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Archive for November, 2005

November 30th 2005

Hold That Thought …


Another bird flu outbreak in China

In reporting another bird flu outbreak, this one in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Health Minister Gao Qiang said yesterday China “would never cover up cases” of bird flu in humans. (source)

Odds on that proving true, anyone?

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November 30th 2005

A Timetable By Any Other Name …

Go on over to Blogs4God and check out the cover of “Military Strategy for Pinheads: Your guide to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” Then roll on over to La Shawn Barber to read all about it.

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November 30th 2005

MSM Prophets Fail Again

Last summer, some MSM voices were saying gas prices were going to continue to rise this time around, because of increased demand from China and India and a world-wide refining shortfall, remember? Hmmmm:

Oil prices briefly slipped to their lowest level in 5 1/2 months Wednesday as warm weather persisted throughout the U.S. Northeast and supported expectations that U.S. oil reserves are sufficient for the winter.

Analysts suggested the downward trend would continue in the short term, pointing out that over the past three months, the market has seized on a series of developments that support the rationale for cheaper oil.

After touching a low in Asian trading of $55.72 _ a level not seen for a front-month contract since June 13 _ light sweet crude for January delivery was down 34 cents at $56.35 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midday in Europe.

In London, January Brent crude futures on the ICE Futures exchange fell 18 cents to $54.14 a barrel. (source)

Also from your frieindly MSM bubblehead: Things are going badly in Iraq and global warming can be stopped if we’d just stop driving SUVs.

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November 30th 2005

Schwarzenegger Turns Left

Updated!

Ahnold has appointed a former top Grey Davis aide and former executive director of the corrupt Cal. Democratic Party, Susan Kennedy, to be his chief of staff.

How fitting, and how disappointing. The voters reject the entire slate of initiatives that would have begun the process of killing the monster Davis left, and Schwarzenegger responds by hiring the creature that fed the moster. He’s turned to the dark side … well, the grey side … of California’s political spectrum.

Some will say this is just an honest appraisal by the gov of where his administration stands today, and that he’s acknowledging he has to deal with the Dems. But in California, dealing with old hack Dems like Kennedy is dealing with the devil — the party she once ran is so in the pocket of trial lawyers and unions that we will never retrieve this state from the brink by cozying up to them.

Competing quotes, first Kennedy, scaring me very badly:

“The bottom line is that I believe in this man…and where he wants to take California…to get past the partisan labels and to get things done.”

Now Randy Thomasson of the Campaign for Children and Families:

“This is like George W. Bush appointing Hillary Clinton to be in charge of his administration.” (source)

A little consolation: Daniel Weintraub disagrees and calls the Kennedy selection of Kennedy “a smart move.”

Update: Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez summed it up, saying, “It leaves many Democrats, as well as Republicans, wondering if Schwarzenegger has any core values at all.”

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November 30th 2005

Hybrid Faces

A woman in France has become the world’s first face transpant recipient. Says BBC:

The woman had lost her nose, lips and chin after being savaged by a dog.

In the controversial operation, tissues, muscles, arteries and veins were taken from a brain-dead donor and attached to the patient’s lower face.

Doctors stress the woman will not look like her donor, but nor will she look like she did before the attack – instead she will have a “hybrid” face.

Apparently, the brain-dead donor was alive when the tissue was taken, which is just plain creepy, not to mention ethically challenging. That may explain why it occurred in France.

Doctors said they would have to wait to evaluate whether she would be able to look down her new nose at others as well as other French people do.

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November 30th 2005

PC Writing In Washington Times?

In an otherwise intersting story in today’s WashTimes about how French pols are falling all over themselves to appear tough on terrorism and immigration, we find this passage:

Also yesterday, France’s lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a new anti-terrorism bill that would increase the use of video surveillance …. The bill would allow mosques, department stores and other potential targets to install surveillance cameras and would lengthen prison terms for terrorists and those supporting them.

Mosques?! There was one incident of attempted arson of a mosque by ticked off Frenchmen during the riots, but numerous cases of successful arsons against Christian churches by the Muslim rioters.

France should just allow surveillance, period, because any excluded category of property would become the next target of rioters. By narrowing the scope of the law, the French are showing that they remain in denial about what’s going on in their country.

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November 30th 2005

Putting The [Blank] Back In [Blank]mas 3

This appears to be the year Christians are fighting back against the Secularists’ drive to purge Christmas from our vocabulary. From AP:

Hastert Wants ‘Christmas,’ Tree Together

WASHINGTON — If it’s a spruce tree adorned with 10,000 lights and 5,000 ornaments displayed on the Capitol grounds in December, it’s a Christmas tree and that’s what it should be called, says House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Hastert, R-Ill., in a letter to the Architect of the Capitol, recommended that the annual Capitol Holiday Tree, as it has been called the past several years, be renamed the Capitol Christmas Tree.

“I strongly urge that we return to this tradition and join the White House, countless other public institutions and millions of American families in celebrating the holiday season with a Christmas tree,” Hastert wrote to Architect Alan Hantman.

His office said the tree began to be referred to as the Holiday Tree in the 1990s. Spokesman Ron Bonjean said the reasons were unclear.

Unclear?! Really?! Maybe this will jog your memory, Mr. Bonjean:

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November 30th 2005

Marine Corps Times On Massey

In verifying that AP is yet to run a correction on any of its three false Jimmy Massey stories (it hasn’t) I came across this Marine Corps Times article on the ex-Marine turned Cindy Sheehan sidekick. (The publication is by subscription only; this is from Nexis. Forgive me Father, for my copyright sins.)

Staff sergeant’s ‘outing’ is justified to some,
but Massey takes high road

By John Hoellwarth; Times staff writer

Leathernecks with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, feel betrayed. They’re angry. And now they feel like they’re beginning to get even.

A staff sergeant who went to Iraq with them wrote a book accusing them of wartime atrocities. Now, a reporter has written an article that says former Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey’s claims in interviews, speeches and court testimony are untrue or exaggerated.

“I think it’s awesome that the report is out. I think he’s getting what’s coming to him as far as being found out,” said Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Saintpierre, who was a platoon sergeant in the battalion’s Lima Company.

Marine spokesman Maj. Doug Powell said the Corps investigated Massey’s claims, but it failed to turn up anyone who could corroborate his allegations.

Officers who served with 3/7 said Powell instructed them not to take a position on Massey, but no similar guidance was given to Massey’s peers in the enlisted ranks.

Responding to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, Cpl. John Colonder, who served beneath Massey in Iraq, wrote a letter to the paper, saying: “He was fired in Baghdad for being an ineffective leader. Jimmy Massey became angry at the Marine Corps and 3/7. … He was angry that he was fired and embarrassed that he was sent home early.”

Massey acknowledged his troubled performance in Iraq during a Nov. 11 interview.

“I think I was ineffective because I didn’t necessarily believe in the missions that were put forth,” he said. “A lot of intelligence reports over-inflated what was going on on the ground.”

Massey also said he became depressed while deployed, and that also affected his leadership ability.

But Gunnery Sgt. Sandor Vegh, a platoon sergeant in Massey’s company, said Massey lost respect among his fellow Marines when he admitted his problems.

“What idiot in his right mind comes out in Karabilah and says he’s on medication and he couldn’t think straight?” Vegh said. “That’s not a confidence booster for the Marines. He was kind of sketchy the whole time, but he came out and said he was on medication. … I would have just thought he was weird.”

Massey said in the interview that he was prescribed the anti-depressant drug Zoloft after telling the regimental surgeon about recurring nightmares involving civilian casualties. But he said he never spread the word. Instead, he told one fellow platoon sergeant that he felt himself slipping into a bout of clinical depression, and the word spread on its own.

Massey previously had been diagnosed with depression during a stint on recruiting duty.

Now he’s out and about, talking up all he sees as wrong with the service he once proudly represented. And he’s not getting rich doing it, either. Massey said he’s three months behind on his car payments and he didn’t make enough money last year to file a tax return. His book, which was published in French only, is unlikely to become the kind of hit that gets turned into a movie, as was the case with “Jarhead,” by Anthony Swofford, which offers a different but somewhat unflattering view of Marines at war.

Speaking out

Vegh, who coincidentally appears in both Massey’s book and “Jarhead,” is among the most affected by Massey’s accusations. He recalled that when Massey testified on Dec. 7, 2004, in Canada at the refugee board hearing of an accused deserter, he specifically named Vegh as having participated in atrocities.

Vegh’s response is to dismiss Massey as “a foul non-American pathetic individual.”

Massey did not return the favor. He said Vegh had always been “a good Marine.”

Massey maintains that his book and his anti-war work are not at odds with the values he learned and prized in the Marine Corps, nor are they inconsistent with his oath or commitment to his former brethren.

“The taxpayers are the ones who paid for the bullets that went into those civilians,” he said. “My honor, courage and commitment is given to them.”

But Gunnery Sgt. David Wilson, an instructor at the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy at Camp Pendleton, Calif., said Massey’s claims were a disgrace to the Corps.

“Staff NCOs in the Corps are the consummate professionals who influence subordinates as well as the upper echelons of the command. When a Marine staff NCO speaks out, he will be heard,” Wilson said. “It’s a damn shame [Massey is] a staff NCO.”

In fact, Wilson continued, Massey is no longer deserving of the title Marine.

“We have ceremonies where we bestow the honorary title Marine on people who deserve it. We should have a ceremony to strip the title from people who don’t,” he said.

But Massey said the Corps will always be a part of him.

“I’ve got the Marine Corps tattoo on my right forearm,” he said. “That will never go away.”

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November 30th 2005

Unbelievable Arroagance: LATimes

Though the articles are basically factual, they present only one side of events and omit information …

Is the LATimes writing about its “gropinator” story on Gov. Schwarzenegger that ran just before the election? Or its environmental coverage, which routinely quotes greenies and regulators, but not the regulated community?

No, of course not. This is the LAT’s big expose:

As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

The articles, written by U.S. military “information operations” troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Faced with a terrible dilemma — to report good news about reconstruction, victory over terrorists or the upcoming election, or to manufacture negativity — the LAT has decided to take on the roll of the pot, so it can call the kettle black.

Every Saturday and Sunday, the LATimes is full of “news” articles it accepts from others and runs … for a price. And, “many of the articles are presented … as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists.” I actually lifted that last line from this morning’s “expose,” but it describes the articles in the weekend real estate sections, in which advertisers get to run their own stories, which do appear “as unbiased news accounts ….”

Granted, there’s a significant difference in news value between “Pleasant Acres offers four floor plans” and the article mentioned in the expose, “Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism.” But what’s the damage if, as the LAT admits, the stories are factual?

I’ve seen a lot of garbage in the LAT over the years, but this is one of the worst cases of manufactured negativity I’ve ever seen. And, thanks to Memeorandum, we see that the anti-freedom Left is eating it up:

And now we find out that, of the papers which remain open, the owners are taking money to run ginned up propaganda pieces trumpeting the United States. Freedom of the press. I guess that one didn’t make it into the new Iraq constitution. (Middle Earth Journal)

It’s just more bull****, the same tired **** of trying to spin as much as possible and at any cost. It’s always a big part of any president’s job to influence the media. But in the case of Commander Codpiece, it’s all about blatant deception, tomfoolery and dirty tricks. How can anyone not be cynical? (The Peking Duck)

Yes, I’m cynical, but my cynicism is directed at MSM that make an anti-Bush, anti-war argument out this. Where is their expose on Al Jazera’s editorial policies? Where is their expose on the positive role of a free press in Iraq’s emerging democracy? Where is their expose on Beijing’s imprisonment of journalists that don’t suit their fancy?

Nowhere of course. Those stories are MIA, along with their expose on how they ran Jimmy Massey’s lies about US attrocities without the least bit of fact-checking, and without a single correction after the lies were pointed out.

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November 29th 2005

Who’s Christian Peacemakers?

Any civilized human being will sympathize with this statement on the Christian Peacemaker Team’s Web site, lamenting the kidnapping of four of their brothers in Iraq:

We were very saddened to see the images of our loved ones on Al Jazeera television recently. We were disturbed by seeing the video and believe that repeated showing of it will endanger the lives of our friends. We are deeply disturbed by their abduction. We pray that those who hold them will be merciful and that they will be released soon. We want so much to see their faces in our home again, and we want them to know how much we love them, how much we miss them, and how anxious and concerned we are by what is happening to them.

Before getting to the next paragraph, which whittles away at my sympathetic reaction, let’s pause for some scripture. It appears beside the statement, and it’s something of a vision statement for the group:

Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that is was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Note that Jesus said “Love your enemies.” He did not say “Hate your neighbor.” In fact, He would have you love both your neighbor and your enemy, but that is lost on the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who say in the second paragraph of their statement:

We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. governments due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has worked for the rights of Iraqi prisoners who have been illegally detained and abused by the U.S. government. We were the first people to publicly denounce the torture of Iraqi people at the hands of U.S. forces …. (emphasis added)

Only hate can explain so profound a misstatement of the situation in Iraq, where the US had UN resolutions in hand before going to war, where we’ve made clear our intent not to be occupiers, where Saddam was the oppressor and we are the liberators, where the Iraqi people are establishing a constitution that gives them more rights than they’ve every had, and yes, where there are bad guys that need to be detained … but not tortured.

It is interesting to note that the bio of only one of the four captives, the American Tim Fox, mentions that he is a Christian, specifically a Quaker. The others, Briton Norman Kember and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, have bios full of words like activist, pacifist and conflict resolution, but nothing about Christ or church.

The site says the group was “Initiated by Mennonites, Brethren and Quakers with broad ecumenical participation” and mentions a number of other liberal congregations as participants. It’s clear they see pacifist activism as a sound way to witness the gospel to others.

But with statements blaming the US and Britain for the capture of their activists, they discredit the gospel. Humility and honesty requires them to say that it is they themselves who are responsible for their capture, and that the terrorists who captured their representatives are far less peaceful and far more in need of the gospel than the American and British troops.

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