Saturday, September 13, 2008
National Review Online
September 13, 2008
Whether or not Sarah Palin helps John McCain win the election, her greatest work may already be behind her. She's exposed the feminist con job.
Don't take my word for it. Feminists have been screaming like stuck pigs 24/7 since Palin was announced as McCain's running mate. (Are pig metaphors completely verboten now?)
Feminist author Cintra Wilson writes in Salon (a house organ of the angry left) that the notion of Palin as vice president is "akin to ideological brain rape." Presumably just before the nurse upped the dosage on her medication, Wilson continued, "Sarah Palin and her virtual burqa have me and my friends retching into our handbags. She's such a power-mad, backwater beauty-pageant casualty, it's easy to write her off and make fun of her. But in reality I feel as horrified as a ghetto Jew watching the rise of National Socialism."
And that's one of the nicer things she had to say. Really.
On Tuesday, Salon ran one article calling Palin a dominatrix ("a whip-wielding mistress") and another labeling her a sexually repressed fundamentalist no different from the Muslim fanatics and terrorists of Hamas. Make up your minds, folks. Is she a seductress or a sex-a-phobe?
But this any-weapon-near-to-hand approach is an obvious sign of how scared the Palin-o-phobes are.
Gloria Steinem, the grand mufti of feminism, issued a fatwa anathematizing Palin. A National Organization for Women spokeswoman proclaimed Palin more of a man than a woman. Wendy Doniger, a feminist academic at the University of Chicago, writes of Palin in Newsweek: "Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman."
It's funny. The left has been whining about having their patriotism questioned for so long it feels like they started griping in the Mesozoic era. Feminists have argued for decades that womanhood is an existential and metaphysical state of enlightenment. But they have no problem questioning whether women they hate are really women at all.
Since we know from basic science that Palin is a woman -- she's had five kids, for starters -- it's clear that these ideological thugs aren't talking about actual, you know, facts. They're doing what people of totalitarian mind-sets always do: bully heretics, demonize enemies, whip the troops into line.
The academic feminist left has scared the dickens out of mainstream men and women for so long, the liberal establishment is terrified to contradict feminists' nigh-upon-theological conviction that female authenticity is measured by one's blind loyalty to left-wing talking points. This is a version of the Marxist doctrine of "false consciousness," which holds that you aren't an authentic member of the proletariat unless you agree with Marxism.
It works like this: If you don't agree with feminist scolds, you're not a real woman, even if you're a very feminine working mom. But even if you're an actual man -- never mind a childless feminist who looks like a Bulgarian weightlifter in drag -- you're a "real woman" solely because you nod your head like a windup clapping monkey every time you read the latest editorial in Ms. Recall how they christened Bill Clinton the "first female president," too.
But here's the fun part. Feminists are hooked on their own Kool-Aid; they actually believe the stuff they say. The shrill, angry women you see on MSNBC claiming to speak for all women actually think they do. But they don't. They speak for a few left-leaning women in faculty lounges, editorial boardrooms and that's about it.
Mainstream liberals have been in captivity for so long, eagerly accepting their ritual beatings, that they've gotten Stockholm Syndrome and convinced themselves that Gloria Steinem and Co. are the authentic voices of women everywhere.
The reality is that there is an actual reality out there, and it doesn't look anything like what feminists see beyond the rims of their ideological blinders.
For instance, immediately after the Palin announcement, the priestesses not only ruled it "sexist" for McCain to pick a woman but also said it was strategically dumb -- "insulting to women!" -- to think any real women would switch support from the beatified Obama to that old devil McCain.
Well, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, there's been a 20-point swing among white women from Obama-Biden to McCain-Palin. Did this "ideological brain rape" suddenly induce an epidemic of false consciousness?
Of course not. Nor are women mindlessly switching loyalties because there's a woman on the ticket. What the Palin pick has demonstrated, however, is that the Feminist-Industrial Complex is a fraud. Disagreeing with self-described feminists doesn't mean you're anti-woman. Usually it just means you're sensible.
And for that lesson alone, we should all be grateful.
The Washington Post
Saturday, September 13, 2008; A17
In this image provided by ABC, ABC News anchor Charles Gibson, right, talks with Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in Fairbanks, Alaska in an interview, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008. The first excerpts aired Thursday on 'World News with Charles Gibson' and 'Nightline.' Friday, portions of the interview will air on 'Good Morning America,' 'World News,' 'Nightline' and a special one-hour '20/20.'
(AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennik)
"At times visibly nervous . . . Ms. Palin most visibly stumbled when she was asked by Mr. Gibson if she agreed with the Bush doctrine. Ms. Palin did not seem to know what he was talking about. Mr. Gibson, sounding like an impatient teacher, informed her that it meant the right of 'anticipatory self-defense.' "
-- New York Times, Sept. 12
Informed her? Rubbish.
The New York Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong.
There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.
He asked Palin, "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?"
She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, "In what respect, Charlie?"
Sensing his "gotcha" moment, Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, Gibson grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube that the Bush doctrine "is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense."
I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, "The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism," I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine.
Then came 9/11, and that notion was immediately superseded by the advent of the war on terror. In his address to the joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11, President Bush declared: "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." This "with us or against us" policy regarding terror -- first deployed against Pakistan when Secretary of State Colin Powell gave President Musharraf that seven-point ultimatum to end support for the Taliban and support our attack on Afghanistan -- became the essence of the Bush doctrine.
Until Iraq. A year later, when the Iraq war was looming, Bush offered his major justification by enunciating a doctrine of preemptive war. This is the one Charlie Gibson thinks is the Bush doctrine.
It's not. It's the third in a series and was superseded by the fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine, the most sweeping formulation of the Bush approach to foreign policy and the one that most clearly and distinctively defines the Bush years: the idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world. It was most dramatically enunciated in Bush's second inaugural address: "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."
This declaration of a sweeping, universal American freedom agenda was consciously meant to echo John Kennedy's pledge in his inaugural address that the United States "shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." It draws also from the Truman doctrine of March 1947 and from Wilson's 14 points.
If I were in any public foreign policy debate today, and my adversary were to raise the Bush doctrine, both I and the audience would assume -- unless my interlocutor annotated the reference otherwise -- that he was speaking about the grandly proclaimed (and widely attacked) freedom agenda of the Bush administration.
Not the Gibson doctrine of preemption.
Not the "with us or against us" no-neutrality-is-permitted policy of the immediate post-9/11 days.
Not the unilateralism that characterized the pre-9/11 first year of the Bush administration.
Presidential doctrines are inherently malleable and difficult to define. The only fixed "doctrines" in American history are the Monroe and the Truman doctrines which come out of single presidential statements during administrations where there were few other contradictory or conflicting foreign policy crosscurrents.
Such is not the case with the Bush doctrine.
Yes, Sarah Palin didn't know what it is. But neither does Charlie Gibson. And at least she didn't pretend to know -- while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, sighing and "sounding like an impatient teacher," as the Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes' reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.
Friday, September 12, 2008
September 11, 2008
Al-Qaida's media relations department must be seething. Or rather, they must be seething beyond the usual Destroy America/Kill the Jews/Behead the Infidels/Convert-or-Die seething that is their second nature. After years of churning out throat-slitting propaganda videos, investing in the finest video editing software and studio sets, and establishing cozy relations with sympathetic international newspapers and global network news channels, the jihadists still don't get no respect from world opinion.
They are the Rodney al-Dangerfields of global mass murderers.
A poll released this week of more than 16,000 people in 17 nations revealed that "majorities in only nine countries believe al-Qaida was behind the attacks on New York and Washington that killed about 3,000 people in 2001." A mere 46 percent of individuals overall said they believed al-Qaida executed the attacks—despite all the back-patting, fist-pumping video productions from AQ's media arm, al-Sahab, claiming credit.
In 2006, the AQ flacks released tape of Osama bin Laden at an Afghan training camp with several of the 9/11 hijackers. "I ask you to pray for them and to ask God to make them successful, aim their shots well, set their feet strong and strengthen their hearts," bin Laden urged in the sicko promo. In April, another clip showed irate and aggrieved jihadi leader Ayman al-Zawahri lambasting Hezbollah for crediting Israel for the 9/11 attacks. "The purpose of this lie is clear—(to suggest) that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it," he griped.
But to no avail. Maybe this is why FBI Most Wanted Terrorist Adam Yahiye Gadahn, the American-born Muslim convert turned al-Qaida publicist, has not been heard from in a while. He's been falling down on the job. Either that or those damned 9/11 Truther conspiracy nuts have surpassed the Islamic jihadis' recruitment efforts on YouTube. Time to hire a new viral violence marketing team.
So, who's stealing the bin Laden operation's thunder around the globe and getting all the blame (er, credit) for the September 11 terrorist attacks? The citizens of the world have cast their vote. Seven years after Mohamed Atta, Hani Hanjour and their Allahu Akbar-screaming team succeeded in slaughtering nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children, large numbers of our putative allies in the civilized world still blame America and Israel.
"Israel was behind the attacks, said 43 percent of people in Egypt, 31 percent in Jordan and 19 percent in the Palestinian Territories," according to the survey. "The U.S. government was blamed by 36 percent of Turks and 27 percent of Palestinians." The pollsters noted that no prompting was necessary: "These responses were given spontaneously to an open-ended question that did not offer response options."
Among our great friends south of the border, Mexico boasted "the second-largest number citing the U.S. government as the perpetrator of 9/11 (30 percent, after Turkey at 36 percent). Only 33 percent name al-Qaida." Which, of course, is no shock to those who remember when the U.S. soccer team was taunted with chants of "Osama! Osama! Osama!" after a match in Guadalajara four years ago; or when the team was booed again in 2005 and plastic bags filled with urine were reportedly tossed on American players.
They hate us. They still really, really hate us. And it is not all about Iraq. As a Mexican soccer fan told the Christian Science Monitor: "'Every schoolboy knows about 1848. … When they robbed our territory,' referring to when Texas, California and New Mexico were annexed to the U.S. as part of a peace treaty ending the war between the two countries, 'that was the beginning.'"
Not coincidentally, another world opinion poll was released this week that dovetails with the 9/11 survey. While the global community refuses to unite against al-Qaida as a common enemy to humanity, it has decided on who should be America's next president. The BBC-commissioned poll named Barack Obama the world's favorite candidate by an overwhelming margin of four to one. They see in their fellow "citizen of the world" a kindred spirit:
Someone whose former spiritual mentor shares the European elite's "chickens coming home to roost" schadenfreude. Someone who has promoted the need for "empathy" toward the head-chopping jihadists. Someone who shares their fetishizing of terrorists as poor victims of imperialism in need of more "understanding" and "education." Someone who cynically hawks "Buy American" campaign stickers while courting the "Blame America" Left at home and abroad.
Obama is their man. Never forget.
- Michelle Malkin [email her] is author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s review. Click here for Michelle Malkin's website. Michelle Malkin's latest book is "Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild."
Welcome to the United Socialist States of America, where Fedzilla obligates our tax dollars to prop up businesses that make stupid or possibly even criminal fiscal decisions. It takes a village indeed.
In overt defiance of the U.S. Constitution, Mao Tse Fedzilla has pledged 200 billion of our tax dollars to prop up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest and hopelessly bankrupt mortgage-finance companies in America.
These companies failed in part due to “flawed business models,” according to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Ya think? They also failed because Fedzilla is bloated, ineffective and far too corrupt to have provided the necessary fiscal and management oversight.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government sponsored enterprises (GSE) but are owned by private shareholders. That’s a screwy business model on its face, but what it essentially means is that when a GSE is about to go belly up, taxpayer dollars are there to bail them out.
Many people, going back from the Clinton Administration up through the Bush Administration, urged our do-nothing Congress to do something to provide oversight of these companies, but in typical fashion, Fedzilla sat on its hands with impunity.
Members of Congress were being bought off by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to look the other way and do nothing. According to an article on CNN.com by Allan Chernoff, these shyster companies paid 174 million dollars to lobbyists to keep our elected officials from doing anything to provide regulatory oversight. Quite simply, our elected officials were bought off. And the U.S. taxpayer gets screwed again. As recently departed Jerry Reed sang, “she got the gold mine, and I got the shaft.”
Democrats like Charles Schumer and Chris Dodd led the charge to stonewall any efforts to provide oversight of these companies. Dodd is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and now wants more information about how this happened. What hyperbole, what political posturing, what a fraud, what a perfect, soulless politician. When he had the opportunity to act in the interest of the American people, he didn’t. Case closed.
Now the solution is to prop these companies up with our tax dollars, and, magically, all the dirty money lobbying will be stopped. Yeah, and I'm going vegetarian and playing banjo in a country band.
The two guys who ran these companies have been fired, while reportedly walking away with millions stuffed in their pockets. They should be hounded by reporters for the remainder of their days just like the gangsters at Enron. And then forced to pay back every red cent.
People need to go to jail.
The Bush Administration should launch the most wide-sweeping FBI investigation in the history of the agency of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Leave no stone unturned, no scoundrel should escape scrutiny. If Fedzilla can investigate and prosecute the Enron Gang, they ought to do the same for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
We must demand the FBI, the GAO and other watchdog organizations to investigate our elected officials and government workers to determine their complicity in this financial train wreck. We deserve to know who did what or not, how much money their political campaigns received, and if any crimes were committed. Then prosecute to the full extent of the law.
Government officials entrusted with managing our tax money should be held to an even higher standard than business officers of private industries. I find it arrogant and condescending for our public officials to lecture private business leaders on shady business practices when the very people lecturing these individuals are horribly mismanaging our tax dollars. What hypocrites. What thieves.
The real blame for this financial fiasco rests with Fedzilla. The more power and control we surrender to Fedzilla, the more likely the taxpayer will be left to clean up these inexcusable messes.
Republican Sen. Jim Bunning is right by saying that propping up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with our tax dollars is taking the “free market out of the free market.” He’s also right by saying that Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake should resign. They ought to be fired and investigated, then prosecuted.
The goal should not be for tax payers to prop up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but rather, that these two companies should be privatized as soon as possible. The free market. What a concept. GSEs should be immediately abolished as in tomorrow.
Fedzilla remains a bloated, ineffective, stinking pig. And we have to pay for it. Again.
- Rock legend Ted Nugent is noted for his conservative political views and his vocal pro-hunting and Second Amendment activism. He also maintains the Official Ted Nugent Site at http://www.tednugent.com/. Coming October 6th from Regnery Publishing is Nugent's new book Ted, White & Blue: The Nugent Manifesto.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
By Amir Taheri
New York Post
Posted: 3:54 am
September 11, 2008
McCain believes America was an innocent victim of Islamic terrorism.
TODAY's joint visit to Ground Zero may give the impression that John McCain and Barack Obama share a common analysis of the causes of 9/11 and how to deal with its legacy. They don't.
The divide starts with the question: Why was America attacked?
McCain's answer is simple (or, as Obama might suggest, simplistic): The United States was attacked because a resurgent Islam has produced a radicalism that dreams of world conquest and sees America as the enemy.
In different shapes and sizes and under a range of labels, that radical streak of Islam has waged war on America since 1979, when Khomeinists seized the US embassy in Tehran and held its diplomats hostage for 444 days.
The killing of 241 Marines in Beirut in 1983, the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 and a host of other operations that claimed more American lives were episodes in a war - the reality of which the United States faced only after 9/11.
McCain doesn't hesitate to acknowledge that his country is engaged in a Global War on Terror. He doesn't believe that 9/11 might've been prompted by some wrong America did to others. To him, the nation was an innocent victim of "Islamic terrorism."
McCain asserts, "America faces a dedicated, focused and intelligent foe in the War on Terrorism. This enemy will probe to find America's weaknesses and strike against them. The United States cannot afford to be complacent about the threat, naive about terrorist intentions, unrealistic about their capabilities, or ignorant to our national vulnerabilities."
He'd pursue and fight these "enemies" wherever they are - including, especially, in Iraq. "If we run away," he says, "they are going to follow us home."
OBAMA, by contrast, doesn't use terms such as "the Global War on Terror" or "Islamic terrorism." Nor does he claim that America was simply an innocent victim.
In one speech, he used the image of a US helicopter flying over the poor countries in Africa and Asia, where it's seen as a symbol of oppression. He says his objective is to turn that helicopter into a symbol of American aid to the downtrodden.
For Obama, the threat comes not from terrorists but from "extremists" and their "program of hate." He never uses such terms as "jihadist," judging them hurtful to Muslims. He speaks of "violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims."
In one speech, he claimed that the Islamists aim only at "creating a repressive caliphate." He seemingly hasn't heard of jihadist movements whose declared aim is to destroy the United States in the name of Islam.
For McCain, the War on Terror is a "just war" in which Americans fight for their security and their allies'. Obama rejects the concept of "just war." He dismisses the Iraq war as both "unnecessary and unjust" - though the struggle in Afghanistan is "a necessary war."
ONE constant Obama theme is the claim that poverty and economic factors breed terrorism; this echoes the analysis of Jimmy Carter back in the '70s. Strengthening that impression is Obama's pick of Sen. Joseph Biden as running mate.
Biden denies there's a War on Terror in the first place or that the United States even knows whom it's fighting. He has declared that "terrorism is a means, not an end, and very different groups and countries are using it toward very different goals. If we can't even identify the enemy or describe the war we're fighting, it's difficult to see how we will win."
While McCain puts the emphasis on hard power - that is, on meeting and defeating the enemy on the battlefield - Obama, echoing Carter and Bill Clinton, promises a greater use of soft power.
He plans to double US foreign aid to $50 billion a year, allocate a further $20 billion to offering "alternatives to madrassa education" in Muslim countries, provide Afghanistan with another $1 billion a year in support and spend $5 billion on a "Shared Security Partnership Program" with foreign governments.
And he promises to "bolster our ability to speak different languages and understand different cultures" - as if America's unique cultural spectrum didn't already include large numbers of speakers of every living language, with millions of immigrants each year. Sorry: The nation was not attacked because Americans don't speak Arabic or don't understand Saudi or Egyptian cultures.
Obama also says he'll open "America Houses" in Muslim capitals. These would be community centers with libraries, Internet cafes and English-language classes. Has he considered the possibility that these might become prime targets for terrorists?
Plus, he'd set up an "America's Voice Corps," which would recruit and train thousands of young Americans to go to Muslim countries to explain "American values" and, in return, "listen to Islamic voices."
More important, perhaps, Obama promises to attend "a significant Islamic forum" (presumably, the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference) within his first 100 days in the White House. He believes that the magic of his eloquence might do what America's hard power has failed to achieve. In an early version of this idea, Obama wanted to invite all Muslim heads of state to a Washington summit. He doesn't realize that this would endorse the claim that Islam merits a special treatment even in international relations.
ONE might expect Obama to be more convincing on Afghani stan, his pet war. Yet all we get is a promise to increase aid - despite the fact that the Afghan economy hasn't been able to absorb the $20 billion pledged since 2002. He would also send in two more combat brigades - precisely the number that other NATO allies were supposed to supply by next January. (President Bush just announced that, from now until January, he'll be sending an even larger reinforcement to Afghanistan.)
The Democratic platform's section on foreign policy contains several references to "restoring American leadership." When it comes to tough issues, however, we're told that "the world must do" this or that.
An example: "The world must prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons." What if that abstract entity, "the world," of which Obama once claimed to be a citizen, fails to do so? Obama's answer is "tougher sanctions and aggressive, principled and direct high-level diplomacy without preconditions."
He promises to talk to all the "bad guys," including the Khomeinist leaders in Tehran. He ignores the fact that successive US administrations, from Carter to George W. Bush, have talked to the mullahs - so far to no avail. He also forgets that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell traveled to Syria and was rewarded with a series of political murders of US friends in Lebanon.
The platform's Middle East section promises to "stand with allies and pursue diplomacy." Apart from Israel, however, we're never told who those "allies" are.
While Bush fixed the creation of two states, a Palestinian one besides Israel, as the aim of his strategy, Obama takes a step back by claiming merely that the US should "lead the efforts to build the road to a secure and lasting peace."
HE also abandons Bush's mes sage of democratization in the Middle East as the long-term weapon against terrorism and strengthens the fiction that the Palestinian issue is the region's main, if not the sole, problem.
In fact, despotism may be the more important issue. Yet Obama sneers at the elections held in Iraq, Afghanistan and several other Muslim nations thanks to US encouragement and pressure. He would leave America without a core message in the Middle East.
McCain believes that America is at war; Obama doesn't. McCain believes the United States can win on the battlefield; Obama doesn't.
For Obama, the problem is one of effective law enforcement. His model is the way Clinton handled the first attack on World Trade Center in 1993. Obama says: "We are able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial." This means the United States reacting after being attacked.
McCain, however, doesn't fear the politically incorrect term "pre-emption" - hitting the enemy before he hits you.
WHEN all is said and done, this election may well have only one big issue: the existential threat that Islamist terrorism poses to America's safety. Since McCain and Obama offer radically different policies for facing that threat, American voters do have a real choice.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is John Ziegler, a former talk show host who is the director of the new documentary Blocking 'The Path to 9/11’. Visit the film's web site at BlockingThePath.com.
FP: John Ziegler, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Ziegler: Thanks for having me.
FP: Let’s begin with "The Path to 9/11". What was this documentary about and what happened when it came time for it to be shown?
Ziegler: "The Path to 9/11' was by far the most ambitious of all the 9/11 related films. It was a five and a half hour, two-night mini-series that aired on ABC on the fifth anniversary of the attacks which depicted the real history that connects the first WTC attack in 1993 and 9/11.
Just days before it aired the film was severely edited by Disney after personal demands from Bill Clinton and members of his administration and several senators and congressmen. The film, which was intended to be rebroadcast every 9/11, has never been shown again and even the DVD has not been released.
FP: Your documentary revealed that there was an atmosphere and reality of a Gestapo-like purge in the Left’s attempt to block this film. Can you talk a bit about that?
Ziegler: One of the many great ironies of this saga is that the news media portrayed the controversy as evidence of a "right-wing conspiracy" taking over "The Path to 9/11." The reality is that almost the entire management structure of the film was made up of people who were very far left and who were concerned only about the Bush administration objecting to the film. Instead, the Clintonites, the Democrats in congress, the left-wing blogs and the liberal mainstream news media all conspired to perpetrate a fraud on the American people, which resulted in the film being severely edited, censored and banned from public dissemination. Some of the tactics the Left used to destroy this film are beyond hypocritical; they were down-right scary.
FP: This censorship on the part of the Left clearly entailed Stalinist-like ingredients. How can this happen in a free country and where is the outcry against this totalitarianism in our country?
Ziegler: I wrote about this problem in my book The Death of Free Speech. The reason why the left can get away with censoring speech is that much the American public no longer values free speech and the news media is totally on their side and is more than willing to look the other way when it happens. Heck, even the Republican nominee for President does not appear to value free speech or the First Amendment.
FP: The Clintons themselves played a key role in this censorship effort, right?
Ziegler: We now know that Bill Clinton himself called Disney head Bob Iger and demanded that the film be edited or pulled entirely. Our documentary proves that this effort was far more extensive and corrupt than previously thought.
FP: What was/is Bill Clinton scared of in terms of the original version of the film? If Bush acted like this, calling people and threatening them to edit or pull a film, every major newspaper would carry a story on it. Why the silence in the media about Clinton’s behaviour?
Ziegler: The Clinton people were clearly afraid because millions of mainstream Americans would finally learn the real history of what led to 9/11 that the news media had largely ignored. The scenes in the film they got edited out should not even be remotely controversial, but because the left wing media had never really talked about this history and the Clinton people had done a decent job of keeping much (though not all) of it out of the 9/11 Commission Report, they were able to fool cowardly executives at Disney who had no idea what the facts were into thinking there were historical accuracy problems with the film. We prove that was false.
FP: Osama bin Laden would have been dead today if it were not for the Clinton administration getting in the way of the assassination, correct?
Ziegler: We have several experts in our film (including the head of the CIA's bin Laden unit during the Clinton years) who absolutely agree with that assessment.
FP: In other words, the Clinton administration made us vulnerable to 9/11. If Clinton had behaved like a President should in terms of protecting America’s national security, 9/11 would have never occurred, correct? The bottom line is, the evidence suggests 9/11 is his fault. Right?
Ziegler: There is obviously no way to prove that and the point of my documentary is not to "blame" 9/11 on Bill Clinton. We just want to expose the real history that led to the attacks and correct the historical record about what happened to this film so that we can help prevent this from happening again in the future.
FP: Sandy Berger destroyed some documents that he stole from the National Archives. Enlighten us to the connection to "The Path to 9/11".
Ziegler: Our documentary goes in the entire Sandy Berger fiasco in extensive detail that people have not seen before. There is little doubt that there is a strong connection between Berger stealing those documents and the controversy over "The Path to 9/11." The Clinton people wanted people to think that if it was in the 9/11 commission report that it somehow didn't happen (which is why they were so desperate to keep out important information). We prove how absurd that is.
FP: What price has Berger paid for his behaviour?
Ziegler: He paid a small fine and lost his security clearance for all of three years. He even advised the Hillary Clinton campaign. We delve deeper than anyone else has into what really happened with Sandy Berger and the stolen documents.
FP: Harvey Keitel cut and run, yes?
Ziegler: We pretty much prove that Harvey Keitel (who was the star of "The Path to 9/11") is a coward. We show him being very enthusiastic about the film. However, when the controversy broke, the Clintons asked many of the actors to betray the film. Harvey Keitel, who loves to brag about being a Marine, was the only one who cut and ran.
FP: Where was Hollywood to defend freedom of speech?
Ziegler: Nowhere. This case proves that they really only care about free speech when it merges with their liberal agenda.
FP: Why is the film still not available on DVD?
Ziegler: We have audio of Bob Iger saying it is a "business" decision, but we prove that is ridiculous. The real reason appears to be that initially they did not want to potentially disrupt Hillary Clinton's seemingly invincible Presidential campaign. Now, if they release it they may fear that it will be obvious that Hillary was the reason they didn't do so sooner.
FP: What pressures, overall, account for the film not being rebroadcast and the DVD not being released? What can the average citizen do to help make it so?
Ziegler: It is very obvious that Disney has taken a dive on their own film because they preferred losing $40 million and throwing their own people (as well as free speech, the truth and the legacy of 9/11) under the bus to the scenario of upsetting the Clintons and the Democratic Party which has threatened ABC's broadcast licences. I urge people (especially Disney shareholders) to contact Disney and ask that the original version of "The Path to 9/11" be released.
FP: What is the meaning behind this whole affair? What lessons has it taught us? How has it changed or confirmed your view of things?
Ziegler: I think that we should all learn a lot from this sad episode. Above all else, we learned that when three forces that ought to be unbeatable (free speech, the truth and the legacy of 9/11) go head to head against blatant partisanship and news media/Hollywood bias, that, unfortunately, the side of good gets run over by a Mack truck. There is some hope, however. Cyrus Nowrasteh (writer/producer of "The Path to 9/11") and David Cunningham (the director) as well as others from the original film have shown great courage in speaking out and making sure that the historical record is corrected here.
FP: John Ziegler, thank you for joining us.
Ziegler: Thanks for having me.
- Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's managing editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. He is also the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left and the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union (McGill-Queens University Press, 2002) and 15 Tips on How to be a Good Leftist. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Morose that there hasn't been another terrorist attack on American soil for seven long years, liberals were ecstatic when Hurricane Gustav was headed toward New Orleans during the Republican National Convention last week. The networks gave the hurricane plenty of breaking-news coverage -- but unfortunately it was Hurricane Katrina from 2005 they were covering.
On Keith Olbermann's Aug. 29 show on MSNBC, Michael Moore said the possibility of a Category 3 hurricane hitting the United States "is proof that there is a God in heaven." Olbermann responded: "A supremely good point."
Actually, Olbermann said that a few minutes later to some other idiotic point Moore had made, but that's how Moore would have edited the interview for one of his "documentaries," so I will, too. I would only add that Michael Moore's morbid obesity is proof that there is a Buddha.
Hurricane Gustav came and went without a hitch. What a difference a Republican governor makes!
As many have pointed out, the reason elected officials tend to neglect infrastructure project issues, like reinforcing levees in New Orleans and bridges in Minneapolis, is that there's no glory when a bridge doesn't collapse. There are no round-the-clock news specials when the levees hold. You can't even name an overpass retrofitting project after yourself -- it just looks too silly. But everyone's taxes go up to pay for the reinforcements.
Preventing another terrorist attack is like that. There is no media coverage when another 9/11 doesn't happen. We can thank God that President George Bush didn't care about doing the safe thing for himself; he cared about keeping Americans safe. And he has, for seven years.
If Bush's only concern were about his approval ratings, like a certain impeached president I could name, he would not have fought for the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq. He would not have resisted the howling ninnies demanding that we withdraw from Iraq, year after year. By liberals' own standard, Bush's war on terrorism has been a smashing, unimaginable success.
A year after the 9/11 attack, The New York Times' Frank Rich was carping about Bush's national security plans, saying we could judge Bush's war on terror by whether there was a major al-Qaida attack in 2003, which -- according to Rich -- would have been on al-Qaida's normal schedule.
Rich wrote: "Since major al-Qaida attacks are planned well in advance and have historically been separated by intervals of 12 to 24 months, we will find out how much we've been distracted soon enough." ("Never Forget What?" New York Times, Sept. 14, 2002.)
There wasn't a major al-Qaida attack in 2003. Nor in 2004, 2005, 2006 or 2007. Manifestly, liberals thought there would be: They announced a standard of success that they expected Bush to fail.
As Bush has said, we have to be right 100 percent of the time, the terrorists only have to be right one time. Bush has been right 100 percent of the time for seven years -- so much so that Americans have completely forgotten about the threat of Islamic terrorism.
For his thanks, President Bush has been the target of almost unimaginable calumnies -- the sort of invective liberals usually reserve for seniors who don't separate their recyclables properly. Compared to liberals' anger at Bush, there has always been something vaguely impersonal about their "anger" toward the terrorists.
By my count, roughly one in four books in print in the world at this very moment have the words "Bush" and "Lie" in their title. Barnes & Noble has been forced to add an "I Hate Bush" section. I don't believe there are as many anti-Hitler books.
Despite the fact that Hitler brought "change," promoted clean, energy-efficient mass transit by making the trains run on time, supported abortion for the non-master races, vastly expanded the power of the national government and was uniformly adored by college students and their professors, I gather that liberals don't like Hitler because they're constantly comparing him to Bush.
The ferocity of the left's attacks on Bush even scared many of his conservative allies into turning on him over the war in Iraq.
George Bush is Gary Cooper in the classic western "High Noon." The sheriff is about to leave office when a marauding gang is coming to town. He could leave, but he waits to face the killers as all his friends and all the townspeople, who supported him during his years of keeping them safe, slowly abandon him. In the end, he walks alone to meet the killers, because someone has to.
That's Bush. Name one other person in Washington who would be willing to stand alone if he had to, because someone had to.
OK, there is one, but she's not in Washington yet. Appropriately, at the end of "High Noon," Cooper is surrounded by the last two highwaymen when, suddenly, his wife (Grace Kelly) appears out of nowhere and blows away one of the killers! The aging sheriff is saved by a beautiful, gun-toting woman.
- Ann Coulter is a bestselling author and syndicated columnist. Her most recent book is Godless: The Church of Liberalism.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Barack Obama is in full panic mode. His poll numbers are down. John McCain's are up. Way up. For the first time, McCain's advantage is outside the polling margin of error. McCain's got a running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who has vexed her opponents. Her poll numbers are higher than Obama's (and McCain's.) The attacks on her have backfired, and she's giving her ticket tactical air support. And also for the first time, poll numbers show Americans now trust Obama and McCain equally on the economy, an issue on which Obama had previously held a double digit advantage.
Mayday! All hands, battle stations!
Faced with increasing signs of doom, Obama threw a bizarre Hail Mary pass. While appearing last Sunday on ABC's "This Week," he told George Stephanopoulos that he had thought about joining the military: "You know, I actually did. I had to sign up for Selective Service when I graduated from high school. And I was growing up in Hawaii. And I have friends whose parents were in the military. There are a lot of Army, military bases there," he said. "And I actually always thought of the military as an ennobling and, you know, honorable option. But keep in mind that I graduated in 1979. The Vietnam war had come to an end. We weren't engaged in an active military conflict at that point. And so, it's not an option that I ever decided to pursue."
This is all kinds of wrong.
First, for a guy who supposedly poured his whole life into the pages of not one but two memoirs, there is not a single mention in either of them of a desire to serve in the military. Well, at least he didn’t dodge the draft. Maybe because there hasn’t been one in his lifetime.
Second, he says he decided against it because the Vietnam War was over and we weren't involved in a hot war. So I guess Obama thinks peace and freedom just sort of happen by themselves. That we don't need a military in times of peace, because, you know, there's not a lot of stuff going on. That we only need a military when stuff does go down in the world, when the threat is on our doorstep, then by golly, we'll whip a military in no time! He doesn't seem to get that peace and freedom happen BECAUSE of a strong, deterrent force.
Just when you think you've heard all possible naivete from this guy, he hits you with more.
If this whole "I always wanted to join the military" schtick sounds familiar, it's because in April, Bill Clinton reprised an old story about Hillary wanting to join the military: "I remember when we were young, right out of law school, she went down and tried to join the Army and they said, 'Your eyes are so bad, nobody will take you,'" he said. This was Bill's version of Hillary's story about allegedly trying to join the Marines (not the Army) in 1975. Keeping the lies straight is exhausting.
What's obvious is that when Hillary or Obama are feeling the heat, they trot out some ridiculous story about having wanted to go to boot camp. Hillary had Bill do it in April because she wanted to reinforce that she was more ready to be Commander-in-Chief than Obama was. Obama is now spinning a similar yarn because he's losing traction to his war hero opponent.
When in doubt, Democrats put on an imaginary uniform and spin a wispy fairytale of "almost" heroics.
Somewhere on the campaign trail, John McCain smiles.
- Monica Crowley, Ph.D., is a nationally syndicated radio host and television commentator. She has also written for The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun and The New York Post.
By Michelle Malkin
National Review Online
September 10, 2008 12:00 AM
Let’s talk Mommy Wars, double standards, and the media elite. Last Friday, Howard Gutman, a member of the Obama campaign’s National Finance Committee, attacked Sarah Palin’s ability to be a good parent and have a high-powered public life at the same time. In a finger-wagging appearance on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, Obama’s operative scolded the Republican mother of five children for not putting her professional career on hold.
“Your responsibility is to put your family first,” Gutman lectured as he singled out Palin’s Down Syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter. “The proper attack is not that a woman shouldn’t run for vice president with five kids, it’s that a parent, when they have a family in need…” should get out of the public sphere and stay home.
The Gutman standard has now been proffered by countless Obama hacks and water-carrying commentators. Damningly, it’s high-powered working mothers in the journalism business who are helping to broadcast the anti-Palin slams or doing nothing to defend her.
How would Katie Couric like the Gutman standard applied to her? Her husband died at 42 when her daughters were 6 and 2 years old. With two young children devastated by the loss of a father, she opted not to quit journalism. She anchored NBC’s “Today Show” through his illness and death, continued working an intensive, time-consuming schedule as one of America’s most visible broadcast journalists while a single mother with two fatherless children at home, and then jumped to CBS News, where she maintains a rigorous on-air schedule, travel plans and an off-air social calendar. Where are the finger-waggers?
How about CNN’s Soldedad O’Brien? She’s been working overtime covering the presidential campaign season, anchoring daily coverage and nighttime conventions, and producing documentaries that require large chunks of time away from home. Disney’s Family Parenting website lauds her as “a modern mom balancing a thriving career as one of America’s top news anchors along with her four children” — two daughters now ages 7 and 6 and twin boys who are 4. Where are the Palin-bashers to lambaste O’Brien’s professional pursuits?
Also at CNN, Campbell Brown flew to Las Vegas last year to moderate a political debate while 8 and a half months pregnant. Fox News host and left-wing blogger Alan Colmes, last seen questioning Palin’s commitment to prenatal care because she worked and traveled late in her pregnancy, had no comment. When Brown initially left "The Today Show" in 2007, she said she was stepping down to devote more time to family and baby. She immediately turned around and jumped ship to CNN, where she has anchored wall-to-wall CNN Election Center coverage and will launch a new nightly show in November.
At NBC, famous balancer of work and motherhood Meredith Viera replaced Couric on The Today Show. She has three children at home and a husband who has battled multiple sclerosis and two bouts of colon cancer. By the Gutman standard, Viera should have left the business years ago to tend to her family in need.
As a working woman in the media for 16 years and a working mother in the media for the last eight, I know the commitment and energy it took for these women to get to the top. I’ve filed columns from hospital beds, written books while nursing, brought my toddlers to TV studios, and told bedtime stories on the cell phone while boarding planes. I’ve worked hard to strike the “balance” we all seek. I’ve made good choices and bad choices, and have no regrets about the opportunities I’ve taken or the opportunities I’ve rejected. I couldn’t have done it without a supportive husband willing to forego his own career goals — the kind of spouse the media has ignored in Todd Palin and the kind of spouse I’m sure the Sisterhood of the Protected Female Journalists all have.
I don’t challenge the commitment these fellow working mothers in the media have to their home lives. What I challenge is their silence and complicity as the Palin-bashers impose a “Family First” double standard on conservatives. The sorority is closed to the Right.
By David Freddoso
National Review Online
September 10, 2008, 6:00 a.m.
Democratic Illinois Sen. Barack Obama speaks after endorsing Richard Daley, right, for a sixth term as Chicago mayor in this Jan. 22, 2007, file photo in Chicago. Obama praised Daley saying, "I don't think there's a city in America that has blossomed as much over the last couple of decades than Chicago, and a lot of that has to do with our mayor."
In 2003, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s son Patrick and nephew Robert Vanecko became original investors in Municipal Sewer Services, a sewer cleaning and inspection company which had bought out a bankrupt firm. The company quickly had the old firm’s contracts with the city of Chicago extended without competitive bidding, at a value of $3 million to the company.
MSS did not disclose the Daley family members as investors in its official filings, as required by city ordinance, and it remains unclear how much money Daley’s family members made when they cashed out of the firm in late 2004. MSS would go on to acquire other city contracts and receive $7.9 million from Chicago before Tim Novak of the Chicago Sun-Times reported the conflict of interest late last year. The company was forced to walk away from a live contract and close its doors earlier this year.
On Friday, that same sewer contract was awarded to another company on a non-“friends and family” basis. It was one more story of dirty Chicago politics that went unnoticed in the national media.
This story of Patrick Daley feeding from the trough — or more properly, from the sewer — exemplifies the sweetheart deals that are typical of the political environment in which Senator Barack Obama rose. It rounds out the story of how each member of the family of Obama’s Illinois Senate mentor, Emil Jones, somehow manages to make big money from government salaries and contracts. It may evoke memories of the illegal pension-fund manipulation that landed Obama’s fundraiser, Tony Rezko, in federal prison — or of the millions in corporate welfare that Obama, as a state senator, showered upon Rezko and his other major donors in Chicago’s slum development business.
But Friday’s story also serves as a reminder of what sort of governance Obama has willingly and knowingly backed with his good name. Despite his personal popularity, and the resulting capacity he had for political independence — despite having many opportunities to change Chicago in a positive way — Obama always chose to back a corrupt status quo. This amazingly unexplored part of Obama’s career falsifies the media image he has paid millions of dollars to project, as an agent of positive change.
In January 2007, when Barack Obama endorsed Mayor Daley for re-election, City Hall was still reeling from two major corruption scandals and a handful of minor ones, which had resulted in indictments, convictions, and further investigations throughout 2005 and 2006. One of these was the Hired Truck Scandal.
Chicago was paying $40 million annually to trucking companies for their services, but a reporter for the Sun-Times noticed that many of these hired trucks would stand idly for days on end. The subsequent news stories and federal investigation found that contracts went to companies owned by family members of top city officials and to those who were either paying bribes or donating to politicians — most of them gave money to Daley’s campaign or to his political machine organizations. Five of the trucking firms let into the program, including its largest beneficiary, had bought their automobile insurance through the mayor’s brother, Cook County Commissioner John Daley.
John Daley’s brother-in-law, John Briatta, was one of the small players found guilty of collecting bribes. The ringleader of the operation was Mayor Daley’s appointee as First Deputy Water Commissioner, Donald Tomczak, a chief in one of Daley’s most loyal ward organizations. Tomczak pleaded guilty to racketeering and tax fraud.
Mark Gyrion, the mayor’s cousin, was also a top official in the city Water Department. He signed the papers to sell off a city dump truck for scrap to a dealer, who in turn sold it to Gyrion’s mother-in-law, who in turn made $1 million in the truck program, leasing the “scrap” truck back to the city.
Angelo Torres was a former gang member who had been placing boots on cars for the city in 1996, but by 1998 he was running the entire Hired Truck Program. Torres’s career might have taken off because he was a member of the “Hispanic Democratic Organization,” a then-powerful part of Daley’s political machine (known in Chicago as the “Hispanic Daley Organization”). Torres, who also pleaded guilty to shaking down the trucking firms, cut his father-in-law’s truck company into the program.
One of the more colorful bribe-takers in the Hired Truck Scandal was John “Quarters” Boyle. He earned his nickname in 1992 by embezzling $4 million in coins from Chicago-area toll booths — the Chicago version of “change we can believe in.” Fresh out of prison for that crime, Boyle joined and thrived in one of Daley’s political machine organizations, ironically named the “Coalition for Better Government.” Somehow, he was hired as a $33-an-hour engineer for Chicago’s Department of Transportation, from which position he and a colleague shook down the trucking contractors for $200,000.
One would be hard-pressed to find any licit aspect within the mayor’s truck program. City workers were even stealing the asphalt that these trucks carried to city projects, bribing the contracted drivers to divert it to other sites. Think of that the next time you hit a pothole on the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Even the scandals of 2005 offered an opportunity for new political favors. The Sun-Times reported that between early 2006 and mid-2007, Daley’s administration paid out $13 million in taxpayer funds to politically connected law firms in order to defend itself in the Hired Truck, City Hall patronage, and other corruption probes. Mayor Daley has not been charged with any crime. But if he knew nothing, it is rather amazing that his friends and family are stealing Chicago from under his nose, brick by brick.
Barack Obama, Chicago’s reformer, was so shaken by all of this corruption that he called for Mayor Daley to step down immediately.
Just kidding — he didn’t do anything like that. But in August 2005, at the very height of the scandals, Obama nearly said something mildly critical of the mayor. A Sun-Times reporter asked whether he would endorse Daley for re-election, and Obama replied, “What’s happened — some of the reports I’ve seen in your newspaper, I think, give me huge pause.” But Obama must have thought he’d been too harsh with that statement. Just one hour later, he called that reporter back, to “clarify” his comments:
Obama said the mayor was “obviously going through a rough patch right now.” But he also said Chicago has “never looked better” and that “significant progress has been made on a variety of fronts.” The senator said then it was “way premature” to talk about endorsements because the mayor had not yet announced his candidacy.
In January 2007, when Obama finally endorsed Daley for re-election, a reporter asked how his “concerns” from 2005 had figured into his endorsement. Again, Obama hedged: “There is no doubt that there remains progress to be made. . . . But ultimately you want to look at the whole record of this administration. . . . The city overall has moved in a positive direction.”
Ryan Lizza, then of The New Republic, quoted an Obama ally who framed the situation in the most sympathetic light possible:
That’s part of [Obama’s] political savvy. . . . He recognizes that Daley is a powerful man and to have him as an ally is important. While he was a state senator here and moving around in Chicago, he made sure to minimize the direct confrontational approach to people of influence and policymakers and civic leaders. These are the same people now who are very aggressively supporting his campaign.
The idea is that deep down, Obama is a reformer — he’s just undercover for now. He can advance and then show his true colors later, after getting the critical support of Daley and Chicago’s crooked politicians.
Here’s another way of putting it: If Barack Obama is a reformer, he may be the first one ever to become President of the United States without having done anything serious or difficult in the name of reform.
— David Freddoso is a staff reporter for National Review Online and author of the newly released The Case Against Barack Obama.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
September 8, 2008
One wonders: What did Sarah Palin ever do to inspire the rage and bile that exploded on her selection by John McCain? What is there either in this woman's record or resume to elicit such feline ferocity?
What did we know of her when she was introduced?
That she was a mother of five who had brought into this world a baby boy with Down syndrome, thus living her Christian beliefs. That she was a small-town conservative who had risen from mayor of Wasilla (Pop. 9,700) to be governor of a state twice the size of Texas.
That she was a reformer who had dethroned an Old Boys' Network by dumping a sitting Republican governor. That she had taken on Big Oil, taxed the companies and returned the money in $1,200 checks to every citizen of Alaska. And that she had cut a deal with Canada to build a pipeline to bring natural gas to her fellow Americans.
And, oh, yes. She was "Sarah Barracuda"—a fierce high school athlete, a runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant, a Feminist for Life and lifetime member of the NRA. Introduced by McCain, she praised Hillary Clinton and pledged to finish her work by smashing through the glass ceiling in which Hillary had made 18 million cracks.
What, in any or all of this, is there to justify the feral attacks within minutes of her introduction? What had she done to cause this outburst? Answer: absolutely nothing.
No. Sarah Palin is not resented for what she has done, but for who she is: a Christian conservative who believes unborn children are gifts of God, even those with birth defects, and have a God-given right to life.
Normally, the press is reluctant to rummage into the private lives of public servants, unless their conduct affects their duties or they preach virtues they hypocritically do not practice.
Yet, no sooner was Palin introduced, than the media went berserk over the news that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. As one in three births in America is out-of-wedlock and Hollywood celebrates this lifestyle, why did The New York Times and The Washington Post splash this "news" on page one above the fold?
How does Bristol Palin's pregnancy disqualify Sarah Palin to be vice president? Why is it even relevant?
They did it because they thought it would damage Sarah Palin in the eyes of a Christian community they do not comprehend.
So out of bounds was the media that Obama, in an act of decency, declared Palin's family off limits and reminded the media that he was himself born to a teenage single mom.
If one would wish to see the famous liberal double standard on naked display, consider.
Palin's daughter was fair game for a media that refused to look into reports that John Edwards, a Democratic candidate for president, was conducting an illicit affair with a woman said to be carrying his child and cheating on his faithful wife Elizabeth, who has incurable cancer. That was not a legitimate story, but Bristol Palin's pregnancy is?
Why did the selection of Sarah Palin cause a suspension of all standards and a near riot among a media that has been so in the tank for Barack even "Saturday Night Live" has satirized the infatuation?
Because she is one of us—and he is one of them.
Barack and Michelle are affirmative action, Princeton, Columbia, Harvard Law. She is public schools and Idaho State. Barack was a Saul Alinsky social worker who rustled up food stamps. Sarah Palin kills her own food.
Michelle has a $300,000-a-year sinecure doing PR for a Chicago hospital. Todd Palin is a union steelworker who augments his income working vacations on the North Slope. Sarah has always been proud to be an American. Michelle was never proud of America—until Barack started winning.
Barack has zero experience as an executive. Sarah ran her own fishing fleet, was mayor for six years and runs the largest state in the union. She belongs to a mainstream Christian church. Barack was, for 15 years, a parishioner at Trinity United and had his daughters baptized by Pastor Jeremiah Wright, whose sermons are saturated in black-power, anti-white racism and anti-Americanism.
Sarah is a rebel. Obama has been a go-along, get-along cog in the Daley Machine. She is Middle America. Barack, behind closed doors in San Francisco, mocked Middle Americans as folks left behind by the global economy who cling bitterly to their Bibles, bigotries and guns.
Barack has zero foreign policy experience. Palin runs a state that is home to anti-missile, missile and air defense bases facing the Far East, commands the Alaska National Guard and has a soldier-son heading for Iraq.
Barack, says the National Journal, has the most left-wing voting record in the Senate, besting Socialist Bernie Sanders. Palin's stances read as though they were lifted from Reagan's 1980 "no pale pastels" platform.
And this is what this media firestorm is all about.
- Patrick J. Buchanan needs no introduction to VDARE.COM readers; his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book is Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, reviewed here by Paul Craig Roberts.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
The Translator: A Memoir of Darfur
By Daoud Hari
Random House, $23, 204 pp.
Here's something actor George Clooney doesn't mention about his pet cause, the genocide in Darfur: It's the direct result of Arab Islamofascists imposing sharia law on traditional African peoples in remote western Sudan, most of whom are Muslims.
In fact, if you read a history of Darfur on the website of "Not on Our Watch," a charity founded by Clooney and half the cast of his Ocean's Eleven remake, the only people identified by religion are the two rebel groups who resisted Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir's brutal regime in 2003.
Likewise, you can watch CBS News reporter Scott Pelley's 13-minute Darfur feature on 60 Minutes , you'll never hear any reference to Islam.
But Daoud Hari's memoir, The Translator, is anything but a political book, it is the very personal story of an inimitable and courageous man who nevertheless pulls no punches in explaining the nature of the evil that has created this humanitarian disaster.
As Daoud explains, war has broken out twice in Sudan since a 1972 peace agreement that was supposed to establish a lasting, united government. Both times, the ruling Arab majority — first led by Ja'afar Nemeiri in 1983, then, by Ahmad al-Bashir in 1989—imposed sharia law on Sudan.
"This was a big shock to everyone," Daoud writes, "I was in high school at the time, and all of us wanted to fight it."
Daoud's father sent him to study in a northern city away from the fighting. Life in Darfur in the 1990s was hazardous, and Bashir's oppression provoked rebellions which were brutally put down — though nothing quite like the future genocide which was still years away.
Daoud fell in love with Western literature -- and Westerns. He decided to see the wider world. Unfortunately, he illegally crossed into Israel and was arrested.
"So I did get to Beersheba," he writes ruefully, "But only to the prison there. It was actually very nice with color television and free international calls. I would recommend it even over many hotels I have known."
This is a recurring theme with the steadfatstly moral Hari. While taking some note of the West's inaction in Darfur, he never resorts to moral equivalence. He urges all Muslims to remember America's generosity in taking in thousands of Sudanese orphans, and, later, he notes the sight of American military uniforms is a source of great relief at a time of grave danger. "This is the good America," he writes.
Israel would not deport Daoud to Sudan, where he would likely be killed, so he was booted to Egypt, where a long stay in a harsh Cairo prison that nearly did him in anyway. "You might have some idea of how bad a prison can be, with the filth and darkness and violence of it, but you would still have some ways to go," he notes in direct contrast to his time in Israeli incarceration.
Eventually, thanks to pleas from his tribal leaders and human rights organizations, Daoud barely avoided being extradited to Sudan,and survived Egyptian hospitality. But once again, he left a frying pan for the fire.
Many Americans think of Darfur as a vast refugee camp, unaware it is a region about the size of Texas. Daoud arrived home as Bashir's government unleashed its military might and equipped nomadic Arab horsemen -- known as the janjaweed -- with the sole purpose of exterminating Darfur's tribes.
Daoud reached his home village on the eve of its being targeted by the Sudanese government for extinction. He had barely settled in when Russia-supplied bombers, followed by helicopter gunships, struck the village from the air. They machine-gunned the populace in preparation for the janjaweed to attack on the ground.
Daoud's older brother, Ahmed, had the men organized into a defense force, and they provided enough cover for Daoud to lead some villagers into the hills. Ahmed was killed, but Daoud was able to make it to Chad and the refugee camps along with a group of refugees and others they had met on the way and helped.
It was here that Daoud discovered his mission. His travels and literary tastes had given him multilingual fluency, and he made himself useful first to aid workers, then to journalists and then to the investigators who came to decide if genocide was being perpetrated in Darfur.
The Translator treats us to scenes of unspeakable horror, from large-scale slaughter of villages to haunting individual acts of cruelty, such as a janjaweed thug bayoneting a toddler in front of her helpless father and leaving him to live with the horror of his memories because killing him would have been more merciful.
Even at the camps, women who go to gather firewood are routinely raped by the janjaweed. If the men go or resist, they are slaughtered.
Eventually, too many people became aware of Daoud's activities on both sides of the border. Along with American journalist Paul Slopek and a driver, Daoud was captured by government forces in a trap laid for him.
This marvelous passage contrasts the enemy and the man who refused to buckle to them:
"'We are going to kill you right now,' one of them said, 'We will show you who you are dealing with now.' They opened their cell phones and waved the screen image of their hero, Osama bin Laden, and the burning of the World Trade Center Towers in Paul's face.
"It is interesting to me that people bother to shout at you, or even to hurt you, when they are planning to kill you. What lesson will that teach you if you are going to be dead? It has always seemed like a waste of energy… So kill us, please do. But don't hurt our ears with your screaming or show us pictures on your cell phone. Just do what you have to do and leave our bodies in peace."
The harrowing account of the three men in the hands of their Arab captors is the stuff of thrillers, and their eventual escape is rousing reading.
Daoud Hari makes little of his own courage and heroism, recounting his own actions matter-of-factly. He saves the emotion in his narrative for describing the plight of the victims, the evil of their persecutors and his praise for the aid workers and journalists who travel to Darfur though it is not their fight.
Some 400 thousand people have been killed by Bashir's Islamofascist forces, and another 2.3 million are displaced in terrible conditions. Darfur has oddly become the cause celebre for some of Hollywood's most outspoken antiwar liberals, taking their typical stance that the only just war is the one America is not currently fighting.
Darfur stands as a testament to the impotence of the United Nations and the so-called "international community." But Hari's book is so much more than a collection of horror stories.
The Translator is a superb paen to human and moral courage, plus a valuable eyewitness record of incredible evil. Hari's unflagging decency and courage in the face of most dire situations and unspeakable horror is inspirational. Spending a couple of afternoons with Daoud Hari is essential nourishment for the soul. Don't miss this book.
By Kirsten Powers
New York Post
September 9, 2008
Palin: Strengthened among working class by media, Dem attacks.
YESTERDAY'S Gal lup poll had John McCain ahead of Barack Obama by an astonishing 10 points among likely voters. A Washington Post poll had that lead at only two points, but clearly showed a McCain surge - especially among women. This wasn't what Democrats were expecting when they left Denver - yet they have nobody to blame but themselves.
Obama's toughest challenge has always been to connect with working-class swing voters. So attacking the poster child for small-town values, Sarah Palin, was a bad strategy.
No, Obama didn't engage in the mass sneering at Palin - but he did fall into the trap of disrespecting her. When McCain chose her, the Obama campaign's first response was to ridicule the size of her town. Then the candidate himself began referring to her as a "former mayor" when she is in fact a sitting governor.
When she retaliated (justifiably) by mocking his stint as a organizer, the Obama camp was clearly rattled. Obama himself actually began arguing about the importance of community organizing. His supporters amplified this cry - claiming Palin's attack was a racist slur and passing around e-mails titled "Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor."
Meanwhile, the rest of the country was probably wondering what being a community organizer has to do with being president.
Lured by the McCain camp, Obama supporters engaged in an argument about who had more overall experience - the top of the Democratic ticket or the bottom of the GOP ticket. This diminished Obama.
Meanwhile, the media lit up in all their cultural-elite splendor.
Alaska? they sneered. It has the population of Las Vegas! Funny how the coastal elite only sneers at red states with small populations. Howard Dean hailed from a blue state with almost the same population as Alaska and was a national phenomenon and front-runner for the presidency. Joe Biden's Delaware has a similarly small population - but no mocking was forthcoming there.
Evangelicals will never vote for a woman who works! they declared. This from people who've likely never met an evangelical in their lives. They could barely contain themselves when they found out Gov. Palin's daughter was pregnant, so sure were they that evangelicals would hang her from the highest tree. When evangelical leaders expressed support, there was a palpable disappointment that Palin or her daughter wasn't branded with a scarlet letter.
They claimed that the Palin announcement was some desperate pick that came out of nowhere. Had they been doing their jobs, or even perusing The Weekly Standard or right-wing blogs, they'd have known that she was on the list.
Since they didn't know anything about her, they started making things up. Anything that fit the caricature of a right-wing hypocrite was thrown up with, seemingly, no fact-checking.
They said she opposes contraception, when she said in a campaign debate that she is pro-contraception. They said she cut funding for pregnant teens, when she provided a massive funding hike.
They accused her of cutting funding for mentally disabled children, when she raised it 175 percent over the former administration. She was said to have been a member of the wacky Alaska Independence Party; The New York Times had to run a retraction.
Like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Palin has been deemed one of the GOP's rising stars. Since it's national reporters job to cover American politics, their ignorance of about her is distressing.
Most Americans think that the media are cheerleading for Obama, so they'll punish him for the reporters' and editors' sins.
So now he is weighted down with more baggage as he works to convince an important voting bloc that he and his party don't hold them in contempt.
The clock is ticking.
By DAVE KEHR
The New York Times
September 9, 2008
Warner Home Video
The Wide, Wide West: James Stewart (on horseback) in a scene from “How the West Was Won,” the first — and last — narrative film to be made using the three-strip Cinerama process.
HOW THE WEST WAS WON
The best reason for buying a Blu-ray player right now is Warner Home Video’s high-definition version of “How the West Was Won,” a film made 46 years ago in the highest-definition moving picture medium the world had seen: Cinerama. With its three strips of 35-millimeter film projected side by side with a slight overlap on a gigantic, curved screen, Cinerama offered six times the resolution — which is to say, six times as much visual information — of the standard film of 1952, when it was first used commercially.
Not even the finest home theater installation will be able to reproduce the scale and resolution of the Cinerama experience, or anything close to it. But moving from standard-definition DVD to Blu-ray generates a shock analogous to what the audiences of 1952 must have felt when the curtains parted to reveal the panoramic screen.
The images are so crisp as to feel almost unreal; the depth of field seems dreamlike, infinite, with the blades of grass in the foreground as sharply in focus as the snow-capped mountains in the distant background.
Unfortunately, there is no way to bend even a flat-panel monitor to imitate the immersive experience of Cinerama’s curved screen, which tried to fill every speck of the viewer’s peripheral vision. But sit close enough, and that sense of enveloping depth returns. It feels like a three-dimensional experience, and in some ways is a more convincing illusion (and a much less visually painful one) than that provided by the two-camera 3-D processes that followed in the wake of Cinerama’s popular success.
The first Cinerama features were travelogues, transporting 1950s spectators to parts of the world most would never see. (Many of the earliest Edison and Lumière films, at the turn of the 20th century, fulfilled a similar function.) Released in the United States in 1963, “How the West Was Won” would be the first — and, as it turned out, the last — narrative film to be shot in the three-strip Cinerama process.
In a sense the film’s guiding aesthetic is still that of the travelogue, but instead of visiting various scenic locations, it makes brief stops at most of the symbolic locations of the western genre, from the embarkation points of the Erie Canal to the California mountains of the Gold Rush.
The script, by James R. Webb (“Vera Cruz”), does its best to touch all the thematic bases of the genre too: the male characters include a mountain man (James Stewart) and a river pirate (Walter Brennan); a wagon master (Robert Preston) and a riverboat gambler (Gregory Peck); a builder of railroads (Richard Widmark) and a frontier marshal (George Peppard). The main female characters are even more broadly archetypal: a pair of sisters, portentously named Lilith (Debbie Reynolds, who becomes a saloon singer and budding capitalist) and Eve (Carroll Baker, who stakes out a farm on a Mississippi riverbank and mothers two boys).
Warner Home Video
Debbie Reynolds plays Lilith, a saloon singer who has a sister named Eve (Carroll Baker).
As a dramatic narrative “How the West Was Won” doesn’t work all that well. Few of the characters are on screen long enough to establish identities beyond those of the stars who play them. Most of the episodes are thinly developed, and over all the film has a jerky, stop-and-start rhythm, perhaps because it is the work of three different directors.
Henry Hathaway (“True Grit”) reportedly was in charge of the project and directed three episodes (“The Rivers,” “The Plains” and “The Outlaws”). John Ford directed one (“The Civil War”), and George Marshall another (“The Railroad,” although Hathaway later said he had to reshoot much of Marshall’s material).
Instead this is a movie of visual epiphanies, ingeniously realized in the face of crippling stylistic challenges. The Cinerama camera — an 800-pound behemoth that resembled a steel-girded jukebox — could move forward and backward with ease and elegance, resulting in some of the most impressive moments in the film (like the long tracking shot through a river town that opens “The Rivers”). But it couldn’t pan from side to side without creating registration problems, and close-ups were all but impossible to achieve with the system’s short 27-millimeter lenses.
Moreover, characters couldn’t move freely across the wide screen, because crossing the two join lines — where the images overlapped — would create a distracting jump, and the action (beyond the broad movements of rushing trains or stampeding buffalo) had to be restricted to the center of the screen.
Hathaway and Marshall are resourceful and craftsmanlike in dealing with these limitations, finding ways to position the actors so that the join lines are hidden, or filling the unused space beyond the center frame with vertiginously detailed landscapes that fall off into infinite distance.
But it is John Ford who rises to the challenge most poetically, chiefly by ignoring it. “The Civil War” is an exquisite miniature (unfortunately padded out by some battle sequences lifted from “Raintree County,” an earlier MGM Civil War film) that consists of only three scenes: a mother (Ms. Baker) sends a son (Peppard) off to war; the son has a horrible experience as night falls on the battlefield of Shiloh; the son returns and finds that his mother has died. The structure has a musical alternation: day, night, day; exterior, interior, exterior; stillness, movement, stillness.
In the first and last scenes the famous Fordian horizon line extends the entire length of the extra-wide Cinerama frame. In the aftermath of the battle the horizon line disappears in darkened studio sets. The sense of the sequence is profoundly antiwar — Generals Sherman and Grant, played by John Wayne and Henry Morgan, briefly appear as a couple of disheveled, self-pitying drunks — and it gradually becomes apparent that the elderly Ford is revisiting one of his early important works, the 1928 drama “Four Sons.”
The expressionistic middle sequence, with its studio-built swamp, refers to F. W. Murnau, whose “Sunrise” was one of the great influences on the young Ford, while the open-air sequences that bracket it, with their unmoving camera, long-shot compositions and rootedness in the rural landscape, recall the work of the American pioneer D. W. Griffith.
When, in the final panel of Ford’s triptych, a gust of wind tousles Peppard’s hair in the foreground and then continues across to the forest in the middle distance and on to the stand of trees in the most distant background, it seems like a true miracle of the movies: a breath of life, moving over the face of the earth. No less formidable a filmmaker than Jean-Marie Straub has called “The Civil War” John Ford’s masterpiece; for the first time, thanks to this magnificent new edition, I think I know what he’s talking about. Birth, death, rebirth.
(Warner Home Video, $34.99, Blu-ray; $59.98, three-disc standard-definition collector’s edition; $20.98, two-disc standard definition edition, not rated)