Search Results for: iceland

Iceland will ban porn?

Iceland, a Lutheran country, steps up on an issue hardly anyone else is touching:

The government is considering introducing internet filters, such as those used to block China off form the worldwide web, in order to stop Icelanders downloading or viewing pornography on the internet.

The unprecedented censorship is justified by fears about damaging effects of the internet on children and women. [Read more...]

Making the military cool again

Literature, including and perhaps especially the more popular varieties, does more than provide escapist entertainment.  It can also shape people’s imaginations so as to influence the actual world.  Case in point:  the recently departed author Tom Clancy, who, according to veterans Erin Simpson and Phillip Carter, was largely responsible for making the military cool again, after the disfavor it fell into with the Vietnam war, and inspiring lots of young readers to sign up. [Read more...]

Man Without a Country

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been stuck in the transit zone of a Russian airport for a week.  The U.S. government cancelled his passport, so he can’t get on another airplane.  He has reportedly applied to 21 countries for asylum, all to no avail.  (Some would take him, but he has to get there first.)  What he should have done is settle in a country that would take him and then out himself as the leaker of the NSA internet and cell phone surveillance scheme.  What he should do now is turn himself in to American authorities and take his punishment like a man.

Still, whether he is a traitor or a hero, I feel sorry for him.  He is truly a Man Without a Country.  (Read that short story by Edward Everett Hale to get your patriotic juices flowing on this Fourth of July.) [Read more...]

A Patriot or a Traitor?

Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former CIA employee who has been working with an intelligence contractor, revealed himself to be the source of reports about the government’s mass monitoring of telephones and the internet. After the jump, read about the cloak-and-dagger details from the perspective of the reporter to whom he leaked the classified information.

Do you consider him to be a traitor for giving aid and comfort to the enemy by disrupting a major anti-terrorism program?  Or do you consider him to be a patriot for exposing major threats to constitutional principles and American liberties? [Read more...]

Society has little defense

Not too long ago, both liberals and conservatives were oriented to some kind of common social good.  Liberals pushed for what they considered to be “social justice.”  Conservatives emphasized patriotism and worked for cultural stability.  Today, both sides frame their arguments in terms of personal liberty and individual rights (gay rights, abortion rights, reproductive freedom, etc., vs. parental rights, religious liberty, gun rights, free markets, etc.).

Is that an advance?  Perhaps it is.  But did you notice that when we recently discussed Iceland’s attempt to battle pornography, hardly any of us–social conservatives mostly, me included–were able to come up with any way to oppose it legally.  Even as we were decrying pornography and admitting how socially harmful it is, we could only conceive of the issue in terms of first amendment rights.  On another blog that discussed Iceland’s policies, someone defended pornography on the grounds that we must not interfere with free market economics, that the demand must call forth a supply.

Then I was part of a discussion of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s graduation address at Harvard University in 1978.  In that talk, the exiled Russian author who spent nearly a decade in the Soviet gulag and whose dissident writings helped bring about the fall of Communism, said why he would not recommend that his country, once free, emulate the modern West.  One reason he gave is that western societies have become “legalistic”; that is, our societies have replaced morality with laws.  And societies cannot protect themselves with laws alone. [Read more...]

Partying with the reporter

Newsweek interviews Michael Hastings, the Rolling Stone reporter who broke the story quoting our top military brass in Afghanistan dissing the president and his staff, asking how in the world he got them to open up like they did.

You reported a lot of sentiments that are usually only expressed in private—why were the general and his team so candid?

Part of it was the circumstances. They were in a different environment. They were in Paris. But you would really have to ask them why they gave me the access that they did.

Can you explain how the article came about—what was the pitching and reporting process?

I was Baghdad correspondent for NEWSWEEK for two years, and I left the magazine after covering the elections. I wrote a piece for GQ before Obama took office that raised some serious questions about the direction we were taking in Afghanistan. So it was something I wanted to be writing about. I saw General McChrystal and his new strategy as a way to look at our Afghan policy to see if it’s working or if it’s a totally insane enterprise. I met with editors at Rolling Stone, they seemed into the idea, so I e-mailed McChrystal’s people. I didn’t think I was going to get any access at all. It’s one of those strange journalistic twists. They said yes, come on over to Paris to spend a couple days with us.

How much time did you spend with McChrystal over the month?

Another strange journalistic twist. The Icelandic volcano happens, and so my two-day trip turned into this month-long journey following General McChrystal and his staff around from Paris to Berlin to Kabul to Kandahar and then back to Washington, D.C. I wasn’t with him at every moment, obviously, but fairly regularly over that period of time.

One of the most vivid scenes in the stories comes when you are out with the general, his wife, and his team for a night on the town in Paris. His team is entirely forthright with you, did that surprise you?

Well, they were getting hammered, I don’t know at that moment if they were being the most forthright. Of course it was surprising. A lot of the reporting that is getting most of the attention happened right away in the first few days in Paris. So I was surprised—because they didn’t know me.

via How ‘Rolling Stone’ Got Into McChrystal’s Inner Circle – Newsweek.

OK, let’s turn this into a learning experience.  Here is a PR tip:  When you hold an important office and you have some sensitive knowledge and opinions that could prove embarrassing if outsiders knew about them, don’t go out drinking with reporters to the point of getting hammered.   What other lessons can we learn?


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