The Washington Post reports that the US is opposing the UN's feeble trotting-out of a new Human Rights Council, but doesn't bother to explain criticisms of the proposal. Almost 2/3 of the article is devoted to quoting the Council's supporters and describing the supposed "improvements," without any discussion of why these changes make things worse.
[Annan and other supporters] noted that provisions to subject all council members to scrutiny of their human rights record would discourage countries with poor records from joining. They also said that council members suspected of abusive behavior can be suspended by a vote of two-thirds of the U.N. membership present.
The Denver Post editorial staff who attacked the NSA international intercept program yesterday probably think of themselves as bold crusaders for domestic civil rights. Unfortunately for them, they comes across as willfully ill-informed. Again.
President Bush launched a campaign-style offensive this week to defend his secret executive order allowing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop, without court warrants, on phone calls and Internet traffic in the United States.
His advisers hope the publicity blitz will impress the public in advance of Bush's State of the Union address next Tuesday and upcoming congressional hearings on whether the president has the authority to order such surveillance.
This morning, CNN ran a report (watch) on the plight of Iraqi parents who can't find emergency care for their very sick children, and how
Sanctions, war, and the insurgency have cripple Iraq's
once-exemplary medical care....Now there is only one way to make sure
her young patients survive: "They need to go outside of Iraq."
Right. All of which wouldn't have happened except for the US. Saddam's wasting of his country's youth and treasure in constant wars against his neighbors had nothing to do with it. His command economy had nothing to do with it. Prior to the US sanctions and invasion, Iraq was no doubt a medical paradise, with the latest in advanced care universally available with no waiting time.
WASHINGTON - A spy-agency analysis released Thursday contends a second attack on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin never happened, casting further doubt on the leading rationale for escalation of the Vietnam War.
Much as faulty U.S. intelligence preceded the invasion of Iraq, the mishandling of intercepted communications 40 years earlier is blamed in the National Security Agency paper for giving President Johnson carte blanche in the conflict.
There's more than one parallel here, and it goes to the blinders the AP is wearing when it reports on either war. The idea that America was going to go to war over the Gulf of Tonkin alone is absurd. Unless there was a much more serious threat, like the notion that Communists were going to overrun southeast Asia (which they did), a couple of bullet holes in the side of a ship weren't going to goad this country into a 10-year, 500,000-man commitment half a world away.
The Chicago-based organization - supported by several Protestant denominations that believe Christianity forbids all war-making and violence - has sent activists into war zones, including Bosnia and Haiti, since the late 1980s. It has about 160 members around the world and about a dozen in Iraq.
The BBC has a funny view of international law - make sure the obligations fall on Israel.
Yesterday, Israel responded to a broad Hezbollah attack - including artillery-supported cross-border raids - by, well, responding:
Hizbullah launched a failed attempt to kidnap soldiers Monday in an assault on Mount Dov and the northern town of Rajar and a coordinated mortar and rocket barrage on northern Galilee towns and kibbutzim.
A fierce Israeli response killed four infiltrators and struck at Hizbullah targets in south Lebanon, but at least 12 soldiers were wounded and a house severely damaged in Metulla by Hizbullah mortar fire.
So, Vice President Cheney is addressing the American Enterprise Institute about why the war in Iraq is fundamental to the War on Terror. He explains that a retreat would leave Bin Laden, Zarqawi, and Zarwahiri in control. He explains why the terrorists want Iraq, and what they plan to do with it. CNN's real-time summary at the bottom of the screen?
CHENEY: Terrorism has nothing to do with Iraq war.
I suppose they would argue that that's a capsule of Cheney's comments that 9/11 happened before we invaded, but aren't those capsules there specifically for people who are just finding their seats? Perhaps they might try something that actually reflects what he said, something like:
An Italian film crew claims that the US military indiscriminantly blanketed civilians in Fallujah with the white phosphorus during last year's assault on the city. The Denver Postpicks up the Colorado angle on the white phosphorus non-story, and while it impeaches the credibility of the film's star witness, it buries the lead, and leaves most of the background fabrications intact.
Here's the big news. The "witness," Jeff Englehart, can only claim to know that 1) white phosphorus was used in the attack, and 2) someone inside the city got caught in it:
Englehart said Thursday that some of his statements were taken out of context. He maintained that he believes white phosphorus killed civilians, though he never saw anyone burned by it while in Fallujah.
Last month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caused quite a stir by violating every international agreement in existence when calling - at a government-sponsored conference - to "wipe Israel off the face of the map." (The Indispensible MEMRI has the full text of the President-Kidnapper's remarks here.)
The MSM continues peddle several myths about Iran. Essentially, they argue that Iran isn't all that dangerous because it doesn't mean what it says, couldn't do what it says even if it meant it, and anyway, its problem is with Israel, not with Jews in general.
Turns out that apparently nobody in the MSM has bothered to check out the website for the conference, despite the URL's prominent place on a banner behind Ahmadinejad while he was speaking.
Tom Gross notes in this week's Spectator (London) that for some reason, if you're Jewish, your death in a terror attack is likely to get a lot less attention ("Dead Jews Aren't News"):
Even though Thaler was a British citizen, born in London, where her grandparents still live, her death has never been mentioned in a British newspaper.
Rachel Corrie, on the other hand, an American radical who died in 2003 while acting as a human shield during an Israeli anti-terror operation in Gaza, has been widely featured in the British press. According to the Guardian website, she has been written about or referred to on 57 separate occasions in the Guardian alone, including three articles the Saturday before last.
For the Denver Post, First Amendment protections apparently are "loopholes" to be examined. In an article about free speech campaign finance restrictions, the Post focuses on conservative groups' efforts, while biasing the article in favor of such restrictions in general. (This isn't the first site to notice the - oddity - of the state Democrats becoming concerned about the new campaign finance laws just as the Republicans begin to figure them out. Apparently the game is to keep the rules moving just fast enough to stay ahead of your opponents in understanding them, while retaining the moral high ground of "reform.") The Post has not always been so solicitous of public opinion, especially when it comes to illegal immigration and gay marriage.
Even if government lawyers or state legislators come up with ways to better regulate the flow of money...
No, no assumptions here. In an article about "loopholes," "better regulate" means closing those "loopholes," or further restricting speech.
...it won't be in time to impact the 2006 elections. The contests include an open governor's race and an open seat in the 7th Congressional District, 65 state House races and 17 Senate seats. Republicans could regain a majority in the Senate by taking back just one seat.
How, exactly, is this last more relevant than the Democrats gaining a majority of the state's Congressional delegation through tha open 7th District seat? Or the effect of any number of other electoral outcomes? Apparently, the main issue is the tenuous nature of Democratic control of the State Senate.
In 2002, Colorado voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 27, which overhauled campaign- finance disclosure rules in an effort to get big money out of politics. The measure limited campaign contributions, encouraged candidates to curb their spending and banned corporate and union contributions to candidates and parties. The unintended effect, say some political observers, has been to encourage interest groups to exploit gray areas in the law and invoke broad constitutional protections such as free speech to continue the activities voters sought to regulate.
Imagine that! People using First Amendment guarantees to safeguard their free political speech.
For instance, the Independence Institute has been accused of running political ads couched as educational material. Critics say the Golden-based think tank should disclose donors who have supported its radio ads about Referendums C and D. The institute says it is merely educating the public.
Apparently, they missed this proclamation by a 501(c)3 in favor of Referenda C and D. This decision has been defended on the grounds that it's a referendum, not a candidate being supported, a distinction that apparently escaped the notice of the Post when writing about the Institute. In fact, the main abuse of system was by Democrats in the 2004 State legislative campaigns:
Colorado Democrats used the loophole last year, a maneuver largely credited with giving Democrats control of both legislative chambers.
That's the extent of the article's mention of 2004. The fact that not all of these activities were exactly, uh, legal seems to have evaded Mesdames Caldwell and Crummy. In fact, the article devotes 78 words to Democratic and union groups, and 328 words to offenses - real or imagined - by conservative or Republican groups.
Cross-Posted at View From a Height.
From Tom Shales's WaPoreview this morning of the new Geena Davis vehicle, "Commander-in-Chief":
But when she gets tough, she's formidable, even if "the issues" in the pilot are not exactly earth-shaking. Chief among them is the case of a young woman in Nigeria who, by local custom, is to be buried up to her neck in sand and stoned to death for the crime of having sex and giving birth before marriage.
Maybe such things really happen, but by leading off the series with it, Lurie suggests that the show won't be about a female president and her problems of adjustment but instead about a myopic busybody who sees herself as a feminist first and leader of the people second (or third).
Of 18 paragraphs, three discuss the pro-Roberts Judicial Confirmation Network, four equate the two sides, and seven discuss NARAL and other left-wing opponents of a sane judiciary. (Four paragraphs are neutral, not mentioning the activists directly.)
While the Post is silent on the conservatives' desiderata, the coverage of the lefties includes the following:
NARAL "action teams" will be watching the hearings from Colorado, ready to cry foul if they don't like what they see, executive director Meg Froelich said.
"Let's not have a coronation with Roberts," she said. "Let's have a real, genuine process."
Colorado will consider a major tax increase this fall, loosening the tight taxing and spending restrictions known as the TAxpayers' Bill Of Rights, or TABOR. Some of the money raised in Referendum C will be earmarked for roads in Referenum D. As part of its attempt to influence - er, inform - the public, the Denver Post today ran the first of a four-part series, "The Truth About TABOR."
This fall, Coloradans will choose whether to give up about $500 each in tax refunds over the next five years so the state has more money for roads, schools and health care.
Under TABOR, growth in state spending is limited to population + inflation. Any money raised beyond that must be refunded to taxpayers. Each year uses last year as its baseline, meaning that should revenue fall as a result of a downturn, there's a permanent reduction in tax rates as a percentage of state GDP.
The Denver Post has finally broken its silence about the developing Air America story. Only, as with the New York Times and the Swift Boat Veterans, the first mention of it is a dismissal followed by a rebuttal. Dick Kreck addresses the scandal in his radio column in today's Entertainment section.
First, the setup:
Bloggers and others are buzzing about another "story" - whether Air America benefited from loans made to its former director, Evan Cohen, by the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club in New York. Conservative media, led by the shrill Michelle Malkin, are all over this story, touting it with headlines like, 'AIR AMERICA: STEALING FROM POOR KIDS?!' and wondering why the "mainstream" press isn't.
Ah yes, Michelle Malkin is "shrill". The story is a "'story'". And what's with the scare quotes around "mainstream?" The term has been around for more than a few years, shortened to "MSM" last year around this time during the campaign, when the MSM turned its back, put its fingers in its ears, and started whistling during that other non-story-story.
One of the more worrying ongoing stories is the arrest of several men for involvement in a conspiracy, hatched in California's Folsom prison to attack Jewish sites and synagogues around the state. What's worrying is that one of the men apparently converted to a radical form of Islam while in prison.
For obvious reasons, some attention has been focused on the California Penal system's system for vetting clergy. The LA Times carried two stories on the subject yesterday, and as usual, the story is the dog that didn't bark. In this case, the dog that didn't ask questions about who was speaking to it.
So you've been waiting for your electric car? The car that's better than a Prius? The car you can just plug in at night and drive all day? The car that doesn't even use oil or even any fossil fuels? Wait on. AP and Denver Postsalivating aside, energy independence at a reasonable price is not just around the corner.
Politicians and automakers say a car that can reduce greenhouse gases and free America from its reliance on foreign oil is years or even decades away. Ron Gremban says such a car is parked in his garage. It looks like a typical Toyota Prius hybrid, but in the trunk sits an 80- miles-per-gallon secret: a stack of 18 brick-sized batteries that boosts the car's high mileage with an extra electrical charge so it can burn even less fuel.