"We are staying in a rented house on the shores of Lake Llanquihue . . . the second largest glacial cut lake in South America . . . Our living room looks across the lake to the Andes mountains [Karsten Rau photo above], and especially to Mount Osorno," emails nephew Matthew, who has traveled with Regan and her family to Chile for Regan's sister's wedding. "Puerto Montt is the last city heading south in Chile, and it marks the beginning of Patagonia. It is quite cool and damp, like the Pacific Northwest . . . [Christmas day] Regan came down with the flu so I stayed here and nursed her. We drank tea and watched bad American movies with Spanish subtitles, including 'About a Boy.' 'The Firm' and 'Love Actually'. I think they made me stupider, but it was fun just to relax and look out at the mountains after three long days of traveling and meeting new people. . . . Our house here has wi-fi." We can empathize big time with "fun just to relax," having come down with some sort of head/chest cold ourselves just after Christmas. We're using that as our excuse -- sleeping most of the time -- for not having blogged for TWO DAYS!
"While Bob Woodward says that the late President Gerald Ford told him he was against the war in Iraq, Thomas DeFrank @ NY Daily News reports otherwise," notes Pajamas Media:
Ford was a few weeks shy of his 93rd birthday as we chatted for about 45 minutes. He’d been visited by President Bush three weeks earlier and said he’d told Bush he supported the war in Iraq but that the 43rd President had erred by staking the invasion on weapons of mass destruction.
The Washington Post's reportage encapsulates all that's wrong with the MSM and its undue influence on the thinking of even the finest of our fellow citizens. First, using the sainted Woodward as unassailable authority on all things Inside the Beltway, the WaPo got in a gratuitous dig -- via the strange new respect for President Ford, now that he has gone to meet his maker -- at GWs beleaguered war policy. Second, it appears that the admirable President Ford got his "news" from the MSM, apparently buying the oft-repeated big lie that WMDs were the main rationale for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The big-picture argument for our invasion of Iraq was -- and is -- in President Bush's words, "To stop the extremists from dominating the Middle East":
If the extremists succeed in Iraq, they will be emboldened in their efforts to undermine other young democracies in the region, or to overthrow moderate governments, establish new safe havens, and impose their hateful ideology on millions. If the Iraqis succeed in establishing a free nation in the heart of the Middle East, the forces of freedom and moderation across the region will be emboldened, and the cause of peace will have new energy and new allies.
A gratuitous kitty pic because -- as Mind of Mog says -- "they are so cute." Above Tiny contemplates the Christmas centerpiece during the countdown to supper. For more cute kitty pics, head on over to the 144th Carnival of the Cats with Laurence Simon at IMAO.
We will say this in admiration and awe of the MSM, especially the cables -- including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and, of course, C-Span. They came through with flying colors in the wake of President Ford's death the day after Christmas, presenting a wealth of well-researched reports, historical footage and interviews with former friends and colleagues of our 38th president. We think it was Chris Wallace himself who told a colleague that he'd learned a lot he hadn't known about Ford's brief presidency in the last couple of days. His decision to pardon President Nixon following the Watergate scandal, much criticized at the time, is now considered by practically everyone to have been the right thing to do to bind the nation's wounds. According to conventional wisdom -- and polls -- at the time, however, the pardon was thought have been one of the reasons why Ford lost to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election, which was very close. We were intrigued by the perhaps unwittingly astute analysis of an otherwise clueless Richard Valeriani -- who still clings to the tired meme that "Ronald Reagan was indeed an 'amiable dunce'" -- in The Huffington Post:
It is widely recognized that molding public perceptions through narratives is nearly as important in war as the outcomes on the actual battlefield. Palestinian Media Watch convincingly demonstrates that Arab and Muslim organizations have long made influencing international publics through print and broadcast media a strategic goal, especially in any confrontation with Israel. This effort has historically followed two tracks: the establishment of technically sophisticated media outlets like al-Jazeera to sell messages directly to audiences; and mounting information operations aimed at shaping the way in which Western Media outlets cover any issue of interest.
Unfortunately, those Western Media outlets are all too easily led down the garden path, as al Qaeda's #2 Ayman al Zawahiri suggested in taking credit for the Democrats' big win in the mid-term election.
Update: Pajamas Media links.