Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Jayna Davis Pans Rohrabacher's Report

Well, that congressional subcommittee's report apparently won't make for interesting reading after all.

Jayna Davis is sharply critical of Rep. Rohrabacher's effort to chase after false leads while all but ignoring the leads Davis had uncovered long ago:

Congressman Rohrabacher’s personal inquiry into my research has been cursory, limited to a phone conversation with the former CIA Director Jim Woolsey and brief interviews with only two of my witnesses, whom he has publicly described as "credible."

In Summer 2005, bombing convict Terry Nichols told Rohrabacher in a face-to-face interview that the substance of evidence outlined in The Third Terrorist "could be correct." Upon exiting his prison meeting with Nichols, the congressman told me in a recorded phone conversation that I had developed "the heaviest evidence of foreign complicity," yet my 368-page copiously documented book warranted only five paragraphs in his final report, neglecting to mention any and all major elements of my investigation.
I say without compunction that Congressman Rohrabacher has issued a shamefully incomplete report on the Middle Eastern connection to the Oklahoma City bombing, and in so doing, has performed a grave disservice to the truth and the slain of April 19, 1995.

Read the whole thing. It seems that no part of our government has any intention of closely investigating the circumstances uncovered by Davis. I wonder why.

Monday, December 25, 2006

McVeigh, Nichols, et alii

They apparently want little attention to be given their report, since the news comes out on Christmas. According to the AP via CBS News:

(AP) A two-year congressional inquiry into the Oklahoma City bombing concludes that the FBI didn't fully investigate whether other suspects may have helped Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols with the deadly 1995 attack, allowing questions to linger a decade later.

At the end is a nod to Jayna Davis, who did an amazing job of assembling evidence showing that Nichols and McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City with the assistance of foreigners -- including some who had come from Iraq.

Rohrabacher's report cites several leads the subcommittee believes weren't fully investigated, including:
# # #
_ Information from a former TV reporter concerning an Iraqi national who was in Oklahoma around the time of the bombing.

It is a strange situation, based on Davis's work. It looks as though the people who helped McVeigh and Nichols didn't mind letting people know of their existence, yet no group ever claimed "credit." It also looks as though some of the 9/11 terrorists knew of the previous presence of those individuals in Oklahoma -- almost like they were hinting at a connection to them. But why?

If only the FBI had done a reasonably thorough job, we might be able to do more than merely hazard a guess as to the answer.

Oh, well, the subcommittee's report will be released "as early as Wednesday." It will be interesting to see what they say about Davis's work.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Anbar Sunni Tribes Fight "the Resistance"

Anbar province in Iraq is supposedly a hopeless case for the Multi-National Force. Remember Col. Devlin's intelligence assessment made in August and leaked in November?

Occasionally, there are news reports from Anbar. Here is one from the BBC:

The tribal chiefs in the Iraqi province of Anbar joined forces in September in an attempt to defeat al-Qaeda.

They set up the Salvation Council for Anbar and claim to have reduced the numbers of weapons and foreign fighters coming into the area.

The restive Sunni dominated area has been a centre of activity for foreign jihadis linked to al-Qaeda.

"Joined forces in September" -- that would be after Devlin's assessment of the dire situation.

Here is the explanation of their motivation according to their own leader:

The head of the council, Sheikh Faisal al-Goud, told the BBC, however, that there were still thousands of al-Qaeda fighters operating in al Anbar province alone.

"We are fighting the terrorists because they have caused the violent chaos in the country, the instability. They are killing innocent Iraqis and killing anyone who wants freedom and peace in Iraq," he explained.

And, of course, "balance" in news reporting requires an alternative explanation from someone who needs to be removed from society:

Driving a wedge between local Sunnis and the extreme jihadists of al-Qaeda has long been an aim shared by the Americans and the Iraqi government.

But in a sign of how disunited the Sunnis are, a prominent Sunni figure considered close to the insurgency - Sheikh Harith al-Dari of the Muslim Scholars' Association - has criticised the tribesmen as bandits fighting what he called the resistance.

"Bandits" was a label commonly used by the Communists in the Soviet Union and China to identify people who resisted the so-called revolution. Could the "scholars" have stumbled onto the same lingo by mere coincidence?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The United Kingdom Expects the Worst

It appears that Al-Qaeda intends to murder people in Great Britain sometime soon. (Via little green footballs)

When they are ready, they will come after us.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Snowless Autumn On Some European Ski Slopes

How soon they forget.

Of course, it must be "global warming," not just natural variability in weather conditions:

Ski resorts across the European Alps are becoming increasingly worried as current bad snow conditions threaten the all important Christmas holiday period.

This autumn has been one of the worst on record with high temperatures and little snowfall.

Many resorts have had to postpone their openings and the main ski races have been cancelled because of a lack of snow.

With millions of skiers heading to the resorts over the next week there are concerns that the open runs will be very busy and people could be put off from booking again at Christmas and the New Year, costing the multi-million pound industry heavily in lost revenue, and threatening jobs.

Climate change

Many believe global warming is to blame for the lack of snow.

If, next December, people are freezing in lower than average temperatures again, will anyone in the news media remind people of this silliness about global warming's effect on the ski slopes in the autumn of 2006? No, of course not. The "climate change" propaganda only goes in one direction.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Baker and Hamilton's Iraq Coffee Klatsch

This Washington Post editorial deserves an award for getting straight to the point and getting it right:

An Unlikely Offensive
The Iraq Study Group imagines a Middle East that doesn't exist.
Sunday, December 10, 2006; Page B06
THE IRAQ Study Group's recommendations for shifting U.S. military tactics in the war are specific, focused and aimed at incremental improvement over the next few months; they are also close to what the Pentagon and Iraqi government already were hoping to achieve. By contrast, the group's diplomatic strategy is sweeping -- and untethered to reality. The Bush administration could and should adopt some version of the military plan, though it would be right to ignore the unrealistic timetable attached to it. But to embrace the group's proposed "New Diplomatic Offensive" would be to suppose a Middle East very different from what's on the ground.

They called themselves the "Iraq Study Group," but their work product is roughly the same as could have been expected from a coffee klatsch.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Blethen the Rapacious Capitalist

The publisher of The Seattle Times, Frank Blethen, included one of his own essays in the Dec. 8 edition.

It appears to reveal that Blethen is one of the "rapacious capitalists" Thomas Jefferson decried (at least, according to Blethen -- I haven't yet found the source of Blethen's Jefferson quote).

Here's the beginning of Blethen's essay:

Guest columnist
America's democracy at risk
By Frank A. Blethen
Special to The Times

Almost all democracies the world has seen have died within 300 years of their founding.

Most implode from within.

At 230-some years, America has moved dangerously close to the fail-safe line for our survival.

We are in the later stages of one of the most important battles that will determine whether we survive.

It is the battle that pits democracy against the powerful. The powerful, who seek to co-opt our free press, control the news, and control the access to news, journalism and information.

It is a battle our country has fought before, but never with today's consequences.

It is a battle Thomas Jefferson clearly understood when he wrote that he "foresaw the days American democracy would have to fight the rapacious capitalists."

And, here's an "online book review" (admittedly a less than certain source of information) which indicates that Jefferson's words have been misconstrued by Blethen and his probable source:

He [Richard K. Matthews] constantly makes use of quotes which purport to demonstrate Jefferson's opposition to capitalism, which all the while only express his [Jefferson's] repugnance to wealth acquired through the machinery of the state, and not through the market.

I suspect that Blethen's source is the book discussed in the review -- published in 1986, written by Richard K. Matthews, and titled "The Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson."

Maybe some day I will come across a copy, so I can look in the third chapter to see if Blethen's "rapacious capitalists" quote is there.

If my guess is correct, Blethen is one of those capitalists Jefferson spoke of -- one who wants to use government to acquire (or keep) his wealth, rather than simply compete in the market. As Blethen put it in his essay:

• We need new legislation, controlling and limiting in some fashion the ownership of newspapers.

Blethen's family has owned The Seattle Times for more than a century, and he wants Uncle Sam to protect his family's ownership of the newspaper from market forces.

Doesn't that make him a rapacious capitalist who tries to use government power to increase his own capitalist wealth, power and influence?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

We have met the enemy, and he is a friend of the "M(isleading)ainstream Media"

Read this article by Boston Herald columnist Jules Crittenden:

The AP, of course, has been delivering unbalanced reports about U.S. national politics for some time, as when President Bush, whom AP reporters despise, is barely allowed to state his case on an issue before his critics are given twice as much space to pummel him. The AP, once a just-the-facts news delivery service, has lost its rudder. It has become a partisan, anti-American news agency that seeks to undercut a wartime president and American soldiers in the field. It is providing fraudulent, shoddy goods. It doesn’t even recognize it has a problem.

And, buy this book (or beg your library to get it -- the price is pretty high):

BLACKSBURG, VA., November 30, 2006 -- Jim A. Kuypers, assistant professor of communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, reveals a disturbing world of media bias in his new book Bush's War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2006).

Convincingly and without resorting to partisan politics, Kuypers strongly illustrates in eight chapters “how the press failed America in its coverage on the War on Terror.” In each comparison, Kuypers “detected massive bias on the part of the press.” In fact, Kuypers calls the mainstream news media an “anti-democratic institution” in the conclusion.

Media bias is corrupting our society. Foolish people like this "Young Democrat" actually believe the balderdash published by organizations like the Associated Press.

Most of us have little ability to counter the poisonous effects of media bias, but we can do some good by encouraging people like Professor Kuypers to publish credible criticisms. I know, it costs money to encourage him and others to fight the good fight; but what else can you do?