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Some Things Said… (Mar 05) (2)

Fear of God

“There was a time when “fear of God meant piety, or at least conscience. Today, it more accurately describes the worldview of secular liberals who get itchy and twitchy at any reminder of our religious roots as a nation.” –Mona Charen from www.federalist.com 03.17.05

MTV

“In 171 hours of MTV programming, PTC analysts found 1,548 sexual scenes containing 3,056 depictions of sex or various forms of nudity and 2,881 verbal sexual references. That means that children watching MTV are viewing an average of 9 sexual scenes per hour with approximately 18 sexual depictions and 17 instances of sexual dialogue or innuendo. To put this in perspective, consider that in its last study of sex on primetime network television, the PTC found an average of only 5.8 instances of sexual content during the hour — when only adults are watching.

“…And in case you didnt realize it, MTV is owned by Viacom, the same company that owns CBS (of Janet Jacksons Super Bowl ‘wardrobe malfunction’ and Rathergate fame.) Surprised?” — Rebecca Hagelin, president of The Heritage Foundation, excerpted from an article at www.townhall.com 03.18.05

Washington Post Tortures Its Readers

Human Rights First, a group of lawyers working with the ACLU on behalf of prisoners in the global War on Terror, gives the term “ambulance chaser” a bad name. Its website features a place where people can click and contact a lawyer “if you or your family member was subjected to abuse in Iraq or Afghanistan…” Their stories, which are shocking if true, are all being blamed on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who is being sued in court “over U.S. torture policies.” But are the stories true?

Because of some isolated cases of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib, the prison facility in Baghdad, left-wing legal groups believe they can make all kinds of allegations against Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon and civilian leaders and that the charges will be greeted as credible by the media. But where is the proof?

The fact is that two major investigations have exonerated top Pentagon leaders of ordering or approving abuse of prisoners. One was headed by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger and the other by Vice Admiral Albert Church. But thats not what the Washington Post and New York Times wanted to hear, so they have run editorials rejecting the findings. Now the CIA has replaced the Pentagon as a convenient target. The intelligence agency is under fire for transferring suspected terrorists to other countries, a practice called rendition.

The headline over the March 17 Dana Priest Washington Post story was direct: “CIA Challenged About Suspects Torture Overseas.” The use of torture was declared to be a fact. But the headline over the same story on the paper’s website was different: “CIAs Assurances On Transferred Suspects Doubted.” The change may reflect awareness by some Post editor that the story, which was featured on page one of the print version of the paper, did not prove that the CIA approved, condoned, or even knew about the alleged torture of suspected terrorists shipped overseas. Whats more, absolutely no proof was cited of any torture taking place. The subheadline over the website version gave us the source of the torture allegations: “Prisoners Say Countries Break No-Torture Pledges” –from an article by Cliff Kincaid from The AIM Report, 03.18.05 submitted by Mark Zaveson.

Once again on the “Direct Line”

“God sent an angel to talk to the mother of His only Son, but this guy talks to God.” –scripted remark from a character on the program Law and Order, SVU.

Some things mentioned and some not – at the National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian is an architectural triumph. Walking close to the walls conveys the vertiginous sense of hiking the rock canyons of the American West. Step a hundred yards away from NMAI, however, and the building turns into a yellow sandstone affront to the white granite unity of the National Mall. As with the container, so with the contents. It is as though the architect and curators together are saying, “You want to know how much respect we have for your European heritage of architectural symmetry, historical causation, and scholarly standards of evidence? None.”

None of the three halls portrays Indian history and life with anything resembling the kind of scholarly standards envisioned by James Smithson when that gentleman, chemist, mineralogist and Member of the Royal Society, left his fortune for the foundation of an institution for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

It is hardly unusual for nations telling their own stories to omit the distasteful and embarrassing episodes. When the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa first opened, I walked through an elaborate suite of galleries displaying the history of Canada in which the French discover and settle Canada , then British officials appear. I did a double take and walked back through the rooms. Sure enough, the curators had omitted the British invasion and conquest of Canada . Too hot to handle. France is simply replaced by Britain with no explanation offered, and certainly no exhibit on the conquest of French Canada. In this context it is not surprising that American Indians have produced a museum in which no mention is made of Indian Nations that practiced slavery, cannibalism, or human sacrifice. Nor did I notice any hint that, long before Columbus , Indians used natural resources to supply short-term needs in ways that resulted in species extinctions, deforestation, and other forms of environmental degradation.

At NMAI, the omissions are joined by myth. Salient among the myths is the portrayal of all Indians as “manag[ing] our environment to make sure it provides for us today and in the future.” Not only are all Indian Nations depicted as model environmentalists today, not only are they all shown as having been model environmentalists since the beginning of time, but environmentalism, according to NMAI, is actually central to Indian religion. Nation after nation in the permanent displays makes a statement like these: “The Yakama Nation is a leader in the protection and restoration of resources. Were a leader, not because we want to be, but because the Creator put us on this landscape to be just that, stewards of the land.” “Every time the elders talk, they tell us we were given responsibility to look after Mother Earth. Thats our job, the Anishnaabe people.” –Diana Muir, excerpted from her article, National Myth of the American Indian, for The Claremont Institute posted at www.claremont.org 03.04.05

“Little Eichmanns” and “Digital Brownshirts”
Deconstructing the Hitlerian slur.

The effort to remove fascists in the Middle East and jump-start democracy, for all its ups and downs, has been opposed not just by principled critics who bristled at tactics and strategy, but also by peculiarly vehement cynics here and abroad whose disgust was so often in direct proportion to their relative political impotence.

One of their most hackneyed charges, begun almost at the beginning of this war, has been the Bush/America as Hitler/Nazi Germany comparison. True, fast-changing events in the Middle East recently have left many of these hypercritics either embarrassed, discredited or desperately reinventing themselves into the “I told you so” crowd. But we should not forget these slurs nor expect them to disappear entirely inasmuch as they reflect a deep sort of self-loathing among Western elites.

Immediately after September 11, Ward Churchill compared the victims in the Twin Tower to “little Eichmanns.” Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.) more recently likened President George W. Bushs political methodology to what transpired in Nazi Germany. Earlier during the run-up to the Iraqi war, German Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin smeared Bush with a similar Hitlerian analogy.

In fact, what do Linda Ronstadt, Harold Pinter, Scott Ritter, Ted Rall, and George Soros all have in common? The same thing that unites Fidel Castro, the European street, the Iranians, and North Koreans: an evocation of some aspects of Adolf Hitlers Nazi Germany to deprecate President Bush in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At first glance, all this wild rhetoric is preposterous. Hitler hijacked an elected government and turned it into a fascist tyranny. He destroyed European democracy. His minions persecuted Christians, gassed over six million Jews, and created an entire fascistic creed predicated on anti-Semitism and the myth of a superior Aryan race.

Whatever one thinks of Bushs Iraqi campaign, the president obtained congressional approval to invade and pledged $87 billion to rebuild the country. He freely weathered mass street demonstrations and a hostile global media, successfully defended his Afghan and Iraq reconstructions through a grueling campaign and three presidential debates, and won a national plebiscite on his tenure.

In a world that is almost uniformly opposed to the democratic Jewish state, Israel has no better friend than Bush, who in turn is a believer in, not a tormentor of, Christianity. Afghanistan and Iraq, with 50 million freed, have elected governments, not American proconsuls, and there is a movement in the Middle East toward greater democratization with no guarantee that such elected governments will not be anti-American. No president has been more adamantly against cloning, euthanasia, abortion, or anything that smacks of the use of science to predetermine super-genes or to do away with the elderly, feeble, or unborn.

So what gives with this crazy popular analogy, one that on a typical Internet Google search of “Bush” + “Hitler” yields about 1,350,000 matches?

One explanation is simply the ignorance of the icons of our popular culture. A Linda Ronstadt, Garrison Keillor, or Harold Pinter knows nothing much of the encompassing evil of Hitlers regime, its execution of the mentally ill and disabled, the systematic cleansing of the non-Aryans from Europe, or mass executions and starvation of Soviet prisoners. Like Prince Harry parading around in his ridiculous Nazi costume, quarter-educated celebrities who have some talent for song or verse know only that name-dropping “Hitler” or his associates gets them some shock value that their pedestrian rants otherwise would not warrant.

Ignorance and arrogance are a lethal combination. Nowhere do we see that more clearly among writers and performers who pontificate as historians when they know nothing about history. –Victor Davis Hanson, excerpted from an article at www.nationalreview.com and at www.victorhanson.com 03.18.05

Moonbats on parade

“With freedom on the move across the Middle East and beyond, aggrieved antiwar U.S. protesters have nothing to do this weekend than what they always do: stand in the way.

“The most unhinged of left-wing activists, from breast-exposing pacifists to the conspiracy-mongers of MoveOn.org, will descend on New York, Washington and other major media markets to “mark the two-year anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq.” They will clog the streets, tie up police and leave a trail of anti-Bush propaganda litter. Who says the left doesn’t know how to create jobs?” — Michelle Malkin, excerpted from her article in The Washington Times, 03.18.05

Article contributed by Richard Vandagriff and Mark Zaveson