement born of desperation and a sense of embattlement at being on the losing side of historical forces. It sees itself as the inheritor and the guarantor of true American tradition and identity, and it seeks to restore those things to their rightful primacy in national life. Critically, it choose to not merely fight its foes, but emulate them. It sees the prime virtue of its enemies as their ability to win, and if they can just crack the code — if it can grasp the very methodology of victory — then they will turn the tables, and victory will be theirs."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Because I can

Jonah Goldberg on New York Times & National Security on National Review Online

Jonah Goldberg on New York Times & National Security on National Review Online: "Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., proclaimed in the Washington Post that 9/11 justified a “new New Deal.” The New York Times joyously proclaimed that “Big Government Is Back in Style,” and its indefatigable chorus of asininity — Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd et al. — pounded their spoons on their high chairs about the un-Americanness of tax cuts during a war. “Since 9/11, our government has asked no sacrifice of civilians other than longer waits at airline security,” Frank Rich whined.

Meanwhile, this self-proclaimed wartime-unity caucus seems to have no problem with undermining the actual war effort. "

AP Watch 6/28

Mike Robinson needs to work on his vocabulary. His story on Daley's political machine corruption needs an adjective which could be used to identify all those involved by a common denominator. It's amazing that Robinson lacks the ability to share with readers the single thing most helpful in identifying these political crooks.

Look for it and see if you can guess what the perpetrators of a political patronage scandal might have in common that Robinson just can't bring himself to type.

All Propaganda - all the time.
AP Watch is a Flares feature which takes the Associated Press declaration in its
"we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions"
to heart and offers a helping hand by pointing out egregious examples of abhorrent practice as they occur. Day after day after day. Examples found by readers and posted in comments will be placed in the main post with credit. All Flares contributors are invited to edit and/or update AP Watch posts.
NOTE: Articles at AP are updated throughout the day. Some of their updates may obviate criticism made here.

Return of the Marsh Arabs

Sachi over at Big Lizards has an interesting post up on the recovery of the Iraq marshlands.

Given an oppurtunity the earth can do an amazing job of healing itself. People should try to do the same.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

(Islamist) Totalitarianism

neo-neocon: "'Islamist totalitarianism' may indeed be the very best name of all for those who adhere to this vision, since it places the movement firmly in the twentieth/twenty-first century context in which it belongs, which is one of world dominance through force, and the negation of human freedom. That is why all totalitarian movements are, in their dark hearts, a reaction to and a profound rejection of the Enlightenment. Islamist totalitariansim is no exeption to this rule."

Read it all, and the Austin Bay and London Times articles that prompted it.

"Principle" has a price though you may never know who pays.

The Belmont Club: Childhood's End: "Really principled behavior requires a willingness to sacrifice and suffer in exchange for restricting certain methods of warfare in order to preserve certain principles. Do we think wiretapping the enemy without warrants is dangerous? Then let's restrict it, fully understanding that it will make the war longer, allow threats to form undetected, even cost 'innocent lives'. Either that or embark upon some tradeoff with which society feels comfortable. But never, never is it possible to demand the free lunch. To say: bring the boys home but don't abandon Iraq; we support the troops, but don't allow them to shoot unless actually shot at; prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction but leave it to the United Nations. Each of these demands spoken simultaneously contains the seed of a contradiction. The intelligent thing is to recognize this and make intelligent choices about what we are prepared to give up and at what price. The alternative is to do what has been done up until now. Make impossible demands and insist that they all be fulfilled."

Jay Rosen gets it

PressThink: The People Formerly Known as the Audience:"

The people formerly known as the audience wish to inform media people of our existence, and of a shift in power that goes with the platform shift you’ve all heard about.

Think of passengers on your ship who got a boat of their own. The writing readers. The viewers who picked up a camera. The formerly atomized listeners who with modest effort can connect with each other and gain the means to speak— to the world, as it were.

Now we understand that met with ringing statements like these many media people want to cry out in the name of reason herself: If all would speak who shall be left to listen? Can you at least tell us that?

The people formerly known as the audience do not believe this problem—too many speakers!—is our problem. Now for anyone in your circle still wondering who we are, a formal definition might go like this:

The people formerly known as the audience are those who were on the receiving end of a media system that ran one way, in a broadcasting pattern, with high entry fees and a few firms competing to speak very loudly while the rest of the population listened in isolation from one another— and who today are not in a situation like that at all.

  • Once they were your printing presses; now that humble device, the blog, has given the press to us. That’s why blogs have been called little First Amendment machines. They extend freedom of the press to more actors.
  • Once it was your radio station, broadcasting on your frequency. Now that brilliant invention, podcasting, gives radio to us. And we have found more uses for it than you did.
  • Shooting, editing and distributing video once belonged to you, Big Media. Only you could afford to reach a TV audience built in your own image. Now video is coming into the user’s hands, and audience-building by former members of the audience is alive and well on the Web.
  • You were once (exclusively) the editors of the news, choosing what ran on the front page. Now we can edit the news, and our choices send items to our own front pages.
  • A highly centralized media system had connected people “up” to big social agencies and centers of power but not “across” to each other. Now the horizontal flow, citizen-to-citizen, is as real and consequential as the vertical one.

There have been a lot of times I thought Jay Rosen was a little off-track --- not least when he linked us the other day and said we were "Neocon's site" --- but by golly, I think he's got it.

A Little Test

Floated in on email today....
What's your political party, Democrat, Republican, or Southerner?

This test will help you decide.

Imagine: You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small
children. Suddenly, an Islamic Terrorist with a huge knife comes around the
corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges at you. You are carrying a Glock cal .40, and you are an expert shot.
You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family.

What do you do?

Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! Does the man look poor! Or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it? Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children? Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me? Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me? Should I call 9-1-1? Why is this street so deserted? We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and make this happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior. This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for a few days and try to come to a consensus.


( click.....sounds of reloading ).

Daughter: "Nice grouping, Daddy!
Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?

Son: Git-r-Dun, Pop! Can I shoot the next one!

Wife: You ain't taking that to the Taxidermist!

The NY Times was for Pursuing Finanical Avenues to Thwart Terrorism Before They Were Against it

Not long after 9/11, the NY times ran an editorial emphasizing the need to go after the money in order to stop the terrorists. Now, they're not so SWIFT.

Much more is needed, including stricter regulations, the recruitment of specialized investigators and greater cooperation with foreign banking authorities. There must also must be closer coordination among America's law enforcement, national security and financial regulatory agencies.

Check it out.

Hat tip: Say Anything

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Flag-burning vote coming tonight (Amendment fails by ONE vote)

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Flag-burning vote coming tonight (Amendment fails by ONE vote):

Mitch McConnell: "Flag burning is an abominable act. We’re lucky to live in a country where the overwhelming majority of people not only reject it, but honor the American flag and the freedoms it stands for. These freedoms are America’s source of strength.

America stood strong to defeat fascism and communism. After a vicious sneak attack on September 11, 2001, we fought back stronger than ever against terrorism. Surely we are strong enough to withstand a few degenerate attention-seekers.

Ultimately, people like that pose little harm to our country. But tinkering with our First Amendment might."

Flag Burning

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today: "Burning the flag is a stupid and ugly act, but there is something lovely and enlightened about a regime that tolerates it in the name of freedom. And of course it has the added benefit of making it easier to spot the idiots."

Patterico’s Pontifications

Patterico’s Pontifications: "The bottom line, Mr. Baquet, is that you are not in a position to weigh anything if you don’t know all the facts. And your paper clearly didn’t."

Keep your fingers crossed

From Iraq the Model :

Seven militant groups accpet al-Maliki's offer.
From al-Sabah:

Seven militant groups announced their desire to join the political process in accordance with the reconciliation project and said they were ready to enter a truce and stop the violence.

MP Hassan al-Sinaid-whose close to PM Maliki-said third parties conveyed the message of the seven groups confirming that they were not involved in Iraqi bloodshed suggesting they're eligible to benefit from the initiative.

Al-Sinaid said it was possible that Maliki would meet representatives of these seven groups either directly or indirectly, because he's concerned about the success of the initiative and is keen to gather support for it. Al-Sinaid adds "al-Maliki believes in political measures now, and not only in military ones".

According to those third parties, the militant groups consider the initiative tempting which encouraged them to respond positively, and at the same time pointed out that it's possible to win other groups into the project as they will not find a good reason to say no.
Initial information indicates that the seven groups are: the brigades of the 1920 revolution, the army of Mohammed, Heroes of Iraq, the 4/9 organization, Al-Fatih brigades and finally the general command of armed forces.

The demands of these groups can be summarized by: putting a timetable for withdrawing foreign troops, recognizing the acts of resistance as a legitimate right [still a controversial point with no clear definition or guidelines stated as of now], reviewing the deba'athification law, preserving the unity of Iraq, preventing foreign infiltration, releasing innocent detainees, providing jobs, respecting the citizens and compensating the affected and finally disbanding the militias.

This announcement seems to have been preceded by a lot of work but a declaration of amnesty was the militants' condition to join the reconciliation project mostly to save face.

So far, everybody in Iraq feels good about Maliki's plan and expressed their hopes for it to meet success and ease the suffering of the Iraqi people; everybody except for the Sadrists and the association of Muslim scholars who both criticized the plan and said it wasn't acceptable and expected it to fail.
The question is do they are expecting it to fail only because they think it is not framed in a workable way or because they wish for it to fail?
I'm afraid the latter is the likely answer.

AP/Reuters Watch 6/27

A Flares feature which takes the Associated Press declaration in its STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES: "we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions" to heart and offers a helping hand by pointing out egregious examples of abhorrent practice as they occur.

Day after day after day.

Examples found by readers and posted in comments will be placed in the main post with credit. All Flares contributors are invited to edit and/or update AP/Reuters Watch posts.

NOTE: Stories at AP and Reuters are updated throughout the day. Some of their updates may obviate criticism made here.
Stephen Ohlemacher continues his abuse of statistics by emphasizing "more are poor" without any emphasis on the proximate cause
-One third of America's children lived in homes where none of the parents had full-time, year-round jobs in 2004. That is a slight increase from 32 percent in 2000.
Shouldn't the headling be "More Parents of Teenagers Are Duds"?

“Surgeon general: No safe level of secondhand smoke”

Not one word in the article is devoted to those scientists who believe that the secondhand smoke argument is bogus. In other words, this is just a propaganda piece.
Brian Skoloff provides evidence of Viagra's efficacy in writing this hit piece on Rush Limbaugh. (Skoloff takes the drug as a spine substitute).
Seth Borensteing, who lays dubious claim the title "science writer" (unless it's political science) writes a glowing tribute to Al Gore's "scientific" schlock warming movie which is immediately rebutted by a letter from staff on a Senate committee which points out that the piece is shoddy propaganda - as is the movie. [h/t Clarice in comments]

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fourth World War: Chinese spy trashed 'Blue Team' skeptics

Fourth World War: Chinese spy trashed 'Blue Team' skeptics: "Ronald Montaperto, the veteran Defense Intelligence Agency officer who spied for communist China, also served as an agent of influence to destroy the credibility of scholars and policymakers who saw the PRC as a threat to national security.

As a member of the Blue Team that follows Beijing's military and intelligence operations, this blogger saw firsthand how Montaperto would malign the arguments, presentations, facts, credibility and integrity of US intelligence officers and mid-level officials who warned of PRC intentions and capabilities.

Montaperto was so pro-Beijing that Blue Team members half-joked among themselves that if he wasn't a recruited agent of the PRC, he at least acted like one."

This is another time when I'm cribbing a whole (small) post. however, if you follow the link and return to Waller's site, he's got a lot more on Montaperto.

Iraq and Immigration, the Endless Story

"Then why did it work with Germany and Japan?" I asked, folding my arms.

"The problem," he said, "are Muslims." "The Muslim faith is closed-minded and violent. Not individuals, of course. But as a whole, we've built a violent culture and a violent religion. Look at Mohammad. He fought wars his entire time as the leader of the Muslim faith. One could argue he was a terrorist."
The rest is at My father's solution for America

Keller's Letter from Summer Camp

Well, you know the drill. Blah, Blah, Blah “bill of rights.” Fiddle, Fiddle, Faddle “freedom of the press.” This is usually good enough to satisfy the really important people like my friends at The New Yorker and The Nation. And, of course, I don’t have to work very hard to get Babs Streisand or any of our Hollywood friends on my side. Besides, I’m sure you know what a complete waste of my time writing letters like this is. Since I don’t feel like I have to explain myself to anybody, much less a bunch of Bush loving chimpanzees, I made this one extra irrelevant. Not once did I mention the real reason I spilled the beans about this perfectly legal program; it makes me feel real important, almost like I was in charge of the country.
Read the rest.

John Snow's Letter to the Times

The Corner on National Review Online:
Mr. Bill Keller, Managing Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Dear Mr. Keller:

The New York Times' decision to disclose the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, a robust and classified effort to map terrorist networks through the use of financial data, was irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide. In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails.

Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were "half-hearted" is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times - from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.

Indeed, I invited you to my office for the explicit purpose of talking you out of publishing this story. And there was nothing "half-hearted" about that effort. I told you about the true value of the program in defeating terrorism and sought to impress upon you the harm that would occur from its disclosure. I stressed that the program is grounded on solid legal footing, had many built-in safeguards, and has been extremely valuable in the war against terror. Additionally, Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey met with the reporters and your senior editors to answer countless questions, laying out the legal framework and diligently outlining the multiple safeguards and protections that are in place.

You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that "terror financiers know" our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works. While terrorists are relying more heavily than before on cumbersome methods to move money, such as cash couriers, we have continued to see them using the formal financial system, which has made this particular program incredibly valuable.

Lastly, justifying this disclosure by citing the "public interest" in knowing information about this program means the paper has given itself free license to expose any covert activity that it happens to learn of - even those that are legally grounded, responsibly administered, independently overseen, and highly effective. Indeed, you have done so here.

What you've seemed to overlook is that it is also a matter of public interest that we use all means available - lawfully and responsibly - to help protect the American people from the deadly threats of terrorists. I am deeply disappointed in the New York Times.



John W. Snow, Secretary

U.S. Department of the Treasury

(Picked it up from the Corner, as linked. I presume it's an open letter, thus the full quotation.)

iowahawk: The Banking Report: Let Me Make It Simple For You Morons

iowahawk: The Banking Report: Let Me Make It Simple For You Morons: "Okay, so help me out here. Maybe I'm the stupid guy. Let's take argument part number one, that the program is 'good.' I'm sorry, but aren't we suppose to be in some big 'War on Terror' or something? At least that's what the whiney Adminstration guy in a JCPenney suit kept arguing in my office. And if we are in a 'War,' doesn't that mean that if the program is 'good' for one side, it is by definition bad for the other side? With this 'good' talk, the Administration is asking us to pass judgment and pick sides in their 'terrorism' wild goose chase, and frankly, that's not our job. If you listen to the insurgency, the program is anything but 'good' and 'legal,' and has few safeguards against privacy invasion. The job of the press is to weigh these competing agendas, and to act in our constitutional role as a bulwark against the US government."

Usually, iowahawk is satire. This time I'm not so sure.

The New York Times has revealed our private data

The right says the New York Times is treasonous for revealing classified national security info espcially in a time of war. The left says they are protecting the principles of America because the press has a right and obligation to reveal anything that may compromise our private data and that we cannot trust a government that keeps secrets and therefore must hold it accountable.

Well, here is something everyone can understand. The New York Times itself has revealed our private data. Private data belonging to each and every one of us. Private data about our own individual security.

How would you react if a local newspaper published details about the locks you use on your doors and imply that a burglar should try the windows instead?

Jack Cafferty on CNN snorts that the government shouldn't be going through people's private bank records. Let's ignore that Cafferty has his basic facts wrong, how does he feel about the New York Times snooping around the private security measures Jack Cafferty took as part of the democratic process of electing a government?

The sources and methods that ensure our individual security are private to each and every one of us as citizens of this country. The New York Times blew our privacy.

May they rot.

Laissez les bons temps rouler.

Transvestite gang pesters Magazine Street.

Tell me again. Why did I work 16 hour days for five months with only seven days off?

I know why - though I couldn't have known it at the time.

I did my little bit to help all those people to start over someplace else.

Free Science and Video Lectures Online!

Here's an interesting site, and a change of pace.

Free Science and Video Lectures Online!

This blog is a collection site for free video lectures online (which I suppose you gathered from the title and the link.)

Freeh v Clinton Administration

OpinionJournal - Extra: "It soon became clear that Mr. Clinton and his national security adviser, Sandy Berger, had no interest in confronting the fact that Iran had blown up the towers. This is astounding, considering that the Saudi Security Service had arrested six of the bombers after the attack. As FBI agents sifted through the remains of Building 131 in 115-degree heat, the bombers admitted they had been trained by the Iranian external security service (IRGC) in Lebanon's Beka Valley and received their passports at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, along with $250,000 cash for the operation from IRGC Gen. Ahmad Sharifi.


Find the spelling error :: Columns :: Spinning Haditha by W. Thomas Smith, Jr. - Jun 26, 2006: "Even if the involved Marines are ultimately found guilty, the Corps’ motto, “always faithful” has been spat upon by Murtha, and done so while Marines were legally under the presumption of innocence."

Watch Bush tear Bill Keller a new one

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Video: Bush calls Times’s expose “disgraceful”

I agree with some other commenters: I don't think I've seen Bush this obviously angry since sometime in September 2001.

Power Line: A word from Lt. Cotton

Power Line: A word from Lt. Cotton: "Dear Messrs. Keller, Lichtblau & Risen:

Congratulations on disclosing our government's highly classified anti-terrorist-financing program (June 23). I apologize for not writing sooner. But I am a lieutenant in the United States Army and I spent the last four days patrolling one of the more dangerous areas in Iraq. (Alas, operational security and common sense prevent me from even revealing this unclassified location in a private medium like email.)

Unfortunately, as I supervised my soldiers late one night, I heard a booming explosion several miles away. I learned a few hours later that a powerful roadside bomb killed one soldier and severely injured another from my 130-man company. I deeply hope that we can find and kill or capture the terrorists responsible for that bomb. But, of course, these terrorists do not spring from the soil like Plato's guardians. No, they require financing to obtain mortars and artillery shells, priming explosives, wiring and circuitry, not to mention for training and payments to locals willing to emplace bombs in exchange for a few months' salary. As your story states, the program was legal, briefed to Congress, supported in the government and financial industry, and very successful.

Not anymore. You may think you have done a public service, but you have gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraqi"

And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others -- laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.

Very truly yours,

Tom Cotton
Baghdad, Iraq

I copied the whole thing, you can read it all here. I felt like it needed to be said and I couldn't find anything to excerpt. But follow the link back so PL gets the hit.

Serving Allegany County, NY

Wellsville Daily Reporter: Serving Allegany County, NY: "
As I write I live with the realization of the loss and wounding of three very brave fellow Americans. Staff Sergeant Nathan Vacho and Captain Shane Mahaffee were killed by a road side bomb attack 5 May 2006.

CPT Mahaffee survived the initial attack but succumbed to his wounds 15 May 2006. Staff Sergeant Heath Berry survived the attack, but lost his left arm from the elbow down. I was on emergency leave at the time of the attack for the emergency c section birth of my son, Cole Alexander, a few weeks premature. Some people might call that circumstance, but to me it is the Favor of God. I attended CPT Mahafee's funeral and I will never forget the hug his widow gave me standing over his casket as she said goodbye for the last time, or loading up his 5-year-old daughter, Adelia, and two year old son, Ethan, that morning in their car seats.

It is something I do not want to forget and something I will never - get over.

So I understand the democratic system and I respect your personal choice for or against this war.

I simply humbly ask that you honor these fine soldiers who answered the call and died performing their duty by living your life free and realizing that the liberties we breathe daily are paid for by brave soldiers."

National Security Be Damned

National Security Be Damned: "BY NOW IT'S UNDENIABLE: The New York Times is a national security threat. So drunk is it on its own power and so antagonistic to the Bush administration that it will expose every classified antiterror program it finds out about, no matter how legal the program, how carefully crafted to safeguard civil liberties, or how vital to protecting American lives."

U.S. can't 'redeploy' its way out of Iraq

U.S. can't 'redeploy' its way out of Iraq: "In a sense, the Democrats have already psychologically redeployed. Last week they unveiled their 'New Direction for America.' It's a six-point plan, two of whose points are 'Cut College Costs' and 'Ensure Dignified Retirement.' On the first point, it's true the education system remains a problem: Many hardworking Americans are trapped in low-paying dead-end jobs as U.S. congressmen because an inadequate education left them with the impression Okinawa's in the United Arab Emirates. "

The New York Times at War With America

RealClearPolitics - Articles - The New York Times at War With America: "Why do they hate us? No, I'm not talking about Islamofascist terrorists. We know why they hate us: because we have freedom of speech and freedom of religion, because we refuse to treat women as second-class citizens, because we do not kill homosexuals, because we are a free society.

No, the 'they' I'm referring to are the editors of The New York Times. And do they hate us? Well, that may be stretching it. But at the least they have gotten into the habit of acting in reckless disregard of our safety. "

And the Constitution does not permit titles of nobility. 'Characterizing the freedom this way, of course, makes much of Keller's piece look like, well, just what it is -- arrogant and self-justificatory posturing. To quote Keller: "Forgive me, I know this is pretty elementary stuff — but it's the kind of elementary context that sometimes gets lost in the heat of strong disagreements."'

It isn't every day one can link to Instapundit and say "read the whole thing."

Getting Ahead of the News Cycle or Getting Their Heads Up Their...

...well, you can finish the rest. Of course, many Dems on the appropriate committees already knew about the future troop reductions. But really...trying to spin it as some sort of vindication for their calls to pullout. You gotta love the headline though: Democrats seize on Iraq pullout report. CNN figures, hey it's Monday morning, nobody's really awake. You're supposed to make lemonade out of lemons, you can't make squash out of them. Perhaps some of the Dems think we are the ones wearing the tinfoil hats. It would sort of be like the Mavericks claiming to have really won the NBA championship because the had more total points than the Heat. Of course with supporters like Mark Cuban, maybe the Dems will try that line.

AP/Reuters Watch 6/26

A Flares feature which takes the Associated Press declaration in its STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES: "we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions" to heart and offers a helping hand by pointing out egregious examples of abhorrent practice as they occur.

Day after day after day.

Examples found by readers and posted in comments will be placed in the main post with credit. All Flares contributors are invited to edit and/or update AP/Reuters Watch posts.

NOTE: Stories at AP and Reuters are updated throughout the day. Some of their updates may obviate criticism made here.
I know that writers of stories don't write the headlines but Gina Holland provided this one in her lead: "Alito Breaks Tie, Kan. Death Penalty Stays" Was it really Alito's vote that broke the tie that never was? Couldn't it have been Roberts? Or Scalia? or Thomas? Or.. hey, who is that fifth justice?

If this were actual journalism you might be able to find out.

Shoddy. Cheap. Inaccurate. - Everything that one comes to expect from AP.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Res Ipsa Loquitur*

Bush is going to destroy something, and there are a few options, the Republican Party certainly being one of them.

He could destroy the world (his Mars astrocatography line is in the ME, and maybe he 'projects' a nuclear bomb there), he could destroy himself with the bottle (Cancer ingress of Saturn in his 12th), he could destroy the Democratic Party by their fellated ways (south node conjunct the Dems pro. Sun), he could destroy the USA as we've known it (GOP/USA/Bush sun conjunct transited by Varuna/Saturn), into some sort of dictoral regime.

Basically, the guys got a competitive timebomb ticking up his butt, and he's gonna shit it out on someone, or explode (because he certainly isn't up to transforming-- though a transmigration is possible), Lincoln too was 57, and they may be the bookends of the neptunian play.

The Republican Party having their Varuna conjunct Bush's South node, which Pluto is going to transit, certainly means they are fair game for the Dems progressed Sun to eliminate (or vis versa).

Yes, a moderate party is a strong possibility. I had thought for some time that the Uranus transit across the USA's moon protended such a thing. Uranus at 25 Aquarius right now, the USA Moon at 27'12, that could spark some sort of "independence" movement in the US Senate (where I think it may have to begin).

The strong undercurrent to remember here, is that Bush and the Republicans have the US under a Neptunian spell, and that will break at some point-- and the indications are that it's before the 2004 elections. Posted by: jerome on December 11, 2002 09:34 PM
Both, and we'll have to see which comes out ahead.

On the mutual reception of Neptune and Uranus, I've been thinking alot lately of the conjunction of these two in Capricorn that happened about a decade ago, and we need to begin there to understand what's unfolding from that cyclycal impetus. And if you'll recall, Saturn conjuncted those two planets as well there-- the mundane trifecta of this era.

I want to look in-depth at this transit of Saturn, which is in perhelion as it blasts through the USA's bucket, as it first opposses that Capricorn conjunction point, then Neptune, and then finally Uranus by 2008. We can see form being given to the impetus, but also the old ways try and hold back change.

As I pointed out in the "USA & 2003" thread, it seems now that the Uranus conjunct the USA's Moon has to do with returning freedom to the people, with power, via the internet, which is really coming into form now.

It's not a stretch to trace the whole internet back to the Uranus/Neptune conjunction in Capricorn, most of the reading there, it being in Capricorn, related it to business, and that's definetely occurred with Saturn, and quickly; but Uranus and Neptune have a different agenda.

This medium is in the very earliest stage of development. Typed-script is likely to give way to spoken-word, and then real-time face debate and intercourse, that's the freedom path we are headed toward.There is a shadow to this happening, isn't it odd that the internet grew out of the military?

Yep, I would consider that Uranus in Pisces gives another chance to nip this in the bud before it goes down that path again.

You ever read William Irwin Thompson? He talks about how, when the new forms of communication break out, the fundamentalist will attempt to hijack them, and use them to attempt to remain in power. I can't find the article online, but a reference to it below, isn't that an apt description of the Republicans attempt to "Use the War to Take Back the Culture" strategy?
Ventura, Michael. 1986. "Over the Edge of History with William Irwin Thompson." Utne Reader. June/July. Excerpted from the Los Angeles Weekly December 13, 1985.
"So I don't think the fundamentalists are going to stop anything. They can't, in fact, because fundamentalists tend to encourage their opposites. They're afraid of getting caught with the old technology, so they fling themselves into the new technology, hoping they can control it with their old ideology...."
Posted by: Jerome on December 18, 2002 10:57 AM
Link. HT: Llama Butchers.

*The thing speaks for itself.

Murtha says U.S. poses top threat to world peace | ®

Murtha says U.S. poses top threat to world peace | ®: "MIAMI — American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to an audience of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon."

You can't make this stuff up.

Khobar Towers

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh explains in detail what the potential cost of another Clinton administration might be. Remember, Clinton's two terms were called a co-presidency, as if that were in some way estimable. Miz Clinton 'shared' in the decision making process from deciding to burn the children at Waco to sending Elian back to the hell in Cuba that his mother died trying to escape to the signing of Marc Rich's pardon.

The feckless nature in which the co-presidents pursued the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the Khobar Tower's bombing was not unusual for the Clintons at all. The world class appeasement team constituted as their foreign policy advisory group is unmatched in its ability to substitute shallow talk for concrete results.

Mr. Freeh's j'accuse is entirely believable and deserves wide dissemination. Miz Clinton's current position as a "sensible moderate" is belied by the people with whom she chooses to surround herself—both then and now. "Moderate" can only refer to her capability in the art of dissembling, for in that she is indeed "moderate" when compared to her co-president.

There is a reason why Clinton no longer refers to her husband's two terms as a co-presidency. There are actually many, many reasons. They are the very same reasons why she will never again be more than a visitor to the White House.

AP/Reuters Watch 6/25

A Flares feature which takes the Associated Press declaration in its STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES: "we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions" to heart and offers a helping hand by pointing out egregious examples of abhorrent practice as they occur.

Day after day after day.

Examples found by readers and posted in comments will be placed in the main post with credit. All Flares contributors are invited to edit and/or update AP/Reuters Watch posts.

NOTE: Stories at AP and Reuters are updated throughout the day. Some of their updates may obviate criticism made here.
Fanning Immigration Flames - Stephen Ohelemacher writes a piece of statistical gibberish in order to make a claim in his lede that:
The U.S. population is on target to hit 300 million this fall and it's a good bet the milestone baby - or immigrant - will be Hispanic.
Nothing like some phony numbers to fire up the nativists. His assertion that
:...Latinos - immigrants and those born in this country - are driving the population growth, accounting for almost half the increase last year, more than any other ethnic or racial group.
is not sourced - and with good reason. There is no way to back it up with believeable numbers unless a fictitious count of entering illegal aliens is used. He also uses the locution of "immigrant" which has a connotation of legality to account for illegals.

The actual composition of the net increase of 2.7M in US population this year will include about 870K Hispanics - about 32%. The numbers are easy to ascertain - unless you're a propagandist pushing a particular point. (NOTE: of the 4.2M babies born in the US this year about 500K will be of Hispanic descent)

All Propaganda - all the time.

The Politburo Diktat

The Politburo Diktat: "Timetables and amnesty? Good ideas or not? It’s amazing how many commenters will miss the answer, whcih is quite simple. If we just offer them with nothing in return (the Democrats’ proposals), that’s a bad idea. If they are offered as part of negotiations, as part of a peace plan, then they may be good ideas."

Doing their bit for the Cause

Once again the LA times is doing their best to undermine the war effort. These people make me sick. For years I heard and read stories about the Butcher of Baghdad. But now it as if none of that ever happened and Saddam was benign and Iraq was peaceful.

Well Saddam has not been hanged yet, maybe the Times should start demanding that he be put back into power so that he can back to doing what he was doing before Bushitler sent him scurrying into a spider hole. This seems to be the message.

But like John at Power Line ,I remember when the western press had a different story to tell about Saddam's Iraq:

This report in today's Los Angeles Times says that 50,000 Iraqis have been killed since the American-led invasion in March 2003. A large majority of these were murdered by terrorists. The Times trumpets its figure, which it considers conservative, as a rebuke to the Bush administration--the article's very first sentence notes that its figure is "20,000 higher than previously acknowledged by the Bush administration." No doubt the Times' count will be so interpreted when it is repeated by hundreds of other news outlets over the next few days.

The Times makes no effort to put its 50,000 number into any sort of context. Reading its article, one might get the impression that pre-2003 Iraq was the balloon-flying paradise so notoriously depicted by Michael Moore. A bit of research, however, offers evidence that the current level of violence is, sadly, nothing new.

In January 2003, two months before the coalition's attack on Saddam's regime began, John Burns wrote a chilling account of Saddam Hussein's reign of terror in the New York Times. Burns' article, titled "How Many People Has Saddam Killed?", recounted some once-familiar numbers that seem to have been forgotten in the current media hysteria. Burns noted that Saddam was widely considered to be responsible for "a million dead Iraqis," a number that included 500,000 killed in the war Saddam launched against Iran. Burns tried to estimate separately the number that were simply murdered:

Casualties from Iraq's gulag are harder to estimate. Accounts collected by Western human rights groups from Iraqi émigrés and defectors have suggested that the number of those who have "disappeared" into the hands of the secret police, never to be heard from again, could be 200,000.

Burns' piece is notable, too, for its appalling description of Abu Ghraib prison at a time when it really was a center of torture and mass murder. As he documents the fear that penetrated Iraqi society, Burns also reminds us that beheadings in that long-suffering place are nothing new:

More recently, ... scores of women have been executed under a new twist in a "return to faith" campaign proclaimed by Mr. Hussein. ... Often, the executions have been carried out by the Fedayeen Saddam, a paramilitary group headed by Mr. Hussein's oldest son, 38-year-old Uday. These men, masked and clad in black, make the women kneel in busy city squares, along crowded sidewalks, or in neighborhood plots, then behead them with swords.

Yep, those were the good old days.

read it all.

More news from Iraq, alMaliki's reconciliation . plan. He says there will be no place for those who chose Satan's Path.


Mary Ingles and Calamity Jane

When Constantinople fell to the Muslims and become Istanbul this continent was wilderness.

People today see westerners as only imperialists but I have to wonder what would have happened to the native tribes here if Genghis Khan or the Ottamans had been the ones to first lay eyes on the New World.

I never feel comfortable with the easy judgment of people who only see our history in terms only of plunder or genocide, as if given the chance we would give it back. It always seemed a bit trite to me, like some bad child who dislikes what Dad does for a living but damn well expects to be included in the will.

It took real courage for the settlers to come to this continent and risk their lives and fortune to build a life.

I have two favorite women from this history who I think represent the spirit of the pioneers who settled America.

The book Follow the River by James Thom is the tale of young Mary Ingles kidnapped by Shawnee warriors from her settlement in Virginia and taken along the Ohio river to present day Indiana. She saw things no white woman had ever seen. She was pregnant at the time of her capture and had her child in captivity. The Indians took her two young sons and new born daughter from her. She made her escape and walked the hundreds of miles through uncharted territory back to what was left of her settlement.

I met the author some years ago in Bloomington at the Monroe County Library and he discussed how as a former Marine he had put on a back pack and followed the Ohio river as Mary had done. He was so impressed by the woman's courage that he was inspired to write this book and has become an authority on Shawnee history.


Another woman I always felt exemplified the American pioneer woman was Calamity Jane. As a scout for the US Army she was one of the first people to come across the scene at the Little Big Horn where Custer's 7th Cavalry had been massacred by Indians. I read her diary years ago and in it she stated it was such a sight as she hoped never to see again. How she came to have her name became part of her legend, from her diary:

"It was on Goose Creek, Wyoming, where the town of Sheridan is now located. Captain Egan was in command of the Post. We were ordered out to quell an uprising of the Indians, and were out for several days, had numerous skirmishes during which six of the soldiers were killed and several severely wounded. When on returning to the Post, we were ambushed about a mile and a half from our destination. When fired upon, Captain Egan was shot. I was riding in advance and, on hearing the firing, turned in my saddle and saw the Captain reeling in his saddle as though about to fall. I turned my horse and galloped back with all haste to his side and got there in time to catch him as he was falling. I lifted him onto my horse in front of me and succeeded in getting him safely to the Fort. Captain Egan, on recovering, laughingly said: 'I name you Calamity Jane, the heroine of the plains.' I have borne that name up to the present time.

One of my favorite stories about Calamity Jane was her encounter in the streets of Deadwood with a man she saw whipping an Indian boy with a buggy whip. She told him to leave the boy the hell alone. The man used that whip to take the hat off her head and send it flying into the muddy street. She pulled her gun and told him to pick up that damn hat or she would fill him full of so many holes he would not shed water. He picked up the hat.

We should be proud of people like this, not ignore them or forget them or judge them.

Good advice

And one from our own Buddy:

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday Movie Review: Gettysburg

Posted by Loner

Well, I got to hand it to you, George. You sure got a talent for trivializing the momentous and complicating the obvious. You ever consider running for Congress?

My wife and I were attending a family event in Pennsylvania this time a week ago. On the Friday before last we availed ourselves of the opportunity to visit Gettysburg. I'd only visited the battlefield and cemetery once while I worked in Pennsylvania and that was on my first full day in the state. I arrived a day before the hardware I'd come to install; not my error and one of which I took full advantage. I spent part of my first weekend at Valley Forge (just up the road a couple of miles) and in and around Independence Hall in Philadelphia. I went down the Main Line and through West Philly to enter Philadelphia. Many miles in the other direction US Route 30 goes through Gettysburg and I occasionally drove through, but never stopped, on my way to a sales office in Chambersburg, a town where you could imagine Confederate troops coming up the road and not seeming all that out of place.

While in Gettysburg we spent the bulk of our time at Little Round Top, the Angle and in the National Cemetery after spending some time at the diorama and displays south from the Visitor Center along Tanneytown Road. My wife wasn't nearly as familiar with the history of those three days which began on the road from Chambersburg 143 years ago a week from now and the diorama and recorded presentation are, I think, an excellent introduction which had been suggested to us by her niece.

While in the Visitor Center to get water (it was hot and humid) before we walked across the road and into the National Cemetery, I noticed that Gettysburg was playing, it looked like continuously, in the store area. It wasn't playing when I was there in 1996, but then the first DVD players and discs may have been being introduced in Japan on the day I was there.

Gettysburg is a very long movie at 4 hours and 21 minutes, but now that the viewer is watching it at home there is absolutely no reason not to take a break after day one and another after day two in the historical action. Ronald F. Maxwell, the screenwriter and director for producer Ted Turner, did a good job of adapting Michael Shaara's 1974 Pulitzer Prize-winning (very well deserved) The Killer Angels: A Novel of the Civil War. I think it a success as both drama and history (Pickett's charge, for instance, occurs in real time. That Chamberlain isn't quite where he should be is understandable given that this is a movie.) Filming took place in and around Gettysburg and for anyone who has been there this is a big plus. The mix of battle and maneuvering, the pace, is at times a little confusing, but things never drag or, alternately, become too confusing to follow. At least, that's my informed view.

The acting is serviceable to excellent and I was especially impressed by three performances. I think Martin Sheen, a strange choice, is outstanding as General Robert E. Lee. He's believable as someone who is revered even by those who disagree with him and, as with the Shaara novel, his disagreement with Lieutenant General James Longstreet (Tom Berenger) is a major focus of the movie. The second performance, the highlight of which is a long soliloquy of sorts to which Longstreet listens, is that of Richard Jordan as Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistad. As it turns out, Jordan probably gave his finest performance in his last role. He died of a brain tumor before the movie was released. Finally, I must note that prior to Gettysburg I had little to no use for Jeff Daniels. His portrayal of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain led me to do a 180 with regard to his skills within the space of time in which he and the other actors portraying the 20th Maine hold their ground on Little Round Top.

Gettysburg, as I noted, is a big investment in time, but I think well worth it and there are extras on the DVD for those who want to invest two or three times more time. I also recommend a visit to Gettysburg to anyone who has the time and the opportunity to do so.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

—Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863

I had intended to wait until next weekend to do this review, but The Road Warrior is a movie I may know too well and I've as yet been unable to shape what I know into something I'm willing to have read so, perhaps, for the Independence Day (230 years ago) Weekend this will be the last you've read by me. If so, I salute the dead politicians (statesmen by definition) who created and maintained the country of which I am proud to be a citizen. Of course, me being me, I offer Montaigne's qualifier in "Of Vanity" on his pleasure at being made a citizen of Rome in 1581:

Being a citizen of no city, I am very pleased to be one of the noblest city that ever was or will be. If others examined themselves attentively, as I do, they would find themselves, as I do, full of inanity and nonsense. Get rid of it I cannot without getting rid of myself. We are all steeped in it, one as much as another; but those who are aware of it are a little better off—though I don't know.

Bring Me The Head of Alberto Gonzales

Clarice Feldman provides an excellent rationale in support of William Lalor's call for AG Gonzales to indict the New York Times.

I support the call for indictment but I do have reservations concerning doing so prior to the elections. Not so much in that it might hurt Republican's chances to retain control, for I do not consider that issue in doubt, but that it might improve the financial well being of the NYT prior to years end by generating additional readership. Junior Sulzberger's incompetence in business management is destroying the Times at a very good clip and it would be a shame to do anything to slow down the destruction.


Investor's Business Daily: And This Guy Was Almost President?: "Sen. John Kerry has spent a career taking the side of America's enemies. His call last week for a pullout from Iraq was the latest evidence he is unfit to serve in the Senate — never mind the White House.

Kerry's proposal to withdraw us completely from Iraq by July of next year was resoundingly defeated in the Senate by a vote of 86 to 13. And just days before, he said the deadline should be the end of this year.

But Kerry's idea is the exact opposite of what he was calling for in late 2003 while running for president. Back then he was accusing President Bush of planning to prematurely withdraw from Iraq.

'I fear that in the run-up to the 2004 election the administration is considering what is tantamount to a cut-and-run strategy,' Kerry told the Council on Foreign Relations. He said it would be 'a disaster and a disgraceful betrayal of principle' to allow 'a politically expedient withdrawal of American troops.'"

AP/Reuters Watch 6/24

A Flares feature which takes the Associated Press declaration in its


"we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions"

to heart and offers a helping hand by pointing out egregious examples of abhorrent practice as they occur.

Day after day after day.

Examples found by readers and posted in comments will be placed in the main post with credit.

All Flares contributors are invited to edit and/or update AP/Reuters Watch posts.

NOTE: Stories at AP and Reuters are updated throughout the day. Some of their updates may obviate criticism made here.
John Solomon writes a very slick piece that glides over a very important element in the story
"according to e-mails gathered by Senate investigators and federal prosecutors or obtained independently by The Associated Press."
Who approved the disclosure of evidence to the AP and why was it done at this time? Solomon does not furnish the name of the Democrats who furnished him with the emails and DoJ might wish to have a chat with some "prosecutors" who felt such a deep need to share. Additionally, although the propaganda piece is artful in making suggestions, it is curious that no emails between Norquist and actual administration officials are produced or quoted. There is no doubt that Abramoff and Norquist traded on their ability to gain access to admionistration officials. There is absolutely no proof that any administration official traded access for cash, much less that the Executive intervened on behalf of any of Abramoff's clients.

If Solomon had such proof he would have a story rather than just another shoddy AP hit piece.
Robert Tanner continues APs war on the US military. There is a bit of balance to the article but the writer might have provided some reference to the number of deaths caused by AP "stringers" AKA provacateurs who have managed to be so close when al Queada or the insurgents commit acts of terrorism. But that would be ratting on an ally, so we won't be hearing about it.
Tom Baum reveals much more than he intends in his "analysis" with the use of "Bush's war on terrorism is an open-ended one." I thought it was the United States that was at war based upon a resolution of Congress.
Don Surber: ACLU creates privacy for financial records; wonder how that affects the IRS presents another view somewhat in contrast to the AP handwringer above. Don is a great reminder that objective journalism still exists. Perhaps not at the NYT or AP but then they are not representative of journalism as a whole.

Friday, June 23, 2006

This is kinda creepy

Follow the links at Pink Flamingo. Reagan would be spinning in his grave.

We should be thankful

that the terrorist plot uncovered in Florida was focused on the Sears Tower rather than on that great symbol of American power and prestige - The New York Times Building, located at 229 West 43rd Street New York, New York (see map below for directions).

The proximity of this greatest of American treasures to freeways and subways providing both easy access as well as a very safe means of egress means that someone bent on ill would have a very good chance of success. Additionally, the relatively low level of security maintained by the The New York Times as a means of expressing their desire to embrace all who enter has long been considered a lure of sorts.

Then there is the easily acquired satellite imagery that allows those seeking the precise location (40 45"26.00'N 73 59"14.59') of the building to easily identify it from the air.

One might ponder whether the United States could withstand the loss of such a tremendously meaningful edifice.

"It makes perfect sense"

Right Wing News (Conservative News and Views): "A lot of people just have trouble wrapping their minds around this. Conservatives are hawkish and pro-military, yet they strongly oppose a draft. On the other hand, liberals are dovish, protest military recruiting, and raged against the draft in the sixties. Now, they're the ones calling for a draft. How can that be?

Actually, it makes perfect sense.

By and large, Conservatives oppose a draft because we believe it will reduce the quality of our forces, cut into public support for using the military, and will generally make our military less effective.

On the other hand, the liberals who support a draft do so because they believe it will reduce the quality of our forces, cut into public support for using the military, and will generally make our military less effective."

Praise Allah for the New York Times

Via Hugh Hewitt who lifted this from a Free Republic thread:


"Yes Khalid?"

"Did you see the New York Times report on how the infidels are tracking our money?"

"Yes Khalid. I sent a courier with a note to the financier, and he wrote back and assured me that he will route the transfers through a firm in the Bahamas and have the money laundered."

"That is good Achmed."

"It is easy. The infidel newspapers do all the hard work. All I have to do is sit here and write out notes."


"Yes Khalid?"

"How come you just don't call the financier?"

"Oh - that! Because the New York Times revealed that the infidels were monitoring our phone calls."

"Damn those infidels!"

"Thank Allah for the New York Times Khalid. Without them we'd have no secrets that weren't known to the infidels."

"Praise Allah for the New York Times."

"Indeed, praise Allah for the New York Times."

Who the hell does Bill Keller think he is?

"The blunt reality here is that there is a war against the war."

Andrew C. McCarthy on Terrorist Finance Tracking Program on National Review Online:

The anti-warriors know only the language of self-interest. It is the language that tells them the revelation of the nation’s secrets will result, forthwith, in the demand for the revelation of their secrets — which is to say, their sources in the intelligence community — with incarceration the price of resistance. It is the language admonishing that even journalists themselves may be prosecuted when their publication of national secrets violates the law.

Bluntly, officials who leak the classified information with which they have been entrusted can be prosecuted for theft of government property. If the information is especially sensitive, they can be prosecuted for violating the Espionage Act. In either event, the press has no legal right to protect such lawlessness.