Saturday, February 12, 2005
Darfur...the Disaster Wends On...
The Washington Post reports:
Sudan Watch has a wrap up of current needs, problems, issues.
Michelle Malkin has a great piece about who and how in the blogosphere influenced this event. It starts out:
For those of us in the information business, this is truly an earth-shaking time. Who would have imagined that the downfall of one of the world's most powerful news executives would be precipitated by an ordinary citizen blogging his eyewitness report at Davos in the wee hours of the morning on Jan. 27? It's simply stunning.
The courage of Rony Abovitz cannot be overstated. This ordinary American citizen raised his voice at an international forum of media and political heavyweights--also attended by Europe's most influential America-haters--and demanded that Eason Jordan back up his poisonous assertion about the American military targeting journalists. Abovitz's remarks prompted Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to press Jordan for details. Abovitz also received thanks from Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) for standing up. After the event, Abovitz bypassed the MSM and exposed the controversy with a simple click of the mouse.
There is much, much more. Gives you a great overview of how the old approach to media behaves under the scrutiny of lots of light.
Also read LaShawna Barber's post while you're at it.
Friday, February 11, 2005
Academic Bill of Rights Push in Ohio
The Ohio Senate is considering a bill intended to encourage different viewpoints at state-funded colleges and universities.Evidently, freedom in some people's minds only counts if it means you go along with their views (which is why the critics call it a restrictive bill, I suspect.). But real academic freedom shouldn't be freedom to indoctrinate. It should be freedom to explore, learn, and gain wisdom...and that requires accepting the fact that there are differences of opinion, and dealing with it in professional ways that benefit all of us.
Conservative supporters call it the "Academic Bill of Rights," but critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union, call it an "academic bill of restrictions."
The bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Larry Mumper (R-Marion) was quoted as saying the bill would "open up debate" by curbing a perceived left-leaning political bias at the state's colleges and universities.
The bill directs public colleges and universities in Ohio to "adopt a policy recognizing that students, faculty, and instructors of the institution have the following rights."
Those rights include:
-- "a learning environment in which the students have access to a broad range of serious scholarly opinion pertaining to the subjects they study." That includes "dissenting sources and viewpoints."
-- grading based on students' "reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge" of the subjects they study. The bill says students will not be discriminated against because of political, ideological, or religious beliefs. And it says faculty "shall not use their courses or their positions for the purpose of political, ideological, religious, or antireligious indoctrination."
-- freedom from the persistent introduction of "controversial matter" into the coursework that has no bearing on the subject at hand.
-- freedom of speech, assembly, and expression, when it comes to student organizations.
-- distribution of student fees "on a viewpoint neutral basis."
The bill also says faculty members "shall be hired, fired, and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in their field of expertise and shall not be hired, fired, promoted, granted tenure, or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of their political, ideological, or religious beliefs."
Some Thoughts on Academic Freedom
The University of Colorado is a government enterprise. What happens there is a legitimate matter of public policy. CU has an elected board of regents accountable, first and foremost, to the citizens who put them in office. The administrators and faculty are employees, not owners. The school belongs to the people of this state.
At the heart of the Churchill dispute is the question of accountability. In their supreme arrogance, the tenured-left professoriate wishes to be insulated from outside scrutiny, accountable to no one. They see themselves as philosopher kings, oracles dispensing their great thoughts to the unenlightened masses.
If Churchill is any example, lunacy, paranoia, hysteria and hate are now masquerading as wisdom. If they want autonomy, if they want to make their own rules and do their own thing, let them start their own university and acquire their own funding. As long as they suck at the public teat, the public is wholly within its rights to attach strings to such funding. The higher education establishment can't have it both ways. I have no interest in giving such people a blank check, either intellectually or financially. Owens is right to criticize. The inmates simply can't be trusted to run roughshod over the institution.
The First Amendment says that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. The CU Regents are not Congress. They can and should exercise their authority. And CU's tenure provisions aren't a law; they're policy. Freedom of speech is not absolute and neither is academic freedom. The assertion that CU instructors, as government employees, are free to say whatever they want with impunity stretches the First Amendment out of all recognition. Constitutional scholar Bruce Fein cites Waters v. Churchill and Jeffries v. Harleston as case-law precedents dispelling this notion. In Jeffries, a federal court upheld the demotion of a radical, black studies professor at the City College of New York who repeatedly spewed anti-white and anti-Semitic rants.There are appropriate boundaries of reasoned discourse, propriety, professionalism and decency that justifiably restrict speech in a college environment. When people violate those boundaries, be they teachers or students, there are consequences. Students who have been sentenced to remedial courses of sensitivity or diversity training for politically incorrect speech know this only too well. For leftist administrators and faculty members who have encouraged or countenanced this kind of Maoist reprogramming, ironically, the chickens - in the immortal words of Ward Churchill - have come home to roost.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Another Easongate Witness
Here's why Brett Stephens at the WSJ says:
By chance, I was in the audience of the World Economic Forum's panel discussion where Mr. Jordan spoke. What happened was this: Mr. Jordan observed that of the 60-odd journalists killed in Iraq, 12 had been targeted and killed by coalition forces. He then offered a story of an unnamed Al-Jazeera journalist who had been "tortured for weeks" at Abu Ghraib, made to eat his shoes, and called "Al-Jazeera boy" by his American captors.
Here Rep. Barney Frank, also a member of the panel, interjected: Had American troops actually targeted journalists? And had CNN done a story about it? Well no, Mr. Jordan replied, CNN hadn't done a story on this, specifically. And no, he didn't believe the Bush administration had a policy of targeting journalists. Besides, he said, "the [American] generals and colonels have their heart in the right place."
By this point, one could almost see the wheels of Mr. Jordan's mind spinning, slowly: "How am I going to get out of this one?" But Mr. Frank and others kept demanding specifics. Mr. Jordan replied that "there are people who believe there are people in the military" who have it out for journalists. He also recounted a story of a reporter who'd been sent to the back of the line at a checkpoint outside of Baghdad's Green Zone, apparently because the soldier had been unhappy with the reporter's dispatches.
Another news source pretending to be unbiased, but actually belonging to the "US delenda est" club, I see.
Hugh Hewitt talking to Larry Kudlow last night:
HH:.... I predicted that this week there would be a breakout of the Eason Jordan story, and it's in the Washington Post, page C-1, Howard Kurtz, The Boston Globe, The New York Sun today. You did talk about it last night with Ann Coulter and John Fund, which immediately spread around the blogosphere instantaneously, as validation that this was indeed controversial. Eason Jordan has a problem. CNN has a problem. Time Warner has a problem. They've spent a lot of time building this new brand, "The most trusted name in news," and now they're the most busted name in news.
Because the fact is he made claims about which the weight of evidence suggests, the weight, there's some contrary evidence out there, and we can't get the videotape, that the American military targeted and killed twelve journalists. In November of last year, Larry, Eason Jordan told a different foreign audience that he believed that an American military had abducted and were torturing journalists. Clearly a lot of paranoia here, a lot of controversy at the Davos conference where on January 27th, Eason Jordan made these remarks, and the blogosphere has probably had 1,000 posts from big bloggers to little bloggers that have reported the story.
LK: We've got eyewitnesses, here. And one of them is liberal Congressman Barney Frank, usually no friend of the war and so forth. But apparently, he is up in arms. Hugh, big question is, there is a tape of the proceedings. So if Jordan says, "I didn't say it," then the tape is going to tell us one way or another. Who's hiding the tape?
HH: The Davos beauracracy. My producer, my radio producer (me) contacted the gentleman who's got the tape last week. At first he said I don't think I'm going to give it out. Then another blogger called him and he said okay, I'll get it to you as soon as I unpack it. Someone got to him, and they retreated, and now they're declaring that it was an off-the-record session, which is odd since so many people have reported on it. Senator Chris Dodd as well as Barney Frank, another Democrat, Senator Dodd, reported yesterday he's outraged by the comments that were made by Eason Jordan at the time. David Gergen up at the Kennedy Institute of Government has kind of helped out Eason Jordan. But most of the evidence that is out there, that is moving at the speed of sound around the blogosphere, is coming to the conclusion that Eason Jordan has something to hide, and that he's very happy this tape isn't out there. The question that needs to be asked of him and CNN and of Time Warner are 'are you in favor of the truth?' Ask Davos to release the tape. Ask them to put it out there so we can see it and decide.
Armstrong Williams on Hope
This past week, it was widely reported that insurgents threatened to kill the children of anyone who voted in the elections. But 3.3 million people voted anyway. They ran through gunfire to participate in Iraq’s first free vote in over half a century. On one side you have Zarqawi threatening to kill anyone who seeks to exercise the basic right of self determination. On the other side you have millions of people who are risking their lives to vote for the first time. You want legacy? It’s already happened. This is good triumphing over the evil of oppression.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Another Ph.D. who feels the US is the enemy
Author Gwynne Dyer explains how we havent grasped that the world has changed, that we aren't living in our old superpower world anymore, one in which we are the leader of the forces of light against the evil dark powers of communism.
Nor are we, in fact, even a military superpower in the way we like to think we are; in reality, our military machine can only be used by weak countries.
As he notes, 'War with a serious opponent would lead to a level of American casualties that the US public would not tolerate for long.
Dr. Dyer was born during World War II and has served in the US Navy as well as Canada and Great Britain's. He has university degrees from all three countries and a Ph.D. in miliary and Middle Eastern history.
(part of a longer book review)
Reminds me of why the Japanese were going to bury our economy books written in the 80s. Nonetheless, he joins ranks with W. Churchill for belonging to the US delenda est club. But then, he lives in London, so maybe his world view is a bit scrambled.
More info on CNN vs. the US Military
American businessman Rony Abovitz, who attended the panel Jordan participated in, reported immediately after the forum that "Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-U.S. crowd) and cause great strain on others."and
Jordan's the man who admitted last spring that CNN withheld news out of Baghdad to maintain access to Saddam Hussein's regime. He was quoted last fall telling a Portuguese forum that he believed journalists had been arrested and tortured by American forces (a charge he maintains today). In the fall of 2002, he reportedly accused the Israeli military of deliberately targeting CNN personnel "on numerous occasions." He was in the middle of the infamous Tailwind scandal, in which CNN was forced to retract a Peter Arnett report that the American military used sarin gas against its own troops in Laos. And in 1999, Jordan declared: "We are a global network, and we take global interest[s] first, not U.S. interests first."
With the denials coming from the journalists and his allies, there is a real need for the truth. The video tape of the comments should answer the questions. Jim Geraghty over at NRO notes:
We’ve got two dramatically different interpretations here – the account of Rony Abovitz and Rebecca MacKinnon and Barney Frank, and the account of Eason Jordan. (Dodd’s statement appears to confirm Rony & Company but is brief; Gergen mostly confirms Rony but is sympathetic to Jordan; Richard Sambrook’s account is pretty close to Jordan’s.)
These accounts are so contradictory on so many key elements that one has no choice but to conclude one side is dramatically misrepresenting what happened.
The videotape that the Davos authorities are sitting on would solve this issue immediately.
Either Rony, MacKinnon, and Frank are passing on inaccurate accounts that will trash Jordan’s reputation, or Eason Jordan’s denial is a lie.
If that tape verifies Eason Jordan’s version of events, then a long line of bloggers, myself included, are going to have to apologize to the CNN Chief. If he didn’t say what Rony & Co. claim that he said, then we helped spread a lie.
But if that tape verifies the version of events from Rony & Co., then Jordan is lying. And he ought to apologize to U.S. troops for accusing them of murder (unless he’s got evidence to back up this claim)… and he ought to apologize to bloggers for claiming that we erred and took his remarks “out of context.” His denials essentially call Abovitz a liar.
Captain's Quarters notes that Jordan isn't the only one with anti-US military bias over at CNN:
Long History Of Hostility Towards Military By CNNi Executive
Chris Cramer, managing editor of CNN's International news division and a chief lieutenant of Eason Jordan, has made similar allegations about the military targeting journalists as his boss, as outlined here earlier and on Slublog. Alert CQ reader David D remembered Cramer from a famous hostage-rescue case in London in 1980, and pointed the way to other inflammatory comments Cramer made towards the men who rescued the hostages.
If, as Michelle Malkin believes (see her own blog about it here), this is policy at CNNi, this needs to be made clear. If Jordan has made such an accusation against the military, and he has evidence, it needs to be brought out. If it is merely yet another person with an axe to grind, well, we who love truth should be doing the grinding on people in power who would slander the men and women who guarantee our freedom. These aren't faceless numbers. I will not idly stand by and see people spit on the uniform and tell us that the military is wicked without proof.
On this issue, I don't care about your politics. Show me your evidence.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Following the Eason Jordan "troops targetting journalists" story?
Go here for a list of stories covering it.
Captain's Quarters and LaShawna Barber have a lot about it, too.
If you are going to be a top-level journalist, one of the qualifications should be: keep your politics and your work separate. The second should be: keep foot firmly away from mouth.
Ward Churchill - Academic Fraud?
Bad scholarship is one of them - check out the article The Genocide That Wasn’t: Ward Churchill’s Research Fraud by Thomas Brown Assistant Professor of Sociology at Lamar University.
Other things have come to light. AIM and other groups have repudiated Churchill's claim to be Native American. AIM has a press release available on it here.
The relatives of his now deceased second wife complain about his obvious lack of knowledge of their tribe, and how he presented her and her people in some of his writings. Read it here.
Indian Country Today quotes various tribal groups saying this:
According to Jodi Rave, a well-known Native journalist and member of the Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Three Affiliated Tribes, Churchill was enrolled as an ''associate member'' of the Keetoowah by a former chairman who was later impeached. The one other known member of the same program, since discontinued, was President Bill Clinton. Rave said that she made this discovery as a student in a journalism class at the University of Colorado. She was also in a class taught by Churchill. When her article came out, she said, he dropped her grade from an A to a C minus.
Suzan Shown Harjo, a columnist for ICT who has tracked Churchill's career, said that aside from the in-laws of his late Indian wife, he has not been able to produce any relatives from any Indian tribe.
Beyond the question of his personal identity is the question of his standing to represent Indian opinion, not only on 9/11 but also in his other published works. Mohawk ironworkers helped build the World Trade Center and other monuments of the New York City skyline, and one crew was actually at work in the flight path of the plane that struck the second tower. St. Regis Mohawk Chief James Ransom noted that they joined rescue teams at great personal risk.
Churchill's other writings repudiate not only the U.S. but also most Indian tribal institutions. In one 1994 essay, he described tribal self government as a ''cruel hoax'' carried out by ''puppets'' of ''an advanced colonial setting.'' He equated the status of Indian tribes in the U.S. to that of European colonies in Asia and Africa. His analysis reflected an extreme version of European left-wing ideology.
Far from suffering for his views, Churchill appears to have been sought out by many in the universities as a representative of American Indian thinking. But to many Native intellectuals, he is traveling under false pretenses, both in his ideology and his personal identity.
Paul Campos , law professor at the University of Colorado notes:
Consider: Churchill has constructed his entire academic career around the claim that he is a Native American, yet it turns out there is no evidence, other than his own statements, that this is the case.
Churchill has said at various times that he is either one-sixteenth or three-sixteenths Cherokee, yet genealogical reporting by the Rocky Mountain News and others has failed to turn up any Cherokee ancestors - or any other Native Americans - in Churchill's family tree.
Why should we care one way or another? We should care because Churchill has used his supposed Indian heritage to bully his way into academia. Indeed Churchill lacks what are normally considered the minimum requirements for a tenure-track job at a research university: he never earned a doctorate, and his only degrees are a bachelor's and a master's from a then-obscure Illinois college.
Churchill's lack of conventional academic credentials was apparently compensated for, at least in part in the eyes of those who hired him at the University of Colorado, by the "fact" that he contributed to the ethnic diversity of the school's tenure-track faculty.
To the extent that Churchill was hired because he claimed to be a Native American, he would seem to be guilty of academic fraud....
Similar charges [of academic fraud] have been leveled against Churchill by University of New Mexico law professor John Lavelle, a Native American scholar who has documented what appear to be equally fraudulent claims on Churchill's part regarding the General Allotment Act, one of the most important federal laws dealing with Indian lands. (Lavelle also accuses Churchill of plagiarism).
Churchill is an example of what happens when political bias becomes more important than academic honesty or searching for the truth. And cases like this undermine the goals and purposes of higher education. During the Stalinist era, people who didn't have the "right" interpretation of science didn't advance in the old Soviet Union, even though it probably set back some of the research by years. Ethics demands a certain level of behavior, and unfortunately, Mr. Churchill seems to be an example of bad ethics in action.
Manchester Union Leader
CRAFTY COLLEGE and university professors have figured out how to intimidate their students and get praised for it. Thankfully, some students are no longer standing for this.
By manipulating public respect for the First Amendment, some professors disguise intellectual pressure tactics as mere expressions of opinion offered in the spirit of open debate. What they are really doing is using their positions of authority to bully students into agreement. And for this they often are praised by their peers and bosses.
Take, for example, Keene State Professor David Stowell, who has some 15 political statements (left-wing, of course) displayed on his office door. The anti-war slogans (such as “How many Iraqi children did we kill today?”) angered Shane Calchera, a veteran who happened to have Stowell as a professor.
Calchera alerted the college that Stowell was creating an atmosphere that amounted to harassment of veterans. If Calchera’s door had been plastered with anti-woman slogans, a student would have won easily. But making veterans feel bad about themselves by calling them baby killers is still considered OK on campus. Calchera lost.
Stowell, in turn, has filed a complaint with the ACLU, saying, “I was investigated because of my political views because someone objected to them, and that’s frightening.”
No, professor, you were investigated because you used your position to create a climate of fear. There is a huge difference between stating your views on your own time and using public property and a position of authority to badger people whose academic destinies you partially control.Professors, no matter their political views, ought to act like professionals and refrain from political sloganeering in the workplace. It is a breach of decorum, even if done with the most innocent motives. It is deliberate intimidation of subordinates (students) when done with malice. Of course, removing open politicking from professors’ offices and the classroom will never happen. So at the very least professors ought to consider the effect their proselytizing might have on students who disagree with them and do it with the utmost tact — assuming they have any.
Mychal Massie notes about the Rice nomination: If Condoleezza Rice isn't qualified or good enough to be secretary of state, then who is?
Perhaps the most telling example of how far the Democrat Party has not come is the image of Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., the former Grand Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan – a man who said he "should rather die a thousand times" than see his beloved country "degraded by race mongrels ... the blackest specimen of the wilds." What does it say when Democrat opposition to Rice was led by the Klansman who voted against both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas – one a liberal and one a conservative, but both black?
A friend wrote me:
I've been told a time or two that a white man can't actually understand how it "feels" to be black and to know that you are looked at and judged by your skin color, I've concluded that those people who told me so were probably right, but I have to say that after hearing the Byrd cutting Dr. Rice, a black person can't know how embarrassing it can be to watch a man such as he stand in the center of our legislature and say the things he did impugning her qualifications.
Liberal Democrats are trying to tread the thin line between concealing their true racist origins and history, while projecting a condescending elitist paternalistic concern for Americans of color.
Paraphrasing Peter Kirsanow:
[How much longer can the Democrat Party retain its death grip on the black voter when their history in the form of Sens. Kennedy, Boxer and Byrd graphically remind them] that "they worked against the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendment." [How much longer before the majority of blacks realize they are] "the party that institutionalized segregation; established poll taxes and literacy tests to keep blacks from voting ... enacted Jim Crow laws and fought anti-lynching legislation".
[Can it be much longer before black families realize Democrats are] "resisting helping black kids escape failing schools; [claiming] that shoveling trillions of dollars into ineffective government programs is the best evidence of a commitment to black enhancement" while viciously assaulting eminently qualified people of color who should be emulated by the world.
– "The Right Stuff"; National Review Online, July 26, 2004
The volcanic tirades by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., are the fomentations of the bitter. They are a resentful group who care not about the good of all America, but rather only in the advancement of their own maniacal agenda.
Monday, February 07, 2005
MR. RUSSERT: Now, Specialist Wilson did acknowledge he worked with a journalist in crafting that question.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Yeah, but wait a minute. Let me get into this a little bit.
MR. RUSSERT: Sure.
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: That was unfair and it was selectively taking out two sentences from a long exchange--there it is--that took place. And when you suggested that that's how I answered that question, that is factually wrong.
MR. RUSSERT: No, we...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: That is not how I answered that question.
MR. RUSSERT: But, Mr. Secretary, it clearly represents the exchange and...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: It does not.
MR. RUSSERT: All right. What is missing?
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: You want to hear the exchange? There is it. It's right here. I'll read it to you.
MR. RUSSERT: I just...
SEC'Y RUMSFELD: If you're going to quote pieces of it, I'll give you the exchange. He asked that question, and I said, "I talked to the general coming out here about the pace at which the vehicles are being armored. They have been brought from all over the world, wherever they're not needed, to places where they are needed. I'm told they are being--the Army is--I think it's something like 400 a month are being done now. And it's essentially a matter of physics. It's not a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the Army's desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it. As you know, you go to the war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.
"Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce armor necessary at a rate that they believe--it's a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously but a rate that they believe is the rate that can be accomplished. I can assure you that General Schumacher and the leadership of the Army and certainly General Whitcomb are sensitive to the fact that not every vehicle has the degree of armor that would be desirable to have, but that they're working at it at a good clip.
"It's interesting. I've talked a great deal about this with a team of people who've been working hard at the Pentagon. And if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and the tank could still be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up. And you can go down and the vehicle--the goal we have is to have many of those vehicles as is humanly possible with the appropriate level of armor available for the troops. And that's what the Army's been working on. And, General Whitcomb, is there anything you want to add?" And then he spoke.
Now, that answer is totally different from picking out two lines. And I think it's an unfair representation and it's exactly what some of the newspapers around the country did. Now, let's go back to Susan Collins' comment, Senator Collins...