Saturday, August 13, 2005

Why Blogs Live, and Must Grow


“As a news anchor at the highest echelon, Jennings had a front-row seat at the biggest events and stories of the last quarter century and, as the special repeatedly showed, he made the most of it, always taking his journalistic obligations to heart.”

Reuters eulogy for Peter Jennings, August 12 2005

"He established a level of trust with the viewer that would be difficult for anyone else to match going forward."

Tom Bettag, CBS News executive producer, quoted in the New York Times continuing attempt to canonize Peter Jennings

“Veteran newsman Peter Jennings was remembered Monday as an outstanding journalist, a hard worker and a man of conscience and integrity.”

CNN obituary for Peter Jennings

“Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week....Parenting and governing don’t have to be dirty words: the nation can’t be run by an angry two-year-old.”

- The always-objective Peter Jennings' on-air national broadcast assessment of the 1994 midterm elections, when the first clear signs of the fall of Democratic Party from its control of the U.S. Congress

“Next week on ABC’s World News Tonight, a series of reports about our environment which will tell you precisely what the new Congress has in mind: the most frontal assault on the environment in 25 years.”

- DNC mascot Jennings’ unfounded indictment of the Republican-controlled Congress, 1995

“The President’s tax cut is beginning to show up. Will three extra dollars stimulate the national economy?”

- Economic expert Jennings sneers at the notion that Americans deserve to keep more of their own money, 2003.

“The Secretary of Defense said today that those people who are questioning the effectiveness of the U.S. bombing campaign in Afghanistan are too impatient, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said much the same thing. The Pentagon is being pressed harder to be specific about what it has accomplished so far. The bombing campaign against the Taliban is now entering its fourth week, and the Taliban are still standing.”

- Jennings, noted military strategist, sneers at the war in Afgahnistan, 2001.

“This week we were surprised to see several hundred artists and writers walking through the streets of Baghdad to say thank you to Saddam Hussein. He had just increased their monthly financial support. Cynical, you could argue with this particular time, but the state has always supported the arts, and some of the most creative people in the Arab world have always been Iraqis. And whatever they think about Saddam Hussein in the privacy of their homes, on this occasion they were praising his defense of the homeland in the face of American threats.”

- Social guru Jennings explains how Saddam was really the victim, 2003.

And of course, no review of the Peter Jennings saga would be complete without a glimpse at his conscience and objectivity:

We all have baggage, but one of the good things about journalists is that they recognize bias and work hard to keep it out of their coverage.”

- Jennings defends against charges of media bias, 2002.

(Source for all Jennings quotes, and there’s much much more)

Look, I’m not one for bashing a guy when he’s just died, but if you really want to know why the MainPain Media is losing market share and a steadily growing number of alternative resources are being sought for analysis and an overview, like Talk Radio, Cable News, and blogs of course, just look over these statements, and consider that, in the opinion of the speakers, they’re not lying. They really believe that bilge, and they promote it because it’s what they themselves are made of, at their core.

God save the blogs.

Friday, August 12, 2005

John Zogby and the Return of the 10-Foot Poll


In the interest of full disclosure, I will begin by saying that I neither like nor respect John Zogby. During the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election campaign, Mr. Zogby not only mixed his telephone respondent pool with his online respondent poll for a number of his opinion polls, he also voiced a clear advocacy for John Kerry’s campaign, most egregiously when he bluntly stated in June that Kerry would win the Presidential election. Within a month, Zogby was backing off the promise, but the evidence of his clear partiality was already plain, and for a professional pollster to make the statements Zogby did, betrays either an unconscionable bias, or such slipshod methodology as to make his conclusions worthless as a barometer of public opinion.

I received an e-mail from Mr. Zogby this week, one of those broadcast types we see form companies trying to sell a product while implying that they are sending you a personal message. My thoughts about Zogby’s practices having been published last summer and fall, I am under no illusion that Mr. Zogby is seeking out my opinion of his statements, but as I have received the e-mail, my response is forthcoming anyway.

Writing for a periodical identified only as “The Financial Times”, Mr. Zogby began his article so:

I have received a flurry of calls from reporters in the past few days
asking me to clarify something difficult to understand. They suggested that George W. Bush, US president, had had a very good week and wondered why his cluster of successes had not been reflected in the national polls

Interesting statement. At first glance, once might be led to believe that Mr. Zogby is referring to the standard coterie of MSM reporters, but even they are not likely to Dubya as “George W. Bush, US President”. That odd formality smacks of the European mind, and the old continental style at that. It also explains the name of the periodical; in the U.S., political news is reported by political papers and political sections of magazines. The Europeans are quite unlikely to give even a rat’s hindquarters about the state of a President’s popularity, except where money is involved, and the condition of their own investments is quite likely to be driven by the U.S. Stock Market, which supposedly is affected by the popularity of the President.

Zogby goes on to cite the Gallup Poll, his own piece of work, CBS and Ipsos-Reid. He completely ignores all the other polls, which only reinforces my earlier opinion of his inability to see beyond his sneer, a common Liberal trait but a weakness in a professional. I note that Zogby has taken only one of Gallup’s indictors, instead of the more balanced array of questions that group employs, and as for CBS/Zogby/Ipsos, the clear anti-Bush bias in those polls has been documented and reported many times and long ago, by myself and others. I suppose the next step for Zogby, would have been to quote Carville, but as it would happen, the Democracy Corps poll’s most recent numbers for the President show him at 46 percent, which is actually higher than the point Zogby is trying to sell. It truly says something, when James Carville has more respect for the President than John Zogby can manage to observe. I guess John didn’t poll in all of the Red States. . .

Zogby made a weak effort to sound balanced, as he noted that specific pieces of legislation rarely excite the public, but being Zogby, he moved on to try to sell his schtick again, and as usual, got in trouble with the facts. Zogby wrote:

most important, the US is still polarized [sic] over the war in Iraq and half the nation is still bitter over the 2004 election. Mr Bush's presidency is all about Iraq. This is fitting because it is what he and his team wanted from the time they took office.”

This is, for those of you not familiar with the Zogby style, a formation of claims known to many people plainly as a pack of lies. Most Americans support the War in Iraq, although everyone is grieved by the continuing violence. The overwhelming majority of people not named Moore, Dean, or Zogby have gotten past the election. Indeed, it’s difficult to find a rational person who even brings up the election results these days. Claiming that Bush’s Administration is all about Iraq is just a poor attempt to ignore the many successes of Dubya’s service so far, and to pretend that the President and his Administration wanted a war “from the time they took office”, is the kind of tripe one normally has to go to Daily Kos to suffer.

So, in the end, nothing is changed. John Zogby, like most other high-profile Liberals, has reached the end of reason, and then chose to dive off the deep end into full-blown hysteria.

Say ‘hello’ to Maureen Dowd, John.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What’s the word for ‘oops’ in Jihad? ‘Merde’?


I was watching ABC last night, as they gave effusive praise to Peter Jennings, who apparently is destined to be the first MSM Newscaster canonized by the Church of, well, the Church of the Secular Deceivers, I guess. ABC sure didn’t praise Reagan or Pope John Paul II this much.

Anyway, along the joyful praise being issued by the network, I caught an interesting comment from Peter Jennings about September 11th, to the effect that looking back, we see things much differently than we did on the day itself. As an MSM Anchor, Jennings focused on the confusion, fear, and mistakes he saw in American actions at the time, which doubtless was just what bin Laden and his cronies hoped and planned to create. But the lesson also reminded me to consider how differently things have come along, from what those murdering bastards thought ahead of the event.

In 1999, the United States appeared to be in retreat. During the Clinton years, the U.S. sent troops to many places, but they always left the existing governments in power. Haiti kept its dictator, so did China and North Korea, and of course Saddam kept his palaces and his bribe deals with the U.N. Afghanistan belonged to the Taliban, Syria controlled a bunch of territory outside its nominal borders, China was buying WMD technology, and - you get the idea. Small wonder Somekinda bin Addled figured that a hard shot to America’s pride would hurt us badly. Instead, bin Stupid discovered the difference between a hot flash and genuine Fury.

A lot of people get angry in a flash, and get over it just as quickly. Even nations do this, as the French are such obvious examples. But true Fury is something else entirely, and America is a nation with a history of Fury. Fury is when you not only kick out the oppressive overlords, but you set up a Constitution for an entirely new set of laws to prevent their kind from returning. Fury is when you are willing to destroy half your country, rather than allow the union to be dissolved. Fury is when you are willing to send hundreds of thousands of your young men around the world to fight an evil for years on end. The United States has fought wars not only for the normal selfish reasons, but to end injustice, remove oppressive regimes, and to instill Democracy around the world. New tactics, new weapons, and new laws have all been developed to carry on these fights, and only a complete fool could miss the lesson of that History. O-Ima big Thug is just such a fool.

I’ve said it before, but it’s still worth saying again. We are winning, and have already won a lot of major battles. If the MSM spent even a quarter as much time on the facts in the Middle East, as they do on praising their own overpaid talking hairpieces, this would be far better understood by the American public.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005



On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb which destroyed the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later on August 9, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb, this time on the city of Nagasaki, Japan. In both cases, the cities targeted were utterly destroyed. It is salient to note that Japan refused to surrender, even after these attacks, until August 14. On that day, just hours after Ministers Anami, Umezu, and Toyoda argued that it was still possible for Japan to defeat the Allied forces, the Japanese government resolved to surrender, only and specifically because of the request made by Emperor Hirohito: “It is my desire that you, my Ministers of State, accede to my wishes and forthwith accept the Allied reply". In this way, the Second World War of the 20th century ended at last, making way for the Cold War already in progress.

The debate over the use of the atom bomb in World War 2 has been rashly cast over the years, with the U.S. most often portrayed as the aggressor. The stubborn refusal of the Japanese cabinet to surrender, even after the use of two atom bombs, clearly shows the need for extreme measures, especially given the clear cost of a conventional invasion. Also, the United States needed to send a clear message to the Soviet Union, to demonstrate a capacity which would deter the clear aggression planned by Stalin. And, to be frank, it worked.

The use of nuclear weapons is hardly trivial or a simple decision. But the decision was made for hard and valid reasons, and while whiners and the short-sighted attempt to rewrite History, the men who had the hard decisions, took it on themselves to make the choice. A painful cost now, may well be better than allowing a danger to spread. A lesson worth retelling.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Why The Blue Meanies Rage


I was thinking last night, that many times people do not see greatness in its time.

Many of America's Founding Fathers were taunted and ridiculed. Abraham Lincoln was much maligned in the press during the Civil War, and what the British press had to say about Winston Churchill before World War 2 and shortly after its end was far from flattering. Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt were both mocked by the bluebloods of their day, and in their turn Jack Kennedy and Barry Goldwater were ridiculed as men who didn't know their business. And of course, there was Reagan, a man the press loved to vilify, calling him evil or foolish or both at every chance.

Now they are heroes all. Their detractors deny ever doubting their greatness, and once the evidence of their success was undeniable, all claim to have been believers from the start.

With that in mind, look at the accomplishments of George W. Bush. Aside from freeing a few dozen million people, creating a foothold for Democracy and Equal Rights in a region which has never broadly known these things before, his redirection of American Politics and the potential future with better security (economic as much as national) for all Americans suggests that Dubya will enjoy at least the reputation Reagan does now.

And as for the Screaming Blue Meanies of the Left? Well, who remembers who lost to Churchill, or who led the Democrats during the eighties? Small wonder they are so angry. Unable to keep the power their predecessors left them, they will receive only the oblivion their policies and tactics deserve.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A Sea Change, and A Return To Tradition


A Russian mini-sub was successfully rescued this weekend by a British “Super-Scorpio” robot submarine. Seven crew members have been recovered off the coast of Kamchatka, but most of the details have been kept from the public so far.

The mission was a collaboration between Russia, Britain, and the United States. The present public story, is that the Russians provided the best known information about the mini-sub’s location to the Americans, who flew the Super-Scorpio into place to cut the submarine loose.

The choice of operational duties is telling, however. The United States Navy’s Deep Submergence Unit also has robot submarines capable of doing just what the Super-Scorpio performed. Also, earlier reports from Friday indicated that the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy already had rescue vessels in the immediate area. The reasons for choosing to move a specialized unit in this fashion is food for a great deal of speculation, but I think it was three-fold:

First, the history. In August of 2000, the Russian nuclear Submarine Kursk suffered an explosion and sank, killing all 118 crew members. The full explanation for why the Russian Government refused aid offered by other nations, including the United States and Britain, has never been presented and many never come out in public, but the Russians seem determined to avoid a similar blunder this time.

Second, geopolitics. Regarding the nature of the exercise, it is telling that Vladimir Putin is on better terms with President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, than with most of his European counterparts. This is in many ways a return to form for the Russians. As far back as Catherine the Great, Russia has been interested in learning the tactics and stratagems of both British and American naval officers, and when the Soviet Navy came into its own influence under Admiral Gorshkov, he was strongly influenced by Mahan and Corbett, although he was also properly impressed by the more recent examples from Halsey and Nimitz. It is extremely likely that under the present conditions, Admiral Federov is determined to glean as much information as he can with the UK-US navies, and to build as much trust as he can. This is because of the basic fact of Sea Power; no nation can hold any sort of regional hegemony and intercontinental influence, without a substantial navy. The empires of the past fell in large part because they were one-dimensional in their military force. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, the Persians, even the ancient Chinese kingdoms all fell because they could not defend their flanks from an enemy. Alexander introduced the use of naval action independent of land movements, which created a new level of mobility and power projection. The Romans carried this to the next level, and in the bargain gained a means to control trade shipping as well. Britain, as is now understood, perfected the use of Sea Power, building a far-flung empire by providing itself a means to reach virtually any nation on the globe with military force. The Japanese Navy introduced the next level of power projection through its development of a Carrier fleet, which notion the United States itself perfected, destroying the Japanese fleet in the same process. By 1945, the United States was the world’s clear military leader, in large part because of the multiple dimensions of attack available to its choice. Since that time, the gap between the United States and everyone else has simply grown to a chasm, then become a canyon, and is not likely to be caught in the foreseeable future. But the British are no slackers. While the United States has built its capital ships principally for power projection and nuclear deterrence and reconnaissance, the United Kingdom has built its forces to serve its needs. The 1982 Falklands War is seen by many people as an essential draw, but this is not the case; leaving aside the question of the terms of cease-fire, the United Kingdom proved that it was quite capable to sending a military force of whatever size was need, anywhere it is needed. The British habit of understatement has hidden the many successes in the field produced by their troops, but it’s worth noting that a regiment of SAS is to be prized or feared (depending on whether you are with them or against them) more than virtually any other group its size on the Earth. When military men want to improve themselves, they visit Quantico and Sandhurst if they can.

The final reason is obvious, by simply reading the news and noting a globe. The fall of the old Soviet Union hit the Russians hard, but especially their Navy. There are few resources for training and maintenance, which are critical elements for a functional navy. John Keegan sagely observed that a large piece of Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar, came from the keen edge of training the British sailors had. The Russians know this lesson well, but are ill-suited to scrape up the means to keep the Russian navy ready. And this provides a strategic threat that needs a look.

In the years leading up to World War 2, the intention of Japan to control Asia was plain, and the United States took action to prevent this through the imposition of stiff tariffs and a blockade. The invasion of China was planned by Japan, to provide it with key resources necessary for the war, but Japan failed to gain the necessary metals and oil to keep its industry functioning. China has studied this lesson for more than a half century, because of the same ambition, and like Japan, with a wary eye on American actions.

Siberia is a largely undeveloped portion of the world, largely due to its remote location and inhospitable climate. However, recent discoveries of certain exotic metals greatly increases the attractiveness of Siberia to a nation planning to greatly increase its manufacturing capabilities, especially in heavy industry, as China does. Also, China has made a number of claims over the past decade to oil fields located in the waters between the Philippines and Vietnam, and in the China Sea; there have even been attempts by Chinese naval forces to secure some of the disputed fields by chasing away civilian vessels with threats of personal capture or seizure of their vessels.

Russia has a strategic interest in preventing China from gaining such control of resources, and doubtless Putin has reminded Bush and Blair, that they also need to watch out for China’s intentions. There is no better signal for Russia to send, in the event of a naval incident like this, than to show the Chinese that the Americans and the British consider Russia a friend.

Finally, the rescue of the Russian mini-sub shows a welcome return to an old imperative, one worthy of recognition but lost long ago. As recently as World War 1, if a ship was sunk, all ships in the vicinity were expected to lend assistance in recovering survivors, even from an enemy vessel. In fact, failure to lend assistance was considered an inexcusable negligence, and could cost a captain his command and career. When German submarines sank ships without attempting to assist in rescue efforts (for which they were never designed, anyway), the British played up the incidents as evidence of barbarism. By World War 2, the chivalry to rescuing enemy combatants was long gone, and the Cold War saw no improvement in the practice.

The cooperation in the rescue effort this past weekend is a small but significant step, therefore, in the restoration in the Brotherhood of the Sea, and sets a precedent that will, if carried ahead, set a course to the advantage of every nation concerned.