Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Photos You Won't See in the Mainstream Media

Americans who find themselves frustrated with the mainstream media's one-sided coverage (i.e. not ours) of the war in Iraq, as well as wider events in the Middle East, have had to turn to the Internet to get a fuller picture of what's going on.

Whether it's milbloggers, dispatches from independent journalists such as Michael Yon, talk radio interviews with those on the frontlines, or the fact-checking of online journalists and the blogosphere, alternative forms of media have proven to be the best source for informative and unbiased coverage of the war on terrorism.

To that end, the grassroots conservative forum FreeRepublic.com is an invaluable asset. I've been a FReeper (as members of the forum are known) myself for several years and I'm on the ping list for a fellow member that goes by the handle "Diogenesis."

No one knows who he is or anything about his background, but Diogenesis pops up every few months with a series of posts composed of photos (from journalistic and military sources) from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East, interspersed with a random assortment of other subjects and accompanied by text that is most decidedly pro-American, pro-Israel, and pro-Western. Or, as he puts it, "Ye Old Quagmire-Free News." In short, these are reports you definitely won't see in the mainstream media.

Diogenesis has been at it again since May, so I'm posting links to his latest reports using his titles and starting with the most recent. For those who like a dose of good, old-fashioned war reporting (via modern-day technology), follow the links below and, if so inclined, scroll through the comments section for additional photos:

GOTTA SEE THIS - War for Enduring Freedom 6/21/07 - Baqouba, Diyala, Start of the Surge

GOTTA SEE THIS - War for Enduring Freedom 6/14/07 - Iraq, Gaza City, Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah

GOTTA SEE THIS - War for Enduring Freedom 5/28/07 - Sadr City, Baghdad, Hilla, Fallujah, Basra, Najaf, Nusseirat, al Zaitun, Gaza Strip

GOTTA SEE THIS - War for Enduring Freedom 5/24/07 - Gulf of Oman, Gharah Ghayah, Tehran,Natanz, Isfahan, New London

GOTTA SEE THIS - War for Enduring Freedom 5/22/07 - Ein el-Hilweh, Nahr al-Bared, Verdun Beirut

GOTTA SEE THIS - War for Enduring Freedom 5/21/07 - Nahr al-Bared, Achrafieh, Beirut, Tripoli

Update (6/22): On a related subject, Hot Air notes that the mainstream media is missing in action when it comes to reporting on the successful battle currently taking place in Baquba, Iraq. That is, except for reporting on U.S. troop casualities.

They also excerpt and link to Michael Yon's latest report from the frontlines. Same goes for Bill Roggio. Eat your heart out, MSM.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

American Pop Culture: Degeneracy On Parade

Rome, here we come.

No, I'm not talking about vacationing in Italy but about the descent into degeneracy that seems to be overtaking American popular culture. The kind of sexual decadence that many feel helped destroy the Roman Empire from within seems all too familiar.

With television, movies, the Internet and even local stores and markets acting as conveyers of debauchery, it seems there is no escape. Once confined to the margins of society, depravity has now become mainstream.

To read the rest of my latest column, go to SFGate. A comments section has been added, so feel free to chime in.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Muslims Riot. The World Yawns

Enraged Muslims are rioting, burning effigies, cursing the West, promising suicide bombings, and threatening to kill Salman Rushdie...again. What else is new?

At this rate, the international community is going to start suffering from Muslim riot fatigue. I know I am.

It's a bit like having a perpetual two-year old on the world stage, constantly throwing tantrums (albeit deadly ones) in order to get its way. The problem is, too many dhimmified Westerners are more than willing to give it to them.

Let's hope this latest whine-fest results in a dose of tough love, rather than yet another time out.

Arnold Was Right: Learn English!

The San Diego Union-Tribune has an excellent editorial on why Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was right to tell members of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists that students with limited English proficiency who can't pass the state's exit exam need to "turn off the Spanish television set."

It was particularly refreshing in these politically correct times to see a politician cut through the multicultural (i.e. non-assimilationist) party line . As the editorial points out:
What the governor offered was solid advice and good common sense. But, with this particular crowd, his comments also turned out to be controversial. Amazingly, there were actually gasps and snickers from some members of the audience, which included journalists who make their living from – you guessed it – Spanish-language television.
Read the whole thing (and press one for English).

Update (6/20): San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. has a very good column up today essentially agreeing with Governor Schwarzenegger. Read it here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

You Wanted a Palestinian State? You Got It

After Israel's disengagement from Gaza in 2005 and the ensuing looting and burning of greenhouses and synagogues by triumphant Palestinians, I wrote a column titled "What A Palestinian State Would Look Like." My central thesis being that the long awaited Palestinian state, nurtured by the folly of the international community and the obsession of Western leftists, was in fact materializing before our eyes. And it was not a pretty sight.

Now that Gaza is once again subsumed by chaos, looting, murder and mayhem and Fatah has retreated to the West Bank leaving Hamas in charge, I would once again make the same point. You wanted a Palestinian state? You got it.

The international community has decided that the Palestinians are to be the world's welfare wards and their coddling has produced a dysfunctional, destructive society. Meanwhile, Israel and the United States continue to be labeled the bad guys. It seems the Palestinians (and in a larger sense, Muslims) are the only people on the planet who are not responsible for their actions.

Watching the cognitive dissonance at work among pro-Palestinian media, academia, and activists backs up this interpretation. Unable to cope with a reality that does not conform to the narrative of Israeli aggression and Arab victimhood with which they have been indoctrinated, such true believers simply keep on spouting the same tired talking points.

The continued calls to "end the occupation" speak to this bizarre break with reality, not to mention laying blame for the strife among the Palestinians on the backs of the Israelis. Ignoring the fact that many Palestinians are trying to flee the violence in their own backyard for the safety of Israel is simply par for the course among those who see only the "evil Zionists" and never the evil that they themselves have helped cultivate.

One would hope that lessons might be learned from the current crisis. Yet, even as I write, the West, including Israel, continues to perpetuate the failing situation by promising to send aid to the Palestinian territories. Probably because that's what's expected of them. It's incredible how those who falsely accuse Israel of being a "racist, imperialist, colonialist, apartheid state" still expect the country to provide its mortal enemies with water, food and medicine when they prove unable to fend for themselves. The Bush administration and its buddies in the State Department certainly seem to think so.

But the truth is, until the Palestinians are cut off from the worldwide gravy train and left to their own (or their Arab neighbors') devices, the current situation will never resolve itself. And the West will continue to pay the price for pretending that the conflict in the Middle East is somehow separate from the global war on terrorism. Whether Hamas or Fatah wins out in the end, the result will be a terrorist state.

In the meantime, the charade goes on.

Update (6/20): This piece is now posted at Family Security Matters, for whom I'm a contributing editor.

Cindy Sheehan's Syrian Fans

In yet another case of strange (or not-so-strange) bedfellows, it seems former anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan has her fair share of fans among the Syrian government and its lackey government media. Her decision to "step down" as the figurehead of the anti-war movement because of her disappointment with the Democrat Party, has led to a flurry of commentary in Syria.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri.org)'s latest report quotes an op-ed from Dr. Buthayna Sha'ban, Syria's Minister of Expatriate Affairs, on the subject:

Cindy Sheehan's letter makes it clear that she received all the backup and support [she needed] when she was regarded as a Democrat fighting against the
Republican Party's outlook on the war. But when she left the Democratic Party, and defined the war in Iraq not as a matter of the political left vs. the political right, but as a matter of right vs. wrong – then her real problems began, for in a democratic regime, you are permitted to voice opposition [to the regime], but you are not allowed to expose the true nature of the regime and what it really stands for.
That's rich, coming from a member of a truly totalitarian regime. In Syria, such activism would land one in prison, not self-induced retirement. Come to think of it, same with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Charles Kamilah, columnist for the Syrian government daily Teshreen, chimes in:
What made the famous American citizen Cindy Sheehan, head of the [American] anti-war movement, say 'goodbye America... you are not the country that I love?'... Her main reason [for this move] at this time was probably not Bush's[insistence on] pursuing his erroneous path – which is [merely] the persistence of [his] known stupidity. Rather, it is the Democratic Party's betrayal of its voters, who gave it a majority in Congress after it promised an immediate withdrawal from Iraq in its elections campaign.
Actually, the Democrat win in 2006 was not based on a promise of immediate withdrawal from Iraq (Mark Foley, anyone?). That's just the spin that's been added by the Democrats and the mainstream media after the fact. Interesting how they sound indistinguishable from the Syrian government media on this subject.

Similarly, should Cindy Sheehan be seeking a new home more appropriate to her political proclivities, something tells me she'd be a real hit in Syria. It would be a fitting end to an ignominious career of using her son Casey's death for political notoriety, not to mention pushing a radical anti-American and anti-Israel agenda under the guise of pacifism.

Bon voyage, Cindy.

The Republican Death Wish?

Glenn Reynolds explores the the Republican Party (led by the Bush administration)'s apparent death wish at Instapundit. No surprise here as I was commenting on some of the same issues recently. When there's no discernible difference between the Republican and Democrat parties, things have pretty much come full circle.

The problem is our politicians inhabit a bubble-world, also frequented by the mainstream media, into which common sense rarely filters. It's up to the blogosphere, talk radio and other alternative media to speak for the American people.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pardon vs. Exoneration in the Libby Case

I have been just one of many conservative journalists and bloggers to imply that President Bush should pardon Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney. Sending a man to prison for a crime he didn't commit is a grave injustice indeed. Not to mention the media manufactured basis for the entire case, which turns out to be one of the biggest nothing "scandals" in history.

But Accuracy In Media analyst Roger Aronoff makes a very convincing case, in an AIM Special Report on the subject, that "exoneration, not a pardon, would better serve Libby, history and justice." An earlier report on the Libby/Plame morass co-authored by AIM editor Cliff Kincaid points to machinations within the CIA to do damage to the Bush administration as the possible motivation for the case, and this latest report elaborates on that theme.

While the pardon vs. exoneration jury is still out for me (and I highly doubt President Bush will try to effect either outcome), I will certainly be watching and waiting to see what comes of Libby, not to mention our justice system. Both deserve much better than this pitiful spectacle.

Update: As pointed out in the AIM report, the blog JustOneMinute is providing full coverage of the Libby case. Check it out.