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Thursday, December 05, 2002

All the News That's Printed to Fit

That champion of tolerance, diversity and free expression, the New York Times, has spiked two columns in its sports section recently because they didn't conform to the paper's ideological orthodoxy as promulgated by its editorial board.

Under the leadership of ultra-leftwing executive editor Howell Raines, the Great Pink Lady has been positively obsessed with the "no-women-members-at-Augusta-National" story. According to the Media Research Center, the paper ran THIRTY-TWO stories on the issue in less than three months in the period leading up to November 25th! The vendetta was so brazen that even Slate - hardly a tool of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy - was compelled to take note: it recently ran a piece entitled "The New York Times' Augusta Blog: Stop me if you've heard this story before."

Ouch. And from one of your own, even.

According to the Daily News, the NYT killed a column by Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Anderson "that disagreed with an editorial about Tiger Woods and Augusta National's refusal to admit women as members." Anderson argued that Woods shouldn't be dragged into the debate and should be left alone to ply his trade. According to Anderson, sports editor Neil Admur "had taken the column to [managing editor] Gerald Boyd. He wasn't quoting Gerald, but he said the editors didn't like us arguing with the editorial page."

Also snuffed was a column by sportswriter Harvey Araton. It, too, was nixed because it differed with Times' editorial opinion: in this case on the dispute between club president Hootie Johnson and noted silly-person Martha Burk. "Araton is believed to have written," according to the article, that "women face bigger issues than whether they can become members of a ritzy golf club."

No wonder the NYT loves "campaign finance reform" so much. With this sort of discipline, imagine what the paper might achieve without those pesky radio and TV ads diverting voters' attention from the paper's pronouncements.

One thing for sure. There'd be a spot for Howell Raines SOMEWHERE in the administration of President-For-Life John McCain.

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Wednesday, December 04, 2002

There but for the Grace of the Republicans......

We will return to Baghdad for the International Hide-And-Seek Championships right after these brief messages.


Many leftists in the U.S. think we on the right overstate the threat to freedom of expression emanating from their PC Thought Police. I submit that they need only look to other nations to confirm that the simple fact that we're paranoid doesn't mean that they AREN'T out to get us.

Item 1 - British Columnist Arrested "on Suspicion of Stirring up Racial Hatred"

"Robin Page, a columnist for The Telegraph, has been arrested on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred after making a speech at a pro-hunting rally.

Mr Page, 61, was detained in a police cell after being interviewed about remarks made by him at a country fair at Frampton-upon-Severn, Glos, on Sept 6.

Yesterday, he vehemently denied having made any comment that could be construed as racist during the address, in which he encouraged his audience to attend the Liberty and Livelihood March in London later that month.

Mr Page also told his audience that Londoners had the right to run their own events, such as the Brixton carnival and gay pride marches, which celebrated black and gay culture. Why therefore, he asked, should country people not have the right to do what they liked in the countryside.

Mr Page said yesterday: 'I urged people to go on the march and I urged that the rural minority be given the same legal protection as other minorities. All I said was that the rural minority should have the same rights as blacks, Muslims and gays.'

'What is wrong with that in a multicultural society? I said nothing that could possibly be interpreted as racist.'...

Mr Page, a well-known commentator on rural issues, had been invited to speak at the fair by its organisers, the Countryside Alliance and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. He said his comments had received a warm reception, and no one, including police officers present, had expressed any concern.

Last week, he was telephoned by an officer from Gloucestershire police and asked to attend an interview on Monday at a police station near his farm in Cambridgeshire. The caller said his chief constable had received a number of complaints.

Mr Page duly attended the meeting with two officers, but when he refused to answer questions without his lawyer present he was arrested and taken to Cambridge police station, spending 40 minutes in a cell.

He was told that he would have to stay there overnight if he wished to wait for his lawyer to attend, and so eventually agreed to be interviewed without him...."

Item 2 - French Novelist Sued for Calling Islam "Stupidest Religion"

French writer Michel Houellebecq actually had to appear before a three-judge panel in France to defend himself against charges of "inciting racial hatred." The suit was initiated by muslim groups upset that he had called Islam a "dangerous religion right from the start," and refered to it as "the stupidest religion."

The poor sap could have spent 18 months in jail if he had been convicted. He wasn't. But the muslim groups are thinking of appealing. They accused the author of stirring up "Islamophobia."

Sound familiar?

In an amusing postscript, Houellebecq said: "I have never displayed the least contempt for Muslims. I have as much contempt as ever for Islam."

Something tells me they won't take that as an apology.

Item 3 - Australian Senator Sued for "Racial Vilification"

John Ray's "Dissecting Leftism" brings this one to our attention. Western Australian Liberal senator Ross Lightfoot is being taken to court for calling Aborigines a "primitive race" in a newspaper article.

This one strikes me as particularly odd, since I wonder by what standard the Aborigines would be considered anything other than a primitive race. Even in the case of slander (at least in the U.S.) truth is an absolute defense. Have the Aborigines made some great contributions to the technological or scientific landscape of the world of which I am unaware?

At any rate, these three cases give us some idea of where the prospective Ministers of Thoughtcrime would take us. The folks who allowed it to happen in Australia, France, and the UK are the spiritual and philosophical bretheren of our own czars of political correctness.

And as we know; those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat their history course.

As taught by that same damned leftist professor.


We now return to our broadcast from Baghdad. Hans Blix has won the coin toss and elected to inspect......

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Sunday, December 01, 2002

Standing Up to the Green Giant

In my opinion, the environmental movement is the single most important long-term threat to the world's political and economic liberty. Yes, there's this pesky business of Islamofasicm to deal with - but dealt with it shall be. President Bush summed it up in these words, which, as I heard them spoken, struck me viscerally as no other Presidential utterance ever has:

"We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions - by abandoning every value except the will to power - they follow in the path of Fascism and Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends: In history's unmarked grave of discarded lies."

So while I see Islamofascism as a serious near-term threat that must be resolutely addressed; I am sanguine about the prospects for its ultimate resolution. Of the Greenies I am less sanguine. Truth be told, at times I am utterly disconsolate.

Consider: a Harris Poll taken in August revealed that 35% of Americans believe that our forest fires this summer were caused by.....GLOBAL WARMING. Uggh.

As a single data point, though, I could just chalk that up to the fact that 35% of Americans are dimwits. Looked at from that perspective, in fact, the figure is somewhat comforting since the percentage in my personal sample has been running much higher. Of dimwits; not ecoloons. The latter have pretty much avoided me ever since I put that “Pave the Rainforests” bumpersticker on my car. Some people are so humorless.

But I digress.

One of the many things that has made the ecoloons so dangerous is that their superficially benign cause (who, after all, could oppose clean air and clean water?) has cloaked them with an immunity to the sort of critical inquiry to which other ideologues and cause-mongers are generally subjected. If they say global warming, or acid rain, or old forest depletion is a serious issue, they are pretty much assumed to be correct. Most folks are either unaware of, or not inclined to ascribe significance to, the fact that the “solutions” to the problems the greenies uncover inevitably involve a dramatic expansion of the apparatus and reach of the state. As a result, they question neither the scientific conclusions themselves OR the philosophy underpinning the proposed remedies.

This is where leftist media complicity is essential. Take a look at this Media Research Center analysis of network reporting on the Bush administration decision to allow some utilities to upgrade their facilities without having to make costly upgrades in pollution-control technologies. The issue is actually a fairly complex and technical one of administrative rule-making, but the Bush administration believed that utilities were being discouraged from making minor improvements to enhance productivity or even reduce emissions for fear of invoking a requirement that they upgrade their entire facility. So it relaxed the requirement.

The administration's rationale was completely ignored by the major networks, which instead esentially framed the story as: “Bush helps big campaign contributors dirty the air.” Only one network presented BOTH sides of the debate: Fox News. No wonder the left hates them so much.

It would be difficult to overstate the extent to which environmental propaganda has infested the culture. Children in elementary school are routinely indoctrinated about such matters as global warming and the ever-popular thinning rainforests without even a word concerning the fact that such phenomenon and their effects are widely disputed among scientists. The Chicken Little version of environmentalism is treated as fact in our schools and in our media.

The ice caps are melting! The rainforests are dying! The Ozone is going away! SUV’s are killing us all! HELLLLLLPPPPPPPPP!

And the opposition from elected officials is notable for its absence. Mitch McConnell remains one of my favorite politicians for his steadfast opposition to speech-rationing (aka “campaign finance reform"). Where is his counterpart who will stand up to the environmental lobby and say “enough is enough?”

Where is John McCain? He’s always prattling on about standing up to “special interests.” How about standing up to this one?

That was a rhetorical question. McCain only stands up to the special interests who’s opposition will gain him adoring press, and this isn’t one of them. McCain, for all the incessant babbling about how “courageous” he is, is the political version of a high priced plaintiff’s lawyer. He only champions the oppressed when he knows he can win. And McCain defines winning in terms of the adulation of the New York Times editorial board.

But SOMEONE had best step up to the plate pretty soon. And not just in a behind-the-scenes kind of way either. SOMEONE - some elected official - needs to step up and say that the The Green Giant has no clothes. Before we’re all freezing in the dark.

In a gulag.

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