TCS Daily


Rescue, But Not Outrage

By James K. Glassman - August 17, 2009 12:00 AM

Early this morning (Hong Kong time), I was interviewed on CNN International (here's the video) about the consequences of recent rescues of American citizens sentenced to long prison terms in some of the world's worst countries — specificially, former President Bill Clinton's mission to North Korea on Aug. 5 to bring out journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee and Sen. Jim Webb's trip to Burma over the weekend to extract John William Yettaw.

Ling and Lee had begun 12-year terms at hard labor (though the labor had not started yet when Clinton arrived) for crossing into North Korea, and Yettaw, a strange person, had begun a seven-year term for swimming out to the residence of Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won the elections of 1990, which would, under normal circumstances, have made her prime minister. Instead, the junta nullified the vote, and she has been under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years. She won the Nobel Prize in 1991.

The moderator wanted to know the effects of these "ad hoc" rescue activities — her phrase, not mine.

Certainly, it's a proper function of government to protect Americans being abused, held hostage, or wrongly incarcerated in foreign countries. But we should also beware of the risks of such actions — one of which is to put our citizens abroad in greater peril in the future from irresponsible governments that want to take hostages and gain advantages themselves. The main reason the U.S. government does not pay ransom to spring hostages is that such payments encourage more hostage-taking.

There's no doubt that in the recent cases irresponsible governments did gain advantages. Kim Jong-Il, the North Korean dictator got his picture taken with Bill Clinton after years of being shunned and dissed by U.S. leaders. Yes, Clinton was on a "private" mission, but that's a nuance of American law — lost not only on the North Koreans but on others they want to impress. Clinton is the husband of the Secretary of State and himself president who served two terms. Similarly, Burma's leaders got an audience with a U.S. Senator (good piece here from Christian Science Monitor). Webb, to his credit, must have insisted on seeing The Lady, too (as she is called), because he spent time with her too.

So there's the risk, for example, that Iran will have even more incentive to grab and hold Americans, like those three hikers who crossed its border a few weeks ago. Iran is also trying an Iranian-American scholar and Maziar Bahri, a highly regarded Newsweek reporter, in the Stalinist "show trials" going on right now in Tehran.

But the moderator was wrong to call the Clinton and Webb missions "ad hoc." They are part of an Obama Administration policy that may be even more dangerous than the moral-hazard-style risks that have been incurred. The White House wants to "engage" hostile regimes, and it apparently sees episodes like the ones in North Korea and Burma as opportunities to open up dialogues and perhaps effect a talking cure. Former President Clinton, for example, is said to have had "exhaustive" talks with Kim.

About this approach, it is right to be skeptical. Our differences with North Korea are profound, and it is hard to see how engagement alone can cure them. As John Bolton, former ambassador to the United Nations, has said several times, including here at Stanford: "Diplomacy is not a policy. Diplomacy is a tool."

I was intrigued by a piece about North Korea policy by Nick Eberstadt in the Asian Wall Street Journal in June. He first laid down the premise that Kim is not going to be talked out of what we see as the "nuclear problem." In fact, Dear Leader wants to make that problem much bigger. Eberstadt, an AEI scholar, argues: "The only way forward is a fundamental paradigm shift in dealings with Pyongyang: The goal of the United States and its partners should not be a negotiation breakthrough but rather a threat reduction." He then goes into specifics.

What I do know is that it makes me queasy to think that, while we are rescuing our own, we are neglecting — and not even talking about — those not so fortunate.

The forced-labor camps in North Korea are an abomination. It is reliably estimated that there are about 200,000 prisoners — many of them family members of those accused of political crimes. Many of them work 12 to 15 hours a day in coal, gypsum, and limestone mines and exist on scant rations of corn. The terrors are detailed in a remarkable book by Kang Chol-Hwan, who, as a nine-year-old was sent to the camps, along with his entire family, because his grandfather was alleged to have been unreliable by the regime. Kang remained for 10 years, was released, then escaped to the South, where he is now a journalist. His story is told in a book called The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag.

A comprehensive piece on the camps by Blaine Harden, an excellent reporter, appeared last month in the Washington Post, headlined "N. Korea's Hard-Labor Camps: On the Diplomatic Back Burner." Harden recounts harrowing tales of prisoners being forced to sit within 15 feet of fellow prisoners being executed, with pebbles stuffed in their mouths. Kang tells of prisoners working in 13-below-zero weather dressed in rags, prisoners hunting for rats and insects to eat, living in rags and dying miserably of disease. One soccer star on the North Korean team that lost a key match with Portugal had been in the camps for 20 years when Kang left.

These camps remind us of Nazi concentration camps or the Soviet gulag, but the difference is that have been operating now for more than 50 years (you can view Yodok and the other camps on Google Earth).

In June 2005, Kang Chol-Hwan visited President Bush in the Oval Office, and the two talked for 40 mintues. At the time, Kang despaired that no one was paying attention to what was happening in the North Korean camps. "I now realize," he writes, "that the Lord wanted to use President Bush to let the blind world see what is happening to His people in North Korea.... The bleak reality, in which nearly no one cared about the ghosts of three million famished souls and hundreds of thousands more in the concentration camps in my home country, was instantly changed."

Unfortunately, that's not quite true. George W. Bush did a great deal for dissidents like Kang. Today, however, we have rescuers for the few, but little concern for the fate of the many — in North Korea, Iran, and Burma, to name the nations at hand. Where, for example, is Washington's condemnation of the show trials? What are we doing — besides the superb work of Voice of America's Persian News Network and Radio Free Europe's Radio Farda — to help peaceful, freedom-desiring Iranians communicate with the outside world and to help the outside world give them moral, if not material, support.

I understand very well that foreign policy sometimes requires compromise with bad regimes. I understand realism. But I also understand that diplomacy — certainly public diplomacy — requires not just missions of mercy but outrage and compassion founded on principle.


This article first appeared on JamesKGlassman.com.
Categories:

111 Comments

Harsh but...
The west should stop feeding people from DPRK and other totalitarian regimes.
Such resources only keep the tyrants in power.
If dear leader kills off all is victims, who will worship him?

That's correct!
I grew up in a totalitarian dictatorship in Prague and was embarrassed about the policy of Western leaders: detente, bailing out etc.
We wished you to stop it, we wished you to bomb the commies away - even at the price of our dying as a collateral damage. Nobody can imagine the horror of a life in a fear society.
Then Reagan came -- and things changed.
Maybe without Reagan we would be bailing the commies out up to now ...
Jan Korbelik

Outrageous 'rescue'
For sure the dictator got a great reward for the kidnapping as the article mentions. In addition to the recognition with Clinton and all that, I'm pretty sure they gave him some secret rewards too.

North Korea is a 'militant medicacy' state; that's what they do. To hold hostages for ransom means nothing to them, especially if that can get the US to grovel as they did. Since they've always been rewarded for their bad behaviour in the past, why woudn't they continue?

My personal opinion is that I wouldn't humiliate my country by such grovelling. I figure that if you're willing to risk your life going to some shhiit-hhole country like that, then get killed or held-hostage, then well it's sucks to be you.

"proper function", are you sure?
Who says it's a proper function to protect Americans being abused? And do mean just in overseas situation? Do you know how many times that very situation has been used as a 'causus belli', throughout history by many countries?

Remember old 'gun-boat' diplomacy when some government would send in the gun-boats and threaten to wipe out a city if they didn't free say, the drunken sailors who misbehaved? Ok, you don't want the US to do that, but grovelling, and big pay-offs are all right for this author I suppose.

In fact it's also ironic because the US government doesn't even protect its own citizens from abuse, and by that very same goverment, even within the US border.

I expect many examples now of government abuse.










Perot style rescue
That is what we need more of and a government that won't interfere with such rescues.

Hahah...Hillary got pissed because of all the coverage Bill gets on NK
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knk_g8ws8as

If I was there, I would have asked, "Is it true that your President Obama sent your husband there instead of you because he felt that only Bill could get the job done? And, how you feel about the rumors concerning Bill and the two asian rescuees on that long flight home?"

Citizen support of Honduras
For a country like the USA that is supposed to support rule of law, official support of a potential dictator like Zelaya is unforgivable.
However, liberty loving citizens can certainly voice their support for the current government in Honduras wherever and whenever we can.

Arms for hostages
Such eloquent knocks, you bestow on Bill Clinton for rescuing two Americans.

How, then, would you describe a president-elect who secretly dealt with a revolutionary government who held hostage the staff of an entire United States Embassy? And who agreed to supply them with arms, so they could fight an enemy we were also supplying with arms, so it could fight them? Wasn't he promoting a war by arming both sides?

And what could you say about the the fact that a part of the secret deal was to NOT return the hostages until the day after Jimmy Carter stepped down from office? Wouldn't all that be considered rewarding bad guys for their bad behavior? And making the hostages pay for his own political grandstanding?

"My personal opinion is that I wouldn't humiliate my country by such grovelling. I figure that if you're willing to risk your life going to some shhiit-hhole country like that, then get killed or held-hostage, then well it's sucks to be you."

arms for hostages
Some rescue, more like political theater. I'm sure the entire deal was worked out before Clinton even got there. It was a win-win for all sides; the stupid women got out, Clinton got the praise and admiration from naive people that his ego so needs, and the dictator got in the spotlight, plus whatever millions, or food or energy aid that was kept secret.

Here's how I would describe the other affaire d'etat that you describe; sleazy, sickening, outrageous, depraved. I'll bet you actually made the false assumption that since it was a Rep. I would in favor of it.

The only think I regret about my comment was my misspelling of 'militant-mendicacy'.

I stand by my opinion that if a person is stupid enough to go to such a place, then it just sucks to be you if you get in trouble.

Stupid women
It would have been very unusual had the deal not been worked out before Clinton ever got there. Political celebs don't like going off on a mission with great fanfare, only to be stood up at the other end. No surprises, please.

It would have been like Richard Nixon, bravely venturing forth to meet the Red Chinese on their Great Wall-- only to be held up at customs for some insoluble passport irregularity, and sent home again. Such things just aren't done!

Bit I'll take issue with you about the stupidity of those two reporters. It makes a huge difference whether the DPRK gets to torture and enslave its population in total darkness, with no witnesses, or whether we still have reporters who put their own lives on the line trying to shed some light on the crimes.

I say that even though these women may not have been mere reporters, but complicit in assisting the underground railroad into China. It would not matter; they were doing brave and necessary work on behalf of human beings everywhere.

If it were 1850, and someone in your neighborhood had been caught running escaping slaves out of the South-- or even just reporting on thdeir plight-- would you feel like they got what they deserved? Or would you think an intervention by some prominent politican in their behalf might be in order?

Militant mendicacy?
Or militant medicacy? Either way, I'm having trouble following the thought.

If Kim were a military mendicant it would describe an entirely different cast to his personality than if you were to say he was militantly medicated. Maybe you were trying to say he's mendaciously militant.

Not inaccurate would be to consider him a mendacious militarist and a medicated mediocrity. But the words you've used, to my understanding, do not yet exist in nature.

By which I intend nothing militious. :)

N. Korea the militant mendicant
It means a beggar who uses violence to get money out of you. Another example would be a squeegy kid who pretends to ask for money by cleaning your windshield, but will break your mirror if you don't pay up.

This is the history of north korea.

on those stupid women
There is no evidence that they were complicit in any sort of underground railway, so it's just speculation. Most reporters who do such things are trying to go for the accolades of their field; the pulitzers, etc. Others have their own psycological problems, like many war reports.

Our example about the US underground railway seems odd considering your history of comments about the notion that if it's the law of the land, then you must obey or leave the country. I've seen you take that tack with others many times. If you were consistent you would then say that a politician should not have intervened in that case because slavery was legal at the time.

Personally I'm fine with breaking unjust laws; which means just about all of them if they are not the 'natural laws', like don't kill, steal, rape and such.

This means that I would have been helping the slaves, but you would have been slavish confomist to state control over people.

Interesting insights
"Most reporters who do such things are trying to go for the accolades of their field; the pulitzers, etc. Others have their own psycological problems, like many war reports."

So according to your understanding, one hardly ever encounters an investigative reporter who sincerely believes in the mission of the press: to uncover and inform the public of those things that go on behind closed doors. Or, in words often retold, to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable".

Have you considered that such a cynical view of the species is often used to relieve the individual of responsibility for his (or her) fellow man? The idea is that as all of us are corrupt, uncaring creatures we owe nothing to anyone.. and have no need to care about their fates. Instead, we align ourselves with the winners. The wolves, as it were.

The desire for recognition and personal renown certainly plays some small part in the thinking of those who risk their lives, safety and freedom to uncover stories of great importance. But it seems to me that this desire is hardly at the core of their quest. Rather what they seem to have been doing is shedding light on a great, and ongoing, crime the public should be thinking more about. And while doing so, placing themselves in some great personal danger.

To all of which, I assume, your position is that they should do whatever time the DPRK deems appropriate to their crime.

You make one further comment that confounds me: "Our example about the US underground railway seems odd considering your history of comments about the notion that if it's the law of the land, then you must obey or leave the country. I've seen you take that tack with others many times."

This is one sentiment I've never espoused, either here or anywhere else. In fact I've spent nearly my entire adult life in continuous violation of some of our more onerous laws regulating personal conduct. And I find myself frequently arguing here with people who do, in fact, in all cases uphold legality above personal morality. Heatedly.

The only thing I've offered that my lend you to that belief is that I recommend, in ordering society's course, the rule of law above the rule of the despot. But that sentiment, of course, is at the level of general principles, not the micro level of Uncle Sam telling us how many years we must save our receipts, in case he wants to look at them.

When I do follow the laws of the land, as I did when running my very visible business, it has always been as a convenience to myself, not out of any respect for The Law. So I will suggest that you've got the wrong guy.

Then you conclude "This means that I would have been helping the slaves, but you would have been slavish confomist to state control over people." I'm not sure I follow the reasoning here. Could you walk me through it one more time?

(signed) Slavish Confomist

First I've heard of it
That's a new one on me. I googled "militant mendicant" and found just a single hit relating to North Korea, here:

http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/pdf/10.1525/as.2001.41.1.12

Unfortunately it's pay-per-view. So all I can see of it is "It became evident that this was another militant mendicant act of brinkmanship designed to extract more aid when the North came up with a ..."

There are several articles from India that refer to "mendicant militancy".. but here the words seem to be referring to something else.

However it seems a perfectly good concept. One corner of town I used to work was always full of recent returnees from prison, guys with no job, no skills and no prospects. There must have been a bus stop from Lorton there. They'd routinely get in my face and ask for some money, saying it like this: "Give me some money". They weren't good with words.

What I should have told them was "Desist, you militant mendicant!" That would have sent them on their way.

Instead I used the old trick perfected by lion tamers: redirection of attention. I'd turn the subject to themselves and get them to expand on how they viewed their plans for the future, and what they'd learned from their experiences, inside and out.

It seems to have worked. (I'm still here.)

A potential dictator
Your phrase resonates with me. Like "potential terrorist" it describes a thought criminal.. someone you suspect may commit some crime in the future.

I believe there was a sci-fi movie on that theme a few years back. Something where they conducted testing on newborns to see whether they had personality patterns that could turn them into criminals when they reached adulthood. Such children were disposed of in a sanitary fashion.

And in fact the experiment was being conducted here for some years. Psychologists were testing grade schol kids in DC to find which ones might be the potential criminals.

The fad didn't last long. Amnericans found the idea to be repugnant. We like to wait until a crime has been committed before punishment begins.

With Zelaya, the fact remains that he's the kind of person who might conceivably try to become a "dictator". Or at least to extend his influence beyond a single term. But he seems to be going about it the way Putin has.. by working within the system to change it.

Remember that he always said he would be stepping down this fall, at the end of the single term that was permitted him. His "crime" was to attempt a plebiscite, so the voters of Honduras could abolish a clause in their constitution that would affect future lawfully elected presidents.

The Supreme Court disagreed with this, as did the Honduran legislature. And we have no problem with that. The problem Obama has voiced with this whole thing is that the Honduran army arrested, detained and kidnapped a lawfully elected president of their nation, deporting him to Costa Rica with only the thinnest of veneers of any kind of legal process. The act was far less constitutional than the ordering of a plebiscite on the issue of presidential terms.

The current "government" of Honduras was not elected by the public, but appointed by a cabal standing in opposition to an elected president. That, I believe, is the principle under which they stand accused.

Everyone followed the law except Z and the army.
It was illegal for Zelaya to attempt such a vote and the army should have arrested him instead of letting him leave the country.

But I am not surprised as you don't want the US government to follow its Constitution either.

The Congress of the USA can remove an elected president from office. It has been attempted three times with one elected president resigning.

Due process was not followed
"It was illegal for Zelaya to attempt such a vote and the army should have arrested him instead of letting him leave the country."

No. The Honduran constitution says that five clauses may not be changed by any act of the legislature. Among them are the single term limit. Zelaya was not in contravention of that clause.

What he called for was a nonbinding declaration of the popular will. The ballot was not an official one, but just a poll of the Honduran public. It carried no legal or official weight.

Had the Honduran Supreme Court felt that this was an actual, legal offense it should have called Zelaya to trial and decided upon his case. Instead, they issued an OPINION that Zelaya had been out of line.

On the strength of that opinion, the army conducted a high-handed kidnapping of a lawfully elected, sitting president. Nothing in Honduran law allowed for such a procedure. Yet they have not been called to task or indicted.

A major lesson we can take from this is that whether we are in the USA or in Honduras, the "rule of law" you espouse represents a process in which legal precedent and procedure are carefully followed, leading to a judgment based on the facts and oin the relevant law. If instead the members of the court act without regard to the actual, written laws they are to enforce, they are vigilantes.

To consent to such a thing would be to allow a dictatorship of the judges. And this, I think quite rightly, is exactly what our current president objects to.

Ask yourself whether Zelaya was impeached and deposed according to the statutes on the books in Honduras. What happened instead was that the opposition made an end run around due process, blindfolded and kidnapped him, and dumped him in the adjoining country.

That Chaves printed the ballots is just a coincidence? But Chavez is your bud is he not?
"A member of the rancid oligarchy he now decries, Zelaya took office in 2006 as the leader of one of the two center-right parties that have dominated Honduran politics for decades."

"Suddenly, in 2007, he declared himself a socialist and began to establish close ties with Venezuela. In December of that year, he incorporated Honduras into Petrocaribe, a mechanism set up by Hugo Chávez for lavishing oil subsidies on Latin American and Caribbean countries in exchange for political subservience. Then his government joined the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA), Venezuela's answer to the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, ostensibly a commercial alliance but in practice a political conspiracy that seeks to expand populist dictatorship to the rest of Latin America.

Last year, following the script originally laid out by Chávez in Venezuela and adopted by Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Zelaya announced that he would hold a referendum to set up a constituent assembly that would change the constitution that barred him from reelection. In the next few months, every legal body in Honduras -- the electoral tribunal, the Supreme Court, the attorney general, the human rights ombudsman -- declared the referendum unconstitutional. According to the Honduran constitution (articles 5, 373 and 374), presidential term limits cannot be changed under any circumstance; only Congress can modify the constitution; and political institutions are not subject to referendums. "
"Honduras's Congress, Zelaya's own Liberal Party and a majority of Hondurans (in various polls) expressed their horror at the prospect of having Zelaya perpetuate himself and bring Honduras into the Chávez fold. In defiance of court orders, Zelaya persisted. Surrounded by a friendly mob, he broke into the military installations where the ballots were kept and ordered them distributed. The courts declared that Zelaya had placed himself outside the law, and Congress began an impeachment procedure.

This is the context in which the military, in an ill-advised move that turned a perfectly legal mechanism for stopping Zelaya into a coup, expelled the president. "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/01/AR2009070103210.html

Given the history of coops in Central America, I think the army could be given a little slack for not following the letter of law, while executing the spirit of the law.

to the slavish conformist Roy
Right, most reporters are lazy, and stupid too. They usually just copy some dubious story they've heard somewhere else, without checking it out at all. Or, they just plain lie and hope not to get caught, as some like Blair was a few years ago, or Dan Rather et al. So we often see so-called science reports spouting some stupid pseudoj-science crap like homeopathy, astrology etc. Or financial reporters confusing all sorts of issues about economics. Political reporters are often in the tank for a certain party or individual. They they say something against, they don't get any access at all. Lately we see most reporters have a 'slobering love affair' with the new messiah Obama.

My comments about your slavish prostration to authority comes mainly from your previous comments about certain things like taxes, where I remember you telling people that if they don't like the laws they should just leave the country. Also how you often mentioned how you place all your trust in government forces to protect you from mad mobs that would vanquish if there were no government. You seem to be one of the most ardent supporters of big government on this forum.

My final comment about your slave days example was to say that it would have been ME helping slaves, rather than you, the lover of state power.

More of my slavish ways
Sorry-- you must be getting your news in the alternative universe. Yes, on cable television there are mostly only dumb reporters. Poorly informed, cautious types who "report" well within the bounds the network heads give them, on subjects of no great importance. But it's not that they're lazy. They do their job as their network heads tell them to. So they mostly avoid the stories that might be important to the public.. or report on the fluff most viewers seem to prefer.

But I would suggest that even with the bar set this low, you would not qualify as a reporter. Too many mistakes.

For instance "Blair" (I assume you mean Tony Blair) is not even a reporter. He's former PM for the UK. Is there some other Blair, a reporter, I'm not aware of?

Dan Rather, from all available evidence, did not lie. What he did was rush a multi-sourced story to air before a single source central to it was vetted. That source, the famous letter from a dead man, has never been shown to be false. Nor has it been shown to be authentic. So to this day, a question remains on that one count. The rest of the program was well verified and true.

Next.. are most of our most revered "news sources" in bed with their subjects? Here I would agree with you. The NYT and Washington Post both tend to take dictation from official sources and rarely venture into dangerous areas that might disturb the powerful who feed them their "news". To do otherwise would be to commit professional suicide, as their access would be terminated and they'd be out of their easy jobs. We're together on this one.

I can, however, cite examples of first rate reporting that does get air time here. Christiane Amanpour just did a series called "Generation Islam" for CNN that was absolutely outstanding. But programs like that are few and far between.

I have not seen pseudo-science reporters "spouting crap" like homeopathy or astrology. These are certainly suitable subjects to report on, though, if someone has found an interesting angle from which to report about them.

Are you saying that when someone does a story on flying saucer fanatics (for example) that they're trying to convince us the saucers are real? I think they're just trying to be entertaining. Even a typical American TV viewer can watch the annual FC convention at Roswell without having to decide whether he believes in the things. It's circus.

Next, "My comments about your slavish prostration to authority comes mainly from your previous comments about certain things like taxes, where I remember you telling people that if they don't like the laws they should just leave the country."

I don't understand your conclusion. Yes, in general if anyone is not happy where they're living, I think they should move to another country. From the DPRK to China, for instance. And any time I get disgusted with the way things are going here, I'll certainly move. Things are very nice in Trinidad, for example. They even speak a form of English, and the food is great.

Does this make me "slavishly prostrate to authority"? I don't see it.

Finally, "Also how you often mentioned how you place all your trust in government forces to protect you from mad mobs that would vanquish if there were no government."

Obviously you have never been in a zone where there was no government in authority. You wouldn't like it there.

Yes, I will assert that one strong force keeping society under control makes life a lot easier for everyone. In a war zone where there are no clear winners, or in any disputed area where impromptu militias spend their days shooting at one another in the streets, it's difficult to live the same kind of life you would, say, in Pasadena.. where all you have to do is pay your taxes and life is easy. Trash gets picked up, the electricity is nearly always on, etc. And you only rarely get caught by kidnappers.

A friend of mine living in Mexico now can tell you what life's like in the absence of any central authority. In her words, "life here sucks".

In such a perspective, I prefer places where there's only one set of guns to have to worry about. And if I don't challenge them openly, I can even imagine they are there for my protection. Hence I live in the USA, not in Pakistan, Yemen or Colombia. Anyone feeling otherwise is always free to leave, and try life somewhere else.

If you have a desire to "help slaves" you can find ample opportunities in Mauretania. Many Christians now go there to buy a few people and free them. Slaves for sale can be had very cheaply.

Of course, most end up in slavery again. Once you buy them, you have to take care of them forever. Otherwise they have to sell themselves back into bondage. There are no paying jobs there.

I hope you've found this chit-chat as pleasant as I have. If I seem to be the only supporter of "big government" on display here, it's not in any way that I approve of the kinds of idiocy we get from the dolts we've elected to be in charge-- their brand of governance tends to be **** poor. I just compare the resulting way of life to the things I've found in those parts of the world where there is no law, and no one in charge. Or well armed brutes in control, while the little people have no means of effectively opposing them. Life in such places tends to be bloody, awful and tragic.

But, to each his own. Or hers. You might prefer it on the edge.

Two truly ignorant remarks
What Zelaya was proposing was a nonbinding, unofficial referendum. One designed to get a sense of the public's will on the question of electing presidents to multiple terms. Whatever result would not have affected his term, which in any event was to be up this November.

So it's not that he was subverting the country's laws in any way. On the other hand, to seize a sitting president in his nightclothes and frog-march him out of the country on the strength of a wink and a nod from the opposition.. that would seem to me to be sort of irregular.

But yes, ALL the difference in perspective can be laid to the allegiances involved. Zelaya has been a friend of Chavez. Therefore what he did was wrong. Had the facts of the matter been entirely the same and Zelaya, on the other hand, been a friend of our Republican Party.. THEN his actions would have been acceptable, and the army's actions vile and evil.

Right?

Zelaya broke the law in spirit and intent. He should have been arrested...
instead of forced out of the counrty.

Your bud Chavez, who Zelaya is pals with, has set a fine example for democracy.

BTW, the army was following orders from a constitutional authority.

Actually he WAS arrested
1. "Zelaya broke the law in spirit and intent."

Cite the law he broke.

2. "Your bud Chavez, who Zelaya is pals with, has set a fine example for democracy."

Actually I think he sets an excellent example for democracy. He wanted to become dictator. He put it to a popular vote. The people said they didn't want a dictator. And he acceded to their wishes, and said okay, you have spoken.

Name one other dictator who has done that. Oh, wait. Daniel Ortega stepped down, when he lost that election to Chamorro. (DAMN those socialists!)

The people wanted Chavez to nationalize the economy? Chavez is still your bud.
The majority in the USA disapprove of the socialist Congress. You support the wishes of the masses in the USA?

And you don't mind that Chavez is shutting down opposition media? Such tolerant liberal!

Give it a rest
Now you're just being unpleasant.

Chavez, friend of Zelaya, is a real democratic leader and not a dictator?
What should be very unpleasant is your support of socialism in all its tyrannical glory.

" Just as oil-rich Venezuela sinks deeper into debt, Hugo Chavez, its flamboyant and megalomaniacal president, has crossed the line and can now quite accurately be called a dictator.

A rush of new orders and decrees in recent days is silencing critics, neutering political opponents, shutting down the last of Venezuela's independent media and purging the military of all but the most sycophantic officers. "

" Chavez is not usually so violent, but he can be just as blatant. Last week his government announced that it would file charges against Guillermo Zuloaga, who owns Globovision, the nation's last standing independent television station.

A week earlier, Chavez attacked Globovision, saying it had slandered one of his ministers. "We cannot allow for the bourgeoisie, driven mad by hatred, to continue shooting a machine gun every day against the morals of the people," he said. "They have to pay that with jail." "

"Chavez is pulling books off public library shelves that do not comport with his socialist goals -- 60,000 of them, the Miami Herald reported."

"What's a dictator to do? Nationalize companies. Make their income your own. Last week, the government seized control of a pasta factory owned by Cargill, the American food conglomerate. As the excuse, the government claimed that the plant was producing the wrong kind of pasta. It wanted Cargill to make larger quantities of a cheaper pasta sold at government-controlled prices. Failure to do so, the government said, was a "clear transgression of the law.""

http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/06/chavez_proudly_wears_dictator.html

"Cardinal Rodríguez accuses Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of fomenting unrest in Honduras in the interest of bringing about a "Bolivarian" revolution in the country and he rejects outright the return to power of ousted President Manuel Zelaya. "

" "During the crisis, the parliament and the justice system have shown that they are functioning well," Cardinal Rodríguez told the FAZ, "Now everything depends on strengthening these institutions and not following the path taken by Venezuela, Bolivia or Ecuador in systematically discrediting democratic institutions."

Asked by FAZ reporter Daniel Deckers why the American government has publicly supported Zelaya -- "in perfect harmony with Chavez and his followers" -- Cardinal Rodríguez replied: "A lot of Hondurans would like to know that. But nobody can explain it to us." "

http://spectator.org/blog/2009/07/16/honduran-archbishop-blasts-zel

Not Tony Blair, Jason Blair
The disgraced NY Times so-called reporter. This scandal of reporter fraud was widely reported on the planet earth.
If you stick up for that other disgraced one, Dan Rather, it could be you are one of this relatives.

If you are a liberal, of course you won't see any liberal bias in the MSM. I thought it was funny when Walter Cronkite admitted he had a liberal bias in his reporting, but only after he had retired. Bet you missed that too.

All your other diatribe is neither here nor there. If I said I would more likely have been the one to help rescue slaves in the US, it has nothing to do with buying slaves in other countries now.

Otherwise it just sounds like you would have been one of the 'united empire loyalists', rather than in favor of the American Revolution. In fact, a lot of them did leave the country and went up to Canada.

And how about Walter Duranty?
God Lord! You people really do all sing from the same hymnal. It's amazing how you can all act in lock step (something that distinguishes you very clearly from those of us who haven't drunk the koolaid). The term 'ditto head' has, I think, been aptly coined.

Yes, all those reporters whose stories their editors subsequently found out were fraudulently submitted, from Duranty to Jayson Blair, to Janet Cook and even more recently the AP's Christopher Newton, were not just artful knaves subverting the press by telling tall tales. They were a small but essential part of the VGC.. the Vast Global Conspiracy.. to enslave you all to the evil designs of the Club of Rome and the Trilateral Commission.

I may as well tell you, now that you've begun to guess at the truth. I myself am a member of the Committee of 300, whose secret design is to depopulate the earth down to our target population (144 million) and only allow the most politically reliable males to mate with the most biologically fit females. Our god, who we gratefully worship, is George Soros.

It will be so beautiful, once all those 'true patriots' have been eliminated and the wild creatures are able to roam freely once again. Don't tell anyone, but once we perfect the formula the birth control will be going into the beer.

Walter and your silly conspiracy comment
This is a lame attempt to mock me, while I take it as an admission that you had forgetn about, or didn't even know about the Blair scandal. Who could have thought I would have meant TONY Blair when speaking of reporters.

It's also a tacit admission that there are all those incompetent, lazy reporters out there.

I just heard another example to day of lazy reporting. One of them were saying how now that Ramadan has started all those faithful muslims will be fasting for religious reasons for Allah. This liberal reporter must have thought that it would be very PC of him to foster such multi-culturism for us. I guess he didn't know that some of us out here know that in those muslims countries where they are supposed to be so pious and all, people actually GAIN weight, during ramadan! How could that be? It's simply because during that fasting monthy, more correctly called a FEASTING month, they might not eat during the daytime, but they make up for it, and more at night. I believe the average weitht gain in the 'magical kingdom' of Saudi Arabia is 17 pounds(or was it kilograms). It's sloppy reporting intended to conveigh an agenda.

Not much work gets done either.
As they eat and drink all night during Ramadan, they are not in much shape to work during the day.

I did meet an Egyptian Muslim in Las Vegas. I didn't know it was Ramadan at the time and he was grilling food in the park waiting for sunset.
He didn't stay up all night. He had a real job in the real world.

Ramadan was a holiday for us too. 7.5 hour workdays cut to five.
Just remember to stay off the streets at sunset.

Non-Muslims forced to comply
Non-Muslims are not allowed to eat, drink or smoke in front of Muslims during the day during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia.
I thought the idea of fasting was to develop self-control, discipline.
But, as one Muslim told me, 'we are weak'.

The nature of your affliction
Missy-- There are many thousands of reporters out there. And from time to time ONE of them will file a fraudulent story.. as Jayson Blair and Janet Cook did. These incidents obviously stem from personal pathologies.. and the stories are disavowed by the publishers as soon as they are found out. They are not false trails planted by secret communists to fool us.

If you want to find an instance of a false story that was filed for reasons of leftist ideology, you have to go back to 1931, and Walter Duranty. And if you want to castigate the NYT for printing those stories, the principles in that affair have all long been dead.

Do you think the editors of the current paper bear responsibility? How?

It's indicative of the mindset you employ, that you have to prove a point that all our major media are controlled by "the left", when the only instance I can find of a whitewash of Communism appearing in print here occurred back in 1931.

This kind of thinking is a form of dementia. It's faith based reasoning. No amount of evidence will sway you from believing whatever your handlers program into you.

For example, your comment that "One of them were saying how now that Ramadan has started all those faithful muslims will be fasting for religious reasons for Allah."

That is actually so, as virtually everyone in the country is aware of. Just like Christians fast during Lent.. even though a majority probably don't. Yet for you, this innocuous comment "conveighs an agenda".

You should examine these bizarre ideas of yours more closely. Such as, why is it that you can so readily believe that people in Saudi Arabia gain 17 pounds (or maybe kilos) every Ramadan? You are really a very credulous person, and child's play in the hands of pied pipers like Glenn and Rush.

Go back to where you first found that rumor. And google it to see whether there's any source in existence for it. It's just something that was made up to fool you. Or rather, "sloppy reporting intended to conveigh an agenda."

"Jounalists" getting tingles up their leg for Obama?
Who would you trust, Bob Novak, the prince of darkness, feared by all politicians or Chris Mathews who gets a tingle up his leg when he sees Obama?

And why was there only ONE reporter who asked the White House why people were getting unsolicited emails from David Axelrod using a whitehouse.gov address?

And the only place Cindy Sheehan can get an interview is on conservative talk radio?

No bias?

lazy reporter affliction
I think the NYT bares responsibility of being totally agenda based and biased right now.

Of course as a leftist you won't see that, but think they are epitome of objectivity. Indeed, I agree with the analysis of one of the main reasons that such papers are dying off is not so much internet and all, but because people are sick of being lied to and deceived.

I welcome you to research the matter of whether muslims mainly GAIN weight during the month of FEASTING, not fasting. They're only fasting in theory, but in reality they're pigging out. This is kind of like the idea that the girls at the catholic are virgins in theory, but in reality many are the biggests slluutts around.

So if someone asked you to write a report about ramadan, who would probably just spout the same PC litany, wheras I would, (and in reality) have found out the opposite.

You sound very surprised indeed when I say that most of the MSM are dominated by liberal bias, and that so many reporters are lazy and stupid. Roy, I'm not the only one who thinks that.

Why is NYT going broke?
They are trying to sell off the Boston Globe, another liberal rag that is losing money.

What was amusing about the Globe is the NYT company demanded union concessions and finally got some. One was an end to lifetime employment for some 'reporters'.
When it hits the fan, 'liberal' principles are tossed.

Disagreeing just to be disagreeable
First, let me note that I'm aware that nothing I say will make the slightest difference in your opinions. They are so firmly held there is no chance of their ever changing.

Second, I note also that it would be rare to find anyone more agenda-driven than you. Point your finger all you like, you're grimly intent on achieving every point on your little program.

As for the NYT, they do certainly have an agenda, ulterior to just bringing us the news. And that is to remain viable. Their content is dictated by the bottom line. Like all newspapers today, they're doing everything they can just to stay afloat.

The main problem (there are, of course, others) is that they are having trouble selling content when at the same time they're giving it away free-- on their web site. Advertisers are deserting them. And ads pay for content far more than does circulation. The circulation is more valuable just to boost ad rates than it is as a source of revenue.

I doubt the theory that there were once large numbers of conservatives who read that paper, and that they have now fled because the reporting has changed. The right wing have always read the Post. And the capitalists have always read the Journal. So if the Times has lost market share, it has obviously been from some other reason.

As for reporters being lazy, didn't I just agree with you on that? Or does that make any difference? Obviously you don't actually read anything I write.. otherwise you wouldn't have suggested yesterday that I was too young to have an informed opinion.. when repeatedly I've been relating many decades of experience to you, in support of my life's observations.

Where do you suppose I've found the time to travel around the world visiting places that have no established governments, and yet found the time to have a career in real estate? You're not aware that I've now been retired for some time?

In fact what has become very apparent is that you're only here to beat someone about the head and shoulders that you can identify in your mind as being a liberal. It doesn't matter what they say or what the topic is. You have something inside you that needs to get out. Something strident and hostile.

Let's move to your accusation that Muslims gain weight during Ramadan. In your mind, this proves what?

Muslims generally tend to be much more observant during Ramadan than Christians are during Lent. Your triumphant crowing of their weight gain seems to make some profound point in your mind. What is it?

One thing that should be clear is that the injunction they obey is NOT to fast entirely for a full month. They fast during the day, and eat at nightfall. It would be unsurprising to find them overeating on such occasions, when they must be famished.

So to me, weight gain would be ordinary and understandable. To you? Apparently that the religion of Mohammad is inferior, as are all who practise it.

Is that it? Please spell out the conclusion you draw from your morality tale.

"they're doing everything they can just to stay afloat."
Except provide unbiased news coverage.

"They fast during the day, and eat at nightfall. It would be unsurprising to find them overeating on such occasions, when they must be famished."

But they are not supposed to feast all night during Ramadan, which is what they do.
There are Muslims who do follow the rules. Especially those who live in non-muslim countries as they must fast, not smoke or drink water while all those about them do.

disagreement or apology?
It's sounds like you must have done some research of the ramadan PIG-OUT, and found out that I was right. Now all you have to offer is a lame excuse for why it would understandable for them to gain weight.

My example was not to point out how inferior the muslim religion is to atheism, but rather to point out the laziness of reporters.

If you say I'm agenda driven, what agenda would that be again? Is it guest for truth? What is my "little program"?

Islam is superior to atheism
Islam has its problems, but the atheist religion has even more.

Quibbles
Obviously you're not happy with the Times' coverage. That's what the New York Daily Post is for. Read it. Or read nothing.

"But they are not supposed to feast all night during Ramadan, which is what they do. There are Muslims who do follow the rules."

Is that a rule? Who says? The custom is to eat at the end of the day.

If the sin in question is overeating to the point of obesity, I don't think Muslims are the sole offenders.

Your 'guest for truth'
I don't think you're being completely honest.

You say "My example was not to point out how inferior the muslim religion is to atheism". But you also talk about the "ramadan PIG-OUT". So something about it is obviously bothering you.

As I did not mention anything about atheism, let's reiterate the question. Is there anything about the Muslim religion you consider to be inferior?

"If you say I'm agenda driven, what agenda would that be again?"

So far, your obvious agenda is to be hostile and obnoxious. When two reporters get caught by a totalitarian regime while doing actual reporting, you say they deserve whatever they get. And if reporters DON'T do actual, investigative reporting, you say they're lazy. Is it just reporters in general you don't like? Any reporters of any kind?

"atheist religion"?
Nonbelievers, get this, DO NOT BELIEVE. So, this term is quite the oxymoron. What are the problems with non-belief?

Socialist congress?
What poll was that? Last time I checked the congressional approval rates were still higher than the average 2006 rate according to gallup, 25%. So the dems are still like 6% more. There have only been 3 years in the last 20 when a majority approved of congress, and don't try to say it was socialist back in the mid 90's when approval rating were at the same level as today.

Atheist do not believe in one diety.
Atheists believe there is no God. They have no proof.

Belief
Believe God exists or don't believe God exists (atheist).
Neither can be proven and are therefore, a belief.

Congressional job approval: 30% approve, 60% do not approve
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/congressional_job_approval-903.html

In the 90s Congress was led by Gingrich.

Just pointing out the flaws in your 'logic'....
that you use to justify your socialist belief system.

missypooh's quest for truth
Yes, I added inferior compared to atheism, just to mess with your head. You didn't mentioned what I might believe it inferior to.

So I'll ask you now, inferior to what?

To me reports are the same as a druggie in those other countries. If drugs are against the law in Turkey, but some druggie still wants to ingage in that, then he must take his chances in that country. I believe the State dept doesn't offer much in the way of help for them either. If a reporter also wants to take his chances, then if he gets caught it just sucks to be him.

Second question to you; what is my obvious agenda, just to be obnoxious? My hidden agenda is the quest for truth.

on belief
This argument can't be right. The atheist's position is empirical, based on evidence, wheras the theists isn't.

If someone makes an extrordinary claim about the supernatural, or anything paranormal, then they must also have extrordianry evidence for it.

So according to your statement above, you don't have it, thus you are beleiving in something for which there is no evidence. This is an irrational position.

In fact we're not so different. I think I saw you say you were a Christian, thus beleiving in their one god. According to wikipedia, the hindoos posit, "330 million" of such supernatural beings. So far we've got 330 plus one, then we could add in those leprachauns many irish people still believe in.
So our position only differ by ONE; or to put it another way, I only believe in one less god than you do.

TCS Daily Archives