Friday Digest

Digest

Nov. 2, 2001

Quote of the week…

“We are less than one month into a war without any real precedents. We may or may not be doing as well as we could be. But there is every indication that we are doing well enough, and things are going an awful lot better than they were one month after, say, the firing on Fort Sumter or the attack on Pearl Harbor. The beginnings of wars are often tentative and often disastrous. They are not conclusive; the ends of wars are conclusive. This war will end, and in a conclusive victory.” –Michael Kelly

On cross-examination…

“I dream only of having my hand again so I could carry a gun and go to the front line and kill and kill. I’d kill them all, every Taleb and every mullah.” –Karimullah, who had his right hand and left foot publicly amputated in Kabul’s Ghazi stadium, for opposing the Taliban.

Open Query…

“Various media outlets apparently feel a need to give equal time, if not moral equivalence, to Osama bin Laden and others in the terrorist organizations. Would anyone have thought of giving Hitler free time to broadcast his propaganda on networks during World War II?” –Thomas Sowell

The BIG lie…

“I apologize for any harm that my misstatement may have caused.” –ABC News President David Westin.

Earlier this week, we noted Westin’s comment to students at Columbia School of Journalism: “The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now. … I can say the Pentagon got hit, I can say this is what their position is, this is what our position is, but for me to take a position this was right or wrong…as a journalist I feel strongly that’s something that I should not be taking a position on.”

And, on another Dezinformatsia front, Walter Isaacson, chairman of CNN (alCoran News Network), recipient of our “BIG lie” award for three weeks running, had this revelation the same day Westin was making apologies: “It seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan. As we get good reports from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, we must redouble our efforts to make sure we do not seem to be simply reporting from their vantage or perspective. We must talk about how the Taliban are using civilian shields and how the Taliban have harbored the terrorists responsible for killing close to 5,000 innocent people.”

TV “journalism,” up close and personal!

News from the Swamp…

In the Executive Branch, President Bush scolded Congress for loitering at the gates of national economic recession, saying: “My call to Congress is ‘Get to work and get something done.’ The Congress needs to pass a stimulus package and get it to my desk before the end of November. It’s time for our government to act in a positive and constructive way.”

And The Federalist again took a census of senior administration positions still unconfirmed by the Senate, and found vacancies for undersecretaries of the Air Force and Army, assistant to the secretary of defense for nuclear and chemical and biological defense programs, assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, and the deputy director and associate director positions at FEMA. The Senate has confirmed only 102 positions, with 14 nominations and 11 announced nominations still outstanding, and 20 left as yet unnamed by Mr. Bush because the nomination process has ground to a virtual halt.

In the House of Commons, there was much partisan wrangling this week over two competing bills intended to boost central government oversight of airport security. The main sticking point between the Republican and Democrat versions is whether 28,000 airport security employees should continue to be hired by private security companies or be federalized. The Republican variant of the bill established a “transportation security agency” within the U.S. Department of Transportation to set standards for airport security personnel. The Sociocrats preferred those employees be federalized and indoctrinated into Demo-controlled government worker unions so the DNC could count on their dues and votes. The Republican plan passed and now moves to conference to reconcile differences with Senate Demos.

In the House of Lords, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico), chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, this week urged Mr. Bush to bolster the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, saying, “With oil prices declining and tension in the Middle East rising, … while none of us knows if America’s oil supplies will be disrupted because of problems elsewhere in the world, it is a risk that we cannot ignore.” Bingaman recommended using “in-kind federal royalty oil,” oil the U.S. is entitled to receive as royalties from production on federal lands, to fill the SPR. Although the federal government stopped taking royalty oil when supplies were tight and prices were high, Bingaman said, “It’s time to resume that program and be better prepared to meet any future energy threat to our nation.”

Judicial Benchmarks…

Anthrax contamination caused the Supreme Court to move this week. “This is the first time this court has met outside our building since it opened in 1935,” Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist stated to the packed ceremonial courtroom at the federal courthouse of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Constitution Avenue. Perhaps never more appropriate has been the high court marshal’s cry in calling each Supreme session to order: “God save the United States and this honorable court.”

In the halls of justice on the right, the Supremes turned aside without comment an appeal from the ACLU and associated anti-religious Leftists claiming Virginia’s state legislation allowing schoolchildren a moment of silence is an unconstitutional government encouragement of classroom prayer. The Virginia law now stands, and may serve as a useful template for other states attempting to expunge institutional hostility toward free exercise of religious faith in halls of early learning.

The Commissars…

As The Federalist alerted you last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission was set this week to extend gun confiscation maneuvers to air rifles, as defective products lacking safety features required of firearms under Section 15 of the Consumer Product Safety Act and Section 15 of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. Guess what – the CPSC advanced just that nonsense Tuesday, voting to sue the manufacturers of Daisy BB guns, for a recall of two gun models, model 880 and model 856 “Powerline Airguns.” National Rifle Association spokesman Jason Osborne responded to the CPSC actions, “Our concern as an organization representing individuals as opposed to businesses is the crossover effect this potentially could have on firearms in general.”

Regarding your IRS overpayment…

The Bush administration announced that the 2001 budget surplus estimate must be revised downward, to $127 billion. Of course, that figure includes, once again, the so-called Social Security surplus.

From the department of military readiness…

Pentagon officials awarded the Joint Strike Fighter contract, priced at over $200 billion, to Lockheed Martin rather than Boeing.

From the states…

Important gubernatorial races are on for next week in Virginia and New Jersey, and the respective Republican candidates have solid prospects of winning, if help is in the offing – but there has been nary a word or deed of support from the national party. The success of Mr. Bush’s War on Terrorism will rely on having good troops and officers in place both on the home front and abroad. As commentator W. James Antle III concluded, “It is both easy and admirable to lose sight of politics in the midst of the war effort and recent terrorist atrocities. But successful presidencies require leadership on all fronts, and President Bush must remember that the success of his administration is also in the national interest.” Memo to Mr. Bush: If you mean to harden your stomach – and ours as well – for your (admittedly) lengthy War on Terrorism, battling the Democrats on principle is excellent training.

In economic news…

Look out below! The economy continued tanking, as consumer confidence slid downward, and the Commerce Department reported spending had plummeted by 1.8 percent in September. On the bright side, consumption is projected to drop so low, Red China’s economy will suffer, given its level of dependency on U.S. purchases of its cheap prisoner- and slave-made products.

In business news…

The Justice Department and software gargantua Microsoft Corp. announced they have reached a tentative agreement to settle the government’s antitrust case against the company. Precise terms of the agreement were still in the works, and still to be approved by state attorneys general who are also parties to the suit. (Reactions to the government prosecution have split conservatives – roughly – between those such as Judge Robert Bork, who hold to an ethical theory of property rights and contracts considering certain demands impermissible, and financial adversarialists who adhere to the Bill Gates market philosophy that whatever money wants, money gets.)

The “Dumb and Dumber” Department…

Texas homeland security chief David Dewhurst purchased a full-color, four-page advertisement in Texas Monthly magazine featuring a military officer standing in front of an unfurled American flag, with the caption, “As chairman of the Governor’s Task Force on Homeland Security, David Dewhurst encourages you to support President Bush and the brave men and women of our Armed Forces as they fight to eliminate terrorism and work to restore confidence in our economy.” Problem is, the military officer depicted was a member of the German Luftwaffe, sporting German military decorations and insignias. Mr. Dewhurst said that he had examined the ad “a couple times” before it was published….

Culture comment…

The Justice Department’s report on “Intimate Partner Violence” this year for the first time included numbers for cases in which both the violence victim and the perpetrator were of the same sex. The report, compiled between 1993 and 1999, details that fully 10 percent of the total cases of “intimate partner” abuse involved male-on-male violence. Show of hands, please – how many think this might be related to the life expectancy of male homosexuals being the early 40s?

Faith Matters…

Despite Osama bin Laden’s attempts to portray his terror campaign as a religious war between Islam and “infidel” faiths, the anti-terror alliance apparently remains firm even under intense provocations. To wit: Pakistan is holding 12 Muslim militants in connection with last weekend’s shooting attack on the Protestant Church of Pakistan, which left 16 Christians murdered. The group had been meeting in Dominic’s Roman Catholic Church, and Pope John Paul II, Pakistan’s Muslim leader Pervez Musharraf, and leaders from other faiths around the world condemned these new terror attacks on defenseless innocents. (Some trenchant observers have noted, meanwhile, that Leftmedia sources consigned to brief mention this intentional murder of 16 as a religious provocation, while giving up-top, breathy, and loud coverage to the accidental deaths of 13 Afghan noncombatants from stray bombing.)

On the frontiers of junk science…

Just when you thought the eco-nuts might be silenced by more serious matters the nation must attend to, they’re back – and sillier than ever. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), funded with taxpayer money by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, now claims a study of one forest canopy proves that autumnal leaf color contributes to global warming. Talk about gaseous emissions!

Around the world…

China reacted angrily to release of the annual U.S. report on international religious freedom, accusing Washington of distorting its record on religious freedom by assessing that the situations for religious freedom in China had worsened over the past year. The State Department report, covering the mid-2000 to mid-2001 period, named China again for suppression of religious freedom so severe, the Communist bastion has earned a designation among “countries of particular concern,” for torture and persecution of members of Protestant “house churches,” underground Catholic congregations loyal to the Vatican, Tibetan Buddhist groups, the Falun Gong meditation movement, and Muslim Uighur groups in western China.

British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon, who visited the Pentagon for discussions this week, took time out to publicly warn Muslim citizens of Britain that they will be prosecuted for treason if they go to Afghanistan and fight for the Taliban. Recent reports from Afghanistan tell of several British Muslims killed in U.S. bombing – with one especially alarming case the reported death of Yasir Khan, 28, formerly a security-screened worker at London’s Gatwick Airport. Polling of British Muslims is perhaps even more disturbing, indicating that 98 percent of the country’s Muslim community would not fight for Britain and 48 percent would fight for Osama bin Laden or Islam in opposition to their country. Elsewhere in Britain, Egyptian-born Yasser Al-Siri, who has lived there for eight years, was charged under that country’s anti-terrorism act Tuesday with conspiring to murder Northern Alliance leader Gen. Ahmad Shah Masood on September 9th, two days prior to the 9-11 attacks on the U.S. Charges include that Al-Siri provided false identification as journalists to the suicide bombers who assassinated Masood.

And last, “We are not afraid of death because martyrdom is a great gift of God,” says the Taliban’s supreme ruler, Mohammed Omar. “Every man has to die one day, but we pray that we should die a martyr.” Memo to Omar: YOU, on the other hand, will beg for your life only to suffer death and the eternal hell of all swine who spill the blood of innocents in the name of Allah – martyrs only of blasphemy.

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