Rudy Giuiliani, in a Separate Reality, and Not an Expert on Terrorism

January 8, 2010.  Rudy Giuliani:
We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.
We had an attempted attack under Bush, similar to the recent failed Christmas day attempt, by Richard Reid, the infamous "shoe bomber." And we had an attack on September 11, 2001 itself, not long after a President's Daily Brief ominously warned of Bin Laden's intent. That's two, not none.

Prior to September 11, the Bush administration also paid far less attention to the issue than the Clinton administration had, despite repeated warnings of a heightened risk.

But these aren't even the only mistakes Guliani has made on this same issue. In an interview with CNN's Larry King, and roundly criticizing President Obama, Giuliani asserted that not responding with a public statement very quickly, "convinces our enemies that we are not ready."

Ready for what? Ready to condemn terrorism yet again based upon terrorists' calendar, and not our own strategic aims?  Terrorists don't care about our readiness to talk about an attack afterwards. They are concerned with being eradicated.  With being thwarted in their attempts to begin with; with being painted even more unfavorably to the world (such as lowly pathological murderous criminals, rather than as those "engaging in a war," or "enemy combatants"); and with us not making a big deal out of it, just working steadfastly to eradicate them -- which is the last thing they want.

Furthermore, what expertise is this view of Guiliani's based upon? The view that thinks that terrorists attack because they don't want attention drawn to their attacks?

And what kind of thinking is this by Giuliani?  That by making a bigger deal of attacks, in a way that otherwise serves no strategic advantage, this somehow dissuades rather than bolsters exactly what terrorists want to perceive -- that they are having an effect upon the great United States?

Giuliani also erroneously stated in that same interview that Obama took ten days to respond. He also repeated this point over and over (watch it again). This is flagrantly incorrect. Obama took three. Bush took six to respond to the "shoe bomber."  When Larry King pointed this out, the former New York Major and aspiring expert countered with "six is less than ten."

Giuliani also seems to make a big deal out of the fact that the shoe bomber attempt was before September 11, 2001. He makes this assertion (also otherwise incorrect, but that is yet another mistake by Giuliani), as if before September 11 we didn't know anything. Perhaps Giuliani didn't.  But most experts and those who should wish to lead us on these issues now, certainly did (including the outgoing Clinton Administration), and repeatedly warned the Bush Administration about it.

Giuliani's strategy is wrong. He clearly knew almost nothing about the issue back before September 11.  And Guliani clearly knows very little about the issue now. He can't even get the basic facts correct, in order to make his otherwise still highly misguided points.  And he keeps getting invited back onto shows as if he is some kind of expert on the topic.


Anal Knowledge

Famed counter-terrorism expert Anne Coulter apparently shared the following knowledge with viewers of one of the most popular "news" shows on Cable in America:
It was spread throughout the diaper. Unless the bomb is inserted under the foreskin, and by the way, I don’t see a clear angle on the anus. That’s a pretty easy hiding place for this.
Where did Anne Coulter receive her training?

Eminent blogger "TBogg," fairly, or unfairly, on the situation:
Before they offshored her job/schtick to the vaguely foreign-looking and obviously discount-binned Michelle Malkin, supposed serious political shouty teevee shows used to book bile-filled exoskeletal “human” Ann Coulter to come on their shows and say very stupid things and lie and look terribly aggrieved because Americans JUST DON’T GET IT and so we’re all gonna end up being harem slaves or something. But, just like herpes, Ann Coulter is back.
And, as he points out, sharing her knowledge with America. Which,clearly, is better off for having it. Otherwise, we might have made scanners without clear angles on the anus.

Japanese Diplomacy on Whaling Issues

Which boat would you rather be on?

What might have prompted this? Apparently, it's an ongoing battle between Japense Whalers, and those trying to stop them.


Tiger Jokes, and a Fox Story

Somewhat pilfered from here:

Q: Who's the only person who can beat Tiger with a golf club?
A: His Wife.

Q: What was Tiger's shortest drive since an errant tee shot at the US Open?
A: When he pulled out of his driveway early on a friday morning last month right after his wife found out about his shenanigans.

Q: What's' the only time Tiger has ever failed to drive 300 yards?

Q: Why did Tiger crash into both a tree and a fire hydrant?
A: He couldn’t decide between a wood and an iron

Q: Why did Gillette drop his advertising contract?
A: Tiger admitted that car crash was the closest shave he'd ever had.

Q: What was Tiger Woods doing out at 2.30 in the morning?
A: He’d gone clubbing

Q: What’s the difference between a car and a golf ball?
A: Tiger can drive a ball 400 yards.

Q: What did Tiger shoot with his Automobile collection on that same early Friday morning?
A: A hole in one.

And, last one: What religions should Tiger A) give up, and B) convert to, in order to be able to recover as a person? Don't know? Click here.

Bonus question: What does the word "proselytize" mean?


Someone Get Fox's Brit Hume a Dictionary, or Lie Detector

Perhaps not much better textbook illustration of proselytizing could be had than the following statement:

The Tiger Woods that emerges, once the news value dies out of this scandal, the extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, rests on his faith. He's said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, "Tiger, turn your faith, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.
What was Brit Hume doing here?

He was trying to convert someone to his own religion. Definition number one of proselytizing.

He was trying to convert someone from one religion to another. Definition number 1Ae of proselytizing.

He was trying to spread the gospel, make converts, or bring someone into the fold. Definition 1B of proselytizing.

He was trying to convert someone from a different doctrine, cause or faith to another. Definition number two of proselytizing.

He was trying to espouse his own doctrine.Definition number three of proselytizing.

That pretty much covers all the bases.

So what did Brit Hume have to say about it?

He said he wasn't proselytizing. And this is not a blog you are reading. It is a Martian alien space ray death star morphed into your screen to make it look like a blog.Which would be true, if you were suddenly a character in a really bad sci fi movie looking at a computer screen posing Martian alien space ray death star.

And the fact that Hume was not proselytizing, might also be true, in that same bad movie. Or maybe just on Fox.


Religious Preachers and Converters - a Fox and Tiger Story

Prominent Fox Anchor Brit Hume, on Tiger Woods:
Tiger will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person is another story.
Yes, these are the things our media should be talking about.

Can Tiger recover as a person.

But wait, there is more.  Brit Hume on his alleged news channel offers Tiger some advice on how to recover as a person:
The Tiger Woods that emerges, once the news value dies out of this scandal, the extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, rests on his faith. He's said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, "Tiger, turn your faith, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."
A Fox anchor publicly preaching the gospel, and using the weight of his considerable news organization to do it, of converting one's religion, so he can be a GREAT example to the world:

Here's' the sermon that might well accompany Mr. Wood's repentance and transformation,  in the church of the Holy Fox.


Proper Framing in the Battle Against Terrorism

A recent post pointed out some of the apparent hypocrisy in Congressman Pete Hoekstra's statements relating to his political opponents, and fighting terrorism.

Lending more to the inherent idea of that post that Hoeskstra is just extremely partisan, rather than completely amiss on all the issues, Matt Yglesias, an influential commentator, notes that in 2008, apparently:
Peter Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, in an interview said the phrase ”war on terror” was the “dumbest term…you could use”. The Michigan lawmaker, who criticises the Bush administration for using an overly aggressive tone, says he has urged Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, not to use the expression.
If that is the case, Hoekstra has earned at least a small modicum of credibility on the terrorism issue.  He is right.  It is a counter productive phrase:

One of  the most important things that can be done in this effort to stem and eradicate sovereignless terrorism, is to make sure that those who engage in it are correctly painted as the lowly, common, psychotic criminals that they are, rather than as combatants in some sort of "war" or bigger effort, and not give recruiters and others ammunition for them to think that they are the "warrior combatants" that they like to think of themselves as.

Additionally, it is similarly imperative to classify, recognize, and most importantly of all, categorize this as an effort against radical terrorism, which happens to emanate from a radical, extremist, fringe of Islam, rather than even incidentally some sort of implicit condemnation of Islam itself.   Though subtle, the term "war" even though it is teamed, in the phrase, with the word "terrorism" might again play into this broader concept, particularly if pains are not taken to correctly categorize this as just noted, rather potentially impugning or becoming suspicious of the broader religion itself.

Yglesias, on the other hand, doesn't see it:
Ever since the Bush administration first unveiled the term, my feeling has been that this is an overdebated issue and it doesn’t matter all that much one way or another.
Needless to say, we disagree.

But Yglesias goes on to note, however: "That said, 'war on terror' does seem to me to have a variety of bad implications, including the fact that it’s hard to see how you’re ever going to be able to say you’ve 'won' something like a 'war on terror.'”

But the idea that you "can't win"-- unless one is tying it to this inane idea that we are "at war" and so be acceptable as an excuse for the Constitution of the United States to now be weakened, when this "war" has no definable end and may well exist in perpetuity -- would not be the bad implication that strategically leaps to mind, as noted just above.

The NY Times Publishes One of the Worst Pieces Ever

We are going to paraphrase yesterday's editorial in the NY Times.

Remember, we are loosely paraphrasing, while making sure to cover all relevant major points:
UFOs and scary science fiction scenarios have no proof, climate change is the same, the end.
For a contrast with the idiocy of this "editorial" in the Times, see the basic facts, in stark contrast.

Out of the blue, after going on and on about Y2K fears, and the like, at the very end of his piece, the author (who doesn't even deserve to have his name mentioned), brings up climate change for the very first time, and simply decides that it is in the category as these other, largely imagined,or even farcical, fears.

What is even  more important are the author's reason's. What are his reasons?

None. He just decides it. (If one does google this person, you will see that this is not necesarily by purposeful omission. He is a professor of philosophy, in New Zealand.)

As for the NY Times' reasons for publishing this abject piece of manipulative and extraordinarily ignorant piece of crap?

Who knows. Maybe they think it is provocative:  say, along the lines of suggesting that we don't know if the Times publishers are having gay, extramarital sex and cocaine parties with insider coal industry executives (but leaving out that we don't know), just that it "seems to us" they are. The end.

This has been an editorial.

Great Democratic Strategy -- That is Bad Policy, and Will Backfire Politically

Economist Robert Kuttner was on "Bill Moyers Journal" Friday.  He suggested that although the current health care bill was not good, it should be passed because it will make Democrats look bad if it isn't.

This is vintage Democrat strategy: If we pass a bad bill that the right hates (which, in this instance, they actually have good reasons, unlike most of the reasons expressed when the idea was first introduced early last year) and many moderates and several noted Liberals also hate, it will help us!
Kuttner: Well, it's so far from what I think is necessary that I don't think it's a it's a good bill. But I think if it goes down, just because of the optics of the situation and the way the Republicans have framed this as a make-or-break moment for President Obama, it will make it easier for the Republicans to take control of Congress in 2010. It will make Obama even more gun-shy about promoting reform. It will create even more political paralysis. It will embolden the Republicans to block what this president is trying to do, some of which is good, at every turn. So I would hold my nose and vote for it. . . .
Moyers: Aren't you saying that in order to save the Democratic president and the Democratic Party in 2010 and 2012 you have to have a really rotten health insurance bill?
Kuttner: Well, when you come down to one pivotal moment where a bill is before Congress and the administration has staked the entire presidency on this bill and you're a progressive Democrat are you going to vote for it or not? Let me put it this way, if I were literally in the position that Joe Lieberman is in and it was up to me to determine whether this bill live or die, I would hold my nose and vote for it even though I have been a fierce critic of the path this administration has taken. . . .
Not Really. Passing a good bill, and articulating and selling to the country why it is a good bill, will help Democrats.

Recognizing a bad bill, and refraining from passing it simply for the "sake of getting something done" (thereby not also playing into Republicans charges that Democrats believe more bad or questionable government is better than less government), while selling what they are trying to do and why,  will help Democrats.

Passing a bad bill will hurt Democrats.

Just not in "Democrat Strategy World."  Which is kind of like Wayne's World. Only dumber.

In fairness to Kuttner, the above analogy may not apply to him, since what he said was: "Well, it's so far from what I think is necessary that I don't think it's a it's a good bill."  This could be read a lot of ways, but it's possible he still believes the bill is a  net improvement, just minimally relative to what the thinks it could or should do.

We don't. We think it is a bad bill.

And a lot of people agree.

A Study in Contrast -- Chest Thumpers, versus Strategists

Glenn Reynolds, January 1st, 2010:
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Heckuva Job. “The reason the country is uneasy about the Obama administration’s response to this attack is a distinct sense of not just incompetence but incomprehension. . . . Any government can through laxity let someone slip through the cracks. But a government that refuses to admit that we are at war, indeed, refuses even to name the enemy — jihadist is a word banished from the Obama lexicon — turns laxity into a governing philosophy.”
Glenn Greenwald, December 31st, 2009:
As always, Charles Krauthammer is one of Al Qaeda's greatest allies:
Obama reassured the nation that this "suspect" had been charged. Reassurance? The president should be saying: We have captured an enemy combatant -- an illegal combatant under the laws of war: no uniform, direct attack on civilians -- and now to prevent future attacks, he is being interrogated regarding information he may have about al-Qaeda in Yemen.
He sounds just like Richard Reid and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Who are Reid and Mohammed? The infamous al-Qaeda "shoe bomber" and "plot mastermind," respectively, who made it eminently clear they view themselves as warriors, not as the common, psychopathic, murderous criminals that they are.  As Greenwald points out,  the worst thing we can do is play into this notion that terrorists are some warriors, engaged in a "war" against us, rather than some fringe extremist murderous terrorists.

Krauthammer doesn't get this, and seems to respond as if this is all a real life video "war" game. And as if the grave threat that we face from terrorism means that somehow calling it something "big" helps us, rather than hurts us. But then again, Krauthammer preaches on Fox, and the Washington Post.

More Fox Balance

Our previous post pointed out that Fox is really an advocacy organization that poses as one that is delivering news, thus making it far more effective, and appealing, than outright advocacy.

As the cleverly named site "Balloon Juice" notes, Fox just decided that Democrats were calling for Janet Napolitano to step down.

We're not convinced Napolitano's initial reaction to the news of the Christmas airline bomber was all too swift., but still, a random state senator somewhere, and the former aide to moderate Republican in name only Joe Lieberman, does not exactly represent Democrats.

Except to "Fox," of course, who started off their article, entitled, "Democrats call for Napolitano to Step Down Following Failed Attack," with the sentence "Democrats have joined the ranks of those calling..."

Yeah, technically true, since former Lieberman aide Dan Gerstein and New Jersey State Senator Richard Codley, are "Democrats."

But blatant spin from an organization that bills itself as a news organization.

But is not:

(Or, regarding Fox, see this video, ignoring the first thirty seconds of similarly counter productive, liberal Keith Olberman spin. (As if what Fox did was "bias," and Olbermann did not just play right into the common, but false, "the media is liberal, Fox balances it out" perception. But then Olbermann sometimes writes on this site.))

This is not to weigh in on the substantive merit of Codley or Gerstein's view. It is to point out that Fox clearly cherry picked two random Democrats out of the top several thousand of the country's leading Democrats, to push their own idea that Napolitano should step down and make it seem like there was a wider bipartisan chorus in support of this than their is.

That's not news. That's a clear agenda. Except, of course, to Glenn Reynolds.


"Brush Back Pitches?? Is This Even Possibly True?

Is Glenn Reynold's correct here when he writes, in the WSJ:
It is, after all, the Obama administration that declared that its critics at Fox News Channel are not real journalists, and that Fox is not a "legitimate news organization." In doing so—as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted with a reference to "brushback pitches" in baseball—the White House's goal was just the same as that of the prosecutors in the president's native city: To chill criticism, and to get journalists to think twice before stepping up to the plate.
Of course Reynold's mischaracterizes what Gibbs was saying.  But Reynold's see's Fox as "Fair and Balanced," so it would easy for him to do that.  

But still, "brushback pitches? (Brushback pitches?!!) What kind of thinking is this by the Obama Administration?

The problem with Fox, it was pointed out here in October, is that:
Fox is...an advocacy organization either designed or with the effect of coming across as far more persuasive than an outright advocacy station, by selling itself as "news" and throwing in little tidbits of apparent "balance" amongst a barrage of slant, misleading innuendo, misleading statements, and wildly relevant omissions.
Therein, it was also suggested that:
In other words, now the case is not about Fox, because what Fox does is pose as political and policy news station when it is actually in large part an ideologically motivated and highly manipulative advocacy station, but the case it about the entire media. This builds solidarity between Fox and the rest of the media, when exactly the opposite is required (let alone the fact that Fox often goes after the rest of the media, which in turn is too scared to make a real story out of Fox's constant distortions). And it also makes it seem now that the issue is not so much how bad Fox is (see above again for what it does), but simply that the "media is bad" and is thus about a thin skinned White House that seems to be attacking media and viewpoints that it does not like. [Update: on the day this suggestion appeared, and subsequently, numerous columns around the blogosphere popped up, bewilderedly asking, in effect "how can the rest of the media possibly get Fox's back on this?"]
This plays directly into Fox's characterization of what the White House is doing. And it bolsters the alarming argument, false as it is, that the White House is trying to have a chilling effect upon independent reporting and disparate viewpoints.
Saying one is serving the equivalent of the "brushback pitch," as if one is only talking to one's base and no one else in America, in effect accomplishes much the same thing. 

It is terrible framing. 

But that is what Democrats do best. (Second best is argue self righteously about how good they are at framing, and how anybody who does not see it the way they see it, or, as they put it, "the truth," is hopeless anyway. Which is why they continue to let well meaning but profoundly biased people like Glenn Reynolds (see here, here, here, here, and here), have a profoundly disproportionate influence on the debate in America today. (For instance, a hundred and thirty one million pages views in one month period alone.)

Getting back to Reynold's op-ed, he is mixing apples and oranges (but one supposes that as a law professor he can't see that either). But while the first part of his article is pretty strong, saying that Fox is not real journalism is not remotely akin to accepting prosecutorial abuse of journalists, as he tries to falsely insinuate.  But given Democrats poor framing of this issue, once again, it is easy to see how Reynold's can see it this way.) 

What the Obama administration means is that an advocacy organization that sets itself up as a news station is far more effective than an outright advocacy organization, because it is designed with the purpose of making people think its purpose is objectively covering the news, when it's purpose is very different. By making people think they are coming to their own conclusions -- by occasionally throwing in a small tidbit of apparent balance by taking or arguing a position or fact contrary to what the station wants to maintiain, all the while reminding viewers how "fair and balanced" Fox is -- Fox has a far more powerful effect (and broader viewership) than outright advocacy ever could. 

Of course, Reynold's can't see this, because as his blog almost constantly illustrates, Fox backs up his vision of the world. 

The news is not supposed to do that. It is supposed to sober you up. Fox is exceptionally good at making you think it is doing that, while doing quite the opposite. 

Good Idea, Except They Probably Wouldn't Bother to Wipe Their Feet

From the popular (and well named!) blog, "boing, boing" comment section, regarding a front door mat available at Target that literally says "Come back with a warrant":
Ooh! I want one! Better yet, I want a doormat that actually has the text of the Fourth Amendment on it. If someone's gonna violate my most basic, Constitutionally-protected civil liberties, I want them to have to literally wipe their feet on the Bill of Rights in order to do it.
Here's a funnier one:
...Cop: Our dog smelled something in your car. Can we search your car? Me: I was standing right here, and I heard the other cop tell you the dog didn't find anything. If the dog had found anything, you wouldn't have to ask me to search my car. That would be the probable cause that you don't have. (I then made the mistake of relenting to their ridiculous search, and they repaid me by removing EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE SEATS from my car and leaving them on the side of the highway at 2am. I was young, and that was the 1st and last time I ever consented to a search. It was also the night I learned to never trust anything that comes out of a cop's mouth.)
As they say on the internet (or as Sunday talk show host John McLaughlin says every time he ends one of his shows), boing boing!

As a segueway into a different John McLaughlin (and slightly more entertaining one):

Rebound? -- Seriously -- REBOUND???!

Anyone not familiar with Jim Mora's greatest PR moment ever (well, greatest for those who like coach press conferences, not so great for Mora), should check it out.

In a piece that goes to great lengths to argue that the economy has not "rebounded," Tom Blumer, on the Instapundit/Pajamas Internet site, says that when he saw the word "rebound" used in the media, he was reminded of the scene from the movie "Breaking Away," where the dad used car salesman says to the son, half increduously, "[you gave them a] refund?  Refund???!!"

Which reminded us of Jim Mora:

As for Blumer -- while the economy has not fully recovered, and (as is almost always the case with macroeconomics, despite the plethora of prognosticators that predict otherwise) we can't be sure when or to what it extent it will fully recover -- one has to wonder just how this exact same set of facts would be spun by Blumer were, say the situation reversed, and had Obama been the President for the past eight years and Bush now in office for the past year. (Or even if just McCain or Huckabee or (frightening as it is), Palin, were president, instead of Obama.)

It probably would read like a completely different reality; with Blumer, instead of cherry picking some reporter who probably did overstate the recovery (despite the fact that was not his point) going half apesh*t about how the media was not talking up how well the economy was doing, how a great catastrophe had been averted, and what a great job the administration had been doing.

Seriously. Who stoops to this actual argument:
You haven’t "rebounded' until you’re back to where you were.
Yeah you have. Just not fully.

Or, instead, next time your teammate takes a shot from the three point line in basketball, and inside the guard, you pull down the "rebound," just remember: It's not a rebound, because the ball did not get back to the three point line.  

Even if one agrees that the word "rebound" (qualified or not, in which case the argument would be that it should have been qualified, which is a whisper compared to the conniption fit that Blumer throws by saying "rebound" like Mora said "playoffs" (or the Breaking Away character's dad said "refund?!!")), is not perfect, Blumer also uses the wrong measure; namely the last quarter of growth, when the issue is whether the economy has rebounded back to some measure of vitality, in which case, an average growth would be more appropriate.

But the first part of that equation is whether the economy has (so far) rebounded out of the enormous hole it was in.  The answer to that, however temporary (or not, you predict), is yes. Just not in Blumer's world, with Obama as president.