Sunday, May 29, 2005

They Can't Help Their Moral Equivalence

The family is still away while they finish their vacation, and I got home this morning too late for Fox News Sunday, so the only Sunday talk-show left was Face the Nation. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised (I'm talking about CBS after all), but I've generally thought of Bob Schieffer as one of the more balanced in the CBS stable (which isn't saying much at all, I admit). Today I'm convinced that CBS has no value what-so-ever.

On their Memorial Day show no less, Schieffer ended his show with a commentary linking Memorial Day, John McCain, and Gitmo.

Schieffer, CBS and the rest of the MSM (to include Hollywood) are currently all a-twitter about McCain's Faith of Our Fathers movie. I have the deepest respect for McCain's Vietnam performance. A couple of years ago, a co-worker asked me how I thought I might have done on the ground in Vietnam. My honest answer is that I don't think I'd have lasted more than 15 minutes into my first battle. Maybe I underestimate myself, but I just don't think I have the kind of guts it takes to succeed at a close, personal war. In my opinion, McCain was a hero after what he went through on the Forrestal. His performance while a POW was epic.

However, in his political life, he has been nothing but a self-promoting shill. We saw this most clearly in 2000, when the MSM fell in love with "The Maverick". To name just a few, he slimed his way out of lasting damage from his Keating-5 connections; he's furthered this with his McCain-Feingold abomination; and is now in the middle of doing the same thing by inserting Congress into major-league sports steroids abuse (which I commented on here).

Schieffer noted McCain's use of the Honor Code as a mechanism to cope with the brutality of the North Vietnamese POW camps, and then compares this Honor Code to what we're doing in Guantanamo. His last four paragraphs...

I thought about that as yet another tale of torture and abuse came out about the POW camp we are running at Guantanamo Bay.

Columnist Tom Friedman said the prison ought to be shut down because the stories about it are so inflaming the Arab world they're making the war on terrorism more dangerous for our American soldiers to fight.

But as I watched the McCain movie, I wondered if the greater danger is the impact Guantanamo is having on us. Do we want our children to believe this is how we are? Is this the code of honor we are passing on to the next generation?

As we reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day, let us remember first what it is that separates us from those who would take away our freedom -- what John McCain's dad taught his kid, what we should be teaching ours.

Well, to answer Schieffer, let me clue him in on a couple of things. These "torture and abuse" allegations we're hearing about are coming from the friggin' prisoners. These allegations have been investigated. What we hear described as "torture" is also often seen as nothing more than a fraternity prank here. The vilest "torture" alleged is that a woman interrogator has applied simulated menses on the Muslim prisoner and then kept him from cleaning himself. The "abuse" is said to have been mishandling of the Koran--apparantly a non-believer touched the holy Koran, or dropped it on the floor, or in some other way dis-respected their holy book. [I think even the MSM have dropped their claims that the Koran has been flushed down the toilet.] Let's not forget that these prisoners are the most violent and committed of the Islamofacists. They are strikingly intolerant of non-believers, to the point of believing that all non-believers need to be killed (Anyone else remember the Muslim Palestinians who took refuge from the Israelis in The Church of the Nativity? They desecrated venerated and historic Christian artifacts while there.).

And so Friedman thinks we ought to shut down Gitmo because the Arab Street is being inflamed. Should we shut down prisons because criminals don't like how they're treated inside? The simple fact is that we don't create our enemies...they create themselves. We are a uniquely generous and tolerant people. Shutting down Gitmo will not appease the Arab Street. They'll love (or at least tolerate) us when we win. Appeasement will do nothing.

Finally, Schieffer confuses the Code of Honor. We are not beheading or summarily executing prisoners. Sure, Gitmo isn't a kid's summer camp, but we are being quite generous in treating them as Prisoners of War at all (something they are not entitled to, IMO). Schieffer gazes at his navel and brings a moral equivalence to something that makes him uncomfortable (apparantly he's forgotten Daniel Pearl)--our treatment of Islamofacist prisoners. They're not Sunday School teachers--they're people who would do anything to bring down everything we hold dear. They're being treated appropriately. If we only gain a few nuggets of intelligence, or accomplish nothing more than to remove them from the battlefield, then what we're doing in Gitmo is the right thing.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Is Balanced Reporting Too Much to Ask?

I'm paying attention to the tussle Pres. Bush and the Senate Democrats are in regarding the appointment of judges and the filibuster rules surrounding this debate. Largely, I think the D's are failing to recognize that they're in the minority--which means they haven't quite accepted that they're going to lose on many more issues than they win. So they obstruct. After the experience of Sen. Daschle, you might think they'd learn something, but I digress.

However, today's Arizona Republic has a typically unbalanced analysis of what's going on. A few examples needing to be fisked....

Both political parties opened a historic showdown over judicial nominations Wednesday while the public worried that Congress could be distracted from more tangible issues such as gas prices and Social Security.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that Congress will ever have much influence on gas prices. The market will rule. In this case (as I understand things), the suppliers have tapped out most of the easily-refineable crude sources, refining capability has not grown over the years (there's not much money in refining), and most importantly, demand from China and India has spiked. So yeah--gas prices will go up. From what I remember from Econ 101, this increased demand will either spur action to find more supplies or provide an incentive to develop alternative energy sources. Congress doesn't have much to do here. Oh--and Social Security? A time-bomb that nobody is willing to defuse. Fussing about judicial nominees is exactly what Congress ought to be doing.

Few strategists in either party expect the specific arguments over the GOP's bid to thwart Senate filibusters to sway many voters in the 2006 elections. But many analysts believe the conflict could increase and solidify public antagonism toward Washington surfacing in polls, especially if the dispute deepens Capitol Hill's partisan acrimony and impedes action on issues more tangible to voters.

So which is it? Is this filibuster debate going to fail to influence voters in 2006, or will antagonism increase and make this debate central to the mid-term elections? And you know what? I'm getting tired of the qualifiers "Few strategists" and "many analysts". Are we talking about someone who gets paid to craft or analyze strategy or are we talking about whomever happened to show up around the water cooler that morning? This paragraph tells me nothing.

They've buried the money paragraph...

The key political question is whether the public disenchantment would hurt the parties equally or the GOP more, because it holds the majority and is seeking the rule change on judges.
So it will either hurt both parties equally or the GOP more. Those are the two choices. It apparantly isn't possible that the Dem's could be hurt here. The bias from this reporting/analysis is absolutely screaming.

And as icing on the cake...

Both sides step into this fight visibly bruised by recent events. Since last year's election, the news in Washington has been dominated by a Bush drive to restructure Social Security that has generated majority opposition in polls; the congressional intervention in the case of a brain-damaged Florida woman, Terri Schiavo, which provoked a sharp backlash in public opinion surveys; the ethics charges swirling around House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas; and the escalating acrimony over Democratic efforts to block some of Bush's most controversial judicial appointments through the filibuster.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't think Bush's attempt at reforming/saving Social Security has failed. Sure, the D's have confused the issues, but I don't think we're done yet. I do agree that Congressional involvement in the Schiavo case was misplaced, but I don't think there will be a lasting effect from it. And please. Tom DeLay? While he's probably not exactly a saint, the D's are engaging in nothing more than a witchhunt here precisely because he's been effective against them. And finally in the last sentence, we get an example of something the D's might be doing which the analysts here think will hurt them. More bias.

I really don't expect fully balanced reporting from the Arizona Republic or other MSM sources, but after the success of alternative news sources--internet, talk-radio, Fox News Channel--you'd think the providers of MSM would begin to wonder why their market share was continuing to decline. That their lefty worldview has so poisoned their product just escapes them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I finally did what I said I'd do

So, I had just arrived for my recurrent training--somewhat tired, hungry, and very stressed about the upcoming four days. Recurrent came at the worst possible time, and I'd had no where near the time I wanted to put towards studying. [As it ended, I did OK--not "Great", but good enough for another year.] I was standing there putting away the change I'd received for my airport food-court meal, and I looked behind me. There he was.

I see soldiers in the airport all the time. Usually, they're like everyone else--hustling to get themselves from one gate to another as they make their connections. I've never seen the public applause that has been depicted in the beer commercial, but don't doubt that it happens. I've always said that if I had the opportunity, I'd buy a meal for a soldier, and this was my chance.

It didn't go quite as I had imagined. I would prefer that the soldier be three or four people behind me, and that I'd just leave a reasonable amount of money for his meal and then walk off. I don't want his thanks or his protestations that my act isn't necessary. I don't do this for him. I do it for me. If the purchase of his meal makes his day go just a little bit better--that's fine. But the reason that I do this is to make my day go much better. I feel so inadequate in expressing my thanks to those serving our country. My real inadequacy is that I haven't figured out how to express my thanks to the many anonymous spouses/parents/children who are equally serving our country. They are bearing a burden that I cannot imagine.

Anyway, this soldier was right behind me, and I did not have the opportunity at the anonymity that I had wished for. He did thank me, and went on his way.

I'll do it again the next chance I get.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Elvis Convention

One of the interesting things which occassionally happen in my life happen while on a layover. I layed over in San Diego years ago at a hotel which was hosting the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (or some such title). I think that we were the only heterosexuals in the hotel that weekend. [Not that I have anything against homosexuals, because I don't. Its just that homosexuals are often unusual people, and especially those who might go to such a national convention.]

This last layover had an Elvis Convention going on. They were advertising 20 impersonators, and I saw half a dozen or so in the lobby. Most were the "Old Fat" Elvii, but there was one 20-something who I saw enter as a "Young Elvis". They even had a 50's Pink Cadillac out front. I have to wonder about someone who would go through life as Elvis. I can't imagine that more than a few impersonators are able to make a living at this fascination of theirs. So what do they do the other 29 days a month?

Related is to wonder about the women who are intrigued enough with Elvis that they will travel and pay money to see these impersonators. It's no skin off my nose one way or the other, but why not drop your teenage fascinations with some guy who's long dead, and get on with your life?

As my kids would say: Whatever.