Monday, February 08, 2016

Editorial Cartoons: Are They Humor or Are They Propaganda?

Above and below are typical entries from the page on About.com's Political Humor by "Political Humor Expert" that is supposed to show the reader 20 Cartoons and Memes That Put Climate Change in Perspective.

As Hollywood in Toto has asked before (albeit about FunnyOrDie.com), doesn't this type of humor sites turn out not to be so much about humor but about propaganda that "doubles as a political weapon, a cudgel meant to smite Obama’s enemies"? Recently, About.com had a(n only slightly tongue-in-cheek) pictorial of (I kid you not) Photos of Obama Being Awesome (Funny, Playful and Cool Photos of President Barack Obama)!

So: Need we add that every single Cartoon and Meme That Puts Climate Change in Perspective mocks the conservative point of view, and the conservative point of view alone? That not a single Cartoon and Meme That Puts Climate Change in Perspective pokes teh slightest amount of fun at the progressive point of view? (No Michael Ramirezes here, thank you very much.)

Below is a cartoon that About.com's "Political Humor Expert" did not choose as a Cartoon or Meme That Puts Climate Change in Perspective.

Now, think of New York City, of Miami, of Galveston, of San Francisco, of Tokyo, of Sydney, of Goa, of Alexandria, of Saint Tropez, of Copenhagen.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in the past 5 years, in the past 50 years, even offhand in the past 500 years (?), has the sea level in any of those places risen by even one inch, by even one centimeter?

So don't you think that if the humorists had any kind of level thinking (instead of double standards), they might, y'know, just once in a while poke fun at the politicians and scientists (and the cartoonists?) who continue their shouts and screams about the sky that's fallin'?

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Eccentric: 25 weird and wacky British sports

The Daily Telegraph reports on 25 weird and wacky sports enjoyed in Britain, some dating as far back as the 13th century…

The Peanuts Character Lucy Capturing the Attitude of the Lefty Environmentalist


Years ago, Charles Schulz's Lucy captured the attitude — the certainty and the melodrama — of the lefty environmentalist.

(PS: I'm not quite sure why today's colorist felt the need to color the (same) sky three different colors in four panels…)

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Stephen Clarke on the Absurd Translations That the Telegraph's Expat Has Come Across

Among the bad translations of English noted by the Daily Telegraph's Stephen Clarke is this one from
 … the complexity of the linguistic gymnastics you do in your own head shows how essential it is to get translations right when tourists come to your country and try to do everyday tasks.

An English friend was withdrawing some cash with a UK card here in Paris yesterday and told me he thought that the French machine was surprisingly good at English. He’d understood all the commands, and had only been slightly confused when the cash dispenser informed him at the end that his money was “going to come out”, as if it was about to reveal some great secret about its private life.

This reminded me of the absurd translation you so often get if you try to use a French card to buy tickets or withdraw money in the UK. On numerous occasions I’ve been told to “tapez votre broche” which literally means “tap your brooch”. I don’t usually wear brooches, and would therefore be totally befuddled if I hadn’t worked out that broche is a bad literal translation for “pin”.

Unfortunately, the French verb “taper” does also mean type or key in, so a naive French tourist could be misled into thinking that they need to wear some kind of badge that has to be shown to the CCTV cameras and tapped with a fingernail to prove that it’s metal rather than a plastic imitation. After all, England is a place of weird traditions like playing sports matches that last for five days and using indicators on roundabouts. Why not tap a brooch to get money? Anyway, for the information of any Brits out there whose job involves managing a machine that sells things to French speakers via credit cards, the appropriate phrase would be “tapez votre code secret”.

 … [Translation] has been on my mind most of the summer because I finally gave in to peer pressure and decided to check out why these Scandinavians have such a great reputation for crime writing. Is it just because their nights are so long and dark, except in mid-June? Or could it be because pickled herrings make such great murder weapons? Stuff one of those into someone’s throat and they’ll choke in seconds. (That, by the way, is not a suggestion.)

So I’ve read a few, and jolly gory they have turned out to be. It’s not just the herrings that get gutted and pickled. But what has struck me most of all is that I can feel all the time that I’m reading a translation. There have been so many awkward sentences where it felt as though the translator was too scared to stray from the original. Which I can understand – if these crime writers do to their translators what they do to their characters, I’d be terrified of mistranslating the punctuation, let alone a whole sentence.

I tell the translators of my books that I’d like their version to read like perfectly natural writing in their own language, except where I’m deliberately playing with accents or idioms. But maybe the Scandinavians want their books to sound Scandinavian, even when translated, so we get the full effect of a killer prowling through Norwegian slush or a police Volvo skidding on a freshly dismembered body part.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Points to Ponder in the Same Sex Debate

Instapundit's Ed Driscoll links to an old post of the Federalist's Mollie Hemingway, who seems to have some important views on recent subjects:
[The] CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich … wasn’t hounded out of corporate life because he was wrong. He was hounded out of corporate life because he was right. His message strikes at the root of a popular but deeply flawed ideology that can not tolerate dissent.

And what we have in Eich is the powerful story of a dissident — one that forces those of us who are still capable of it to pause and think deeply on changing marriage laws and a free society.

 … Perhaps there should have been a bit of a burden of proof on those who wanted to change the institution — something beyond crying “Bigot!” in a crowded theater. Perhaps advocates of the change should have explained at some point, I don’t know, what singles out marriage as unique from other relationships under this new definition. What is marriage? That’s a good question to answer, particularly if you want to radically alter the one limiting factor that is present throughout all history. Once we get an answer for what this new marriage definition is, perhaps our media and other elites could spend some time thinking about the consequences of that change. Does it in any way affect the right of children to be raised by their own mother and father? Have we forgotten why that’s an important norm? Either way, does it change the likelihood that children will be raised by their own mother and father? Does it by definition make that an impossibility for whatever children are raised by same-sex couples? Do we no longer believe that children should be raised by their own mother and father? Did we forget to think about children in this debate, pretending that it’s only about adults? In any case, is this something that doesn’t matter if males and females are interchangeable? Is it really true that there are no significant differences between mothers and fathers? Really? Are we sure we need to accept that lie? Are we sure we want to?

Welcome to the mob

“Part of the essence of the post-totalitarian system is that it draws everyone into its sphere of power,” writes Havel. We create through our involvement a general norm and, thus, bring pressure to bear on our fellow citizens. We learn to be comfortable with our involvement, “to identify with it as though it were something natural and inevitable and, ultimately, so they may—with no external urging—come to treat any non-involvement as an abnormality, as arrogance, as an attack” on ourselves.

There’s much to be thankful for in aftermath of the madness of the Eich termination. For one thing, many people have rightly figured out that what happened there is terrifying. It’s not just natural marriage advocates but even some of same-sex marriage supporters most vocal advocates. I’m reticent to point it out but Andrew Sullivan took a break from vilifying natural marriage advocates, a long-time specialty of his, to wonder if maybe things had gotten completely out of controlWilliam Saletan wrote an important satirical piece that noted the absurdity of these types of witch hunts. And Conor Friedersdorf criticized Mozilla’s hypocrisy and worried about the dangerous precedent that was set.

 … Eich’s most important political work was not making a paltry $1,000 donation in defense of natural marriage laws. It was in refusing to recant.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Pro-Castro Frenchmen to Journalist (2 Videos): If You'd Behaved That Way in Cuba, "You Would Be in Prison, You Would Be Dead"

This is supposed to be an argument in favor of the Castro brothers and in favor of the Caribbean island's socialist paradise model?!?!

Members of the ¡Cuba Si! association tell (warn) a reporter what the consequences would be in Cuba if journalists like him had behaved like his television show had:
In Cuba … you would be dead!
There are actually two stories here:

The first story goes as follows: As Raúl Castro pays a visit to France, Cuban state television showed a couple of Frenchmen expressing hearty welcomes to the líder maximo (or to the brother of the líder maximo).

"Bienvenue au président Raul Castro et 

qu'il revienne le plus souvent possible"

Strangely enough, it turns out that the two men supposedly representative of the French people seemingly filmed in two widely different locations of Paris (intercut with images of the Champs-Élysées bedecked with Cuban flags, it seems to take place there) happened to be filmed on… opposing sidewalks of… the same street in the 15th arrondissement, 20 meters away from… the Cuban embassy!

(Sounds like Cuban state TV personnel would have no trouble finding work in the mainstream media of the United States and other countries in the West.)

Le Petit Journal – Raul Castro à Paris : Le... by nonstopzappingofficiel

The second story concerns an update by Canal +, as Le Petit Journal found out (warning: shocker ahead) that the Frenchmen interviewed by Cuban TV turned out to be members of the pro-Castro ¡Cuba si! association.

The journalist proceeded to try to ask them some questions. An aging member of ¡Cuba Si! tells the cameraman of Le Petit Journal's Hugo Clément to cut the camera, after which the conversation continues as follows:

• Hugo Clément: We have freedom of the press in this country, Sir; we're not in Cuba here!
• Moustache: Well, you're lucky that we're not in Cuba, you're lucky!
• Hugo Clément: Otherwise, what would have happened?
• Fellow in the background: They would be in jail!
• Moustache: Don't provoke, it's not worth it. Don't provoke!
• Hugo Clément: Well, you are threatening me, you said I was lucky. Otherwise, what would have happened?
• Fellow in the background: Pff, you would be dead, whaddya think!

Ambiance très tendue entre un journaliste du... by morandini

In French: Le Petit Journal – Raul Castro à Paris : Le reportage mensonger de la télévision cubaine (vidéo):
Yann Barthès présentait lundi soir et comme chaque soir de la semaine Le Petit Journal de Canal+. Et dans l’actualité de ce début de semaine il y avait évidemment la visite en France du président cubain Raul Castro. Un homme pas franchement connu pour avoir ouvert son pays à la démocratie ou à la liberté de la presse, comme l’a confirmé le Petit Journal hier soir. Une séquence que nous vous proposons de retrouver sur notre site Non Stop Zapping.
Décidément les chefs d’Etat reçus par François Hollande ces derniers temps font polémique. La semaine dernière, le président de la République accueillait en effet pour la première fois depuis 1999 son  homologue iranien, Hassan Rohani. Venu parler diplomatie mais surtout gros sous, celui-ci s’était dit déterminé à "tourner une page" afin d’"ouvrir une relation nouvelle entre la France et l’Iran". Mais si cette visite a semble-t-il ravi le gouvernement et les entrepreneurs français, elle a en revanche été beaucoup moins bien perçue par les Femen. Pour contester contre la venue d’Hassan Rohani, l’une des activistes féministes a ainsi simulé une pendaison sur la passerelle Debilly, qui enjambe la Seine et se situe face à la Tour Eiffel. Au-dessus d’elle flottait une banderole avec inscrit dessus : "Welcome Rohani, executioner of freedom" (Bienvenue Rohani, bourreau de la liberté.

"Bienvenue au président Raul Castro et qu'il revienne le plus souvent possible"

Et lundi François Hollande recevait un autre chef d’Etat infréquentable il n’y a pas si longtemps en la personne de Raul Castro, le président cubain. Une fois encore, difficile de dire qu’il s’agisse là d’un fervent défenseur des Droits de l’Homme, de la démocratie ou de la liberté de la presse. En ce qui concerne cette dernière, Le Petit Journal a d’ailleurs pu constater que peu de progrès avaient été faits ces dernières années en décortiquant un reportage tournée par la télévision cubaine à l’occasion de la visite de Raul Castro à Paris. Ou plutôt un micro-trottoir réalisé afin de connaître l’opinion des Français sur la venue du chef d’Etat. Et chose incroyable, tous les Français interrogés semblent être de grands supporters de la politique menée par Raul Castro : "Bienvenue au président Raul Castro et qu’il revienne le plus souvent possible" lance même l’un des interrogés. Sauf que fait amusant, le Petit Journal a retrouvé l’endroit où a été enregistré le reportage. Et comme par hasard, c’est à 20 mètres à peine de … l’ambassade de Cuba. Certains des interrogés seraient d’ailleurs des militants pro-régime cubain. Pas sûr qu’ils soient réellement les plus représentatifs des Français…
Gracias por los links, Fausta y Carlos

Who Wants the Hide of the Republican Party? The Incredible Donald Trump

Coming in March (merci à Francine Girond) is Qui veut la peau du parti républicain ? L'incroyable Donald Trump (Who Wants the Hide of the Republican Party? The Incredible Donald Trump), a softcover book by Jean-Éric Branaa, the author of another 2016 paperback with a question in the title, Hillary : Une présidente des Etats-Unis ? (Hillary: A Female President of the United States?)

Just in case you're wondering whether his latest opus isn't proof of his love for conservative candidates and a concern for the well-being of the GOP, the man's Facebook page seems to show quite a leftist outlook while the writer of the Trump book's preface is a well-known supporter of the Left (I have debated François Durpaire on television several times).

Besides, it is hardly possible to write a school book in France (is it possible in the rest of Europe? In… the United States?!) without belonging to the left.

Jean-Éric Branaa is also author of such school assistance books (combining learning about American culture and English-language ) as American History Made Simple (L'Histoire des États-Unis Facile), American Law Made Simple (Le Droit Américain Facile), American Government Made Simple (Le Gouvernement Américain Facile), and American Civilization Made Simple (La Civilisation Américaine Facile : Problèmes Économiques, Politiques et Sociaux Contemporains).

Monday, February 01, 2016

Scandinavia’s quality of life didn’t SPRING FROM leftist policies; It SURVIVED them


When Bernie Sanders was asked during CNN’s Democratic presidential debate how a self-proclaimed socialist could hope to be elected to the White House, he gave the answer he usually gives
notes Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:
Socialism has been wonderful for the countries of Scandinavia, and America should emulate their example.“We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people,” Sanders said.

Liberals have had a crush on Scandinavia for decades. “It is a country whose very name has become a synonym for a materialist paradise,” observed Time magazine in a 1976 story on Sweden. “Its citizens enjoy one of the world’s highest living standards. . . . Neither ill health, unemployment nor old age pose the terror of financial hardship. [Sweden’s] cradle-to-grave benefits are unmatched in any other free society outside Scandinavia.” In 2010, a National Public Radio story marveled at the way “Denmark Thrives Despite High Taxes.” The small Nordic nation, said NPR, “seems to violate the laws of the economic universe,” improbably balancing low poverty and unemployment rates with stratospheric taxes that were among the world’s highest.

Such paeans may inspire Clinton’s love and Sanders’ faith in America’s socialist future. As with most urban legends, however, the reality of Scandinavia’s welfare-state utopia doesn’t match the hype.

 … It was in the late 1960s and early 1970s that taxes soared, welfare payments expanded, and entrepreneurship was discouraged.

But what emerged wasn’t heaven on earth.

That 1976 story in Time, for example, went on to report that Sweden found itself struggling with crime, drug addiction, welfare dependency, and a plague of red tape. Successful Swedes — most famously, Ingmar Bergman — were fleeing the country to avoid its killing taxes. “Growing numbers are plagued by a persistent, gnawing question: Is their Utopia going sour?”

Sweden’s world-beating growth rate dried up. In 1975, it had been the fourth-wealthiest nation on earth (as measured by GDP per capita); by 1993, it had dropped to 14th. By then, Swedes had begun to regard their experiment with socialism as, in Sanandaji’s phrase, “a colossal failure.”

Denmark has come to a similar conclusion. Its lavish subsidies are being rolled back amid sharp concerns about welfare abuse and an eroding work ethic. In the last general election, Danes replaced a left-leaning government with one tilted to the right. Loving Denmark doesn’t mean loving big-government welfarism.

The real key to Scandinavia’s unique successes isn’t socialism, it’s culture. Social trust and cohesion, a broad egalitarian ethic, a strong emphasis on work and responsibility, commitment to the rule of law — these are healthy attributes of a Nordic culture that was ingrained over centuries. In the region’s small and homogeneous countries (overwhelmingly white, Protestant, and native-born), those norms took deep root. The good outcomes and high living standards they produced antedated the socialist nostrums of the 1970s. Scandinavia’s quality of life didn’t spring from leftist policies. It survived them.

 … No, Scandinavia doesn’t “violate the laws of the economic universe.” It confirms them. With free markets and healthy values, almost any society will thrive. Socialism only makes things worse.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

How Winston's Comeback Topped a Devastating Remark

From the world center of wit, the Daily Telegraph has compiled Britain's Favorite Quotes, including a handful from America along with this famous comeback from Sir Winston:
Nancy Astor to Winston Churchill:
"If I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee!"
Churchill:
"And if I were your husband I would drink it."

Saturday, January 30, 2016

We in Western Europe might like to spend a couple of minutes a year thinking about the people who saved us from getting stomped on by jackboots and sent to death camps

… memory, after all, is what history is all about
In a Veterans Day/Armistice Day piece for the Daily Telegraph otherwise devoted to the distinctions between beer and wine, Stephen Clarke had remark to make:
If nothing else, we in Western Europe might like to spend a couple of minutes a year thinking about the people who saved us from getting stomped on by jackboots and sent to death camps. The French more than anyone.

Son of Frenchman Who Presided UN Climate Change Conference Indicted for Fraud and Forgery

A young (34-year-old) Frenchman was indicted this morning for forgery and use of false documents, the AFP and the French version of the Huffington Post learned from judicial sources on January 30, for events related to his passion for casinos.

Who is this and why should we care? (you ask.)

Well, you might wonder if there isn't any symbolism in the fact that Thomas Fabius happens to be the son of the the man who victoriously knocked the gavel for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, aka France's Foreign Affairs Minister.

As reported in December (with far more details), a
couple of days after Laurent Fabius brought down the gavel for a glorious new future for mankind, and just as he was thanked in parliament with a standing ovation, his son spent 12 hours in police custody for forgery and fraud, as well as money laundering.

Thomas Fabius isn't only wanted by the French police. Just to make things a bit more interesting, Laurent's oldest son, a playboy who apparently has something of the gambler about him, has a U.S. arrest warrant issued in his name—for bounced checks running in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and written in Las Vegas, of all places, totaling $3.5 million ($1,000,000 to The Palazzo, $900,000 to the Cosmopolitan, etc…). 
From the December report, Son of Frenchman Who Presided COP21 in Police Custody for Fraud and Forgery:
I am told that [these posts are] unjust, that Thomas Fabius is an adult with allegedly no connection (?) to his father.

That might seem to be a valid comment if you believe that the workings, attitudes, and beliefs inside families, especially families of the ruling élites, in the exact same timeframe have no meaning at all. Had something positive occurred in the Fabius family, for instance, one can be sure it would be treated with pride by all the other family members.

The comment would especially make sense if, by some accident, the same rules happened to apply to conservatives. (See especially Prescott Bush, and the Bush family being lambasted for their (grand-)father's foreign dealings, with a German régime recognized by all countries prior to World War II and before the Holocaust had even started, in a time when the elder George Bush was 10 and 50 years prior to any Bush attaining the White House.)

Related: Koch Derangement Syndrome: Leftists breathlessly report that the "Koch Brothers' father helped build a Nazi oil refinery that Hitler approved" without noting that construction occurred in 1933 (the first year that the National Socialists were in power), that it happened exactly five years prior to Time Magazine naming the Führer Person of the Year, that it happened before either Charles or David were born, and, last but not least, that similar actions by leftists such as the members of the Soros family or members of the the Kennedy dynasty are ignored.  (See also: When Demonizing Billionaires, Leftists Like Paul Krugman Conveniently Ignore the Left-Leaning Statists Who Donate (Far More) Millions to the Left)
In French — Le Monde's Simon Piel:
Deux ans et demi après l’ouverture d’une information judiciaire pour faux, escroquerie et blanchiment, le juge d’instruction René Cros s’est finalement décidé à entendre l’unique personne mise en cause dans l’enquête sur Thomas Fabius, Thomas Fabius lui-même.

Convoqué ce vendredi, un peu plus d’un mois après une garde à vue de douze heures devant les policiers spécialisés de l’Office central de répression de la grande délinquance financière (OCRDGDF), le fils de l’actuel ministre des affaires étrangères, âgé de 34 ans, a été mis en examen pour faux et usage de faux après une longue journée d’audition.

Il a par ailleurs été placé sous le statut de témoin assisté concernant les chefs d’escroquerie, de blanchiment de fraude fiscale, d’abus de confiance, d’abus de bien social et de recel d’abus de bien
social

L’enquête avait débuté après une plainte pour faux déposée par la Société Générale. La banque française lui reprochait d’avoir produit un faux courriel émanant de ses services dans le but d’obtenir un crédit du casino de la Mamounia à Marrakech, au Maroc.

Cette plainte ainsi que plusieurs signalements de Tracfin, l’organisme antiblanchiment du ministère des finances, avaient finalement conduit le parquet de Paris à ouvrir une information judiciaire en mai 2013.

Des ardoises à Las Vegas

Thomas Fabius, comme l’avait révélé Le Point, fait par ailleurs l’objet d’un mandat d’arrêt émis par le procureur du comté de Clark, dont dépend la ville de Las Vegas (Nevada), pour avoir émis des chèques sans provision pour un montant supérieur à 3,5 millions de dollars (3,2 millions d’euros) dans le but de pouvoir continuer à jouer à la roulette dans différents casinos de la ville. Le parquet de Paris a délivré un réquisitoire supplétif sur ce volet américain de l’affaire au juge d’instruction afin d’en obtenir les éléments.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Panicked Oxford Cancels “Completely Barking” Mad Decision to Remove Rhodes Statue After Alumni Threaten to Withdraw Millions


Oxford University’s statue of Cecil Rhodes is to stay in place after furious donors threatened to withdraw gifts and bequests worth more than £100 million if it was taken down,
The Daily Telegraph's Javier Espinoza has learnt (Update: cheers to Instapundit for the link).
The governing body of Oriel College, which owns the statue, has ruled out its removal after being warned that £1.5m worth of donations have already been cancelled, and that it faces dire financial consequences if it bows to the Rhodes Must Fall student campaign.

A leaked copy of a report prepared for the governors and seen by this newspaper discloses that wealthy alumni angered by the “shame and embarrassment” brought on the 690-year-old college by its own actions have now written it out of their wills.
The college now fears a proposed £100m gift - to be left in the will of one donor - is now in jeopardy following the row.
The donors were astonished by a proposal to remove a plaque marking where Rhodes lived, and to launch a six-month consultation over whether the statue of the college’s biggest benefactor should be taken down.

 … Oriel has now been panicked into cancelling the proposed six-month consultation and the plaque marking the building where he lived while he was a student at Oriel will also stay, but both will have an accompanying sign providing historical “context”.

 … Sean Power, Oriel’s development director and the man in charge of fundraising, told the governors in a report that the college was unprepared for the national and international condemnation of the suggestion that the statue might be removed, described by the classicist Professor Mary Beard as a “completely barking” plan to “erase” history.

Mr Power wrote that: “The overall reaction has been significant, much more than any in the College predicted. It has also been overwhelmingly negative of the College’s position and its actions.

“The likely long-term impact on development and fundraising, assuming our current course of action regarding the statue, is potentially extremely damaging…our alumni do not need many excuses not to give, and for many this will be such an excuse for years to come.

“The current situation is generating a media storm that is right at the limits of what the University can deal with, and support us in.”
Punching back twice as hard.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sometimes when you surrender to a tyranny you lay the groundwork for a more cataclysmic conflict to come

Incredible: last summer, the New York Times' faux conservative, David Brooks, actually penned a conservative-sounding column:
This administration has given us a choice between two terrible options: accept the partial-surrender agreement that was negotiated or reject it and slide immediately into what is in effect our total surrender — a collapsed sanctions regime and a booming Iranian nuclear program.

Many members of Congress will be tempted to accept the terms of our partial surrender as the least bad option in the wake of our defeat. I get that. But in voting for this deal they may be affixing their names to an arrangement that will increase the chance of more comprehensive war further down the road.

Iran is a fanatical, hegemonic, hate-filled regime. If you think its radicalism is going to be softened by a few global trade opportunities, you really haven’t been paying attention to the Middle East over the past four decades.

Iran will use its $150 billion windfall to spread terror around the region and exert its power. It will incrementally but dangerously cheat on the accord. Armed with money, ballistic weapons and an eventual nuclear breakout, it will become more aggressive. As the end of the nuclear delay comes into view, the 45th or 46th president will decide that action must be taken.

Economic and political defeats can be as bad as military ones. Sometimes when you surrender to a tyranny you lay the groundwork for a more cataclysmic conflict to come.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Regarding Iraq, Saddam, and WMD, Where Did the Lies Originate? In the Bush White House? Or Elsewhere?

Thanks to Sarah Hoyt for linking the Wall Street Journal piece, The Dangerous Lie That ‘Bush Lied’.

As someone who served as co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction—a bipartisan body, sometimes referred to as the Robb-Silberman Commission — Laurence H. Silberman finds it
astonishing to see the “Bush lied” allegation evolve from antiwar slogan to journalistic fact.

 … it is one thing to assert, then or now, that the Iraq war was ill-advised. It is quite another to make the horrendous charge that President Bush lied to or deceived the American people about the threat from Saddam.

 … It is … certainly possible to criticize President Bush for having believed what the CIA told him, although it seems to me that any president would have credited such confident assertions by the intelligence community. But to accuse the president of lying us into war must be seen as not only false, but as dangerously defamatory.

The charge is dangerous because it can take on the air of historical fact—with potentially dire consequences. I am reminded of a similarly baseless accusation that helped the Nazis come to power in Germany: that the German army had not really lost World War I, that the soldiers instead had been “stabbed in the back” by politicians.
Indeed, if anybody can be accused of lying in this matter, it is the very people — in America as well as abroad — who are not only accusing George W Bush of lying but who are simply presenting that as an incontrovertible (an almost ho-hum) fact. As I wrote in 2008,
his opponents, his accusers (both American and foreign!), did lie (in the very fact that they charged him with lying), and that they were lying all the time. (And if you think lying is too strong a term, and want to say that they "were mistaken", that would be fine with me — except for one thing: that was/is an alternative explanation that they never allowed for Bush and/or the neocons!)
Isn't one of the lies ignoring what was the one of the really most pressing reason for sending U.S. troops to Iraq?
Rudolph Giuliani:
President Bush will make certain that we are combating terrorism at the source, beyond our shores, so we don't have to confront it, or we reduce [the chance] of confronting it here in New York City, or in Chicago or in Los Angeles or in Miami [or in San Bernardino] or in the rural areas of America.
That's what it means to play offense with terrorism, and not just defense.
 Furthermore, Mr. Watergate scandal himself, aka Bob Woodward, has stated that
there was no lying in this that I could find.

Above is a video that Glenn Reynolds runs regularly to remind people, American and foreign (go to GR's link to see Instapundit's preponderance of evidence), what Democrats had been saying about Saddam's WMD before the invasion (my only beef with the video is it doesn't show foreign leaders, such as Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schröder, when they were making the exact same type of remarks and/or speeches).

As I wrote 11 years ago, on the eve of the 2004 election:

Is Bush the World's Worst Leader?

When confronted by a militant leftist many years ago who was ticking off all the sins and failures of capitalist democracy, Winston Churchill finally indicated that he agreed with the man. "Democracy is the worst form of government", nodded the Old Lion. He marked a pause, before adding, "…with the exception of all the rest."

That is what I think about when I am confronted by angry people, American or foreign, who proceed to tell me what a "disaster" George W Bush has been and who can tick off his every sin and bewail the sorry record of his administration. (Not to mention every sin linked to America and capitalist society.)

Bush, I agree with them, is the worst leader in the world, and the worst politician, and the worst liar, and the man with the worst record… with the exception of… all the rest. (And the same can be said of capitalism compared to the rest of the world's economic systems…)

Foremost among the liars worse than Bush is Saddam Hussein, of course. The tyrant was a known fibber, doubling as a psychopath and — last but not least — a man repeatedly seeking war-making capabilities, and if Dubya mentioned WMD as a reason to oust the dictator, it's not because he (Dubya) was lying, but because Saddam had built the reputation he had.

Take the members of the "peace camp". Their foremost lie lay in their eagerness to castigate Bush and his administration, in the process conveniently forgetting that Saddam was the liar with the reputation just mentioned and that their secret services, as much as the CIA and MI6, had concluded that Saddam was hiding WMD.

In addition, they gave credence to the pretense that with just a bit of goodwill, the United Nations could, and would, solve the entire problem and entice the murderer of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen, if not to share power, at least to tone down on his killing… This being the same organization that threw a democracy out of its seat in the UN human rights committee (it happened to be Uncle Sam, but it could just as well have been any other Western-type democracy) while elevating countries like Libya or Syria to its chairmanship. It was also the organization that, when subsequently faced with genocide in Sudan, proceeded to do little else but issue communiqués deploring the situation and calling upon the murderers to ease up on their killing.

Take the United Nations as a whole, which, in unison with the "peace camp" members, pretended to be objective, detached, and holier than thou, when its members, in fact, were involved in the largest scam in human history. This, of course, brings us back to the Peace Camp, which pretended that their only, or their foremost, concern was a just and lasting peace, in contrast to Bush's "war for oil" when, in fact, it would have been more appropriate to have the pre-conflict situation termed as their "tyranny for oil" gambit.

Then there are the pacifists, both private citizens and government bigwigs, who marched through the streets and/or made rousing speeches, pretending that the largest threat to the world today was Uncle Sam.

Then there are the media outlets, both within the United States and abroad, which echoed those sentiments, while making much out of the fact that Iraq now is supposedly in chaos and insecurity — as if having the thuggish members of Saddam's secret police enter into your home with impunity, take away your parents, spouse, and/or children, and torture and murder them, can in any way be likened to an environment of public safety and to the absence of chaos.

To be totally honest, I liken the accusations concerning Bush and Blair's claims about Saddam's WMD to accusing Churchill, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, or Montgomery of lying to the Rangers when they ordered them to storm the cliffs of the Pointe du Hoc on June 6, 1944, to neutralize some long-range cannons (weapons of mass destruction, one could call them); after sustaining heavy losses, the Rangers found that the cannons were nowhere to be found, the Germans having removed them from the Normandy coast not long before.

History has a long flow of evidence showing that when Uncle Sam is being attacked, castigated, or mocked, it is usually the people, institutions, and countries doing the berating who are the worse sinners. And who have something to hide, as much from the rest of the world as from themselves.
To quote Sir Winston again, 
a fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Read the three-and-a-half-years-later (!) update
Shall we let the last word go to Dennis Prager?
Few liberal activist groups tell the truth. Not because their members are liars -- in private life they may well be as honest as anyone else -- but because whatever the left advocates it deems more important than truth.
  … when the left ceaselessly repeats the mantra "Bush lied," it may simply be projecting onto George W. Bush what comes quite naturally to the left — when it offers false Iraqi death statistics, false homeless data, false rape statistics, false secondhand smoke statistics, false claims about the percentage of gays in the population, and false claims of just about everything else the left cares about.

When Demonizing Billionaires, Leftists Like Paul Krugman Conveniently Ignore the Left-Leaning Statists Who Donate (Far More) Millions to the Left

Paul Krugman implicates all billionaires as smug, selfish, pathological and Republican
notes James Gerard, referring to the New York Times columnist's “Privilege, pathology and power” (Jan. 2-3).
Hence they are without empathy, out of touch, and use their money and power to influence elections. What about George Soros, Eli Broad, David Geffen and Tom Steyer? Are they without gobs of money, ego or the desire to inject their own “statist” principles into elections? Have they not sworn to spend countless millions in an effort to “re-shape” America? Mr. Krugman would do better to write about both sides of the billionaires’ battle.
This is how Jonah Goldberg puts it (thanks to Instapundit):
To listen to the Left, [those old devils, Charles and David Koch] are the closest thing we have to real-world James Bond villains. So what is their agenda? Is it to retreat to their orbiting harems, populated with fertile females, as they wipe out humanity below so that they can return to repopulate the planet? Or is to dupe the Russians and Americans into a nuclear squabble so that the Kochs can rule the ashes? 
Well, here’s [Jane] Mayer’s explanation of their dark and sinister ambitions. 
  “What people need to understand is the Kochs have been playing a very long game,” [the author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right] told NPR’s Steve Inskeep. “And it’s not just about elections. It started four decades ago with a plan to change how America thinks and votes. So while some elections they win and some elections they lose, what they’re aiming at is changing the conversation in the country.”

Dear God, it’s worse than I thought! They want to change the conversation! They want to persuade Americans to vote differently! The horror, the horror. 
You might be forgiven for thinking that this is pretty much exactly what democracy is about. But no. For you see, only Hollywood, college professors and administrators, the ACLU, People for the American Way, the Human Rights Campaign, NARAL, Emily’s List, the Ford Foundation, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, MoveOn.org, the NAACP, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Greenpeace, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, Steven Spielberg and, of course, publications such as the New York Times [including Paul Krugman], The New Republic, The Nation and Mayer’s own The New Yorker are allowed to try to change conversations and argue for people to vote differently.

For you see, only Hollywood, college professors and administrators, the ACLU, People for the American Way, the Human Rights Campaign, NARAL, Emily’s List, the Ford Foundation, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, MoveOn.org, the NAACP, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Greenpeace, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, Steven Spielberg and, of course, publications such as the New York Times, The New Republic, The Nation and Mayer’s own The New Yorker are allowed to try to change conversations and argue for people to vote differently.

Ah, but those voices are open and honest — and progressive! — about it, while the Kochs are secretive, sinister denizens of the stygian underworld of “dark money” and the “radical right.” Except for the fact that the Kochs have been out in the open for nearly a half-century.

  … How, then, are the Kochs members of the radical Right? 
• They are pro-gay marriage. 
• They favor liberal immigration policies. 
• They are passionate non-interventionists when it comes to foreign policy. 
• They are against the drug war and are spending a bundle on dismantling so-called “mass-incarceration” policies. 
• They’ve never seized a national park at gunpoint. 
They are members of the radical Right for the simple reason that they don’t like big government and spend money to make that case.
 … And that’s their great sin. Liberals are constantly talking about how we need an “honest conversation” about race or guns or this or that. But what they invariably mean is, they want everyone who disagrees to shut up. (That’s why they hate Fox News, too.) 
The best working definition of “right wing” today has almost nothing to do with the ideological content of what right-wingers say or do. 
A right-winger is someone who disagrees with the liberal narrative, has the temerity to say so, and dares to actually try to change the conversation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Further Inroads into Hollywood for China's Communist Party and Its Censors


Now that Hollywood has mostly figured out how to get its biggest movies approved for release in China,
write Brooks Barnes and Amy Qin
studio marketers here are grappling with a new puzzle: What is the best way to woo China’s ticket buyers?
The New York Times article goes on to write about 
a company with enormous reach that few people outside of China have ever heard of: Mtime [which] is effectively Fandango, IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and Yahoo Movies rolled into one.
But of course the true gist lies in the fact that "Hollywood has mostly figured out how to get its biggest movies approved for release in China," and that includes script approval for Hollywood movies. Because it is not enough that Chinese Film Studios Are the Planet's Largest, Mass-Producing Films Designed to Build a Positive Image of the Country). No,
the truth is that anti-Americanism rears its ugly head in even the most innocent-looking children's (or family) fare
produced in… the United States, we wrote two years ago, with examples galore (from Kung Fu Panda 3 to Iron Man 3—all submitted to Chinese censors—via… Kung Fu Panda 2), in a post entitled Hollywood's Offerings Promise Only to Get More Anti-American

Now, from Brooks Barnes and Michael Forsythe, we learn that the
Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which already owns the AMC chain of multiplex cinemas, is poised to buy a majority stake in a Hollywood production company that makes blockbuster-style movies, giving the politically powerful company with close ties to the Communist Party’s ruling elite a foothold in the heart of America’s entertainment industry.
We learn further that 
the deal makes sense for both Wanda and Legendary, which tends to produce the type of big-budget, special-effects-driven movies that Chinese audiences like. In addition to owning AMC, Wanda controls the biggest cinema chain in China, where box-office receipts are set to eclipse the North American market in coming years. Wanda, a company owned by Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man, can provide Mr. Tull with money, a growing audience and a champion in China that can get more of his films into the tightly controlled market.

… The deal, earlier reported by Reuters, deepens Wanda’s foray into the movie production business. Wanda made a splash in 2013 when it announced the construction of a mammoth, $8.2 billion studio in eastern China, flying in stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman for the occasion.

 … Wanda’s investment also makes sense politically for its chairman, Mr. Wang, a former military officer who is carrying out the Communist Party’s goal of deepening China’s influence in the global entertainment industry. As many of China’s most powerful families, including relatives of President Xi Jinping, have bought shares in Wanda, the Legendary purchase furthers Mr. Wang’s importance to the country’s political elite at a time when some of the country’s richest businessmen are falling victim to Mr. Xi’s anticorruption campaign, now entering its fourth year.

Related: Hollywood's Offerings Promise Only to Get More Anti-American

"For years governments have taken control of our lives, and their argument is always the same — fewer costs, greater efficiency — but the result is the same too; Less control by the people, more control by the state"

From the Washington Examiner's Philip Klein (obrigado por Sarah Hoyt) on an episode of "Downton Abbey" featuring the Dowager Countess Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith):
"For years I've watched governments take control of our lives, and their argument is always the same — fewer costs, greater efficiency — but the result is the same too," Violet said. "Less control by the people, more control by the state, until the individual's own wishes count for nothing. That is what I consider my duty to resist."

She went on to argue, "Your great-grandchildren won't thank you when the state is all powerful because we didn't fight."

Britain instituted national healthcare in 1948 with the establishment of the National Health Service, whose many failings [Philip Klein] explored in more detail in the Washington Examiner's magazine.