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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Monday, July 10, 2006

Reader Feedback....

And I will address each section separately...
I find it completely bizarre that you find a problem with the NY Times reporting on this and that you don't express any difficulty over what they're reporting on - the idea of the US government arming and giving military training to members of right wing racist hate organizations. The Times did not invent this story, it is a report publicly issued by a watchdog group, yet you shoot the messenger and not the author of the message.
Firstly, The New York Times is reportedly a newspaper and I suspect that people that read stories expect them to be investigated. However, the story is essentially excerpts from the 'report' written by the SPL Center with almost no original reporting or even evidence of investigation. You can read the two pieces and come to your own conclusion. New York Times piece.... and the SPL Center piece. The New York Times piece is nearly word-for-word.

So the Times did ask the military for comment and they were not able to opine since the military says that they haven't seen the report. Of course, the military is very guilty if they don't come right out and confess that, yes, we are evil and we recruit, dopes, druggies, underachievers and skinheads.

But in good reporting [I do not claim to be a reporter], they should be also communicating who and what the SPL Center is? Are they non-partisan. What other recent material have they produced? How accurate is their material? This was written about Morris Dees the founder and leader of the organization back in 2000....
Ah, tolerance. Who could be against something so virtuous? And who could object to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Montgomery, Alabama-based group that recently sent out this heartwarming yet mildly terrifying appeal to raise money for its "Teaching Tolerance" program, which prepares educational kits for schoolteachers? Cofounded in 1971 by civil rights lawyer cum direct-marketing millionaire Morris Dees, a leading critic of "hate groups" and a man so beatific that he was the subject of a made-for-TV movie, the SPLC spent much of its early years defending prisoners who faced the death penalty and suing to desegregate all-white institutions like Alabama's highway patrol. That was then. Today, the SPLC spends most of its time--and money--on a relentless fund-raising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate. "He's the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement," renowned anti- death-penalty lawyer Millard Farmer says of Dees, his former associate, "though I don!t mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye." The Center earned $44 million last year alone--$27 million from fund-raising and $17 million from stocks and other investments--but spent only $13 million on civil rights program , making it one of the most profitable charities in the country.
From the sound of the New York Times article, one would think that these guys are a legitimate organization and maybe they are, but other than spending money on fund raising and writing articles like this to advertise through the useful idiots at the New York Times, what are they doing? Have a look at their website yourself, here. The founders did some good civil rights work 40 years ago and have destroyed some hate group organizations through legal as well as intimidation, it appears as if they continue to do some good works but really are a machine for raising money.

The New York times article does not discuss the SPL Center at all.

I also have a problem when you write "Of course, the New York Times would rather see the military full of sensitive gay men and fight our wars with sensitivity and well coordinating uniforms." Please cite an example of this.
I think that the proper word here is allegory.

Also while you are fond of pointing out articles that you believe to be anti-US military, you don't present a balanced view because you don't mention the positive articles the Times runs - such as the very next day, an article on how soldiers are using government supplied laptops and internet connections, complete with webcams, skype, chat, etc. in the field to stay in touch with their families better than any point in the past.
First off, why do I have to present a balanced view? I am blogging and am not a news organization. How balanced was the NYT piece? But, they are reporting on military issues, goodie for them, but how is that to be construed as a positive story? Building schools is a positive story. Giving military creature comforts to the best of their ability is something that militaries have done through history. OF course the typical Times reader thinks that military people are trolls that live under bridges and bite the heads off of little children to feed, so a story like that actually does something positive to educate the typical times reader.

But what really irks me about the Times writing [I once considered a career in the field and studied it, unfortunately, I neither enjoyed the politics nor had a particular talent for it] are first paragraphs like this...
A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.
Remember, there was a lot of chatter in the Times and the left-leaning blogosphere on recruiting problems in the military, last summer. They argued that the recruiting shortfalls for the sole work of people fearing going to Iraq and dying but failed to mention that economics and job opportunities also influence peoples decisions on enlisting. Economics actually plays a large roll and when there are other economic opportunities, it sometimes get more difficult to recruit. It was biased and poorly constructed reporting and writing back then and that same theme appears to continue since the argument is now that the military is turning to skinheads and neo-nazis to fill the depleted ranks. It just seems to me, that from reading the SPL Center and Times plagiarized piece, that the argument that the military is guilty of either desiring to recruit these kinds of people overtly because of devastating shortfalls or they are tacitly overlooking these people [they must be easy to identify]is what is being argued by the pieces. It is interesting to note, however, that the army is on target to meet its recruiting goals of around 80,000 new individuals and has met their goals every month for the past 12 months.

But what I wondered about, if the ranks of the military are being filled with hordes of skinheads and neo-nazis, then what is the population of these groups that the military is drawing on? It would seem from the reporting that we read, that the populations in the military, and we know that there are around a million active duty personnel, more-or-less, that these hate groups must have sizable populations of members and sympathizers. As we know, skinheads are anarchists whose roots are found in Europe and Britain in particular. I think that the military is precluded from recruiting there, so the population of skinheads has to limited to the United States. It appears as if there are 3,500 skin-heads in the US as per this article in The Prejudice Institute. Additionally, on a hate crimes website, here, I found these estimates of neo-nazi populations in the US....
Neo-Nazism has had very little success in the United States. At their peak in 1978 the assortment of neo-Nazi organizations had an aggregate of 1,000-1,200 members. In 1987 it is estimated that they have had no more than 400-500 members. Of these groups the first to emerge in the United States was the National Resistance Party (NRP) in 1949.
I don't know if these numbers make any sense, but it seems as if when there is a neo-nazi or skinhead rally, there are something like 30 of these people, 3,000 counter protesters and 500 policeman. But the numbers of hate groups in the US and websites can be found on the SPL Center website that keeps track of these groups but makes no attempt, that I could find, at pinning down figures of actual members or adherents to these philosophies.

It is interesting that the SPL Center article mentions that the military have been discharging and disciplining troops that have advocated intolerance with violence but this is not conveyed in the NYT article. And the NYT article gives the impression that the military is actively recruiting and retaining these neo-nazi and skinhead individuals. Its not really clear to me that the allegations leveled at the military have any real factual basis or if they are founded on the meme that the evil military is having a tough time recruiting and therefore is forced to retain these handful of individuals. But if the military is discharging neo-nazis and skinheads, then what is the problem?

There are a lot of other topics you write well on and on which you make more sense.
At least some of the other websites that mentioned this story in a negative light actually did some investigation around it, such as this piece from outsidethebeltway.com:

In conclusion, I just want to say, that I do not trust the New York Times to be an unbiased reporter of news and information. From my perspective, they have gone a long way to earn this mistrust [Read my piece on Dr. Wen Ho Lee] and I do not think that they are balanced or fair when dealing with the military or military issues. If my instincts tell me that the article on the SPL Center report is sloppy and not balanced, then I stick by my instincts. I have every right to shoot the messenger in this case, since the messenger is not an unbiased messenger at all and is promoting a biased message.

Additionally, I think that we all have to concerned with hate groups and hate crimes, but the poor reporting by the New York Times is a misdirection of efforts and is not a serious attempt at achieving a better society. I think that it is complete bullshit, in-fact, and you should be as concerned with their behavior as I am. I do not trust what they write and I am sure that others, maybe a few or maybe many, feel similar to me. And this breach of trust is what should concern you and everyone with issues important to you. If people cannot trust these the NYT or other news outlets, then even worthwhile newsworthy material that they dig up, report and write about risks not be trusted. It reduces the value of the 'news.' Overall, the NYT SPL Center article is a PC puff piece that plays well to the New York limousine liberal crowd that already thinks poorly of the military. I think that garbage like this weakens our nation and does not strengthen it. Also, I wonder how many Islamic radicals are in the military like the the one that fragged and then shot and killed several wounded men in cold blood.


At 2:34 PM, Blogger Spike said...

Methinks thou doth protest too much. Negative energy and positive energy are the same and clearly you love the NY Times though you are in denial.

And "allegory" would not be the proper word there. Aesop's Fables are allegory. Saying that the NY Times would prefer an all-gay army isn't. You might have been striving for "irony" but did not achieve it. It might have been "satire" except it wasn't funny. It was just cranky and irrational.

From my perspective, you may be an American but you live in China and there are so many more suitable targets for your wrath that are much closer to home than a newspaper that most people in this part of the world barely take note of. The NY Times is not a threat to the American way of life. Kim Jong Il is, the Chinese Communist Party is, Al Qaeda is, George Bush is.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Glenzo said...

Why do you torture me and say that I love the New York Times?

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Spike said...

Because it's so much fun! And since we never discuss politics when we meet in person, what other way to do it?

(And no one else seems to leave any comments here any more, at least you know you have one faithful reader.)

And I know that deep down, in your secret place, you dream of retirement sitting in a barcalounger surrounded by grandchildren and doing the NY Times crossword puzzle, except that you don't bother with the clues, you're just writing what you want in the boxes, you're just filling in the boxes with "Frank Rich is a communist" and "O'Reilly really is fair and balanced" because you're no longer allowed to drink beer and you've gone insane as a result.


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