Archive for September, 2006

What do you believe?

Puncturing hot air balloons – Commentary – The Washington Times, America’s Newspaper

John Stossel, ABC’s “20/20” anchorman, has a recently released book about the various untruths we accept, many from the media and academic elite. The book is appropriately titled “Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity.”

Some folks get very attached to what they think is true. They aren’t helped any by others who are attached to ideas and spread the gospel – or media that looks for something to attract attention. Stossel is taking notes. See for yourself.

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Evidence means nothing?

Victor Davis Hanson notes that

The tape is also a chilling reminder that in this war evidence means nothing; superstition, bias and delusion everything.

in his Washington Times column Osama’s anniversary. The tape is one Al Jazeera released showing Osama bin Laden from before September 11 blessing those preparing for the Manhattan Massacre. Yet, despite the evidence of this tape there are many who believe otherwise.

As the Pope recently found out, the enemy is first and foremost that aspect of the human mind that throws aside reason, dismisses integrity, and then creates fantasy to cover the gaping hole.

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Gitmo Report

Richard Miniter says

America has never faced an enemy who has so ruthlessly broken all of the rules of war – yet never has an enemy been treated so well.

in the New York Post column A deadly kindness: at Gitmo, PC rules let Quedas plot on.

This is related to the debate resulting from a Supreme Court decision about how to clarify vague Geneva Convention language. The primary argument by those who want the US to treat every prisoner as is they were a civilian caught on the streets of a city by a cop is that we must treat them this way to protect our soldiers when they get caught on the battlefied. The problem is that we haven’t had any enemies that show any respect for the rules of the game in recent times. Again, the appeasement argument despite plentiful evidence that it has no basis in reality.

And that is the Gitmo result. Appeasement of those in the fifth column to the point that terrorists picked up in action against our military are being treated with excessive deference with the result that a military prison is being used for the benefit of our enemies.

The enemy of most concern is that within.

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Revealing the reality of antagonism

Scientific American reveals its true color, as do many media, in the headlines they choose. A recent story about the correlation of the sun’s behavior and climate is titled No Sunshine for Global Warming Skeptics

The title tells you what the editors think is important, and it tells you about their presumptions. In this case, global warming from human factors is the given for them. Therefore the report of research is taken as a means to attack the skeptics, not as a means to support a thesis. The value is on the attack and not the defense. It is not on understanding the finding and what it means and its limitations but rather using it to go after the heretics. That is worth thinking about.

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Satire for Senator Reid

Tony Blankley goes back to the start of WW II to create a satire to show Just another political speech.

It is another step in the exposure of the inanity of a lot of the high level political debate about the Iraq war.

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Starting September 2006

So much is happening and there are many things that have implications or direct consequence that appear to touch many fundamental issues.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has admitted his role in the Wilson brouhaha. David Broder suggests that some folks should apologize to Karl Rove. This was another canard used by the political opposition that has gone down in flames. It shows that there is an infinite army of figments of the imagination but one wonders when reality will begin to hold sway to dry up that army and get to honest discussion of differences.

The ABC docu-drama based on the 911 commission report has now been threatened by Democrats. Remember those who are paranoid about the current administration squashing rights of free speech? Those folks are now threatening ABC with its broadcast license if they dare to exercise such a right.

And a McCain Feingold political reform aka the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 deadline has passed so no one can legally criticize an incumbant in the upcoming elections.

The economy paranoia continues to refute the data. Gas prices are dropping. Chevron proved what looks to be a massive oil reserve in the Gulf of Mexico, and all the numbers are heading in the right directions. But there are many folks dour and down on the economy anyway.

The administration has been providing a number of speeches from its top leaders about the GWOT. Their opposition howls about things that weren’t said but they thought they heard anyway. Chief of Staff Bolton sent a response to the Reid/Pelosi ‘how to fix Iraq’ plan describing just how all of the suggestions, except one, were implemented. That exception was the tuck tail and run suggestion. For some reason the administration doesn’t think much of it.

An accountability through transparency bill finally got through the Senate. There was quite a ruckus about various Senators holding it up for a while. The House version excepts contractors from this idea of publicly posting each and every budget earmark of the federal government so there is a bit of haggling yet to be done before the bill gets to the President.

The media problem is also suffering accountability through transparency. The recent conflict in Lebanon provided a number of blatant examples of photograph manipulation. And there seems to be a hobby in several quarters doing compare and contrast analyses between reports of administration speeches and what was actually said.

The Katrina aniversary didn’t seem to make much of a bash. New Orelans is now finding that perhaps the fundamental source of the levee break was not the hurricane but that hasn’t helped recovery any. Houston and other cities are paying in higher crime rates for their largess in accepting New Orleans refugees. Meanwhile the rest of the areas hard hit are showing the New Orelans folks how its done – of you want to get back on your feet in a responsible manner.

Then there’s the ex-Iran president invited to Harvard as another example that sometimes the self professed ‘smarter than thou’ crowd just doesn’t get it.

And, to wind it all up, you ought to see the 9/11 conspiracy theories being espoused with all due seriousness by people you’d think would know better.

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Rights have responsibilities

ACTA describes a teachable moment

Chancellor Wells has turned a scandalous embarrassment–Madison’s hiring of Barrett to teach a course on Islam and the provost’s subsequent misguided defense of Barrett’s academic freedom–into what academics like to call a “teachable moment.”

Note, too, how Chancellor Wells has couched his outline of the Barrett visit in a substantially different notion of academic freedom than the one that typically surrounds people such as Barrett. Academic freedom, Wells notes, is not freedom from accountability, not freedom from criticism, and not freedom to think irrationally. It is a privilege that entails responsibilities. Kudos to Chancellor Wells for understanding this, and for finding a way to make the Kevin Barret fiasco into an opportunity for members of the Oshkosh campus to deepen their understanding of what academic freedom is, what intellectual responsibility is, how the two fit together, and why they must both be upheld if higher education is to be taken seriously.

All too often is seems that people seek to escape from such accountability. Such corruption weakens us all.

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