Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The CIA's Spooky Leaks

A few weeks back, we opined on the open undermining of the Bush administration undertaken by unnamed operatives and/or officials at the CIA—you know, the ones who show up in the Washington Post every few weeks trashing current CIA Director Porter Goss and his evil staff of Republican minions. Well, John Hinderaker follows up on this with a good bit more detail in the online Weekly Standard:
THE CIA'S WAR against the Bush administration is one of the great untold storiesof the past three years. It is, perhaps, the agency's most successful covertaction of recent times. The CIA has used its budget to fund criticism of the administration by former Democratic officeholders. The agency allowed an employee, Michael Scheuer, to publish and promote a book containing classified information, as long as, in Scheuer's words, "the book was being used to bash the president." However, the agency's preferred weapon has been the leak. In one leak after another, generally to the New York Times or the Washington Post, CIA officials have sought to undermine America's foreign policy. Usually this is done by leaking reports or memos critical of administration policies or skeptical of their prospects. Through it all, our principal news outlets, which share the agency's agenda and profit from its torrent of leaks, have maintained a discreet silence about what should be a major scandal.
Read the rest of it here. Hinderaker's conclusions are chilling and well worth pondering.

Wonker would take these conclusions further. With the crucial exception of the military, patriots to the core, the entire Federal bureaucracy, more or less, has been populated by leftist, unionist supporters of the Democratic Party since the time of Roosevelt. At times, the Government has been infiltrated and, in fact, deeply penetrated by agents, operatives, or sympathizers of the former Soviet union and American interests have been actively undermined. Such penetration is not, of course, exclusive to the United States. But it is surprising how effective it becomes when most of an operative's colleagues are, at least philosophically, fellow travelers.

The tendency of the Federal government today is for many Federal employees to actively support and carry out the initiatives of Democratic presidents while undermining, stalling, or otherwise stymieing those of Republicans until Democrats can be returned to office. Republican presidents—not just Bush—are simply not regarded as legitimate. Therefore it is not treasonous to oppose them. Astonishing but true. It's important to remember this as the real CIA scandal begins to unfold. BTW, this scandal will almost certainly be reported only in the blogosphere, as the media, specifically the Washington Post and the New York Times, are deeply involved in conveying the CIA's anti-Bush leakage to the public while covering up the administration's many successes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mother Sheehan's Christmas Gift

Returning to blogging belatedly after our own excellent holiday trip, we've discovered pictures from yet another holiday voyage—Mother Sheehan's vaunted book-signing tent out near the Bush ranch, in yet another hard left-attempt to dog the President. Cindy drew the predictable admiring crowds:

Oops. Guess the 15-minute clock has elapsed, albeit a bit belatedly. But nonetheless a fitting Christmas gift.

Merry Christmas, Denny

Looks like the effort to resurrect Christmas is starting to get seriously on track this season:
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has told federal officials that the lighted, decorated tree on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol -- known in recent years as the "Holiday Tree" -- should be renamed the "Capitol Christmas Tree," as it was called until the late 1990s....

"It was known as the 'Holiday Tree' for several years and just recently was changed back to the 'Capitol Christmas Tree.' This was a directive from the speaker," said Capitol architect Matthew Evans.

"The speaker believes a Christmas tree is a Christmas tree, and it is as simple as that," said Ron Bonjean, spokesman for the Illinois Republican.
Yeah, it is. A little common sense from flyover country, which is mostly where you find it these days. More here.

European New Right?

Random surfing today, Wonker encountered a most interesting and somewhat peculiar blog discussing what the blogger calls the "European New Right" or ENR. Employing a sort of reverse Gramscianism, the movement is allegedly attempting to resurrect Europe's sclerotic politics and culture.
A large sector in the ENR subscribes to what they call le Gramscisme de Droite. The ENR (like Gramsci) reverses Marx's idea of base and superstructure. It believes that changes in the ideological superstructure among the cultural and elite opinion-forming groups determine social change. Gramsci called on intellectuals to change society in a socialist direction. The ENR adopts this approach to their own programs. This is called metapolitics. The ENR also identifies with the appeal to populism in Gramsci, although it rejects the rest of the Marxist apparatus.
Well, we're not so sure. As the author describes it, the so-called ENR seems more like warmed-over Marxism than it does a new kind of conservative philosophy. The ENR, such as it may be, is tinged with paganism, and spiced with anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, and (of course) anti-Americanism. The portrait of Noam Chomsky on the blog's index page is sort of a dead giveaway that blogger Mark Wegierski is not exactly in Pat Buchanan's pocket. And he isn't exactly forthcoming in his bio either.

Rather than embodying anything that Americans would recognize as ideas of the "right," the ENR, as described in this piece, seems, in the end, yet another way of resurrecting Marxism via the manipulation of words—here disguising the nature of the experiment by insisting that it comes from the "right." Additionally, its restatement of dialectical materialism is what is really meant by the term "metapolitics" employed in the quote above.

This kind of socio-political chicanery is a little like putting a circa-1968 hippie into a Brooks Brothers suit—you can change his appearance, but you can't alter his nature no matter how you try to disguise it.

Nonetheless, as an extended exercise in rationalization, the piece is well written and well worth reading, shedding light on the nature of a left that has now grown so pathetic and devoid of new ideas that it tires to recycle old ones under a "conservative" banner. A visual caution: as with many blogs, this one employs thin white text on a black background, which is virtually unreadable on many monitors. To make things easier, highlight the text you're reading, which will turn the immediate background gray and the text black which is easier to deal with.

A Mammoth Thanksgiving

Wonker promised you a brief overview (or 3) of his recently concluded Thanksgiving holiday voyage to the cavelands of Western Kentucky. Along with the Mad Redhead, aka, Mrs. Wonker, W (not to be confused with the real W) traversed hill and dale, staying overnight in picturesque Ashland, KY (home of a huge Marathon oil refinery on the banks of the Ohio River). After dining at the badly decaying town's one decent restaurant, we traveled a few blocks to drive around the central park of which featured an impressive nighttime Winter Wonderland of Lights, ranging from Santa and his elves to—quel horreur!—a Nativity Scene also done up in lights.

Ringing the park and its extensive, picturesque displays were what appeared to be as many as two dozen or more immense, magnificent Victorian houses, most in pretty good repair, that were completely at odds with the town's otherwise shabby appearance. According to the restaurant's maitre d', Marathon had moved its corporate headquarters out of Ashland some time ago, leading to a major exodus of jobs to neighboring Ohio which copped the new HQ. That, plus other decaying industries, give poor Ashland a lean and hungry look. But the town is not without its resources. These include the impressive King's Daughters Medical Center and the well regarded Morehead State University. The former, in fact, is at least indirectly responsible for the care and feeding of Ashland's Victorian homes. The big-name doctors attracted to the Medical Center become smitten with the huge houses, it seems, purchase them for a song, and spiff them up to a fare-thee-well, creating one of the best-looking groupings of such houses east of the Mississippi. Things are not always what they seem in America.

More anon. Meanwhile, a hearty hat-tip to Luther who kept HazZzmat buzzing blizzfully whilst Wonker was out consuming mass quantities of cheap Kentucky gasoline (as low as $1.92 per gallon) as he continued on to Mammoth Cave. Guess it helps to have a refinery in your backyard. Maybe Libs should stop sneering at those canny Midwesterners who can fill their Democratic Hummers far more cheaply than the New Yorkers who seem to have greater need of them.

Outsourcing The Lies

If you've wondered exactly who the vast proportion of Americans are who think the Bush Administration and its policies are abject failures, you might investigate the source of the news. John Rosenthal at has a startling examination of the AP-Ipsos polls of recent days.

So, maybe Americans are not turning French, after all. Maybe the anomalous AP-Ipsos results have to do rather with the firm that is doing the polling...What exactly is Ipsos? AP press releases identify Ipsos coyly as an "international polling firm" well as "non-partisan" and "objective". One would hardly expect them to say otherwise. But here is what neither AP nor Ipsos want Americans to know and assiduously avoid saying: Ipsos is a French polling firm...But AP and Ipsos undoubtedly fear that to many Americans..., in light of the current climate of Franco-American relations, it might at least raise some doubts about Ipsos's impartiality and objectivity...And what is worse: about this particular French polling firm, these doubts would be highly justified. On its home market, Ipsos is well known precisely for the unreliability of its polls and for being especially tight with the French political establishment....

I guess that if you can't get people to believe your "fake but accurate" news, do what everybody else is doing with productive activity, outsource it. The discovery that a poll is likely to be biased is not new or unique, of course. The careful manipulation of focus groups -- questions shaped for expected answers, etc., etc., -- is old stuff in advertising. But when such tactics becomes a basis for "objective" debasing of an Administration and American foreign policy, we're past marketing and into subversive propaganda. Select here for the rest of Rosenthal's article.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Who's Really "Liberal"?

Wretchard has an interesting post on today's Belmont Club regarding the care and use of labels. You should read the whole thing. But if you don't have the time, we'll leave you with this summary excerpt:

One of the most important functions of labels is to summarize a large quantity of information in a single symbol. Because people don't have the time to comprehensively analyze the specific attributes of a product they often rely on labels or simply branding information to serve as a proxy indicator of the properties they wish to measure. Labels perform a similar function in politics.
The term "soft power" sounds like it might be better than "hard power". Countries which don't sign up to the Kyoto climate agreement are presumably rogue states intent on polluting the planet. Greedy, money-grubbing capitalist countries are presumably less environmentally friendly than gentle Socialist countries.

People buy on the basis of labels; people vote on the basis of labels, and sometimes they are misled. The power of labels creates an opportunity for hucksters to substitute fiction for reality, as anyone who has ever bought a Rolex made in Pakistan knows. For years the United Nations presented itself as a saintly organization bent on saving the whales when it wasn't preserving world peace. Reality fell somewhat short of this ideal, and the process of disillusionment is always painful to watch. In a way, even those who didn't believe in the fake labels can feel a sense of loss at watching the hope, and then the belief fade from the faces of those who have been suckered. The truth will set you free; but first it will make you miserable.
Just returned from wandering through Mammoth Cave in Kentucky (which is surely a metaphor for something) over Thanksgiving Week, Wonker is pleased that folks like Wretchard are finally starting to grapple with the real problem that intellectuals on the right face on a regular basis. The hard left has systematically controlled the "labeling" of social, political, and artistic terminology for well over a half-century. This has, slowly and subtly, contributed alarmingly to the weakening of our energetic and optimistic American culture, pushing it toward the failed European amalgam of economic determinism, nihilism, fatalism, and elitist corruption disguised as progressivism.

A classic example of this "relabeling" is what has become one of today's most contentious terms, "liberal." Wonker would contend, with considerable justification, that today's "liberals" are more like yesterday's "conservatives." Stuck in a time warp, America's left (which always identifies itself as "liberal" to obscure their connection with discredited Marxist beliefs) have successfully wrapped themselves in the positive mantle of "liberalism," while behaving precisely like the elitists and intellectual fascists that they like to imagine exclusively inhabit the right. There is, in fact, nothing whatsoever "liberal" about denigrating religion, pushing sex education into lower and lower grades in public schools, glorying in abortion, dissing our troops in Iraq (while proclaiming "patriotism"), blacklisting Republican-oriented professors in college tenure situations, etc. We could go on, but you get the picture.

Wonker would propose that the "conservative right"—consider taking the "liberal" label back. Why not. "Conservatives" believe in freedom of religion, the sanctity of the family and of life, the rightness of democracy, the success of Americanism, and the freedom of intellectual expression. Why then have "conservatives" been stuck with this stodgy label? Something to ponder as we head for the Christmas season. Er, the "Holiday Season," yet another relabeling effort, courtesy of the anti-democratic left, meant to exterminate our country's acceptance of its Judaeo-Christian roots. Words and labels do matter. We need to take them back.

Streisand's Favorite Ambulance Chaser

"Everybody needs a lawyer," the old US Attorney General said, as he took on Saddam Hussein as a client last week. Given the well-documented slaughters of the Hussein regime, of which the 140 victims he's now on trial for killing are but a miniscule portion of one percent, the dictator's new lawyer, Ramsey Clark, is giving new meaning to the phrase ambulance chaser. He's a perfect fit for the job. His decades-long, pathological pursuit of American crimes and misdemeanors, a hallmark of today's boutique Left, to whom any psychopath who hates America is a preferred client, mixed with the professional demeanor of a torts lawyer, yields an old fool foaming at the mouth as he rushes to Saddam's side crying victim! victim!. If you'd like to read more about this sorry bastard, see today's Washington Times. Former Secretary of State Kissinger and former National Security Advisory Zbigniew Brzezinski offered institutional rationalizations, but nobody should be fooled. People in institutions will say anything to get attention.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Don't Get Cocky, Kid

In the flush of victory after victory, bloggers ought to pay attention to an ancient history. Dramatic episodes of free exchange and freedom are often followed by equally dramatic episodes of repression. Fifth century Athens was such an explosion. Once the enemies of freedom knocked them down, Athens never recovered its position as a center of enlightened thought and action. Glen Reynolds, the author of An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths, is clear-eyed about this.

I've been writing about Internet free speech for a long time in Internet years. I've written about the new communications media's effect on old media, the challenge it poses to dictators, and its effect on U.S. elections. But the truest thing I've ever written on the subject was this: You want to keep this media revolution going? Be ready to fight for it...That's been brought home by events both abroad, and in the United States...Abroad, we've seen the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Tunisia....

Bloggers and lovers of freedom should study this piece by Reynolds and do some serious thinking about the future of the Blogosphere. Whether Senators McCain and Clinton, the UN, or big commercial interests, opponents of individual, independent reporting and opinion are varied, numerous, and powerful. Franklin's admonition bears repeating in a slightly different context: "We have a republic; now let's see if we can keep it."


When In Doubt About Your Stupidity, Resign

Some strain of common sense must have occurred to John Daly, a faculty member at Warren County Community College who had advocated for American soldiers to kill their senior officers in Iraq. He left town.

To reassure yourself, check the source. It is possible, one imagines, that a motivation for Daly's departure was that he found out that his students regarded him as a superior officer.



Why Mince Words?

This requires little comment. While the big talking heads excuse or ignore a former President's abusive war of words against American foreign policy in Iraq, David Horowitz has no such qualms.

Just read it for yourself.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Green Poverty

When you invest in the study of real science instead of politically manipulated scientists, an appalling possibility emerges, that the killing poverty that affects a third of the world's population, not to mention the death of millions by malaria, are a new political holocaust, one emerging directly from political (as opposed to scientific) environmentalism.

Dr. Roy Spencer has been writing about this for some time.

The Ambassador to the U.S. from Uganda, Edith Ssempala, spoke forcefully and passionately about the negative influence that western policies have had on her people. Due to the unintended negative consequences of policies that the wealthier countries of the world have adopted, Africans continue to die by the millions each year...But the policies the Ambassador was criticizing had nothing to do to with global warming...What is killing Africans in greatest numbers is poverty, and international trade policies that prevent Africans from protecting themselves from diseases that are easily preventable. The Ambassador mentioned pressure from environmentalists in wealthy nations that has prevented the construction of hydroelectric dams in Africa, denying electricity to millions of people. Two billion of the Earth's inhabitants still do not have access to electricity...The Ugandan Ambassador was particularly critical of westerners that have a romantic view of how Africans should live, as if the simpler life is a preferable one. How many people in the industrialized world with this view would be willing to trade places?

If you're swayed by news reports (see below on the quality of much contemporary "news"), you owe it yourself to read the rest of Dr. Spencer's article. Things are not so simple. Wealth creates health is not a cliche, but a truism. And restrained by the success of primarily Western, political environmentalists, local entrepreneurs, doctors, and agricultural scientists who might bring that lesson home in Africa are left holding empty cups and coffin handles.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Market Is Suggestive

The quarterly City Journal is probably not on George Clooney's reading list, but it would be interesting to eavesdrop on a conversation at his house about Brian C. Anderson's Conservatives in Hollywood? piece in the Autumn 2005 issue.

In a time of declining moviegoing, what gets people out to the theaters, it turns out, are conservative movies—conservative not so much politically but culturally and morally, focusing on the battle between good and evil, the worth of heroism and self-sacrifice, the indispensability of family values and martial honor, and the existence of Truth...When Hollywood does put its liberal worldview aside to make movies that embody traditional values, it often scores big with the public. Consider 2004’s Spider-Man 2... so eye-catching that you might miss the story’s old-fashioned moral truths. The movie is a fable about duty and heroism...Pixar Studio’s dazzling animated superhero film The Incredibles (2004) is another box-office winner—domestic gross $261 million—with a surprisingly right-of-center worldview...The defense of excellence—and frustration with the politically correct war against it—is a central theme of The Incredibles, as in a scene when Helen chides Bob for not attending their son Dash’s “graduation” from fourth grade. “It’s psychotic,” Bob thunders. “They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity..." Robert Zemeckis’s Cast Away (2000) is an updated Robinson Crusoe, starring Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland, a Federal Express troubleshooter marooned for years on a desert island. The movie makes us keenly aware of the benefits—the immense human achievement—of an advanced capitalist society. (Untypical for Hollywood, Cast Away depicts a big corporation as a caring and effective organization...Martial virtues, long jeered at by liberal Hollywood, have enjoyed a big-screen comeback over the last half-decade or so. Peter Jackson’s sweeping adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–2003) teaches us about the need for free men and women to stand up with military force to totalitarian evil—and about the potential of power to corrupt even the most decent from within....

That's good evidence for the often unspoken complaint of the Hollywood Left, that people, left to their own devices, without the advantage, say, of an Ivy League education, have a strange respect for family, nation, and freedom. Worse, given a free market choice in what to see, those kind of people show a marked preference for movies that celebrate those values. No wonder the Hollywood Left loved the old Moscow film center! A director, such as Tarkovsky, relaxing with state subsidies, and basking in the unavailability of competition, could make a longwinded, pretentious mess like Solaris without fear of being shut down by a management, or a theater-going public, averse to such unprofitable self-indulgence. Perhaps when George Clooney made his remake of Solaris a couple of years ago (using a translation of Tarkovsky's script as his primary source), he was under the impression that he was working in the USSR! One could easily get that impression in Hollywood, save for articles like Brian C. Anderson's, which suggest that the Left Coast's Iron Curtain may not extend beyond Barbara Streisand's front yard.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Mammoth Vacation

Hear ye! Hear ye! Wonker will be taking a break from the madness starting tomorrow morning, and will be heading off, via southern Virginia and West Virginia, to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky for a week's vacation. Strange, you say, spending a week at a relatively unknown National Park, Thanksgiving Week at that? Well, yeah, it is strange, but Wonker and Mrs. Wonker, aka the Red Menace, had a use it or lose it week left on a timeshare swap, so carpe diem, to mix a metaphor. The park is one of those weird, magnificent places in America that few people probably visit, so we're going to give it a shot. We don't do photoblogging yet, so we'll debrief upon our return.

Meanwhile, we know we can trust the Mighty Luther to keep up the carping and kvetching while we're off hunting for bats and blind cave fish in Kentucky, although many of these can also be found in abundance on the Democratic side of the aisle back here in DC.

We'll return on November 29, stuffed with turkey, dressing, and probably more than a little stored up bile in contemplation of renewing the armed struggle against the Philistines. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, a Happy Thanksgiving for all!

(PS, looking ahead, we plan to cause a scandal on the net by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas early and often in December, and fully expect to hear from the PC Police and/or the ACLU, the latter probably armed with a cease and desist order!)

The $1.16 Lion Tamer Speaks

For those who might have forgotten poor Deborah Combs, an unemployed American citizen whose tax debt of $1.16 caused her to be arrested and held liable for up to $4,000 in fines and a possible prison term, great news! . Charges have been dropped. Fines, even the $200 penalty Sean Hannity offered to pay are also dropped. A favorite quote from Loveland, Ohio Mayor Brad Greenberg: "The Circus is leaving town; I will not allow our taxpayers to spend any further money prosecuting this case." Bold words, Mayor G, but I wonder, if you're the Mayor, who's training the lions? And does that training include -- gasp! -- an apology?


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Shhh....Antarctica Is Growing

It is perhaps asking too much for serious people to take Dr. Michael Crichton's word for anything. After all, even if he does cite chapter, book and graphical study in blasting the warm blanket theory -- sorry, the global warming theory to bits, he's a novelist, a professional liar, as Mark Twain once described himself. But, trouble is, oh, ye, disciples of the Earth goddess, praying for relief from Satanic mills and Beelzebubian SUVs, scientific reports keep rolling in, suggesting that -- shades of Hellish truth -- global warming is a political strategy disguised as science, sort of Dan Rather meets Lysenko (If I Believe It, It Must Be True). For quite a few years, this stuff has been a staple of broadcast and print media; if you believed the stories, you'd already have bought oceanfront property in Missouri. For those who haven't gone that far, don't miss How Much Ice In The Global Cocktail? by Patrick Michaels at TechCentralStation.

One of the great fears generated by global warming is that the ocean is about to rise and swallow our coasts. These concerns have been heightened by the substantial uptick in Atlantic hurricane activity that began in 1995. The frequency of really strong storms striking the U.S now resembles what it was in the 1940s and 50s, which few people (aging climatologists excepted) remember...Critics have long argued that these changes require a substantial net melting of some combination of the world's two largest masses of land-based ice, Antarctica and Greenland. In addition, they note that observed global warming is right near the low end of the U.N.'s projections, which means that realized sea level rise should be similarly modest...t is simply impossible for the scientific community to ignore what is going on, even as prone to exaggeration of threats as it has grown to be. The planet is warming at the low end of projections. Antarctica is undoubtedly gaining, not losing ice. Greenland appears to either lose a little ice, or, in the recent study of Johannessen, gain dramatically. It's going to take some time for it to contribute much to rising oceans...Meanwhile, Antarctica grows. Computer models, while still shaky, are now encountering reality.

The global warming stuff, as Crichton himself has put it, and not originally, more resembles a substitute religious faith, which makes it very hard for real scientists to fight back with real reports. Ever try arguing with a Fundamentalist about Biblical literalism? It would be easier to engage a pit bull in a debate about global warming. Faith doesn't avail itself of rational argument or of factual reports. That's fine when faith is in God, but it bodes real doom for the rest of us when it shutters scientific reports of genuine value. If you'd like historical testimony on that, read Arthur Koestler.


Calling All Liberal Professors...

Enterprising economics professor Daniel Klein of George Mason University, located in the Northern Virginia suburbs of DC, is looking for some assistance compiling stats on the political orientation of the professoriat. If you want to lend a hand, check out details on the project here.

On the other hand, we're not sure whether the good professor is using his time wisely. Without any budget and without any effort, Wonker can assure any researcher that the percentage of professors who vote Democrat 100% of the time can be reliably estimated at 95% give or take a percentage point.

You don't need the proverbial degree in rocket science to understand that the tenured, largely socialist professoriat, has been hiring only birds of a Marxist feather for roughly 40 years now, even as they cynically hire adjunct wage-slaves to accomplish the actual work of teaching the undergraduate masses--i.e., filling the empty vessels with left-liberal slogans and knee-jerk responses. This is classic Gramscianism in action, completely undermining the skepticism and objectivity required to fairly staff a college faculty capable of honoring and preserving cultural, philosophical, and scientific traditions while forging a path to a non-ideological tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the only path the average faculty member blazes today is the well-worn and dead-end path to world socialism. We applaud Professor Klein's intention to document this phenomenon with appropriate academic rigor. But, as we've already mentioned, we're not quite sure that yet another study or survey "proving" the obvious and pernicious leftist bias on America's campuses is worth the time or the effort.

A better use of man-hours and money would be for state legislatures to place offending university departments in taxpayer supported state systems--particularly humanities departments--into academic receivership. Once this is accomplished, court-appointed receivers can be directed to enforce affirmative rules and regs to force ideological diversity on disciplines that today are little more than indoctrination camps dedicated not to teaching Thoreau but to deconstruct his prose to better illustrate the nirvana of a future socialist utopia.

Deep Throat urged Woodstein to "follow the money." That's good advice today in an entirely different context. Only when we begin to clean out corrupt educational, political, and nonprofit institutions that are scooping up huge, unregulated quantities of taxpayer monies to fund sedition and treason against the United States will we be able to reclaim at last our proud American heritage and traditions. Since the tenured left loves the notion of "accountability" in the business sector, we're sure they'll warmly welcome deploying it to shine the light of truth on their own intellectually corrupt departments.

HazZzMat: Political Fads, Hold The Fries 2

Note: For another view of salt, try the Salt Institute.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Neas Says Nay

This tidbit from the Washington Times concerning some "dirt" dug up on Supreme Court nominee Alito:
Judge Alito went on to say that "racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed" and that he strongly favors "limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values."

Mr. Neas [Ralph Neas of "People for the American Way"] said this proves the nominee's "fervent allegiance to virtually every pet cause of the radical right" and "underscores our concern that he would vote to turn back the clock on decades of judicial precedent protecting privacy, equal opportunity, religious freedom, and so much more."
Read the rest here. Power Line's Paul Mirengoff observes:
So let's see -- according to Neas, the "pet causes" of the "radical right" are race-free, merit-based selection decisions; limited government; federalism; free enterprise; the supremacy of the elected branches of government; strong defense and law enforcement; and protection of traditional values. As an opponent of the right, Neas' pet causes appear to be race-based preferences, unlimited government, unfree enterprise, the supremacy of unelective branches of government, less than strong defense and law enforcement, and indifference (if not hostility) towards traditional values.

Which set of people is "for the American way?"
Mirengoff has got that right, and exposes once again the constant Gramsci-inspired upending of American culture, religion, and ideals by leftists like Neas who are dedicated to undermining the United States and all the good things this country stands for. Also, duly note the galling name of Neas' organization — as Mirengoff does: "People for the American Way." It has been another time-honored tactic of the left to obscure their true motives by wrapping their hypocrisy in the American flag and claiming to be patriots — when in fact, their only allegiance is to a now hypothetical world socialist government, not the America envisioned by our Founding Fathers (who were not Framers, by the way).

A prime example of this tendency is the highly destructive American Civil Liberties Union. Initially a Communist front organization founded in the 1930s, the ACLU has never shed its old ways, espousing civil liberties of all kinds just as long as they don't include freedom of religious expression, freedom of parents to control the behavior of their minor children, freedom of children from socialist indoctrination in public schools, and the freedom of everyone from the disastrous expense of frivolous lawsuits.

The aim of the ACLU is the same today as it was in the 1930s — deploy left-wing judicial activists via carefully crafted lawsuits against vulnerable local governments. The result of such lawsuits — rarely in doubt because they are always brought before hard-left judges — is to limit the effectiveness of elected officials while trashing American traditions and culture, most particularly the Judaeo-Christian ethics that were considered the bedrock of this nation's greatness. Until the ACLU wore everybody down. But they do use those nice, warm, fuzzy words in their moniker, don't they? American. Civil Liberties. What could be more important, right? More, well, American?

If you've got more examples of leftist language manipulation, send 'em in. As we get HazZzmat up and running, we're open to taking on all the help we can get as we attempt to take American culture and traditions back from the leftist thugs who've hijacked them for at least a half a century while covering themselves with Old Glory.

Slippery Lawyers Cause Litigation Cancer

Fake reporting isn't restricted to political stories from CBS. Over at James Glassman's Tech Central Station, a great deal of Web space is devoted to exposing junk science, rhetorically dressed "evidence" more intended to impress gullible juries in torts trials than demonstrate competent research. Of late, for instance, a massive lawsuit has been initiated against Teflon (TM) manufacturers. Gregory Conko and Henry I. Miller, authors of 2004's The Frankenfood Myth, go right at the chemistry of this complaint:

The radical Environmental Working Group has charged that the billions of meals worldwide prepared every day on Teflon cookware are being contaminated with "Teflon toxins," and two Florida-based law firms have filed a $5 billion class-action suit in eight states against the manufacturer, DuPont, for "failing" to warn consumers about the product's alleged dangers...these charges are bogus. And that really fries us.

The truth is that an EPA advisory panel has recommended more testing of a chemical known as PFOA, which is used to make non-stick coatings...However, both Teflon and PFOA have been the subject of numerous studies, and there is not a shred of evidence that either poses a human health risk...high-dose test methodology is...totally irrelevant to real world exposures...Most compelling of all, PFOA is not present in the actual non-stick cookware coating -- including pots and pans coated with Teflon...Even the chronically over-cautious European Food Safety Administration recently dismissed the trumped up concerns and allowed the continued use of non-stick coatings in cookware.

How do such lawsuits get started? If there is the slightest possibility that a substance might cause cancer, that's a start (and a reasonable one, until you start to dig below the headlines and talking head chatter). Another key consideration is how many people are exposed. That part might be described as "lawyer math." If ten million people bought Teflon cookware last year, that's ten million potential clients. Even at a few hundred dollars apiece, consider that a common fee for the law firm is 30% of the reward. In a one hundred million dollar out-of-court settlement, the most common kind of arrangement for these suits, that's thirty million for the law firm: lawyer math! That might even seem reasonable, until you begin to notice that there's something missing in the torts complaint. For instance, in the long dead issue of cyclamates, those artificial sweeteners that enjoyed a brief vogue in the 60s and 70s, cancer-causing dosages in rats were roughly equivalent to a human drinking several hundred cans of soda per day for five years. I've heard of some extraordinary bladders, but not even Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox could have kept up that pace. And it's not only the fabulous expense of settling these cases that's undercutting the economy, but the increasing use of excerpted or wholly fabricated data to support lawsuits. This is where junk science and junk reporting in politics meet. Both lawyers and reporters are setting standards of "truth" that are not only disruptive and destructive, but undercut public life by substituting a web of half-truths for public discourse. You can read the rest of the article here.


Political Fads, Hold The Fries

Over at American Enterprise Institute's James Glassman's TechCentralStation they spend a lot of time devoted to the problems of junk science, that favorite snack food that keeps torts lawyers fat. If you trust news reports that cite statistical studies "proving" that certain habits make you a victim of obesity, for instance, you might take a look. John Luik, a health care policy maven, discusses obesity studies:

The subjects [of a study on vending machines in schools and obesity] were divided into four groups based on how frequently they used their school's vending machine in the past thirty days -- with one group of those who did not use it at all or purchased only water, another group which purchased 1-3 items, a third group whose members bought 4-6 items and a final group whose young people bought more than six items. The most frequently purchased item from a vending machine, according to the authors, was not pop but water, purchased by 36.3% of the young people, followed by sweetened beverages other than pop purchased by 31%.

But what was really interesting was that there were no differences in BMI [body mass index] percentile or in calories between the four groups. In other words, contrary to the claims of those who blame school vending machines for childhood obesity, vending machine purchases did not make a difference to the student's calorie intake or to their BMI.

One wonders if the study's director will ever be invited to play golf with the Trial Lawyers Association again. You might want to look at the rest of Luik's article or at another, as well as another revelation on the hold the salt Puritans trying to save us.


Fake, But Accurate; The Same, Only Different

Rathergate continues to echo through the MSM, as sacked CBS producer and Rather lackey Mary Mapes continues to flog her less-than-truthful new book on the PR circuit. Now some of her friends are attacking Power Line, one of the conservative blogs that outed Rather's and Mapes' blatant attempt to smash George Bush at the polls with damning documents that were obvious, documents that were "inauthentic." Power Line's Scott Johnson elaborates on a major verbal arabesque in the disappointing, but somewhat accurate, Thornburgh Report:
It's true that the Report avoids stating a definitive conclusion that the documents are fakes; it merely endorses Peter Tytell's analysis that the documents are "inauthentic." It does so on page 175. This is a little-known fact that simply hasn't penetrated the mainstream media reporting on the Mapes fraud. If the documents are inauthentic -- if they are not what they purport to be -- they are fakes.
In case the pathologically dense can't parse this, Johnson restates the argument again:
If the Thornburgh Report finds Tytell's analysis regarding the inauthenticity of the documents to be "sound," as it does on page 175, the only rational conclusion one can draw is that the documents are fakes. But ratiocination is a commodity in short supply among members of the alternate-reality based community.
Rathergate junkies can read the rest here.

Wonker is reminded of an early Cheech and Chong movie where Cheech is trying to draw an analogy for the perpetually drug-hazed Tommy Chong. Cheech says, "You know, it's the same, only different." We would guess that this about sums up the continued defense of obviously fake or forged documents by clinging to the word "inauthentic" which fuzzes the issue. Fake but accurate. The same only different. It depends on what the definition of "is" is.

Johnson gets it right. The left really does inhabit an alternative, parallel universe.

But this story also resonates with our longer observations from yesterday and helps bolster our major point. Words do matter. The left has mastered the fine art of employing verbal nuance to turn reality on its head, to take the prudence out of jurisprudence, to "constitutionally" eliminate religion from public discourse, and to eviscerate admirable American cultural traditions. Our first step in taking these things back from the left is to take our language back. We'll be doing that here a lot in the coming months.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Known Fact: ™ How Propaganda Works

Some casual brilliance from, revived recently after a bit of a hiatus. Here we have some received and observed wisdom on Gramsicanism in action in public discourse:
As a general rule of thumb, liberals ... try to win arguments by repeating the same thing over and over again, regardless of its veracity. Eventually, through sheer exasperation, you concede what you consider to be a very minor point so that they will just! shut! up! and hopefully you can move the discussion forward. Sooner or later, however, you learn that any concession whatsoever is unwise, because that only tends to make them fixate on that issue even more, and thus a Known Fact™ is born.

There are two horrible things about Known Facts™. The first is that, in the mind of a liberal, they can never be killed. The second is that they have a tendency to rise uninvited to plague discussions with which they are wholly unrelated. You could be talking, for instance, about a Victims of Communism memorial, only to have the "Bush bungled the response to Katrina because he hates black people" Known Fact™ rear its ugly head.
Read the rest here. Norman Podhoretz brilliantly dissects the issue here.

It is extraordinarily important for right thinking people to gain a thorough understanding of the indirect, convoluted yet highly sophisticated propaganda tactics of the hard left in political and cultural discourse. Only when there are enough people who are wise this game will we be able to overcome the extensive anti-US, anti-Judaeo-Christian mythology the left has meticulously put in place to substitute for our own religion, traditions, and culture. The left habitually trumpets a lie, tirelessly denies or even prevents rebuttals to that lie in the media it controls (most of it), and thus creates a "new truth" which gains wide acceptance even though it is a lie.

For example, former Senator Joseph McCarthy is relentlessly cited as the Great Satan in order to smear anyone who dares to voice dissent against leftist orthodoxy. But is this mythical characterter really the true one? McCarthy, as is now well known, was a drunk and a thug, frequently embellishing known or provable facts with smears and innuendo designed to keep the pressure on. (You can frequently see McCarthy successors like Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy employing similar tactics today against Republican nominees to the executive and judicial branches of government. But since they're Democrats, no one calls them on this.)

But McCarthy's vile public persona is not sufficient to obscure the very reason he initially possessed a high level of credibility with the average American. Marxists had indeed infiltrated government, trade unions, the entertainment industry, journalism, and the arts — quite obviously — during and after the Second World War. If they had not, and if this were not eminently provable (which it was and is), McCarthy would have self-destructed from the start and his hearings might never have materialized.

By incessantly trumpeting inflammatory rhetoric about McCarthy's "blacklists" and his alleged abuse of "first amendment freedoms" not to mention Tail-Gunner Joe's well-documented boorish behavior and its bitter aftermath, the left deftly draws attention away from its demonstrable guilt in subverting the United States in word and deed. What is now called McCarthyism has evolved a highly useful, meticulously constructed, proven mythology whose aim is to obscure, and perhaps erase, the left's provable, active, ongoing involvement in supporting individuals engaged in the constitutionally enumerated crimes of sedition and treason.

Today, the McCarthy Mythology provides quasi-religious cover for the leftist hate-mongers who toil tirelessly, 24/7, to discredit the superior intelligence and logic of those on the right. And yet, they never fail to engage in "McCarthyite" practices themselves, tossing out random Known Facts and smearing opponents with abandon to provide cover for their overt propaganda and pristine lack of erudition.

Witness this vicious, spluttering tirade — a response to Red State's observations, cited above — which blisters McCarthy while simultaneously employing the Senator's legendary tactics:
You no good SOB Hiatt [the Red State blogger]. You have been irresponsible, grossly negligent, ingenuous and a Bush lackey on Iraq for 4 years now and you have the gall to write those words. You despicable McCarthyite cretin. We're not supposed to say this anymore - but eff you. How dare you question the patriotism of people who are doing what YOU have failed to do - hold the Bush Administration to account? How dare you? Your editorial page has always "clapped louder" at the behest of the Bush Administration. Now you dare to SMEAR Dems at the whistle of the worst President in history? How dare you sir?
While scarcely requiring comment, this is typical of the juvenile, hyperventilating, virtually illiterate response of the rabid left to anything deemed out of orthodoxy. It is a delicious irony that, while accusing Hiatt of McCarthyite tactics, the respondent indulges a vulgar display of distilled ignorance that might even have embarrassed the late Senator.

In a similar vein today, we are forced to witness the continuing spectacle of the MSM's uncritical worship of hate-America leftist propagandists like Cindy Sheehan. "Mother Sheehan" is characterized as one of the many Hate-Bush American "patriots" of the left who really love this country and adore our troops. This is transparent nonsense. Sheehan's efforts, funded in large part by organizations with known ties to the North Koreans and others of their ilk, are — true of Jane Fonda's infamous Vietnam antics a generation ago — indirectly at least, responsible for the deaths of countless additional American sons and daughters serving with the US military in Iraq, as they encourage our enemies to keep picking off our people one by one to provide fodder for the MSM in their continuing effort to "Vietnamize" Iraq and relive Woodstock one final time.

Promulgated by the MSM, this bizarre notion of leftist "patriotism" (read "subversion") is not of recent vintage. It was first put in place decades ago in defense of the Rosenbergs, who were cynically characterized as "innocent" and perhaps "misguided patriots" who did in fact sell nuclear secrets to the Soviets and were "wrongly" executed (read "martyred") for doing so. They were in fact, "sincere" (another code word, used somehow to disconnect extremists from provable guilt) in their "beliefs" (Marxist dogma), and should have been praised for loving their country rather than being brutally executed based on a "misunderstanding."

Using this line of propaganda, Communists, Marxists, and other collectivists exploit constitutional language by hiding under the mantra of "free speech," which provides the perfect cover for them (since, being Marxists and situation ethicists, they also get to define what "free speech" is). US democracy protects free speech and dissent, which is what makes our country different from and better than so many others. So Marxists, in opposing, say, Bush administration policies, are only exercising their God-given rights (if there is a god) of freedom of speech and dissent. Right?

Unfortunately, what the left doesn't tell people is that it doesn't regard the US as a legitimate governmental entity. Instead, it has historically paid allegiance to Soviet Moscow as the seat of a legitimate world government for "the people" which would ultimately swallow the imperialists and capitalists in the US. (Note: Since the inconvenient toppling of the Berlin Wall, this allegiance to a socialist world order is seemingly being transferred to the pathologically corrupt and largely far-left UN.)

It is for this reason that the hard-left's not-for-public-consumption re-definition of "free speech" constitutes sedition, and their devious notion of "patriotism" is simply treason. Their real allegiance, which they never admit, is not to the US but to a socialistic world ideal. Hence, they are guilty of sedition and treason. More fundamentally, they are simply dishonest when they bleat piously about exercising their constitutional right to "free speech" to promote "patriotism" since they mean, dialectically, quite the opposite of what they say. They are always and everywhere in active opposition to the constitutional US Government, although this is usually obvious only when there is a conservative in the White House.

This kind of dialectical "reasoning" has gone on long enough, however. You can't be a "exercising constitutionally protected "free speech" if your actual intention (always unstated) is to topple the legitimate American government, culture, and system with the help and allegiance of outside forces, replacing it with a hostile socialist power. Like "free speech," this topic is further addressed in the Constitution. But you will never hear about this from the hard left.

Rules of the (Dana) Priest-hood

From today's Power Line piece on Howie Kurtz' dissection of Plame-gate and Plame-gate Redux, aka, the Democratic leaks from inside the CIA (presumably) via Post reporter and relentlessly anti-Bush Democrat apologist Dana Priest exposing clandestine prisoner interrogations by the US in East European countries:

It is deeply disappointing to find Kurtz repeating the liberal line that "senior officials were trying to discredit White House critic Joe Wilson by focusing on the role of his wife in his inquiry into whether Iraq was trying to acquire nuclear material." Mr. Kurtz, please try this on for size: "Senior officials were trying to explain how an unqualified, recently dismissed Foreign Service officer was sent on a sensitive intelligence mission and left free to publicize and misrepresent it in the New York Times."

On the plus side, Kurtz quotes John's comment supporting an investigation of Priest's anonymous sources for the article: "It would be a great thing if the steady stream of illegal anti-administration leaks out of the CIA and the State Department could be shut down, and some of the Democrat leakers imprisoned. It's time to put the Plame farce to a good use.
Read the whole thing here. For the Kurtz tap-dancing that gave rise to these comments, access it here. (Wa/Po generally requires registration to access, although no fees like the cheapskates at the NYT.)

We can simplify it here further. For journalists and politicos alike, any charges against Republicans by Democrats are therefore true. Any chargest against Democrats by Republicans are therefore false. This is why our friends on the left no longer have to think.

Ironically, for old-line Catholics, this reflexive Democratic methodology, which substitutes blind faith for rational thought, is reminiscent of the old Baltimore Catechism which had all the answers necessary for one to keep and practice the Catholic faith. In the 1950s and early 1960s, a student had merely to memorize this little book, and no further questions or inquiries would be required, needed, or indeed wanted. Dana Priest's regular, one-sided editorial savaging of the Bushies and the War on Terror — all accomplished in Wa/Po "news" stories, not on the op-ed pages — provides ample proof that this is true. A Pulitzer Prize is probably the next thing on tap for yet another writer content to ply her trade as a propagandist disguised as a reporter.

Why Was Anyone In Paris Surprised?

Thanks to Paul Greenberg in the NY Sun, New York's daily conservative paper, for recovering a three-year-old article from City Journal, a conservative journal in New York. Written for the Autumn 2002 issue by Theodore Dalrymple, it presents a picture that the Elysee Palace should have recognized then, instead of after two and a half weeks of fires and rioting.

I go to Paris about four times a year and thus have a sense of the evolving preoccupations of the French middle classes. A few years ago it was schools...For the last couple of years, though, it has been crime: l’insécurité, les violences urbaines, les incivilités. Everyone has a tale to tell...The laxisme of the French criminal justice system is now notorious. Judges often make remarks indicating their sympathy for the criminals they are trying...the day before, 8,000 police had marched to protest the release from prison on bail of an infamous career armed robber and suspected murderer...Reported crime in France has risen from 600,000 annually in 1959 to 4 million today, while the population has grown by less than 20 percent...Where does the increase in crime come from? The geographical answer: from the public housing projects that encircle and increasingly besiege every French city or town of any size...A kind of anti-society has grown up in them—a population that derives the meaning of its life from the hatred it bears for the other, “official,” society in France. This gulf of mistrust—greater than any I have encountered anywhere else in the world, including in the black townships of South Africa during the apartheid years—is written on the faces of the young men, most of them permanently unemployed, who hang out in the pocked and potholed open spaces between their logements. When you approach to speak to them, their immobile faces betray not a flicker of recognition of your shared humanity...There are burned-out and eviscerated carcasses of cars everywhere. Fire is now fashionable in the cités: in Les Tarterets, residents had torched and looted every store—with the exceptions of one government-subsidized supermarket and a pharmacy.

What Dalrymple describes is the condition of the French banlieues before the riots. Anyone who lived in New York City between 1975 and 1990 will recognize the descriptions and sympathize with Dalrymple's relentless assault on the primary cause, the French government in its statist presumptions to know all that needed to be known. New York nearly burned down under the weight of legacies from the Great Society and the New Deal as France is today under the legacy of French statism. And those who fled New York for other parts of the U.S., a veritable (and widely reported) flood during the Dinkins administration that preceded Rudolf Giuliani's election in 1993, are likely to find themselves with new French neighbors as the Chirac/Villepin government, once again, surrenders to the deluded expediency of bribing the gangsters and ignoring the people.

Don't miss Dalrymple's article, which is not science fiction, but an eyewitness report from three years before the current riots. It should be read in full.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Solution to "Scenarios": Reporting

What is it about the social engineer that makes he or she blind to consequences? Is it a virus? If so, it seems to have spread to the press, both here and in France, regarding the last two weeks of banlieue rioting. If you read the French press (examples are linked in articles on below on this site), or if you read the American press, only two scenarios are given. The word "scenario" is chosen carefully; a scenario is a guess, a story enclosed, perhaps even dictated, by judgment a priori. When a reporter puts out a scenario, it's an editorial or a short story, not a news report. The two scenarios emerging from commentator prose and talking heads are as follows:

Scenario A. Radical Islam has invaded France; the riots are a prelude to the transformation of France into a European version of Palestine vs. Israel. While the isolation and poverty of Muslims in France is a root cause of this, in scenario A, the explosion into violence is caused by Al Qaeda's minions.

Scenario B. The riots are an explosion of rage directed against a French government and society that have systematically excluded immigrants from French life. As often happens with ghetto-ization, the excluded have adopted an exclusive response, as follows: you may not want us, but we don't want you either. In this scenario, there are no Muslims, only disaffected children and grandchildren of workers imported from northern Africa fifty years ago.

Occasionally, reporters step into the fray to write news reports, as they used to be called, i.e., distilled observations of actual events, actual facts, questions asked and answered or not. One of these is Olivier Guitta at New York Press, New York's reviving conservative weekly. (NY Press went into a sharp decline when its best writers went to work for the NY Sun and former publisher Russ Smith sold the paper. The new owner is trying to bring back the editorial and repertorial sharpness that marked Russ Smith's version five years ago. Reporter Olivier Guitta is a good start.)

Many have explained the riots away as a revolt of young, poor and disenfranchised French Muslim citizens lashing out against a state that offers them little, thus whitewashing the extreme violence of the professional hooligans involved...The New York Times blames French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy for fanning the flames by calling the rioters 'scum.' Sarkozy responded in a November 4th column in Le Monde, France's major leftwing newspaper, writing that 'I do not associate the thugs with the huge majority of the young...who only wish to succeed in life.' He wrote about the 56-year-old man who was beaten to death in front of his wife and daughter for taking a picture, and a handicapped woman who was soaked with gas and put on fire. Scum seems a fair name for those who commit such acts.

We could have used this guy's reporting in New York fifteen years ago. Professional hooligans indeed....

Why do liberals and leftists fall over backwards to assuage the self esteem of thugs while the thugs' victims cry out for more police? In New York, before the advent of Mayor Rudolf Giuliani, policy under prior city administrations was precisely that: if they're rioting in Bushwick, send more money, a policy going back forty years to efforts by the Johnson Administration to bribe rioters in Watts and Detroit. However, the people whose houses and cars were being burned (as in France, mostly minorities) were screaming for more police, not more welfare checks. Giuliani listened to the people and sent the police into affected neighborhoods in force. Crime dropped seventy percent. Warring groups, such as Hasidim and American blacks, began to negotiate instead of trying to kill each other. These neighborhoods, unlike those affected by riots in the 1960s in Los Angeles and Detroit, have flourished in the years since. South LA and much of Detroit, benefactors of such liberal bribes for forty years, are close to wastelands by comparison. However, for years, the leftwing and liberal press ignored the effects of Giuliani's distinctly pragmatic response. But they can't anymore. Why? The policy worked. Guiliani did what any effective politician does; he listened to the people and gave them what they needed. Not a lesson learned in France, suggests Guitta:

At least since 1990, the Renseignements Generaux have been reporting on a regular basis of the ever-increasing insecurity inside the banlieues. In order to tame down this looming revolt, French governments decided to throw lots of money at the banlieues through social organizations. As shown in the powerful book Le Jour ou la France tremblera (The day when the French will shake) was a catastrophic plan because in most cases the ones that profited from this money were the outlaws themselves. They understood the rules of the game: riots mean television cameras, cameras mean pressure on City Hall which in turn means subventions. And that's exactly what Villepin offered [today].

If the policy and its consequences sound awkwardly familiar to the consequences of liberal bribery of rioters, instead of protection of neighborhoods, in New York and Los Angeles over the past forty years, it should. The game ruined whole sections of cities in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. While the majority cowered in doorways, they watched the gangsters in the limelight, taking checks from Uncle Sam. Maybe France needs Rudy!

Sadly, it's a much more difficult a problem in France. Neither the French government nor its people have ever welcomed the primarily North African immigrants into French society. Indeed, official policy seems to have been to create isolated colonies inside France, rather like the Bantustans built by the apartheid system in pre-Mandela South Africa. While Guitta (and many other thoughtful reporters) have pretty much demolished the scenario that says the riots in France were a pan-Islamist revolt, most have few doubts that the next step may be just that.

The poor, mostly African and Muslim immigrant suburbs, have been left to the control of violent gangs...abandoned by cops and firemen...most of the time, people are afraid to file complaints and even judges are routinely threatened by defendants...the real catastrophe for these law-abiding citizens who are stuck in these suburbs...either rioters end up in jail and are easily converted right there to radical Islam, or an imam from the banlieues convinces them to join the jihad. At first, family, friends and cops find the transformation almost miraculous. From a drug trafficker, alcohol-drinking, girl-chasing individual, the thug becomes religious, even reserved, adopts a quieter lifestyle and no longer gets into trouble with the police. But this is a transfer of violence: instead of burning cars, the youngster focuses his hatred on the West and becomes a jihadi."

You can read whole article here.

We had better pay attention to these few, rare reports, because the American model for our deluded multiculturalism, what may be fairly described as apartheid with a human face, may soon have similar consequences here.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Kaus Kwiz

Hat tip to Instapundit for finding this one:

Are you impressed that TimesSelect has attracted "approximately" 135,000 paying customers?** At $45 a head (halfway between the introductory price and the regular price) that's $6.1 million. Bigger than Arianna! But if someone--say, Richard Mellon Scaife--had come along a year ago and offered the NYT $6.1 million to radically limit the reach of its (largely) liberal columnists, would the paper have taken the deal? ... P.S.: And is the future subscriber trajectory really up, up, up, as the Times' columnists fade as personalities on the Web and get replaced by other, freer popular writers?

Quote is from the always interesting though somewhat lib "Kausfiles" blog on Slate.

Veterans Day Break

Blogging will be light over the next few days as the Wonk takes some time off for family, interior painting, and remembering our brave veterans, including those who are becoming veterans as this post is getting keystroked.

A co-worker and former Navy officer two door down from me passed away just last week, the result of a sudden heart attack. Not yet 50, he leaves several children behind, although at least a couple of them are, thankfully, grown and starting families of their own. But it makes you think about what he and his family sacrificed over the years to keep us free. Our current GI's are doing the same, putting their lives on the line for a country, an America, they believe in. It's not about Bush. It's about us, our families and friends, our cultural traditions, and our way of life, all of which has had the world beating a path to our doors for over 200 years. If we were that terrible, this wouldn't be happening, would it?

So let's remember that on Veterans Day, even as we remember the brave men and women who continue to serve this country--and this ideal.

Jordanians Denounce Zarqawi

Well, now, here's a bit of news:

Jordanians flooded Amman blaring car horns and waving the nation's flag to protest the suicide attacks at three hotels with Western connections.

Hundreds of angry Jordanians rallied shouting, "Burn in hell, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi!" after the terrorist group he leads claimed responsibility for the blasts.
The rest at CNN. Assuming these weren't paid demonstrators, a spectacle made popular by the commies of old and refined by Saddam and the North Koreans, this is a useful sign in the Middle East where anti-American demos are usually the order of the day.

According to the report, the Zarqawi thugocrats bragged about their latest cowardly attack on the Internet, crowing about how they were righteously disposing of Jews and infidels while verbally attacking Jordan's "dictator," presumably King Abdullah. Meanwhile, though, it turns out they whacked at least one prominent Palestinian official, in addition to destroying a wedding party of Jordanians, of whom Zarqawi is one.

It would appear that Zarqawi's main beef against Jordan's "dictator" is the fact that he's not Zarqawi.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Crossing Jordan

From Power Line, we learn that 3 heroic homicide bombers hit Jordanian hotels nearly simultaneously this evening, wiping out at least 67 innocent civilians, including the fathers of a bride and groom who had just been married and were celebrating at one of the hotels. The wounded groom lamented that this isn't Islam, but John Hinderaker is not so sure:
I understand his sentiment, but the fact is that this mass murder, like all the others committed by al Qaeda and like-minded groups, has everything to do with Islam. It is up to sane Muslims everywhere to reclaim their religion from the sadists and fanatics.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera, in a fairly straightforward story, says a car with Iraqi tags is being traced. Maybe Zarqawi stopped by to impress a few of his relatives. Disgusting.

Fmr NYT Reporter. Unemployed. Will Write for Money.

Hot off the presses, from, of course, the Washington Post:
Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who was first lionized, then vilified by her own newspaper for her role in the CIA leak case, has retired from the Times, the paper announced Wednesday.
Read the rest here. (Free but registration usually required.) Probably more in the morning. It will be fun to see the NYTimes spin this. As Kaus said, "The body rejects the organism." Miller actually sourced articles via Bushies. A big no-no in the all-left, all-the-time MSM.

Wonder why newspapers are dying? Now you know.

Tailgate Parties á la Mode; or, Parisian Car-B-Que

Hat tip to Belmont Club for this interesting graphic, showing the parabolic curve of car-burnings in France over the last couple of weeks:

Heh. Hard to spin this.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dems Caught Taking a Leak?

According to Drudge:

Sources tell Drudge that early this afternoon House Speaker Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Frist will announce a bicameral investigation into the leak of classified information to the WASHINGTON POST regarding the “black sites” where high value al Qaeda terrorists are being held and interrogated.
There's more here, including a link to the offending stuff which appeared yesterday. After spending what must be about 2 years gunning for Bush operatives over the alleged "leak" of the Plame-Wilson connection, we wonder if the Dems will be so eager to out the obviously inside sources of the Post's Dana Priest who, by outting the existence of a "black" secret prison system ("black stuff in DC-speak is super-super-super-super secret) for interrogating top Islamofascists. Such leakage can only be intended to damage America's war efforts and credibility abroad, much like the ACLU's incessant demands for more pix from Abu Ghraib--a demand so transparently unnecessary that it's only intention can be to damage American reputations--and lives--across the globe by giving the Al Qaeda crew another excuse to indulge in infidel throat-slitting.

Stuff like this article is part of a continuing, massive fusillade from the left meant to derail the entire second Bush administration. It will be interesting to see if the heretofore timid Republican leadership will learn a lesson from the Democratic and Clintonista playbooks and start playing hardball with the MSM and their seditionist pals buried deeply and safely inside Federal institutions--the unelected deletes who labor daily to overturn elections they can't yet control.

Meanwhile, let's all watch and see how avidly the MSM latches onto this leak--arguably massively more damaging than the alleged outing of Plame and her anti-US husband that has them all so obsessed.

Eurabian Nights

Luther has just emailed me a phenomenal post from Tech Central Station by Nidra Poller, a writer based in France. Entitled "Eurabian Fights," this incisive article strikes a devastating blow not only against the French government's wishy-washiness against the ongoing Islamist riots, which they are only now beginning to address. It also howitzers a gigantic new hole into the already Swiss-cheesed edifice of liberal "multiculturalism," which is, after all, simply another repackaging of Marxist class-struggle disguised by a willfully erroneous veneering of egalitarianism.
A reporter interviews a man standing in front of a mosque in full Islamist regalia and politely relays his complaints. Do readers know that these offended Islamists are calling for the de-Zionization of France? And the defeat of the United States of America? No offense meant there! Do readers understand that the banlieues are being shaped into a foreign and hostile nation?
(BTW, "banlieues" is plural French, roughly translated as "ghettos" or "ethnic neighborhoods.")

Poller briefly recaps the action over the last week or so, noting how the press and his opponents were quick to vilify Nicolas Sarkozy, the only guy in the current government with the guts to correctly label the Islamist revolutionaries for what they were. The ensuing campaign of incessant nastiness calls to mind the idiotarian left's constant attack dog stance against George W. Bush as they try to eviscerate his second term. But then Poller gets to her central point:

So it is not surprising that when President Jacques Chirac finally reacted after six days of outrageous violence, he begged for the restoration of calm. The calm he yearns for was marked by a rising tide of violence, including the torching of 20,000 cars in a year.

Ten days after the kickoff in Clichy-sous-Bois, the rioting has spread all over France and into other European countries. The normal reaction would be to declare martial law and impose a strict curfew. By failing to take these steps and instead shifting the blame from the rioters to presidential hopeful Sarkozy, the French government is opening a boulevard to further and ever more lethal unrest.

The banlieues are not equivalent to American inner cities. This is not a replay of "the fire next time." The outcome will not be the kind of affirmative action that brought black stockbrokers to Wall Street and black actors to starring roles in TV commercials and sitcoms. What we are seeing is a jihad-style insurgency waged against a country that has fervently fostered the Eurabian fusion project.
This analysis echoes our earlier opposition to the nonsense being put out elsewhere in the media and the web, trying to weave a connection from Paris 2005 back to Watts 1968. But this is classic historical revisionism, Ã la Orwell's 1984. There is no connection at all, or perhaps we should say, a feeble one at best. Certainly a criminal element is at work here. But you are really witnessing the beginnings of an Islamist uprising in a cynical Europe that's been eviscerated by the nihilism fostered by its socialist intellectual and political classes. Criminals and third-world teen "Apaches" probably started the action, but the Islamofascists are now running a good chunk of it.

The author goes on to describe the "Eurabian fusion project" in greater detail, and winds up with a startling conclusion about the reviled Sarkozy:
Nicolas Sarkozy is very popular in the banlieues. The hoodlums throw rocks at him, but law-abiding citizens bless his heart and if given the chance will vote for him in the next presidential elections. Unless the Chirac-Villepin duo succeeds in breaking his will. If his courage falters, if he eats crow and spits out sociological mush instead of following through on his promise to re-establish the rule of law, then the fusion ushered in by the architects of Eurabia will be accomplished by force in the meltdown of insurrection.
If you think about this creatively for a moment, you might begin to fathom what angry conservatives were riled about when W attempted to nominate stealth candidate Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court a couple of weeks ago. They feared that W's courage had "faltered" in this crucial area and that he was willing to sacrifice principal to expedience. And they weren't having any of it. They seemed to comprehend that, on many fronts, this is not the time for anyone to falter. It's not the time for half-measures. And it's not the time to take two steps back to quiet the noise that seems to crowd in on all sides. The price is too high.

The last five years in particular have been difficult times for American writers and politicians who fight the leftist miasma and support the rule of democratic law along with their country's deep, abiding, and legitimate cultural traditions, many of which are now routinely sacrificed on the altars of a negative utopian multiculturalism and the other persistent "isms" of a discredited socialistic philosophy.

France is unwittingly turning into a lab, or perhaps a fishbowl giving us a furtive but clear view of what happens when misguided lefties forcibly intervene and allow the violent to bear it away with little attention to the costs. We're now witnessing in the fullness of time the results of the multicultural lie in France. What is called multiculturalism today is nothing more than a sneaky Gramscian blow against democracy, doublespeak for total surrender. We'll all be watching this grand, destructive experiment very carefully. And looking to see what happens in the next French election, assuming the mullahs will allow it to take place.

I've been told (credibly or not) that the French have a saying that goes something like this:
Qui se fait brebis, le loup le mange.
With a little creative license, I guess I'd translate this into English as:
If you turn into a sheep, you'll be dinner for the wolf.

Chirac Lies, Frenchman Dies!

CNN confirms the death of an innocent Frenchman during the ongoing unrest in that country:
The first death of the riots was reported on Monday.Jean Jacques Le Chenadec, 61, a resident of the Paris suburb of Stains in the region of Seine-Saint-Denis, died from injuries suffered outside his apartment building Friday night, officials said. He had been hospitalized in a coma since the attack.
The French government will doubtless cast about for a way to blame this on Bush. But the current violence in and around Paris, and indeed across France, is at least indirectly a result of the French government's inability to examine its own inadequacies. Like numerous other governments, it chose to look away and use America as a whipping post, and now they're paying the price. But you'll probably never hear the slogan we used for our headline, because everything bad is, after all, a result of George W. Bush's transgressions, at least if you believe the propaganda spewing 24/7 from the MSM and from leftwing hate sites.

One is tempted to gloat or say, "I told you so," but that kind of simplistic, juvenile response is best off left with the left where it belongs. With thousands of vehicles and perhaps hundreds of schools and public buildings torched--most of them in the neighborhoods whose hapless residents could least afford this wanton destruction--the French, already reeling from the high unemployment policies of the increasingly enfeebled Chirac administration, continue to suffer mightily. So there's no point in piling on, no matter how bracing it might feel. The corrupt elite allow such stuff to happen through their churlishness and spinelessness, but the bourgeoisie, as usual, are the ones who bear the brunt of the inevitable violence that arises.

One wonders what causes such political paralysis in a country, such an inability to simply throw out the miscreants, but one must also to be careful to harbor that smug self assurance that it can't happen here. After all, after throwing her out, Georgians did eventually re-elect Cynthia McKinney, in spite of her continuing mindless demagoguery, proving that you can indeed fool some of the people all of the time.

Aussies Drain a Billabong

Blogging may be lite today due to tons of actual work to do for The Employer Who Helps Wonker Pay the Bills.

But just thought readers might like to check out this story from Down Under detailing how our Aussie allies have apparently managed to catch a batch of potential Islamofascist murderers before they were able to indulge in their favorite pastime—whacking mass quantities of infidels.

More info that will be ignored by the Bush Lied crowd.

Monday, November 07, 2005

French Connection III

When it rains, it pours.

We are now getting some informed speculation (so labeled because I don't have a pair of independent sources) that the Plame Affair may be at least in part the use, by the French, of professional egotist Joseph Wilson's personal vanity and Democrat-led moles within the CIA, to discredit the Bush administration's engagement in and rationale for the Iraq War. Here's a fanciful but perhaps largely factual story here. More substantial is a piece at The American Thinker, potentially linking Wilson and Plame to an alleged French attempt to use forged documents to sandbag Colin Powell and George Bush in the run-up to that conflict in the UN. In this article's penultimate paragraphs, the author attempts to put two and two together, creating this intriguing scenario, citing Wilson's first journalistic anti-Bush foray:

Was Wilson acting on his own in planting the Times Op-Ed? Were Valerie Plame and her friends at CIA pulling strings? Or was it other Democrats? There is plenty of evidence for CIA backing of Wilson and Plame, as many have previously noted. There may be nothing more to it than a failed CIA WMD intelligence group covering itself with a manufactured diversionary scandal.

But for someone with Wilson's ego, simple flattery by the "sophisticated" French might be a powerful tool of manipulation. He has all the appearance of a wounded narcissist, someone who needs the attention of the world to make up for his inner deficiencies. When the Soviet KGB ran agents all over the Western world they rarely bothered to pay them. They were "idealists" whose vanity could be easily manipulated.

Is all that tangled enough for you? Keep in mind that the whole affair may be a classic disinformation campaign, run by the pros who make their living doing just that. Just as Watergate showed how Mark Felt learned how to make damaging leaks from J. Edgar Hoover, the modus operandi of the Plame-Wilson affair reflects professional intelligence methods.
Author James Lewis could be onto something. Particularly significant is his revelation of a fact not well known to the American public which still probably thinks that the remnants of the old KGB constitute our greatest intelligence and security threats. Au contraire. As those in the military are well aware, it is the French and the Chinese who frequently swap the number one and number two spots on their list of spies to watch out for. The French have supported for years a notorious network of industrial spies--that is, spies who attempt to steal US industrial secrets and pack them off to Paris. Here, indolent French socialists can presumably make use of them to stem their sinking economy, which lacks capitalist incentives to invent the stuff that bring in income. (The secondary intention, of course, is to weaken our competitive advantage.)

Lewis' citation of this esoteric knowledge alone gives his piece a higher level of credibility than would otherwise be the case. Add this to the clear French connection to Saddam re: the oil patch, and you have another classic example of Gallic meddling with Uncle Sam's perfectly logical prerogatives.

Lewis extends the metaphor to more chilling territory, however, putting the French behind the Turkish refusal to extend use of their bases to assist in the US invasion of Iraq from the North, which he argues, prevented the planned pincer movement that may have nipped much of the very fatal current "insurgency" in the bud. Nasty stuff. Read it here and make your own judgment.

You'd never be aware of these possibilities if you were wholly dependent on the MSM's own prolonged disinformation plan zeroing in on the Bush Administration and its foreign policy. Small wonder readers are turning to other sources in droves.

Burn, Baby, Burn!

Tripping down Memory Lane (Rue des Mémoires) France continues to relive those thrilling days of yesteryear, and as of now there appears to be no end in sight. (But that could change.) The MSM only just is beginning to key in on this, moving, at least temporarily, off their Scooter Libby Crowing and Judge Alito counterattacks.

But count on the blogosphere to provide truly useful info. You'll find maps of the spreading violence here and here.

French Intifada: Day 12?

It's now the 11th, or is it the 12th night of France's current "troubles," and as of this writing, no end appears to be in sight. We have yet to see the French military appear on the scene to restore order (too much like the boorish US, no doubt), nor have we yet seen, to this writer's knowledge at least, any sign of a curfew being imposed. The latest news? The current French Intifada has apparently drawn its first blood, reportedly a hapless fellow trying to put out a fire in a trash can who was mobbed and beaten to death, probably by the pyromaniacs themselves.

We've opined here already that we detect some signs that this is turning into an Islamofascist Intifada in the lands of the infidel. The Belgravia Dispatch has a different take on this:

Now, I am not one who believes that some pan-Eurabian intifada is in the offing, or that the implications of these riots rival 9/11, or that Shamil Basayev's guerilla tactics are being adopted off la Place de la Republique--as breathless, under-informed 'commentary' has it in some quarters of the blogosphere. But we certainly have a pivot point here, one where the ruling elite's inefficacy and ineptness is being laid crudely bare for all the world to see. They have been tone-deaf and caught off guard by the depth of the alienation in their midst, and it has now caught them very much unawares and seemingly clueless on how next to respond.
HazZzmat would no doubt be part of this "breathless, under-informed 'commentary,'" since we've been pushing the Islamofascist angle. And indeed the author of this piece, Gregory Djerejian, rightly identifies the socio-economic background of this type of rioting, a background well-known to those who managed to survive the 1968 urban rioting in American, including Watts, Detroit, and the nation's capitol itself. (Some areas of the latter have only now begun to recover.)

Djerejian's remarks are well taken to a point, and his commentary on the background of French politics and economics are backed up and well-informed. But his analysis does not give the proper place to the exploitation of root causes by professional revolutionaries who infiltrate the initial uprisings, whatever their cause, take them over, and harness the pent up energy:

  • To further their own revolutionary cause (heretofore generally Marxism-Leninism); and
  • To create fear in the bourgeoisie by making these revolutionary outbursts seem as if they have sprung up from an outpouring of fealty to the revolutionary party.
A case in point was 1968 Watts which was skillfully exploited by the Marxist-front Black Panther organization to create the myth that they, themselves were supported by the masses and that their redistributionist ideals were one with the entire community.

We'll be the last to deny that Western Europe's culture--still, despite protestations to the contrary, far more class-stratified than our own--denies top opportunities in education, politics, and government service, as much as is humanly possible, to those who are not from the best families and the best schools. This, added to pre-existing and pernicious high unemployment, the direct results of the continent's ingrained socialism, works to the detriment not only of unassimilated immigrants but to the frequent exclusion of the native population as well.

The bottom line: such class-ridden societies create and sustain a rigid lower class from which there is rarely any escape, leading to low educational attainment, high unemployment, increased criminal activity, and a high misery index. It is in this kind of fertile ground that revolutionary and anti-US messages can take hold, such as seems to be happening once again in Latin America where a pure Marxist thug like Castro-apologist Hugo Chavez is rapidly gaining respect and resonance among the populace. For such people, it seems as if the only way out is a kind of mindless violence that allows them to be "noticed," whereas civilized behavior does not, which will perhaps lead to a solution. And left-wing criminals like Chavez are only too happy to co-opt this violence by using it to further their own not-so-attractive aims, cloaking the uprisings in revolutionary respectability.

The same thing, we fear, is going on right now in France, Denmark, Berlin, Belgium, and elsewhere. European class repression is coming home to roost--again. But this time, Marxism's lazy intellectuals have been too busy sipping adult beverages at the local subsidized cafe to pick up a few bricks and join in the fun.

A far more sinister element is poised to pick up the bricks now, and is without a doubt already doing so. Criminal and Islamofascist elements are increasingly driving this activity, the former hoping to settle scores while the latter is aiming to exploit the issue with a goal of carving out enclaves ruled by sharia--not by Western jurisprudence, such as it is these days. Writers like Djerejian who would sniff at an observation like this have simply not studied Marxism in the West over the last 70-80 years to discern its pattern of co-optation and infiltration of indiginous movements against standing governments for whatever means.

But the Islamofascists have. They have watched and they have learned. They are already exploiting this situation and will continue to do so as opportunities are made available. It is ostrich-like behavior to suggest otherwise. Power Point would agree, and the same site has another chilling link as evidence for this point of view. See also Austin Bay (who uses the same "Is Paris Burning?" connection HazZzmat explored last week). And Wretchard at The Belmont Club worries further:
What I am afraid will happen is that the French authorities will apply the worst possible combination: a short-term crackdown based on profiling together with an agreement to cede the governance of these ghettos to some kind of Islamic councils. That will make the banlieus more opaque while at the same time making them more alien.
Patient revolutionaries are like experienced practitioners of jiu-jitsu, exploiting the weaknesses of their enemies rather than attempting to use their own often inferior strength to crush the opposition. Neither their existence, their tactics, nor their deadly final aims should ever be discounted.

Morale, and Profits, down at the Times

That's the New York Times, folks, and the headline here is re-appropriated from Howard Kurtz piece in this morning's Washington Post. (You'll probably need to register at the site to follow the link.) The gist of his article, well sourced at least when it comes to facts and figures at the NYT and other papers, is that the Great Gray Lady's readership is down and so the worker bees are getting sacked. This is not uncommon in the high-tech and consulting businesses, of course, where Wonker currently labors. But it's somewhat unusual for the tenured swelled heads in the MSM's print hives who will now, presumably, have to live in the real world the rest of us have always inhabited.

Kurtz' spin, which seems almost unconscious in a way, basically follows Pinch Sulzberger's Party Line, in that journos like Judith Miller (whom Pinch championed only a few weeks ago for her jailhouse stand) have gotten too close to their Bush admin chums and have turned into mere mouthpieces for W, which fact is alienating the loyal readership. He concludes:
Except for an uptick during Hurricane Katrina, the media's stock seems to be in a gradual decline -- journalistically, financially and psychologically. That is unlikely to change as long as journalists keep behaving in ways that alienate their audiences.
Problem is that Kurtz and others miss the real point. Readers don't blame Miller at all for being "too close" to anyone. What they do object to is that the MSM has essentially merged with the entertainment industry. They don't air discussions, they broadcast screaming matches. They don't follow election issues, they chart horse races and tout the odds. They don't air both sides of a discussion, they parrot Democratic talking points. They don't provide the details of killer storms like Katrina and the aftermath, they hype up wildly exaggerated death tolls that make Bush look bad (as if he spun up the hurricane to eliminate minority Kerry voters), and then fail to print corrections later for this indefensibly erroneous reporting.

This two-facedness has become particularly obvious in the Washington Post of late, as evidenced by its relentless attacks on the Bushies for everything, alleging Bush unpopularity is at an all-time high and basing this factoid on--ta-da--a poll they commissioned, knowing full well that Post polls are always biased to tilt in favor of the Democrats. (They're too lazy to do a real story.)

Even as the press savaged the Clintonistas during Bill's second term, this was always more of a shark swarm to attract advertising and readership than an attempt to weaken his presidency. When it came to Starr's actual perjury charge against Clinton, however, the press trumpeted a legal distinction--which does not exist--alleging that perjury regarding sexual peccadilloes is somehow less serious than perjury about whether you specifically remembered a given conversation. (The law makes no such distinction.) I.e., they ultimately made excuses for Bill after smacking him down a bit, ultimately conjuring up a miasma of ridicule toward special prosecutor Starr that made it impossible for Clinton's Senate impeachment trial to be taken seriously, which it was not. So Bill kept his job, the Republicans were made to look ridiculous, and the excuse was that, after all, it was just sex.

In the case of the current Libby-Rove non-scandal, the MSM are now trying to spin this story into something of grave national importance--more evidence that "Bush lied," their current meme-of-the-month. This, of course, ignores the fact that everyone, including Clinton and the beloved French (whose country continues to get torched by roving, largely Islamofascist gangs of the unemployed) had proclaimed throughout the 1990s that Saddam indeed possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction.

But, just as the public figured out that the MSM was backing Clinton by attempting to trivialize Monicagate, so too are they wise to spot the MSM's efforts targeting and magnifying the importance of the current WMD-Wilson-Plame flap vis-a-vis the "Bush Lied" meme. Both the attempts to build Bill up and tear W down have been manifestly obvious to alert readers and TV viewers for years. And it is THIS--not alleged and unprovable MSM collusion with the Bushies--that is causing the public to tune out the MSM and head for the blogs and for alternative news sources.

The public--hungry for real information upon which THEY will make informed judgments--is not finding the information they need from the MSM, which more and more serves as both a nonstop advertising medium and as a collective shill for the Democratic Party. So the Great Unwashed are turning to more reliable, better sourced sites on the Web and bypassing the MSM. That, not coziness with the Bushies, is what's driving them away from the MSM and consequently driving down the MSM's profit margins.

Booted reporters, their editors, and their management have only themselves to blame for the decline in their fortunes. And that's the real story Kurtz should be addressing. As always, we won't hold our breath. These guys will be the last to figure it out.