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Busy week, hence, not much blogging. I did manage, however, to get to the polls on Tuesday. Seems I made national news. Voters of Missouri overwhelmingly passed a resolution to amend the state Constitution so as to preserve traditional marriage. Of course, the Saint Louis Post Dispatch (whose moral compass points decidedly south) calls it a divisive issue:
It would be unfortunate if the divisive issue of gay marriage became a decisive issue in the fall election when the nation is faced with the crucial issues of war, peace, national security and economic vitality.
Since the resolution passed with a 71% majority and that the amendment defining marriage passed in almost all parts of the state, seems like its not nearly as divisive as the editors of the P-D might hope.
After all, as some really smart dude once said (hey, google it yourself it you're that interested): The purpose of tradition is not to live in the past, but to preserve the future. I believe, in no small way, that I and the overwhelming majority of Missourians helped to preserve that future this week.
Since it is now completely unarguable that the majority of the media are liberal, the goalposts are moving. Yes, we're mostly liberal, but that doesn't mean that we slant our reporting. This, from journalists who were present at the Unity: Journalists of Color conference this past weekend where both Kerry and Bush spoke (and received quite different receptions):
"We as journalists all struggle with checking ourselves at staying objective, but we're human beings first," said Miss Arnold, 28, who is black. "I think that most of the journalists here are very aware of not allowing their own political views [to influence] their work," she said. "Journalists desperately want to be respected as professionals, so most attempt to remain as objective as possible.
""I was cognizant of [the disparity in the receptions for Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry], but since the majority of us at the conference aren't political reporters, I don't know if it was that important."
Perhaps the majority are not political reporters, but they're clearly not apolitical. More importantly though, haven't we heard for the past two decades from those who worship on the altar of multiculturism and diversity that we must have women to express the women's view, we must have minorities to express the minority view, we must have those with "alternate lifestyles" to express their view? You'd think that, in the interest of diversity, there would be impetus among the major media to espouse the conservative view. But that's just it, they don't (openly) acknowledge that they color the events of the day with liberal crayons so there is really no need to go to the box of 64. (but, the box of 64 includes a built-in sharpener --ed.)
Jason Van Steenwyk has lots on media bias (not just simple examples, but a thoughtful discussion) here and here. Van Steenwyk (a.k.a Splash) writes quite a good and varied blog--check it out.
Tacitus has spent considerable time parsing John F. Kerry's pronouncements on the war in Iraq and has come to the following conclusion:
Kerry: Let me give an example. If I get other countries involved in the training of troops, and we're training them more rapidly, the Iraqis themselves can take over a great deal more of their own security. But you need stability to be able to do that. How do you achieve the stability? You need to have more people involved in the process. We have not seen this Administration do the statesmanship, do the diplomacy necessary, and America is paying a very high price both in terms of the lives of our young, and the money that's coming out of the taxpayer's pockets. I will do a better job of building those alliances and getting our troops home. And I will do a much better job of reducing the burden on the National Guard and Reserves and their families who are paying a very high price for the President's rush.
But we've already seen, other countries are involved in the training of troops. And is it not something of a poor plan that depends wholly upon the unproven and historically untrustworthy goodwill and independent volition of other nations? In his acceptance speech at the DNC, Kerry vowed: "I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security." And yet, his plan of action here does just that: indeed, it is premised upon those nations whom he assumes will treat him well not exercising that veto.
...Think about that last bit. Think back to the interview excerpt's beginning. John Kerry avers that "diplomacy" can secure a peace or stability of sorts from groups and peoples with whom we are at warand whom we have yet to defeat. This, he asserts, will create the conditions for troop withdrawals. Oh, and if it doesn't? Because it won't: "[I]f it can't produce a different ingredient on the ground, lemme tell you something, that says something about what Iraqis want, and what the people in the region want." The rhetorical ground is prepared. The will-of-the-people rhetoric is deployed. The stage for the grim, resolute, yielding-to-reality (so unlike those neocons!) President John F. Kerry is set. Remember: if every best-case scenario for withdrawal doesn't work; if diplomacy(!) mysteriously fails to sway murderous fanatics to goodwill; if the French don't abruptly dispatch the Foreign Legion to Anbar Province; and if big-hearted Europeans don't immediately begin training thousands of Jeffersonian-minded Iraqis -- in short, if there's still a war to be won: He's going to withdraw anyway.
Transcript of John Kerry's interview with Stars and Stripes. Apparently, due to the sheer power of "John F. Kerry Diplomacy" America will once again be strong and proud, the French will like us, the air will be cleaner and the water bluer, all the angry Islamists will simply go home and sit on their prayer rugs and thugs and tyrants around the globe will bow:
...I know the power of my own diplomacy and I believe, and I’m confident to say I can do a better job of bringing people to the table and reducing the burden on American troops. I know I can do it.
...Stripes: Tommy Franks has said in his new book that we should be in Iraq for three to five years – does that sound like a fair estimate to you? Kerry: I think that that estimate depends on the success of my diplomacy.
...The very first thing I will do, as soon as I’m sworn in as president – I’ll even begin the process before that, but I will not be empowered to do anything until I take office, is to convene an international conference, with the Europeans co-chairing, and the Arab countries co-chairing. And we will bring people back to the table they used to be at, before this administration proceeded unilaterally.
...And my hope is, that with my diplomacy, we can be more effective with North Korea. We might be able to reduce the deployment in that part of the world, that’s been much too similar for 50 years now, and I hope that we can do a better job ultimately with Europe.
...I want my people in there, I want my diplomacy to begin to take hold, I want a better assessment of what the lay of the land is going to be with a new president.
...We have a huge procurement evaluation to make, we have an enormous deployment evaluation to make … I have to see what the response is to my diplomatic initiatives in order to make a judgment of what the real demands will be on our military.
More diplomacy. I can only hope that the Iraqi's are laughing and not taking it seriously:
The United Nations offered its help on Saturday to try to stop some of the worst fighting seen in Iraq in about four months between Shi'ite militiamen and coalition forces.
Thankfully, the U.N. gave the Iraqi's an easy out:
The United Nations, which is helping Iraq prepare for a National Conference in mid-August, said in a statement that it "is ready to extend its facilitating role to the current crisis, if this would be helpful." (emphasis added)
The Iraqi Prime Minister, however, sees things more clearly:
"There is no negotiation with any militia that bears arms against Iraq and the Iraqi people," a heavily guarded Allawi told reporters in Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad.
This is a lesson that John Kerry, the French and the U.N. refuse to learn: when dealing with liars, cheats, terrorists, dictators, tyrants and thugs, diplomacy has not, does not, will not and cannot succeed:
U.S. intelligence officials and outside nuclear experts have concluded that the Bush administration's diplomatic efforts with European and Asian allies have barely slowed the nuclear weapons programs in Iran and North Korea over the past year, and that both have made significant progress.
...A new assessment of North Korea has come from the American intelligence community in one of three classified reports commissioned by the administration earlier this year. Circulated last month, the report concluded that toughened sanctions and negotiations have not slowed North Korea's efforts to develop plutonium weapons, and that a separate program to make weapons from highly enriched uranium was also proceeding.
Color me skeptical. Terrorists, murderers, and haters would lie, would they?
A study by the Global Child Advocacy Movement (GCAM) - Palestine Branch - has refuted Israeli allegations of Palestinian plans to enlist children among the ranks of Palestinian resistance factions, pointing out that children's participation in military action is rare and due to "mistakes that have been corrected."
Is it an intelligence failure by the media? Is it lack of imagination? Perhaps they have an agenda. Whatever. Luckily,Arthur Chrenkoff is on the case finding LOTS of good news in Iraq:
Some areas of Iraq, like Kurdistan, are much further advanced along the road to normalcy, as one of the best correspondents out of Iraq, Nicholas Rothwell of the Australian, writes: "The construction of an open, democratic, Western-oriented society may be an elusive dream in the rest of Iraq, but it is a solid reality here. The Kurds even control their own territory with their Peshmerga militia, separate from the Iraqi armed forces."
...To get the numbers right in the new Iraq, the government is spending between $60 million and $100 million and employing 150,000 teachers to conduct the new census in a single day. The data from the Saddam era is too outdated and too biased to provide an accurate picture of today's Iraq.
...In the media sector, a recent survey by Oxford Research International shows that 61% of Iraqis had watched the new TV channel Alhurra in the previous week. Alhurra, Arabic for "The Free One", is a US-funded Arabic-language broadcaster. "Since it launched on February 14, 2004, Alhurra has quickly established itself as an important resource for Iraqis to get their news--19 percent of those surveyed cited Alhurra as one of their top three sources of information. Of those people who watch Alhurra, 64 percent found the news to be 'very' or 'somewhat' reliable."
...In sports news, the Iraqi soccer comeback continues, after a 3-2 victory over Turkmenistan in the Asian Cup. "Now we are building the new team, the Olympic team," says the new national coach, Adnan Hamad. "Hamad's boys no longer answer to Uday Hussein, the psychotic son of the toppled ruler, known to beat the soles of their feet or lock them up for days over slip-ups on the pitch." Which must make it so much easier to enjoy sport.
...Meanwhile, the Iraqi stock market continues to expand: "The miniature Liberty Bell clanged. Elbows flew. Sweat poured down foreheads. Sales tickets were passed and, with a flick of the wrist, 10,000 shares of the Middle East Bank had more than doubled in value. The frantic pace Sunday of those first 10 minutes of trading typified the enthusiasm behind the Iraq Stock Exchange--a new institution seen as a critical step in building a new Iraqi economy." That's after an already impressive start, when more than 500 million shares were traded on the first day--"more than the Baghdad Stock Exchange ever achieved." At the end of the second session, 560 million shares changed hands and the aggregate share price of companies being traded rose to $2.66 million, up from $2.21 million at the start--a healthy 20% increase.
...In recent months, Iraq's oil production has grown to more than two million barrels per day. At this rate, current oil output and oil exports now exceed post-invasion predictions. Experts had argued that funding shortages, lack of security, the problems of stabilizing a legitimate government, and technology shortfalls would severely limit Iraq's output. Despite the odds, Iraq's daily output reached a post-invasion record of 2.5 million barrels in March.
Meanwhile, news of our leaky southern borders are starting to get some mention--in Pravda:
According to the Tombstone editor"s sources, on June 13, 2004, Border Patrol agents from the Wilcox, Ariz., patrol station encountered a large group of illegal border crossers in the Chiricaucha Mountain foothills, just east of what is known as The Sanders Ranch. Agents estimated that the group comprised about 100 people.
Border Patrol sources who were present at this mass apprehension state that they seized 71 illegal aliens, of whom 53 were males of Middle Eastern decent. The suspects did not speak Spanish and spoke only poor English, sources told the newspaper. In fact, after a group of the detainees had been placed in a transport van, one Border Patrol agents on the scene who speaks Arabic and Farsi, the native language of Iran, clearly overheard the detainees speaking Arabic through an air vent in the transport vehicle.
Higher-ups in the Border Patrol allegedly ordered these agents involved not to say a thing to the news media. "But I have to," one of the agents told the Tombstone editor, obviously acting out of concern of the potential terrorism threat as every American should be.
The agents involved in the June 13th incident noted that these suspects wore garb and clothing that is normally worn by migrants: baseball caps, tennis shoes, jeans, T-shirts even with patriotic American slogans. But the agents said what was particularly odd was that all the clothing worn by the Middle Eastern males was brand new. Each one in the group looked to have had just been to a barber shop with fresh new haircuts, all clean cut, with the exact style and cut of mustaches.
Border Patrol sources, at the risk of being in violation of orders and losing their jobs, offered a subsequent chilling revelation. On June 21, 2004, they and their colleagues from the Wilcox Border Patrol station apprehended another 24 Arabic-speaking males in the area of Pierce/Sunsites. These small towns are approximately 25 miles northeast of Tombstone and not far from the Chiricaucha foothills.
Even more worrisome, the agents say, is that the 24 men who were seized were only part of a larger group. At least half of the group apparently escaped capture and remain on the loose in the United States.
Greg Buente debunks the myth (on display so prominently at the DNC convention last week) that the 90's was a decade of peace and prosperity:
Al Qaeda and similar Islamic terrorist groups successfully targeted Americans in 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000. Three of these attacks -- the 1993 WTC bombing, 1993 attack at CIA headquarters and the 1997 Empire State Building sniper attack -- occurred on U.S. soil. After each deadly attack, the Democratic Party, led by Bill Clinton, promised to serve justice while continuing to spin the contradicting "peace and prosperity" theme.
Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States in 1992 and again in 1998. On the latter occasion bin Laden insisted "the ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim…" He later told ABC News, "We do not have to differentiate between civilian and military. As far as we are concerned they are all targets."
This is peace? If America was at peace it is only because our government declined four times to retaliate against Osama bin Laden. But unlike our leadership, our enemy was most certainly at war.
Michael Barone on Kerry's risky strategy:
When I started attending Democratic conventions in 1968, the question was whether the love the winning nominee had earned from his supporters would transfer to those who had backed another horse. Would Jesse Jackson delegates bond with Michael Dukakis?
This year the question was different. The Democratic delegates, almost all selected by the Kerry campaign, came to Boston joined not by love of John Kerry but by hate for George W. Bush -- and all they believe he stands for. They saw in Kerry, the decorated Vietnam veteran, the best tool to beat Bush. The assumption by Kerry strategists was that a majority of the country's voters have already rejected Bush. (James Carville, on the afternoon of Kerry's speech, qualified this some by saying that a majority was as close to rejection as you can get.) The task then was to establish Kerry as an acceptable alternative, and in particular as a commander in chief who would defend America against attack.
I love Lileks. He makes even the mundane interesting and humorous. He writes of his child's birthday party:
The party went well, inasmuch as there were no children left over after all the parents had come and gone, and no parents went home empty handed. That’s the best you can hope for – no lawsuits, no TV cameras outside the door demanding a comment. How could you lose a child? How? Eventually you snap and say something stupid like “what am I, a licensed day care? You want me to tie them to cement blocks?” And then you’re in the paper next day: “UNLICENSED CHILD CARE CENTER PROPOSES CHAINING CHILDREN TO CEMENT BLOCKS, LOSES ONE IN BIRTHDAY FRACAS.”
...Pinwheels were handed out. Sudden horrid Tutsi-Hutu-strength rivalries over who gets what color pinwheel, but slaughter was averted when my wife announced CAKE AND ICE CREAM. I wonder if that works in real conflicts. I suspect it would. You could probably have stopped WWI in 1915 by sending Americans in to shout “CAKE AND ICE CREAM!” up and down the lines. And then five years later we’d be blamed for spreading obesity and tooth decay. Fine, have your Ypres and Sommes, you ungrateful bloody bastards.
A PhD. chemist talks evolution:
Proteins and DNA are complicated chemical molecules that are present within our body. Cells which make up the living body contain DNA, the blueprint for all life, and proteins regulating biochemical processes, leading scientists to conclude these components are the cause of life. While it is true that all living bodies have proteins and DNA, so do dead bodies. These chemicals are necessary for life to exist, but they do not "create" life by their presence; they only "maintain" the life that is already present. However, this is not the only problem with the "life from chemicals" theory.
Why do evolutionists vehemently proclaim the "life from chemicals" theory? Because if proteins and DNA only maintain life without creating it, then something else must have accomplished its origins. Evidence such as this points to an Omnipotent Creator, but they are not willing to make that concession.
Michael Agger writes a particularly snarky piece about M. Night Shamalawhatever in Friday's Slate:
The Sixth Sense became one of top 10 grossing films of all time, and what does M. Night do with his newfound power? He stays put in Philadelphia, refusing to move to L.A. and play ball. He creates a local film industry around his productions. And most importantly, he begins the process of burnishing his legend. When a reporter asks him what he wanted his name to mean in the future, he replied, "Originality." Access to his scripts in progress is extremely limited, lest anyone reveal their secrets.
M. Night could not control the audience, however, and he was unhappy with the poor performance of his sophomore thriller, Unbreakable (2000). He vowed to inject more emotion (and box office) in his next effort. Again, Shyamalan made the talk show rounds, promising another twist ending and cultivating auteurish tics such as putting himself in the movie, just like Quentin, just like Hitchcock. The result was Signs (2002) and a teary Mel Gibson. It became a modest hit, but only after it was adopted by Christians as movie about the power of faith.
An uncomfortable pattern was emerging. M. Night was making fragile, sealed-off movies that fell apart when exposed to outside logic. Viewed from the theatre lobby, the twists in both Signs and Unbreakable seem like rejected Twilight Zone episodes. Think about it: A fragile comic book collector (Samuel L. Jackson) believes that his mission in life is to discover a real superhero, so he starts killing huge batches of people in airplane crashes and train wrecks in the hope that there will be a miraculous survivor? Signs is even flimsier: An intelligent alien species that is killed when doused with H20 decides to invade a planet that is two-thirds water? Without a believable plot, Shyamalan was exposed as a high-class purveyor of old-fashioned movie scares.
I wonder what Mr. Agger would say of Michael Moore?
Iran has definately noticed the complete and utter fecklessness of the U.N.:
Iran is not afraid of being referred to the UN Security Council over its suspect nuclear programme and could easily withstand economic sanctions, a top national security official said Monday.
"The most America can do to get its way is to impose economic sanctions, but our experience of these over the past 25 years have proved that they are ineffective," said a top member of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Sayed Hossein Mussavian.
"Even if the case is taken to the UN Security Council, nothing more than that sanctions can happen. It will fail. It does not worry us," he was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.