Saturday, October 20, 2007

Spitzer's "Government By Vengeance": Young and Poor Hardest Hit

In my last column, I noted that the NYCLU thanked NY Gov. Spitzer for his "illegal alien drivers license" plan. I wonder if they'll thank him for this week's stunt.

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R) has pledged to sue Spitzer, to block the drivers license plan. Now, Spitzer has blocked $300,000 of "member item" spending in Tedisco's district.

"Member items" usually mean pork, but in Tedisco's struggling Assembly district, the money was designated for, among other things, the following: Upgrading one school district's elementary school playgrounds; video surveillance upgrades for another; finally, $100,000 for Schenectady's health clinic, which provides free health care for poor and uninsured people. Tedisco predicts that this will shut the clinic down, harming the most needy people in his district.

It's not hard to see why the Gov's poll numbers are in a freefall, and not likely to come back up anytime soon. Still, it's five years until he stands for re-election, which is a long time for the electorate's collective memory. He is still getting more deeply caught up in the "dirty tricks" travel scandal, having to admit his aides tried to forward Sen. Joe Bruno's travel records to the IRS, in the last few weeks.

Let's hope he's no longer governor by the time the next scheduled election comes around.

UPDATE: "Smoking gun" emails have been exposed by Tedisco, "showing Gov. Spitzer's administration had OK'd funding for a local health-care clinic last month - before suddenly canceling the grant on Monday ," according to the NY POST (NYC's real "paper of record"). You won't read about this in the NY Liberal Times, folks.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

NO NEWS? No, Just Good News Not Being Reported In Iraq


No one can dispute the lack of reporting on improvements in the Iraqi front of the war. Here are three stories that haven't seen much exposure, but they are far from the only ones. Let's start with the number of US casualties dropping greatly in the last months. This excerpt is from Special Report, with Britt Hume:

Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz spoke Sunday with Post reporter Robin Wright and CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr about why the media paid so little attention to the shrinking casualty numbers coming out of Iraq. Kurtz asked Wright if the story should have received more play.

She responded - "Not necessarily. The fact is we're at the beginning of a trend - and it's not even sure that it is a trend yet... The numbers themselves are tricky."

Starr said she needed more than one month's numbers before she "gets too excited" about the subject. But when Kurtz asked if an increase in casualty figures would have received more coverage, she replied - "I think inevitably it would have. I mean, that's certainly - that, by any definition, is news."

This is an excellent example of a journalist whose bias is so overwhelming, she doesn't even see any need to hide it. She covers it with the "trend" suggestion; that increasing violence would be following a "trend," and therefore more newsworthy. This is laughable, on it's face. "Trend" is a thinly disguised codeword for "the story we want to sell." They don't report on stories, or death counts, that don't support their storyline in Iraq.

Next, let's revisit Haditha. You may know Haditha as the massacre by Marines, comparable to Mai Lai in Vietnam. I wrote about this back in June of '06, twice. The second post, on Gather, cited the American Thinker, asking if it was a hoax. Well, as time goes by, it seems more likely that it was Al Queda who staged this massacre, as Rob Port points out in a recent post:

Buried in the mountain of exhibits attached to the once secret Haditha, Iraq murder inquiry prepared by US Army Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell is an obscure Marine Corps intelligence summary (see the pdf link in Rob's post) that says the deadly encounter was an intentional propaganda ploy planned and paid for by Al Qaeda foreign fighters.

...he continues:

Funny how mainstream media reporters are capable of combing through mountains of government documents to find incriminating evidence against politicians and government officials, unless said evidence doesn’t quite fit in with the liberal-agenda-driven story they want to tell. Like this bit of information indicating that Haditha could have been an al Qaeda propaganda operation.

Again, this doesn't support the storyline that the media is selling about Iraq. I hope that you read my first post on this, to see my initial reaction to the story. I think that correcting the record is due, if these Marines were falsely charged. My Gather friend Lera (non-politically correct) M. says they're suing Rep, Murtha for slander, which is a start. He was one of the loudest voices of condemnation, and obviously eager to buy into the Al Queda hoax, along with the MSM.

Finally, a news item from Amir Taheri's latest column, "Queda On The Run." It's sad to get news from columnists, but that is the sad state of the liberal US media. This story was from Syria, where Muhammad Gul Aghasi, aka Abu Qaaqaa, was killed by "unknown gunmen." Taheri suggests the possible parties responsible for the assassination, but his description of the man tells us all we need to know:

Born in 1973, Aghasi, who was of mixed Kurdish-Turkmen ethnic stock, studied Islamic theology in Damascus in the 1990s before traveling to Pakistan, where he established contact with the Taliban and al Qaeda. In 2004, having returned to his Syrian hometown, he created the Ghuraba al-Shaam (Aliens of the Levant), with the declared aim of recruiting, training and arming jihadists to fight against the new Iraqi government and the U.S.-led Coalition forces.

By 2006, Aghasi - using the nom de guerre Abu Qaaqaa (Father of the Hissing Sound of Swords) - claimed that his group had dispatched more than 2,000 jihadists from half-a-dozen Arab countries to Iraq. The group also boasted of providing jihadists in Iraq with safe havens inside Syria where they could rest, get medical care (even dental work!), retrain and even get married before returning to the battlefield.

Wearing Afghan-style clothes and the mandatory flowing beard, Aghasi was especially proud of the role his jihadists had played in fighting the Americans in Fallujah for more than a year. He claimed that his bulletproof, German-made limousine had been a gift from an Arab businessman for his role in the Fallujah battle. He had created an outfit called Office of Services for the Mujahedin in Iraq, handling millions of dollars collected from unknown benefactors.

I suggest reading Taheri's whole column (at the above link), to get a sense of another victory against Al Queda. You will not hear about this on any MSM outlet. Apparently, the decrease in supply of jihadists into Iraq doesn't fit the media's preferred storyline either. It's too bad that today's journalists think they have to claim impartiality, while being so biased against their own country.

This is war, and it is terrible. War is bad news, but it should be reported fairly, and truthfully. Stories that are positive about the war effort ought to get more time in the MSM, even if it destroys the MSM's (and Democrats) "unwinnable failure" storyline.

PS: Dale Coparanis' Gather article, "Another Example of America Winning in Iraq" inspired this post, and deserves to be excerpted here, as the fourth example. It cites the UK Guardian reporting on positive news in Iraq:

"A transformation has swept western Iraq that allows Marines to walkthrough
areas that a year ago were judged lost to radical Islam control and hearnothing
more aggressive than a late-night game of pool."

This sets the tone for the many excerpts he publishes. More important is his commentary:

Most Senate Dems (and a few spineless Republicans) feel that wecannot win this
Battle of Iraq (part of the larger War on Terror). They,sometimes, grudgingly
say that the surge may be working but that any success is superficial and not
long lasting. It is not long lasting, thesewonderfully optimistic critics say,
because we are not winning the "political" battle.
Well, the facts beg to differ. We have learned, over time, what it takes to win not only the immediate battle, but the longer term peace.

Well said, sir.

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