LET THE MAKEOVER BEGIN!

newsBecause I see little reason to fund a newspaper not fit to wrap and bury fish waste, I don’t read The New York Times. Unfortunately, others do, and some of those others will believe something just because it is in a “prestigious” newspaper. Therefore, other news outlets often repeat or comment on the content of The New York Times.

So what is the The New York Times latest big story?

On Sunday, The New York Times printed a comprehensive, no-nonsense article beginning on the front page under the headline: “Deadly Mix in Benghazi: False Allies, Crude Video — Interviews Show Militia and Insults to Islam Fed Attack — No Qaeda Link Seen.” The author is David D. Kirkpatrick, one of the best journalists we have, and the article was the result of “months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context.”

The article is fascinating — and, I believe, conclusive, reminding us that when you need the truth about foreign affairs, you’d better depend upon some good newspaper reporting and not your government, your police and FBI or your embassies.

From these hundreds of in-depth interviews, the Times concluded that: (1) al-Qaida had little, if any part in the attacks, which were largely spontaneous and the result of rivalry between gangs or uncontrolled “militias” that formed in the wake of President Muammar Gadhafi’s overthrow and murder, and (2) the attacks were, indeed, in great part inspired by the weird Muhammad video, which had not the least importance in the United States.
(from here)

Of course, other news outlets considered The New York Times story with a bit more skepticism.

An extensive report Sunday in The New York Times casts doubt on Republican claims that al Qaeda played a key role in last year’s deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The article lends badly needed credence to the White House version of events and might remove some of the blame from the former secretary of state’s shoulders as she gears up for a 2016 presidential run.

A top House Republican went so far Sunday as to suggest that there may be a coordinated effort to help Mrs. Clinton — who is widely thought to be seeking the Democratic presidential nomination and leads her Republican counterparts in most polls — escape the shadow of Benghazi.

“I find the timing odd,” Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said of The New York Times piece and its political ramifications during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” (from here)

Whenever we see an “investigative report” (particularly from a propaganda organ of the Democratic Party), we need to do a little investigating of our own.  Sometimes the task is fairly simple.  In this case, we don’t need to read what people are publishing about Benghazi story now; we just need to look at the old news they are hoping we will forget.

Here are a couple of posts I did immediately following the terrorist attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

Take the time to check out the links and read the comments. If the posts and the comments are not enough to fill you with disgust at what passes for a “prestigious” journalist these days, may God help you.

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About Citizen Tom

I am just an average citizen interested in promoting informed participation in the political process.
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30 Responses to LET THE MAKEOVER BEGIN!

  1. This is off the Hillaryous topic, but I wonder if you’d read this fellow’s work. The collage is within earshot of where I am sitting:
    http://www.callutheran.edu/news/news_detail.php?story_id=10213

    Happy New Year!

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  2. This is off the Hillaryous topic, but I wonder if you’d read this fellow’s work. The college is within earshot of where I am sitting:
    http://www.callutheran.edu/news/news_detail.php?story_id=10213

    Happy New Year!

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Afraid not. What did he write that you liked?

      • I haven’t read his work, in fact, but the direction that it pointed seemed likely to be of interest to you.

        He is (was) a Christian religious leader and an academic in California, which means he treads a fine balance. Highly respected, and wrote on the compatibility of science and Christianity.

        There is a short video of him from earlier this year (it’s still 2013!) in which he seems not completely uncertain about the existence of an afterlife, but I expect this to be an affectation adopted as protective coloration in the dangerous environment he operated it. He was very highly respected, and Cal Lutheran University is a good place. If you weren’t already familiar with him, I do not know that he is worth any particular investigation.

        Best wishes, my friend.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

        • Citizen Tom says:

          I can see why you refer to Streeter’s uncertainty of an afterlife as an affectation. How can he believe in the power of love and still be uncertain that a God exists who is love? Yet men are prone to doubt. Because we are fearful little creatures, we acquire faith — even in things we can scientifically prove to be true — only with continued practice. Thus, the man in Jesus expressed disappointment with the faith of his apostles. Yet as God, Jesus must have known from the beginning how much they — we — would doubt.

          So was Streeter’s uncertainty an affectation? You know more of the man than I, and it would not be flattery to call you more perceptive. Nonetheless, even though it may have been an affectation, I doubt Streeter would have thought of his uncertainty as an affectation. Consider. The Bible unambiguously affirms Hell’s existence, but as that video shows Streeter does not believe in the existence of Hell. Therefore, I wonder how much faith Streeter had in the Bible as the Word of God.

          Hell is a fright thought, and it seems so unjust, but the Bible speaks of Hell with brutal frankness. The Bible also makes it clear how we choose to become the children of God.

          So what if we do not choose to love God, to become God’s children? What if we willfully CHOOSE to do evil, that which God hates?

          Romans 9:21 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

          21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

          Did Streeter just adopt the role expected of him? Because he was a university professor, did Streeter just behave as a university professor? Because it was part of his job, did Streeter choose to adopt the professional skepticism of the academic? Did Streeter speak of God, the life to come, and Hell as unproven because each is not subject to scientific proof or because he himself doubted? That five-minute video does not provide the answer. How did Streeter view his role?

          I wonder. Perhaps it is my imagination, but I thought it interesting how Streeter’s face changed when he spoke of experiencing God.

  3. scout says:

    What was the dangerous environment in which this man operated? Was he in Iran, Saudi Arabia, or the lawless Waziristan environment? He appears to be a rather sensible fellow. Why he would leave a pleasant place like California and go to one of these very intolerant areas is puzzling. I am sorry to hear of his passing.

  4. scout says:

    I’ve never found Hillary to be a particularly amusing person, despite the Greek roots of her name.

    But my question was about Keith’s reference to Mr. Streeter having adopted “a protective coloration in the dangerous environment he operated in.” The only direct geographic reference was to his school, Cal Lutheran. I assume that a “dangerous environment” for someone like Mr. Streeter must have been one of these theocratic states in the Mideast or south Asia. I wouldn’t think Cal Lutheran a particularly “dangerous environment” that would require any kind of camouflage.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Forty years ago I would not have expected many of the undesirable social changes we see today. Given that California has led the nation in these undesirable changes, I did not have any trouble understanding what Keith meant by Streeter’s need to tread a fine balance.

      Whence come these changes? More and more often when Christians point to bad behavior, instead of repenting the sinners angrily take offense. I suppose there have always been a great many human beings looking for an excuse to take offense, but now our nation’s legal aristocracy has empowered such people with so many new ways to sue.

      Oh, I almost forgot. You are a lawyer, are you not? I do trust you will not take offense at my frankness. But I guess you cannot. Even though almost every other group has established itself as a protected class, any lawyer who tried to present himself as a victim would be laughed out of court. It would be too much like a shark taking a offense at a seal because his prey escaped being eaten.

  5. scout says:

    How dangerous do you think California is, Tom? I lived there for awhile, albeit some three decades ago, and, while I had (and would continue to have) some misgivings about some of its legislative policies, it was a remarkably un-dnagerous place for the exchange of ideas. I have enough ties and presence there today to think this continues to be the case.

    I happen to be a lawyer, but I only act in defense, unless I am suing to vindicate a Constitutional principle.

    • @scout:

      What is your understanding of the Second Amendment? Would you restate it succinctly, please?

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    • Citizen Tom says:

      We live in an era when the government of our nation borders on majoritarian tyranny. That kind of government will not protect our rights. Thus, the Obama administration is try to convert our first amendment right of free exercise of religion to freedom of worship.

      But you asked about California, the state leading the way. Since Keith has a question for you, I will step aside.

  6. scout says:

    @ Keith: I think the correct answer is No, Thank you.

    If I were to humour you just a bit, I guess I would say that the state of Second Amendment law is very clear, thanks to the Heller decision and the simplicity of the amendment itself. The right to bear arms (at least those of a common nature) is a personal right, independent of membership in the National Guard, but subject to reasonable regulation by state and local governments. Where I live, we permit open carry without a permit, and, to affirm my belief in the Second Amendment, I openly carry a cavalry sword or a pre-Columbian stone tomahawk at all times. However, this has nothing to do with Benghazi, the NYT report on Benghazi, or your insertion of the Streeter comment. (I still think California is not a particularly dangerous place to hold an opinion – there seem to be quite a few of them out there). It would be a discourtesy to Tom to gum up this thread with a diversion into something entirely unrelated. If Tom wants to post something on Second Amendment issues, I might comment, depending on whether I thought a comment from me might add the sort of enlightenment that I strive for in these exercises.

    @ Tom – what do you have against freedom to worship? I would have thought it an important manifestation of Constitutional freedom of religion.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      It is far easier to be a critic than it is to stand for anything, isn’t it? Even though you diverted the topic with your question, I suppose that’s why you are dodging Keith’s question.

      Anyway, the free exercise of religion includes freedom of worship.In addition to freedom of worship, the free exercise of religion includes the right live in accordance with our religious beliefs. Some refer to that aspect of the free exercise of religion as freedom of conscience.

  7. scout says:

    I’m sorry, Tom. What does Keith[‘s question have to do with your post? Perhaps I’m a bit thick here and don’t get the Benghazi connection. Help me out. Or, if you, as the host of the site, want this to be a Second Amendment thread, just say the word. You will note, however, that, in an excess of solicitude for Keith’s curiosity on a non-related topic, I did provide a summary response (although not a “restatement” as he had requested, because I have never before set forth an initial statement.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Keith diverted the topic. Then you in your turn also diverted the topic. With respect to your diversion, Keith asked his question. Unless you are much denser than I thought, you know what he has in mind. So quite be cute.

  8. scout says:

    What is the relationship between Keith’s question about the Second Amendment and either the original post or Keith’s diversion to the discussion of Mr. Streeter? Your assistance with this will help me address the question in a way that makes sense in the context of the thread. The relationship is not at all clear to me. Just looking back over it, it seems that the Second Amendment just popped up out of nowhere.

    Again, of course, do note that I did give an answer, albeit a summary one.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      You are the lawyer. Supposedly, you know how to answer a question appropriately. You diverted the thread to the dangerous environment of California. Instead humoring Keith, why don’t you try to figure out how his question might be related to your own topic?

  9. scout says:

    Keith referred to a “dangerous environment” in the context of a Man having to dilute his opinions on religious topics, but did not specify the geography of that environment. You posited that it might be California. I thought it might be the Middle East or South Asia. I referred to a time when I lived in California, and to the fact that I often visit there, but have not found it particularly dangerous for the expression of ideas. In fact, I found more people expressing more strange ideas in California than probably anyplace I’ve ever been.

    The Second Amendment has little to do with that sort of thing. Maybe he meant the First Amendment?

    And, as I have noted twice previously, I have provided a short statement of my “understanding” of the Second Amendment. It is a rather straightforward bit of language, although awkwardly drafted with its prefatory clause about a well-regulated militia. If Keith meant the First Amendment, I don’t think I could be as succinct.

    Perhaps a way to get the conversation off the dime is for you or Keith to opine as to whether either of you disagree with my summary statement of my understanding of the Second Amendment, and, if so, to what extent and for what reasons. Keith might also explain why he thinks it relevant to the Benghazi story or his Streeter addition to the thread.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      :-? It seems to be that you have not given much thought as to the relationship between the Second Amendment and our other rights. If and when Keith again offers a reply you may wish to give that matter some thought.

  10. scout says:

    Oh, I think about these things quite a bit, Tom. More than most, I reckon. My problem with the development of this thread is that you (and perhaps Keith, although he hasn’t made an appearance lately since his puzzling, seeming non-sequitur) seem to speak in some sort of schoolboy code that is fairly indecipherable to those of us accustomed to analytical examination of ideas in sentences and paragraphs. If you guys can pull this together in a way that makes sense to those of us out in the reality-based world, I’ll dive back in if it appears I can further the elevation of the discussion. Until then, toodle loo.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Dear Puzzled,

      Unlike you or I, Keith probably has a life. Next time he takes a break from it, I expect we will hear from him.

      • I apologize for diverting the thread. Knowing your interest in theology, I passed that bit along.

        I had seem scout/novascout’s pattern on many previous occasions, pretending to not understand, pretending to be puzzled, then launching his odd comments against conservatives. His disingenuous pretense that one doesn’t get fired in California for having ideas that go against the academic establishment is a ruse, of course, as is his pretense that I might have meant Pakistan. Physical danger is common enough here as well; I have clients in Compton, and was in the middle of the Watts Riots when they began — in the next few days, some 3,600 buildings were intentionally burned. But “scout” knew that I wasn’t talking about that. California has the first state universities to explicitly disavow the freedom of ideas. This state is a hotbed of anti-Semitism and jihadist groups wielding heavy influence in academic life. Cal Lutheran is better than many in this regard, happily.

        With regard to my odd-seeming question, I indulged in a moment of curiosity; he seemed to fit many aspects of the pattern of ACLU/NLG attorney, and other leftists of his pattern of attacks tend to interpret the Second Amendment only in “militia” terms. This is not conclusive, though; many are comfortable with guns personally. He answered my question, and I’m satisfied. I shall not divert this further.

        In the meantime, I’ve just put up a post on Benghazi that adds a little bit to the points you were raising. In essence, I am interacting with an American fellow who apparently fought on the side of the jihadists in Libya against Qaddafi, and he is trying to support the NYTimes/Hillary Clinton view of events there. Nevertheless, a careful reading of his “support” showed that he was revealing more than he intended. Here is the article referenced in Business Insider — and it was the first quoted paragraph that caught my attention:
        http://www.businessinsider.com/matthew-vandyke-i-was-right-about-benghazi-2013-12

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

        • Citizen Tom says:

          Keith,

          You need not apologize for anything. There no rules here against going off topic. In fact, here is how rule #1 begins.

          I blog to stimulate discussion of important issues and media coverage of those issues.

          I appreciated the information on Jarvis Streeter (may eventually order one of his books), and you most certainly help stimulate discussion. Moreover, with your question to scout, you reminded me that to protect all our other rights we need to protect the Second Amendment. I suspect you even gave scout something to chew on.

          Thank you for your comments, and thanks for the link to your latest post.

  11. scout says:

    The individual rights explicitly guaranteed by the Bill of Rights do, to some extent, interlink, Tom. However, I do not see the Second Amendment as being particularly useful in terms of protecting my right to speak freely or to refuse to quarter troops. It’s probably not possible to sabre-cut (in the case of my choice of a personal weapon that I carry about) or shoot one’s way to Free Speech. I do see the Second Amendment as ensuring that I can find game to feed my family and can possibly defend my home against invasion.

    I concur with Keith’s assessment that there are a lot of wacky ideas and notions in circulation in California. I experienced this first-hand on several occasions. This to me indicates a robust free-speech environment. I’m quite sure that Keith is either mistaking me for someone else or hallucinating when he attributes to me the statement that “one doesn’t get fired in California for having ideas that go against the academic establishment. . .” My experience with academia everywhere (not only in California) is that it tends to be fairly hostile to unconventional views among faculty, and that faculty politics being what they are (Henry Kissinger said that faculty politics were vitriolic because there is so little at stake), being an idea outlier, whether in public, private or religious institutions, can harm job promotion and retention. That, to me, seems to be a universal verity.

    However, my initial response that brought this on (up to and including the Second Amendment question) is why someone at a religious institution would find it “dangerous” to espouse a confidence in a conventional Christian afterlife. It seems that a religious school would be a very good place to do that. “Danger” to me connotes physical risk. I can’t see that in this situation.

    I miss entirely the connection to the Watts riots. There were numerous urban riots in the later decades of the last century. None, to my knowledge, had theological origins or causes.

    As for the ACLU, I am not a member, although I think the organization performs a useful service many times. I particularly appreciate their conservative views on the First Amendment. Their positions are often quite extreme and they defend some very annoying people. On balance, however, I think they do more good than harm in the system when it comes to defending and validating constitutional rights. I am not familiar with “NLG”.

    • Citizen Tom says:

      I have grown to wonder at coincidences. At least I find it curious that it was this Sunday that the junior pastor at our church chose to give a sermon on the short, little Book of Jude. He focused on the first four verses. He noted that where he attended school the professors could not be trusted to hold the Bible sacred. Even at Christian universities, it appears that Christians must contend for the faith.

      I too did not recognize the acronym NLG, I am puzzled that a lawyer would be unfamiliar with it. Before you embarrass yourself further, I suggest you stick that acronym in a search engine.

  12. scout says:

    I didn’t consider it embarrassing that I didn’t know the abbreviation, Tom, so it is impossible that I could embarrass myself “further” on the subject. There are zillions of thing I don’t know, and I find I am less likely rather than more likely to be embarrassed if I acknowledge that I don’t know something. If I don’t know what NLG means and I have been practising law for 40 years without mishap, I suspect that it is not a matter of embarrassment that I don’t know the organization. It may be some liberal organisation that we conservatives don’t have much reason to work with. If it had been something necessary to be successful or competent in my field, I probably would have known about it.

    As for your first point, it is part of the essence of Christianity that we must at times witness for our faith. That requirement doesn’t diminish in Christian surroundings.

  13. scout says:

    Tom – if you think this is useful information for me to have, please let me know. I have to be a bit stubborn about how much useless information I accumulate. On that front, I can indeed be rather obdurate. You haven’t convinced me that this is necessary information. But I am open to persuasion. Until I acquire the knowledge, you can take comfort that knowing all about NLG puts a credit in your personal column, which, in my books of information accounting, is a debit.

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