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November 15, 2006

Michael Moore's Contract with on Conservatives...

My comments in [] brackets. Feel free to add yours!


A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives [puts hand on wallet]

November 14th, 2006

To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters,

I know you are dismayed and disheartened at the results of last week's election. You're worried that the country is heading toward a very bad place you don't want it to go. Your 12-year Republican Revolution has ended with so much yet to do, so many promises left unfulfilled. You are in a funk, and I understand. [Yay! We got through to him! Snerk]

Well, cheer up, my friends! Do not despair. I have good news for you. I, and the millions of others who are now in charge with our Democratic Congress, have a pledge we would like to make to you, a list of promises that we offer you because we value you as our fellow Americans. You deserve to know what we plan to do with our newfound power — and, to be specific, what we will do to you and for you. [MMoore - *I* am the Government, and I'm here to help! Scary words!]

Thus, here is our Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:

Dear Conservatives and Republicans,

I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:

1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us. [Yeah, Mike, I get it, dude, you are *so* subtle-funny! As long as I'm not un-PC in my dissent (MCRI anyone?) or criticize your shibboleths, and stick safely to marginal topics or make no substantive criticism, I'm free to say anything I want.]

2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be "different" or "immoral." Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love — it's a wonderful gift. [Of course, you *do* realize that in several states, less than half the voting population agrees with that sentiment, regardless of the merits, right? Heh. I thought *my* side were the Republicans and *yours* were the Democrats?]

3. We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you. [There isn't a whole lot of historical support for that statement, dude. Pardon me while I keep my hand on my wallet.]

4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie. [Again, it's a Brave New World, right? We're supposed to ignore history? But at least you imply that war *is* an option. How serious a one we'll see when you guys get the chance to fund the military. I suspect we'll have the *healthiest* most personally protected nerf-armed military in the world... well, again, if I actually expect you to match deeds to rhetoric]

5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too. [Hey! I thought you were going to balance the budget! Oh, wait - that's right, Nerf-armed Department of Peace = Universal Health Care. Sigh. It sure sounds good, but I just have to drink the maple syrup and assume that Alan's experience will be the Universal experience, all other data to the contrary. Heh. I already have government controlled, managed, and provided health care, dude. All I want to know is - will you and all your rich friends agree to restrict yourselves to using *only* that service? Or are you going to just buy all the healthcare you want, however and wherever you want - while making sure we unwashed masses pay the bills for each other? Just askin' Gimme the pledge, man - that when Universal Coverage is passed, all rich liberals and powerful Democrat politicians will use that service exclusively - and never, ever, get to bump the lines. Period. Sign that pledge, and maybe I'll take you seriously. We'll skip the whole "Give Me More Dead Babies To Feed The Beast So That Those Fortunate Enough To Escape The Birth Canal Can Live Forever!!! and other slippery slope arguments. It's just a bit too Peter Singer for Cro-Magnon me..]

6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water. [Not to mention the rolling blackouts we'll provide so you can *really* understand how Third World people live.]

7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you. [Applying all the same tactics and procedural safeguards employed up to 9/11 to do so. You really didn't think this one through Mike. What you said was, you'll avenge me in a judicial and judicious fashion, but not enhance your ability to detect and prevent them from doing it - because, well, that might hurt someone's cultural feelings and all. I think it's revealing, Mike that you assure me you'll go catch the bad guy (I got it - you'll use restraint and the police approach vice reckless abandon and war) after he does it. Oh, and you'll protect me. Again - you're more focused on making sure we don't hinder anyone who knows how to play the grievance game than you really are about protecting anyone. It really is 9/10 in your world, isn't it Mike?]

8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived. [Yeah, lucky me, I was born. But yer sure gonna stick your nose into my garage, kitchen, refrigerator, and gun room, arncha?]

9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours. [Oy. Mike, you'd definitely rather be shot with an SKS or AK-clone than a Mauser X firing hunting ammo. No one hunts with automatic weapons, Mike - and if they do, they're doing it with heavily controlled, lawfully registered, and damned expensive weapons. And you really don't understand hunting, either. If you can take a deer with a handgun, you're a damfine hunter. You've got to get *close* to do that. It's easy to take a zeroed, scoped rifle with a range of over a mile, and shooting from a rest in a blind, kill an animal 800 yards away that will damn near be bled out before the sound of your shot reaches its now-dead ears. That's sniping, and takes patience. Hunting with a handgun - that's tracking and stalking, and takes some serious skillz, dude. But, all you're going to do is take away weapons from the law-abiding and pat yourselves on the back for having accomplished something. Because let's face it - most of the gun violence in this country is committed by people who get to play the grievance cards, which means you can't do too much about it, because that would be messing with their culture... ]
10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you — and your employees — that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too. [So, In addition to the raised taxes, I gotta take a paycut, too? Oh, sorry - I forgot - what I earn isn't really mine, it belongs to The People In Power, who will determine how much I am allowed to have on a month-to-month basis. That is one of the fundamental philosophical differences between your side and mine, Mike. The premise of who owns what. Oh, and do all these rules and stuff that apply to you, Mike? Will you make sure that all the employees *you* have get that minimum wage and all the bennies? IIRC, you sometimes make exceptions.]

11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism — starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world. [Um, Mike, shouldn't that be "Christian Religious Intolerance?" I don't see any sign of your side going after the Imams...]

12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition. [Okay, I call you on it. Gimme the head of Representative Jefferson.]

I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans — and for the rest of the world. [Go for it, Dude. I got no argument with the sentiment - the devil, as always, is in the details and definitions, ain't it? Remember, you *did* ask me to dissent]
Signed,

Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
(Click here to sign the pledge)
www.michaelmoore.com

P.S. Please feel free to pass this on.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir!

by John on Nov 15, 2006 | TrackBack (0)

November 05, 2006

Army Times to call for Rumsfeld's Departure...

And, breathlessly reported by the New York Times, so will the Navy Times, Air Force Times, and Marine Corps Times.

Okay.

These papers do, after all, speak for the military right? Fingers on the pulse and all that?

Well, no.

They are four faces of the same paper. They run the same stories, with about 1/4 of their content any given issue being specific to the service named on the front page.

There is greater editorial diversity among the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Post and Los Angeles Times than there is at the ArmyNavyMarineCorpsAirForceTimes media show, because it's all the same paper, published by Gannett, which owns USA Today.

Despite what the NYT and Owen or even Shawn (Owen and Shawn in comments in yesterday's H&I Fires post) the ArmyNavyMarineCorpsAirForceTimes is not a voice of the military, it's a voice of Gannett.

Being the only paper to target the military market, it is certainly read by the military community. There's a post over at Milblogs that covers that nicely.

Not for nothing is the Navy version of the paper called the "Naval Enquirer." Certainly, they are *not* equivalent to the National Enquirer in absolute terms, but they are the aimed-at-the-military-market equivalent.

There's a reason that I ceased subscribing to them in 1983/4, when they shifted to the tabloid format they use now. They became less serious, went in for the attention getting, breathless headline - that was usually misleading. But they are a source of useful info, as well. I buy around one issue a year, usually the Pay Chart issue, not only to get the chart, but to see if anything has improved.

Let me put it this way - I subscribe to NYT Select and The New Republic - but not the Army Times.

They want to be the voice of the services, certainly. And as the only game in town, they get some attention. But to infer that because Gannett is calling for Rumsfeld's head means the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are calling for Rumsfeld's head is to infer that if USA Today, the Washington Times, or Kansas City Star call for it, well then, everybody must agree.

Just sayin'.

DoD responds here. It's now officially a tussle.

Tony Snow runs through the White House defense.

MR. SNOW: A number of things. I mean, observation number one is everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. And as a factual matter, the editorial -- which is a uniform editorial that I guess all the papers are being told to carried -- is just -- it's a shabby piece of work. I'll run through some of it for you.

The other important thing to note is this -- although these are Army Times and the Military Times, they're a Gannet publication. A lot of people are thinking, aha, what you have are a lot of military people in open revolt against the President, when, in fact, you've got a lot of Gannet editorial writers, which would be thoroughly consistent with USA Today and the rest of the Gannet chain, which I think, if memory serves, does not have a single strong conservative editorial page in the entire chain.

Hang on a second, I've got a printout of it, because I went through the thing. Give me a moment. The editorial, for one thing, makes the allegation that -- it says, "One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld." That's just flat not true. And what they do is they revert to cheesy old partisan talking points about "mission accomplished," which, as you recall, was referring to the mission of the USS Abraham Lincoln and the President, on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln, talked about a long, hard fight to come, and so on.

But maybe the worst is this, it says, "A new course of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war's planning." It then goes on to site General John Abizaid completely out of context, when he said before Congress -- he said, "I believe the sectarian violence probably is as bad as I've seen it. It's possible that Iraq could move toward civil war."

The following month General Casey said -- let's see, a couple of things. First, he said that, "A, I think we can prevent a civil war. Secondly, things in a counter-insurgency environment, as you well know, take time to mature militarily and politically, and we're confident that with the measures we're taking now we can be successful."

General Casey also said recently, "The situation is hard, but Iraq is not a country that's awash in sectarian violence. I think it's important to remind people that 90 percent of the sectarian violence in Iraq takes place in about a 30-mile radius from the center of Baghdad, and, secondly, that 90 percent of all violence takes place in five provinces."

You can get the rest at the link above.

I'm not a fan of Rumsfeld, though I think he was something the services needed at the beginning of his tenure.

That said - the Army Times does *not* speak for me. Of course, I have my own space to speak here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir!

by John on Nov 05, 2006
Stop The ACLU links with: The Skinny On Those Political “Military Magazines”
Signaleer links with: My Letter to the Advertisers of Military Times Publishing.

August 08, 2006

Extreme Makeover - Beirut Edition...

Either this woman is the unluckiest multiple home owner in Beirut, or omething isn't quite right.

Read the whole thing here, at Drinking From Home.

Snerk. More evidence of unbiased journalism on subjects Mideastern. Nope - I'm not saying the MSM is actively colluding/doing this. They have their publishing deadlines and competetive pressures, and most editors couldn't tell you what yesterday's stories were, much less that this chick is appearing in all the pictures. Nope. Just like we bloggers, they take what they're given, especially if they don't have their own employees on the ground in the area. And, like we bloggers, if the story is supportive of a narrative they conciously or unconciously identify with - they aren't going to look too closely. Dan Rather anyone?

The bigger question it raises is... lordy lordy who *can* we trust with the news anymore? Many blogs have the same problem, don't fool yourselves. It's an important question... like it or no, your personal approach to the news notwithstanding, most people rely on the news to provide a filter function to weed this kind of thing out. Sigh. An inability to trust the "public information flow" does serious damage to open society's ability to engage in informed decision making.

Heh. I provided a *lot* of straight lines in there, didn't I?

H/t, LindaSOG via SWWBO.

by John on Aug 08, 2006

July 04, 2006

Dear Time Magazine.

Screw you and your editorial decisions.

Assholes, er, jerks. (Just STFU PG-17C or I'll kick you into scrap). My own private Googlebomb.

This is the story that should have Sergeant Major Brad Kasal and the picture associated with it. Not one that uses his picture and ties it (indirectly, the caption does not place the Sergeant Major at Haditha) to the Haditha scandal.

by John on Jul 04, 2006

June 26, 2006

Since there are some people...

...upset by my NYT posters in this post (can't read the rulez, sadly) and don't quite seem to get my point - I'll throw these remarks by the VEEP, delivered in my region of the Great Fly-Over today. I've highlighted some passages that are appropos to my poster:

Remarks By The Vice President At A Luncheon For Congressional Candidate Adrian Smith

Grand Island, Nebraska

June 26, 2006

THE VICE PRESIDENT: "In the decade prior to 9/11, we spent more than $2 trillion on national security. Yet we lost nearly 3,000 Americans at the hands of 19 men armed with box cutters and airline tickets. In the case of al Qaeda we are not dealing with large armies that we can track, or uniforms we can see, or men with territory of their own to defend. Their preferred tactic, which they boldly proclaim, is to slip into countries, blend in among the innocent, and kill without mercy and without restraint. They have intelligence and counterintelligence operations of their own. They are using the most sophisticated communications technology they can get their hands on.

"In pursuit of their objectives, they have carried out a number of attacks since 9/11 in Casablanca, Jakarta, Mombassa, Bali, Riyadh, Baghdad, Istanbul, Madrid, London, Sharm al-Sheikh, and elsewhere. Here in the U.S., we have not had another 9/11. Obviously, no one can guarantee that we won't be hit again. But the relative safety of these past nearly five years now did not come about by accident. We've been protected by sensible policy decisions by the President, by decisive action at home and abroad, and by round-the-clock efforts on the part of the people in our armed forces, law enforcement, intelligence, and homeland security.

"Some in the press, in particular The New York Times, have made the job of defending against further terrorist attacks more difficult by insisting on publishing detailed information about vital national security programs.

[emphasis mine - and whereby I based my second poster]

"The first was the terrorist surveillance program. Sometimes the press calls it domestic surveillance, it is not domestic surveillance. It's a program aimed at the communications that are international in nature at least one end of the communication has to be outside the United States, and one end has to be affiliated with or associated with al Qaeda.

"The second program that The New York Times has now disclosed is the terrorist financial tracking program, just within about the last week or so. These are both good programs. They provide valuable intelligence. They are very carefully managed to safeguard the civil liberties of the American people. They have been successful in helping break up terrorist plots. They are done in accordance with the Constitution, and there has in both cases both programs have been properly notified to the appropriate officials in the United States Congress.

"The New York Times has now twice two separate occasions disclosed programs; both times they had been asked not to publish those stories by senior administration officials. They went ahead anyway. The leaks to The New York Times and the publishing of those leaks is very damaging. The ability to intercept al Qaeda communications and to track their sources of financing are essential if we're going to successfully prosecute the global war on terror. Our capabilities in these areas help explain why we have been so successful in preventing further attacks like 9/11. The New York Times has now made it more difficult for us to prevent attacks in the future. Publishing this highly classified information about our sources and methods for collecting intelligence will enable the terrorists to look for ways to defeat our efforts. These kinds of stories also adversely affect our relationships with people who work with us against the terrorists. In the future, they will be less likely to cooperate if they think the United States is incapable of keeping a secret.

"What is doubly disturbing for me is that not only have they gone forward with these stories, but they've been rewarded for it, for example, in the case of the terrorist surveillance program, by being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for outstanding journalism. I think that is a disgrace."

I agree. Hence I do not apologize for my poster. The NYT will be the first media outlet screaming shrilly should another 9/11 happen - yet they do not offer alternatives, only nay-saying. Fie on them.

BTW, RTD - I'm *not* a fan of Coulter. I don't hate her or anything, but trust me, I'm not on the Republican Party Talking Points email list.

Though I am on the White House's. And the LA Times, and New York Times, and several Brit papers - and I have a Candian Clipping Service (Hi John and Damian!) and subscribe to The New Republic (and National Review, natch). Betcha weren't expecting that, were ya?

by John on Jun 26, 2006

June 24, 2006

Loose lips sink ships.

La Malkin has suggested Photoshopping WWII posters to reflect the Current Security Threat.

Inspired by the call to action, SWWBO's fellow Cotillionite Darleen offers up some of her own.

Which, of course, made me fire up Photoshop, too.

Gotta admit - some posters don't need to change.

Others, take very little effort at all. Like this one:

Islamofascist Cross

...while still managing to incorporate an image that should annoy the Islamofascist.

Some took more work, for a lot less return on the investment.

Then there's the one where I was too clever by half and it failed, miserably.

The most effective (and most likely to piss people on both sides off, for different reasons, was this one:

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Cassandra goes after it in her own way.


by John on Jun 24, 2006

June 03, 2006

A call to arms!

The Huntress nailed this to my email door:

I contacted Shock Magazines American Editor, Mike Hammer, on the day Blackfive wrote about Mike Yon's evocative picture being stolen by SHOCK Magazine to express my outrage. He chose to play the victim claiming he had been duped. I reminded nicely but with much seriousness that he had outraged the bloggers who were responsible for the demise of Eason Jordan at CNN, Dan Rather at CBS, and helped Mike in his battle against the US Military over the legal copyright on that same picture. I asked him to NOW do the right in spite of having done the wrong thing already.

Obviously...he chose NOT to heed my advice.

Yesterday, Michael wrote a dispatch titled "Dishonor" .

Today, Michael has called us to action.

I have learned that ordinary people can make a surprising impact on the world simply by aligning their actions with their principles. What HFM, Polaris and all the organizations and individuals associated with the launch of SHOCK magazine have done is just plain wrong. It might cost a few dollars to rectify or inconvenience a few executives whose failure to exercise due diligence largely created this mess. But if enough ordinary people take a little time to champion their own values, the tipping point will be reached. When we brought this to the attention of two major retailers who already had SHOCK on their shelvesTower Records and Bordersthey did the right thing and agreed to take them down. There are many ways that ordinary voices can make themselves heard.

Michael has posted contact addresses and phone numbers of the distributors as well as key executives within HFM NY Corporate offices, as well as HFM France, and Polaris Images, along with a sample letter and is calling on his fans, and friends, to let their "ordinary voices " be heard. Please use the sample letter he has provided to email everyone on the Publishers and Distributors lists.

A few hours ago, I contacted Heather Reisman, the CEO of Indigo/Chapters in Canada to express my disgust at this magazine, to ask that it be removed from all Chapters outlets, not simply because they stole Michael Yon's picture to be used for their personal and political gains but more importantly because the content of this magazine is disgusting, vulgar, and morally offensive.

SHOCK Magazine has NO PLACE in a family bookstore. I provided her with a link to Michael's website, his attorney's information, as well as making her aware of the litigation being undertaken.

Ms Reisman recently yanked all the June edition of Harper's Magazine from Indigo bookstores:


Canada's largest retail bookseller has removed all copies of the June issue of Harper's Magazine from its 260 stores, claiming an article by New York cartoonist Art Spiegelman could foment protests similar to those that occurred this year in reaction to the publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. In 2001, Ms Reisman ordered all copies of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" pulled from stores, describing the book as hate literature .
(See "Indigo Pulls Controversial "Harpers" Off The Shelves")

It is REPREHENSIBLE that she would distribute the tasteless, vulgar, morally depraved "SHOCK" Magazine.

I encourage all Canadian fans of Michael Yon to please email a personalized copy of the sample letter to Sorya Ingrid Gaulin, VP Public Relations at sgaulin@indigo.ca, and to call her ( please DO NOT BE RUDE) at 416-646-8965.

For those of you wishing to contact Corporate Communications of the Lagardere Group (HFM France) via email , below I have provided a french translation of the sample letter Mike Yon provided on his website.


Messieurs:

J'cris pour exprimer mon outrage au-dessus du lancement de votre nouveau CHOC de magasin.

Il ne peut pas avoir chapp la notification que la question inaugurale, qui comporte a sensationalized l'attaque sur les militaires des USA sur la couverture, a t chronomtre pour concider avec les vacances de jour commmoratif, qui sont prvues pendant qu'un temps pour honorer le sacrifice solennel de ceux bravent les hommes et les femmes qui ont donn leur vie en service de leur pays et la dfense de notre libert.

Que votre compagnie a choisi ce moment particulier d'essayer la place de critiquer et dnonce nos forces militaires par ce magasin frivole est une insulte chaque Amricain.

Que le magasin lanc avec une utilisation non autorise de photographie vocatrice de Michael Yon sur sa couverture soulve un spectre d'incrdulit et dmontre l'irrvrence pour les principes de copyright qui sont ainsi le principe fondamental aux Etats-Unis ils font partie de notre constitution.

Aucune excuse ne peut dguiser le fait qu'une recherche simple de Google aurait fourni votre personnel assez d'information pour viter cette insulte supplmentaire. moins qu'et jusqu' HFM rectifie les affronts provoqus par cette pratique maladroite et dshonorante, je n'achterai aucune de vos publications.

Dans l'espoir que votre compagnie mettra ces sujets bien, je reste avec respect,


Gotta admit - it will be *easy* to boycott a magazine I've never read (and before any lurker snarks about *that* remember - this is about defending Michael Yon's intellectual property, *not* about the editorial freedom or censorship of the magazine)

by John on Jun 03, 2006

May 08, 2006

Cassandra.

Go. Read. We'll be here when you get back. Don't you mosey on down the page without clicking the link. We'll know.

Update: Rusty over at My Pet Jawa provides evidence that indicates the video Cassandra refers to in her post is a fake. I've seen the video as Rusty describes it (of the murder of the Nepalese) I have not seen the video the Times article referenced. *Don't lose sight of the fact that Bahjat was *still* murdered*, and that Cassie's point is *still* valid. -The Armorer

by John on May 08, 2006

May 02, 2006

La Schlussel

SWWBO is now a recipient of a cease and desist from La Schlussel.

An excerpt:

On 5/2/06, Debbie Schlussel dschlussel@XXXXX.com wrote:

Beth:

I paid for the photo and for the copyright. I own it.

Period.

You can write whatever you want to Joseph Farah, but he does NOT hold the copyright to the photo. Again, you need to fire your ghetto "attorney." "Fair Use" has nothing to do with your nauthorized copyright violation, and it does not
protect you. Remove it by Noon Eastern today. Or see me in court (in Michigan), where will file this. I look forward to doing a creditor's exam of you and your husband, if necessary, and garnishing your wages/bank account, if I have to.

Debbie Schlussel

Heh. "Ghetto attorney"? Class act, Schlussel.

Hey! I just realized - *I* got a cease and desist too, essentially.

Fine. Since La Schlussel dragged me into it...

Here's a fair use of the image as Satire and Parody.

There was a picture here of Debbie's face superimposed on a horse's ass. It was removed under threats from Deborah Schlussel, who is a lawyer in the State of Michigan.

Oh, there's still a portrait of Debbie here. See if you can find it.

A metaphoric spirit photgraph of Debbie Schlussel, who can dish it, but can't take it

Funny thing is - she visits *us* a lot more than we visit her. Snerk.

*Parody not to be taken seriously, as it represents only a metaphorical reality, and no reasonable person would infer a literal interpretation of same.

**Yeah, it's a dumb blogwar, I admit, but I'm easily amused this way, and we need some levity around here. They *seriously* need some in a small, dark corner of Michigan...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows

by John on May 02, 2006

April 11, 2006

Bad Captioning vice Bad Journalism.

In the post below I mentioned I wasn't going to take responsibility for inept captioning on the part of the Armed Services when doing my propagandizing bit by publishing their pictures. Lord knows I took some grief over that recently...

That's bad captioning. And was caught by people who knew the subjects. The incident reflects haste and tiredness on my part, as I knew better, too. I just didn't look closely because I was trying to feed the blogmonster - which is explanation, not excuse. Some of that is explanation for this, too - and some is more sinister. Neil Munro, writing in National Journal, points out the problem as it applies to Big Media.

On January 14, for example, shortly after unmanned U.S. aircraft fired missiles at several suspected leaders of Al Qaeda who were thought to be staying in the village of Damadola, Pakistan, Agence France-Presse distributed a picture said to be from the scene. AFP is based in Paris, and the picture was sent by one of its locally hired photographers, a stringer. The photo showed a piece of military equipment placed on a damaged stone wall, flanked by a solemn old man and a young boy. Another firm, Getty Images, also distributed the photo to picture editors at newspapers and magazines around the world. The New York Times published it in the paper's January 14 Web edition, and Time magazine ran the picture in its January 23 print edition, along with the caption "Detritus from the latest U.S. raid in Pakistan."

We painfully put that to rest in our post here, where we picked apart the picture. And got picked a bit ourselves...

Showing (eventually) how it was most likely a Pakistani-made (and fired) 155mm artillery projectile. As the MSM, mainly because of bloggers, eventually figured out, too.

But the caption was wrong, the pose was staged, and the picture was, in essence, untrue. The initial AFP caption said that the military object was a piece of a missile from the U.S. strike. Later, AFP issued a correction, labeling the object an unexploded artillery shell.

I frankly can relate to this next bit, given the uneven quality of the US MILITARY'S OWN PHOTO WEBSITE'S CAPTIONING [emphasis *all* mine, baby!]:

Asked for comment on the whole subject of suspect images, photo directors from several U.S. publications said they do indeed worry about the reliability of images distributed by photo agencies, even the most respected ones. But they also said they want and need to trust the agencies and distributors, which include AFP, the Associated Press, Reuters, and Getty Images. In normal practice, photo directors receive a stream of digital images from the photo agencies, select the best of them, and then present them to editors, who decide which photographs to publish...

{major snippage}

For photo editors, new pressures to get it right are coming from Internet bloggers who collect and post critical comments from ordinary citizens and also from niche experts who may have intimate knowledge of the local culture, the U.S. military, or the particular news event in question, Elbert said. "We in the mainstream media have always decided what [images] we want to push out, but now people are disagreeing and questioning accuracy," he said. "This is really confounding the mainstream media."

That's us. And as the comments on *this* post show - bloggers get pressure, too. Of course, there is a difference between inept captions and deception. And the consequences of deception are far greater than simple mistakes. Around here we try to avoid the deception, but we're gonna have the mistakes!

And I would point out the right side of blogosphere has no mercy on it's own...


The whole National Journal article is available here.

by John on Apr 11, 2006
CDR Salamander links with: Notch one up for MilBloggers - agai

March 09, 2006

McNews. One of the things about the msm that...

...just slays me. Of course, we see it in the world of blogs, too.

McNews. The pejorative term coined for USA Today, by people who work for fishwrap that can't edit and write tightly like, oh, the NYT comes to mind.

That said - I don't know what Bill Nichols was after in his story when he started, but the tortured requirement to be "balanced" and the insertion of editorial bias, whether on the part of the bylined author, editors, or headline writer, produced this misleading waste of slain Gaia-beloved Sylvan Collective Ent-Herded Beings.

The Headline: 8,000 desert during Iraq war

Uh-oh. That's bad! I knew it! Chimpy HalliBusHitler's Myrmidons don't even support him! Now, what's up with Important Stuff - what's George Clooney think today? I need my talking points for the Poetry Reading at the coffeehouse....

Now, someone interested in that story, vice someone for whom it is merely confirmatory for what they want to believe anyway, will, perhaps, read on. If they have time.

At least 8,000 members of the all-volunteer U.S. military have deserted since the Iraq war began, Pentagon records show, although the overall desertion rate has plunged since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. [emphasis mine]

Oops. *That* didn't follow the meme, did it? But, being a stark fact, and McPaper being a slightly better quality fishwrap (pretty colors!) or, Mr. Nichols just being an honest journalist, they had to let it sneak in there. And up top. Pat on the back!

Except - we have to be "balanced" doncha know. Show that alternative viewpoint.

Since fall 2003, 4,387 Army soldiers, 3,454 Navy sailors and 82 Air Force personnel have deserted. The Marine Corps does not track the number of desertions each year but listed 1,455 Marines in desertion status last September, the end of fiscal 2005, says Capt. Jay Delarosa, a Marine Corps spokesman.

Desertion records are kept by fiscal year, so there are no figures from the beginning of the war in March 2003 until that fall.

Okay, fair enough. Pretty neutral there, "just the facts ma'am."

Oh-oh, Bosun, sound the pipes, "Balance, Arriving!" (Navy humor)

Some lawyers who represent deserters say the war in Iraq is driving more soldiers to question their service and that the Pentagon is cracking down on deserters.

"The last thing they want is for people to think ... that this is like Vietnam," says Tod Ensign, head of Citizen Soldier, an anti-war group that offers legal aid to deserters. (Related story: Marines hunt Vietnam-era deserters)

Ooo. Bright shiny object for the Armorer. Are the Marines using M21s? *shakes head* Sorry. Got distracted.

Y'know - that could be true. This being McNews in McPaper, we aren't going to get in-depth analysis, especially if we had to torture the headline in order to try and slip the shiv into George's ribs.

I'm willing to concede following statement is probably true.

"the war in Iraq is driving more soldiers to question their service"

Both baldly as written, and as an excuse by more run-of-the-mill "My God this stuff is hard and they make me work weekends with mean people!" deserters because they think it will a., get people to help pay for their lawyers, b., get them laid by the patchouli-scented, c., give them cover with their Marine/Ranger/fighter pilot family members who would otherwise crush them like a grape for dishonoring the family. A higher percentage of the overall drop in deserters *are* probably deserting because they don't want to serve in combat - whether for noble, or ignoble, reasons.

Down at the bottom (and hey, something has to be upfront, in the middle, and at the end), comes this little gem:

The desertion rate was much higher during the Vietnam era. The Army saw a high of 33,094 deserters in 1971 - 3.4% of the Army force. But there was a draft and the active-duty force was 2.7 million.

Desertions in 2005 represent 0.24% of the 1.4 million U.S. forces.

Which isn't surprising, since we fought Vietnam with draftees, and this one is being fought with volunteers. Another useful comparison (that I don't have time to hunt up this morning) would be WWII desertion rates. How'd things go with a Bulk Draftee Greatest Generation Mostly Popular War?

Heh. And they wonder why they're losing market share? This really was a moderately objective view, given what I expect from MSM outlets. And Mr. Nichols may have written something much different, I don't know. But I do know that a headline that read:

"Desertions drop during War" would have more accurately represented the article, and saved two spaces.

Of course, if it was written by a Kossack, the thrust of the article would have been:

Military suppresses desertions by keeping hundreds of thousands of troops locked up in camps overseas so they can't desert.

Except they would have spelled it dessert.

Just sayin'.

Read it for yourself, here.

by John on Mar 09, 2006

February 26, 2006

Defame of Debbie Schlussel.

Heh. Even though it will annoy Ry and Sanger, I just can't resist returning to Debbie Schlussel's website... with the same morbid fascination similar to driving by a horrible car accident complete with a decapitation, I am drawn to her complete inability to acknowledge any reality that doesn't fit with her editorial meme. Of course, Owen Dyer might possibly say the same thing about me and my views on Iraq, except there is *one* huge difference between La Schlussel and myself. I don't delete comments, such as Owen makes, that argue against my point.

And when someone manages to essentially refute me, I'll acknowledge it. Quietly perhaps, after the post has dropped off into the archives, never to be seen again... heheheheheheh.

La Schlussel, however, can't abide such things. And so she deletes them, leaving up the groupthink bubble she's built for herself. Case in point - this post, slamming Julie Myers for wearing a "Mexican Eagle" on her first day on the job, which La Schlussel decides is a Trilateral Commission-style message to the masses.

SWWBO caught on to that pretty fast. As did some others, as SWWBO lays out here. And none of their polite, reasoned commentary, pointing out the alternative interpretation (and actual provenance of the pin) has survived. Lest ye doubt me, Google is your friend. Here's a screen cap of Google's Cache of Carrie's comment...

Carrie's now-deleted comment

Which is interesting. Whether or not in response to Schlussel's post or not, the ICE website *did* crop the picture to remove the pin. Debbie certainly takes credit for it. Possibly she called her FBI contacts... Regardless, aside from the childish snark inherent in the post (if I was after that, I'd have to quit reading 90 percent of the blogs I read - and quit writing this one)- I just find her continued inability to allow any dissent fascinating.

Oh, BTW, Debbie - they didn't crop it, at least not in quite the sense you implied. Click the thumbnail for the full pic.

Today, Joanne Jacobs left a comment, which we have helpfully screen-captured for posterity and display here.

I think what I like best is the delicious unintentional irony of ScottyDog's comment:

Kudos to Debbie for her attention to detail.

Posted by: ScottyDog at February 21, 2006 08:26 PM

...contrasted to Joanne's comment:

Julie Myers is wearing the Liberty Eagle Pin designed by Ann Hand. There's a photo and blurb about it at http://www.acec.org/publications/lastword2005/lw022505.htm (the Library of Congress gift shop site, which DS mentioned in her comments, is not available at the moment). The ACEC blurb says:

"Hand's most popular piecethe gold and pearl "Liberty Eagle" pinhas been worn for decades by first ladies and other famous political women.

First Ladies Hillary Clinton, Lady Bird Johnson, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush have all worn the Liberty Eagle pin, as did Secretary of State Madeleine Albright."

Perhaps you deleted earlier comments on the Liberty Eagle pin from DS because she included a link to the Library of Congress git shop; that site is temporarily unavailable. I think it's clear from this link that Myers is wearing an American eagle pin, making your entire post a "sorry never mind."

Posted by: Joanne Jacobs at February 26, 2006 11:35 AM

C'mon, Debbie. At this point, how are you any better than the MSM you periodically rail against (and would love a gig with)?

Mind you, I also think the Myers appointment was poor. But I would base my attacks on the incumbent in facts and actions, not descend to childish and inaccurate smearing? Especially since the best you can come up with is some shrewish, catty comment on issues sartorial? Leave it to Blackstone, he at least knows what he's talking about. Or, (wait for it), do you always just blog out your a$$, Debbie?

Heh. Just in case you notice this post, Debbie - this post doesn't meet the first definition of the word defame.

defame ( P ) Pronunciation Key (d-fm) tr.v. defamed, defaming, defames

1, To damage the reputation, character, or good name of by slander or libel. See Synonyms at malign.
2. Archaic. To disgrace.

However, *your* post and the way you delete polite, accurate comments that deflate your premise... well *that* meets the second definition. As an "own goal".

So, Schlussel Watch: How long will it take La Schlussel to delete the comment captured here for posterity? After all - as this quote from your post notes...

Her Freudian slip of brooch choice said it all, which is why we've posted it here, where ICE PR cannot crop it out.

BTW, Debbie. They didn't... see above. Good attention to detail there, too.

So, this pic's for you, Ms. Schlussel!

Comment watch - how long will it take Debbie to delete this comment by Joanne Jacobs?

Or will she rise above the now-very-low-standards of journalistic integrity I've set for her?

Oops. Misha noticed too. Can the lawsuit be far away?

by John on Feb 26, 2006
She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: Just one more kvetch, maybe

February 23, 2006

Regardless what you think about the...

...propriety of publishing the cartoons of Mohammed, there is no doubt in my mind that these two polar opposites call a spade a spade -

What has happened? To put it simply, radical Islamists have won a war of intimidation. They have cowed the major news media from showing these cartoons. The mainstream press has capitulated to the Islamists -- their threats more than their sensibilities. One did not see Catholics claiming the right to mayhem in the wake of the republished depiction of the Virgin Mary covered in cow dung, any more than one saw a rejuvenated Jewish Defense League take to the street or blow up an office when Ariel Sharon was depicted as Hitler or when the Israeli army was depicted as murdering the baby Jesus.

So far as we can tell, a new, twin policy from the mainstream media has been promulgated: (a) If a group is strong enough in its reaction to a story or caricature, the press will refrain from printing that story or caricature, and (b) if the group is pandered to by the mainstream media, the media then will go through elaborate contortions and defenses to justify its abdication of duty. At bottom, this is an unacceptable form of not-so-benign bigotry, representing a higher expectation from Christians and Jews than from Muslims.

Bill Bennett and Alan Dershowitz on A Failure of the Press.

I'm willing to offer up something else besides the simple moral cowardice. In some cases it *is* malice. The malice of a bully who knows his victim will not resist.

Bully? Bullies are generally delimned clearly when they back down from someone who *will* resist.

Like the Pansies of the Press.

I can understand Jack of Random Fate's points about whether or not to publish, and the sometimes rather too much breast-beating on the part of social conservatives who harp about the publishing of controversial or anti-Christian images and then demand the press publish the cartoons of Mohammed.

My point is, and has been - they're high-order hypocrites who just further undermine their credibility.

But that's okay. It gets more obvious, so it's easy to account for.

by John on Feb 23, 2006

February 14, 2006

Joel Stein, redux.

I know, old news. But it's been nagging at me. Not that Stein is a self-admitted dilettante vaporlock of a columnist. Heck, I am.

Distilled, Stein basically says (Cliff's Notes version)


"We can't support the troops if we don't support the war, and in fact, doing so is, like, an undefensible position. I wish them well as individuals, because I'm a cool guy and all that, but they're doing immoral icky things and probably ought to quit doing them, and until they do, pooh on them, because they're like, y'know doing what they're told and I think they should just quit, but, like give 'em hospitals and stuff because well, they're getting hurt and all. And don't spit on them, even if they are immoral weenies, well, except for the ones who joined up to defend the country and were, like tricked into the war and all aren't weenies - except, like, y'know, for those guys who get to stay in Germany for reasons I don't, y'know, like really get and all."

That's about the sophistication of his position. And clarity. This from a product of name-brand higher education and privilege, who gets to make a decent living spouting this subtly nuanced pabulum. Mebbe I should write liberal, it seems to pay well for not much work...

The rest is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows

by John on Feb 14, 2006

February 03, 2006

Accomodating Muslims vice Christians...

Lessee if I have got this straight... According to Chris Muir, CNN will not print the Muslim-offending cartoons of Muhammad out of respect for Islam.

Okay. It is reporting on the protests (just noting that, not really commenting on it one way or another, it is news - and it's nice to see someone else's flag on fire for a change).

Okay. And a cursory search of CNN's archives didn't come up with any pictures of the crucifix in urine 'art' piece, or the dung-spattered Madonna, either. So, perhaps CNN is consistent, I don't know, and I'm not really slamming CNN here.

Update: Oops. Busted! SWWBO dug deeper and found the offending bit - with a picture, still in the CNN archives.

WCBS-TV doesn't have any problem, however, running pictures of a painting that is offensive to some Christians.

I guess they aren't sensitive to offending Christians. But the video accompanying this article (from the national desk of CBS) does blur out the offending cartoons...

All this serves to highlight a *large* difference between the Muslim world and the West. One wonders how a Progressive, or Neo-Liberal, 1st Amendment aficionado can be sensitive to offending/supportive of all this reaction and action by Muslims, yet not feel any compunction at all to have a similar sensitivity to Christians?

Mind you - I don't think they should defer to Christians. But I also don't think they should defer, as they seem to be in this case, to Muslims, either. Of course, it has been a while since Christians lopped off heads over things like this as policy, while that is still an option for Muslims. Just sayin'. Could be the media are just cowards, and only have the courage of their convictions when it's safe to. Huh. Ain't that the definition of a bully?

Discuss among yourselves. I have to go slave for my wages.

Update: I see the State Department has weighed in. Anyone got a record of their similar support in condemning ugly cartoons in Muslim media regarding Judaism and Christianity?

Update again: Hugh Hewitt has an interesting take.

by John on Feb 03, 2006
All Things Beautiful links with: The Cartoon War
Oblogatory Anecdotes links with: Muhammad Cartoon in Perspective
Mark in Mexico links with: Hugh Hewitt sides with Islamofascists, misspells
Rhymes With Right links with: Im Not Happy With George Or Condi
Rhymes With Right links with: Im Not Happy With George Or Condi

January 17, 2006

Okay, let's put this baby to rest.

I should get a job as a consultant. Oh, wait! I already have one! (Though not for much longer, If I dork up a client engagement like I hosed this post- watch the melt-down of a cocky blogger as he gets deconstructed by his *friends*. I can't wait for the moonbats to show up).

This mystical missile/artillery projectile which the US has been blamed for. I've been in training for the last two days and haven't really been able to jump on this.

But I've got my answer.

This is the round in question:
Mystery Missile as reported by NYT and causing a tizzy

My conclusion?

Russian 122mm HE Hosting provided by FotoTime

Update:Originally I thought the 152mm HE. Then I found the pic of the 122mm HE (left) and let myself get target fixated on the markings match. Just like that one. Then, on my own and outed in the comments before I could post it - I found the 155mm version (on the right).

The Pakis make a 155mm round, with the same general marking scheme, though I haven't been able to get good dimensional data (though they call it an M107, the dimensions of the round in the picture don't quite match the M107 dimension I was measuring (which I chose because it was self-referent and didn't require an external reference.) but some of that is accounted for in distortion in the photographs, as well as the fact that the rotating band on the NYT is squashed a bit from firing.

As Tobias notes in the comments (he caught me before I was done with this update), you can make a case the contours are different from the 122mm pictured, I concede that and won't deny perhaps a little target fixation on my part. Heck, when I really think about it - 122mm in comparison is really rather smaller - further reinforcing the 152/155 idea - and with no evidence (thus far) of Pakistani 152mm production... That said - the markings match Pakistani practice, and while I haven't slugged through the deployments - I don't believe we ever sent 155mm guns to Afghanistan, and we don't drop artillery munitions from aircraft. We have dropped artillery cannon barrels from aircraft... as ordnance. The Gulf War GBU-28 bunker busters.

Updated updated updates. Fark it. I quit. I'm too stupid for this job. This is turning into a Wiki where I'm the secretary...

"we don't drop artillery munitions from aircraft."

Weeeeellll, actually, we do. 105mm Rounds, precision fired at a rate of about 9 per minute, handfed, from about 5-10K feet up. But that round's too small for a 105, right?

I'll just leave it alone from here on out, and quit trying to be newsy and current. I suck at it. At least today. To hell with the voices in my head. Feh.

He's right of course. The flipping AC-130. No I don't think it's a 105. But nonetheless, I give up. I'm tired of all the edits and editors. (It's *my* fault, I'm the dolt who typed this drivel and then put it up).

Here - look for yourself. From left to right (the two center are *roughly* in scale to each other, the two outer are larger in relative terms to the center projos): 152mm, 155mm Pakistani, 155mm US, the NYT projectile.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

The Pakistanis also make a 130mm round, which follows the same marking conventions, but the rotating band is so dissimilar as to not be in contention.

BTW - guess who makes and uses these rounds? With these markings? Pakistan Ordnance Factory. Click on products, ordnance, artillery. Take a look at the wares offered - and how they are marked.

Okay, that's the dull and boring stuff. See the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry for How I Reached That (partly wrong before the update) Conclusion.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows

January 10, 2006

This just in!

Army reaches out to Milbloggers - MSM Concerned!

Fuzzybear Lioness, Denizenne of Argghhh!...

...in the sights of a Washington Post blogger.

I'm humbled. I ain't even made the 'local bloggers' page of the KC Star.

Watch her space for her response.

Gee, since Matty and Don Sensing have been outed, I guess I should admit it.

We got the email too. I suspect a lot of milbloggers did. And I sent back the same response Matt did - "Yeah, okay, send more details, and if it's just stuff from ARNEWS or CENTCOMs websites, got that covered already, thanks."

So we'll see what it is. But give 'em credit for trying to break out of the box here.

William Arkin opines (and you should read his whole piece, linked above, it's *not* Moonbattery) thusly:

Blogs, however, are the epitome of independence, perspective, and rebellion. For the Army to blog, its bloggers would need to have an opinion, show some emotion, make a joke, make a case. We all know that the moment some public affairs flunkie strayed from the official happy talk and openly engaged in the information fight, he or she would get nuked.

So, our tax dollars are going to get used so the Army can just add to its propaganda machine, shoveling "content" to like-minded bloggers?

Heh.

Mr. Arkin has not been privy to our backchannel emails. Nor has he read the Army's official "Blog Training" Info Ops brief. Blackfive and I *are* mentioned or alluded to - and not always with a Happy Face. Nor has he read our blogs closely.

Yeah, we support the troops. And the war. And we have our snarks about it, too. The point Mr. Arkin is missing is that there is an available relentless drumbeat of negative news, often reported by people with no context (i.e., journos with minimal understanding of things military) but a *huge* presence - one thing we do is explain what doesn't seem to make sense, and ask WTF when it *doesn't* make sense. With our little tiny presence.

Just sayin'.

by John on Jan 10, 2006
Fuzzilicious Thinking links with: Washington Post Readers
The Middle Ground links with: Washington Post Strikes Bloggers Again

In other news...

An activity the MSM doesn't seem to care about continues - in addition to all other duties in the GWOT.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Local Pakistanis receive medical treatment at the U.S. 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, on January 5, 2005. The United States military is participating in Operation Lifeline, the Pakistani-led relief operation designed to aid victims of the devastating earthquake that struck the region October 8, 2005. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Barry Loo).
Emphasis in the caption is mine.

The Kansas City area is participating - our Army Reserve Chinook unit, Company B, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment in Olathe, is deployed in support of Earthquake relief. The were diverted from their skedded deployment to Afghanistan over the mountains to Pakistan. Yes, Virginia, we're diverting assets from the war to help these people survive the winter. The MSM isn't covering *us* doing this - so I'm sure they aren't covering anyone else, either. Does anyone know what other nations are still involved trying to help the Pakistanis deal with winter?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

A CH-47 Chinook helicopter of the Army Reserve's Company B, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, makes uses of a tight landing zone during a relief flight to a remote Pakistan village.

by John on Jan 10, 2006