Friday, April 17, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 16, 2009

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

On October 2, 1929, Churchill, along with his son, Randolph, his brother, Jack, and Jack’s son, Johnny, arrived by train in Chicago. They were met there by an old friend of Churchill’s, Bernard Baruch, one of America’s wealthiest men and an advisor to President.

Baruch put his private rail car at the disposal of the Churchill party for its trip to New York, where they would be Baruch’s guest at the Plaza Hotel on 59th Street and 5th Avenue.

Before leaving Chicago, Churchill gave a speech in which he stressed the importance of naval cooperation between America and Britain. He said he believed if the two fleets were ever used together it would be “for the preservation of peace.”

Such a speech may seem like pretty tame stuff to us today, but at the time it was quite a bold speech. Isolationist sentiment was very strong in America. So was anti-British sentiment, especially in cities like Chicago which had large numbers of Irish and Irish-Americans.

The city’s Mayor, William “Big Bill” Thompson, often told audiences that King George V was “America’s greatest enemy.” Thompson had a standard campaign pledge: “If I ever meet King George, I’ll punch him in the nose for all of us.”

One of the constants of Churchill’s public career was his commitment, in words and deeds, to a strong, active Anglo-American union. For close to a century now, that allience has led the fight to preserve and expand freedom and civilization.

The more we study Churchill’s life, the more we realize how much we owe him.

Monday's post finds Churchill in New York when the Great Crash of 1929 occurs.

Here in central Carolina the sun is shining, the weather is beautiful and the dogwoods are in full bloom.

I hope things are good where you are. Have a nice weekend.


Martin Gilbert,
Churchill and America (pgs. 118-120), contains the information in this post except that relating to the pugnacious Mayor "Big Bill" Thompson. For that, call up a search engine and enter: Chicago Mayor England King.

JinC “Editors'” Bravo Zulu Work Earns “Well Done”

In WaPo's Phillips' Rescue Stories (subsequently updated) I saluted with a “Well done” the SEALs for their extraordinary actions which led to Captain Phillips' rescue.

Tarheel Hawkeye, a former Navy men, let me know SEALs are saluted with Bravo Zulu. I appreciated the heads up and updated the post. Since I couldn’t find on the net why Bravo Zulu is used to salute SEALs, I asked for help.

In response, some good things happened on the post thread which I want to now acknowledge here on the main page.

GPrestonian commented:

John, Bravo Zulu (the 'B' hoisted above the 'Z' flag) is a long-standing international naval signal meaning 'Well Done'.
That’s the right answer although I wasn’t sure of that because Tarheel Hawkeye offered a different answer.

But later TH corrected and Danvers weighed in with “more of the story" which you can read below the star line.

Lessons to take from what happened - - -

I’m right when I say readers often know much more about many things than I do.

JinC “editors’” outstanding work makes this blog much better than it would otherwise be. They certainly earned a “well done” for this latest episode.

The “editors’” work is an example of the power of open sourcing on the Net. Also, of the Net’s “reach.” Danvers, for example, did his “editing” in South Africa.

The “editors” gave a splendid example of why, if MSM reporters, editors and publishers are going to operate on the Net, they shouldn’t try to fool the public or fail to admit they’re wrong when they indisputably are. There are people out there who will nail them if they try fooling the public or refuse to admit they’re wrong when they obviously are.

Two last things I’ll mention - - -

GPrestonian hadn’t commented here in a long while, so I was delighted to see the comment and know GPrestonian still visits.

TH’s quick and public correction of his initial mistake was full and gracious; just what we wish more “real” MSMers would do.

Now to Danvers’ material.


From Wikipedia entry BRAVO ZULU

In the U.S. Navy signal code, used before ACP 175, "well done" was signaled as TVG, or "Tare Victor George" in the U.S. radio alphabet of that time. ACP 175 was organized in the general manner of other signal books, that is, starting with 1-flag signals, then 2-flag and so on. The 2-flag signals were organized by general subject, starting with AA, AB, AC, ... AZ, BA, BB, BC, ... BZ, and so on. The B- signals were called "Administrative" signals, and dealt with miscellaneous matters of administration and housekeeping. The last signal on the "Administrative" page was BZ, standing for "well done".



The term originates from the Allied Signals Book (ATP 1), which in the aggregate is for official use only. Signals are sent as letters and/or numbers, which have meanings by themselves sometimes or in certain combinations. A single table in ATP 1 is called "governing groups," that is, the entire signal that follows the governing group is to be performed according to the "governor." The letter "B" indicates this table, and the second letter (A through Z) gives more specific information. For example, "BA" might mean "You have permission to . . . (do whatever the rest of the flashing light, flag hoist or radio transmission says) "BZ" happens to be the last item in the governing groups table. It means "well done".

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - Apr. 17, 2009

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

That’s our 10th Amendment. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas:

“My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention [to the Tea Party Movement]. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that.”


“Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that.”

AWR Hawkins at Pajamas Media:

The idea of secession gets under the skin of liberals like few other things can. And this is so because secession trumps their power grabs. When someone like Perry says his state has the right to leave the union if the federal government doesn’t uphold their end of the bargain, it’s a [6] stark reminder that “the federal government exists by and for the states, not the other way around.”

Rick Moran at American Thinker:

When the left talks about "The Bill of Rights" they don't mean what you and I believe it to mean. Where we rightly believe that the Bill of Rights refers to the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the left gets awfully choosy and picks out the amendments they agree with (1st, 4th, 5th, 6th) and either ignore the rest or, as in the case of the 2nd and 10th amendments, undermine them every chance they get….

With the federal government trying to dictate to the states through the stimulus bill what programs they must adopt - even when federal money won't pay for them after a few years - several governors have put their foot down and refused to go along. And they are basing their opposition on their right granted by the 10th amendment….

Moran concludes:

I'm thinking this might be a direction - one of them anyway - the Tea Party Movement might want to consider going. More state control is an implied goal of the Tea Party Movement anyway and getting state politicians on record that they support the 10th Amendment would be a good way to focus the energy generated by the nationwide protests on Wednesday.

Regardless, reasserting state control where possible is a fine conservative principle that politicians should be reminded of constantly.

I think Gov. Perry’s oblique reference to secession is very unfortunate. But the notion that Obama and the Dems are maneuvering well outside the Constitution is cause for some very sober reflection. As is this.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 16, 2009

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

In late September, 1929 Churchill, along with his son, Randolph, his brother, Jack, and Jack’s son, Johnny, left California on the last leg of a three-month trip that had taken them across Canada and down the West coast to California. Ahead of them was the last leg of their trip: a train journey to New York and a visit there and along parts of the East coast before sailing home to England.

The party traveled as far as Chicago in the private rail car of Charles Schwab, President of Bethlehem Steel Company. Churchill and Schwab had met during WWI when Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty and Schwab’s company made submarines for the Royal Navy.

One of the Churchill's first stops along the way was at the Grand Canyon where Churchill had arranged for their car to be parked by the canyon's South rim. This allowed the party to stay twenty-four hours at the canyon before hitching the car to a Chicago-bound train the following day. Thus Churchill and his party had plenty of time to explore the canyon.

There’s something else I can’t document but don’t doubt helps explain the twenty-four hour stay at the canyon. I believe Churchill, by 1929 a skilled amateur painter extraordinarily sensitive to color, wanted to see the canyon’s varied rock and sand strata change hues, even colors, as the sun and moon played on them.

Churchill later wrote Clementine a description of the canyon’s great depth and colors which he said could be “scarcely exaggerated.”

From the Grand Canyon the party continued its journey through the Rockies and across the plains. For most of the trip, Churchill worked on newspaper and magazine articles.

Tomorrow, Churchill gives a speech in Chicago, changes trains, and heads for New York.

Martin Gilbert,
Churchill and America (pgs. 118-119)

Shutting Down For The Night

I promised two posts for tonight I won't complete and post.

I'm sorry about that. Things have gotten hectic.

But I'll post them tomorrow.

I hope you're back.

Thanks for your understanding.


Just Dems Being Dems

PATHETIC: “Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) blasted ‘tea party’ protests yesterday, labeling the activities ‘despicable’ and ’shameful.’”

Ironic: “The husband of an Illinois congresswoman pleaded guilty Wednesday to tax violations and bank fraud for writing rubber checks and failing to collect withholding tax from an employee. Robert Creamer, a political consultant married to four-term U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, could face four years in prison on the two felony counts when he is sentenced Dec. 21.”


The above is a Glenn Reynolds post today at Instapundit.

Who's surprised Schakowsky and other Democrats, like their MSM allies, are lashing out and ridiculing peaceful citizens protesting government by tax-and-spend liberals like the scoundrels Chris ("I didn't know") Dodd, Charlie Rangel, Pete Stark, Speaker Nancy ("I promise to clean things up") Pelosi, Chuck ("The American people don't care.") Schumer, Jack Murtha, Kwame Kilpatrick, Eiot Spitzer and Barney ("So what!) Frank?

Hat tip: AC

CNN Reporter Loses It Live

Here's the YouTube clip of CNN reporter Susan Roesgen at a Chicago tea party losing it when an interviewee who won't go along with her liberal spin. She winds up attacking the peaceful protesters as anti-government and incited by Fox News.

Some bloggers are saying today Roesgen is America's "worst reporter." I think she's better described as typical of most MSM reporters in terms of her political bent and not as good at most of her peers at holding her temper.

If you haven't seen the clip take a look and decide for yourself.

Hat tip: The Real McCain

Talking to Regulars & Commenters On 4/16/09

(A post in the old web log traditions: notes for those who know the background. Don’t look for links and intros in this post. The spelling and grammar may not be much, either.)

Now, here goes - - -

Thanks for the comments re: origins of Bravo Zulu. I’ll post on them this evening. I’m still not sure of the origins of the term since the comments offer different explanations.

But no worry. We’ll get to the answer.

I’ll also post tonight thanking JinC “editors” for corrections and adding information to some posts.

I read a good deal at journo sites. Also some editor sites at which the editor responds to commenters.

Comparing what I read at those sites with what I read on the JinC threads convinces me commenters here are among the most informed, on point commenters out there. Also, on the whole more civil and better at comprehending what other commenters are saying.

I’ve not posted much recently on the Duke/Durham frame-up attempt, the ongoing cover-up of it by its perpetrators and their enablers, and matters relating to the civil suits by the victims seeking explanations and accountability.

I’ll be back tonight by 8 PM ET.


At UNC Kerry & Tancredo Get Different Treatment

We know global warming is a very controversial subject, with many experts declaring it is no more science-based than was the once popular homunculus theory.

Many scientists say proposals by Sen. John Kerry concerning global warming are ill-conceived; and if implemented would do great harm to the lives of millions, most especially to those living in the poorer nations.

Yet Kerry's controversial proposals are not characterized as "hate speech."

A friend reminded me this morning - - -

Last month John Kerry spoke at UNC, primarily on global warming. Apparently there were no protests . Obviously the conservatives on campus, who certainly oppose Kerry's very liberal views, were tolerant and respectful.

Contrast this to how Mr. Tancredo was treated.

The leftists are typically the least tolerant and most disrespectful of others. They profess to be open minded but actually only support free speech if it fits their ideological agenda. This was very evident in the Duke lacrosse incident.

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - Apr. 16, 2009

The MSM’s coverage of yesterday’s Tea Parties is much on the minds of the starboard side bloggers today. Ed Driscoll at Pajama’s Media has one of the best takes here. CNN’s Anderson Cooper referred to the movement as “teabagging,” which is a term I wasn’t familiar with until I read about it here.

Gateway Pundit channels the best line of the day: "They will be selling the 'Obama burger' — you pay for one and they cut it in half and give the rest to the guy behind you for free!!" Obama probably won’t hear about it, since word is the White House isn’t even aware of the Tea Party Movement.

Meanwhile, John in Carolina reports on NC’s premier defender of free speech. At least it used to be. But even the N&O couldn’t ignore this disgrace. We’ll see if the fallout is severe enough to force UNC-Chapel Hill’s chancellor to take punitive action against the students and faculty involved.

Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey is on a roll over Obama’s so called smart foreign policy. On piracy, apparently we’re now going to keep the pirates from buying boats. That’ll work out about as well as hitting the “reset button” has with Russia. And zut alors (or even better merde):

The Obama administration spun the European Grand Tour as a tour de force for Barack Obama, even though Obama failed to get any combat troops for Afghanistan, failed to gain Russian cooperation on Iran, and left the American economic agenda at Andrews AFB.

The White House claimed that Obama had set the stage for more respect and cooperation from European allies. However, the Times of London reports that Obama left Nicolas Sarkozy completely unimpressed, and complaining that Obama is “insubstantial”….

I’m not a big Rush Limbaugh fan, but I do like this bit of tongue-in-cheek: “President Obama Ordered the Killing of Three Black Muslim Kids.” Well, Obama does want the credit for rescuing Captain Phillips….


N&O Soft-pedals Tancredo Silencing At UNC

Today the liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer soft-pedals the mob-like actions of UNC-Chapel Hill student protesters and others which forced the cancellation of former Congressman Tom Tancredo’s talk Tuesday night and threatened the students who brought Tancredo to campus.

The soft-pedaling begins with the N&O’s front page, print edition headline:

UNC leaders apologize for free-speech fiasco
Fiasco? Not “denial” or “assault?”

Here’s a fiasco: “You did say McDonald’s but I forgot and went to Burger King. Then when I celled you, I thought you said you were at 'Donald’s.' So I went to his house.”

What happened at UNC-Chapel Hill Tuesday evening wasn’t a fiasco.

In substance and intent it was the same as the attacks on peaceful assembly and free speech Nazi and Bolshevik youth gangs engaged in during the 1920s in Weimer Germany.

The N&O’s story quotes only from the second statement Chancellor Holden Thorp issued after his initial milk-toast statement only fueled anger across North Carolina.

Today’s N&O story makes no mention of Thorp’s first statement and why it fueled such anger.

The N&O’s story fails to mention the threats (“we know where you sleep”) protesters directed at students sponsoring Tancredo’s talk and Thorp’s failure so far to address those threats and assure the threatened students and their parents he’ll do all in his power to protect the threatened students.

The protesters and their enablers will appreciate the N&O putting this in its story:
No one set guidelines for student behavior.
The entire N&O story’s here.

The Churchill Series - Apr. 15, 2009

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

September 29, 1929 found Churchill visiting William Randolph Hearst at his California mansion, San Simeon. Later, in a letter to Clementine, Churchill had much to say about Hearst and the visit with him both at San Simeon and in Los Angles.

In one of the most interesting parts of the letter, Churchill, always a faithful husband, describes Hearst's "arrangement" of a legal wife and a mistress, Marion Davies:

Hearst was most interesting to meet, & I got to like him - a grave simple child - with no doubt a nasty temper - playing with the most costly toys.

A vast income always overspent: Ceaseless building & collecting not vy discriminatingly works of art: two magnificent establishments, two charming wives; complete indifference to public opinion, a strong liberal & democratic outlook, a 15 million daily circulation, oriental hospitalities, extreme personal courtesy (to us at any rate) & the appearance of a Quaker elder - or perhaps better Mormon elder.

I told you about Mrs. H. (the official) & how agreeable she made herself. She is going to give me a dinner in N.Y. & look after the boys [Churchill's son, Randolph, and his nephew, Johnny, were traveling with him as was Johnny's father, Churchill's brother Jack - JinC] on their way through.

At Los Angeles (hard g) we passed into the domain of Marion Davies; & were all charmed by her.

She is not strikingly beautiful nor impressive in any way. But her personality is most attractive; a childlike, bon enfant. She works all day at her films & retires to her palace on the ocean to bathe & entertain in the evenings.

She asked us to use her house as if it was our own. But we tasted its comforts & luxuries only sparingly, spending two nights there after enormous dinner parties in our honour.
There is much more in the letter, the text of which is available here along with a facsimile of its first two pages.

Have you ever seen Churchill’s handwriting? If not, here’s your chance.

Tomorrow Churchill starts off across America for New York. One of his stops is the Grand Canyon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

UNC’s Thorp Issues Second Inadequate Statement

Yesterday a mob-like crowd of leftist students and others at UNC-Chapel Hill used verbal and physical assaults to prevent Congressman Tom Tancredo from delivering a talk. The leftists also threatened students sponsoring his talk.

The situation grew so dangerous UNC authorities were forced to declare the event over and public safety officers escorted Tancredo from campus.

In response, Chancellor Holden Thorp issued the following statement:

“We’re very sorry that former Congressman Tancredo wasn’t able to speak. We pride ourselves on being a place where all points of view can be expressed and heard, so I’m disappointed that didn’t happen tonight. I think our Public Safety officers appropriately handled a difficult situation.”
Why did Thorp fail to condemn the leftists' behavior?

Why was there no strong statement that there would be punishment for those who endangered others?

Why didn’t Thorp apologize to Tancredo, the students who sponsored his talk and the many people who came to hear Tancredo?

And why, given the violence we see so often from the Left, did Thorpe neglect to tell the threatened students and their parents he would do all in his power to assure their safety?

Traveling through eastern and central North Carolina today, I must have listened or in other ways heard from close to a hundred people.

Last night’s outrages at UNC-CH were on their minds; most everyone brought them up on their own.

To a one, the people I heard from today are upset with what took place last night.

And they're disgruntled, disgusted and/or angry at how leftist UNC-CH has become, and with how complicit in that process UNC administrators and faculty have been.

Chancellor Thorp also heard from a lot of people today and that no doubt explains why he issued a second statement. It’s better than his first, but still very inadequate. It follows in full.

Campus e-mail sent to all students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, April 15, 2009, by Chancellor Thorp

I want to express how disappointed I am in what happened last night when former Congressman Tom Tancredo wasn't able to speak when a protest got out of hand, and our Department of Public Safety had to take action. Congressman Tancredo felt threatened and left without making his remarks.

Mr. Tancredo was scheduled to speak about immigration. We expect protests about controversial subjects at Carolina. That's part of our culture. But we also pride ourselves on being a place where all points of view can be expressed and heard.

There's a way to protest that respects free speech and allows people with opposing views to be heard. Here that's often meant that groups protesting a speaker have displayed signs or banners, silently expressing their opinions while the speaker had his or her say. That didn't happen last night.

On behalf of our University community, I called Mr. Tancredo today to apologize for how he was treated. In addition, our Department of Public Safety is investigating this incident. They will pursue criminal charges if any are warranted. Our Division of Student Affairs is also investigating student involvement in the protest. If that investigation determines sufficient evidence, participating students could face Honor Court proceedings.

Carolina's tradition of free speech is a fundamental part of what has made this place special for more than 200 years. Let's recommit ourselves to that ideal.


Holden Thorp

Locke Staffers Report UNC Leftists’ Outrage

Almost all of you care about free speech and the protection of those who express unpopular views.

So you’ll appreciate the outstanding blog reporting and commentary provided today by John Locke Foundation staffers concerning the mob-like actions at UNC-Chapel Hill last evening by campus Leftists who forced the cancellation of Congressman Tom Tancredo’s speech and threatened the students who sponsored it.

Donna Martinez began coverage at 6:06 AM with "Tancredo Faces Hate-Filled Students at UNC Chapel Hill"

Martinez followed that at 6:44 AM with "Tancredo Protester: 'Death to Western civilization'"

At 11:21 AM Jon Sanders provided "Make no mistake, UNC"

Marinez was back at 12:39 PM with "Tom Tancredo Describes UNC Chaos to WPTF"

Sanders followed that 22 minutes later with "UNC-CH’s mob veto on YouTube (for now)"

Then at 1:39 PM Jon Ham, while traveling back to the Triangle from the West Coast, found time to post "Where’s the outrage, Doogie?"

All in all, outstanding blog coverage.

I plan to keep an eye on John Locke’s blogging in coming days.

It's my opinion most NC liberals will want the silencing of Tancredo and the threats to UNC students to be a one-day story.

The leftists will surely be angry anyone’s objecting to what some of them did last night.

Martinez, Sanders and Ham will help make sure this is not a one-day story; and that the leftists do not get away with their fascist-like intimidation and lawbreaking that last night stained UNC-CH’s campus and reputation.

N&O’s Tancredo Silencing & Threats At UNC-CH Coverage Today

After viewing an 8+ minute YouTube of last night’s events and reading other accounts, I judge the liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer’s coverage of the events to be tepid at best and possibly even snide.

About possible snide coverage: Tancredo was forced to cancel his speech and needed police protection to leave campus, events the N&O called “his unpleasant ouster.”

On the other hand, when Congressman Tancredo sent out a fund raising letter today referencing the assaults on his rights and those of the sponsoring students, the N&O’s political blog Under The Dome treated it as a major event, even including with its post the full text of Tancredo’s letter rather than just a link.

I’ve left the following comment at Under The Dome:

The Left dominates UNC-CH and has for years with the encouragement of the N&O.

Last night's denial of Tancredo's speech rights by members of the fascistic Students for a Democratic Society and others, including at least one identified as a faculty member, reminded me of the Leftist "activists" at Duke who waved the CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE banners when the now disbarred Mike Nifong began the public part of his and others attempt to frame for gang rape three transparently innocent Duke students.

The N&O disgraced itself than by shamelessly enabling Nifong.

The N&O's tepid reporting today of the terrible events of last evening leaves me thinking the N&O will again disgrace itself.

Hint to the N&O: Cover the silencing of Tancredo and the threats ("we know where you sleep") targeting students who sponsored his talk the same way you would if the speaker was an African-American or Muslim bashing former President Bush and the students sponsoring the speaker were largely African-American and/or Muslim.

Of course, something like that wouldn't and shouldn't happen at UNC-CH or any other college campus in America.

John in Carolina

UNC Leftists Silence Speaker, Threaten Student Sponsors

The Durham Herald-Sun reports today - - -

UNC Chapel Hill police used pepper spray and threatening gestures with Tasers to chase a hostile and raucous crowd out of Bingham Hall Tuesday night in an effort to allow former Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo to speak about illegal immigration.

But minutes later, amid obscenity-laced catcalls from the unruly audience and protesters banging so violently against windows from outside the meeting room that one shattered, spraying seated students with bits of broken glass, Tancredo announced, "That's it," and left the room with a police escort, just a few short minutes after he began his remarks.

Police then cleared the building as a f ire alarm, pulled apparently by a protester, buzzed incessantly and the angry students assembled outside to chant and hurl insults at police for abusive methods.

The most serious unrest occurred after two young women walked to either side of Tancredo and unfurled a large banner proclaiming "No dialogue with hate" that concealed the speaker from the audience.

Authorities asked them to leave. When they refused, they were physically led into the hallway, prompting heated reaction from a throng of protesters there that resulted in the pepper spray. Inside, a woman heckler who said she was a faculty member, screamed, "There's no need for Tasers here." Police Lt. Lawrence Twiddy said no arrests were made.

"It's a fascinating thing. Colleges are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas," Tancredo said two hours after he called off his speech. "I wonder why institutions of higher education continue to produce people who can't think critically."

Tancredo said he could think of no more appropriate term for the protesters than "student fascists," drawing a comparison to Hitler Youth. "You look at what happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, how people were shouted down and not allowed to speak."

Riley Matheson, founder of the UNC chapter of Youth for Western Civilization, which sponsored Tancredo's visit, also was shouted down as a racist in bursts of profanity by the audience while trying to introduce Tancredo.

"It's a shame that we can't have a civil dialogue on this campus without having hate groups, fascists, coming in and trying to shut us down. At this point, [UNC Chancellor Holden] Thorp needs to do something about this. The chancellor needs to take control," Matheson said.

"If we had conservative students doing this kind of thing -- of course, conservatives don't do this kind of thing -- we would be severely disciplined by the university, and we expect the same to happen with these liberals." . . .

The protesters -- many of whom were with Students for a Democratic Society, which announced beforehand its intent to disrupt Tancredo's speech -- defended their tactics.

"I think that it's a very direct and pointed way to get your point across," said Collin Warren-Hicks, a sophomore English major from Mebane, as a nearby protester shouted into a bullhorn, "Death to Western civilization," and a chant went up "Yes, racists, we will fight, we know where you sleep at night." . . .

The Raleigh News & Observer's story of the UNC Leftists mob-like actions which silenced Tancredo and threatened students sponsoring the event includes the following - - -

"We're very sorry that former Congressman Tancredo wasn't able to speak," Chancellor Holden Thorp said in a prepared statement. "We pride ourselves on being a place where all points of view can be expressed and heard, so I'm disappointed that didn't happen tonight. I think our Public Safety officers appropriately handled a difficult situation." . . .

The entire H-S story’s here; the N&O’s story’s here.


My comments:

The actions of the Leftists last night at UNC-Chapel Hill are outrageous but not surprising.

Campus Leftists across America now routinely resort to fascist tactics to silence and in other ways assault those with whom they disagree.

Decent people who value democracy need to speak up and develop ways to counter the Leftists.

In terms of last night’s events, in addition to the silencing of Congressman Tancredo, the four matters that most concern me are:

1) - - - The threats (“we know where you sleep”) the Leftists directed at UNC students sponsoring Tancredo.

2) - - - The deliberateness with which the protestors created a situation they knew could easily have escalated into something far worse than happened last night.

3) - - - Any consequences dealt to the protestors (assuming there are any) will likely be very minimal.

I'm traveling today, but plan to email Chancellor Thorp tonight.

I hope many of you will let Thorp know what happened last night is a stain on UNC and a challenge to the administration and faculty.

Chancellor Holden Thorp's

Email -

Phone - 919 962 1365

Hat tip: abb

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 14, 2009

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

The late comedian Fred Allen once remarked that after the market crashed in 1929 surprised Americans asked their friends: “Did you know stocks could also go down?” Allen’s line nicely captured the pre-crash euphoria that gripped most investors, leading them to believe the stock market was an “up, up, up” only place.

Churchill was one of those caught in the euphoria, as we see from excerpts of letters he wrote Clementine while visiting California just weeks before the market crashed:

From a letter dated September 19, 1929 and headed “All vy Secret”

Now My darling I must tell you that vy gt & extraordinary good fortune has attended me lately in finances. Sir Harry McGowan asked me – rather earnestly – before I sailed whether he might if an opportunity came buy shares on my account without previous consultation. I replied that I could always find 2 or 3000 (All money amounts are pounds. – JinC ).

I meant this as an investment limit i.e. buying the shares outright. He evidently took it as the limit to which I was prepared to go in a speculative purchase on margin. Thus he operated on about ten times my usual scale, & … made a profit on our joint account of 2000 in Electric Bonds & Shares.

With my approval he reinvested this in Columbia Gas & Electic & sold at a further profit of 3000. He thus has 5,000 in hand on my account, & as he has profound sources of information about this vast American market, something else may crop up....

On September 29, exactly one month before the day generally agreed to mark the start of the market crash, Churchill wrote Clementine:

I have also made friends with Mr. Van Antwerp & his wife. He is …a gt friend of England [and] a reader of all my books – quite an old fashioned figure – He is going to look after some of my money for me. His [stockbroking] firm have the best information about the American Market & manipulate it with the best possible chances of success. All this …I am sure …will prove wise. ...

Churchill lost heavily in the market crash. Friends helped him out with generous loans, some of which were later forgiven.

Whenever I make foolish investment mistakes, I tell myself: “John, you were just being Churchillian.”

Tea Parties In North Carolina Tomorrow

From NC's John W. Pope Civitas Institute - - -

On Dec. 16, 1773, a group of American Colonists emptied parcels of tea into the Boston Harbor in a revolt against unnecessary and indecent taxation.

On April 15 we will be uniting for tea parties across the state of North Carolina for a similar purpose: to oppose massive spending and increased taxes. Show your government you are tired of bailouts that help corporate CEOs and place a burden of debt on our future generations. Support freedom by participating in a tea party near you.

The Civitas folks linked to
Americans for Prosperity where there's a lot of information about the tea party movement, including a list of events tomorrow, Apr. 15, all across NC from the Outer Banks to Sylva and other western NC communities.

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - Apr. 14, 2009

I’m sure you all have heard about the Tea Party Movement. Tomorrow is a big day in the protests. However, there are indications that the Left is trying to infiltrate the movement and wreak havoc.

Unfortunately, even Fox News may be
aiding and abetting this effort. That’s much worse than simply ignoring the protests, which the MSM has largely done to date. And now there’s also this from Thomas Lifson at American Thinker:

Yes, it's true: those leaked documents showing that the Department of Homeland Security warning of "groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration," are genuine. Audrey Hudson of the Washington Times reports:
The White House has distanced itself from the analysis. When asked for comment on its contents, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said, "The President is focused not on politics but rather taking the steps necessary to protect all Americans from the threat of violence and terrorism regardless of its origins. He also believes those who serve represent the best of this country, and he will continue to ensure that our veterans receive the respect and benefits they have earned." ....

[Homeland Security spokeswoman Sara Kuban] said, however, that the department had published reports on left-wing radicalization as well, though she could not name one.

"These types of reports are published all the time. There have actually been some done on the other end of the spectrum, left-wing," Ms. Kuban said.

During the campaign, we were frequently told that opposition to Obama could only be based on racism. Now that he is president, there are ominous signs that opposition on the issues is being anathemized as extremist and violent….

Update - Michelle Malkin writes [my emphasis]:
I have covered DHS for many years and am quite familiar with past assessments they and the FBI have done on animal rights terrorists and environmental terrorists.

But those past reports have always been very
specific in identifying the exact groups, causes, and targets of domestic terrorism, i.e., the ALF, ELF, and Stop Huntingdon wackos who have engaged in physical harassment, arson, vandalism, and worse against pharmaceutical companies, farms, labs, and university researchers.

By contrast, the piece of crap report issued on April 7 is a sweeping indictment of conservatives. And the intent is clear. As the two spokespeople I talked with on the phone today made clear: They both pinpointed the recent "economic downturn" and the "general state of the economy" for stoking "rightwing extremism."

One of the spokespeople said he was told that the report has been in the works for a year. My b.s. detector went off the chart.
Uh, oh.


WaPo’s Phillips’ Rescue Stories (Updated)

Today’s Washington Post’s lead story on the Phillips’ rescue is headlined:

'3 Rounds, 3 Dead Bodies'

Precision Volley by Navy SEALs Ended a Five-Day Ordeal For an American Seaman, but Piracy Off Somalia Continues
The “3 Rounds” main head, a quote from one of those involved in the rescue, is pulled from the story which follows. Give WaPo’s headline editors credit for recognizing a gem of a headline when if drops in their laps.

The subhead shows some bias or naiveté. Why’s the “but” in:

Precision Volley by Navy SEALs Ended a Five-Day Ordeal For an American Seaman, but Piracy Off Somalia Continues?
Who expected the killing of 3 pirates to end piracy off Somalia’s coast?

A straight news subhead would've read:

Precision Volley by Navy SEALs Ended a Five-Day Ordeal For an American Seaman as Piracy Off Somalia Continues
The story that follows the heads provides a good number of telling details in what’s essentially a summary of the rescue planning and execution.

WaPo also carries today
a story about SEAL sniper training and how the shooting of the pirates was carried out. Here’s a story excerpt:
Becoming a Navy SEAL sniper requires at least five years of experience on a SEAL team. SEALs must pass a marksmanship test, undergo psychological testing and compete for the positions.

"It takes a person of great patience and mental tenacity. . . . The ones who have proven themselves get to go" to sniper training, said Cmdr. Greg Geisen, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, Calif.

Only after many months of honing skills in shooting and surveillance do the SEALs take the job of sniper on teams, the officials and experts said.

They train to hit two-inch targets from long distances. "Aim small, miss small" is the philosophy, said the former SEAL instructor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of his current work.

"We pay a lot for their training and . . . we earned, got a good return on their investment tonight," Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of U.S. naval forces in the Middle East, said after the rescue
WaPo’s lead story’s here; it's SEAL story’s here.

Closing words go to the SEALs: Well done!

Update @ 3 PM ET on 4/14 - - -

I just received the following heads-up:

John: In the Navy we say BRAVO ZULU! to the SEALS.

Tarheel Hawkeye

Thank you, TH.

BRAVO ZULU! it is to the SEALs.

I've searched to learn how BRAVO ZULU became the congratulatory salute to SEALs with no success.

Can anyone help?

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 13, 2009

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

In September 1929, following a month’s visit to Canada, Churchill, accompanied by his son, Randolph, his brother, Jack, and Jack’s son, Johnny, approached an American customs station. His plan called for his party to pass through customs and then tour America for two months.

As you’d expect of a former Army officer who believed cold champagne and warm brandy were two of life’s essentials, Churchill had prepared very carefully for his first encounter with officials of Prohibition-era America.

Before leaving England, Churchill obtained a letter of introduction from the American Ambassador. He was sure that would get them a “wave on” through Customs. But leaving nothing to chance, he also arranged for his “supplies” to be placed in small flasks carefully hidden inside various items in the party's luggage.

Historian Martin Gilbert tells us what happened next:

At American customs, Churchill produced the [party's] collective diplomatic visa and a letter of introduction from the American Ambassador in London. This did not deter the customs officials, led by George D. Hubbard, the Collector of Customs, from making a thorough examination.

“What are you looking for?” Churchill asked. “I have already told you that we have nothing to declare. The point of this letter from the Ambassador is to assure you of my integrity.”

The customs officials replied that they were looking for guns and ammunition.

“Monstrous! Absolutely monstrous!” was Churchill’s riposte.

After their suitcases had been shut and locked, Johnny Churchill recalled that an “extraordinary change” came over the customs chief. “Mr. Churchill,” he said, “I apologize for this inconvenience. May I invite you and your party into my office for a drink?”

[Afterwards the] Collector of Customs … drove the [party] to a hotel where, Churchill wrote to Clementine, “the local hotel proprietor entertained the whole party with delicious iced beer.”
Churchill often said, “The Americans are a very remarkable people.” We don’t doubt he said it at least once that day, do we?

I hope you’re back tomorrow.

Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America. (p. 112)

Chronicle Anon Comment Made Me Laugh

Today Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, published “ Unkept and abandoned, lax house still stands.”

As some of you know, TC’s story concerned the house in which Durham’s former DA Mike Nifong, now disbarred, said he was sure crimes were committed, but for which, after a thorough investigation, NC’s attorney general concluded there “was no credible evidence.”

The AG also called Nifong “a rogue prosecutor.”

TC’s story's generated an extensive comment thread (45 as of 7 PM ET today).

Like most lengthy comment threads, it’s a mixed bag.

The following comment, a response to previous commenter Mamaduke and apparently meant to be serious, left me LOL.


posted 4/13/09 @ 6:35 PM EST

Originally posted by

Reading the comments today, I realize for the first time ...

Frankly, I could care less whether it goes away or not since no one pays any attention to this website other than the handful of screwballs who post here on a regular basis.


Among those posting “on a regular basis” at TC’s comment threads is none other than anon.

Obama’s & Gates’ Piracy Comments Today

From Agence France Presse in plain text with my comments interspersed in italics and bracketed- - -

The Somali pirates who took a US merchant captain hostage for five days were heavily armed but inexperienced youths, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday, adding that the hijackers were aged 17 to 19.

The pirates who kidnapped Captain Richard Phillips, three of whom were killed by US Navy snipers Sunday, were "untrained teenagers with heavy weapons," Gates told a group of 30 students and faculty members at the Marine Corps War College in Quantico, Virginia.

( The “teenagers,” if that’s what they were, were old enough to engage in piracy, take Captain Phillips hostage, and kill him with their AK-47s. )

"There is no purely military solution to" piracy in the region, he added.

(There was no purely military solution to defeating the Axis in WW II, either. But as with the Axis, so with the pirates: they won’t be stopped unless and until decisive use is made of military force.)

"As long as you've got this incredible number of poor people and the risks are relatively small, there's really no way in my view to control it unless you get something on land that begins to change the equation for these kids."

(Gates needs to give “these kids” more credit. They understood “the equation” was beginning “to change” as soon as they heard three pirates had been shot dead. I'm confident the "kids" also know the change wasn't in their favor. )

A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Gates' quotes, which were first reported in the American Forces Press Service.

(How sad. I was hoping Gates was misquoted or his remarks taken so out of context as to mispresent what he actually meant. I still hope so.

On the other hand, if he really said and meant what’s being attributed to him, I hope he considers resigning his current post and instead heads up a Peace Corp project in Somalia.

BTW – Did Gates today say anything about the splendid service of all the teenagers serving in the Navy and other branches of the U. S. military?)

President Barack Obama on Monday said the United States was resolved to hold those who prey on merchant shipping accountable.

Earlier, he pledged to combat the rise of piracy off the coast of Somalia, after naval forces rescued Phillips from the small lifeboat where he was being held, surrounded by US warships.

"We remain resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region," said Obama.

( The overwhelming majority of Americans will back President Obama on that. So will civlized people in other nations.)

"To achieve that goal, we must continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, be prepared to interdict acts of piracy and ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes."

( I think Obama’s words are just right. My fingers are crossed he’ll put them into action. This is no time to wobble. That would only flash a big, green light to the pirates when we want them thinking about those 3 dead “teenagers.”)

The rest of AFP’s story’s here.

Phillips Rescue & Piracy: WSJ’s Take

One of the heads of a WSJ editorial today leaves no doubt about what the editors think:

American alive, pirates dead, let's hope more to follow
The editorial begins - - -

The Easter Sunday rescue of cargo ship Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates is a tribute to his personal bravery and the skill and steel nerves of the U.S. Navy.

Now the Obama Administration has an obligation to punish and deter these lawless raiders so they'll never again risk taking a U.S.-flagged ship or an American crew.

The story of Captain Phillips and the Maersk Alabama is full of the kind of divine providence or good luck that can't always be counted on. Not every merchant marine vessel will have a crew that fights back against armed raiders, or a captain willing to trade his own safety for that of his crew.

It's also fortunate the U.S. Navy arrived before the pirates could make it back to land, where they would have been much harder to track down.

We can be grateful that the pirates exposed themselves long enough for U.S. Special Forces to shoot and kill three of them and free Captain Phillips.

Any such rescue carries risks, as we saw when a passenger was killed during the weekend French rescue of a pirated pleasure boat off Somalia. Patience was rewarded in the U.S. case, but also so was preparation and the willingness to act when Navy officials say Captain Phillips appeared to be in "imminent danger."

White House and Navy officials say President Obama had issued a general authorization to use force in these circumstances, and that is to his credit. With all the world watching, the U.S. Navy couldn't afford to be long stymied by sea-faring kidnappers.

No doubt Mr. Obama would have been criticized in some quarters -- though not by us --had Captain Phillips been killed once the order was given to shoot the pirates. But that is the kind of decision that has to be left with commanders on the spot. The pirates made themselves potential targets of deadly force under the law of the sea the second they took Captain Phillips hostage.

A fourth pirate was captured, and we hope the Justice Department tries him under U.S. laws rather than transfer him to Kenyan control. Better still if he's transferred to Guantanamo and held as an "enemy combatant," or whatever the Obama Administration prefers to call terrorists. ...

The rest of the editorial’s here.


My comments:

Before getting to the editorial I want to thank all of you who’ve commented on the piracy, the rescue, etc. Your comments are an excellent example of the worthwhile “conversations” the Net makes possible. You gave me, others and yourselves plenty to think about.

After I read John Keegan’s DT column, my first thoughts were: this is so informed and thoughtful, so like Keegan, and so like much that’s being said by the commenters.

Now to the editorial - - -

With one exception, the portions I’ve posted here reflect my thinking.

The exception – that President Obama would have taken heat had Captain Phillips been killed.

I doubt Obama would’ve come in for much criticism although there would surely have been plenty of second guessing from “the harpies on the shore.” (read MSM)

But the people who’d have taken the heat were the military personal most directly involved in the rescue attempt, with the Captain of the Bainbridge a particular target of the harpies.

Other than the exception I’ve just noted, I applaud the WSJ for a clear, sensible, unapologetic summery of what was at stake and why the U. S. needed to act as it did.

I’ve said enough. Now it’s your turn.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The World’s Greatest Human Rights Organization

Regulars here know I often say the U. S. Military is the world’s greatest human rights organization.

Today, off the coast of Somalia, we saw another example of why that’s so.

To our active forces, our veterans and all their families: thank you for your splendid service and countless sacrifices.

But for you, our lives wouldn’t be much different from those of ordinary people in N. Korea, the Swat Valley and Somalia.

The bad guys will always take over unless the good guys are armed and strong.

Navy Rescues Capt. Phillips; 3 Pirates Dead

Here's a "good news" report that starts with a post by Tigerhawk - - -

The Wall Street Journal sent me an alert seconds ago that said that Captain Richard Phillips has been rescued in a U.S. Navy operation and that we killed three of the bad guys in the process, and took another pirate into custody. Fox is reporting the same thing, so is the A.P., and CNN (blog round-up here).

Great news, and -- yes, I'll say it -- tip o' the hat to President Obama for signing off on the mission.

Now I have two questions. What will we do with the prisoner? Do we believe that this action is sufficient to restore deterrence against piracy?

The entire country should be proud of the performance of the Americans on the Maersk Alabama's crew, including especially their captain. The spirit of United 93 remains alive and well, which I believe is the single most important factor in our defense against the jihad and other dirtbags around the world.

My admiration for these men who took back their ship is without limit.By the way, Captain Phillips is now resting on the U.S.S. Bainbridge, named for Commodore William Bainbridge. Not only was Commodore Bainbridge born right here in Princeton, New Jersey, but he fought the Barbary Pirates and was imprisoned by them for 2 1/2 years until freed after William Eaton's expedition to "the shores of Tripoli."


My comments:

Congrats to Tigerhawk for a first-rate post under deadline. Be sure to read his post's comment thread. Lots of questions and comments there concerning what to do now.

A number of you who read and comment here have Navy and/or military intel experience. What's your first take given what we know as of 3 PM ET.

How about the rest of you?

There are three things I feel very strongly about:

1) - - - The securing during the past 200+ years of safe sea lanes (largely thanks to the British and Commonwealth Navies and the French and American Navies) has allowed for safe commerce that's enabled hundreds of millions of people all over the world to have a better life.

2) - - - Pirates and others who committ crimes at sea should be dealt with swiftly and severely.

3) - - - President Obama should make a brief statement which, as well as congratulating the Navy, the Alabama crew and others, also makes very clear to the world the U. S. is unapolgitic for its use of force; and will use every power within its means to destroy the pirate menace, in the process brooking no interference from those with a perverted concept of "rights" who make themselves the pirates' and other terrorists' enablers.

Opposition To UK Government's PC Is Growing

Douglas Murray is director of Britain’s Centre for Social Cohesion think tank and co-author of Hate on the State: How British Libraries encourage Islamic Extremism and Victims of Intimidation: Freedom of Speech within Europe's Muslim Communities.

In a Daily Telegraph
column today titled “Let’s not die for timid and misguided political correctness,” Murray says:

Last summer. the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC), in conjunction with the polling company YouGov, released a survey of Muslim student opinion in the UK.

Forty per cent of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of sharia into British law for Muslims; a third supported the introduction of a worldwide caliphate instituted in accordance with sharia; and a third believed that killing in the name of their religion could be justified.

This is the sea in which Muslim students who go on to carry out acts of terror are able to swim.

But instead of engaging with the problem, Bill Rammell, the Minister for Higher Education, attacked the poll for finding out these things and declared that the problem of radicalism on campus was in fact "serious, but not widespread".

It is just one example of a government that cannot make the moral distinction between firefighter and fire.
Murray ends with this:
The Government knows that three quarters of all terror plots being investigated in Britain originate in Pakistan. With such a colossal Pakistani community in the UK it is unsurprisingly tough working out who poses a problem and who is part of the non-extremist mainstream. They could make a start by working out who is actually here.

In February, it transpired that the Foreign Office is spending £400,000 on television adverts to be aired in Pakistan, explaining that Britain is not "anti-Islamic".

Even by the standards of this Government, that strikes one as ignoble as well as ineffectual. This country should look like a less attractive proposition than it currently does, not a more attractive one.

As it is, any aspiring jihadi would not only currently find it easy to come to Britain, they would find in our universities the ideal place to take cover and, indeed, inspiration. It is why you are more likely to become a terrorist in this country if you have been to university.

There are many messages that we should be giving out. But one in particular should go straight away to our political class: political correctness may be something that they are willing to fight for, but it is not something that most of us are willing to die for.
Murray’s entire column’s here.


My comments:

I can’t recall ever reading a better description of the moral neutering at the heart of political correctness than Murray’s callout of the UK government as one which now can’t distinguish “between firefighter and fire.”

What about you?

Murray’s closing paragraph calls attention to a growing major divide between the British people and PM Gordon Brown's Labour government.

A phrase I constantly hear now in Britain from people across the political and economic spectrums is: “Labour’s lost the country.”

When I ask why that is, reasons related to PC-type policies are typically among the first cited.

Caroline Kennedy As Ambassadorial Appointee

The Daily Telegraph reports - - -

Vatican sources told Il Giornale that their support for abortion disqualified Ms Kennedy and other Roman Catholics President Barack Obama had been seeking to appoint.

Mr Obama was reportedly seeking to reward John F Kennedy's daughter, who publicly gave her support to his election bid. …

The Italian paper said that the Vatican strongly disapproved of Mr Obama's support for abortion and stem cell research. The impasse over the ambassadorial appointment threatens to cloud his meeting with the Pope during a G8 summit in Itay in July. …

The White House refused to comment.

The entire DT story’s here.

Question for Team Obama: Is there any chance President Obama will seek to appoint Ms. Kennedy ambassador to a Muslim country?

If there isn’t, why isn’t there such a chance?

Piracy : Hillary Laughs And Gets U. S. History Wrong

Not only does the current piracy kidnapping evoke laughter from longtime Democratic operative Hillary Clinton, but she gets some very relevant American history wrong, too.

As JinC Regular AC notes citing Barbara Tuchman's
The First Salute:

The first country to (famously) salute the American flag were the Dutch in St. Eustace in the (then) Dutch West Indies in late 1776 - well before the French got in. And for the same reason: Anti-English politics in the age of sail and colonialism.
Did I mention Clinton is now Obama's Secretary of State?

I bring that up because I know Democrats will want to salute Madam Secretary as they watch her in action in this YouTube video.

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - Apr. 11, 2009

Our Secretary of State cackles about the Somali pirates, and our President refuses to answer any questions about the four-day standoff over the hostage captain of the Maersk Alabama. And while we have warships at the scene, so far they seem to be keeping their distance.

So now the AP reports that Somali pirates have hijacked a US-owned, Italian-flagged tugboat with a crew of 16 aboard.

I’m starting to get really worried. While I have every confidence that, given the right political guidance, the Navy and Marines could sort this out in very short order, it’s the apparent return to our pre-9/11 mentality that is scaring me.

Changing gears slightly, my friend John in Carolina ignited a blog brushfire over our shared dismay at the MSM’s seeming unwillingness to call out Obama and Biden when they, shall we say, stretch the truth. Scott Johnson at Power Line, over the bow to the king of Saudi Arabia:

Why the lying? Perhaps Obama realizes he made a mistake. As the American head of state, protocol dictates that president does not bow to royalty. Yet Obama holds himself out as a sophisticate and cosmopolitan. His ignorance of the governing protocol is both a personal and national embarrassment. The Office of Chief of Protocol apparently remains unfilled by an appointee. Is it better to lie than to admit a mistake?

Perhaps admitting that the bow was a mistake would be an insult to the King of Saudi Arabia. Yet even his Muslim subjects don't bow to him. It's hard to see how the frank confession of error would cause offense….

Obama's bow may signify something like his clueless compulsion to prostrate himself before the Islamic world….

Maybe. We’ll know more when we see what Obama eventually does about the Somali pirates. Meanwhile, Mackubin Thomas Owens gets the last word for today:

…the various new substitutes for "unlawful enemy combatant" abolish an important distinction in traditional international law. As the eminent military historian Sir Michael Howard argued shortly after 9/11, the status of al Qaeda terrorists is to be found in a distinction first made by the Romans and subsequently incorporated into international law by way of medieval and early modern European jurisprudence. According to Mr. Howard, the Romans distinguished between bellum (war against legitimus hostis, a legitimate enemy) and guerra (war against latrunculi, pirates, robbers, brigands and outlaws).

Bellum became the standard for interstate conflict, and it is here that the Geneva Conventions were meant to apply. They do not apply to guerra. Indeed, punishment for latrunculi, "the common enemies of mankind," traditionally has been summary execution.

Though they don't often employ the term, many legal experts agree that al Qaeda fighters are latrunculi -- hardly distinguishable by their actions from pirates and the like.

Robert Kogod Goldman, an American University law professor has commented: "I think under any standard, the captured al Qaeda fighters simply do not meet the minimum standards set out to be considered prisoners of war." And according to Marc Cogen, a professor of international law at Ghent University in Belgium, "no 'terrorist organization' thus far has been deemed a combatant under the laws of armed conflict."

Thus al Qaeda members "can be punished for all hostile acts, including the killing of soldiers, because they have no right to participate directly in hostilities." But the Obama administration is about to extend legal rights -- intended to protect civilians -- to the very latrunculi who want to blow them up by considering the possibility of trying them in U.S. courts. Indeed, Attorney General Holder did not rule out trying the Somali pirates….


If You’re Following The Somali Pirate Story

I’ve two suggestions:

1) - - - Don’t miss reading the comment thread of Somali Pirates Challenge Obama, U. S. Navy. You’ll find a lot of informed reasoning and practical recommendations there as to what we should be doing.

2) - - - Few people know more about the use of force by rogues past and present and how to deal with them than military historian John Keegan, whose classic works include The Face of Battle and Six Armies in Normandy.

Keegan has a column in the Daily Telegraph that’s headed:

Pirates must be hunted down and their vessels sunk on sight

The sooner we tackle this menace, the sooner our seas will be safe again, argues John Keegan.
I hope you give Keegan’s column a read. It’s the most informed assessment of the pirate menace I’ve read. He recommends responses to piracy that've been effective and discusses what civilized nations need to do now to implement them.

If you read Keegan’s column, I’d be eager to know what you think of it.

The Obama Show Is Home Now

and Ollie North at Human Events has a "review" which begins - - -

The traveling, never-ending campaign road show came home this week. POTUS is back in Washington from his “I like you-you like me,” excellent adventure in Europe and “surprise” trip to Baghdad. It was nice of Obama to thank the troops. He should have bowed to
them instead of King Abdullah.

Members of the O-Team, recovering from late-night teleprompter edits, grand parties and jet-lag now deny that the apparently obsequious gesture to the Saudi king was really a “bow.” Perhaps it would be better described as a “curtsey.”

Whatever it was, the Arab press applauded the moment as servile -- and in keeping with the administration’s “apologize for America first” message.

Given what else happened this week, the incident may turn out to be as trivial as giving the Queen of England a Chinese-made i-Pod as a gift from the American people.

While Obama was basking in the adulation of carefully selected Euro-crowds, and genuflecting to foreign potentates (or simply “bending, because he is so tall”), other really bad things were happening.

The North Koreans defied his warnings of “severe consequences” and test-launched a long-range Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.

In Tehran, the ayatollahs ignored his utopian plea for “the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” and claim to have turned on 7,000 more centrifuges to refine Uranium.

Somali pirates “dissed” his “deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world” and hijacked an American-flagged vessel in the Gulf of Aden.

The O-Team was so exercised over the first piracy of an American-flagged merchant vessel since 1866 that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton fired off a full rhetorical volley. While the crew was busy re-taking their ship, she said that “We’re deeply concerned” and “following it closely” and “the world must come together to end the scourge of piracy.”

More telling than the vacuous hot air blowing from London, Prague, Ankara, Baghdad and Washington was the defense budget presented this week. It assures adversaries and allies alike that we will be unprepared to fight a serious adversary in the future. Hollow talk, empty oratory and impossible dreams are now commonplace in American politics, but the O-Team’s Euro-Expedition may have set a new foreign fantasy record.

The rest of North’s column’s here.

The North comment I most appreciated: He should have bowed to
them instead of King Abdullah.

His most important comment: [The defense budget presented this week] assures adversaries and allies alike that we will be unprepared to fight a serious adversary in the future.

Hat tip: BN

What If He Was "the gay one?"

What follows is all from James Taranto's WSJ Best of the Web Today blog - - -

"What if it was 'Oh, the gay one,' or 'Oh, the Asian kid?' " asks Maggie Kwok, head of the Penn State Veterans Organization in an interview with the Daily Collegian, PSU's student newspaper. She is referring to a "training video," prepared by the university's Counseling and Psychological Services office, depicting "worrisome student behavior."

The office swiftly removed the video when it prompted a kerfuffle, but the PSU College Republicans preserved it on YouTube. It's a fascinating documentation of academic prejudice.

Just shy of five minutes, the video depicts a vignette in two scenes. As it opens, a timorous young female instructor is talking with an older man, perhaps the department chairman. We join the conversation as it is about to wrap up, before she brings up a new and worrisome subject:

Instructor: . . . So, I think that we should talk to everybody about that.
Chairman: Good, let's bring it up at the staff meeting, OK?
Instructor: Actually, I kinda wanted to talk to you about something else? Um, I'm still having problems with that student I mentioned?
Chairman: The Veteran.
Instructor: Yeah. He's having problems with his papers still. His grammar is really poor, and he veers off subject, and he's just not really seeming to understand the assignments.

Sound familiar? "You know, education--if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

The video's salient stereotype, however, is not of veterans as thickheaded but as angry. The instructor reluctantly tells the chairman that the student's "tone is very confrontational, and I feel like he's always on the verge of losing his temper." The chairman asks if he has threatened her or if she is "worried about what he might do." She says no, but "he makes me really uneasy." He gives her some obvious advice, beginning: "If he ever threatens you, you call the police right away."

After this inconclusive chat, the story shifts to the classroom, where The Veteran confronts the instructor, demanding to know why he only got a C-plus on his paper even after rewriting it to her specifications. She says that while there was some improvement after the rewrite, she graded the paper on the merits. He thinks she has it in for him and says, "I don't see why you're doing this":

Instructor: I'm not doing anything, Matthew. This isn't a personal thing against you.
The Veteran: I think it is! You've made it very clear in class how you feel about the war, and you're taking it out on me!
Instructor: My personal beliefs have nothing to do with the way that I treat you. I think that you need to relax and we need to discuss this. Or I could give you the name of someone to talk to if you feel like you want to get some help.
The Veteran: Help? Do you think I'm an idiot? You're the one who's being unreasonable! I just want the grade that I deserve. [Pauses.] You know what? You'll see, you'll be sorry. I'm gonna get you fired.

With this, The Veteran exits stage left. Fade to black as the instructor's jaw goes slack in an expression midway between terror and pensiveness.

"Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said the university responded to the veterans' concerns as quickly as possible by removing the video," the Collegian reports:

"We heard them, we responded and there was certainly no intent to suggest that any particular student group was inclined toward worrisome behavior," Powers said. . . .
"Obviously someone has taken our video and has posted it elsewhere," Powers said. "Since it has been posted on the Internet, we have received some e-mails from veterans and friends of veterans who have seen the video out of context."

We watched the other three videos in the series, and we must say we don't see how the "context" ameliorates the veterans' objections to the depiction of The Veteran.

All the videos in the series concern students behaving in ways that are creepy but not necessarily dangerous. In the first, a young woman tells her professor that a young man in her class has an unreciprocated romantic interest in her and has been making her feel uncomfortable. "It's not like he's stalking me or anything," she allows, but then she describes behavior that some may reckon crossed that line.

The second depicts a female student who is behaving erratically for reasons that are unspecified--perhaps trauma, mental illness or drug abuse.

The third shows a classroom discussion on news coverage of violent crime. When the conversation turns toward school shootings, a black-shirted male student in the back row remarks that such violence "doesn't make sense to me. Why shoot at the other students? Personally, I'd blow up Old Main or shoot up the administration. That's where the real problems are."

The video about The Veteran is similar to the others, in that all depict abnormal behavior by young people who probably are normal, but are immature or temporarily impaired. But the characters in the other videos are all completely generic, with no distinguishing characteristics other than their sex. Only The Veteran is fleshed out enough even to be a stereotype.

The obvious objection to the depiction of The Veteran is that there is no reason to think that veterans are more prone than anyone else to lash out angrily, blaming others for their own failings. If anything, one would think that the rigors of military training and deployment would leave them more mature, at least in this regard.

But The Veteran's status as a veteran is relevant to the video's story, inasmuch as he believes the instructor is treating him unfairly because he is a veteran. This lends another dimension to Maggie Kwok's speculation about the reaction if the character were depicted as a member of an ethnic or sexual minority.

What if the student in the video were black and accused the instructor of racial discrimination? Would this be depicted, as it is in this video, as if the charge was absurd on its face? Would the student's threat to have the (presumably untenured) instructor "fired" come across as an empty one, the way it does in the actual video? And if the department chairman in the opening exchange identified the student by asking, "Oh, the black guy?," would that not be seen--with some justification--as bolstering the charge of discrimination?

In the video, The Veteran behaves inappropriately--but he also accuses the instructor of inappropriately bringing her politics into the classroom at his expense. We are meant to think the accusation is preposterous. But at a university that produces such a video, is it hard to believe that such things actually go on?