Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. I was a political columnist for (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the Algemeiner, Daily Caller, Washington Examiner, Independent Journal Review, American Thinker, FrontPage Magazine, Jihad Watch, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, Jewish Press, J-The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, and many others.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Gore's Nobel Symptomatic of Larger Trend: The Politicization of Awards

When the news arrived that former vice president and prophet of environmental doom Al Gore was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his film, An Inconvenient Truth, it resulted in little more than a cynical shrug from those of us long accustomed to the politicization of award-giving. The fact that the Nobel was shared with the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) only added to the air of predictability surrounding it all.

Indeed, I wrote about the topic earlier this year in an SFGate column titled, "When Awards Become Politicized" and, in the process, made the case that the awarding of honors such as the Grammy's, the Academy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and, above all else, the Nobel Peace Prize had become transparently political and, invariably, tilted towards the left side of the spectrum.

Past Nobel Peace Prize laureates prove the point. The few choice cases I included were the corrupt and ineffectual United Nations itself, its less than effective or peaceful peacekeeping forces, compromised former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, dictator-appeasing former president Jimmy Carter, and master terrorist Yasser Arafat. Further examples of "cosmopolitan frauds, fakers, murderers, thieves, and no-accounts" who also happen to be Nobel laureates can be found over at Powerline.

In the case of Al Gore's win, it's so laughably political as to be almost satirical. The IPCC's own findings on the subject contradict many of the claims made in An Inconvenient Truth, yet, somehow, the agency is Gore's partner in the prize. Not to mention the ruling by a British judge the same week that there are nine major errors in Gore's movie, none of which is enough to warrant the propaganda, er, film not being forced on British schoolchildren thus far, but that remains to be seen. Apparently, there are some inconvenient truths the Nobel committee chose to ignore.

Skeptical Environmentalist author and scientist Bjorn Lomborg has been having a field day with Gore's win, easily pointing out all the holes in his film in a recent article. Not to mention a host of critical articles written by others in the field who, apparently, never got the memo that "scientific consensus" had been reached.

Beyond the numerous fallacies enumerated in Gore's so-called documentary or the shaky basis for the entire concept of man-made catastrophic climate change, the connection between this film and the elusive concept of "peace" is tenuous at best.

Nobel committee chairman Ole Danbolt Mjøs, responding to such criticism, claimed that the global warming brought to light by Gore's tireless crusading (and I hear his carbon offset company's done quite well in the process) was certain to result in an "increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states" and, therefore, Gore could be fashioned into a peacemaker of sorts. Not that the conditions of violent conflict and wars ever needed encouragement to flourish, but, as we've all been hearing ad nauseam for the past several years, all the world's ills can be laid at the feet of dreaded climate change. Apparently, there was some distant past in which the earth's climate remained static and love and harmony prevailed. And if you believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. No doubt Al Gore's saying the same thing all the way to the bank, or the Whitehouse, to hear some acolytes tell it.

What's truly at stake are not warring states, but competing visions for the future. The actions of the Nobel committee reflect a desire to dampen U.S. economic power, redistribute wealth, and impose upon the U.S. and other capitalist nations a left-leaning, one-world government in which decisions on the environment (and everything else, for that matter) will be made by a group of bureaucrats ensconced in their European villas and, when the occasion strikes, the UN building generously housed by New York City.

Getting back to Gore's Nobel, as I pointed out in my earlier column, such blatant politicizing of award bestowing serves only to render these honors meaningless in the long run. If that were the goal, then I'd say the Nobel committee has finally hit the mark. Now there's something worthy of congratulation.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jack Cashill's "What's the Matter with California?" Hits the Presses

I've long admired the work of investigative journalist Jack Cashill, whose series of articles on the Sandy Berger affair (a certain Clinton administration holdover with classified documents literally coming out of his ears, and his socks, and his pants) I blogged about earlier this year.

While the incident in question certainly had an air of the ridiculous, far more serious issues surrounding the war on terrorism look to have been at stake. In light of the disclosure that 2008 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has, once again, brought Berger into the fray, the information contained in these articles is more relevant than ever.

So too is Jack Cashill's book just out this past week, What's the Matter with California?: Cultural Rumbles from the Golden State and Why the Rest of Us Should Be Shaking. Tackling the third largest and, in some respects, most dysfunctional state in the nation, Cashill's book provides a valuable service.

It was initially written in response to Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, a book in which Cashill, the entire population of Kansas (Cashill, in fact, lives in Missouri), and mainstream Americans in general were skewered for their, apparently, inexplicable conservative tendencies.

Cashill could easily have responded in kind, but instead he took the opportunity to contribute something of value to the so-called culture wars. Far from being a simple right vs. left polemic or a cheap shot at my ever-perplexing home state, Cashill's book proffers forth a cultural history of California and, in the process, a cautionary tale for the rest of the country.

I said much the same thing in my short review of What's the Matter with California?, which, I'm proud to say, is excerpted on the back cover of the book itself. Shameless self-promotion aside, I'm happy to have done the honors and to have met Jack in the process. And for all those trying to figure out what ails California, his book is a good place to start.

Update: Larry Kelley reviews the book in much more detail at Human Events.