A few weeks ago on the Right Angle TV show I host, my guest was Barry Strauss, the brilliant professor of history and the classics at Cornell University. Our conversation focused on his recent book, "The Trojan War", which one reviewer has described as so authoritative "it may well preempt future historians from ever trying to improve on it."
Toward the end of the show I invited Prof. Strauss to comment on whether he saw any parallels between the fall of Greek and Roman civilizations and the situation in the West today. While eschewing sweeping generalizations, the professor did observe that one sign of a civilization in decline is its disinclination to believe in itself coupled with a loss of will to fight for its survival.
Sparks flew on the set of NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, after Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole observed about Iraq, “It’s almost as if the Democrats, you know, it’s like they’re content with losing because to pull out, to withdraw from this war is losing. No question about it.”
Both moderator Tim Russert and Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel immediately berated Dole for her statement, but this morning a liberal Boston Globe columnist reveals the real Democratic mindset on Iraq, suggesting the U.S. must “accept defeat” in Iraq.
Dole made her comment about 40 minutes into the hour-long debate between the GOP senatorial and congressional campaign committee chairman and their Democratic counterparts. After Russert brought up a Vanity Fair article quoting some Iraq war supporters as criticizing the way the war has been handled, Dole responded by going after the Democrats’ position of withdrawing troops regardless of whether their mission has been accomplished.
Thanks, Bob Kuttner. You might doubt my sincerity. But really, I mean it. With Nancy AWOL, and Charley Rangel coyly claiming at his age he doesn't buy green bananas let alone speculate what he would do as Way & Means Chairman, perhaps Americans have lost sight of what the Dems have up their sleeve if they get back the majority. So in all sincerity, thanks for telling it like it is.
"We are about to get something all too rare in Democratic politics lately -- some progressive leadership . . . With a little gumption on the Democratic side, the lopsided distribution of wealth, security, and opportunity in America could come roaring back."
I was just beginning my read of Ellen Goodman's Boston Globe column today, which argues that Nancy Pelosi is being "demonized" and "used to frighten voters everywhere." Goodman gripes that, among other things, Pelosi is being depicted as a Michael Moore clone. By superb serendipity, at that very moment, Rush Limbaugh began a systematic catologuing of Pelosi's votes over the years proving that the possible Speaker-to-be is, well, a Michael Moore clone.
While some tabloids capture the drama of John Kerry's uneducated-people-stuck-in-Iraq joke ("KERRY KALAMITY," says the New York Daily News), the nation's biggest newspapers have headlines draining the drama out of the story, and certainly leaving the contents of the "joke" out of the headline:
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. The same kind of folks who professed to find a non-existent right to abortion on demand in the Constitution have "discovered" another imaginary constitutional provision. According to its editorial this morning:
"The First Amendment, with its injunction that Congress shall make no law restricting religion, carries an implied corollary that churches should not meddle in politics."
The context was the Globe's complaint that Mitt Romney is reaching out for support to his fellow BYU alums who - oh, the horror! - also happen to be his Mormon co-religionists. The Globe sternly warns Romney to "make sure that the church stays out of his nascent presidential campaign."
Will someone please explain to me the MSM's standards for airing graphic footage?
At the time of 9-11 itself, the MSM apparently made a collective decision that it wouldn't show any of the graphic evidence of the horror that had been visited on thousands of our fellow citizens. No pictures of victims. No close-ups of the poor souls who chose to jump rather than being consumed by the flames. Even years later, there was somber MSM discussion, as here and here, as to whether movies like 'World Trade Center' or 'Flight 93' had come too soon.
I was dutifully working my way through Robert Kuttner's Boston Globe column of this morning, Cleaning Up the Mess, on the lookout for some outrageous MSM morsel with which to arouse NewsBusters readers.
But all I was getting were Kuttner's "on the one hand, but on the other hand" arguments as to whether it is in Democratic interests to retake one or both houses of Congress come November. His thesis is that America is such a mess thanks to years of Republican misrule that fixing it could be a thankless task for Dems, who might be better off waiting for the deluge of the 2008 presidential elections. For the record, Kuttner does come down on the side of taking power now.
Today's Boston Globe reports: "Former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay person elected to Congress, died early Saturday, days after he was admitted to the hospital after collapsing while walking his dog, his husband said."
The reference to a "husband" may take some of us aback, and the timing of Mr. Studds' passing is certainly coincidental in light of the Mark Foley scandal.
To judge by its political cartoon of this morning, the Boston Globe apparently believes that if only the Bush administration had engaged in direct talks with North Korea, it could have prevented Kim from building his bomb.
Let's leave aside that the Bush administration has in fact been talking to North Korea. Indeed, the president was proceeding in precisely the way the MSM usually implores him to do - multilaterally, via the Six Party talks.
One of the real challenges in following the liberal protests of disgust at the Mark Foley scandal is their ever-changing yardstick of morality. Take Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman, whose nationally syndicated dose of feminism seems to wander based on whose ox is gored. Goodman sounds like every other Democrat in suddenly discovering the sheer power of a sex scandal, something she must have decried in the Clinton years:
This scandal is what has registered on the political Richter scale. This is what voters are asking their representatives about. The late political scientist James David Barber once said that nobody understands the word "deficit,'' but everyone understands the word "adultery.'' Maybe nobody knows what to think about solving the problem of Iraq, but they know what to think about the Florida congressman instant-messaging a teenage page: "how's my favorite young stud doing?''
In his column on the decline and fall of morality on television this week, Brent Bozell applies scrutiny to the TV critics, a group of people often pushing and shoving the networks to shatter every moral barrier, break through every standard of taste. Showtime has a new series titled "Dexter," featuring actor Michael C. Hall in the title role, slobbered over by the critics for his role as the repressed gay funeral director in HBO's "Six Feet Under." This new show makes a hero out of a sadistic serial killer, because his insatiable desire to kill is channeled into killing other bad guys. During the day, he helps the cops catch other killers by assessing blood spatter patterns. Brent writes "He’s a sociopathic killer-slash-hero, with the emphasis on the slash – he carves his victims up to fit into Hefty bags." Here's more:
As pay-cable pioneers, always pushing the newest disgusting "edge" with an eye on extremely jaded TV critics, Showtime executives feel warm that they have brought more understanding to the world on behalf of the much-maligned serial killer. Said Showtime boss Robert Greenblatt: "This is a complex and fascinating look at serial killers, which, up to this point, have been marginalized and made two-dimensional."
Society has "marginalized" serial killers? Silly me. Here, all along, I thought those folks had done that to themselves.
When you think about it, Mark Foley's mess isn't really his fault. The blame is rightly laid at the feet of those repressive Republicans - and the Catholic Church. That in a nutshell is the thesis of a column in today's Boston Globe, The gay problem in the GOP by David Link, described as a writer and attorney in Sacramento and member of the Independent Gay Forum.
On the one hand, Link doesn't hesitate to second the view of Foley's communications with the pages as "sick" and "disgusting." Link even alludes to Foley as a "degenerate." But nowhere does Link seek to hold Foley responsible for his own action. To the contrary, here is Link's seminal conclusion:
"But what can one expect from denying grown men -- and women -- a normal, adult sex life?"
When it comes to the Foley scandal, the MSM is definitely keeping its eyes on the prize: the Democratic takeover of Congress. In this NB item, I described how the New York Times editorialized this morning that it doesn't care what else flows from the scandal. So long as the Dems re-take power, the Foley flameout "will have done its job."
Over at 'Today' this morning, Matt Lauer fretted that the fallout might not come fast enough to swing the election to the Dems. Interviewing Tim Russert, Lauer said "the most cynical scenario, the worst-case scenario for Republicans is that they kept this under wraps because Foley's seat was important to holding control of the House at a time when the entire control issue is up for grabs in the mid-term elections." Matt didn't bother painting a more innocent scenario.
No, this isn't a joke. Of all the possible photos available of Joe Negron, the Florida state representative who has replaced Mark Foley as the GOP congressional candidate in the 16th CD, the top one here is the one the Associated Press chose to accompany its article: FL GOP picks Foley replacement.
Congressmen come and congressmen go. But the Associated Press's liberal bias goes on forever.
UPDATE: Reuters has pulled a similar stunt. Here's the photo it chose to accompany its article on Negron's nomination.
Hat tips to Free Republic members Behind Liberal Lines re AP and bitt re Reuters.
Note: The AP can of course always change the photo accompanying an online article. It's always possible that by the time an NB reader clicks on the link provided above to the AP article, a responsible editor will have done so, perhaps even embarrassed by this NB item exposing AP's bias. But the photo displayed here was the one accompanying the AP article as originally posted. I saved it to our NB server.
It's Bush's fault because he's not sending enough money to local governments.
He doesn't care about the uptick because the victims tend to be young black men.
Oh, and to heck with the Constitution.
There. That wraps it up nicely.
My favorite bit is Venocchi's approving citation of L.A. police chief William Bratton:
``The federal government has stepped back significantly from dealing with the issue of local crime. This administration in Washington clearly feels that local crime is an issue for local towns and municipalities."
If you see a fellow walking down the block on his hands today, you can be pretty sure he's a Democrat. For, at least from now till Election Day, Dems inhabit a topsy-turvy world in which good news is bad and bad news is good - unless the bad news is very bad, which would be bad. Got it?
By now we're all familiar with BDS - Bush Derangement Syndrome. In recent weeks, a new, virulent strain has mutated: GPDS. No, not a virus affecting the positioning gizmo in your car permitting men to achieve nirvana - never again having to ask for directions. We're talking about Gas Price Derangement Syndrome in which Democrats - depressedly deranged by dropping gasoline prices - blame the good news on a diabolical plot concocted by Karl Rove and carried out in the covens of Exxon-Mobil and company.
If there's one person whose essence, whose very being, whose every fiber stands for the proposition that the Roman Catholic church is the one true religion, it is the Pope. The Church does define him as the Vicar of Christ, after all.
So you might forgive the Pope for advocating the notion that his religion is superior. But somehow that notion deeply offends Boston Globe columnist - and former Roman Catholic priest - James Carroll. In his column of today, Pope Benedict's hierarchy of truth, faith, Carroll takes the Pope to task for asserting the superiority of his faith. Referencing the Pope's recent address that has caused a stir, Carroll writes:
The Boston Globe refers to Charlie Savage as a "staff writer." But judging by the hyper-partisan comments he made on Fox News Channel this afternoon, Savage belongs over on the opinion page.
Interviewed with two other legal reporters by FNC's Martha MacCallum, Savage took these shots at President Bush and his fellow Republicans:
President Bush is "terrorizing" Americans with the terrorism issue for political gain.
Speaking of the current rift between the president and Sen. McCain over interrogation rules for suspected terrorists, Savage snidely observed that McCain had been a POW in Vietnam while Bush spent the war "back in Texas."
Did the editorialists of the New York Times and its Beantown subsidiary the Boston Globe have a little side bet as to who could fashion the viler 9/11 editorial? If so, for all the Times's earnest editorial effort to heap bile on Pres. Bush, I'm going to give the nod to the Globe. For in its editorial of this morning, the Globe made explicit what the Times only suggested: George Bush is a bigger threat to America than radical Islamic murderers.
Said the Globe of 9/11:
"In the long run, the reaction of the Bush administration may prove more harmful to the national interest than even these horrific attacks."
The Brahmins might no longer rule the Bay State, but their tradition lives on in the editorial room of the Boston Globe. And what better occasion than Labor Day for the elitist Globe to condescend to workers in a manner that might have brought a smile to the lips of a Lowell or Cabot?
The topic of Labor Day, 2006 is one in great fashion in MSM circles: the horrors of Wal-Mart - and the joys of unionism. According to the Globe, "unionized workers earn on average $1.52 an hour more than those in similar occupations without union representation."
Alack - in the Globe's mind - Wal-Mart workers are too dumb to realize this. With a paternalistic pat on the head, the Globe observes: "[Wal-Mart] employees don't like to think they are patsies." Translation: they are patsies; they're just not smart enough to realize it.
That's not a typo in the headline. According to this Wall Street Journal article reprinted in the Star-Telegram, "on average, GM pays $81.18 an hour in wages and benefits to U.S. hourly workers, including pension and retiree medical costs."
But in his vituperative rant against the Big Three U.S. automakers, Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson manages to ignore the huge labor cost advantage enjoyed by non-union Toyota.
How much of an advantage? According to that same article, "Harbour Consulting President Ron Harbour estimates Toyota's total hourly U.S. labor costs, with benefits, at about $35 an hour." That's right, GM's average labor costs are 130% higher than that of the US operations of its Japanese rival. That translates into a $1,000/vehicle average labor-cost advantage enjoyed by Toyota. Thank you, UAW!
It's a crime in Austria to publicly praise the Nazis. Liberals in and out of the media would like to create a similar ban on anyone who questions the hype of global warming. Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam spotlighted MIT professor of meteorology, Richard Lindzen, who is the target of a smear campaign for daring to question the scare tactics of activists such as Al Gore.
I sat in a roomful of journalists 10 years ago while Stanford climatologist Stephen Schneider lectured us on a big problem in our profession: soliciting opposing points of view. In the debate over climate change, Schneider said, there simply was no legitimate opposing view to the scientific consensus that man - made carbon emissions drive global warming. To suggest or report otherwise, he said, was irresponsible.
Indeed. I attended a week's worth of lectures on global warming at the Chautauqua Institution last month. Al Gore delivered the kickoff lecture, and, 10 years later, he reiterated Schneider's directive. There is no science on the other side, Gore inveighed, more than once. Again, the same message: If you hear tales of doubt, ignore them. They are simply untrue....
Shades of William Jennings Byran's 'Cross of Gold'! The Globe didn't go totally Mel Gibson's 'Passion' on us this morning. But Dan Wasserman's cartoon does show workers being hung by the hands on rising corporate profits. This was the Globe's subtle way of commenting on news it reported yesterday that wages aren't rising as fast as profits. The Globe predictably overlooks the fact pointed out in this Investor's Business Daily article that:
To reduce the number of people trying to enter the US illegally . . . pay them more once they get here. Sound illogical? Not if you're a Boston Globe editorialist.
You knew where this editorial was headed from the headline, 'Scapegoating Immigrants,' and if there was any doubt, when a few short paras in the editorial referred to 'undocumented workers' rather than illegal immigrants, you could have stopped right there. For that matter, you might have saved yourself the time when you picked up the paper, or opened to the web site, and noticed that it read 'The Boston Globe' at the top.
The Boston Globe is not a media outlet known for its sympathetic view towards fundamentalist religious types. Everyone is aware of this. The Globe coverage of fundamentalist religious types is never particularly positive. Iran is a repressive fundamentalist theocracy. Everyone knows this.
But this morning, the Boston Globe has rapturous praise for the repressive fundamentalist theocrats in Tehran. In this front page story, the Globe manages to praise the freedom and openness of a regime that won't let women go out in public without having their heads covered.
The white-coated scientists at Tehran's Royan Institute labor beneath a framed portrait of the turbaned, bearded supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the head of a state that enforces strict religious rules governing everything from how women dress to what kinds of parties people throw.
But in the cutting-edge field of human embryonic stem-cell research, the scientists work with a freedom that US researchers can only dream of: broad government approval, including government funding, to work on the potent cells from early-stage embryos that researchers believe hold the promise to cure many diseases.
Breaking news from the New York Times: tobacco is bad for you! Of course you didn't know that. Rubes like you [probably the same kind of people dumb enough to have voted for Republicans over the years] likely think tobacco has roughly the same the health impact of bean sprouts washed down with OJ. That's because you've fallen victim to the tobacco industry's "half-century of deception." And the Times is plenty mad about it.
In Tobacco Racketeers Get Off Easy, the Times stamps its editorial feet this morning, frustrated by the judge's rulings in a suit accusing Big Tobacco under racketeering statutes. The judge had earlier denied the $280 billion penalty originally sought, and has now turned thumbs down on "the modest billions sought by prosecutors."
Fulminates the Times: "The prospects for reining in this rogue industry seem limited unless Congress finds the gumption to crack down — or top tobacco executives develop a conscience and decide to get out of the death-dealing business."
Did the MSM get together and decide this would be Bad Economics Saturday? As I noted here, the New York Times emitted an editorial this morning grimly imagining a downturn despite the good economic news.
Over at the Boston Globe, Robert Kuttner has chipped in with More than Wal-Mart. While applauding the efforts of Dem politicians to go after the country's biggest retailer, Kuttner claims that isn't nearly enough. He wants much more government regulation of the economy, and higher taxes for the 'rich'.
"[Wal-Mart's] wages and health benefits are dismal. Wal-Mart batters down wages."
The Boston Globe has been running an occasional series of editorials on the issues for the upcoming gubernatorial campaign. Today's, they're talking about crime and punishment. The Globe opinion writers, doctrinaire liberals that they are, are concerned about the former, but more concerned about the latter. But sometimes you have to wonder whether they're even reading and paying attention to what they themselves are writing. The following paragraph comes directly from this morning's essay.
But for several years now, fortunately, the pendulum has swung back toward rehabilitation. None of this year's candidates for governor would subscribe to the busting rocks doctrine. But being smart on crime, as well as tough, takes leadership. With violence on the rise and a majority of inmates being released unsupervised, the next governor will have to make reshaping the state's corrections policy a public-safety priority. (emphasis mine)
OK. The pendulum has swung back toward rehabilitation and violence is on the rise. Therefore, apparently, we need more rehabilitation and less punishment. The fairly standard liberal approach to all societal ills. We spend tons of money on poverty programs and poverty increases? Spend more! We spend on education, test scores go down? Spend more! We swing from punishment to rehabilitation and violence increases? More rehabilitation! (This is, of course, the largest newspaper in a state in which a gubernatorial candidate is currently running on simultaneously increasing both jobs and the minimum wage, so a spot of cognitive dissonance is nothing new or unusual.)
Those burly hawks of the Boston Globe are at it again. With a Landis-like testosterone rush, the Globe's editorial this morning, Tarring the majority, rips George H.W. Bush for failing to have taken out Saddam at the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm. Or as the Globe so sneeringly put it:
"The weakling-in-chief who failed to oust Saddam Hussein in 1991 was not a Democrat but the first President George Bush."
Yes, we all remember those rousing Globe editorials urging the first war against Iraq. And who can forget the glorious martial strains of its editorial opus "On to Baghdad!" at war's end? Or not.