As for the death penalty, this is one exception that, to my mind, makes sense. In a just war, when society itself is threatened by the lives of fascist mass-murderers, there is every justification for executing convicted prisoners of war.
Via a National Center for Public Policy email, I see Media Matters--a group dedicated to "correcting conservative misinformation"--is, itself, being corrected....
Office supply retailer Staples, Inc. is denying allegations made by a left-wing activist group that Staples is withdrawing advertising from news programs run by Sinclair Broadcasting as a result of the political content of the newscasts.
Staples Spokesman Paul Capelli told the National Center in a January 6 phone call that the organization Media Matters had "misrepresented" the facts about Staples' advertising policy regarding Sinclair. Capelli referred to Staples as a "victim" of this misrepresentation, saying Staples is "nonpolitical."
Amy Ridenour--at the NCPP blog--suggests that this whole thing came about because Staples was trying to play both sides - and the Left for suckers....
This is my take on what happened here. I suspect Staples originally was too clever by half. It sent emails to lefties that said that its current ad on Sinclair news would end 1/10 -- apparently phrased to maximize the likelihood that the lefties would be happy with the email without Staples actually having to do what the leftie wanted.
Probably seemed like good customer relations at the time.
The plan blew up when Media Matters put out a press release declaring victory, and the right started asking questions.
From what I know about media PR, this sounds quite plausible.
As you may know, Staples, Inc. officials reviewed, edited, and approved the Media Matters press release of January 4, 2005, in both draft and final form. That release stated that Staples was not renewing advertising on Sinclair local news programming due in part to concerns registered by visitors to the SinclairAction.com website, which was launched December 14, 2004, to protest the conservative slant of Sinclair's news programming, in particular a nightly conservative commentary called "The Point."
Somebody's going to eat it for this. I'm putting my money on a minor functionary at Staples, who is about to get nailed for trying to have it both ways....to their eventual chagrin. But, at this point, who knows?
Today, however, I heard a remarkable interview on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. The subject of the interview was Geoffrey Dobbs, a businessman who owns several hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka. With other businessmen, he has begun a self-help effort in his section of the island.
"In some ways, if you don't know what you're doing, you just get it done." That's spontaneous order if I've ever heard it.
He views these people as independent agents who can take responsibility for their own fates, who are willing to work hard to put their lives back together, and who should be respected, not pitied. .... His experience is a living argument for why grassroots self-help is superior to top-down, committee-driven, bureaucratic foreign "assistance" that serves more to assuage Western guilt than it does to build economies and bring people out of poverty.
The most important quote in the interview: "I have a wallet-load of Sri Lankan rupees in my pocket and when I think I see a worthwhile cause,I just pay out the money. I dont ask for any receipts. I just say to them, Ill come back tomorrow, if I dont see any progress, you wont get any more money."
Therein lies the beauty of the free market: the ability to provide enormous incentives for valuable, productive behaviour....and to punish non-productive behaviour by the removal of those incentives. The State--welfare--whatever good it may be able to do in the short term, will ultimately be unable to coerce positive behaviour, because the State insists on always picking up the pieces; on never letting ultimate responsibility rest on the individual.
It would be very interesting--though, perhaps impossible--to have a controlled experiment in the results of State-driven Command-charity VS demand-driven private charity.
The response to my email that was received from Staples:
Thank you for sharing your feedback with us. Our media buying process with Sinclair Broadcasting stations has recently been misrepresented by an organization with no affiliation to Staples. Staples regularly drops and adds specific programs from our media buying schedule, as we evaluate and adjust how to best reach our customers. We do not let political agendas drive our media buying decisions.
Staples does not support any political party. We advertise with a variety of media outlets, but do not necessarily share the same views of these organizations or what they report. As we have done for a number of years, Staples will continue to advertise on Sinclair Broadcasting stations.
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback.