I slept with John Boehner (just kidding)

Over at Michelle Malkin’s site, Doug Powers reports that the New York Times is trying to dig up dirt on Boehner — specifically, sexual dirt.  In a post entitled “Had An Affair With John Boehner? Please Call 1-866-NYT-DEMS,” Powers links to a New York Post story that has the Times desperately hunting for sex related dirt:  “‘Catching Boehner with a mistress is the only way to destroy him politically before the election,’ a source said.”

I don’t think sleazy adequately covers this.  It is pure Progressive.  Because issues are impossible, attack the person.  Alinsky in action, right?

But there is such a thing as too much information.  I therefore think it behooves all of us conservatives, male, female and “other” (should you fall into that obscure category) to contact the NY Times boasting about an affair with Boehner.  Have lots of facts.  Talk about the sweet nothings he whispered in your ear to seduce you (“Lower taxes, baby.”  “Your fiscal responsibility sends shivers down my leg.”  ‘I want to be your national security blanket.”)

If you need inspiration for this tactic, I offer you “I am Spartacus“:

Yet another New York Times columnist proves that he is an idiot

Joseph Stack, the man who flew a plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas, left a long, a very long, pre-suicide/pre-murder screed identifying those issues that drove him to commit his act.  The most obvious thing about the screed is that it is the work of someone with cognitive dysfunction, most likely some form of paranoid schizophrenia.  There were no logical thought processes at work here.  The other thing obvious about his polemic was that it borrowed anger from every political movement.  Here are some highlights, showing that this was a man who could hold a grudge against Mother Theresa, the Good Humor Man, George Washington, Stalin, and Walt Disney simultaneously, along with all his other grudges against one political movement or another:

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.  [There's no ideology here, just anger against taxes, something common to all people in varying degrees depending on the amount of money taken from them or the use to which the government puts the money.]


I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.  [Stack is alienated from all politicians, regardless of political stripe.]

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?  [Stack hates both corporatism and the stimulus, showing his equal opportunity outlook.]

Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.  [Stack hates the status quo regarding American medicine, which would put him squarely on the Democratic side of the political system.]


How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.  [Stack hates our legal system, an ideology that is not associated with either the left or the right.]


In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. [Stack hates the church, which seems to be a left thing, not a right thing, although he sounds more like a 16th Century theologian than a modern secular American leftist.]


However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.  [Stack believes in class warfare, a notion emanating from the political left.]


The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.  [Stack believes both management and unions are corrupt, making him, again, an equal opportunity hater.]

And on and on it goes, with Stack railing endlessly about government and the lack of government, about religion, about class warfare, about socialism and capitalism.  Indeed, as to the last two, Stack wrapped up his missive with knocks at both economic institutions:

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

In simple terms, the guy was a loony-tunes, who was unfettered by any specific political ideology.  He was paranoid to the point of murderous and suicidal insanity.  There was nothing else there:  no strong political ideology or affiliation, no overriding belief system, just garden-variety paranoia.

If you believe my analysis, you will also believe that Robert Wright, of the New York Times, is a bona fide idiot.    Wright has looked at the same manifesto and concluded that Stack was a Tea Party terrorist.  With hundreds of wordy-words, and turgid explanations, Wright explains his reasoning.  After you read Wright’s little anti-conservative polemic, I’ll conclude with my simplified analysis of Wright’s thinking, and you’ll see where the idiot label I apply comes from.  First, Wright:

Stack, in contrast, saw himself as part of a cause, as one in a long line of fighters against tyranny. The manifesto he left behind reads, “I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. … I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be whitewashed and ignored” — at which point, God willing, “the American zombies wake up and revolt.” This man was, by prevailing semantic conventions, a terrorist.

Was he a Tea Partier — or at least a Tea Party sympathizer? Conservatives who say no point to leftish themes in his manifesto. And it’s true that — in a line much-quoted by these conservatives — he seems to wish that the government would do something about health care. Then again, who doesn’t?

There are clearer left-wing strands in Stack’s writing — he identified with blacks and the downtrodden, he said the rich oppress the poor — but I’m not sure how relevant that is, because I’m not sure how purely conservative the Tea Party movement is anyway.

Yes, it mobilized against a liberal health care bill and the stimulus package, but it also opposes corporate bailouts. Sure, Tea Partiers hate taxes, but that alone doesn’t distinguish them from many Americans. On social issues the Tea Partiers include some libertarians along with a larger number of family-values conservatives.

And when you move to foreign policy, things don’t get more coherent. Though some Tea Partiers are hawks, many follow Ron Paul’s lead, combining a left-wing critique of military engagement with a right-wing aversion to the United Nations and other multilateral entanglements.

In the end, the core unifying theme of the Tea Partiers is populist rage, and this is the core theme in Stack’s ramblings, whether the rage is directed at corporate titans (“plunderers”), the government (“totalitarian”) or individual politicians (“liars”).

I don’t doubt that Tea Partiers are on balance on the right, and if their movement ever crystallizes into a political party that will be its location. But until the requisite winnowing happens, a person with Stack’s fuzzy ideology wouldn’t feel terribly alone at a big Tea Party.

I emphasize that I’m talking about his ideology, not his penchant for flying planes into buildings. Still, some of the ingredients of that penchant — a conspiratorial bent, a deep and personal sense of oppression, an attendant resentful rage — can be found in the movement, if mainly on its fringes. There are some excitable Tea Partiers out there.

You could, on the one hand, follow this logic to the conclusion that Joseph Stack was the first Tea Party terrorist.

Stack tries to pull back from his biased conclusion by saying, “Hey, let’s avoid the word terrorist altogether (since, unspoken, we at the New York Times already do that when it comes to Muslim killers who come pre-equipped with a neatly packaged anti-American ideology),” but that doesn’t undo his conclusion.  Instead, it’s just a silly verbal game aimed at disavowing his clearly stated conclusion.

And now, after all of Wright’s verbal dancing and prancing, let me present my simple distillation of Wright’s endless verbiage:

Tea Partiers are angry.

Stack was angry.

Therefore Stack was a Tea Partier.

In other words, Wright engaged in a classic false syllogism:

People often make mistakes when reasoning syllogistically.

For instance, from the premises some A are B, some B are C, people tend to come to a definitive conclusion that therefore some A are C.  However, this does not follow according to the rules of classical logic. For instance, while some cats (A) are black (B), and some black things (B) are televisions (C), it does not follow from the parameters that some cats (A) are televisions (C). This is because first, the mood of the syllogism invoked is illicit (III), and second, the supposition of the middle term is variable between that of the middle term in the major premise, and that of the middle term in the minor premise (not all “some” cats are by necessity of logic the same “some black things”).

Determining the validity of a syllogism involves determining the distribution of each term in each statement, meaning whether all members of that term are accounted for.

In simple syllogistic patterns, the fallacies of invalid patterns are:

Undistributed middle – Neither of the premises accounts for all members of the middle term, which consequently fails to link the major and minor term.
Illicit treatment of the major term – The conclusion implicates all members of the major term (P — meaning the proposition is negative); however, the major premise does not account for them all (i e P is either an affirmative predicate or a particular subject there).
Illicit treatment of the minor term – Same as above, but for the minor term (S — meaning the proposition is universal) and minor premise (where S is either a particular subject or an affirmative predicate).
Exclusive premises – Both premises are negative, meaning no link is established between the major and minor terms.
Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise – If either premise is negative, the conclusion must also be.
Existential fallacy – This is a more controversial one. If both premises are universal, i.e. “All” or “No” statements, one school of thought says they do not imply the existence of any members of the terms. In this case, the conclusion cannot be existential; i.e. beginning with “Some”. Another school of thought says that affirmative statements (universal or particular) do imply the subject’s existence, but negatives do not. A third school of thought says that the any type of proposition may or may not involve the subject’s existence, and although this may condition the conclusion it does not affect the form of the syllogism.

Apparently the eight years of shrieking Bush Derangement Syndrome that preceded the Tea Party movement did nothing to create an “angry movement” in America.  In Wright’s imaginary land, Stack’s travails, which Stack himself saw as stretching back decades, were unaffected by any anger other than the righteous (and non-violent) indignation of the tea partiers.  I also don’t see any record of Wright opining about the Left wing rage that motivated Amy Bishop, a fanatic Obama follower (left wing) who, angered that she was denied her rightful tenure (a very Left wing notion), went postal and killed three black colleagues.  Apparently she was merely crazy, and not the logical result of of eight years of violently hostile Bush Derangement Syndrome.

I am reminded again why, even though I, as an informed person, should know what the other side is saying, I avoid the New York Times.  Being constantly confronted with stupidity just raises my blood pressure.  My husband keeps urging me to listen to NPR’s Fresh Air, in which Terry Gross has a good laugh with David Weigel about CPAC and how stupid conservatives are.  (They don’t respect saintly Woodrow Wilson!  How ignorant can they be?)  I just don’t have the stomach to listen to ignorance, nor the time to write the inevitable long post explaining just what a dreadful, totalitarian-leaning president Wilson was, nor to point out that, as always, NPR focuses on the fringe and not the center when it reports on the right.  Somehow NPR never gets around to reporting on its own fringe (Maxine Waters, anybody?), but that omission leaves both NPR and its listeners unperturbed.


The New York Times suddenly discovers the virtue of discretion

From The Weekly Standard:

With the release of hundreds of emails by scientists advocates of global warming showing obvious and entirely inappropriate collusion by the authors — including attempts to suppress dissent, to punish journals that publish peer-reviewed studies casting doubt on global warming, and to manipulate data to bolster their own arguments — even the New York Times is forced to concede that “the documents will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists.” But apparently the paper’s environmental blog, Dot Earth, is taking a pass on publishing any of the documents and emails that are now circulating. Andrew Revkin, the author of that blog, writes,

The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.

This is the position of the New York Times when given the chance to publish sensitive information that might hinder the liberal agenda. Of course, when the choice is between publishing classified information that might endanger the lives of U.S. troops in the field or intelligence programs vital to national security, that information is published without hesitation by the nation’s paper of record. But in this case — the documents were “never intended for the public eye,” so the New York Times will take a pass. I guess that policy wasn’t in place when Neil Sheehan was working at the paper.

(Read the rest here.)

My thoughts exactly.

Even the Times has to concede that Obama’s charm offensive is unavailing

Liberals assured us back in 2008 that, after the horrible Cowboy Bush years, we needed someone charming to bring rogue governments back into the American fold.  So far, these same rogue governments have been resistant to Obama’s charm, whether in Russia or the Palestinian territories* or Iran, just to to name a few instances of rebuffs.  Chavez has been doing hugs and kisses, but he hasn’t changed his policy, so I’d say he too is playing the boy.

Now, China joins the line-up of potentially threatening (to America) regimes that are willing to be polite (Oba-mao), but don’t have the faintest desire to make concessions to one who is so manifestly weak and hostile to his own national interest.  After all, if Obama doesn’t care for America, why should they?  Instead, with a machiavellian stealth that is to be much admired, China used the groveling Obama for their benefit, while squishing him politely under their Communist heels:

President Obama made a big effort Tuesday at presenting his first visit to China as a step forward in America’s evolving relationship with its fastest rising competitor. But what emerged after six hours of meetings, two dinners, and a stilted 30-minute presentation to the press in which Chinese President Hu Jintao would not allow questions, was a picture of a China more willing to say no to the United States.

On everything from Iran, where Mr. Hu did not publicly discuss the possibility of sanctions, to currency, where he made no nod toward changing the value of the renminbi, to human rights, where a joint statement bluntly acknowledged that the two countries “have differences,” China held firm against most American demands. Combined with China’s micro-management of Mr. Obama’s appearances inside the country, the trip showcased China’s ability to push back against American pressure, analysts said.

“China effectively stage-managed President Obama’s public appearances, got him to make statements endorsing Chinese positions of political importance to them, and effectively squelched discussions of contentious issues such as human rights and China’s currency policy,” said Eswar Prasad, a China specialist at Cornell University. “In a master-stroke, they shifted the public discussion from the global risks posed by Chinese currency policy to the dangers of loose monetary policy and protectionist tendencies in the U.S.”

Read the rest here.

My husband assured my son this morning that Obama is doing a great job as president, and castigated me soundly for filling my son’s head with negative remarks about our president.  I refrained from pointing out that, while I give my children hard facts, and let them draw their conclusions, my husband has only airy-fairy conclusions, unconnected to any facts.  Some days, it looks as if even the New York Times is being forced to move beyond those rose-colored glasses.


*The first time around, in a beautiful Freudian moment, I wrote that as “Palestinian terrortories.”

Mere Rhetoric damned with faint praise at the New York Times

Omri Ceren, who blogs at Mere Rhetoric, is a member of the Watcher of Weasels Council.  He is as good a blogger as one can get, and someone with a real gift for ferreting out the truth behind the story.  So it was no surprise that Omri, using what he describes as simple due diligence, discovered that yet another high level member of Human Rights Watch, an ostensibly objective organization that is in fact fiercely hostile to Israel, has a distinctly unsavory past, and one with strong ties to antisemitism.  Omri’s discovery concerned Marc Garlasco, who happens to have an obsessive interesting in Nazi uniforms.  Garlasco’s interest transcends mere hobbyism.  As Omri details, Garlasco exhibits what veers into a libidinous excitement about Nazi uniforms, something that makes an ugly package when combined with his slobbering servility to Palestinians, his hostility to Israel, and his regular lies about the Jewish state.

The problem with Garlasco, as I indicated in the first paragraph, is that he’s not alone on HRW.  Instead, he’s part of a troika.  It turns out that all those humanistic, altruistic Israel Watcher’s at HRW have a history that shows bias towards Israel, whether that’s praising the Munich massacre, bemoaning Israel’s existence, or glorifying those who sought the Jews’ total destruction.  And once you’ve got a troika, you’ve got a news story even the MSM can no longer ignore.

Which gets me to the New York Times, which does a very, very careful job about reporting the Garlasco story.  So careful, in fact, that it entirely ignores that Garlasco is one of three antisemitic stooges at HRW, making it appear that he is simply one beleaguered collector, assaulted by various Jewish extremist bloggers.  Moreover, in inimitable NYT‘s fashion, the story manages to smear Omri — or, at least, to smear him as far as the Times‘ readers are concerned:

His hobby, inspired he said by a German grandfather conscripted into Hitler’s army, was revealed on a pro-Israel blog, Mere Rhetoric Mere Rhetoric [sic],which quoted his enthusiastic postings on collector sites under the pseudonym “Flak88” — including, “That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!”

It was a Rorschach moment in the conflict between Israel and its critics. The revelations were, depending on who is talking, either incontrovertible proof of bias or an irrelevant smear.

The Mere Rhetoric posting said Mr. Garlasco’s interests explained “anti-Israel biases.”

Did you catch that description about Mere Rhetoric as a “pro-Israel blog”?  I happen to think there’s nothing wrong with being a pro-Israel blog.  Indeed,  I think it’s a good thing to be a pro-Israel blog.  But I happen to know that the New York Times does not think being pro-Israel is ever good.  Indeed, just yesterday, the Times had a long and nasty and biased report about Israeli settlers, making them look like greedy vultures, all the while forgetting to report the terrorism inflicted against them and their holy places.  (You can find the link if you want; I won’t bother.)

All of this means that, when the Times describes Mere Rhetoric as “pro-Israel,” it’s telling it’s readers that Omri’s blog is biased and unreliable.  It hopes that, despite the evidence all over the blogsophere about Garlasco’s Nazi obsession, those who read the Times article will discount it, because he’s a victim of a smear campaign by those nasty pro-Israel bloggers.

The old media is beginning to have a huge problem trying to get people to discount actual facts simply because the MSM doesn’t like the messenger.  In the old days, a smear was a lie.  In the new days, a smear is the truth coming from new media sources hostile to Democratic interests.  Van Jones was “smeared” when bloggers revealed his Communist past, his crude insults about Republicans, his anti-Israel band, etc.  All actual, veriable, video-taped facts, of course, but still smears because they came out of the wrong mouths.  The Rev. Wright was smeared when videos surfaced of him insulting America and Americans.  True, yes; but a smear nevertheless because the people inserting these facts into the public dialogue had the wrong, conservative motives.

And so it goes — and then the old media wonders why it’s readership declines.

Liberals seeing and hearing no evil about Obama’s missteps *UPDATED*

I don’t know why I didn’t blog about the Charles Freeman story.  Certainly it had all the perfect elements for yet another point of concern about the Obama administration:  the Director of National Intelligence (!) selects Freeman, the Obama administration disclaims about knowledge of the selection, and Freeman turns out to be both a lunatic and a paid shill of the Saudi and Chinese governments.  There’s a guy you want whispering in the President’s ear about the direction our foreign policy should go.   The fact is, so many others were blogging about it, that I had nothing to add.  (And speaking of others, here’s an excellent summary of the Freeman debacle and why it matters.)

Anyway, Freeman is just another in an almost uninterrupted line of stories about the Obama administration screwing up — yet again — when it comes to selecting someone to serve the administration.  We’re getting used to the sordid tales of tax cheats and wackos.  The more interesting story about Charles Freeman, I think, is that the New York Times refused to cover the story.  (This, again, is something other bloggers have been pointing out with some consistency during the last three weeks).  The Times, after all, calls itself the paper of record, and boasts that it prints all the news that’s fit to print.  Apparently it did not deem Freeman newsworthy and the Times wanted no record of his existence.

Another story that’s been flying almost entirely outside the parameters of MSM coverage is the British dismay (and, in some quarters, outrage) over the cavalier treatment their country and their Prime Minister received from the Obama administration.  You all know the details, so I’ll summarize:  returned Churchill’s busts; gave incredibly cheap and tacky gifts; and rejected meetings and phone calls, all explained away by Obama’s fatigue after the incredible burden of a whole six weeks of governing.

That the MSM isn’t talking about either Freeman or the deliberate insult to Britain matters.  It matters in part because it proves Obama wasn’t lying when he said he handle foreign policy differently from Bush.  (The problem being that many people understood this to mean that he’d hire competent, honest people, and that he’d create more friends abroad, not more enemies.)  It also matters because media silence about important facts means that large swaths of the voting public never learn these facts.

As it happened, I didn’t raise the Freeman matter with my resident liberal, Mr. Bookworm, but I did find sufficiently amusing (in a grotesque way) Obama’s England fumbles to ask him if he’d heard about it.

“No,” he hadn’t.

“Really?  It’s been all over the front page of every British newspaper.  They’re very upset about it,” I said.

He asked, “What are they upset about?”

I gave to him a slightly extended version of the same little summary I set out above above.  Mr. Bookroom’s reply spoke volumes:

“I don’t believe that.  That’s just stupid gossip magazine stuff.”  In other words, if it’s not in the New York Times or on NPR, it’s not the news that’s fit to print.

I gently reminded him that, as I’d said at the start of our talk, the story is front page material in England, across the political spectrum.  The conversation harmoniously ended there, with me hoping that, perhaps, he got just an inkling of the fact that his chosen media outlets aren’t being completely honest with him.

UPDATE:  I barely finished posting the above, and I read at Power Line that the Washington Post is carefully expurgating Freeman’s communications to make him sound like a beleaguered victim, rather than an antisemitic nut case.

UPDATE II:  And here’s the reason why the MSM ignores these stories:  they don’t agree with their narrative.

UPDATE III:  Kathy Shaidle, who blogs regularly at Five Feet of Fury (I love that name), also weighs in on just how heinous Freeman was — which also highlights just how much the MSM hid from the public.  And this time they weren’t protecting a candidate, they were protecting a president.

UPDATE IV:  Vaguely related, so I’ll throw it in here:  apropos the fatigue of the job rendering Obama incapable of ordinary civility, Small Dead Animals captures the fact that Obama was never willing to do the grunt work that went with the title.

This is the New York Times reporting

I got this joke in the mail today:

A biker is riding by the zoo, when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion’s cage.

Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.

The biker jumps off his bike, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.

Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.

A New York Times reporter has watched the whole event.

The reporter addressing the biker says, ‘Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I saw a man do in my whole life.’

The biker replies, ‘Why, it was nothing, really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt right.’

The reporter says, ‘Well, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist from the New York Times, you know, and tomorrow’s paper will have this story on the front page… So, what do you do for a living and what political affiliation do you have?”

The biker replies, ‘I’m a U.S. Marine and a Republican.’

The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys Times to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on the front page: U.S. MARINE ASSAULTS AFRICAN IMMIGRANT AND STEALS HIS LUNCH

The McCain campaign is loaded for bear

This, directly from the McCain campaign, deserves to be reprinted in its entirety:

Today the New York Times launched its latest attack on this campaign in its capacity as an Obama advocacy organization. Let us be clear about what this story alleges: The New York Times charges that McCain-Palin 2008 campaign manager Rick Davis was paid by Freddie Mac until last month, contrary to previous reporting, as well as statements by this campaign and by Mr. Davis himself.

In fact, the allegation is demonstrably false. As has been previously reported, Mr. Davis separated from his consulting firm, Davis Manafort, in 2006. As has been previously reported, Mr. Davis has seen no income from Davis Manafort since 2006. Zero. Mr. Davis has received no salary or compensation since 2006. Mr. Davis has received no profit or partner distributions from that firm on any basis — weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual — since 2006. Again, zero. Neither has Mr. Davis received any equity in the firm based on profits derived since his financial separation from Davis Manafort in 2006.

Further, and missing from the Times‘ reporting, Mr. Davis has never — never — been a lobbyist for either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Mr. Davis has not served as a registered lobbyist since 2005.

Though these facts are a matter of public record, the New York Times, in what can only be explained as a willful disregard of the truth, failed to research this story or present any semblance of a fairminded treatment of the facts closely at hand. The paper did manage to report one interesting but irrelevant fact: Mr. Davis did participate in a roundtable discussion on the political scene with…Paul Begala.

Again, let us be clear: The New York Times — in the absence of any supporting evidence — has insinuated some kind of impropriety on the part of Senator McCain and Rick Davis. But entirely missing from the story is any significant mention of Senator McCain’s long advocacy for, and co-sponsorship of legislation to enact, stricter oversight and regulation of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — dating back to 2006. Please see the attached floor statement on this issue by Senator McCain from 2006.

To the central point our campaign has made in the last 48 hours: The New York Times has never published a single investigative piece, factually correct or otherwise, examining the relationship between Obama campaign chief strategist David Axelrod, his consulting and lobbying clients, and Senator Obama. Likewise, the New York Times never published an investigative report, factually correct or otherwise, examining the relationship between Former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson and Senator Obama, who appointed Johnson head of his VP search committee, until the writing was on the wall and Johnson was under fire following reports from actual news organizations that he had received preferential loans from predatory mortgage lender Countrywide.

Therefore this “report” from the New York Times must be evaluated in the context of its intent and purpose. It is a partisan attack falsely labeled as objective news. And its most serious allegations are based entirely on the claims of anonymous sources, a familiar yet regretful tactic for the paper.

We all understand that partisan attacks are part of the political process in this country. The debate that stems from these grand and sometimes unruly conversations is what makes this country so exceptional. Indeed, our nation has a long and proud tradition of news organizations that are ideological and partisan in nature, the Huffington Post and the New York Times being two such publications. We celebrate their contribution to the political fabric of America. But while the Huffington Post is utterly transparent, the New York Times obscures its true intentions — to undermine the candidacy of John McCain and boost the candidacy of Barack Obama — under the cloak of objective journalism.

The New York Times is trying to fill an ideological niche. It is a business decision, and one made under economic duress, as the New York Times is a failing business. But the paper’s reporting on Senator McCain, his campaign, and his staff should be clearly understood by the American people for what it is: a partisan assault aimed at promoting that paper’s preferred candidate, Barack Obama.

If you go to the link, you can see the floor statement that is referred to above.

Incidentally, Michelle Malkin tends to be snarky about McCain’s finally realizing that the New York Times is a party organ, not a news source.  I’d rather hold fire on this one, perhaps because it took me so long to realize that the Democratic party wasn’t what I thought it was.  I’ll say for McCain what I say for me:  Better late than never.

The media and this election

I haven’t gotten up to speed yet this morning for blogging, but my fellow bloggers have, and they’ve already posted some good stuff.

The Anchoress has noticed that, as the debates draw near, the MSM is working diligently to prepare the American audience . . . by lowering expectations.  Obama, once hailed as the greatest American orator since Lincoln, is now being billed as uneven and inexperienced (which is really shocking, considering that his resume as a lawyer and a teacher is supposed to make him at least marginally adept at dealing with oral challenges, right?).

Then, per Confederate Yankee, we learn that there is no proof to back up the reprehensible charge that Alaska generally and Wasilla specifically, under Palin, charged women who had been raped with the price of the rape kits used on them.  One person made the charge to much press hullabaloo, and then vanished; myriad people have rebutted the charge, and the press has ignored them completely.  Hmmm.

In response to the charge that the NYT is one of his propagand arms, Obama fired back with the claim that the NYT has written 40 “probing” stories about him.  Laer examined Obama’s charge very carefully and found it wanting.

Journalists versus gadflies

I find amusing, in a bitter kind of way, the first sentence in a New York Times article about Jerome Corsi’s book on Obama, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality (which is, by the way, one of Amazon’s top sellers and will debut this week as No. 1 on the Times‘ own best-seller list).  In the very first clause of the article, there’s an attack on Prof. Corsi:

In the summer of 2004 the conservative gadfly Jerome R. Corsi shot to the top of the best-seller lists as co-author of “Unfit for Command,” the book attacking Senator John Kerry’s record on a Vietnam War Swift boat that began the larger damaging campaign against Mr. Kerry’s war credentials as he sought the presidency.  (Emphasis mine.)

For those unfamiliar with this slightly old-fashioned insult, a “gadfly” is defined as “A persistent irritating critic; a nuisance,” or “a person who persistently annoys or provokes others with criticism, schemes, ideas, demands, requests, etc.”   In other words, a gadfly isn’t necessarily a liar — he may indeed be absolutely right — but he’s so annoyingly persistent that this fact alone negates his message.

The rest of the article points out three factual errors in the book (whether Obama truly stopped using drugs when he said he did; whether he attended a particularly inflammatory Wright sermon; and whether he dedicated a book to his family), along with the implication that there are others.  It does not acknowledge whether the bulk of the book, aside from these three errors is true.  The article’s main point is that this is just another nasty attack, a la the attack on John Kerry (a book that also had mistakes), and that (nudge, nudge, hint, hint) Times‘ readers would do well to avoid sullying their minds by reading the book.

It was interesting to read the article, which complains about fairly small errors while assiduously avoiding larger substance, within minutes of having read Bruce Walker’s John Edwards and the Truth Scandal.  Walker makes a point many of us have seen in the last few days, but he makes it exceptionally well:  namely, that the Edwards’ scandal isn’t about whether he cheated on his wife, but it is about the fact that he lied repeatedly to the American people as he was running for President, and that the media was both complicit in this lie and unwilling to report on its unraveling.

Walker points out that we really shouldn’t be surprised, either that Silky Pony was really a sneaky little stallion, or that the media tried to create its own version of the truth.  (And here’s an update on the lies, and more lies, infecting that story.)  After all, the Left has always considered the truth to be the story that’s expedient at a given point.  Orwell understood this 60 years ago, but we keep being surprised all over again.

And that’s why I get hung up on that word “gadfly” in the opening clause of a New York Times article sneeringly attack a book that, in turn, attacks Obama.  Whether the book is true or not, whether it has big truths and small mistakes, or small truths and big mistakes, is entirely irrelevant.  What matters is that Corsi has distinguished himself by irritating the Left.  He is to be swatted down, not because of any substantive material he advances (and I strongly agree with swatting down people who advance big lies), but because he’s getting in the way of the Leftist juggernaut.  It’s that — not his factual errors — that make him anathema to the Left.  That is why the Times writes a snide article about Corsi, rather than writing a careful analysis of the actual charges in the book itself.

Given this approach to “journalism,” is it any surprise that the New York Times‘ stocks are reaching junk bond status?  Readers aren’t turning away from the Times because of competition from new media.  They’re turning away from the Times because they recognize that the product has become worthless.

In the 1930s, when Walter Duranty was peddling his garbage from the Soviet Union, people had no alternative sources by which to judge those lies, and competition was limited anyway.  The Times therefore could get away with this kind of shoddy Leftist journalism.  Nowadays, however, with the ability instantly to expose errors and bias, and with thousands of alternative media out there, a newspaper no longer can survive based on a sort of monopolistic cachet.  In order to distinguish itself, it needs to have quality writing (that always matters) and scrupulously honest reporting.  Since the Times is unwilling to deliver the latter, people in this fluid marketplace will always look for a better product.

Because I’m better than the New York Times

The Times may have refused to publish McCain’s Iraq editorial (afraid, no doubt, that publishing it would cast a shadow on Obama’s purported wisdom), but I have no such fear.  Here’s, courtesy of the Drudge Report, is the op-ed McCain wrote — and it’s an op-ed that any reasonable, non-partisan newspaper would have freely printed:

In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City—actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his “plan for Iraq” in advance of his first “fact finding” trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military’s readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be “very dangerous.”

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war—only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.

There are a lot of things that are less than perfect about the John McCain candidacy, but his foreign policy vision vis a vis Iraq is not one of his problem areas.  It may not be perfect, but it’s good by any standards, and is far, far better than Obama’s ill-informed, netroot’s driven, poll driven, ideologically flawed approach.

I think Lee Cary has come up with the best statement about the MSM’s approach to the McCain campaign, and it’s a disgusting (but well-deserved) conclusion about the MSM’s abandonment of any pretense of impartiality: “About the only way McCain will be able to match Obama’s media coverage is if he robs a convenience store, gets caught, and does a public perp walk.”

All the news that’s fit to print *UPDATED*

Palestinians and Hezbollah are wildly celebrating the release of a great Lebanese hero, Samir Kuntar, from Israeli prison.  Their excitement matches that felt in South Africa when Nelson Mandela was finally released.  Nelson Mandela, of course, was a principled man who spoke up against apartheid and was imprisoned for exercising his freedom of speech against that terrible regime.

If you’d like to know what Kuntar did to earn his countrymen’s adulation, here’s the story, as described by an eyewitness, Smadar Haran Kaiser:

It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border.

Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away. Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer.

As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.

Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat.

They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. “This is just like what happened to my mother,” I thought.

As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl’s skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.

By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her. (Emphasis mine.)

You can tell a lot about a culture by its choice of heroes, can’t you?  I’m suddenly less embarrassed by the American propensity to elevate to hero status basketball players and rock stars.  At least they don’t have children’s blood on their hands.

As for the caption for this post, it comes from the way in which the New York Times, reporting on Kuntar’s release, decided to educate its readers about the crime that resulted in his imprisonment:

Perhaps Israel’s most reviled prisoner, Samir Kuntar, will return to a hero’s welcome when he crosses into Lebanon this week, 29 years after he left its shores in a rubber dinghy to kidnap Israelis from the coastal town of Nahariya.

That raid went horribly wrong, leaving five people dead, a community terrorized and a nation traumatized. Two Israeli children and their father were among those killed.

I hope you appreciate the way in which the Times used passive voice there.  It was just a dreadful coincidence that, without any human intervention, two kids and their dad were dead.  In Times-land, the raiders have no moral connection to the fact that a 4-year old’s father was shot in front of her and then her head was smashed against a rock.  While the Times can spare endless space to report on the horrors of kids accidentally killed because the Palestinians encourage them to play on rocket launchers, it suddenly finds itself incapable of explaining to its readers just why the average Israeli might be a tad distraught about the Olmert government’s latest decision.

I guess you can also tell a lot about a country, or at least a political ideology, based on the way its free media spins a story.  And this does embarrass me.

Hat tip: Best of the Web

UPDATEAnd all that Israel got in exchange was two bodies.

I should add here that, insofar as I have an extremely limited knowledge of Jewish tradition, the body is very important.  Religious Jews don’t cremate their dead because an inviolate corpse is the preferred condition for the end of the world.

A friend once explained to me that this prohibition against any violation of the body was a reaction to the pagan practice of sacrificial deaths and corpse desecration.  (In the same way, the Jewish practice of speedy burial was both an attempt to protect Jewish bodies from pagans and a practical response to a hot climate.)  This prosaic origin, however, morphed into a spiritually significant practice.

Despite the religious importance Jews impart to an intact body, though, I still have a problem with a nation doing what Israel did for the sake of those two bodies.  After all, I have great faith that, at the end of days, God will be able to sort things out, and that those two poor boys will be given their due in the afterlife.  In that same vein, I have no doubt that the souls of those who were incinerated in Auschwitz will readily find their way to God.  Perhaps some things are better left to God, and the Israeli government would have done better to leave this one alone, family anguish notwithstanding.

Beating up thugs

The news story was the beating the Iranian thugs and terrorists took in Basra. But there was another type of thuggery going on, too, and Ralph Peters attacks it with a righteous zeal:

LIKE many Americans, I get angry at biased “reporting” about Iraq and the spin from dishonest pundits. Usually, I get over it quickly, since my expectations of the media are pretty low.But sometimes a Big Lie just won’t let go. And the lefty lie that the Iraqi military is a hopeless failure must be answered.

Yes, we all know that left-wing media outlets, such as the dying New York Times, need Iraq to fail to redeem their credibility. They’ll do all they can to dismiss any sign of progress.

But the perverted gloating over recent Iraqi military operations in Basra combines willful ignorance of military affairs with a shameless manipulation of the facts. Yes, some local Iraqi police and new military recruits ran away. But that was all that the media reported.

Where was the coverage of the 95 percent of the Iraqi security forces who did their duty? Some fought superbly. The Iranian-backed gangs and militias took a beating.

Muqtada al Sadr – not the central government – asked for a cease-fire. The Iraqi military remains in Basra, still pushing (and freeing the occasional kidnapped journalist). The government now has a presence where lawlessness prevailed – and it took control of Basra’s vital port facilities, the country’s economic lifeline.

But all we continue to hear about is the one Iraqi cop or soldier in 20 who ran away.

Read the rest here.

Interesting editorial choice

As is the rest of the media, the Times is making much of the fact that 4,000 American troops have died during more than five years of war in Iraq. I won’t repeat here (or, at least, I won’t repeat at length) my oft-stated belief that, while each death is a personal tragedy, this is a volunteer military that has graciously and with extreme bravery stepped up to help defend all of us and that, thank God, it has been blessed by an extremely low casualty total compared to wars of similar scope and length. But I digress….

As always, I’m leery of MSM articles about the War dead, since I can’t escape the feeling that they’re written less to honor the dead than to score political points against the war. “See, you stupid chickenhawks — wars kill people, in case you haven’t figured that out yet.”

Still, the Times has done a nice job giving life to several men who died within the last year in Iraq. One of them, Daniel J. Agami, doesn’t sound at all like the typical liberal stereotype (one that is completely false) that sees American soldiers a naive minorities sneakily enticed into the military by bribes and promises so that corporations can get rich off their blood. Instead, he sounds like a real American — someone who is one in that rich blend that is the American melting pot, and who believes in what this country has to offer and willingly puts his life on the line to defend it:

Private Agami had time for everyone, and everyone had time for him. Affectionately called GI Jew, he held his religion up to the light. He used it to build tolerance among the troops and shatter stereotypes; few in his unit had ever met a Jew. He flew the Israeli flag over his cot in Adhamiya. He painted the words Hebrew Hammer onto his rifle. He even managed to keep kosher, a feat that required a steady diet of protein shakes and cereal.

He is a mensch, something that is also reflected in the letters and emails his family made available to the Times for this profile.

And yet, when it came to Army Specialist Agami, the Times made a rather unusual decision — it used his picture as the major photograph to illustrate the article. Choosing his picture would not be so unusual, of course, if it weren’t for the fact that the picture the Times chose has Agami sitting in front of a huge Israeli flag. Reading down into the article (way down, almost near the end), it makes sense why he would be photographed in front of this flag: “He flew the Israeli flag over his cot in Adhamiya.” Given that Agami willingly fought for and died for this country, I don’t see anyone having a problem with his choice of decor.

What is a problem is the fact that the Times uses this particular photograph to illustrate an article about American troops who have died in Iraq. One simply can’t escape the impression that the Times is trying to send the subliminal message — a very strong subliminal message — that Americans are fighting and dying for Israel, not for America.

It would be nice to believe that the Times highlighted this particular photograph because its editors wanted to make the point that ours is an exceptionally pluralist army, made up of Americans representing the vast tapestry of race and religion that enriches America. Given the Times‘ political biases, though, it’s very difficult to escape the conclusion that some editor couldn’t resist making a political point even as he followed a directive from on high to honor America’s war dead.

UPDATE:  The Times has changed the picture about which I blogged, but Atlas Shrugs captured it.

On a different point, as someone reminded me in a private email, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and one need not jump to any conclusions about the Times‘ motives — as I’ve tried not to, commenting only on the peculiar impression the chosen photo made.  My problem, of course, is that, while a cigar may just be a cigar, sometimes it matters whose cigar is at issue — and the Times has not shown itself to be friendly, or even neutral, towards either Israel or the U.S. military.

Running commentary — UPDATED and UPDATED again

Today just hasn’t worked as a blogging day, what with one thing and another and another and another, ad infinitum (or do I mean ad nauseum?). I’m therefore going to take a page out Laer’s book, and just compile a whole bunch of posts into one big post. I’ll also keep updating this as I get moments to do so, so keep checking this one (assuming, of course, that you’re interested).

How un-green was my corn-growing valley

Walter E. Williams details how decidedly ungreen ethanol is:

Ethanol contains water that distillation cannot remove. As such, it can cause major damage to automobile engines not specifically designed to burn ethanol. The water content of ethanol also risks pipeline corrosion and thus must be shipped by truck, rail car or barge. These shipping methods are far more expensive than pipelines.

Ethanol is 20-30% less efficient than gasoline, making it more expensive per highway mile. It takes 450 pounds of corn to produce the ethanol to fill one SUV tank. That’s enough corn to feed one person for a year. Plus, it takes more than one gallon of fossil fuel—oil and natural gas—to produce one gallon of ethanol. After all, corn must be grown, fertilized, harvested and trucked to ethanol producers—all of which are fuel-using activities. And, it takes 1,700 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol. On top of all this, if our total annual corn output were put to ethanol production, it would reduce gasoline consumption by 10-12%.

In other words, ethanol will run your guy, require massive amounts of some fuel to ship; reduce cars’ fuel efficiency; require massive amounts of water to produce; divert food crops from hungry people — and all for a measly 10-12% reduction in gasoline consumption. In a real marketplace, of course, nobody would fall for this kind of thing as an alternative to the current situation. Sadly, we don’t live in a marketplace. Instead, we have a government that is forcing this incredibly inefficient, food-stealing, car damaging, water hog on us:

Ethanol is so costly that it wouldn’t make it in a free market. That’s why Congress has enacted major ethanol subsidies, about $1.05 to $1.38 a gallon, which is no less than a tax on consumers. In fact, there’s a double tax—one in the form of ethanol subsidies and another in the form of handouts to corn farmers to the tune of $9.5 billion in 2005.

That’s not all. If you want more insight into the scam what am when it comes to this particular alternative fuel, read the rest of Williams’ article.

What it is with these New York/New Jersey governors?

I’d barely gotten over my shock at Spitzer’s stupidity, and my repugnance about McGreevey’s menage a trois, when I was forced to confront the fact that newly sworn-in New York governor David Paterson wasn’t completely honest about his cheating. Rick Moran points out that he not only may have had another affair last year, but he may have used his governmental powers to get his most recent cupcake a job. You know, I was pretty thrilled to have the first legally blind governor step up to the plate (as someone pretty nearsighted myself), but now I’m feeling jaded and betrayed. Has it gotten so even the near-sighted can no longer be trusted?

Getting the goods on Gaza

The Palestinians assured the world that the catalyst for their aggressive behavior was Israel’s unconscionable presence in the territories. If Israel would just do the morally right thing and go away, was the implied and expressed promise, the Palestinians would be free, happy, and peaceful. Oh, yeah. After saying that, the Palestinians also dragged out title papers to the Brooklyn Bridge, which they promised to sell at a bargain. Whether because it believed the promises or because it found endurable being responsible for Gaza, Israel did in fact pull out — and look what it got her. I actually can’t blame the Palestinians. Anyone with half a brain could see that they were lying when they said that they sought only Israel’s withdrawal and that everything would be sweetness and light once they achieved that goal.

Giving credit where credit’s due — the AP id’s a Democratic malfeasor’s party affiliation

California State Senator Carol Migden (D – San Francisco & Marin [yup, she's mine]) has had a bad time of it lately. In 1997, she was diagnosed with leukemia, a fact she hid when she successfully ran for office in 2004. Last year, she was arrested for hit and run driving, which came to an end after she hit a second vehicle, and then demanded of her victim “Do you know who I am?” That’s when she first revealed her leukemia, saying that the drugs she was taking impaired her (yet she still drove). Things have now gone from worse to worse:

State Sen. Carole Migden has agreed to pay a $350,000 fine for nearly 90 violations of campaign finance laws – the largest penalty ever imposed by California’s political watchdog agency on a state legislator.

Putting aside the tragedy of her leukemia, as to which I wish her the best and many years of health, Migden has gone from lying to the public, to driving under the influence, to hit and run driving, to the worst campaign corruption in California history. Where’s the good in all this, you might ask? In a surprising place. In the second paragraph of the article about Migden, the AP identifies her as a Democrat!

The Fair Political Practices Commission on Tuesday released a stipulation signed by the San Francisco Democrat, who also represents Marin, acknowledging she had violated 89 counts of the Political Reform Act from 2003 to 2007. That included using more than $16,000 in campaign donations for personal use. (Emphasis mine.)

Will wonders never cease?

More wonders and miracles from the media

The New York Times reviews Under the Same Moon a movie that won raves at Sundance last year. The movie ought to be right up the Times‘ aisle, since it involves an illegal alien mother in Los Angeles who has weekly phone calls with her little boy in Mexico. Given the premise you can bet that the movie is strong on how morally wrong we are to separate families this way. (I agree — send Mommy back to Mexico.) Surprisingly, though, the reviewer doesn’t like the movie at all, castigated it for being nothing more than heavy-handed polemic:

“Under the Same Moon,” an “Incredible Journey” for the socially conscience-stricken, arrives in theaters trailing a standing ovation from last year’s Sundance Film Festival and more than a whiff of sanctimony. And even allowing that Sundance audiences are notoriously unreliable arbiters of quality — for every “Spanking the Monkey,” there’s a “Spitfire Grill” and a “Quinceañera” — their wholehearted embrace of this manipulative, saccharin product is dispiriting.

Aside from the movie’s boring predictability, even Jeannette Catsoulis, the NY Times‘ employee can’t take the movie’s hostility towards Americans, and fawning love for all people of color:

If only predictability were the worst of it. When Carlitos loses his caretaker and resolves to journey to Los Angeles on his own, the movie lines up a succession of nasty gringos to block his path. As he evades the clutches of a drug addict, child traffickers and the United States Border Patrol, nonwhites rally to protect him in the form of kindly migrant workers and traveling musicians. Meanwhile, jaunty musical interludes ensure that none of this becomes too depressing.

I don’t see Catsoulis lasting long at the Times if she’s going to be this honest about the failures in a PC movie.

Okay, but it’s still the New York Times.

Lest you think the Times has completely lost its marbles and become objective, you can reorient yourself to the real world and read the Times’ absolutely fawning review of Obama’s speech. The title alone is a giveaway as to just a wee bit o’ bias: Mr. Obama’s Profile in Courage. Did Mr. Obama run into a burning building to save a child? No. Did Mr. Obama save an old lady from being mugged? No. Did Mr. Obama enlist in the American military and fight for his country? No. What Mr. Obama did was give a speech and talk about his religion. Of course, unlike Mitt Romney, who did precisely the same thing, Obama did it the right way — which is to say the way that the New York Times liked — my black religion good, your white attitudes bad. (And yes, I do believe that is what’s buried under all of Obama’s fussy and false rhetoric.) I mean, you really have to read it to believe the Times‘ swoon:

There are moments — increasingly rare in risk-abhorrent modern campaigns — when politicians are called upon to bare their fundamental beliefs. In the best of these moments, the speaker does not just salve the current political wound, but also illuminates larger, troubling issues that the nation is wrestling with.

Inaugural addresses by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt come to mind, as does John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on religion, with its enduring vision of the separation between church and state. Senator Barack Obama, who has not faced such tests of character this year, faced one on Tuesday. It is hard to imagine how he could have handled it better.

Mr. Obama had to address race and religion, the two most toxic subjects in politics. He was as powerful and frank as Mitt Romney was weak and calculating earlier this year in his attempt to persuade the religious right that his Mormonism is Christian enough for them.

There’s lots more in this vein, but if I understand it correctly, Obama showed a bravery uncommon in ordinary human beings by attending a racist church for 22 years, lying about his relationship to the church and its ideas, and then giving a speech that manages in one package to lie, make invidious comparisons, deny race is an issue, set himself up as the living embodiment of racial healing, and parrot the usual leftist crap about victimhood and the need for government money. Give the man a medal!

A reminder of just what Obama was hearing

Obama’s denials about his 22 years of ignorance during his attendance at Wright’s church don’t ring true. Or, rather, they open up a lot of possibilities. (And that’s not even to touch upon the fact that his “courageous” speech essentially acknowledges that, yes, he was listening; he just didn’t say anything.) Either he heard and he’s lying when he said he didn’t. Or he didn’t listen, proving that his attendance was a meaningless exercise to give him political leverage in a black neighborhood to offset his extremely upper class education. Or he’s an idiot — and this one I doubt. In any event, America isn’t Wright’s only enemy. American Thinker reminds us of just how hostile Wright is to Israel and, by extension, to the Jews.

This post opened with a snippet about the un-green-ness of ethanol; it closes with one about the un-green-ness of CFL bulbs

If I recall correctly, Congress was kind enough to bless the American people with legislation outlawing our good old incandescent bulbs, with their reliable, softly glowing, quiet light.  As I’ve blogged before, it turns out that, just as Congress may have been a tad precipitate when it embraced ethanol, the same is true for its turning its back on my beloved bright whites:

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, long touted by environmentalists as a more efficient and longer-lasting alternative to the incandescent bulbs that have lighted homes for more than a century, are running into resistance from waste industry officials and some environmental scientists, who warn that the bulbs’ poisonous innards pose a bigger threat to health and the environment than previously thought. …

As long as the mercury is contained in the bulb, CFLs are perfectly safe. But eventually, any bulbs — even CFLs — break or burn out, and most consumers simply throw them out in the trash, said Ellen Silbergeld, a professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins University and editor of the journal Environmental Research.

“This is an enormous amount of mercury that’s going to enter the waste stream at present with no preparation for it,” she said.

Hat tip:  Hot Air

NY Times shills for sharia law *UPDATED*

From the every first paragraph of a lengthy New York Times Magazine article about Sharia law, you know you’re in for an intellectually dishonest voyage through the multi-culti mindset of the New York Times, this time as put forward by Noah Feldman who is, unsurprisingly, a law professor at that bastion of liberal think, Harvard. It’s a long article, so I won’t Fisk the whole thing, but I can’t resist tackling at least the first few paragraphs:

Last month, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, gave a nuanced, scholarly lecture in London about whether the British legal system should allow non-Christian courts to decide certain matters of family law. [Well, not really. He gave a muddled, incomprehensible lecture that vaguely waffled about Sharia, without actually giving anyone a clear sense of what he was talking about -- although, maybe, at Harvard, that passes for nuance. It was in a contemporaneous TV interview, though, that Williams let the cat out of the bag, and admitted that he wasn't talking about private judicial systems with voluntary participation -- assuming the beleaguered Pakistani women, forced into marriages and killed for "honor," can voluntarily participate in anything. Instead, he admitted that he thought Britain would actually have to accept Sharia law.] Britain has no constitutional separation of church and state. The archbishop noted that “the law of the Church of England is the law of the land” there; indeed, ecclesiastical courts that once handled marriage and divorce are still integrated into the British legal system, deciding matters of church property and doctrine. His tentative suggestion was that, subject to the agreement of all parties and the strict requirement of protecting equal rights for women, it might be a good idea to consider allowing Islamic and Orthodox Jewish courts to handle marriage and divorce. [As I noted in an earlier post on the subject, that's not what he was proposing in his "nuanced" speech. While it's absolutely true that we in America allow people to resolve disputes privately, whether through arbitration, mediation, rabbinical courts, working with their minister, or confiding to the bartender, these are optional systems. People can avoid these systems, however, and instead choose to go use the ordinary civil and criminal laws of America. These American courts will not apply rabbi-made law, or sharia-law, or bartender's wisdom. Williams, however, stated that sharia law should be, and I quote, "incorporated into the British legal system" -- in other words, there's no escape. And even worse, while it may first be applied only to Muslims, one can well imagine some PC judge thinking it would be useful to apply it to other Brits, as well.]

Then all hell broke loose. [No surprise there since people seem to have understood what Williams actually said rather than having listened to some PC channel, as Feldman did, where he heard what he wishes Williams had said, rather than what Williams actually said.] From politicians across the spectrum to senior church figures and the ubiquitous British tabloids came calls for the leader of the world’s second largest Christian denomination to issue a retraction or even resign. [Yeah, 'cause he showed himself to be a dupe, a dhimmi and an idiot.] Williams has spent the last couple of years trying to hold together the global Anglican Communion in the face of continuing controversies about ordaining gay priests and recognizing same-sex marriages. [One wonders, in this regard if Feldman or Williams have given any consideration to the fact that, under sharia law, homosexuality is a hanging offense, or at least one deserving of torture (and we know that the torture the sharia clerics contemplate goes beyond have rock music blasted at you or even waterboarding).] Yet little in that contentious battle subjected him to the kind of outcry that his reference to religious courts unleashed. Needless to say, the outrage was not occasioned by Williams’s mention of Orthodox Jewish law. For the purposes of public discussion, it was the word “Shariah” that was radioactive. [Yeah, it was radioactive, because Williams didn't mention incorporating Orthodox Jewish law into the British system, but he did say, and I quote, that sharia law should be "incorporated into the British legal system." Does Feldman really think everybody is either as credulous or dishonest about this as he is?]

In some sense, the outrage about according a degree of official status to Shariah in a Western country should come as no surprise. No legal system has ever had worse press. To many, the word “Shariah” conjures horrors of hands cut off, adulterers stoned and women oppressed. [Surprise! Surprise! as Gomer Pyle would say. It's funny how that happens, although it might be tied to all those silly little news stories about homosexuality being illegal in Muslim countries, with homosexuals routinely tortured and hanged; women killed because they were prevented from leaving burning buildings wrongly clad; women stoned to death for adultery; rape victims executed; women prevented from driving or being seen with men; school teachers arrested and threatened with whipping for naming teddy bears after toddlers; forced marriages; thieves' hands cut off; slavery; etc. I could fill dozens of lines in this post describing the horrors of life under sharia law, but I think you get the idea.] By contrast, who today remembers that the much-loved English common law called for execution as punishment for hundreds of crimes, including theft of any object worth five shillings or more? How many know that until the 18th century, the laws of most European countries authorized torture as an official component of the criminal-justice system? As for sexism, the common law long denied married women any property rights or indeed legal personality apart from their husbands. When the British applied their law to Muslims in place of Shariah, as they did in some colonies, the result was to strip married women of the property that Islamic law had always granted them — hardly progress toward equality of the sexes. [Is this a stupid argument or what? What he's saying is that, because in pre-modern times we in the West were just as bad as Islam is today, we are not allowed to judge Islam by modern standards. This is what happens when multi-culturalism takes over. When your country's current legal system is manifestly superior to another country's current legal, you're flogged with your country's far distant past as a way to shut you up. Last I looked, we in the West don't have slavery, women have property rights, thieves aren't hanged, torture isn't routine, etc. Indeed, I think we can comfortably separate ourselves by more than 150 years from these types of punishments. In strict Muslim countries, they can only separate themselves by a few minutes under the next horror comes along.]

In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world. [Again, the same stupid argument. That Islam looked good compared to the law in the Middle Ages is a straw man argument. I'm not comparing Islamic law to medieval or even pre-Enlightenment law. I'm comparing it to 21st Century America or Europe.] Today, when we invoke the harsh punishments prescribed by Shariah for a handful of offenses [handful!? Homosexuality; driving; consorting with men; wearing anything but a tent; leaving the house alone; stealing; adultery. In what parallel universe is Feldman living?], we rarely acknowledge the high standards of proof necessary for their implementation. Before an adultery conviction can typically be obtained, for example, the accused must confess four times or four adult male witnesses of good character must testify that they directly observed the sex act. [Somehow this high level of proof hasn't worked too well for the women standing accused, has it?] The extremes of our own legal system — like life sentences for relatively minor drug crimes, in some cases — are routinely ignored. [Again, a straw man. That our system is not perfect does not relieve the sharia system of its manifest awfulness and abuse.] We neglect to mention the recent vintage of our tentative improvements in family law. [Yeah, but Prof. Feldman -- we have improved them. Sharia hasn't.] It sometimes seems as if we need Shariah as Westerners have long needed Islam: as a canvas on which to project our ideas of the horrible, and as a foil to make us look good. [Don't you love being psychoanalyzed by an ignorant buffoon?]

I’m exhausted. How many stupid statements and dishonest rhetoric can you pack into just four paragraphs? Feldman does go on to ask an interesting question which is why is sharia law growing in popularity. However, given his rhetorical stance in the first four paragraphs, who can trust his analysis in the rest of the article? I know I can’t. He’s established himself as a confabulator, a trickster, a con artist and an ignoramus. Why would I believe anything he says?

I do know that Islam does tend to be attractive in anarchic places, because it promises stability and tight control. (Witness the rise of the Taliban after the chaos left in the wake of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.) It’s the “strong man” syndrome, except it plays out as the “strong religion” syndrome. That sharia doesn’t deliver on its promises, that it provides a theocratic totalitarianism, coupled with hate-filled rhetoric (aimed at Jews, Israel, America, homosexuals, women, etc.), will never stop the masses from seeking something that they believe will provide them with greater safety with and control over their day to day lives. Also, sharia, unlike our Western legal system, is inextricably intertwined with salvation. If you tell people that their eternal salvation is dependent on following a certain system, no matter how dreadful, and how medieval, that system is, many will do that — as was certainly the case in the ancient world for many thousands of years.

As for Feldman’s basic argument, which is that, if everyone is doing it, it must be okay, it’s manifest that his mother, when he was a child, never asked him that most basic of parenting questions: “If everybody jumped of a cliff, would you jump too?”

Hat tip: JL

UPDATE:  My friend Patrick has written a very interesting post that dovetails nicely with my attack on Feldman’s spurious comparison between pre-modern Western law and current Islamic law.  In it, he both agrees with a Sister Toldjah post and disagrees with it:

My friend Sister Toldjah has a long post up arguing that it is muddle-headed for the political Left to defend Barack Obama’s cozy relationship with an anti-Semitic racialist conspiracy theorist on the grounds that there are kooky pastors on the Right as well. In that thesis, I agree with her completely. From a logical and rhetorical point of view “So’s your mother” and “everybody does it” are bankrupt defenses.

I take issue with other parts of her post, however, because I think she’s too fine a person to carry water for the ignorant likes of megachurch pastor John Hagee. Any man who believes as Hagee does that “the Roman Catholic Church…plunged the world into the Dark Ages,” and thinks Pope Piux XII “never, ever slightly criticized” Adolph Hitler is a bigoted maroon of the first order.

The rest of his post is a spirited defense of the Catholic church in times past.

I think Patrick makes an excellent point, one of which is that information needs to be examined in context.  Looking back from modern times, there are things that we can’t like about the Dark Ages and Medieval church (the burnings, for one thing).  However, we in the modern era stupidly forget that you cannot measure past institutions — especially institutions that flourished in the distant past — against our own times. Instead, you have to measure them against their own times. For example, much as it’s trendy now to praise Druids and other pagan religions, Christianity was light years ahead of the competition if only one for one reason: it stopped human sacrifice. To me, that’s a biggie.

In the same way, it’s utterly ludicrous for Feldman to defend the horrors of certain aspects of sharia law by saying that, once upon a time, we were just as bad.  We aren’t as bad now, but sharia still is.