Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lessons for Dems and the rest of us

Sen. Joe Lieberman provided them this week in a WSJ op-ed. Here are extracts followed by my comments below the star line.

Lieberman began - - -

How did the Democratic Party get here? How did the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy drift so far from the foreign policy and national security principles and policies that were at the core of its identity and its purpose?

Beginning in the 1940s, the Democratic Party was forced to confront two of the most dangerous enemies our nation has ever faced: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In response, Democrats under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy forged and conducted a foreign policy that was principled, internationalist, strong and successful.

This was the Democratic Party that I grew up in – a party that was unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American, a party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders. It was a party that understood that either the American people stood united with free nations and freedom fighters against the forces of totalitarianism, or that we would fall divided. …

This worldview began to come apart in the late 1960s, around the war in Vietnam. In its place, a very different view of the world took root in the Democratic Party.

Rather than seeing the Cold War as an ideological contest between the free nations of the West and the repressive regimes of the communist world, this rival political philosophy saw America as the aggressor – a morally bankrupt, imperialist power whose militarism and "inordinate fear of communism" represented the real threat to world peace.

It argued that the Soviets and their allies were our enemies not because they were inspired by a totalitarian ideology fundamentally hostile to our way of life, or because they nursed ambitions of global conquest. Rather, the Soviets were our enemy because we had provoked them, because we threatened them, and because we failed to sit down and accord them the respect they deserved. In other words, the Cold War was mostly America's fault. …

[After 9/11] I felt strongly that Democrats should embrace the basic framework the president had advanced for the war on terror as our own, because it was our own. But that was not the choice most Democratic leaders made.

When total victory did not come quickly in Iraq, the old voices of partisanship and peace at any price saw an opportunity to reassert themselves. By considering centrism to be collaboration with the enemy – not bin Laden, but Mr. Bush – activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.

Far too many Democratic leaders have kowtowed to these opinions rather than challenging them. That unfortunately includes Barack Obama, who, contrary to his rhetorical invocations of bipartisan change, has not been willing to stand up to his party's left wing on a single significant national security or international economic issue in this campaign. (emphasis added)

In this, Sen. Obama stands in stark contrast to John McCain, who has shown the political courage throughout his career to do what he thinks is right – regardless of its popularity in his party or outside it.

John also understands something else that too many Democrats seem to have become confused about lately – the difference between America's friends and America's enemies.

There are of course times when it makes sense to engage in tough diplomacy with hostile governments. Yet what Mr. Obama has proposed is not selective engagement, but a blanket policy of meeting personally as president, without preconditions, in his first year in office, with the leaders of the most vicious, anti-American regimes on the planet.

Mr. Obama has said that in proposing this, he is following in the footsteps of Reagan and JFK. But Kennedy never met with Castro, and Reagan never met with Khomeini. And can anyone imagine Presidents Kennedy or Reagan sitting down unconditionally with Ahmadinejad or Chavez? I certainly cannot.

If a president ever embraced our worst enemies in this way, he would strengthen them and undermine our most steadfast allies.

A great Democratic secretary of state, Dean Acheson, once warned "no people in history have ever survived, who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies." This is a lesson that today's Democratic Party leaders need to relearn. . . .

Lieberman’s entire op-ed is here.



If anyone thinks Lieberman is overstating the leftward, appeasing, and anti-American drift of the Democratic Party just consider a few things:

The Democratic Party would never give its presidential nomination to a man who for twenty years was an admirer and close friend of a pastor who shouted “God damn gays,” ridiculed “gay America” and claimed gays were deliberately spreading the AIDS/HIV virus.

But its about to nominate Sen. Barack Obama whose close friend and pastor Jeremiah Wright …(do I need to finish the sentence?.

Wear a Confederate flag lapel pin to a Democratic rally. Not so good.

Wear a Che or Bush=Hitler tee shirt to the rally. That's OK.

It’s routine for pundits – including those who favor the Dems – to say something like: “Well, if things are going better in Iraq by the election that will be bad for the Democrats.”

Charles Krauthammer had it right when he said the Democratic Party has gotten to a point where it’s invested in our defeat in Iraq.

Strong words but they're true.

Yes, Dems will say they don’t want defeat; it’s withdrawal they seek.

But surely in their honest moments Dems know in war it’s the losers who withdraw.

That’s why the terrorists in Iraq are doing anything – from killing our troops to deliberately killing children – to get us to withdraw.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 23, 2008

(One of a series of posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In 1876 Lord Randolph Churchill was appointed Private Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, his father. Two year old Winston Churchill accompanied his parents to Dublin where the Churchills would live for the next for years. Young Churchill’s nurse, Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Everest, accompanied him to Ireland. We learn, courtesy of the Churchill Centre, a few things about Winnie, as family members often called him, at age 2.

A letter from his mother described life in Dublin with her young son: "Winston is flourishing tho rather X the last 2 days more teeth I think. Everest has been bothering me about some clothes for him saying that it was quite a disgrace how few things he had & how shabby at that."

Churchill's granddaughter, Celia Sandys, offers this portrait: "Winston had arrived in Dublin a month after his second birthday dressed, as was the fashion, like a girl. At that time children were dressed alike, making boys and girls indistinguishable one from the other, for the first few years of their lives."
Randolph and Jennie Churchill were neglectful parents; and their neglect of a son who loved them constituted more than harshness. It amounted to a cruelty.

I often wonder how Churchill would have turned our if Mrs. Everest hadn't been there from right after his birth until he was a young man. She was to him and his younger brother John (Jack) everything a loving parent should be.

Everest never married. The Mrs. before her name reflects the custom at the time to call nurses Mrs. even if they were unmarried.

Also, you may have seen her middle name spelled “Anne.” That’s how it’s usually spelled. But the Churchill Archives at Churchill College, Cambridge University give it as “Ann,” so that’s what I use.

Now to each of you a wish for a nice weekend and a reminder to do some act which acknowledges this Memorial Day the service and sacrifices of our armed forces, veterans and all their families.


Obama gaffes you can believe in

Columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin reminds us:

All it takes is one gaffe to taint a Republican for life.

The political establishment never let Dan Quayle live down his fateful misspelling of “potatoe.”

The New York Times distorted and misreported the first President Bush’s questions about new scanner technology at a grocers’ convention to brand him permanently as out of touch.
Malkin then asks:
But what about Barack Obama?

The guy’s a perpetual gaffe machine.

Let us count the ways, large and small, that his tongue has betrayed him throughout the campaign:

* Last May, he claimed that Kansas tornadoes killed a whopping 10,000 people: “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.” The actual death toll: 12.

*Earlier this month in Oregon, he redrew the map of the United States: “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.”

*Last week, in front of a roaring Sioux Falls, South Dakota audience, Obama exulted: “Thank you Sioux City…I said it wrong. I’ve been in Iowa for too long. I’m sorry.”

*Explaining last week why he was trailing Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, Obama again botched basic geography: “Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it’s not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle.”

On what map is Arkansas closer to Kentucky than Illinois?

*Obama has as much trouble with numbers as he has with maps. Last March, on the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama, he claimed his parents united as a direct result of the civil rights movement:

“There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born.”

Obama was born in 1961. The Selma march took place in 1965. His spokesman, Bill Burton, later explained that Obama was “speaking metaphorically about the civil rights movement as a whole.”
Malkin goes on to cite other, more serious gaffes. Don't miss her column here.

Folks, most of us make mistakes like saying "Sioux City" when we should say "Sioux Falls."

Presidential candidates who go days bouncing from state to state with little sleep are especially prone to that kind of gaffe.

I don't hold that kind of gaffe seriouslyagainst Obama, even as I might jest about it. I mean it isn't like Obama told us he'd spent Christmas in Cambodia.

On the other hand, Obama's statement of "no preconditions" before meeting with rogue/terrorist regimes is more than a gaffe.

It's a dangerous doctrine in itself; and what I find deeply troubling is that when his mistake was pointed out to him, he didn't quickly acknowledge it and disown it. He's clinging to it.

Of course, Obama's biggest "gaffe" IMO has been his telling us he sat in the pews for 20 years without ever hearing his close friend and pastors racist and anti-American statements.

That's as believable as saying America has 57 states.

What do you think?

Hat tips: Jack in Silver Spring, AC, friend in St. Louis

UWIRE honors Chronicle's Kristin Butler

UWIRE, the leading web site for people interested in college journalism, has selected The Chronicle’s Kristin Butler for inclusion in its prestigious UWIRE 100 group.

You can view this UWIRE’s page which explains why Butler was selected, highlights key quotes from many of her columns and links to others.

I strongly suggest you do that now before continuing to read this post.

So go to the UWIRE’s Butler page right now. I’ll wait until you come back.

OK, you're back.

Well, what did you think?

Terrific, wasn’t it?

I was delighted to be one of Kristin’s recommenders.

Here’s the full text of the recommendation I sent URIRE:

Dear Anne:

Kristin Butler is an extraordinary young journalist who deserves to be included in the UWIRE 100 project.

She’s the recipient the 2007 Melcher Family Award for Excellence in Journalism which recognizes the best published article by a Duke undergraduate, and is sponsored by the Sanford Institute’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy.

Butler’s the first student to win the award for an opinion column.

In announcing the award, Public Policy professor and selection committee member Ken Rogerson said: “It is not often that we come across a young columnist who takes her reporting as seriously as her writing. Kristin made a strong argument, supported by solid research and sources, crafted in a very readable prose. It was difficult not to read to the end.”

The column for which Buter was honored, “Soaking the Poor: With All Deliberate Speed,” focused on how patients lacking health insurance typically are billed at higher rates at the Duke University Health System and elsewhere. Butler addressed the ethical implications of charging uninsured patients more for their treatment.

Outstanding journalists can have different writing styles; broad or specialized interests. But all must possess the moral courage to take the unpopular stand; to speak truth to anyone – those in power and what is often much more difficult, to those who are their peers.

Kristin has that kind of courage as seen, for example, in her Feb. 28, 2008 column, "A House Divided."

She took Duke’s leadership to task for its disgraceful response to then DA and now disbarred Mike Nifong’s and other’s attempt to frame three obviously innocent Duke students for gang rape. At the same time, she was also critical of fellow Chronicle colleagues who’ve gone along with the university’s leadership.

Here’s how Kristin began that column:

Thirteen months ago, The Chronicle's editorial board had this to say about the Brodhead administration's performance during the lacrosse case: "People should not forget to recognize the adequacy of a 'good' performance in the turbulent and charged atmosphere of the last year. And in the end, history may very well judge the University's response as sensible and well executed given the constraints and competing interests at stake."

It's hard to imagine anyone offering that assessment today.

She went on to note Duke has already quietly settled a number of lawsuits and is a defendant in others which she said were in large measure:
the logical result of administrators' decision to shirk responsibility and stymie reform at every opportunity.

From the newly disbanded Judicial Affairs Review Committee to the Campus Culture Initiative and beyond, Duke administrators have remained disconcertingly slow to learn from their mistakes, which were legion.

As the academic year was ending, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists announced Kristin was this year’s first-place winner of its student-scholarship contest and would be its guest at NSNC’s annual conference in June.

It was a fitting tribute to the work of a diligent, caring and courageous young journalists.

I hope you place her among the UWIRE 100.

I will be happy to provide addition information or answer questions.

Thank you for your attention to this recommendation.


John in Carolina

PS – If you select Kristin and need additional links to any document I cited I’ll get them for you.
Folks, last year's Chronicle editor Ryan McCartney did a good deal to provide UWIRE with material and references necessary for it to consider Kristin for selection.

He has my thanks and I know the thanks of almost all of you for that.

In a few days I hope to say more about what Ryan did in connection with Kristin's UWIRE selection.

I'll close with this: One of the hard things about writing the recommendation was I kept wanting to say to the UWIRE selection committee:

What do you mean, one of a hundred? Butler's one in a million.

NY Times distorts history to help Obama

Charles Krauthammer writes today about:

… when a presidential candidate makes a gaffe, then, realizing it is too egregious to take back without suffering humiliation, decides to make it a centerpiece of his foreign policy.

Before the Democratic debate of July 23, Barack Obama had never expounded upon the wisdom of meeting, without precondition, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar al-Assad, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il or the Castro brothers. But in that debate, he was asked about doing exactly that.

Unprepared, he said sure -- then got fancy, declaring the Bush administration's refusal to do so not just "ridiculous" but "a disgrace."

After that, there was no going back. So he doubled down. What started as a gaffe became policy. By now, it has become doctrine. Yet it remains today what it was on the day he blurted it out: an absurdity.
An absurdity, indeed.

Senator Obama and his aides no doubt wish now he’d said something the day following the July 23 debate to “clarify what he really meant.”

But Obama, who’s lately gotten quite good at "clarifying" his remarks – he seems to have to do it daily – stood by his “no preconditions” offer to the terrorist states.

Now it’s hurting him politically.

Realizing that, today a NY Times editorial undertakes an Obama rescue mission which begins:
Everybody knew President Bush was aiming at Senator Barack Obama last week when he likened those who endorse talks with “terrorists and radicals” to appeasers of the Nazis.

But now we know what Mr. Bush knew then — that Israel is in indirect peace talks with Syria, a prominent member of Mr. Bush’s list of shunned nations — and it seems as if the president was going for a two-for-one in his crack about appeasement.

If so, it was breathtakingly cynical to compare the leadership of the Jewish state with those who stood aside in the face of the Nazi onslaught, and irresponsible to try to restrain this American ally from pursuing a settlement that it judges as possibly being in its best interests. . . .
The Times is wrong on every point.

Everybody doesn’t know President Bush “was aiming” at Senator Obama last week in his Knesset speech.

Hundreds of pundits here, in Europe and Israel have pointed out appeasement is, for all practical purposes, the policy of many leaders. What’s more, there’s a huge difference between negotiation and appeasement.

Churchill, the leading foe of Britain’s appeasement policy, was an ardent advocate of negotiations to settle international disputes and to form strong alliances to contain Hitler.

Instead of whining, Obama should tell us why he isn't an appeaser and why he belongs to be included with the negotiators such as Egypt's late President Anwar Sadat.

The Times' claim Bush in his Knesset speech was somehow suggesting Israel is engaged in appeasement for negotiating with Syria is as absurd as Obama pretending he never heard about Rev. Wright’s racist and anti-American sermons until they started affecting his poll numbers.

As for Syria, Israel has always been willing to meet with its enemies. But its never been reckless enough to meet with the heads of their states without preconditions. Bush and America support that policy.

In 1973 the October War, brought on by the determination of Arab states, chief among them Egypt, to destroy Israel ended disastrously for the Arabs.

Afterwards, Egypt's Sadat realized the war's lesson was peace with Israel is better than war. So he quietly began behind the scenes negotiations -first at a low echelon level - with his former enemy.

Those complex negotiations, in which each side had to repeatedly meet certain conditions for the negotiations to move forward, led in time to Egypt’s recognizing Israel’s right to exist, the settlement of the Sinai/Suez issues, and other terms for a peace between the two nations that's lasted to this day.

After agreements between the two nations had been reached, Sadat made a state visit to Israel in November, 1977 during which he addressed the Knesset (I believe he's the only head of an Arab state to ever do so).

Sadat presented to the Knesset and the world a plan for mid-East peace in a wise, stirring and brave speech you can read here.

That Israel would negotiate with Syria or any of its other enemies is nothing new. It's done that frequently since it gained independence in 1948. But it's done so in circumstances where certain preconditions have been met.

I'd be surprise if Israel adopted Obama's "no preconditions" policy and had its President or Prime Minister fly to Damascus or Munich to met with Syria's President Assad and "seek peace in our time."

The Times editorial distorts history to help Obama.

Krauthammer's column's here; the NYT's editorial's here; and Sadat's speech is here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 22, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Churchill’s family ties to America were many. His biographer, Martin Gilbert, tells us something about them:

In 1963, in a message sent when he was eighty-three years old, Churchill remarked with pride to President John F. Kennedy that the story of his association with the United States went back nearly ninety years “to the day of my father’s marriage.”

That marriage took place in Paris on 15 April 1874. The bridegroom, Lord Randolph Spencer Chruchill, was the son of a British duke. The bride, Jennie Jerome, was the daughter of an American millionaire – although at that precise moment Leonard Jerome’s fortune has taken a temporary dip. […]

The first member of [Jennie’s] family to settle in America was an Englishman, Timothy Jerome, who reached America from the Isle of Wight in 1710, a descendant of Huguenot Protestants who had fled France for Britain three generations earlier.

One of Winston Churchill’s great-great-grandfathers, Lieutenant Reuban Murray, had served during the American Revolutionary War in the 17th Connecticut Regiment and the 7th Connecticut Regiment and the 7th Albany Regiment, New York Militia. […]

Leonard Jerome and his brother Lawrence married two sisters. Lawrence Jerome’s son, William Travers Jerome – Churchill’s second cousin – was to become a reforming District Attorney of New York who refused to bow to the dictates of Tammany Hall, with its strong political control. In 1906 he sought to be nominated as Governor of New York, but was unsuccessful.

The biographer of Churchill’s mother, Ralph G. Martin, speculates that if Travers Jerome had won the nomination and the governor ship on 1906, “he might well have been nominated by the Democrats for President in 1912 instead of Woodrow Wilson.” […]

In 1865, from the window of their house on East Twenty-sixth Street, Jennie and her two sisters watched as the horse-drawn coffin of the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln passed in solemn procession on the street below.
All three of Leonard Jerome’s daughters married Englishmen.

I think Churchill had it right when, in his December 26, 1941 address to a Joint Session of Congress, he said:
By the way, I cannot help reflecting that if my father had been American and my mother British instead of the other way around, I might have got here on my own. (laughter)

In that case this would not have been the first time you would have heard my voice.(laughter)In that case I should not have needed any invitation. But if I had it is hardly likely that it would have been unanimous. (laughter) So perhaps things are better as they are.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America. (pgs. 1-4) Churchill's address to Congress can be found here.

N&O ignores Duke's Tyson’s framing role

Correction Note: As first published, this post mistated the title of the profile discussed and the name of the N&O staffer who wrote it . The errors have now been corrected thanks to an Anon who pointed them out on this post's thread.

I thanked the Anon there and do so here as well.

I am sorry for my errors.


Readers Note: This past Sunday the Raleigh News & Observer, whose racially inflammatory and deliberately fraudulent news reporting was essential to launching the Duke witch hunt and frame-up attempt, published a two-page profile of Duke professor Tim Tyson whose book, Blood Done Sign My Name, is being made into a movie and a play.

Among those who inflamed community sentiment against the Duke students and supported the now disbarred Mike Nifong’s transparent frame-up attempt, Tyson was one of the loudest and most virulent.

But the N&O’s flattering profile made no mention of that.

Instead, it went on at great length describing Tyson as someone who strives for racial harmony and equality.

I’ve just sent the following emails to J. Peder Zane, who wrote the Tyson profile titled “Minister of History” and public editor Ted Vaden.


Dear Mr. Zane:

I blog as John In Carolina and have posted often on the Duke Hoax, the frame-up attempt and its ongoing cover-up.

We have spoken a few times when I phoned to commend you on a book review or essay.

I’ve viewed you as a graceful, thoughtful and trustworthy writer, including times when I didn’t agree with what you’d written.

But after reading your profile this Sunday of Duke’s professor Tim Tyson, I doubt I’ll again trust something published under your byline.

In your lengthy, flattering profile you present Tyson as someone seeking to help us face our history of slavery and other race-based crimes so that we can begin to heal and live more harmoniously in circumstances where what matters is our character, not our skin color.

You called that Tyson’s “gospel.”

But for all your reporting on Tyson’s boyhood influences, reaction to Emmitt Till’s murder, research and writing about the Wilmington Riots, teaching, and his book writing and movie-making activities, you told readers nothing about Tyson’s prominent role in promoting the Duke witch hunt.

Nor did you say anything about his support for Mike Nifong’s transparent attempt to frame three white Duke students for gang rape and other felonies of which attorney general Roy Cooper later declared them innocent.

Tyson’s many reckless and prejudicial statements helped inflame those in our community who waved CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE banners, who produced and distributed Wanted and Vigilante posters, and who cheered the New Black Panthers shouting death threats at Reade Seligmann at the Durham County Courthouse.

Why didn't you provide readers a sample of the N&O op-ed Tyson wrote Apr. 2, 2006, the same day the N&O published a Vigilante poster photo after Duke said doing so would add to the danger the 43 white students pictured on it?

From Tyson’s op-ed:

Rape is one of the deepest and most vicious ways that human beings deny their common humanity. Racism is another. These crimes are intertwined deeply in our history, and that history came off its leash once more on Buchanan Boulevard on March 13, as a few Duke students did great harm to our community.

The spirit of the lynch mob lived in that house on Buchanan Boulevard, regardless of the truth of the most serious charges.

The ghastly spectacle takes its place in a history where African- American men were burned at the stake for "reckless eyeballing" -- that is, looking at a white woman -- and white men kept black concubines and mistresses and raped black women at will.
Tim Tyson's as much a racial healer as are David Duke and Houston Baker.

Tyson really is, as his op-ed demonstrates, a reckless race-agitator with self-promotion skills that place him in the same category as John Edwards and Al Sharpton.

I’m sending a copy of this email to Ted Vaden who often tells readers they should trust what they read in the N&O.

If you care to respond, I’ll publish what you send me in full at my blog.


John in Carolina


Dear Ted:

Awhile back you wrote about newspapers losing public trust because they make small errors such as getting a date or address wrong. You spoke of the “drip, drip, drip” of public confidence.

I don’t think people are losing trust in newspapers because of small, inadvertent mistakes of the type all of us make, as long as they're acknowledged and corrected.

What’s so damaging to reader trust is the gush, gush, gush of deliberate news manipulation.

One example of that can be found in Sunday’s N&O’s two-page puff piece profile of Tim Tyson. He’s presented as a racial healer.

No doubt many readers will be fooled by the piece. However, those who remember Tyson’s role in inflaming the Duke hoax and supporting Nifong’s race-baiting and frame up attempt won’t.

What will they make of J. Peder Zane's failure to mention any of that?

Gush, gush, gush.



"Kennedy talked, Khrushchev triumphed." Now what about Obama?

Today William Katz at Urgent Agenda posts Never Fear? I comment below the star line.

Here's Katz - - -

Occasionally we get a newspaper piece written by those who actually do the research, have absorbed the facts, and can apply a reasonable perspective to a political stand. Here, two writers, in a New York times op-ed piece, pretty much wreck Barack Obama's naive stance on negotiations.

In his inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy expressed in two eloquent sentences, often invoked by Barack Obama, a policy that turned out to be one of his presidency’s — indeed one of the cold war’s — most consequential: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Kennedy’s special assistant, called those sentences “the distinctive note” of the inaugural.
A little problem...
But Kennedy’s one presidential meeting with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier, suggests that there are legitimate reasons to fear negotiating with one’s adversaries. Although Kennedy was keenly aware of some of the risks of such meetings — his Harvard thesis was titled “Appeasement at Munich” — he embarked on a summit meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961, a move that would be recorded as one of the more self-destructive American actions of the cold war, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age.

Senior American statesmen like George Kennan advised Kennedy not to rush into a high-level meeting, arguing that Khrushchev had engaged in anti-American propaganda and that the issues at hand could as well be addressed by lower-level diplomats.


But Kennedy went ahead, and for two days he was pummeled by the Soviet leader. Despite his eloquence, Kennedy was no match as a sparring partner, and offered only token resistance as Khrushchev lectured him on the hypocrisy of American foreign policy, cautioned America against supporting “old, moribund, reactionary regimes” and asserted that the United States, which had valiantly risen against the British, now stood “against other peoples following its suit.”
Paul Nitze, the assistant secretary of defense, said the meeting was “just a disaster.” Khrushchev’s aide, after the first day, said the American president seemed “very inexperienced, even immature.” Khrushchev agreed, noting that the youthful Kennedy was “too intelligent and too weak.” The Soviet leader left Vienna elated — and with a very low opinion of the leader of the free world.
Too intelligent and too weak.

Does that remind you of a certain Illinois senator?


The following spring, Khrushchev made plans to “throw a hedgehog at Uncle Sam’s pants”: nuclear missiles in Cuba. And while there were many factors that led to the missile crisis, it is no exaggeration to say that the impression Khrushchev formed at Vienna — of Kennedy as ineffective — was among them.
If Barack Obama wants to follow in Kennedy’s footsteps, he should heed the lesson that Kennedy learned in his first year in office: sometimes there is good reason to fear to negotiate.

There's a lot to think about here. But since those journalists who are in the tank for Obama are emotionally opposed to thinking, I'm not too optimistic.



The "Kennedy talked, Khrushchev triumphed" tag identifies its authors as journalist Nathan Thrall and Jesse James Wilkins, a doctoral candidate in political science at Columbia University.

Katz has done an excellent job of IDing "the guts" of what they say and adding some comments of his own we should all be thinking about.

Today was my first visit to Katz's blog, Urgent Agenda. I looked around and liked what I saw. I hope you visit it here.

Hat tip: Mike Williams

N&O withheld Lax cooperation news; pushed “silence” lie

On the thread of What about the Raleigh N&O's Duke Lax framing? (5/18/08) an Anon commenter @ 10:31 says in part:

Re: "the N&O’s behind-the-scenes decision to deliberately withhold from readers news it had of the players’ cooperation with police; and instead tell them the lie that the players weren’t cooperating with police" --

can you refer me to the source material for these two points? I know a N&O reporter I'd like to ask about this. Thanks.
Here's my response to Anon @ 10:31 - - -

Dear Anon @ 10:31:

Let’s look first at what was available to the N&O by the time it published it’s Mar. 25, 2006 story which laid out the trashing and framing script.

A Mar. 21 Chronicle story - "Suspects in alleged rape unidentified" - reporting on the investigation of what we now know were Crystal Mangum's lies included this:
Gottlieb said any man that attended the party March 13 would be a viable suspect but refused to go into further detail.

The residents of the house have been cooperative with DPD in locating any suspects, he added. (emphasis here and following added)
In time for Mar. 24 news reports Duke News issued a statement attributed to John F. Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations. The statement headed - Statement on Duke Men's Lacrosse Team - said:
Yesterday, 46 Duke University undergraduates who are members of the men’s lacrosse team responded to a legal order from Durham authorities and traveled downtown to be photographed and provide identifying information. The authorities made the request in connection with an investigation of an alleged incident on March 14 at 610 Buchanan St. in Durham. Duke University is monitoring the situation and cooperating with officials, as are the students.
On Mar. 24 the N&O reported all 46 white members of Duke Men's lacrosse team had submitted to court-ordered police DNA testing and face and torso photographing. The story mentioned Burness' had said the players were cooperating.

But the N&O didn't mention that the NTO, signed by the now disbarred Mike Nifong's mentor and close friend Judge Ron Stephens, could’ve been appealed by each one of the 46 students, including those who weren't even at the party; and that none appealed.

The decisions of every one of the 46 players' not to appeal the NTO and instead submit to police DNA and photo evidence gathering at a time when the players had reasonable cause to question Durham Police investigators' integrity was an extraordinary example of young citizens cooperating with police.

Saying nothing about player cooperation, the N&O reported in its Mar. 25, 2006 front page, above the fold story it said was about "a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence":
...Duke officials briefed university staff Friday on the allegations, and authorities vowed to crack the team's wall of solidarity

"We're asking someone from the lacrosse team to step forward," Durham police Cpl. David Addison said. "We will be relentless in finding out who committed this crime."

He emphasized the seriousness of the accusations -- first-degree rape, kidnapping, assault by strangulation and robbery. ...
The entire N&O story's here.

When a newspaper has available the sources and evidence cited here confirming the players' cooperation;

and the newspaper suppresses mention of what those sources have said and what the evidence of the players' cooperation demonstrates;

and the newspaper instead tells readers unnamed "authorities [have] vowed to crack the team's wall of solidarity;"

and then it quotes a police officer saying, "We're asking someone from the lacrosse team to step forward [.] "We will be relentless in finding out who committed this crime[;]"

the newspaper knows its promulgating a lie.

Even if you accept the N&O’s “we were under deadline; the story wasn’t perfect” fogging over of what it did, you’re then left to explain why in subsequent stories the next few days the N&O didn’t report on the players’ cooperation, something honest journalists caught under deadline would have done in the next edition.

But look at the N&O's Duke framing coverage for Mar. 26, 27 and 28. You won't find a single mention of the players’ cooperation with police.

Instead, the N&O continued to hype the false claim of the players’ “the wall of silence” refusal to cooperate.

In its Mar. 25 and those subsequent stories the N&O also trashed the players as drunks, racists and hooligans, libels Mike Nifong used along with the “wall of silence” lie when he first began speaking publicly about the case on Mar. 27

Here’s one example of the trashing and “wall of silence” lie promulgated by the N&O: Ruth Sheehan’s Mar. 27 “Team's silence is sickening” column is based entirely on the premise the players were refusing to cooperate with police.

Full disclosure: Months later Sheehan repudiated the column. She said she'd relied on information passed to her by another or other staffer(s) at the N&O who told her the information came from Mike Nifong. At the time of the column's publication, Sheehan didn’t tell readers Nifong was the source for her column. The N&O has said nothing to confirm or deny Nifong served as an N&O anonymous source at least by Mar. 26 when Sheehan says she received the information.

I hope this has been helpful.

Now a request: If you get to talk to an N&O reporter who answers your question, please ask the reporter four questions:

1) Why, during the time period we’re talking about, didn’t the N&O report on the players’ extraordinary cooperation and instead in story after story and in Sheehan’s news column hype “the wall of silence” lie to the point that it was endangering the players as Wanted and Vigilante posters circulated at Duke and nearby?

2) When and in what detail did the N&O first report on the Lax captains’ cooperation with police on Mar. 16?

3) When did the N&O first learn of the captains’ cooperation which included voluntarily submitting to DNA testing the night of Mar. 16/17, answering all questions asked them by police without an attorney present, signing statements, helping police ID who was at the party?

4) Why hasn’t the N&O answered questions 1, 2, and 3 before now?

Thank you for commenting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Churchill Series – May 21, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

A Churchill Centre post, Action This Day(Summer, 1945), contains an excellent sketch of people and events connected with the July, 1945 British general election in which Churchill's Conservatives were beaten by Labour. Here are excerpts from it:

Despite Churchill’s war record his Party’s prospects for reelection were discouraging. Since 1942 the Gallup poll had shown a large Labour lead. Eight Conservative candidates, unopposed by Labour because of a wartime electoral truce, had already been beaten by independents.

The Conservatives focused on Churchill as the leader who had won the war. Churchill reminded the overseas troops that there was "no truth that you can vote Labour or Liberal without voting against me." As grateful as they were, many people expressed concern that the great war leader would not be a good peace leader. […]

From the beginning he struck hard against his opponents. Controversy ensued when he said the Socialists "would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo." His daughter Mary later recounted how her mother begged Churchill "to delete the odious and invidious reference to the Gestapo. But he would not heed her." […]

Polling day was 5 July in Britain but it took three weeks to count the service vote. Meanwhile Churchill flew to Bordeaux to rest before moving on to Berlin [to attend the Potsdam Conference].

Shortly after arriving in the German capital Churchill, with his daughter Mary, toured its ruins including Hitler’s Chancellery. When Churchill observed the German populace he said his "hate died with their surrender."

On the same day he met President Truman for the first time. A few days later the two leaders agreed to use the atomic bomb against Japan.

Churchill’s last public event as British Prime Minister occurred on 21 July when he took the victory salute in Berlin. "Twice in one generation," he told the troops, "as in bygone times the German fury has been unleashed on her neighbours. Now it is we who take our place in the occupation of this country."

Among the cheers, however, were ominous signs. John Peck noted how "the great war leader but for whom we should never have been in Berlin at all, got a markedly less vociferous cheer than Mr. Attlee." [Clement Attlee was at time the Labour Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister in the national unity government Churchill formed upon taking office as Prime Minister in May, 1940.]

On 25 July Churchill left Stalin and Truman, without saying goodbye, to return to London with Attlee to await the results of the election. On 28 July Clement Attlee returned to Berlin as Prime Minister. […]

[Following his defeat Churchill made a gracious] concession speech [which]included the admirable comment: "I thank the British people for many kindnesses shown towards their servant."

This remark stands in contrast to Stalin’s reported comment that he was surprised because he had supposed that Churchill would have "fixed" the results.

On 29 July Churchill signed "finis" in the visitors’ book at Chequers. Many high-ranking officials who owed their positions to Churchill, including Lord Louis Mountbatten, were now expressing Labour sympathies.

When Chamberlain had resigned in 1940 many Conservatives clearly expressed their preference for him over the new Prime Minister.

This time, however, the Conservative MPs showed their hearts were with Churchill. When he entered the House on 1 August they sang an enthusiastic "For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow." Later he joined Attlee to celebrate VJ-Day and clearly received greater ovations.

On 16 August the House recognized Churchill’s war leadership. The new Prime Minister spoke for all when he said that Churchill’s "place in history is secure."
Most people are unaware Churchill headed a national unity government during the war. Attlee was one of many Labour leaders who held important cabinet posts. Leaders of the much smaller Liberal party held offices as well including the party leader, Archibald Sinclair, who served as Secretary of State for Air.

The entire post is here.

Kingsolver's rant in the rain: Duke can do better

When Duke's President Richard Brodhead announced the selection of novelist and ardent leftist Barbara Kingsolver as the school's 2008 commencement speaker, many were critical of the choice. Some noted Kinsgolver's often been wrong on obvious and important matters most people understood.

Brodhead told the critics they needed to "read more."

Fast forward to Duke's May. 11 commencement and all those people shivering in the cold and rain listening (or trying not to listen) as Kingsolver delivered a lengthy leftist rant one of her fans assures me didn't last "much more than a half-hour."

Who was surprised Kingsolver didn't consider her audience sitting in the rain and cold(a Duke staffer held an umbrella over Kingsolver's head)?

Sure, Kingsolver couldn't disappoint Brodhead and the others who selected her knowing she'd deliver a leftist rant.

But given the circumstances, Kingsolver could've said

"In view of the rain and cold, I'll dispense with my prepared speech and just tell you 10 things you should all hate about Bush and America.

And I'll keep it to 5 minutes, which is more time than Lincoln used at Gettysburg."
What could be wrong with that? Even those leftist faculty sitting in the rain would've shivered their agreement, don't you agree?

All Kingsolver needed to do was recognize the obvious and respond sensibly.

But Kingsolver often misses the obvious, even when it's, to use a phrase President Brodhead's made memorable, "brought to glaring visibility."

And as for acting sensibly, consider the following - - -

In the late Fall of 2001 one of the largest and most successful famine-prevention operations in recent history occurred in Afghanistan. The job was done by America's military under war conditions. Millions of lives were saved.

But Kingsolver missed it. She was busy bashing President Bush and America's response to 9/11.

On Nov, 23, 2001 as American forces were driving the brutal Taliban regime from government power in Afghanistan, the Washington Post published a Kingsolver op-ed that attacked our 9/11.

Kingsolver's op-ed included this:
”Freedom from fear, freedom from want -- these clearly aren't meant just now for the millions of Afghan civilians placed at risk of starvation because of the war.”
That was nonsense! The war hadn't placed millions of Afghan’s at risk of starvation, something even most leftists knew by Nov. 2001.

For many months a famine in Afghanistan had been widely reported in the Western press and by international relief agencies.

Here's an example of that reporting from a July 2001 UN World Food Program (WFP) report:
A third successive year of drought has left Afghanistan teetering on the brink of widespread famine and placed the lives of millions of people at risk.

A joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment mission sent to Afghanistan in May has returned from the field warning that the almost total failure of the 2001 harvest means some five million people will require humanitarian food aid to survive.(emphasis added)
When Kingsolver wrote her op-ed, America's military was in the midst of extensive and heroic relief operations to avert the famine.

Excerpts from the Oct. 20, 2001 NY Times:
The C-17 cargo plane was 10 minutes from its drop zone when the rear door opened onto the night sky high above Afghanistan. Frigid air burst into the cabin, washing over food boxes that stood like soldiers at attention before an American flag.

Crouching before the door, his oxygen mask pressing hard against his face, a staff sergeant named Paul signaled that the plane was one minute from its target.

Suddenly, with a rush like a powerful freight train gathering speed, 42 boxes flew out the door, opening in midair and raining their contents -- bright yellow packets of food -- on the countryside below.

Within seconds, the C-17 and two sister planes had spilled 51,000 plastic packages, each containing two ready-to-eat meals, over a remote valley in northern Afghanistan. Each wrapper bore a message, ''Food gift from the people of the United States of America,'' in English. . . .

For all the apparent simplicity of tossing food from a plane, the air drops are complex missions. . . .

Each flight requires a large supporting cast, including KC-135 tankers, Awacs command and control planes and fighter jets to protect the C-17's over hostile territory. . .

The planes fly at unusually high altitudes -- typically over 25,000 feet -- to avoid Taliban antiaircraft fire.

But at those heights crews run the risk of decompression sickness, caused by the bubbling of nitrogen out of the blood, when the cabin is depressurized so the cargo door can be safely opened.

In extreme cases, those bubbles can clog veins, causing severe pain and even death. Flight surgeons or physiologists have been assigned to the crews to watch for early symptoms of the illness.
By Jan. 4, 2002 the State Department was able to report:
U.S. and U.N. efforts in Afghanistan appear to have averted starvation in the country, U.S. State Department officials said Jan. 3.

Aid organizations have moved more than 200,000 tons of food into Afghanistan since Oct. 1, according to U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Andrew Natsios and Alan Kreczko, the acting assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

"Of that 200,000 tons, 64 percent of it came from the United States," Natsios said. "So almost two-thirds of the food that went in came from America."

Natsios forecast earlier that more than 1.5 million Afghans faced starvation unless help could flow into the war-torn country.
Many of you who know Duke now under Brodhead's and BOT Chair Robert Steel's leadership may be saying Kingsolver was a very suitable commencement speaker selection.

True enough, but Duke can do better.

Here’s another look at what Kingsolver wrote Nov. 23, 2001 concerning America's efforts to displace the Taliban and prevent starvation in Afshanistan:
”Freedom from fear, freedom from want -- these clearly aren't meant just now for the millions of Afghan civilians placed at risk of starvation because of the war.”

A note re: readers comments


Comments have come in the past few days concerning Duke's Lax cancellation, N&O's withholding info it had re: lax players' cooperation with police, Sen. Obama's reaction to President Bush's Knesset speech, and media pro-Obama bias.

I want to respond to those comments on the main page.

But I'm traveling most of today, so I won't start on those posts until this evening.

But I will respond.

Thank you for your understanding.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 20, 2008

(One of a series of daily posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers Note: The following post, first published in December 2005, is one of my favorite Series posts.

From time-to-time, I think of reasons (excuses?)to republish it.

It's republished today because this is the time of year most honorary degrees are awarded.

One other item: In the last week or so a number of you have made informative comments of the threads. Thank you very much.


At a critical time during World War II, an American military leader Churchill trusted set in motion plans to thwart something he felt the Prime Minister was planning. It sounds ominous, but if you read on I think you'll say things worked out for the best.

Just before Pearl Harbor, Churchill sacked Britain's Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field Marshall Sir John Dill. It was arranged that Dill would finish out the war in a backwater post.

Following Pearl Harbor, Churchill decided to go to Washington to develop a joint American-British war plan. He knew the British would need Dill's knowledge at what would be complicated and contentious planning sessions.

So Dill was brought along with Churchill's party to give what he had, and then be shuffled off.

But it came about that he stayed on in Washington in a new position; one in which he made a vital contribution to the war effort.

How so?

Well, since the American and British chiefs of staff would jointly plan Allied strategy and allocate scarce resources; and since the joint chiefs would meet only occasionally for planning sessions; there was a need for liaison between the two nations' chiefs between meetings.

That difficult task was given to Dill.

It was agreed he could best fulfill it in Washington with direct access by cable to each of the British chiefs and right to attend the American chiefs' meetings.

Dill performed splendidly. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said no one surpassed Dill in explaining to the chiefs of each nation the ideas, needs and temperaments of the chiefs of the other nation.

But during the first months of 1944, with D-Day approaching, Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall feared both countries' chiefs would lose Dill's service because Churchill felt Dill was tipping too much in the Americans favor. Marshall thought Churchill might recall him.

Marshall wanted to convince Churchill that Dill was so well thought of in America that recalling him would harm Allied relations.

So Marshall hatched a scheme.

What if Harvard gave Dill an honorary degree, he asked an aide. Wouldn't that impress Churchill? The PM wouldn't want to pull such a man out of the States, would he?

The aide was dispatched to Harvard whose president said he would like to but there was so much that went into an honorary degree, he didn't see how it could be done.

The aide duly reported back to Marshall.

"Try Yale," Marshall barked.

Yale had some of the same problems with an honorary degree as Harvard. But its President, Charles Seymour, said Yale could award Dill the Charles P. Howland Prize.

And what was that?

It was awarded for outstanding contributions to international understanding.
The award ceremony, the president said, would include mace, academic procession, anthems, etc.

Marshall thought that would all be just fine.

The War Department informed the press that the Chief of Staff would be taking time from his very busy schedule to travel to New Haven to attend this most important award ceremony. What's more, Secretary of War Simpson and Asst. Secretary of War Lovett were also planning to attend.

The press reported on the ceremony with what Simpson later called a big "splash." Marshall stayed long after the ceremony talking informally to the press and posing for pictures, actions not typical of the General.

Soon other colleges and universities, including The College of William and Mary and Columbia University awarded Dill honorary doctorates.

Marshall later told the aide he'd heard Churchill had said, "Dill must be doing quite a job over there."

Of course, there was no more talk of recall.
Forrest C. Pogue, George C. Marshall: Organizer of Victory. (pgs. 336-337)

The unbelievable Obama and media bias

An excerpt from Mike Williams electronic letter today followed by brief comments below the star line.

From Mike - - -

At RealClearPolitics, Carolyn Glick calls Obama’s Iranian policy prescriptions a “massive act of appeasement."

Indeed, Obama himself told the good folks of Oregon that Iran “is not a threat” to the U.S.

But the very next day in Montana: “I've made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave.”

Power Line’s John Hinderaker: “Can someone explain why it is, exactly, that Barack Obama is not a laughingstock?”

American Thinker’s Thomas Lifson: “Two words: media bias.”


Mike has done us all a great service by finding, highlighting and linking to those five posts.

They're each instructive and together offer a revealing and troubling look at Senator Obama.

I think they'll be especially enlightening to citizens who've let themselves get carried along by the Anythng For Obama media without examining the senator's background and statements.

Question: How long will it be before we start seeing this bumper sticker - - Obama: Changes You Can't Believe In?

Bolton’s Message For Obama

Former U. N. ambassador John Bolton in yesterday’s WSJ:

President Bush's speech to Israel's Knesset, where he equated "negotiat[ing] with the terrorists and radicals" to "the false comfort of appeasement," drew harsh criticism from Barack Obama and other Democratic leaders.

They apparently thought the president was talking about them, and perhaps he was.
Wittingly or not, the president may well have created a defining moment in the 2008 campaign. And Mr. Obama stepped right into the vortex by saying he was willing to debate John McCain on national security "any time, any place." Mr. McCain should accept that challenge today.

The Obama view of negotiations as the alpha and the omega of U.S. foreign policy highlights a fundamental conceptual divide between the major parties and their putative presidential nominees. This divide also opened in 2004, when John Kerry insisted that our foreign policy pass a "global test" to be considered legitimate. .

Negotiation is not a policy. It is a technique. Saying that one favors negotiation with, say, Iran, has no more intellectual content than saying one favors using a spoon. For what? Under what circumstances? With what objectives? On these specifics, Mr. Obama has been consistently sketchy. (all emphasis added) . . .

When the U.S. negotiates with "terrorists and radicals," it gives them legitimacy, a precious and tangible political asset. Thus, even Mr. Obama criticized former President Jimmy Carter for his recent meetings with Hamas leaders. Meeting with leaders of state sponsors of terrorism such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Il is also a mistake. State sponsors use others as surrogates, but they are just as much terrorists as those who actually carry out the dastardly acts. Legitimacy and international acceptability are qualities terrorists crave, and should therefore not be conferred casually, if at all.

Moreover, negotiations – especially those "without precondition" as Mr. Obama has specifically advocated – consume time, another precious asset that terrorists and rogue leaders prize. Here, President Bush's reference to Hitler was particularly apt: While the diplomats of European democracies played with their umbrellas, the Nazis were rearming and expanding their industrial power.

In today's world of weapons of mass destruction, time is again a precious asset, one almost invariably on the side of the would-be proliferators. Time allows them to perfect the complex science and technology necessary to sustain nuclear weapons and missile programs, and provides far greater opportunity for concealing their activities from our ability to detect and, if necessary, destroy them.

Iran has conclusively proven how to use negotiations to this end. After five years of negotiations with the Europeans, with the Bush administration's approbation throughout, the only result is that Iran is five years closer to having nuclear weapons. . . .

Bolton’s entire column is here.

I hope Senator Obama reads it.

Bolton is delivering a very important message Obama's "without preconditions" statement suggests he's yet to hear.

At Gateway Pundit there’s more on Bolton’s column as well as a video clip of his appearance last night on Fox’s Hannity & Colmes.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Churchill Series - May 19, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Some years ago at a Churchill Society dinner, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten’s daughter spoke about her father’s relationship with Churchill.

Lord Mountbatten, Dickie to his friends, had known Churchill since boyhood. His father had been First Sea Lord for a time when Churchill served from 1911 to 1915 as Lord of the Admiralty.

During his long life, Lord Mountbatten served the government in a number of important capacities. For much of WW II he was allied commander for the China-Burma-India Theatre. He later served as Great Britain’s last Viceroy to India.

Mountbatten and Churchill developed a lifelong friendship. There was a break when Churchill was angered by Mountbatten’s support for Indian independence but the rift healed over time

In her speech Countess Mountbatten recounted two incidents involving Mountbatten and Churchill. I think you'll find them amusing. The first occurred before WW I when Mountbatten was a cadet at Osborne, a naval preparatory school. The second occurred in later years by which time Mountbatten was on to what Churchill’s Private Secretaries called “his tricks.”

[My father] was at school a few years later at Osborne and Mr. Churchill came down as First Lord to visit. He went round the cadets and he very unwisely asked them whether they were satisfied with their evening meal which they happened to be eating, and my father, who was never at a loss for words, said, "Well not really Sir, we only have two sardines, and we would very much like to have three."

So Mr. Churchill called up to whomever was going around with him and said, "Admiral, see to it that these young gentlemen are given three sardines for their suppers!" The Admiral said, "Yes, Sir." However, they waited a day or two, a week or two and nothing happened. […]

At the other end of Churchill's long life, my father was sent for to report on an important matter about which there'd been some little difference of opinion. Mr. Churchill gave his views at length and then sitting back in his chair, removed his hearing aid (he had become a bit deaf) and said, 'Now Dickie, tell me your views on that."

My father was not easily beaten, as you would know. He leaned forward, handing him back the hearing aid, said firmly, "Certainly Winston, provided you can hear me!"

You can read all of Countess Mountbatten’s speech here.

Duke’s Lax Cancellation: What Safety Concerns? (Post 3)

Two posts - Duke's Lax '06 Cancellation: What Safety Concerns? and Duke's Lax '06 Cancellation: What Safety Concerns? (Post 2) - have questioned whether, as reported in a recent N. Y. Times story, concerns for its student-athletes safety was a factor in Duke University President Richard Brodhead’s decision, announced Apr. 5, 2006, to cancel the remainder of Duke’s Men’s lacrosse season.

At the time the lacrosse players were targets of vicious and what proved to be false charges by local and national media, many Duke faculty, and some community activists and leaders of “rights groups” that three players had committed brutal crimes including gang rape which the rest of the team was helping cover up.

While researching Brodhead’s decision to cancel the season, I’ve read the statement he released Apr. 5 announcing the cancellation and athletic director Joe Alleva’s statement of the same day endorsing it.

The statements are very brief. I want to share them with you, then comment below the star line.

Brodhead’s statement - - -

The court released today a previously sealed warrant, whose contents are sickening and repulsive.

I have canceled the men’s lacrosse season and all associated activities, effective immediately. Lacrosse Coach Mike Pressler has submitted his resignation to Athletics Director Joe Alleva, effective immediately.

Typically, we are prohibited under federal privacy regulations from releasing information regarding individual student disciplinary matters. In this case, the student named in the warrant has signed a release and given us permission to say that he has received an interim suspension. As a result of the interim suspension, the student is no longer on campus.

I once again urge anyone with information pertinent to the events of March 13 to cooperate with the authorities.

Alleva’s statement - - -

Duke Director of Athletics Joe Alleva announced Wednesday that Mike Pressler has resigned as men’s lacrosse coach, effective immediately.

“Coach Pressler offered me his resignation earlier this afternoon, and I accepted it,” said Alleva. “I fully support President Brodhead’s decision to cancel the remainder of the season as well as his outrage at the latest developments involving the men’s lacrosse program. I believe this is in the best interests of the program, the department of athletics and the university.”

Pressler spent 16 seasons at Duke, compiling a 153-82 record with three ACC championships, 10 NCAA Tournament berths and an appearance in the 2005 national championship game. A three-time ACC Coach of the Year and the 2005 USILA National Coach of the Year, Pressler’s overall head coaching ledger stands at 229-102 in 22 seasons.



I view Alleva’s statement as a “go along” to save his job. I’ll say nothing more about it in this post other than to note Alleva made no effort to say anything that might have mitigated the dangers the players were facing.

As for Brodhead’s statement, you can see he makes no mention of student safety.

The statement is constructed to leave no doubt in the public’s mind that Duke was responding to the McFadyen email. Thus Brodhead begins:

The court released today a previously sealed warrant, whose contents are sickening and repulsive.
which he follows immediately with:
I have canceled the men’s lacrosse season and all associated activities, effective immediately.
Brodhead then informs the public Duke’s suspended McFadyen and he’s “no longer on campus.”

When Brodhead made his statement McFadyen hadn't signed a waiver. Duke subsequently said Brodhead’s error was the result of a misunderstanding.

Whatever the case, Brodhead’s claim that Duke had a waiver allowed him to further hammer home to the public how seriously he took the email: McFadyen's suspended, coach Pressler's fired and the remainder of the season's cancelled "effective immediately."

I’ll research some more, but I doubt I’ll find anything from the period Apr. 5 to Apr. 7, 2006 indicating concern for the student’s safety was a factor in President Brodhead’s decision to cancel the remainder of the lacrosse season.

If you do, please let me know.

Obama's reaction to Bush's Knesset speech

This is a follow-up to Obama: Narcissism You Can Believe In.

Below you'll find a portion of an AP report of Senator Obama's by now much discussed reaction to a portion of President Bush's speech before Israel's Knesset. The AP story provides a link to Obama's statement.

After the AP portion there's a star line below which you'll find an excerpt of Bush's speech. The excerpt includes the words that have so aggrieved Obama. The paragraph containing the words is in italics. (emphasis mine) The text of the President's speech is here hosted by the Boston Globe.

The purpose of this post is to enable you to judge for yourself what President Bush said and Senator Obama's reacton to it.

I plan to comment further on the matter later this evening.

The AP story begins - - -

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama accused President Bush on Thursday of launching a "false political attack" with a comment about appeasing terrorists and radicals.

The Illinois senator interpreted the remark as a slam against him but the White House denied that Bush's words were in any way directed at Obama, who has said as president he would be willing to personally meet with Iran's leaders and those of other regimes the United States has deemed rogue.

In a speech to Israel's Knesset, Bush said: "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.

"We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is—the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Obama responded with a statement, seizing on Bush's remarks even as it was unclear to whom the president was referring.

"It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack," Obama said in the statement his aides distributed. "George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the president's extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel." . . .


Excerpt from President Bush's speech to Israel's Knesset - - -

The fight against terror and extremism is the defining challenge of our time. It is more than a clash of arms. It is a clash of visions, a great ideological struggle. On the one side are those who defend the ideals of justice and dignity with the power of reason and truth. On the other side are those who pursue a narrow vision of cruelty and control by committing murder, inciting fear, and spreading lies.

This struggle is waged with the technology of the 21st century, but at its core it is an ancient battle between good and evil. The killers claim the mantle of Islam, but they are not religious men. No one who prays to the God of Abraham could strap a suicide vest to an innocent child, or blow up guiltless guests at a Passover Seder, or fly planes into office buildings filled with unsuspecting workers. In truth, the men who carry out these savage acts serve no higher goal than their own desire for power. They accept no God before themselves. And they reserve a special hatred for the most ardent defenders of liberty, including Americans and Israelis.

And that is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the "elimination" of Israel. And that is why the followers of Hezbollah chant "Death to Israel, Death to America!" That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that "the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties." And that is why the president of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.

There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history. (italics added)

Some people suggest if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away. This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of the enemies of peace, and America utterly rejects it. Israel's population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because the United States of America stands with you.

more stories like thisAmerica stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary. America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapons would be an unforgivable betrayal for future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

Ultimately, to prevail in this struggle, we must offer an alternative to the ideology of the extremists by extending our vision of justice and tolerance and freedom and hope. These values are the self-evident right of all people, of all religions, in all the world because they are a gift from the Almighty God. Securing these rights is also the surest way to secure peace. Leaders who are accountable to their people will not pursue endless confrontation and bloodshed. Young people with a place in their society and a voice in their future are less likely to search for meaning in radicalism. Societies where citizens can express their conscience and worship their God will not export violence, they will be partners in peace.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What about the Raleigh N&O’s Duke Lax framing?

In response to Duke Lax '06 Cancellation: What Safety Concerns?(Post 2) an Anon commenter asked:

Does anyone know the behind-the-scenes story at the N&O? How did the Khanna-Blythe story on the "victim" come about? How did the defamatory poster of the lacrosse players end up in the paper? Why hasn't the newspaper apologized for its performance?
I’ll respond to those questions on a first-pass basis and without linking to sources. If I’m wrong on any fact and you point it out, I’ll move your correction to the main page and thank you.

Now here goes - - -

Does anyone know the behind-the-scenes story at the N&O?

That question is imprecise, tantalizing and very important.

Imprecise – Do you mean, thoughtful Anon, the N&O’s behind-the-scenes decision to seven times in its first “Duke lacrosse “ story tell readers the false accuser was “the victim” or to refer to her with the possessive “victim’s,” while never once using “alleged?”

Or do you mean the N&O’s behind-the-scenes decision to deliberately withhold from readers news it had of the players’ cooperation with police; and instead tell them the lie that the players weren’t cooperating with police?

Or perhaps you mean the N&O’s publishing on Mar. 25, 2006 what it knew was Crystal Mangum’s false claim that she was new to “dancing” before men?

There are many "behind-the-scenes" questions concerning its lacrosse case framing the N&O won't answer.

Anon, please be more specific as to what you mean and I'll try to get public editor Ted Vaden to answer your question.

The same goes for other JinC readers' questions.

How did the Khanna-Blythe story on the "victim" come about?

I think you’re referring to the N&O’s Mar. 25, 2006 story it said was about a woman’s “ordeal” which ended in”sexual violence.”

That N&O story laid out the script for the trashing and threatening of the entire lacrosse team and the framing of three of its white members for multiple felonies, including gang rape.

The question most often asked about that story is how did the N&O get the interview with Crystal Mangum. It's the only published press interview she's participated in since she first made her false accusations.

The N&O has been deliberately vague and misleading concerning how it got the interview.

For example, months after it took place, then executive editor for news Melanie Sill told skeptical readers at the Editors' Blog the interview was secured as a result of “boots on the ground.”

That's not an answer; it's a dodge.

So questions about how the N&O got to Mangum remain unanswered by the newspaper that's written hundreds of stories on the case.

You have to ask yourself why the N&O hasn't reported on something so important and about which it already has "the news."

How did the defamatory poster of the lacrosse players end up in the paper?

You're talking about the Vigilante poster which the N&O published Apr. 2, 2006.

Sill, again at the Editors' Blog, said months later that N&O staffers took a copy of the anonymously produced poster off the windshield of a car.

As for why the N&O published the poster bearing the face-photos of 43 white members of the Duke lacrosse team after the university had expressed concerns that doing so would add to the danger the players were already facing, Sill initially said it was to give readers a sense of what was happening in Duke and Durham.

But as criticism of the N&O's decision to publish the Vigilante poster photo grew, Sill offered readers a nebulous "we didn't have the conversation we should have had"

Neither Sill nor anyone else at the N&O has ever said publicly what the substance of "the conversation we should have had" would have been.

The N&O has refused to tell readers the substance of the conversations editors did have concerning the photo's publication which occurred just weeks after the N&O announced its editors didn't see a need to publish any photos of the Danish cartoons which had angered many Muslims.

Why hasn't the newspaper apologized for its performance?

Sill, John Drescher, who was managing editor at the time the news broke of what we later learned was a frame-up attempt and is now executive editor for news, and public editor Ted Vaden agree the N&O made "a few mistakes" during the first few days of its coverage. They blame lack of cooperation by the players, their families and attorneys, and deadlines for anything the N&O got wrong.

Those "few mistakes" aside, the N&O tells readers it's very proud of its Duke lacrosse coverage.

If we get discovery in the civil rights violations suits brought by most of the principal victims of the travesties and crimes which grew from Mangum's lies, we'll undoubtedly learn more about what the N&O did and didn't do.

I doubt there'll be much that will give decent journalists cause for pride.

Thank you for commenting.

AP & Sorensen distort JFK to help Obama

The AP’s Hillel Italie recently interviewed Ted Sorensen, former aide to President John Kennedy. Sorensen’s recently written a book concerning his relationship with the late President.

Here’s the begining of Italie’s interview, after which I comment below the star line.

As he watched the breach and then the break between Senator Barack Obama and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former White House speechwriter Ted Sorensen was reminded, as he is so often, of his years with John F. Kennedy.

It was September 1960, Kennedy was addressing a gathering of ministers in Houston, responding to concerns that a Catholic could be trusted as president - a major obstacle then for Kennedy's campaign.

“All of those conservative Protestants were glaring at him in the audience," recalls Sorensen, speaking from the living room of his apartment overlooking Central Park, light rain falling on a cool spring morning.

"And he referred to the fact that a lot of these pamphlets quoting popes and priests and prelates from the Catholic church were from other countries and, sometimes, other centuries, and then he said, 'I do not consider these other quotations binding upon my public acts. Why should you?' "

"And I've always felt that that's what Obama should say about Rev. Wright," Sorensen says of Obama's former pastor, whom the candidate denounced after Wright suggested that the U.S. government invented the AIDS virus to destroy blacks and made other inflammatory remarks. …

The rest of the AP’s Italie’s interview is here.



What you’ve just read is a mix of distorted history and advocacy journalism.

I’d like to think Sorensen didn’t say the things he’s quoted as saying. He knows Kennedy was able to reject the ministers’ attempts to tie him to the pamphleteers and popes they were quoting because Kennedy never accepted them in the first place.

You can read and watch Kennedy state that in this post, John Kennedy's Houston: nothing like Obama's Philadelphia. (Apr. 10, 2008)

Obama’s problem is that he’s had a 20 year relationship with Rev. Wright in which he embraced Wright as a close friend, sought spiritual counsel from him, and brought his children to Wright for religious instruction.

John Kennedy rejected religious bigotry, including his father’s, and he rejected racism and anti-Americanism. I can imagine Kennedy sitting in Wright’s church for 20 minutes. But does anyone believe he'd remain a member for 20 years and contribute generously to the church?

In 1960 Kennedy sought a highly publicized face-to-face Q&A session with his critics. Obama’s avoided such a Q&A for understandable reasons.

Obama undoubtedly hopes political partisans like Sorensen and friendly MSM will fog things over, so he can get to the White House without answering the Wright-Obama questions he’s been ducking.

Sorensen, Italie and the AP have distorted what Kennedy and Houston were about to aid Obama.

They ought to be ashamed.

Obama: Narcissism You Can Believe In

Remember what happened after Senator Barack Obama’s close friend of twenty years and former Pastor Jeremiah Wright spewed at the National Press Club the racism and anti-Americanism for which he’s long been known?

The Senator responded: "That's enough. That – that's a show of disrespect to me."

That “disrespect” and some falling poll numbers was enough to get the "Change you can believe in" candidate to change his position on Wright from “I could never abandon him” to “I know thee not, old man.”

Now today Mark Steyn tells us about President Bush’s just completed visit to Israel which Obama believes included “a show of disrespect “ to him.

Here’s Steyn - - -

... President Bush was in Israel the other day and gave a speech to the Knesset. Its perspective was summed up by his closing anecdote – a departing British officer in May 1948 handing the iron bar to the Zion Gate to a trembling rabbi and telling him it was the first time in 18 centuries that a key to the gates of the Jerusalem was in the hands of a Jew.

In other words, it was a big-picture speech, referencing the Holocaust, the pogroms, Masada – and the challenges that lie ahead. Sen. Obama was not mentioned in the text. No Democrat was mentioned, save for President Truman, in the context of his recognition of the new state of Israel when it was a mere 11 minutes old.

Nonetheless, Barack Obama decided that the president's speech was really about him, and he didn't care for it. He didn't put it quite as bluntly as he did with the Rev. Wright, but the message was the same: "That's enough. That's a show of disrespect to me."

And, taking their cue from the soon-to-be nominee's weirdly petty narcissism, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Joe Biden and Co. piled on to deplore Bush's outrageous, unacceptable, unpresidential, outrageously unacceptable and unacceptably unpresidential behavior.

Honestly. What a bunch of self-absorbed ninnies. Here's what the president said:

"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

It says something for Democrat touchiness that the minute a guy makes a generalized observation about folks who appease terrorists and dictators the Dems assume: Hey, they're talking about me. Actually, he wasn't – or, to be more precise, he wasn't talking only about you.

Yes, there are plenty of Democrats who are in favor of negotiating with our enemies, and a few Republicans, too – President Bush's pal James Baker, whose Iraq Study Group was full of proposals to barter with Iran and Syria and everybody else.

But that general line is also taken by at least three of Tony Blair's former Cabinet ministers and his senior policy adviser, and by the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party and by a whole bunch of bigshot Europeans.

It's not a Democrat election policy, it's an entire worldview. Even Barack Obama can't be so vain as to think his fly-me-to-[insert name of enemy here] concept is an original idea. ...

Steyn’s entire column’s here.

My bumper sticker suggestion - - Obama: Narcissism You Can Believe In

What's going wrong at The New Republic

The New Republic has just posted senior editor Michelle Cottle’s “What Went Wrong?” which it hypes as the “exclusive story of Hillary's fall, as told by the high-level advisors, staffers, fundraisers, and on-the-ground organizers who lived it.”

Before you decide to put everything else aside and read Cottle’s “exclusive story,” take a look at the first comment on the article’s thread:

Great...anonymous people, edited quotes, more throwing mud on Clinton by any means necessary. Thanks media. Let's see what fun we all have from here till November. I'm sure the Republicans have found nothing in OB's past to use to swat him down like a fly. Obama wouldn't hold anything back from you guys, right?
The commenter has nailed it. Just take a look at the following section of “What Went Wrong?” headed “Problems With The Press”
"The way we handled you guys was a mistake on our part. What we're hearing is that we truly treated people badly and weren't accessible enough or open enough. We had bad relationships with reporters, and it probably bit us on the ass."

"We ran a press operation that lost all credibility with the press through endless and pointless memos like, 'Where's the Bounce?' and polling memos that cherry-picked only positive polls when we were up and ignored polling when we were down."

"Even among Clinton spokespeople long known for their heavy-handed ways, Phil Singer stood out for his all-too-common and accepted profanity-laced tirades and abusive behavior--both at colleagues and the media, who were all too happy to direct his comeuppance toward Hillary at a time she needed them most."
Now there’s an example of exclusive, carefully sourced, in depth journalism. All that talk we’ve heard about the press in the tank for Sen. Obama isn’t really true. Anything nasty said about Sen. Clinton was all her staff’s fault, darn it. We have three anonymous quotes that prove that.

They say people – mostly liberals and leftists – actually pay for what TNR delivers. Can that be true?

A better title for the article would have been: “What’s Going Wrong At The New Republic.

The entire article’s here.