Friday, May 20, 2005

 

The New Blog Is Up

The new blog is up and running today!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

 

More On Newsweek

I already mentioned that this would happen earlier this week, and now Yahoo! News reports that Muslims are skeptical of the retraction by Newsweek:
Across the Islamic world, many were unconvinced by Newsweek's retraction of the report. From Afghanistan to Egypt, some people believed the U.S. had pressured Newsweek to deny the story, using the magazine as a "scapegoat."

In many countries, politicians — skeptical of Newsweek's about-face — said the United States should make public the details of its investigation into the reported desecration.

The American media's handling of this situation is not helping matters.
 

Pics From Afghanistan


Maj. Brian Ryder, Combined Joint Task Force 76 logistics maintenance chief, hands out school supplies to young Afghan girls during a humanitarian mission to an all-girl school and ophanage in Charikar village near Bagram Airfield, May 9. This is just another example of what the media here in America won't show. Posted by Hello
 

The Media Continued

Here is ABC's Terry Moran yesterday on the Hugh Hewitt show:
There is, Hugh, I agree with you, a deep anti-military bias in the media. One that begins from the premise that the military must be lying, and that American projection of power around the world must be wrong. I think that that is a hangover from Vietnam, and I think it's very dangerous. That's different from the media doing its job of challenging the exercise of power without fear or favor.

Thanks Terry, I will file that under things I already know.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

 

Ah, now this all makes perfect sense. Posted by Hello
 

Getting It Right On Newsweek

An editorial in today's SAEN discusses the recent kerfuffle involving Newsweek:
The United States is involved in a war unlike any other in its history. This is no time for irresponsibility — whether from insensitive military members or sloppy reporters. The stakes are too high, and extremists are eager for propaganda coups.

Congratulations to the editorial board for getting it right. If you want to read more, check out the latest from Jonathan Gurwitz. You can see past SAEN Watch commentary on the Newsweek scandal here, here and here.

Update:

Paul Marshall has an excellent article on this over at National Review Online. Here is an excerpt:
The shakily sourced May 9 Newsweek report that interrogators had desecrated a Koran at Guantanamo Bay is likely to do more damage to the U.S. than the Abu Ghraib prison scandals. What is also deeply disturbing is that the journalists who put the report out seem somewhat clueless about this reality.

I have to admit to being amazed out how clueless some in the media have been about this event. Yesterday I pointed out that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann blames a White House conspiracy for Newsweek's troubles, and today the New York Times reports this quote from Marvin Kalb, a senior fellow at Harvard's Shorenstien Center:
"This is hardly the first time that the administration has sought to portray the American media as inadequately patriotic..."

Unbelievable. Mr. Kalb equates holding Newsweek accountable for a false story with calling the magazine unpatriotic. Sadly, the reactions of Olbermann and Kalb seem to be the norm and prove that most in the media have learned nothing from what Newsweek has done; preferring instead to deflect blame onto the White House of all places. This will happen again. The obstinacy of the MSM guarantees that it will.
 

Just Who Is The Commando?

This post is just some housekeeping about the next few days. Our new blog, All Things Conservative, will open for business this Friday. In the meantime, don't expect too much blogging here at SAEN Watch as we are focusing on getting the new site locked and loaded. Not only will we be unveiling the new site, but we will be answering a question which for centuries has stumped some of the best minds ever produced: who is the Alamo City Commando? That's right folks, Kiss took off their makeup, and now by popular demand I, the Alamo City Commando, will reveal my real identity. You'll be able to tell your grandchildren you were there, back in the spring of 2005, when the Alamo City Commando's true identity was unveiled!

--Commando
 

That's Gratitude For You

Garfield High School in Seattle is following the example of some colleges and attempting to ban military recruiting from campus:
The school is perhaps one of the first in the nation to debate and vote against military recruiting on high school campuses - a topic already simmering at the college level. In fact, the Supreme Court recently agreed to decide whether the federal government can withhold funds from colleges that bar military recruiters.

The left just loves free speech, as long as they agree with it. Do you think that statement is harsh? Chew on this: big-time lefty Bill Moyers recently said this about all you gullible saps who foolishly watch Fox News, via my good friend at Rhetoric & Rhythm:
Hear me: an unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda is less inclined to put up a fight, ask questions and be skeptical. And just as a democracy can die of too many lies, that kind of orthodoxy can kill us, too.”

Let me translate: conservatives are stupid.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

 

Grand Opening Soon!

We at SAEN Watch are proud to announce that our new site is under construction. We will have new contributors and new topics of discussion. So stop on by All Things Conservative from time to time and watch the birth of a new blog!

Commando
 

Only women can discuss abortion?

In an article on the bill passed in the Texas House strengthening constraints on abortion, SAEN writer Lomi Kriel brings up a non sequitur often used by abortion supporters.
The debate, which spanned five hours, saw many parliamentary attempts to block or kill the bill and involved few women. At one point, about a dozen male lawmakers crowded around the dais, discussing one parliamentary move.
First of all, is Ms. Kriel trying to imply that female legislators were denied the right to join in this discussion? If not, as seems obvious, then what exactly is her point regarding the gender of those discussing the bill?

This is clearly an instance of a purported news article containing the ideological opinion of the writer. Is there anyone who doubts Ms. Kriel holds a personal belief in favor of abortion?

Another irrelevant remark:
"Do you know how many gentlemen up there have given birth?" asked Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio.
Fine, Ms. McClendon. The next time a legislature discusses a bill relating to war and combat, we would appreciate it if all the women sit down and shut up. And if we talk about bills to register guns, are only gun owners to be included in the debate?

That would make just as much sense...or nonsense.
 

Thanks For Proving My Point

Some of my liberal friends were upset at me yesterday when I made the comment that the Democrats never offer up policy alternatives of their own preferring to offer up only insults. And yesterday, Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler was kind enough to back up my contention(emphasis mine):
Rep. Robert Wexler, Florida Democrat, broke with his party leadership yesterday and introduced a plan to fix Social Security by raising taxes, saying it's time more Democrats join the dialogue by introducing plans of their own.

"I hope mine is the first of several Democratic plans that are offered," Mr. Wexler said. "I believe it's time Democrats offer an alternative to the president."

What is really funny though is that Democrats quickly distanced themselves from the plan:
Mr. Wexler said he talked to Mrs. Pelosi about his plan, and that "it's certainly fair to say Mrs. Pelosi did not encourage me to do this."

"This is not the Democratic plan," said Pelosi spokeswoman Jennifer Crider. "When the Democratic caucus is ready to put their plan forth, they will."

When a Republican breaks ranks with the party on anything he or she is described as a maverick; an independent voice in a party of yes-men. The media run glowing puff pieces on them, but don't expect any of that for Wexler. In fact, even though this is the first alternative of any kind offered by a Democrat on Social Security, the SAEN doesn't even report it.
 

Newsweek Blows It, Media Blame White House

This is so over the top it is almost hard to believe. Here is the opening paragraph of the front page story in today's SAEN about the Newsweek retraction:
Newsweek issued a formal retraction Monday...after the magazine came under increasingly sharp criticism from the White House, State Department and Pentagon.

That's right folks, the story wasn't retracted because it was false, but because the Administration forced it to. By choosing to report the story this way the MSM will only prevent the retraction from being excepted in the Muslim world. As AP is reporting, Pakistan is not accepting the retraction because it believes, and the American media is reporting, that it did so under pressure:
"Whatever magazine has done now is under pressure (from the U.S. government)," he said. "It has not denied what it has reported and many people freed from Guantanamo Bay have narrated the same thing."

You would have a hard time convincing me that the MSM didn't know this would happen when they chose this course of action.

Update:

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC goes one step further than just blaming the White House. He actually calls for the resignation of Scot McClellan because, you see, Newsweek was the victim of a big White House conspiracy:
The news organization turns to the administration for a denial. The administration says nothing. The news organization runs the story. The administration jumps on the necks of the news organization with both feet - or has its proxies do it for them.

That's beyond shameful. It's treasonous.

So Keith says that the White House acted treasonously because Newsweek reported a false story that got people killed. Huh? Only in America, people. Newsweek gets in trouble because it reports a rumor as fact, and Olbermann defends Newsweek with...a rumor.

The only real question left unanswered in my mind is: if photos exist of a Quran in a toilet would they qualify for an NEA grant?

Update #2:

Welcome NRO readers! We welcome comments.

Update #3:

Jonah Goldberg is getting a strong public reaction to Olbermann:
"Wow. I suppose this shouldn't be surprise, but people really dislike the guy. I mean really dislike. Getting lots of (unprintable) email from people who make long -- but expletive laced -- arguments that he's a hack, a moron, a jerk etc. I'd hate paying him the compliment of revealing that some folks care about him so much. It almost makes him sound like a leftwing O'Reilly. Of course, the big difference is that lots of people watch O'Reilly."

If you actually want to read more about Keith then check out Olbermann Watch.

Monday, May 16, 2005

 

Democrats Suffering From Foot In Mouth

Who knew that Howard Dean was going to be so much fun as DNC Chairman? In a recent statement he said Tom DeLay needs to spend time in jail for being accused of ethics violations; however, back in 2003 Dean was keen on giving Osama bin Laden the benefit of the doubt. Here is Dean on Osama bin Laden in December of 2003:
"I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found," Dean said. "I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials. So I'm sure that is the correct sentiment of most Americans, but I do think if you're running for president, or if you are president, it's best to say that the full range of penalties should be available. But it's not so great to prejudge the judicial system."

And here is Dean on Tom Delay from May 14th of this year:
Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Party, said yesterday that the US House majority leader, Tom DeLay, ''ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence," referring to allegations of unethical conduct against the Republican leader.

Get that? If you kill more than 3,000 Americans you get the benefit of the doubt, but if you are accused of violating ethics rules you get to go straight to jail. What is it with Democrats lately? First we have Harry Reid calling the president a loser, now Dean sticks his foot in his mouth about Delay, and we have Reid at it again, revealing that he has seen the FBI files of one of President Bush's judicial nominees:
Minority Leader Harry Reid strayed from his prepared remarks on the Senate floor yesterday and promised to continue opposing one of President Bush's judicial nominees based on "a problem" he said is in the nominee's "confidential report from the FBI."

According to the Washington Times story, not only should Reid not be mentioning the FBI files, but he shouldn't have access to them either because he isn't on the judiciary committee or from the nominees home state:
Furthermore, a "Memorandum of Understanding" covering the use of FBI background reports limits access to committee members and the nominee's home-state senators. Mr. Reid would fall into neither category.

Oddly enough, even the nominee is denied access to their FBI files:
Confidants of Judge Saad said yesterday that the judge would release the file but that he has never seen it, let alone obtained copies of it. Judge Saad is not permitted to see the file, Senate staffers said.

So what is missing from all of this incendiary talk? Ideas. The Democrats have no new ideas. Sure they tell us Bush's plan on this or that will destroy the ecosystem of starve old people, and they will tell us that a nominee of the president's is an angry guy or has a "blemish" in their FBI file, but they won't (or can't) propose any new ideas.
 

Why An Apology Is Not Enough

Not surprisingly Aljazeera is not reporting that Newsweek has retracted it's false story about the Koran being flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay. Aljazeera did; however, report the initial story. The White House has commented on this story, via Reuters:
The White House said on Monday that a Newsweek report based on an anonymous source had damaged the U.S. image overseas by alleging that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay.

The report sparked violent protests across the Muslim world -- from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan, Indonesia and Gaza. In the past week the reported desecration was condemned in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and by the Arab League.

McClellan complained that the story was "based on a single anonymous source who could not personally substantiate the allegation that was made."

"The report has had serious consequences," he said. "People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."

Newsweek has apologized, but I don't think that will be enough. In fact, it was more of a non-apology apology as Mark points out. As damagaing as the photos from Abu Ghraib were I think this will turn out to be far worse. In their zeal to make the Bush administration and the military look bad Newsweek ran a story that wasn't true, and it got people killed.
 

And I lament the founding of the PLO

On page 9A this morning: an AP article, online here, whining about the Palestinians being removed by the UN nearly 60 years ago to make room for the survivors of Europe's holocaust.

The author: "Mohammad Daraghmeh". How's that for journalistic balance and objectivity?
 

Blacks profiling blacks

Is it not ironic that in the SAEN's latest "racial profiling" story, the accompanying photos (not online) depict a black police officer "profiling" blacks?

This is an important point. The use of statistics to try to prove the existence of racial profiling leaves out the personal aspect of the charge: those who believe in racial profiling thereby believe that individual police officers deliberately and unfairly accost minority citizens based solely on the color of their skin. They believe, by definition, that our police officers are racists. Is that what our police officers deserve from the community they serve at the daily risk of their lives?

If there are individual police officers who are racist, then deal with them individually. But stop using the myth of racial profiling to taint the entire police department with unsubstantiated, dishonest charges of racism.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

 

Newsweek murders innocent civilians

UPDATE: It's even worse: the person who desecrated the Koran was not an infidel American...it was a Muslim detainee.
"They have looked through the logs, the interrogation logs, and they cannot confirm yet that there were ever the case of the toilet incident, except for one case, a log entry, which they still have to confirm, where a detainee was reported by a guard to be ripping pages out of a Koran and putting in the toilet to stop it up as a protest," he said. "But not where the U.S. did it."
[End update]

As you probably know, I normally restrain my posts to critique of the Express-News, but this is too disgusting to let go unremarked.
Newsweek magazine on Sunday said it erred in a May 9 report that said U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, and apologized to the victims of deadly Muslim protests sparked by the article.

"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in the magazine's latest issue, due to appear on U.S. newsstands on Monday.

Whitaker said the magazine inaccurately reported that U.S. military investigators had confirmed that personnel at the detention facility in Cuba had flushed the Koran down the toilet.
Sixteen people were killed in Afghanistan during riots provoked by this slanderous Newsweek article. You will excuse me if I am somewhat less than civil in this post.

As Instapundit notes, "People died, and U.S. military and diplomatic efforts were damaged, because -- let's be clear here -- Newsweek was too anxious to get out a story that would make the Bush Administration and the military look bad."

For once, I must say to those who, against all evidence, maintain the media is not biased against Bush: Kiss. My. Ass. To paraphrase the mindless idiotarian mantra: "Newsweek lied, people died." All just so Newsweek could try to discredit the War on Terrorism.

Newsweek has an accomplice in the murders...a foolish "human rights" lawyer credulous enough to believe his terrorist clients in Guantanamo.
Human rights lawyer Tom Wilner, who represents several Kuwaiti prisoners at Guantanamo, said in February that his clients told him their Korans were thrown on the floor, stepped on and thrown into toilets at Guantanamo.
Liar. Traitorous lying lawyer.

And here is the "vigorously critical free press" we keep hearing about:
The magazine said other news organizations had already aired charges of Koran desecration based "only on the testimony of detainees."
Based only on the testimony of detainees. They don't believe anything their own government tells them, but they believe everything terrorist detainees tell them.

That pretty much sums up today's "vigorously critical free press."

The only bright side is that now, hopefully, no matter WHAT horrible things are alleged to occur at Guantanamo, no one will believe it. We might even save on a few airline tickets.

Friday, May 13, 2005

 

The Press Should Be Embarrassed

On page 4A of today's SAEN is a story about the nomination of John Bolton being voted out of committee, without recommendation. Considering that just a few weeks ago the media were saying the Bolton's nomination was on the verge of dying this has to be good news, right? Ha, don't bet on it:
The procedural move spared Bush outright defeat in the Republican-led panel but still represented an embarrassing set-back early in his second term.

Let' forget for the moment that calling the vote an "embarrassing set-back" is the reporter's opinion and does not belong in a news story. The fact is Bush won; no defeat and no embarrassment. The Bolton nomination will go to the floor and he will be confirmed, something left out of the SAEN's version of the story, but in the original:
It was not clear when Bolton's nomination would come to the Senate floor. Republicans hold a 55-44 majority, making confirmation likely.

In fact, considering everything the media and Senate Democrats did do torpedo the nomination I think you can say this is a win, albeit an ugly one, but a win nonetheless. Based on the way this story has been covered, the media are the ones who should be embarrassed.
 

An Iraqi Speaks The Truth

Words the left and the media in this country should take to heart, from Husayn at Democracy in Iraq(is here!) blog:
So you ask me, Husayn, was it worth it. What have you gotten? What has Iraq achieved? These are questions I get a lot.

To may outsiders, like those who protested last year, who will protest today. This was a fools errand, it brought nothing but death and destruction. I am sheltered in Iraq, but I know how the world feels, how people have come to either love or hate Bush, as though he's the embodiment of this war. As though this war is part of Bush, they forget the over twenty million Iraqis, they forget the Middle Easterners, they forget the average person on the street, the average man with the average dream.

Ask him if it was worth it. Ask him what is different. Ask him if he would go through it again, go ahead ask him, ask me, many of you have.

Now I answer you, I answer you on behalf of myself, and my countrymen. I don't care what your news tells you, what your television and newspapers say, this is how we feel. Despite all that has happened. Despite all the hurt, the pain, blood, sweat and tears. These two years have given us hope we never had.
Before March 20, 2003, we were in a dungeon. We did not see the light. Saddam Hussein was crushing Iraq's spirit slowly, we longed for his end, but knew we could not challenge him, or his diabolical seed who would no doubt follow him and continue his generation of hell on Earth.

Since then, we now have hope. Hope is not a tangible thing, but it is something, it is more than being blinded by darkness, by being stuck in a mental pit without any future.

Hope has been the greatest product of the last two years. No doubt, many have died, many have died by accident or due to crimes. But their sacrifices are not, and will not be for nothing. I refuse to let it be, and my countrymen stand with me.

Our cities are smoking, our graveyards full, and terrorists in our midst. But we are not defeated. We are not down, we are not regretful. We are not going to surrender. For all that the two years have brought, the greatest thing they have given us is a future, and a view of the finish line[emphasis mine].


***

And be sure you check out Arthur Chrenkoff's chart of good news from Iraq for the month of April that appeared in today's NY Times (hat tip: Mike Thomas!).
 

A New Script For Michael Moore

Looks like Michael Moore will have a new script to work with soon:
Ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has decided to write his memoirs from an Iraqi jail where he is awaiting trial for more than 20 years of abuses, a British newspaper reported, quoting one of his lawyers.

Giovanni di Stefano, a member of Hussein's legal team, said Saddam decided recently to start writing about his childhood in Iraq, his early exile to Egypt and his military adventures in Iran and Kuwait, the Financial Times reported.

He will try to embarrass the great powers that once saw him as a useful buffer against the expansionist ambitions of Iran after the 1979 Islamic revolution, di Stefano was quoted as saying.

If anyone can help Saddam "embarrass" the great powers and turn him into a victim it's Michael Moore:
To describe this film (Farenhiet 9/11) as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.

Or maybe this director is the best guy for the job since he has experience sugar-coating the life of a brutal, murderous thug.
 

Friday Funnies


It is Friday so how about a few laughs? Mucho thanks to Bountyhunter for this picture. Posted by Hello
 

The Tyranny Of Academic Freedom

Back on April 8 Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia wrote about the repression in academia of those who are suspected of not supporting Israel (see previous comments about this column here):
A move to muzzle academics is well under way. Tenure, the only barrier preventing recrimination against faculty who teach and express their views on controversial issues, is also under attack.

The purpose of this insidious movement is clear:
One of the revisions mandates that in the classroom, faculty members are "expected not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter that has no relation to his or her subject."

This isn't quite the gag that El-Kikhia makes it out to be. This is an excerpt from as American Association of University Professors (AAUP) statement on controversy in the classroom:
Controversy is often at the heart of instruction; good teaching is often served by referring to contemporary controversies even if only to stimulate student interest and debate. If these watchdogs have their way, a professor of classics, history, ethics, or even museum administration could make no reference to the Iraq conflict or to George Bush—in their courses on the Roman Empire, colonialism, the morality of war, or trade in the artifacts of ancient civilizations—because the "subject" of these courses is not this war or this president.

Far from banning controversial subject matter in the classroom, this statement makes it clear that the AAUP believes that controversy is an important element of an education even if the subject has nothing to do with the class being taught. Furthermore, El-Kikhia feels that those who voice opposition to Israel are being targeted by the new rules:
Middle Eastern scholars are finding it very difficult to teach, write or lecture on U.S. foreign policy or Israeli politics. They are accused by those on the extreme right of "anti-Americanism" for criticizing U.S. foreign policy and by the supporters of Israel with "anti-Semitism" for criticizing Israel.

Honestly people, does anyone believe that El-Kikhia has changed the content of the courses he teaches simply because he believes the "extreme right" doesn't approve? Sorry, but I don't buy it for a second. The results of this jihad against free speech; nothing:
An independent university committee set up to investigate the charges against the four professors exonerated three of them of wrongdoing and found no evidence of any of the charges leveled against them. The committee found the fourth guilty of one instance of "inappropriate conduct." He is disputing the report. The committee also accused the small but vocal supporters of Israel with lack of civility and disruption of classes.

The reality of course is far different (as any of El-Kikhia's former students like me can attest) as Tom Friedman recently said:
In the West [the absence of democracy in the Middle East] was avoided because a toxic political correctness infected the academic field of Middle Eastern studies - to such a degree that anyone focusing on the absence of freedom in the Arab world ran the risk of being labeled an "Orientalist" or an "essentialist."

Well, more info has come to light about this horrible situation in academia since my original post, and El-Kikhia was right, there is repression of certain ideas in the hallowed halls of our universities, but it is directed at those scholars foolish enough to support Israel and it is happening right now in Britain where hatred of Israel has been intitutionalized. Can the American university system be far behind? Via The Guardian:
The Association of University Teachers today voted to boycott two Israeli universities over their failure to speak out against their government.

Delegates at a conference in Eastbourne voted, against the wishes of the executive, for an immediate boycott of Haifa University, which they accuse of restricting the academic freedom of staff members who are critical of the government, and of Bar Ilans University, which has a college in the disputed settlement Ariel.

The boycott, which is now official union policy, will follow a plan prescribed by a group of 60 Palestinian academic and cultural bodies and non-governmental organisations, which calls for British academics to severe links with Israeli institutions but to exempt Israelis who speak out against their government's policies towards the Palestinians.

This sounds far more insidious than the consequence-free "repression" that has El-Kikhia so worked up. It is almost hard to believe that two Israeli universities are being boycotted for not speaking out against...wait for it...Israel! In approving the boycott the Association of University Teachers are doing the bidding of their Palestinian masters:
Council delegates also agreed to circulate to all local associations a statement from Palestinian organisations calling for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

Interestingly, the boycott isn't just against Israeli academics in general, but applies only to those who support their government:
There is yet another twist to this resuscitated campaign. For the boycott would not be extended to all Israeli academics -- only to those who refuse to denounce their government's policies in the occupied territories. The motion would generously exclude "conscientious Israeli academics and intellectuals opposed to their state's colonial and racist policies"[emphasis mine].

This requirement to denounce Israel as the price of continued social acceptance is doubly disgusting. First, it is of course a monstrous inversion which turns Israel, the victim of unbroken annihilatory Arab terror for the past half century, into the regional bully while sanitising Palestinian aggression.

Second, it represents a profound betrayal of the cardinal principle of intellectual endeavour, which is freedom of speech and debate. If anyone had ever told British academics that there would come a time when they would punish colleagues because of the views they held, and would treat them as pariahs and try to destroy their livelihoods in order to intimidate others into toeing the sole approved political line, they would have been incredulous. In the western tradition the universities are, after all, the historic custodians of free intellectual inquiry and open debate. Censorship, suppression of ideas and intellectual intimidation are associated with totalitarian regimes which attempt to coerce people into the approved way of thinking.

Did you get that? If you aren't a supporter of the colonial and racist Israeli state then you are generously excluded from the boycott. How wonderful! I guess free speech doesn't apply to Israelis. And as this letter to the AUT from the University of Haifa shows, Arab professors are also being hurt by the boycott:
The University of Haifa is saddened and not a little outraged by the utterly unjust and unjustifiable decision of the AUT and by its attempt to erect barriers and obstruct the flow of ideas within the international academic community.

In lieu of evidence to support the singling out of Israeli academia, the authors of this campaign have chosen to adopt a three-year old urban legend. We are astounded by the fact that the AUT never requested our response prior to adopting their resolution, and did not allow our position to be presented by members of the AUT who are familiar with the facts. The case against Israeli academia, in general, and the University of Haifa in particular, is devoid of empirical evidence and violates the principle of due process. Driven by a prior and prejudicial assumption of guilt, the AUT has refused to confuse itself with facts.

The silence of the American Association of University Professors in deafening. According to their academic freedom "Alert" page this boycott never happened. In fact, the AAUP and their British couterparts in the AUT have a "Reciprocating Agreement" regarding teaching privileges. Want more proof that the AAUP is sitting on it's hands? The Scholars at Risk Network recently held a conference to discuss the protection of academic freedom, and you will note no mention of the boycott against Israel is made:
Scholars at Risk held its network meeting and conference themed "Global Strategies for Defending Academic Freedom" on April 28-29th at New York University. More than 80 faculty, administrators, human rights advocates, higher education experts and other guests participated in the two-day event, including scholars from Belarus, Iran, Liberia, Pakistan, Rwanda, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

So what does all of this have to do with the San Antonio Express-News? Well, first and foremost, if the SAEN editorial board wants to let Dr. El-Kikhia use his weekly column as a soap box to whine about his personal life they can, but they should insist that he get his facts straight. Secondly, I bet most of you never heard about the AUT boycott before today, and it seems to me that the SAEN could have put a few sentences in somewhere to report that this boycott against free speech was occurring. And finally, very soon SAEN Watch will be growing into something bigger and better. Our new blog will cover everything from politics to the culture wars to topics like this, academic freedom and the move to muzzle support for Israel. You can expect a formal announcement soon, but don't you worry, pointing out the liberal bias of the Express-News will still be a big part of what we do.

"The time has come for someone to put their foot down on liberalism. That foot is us." --Alamo City Commando(not really)

Update

As Gregg's comment points out the AAUP issued a statement calling for a repeal of the boycott. In fairness to me the statement went out on May 3rd, over 3 weeks after I started this commentary. That said, in my mind it changes nothing. So they issued a statement...wow. That is what they call "passive" action. They have not severed links with the AUT until the boycott is repealed. Moreover, the statement makes it clear that the repression that El-Kikhia talks about won't be tolerated by the AAUP:
Excluded from the ban are "conscientious Israeli academics and intellectuals opposed to their state's colonial and racist policies," an exclusion which, because it requires compliance with a political or ideological test in order for an academic relationship to continue, deepens the injury to academic freedom rather than mitigates it.

My amazement that something like this can even become reality, and the subject matter it references still holds. The recent conference held by the Scholars at Risk Network that I reference above makes no mention of the boycott. The boycott was approved almost a week before the Risk Network's conference, and they ignored it. So the AAUP issues a statement and that is it; they washed their hands of the entire incident after issuing their statement. That said, my thanks to Gregg for pointing out the existence of the statement.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

 

Condi On 2nd Amendment

I figure I have posted enough controversial stuff for the week; ticked off/alienated enough people so how about a harmless story about Condi Rice? Secretary of State Condi Rice explains why we need a Second Amendment:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, recalling how her father took up arms to defend fellow blacks from racist whites in the segregated South, said Wednesday the constitutional right of Americans to own guns is as important as their rights to free speech and religion.

In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," Rice said she came to that view from personal experience. She said her father, a black minister, and his friends armed themselves to defended the black community in Birmingham, Ala., against the White Knight Riders in 1962 and 1963. She said if local authorities had had lists of registered weapons, she did not think her father and other blacks would have been able to defend themselves.

Any liberals want to argue with her?
 

Does SAEN even "cair" about the truth?

A new low, even for the San Antonio Expressed-Views: an article mindlessly regurgitating propaganda from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); claiming, in essence, that Muslims in America are now afraid to come out of their homes because of all us vicious, hate-filled American bigots.

The article is presented without any sort of critical assessment of the source whatsoever. It goes without saying that any counter argument to the outrageous claims made by CAIR is absent.

Let's start with CAIR. Rather than spend an hour linking all of the documented instances of CAIR's fraudulent hate crime claims and their shameless suppression of any criticism of Islam whatsoever, it's better to just Google up "CAIR jihad". The resulting plethora of documentation of CAIR's bias and support of terrorist organizations should make it obvious that SAEN writer Lisa Marie Gómez is either consciously acting as their spokesman or she has no access to the Internet.

Check out some of those links and then return to the SAEN article, where they describe CAIR:
CAIR is a non-profit civil rights and advocacy organization aimed at enhancing a general understanding of the Islamic perspective on issues to the American public.
Well, the SAEN certainly got that "Islamic perspective" part right!

Now that we've established the lack of credibility for CAIR, what about the claims in the article?
the number of reported cases last year spiked to 1,522 — a 49 percent increase over 2003. In 2002, 602 cases were reported... The report documented 141 instances of violence last year...compared to 93 cases in 2003 and 42 in 2002.
Statistics alert! "Reported cases"? 1,522 of them...but only 141 instances of violence. I suppose the other 1,381 reports were of non-Muslims cutting them off in traffic or something? Giving them a weird look on the street? Or, perhaps the 90% of reports which were nonviolent included a few of the fraudulent hate crimes so often claimed by groups such as CAIR?

There is an even bigger problem with the numbers themselves. According to the FBI's most recent (2003) hate crimes statistics,
The number of reported anti-Islamic crimes decreased from 155 in 2002 to 149 in 2003, a decrease of 0.4%.
So the numbers from CAIR are going up, and the numbers from the FBI are going down. Which do you believe? Before answering, be sure to check out the convenient online Hate Crime incident submission available at the CAIR web site.

The numbers spouted by CAIR and accepted by the SAEN in this article are about as valid as an online opinion poll. If the Express-News is going to paint their fellow Americans as ugly hate-filled bigots, can they at least get their numbers from a credible source?
 

Both Parties Guilty On Deficit

How many times have we heard a Democrat blame the president or the Republicans for the deficit? The fact is both parties are responsible for deficit spending, and the ensuing national debt, as a story on page 8A of today's SAEN shows. Yesterday the Senate held a vote on a six-year highway and mass transit funding bill. At issue was a ceiling set by the White House for the bill, amounting to $284 billion. The president has promised to veto any bill over that amount. As the vote shows, both Democrats and Republicans voted to defeat any attempt to decrease the bill's funding:
The Senate voted 76-22 Wednesday to defeat an attempt to rule that the $295 billion bill added to the federal deficit and thus violated budget rules.

This is not a "gotcha" post. Personally, I think the current deficit levels are irresponsible, but just as irresponsible are the claims by some that only Republicans are to blame. If the left won't hold the Democrats responsible for their actions regarding spending then the Democrats have no reason to stop spending. Can anyone on the left actually throw partisanship aside and condemn the vote of Democrats yesterday?
 

Another Day, More Dismal Iraq Coverage

Here is the above the fold headline for the SAEN's Iraq coverage today" "Iraq violence seems to have no end." Ah, nothing like a little editorializing passed off as news to really get the juices flowing! What I really found interesting about the story that follow (and continues on 7A) is that it barely touches on Operation Matador. Isn't that odd that the story drones on and on about what the terrorists have done, but pretty much ignores what our Marines our doing? So I feel it is my duty to direct my readers to some of the best info on the web about Operation Matador. You can find it over at Bill Roggio's The Fourth Rail. Bill is writing some of the best reports and commentary around about the a**-kicking we are giving the terrorists along the Syrian border. So what is Operation Matador? I am glad you asked:
The Coalition effort to interdict, deny and destroy the insurgent's capabilities in the Western regions of Iraq bordering Syria is dubbed Operation Matador. Colonel Bob Chase, the chief of operations for the Second Marine Division, reports that insurgents are standing their ground and fighting, and all the better:
"When we get there, they are deciding to fight, and as such they are dying." As marines we'd rather engage them that way than through an I.E.D. The enemy honestly felt that they had a sense of security up there. It had been a safe haven, and a lot of folks up there were former Baathists. Now it is no longer a safe haven, and it will never be a safe haven again. We are going to continue this for a number of days. The objective is to totally disrupt the safe havens and rat lines that have allowed them to bring those materials across the border. This had been a very secure area for the insurgents."

The importance of these enemy strongholds leaves the insurgents little choice but to stand and fight, as this is the rear area and critical supply line of the insurgency, without which their effectiveness would be diminished.

Operation Matador in the Western desert is the natural progression of operations designed to sweep through Iraq to engage the insurgency region by region. The operations began late last summer in the Southern Shiites areas surrounding Najaf, then moved to Fallujah and the Sunni Triangle in the fall, and to Mosul in the North, the Triangle of Death south of Baghdad and along the Euphrates River west of Baghdad throughout the winter.

Here is an excerpt from the May 11th update on Matador:
The Marines are methodically pushing westward, conducting detailed searches in the towns along the Euphrates. The Marines are driving the insurgents and terrorists towards the blocking force of the Marines in the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Regiment in Qaim and the platoon(s) providing over watch along the ridge overlooking Rabit. Col. Bob Chase reports the local population is proving helpful; "We are getting a lot of information from the locals in the area and a very positive reception. They are giving up locations of where these people are hiding out, and each one drives another operation."

Notice that local Iraqis are providing information to our troops. Also, many of the terrorists being killed aren't even Iraqis:
Davis said his assessment was based on the examination of dead insurgents as well as the interrogations of captured fighters. Some, he said, wore white clothes favored by Yemeni or Saudi men, contrasted with the colorful garb favored by local Iraqis. One dead man wore a beard trimmed in a manner common to Saudi Arabia, compared to the Saddam Hussein-style mustaches seen among Iraqis.

During interrogations, many prisoners speak with foreign accents or use foreign phrases, said an interpreter who asked not to be identified. And some prisoners "just flat out admit" that they were from other countries, Davis said, without identifying the countries.

Qaim is considered to be the backbone of the terrorists infrastructure in Iraq, but apparently that isn't very important to the editors at the SAEN:
Military officials think that foreign fighters have been using the region as a sanctuary on their way from the porous Syrian border to cities such as Mosul, Ramadi and Baghdad, where they have carried out kidnappings, assassinations and suicide bombings aimed at destabilizing Iraq's nascent government.

Some U.S. commanders believe the area contains insurgent training camps and high-ranking members of the Iraq arm of the Al Qaeda terrorist network, including its leader, Abu Musab Zarqawi. As of early today, no camps or Al Qaeda leaders had been found.

Please visit The Fourth Rail for more information on Operation Matador. Information the SAEN won't report.

Update:

Mike Thomas writes the following comment to this post:
Sorry, but the news sounds pretty dismal to me. And never ending.

Mike has unwittingly bolstered my argument that the SAEN's coverage of Iraq is just short of criminal. Bob Rivard has forced his paper to color the news from Iraq to conform to his personal views about the situation. I don't know if he just doesn't like President Bush or doesn't believe freedom in the Middle East is worth fighting for, or both, but he has forsaken his journalistic integrity in pursuit of partisan goals, and he is dragging everyone at the paper down with him. So, Mike, this is just for you. When you get done reading all the links I am supplying, come back here and tell me you honestly don't think progress is being made in Iraq and that the SAEN's biased coverage of Iraq is justified. If you can honestly tell me that nothing good happens in Iraq then go for it. Please follow these links to Arthur Chrenkoff's "Good News from Iraq" series:
part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6
part 7
part 8
part 9
part 10
part 11
part 12
part 13
part 14
part 15
part 16
part 17
part 18
part 19
part 20
part 21
part 22
part 23
I have never said that there aren't bad things happening in Iraq, and the SAEN should report them. What I have said, and proven, is that there are good things going on in Iraq and the SAEN should, but won't report them, and anybody who can't admit that positive things are happening in Iraq isn't being honest. It's that simple.

You can read about the hope that Iraqis have for their country over at Free Iraqi. Somehow I am guessing he knows more about it than us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

 

Alamo City Blogfest 2005

Attention all San Antonio bloggers: on June 25th we will be holding a politics-free BBQ for all local bloggers. You can get more info at the Ranten N. Raven's blog, View from the Nest, you just have to scroll down the page. Please spread the word, and if you have a local blog, but don't see it listed in the link section of SAEN Watch, please e-mail me and let me know so that I can add it. And mucho thanks to the Mighty Raven for organizing this shindig.

Thanks,

--Commando
 

The Liberal Bias Of Your...Thesaurus!

Parrot Check has an excellent discussion of the liberal bias of Roget's Thesaurus. If you don't believe it check it out for yourself.
 

SAEN Won't Report Reid Story

Despite appearing on the SAEN's website, the story about Senator Reid's ill-advised words has failed to make the cut into the print edition:
After accusing President Bush of lying about his role in a fight over judicial filibusters, Sen. Harry Reid last week called the president a "loser." And Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan? He's a "political hack," according to the formerly soft-spoken Nevada Democrat.

Reid returned to the Senate floor Monday with a more conciliatory tone and what he called "a gesture of goodwill," calling for the first time for the confirmation of one of Bush's appeals court nominees that Democrats blocked in the last Congress.

"Let's try cooperation, rather than confrontation," Reid said on the Senate floor. "I would hope that we can let bygones be bygones."

Commando: "Gee, could there be any reason the SAEN wouldn't want to report this?

You: "Gosh, maybe if Reid was Tom DeLay they'd run with it."

Commando: "Yep, that sounds about right."

Update:

Mike Thomas asks what stories should the SAEN taken out of the A section of the paper in order to make room for this important story. First let me just say: "Geesh Mike, you don't have to be so mean about it. All you have to do is ask." Second, here are my picks for stories that don't need to be in the front page section of today's paper:
1. On page 4A of today's paper is yet another update about the Michael Jackson trial. I am not sure that this belongs in the paper at all, but perhaps they could move it to the S.A. Life section of the paper where it belongs.

2. The next story that can be cut from the A section of today's paper is on page 10A "Spamalot spoof takes the cake on Tony nominations." Again, perhaps this more properly belongs in the SA Life.

Satisfied?
 

SAEN Won't Report Both Sides Of Filibuster Debate

Mark has already addressed the ridiculous illustration on page 3A of Tuesday's SAEN so now I want to address the article that accompanies it by SAEN reporter Gary Martin. The article is about the fight over judicial nominations and the filibuster. Much of the article is spent talking about Priscilla Owens:
Owen was nominated by Bush to serve on the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Her nomination was blocked in the 108th Congress when Republicans were unable to end a Democratic filibuster.

Earlier this year, Bush again nominated Owen, a Texas Supreme Court justice and Austin Sunday school teacher.

Mr. Martin spends much of the remainder of his report telling us how bad Democrats and various interest groups think Ms. Owens is. A quote from Senator Schumer:
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said "there is no question that when you look up judicial activist in the dictionary, you see a picture of Priscilla Owen."

She must be an extremist, she teaches Sunday school! Next we get a quote from Texans for Public Justice:
"The opposition to Owen came straight out of the heart of Texas," said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice.

McDonald said Owen is "uniquely extreme and uniquely activist" in her opinions that favor big business and anti-abortion and anti-consumer ideologies.

Owen has a penchant to write law from the bench, McDonald charged, "usually on behalf of the powerful and at the expense of the powerless."

Hmmm, still no quotes in support of Ms. Owens. Texans for Public Justice bills itself as non-partisan, but one look at their web site and you can see just how silly that claim is. Among the typical rants about Halliburton and big money donors to Bush (and only Bush, so much for non-partisan) is this quote about Owens:
But the recent nomination of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals better echoes Bush's statement on the campaign-trail that his favorite jurists are right-wing Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Next Mr. Martin tells us that Texans for Public Justice are working with the Texas Abortion Rights Action League (TARAL) in opposing Owens:
Texans for Public Justice and the Texas Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League took part in a news conference to draw attention to Owen's judicial rulings.

I don't think I even have to go to the TARAL web site to prove what side of the aisle they are on, but I will, for your sake. TARAL wants you to oppose a change in Senate rules to end the filibuster against judicial nominees because:
This abuse of power clears the deck for President Bush's ideologically out-of-touch nominees.

Another liberal group and still nothing in support of Ms. Owens. So what is the truth, is Owens an extremist? Do her rulings show her to be "Anti-abortion" as so many claim? Would it surprise you if I told you no? Here is what Powerline had to say about her dissent in In re Jane Doe:
Justice Owen's dissent was quite different. What she objected to was the majority's failure to follow the elementary rules of appellate practice. Appellate courts do not conduct de novo fact finding. They accept the facts as found by the trial court, assuming that there is evidence in the record to support them. Owen's complaint was that the majority disregarded the trial court's express and implied findings of fact, even though those findings were supported in the record. She wrote:

The question in this case is not whether the Court would have ruled differently when confronted with all the evidence that the trial court heard. The question is whether legally sufficient evidence supports the trial court's judgment. The answer to this latter question is yes. Longstanding principles of appellate review and our Texas Constitution do not permit this Court to substitute its judgment for that of the trial court or to ignore the evidence, as it has done.

Justice Owen's dissent also criticized what she considered the undue and unnecessary haste with which the Supreme Court acted. However, unlike Justices Hecht and Abbott, Owen did not address issues of statutory interpretation, and said nothing about bypasses being "rare" or about the burden of proof to which they are subject. Thus, on its face, Gonzales' criticism of "judicial activism" did not apply to Owen's dissent.

More importantly, no one trained in the law would argue that the principles relied on by Justice Owen constitute "judicial activism." On the contrary, showing appropriate deference to the fact findings done by the trial court is fundamental to the appellate process and is a basic component of judicial restraint, not judicial activism. It is deeply ironic that the one case relied on by Justice Owen's critics for the proposition that she is an "activist" is a case in which she voted to affirm the trial court and the Texas Court of Appeals, and deferred to the fact findings made by the trial court.

It is hard to be balanced when you only report the objections of the opposition and fail to include any statements in support from the Republicans. I don't mind having a debate about this Mr. Martin, but let's have a fair one and hear both sides. Is that asking too much?

Note to the SAEN: I'd be happy to put together a report on the fight over filibusters in the Senate that discusses both sides of the issue, fairly, and I won't even charge you for it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

 

Good News From Iraq

The good news from Iraq continues to come, and continues to be ignored by the S.A. Express-News:
"Iraqi Arab Sunnis head towards Army enlisting posts in spite of explosions"

After the Iraqi government confirmed the appointment of a Sunni in the position of defense minister. Iraqi Arab Sunnis started heading for the army enlisting centers to join the new Iraqi Army. This was evident by the long lines and large crowds of young men outside these centers in the largely Sunni area of Baghdad. This is the main reason for the increase in the terrorist activities in and around these centers.

The high unemployment amongst the Sunnis is due to non-participation in the electoral and governmental process. This is due to their religious leaders forbidding them from joining the government and the security forces in the past. This situation has now changed. We witnessed thousands of Iraqi Arab Sunnis coming from different provinces to military enlisting station in Baghdad.

The editors of the SAEN continue to ignore reality, why?
 

Case Dismissed!

A U.S. District Court of Appeals has dismissed the case against V.P. Cheney brought by the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch regarding records pertaining to meetings of the National Energy Policy Development Group. Here is how Shannen Coffin describes what happened:
In its decision today in In re Cheney, the entire D.C. Circuit concluded that "severe separation-of-powers" problems prevented the court from applying the Federal Advisory Committee Act to require the Vice President to disclose the details of his meetings within and without the government in formulating the President's 2001 National Energy Policy (still not enacted into law, by the way). This was a case that a host of highly talented government lawyers sweated blood for over a period of three years and did a marvelous job. From the outset, it was a specious lawsuit brought for political purposes, and it finally dies a well deserved death.

You can read the entire decision here.
 

SAEN publishes editorial cartoon...on page 3A

Not, online, so far as I can find, but on today's page 3A - the purported "news" section - an amazing graphic accompanies an article on the judicial filibuster situation.

It shows drawings of the seven judges being filibustered (can you tell Janice Rogers Brown is black?). The text under each judge provides the Democrats' rationale for opposing their nomination to the bench.

That's all.

No rebuttal. No response to the partisan assertions of Harry "Bush is a loser" Reid and friends. Not even a reminder that each of the judges has been deemed fully qualified by the American Bar Association.

There are times when the liberal bias of the SAEN is so transparent as to leave me slack-jawed. This is one of those times.
 

Surprise: Dowd gets it backward

This was covered in an earlier post, but rather than get lost in the evolution debate in the comment thread, I thought I would post it here.

Maureen Dowd, the poster child for Cafeteria Catholics, in her latest rant against religion states:
But exploiting God for political ends has set off powerful, scary forces in America:...fights over sex education, even in the blue states and blue suburbs of Maryland
If you are not familiar with Dowd's technique of deliberate distortion, you would assume that some conservatives in Maryland were violating the secular idol of church/state separation by opposing sex education or something. In fact, as Constitutional Law professor Eugene Volokh points out, the opposite is true: liberals are using public schools to endorse certain religious teachings on homosexuality, to the exclusion of others. In extolling a judicial decision that, amazingly enough, thwarted the liberals, Volokh explains:
This material, which the school would apparently be conveying as its own views,

1. Describes one interpretation of the Bible as "myth."

2. Suggests that the most important question in interpreting the Bible is what Jesus said, and that the Bible's use of "abomination" in different contexts should lead us to think that the items thus labeled are morally equivalent — not implausible claims about Scriptural interpretation, but nonetheless claims about Scriptural interpretation.

3. Implicitly — but I think quite strongly — suggests a particular reading of the Bible is theologically correct.

4. Condemns particular religious groups by name, not just as part of a discussion of history, but in an attempt to discredit the present religious teachings of at least some religious groups (quite possibly the same ones).

5. Specifically praises by name certain denominations — again, not just in a context which seems to be describing the facts, but one which suggests that their theology is more sound.
So, it seems that religion in public schools is perfectly fine with hypocritical liberals...as long as the religion discussed is in lockstep with their own ideology. "Scary forces", indeed.
 

Dirty Politics

The Democrats love to say that Republicans are mean-spirited, and the press is more than happy to pass this along to the public. The next time you hear that Republicans are mean-spirited remember this:
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid called President Bush "a loser" during a civics discussion with a group of teenagers at a high school on Friday.

"The man's father is a wonderful human being," Reid, D-Nev., told students at Del Sol High School when asked about the president's policies. "I think this guy is a loser."

Shortly after the event Reid called the White House to apologize, his spokeswoman Tessa Hafen said. Reid spoke with Bush adviser Karl Rove, asking him to convey the apology to Bush, who was traveling in Europe.

Talk about spineless! Reid talks tough about the president, but the president just happened to be out of the country at the time. And when he apologizes he does not even have the guts to call President Bush personally, but calls his aid and asks him to tell him he is sorry.
 

The U.S. Is Loved By The Right People


President Bush waves to the crowd at a speech in Tbilisi, Georgia. How many times have we heard the left tell us that we are hated around the world? The truth is that countries who experienced the horror of Soviet Occupation know that freedom is worth fighting for. And then you have lazy appeasers like France and Germany who might just hate us, but then who cares what they think? I would take the support of one freedom-loving country like Georgia over the support of 100 Frances. The media tries to drum it into our heads that everyone hates us. Don't believe them. Our allies in the war on terror prove that we are in the right.
 Posted by Hello
 

Darn Those Dirty Insurgents

We probably all know about the new offensive against terrorists in Iraq that our butt-kicking Marines have undertaken near the small city of Qaim, and you can read all about it on page 4A of today's SAEN. Here we have a bunch of bad guys from other countries, who terrorize the civilian population and don't mind killing civilians during their attacks, and the SAEN calls them "insurgents." The "t" word is used in the first paragraph, but only because that is who the U.S. Military said they were going after. The story, compiled from wire reports, kindly informs is that the Muslim Scholars Association (MSA) is ticked off about the offensive, calling it "American state-sponsored terrorism..." Oh wait, there is the word "terrorist" a second time, only the Express-News is using it to describe our soldiers. You know, debate if fine, we can disagree on Iraq, but putting a quote from the MSA into this story is obnoxious and cowardly. The editors want you to feel ashamed at what we are doing in Iraq. They don't think that Iraqis deserve our help in being free. Don't fall for it. The men and women of our armed forces have earned our support and our prayers, and they are doing wonderful things in Iraq. Why is that so hard for the editors over at the SAEN to understand?
 

Suckers!

Here is what passes for intelligent commentary these days on the SAEN op/ed pages, and the worst of it is that they paid for it, via the always hysterical, never intelligent Maureen Dowd:
But exploiting God for political ends has set off powerful, scary forces in America: a retreat on teaching evolution, most recently in Kansas; fights over sex education, even in the blue states and blue suburbs of Maryland; a demonizing of gays; and a fear of stem cell research, which could lead to more of a "culture of life" than keeping one vegetative woman hooked up to a feeding tube.

Even as scientists issue rules on chimeras in labs, a spine-tingling he-monster with the power to drag us back into the pre-Darwinian dark ages is slouching around Washington. It's a fire-breathing creature with the head of W., the body of Bill Frist and the serpent tail of Tom DeLay.

This has nothing to do with the point I am making really, but do you notice that Dowd fails to point out the evolution is still a theory? That's right, it is an unproven theory (missing link anyone?) and yet the left expects us to teach it in schools as if it is a fact. Interesting mention of Terry Schiavo there at the end; who's using her for politics now Ms. Dowd?

Now back to my point: in a perfect world the SAEN editorial board would consider giving Dowd's space over to a columnist who actually adds to the national debate.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

 

Rivard: Anyone opposed to Castro is racist

I don't presume to have any special aptitude for local political analysis. But I will say that Carroll Schubert failed miserably. In the election, Schubert was far and away the only mayoral candidate to have any sort of credibility in regard to fiscal constraint. An anti-tax proposal passed by an astonishing 82%, yet Schubert was unable, somehow, to convince those voting in favor of that proposal that he was the best candidate for fiscal responsibility at City Hall. Pathetic.

So now we face a runoff featuring an immature creature of the unions and social activists against an elderly personal injury lawyer...both of them long time, hard core Democrats.

Thank God for term limits.

This morning's SAEN coverage would not have been complete without an offensive swipe from Bob Rivard.
Throughout the campaign there was talk in the Anglo community about how important it was to avoid another young Hispanic mayor, as if it were a new flu strain. There have been plenty of Anglo officeholders who came up short, yet who ever argues that the city needs to avoid electing another Anglo?
This claim that Anglos who opposed Castro are racists is as ignorant as it is insulting. The operative term is "young". If there had been a succession of young Anglo failures as mayors, as there has been with Cisneros and Garza, the same opposition would have developed against the possibility of yet another immature mayor. Similarly, if a young Anglo had been running for mayor, the same "Anglo community" would have been just as concerned with that candidate as they were with Castro.

Rivard's racemongering is contemptible. To imagine that such a person is the editor of the only major newspaper in San Antonio...

Friday, May 06, 2005

 

That depends on the definition of "illegal"...

In its latest Minuteman-bashing news article, the SAEN engages in unbounded fear-mongering...all while insisting that the Minuteman Project volunteers are the real fear-mongers.

The headline? "Minutemen bordering on chaos". First of all, they have to try to delegitimize the movement by pointing to some internal discord over its direction...as if that is unusual in this sort of ad hoc, volunteer organization. Been to a PTA meeting lately, Hernán Rozemberg?

"Hundreds, possibly thousands, of activists..." Goodness, if we don't stop this scary movement, there may be as many of them on the border as there are illegal aliens!

"civil rights groups pledged to continue monitoring the activities for possible legal violations." Psst, civil rights groups! You want to see "possible legal violations"? Check out these illegal aliens jumping the border!

"The Border Patrol remains steadfast in its disapproval of civilian border patrols." Hmmm. The apparent corruption and bureaucratic incompetence of the Border Patrol has been proved by our porous border with Mexico. Is it any wonder that they disapprove of citizens becoming so enraged at this that they volunteer to do the job themselves? Especially when the volunteers do a better job of it than the well-paid Border Patrol?

It's disappointing that the Express-News slants its reporting against such a grassroots citizen initiative, even after it has shown itself effective and by no means a "vigilante group."*

* Yes, I know that term was used by President Bush to describe the group, and shame on him for doing so.
 

SAEN Trend: Good Times for Liberals?

The SAEN seems to obtain the majority of its national and international news from the Associated Press. I suppose AP is about as objective a source as we can hope for from the mainstream media (I know, I know, but it could be worse: it could be Reuters!) That's not to say that this blog has not documented the means by which the Express-News selectively distorts, positions and edits the AP text to slant the news to meet its agenda.

But now we are seeing a more disturbing trend. The latest Bob Rivard editorial attack against our effort in Iraq, critiqued here by Commando this morning, has a most disturbing byline: "NEW YORK TIMES". So now, we are seeing front page articles in our local newspaper from one of the most liberal media sources in the nation. Does anyone really expect Rivard to run an article straight from, say, the Washington Times some day?

Speaking of Times, there is an even more disturbing byline on today's page 3A: "LOS ANGELES TIMES". If the New York Times still pretends to objectivity, the LA Times is completely unabashed in its advocacy of the liberal agenda. Just look at the headline on that article: "Ex-DeLay cronies made millions on Pacific deal". "Cronies"? Is it possible for Bob Rivard to be ignorant of the negative connotation behind such a term? It's almost superfluous to point out that the article discusses only DeLay's alleged second-hand association with the "deal", and makes no mention of the two Democratic Congressmen who personally visited the islands around the same time, at the expense of the same people - they didn't even send their "cronies"!

This new trend of regurgitating "news" articles from biased sources seems to signal a new and even deeper disregard by the SAEN for the views of the majority of its San Antonio readers.
 

El-Kikhia Supports Bolton Nomination!

No, really, he does...although for sarcastic reasons.

When you finish reading his contemptuous column, bask in awe at El-Kikhia's ability to speak of the United Nations as under threat from the US without once mentioning how deeply corrupt it has become under Kofi Annan. Gosh, do you think that's why Bush might be interested in challenging the status quo on Turtle Bay? MEK's column is an astonishing display of either self-delusion or disdain for his audience.
 

Was The Arrest Of al Liby Important?

You bet your a** it was. The SAEN's report on his arrest included the possibility that the importance of his arrest was being overblown for PR reasons, but the SAEN was wrong again. From Reuters:
Pakistani security forces have rounded up some two dozen suspects around the country in raids using information from the senior al Qaeda leader arrested early this week, intelligence officials said on Thursday.

Moreover, al Liby may be able to help is catch the big fish:
Officials told Reuters that Abu Faraj Farj al Liby, who U.S. counter-terrorism agents say became al Qaeda operations chief and third in command two years ago, was in a good position to disclose the whereabouts of leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri.

Bill Roggio has more on our successes against the leadership of al Qaeda over at The Fourth Rail.
 

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Loves The SAEN

The Express-News is dangerous. It's dangerous because the views of the editor, Bob Rivard, are helping the terrorists by turning American opinion against our involvement in Iraq. Here is the headline from a story on the front page of today's paper: "Iraq life: Eating, sleeping, bombing," and the sub-headline is "Nonstop violence means every day is a horror day." Gee, that's not over the top! Apparently Bob Rivard hasn't considered that by reporting only negative news from that country he has become the terrorists' best friend. Here is what a recent poll in Iraq revealed:
"Has the security situation improved since the start of the new government?

"Yes - 55%

"No - 35%

"No change - 10%"

Are things going smoothly in Iraq? No, but they certainly are not as bad as the SAEN would have you believe. We have Americans dying over there to help the Iraqis build a free nation and the SAEN is reporting as if they already failed. Shame on them and shame on the editors of the SAEN. In March, Iraqis rallied against terrorists in their country:
"As expected, angry and sad Iraqis have started protests against the sickening behavior of the family and tribe of the Jordanian terrorist who committed the bloody massacre of Hilla a few weeks ago.

"Crowds gathered outside the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad on Sunday shouting: 'No, no to Jordan, close your embassy, we do not want to see you here.'

The biggest problem in Iraq, obviously, are the terrorist, but the second biggest problem is the coverage that news outlets like the San Antonio Express-News are providing Americans. And let's not forget what we are fighting for there:
Eye witnesses from the area said that back in the middle of 1980s, buses and bulldozers used to come to this valley twice a week but no one dared to question what was happening.

This woman after she somehow managed to escape got lost in the desert for 5 days until some shepherd found her and kept her safe away from the eyes of the security services that kept searching for her for years until they knew that she had officially lost her mind.

The woman expressed her gratitude for the locals who were kind to her and allowed her to live in a room attached to a mosque for the past 21 years after she lost all her family and had nowhere else to go.

Al-Witwity had also talked to the chief of the "Humanitarian association for defending the rights of the mass graves' martyrs" who confirmed that there are 19 other mass graves to be revealed soon, each one is supposed to contain the remains of approximately 2000 Iraqis.

All I am asking for is some balance in the SAEN's coverage of Iraq. Apparently I am asking too much. Congratulations Bob, you are a big hit with the terrorists!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

 

A New San Antonio Blog

I checked out a new blog today called Parrot Check. The blogger is named Duncan Avatar and he is currently stationed at Lackland AFB where he recently completed his training. He and his family will be moving to Oklahoma soon, but in the meantime Duncan is a proud member of the San Antonio blogging community. SAEN Watch thanks Duncan for his service to our country and wishes him all the best. Please take a little time and check out Parrot Talk for yourself, and be sure to view the powerful photo accompanying this post. I especially enjoyed his comments filed under "Terrorist Scum."

--Commando
 

Bashing Bolton

I was saddened to see that my predictions regarding today's SAEN were true. I want to specifically address the SAEN's reporting and commentary regarding John Bolton, where the paper is doing exactly what they have done with DeLay; bashing him for actions others participate in. Also, let's remember that Bolton has already been confirmed by the Senate on several occasions. The most recent example of the SAEN bashing Bolton is today's column by Ellen Goodman. Here is what she has to say about him:
A lot of those whom Bolton apparently "kicked down" have kicked back. We heard from intelligence agents who claim he tried to dump them for disagreeing. We heard from a foreign aid worker who said Bolton chased her down the halls of a Russian hotel, not out of lust but anger, "Throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and generally behaving like a madman."

This elicited a defense from President Bush who described Bolton as "a blunt guy" who "isn't afraid to speak his mind." Around Boston, we call this the Larry Summers Defense in honor of those conservatives who recast the Harvard president as a defender of "free speech." But the question is less about being outspoken than about silencing any opposition.

I grant you that the Bush administration does not belong to the "Getting to Yes" school of foreign policy. But after giving savvy spinmistress Karen Hughes the job of public diplomacy, why give John Bolton the job of publicly unraveling that diplomacy?

Now let's take a look at some of the Democrats that she let's off the hook:
1. Senator Kennedy
Sen. Ted Kennedy once blew up at his staff after finding out they hadn't completed work on a bioterrorism bill he favored. As stunned witnesses looked on, Kennedy turned on his aides and barked: "You bastards - get it done!"

2. Senator Biden
Just weeks after the 9/11 attacks, a group of pilots and flight attendants met with Sen. Joe Biden in hopes of getting him to support emergency benefits for laid off airline employees. Biden listened for a few minutes, then shot back:

"I hope you will support my work on Amtrak as much as I have supported you. If not, I will screw you badly."

3. Senator Clinton
After keeping the lobbyist and several health company executives waiting for an hour, Hillary finally walked into the conference room, slammed some papers on the table and then erupted:

"Gentlemen, I have looked at your proposal, and it's pure bulls - - t. You've had your meeting - now get out!"

I am not trying to excuse rude behavior, but the left is being selective if they claim Bolton is unqualified because of alleged bad behavior, and then not applying it to those on their own side. What this really boils down to is that the left cannot attack Bolton's qualifications, so they are attacking his character. Here is an excerpt from a letter of support for Bolton that the SAEN doesn't seem to find newsworthy:
Each of us have worked with Mr. Bolton. We know him to me a man of personal and intellectual integrity, deeply devoted to the service of this country and promotion of our foreign policy interests as established by this President and the Congress. Not one of us has ever witnessed conduct on his part that resembles that which has been alleged. We that out collective knowledge of him and what he stands for, combined with our own experiences in government and in the private sector, more than counterbalances the credibility of those who have tried to destroy the distinguished achievements of a lifetime.

And from another letter of support for Bolton:
We, the undersigned, have been appalled by the charges that have been leveled at John Bolton during the course of his nomination hearing to be this country’s ambassador to the United Nations. Rather than a rational, mature discussion about the future course American policy should take with respect to the United Nations, and to whether and to what extent John Bolton's extensive knowledge with the UN further that course, what we have witnessed has been a character assassination masquerading as a nomination hearing. Mr. Bolton spent a full day before your Committee prepared to delve deeply into issues of foreign policy, and yet all but a sliver of the Committee's time was devoted to unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct.

The "undersigned" in the above letter are twenty former colleagues of John Bolton.
 

Above the Fold

Since Commando was unable to stomach the SAEN today, let's let him know that each of his predictions were accurate regarding the biased content. What a surprise.

Oh, and Commando: you thought the subhead would read "Blood flows like a river", but they actually got much more creatively graphic: "Blood coats the streets".

But let's talk placement. An article on the latest in a long string of suicide bombings of Iraqi civilians is on the left side of the front page, covering space eight inches long and two inches wide. An article on the capture of the third ranking al-Qaida terrorist - a much more important and newsworthy event - is on the right side of the front page, with a lead measuring 6 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches. The lead portions of the two articles are roughly the same area. So, does that mean they have treated the stories equally?

Of course not. The negative headline "Carnage continues across Iraq" is "above the fold" and the positive headline "Al-Qaida's No. 3 Bagged in Pakistan" is "below the fold".
The phrase "above the fold" refers to the location of an important news story or photograph on the front page of a newspaper. Most papers are delivered and displayed to customers folded up, meaning that only the top half of the front page is visible. Thus, an item that is "above the fold" is usually one that the editor feels will entice people to buy the paper.
So, here we have documentation of SAEN bias in their reporting on the war on terrorism. Two articles, filling the same space, one positive and one negative. Given a completely free editing choice, which one did the editor decide to place "above the fold"? Do you agree that the reporting of yet another suicide bombing in Iraq is more newsworthy than the capture of the 3rd-ranked member of Al-Qaida?

If so, Bob Rivard has a job for you.
 

The Horror Of A Qaugmire


An Iraqi boy expresses his gratitude after receiving a Frisbee from Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 198th Armor Regiment, assigned as the Quick Response Force (QRF), after they conducted several proficiency drills near Forward Operating Base (FOB) Hotel.U.S. Armed Forces are helping establish a stronger relationship with the citizens of Iraq. The QRF will respond to any potential attack or suspicious activity on or near the FOB that could threaten the lives and equipment of coalition forces. Yes, there are happy people in Iraq as this boy shows. This is exactly the kind of stuff the SAEN doesn't want you to see in their pages. Posted by Hello
 

You Can't Make Me Read It...

So this morning I left my SAEN lying in the yard. I just could not bring myself to read it this morning; however, I shall look into my crystal ball and tell you what is in it because the SAEN is so predictable I don't even have to look at it! I will know how right I am when I get home from work and actually read it. Hmmm, there were lots of important news stories in the world yesterday, but I know Bob Rivard so no doubt the lead story is about Lynddie England. Boring! Oh yeah, with our help Pakistan caught the No. 3 man in al Qaida so I am sure that is on the front page somewhere. I am also sure that the story in the SAEN will have an "expert" to explain to us that his capture isn't as important as we think. Okay, let's see here, there were several large terrorist attacks in Iraq. This will of course be on the front page and no where in the story will the word "terrorist" be used. In addition, the headline will read something like "Blood flows like a river" or something along those gory lines. I see one last thing in my crystal ball, somewhere in the paper will have to be the daily "bash Bolton" piece in which we read how John Bolton is a big, fat bully. I promise I will actually read the paper tomorrow. In the meantime, how did I do?
 

Global Freezing Is Coming!

Liberals often laugh because conservatives don't buy into all the hysteria over global warming. They are right, we don't, and here is a good reason why:
Two of the world's leading scientific journals have come under fire from researchers for refusing to publish papers which challenge fashionable wisdom over global warming.

A British authority on natural catastrophes who disputed whether climatologists really agree that the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity, says his work was rejected by the American publication, Science, on the flimsiest of grounds.

A separate team of climate scientists, which was regularly used by Science and the journal Nature to review papers on the progress of global warming, said it was dropped after attempting to publish its own research which raised doubts over the issue.

It seems pretty obvious that we haven't heard all sides on this issue, and that is why many conservatives don't buy into the idea of global warming. Liberals also have not heard all sides, but they have already made up their minds...what does that say about liberals?
 

Support For Iraq Slips

Yesterday the SAEN reported on a letter sent to Zarqawi that the US intercepted. This letter is news, huge news, because it reveals that things are not going so well for "Al Qaida in Mesopotamia," via the Washington Times:
A letter to terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi from a key lieutenant complains of low morale and incompetent leaders in waging war against American and Iraqi government troops in Iraq.

We also learned that morale is low among some Americans in regards to the Iraq war. The continued negativity of the press, as evidenced by our own SAEN, is no doubt convincing some Americans that nothing good ever happens in Iraq, but we all know that isn't true (and the press knows it too). Fine Mr. Rivard, we get it, you want us to leave Iraq and you color the news according to your own bias. Think about this for a second: a letter sent to one of our top enemies in the war on terror reveals that the enemy is demoralized and having trouble finding recruits, and the SAEN buries it on page 14A. It's almost unbelievable. The letter shows that morale is low in the terrorist organization and trust is in short supply:
"The morale has weakened and lines of the mujahidin have become separated due to some leaders' action," Yemeni wrote. "God does not accept such actions and that will delay victory. We do have big mistakes where some of us have been discarded."

Yemeni quoted one leader as telling recruits "you carry out a martyr [suicide] operation or go back to your family." He said he wanted a meeting to verify whether that order came from Zarqawi.

In addition, good leaders for the movement are also in short supply:
"We have leaders that are not capable of being good leaders," Yemeni wrote. "We are not accusing them without reason, but we have tested them and found them incapable."

Clearly we are winning in Iraq, and the terrorists know it, but the SAEN doesn't report it that way. What does that tell you about the editors over at the Express-News? You know who couldn't be happier about how the SAEN, and the MSM, are reporting on Iraq? That's right, al Qaida. They love it, and they couldn't be happier about the weakening of support for our troops in Iraq.

It is time for those of us who know how important it is to stay the course in Iraq to stand up and speak the truth. The is no denying that every time some liberal says we need to leave Iraq, or says we are stuck in a quagmire, al-Zarqawi smiles because if the left has it's way, and we tuck tail and run from Iraq, he will have won (and won't France be happy). The press keeps telling us that our presence in Iraq is helping al Qaida recruit new members (the terrorists own letters disavow this theory), but nothing could be better for their recruitment than to be able to say they caused the U.S. to run out of Iraq, and with us out of Iraq al Qaida can return it's attention to more meaningful things like planning attacks on U.S. soil.

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