Saturday, 24 March 2007


Ken Berwitz

How do you feel about anti-war protesters burning the American flag?  That's pretty much what you'd expect?  Ok.

Then how do you feel about anti-war protesters burning a US soldier in effigy?  Is that worse to you?  I hope so.

Now let's go one step beyond.  How do you feel about an anti-war protester dropping his pants and crapping on the American flag -- to the cheers of at least some of the other protesters and with no one saying a word against it or trying to stop him?  How does that sit with you?

Ridiculous, right?  They wouldn't do that, would they?  Well, read this editorial from the Portland (Oregon)Tribune - which is a solidly leftward paper that does not like Republicans in general, President Bush in particular or our policy in Iraq at all (bold print is mine): 



Rudeness mars peace message

But then there was a smaller group of demonstrators if they can even be called that who engaged in numerous actions that violated the sensibilities of ordinary people and damaged the very cause the activists claimed to endorse.

This splinter group of protesters showed its support for peace by burning a U.S. soldier in effigy. It exhibited its supposedly pacifist nature by knocking a police officer off his bike an action that brought out the police riot squad.

Perhaps the most disturbing scene of the afternoon, however, involved the man who pulled down his pants in front of women and children and defecated on a burning U.S. flag. This disgusting act actually elicited cheers from some members of the crowd, but we hope that the emotion it produces in the community is one of revulsion.

Offensive behavior does not advance peace and justice in the world. Rather, it undermines the moral message of peace demonstrators. It leads people to believe that its not possible to be both patriotic and opposed to the war in Iraq.

If the goal of peace demonstrators is to influence public opinion and encourage an end to the war, the activists must connect with their fellow citizens not repel them.

Most of the people who marched on Sunday fully understand this. And by singling out the few who didnt, we dont intend to place thousands of demonstrators under one label. But the actions of a few do create a public perception that at least some advocates for peace are anti-American, anti-police and far out of step with mainstream values.

The anti-war demonstrators who behaved responsibly this past weekend have an obligation to denounce and distance themselves from those protesters who purposefully offend others and consequently destroy the intended message of peace.


Where to begin?

---First of all, this is "RUDENESS"?????  If burning our soldiers in effigy and defecating on our flag is "rude", maybe someone at the Portland Tribune would like to tell me what vulgar and disgusting is (yeah, they said the defecation was disgusting, but apparently nothing else was);

---How does the Portland Tribune know how many protesters were and weren't in sympathy with the thugs who did these things?  Was there booing when the soldier was burned in effigy?  When the policeman was assaulted?  When the two-legged animal relieved himself on the flag?  Did anyone try to stop them?  The only palpable reaction they can report is that there was CHEERING.  How dare they assume it was not acceptable to more than a small number of protesters?  Based on what? 

The editorial hopes that this act elicited revulsion.  That's very nice, I'm sure.  But hoping for something doesn't make it true;

---The anti-war demonstrators may have an obligation to denounce these sick actions.  But DID they?  The march was almost a week ago.  If there were denunciations of what was done, it seems to me the editorial would have mentioned them.  But they didn't mention any, which tells me there weren't any.

FInally, here's a question I ask over and over again when despicable acts are perpetrated by the left:  Did you see it in mainstream media?  In the NY Times?  On the Today show?  Was it featured on the keith olbermann left-fest?  On chris mouthews' softball show?  No, no, no, no and no.

Do you believe media in this country are neutral, or that they report the whole story?  If so, think harder.



Ken Berwitz

Here is the first part of an article in Thursday's New York Times.  It is neither satire nor an attempt at slapstick comedy. Trust me, you'll need to remind yourself of this several times as you read it.  Bold print is mine:


The Year Without Toilet Paper

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Dim Lights, Big City The Conlin-Beavan family experiment requires that lights be low in their Fifth Avenue apartment.

Published: March 22, 2007

DINNER was the usual affair on Thursday night in Apartment 9F in an elegant prewar on Lower Fifth Avenue. There was shredded cabbage with fruit-scrap vinegar; mashed parsnips and yellow carrots with local butter and fresh thyme; a terrific frittata; then homemade yogurt with honey and thyme tea, eaten under the greenish flickering light cast by two beeswax candles and a fluorescent bulb.

What would you be willing to sacrifice for a more environmentally sound life?

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Michelle Conlin rides her scooter, even in the snow. Rain is worse, she said.

A sour odor hovered oh-so-slightly in the air, the faint tang, not wholly unpleasant, that is the mark of the home composter. Isabella Beavan, age 2, staggered around the neo-Modern furniture the Eames chairs, the brown velvet couch, the Lucite lamps and the steel cafe table upon which dinner was set her silhouette greatly amplified by her organic cotton diapers in their enormous boiled-wool, snap-front cover.

A visitor avoided the bathroom because she knew she would find no toilet paper there.

Meanwhile, Joseph, the liveried elevator man who works nights in the building, drove his wood-paneled, 1920s-era vehicle up and down its chute, unconcerned that the couple in 9F had not used his services in four months. Ive noticed, Joseph said later with a shrug and no further comment. (He declined to give his last name. Ive got enough problems, he said.)

Welcome to Walden Pond, Fifth Avenue style. Isabellas parents, Colin Beavan, 43, a writer of historical nonfiction, and Michelle Conlin, 39, a senior writer at Business Week, are four months into a yearlong lifestyle experiment they call No Impact. Its rules are evolving, as Mr. Beavan will tell you, but to date include eating only food (organically) grown within a 250-mile radius of Manhattan; (mostly) no shopping for anything except said food; producing no trash (except compost, see above); using no paper; and, most intriguingly, using no carbon-fueled transportation.

Mr. Beavan, who has written one book about the origins of forensic detective work and another about D-Day, said he was ready for a new subject, hoping to tread more lightly on the planet and maybe be an inspiration to others in the process.

Also, he needed a new book project and the No Impact year was the only one of four possibilities his agent thought would sell. This being 2007, Mr. Beavan is showcasing No Impact in a blog ( laced with links and testimonials from New Environmentalist authorities like His agent did indeed secure him a book deal, with Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and he and his family are being tailed by Laura Gabbert, a documentary filmmaker and Ms. Conlins best friend.

Why there may be a public appetite for the Conlin-Beavan family doings has a lot to do with the very personal, very urban face of environmentalism these days. Thoreau left home for the woods to make his point (and secure his own book deal); Mr. Beavan and Ms. Conlin and others like them arent budging from their bricks-and-mortar, haut-bourgeois nests.

Mr. Beavan looks to groups like the Compacters (, a collection of nonshoppers that began in San Francisco, and the 100 Mile Diet folks ( and, a Vancouver couple who spent a year eating from within 100 miles of their apartment, for tips and inspiration. But there are hundreds of other light-footed, young abstainers with a diarist urge: it is not news that this shopping-averse, carbon-footprint-reducing, city-dwelling generation likes to blog (the paperless, public diary form). They have seen An Inconvenient Truth; they would like to tell you how it makes them feel. If Al Gore is their Rachel Carson, blogalogs like Treehugger, and are their Whole Earth catalogs.


I'll leave it to you to come up with the jokes about no toilet paper.  I'm sure you'll have no problem at all doing so.

But while you're at it, remember that these people, ludicrous and pathological though you may find them, are not alone.  There are entire groups of nutcakes just like them, and just as likely to be given a golden platform to espouse their nutcakeian lifestyle by media such as the New York Times. 

I think the Times considers this cutting edge journalism.  Without toilet paper, it sure isn't perforated edge journalism.  You can do some more of your own jokes now, I did mine (yeah, I'm flushed with success). 

Come to think of it, I wonder if they use their toilet bowl.  Being environmentalists, the waste of all that water would be appalling.  Maybe Beaven can do a chapter about his conflict over this issue:  he could call it "Beaven and Butt-head".  Yikes

One last thought:  If Beaven is writing a book about this lifestyle, what will they print it on?  Will they use the trees he saved by not wiping his backside? 

Maybe he can use pages from the book after it is published.  Now THAT would be perforated edge journalism!

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