July 30, 2004

Detour of Duty


From the transcript of Senator John Kerry’s speech:

"I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response."

As Charles Johnson has pointed out, Kerry seems to be admitting here that another attack will be required for him to use military force. Underscoring that notion, Kerry declared that he would not send troops to war unless the threat was “real and imminent.” Instead of striking an enemy to prevent the growth of an imminent threat (one of Bush’s justifications for the Iraq war), Kerry is willing to wait for an enemy to mount an attack.

Kerry then says:

"I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security."

He has claimed this before but rendered it meaningless by also claiming that he would “treat the United Nations as a full partner ... in the war on terror." In his convention speech, he didn’t go this far, but he stressed the ”need to rebuild our alliances.”

Apparently Kerry wanted to give the impression that he could be a strong commander-in-chief, but his consistent criticism of unilateralism and wars of “choice” indicate otherwise.

Posted by Forkum at 02:50 AM

July 28, 2004

Democratic Duo


Senator John Kerry arrived in Boston today and said:

"I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to my opportunity, a little more than 24 hours from now, to share with you and all of America a vision for how we're going to make this country stronger at home and respected in the world..." [Emphasis added]

And that's the Democrats' theme for their convention: "Stronger at Home, Respected in the World" -- which is just a euphemistic way of saying, "More Socialism At Home, Less Military Self-Defense Abroad."

Though Senators Kerry and Edwards are not going to dress up like Super Heroes at the convention (we can dream), the GOP is nonetheless keeping an eye out for an "extreme makeover."

And Robert Tracinski at TIA Daily has some relevant historical context for one of the convention speakers: 34 Months vs. 444 Days: There Jimmy Carter Goes Again, Blaming America for His Failures.

Those looking for "a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations" might be tempted to remember, not the past 32 months, but the 444 days of the Iran hostage crisis, when Carter stood passive and paralyzed, his only attempt at action ending in a pathetically under-supported, doomed rescue mission. If one were to look for a moment at which America lost credibility and respect in the world, this would be it.

It was also the moment that created the terrorist threat we face today. It allowed an Islamic theocracy to establish itself in Iran, becoming the leading sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East for the last 25 years. And it showed a generation of Muslim fanatics that terror attacks and hostage taking -- the very strategies now employed by our enemies in Iraq -- could defeat America.

We've highlighted Clinton's legacy recently; let's not forget Carter's.

UPDATE July 29: Robert Tracinski of TIA Daily evaluates the first three days of the convention: The Collectivist Convention: The Democrats' Bait-and-Switch Philosophy.

What does America stand for? What are its founding ideas? In this contentious election, each side is trying to convince us that its policies and ideals are the answer to this question.

The Democrats have traditionally relied on a simple technique: appeal to the values of American individualism, while actually selling the American people the virtues of the all-powerful collective.

That is the theme that emerges from the first three nights of speeches at the Democratic convention. Note the pattern of this bait-and-switch philosophy.

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Posted by Forkum at 08:54 PM

July 27, 2004

Death Dealers


AP reported last Friday: Attacks in Sudan's Darfur region are genocide: US Congress

By a vote of 422 to zero, the House of Representatives and "the Senate concurring" passed the resolution introduced a month ago by New Jersey Democrat Donald Payne stressing that in Darfur 30,000 people have been "brutally murdered", 130,000 have fled to neighboring Chad and more than one million have been internally displaced by the violence.

On Sunday... Pressure grows on Sudan over Darfur crisis

Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir has accused the international community of targeting Islam in Sudan, the pro-government Al-Anbaa reported Saturday. The paper quoted Beshir as telling supporters in the central region of Gezira following Friday prayers that the real aim of the campaign against his country was not the situation in Darfur but to derail the growth of Islam in the country.

"The international concern about the Darfur issue is targeting the status of Islam in Sudan," claimed Beshir, who seized power in a bloodless Islamist coup in 1989.

Some Western countries, such as Britain and Australia, have threatened to intervene militarily. CNN reports today: Sudan 'will fight foreign troops'.

Sudan will retaliate against international troops if they are sent to intervene in the troubled Darfur region, Khartoum's foreign minister has said. [...]

Meanwhile a group calling itself Mohammed's army called on Muslims to prepare to fight Western forces sent on any mission to western Sudan.

UPDATE: AFP reports today that civilians in Darfur are being burned alive. (Via Little Green Footballs)

AU [African Union] monitors declared on Wednesday that government-backed Arab militiamen chained and burned alive civilians in a raid on a market in Darfur.

Posted by Forkum at 10:54 PM

July 26, 2004

Clinton Legacy II


CNN reports: Clinton calls on voters to choose Kerry.

"They [Republicans] need a divided America, but we don't," Clinton said. "We Democrats want to build a world and an America of shared responsibilities and shared opportunities ... On the other hand, Republicans in Washington believe that America should be run by the right people, their people."

He said the Bush administration gave tax cuts to the wealthy while raising out-of-pocket health care costs for veterans and underfunding education.

Posted by Forkum at 11:53 PM

July 23, 2004

C&F In Newspapers!


Earlier this week, The Detroit News published our recent Fahranheit 9/11 cartoon, making it the first Cox & Forkum editorial cartoon to appear in a large American daily newspaper -- approximately 200,000 circulation. Not only that, but there are plans to make our cartoons part of a new weekly feature. "Yaaahooooo!" doesn't quite express our high level of excitement.

This opportunity sprang from another: A few months back we were invited to participate in the The Detroit News Political Weblog. Not only did that lead to the publishing of our cartoons, but DetNews decided to retain us as a regular contributor to the blog. The new weekly feature for the print edition publishes excerpts from their blog, from many contributors, which I thought was an interesting merger of blogs and traditional newspapers.

Our sincere thanks to everyone at DetNews for this opportunity, especially Felix Grabowski, Nancy Malitz and George Bullard.

And that's not all the good news...


Arrangements have also been made for Investor's Business Daily to feature Cox & Forkum editorial cartoons. IBD is a national daily newspaper with a circulation of 200,000 (and they also have tens of thousand of online subscribers). What is the significance of this? For the first time ever, you can walk into major bookstores and airports in America (even some public transportation stations) and purchase a newspaper with a Cox & Forkum editorial cartoon. In fact, you may do so this weekend -- the IBD Monday Special edition (available Saturday morning through Monday) will contain our Martha Stewart cartoon. IBD is expanding its already excellent op-ed section, and our cartoons will be included on occasion.

Our deep gratitude goes out to Wes Mann, Glenn Larkin and everyone at IBD.

To sum up: Over 400,000 printed copies of Cox & Forkum editorial cartoons are being circulated this week with even more to come in the future. John and I are quite proud at the moment. So excuse us while we beam.


(Okay, so not everyone will be happy for us.)

Regarding Syndication

In our March First Annual Report, we mentioned our unsuccessful efforts to get national syndication. Not much has changed in that department, except that we added another rejection letter to the pile. But what has developed since then amounts to us syndicating ourselves as our client list gradually grows.

Besides Investor's Business Daily and The Detroit News, others subscribing to our cartoons include:

-- Libertad Digital, a Spain-based online magazine;
-- Hamodia, a daily New York City paper serving the Jewish community; and, a long-time favorite of ours...
-- The Intellectual Activist, the monthly Objectivist journal that has been publishing our cartoons since November 2001 (Thanks, Rob and Sherri!).

Still other publications have printed our cartoons (or plan to in the near future), including:

-- The Sprout, a Brussels-based monthly magazine dedicated to keeping an eye on E.U. government;
-- Iran Times International, a Washington, D.C.-based weekly newspaper for Iranians around the world (if you want to see one of our cartoons surrounded by Farsi, click here);
-- World Jewish Digest, a Chicago-based magazine billed at the "Largest Circulation Monthly Jewish News Digest in America";
-- Human Resource Executive, a national business magazine with a circulation of 75,000;
-- The News-Press a daily newspaper in Fort Myers, Fla.;
-- Downeast Coastal Press, a rural weekly newspaper in Cutler, Maine; and
-- Jewish Telegraph, a weekly newspaper based in Manchester, England.

And Cox & Forkum cartoons have also appeared in a few non-commercial media, such as:

-- Worksheets for the NIE Cartoons for the Classroom project (thanks again to Felix Grabowski);
-- Brown University-sponsored curriculum booklets for The Choices Program;
-- tidsskriftet Liberal, a Norwegian political publication that advocates laissez-faire capitalism;
-- Democrats for Israel, a club newsletter for a Los Angeles group; and
-- Seminars at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

We know that many of you have been rooting for us to get syndicated in hopes of seeing us in your local paper. That could still happen. In the meantime, you can write your local papers and point them to our Web site. Perhaps we'll be able to add them to our client list and be successful at syndicating ourselves.

Our thanks to everyone for your continued support and encouragement. See ya in the op-ed pages!

UPDATE July 26: John and I want to again express our gratitude to everyone for the kudos. As I said in the comments, it's satisfying to know that we have so many readers celebrating along with us. And thanks to all the bloggers who are commenting on and linking to our news this weekend (see a list here -- even Michelle Malkin noticed!).

I forgot to mention at least one other place our cartoons have been appearing: the Texas A&M student newspaper, The Battalion. (Thanks to Mike Walters for the reminder.)

Look for a new cartoon later today.

Posted by Forkum at 07:26 PM | Comments (87)

July 22, 2004

Clinton Legacy


FoxNews reports: Berger: 'I Deeply Regret' an 'Honest Mistake'.

Berger and his lawyer, Lanny Breuer, said the former Clinton adviser knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket and pants and inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio. He returned most of the documents, but some still are missing. [...]

The documents involved have been a key point of contention between the Clinton and Bush administrations on the question of who responded more forcefully to the threat of Al Qaeda terrorism. Written by former National Security Council aide Richard Clarke, they discuss the 1999 plot to attack U.S. millennium celebrations and offer more than two dozen recommendations for improving the response to Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network.

Also from FoxNews: Berger Steps Down From Kerry Campaign.

"I don't know what happened to these documents after they were put in Mr. Berger's pants, but it's been reported in the press that these documents related to homeland security and our airports and seaports and it's very interesting to note that those are two areas where Sen. Kerry has been critical of the Homeland Security Department," [Sen. Saxby] Chambliss [R-Ga.] said.

InstaPundit has numerous links and interesting comments on Sandy Berger's "honest mistake": here, here, here and here.

CNN reports: House panel opens own Berger probe.

Posted by Forkum at 12:12 AM

July 21, 2004

'Tall Poppies'


This cartoon was inspired by Robert Tranciski's first editorial on Martha Stewart: Martha and the Tall Poppies.

There is a notorious saying in Australia: "You have to cut down the tall poppies." In other words, anyone who dares to poke his head above the crowd must be attacked, denigrated, and brought down to the common level. I don't know whether this "Tall Poppy Syndrome," as it is called, is really typical of Australian culture, but it is a widespread trend in American culture -- and Martha Stewart has long been one of its favorite targets. [...]

Stewart's lawyers suggest she is being targeted because she is a successful woman in a "man's world." But ask Bill Gates what kind of welcome a successful man can expect today. In fact, both are the target of a deeper hatred.

The basis for this hatred is not mere envy, but a moral code that makes that ugly emotion seem legitimate: the morality of altruism. We have been told for centuries that the weak, the incompetent, the most down-and-out bums on the street are the most worthy objects of our moral concern—while the highest achievers are at best the bum's servants, at worst his exploiters. The result is an upside-down morality, a code in which the better you are, the worse you are. The more you achieve, the more you are hated.

This hatred of the good is not merely ugly; it is destructive. A culture that attacks its highest achievers will mow down its tall poppies -- and end up with nothing but weeds.

With the recent sentencing of Stewart, Tracinski has revisited the issue with a number of good TIA Daily posts, including: Martha Stewart's Achievement.

If the average person has little knowledge of how a business works -- of how it is run, what it does, and what is required to run it successfully -- then it is easy for the left to smear business leaders as "parasites" who get rich by exploiting the "little guy." How are people to know any better, if they know nothing of the history of great business leaders; if they know nothing of the structure of a corporation; if they know nothing of the innovation, unwavering focus, and long-range thinking necessary to create and maintain a successful enterprise?

The result is that people act as if they can ignore the history and origins of a great American corporation, like Microsoft or Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and treat it as if it just bloomed into existence as a fluke. And thus, the effort and virtue needed to create such a business seems, to them, just as vague and substanceless as the claims that insider trading is a terrible crime. The two ideas are equally devoid of substance and thus hold equal weight in people's minds.

We created one other Martha Stewart cartoon, and it turns out we were wrong about the effectiveness of her enemies if not their stature.

(Oh, and yes, we know the flower in the cartoon is not a poppy. It's a sunflower. There just wasn't enough room to write on a poppy.)

UPDATE: The Ayn Rand Institute has an excellent editorial on insider trading by Andrew Bernstein: The Injustice of Insider Trading Laws.

Martha Stewart was investigated for the "crime" of insider trading and later convicted of obstructing justice for lying to authorities during the investigation. But the questions no one is asking are: Should Martha even have been the subject of a criminal investigation in the first place? Should anyone be investigated for insider trading? Is insider trading objectively a crime?[...]

Contrary to the egalitarian premise giving rise to opposition to insider trading, individuals have no more right to information they have not earned than to wealth they have not earned. Should a talented analyst, for example, be forced to make his research publicly available if it would otherwise give him a competitive edge on the market? The mere fact of participating in the financial markets does not confer upon one a right to the hard-won knowledge of others.

In a free market, corporate policy on insider trading would be knowledge available to the public. If a potential investor held that the practice involved too much risk to the value of a stock, he could refuse to purchase the stock of companies permitting the practice. And companies desiring to prohibit the practice among their employees would be free do so by contractual agreement. They would have the moral and legal right to bring civil charges against an executive who violated his contractual obligations.

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Posted by Forkum at 12:01 AM

July 20, 2004

Vicious Circle


CNN reports: Palestinian prime minister says Gaza in 'chaos'.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei said Monday that Gaza was in "chaos," as two officials claimed to be chief of general security in Gaza and the West Bank. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, facing an unprecedented challenge to his power, said nothing. [...]

[Qorei] first announced his resignation Saturday after demanding greater power to revive Mideast peace efforts and to end turmoil and poverty gripping Gaza. Arafat refused Qorei's request for additional powers and verbally rejected his resignation. [...]

Sunday violence in Gaza included the burning of Palestinian intelligence offices in Khan Yunis by Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- a military offshoot of Fatah that Israel and the U.S. State Department considers to be a terrorist organization. The group also released people that the security services had been holding and stole weapons stored at the intelligence offices. Cars around the building were set afire.

Palestinian demonstrators exchanged gunfire Sunday with security service guards outside the Palestinian Authority's intelligence headquarters in Rafah in southern Gaza. Palestinian hospital sources said 10 people were wounded in the fighting that continued late into the night. Protesters complained corruption has characterized Arafat's leadership at the helm of the Palestinian Authority.

And The London Telegraph reports: Arafat forced to demote cousin as crisis deepens.

UPDATE: This Globe And Mail article reports that Arafat is resorting to censorship to conceal the chaos: Defiant Arafat reasserts grip on power. (Via James Taranto)

But the most troubling aspect of Mr. Arafat's reassertion of control was a warning to Palestinian journalists to cease all coverage of the kind of street protests that rocked the Gaza Strip and some West Bank cities last weekend. Reporters have also been threatened with severe punishment if they depict clashes between rival groups in the Gaza Strip, such as the gunfight in Rafah that injured 12 people on Sunday.

The ban effectively prevents international news outlets from covering these events, since they depend on Palestinian photographers, reporters and editors to produce news footage and written copy for broadcasters, print media and wire services.

The last time such threats were issued was in September of 2001, when Palestinian reporters were forced to suppress images of huge street celebrations in Nablus and Bethlehem after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. International news bureau chiefs for wire services including Reuters and Associated Press were warned that their cameramen would be in danger if their footage was broadcast in the West.

Posted by Forkum at 12:03 AM

July 19, 2004

Iranian Export


Reuters reports: CIA says 9/11 plotters passed through Iran.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the Iranian government had ordered its border guards not to stamp the passports of Saudi al Qaeda members moving through Iran after training in Afghanistan. An Iranian stamp could have made the al Qaeda members subject to additional scrutiny upon entering the United States.

Said [John] McLaughlin, [acting director of the CIA,] "We've known for some time ... I think the count is about eight of the hijackers that were able to pass through Iran at some point in their passage along their operational path."

However, he said, it was not surprising that the hijackers could transit Iran, given what he said was the country's history of supporting terrorism.

UPDATE: From CNN: Bush: U.S. probes possible Iran links to 9/11.

Iran is harboring members of al Qaeda, and the United States is investigating whether the Iranian government had a role in the September 11, 2001, attacks, President Bush said Monday. Bush said the CIA has found no sign of a direct connection between Iran and the suicide hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 people. [...]

On Monday, Bush accused Iran of harboring suspected al Qaeda members and developing nuclear weapons. If the country's Islamic government is to improve ties with Washington, the president said, it must hand over any al Qaeda members to their home countries, abandon its suspected nuclear weapons program and end its support of Islamic militant groups such as Hezbollah, which the United States considers to be a terrorist organization.

And Martin Lindeskoghas lots of links on Iran.

Posted by Forkum at 07:31 AM

July 15, 2004

For And Against, Too


From Rich Lowry at NRO: Two Johns, Two Positions: What's the Dems' position on Iraq? (Hat tip TIA Daily)

If Kerry wants to avoid the dishonor of voting for a war of choice, he has to admit that toppling Saddam Hussein was in some sense necessary. Indeed, Kerry said before the war that Saddam had to accept "rigorous inspections without negotiation or compromise" (he didn't), or face "enforcement" (he did). John Edwards was even more forthright. Liberal critics have accused Bush of calling Iraq an "imminent" threat -- in their minds, the ultimate in dishonest exaggeration -- but that word never passed Bush's lips. Edwards, in contrast, used it multiple times in reference to Iraq.

John "Imminent" Edwards now has forgotten his earlier alarmism. "When John Kerry is president of the United States," he said the other day, "no young American will ever go to war needlessly because America has decided to go it alone." How does a war against an "imminent" threat suddenly become "needless"? And again, why would Edwards, together with Kerry, vote to authorize such a "needless" war?

The title for the cartoon comes from a prior Kerry cartoon.

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Posted by Forkum at 05:36 PM

July 13, 2004

Blowing Smoke


For a thorough, must-read debunking of the deceptions and outright lies presented in Fahrenheit 9/11, including responses from Michael Moore, see: Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11 by Dave Kopel.

For an examination of Moore's irrational methods (e.g., conspiracy theories, ad-hominem attacks, maudlin appeals to emotions) and why the left embraces such tactics, see: The Left's Propagandist: Michael Moore and the Intellectual State of Today's Left by Robert W. Tracinski of TIA Daily.

For a look at why Moore is willing to show graphic images of casualties in Iraq (from dead babies to dead American soldiers) yet not willing to show graphic images of 9/11 or Saddam's atrocities, see: The Cowardice of Michael Moore by Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs.

And for other critiques of Fahrenheit 9/11, see:
More Distortions From Michael Moore by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball of Newsweek;
The importance of being Michael Moore by Mark Steyn at London Telegraph; and
Unfairenheit 9/11: The lies of Michael Moore by Christopher Hitchens at Slate.com.

I recently watched Fahrenheit 9/11. Some parts were downright offensive, such as Moore's depiction of the Iraqi dictatorship as a "sovereign nation" with kite-flying kids frolicking around Baghdad like it was a socialist utopia, and (as mentioned before) Moore's refusal to depict the 9/11 attacks or Saddam's atrocities in the same manner he depicts the casualties of the Iraq war. But because of such blatant editorializing and a general lack of objectivity, Moore's "documentary" is intellectually impotent, even as propaganda. Sure, some people will buy and eagerly swallow Moore's snake oil, but such people are probably lost causes anyway.

Despite whatever valid points could have been made in Fahrenheit 9/11 (e.g., that our government may be too closely tied to the Saudi regime or that homeland security is insufficient), all is lost in the incessant smearing of President Bush and his administration with innuendoes and personal attacks.

One example stands out. As part of a montage, Moore shows Condoleezza Rice saying: "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11." Frankly, I was shocked to hear this, because I have never heard the Bush Administration try to directly connect Iraq to 9/11. In fact, because of 9/11 Commission findings, there has been a recent round of reaffirmations by the Administration that an Iraq-9/11 connection did not exist and was not cited as a justification for the invasion. Had a prominent member of the Bush Administration slipped up, as Moore indicated? Well, no. As I learned from the Kopel article cited above, Rice was referring to a connection in relation to terrorism in general. Moore chops Rice's quote so that we don't get the full context, which is as follows:

"Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It's not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11, but, if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that lead people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York. This is a great terrorist, international terrorist network that is determined to defeat freedom. It has perverted Islam from a peaceful religion into one in which they call on it for violence. And they're all linked. And Iraq is a central front because, if and when, and we will, we change the nature of Iraq to a place that is peaceful and democratic and prosperous in the heart of the Middle East, you will begin to change the Middle East...." [Emphasis added]

By "a tie" Rice meant "a kind of tie." By editing out her elaboration, Moore wants the viewer to get the false impression that Rice stated there was a direct tie between Iraq and 9/11.

Such underhandedness by Moore reminded me of a scene in another movie, Timeline. (Warning: A spoiler follows.) A group of modern-day time-travelers find themselves in the middle of a feudal war in 14th-century France. They are taken as bound prisoners before an English lord who is to decide their fate. One of the time-travelers happens to be French, and the English lord accuses him of being a spy. The Frenchman protests, truthfully, that he is merely an innocent translator. As an apparent test, the Englishman asks him to translate a French phrase. The translator is reluctant, but fearing for his life he gradually translates the phrase: "I am a spy." The Englishman smiles, draws his sword and runs the Frenchman through, killing him.

If one could somehow confront the Englishman and condemn his gross injustice, it's not difficult to imagine that his justifications would be similar to Moore's: "It was a confession. You heard him yourself. That's exactly what he said. I didn't change his words." Such are the methods of a "documentary" character assassin.

By the end of the movie, Moore wants the viewer to believe that Bush is a Saudi-controlled dimwit who waged war in Iraq solely for maintaining America's "hierarchical society" in which the poor are used as cannon fodder for oil profits. No, I'm not kidding. Apparently Moore hates Bush for the fact that -- to whatever limited degree -- the President has acted militarily to protect capitalist America, Americans and our allies from foreign terrorists. In short, Moore is a socialist propagandist whose ends justify his means. "Baghdad Bob" would be proud.

We've already accused Moore of artistic fraud for selling his admittedly subjective opinion as documentary fact. We've already pointed out that Moore sided with the enemy when he stated that Iraqi terrorists and insurgents are Revolutionaries like America's Minutemen. Fahrenheit 9/11 merely demonstrates how much further Moore is willing to go to demonize America and whitewash the atrocities of our enemies.

Is it any wonder that the terrorist group Hezbollah has offered to help promote Moore's propaganda in the Middle East?

UPDATE July 14: Canadian reader Chris R. Chapman informs us that Michael Moore could be in trouble for allegedly violating Canadian election laws. ChargeMoore.com is a Web site that's been established by Campus Conservatives to push the issue with a petition. They've posted a National Post article that explains what happened (I couldn't find a link for the original Post article [UPDATE: they are now linking to the original article, and our link has been updated], but here's another source with the same story, and here's a London Free Press article from today covering the story).

Frankly, the Canadian law sounds like a violation of free speech to me. Kind of like America's "campaign finance reform" laws. Ironically, those laws worked in Moore's favor.

MooreWatch.com has the latest in other Moore news.

UPDATE July 31: Stuart Hayashi has posted a story on yet another deception discovered in Moore's "documentary" at MooreLies.com: The Case of the Doctored Headline.
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Posted by Forkum at 07:42 PM

July 12, 2004

Swing Votes


Posted by Forkum at 09:23 PM

July 11, 2004

Security Breach


CNN reports today: Sharon orders Israeli barrier construction continued

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday ordered construction continued on a barrier between Israel and the West Bank despite a nonbinding world court ruling that it was "contrary to international law."

Sharon also ordered "that the struggle against the opinion of the [International Court of Justice] be continued by all diplomatic and legal means."

Israel says the barrier serves to keep out terrorists, while Palestinians say it is an illegal land grab creating needless hardship for their people.

UPDATE July 14: Drew Pearce sent us notice of an e-mail protest campaign againts the U.N. court's ruling. Click here for details.

Posted by Forkum at 08:11 PM

July 09, 2004

The O.J. Effect


I don't agree with many of Alan Dershowitz' points in this op-ed about Saddam's trial (e.g., that America should accept even the possibility of an imperfect verdict or that "international law" should prevent us from doing as we please with Saddam), but Dershowitz does make a safe prediction:

Saddam's family has retained a small army of lawyers, which includes a nightmare team of anti-American advocates from around the Arab world and Western Europe, and features the daughter of Libya's dictator, Moammar Gadhafi. The stage is thus set for a highly politicized trial in which Saddam will try to turn the tables on his accusers by pointing fingers at "the occupying forces" and their puppet court.

Charles Johnson is keeping track of one of Saddam's lawyers, an American who gives us an idea of just how politicized the trial could become:

"I ardently oppose American and more broadly western neo-imperialism which is being imposed through the exploitation of the majority of the people of the world and the economic and military dominance of the United States. I believe that all people have a right and a duty to take all necessary measures to end the United States’ inhumane dominance of the lives of billions of people."

This lawyer, Curtis F.J. Doebbler, made news today for seeking Supreme Court action on Saddam's behalf. (Also via LGF).

Doebbler, the lone American on Saddam's legal team, wants the high court to declare the detention of the ousted Iraqi president unconstitutional.

He even has more to say about the America military:

"The world's most powerful army is an army of cowards. They are soldiers who are willing to risk the lives of innocent civilians to protect their own. I don't know about my fellow Americans, but I don't feel very much protected by such cowards."

Right. I guess that makes Saddam the "hero" for surrendering to "cowards" before being dragged like a rat out of his filthy spider hole.

Posted by Forkum at 04:43 PM

July 07, 2004

18 Tir


This cartoon was directly inspired by a quote in this AFP article from today: Iran Bans Commemorations of '99 Unrest. (Iran Va Jahan)

Iranian authorities signaled yesterday they had banned any commemorations marking this week's fifth anniversary of violent student protests amid an effort to prevent a fresh outburst of anti-regime dissent. In comments carried in the Iranian press, the security affairs chief for Tehran, Ali Taala, said the Interior Ministry had decided to bar any gatherings and rejected a request for a student event outside Tehran University.

Student representatives have also reportedly been summoned to meet Tehran police chief Gen. Morteza Talaie and Mohsen Gomi, a university representative of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"In recent years there have been excellent relations between police and students and today, hand in hand, we should try to forget the bad memories of the 18th of Tir," or July 9, 1999, Talaie was quoted as telling them.

In addition, the Tehran University campus will also be shut down for the anniversary. A pro-reform group, the Association of Islamic Students, told the news agency ISNA that it had been informed the measure was taken to "disinfect the campus because of cockroach infestation."

Although Deputy Interior Minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi later insisted to ISNA that "no decision" had been taken by his ministry on the event, he did assert it was "not necessary" to mark the deadly riots.

On July 9, 1999, pro-democracy students clashed with police in Tehran and other cities in unrest sparked by a heavy-handed police and vigilante raid on a smaller dormitory protest over newspaper closures. Officially, one student was killed and hundreds of others injured in the violence, which prompted a major regime crackdown on dissent in universities -- a major driving force behind the pro-democracy movement. On each anniversary of the unrest, the government has sought to prevent any gatherings from taking place.

In 2003, protesters merely took to the streets of Tehran in their cars, honking their horns, with the sidewalks and universities patrolled by huge numbers of police. Prior to the anniversary last year, some 4,000 people were arrested in the wake of other protests. [Emphasis added]

'Free Iran' News is compiling a list of anti-regime demonstrations in the U.S. and Europe.

Also: Iranians Demonstrate Their Love of Freedom, Again

UPDATE: Roger L. Simon on the Iranian freedom movement.

UPDATE July 8: Google search results for Iran today included the following:
Iran Quiet During Anniversary of Student Protests (VOA News)
Student protesters [from past protests] held in Iran (AP)
Groups Call For Release Of Iranian Protestors (RFE/RL)

And FreeRepublic.com has pics from the demonstrations in L.A. as well as other related news and articles here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More articles, some older:
Protest Outside Iranian Embassy [in Ottawa]
Analysis: Renewed Unity Among Iranian Students (RFE/RL, July 7)
Iran Police Deploy for Traffic; Students See Threat (Reuters, July 6)

UPDATE July 9: Martin Lindeskog reports on a demonstration in Sweden.

UPDATE: Pejmanesque.com has a number of Iran-related posts worth reading for today (July 9), including this BBC retrospective and an article on Iranian prison abuse (expect a "worldwide wave of revulsion" on that last one ... any minute now).

UPDATE: Bush expresses support for freedom movement by young Iranians. (VOA News -- we rewrote their bad headline). This article, dated today, quotes President Bush as saying:

"There are people inside of Iran who are watching what's happening -- young, vibrant, professional people who want to be free. And they're wondering whether or not they'll have the opportunity." [...] "The rule of free peoples will come to the Middle East," says President Bush. And Americans "will do all in our power to help them find the blessings of liberty."

Let's hope we're doing "all in our power."

Not only does it appear that all major protests were squashed in Iran, but regime jackboots are bragging about it: Tehran Police Hail Peaceful Protest Anniversary. (RFE/RL)

General Morteza Talaie, the commander of the Iranian capital's police force, said that 8 July was what he called a "totally normal" day, despite what he said had been an extensive campaign in the "counterrevolutionary media" highlighting the anniversary.

"Totally normal" day ... in a theocratic dictatorship. Here's what one Iranian student group (SMCCDI) reported about the "peaceful" day: Sporadic and brutal clashes in most Iranian cities.

The brutal intervention of the regime's official and plainclothes agents has lead, tonight, to the arrests and injuries of tens of protesters in most main Iranian cities. In Tehran alone, the clashes are wide spread and are happening in Amir Abad, Tajrish, Zarabkhane, Kargar, Guisha, Kargar, Sadeghie, Narmak, Noor, vali e Asr and Enghelab area.

Other clashes have happened, so far, in Esfahan, Shiraz and Mashad were those having defied once again the Islamic State are shouting slogans for a democratic regime change in Iran.

Many have been injured or arrested and transferred by full buses to the regime's detention centers,

The presence of the regime's foreign mercenaries and their brutality is easily noticeable. The regime seems to try to isolate the demonstrators in each area and to avoid a bigger ralliement by more demonstrators who are trying to use the darkness of the night.

Many homes have shut off their lights and people are shouting slogans on their flat roofs.

UPDATE:Iranian Dissident Says Events of July, 1999 "Marked the Death of Reform" (VOA, July 8)
In Iran, repressed journalists regroup (Washington Post, July 4)

In the country that the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders calls "the Middle East's largest prison for journalists,'' those dailies still available on newsstands brim with courtroom accounts of less fortunate publications, their editors summoned to the dock by the religious government that has closed more than 100 papers in the past four years.

And finally, here is a recent editorial discussing an issue crucial to the ultimate success of the Iranian freedom movement: Secularism & Iran (Persian Journal, July 6). I know nothing of the author, Ardavan Bahrami, but he makes some insightful observations and asks some very important questions:

Secularism and democracy are like two sides of a brain. In order to have a fully functional body, both sides of the brain with their specific responsibilities are needed in order to achieve the desired being. Therefore, those who comically advocate baseless concepts such as the Islamic Democracy can never deliver the true freedom our people are fighting for when divine rules and restrictions would oversee every aspects of their daily life.

The question that eventually we have to face is are we going to adhere to principles that would declare Iran a country with no official religion; hence, no advantages given to an Iranian Muslim over those Iranians from other religions? I am talking of a society that goes further than pre-1979 where an Iranian Jew, Baha'i, Christian or a Zoroastrian can become our country's prime minister or in case of a republic, its president.

Prince Reza Pahlavi if not the only Iranian political leader believing in such principles, is definitely the only one who has been brave enough to publicly state his vision for a country with no official religion. He has defended the freedom of all political beliefs/parties, guaranteeing individual rights such as; regional languages and dialects, sexual orientations, religious beliefs as well as all social freedoms that many other progressive and democratic nations in the world enjoy or may take for granted.

However, he or any other Iranian politically active cannot and will not succeed if we as individual Iranian do not participate or take steps for our future. At times in meeting other compatriots I feel we are still blurred in our understanding of secularism or that of a true democracy. Do we really understand what it is all about? If we do, how far are we prepared to go in a free, democratic and secular Iran of the future to defend its principles? Will we make concessions every now and then and therefore, undermining the principles of secularism for religious beliefs of one or two religious public figures or groups?

Posted by Forkum at 05:16 PM

July 06, 2004

Fine Young Cannibals


Above is the cover illustration we created for the March 2004 issue of The Intellectual Activist. In the cover article, Fine Young Cannibals, Robert Tracinski examines the socialistic ideas that united Senators Kerry and Edwards even when they were competing against each other in the primaries.

[Being "electable," unlike Howard Dean,] was the role of Senator Edwards, who dressed up class-warfare cannibalism in a benevolent demeanor -- but more important, it is the key to the success of John Kerry.

Kerry does not present himself with a sunny, smiling exterior, but with an appearance better calculated to win the job of president. While Edwards is cheerful, Kerry is grave; while Edwards is fair-haired and boyish, Kerry appears grey-haired and mature; while Edwards is smiling, Kerry adopts a sloped-eyebrowed, sad Basset-hound expression intended to make him appear thoughtful, dignified, senatorial -- and, he hopes, presidential.

While Edwards's sunny disposition is calculated to put a nice face on the class-warfare cannibalism of his economic agenda, Kerry's appearance is meant to cover up the most important feature of his campaign -- and the one issue on which the Democrats most need the protective façade of a gravely serious demeanor: an agenda of foreign-policy surrender.

I think the Edwards pick for vice president is also yet another flip-flop for Kerry, who in January dismissed the importance of Southern states (see this cartoon):

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is discounting notions that any Democratic candidate would have to appeal to Southern voters in order to win the presidency, calling such thinking a "mistake" during a speech at Dartmouth College.

As was noted then, that's exactly how Al Gore lost in 2000 -- his home state of Tennessee would have won him the presidency.
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Posted by Forkum at 04:01 PM

July 05, 2004



We're a little late on this one but couldn't resist. From an AP report last week: San Francisco rolls out the red carpet for the Clintons

"Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you," Sen. Clinton said. "We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

And to think she referred to Republicans as "extraordinarily ruthless."

Posted by Forkum at 04:46 PM

July 01, 2004

Let Freedom Reign


Posted by Forkum at 09:49 PM