"I don't believe in journalists having 'responsibility.'"
-Seth Lipsky, October 16, 2003

Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll demanded on August 20, 2003, that Washington "finish the war" against "the Arabs."

Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll assembled their staff for a Champagne toast to mass death on the commencement of hostilities against Iraq. Stoll called it "my war." CNN maintains a running update here of Americans killed in Ira's war.

On February 6, 2003, Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll wrote, in all seriousness, of a pending anti-war demonstration that the "the New York City police could do worse, in the end, than to allow the protest and send two witnesses along for each participant, with an eye toward preserving at least the possibility of an eventual treason prosecution."

The June 9, 1995 Wall Street Journal quoted an SEC complaint against New York Sun backer Bruce Kovner as saying Kovner had "altered and destroyed" subpoenaed evidence. We wish you'd do the same to the daily print run of your God-awful newspaper, Bruce.

Also, Professor G. Harlan Reynolds alleged on August 27, 2002 - when the Sun was several months in publication - that Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll had not yet paid him for a piece authored for their inaugural issue.

Friday, November 14, 2003
As long as it's our kind of theocracy...

"The significance of the case of the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, does not lie in his transgression in disobeying a court order," declares the Sun today, in words that illustrate the editors' strong belief in rule of law. "Rather, Mr. Moore is a symbol of the clash between religious and secular society in America."

I'm sure SethAndIra would love to read it that way. That was, after all, what Moore and his flock of religious nuts intended. Rather than finding common ground on matters such as advocating for peace, sheltering the homeless, or what the Geto Boys famously phrased "feedin' the poor and hepin out wit they bills," the Sunnis would rather secular society and religious society came together in harmony by having religious society shoved down secular society's throat.

Thus, their affinity for giving every New York schoolchild a Catholic upbringing. Just as long as the religious fanatics aren't Muslim, they're a-ok in the Sun's dim worldview.

"It is certainly an open question whether Justice Moore’s monument to the Ten Commandments is an appropriate display," the editors go on, "but it would seem a long shot to cross the constitutional line that enjoins Congress to make no law respecting an establishment of religion, let alone prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Which is why we have courts, to make calls on those "long shots." Moore defied the courts, and was punished appropriately. I love how the defenders of radical Christianity have twisted the argument somehow into Moore's right to defy the Establishment Clause, rather than his contempt for the American judicial system.

"No one can dispute that the Ten Commandments are fundamental to Alabama’s and our nation’s law and government," SethAndIra claim. I can and I will. Let's have a little Ten Commandments review (this assumes, by the way, the Protestant version of the Commandments, which differs slightly from the Hebrew and Catholic but which Moore surely had in mind):

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Pretty much a direct refutation of the Establishment Clause. Also, not fundamental to American law.)

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (If this is so fundamental to our laws, do we prosecute makers of graven images? Watch your ass, sculptors.)

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Unclear how this is "fundamental" to our nation's laws.)

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Do SethAndIra keep the Sabbath day? More important, what about the kids who work in the sweatshops SethAndIra adore so much? Do they get a day of rest, to keep holy?)

5. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. (Fine here, although there is no statuatory law requiring Americans to honor their father and mother. More to the point, as SethAndIra know, the Lord thy God does not give you land anymore; it is all private property.)

6. Thou shalt not kill. (Unless you kill Muslims in the name of a petro-imperialist adventure?)

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Not a law, or nearly every American would be in jail. That last sentence excludes African-American males, most of whom find their way to jail now that racism no longer exists.)

8. Thou shalt not steal. (See: Perle, Richard.)

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (See: New York Sun.)

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's. (I covet my neighbor's ass, although the neighbor is a "she," so I guess I'm technically in compliance. But isn't the capitalist trickle-down system we now have predicated on one coveting what others have?)

See, one can "dispute that the Ten Commandments are fundamental to Alabama’s and our nation’s law and government." In fact, that statement is a bunch of horseshit, the kind peddled by would-be theocrats.

"The Alabama 'ethics' committee has done little but set up Mr. Moore’s next move," the fundamentalists conclude. Ooooh, take that, "ethics" committee!

Thursday, November 13, 2003
Is there anything sleazeball Richard Perle touches that he doesn't manage to turn into a conflict of interest?

Is Dark Prince Richard Perle going to go to the Sun to print a press release about his intentions to sue the Financial Times? (This suit, of course, might properly be brought in the UK, unlike his chickenshit New Yorker threat).

Will Amity lose her job if he does?

Will Hollinger sink because its board of directors is stacked with crooks?

Will the Sun become an incidental victim of Perle's idiocy? Here's hoping.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Sun Shoots Flares, Misses Badly

Having been handed the thankless task of trying to make news out of Stoolie's latest, poor L.C. Savage is left making unreturned calls to key Democrats, just aching for some kind of response. She gets little for her effort.
A Democratic congressman from New York is calling on his party’s leadership to distance itself from billionaire George Soros after Mr. Soros reportedly made remarks blaming American and Israeli foreign policy for the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe.

That congressman, as you might imagine, is Eliot Engel, who can always be counted on to say what the Sun wants him to say when it comes to the Sun's favorite sport -- Mindless Anti-Semitism Trolling.

"Critics said Mr. Soros was excusing hatred," Savage "reports," but what she really should have written is "Critic said Mr. Soros was excusing hatred." [And, given the way the Sun is edited, that is exactly how it would have appeared in print.] This because Mr. Engel is the only one who will go on record with the Sun. The rest of the report reads like a sad commentary on the Sun's irrelevance.
"A spokesman for Senator Lieberman said Mr. Lieberman had not seen the remarks. Other presidential candidates who were contacted by the Sun did not return requests for comment.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from New York, declined to comment on the remarks.

“There are a lot of nuances to people’s positions about what has led to anti-Semitism and I would be reluctant to comment on someone’s reportage of a speech unless I had seen it,” Mr.Weiner told the Sun.

A spokeswoman for Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle said Mr. Daschle had not seen the remarks, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office did not return a call for comment.

Apparently Mr. Weiner has higher standards than the Sun, which has no time for nuance, context, or "responsibility."

Meanwhile the gentleman who runs the organization Soros addressed, Mark Charendoff of the Jewish Funders Network, is diplomatically peeved at the way his forum was abused, according to a letter published today:
The Jewish Funders Network welcomed the presence of George Soros at our recent news conference on philanthropic partnerships in Israel [“Outrage Greets Soros Remarks,” Page One, November 11, 2003]. While much ado has been made over one remark, we appreciated his candor in a lengthy discussion with our members about the lessons of his distinguished career as a passionate philanthropist and practitioner of tikkun olam (repair of the world).

People are welcome to disagree with Mr. Soros. However, we believe that a broad and honest dialogue is essential to understanding the complex problems we face, as Americans and as lovers of Israel. The tendency to squelch diversity of expression restricts the Jewish community’s ability to understand and meet extraordinary challenges.

"The tendency to squelch diversity of expression" should be on the Sun's masthead.

There is no secret here: the Sun has been gunning for Soros ever since he started giving money to Democrats. Were he a Republican sugar-daddy, he could say whatever the hell he wanted about Israel and the Sun would praise his every word, or give him a column [see: Auntie Em Tyrrell].

The Sunnis just can't stand the idea that the policies of America and Israel would serve to promote, rather than diminish, anti-Semitism. They can't stand it because they just know that Ay-rabs are inherently evil, and anti-Semitism grows out of that evil, no matter how many Muslims Bush and Sharon manage to kill.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Hand it to Ira Stool. When something exercises that mind of his, he is able to generate reams of his trademark Stool pidgin - seemingly effortlessly or at least thoughtlessly. Usually his motive force is a prodding by Seth Lipsky to generate a pseudo-story or twist a true story so grotesquely as to force others to acknowledge the sub-recognition Sun in citation. Such seems the case with Ira's story (at page one) on George Soros' wacky and anti-Semitic notion that people dislike the American and Israeli governments because of the actions of said governments. SethAndIra - up in ire and in most high dudgeon - set out today to put paid to Soros' dangerous idea.

And fail.

Which doesn't really matter. Their purpose is not to engage Soros but to discredit dissent and protect power, which could very well be the mission statement assigned by Seth, the self-styled newsman of yore, to his paper.

Clad in his fedora, with 1967 vintage correction fluid dabbed behind his ears and the pretense of objectivity defenestrated, Lipsky and his boyservant Ira get a nod from NewsMax. This probably makes them happy. But what of the Soros-themed piece itself?

Whereas most newspapers seek to illuminate the ground before their readers, SethAndIra's "newspaper" seeks only to salt it and thus render it inhospitable. "Outrage Greets Soros Remarks," Ira writes, though Ira documents only outrage on the part of the professional friends of Israel who are his usual go-to guys when collecting quotes. Better to summon the faithful to shout down Soros than chance readers weighing the case. Interestingly, though, Ira chose not to number Sun bagman Michael Steinhardt as amongst the outraged. From NewsMax:
After the speech, Michael Steinhardt, the real-estate tycoon and Jewish philanthropist who had invited Soros, elicited titters by saying, "George Soros does not think Jews should be hated any more than they deserve to be."
Oh, that Michael Steinhardt always eliciting titters, either with one-liners or by funding SethAndIra's outlandish newspaper.

So the shitrag's lead ATM is outraged and assigns SethAndIra to (poorly and incoherently) articulate that outrage. Yes, Seth, go on and revel in that complete editorial freedom your disdain for 'responsibility' affords. Do you mow Steinhardt's lawn on weekends, you bloated sack?

[Oh, almost forgot to mention that Ira gives us inStollment 75 of WETS today: "The JTA [the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, "a venerable news wire service"] noted that in the past, Mr. Mahathir has singled out Mr. Soros and for financial pressure Mr. Mahathir claimed has harmed Malaysia's economy."]

Separately, as noted below by LFLS understudy/overlord Quentin Robinson, today is indeed Veterans Day, and we can only feel sorry for Stoolie. Here he is, a veteran of his own personal war, without so much as a pat on the ass from Seth. Poor "guy." For our part, Brad and Quentin will be spending the day with friends in quiet contemplation. Befitting my heritage, I will mark it in a more typical Kiwi fashion.
Must be Martin Luther King Day?

The Sun decides not to take a holiday today, Veterans Day, and one can find scarcely a mention of American troops anywhere in the putatively patriotic rag.

Don't be like the Sun. Support our troops. Bring them home.
Page two brings us Colin Miner’s report on Gawker.com and the mainstreaming of pornography. Miner’s non-story, a sneaky excuse to mention the Paris Hilton porn tape, (which I have a great title for: “Exhibit A in the rape trial of Rick Solomon”) notes that Gawker has stills from the Hilton tape on its new Fleshbot site. Miner also writes that Entertainment Weekly has called Gawker a “cheeky round-up of gossip, hipster to-do items, and withering commentary on pop-culture news [that] has become a must-read for Manhattan’s media elite.” Cheeky? Hipster? Withering? Must-read? Damn right!.

Monday, November 10, 2003
Just another beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in that strange alternate universe confined to a certain stretch of Chambers Street in downtown Manhattan. The New York Sun today, as every day, is what Dr. Strangefeld might call a "target rich environment" (he would then deny that he ever called it that.)

The Sun tries today to take on Al Gore's brilliant speech (Mr. Gore has been far more satisfying as a private citizen than presidential candidate) to moveon.org, which it describes as a "fringe group." I guess it takes one to know one. I say the Sun "tries to take on" because its effort is such a miserable, laughable failure.

"It’s been quite a spectacle over the years to watch Vice President Gore transform from moderate Democrat in Congress and during the Clinton years, to fire-breathing populist in the 2000 presidential campaign, to paranoid partisan in the post-9/11 era," they say of America's elected president-in-exile. They take particular exception to Mr. Gore's strong criticism of the Patriot Act, a criticism they claim puts him, "to the left of the 98 senators and 357 members of the House of Representatives who passed the antiterrorism law."

This has become a popular new wingnut debate tactic, which I will call "the Taranto Two-Step." It goes like this: grossly misstate a certain person's spoken position, then use that misstated position to claim that it puts the speaker "to the left of" some arbitrary (preferably evil liberal) group.

Let's use the Taranto Two-Step on the Sunnis. In another idiotorial today they refer to a group of students at City College preparing to protest Colin Powell as "misguided youth." This puts the Sun far to the left of Henry Kissinger (a member of Hollinger International, part owner of the Sun), who sat by and giggled as Pinochet's hatchet men rounded up supporters of Salvador Allende in soccer stadiums, then proceeded to torture, mulitate, and murder the "misguided youth."

Then the Sun turns up the heat on Al Gore:
Mr. Gore went so far in his speech as to chide the Bush administration for the “implicit assumption” that Americans must give up some freedom in order to be safe from terrorism. Not only is his new position untenable and rejected by the vast majority of Congress, it is not even the position of the American Civil Liberties Union. As recounted in Steven Brill’s book, “After,” the ACLU decided after September 11, 2001, to scrap its long-standing opposition to metal detectors at airports. The organization had objected since 1973 on the grounds that the metal detectors violated the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches. But, in the wake of the destruction of the World Trade Center, the objection was deemed indefensible.

If anyone can make sense of this paragraph please let me know. What I believe it is trying to say is that President Gore's position, that it is wrong to give up freedom in the name of security (a position shared by Benjamin Franklin, SethAndIra you traitors) is of questionable merit because the ACLU decided, thirty years ago -- the same year Pinochet was executing "misguided youth" -- to oppose metal detectors.

Hmm. Strong stuff there.

"Mainstream Democrats will have their work cut out for them in their efforts to isolate themselves from the damage he is doing to their credibility," they conclude. Fortunately for the wingnuts, there is no need to isolate themselves from the idiotic rantings in the Sun, as it is not taken seriously.

Sidebar: In its effort to parrot the Bush Administration's chief talking point from two weeks ago, that "Press Emphasis on Iraq Violence Overshadows U.S. Success" (quotation taken directly from jump headline on page 6), the Sun has Alyssa Waltzman sit down with Chris Spear, assistant secretary of labor for policy. Mr. Spear gets all choked up as he recalls how he helped an old lady fix her crutch with duct tape: "'She said she would give her eyes as thanks for our generosity,' Mr. Spear said, his voice breaking."

"Workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and employment training programs under the labor ministry’s jurisdiction, were unheard of during Saddam Hussein’s tenure, Mr. Spear said," Waltzman reports. "Citizens were trained solely to enhance Iraq’s defense capabilities. Now the plan is to teach them agriculture, construction, and other skills to build the economy."

They're turning Iraqis into socialists!

"'In Baghdad, you can find places with televisions stacked eight feet high on street corners,' he said. 'They are selling washers, dishwashers, Mercedeses [???]; there’s even a BMW dealer in Baghdad.'" So that's where Chalabi has been.
In order to empower and teach Iraqi ministry employees, Americans asked them to create a payment distribution plan to dole out money in an orderly fashion to ministry employees who came in person to receive their salaries. The Iraqis determined that payroll would be distributed at six locations, a decision that spread American security forces very thin.When unemployed prison guards demanded payment and violently crashed through the building to steal the money, Mr. Spear, who has no military background, felt obliged to act.

“An army reserve officer handed me his 9mm and he had an M16 and we went in and cleared that crowd out of the building, just the two of us,” Mr. Spear said, nervously shaking his leg. “We prevented something bad from happening.… That was a pretty close call.”

Yep, everything sounds peachy. Mr. Spear, do yourself a favor: take a long vacation. Sounds like you need one.

Sunday, November 09, 2003
Where's Ahmad? Surely SethAndIra must know. He's like a son to them. Seth gets all weepy just thinking about it.

Where's Osama? Where's Saddam? Where's Cheney? Everyone is disappearing.

Al Qaeda bombs Riyadh, because they hate the Saudi government. SethAndIra hate the Saudi government! Could there be room for some emotional bonding here?


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