Well, now that you mention it ... the oil might have something to do with it all...
The Spice....the Spice....
A journey through the narrow channel between the Scylla of a controlled press and the Charybdis of effete thugs with immunity.
Alito's cloture vote was 72 to 25. All as Bummer has said.
It was contrarian and ballsy for Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, with counsel Bruce Hiler sitting next to him, to testify before Congress and say, in effect, "Enron was a great company, and still is, and would be, if the banks hadn't cut our credit lines."
Drudge continues his relentless Oscar Campaign on behalf of Stephen Spielberg.
Spielberg: 'Filmmakers are much more proactive since second Bush administration'...
SPIELBERG: 'I Would Die For Israel'...
Bummer was in Park City at what used to be called Sundance. All kinds of epithets are now used to describe it -- Gay Incest Camping Movie Fest is a Bummer favorite.
Palestine seems to be cascading into civil war. The corrupt Fatah party, just tossed out of power via a facially democratic process, has factions fighting with the terrorist Hamas group, just given power. Fatah has been a cancerous lesion, unable to govern, and propped up for decades by huge subsidies from Western countries ... well, for reasons that are "nuanced."
Another fake filibuster. Yawn.
"Former presidential candidate Kerry announced from Switzerland that he wanted to block President George W. Bush's conservative nominee with the stalling tactic to prevent "an ideological coup" on the high court."
I used to laugh and cry my ass off writing Rathergate sh*t that was very in-the-moment. I got hooked on lgf, indcjournal and allahpundit (and later powerline) during that time. Cross posted some stuff; they helped me out. I gave them some good legal info. One of them even showed me how to start this blog.
Longtime S&C readers know that Bummer pointed out the felony anti-payola problems facing some CBS producers on the RatherGate scandal.
Depends Adult Diaper spokemodel Harry Belafonte spouted off again today - this time, reminding us that the Gesptapo is now a US government agency.
Victor Davis Hanson has further thoughts on the Wolfowitz Plan and the efficacy of the US War effort. He offers the four talking points that lurk under the rhetoric from the Left.
Victor Davis Hanson chimes in on the Wolfowitz Plan, its efficacy to date, and the political opposition thereto, in "Making Sense of Nonsense."
"[T]he democratic splash in the Iraqi pond is slowly rippling out, as voting proceeds in Egypt and the Gulf, Syria leaves Lebanon, and Moammar Gadhafi and Pakistan’s Dr. Khan cease their nuclear machinations. Hundreds of thousands of protesters hit the streets in Lebanon and Jordan — not to slur the United States, as predicted, for removing Saddam Hussein, but to damn Bashar Assad and al-Zarqawi as terrorist killers. Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader, now calls for Western pressure to root out the Syrian Baathists.
"You’d never know all this from the global media or state-run news services in Europe and the Middle East.
"Americans tried to remain idealistic on the principle that Iraqis, if freed and helped, could craft a workable democracy, and that such consensual governments would make the volatile Middle East safer, since elected and legitimate governments rarely attack their own kind."
"And the end of the [liberal media] monopoly of course isn't only in the news, it's in all media. The other night George Clooney, that beautiful airhead, made a Golden Globe speech ... "You don't like it, change the channel," network executives used to say. But that, as they knew, meant nothing: There were only three channels. Now there are 500. And more coming.
"Could Democratic senators today torture Clarence Thomas with tales of Coke cans and porn films? Not likely.
"We are in a time when the very diminution of the importance of network news leaves some old news hands to drop their guard and announce what they are: liberal Democrats. Nothing wrong with that, but they might have told us when they were in power... The existence [non-liberal media] ... is freeing news outlets .. to be more and more what they are. Is this good? Well, it's clearer."
"[Quoting Joseph Pulitzer:] 'Our republic and its press will rise or fall together. An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it, can preserve the public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery. A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself. . . .'
"The story of what is going on at [Columbia School of Journalism] cannot be separated from the collapse of credibility of the mainstream media... [whose] fortunes...are visibly in decline.... The very best investigative reporting is being done not by big names at the big papers, but by [online jounralists and bloggers].
"I went to Columbia to [examine the MSM rule.] What's the rule? That the elite media are hopelessly biased to the left and so blind to their own deficiencies, or so in denial, that they cannot save themselves from irrelevance. They're like the cheater in the clubhouse, whose every mention of a great round of golf is met with rolling eyes and knowing nods.
"...Every conversation with one of the old guard [e.g., CSJ professors et al] ... citing comes down to this point: There is too much expertise, all of it almost instantly available now, for the traditional idea of journalism to last much longer. In the past, almost every bit of information was difficult and expensive to acquire and was therefore mediated by journalists whom readers and viewers were usually in no position to second-guess. Authority has drained from journalism for a reason. Too many of its practitioners have been easily exposed as poseurs."
Today's al jazeera propaganda spot wherein bin laden purportedly warns of an impending, long-planned attack, but offers a truce, is a sham. It will be exposed as such in the coming days.
The MSM's darlings are described as "progressives," but those of the conservatives are labelled as "right wingers."
"[Independent counsel] David Barrett's investigation into alleged misdeeds by Clinton cabinet officer Henry Cisneros ... will be made public tomorrow, but in the meantime someone leaked it to the Times. [H]ow [the Times] characterized the person who leaked Barrett's report to them:
'A copy of the report was obtained by The New York Times from someone sympathetic to the Barrett investigation who wanted his criticism of the Clinton administration to be known."
"[W]e're still waiting for the paper to write: 'A copy of the report was obtained by The New York Times from someone sympathetic to the Democrats' position who wanted his criticism of the Bush administration to be known.' "
Judge Alito's nomination to the S.Ct. is headed towards a floor vote in the Senate. The current vote looks to be about 56-44 in favor.
The anti-war MSM (here, e.g., CNN) runs US body counts, under the theory that Americans will grow tired of the carnage of war.
We all are now witnessing the truth about the failures of the UN and the US in Iran, even though those truths are embarrassing to many governments and senior officials. In fact, it is hard to know what U.S. policy is toward Iran because it is such a muddle of confusion and pretense. U.S. hair-splitting only further convinces both our friends and adversaries in the Middle East that we are not serious and that our policy is collapsing. It is only reinforced when they see us going through semantic contortions to distinguish Iraq, Iran, North Korea and others.
Pat Robertson, fool.
Q: Will there be any early indicators that the Wolfowitz Plan is working?
"It is possible to discover various statistical correlations among democracy and war and peace, depending on how they are defined and in what time frames.... [but] the postulate on which the president has in all good faith chosen to rely is contradicted by inconvenient fact."
The Wolfowitz Plan is contradicted by "inconvenient facts? " What might they be? Helpin finds three examples - THREE- from the 1900's, and claims that the military affairs of these 20th century "democracies" offer rebuttal to the strategems of Bush and the Wolfowitz Plan:
1. "Germany, the primary instigator of World War I, was a democracy."
2. Democratic Italy joined WW I, because it wanted some land back from Austria.
3. Japan was a democracy, heading into WWII.
I'm sure that Japanese citizens would be happy to learn that the pre-WWII Japanese military dictatorship, overlorded by the Emperor, was in reality a democracy. (You know, like, say, Margaret Thatcher's Britain.)
Those are the "inconvenient facts" that rebut Wolfowitz?
WWI Germany; WWI Italy; and WWII Japan? Democracies? OK, got it.
Helpin tosses in some more 1800's "democracies" to bolster his claim -- as if 19th century democracies (you know, the democracies of the halcyon days of European military colonialism) are somehow germane to a world 150 years later.
Teacher's note to Helpin:
Drop the Straw Man. Run credible numbers. For example, the following approximate values are likely available, and are illuminating as to the hypothesis that "Liberal democracies tend not to attack liberal democracies":
1. Equation 1: Total # of 20th century war casualties / # of war casualties resulting from a war commenced by a liberal democracy vs. another liberal democracy.
2. Equation 2: Total # of 20th century war casualties / # of war casualties resulting from a war commenced by a non-liberal democracy.
My guess is that the math will turn up some "inconvenient facts," alright. My guess is that the math will show that:
A. Liberal democracies military aggression accounts for less than 10% of the world's warfare.
B. The world that is governed by liberal democracy has seen a significant decline in warfare commenced by other democracies over the past 100 years.
C. The world that is governed other than by liberal democracy has not witnessed significant, or any, declines in warfare.
Sorry to disappoint the Bummer 23, but Bummer is prochoice. But that is not synonymous with being a Koolaid drinker. Bummer thinks that reasonable restrictions are just fine.
Roe v. Truth
"... from the anti-Alito testimony of Kate Michelman, who hadthis to say about Alito's partial dissent in Casey v. Planned Parenthood:
When he ruled that a Pennsylvania law requiring women to notify their husbands before obtaining an abortion was not, quote, an undue burden, there was no sense that a woman like me ever existed or even mattered....I was awaiting the procedure when a nurse arrived to tell me that state law imposed yet another humiliating burden. The government required me to obtain my husband's consent. I was forced to leave the hospital, find where he was living, and ask him to give me his permission.
Michelman's linking this tale to Alito's opinion in Casey is highly misleading. The regulation that Alito voted to uphold did not require a husband's consent, only notification. ...
Michelman's assertion that Alito's opinion reflected "no sense that a woman like me ever existed or even mattered" is false as well. In fact, Alito expressly distinguished a situation such as Michelman's from that faced by a woman whose abortion was governed by the Pennsylvania law in question....
Michelmanic mendacity is all too common on the "choice" side of the abortion debate.
... The Harris poll pops up in another Times editorial today, and this time the paper gets the law right but misstates what the poll asked:
Judge Alito's assertions that he will keep an open mind on Roe are little comfort. With nearly 70 percent of Americans saying in a recent Harris poll that they would oppose Judge Alito's confirmation if they thought he would vote against constitutional protection for abortion rights, he was not likely to say at his hearings that he would do so. Few nominees would be so brave or foolhardy.
Of course, if public opinion were really so solidly in favor of legal abortion, overturning Roe v. Wade would be unproblematic for those who support it. After all, democratically elected legislators would not be so brave or foolhardy as to do away with a legal right that 70% of the people support. It's reasonable enough to say we need the Supreme Court to protect the rights of unpopular individuals from the will of the majority. It's preposterous to say we need the Supreme Court to insulate
popular policies from the democratic process. All of which leads us to think that, although only a small minority of Americans believe that abortion is murder and should be always illegal, the American public is considerably less pro-abortion than the Times would have us believe.
Interesting BummerTalk 'around the watercooler yesterday. Hard core progressive types, aka Bush Derangment Syndrome folks, aka "Alito is evil" types, thought that the Alito wife crying episode was somehow unfair, and/or was a red herring away from serious issues.
Oh, if Bummer were a 'Publican staffer on the Hill. It would be so easy, so seamless, so much fun ... to cram down the windbag Senators. Substance is good. But Ted Kennedy? OHMYGOD what a wreck.
"You see, Senator, that's a lot like Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution. We don't allow Congress to punish a family for the sedition of one member. That's clearly been the fabric of our political culture, because ... well, just take a look at Senator Kennedy, there. Yes, Senator Kennedy, you are a Constitutional artifact, indeed. If ever there were a case to be made that we should prevent some scion from ever tainting our public institutions, Senator Kennedy is it. But we cannot do that. Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution makes that unthinkable."
Mexico is broken.
1960's pop star and hemorrhoid sufferer Harry Belafonte joined the ranks of Useful Idiots in his visit to Venezuela. On a trip sponsored by the Latin American subsidiary of Depends Adult Diapers, Belafonte assured Venezuelan commie dictator Chavez that, "No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we're here to tell you: ...[M]illions of the American people ... support your revolution."
"Treason against the United States, shall consist [of] ... adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. ...
"The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted."
Please spend 3 minutes, brushing up here. *
Despite its being 4-square within the subject matter of this blog, Bummer has sorta ignored yet another leak by the NYTimes of classified war information.
"Is the New York Times a law unto itself? In gambling that constitutional immunity protects it from criminal liability for its misconduct, the New York Times appears to me to be bluffing. Those of us who are disinclined to remit the defense of the United States to the judgment of the New York Times must urge the Bush administration to call the Times's bluff."
"My guess is that the Times' decision to commit a crime by publishing the leaked information was based on a political calculation, not a legal one. They probably think the administration lacks the will to prosecute them, and that if the administration makes the effort, the Times will have a winning hand politically, and the Democrats will benefit. They're probably right on the first point, if not the second. Still ... the paper is taking a terrible risk."
Yes, we know, War is hell. And the only reason that you were in the military is because you were drafted.
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked at a Pentagon news conference to comment on remarks by Rep. John Murtha ... that if he were eligible to join the military today he would not. "That's damaging to recruiting. It's damaging to morale of the troops who are deployed, and it's damaging to the morale of their families."
After the jaw-droppingly erroneous MSM Katrina coverage, why would we expect better press coverage of a sensationalist mine disaster?
"Newspapers, wire services and cable news networks all failed ... to do their jobs properly when they reported that 12 men had survived the coal mine disaster in West Virginia... . [M]ore than half of the 250 U.S. newspapers [erroneously] published front-page stories that said the miners were alive. Few of those stories raised doubts about the report's credibility... for instance, that the news was based on secondhand accounts."
Intentionally target and kill 100 civilians.
LGF used to say the Google was biased against RoC blogs. All Bummer knows is that hundreds of his old posts got "frozen" and hence are not retrievable via a Blogger search.
So some PABy over at the entertainment rag Variety "borrowed" Bummer's various articles detailing how Drudge bags and shills for movies:
"Drudge headlined the first reports of Kong's less-than-record-breaking first day with the ominous words 'King' Bomb?'
"...Drudge actually tried something similar this season as "Brokeback Mountain" rode onto the scene, trying to scare the horses, if you will, with the alarmist tone of one headline.
"That isn't the case for Steven Spielberg's "Munich," which has moved to the center of the media circus. 'Now Israeli Spies Blast Spielberg's 'Munich,"' our man Drudge shouted Tuesday."
Three generations of Americans have been inundated with hundreds of television courtroom dramas. Americans have a decent understanding that opposing advocates clash pursuant to detailed rules of engagement, officiated by a judge who knows the rules. Similarly, Americans have been inundated with unending television sports events, where opposing teams clash pursuant to detailed rules of engagement, officiated by a team of referees who knows the rules.
"Even when subjects of news stories felt they had been misunderstood or badly treated, they were unlikely to take on reporters or publishers, believing that the power of the press gave the press the final word.
"But now ... [s]ubjects of newspaper articles and news broadcasts now fight back with the same methods reporters use to generate articles and broadcasts - taping interviews, gathering e-mail exchanges, taking notes on phone conversations - and publish them on their own Web sites. This new weapon in the media wars is shifting the center of gravity in the way that news is gathered and presented, and it carries implications for the future of journalism.
"...[T]he power of blogs is exponential; blog posts can be linked and replicated instantly across the Web, creating a snowball effect that often breaks through to the mainstream media. Moreover, blogs have a longer shelf life than most traditional news media articles. A newspaper reporter's original article is likely to disappear from the free Web site after a few days and become inaccessible unless purchased from the newspaper's archives, while the blogger's version of events remains available forever."
"[He] said that while the active participation by so many readers was healthy for democracy and journalism, it had allowed partisanship to mask itself as media criticism and had given rise to a new level of vitriol. 'It's now O.K. to demonize the messenger. This has led to a very uncivil discourse in which it seems to be O.K. to shout down, discredit, delegitimize and denigrate the people who are reporting stories and to pick at their methodology and ascribe motives to them that are often unfair.' "
[Yes, and poor Mary Mapes and Dan Rather were just "victims."- ed.]
In case you missed the crux of that critique, let me restate it:
The posting of source material on the internet to rebut and expose the slant of the MSM is a bad thing, because it embarrasses the reporters, and the people who do it are only interested in catching the MSM lying or spinning. The MSM is supposed to have immunity from this kind of oversight, dammit. It's unfair to expose the MSM to unregulated rebuttal by people who disagree with the MSM. It's...uncivil.***