The gift of a common tongue is a priceless inheritance and it may well someday become the foundation of a common citizenship—Winston Churchill
Much has been made of words in recent years, and we can lay every outcry at the feet of Political Castration. Every single one.
The first has to do with language itself. We live in a nation where approximately 215 million people speak English. That’s right; out of the approximately 300 million in America, the vast, vast, vast majority speaks English, and in case you’re retarded or liberal—a bit redundant, I know—the majority is the rule in this nation, and has been since its inception.
The current issue of the New York Observer includes Gabriel Sherman's report on the back-and-forth at the New York Times regarding the paper's NSA-wiretap story.
Highlights from Sherman's piece:
...Multiple Times sources said that the story had come up more than a year ago—specifically, before the 2004 election. After The Times decided not to publish it at that time, Mr. Risen went away on book leave, and his piece was shelved and regarded as dead, according to a Times source.
The December 21st edition of Today featured a rather alarmist report by Andrea Mitchell about domestic spying. The story, complete with requisite pictures of Abu Ghraib, aired at 7:15AM. It started off with Katie Couric's ominous introduction. She stated that with regard to spying, "some are wondering if Americans are losing their civil rights in the process.
But while most urged the paper to better explain what went into the decision-making process, others praised the Times' journalistic effort and stressed that the onus should be on what the Bush administration is doing, not the paper.
...Some noted a weariness over the paper continuing to be hammered for its actions, while others were angry that people were ignoring the fact that the paper broke a major story and continued to break others.
Others say that the powerful journalism underlying this latest controversy should be the issue, not the related elements.
Dan Rather, September 9, 2004:
"Today, on the Internet and elsewhere, some people including many who are partisan political operatives, concentrated not on the key questions of the overall story but on the documents that were part of the support of the story."
Gee, don't you wish it was the 80s again. Back in the good old days when the public didn't have a voice to ask questions and just followed mainstream media stories blindly.
Not long after he was elected in 1980, President Reagan was confronted by a militant public employees union that put the nation's commercial air travel in jeopardy by striking.
Reagan responded by giving the striking members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) 48 hours to return to work or be fired. When the smoke cleared two days later, more than 11,000 of the striker were handed pink slips.
Go here for the History Channel's audio clip of Reagan delivering his ultimatum to PATCo. Go here for a detailed history of a short-lived strike that provided Reagan with an opportunity to demonstrate to all, including the Soviets, that he meant business.
Pick at random an urban planner, environmental activist or mainstream media journalist, then ask him or her what is the most significant cause of suburban sprawl and odds are excellent that the answer will include the automobile.
Cars give people freedom to move about at will and one of the first things they do is their autos to flee the central city's congestion, pollution, noise and alienation.
Where do they end up? Living in a suburban development, of course, with a yard to mow, flowers, a backyard for the kids to play in, privacy from nosy neighbors, two cars in the garage and rest of the usual features of a typical home. It's the American Dream, right?
According to our modern day "experts, however, suburban sprawl naturally follows because all those people who fled the central city to live in the suburbs still have to have services provided by grocery stores, schools for the kids , churches for the family, bowling alleys, restraunts and, sooner or later, offices to work in, plus roads to get there.
What follows is the lede from a Baltimore Sun article today (Sunday) about Army recruitment as reprinted in The Day in New London, Connecticut. It demonstrates, again, the truth of Mark Twain’s dictum, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Washington — The Army met its recruiting goal for November by again accepting a high percentage of recruits who scored in the lowest category on the military's aptitude tests, Pentagon officials said Thursday, raising renewed concerns that the quality of the all-volunteer force will suffer.
The Army exceeded its 5,600 recruit goal by 256 for November, while the Army Reserve brought in 1,454 recruits, exceeding its target by 112. To do so, they accepted a “double digit” percentage of recruits who scored between 16 and 30 out of a possible 99 on the military's aptitude test, said officials who requested anonymity.
The article does note, later on, “Still, Army officials continue to say that at the end of the recruiting year, next Sept. 30, the total percentage of Category IV soldiers will be no more than 4 percent.”
It's with a convenient indignation that the New York Times goes after Bush for something they would have you believe is illegal. The dishonesty of the Times calling this new or as they put it "a sea change" is shameful. Was the NY Times brain dead when they published this article about Bob Barr and other republicans trying to make this very practice accountable to congress? In 1999? When Bill Clinton was in the White House?
Since the Times can't seem to do any research on their own, I'd like to juxtapose two articles. The opening of the Times article and a section from the (now archived) Catching Americans in NSA's Net by the Baltimore Sun, published ten years prior.
New York Times December 15, 2005 Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.
The Baltimore Sun December 12, 1995 ...the basic rules set by Executive Order 12333, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and a few court decisions are as follows: NSA can intercept any communication -- phone call, fax, electronic mail, etc. --as long as at least one end is in a foreign country.
On Thursday, The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its report on their attempted audit of the United States Government's financial statements. The GAO opened its Media Release (2-page PDF) with the following:
GAO Again Disclaims An Opinion on U.S. Government's Financial Statements For the ninth straight year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is unable to provide an opinion as to whether the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government are presented fairly, in all material respects, in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. Comptroller General of the United States David M. Walker, who heads GAO, said material deficiencies in financial reporting and other matters in Fiscal Year 2005, most notably at the Department of Defense, “have resulted in conditions that prevent us from being able to render an opinion to the Congress and the American people.”
Near the end of the release is an evaluation of the quality of our government's stewardship over our tax dollars and resources:
In its audit report, GAO concludes that the federal government did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting and compliance.
In his article, “Iraq insurgents say election truce won’t last”, Fadel al-Badrani offers the reader a view from the insurgents’ side of the war. According to al-Badrani, “secular insurgents and Islamist militants” (AKA Islamofascists) plan to resume attacks against US troops and Iraqis that cooperate with the United States. Politicians, such as Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafair, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, are also listed as targets.
Al-Badrani, an Iraqi journalist working for Reuters, was able to obtain quotes from leaders of the insurgent groups, such as “Muhammad’s Army” and the “Islamic Army”. Leaders called the attacks part of their “holy war”. The leader of Muhammad’s Army promised that “the coming days will be tough on the Americans and their supporters in the Iraqi Army.”
On the 4pm hour of CNN's The Situation Room, on air personality Jack Cafferty blasted the Bush administration's decisions to combat the War on Terror, especially the Patriot Act and the Iraq war. Cafferty also said the administration leaked name of CIA agent and "covert operative" Valerie Plame. This diatribe served as a segue for "The Question of the Hour", which asked reader's opinions about the New York Times' report of the NSA spying on American citizens. Cafferty offers no proof other than the report by a known left-wing publication.
Newsweek correspondant Howard Fineman and New York Times' writer Anne Kornblut appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss the Times report that the NSA was given permission by the Bush administration to spy on potential terrorists. This report just so happened to be printed on the front page of the Times a day after the successful election in Iraq. Surprisingly, Chris Matthews wanted to get the reason why the newspaper decided to print this information on the front page when the historic event in Iraq should have been the only story receiving big headlines. Matthews asked Kornblut "why did you break it today", only to get a simple response that "there was room in the paper". Matthews later followed up with "you have no criticism on this" [referring to the Times' decision to put this on the front page], Kornblut said "I was working on other things today so I don't know". How convenient.
One of two things must be happening at The Boston Globe:
It must really be gnawing at the editorial writers at The Globe that the GOP has controlled the governor's mansion in Massachusetts, nearly the bluest of all blue states, for over a decade, and they just couldn't take it any more.
The Editorial Board has raised the standards of conduct for presidential aspirants to dizzying heights.
Today's Chicago Tribune story on a group protesting Republican Congressional efforts to curb social spending identifies Rev. Jim Wallis as a "Christian activist." The article reports he is a leader of "a Christian social justice group" and speaks of "Wallis and other progressive religious leaders."
It would be more accurate to describe Wallis as an activist liberal Democrat. He's long been a force within the Democratic party and, as noted in the Weekly Standard, has a " 35-year history of effectively pacifist, anti-capitalist, pro-socialist positions. With the exception of abortion and family values, the political issues that animate him today are the direct descendants of those that launched him into a career of activism back in his student days, when he and his friends were being tear-gassed protesting U.S. involvement in Vietnam, in the heyday of the New Left."
MRC's Brent Baker noted in today's CyberAlert about Brian Williams's latest instance of describing a spending increase as a "cut" in spending. I emailed Williams's comments to the Heritage Foundation's lead budget analyst, Brian Riedl. Riedl's reply:
The reconciliation bill would reduce the 5-year growth of entitlement spending from 39% down to 38%. Spending would still increase.
Riedl then dropped a link which took me to a WebMemo from November. What follows should be required reading for any reporter, but broadcast ones especially, to read before covering spending bills on Capitol Hill. Portions in bold are my emphasis:
Two weeks of vociferous criticism from homosexual activists not only succeeded in backing Ford away from its recent decision to restrict advertising some of its products from gay publications but forced the automaker into expanding such marketing efforts and all but begging for forgiveness for being politically incorrect on the issue.
The cave could not be more complete, according to this description in The New York Times:
"Ford's announcement, which gay advocates immediately praised, also included other steps to broaden the automaker's relations with gay consumers and repair damage from the initial decision to stop advertising.
One has to wonder after reading two Associated Press articles.
The first, not attributed is about the Detroit Mayoral vote recount. Two Democrats are involved in the contested result. Neither candidate's party affiliation is named.
The second , by AP's Susan Gamboa, is about Prosecutor Ronnie Earle issuing "subpoenas for bank records and other information of a defense contractor involved in the bribery case of a California congressman" in the case of Tom Delay.
Setting aside the fact that Randy Cunningham is a FORMER congressman (properly identified later), no mention is made of Mr. Earle's Democrat affiliation. But Mr. Delay's "Texans for a Republican Majority" gets a mention. Additionally, one of the later paragraphs states that "Earle alleges that DeLay and two coconspirators funneled $190,000 in corporate contributions through the Texas political committee and an arm of the National Republican Committee to seven GOP state legislative candidates."
On Special Report with Brit Hume on Fox News, 13 December, 2005, Senator Joe Biden (D, Delaware) said the following in reply to President Bush’s third policy speech on Iraq, in Philadelphia yesterday:
“Failure to get a consensus constitution spells doom for our policy in Iraq. So what is the plan, Mr. President? That is still lacking.”
After saying that means participation by the UN, NATO, and Iraq’s neighbors, Biden added:
“If this time next year nothing has changed concerning in terms of our success rate, we will be out of Iraq. The American people will not sustain this.”
The transcript of this is not up yet, but these quotes are TiVo’ed and accurate.
The full answer to these historically foolish statements by Senator Biden were given by President Bush in the first ten minutes of his speech in Philadelphia, on Monday. Bush began by recounting the history of America writing its own Constitution. He took time to note that our first attempt to draft an acceptable constitution was an abject failure. Under the Articles of Confederation, our government failed financially, and there were armed rebellions in the streets.
As the President carefully pointed out, it took us “eight years to write our Constitution.” The Battle of Yorktown effectively ended the American Revolution in 1781. It was not until 1789 that our Constitution was both written and ratified, to replace the Articles of Confederation, which had failed.
So the first historical nonsense stated by Senator Biden was that the American people will not “sustain” more than a one-year wait to obtain workable constitution.
But the worse error in Senator Biden’s remarks, as compared to America’s own constitutional history, was his claim that to be successful, Iraq had to write a “consensus constitution,” acceptable to its neighbors. Is the Senator totally ignorant of recent history? Money, fighters and weapons are leaking into Iraq across its borders with Iran and Syria. Just today, Americans captured a tanker truck that came in from Iran which concealed thousands of forged ballots for the current Iraq election.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) noted the bias of the New York Times on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal." The show's host quoted from a pessemistic NYT story about the military situation in Mosul, Iraq. Kingston, who recently returned from an extensive trip to Mosul and first-hand talks with GI's and officers questioned the story thus: "Now, would that be on the New York Times editorial page or their regular page?" The host said the regular page. Kingston replied with a smile: "And there is a difference? I would only have to say that when you cite the New York Times, it is not exactly objective."
Rep. Kingston also blasted the major networks as "overwhelmingly pessimistic" and increasingly negative." He further cited the MRC study, TV's Bad News Brigade, to buttress his arguments.