Important Correction: In our rush to publish our refutation of Churchill's claim that Evan Connell's book, Son of the Morning Star, supported his argument that the Army intentionally infected Mandan Indians with smallpox, we honestly did not recall that the Rocky Mountain News' Kevin Vaughan already covered that very subject to perfection. We apologize for the oversight; it was unintentional
The Denver Post reports on what has become the Churchill version of the dog-bites-man story
Ward Churchill says his comments about "fragging" and conscientious objectors were taken out of context
(and the Denver Post even provides attribution and a link to PB! Gracias, DP!)
Trey Jackson has video from last night's O'Reilly Factor of Churchill's now infamous "frag line officers" speech (is anything Churchill says not infamous anymore?) confirming what we've been saying since Sunday
... and Gunny Bob of KOA News Radio calls O'Reilly on claiming "exclusive audio tape" of Churchill's speech, noting accurately that PirateBallerina broke the story. Thanks, Gunny!
On her Squishy! blog, our associate Dianna Deeley takes an interesting look at Ward Churchill by comparing him to another fraud, Micah Wright
Denial: It's Not Just a River in Egypt
We'd Love to Show You WorldNetDaily's Apology—
We'd love to show you WorldNetDaily's apology, but we can't, because the email we received from WND contained a request that it remain private and that we not publish any part of it.
So instead, we'll publish our reply:
Any apology from you should be in public, not in a private message. Your insertion of a mention of "Pirate Ballerina" into a four-day-old news story shows me something, but it's not contrition.
And —apparently cited my research?? Read this post on PirateBallerina for the story of what happened; make sure you follow the link to the archived WND page I have on PB. Your plagiarizer not only swiped the Churchill quotes verbatim, he/she swiped a satire I'd written and included it in the WND story as real news. They even mentioned the "little Entenmann's" part on Fox & Friends Monday morning.
For stealing the quotes without attribution, WND should be contrite; for stealing an obvious satire and printing it as real news, WND should be ashamed—and short at least one reporter. Perhaps even an editor. Anyone who rewrites as real news a "story" that includes Entenmann's donuts, Ward Churchill, and the Keebler elves should be wearing a paper hat and cleaning the deep-fat fryer right about now.
After you've thought about it for a bit, come back and apologize like a Managing Editor with integrity would. Better still, since you may not have any examples of integrity upon which to draw there at WND, just print the apology in the same prominent front page location you printed the link to your "breaking news" in the first place. Run it there for two days—the same amount of time the story held that placement. Make sure your apology includes a link to PirateBallerina.
And by the way: Next time, you can leave off the breathlessly self-important book deadline crap. You're not the only one who's ever faced a book deadline. Maybe if you took your responsibilities as Managing Editor more seriously, you and WND wouldn't be looking so foolish.
Now I know you're going to decide to take umbrage and get all offended because I didn't immediately accept your half-hearted excuse (and cowardly half-hearted, at that) for an apology, and because I've been just a tad insulting. How dare I? Well, let's just say I am neither impressed nor intimidated by your pitiably inept attempt to massage what you imagine to be my ego while insinuating that you are an Important Man with Far More Important Things to Do.
Incidentally, you have my permission to publish anything I've said here.
One last thing: It's "PirateBallerina," not "Pirate Ballerina."
PS: Michelle's heart was in the right place when she dropped you a line about this, and I've thanked her for her efforts. Perhaps you should ask her if she'd be willing to introduce your staff to the concept of integrity.
Churchill Claims Army Was Involved in Smallpox Pandemic
Our second excerpt (here's the first) from Ward Churchill's formal complaint against Professor Thomas Brown of Lamar University involves Churchill's allegations that the US Army was involved in the 1837 outbreak of smallpox among the Indian tribes along the Missouri.
Under the heading "False Accusations Concerning My Scholarship," Churchill claims in his complaint that:
"Had [Brown] bothered he would surely have detected that I'd cited a fourth source, Evan S. Connell's Son of the Morning Star, which [...] he [...] had somehow missed. Since he did not [read the material he was "purporting to critique"] Dr. Brown remained unaware of the fact that my 'tale' of the Army being involved at Fort Clark [... is ...] supported by Connell[....]"
But in his own footnote to the above quote from the complaint, Churchill notes without irony that any Army involvement was not at Fort Clark, but upriver, at Fort Union—and the source he cites (page 16 of Son of the Morning Star) implies strongly that the infection of the Indians was accidental.
From Son of the Morning Star, pp. 15-16 [emphasis ours]:
[...]American response to aboriginal treachery and barbarity was devastating, although inadvertent. On June 20, 1837, the steamboat St. Peter's unloaded at Fort Clark, delivering goods the Indians cherished along with something unexpected. A Mandan stole a blanket contaminated with smallpox, which started the plague in that area, and upriver at Fort Union the Indians refused to disperse, even after being warned away from the boat by whites who now understood the danger. They refused to leave because they assumed that once more they were about to be swindled. Jacob Halsey, in charge of the Fort Union depot, thought the best thing to do was vaccinate everybody and he is said to have been surprised when a number of his subjects began vomiting, bleeding, and dying. Halsey himself caught the pox. He got over it but his Indian wife did not.
Five opportunistic Assiniboin, thinking to benefit from the chaos at Fort Union, nimbly scaled the palisade and stole two horses. They were chased and caught by a detachment of soldiers who persuaded them to give up the horses, so the incident ended with no trouble—except one of the soldiers happened to be infected and the Assiniboin horse thieves innocently took the disease home. Eight hundred of their people died.
This is the text that Churchill uses to support his claims of the Army's malicious involvement in the smallpox pandemic—even though the cited text clearly indicates otherwise. Perhaps he simply assumes no one at Lamar University will bother to check his cited sources.
Update: We neglected to note that the Rocky Mountain News' Keven Vaughan covered this topic quite thoroughly. We apologize for the oversight. We've also removed the word "Exclusive" from this article's headline, since it obviously does not apply.
The Grand Junction (CO) Daily Sentinel has an caustic editorial on the recent 28% increase in CU student tuition costs
The editorial also wins our admiration for the first use of the word "micturating" we've seen in thirty years.
The always unimpeachable Denver Post quoted [Colorado Commission on Higher Education chief Rick] O’Donnell as saying that the university was really trying to mimic Harvard. O’Donnell’s apparent implication was that in their decision to raise its tuition to the near-bankrupting levels charged by prestigious Ivy League schools, the regents apparently hoped that CU’s national academic reputation would also approximate Harvard’s.
It's now been 2 days without response from WorldNetDaily since we asked them to provide proper attribution (to us) on their news article about Ward Churchill's "support the fragging of line officers" speech (our article on the whole sordid story is here)
Exclusive: Churchill Claims Ancestor Was an Indian
PirateBallerina is in possession of what we are convinced is a copy of the formal complaint Ward Churchill filed against Professor Thomas Brown of Lamar University, alleging "Academic Misconduct and Research Fraud." PB will be publishing excerpts throughout the next few days, as we examine and research the various claims made in the complaint (and for those keeping score, the 13-page complaint has 41 footnotes).
Today's excerpt: From the first section, under the heading "False Assertions Concerning My Ethnic Identity," Churchill says Brown "has published several documentably false statements with regard to my ethnic identity." Using what can only be described as the "great-granny was a slut" argument, Churchill maintains that his ancestor, Joshua Tyner, was at least a half-breed:
The proofs Churchill offers to back his assertions include family oral history and newspaper articles; the complaint against Brown offers no other documentation.
"As to the killing/scalping of Eliza Jane Tyner and a daughter by either Creek or Cherokee Indians in 1779, it should be noted that the incident was recorded as being the result of a 'family feud' (meaning the Indians involved were part of the family) [...] It is likely that Eliza Jane was a full-blood Cherokee and that Joshua Tyner's father was not her husband, Richard, but rather a Creek or Cherokee man with whom she'd extramarital relations. The 'feud' was over custody of the boy. If so, Joshua Tyner would have a 'full-blooded Indian', although he may well have been of both Cherokee and Creek lineage."
Later, in a paragraph claiming Brown misrepresents the implications of holding a CDIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood), Churchill claims that "[d]escent can be—and often is—confirmed without assignment of blood quantum." He goes on to say in a footnote that "since verification of descent, not blood quantum, was all I was ever interested in, this was the only sort of vetting by my Band's genealogist(s) in 1994." A visit to the website of "my Band"—the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees—reveals, however, that the UKB insists upon a CDIB for membership in the tribe.
For those who enjoy meaningless online polls, the Daily Camera has one:
Should Churchill be allowed to teach at CU?
Another excerpt from Churchill's Portland Speech Friday
Churchill's target demographic speaks, like, truth to, like, power
[Note to WorldNetDaily: the above is not a satire. It is an actual transcription of an actual question put to Ward Churchill during his Portland, Oregon speech last Friday. It is safe to steal the above quote.]
Questioner (1:46:21): so, I guess, I guess, yeah, uh, I guess what I was tryin' to say is that it seems to me like a lot of the times, like, a community will support more militant aspects of that community, like, the organizing that goes into a community, like, then will, like, I dunno, I don't know if it creates but, like, militancy comes out of a community not out of, like, just complete nothingness, and uh--
Churchill: Well it didn't come out of nothingness, that's a fact. All right.
Questioner: What? Say again?
Churchill's students give him low marks (Daily Camera)
Churchill's student evaluations give him "GPA" of 2.88 (Colorado Daily)
It's now been 1 day without response since we asked WorldNetDaily to provide proper attribution (to us) on their news article about Ward Churchill's "support the fragging of line officers" speech (our article on the whole sordid story is here)
WorldNetDaily Swipes One Too Many PB Articles
WorldNetDaily steals some news from PB--but gets a bit too greedy
WorldNetDaily has rushed to press with "breaking news" that is surprisingly similar to our news story yesterday concerning Ward Churchill's advice to conscientious objectors at a forum in Portland, Oregon Friday. (and a belated thanks to one of our loyal readers, Laurie, for pointing out the preposterous theft; without her eagle eye, we might never have caught WND!)
WND fails to attribute the story to PB, which is fine, since we're merely quoting a readily available MP3 of Churchill's speech at the forum. And it's possible their writer arrived at the same conclusions and excerpted exactly the same quotes (including our own editorially-inserted "[and]" for clarity). Had they listened to the whole speech and the Q&A period (as we did), WND would know Churchill spoke about the fragging of officers several times, not two times, as WND says (oddly enough, our original article only provided two quotes, though we've since updated it to include a third that provides more context for the "frag line officers" quote).
The problem (for WND) arises in the second part of their news article, where they go for a two-fer and steal another PB story—an obviously satirical "news" story a la scrappleface that had Churchill attributing his "little Eichmanns" comment to a faulty spell-checker that changed it from what he had typed: "little Entenmann's."
Other news sources, such as OrbusMax, properly carry a link to our "frag the officers" story on its main page. And Michelle Malkin also properly links to our story. And Wikiquote (a subidiary of Wikipedia) also attributes the quote to us.
Confidential to WND: If you're going to swipe news, at least make sure the news is, um, news. So, for the fledgling WND reporters among our readership, the "frag the officers" article was, sadly, all too true. The "little Entenmann's" story was satire.
Update: Apparently, we weren't the first to come up with the "little Entenmann's" joke; a poster on ihateapple.net came up with it back in February.
Update: Somebody clued WND to the joke on them; they've removed the "little Entenmann's" portion of their news story. Of course, we know all about "disappearing" things, so we made a copy of their original page, which is the page linked at the top of this post. You can view WND's sanitized version here. And just so you know we're not making this up, both Military.com and FreeRepublic.com carry reprints of the original WND article that include the now-disappeared "little Entenmann's" news. BTW: FreeRepublic readers figured out the satire part of the Entenmann's story within 40 minutes; it took WND at least 12 hours to notice.
Update: Even the boneheads at democraticunderground.com figured out the "Entenmann's" portion of the story was—as one poster rather uncharitably put it—"crap", though they also erroneously extend that definition to the all-too-true "support the fragging of line officers" portion of the WND story. DU has locked the thread, because WND is "biased" (not, apparently, because it plagiarizes stupidly).
Update: We sent an email this morning to WorldNetDaily concerning their unattributed use of our news story, asking that WND at least attribute the story to PB (and, of course, chortling a bit over their gullibility about the "little Entenmann's" satire). So far, we've seen no attribution, nor have we received a response of any kind from WND. We'll keep you posted.
BTW: We helped ourselves to WorldNetDaily's nifty "breaking news" animated GIF to illustrate this story. Sue us.
CNews 26June05 - UPDATED
Ward Churchill, harsh and scolding, at a forum on Conscientious Objection and resistance to military recruiters in Portland, Oregon Friday:
For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who's already been inducted [and] in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal.
But let me ask you this: Would you render the same support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?
After discussing the effectiveness of fragging officers in Vietnam, Churchill says (26:48):
You cannot maintain a military projection of force in the field when your own troops are taking out the line officers who are directing them in combat. It is as simple as that. Conscientious objection removes a given piece of the cannon fodder from the fray; fragging an officer has a much more impactful effect.
Later, during the Q&A (:1:13:31):
Questioner: I think it's important when you're getting into a discussion of violence and appropriate violence and self-defense, of starting to look at what you're trying to build there, what you're trying to create—for example, fragging an officer, which you were talking about before, at the beginning of your talk, the sort of trauma that that inflicts on that officer's family back home is I feel like an important thing to take into account when you try to think about what your action is trying to accomplish in the first place. I really feel like I can articulate [my question] properly, but that's the general direction I'm heading with it.
Churchill: How do you feel about Adolf Eichmann's family?
(You can listen to the stream here, download the MP3 at IndyTorrents, or we have it available for download here on PB. Determine for yourself whether we've taken the above quotes out of context or the quotes are part-and-parcel of what Churchill believes is truly necessary to oppose the war in Iraq (his speech picks up at 21:36. Note: This recording is missing his prefatory remarks.)
Important Note: You can read all about how WorldNetDaily clumsily plagiarized the above story (as well as our preceding "grammar-checker" satire) here.
Note: We've transcribed a larger portion of Churchill's remarks to provide more context for the first two quotes noted above. You can now read those quotes in context here.
Faulty Grammar-Checker Blamed for Monstrous Misunderstanding
by Jim Paine
Embattled ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill is blaming the debacle of the last five months on a faulty grammar-checker, saying that his infamous "roosting chickens" essay about the 9/11 terrorist attacks wasn't taken out of context, it was just not well-edited.
"I'm surprised nobody noticed this before," a red-faced Churchill said at a hastily-called press conference Friday, "but I have to admit that even I didn't notice it until just this morning. I wish I had a dollar for every person who read that essay and didn't catch the error." He paused, then added "I'd have fifty-sixty bucks, easy."
Churchill told the estimated crowd of 200 local and national journalists that a recently-installed freeware grammar-checker, "Gramma-Cheka", had changed what he typed—"little Entenmann's" (referring to the popular brand of donuts and pastries)—to "little Eichmanns." The change went unnoticed despite widespread internet distribution as well as an expansion into a book-length work.
"My metaphorical use of food in the essay is, of course, complex to the layman, but surely you've all heard the expression 'as American as apple pie.' Well, I'd meant to relate the 'Americanness' and 'lovability' of those poor people who died on 9/11 to the well-known popularity of Entenmann's glazed donuts," Churchill said. "And if you replace the error with "little Entenmann's," anyone can see that's exactly where I was headed." Patting his ample belly to the laughing approval of the gathered journalists, Churchill added: "You can tell I have a weakness for glazed donuts—there's a box of Entenmann's next to my computer at all times."
Churchill also noted that, once corrected, the essay clearly intimates that "technocrats" refers to the Keebler elves, the marketing representatives of another popular line of pastries. Other errors the relieved Churchill pointed out to reporters included the essay's title itself, which he said should read "On the Justice of Roasting Chickens."
"Not 'roosting'," he said ruefully. 'Roasting.' When I'm not gobbling Entenmann's, I'm having dinner with 'the Colonel.' I may sue the Gramma-Checka people for this."
In light of the newly discovered errors, Churchill said, he planned to review very carefully everything else he has published in the past four years. He says he won't start the review until after the Fourth of July, his favorite holiday after Thanksgiving.
Right now, he noted, he is still marveling that the "little Eichmanns" error went undetected for so long.
"I mean, really," Churchill said, "what kind of idiot would liken 3,000 innocent victims to Adolf Eichmann?"
Update: Attention, WorldNetDaily reporters looking for a story you can steal without attribution: This is a satirical article. It is a phony news story. It is not true. It is made up. It is a parody. It is a canard. Next time you steal a news story, you might want to contact the story's author, since you might learn something, such as the fact that the story is a satirical, made-up, untrue canard.
Just a tip.
To clarify our earlier story about the changing chairmanship of the CU Ethnic Studies department:
Ward Churchill resigned the chair at the end of January (his three-year tenure in that position would have expired at the end of this month); Emma Perez, an associate professor in the Ethnic Studies Department, was quickly named to fill the post. She has reportedly declined to seek a full term in that position, and the Ethnic Studies department has nominated a retired professor and CU administrator, Dr. Al Ramirez. The nomination must be approved by Dean of Arts and Sciences Todd Gleason. We'll keep you posted.
When life hands you lemons, sometimes the best thing to do is to make pancakes
From a letter to the editor (second letter) in CU's faculty paper, Silver & Gold Record:
"The students' enthusiastic endorsement of his message and oratorical skills attests to the effectiveness of his teaching. Professor Churchill has given a new meaning to academic research. But, above all, he has rendered the greatest service to the University of Colorado by providing global exposure for its outstanding values, goals and attainments."
NOTE: For our readers who couldn't find PirateBallerina yesterday evening: Our servers experienced a power outage of a length that exceeded the capabilities of our backup power supplies. While power outages are common in our neck of the woods, rarely do they last longer than 10-15 minutes—well within the operating range of our UPSes. Last night, that rarity happened. We apologize for any inconvenience.
From L. Louise Romero, Managing Senior Associate University Counsel:
CU answers the questions raised in our story "Is Churchill guilty of 'fiscal misconduct'?"
Chancellor DiStefano has requested that I answer your communication on his behalf. The Chancellor thanks you very much for your interest in the Boulder campus.
We are unaware of the policies that were in effect in 1986, almost 20 years ago. Further, none of the current administrators in the chain of authority were in office at that time, so it is impossible to know whether there was approval of the use of University resources. Although with much time and effort, the campus could locate the relevant documents, the truth is that any violation would be a de minimus violation. As such the sanction (for misusing University letterhead a couple of times) would probably be a letter of reprimand to the employee’s file. The Chancellor is unaware of any similar misuse since Professor Churchill has been in academics, rather than administration.
So it was twenty years ago, it was probably a minor infraction that doesn't warrant investigation [but then, without investigation, how do they know the infraction was minor?], nobody who might have been responsible is around anymore [except, oh, Ward Churchill], and hey, he was just one of those wacky academics, not an important member of university administration. So, in case you missed the point: Move along, nothing to see here.
CU's New PR flaks expected university, got Augean Stables
In the introduction to a draft report about rebranding the university that was given to CU regents earlier this month, [associate vice president for university communications Ray] Gomez and fellow newbie Michael Hesse, the associate vice president for university advancement, offered an extraordinary list of seventeen major crises that bubbled up just during their first three months on the job. Among them were the resignations of athletic director Dick Tharp, chancellor Richard Byyny and president Betsy Hoffman; the fallout from the controversy over professor Ward Churchill; a state audit of the CU Foundation, a fundraising arm of the university; a clumsily handled request for a tuition increase; and myriad flare-ups over charges of sexual assault and impropriety linked to CU's football program, including placekicker Katie Hnida's appearance on the Today show, where she accused an unnamed player of rape.
You'd think somebody in a position of responsibility would be aware that there is no draft. You'd be wrong.
Churchill to keynote Portland forum for Iraqi War 'conscientious objection' strategies
Churchill [...] will discuss the need for U.S. troops to resist illegal orders and to question both prison torture and violations of human rights.
This CU page remaining blank reinforces what our sources are telling us: That Emma Perez, Ward Churchill's replacement as Ethnic Studies chair, has stepped down. If that's true, who will be her replacement (our own surmise is someone skilled at playground supervision)? And is this a planned change, or something that just occurred to them? We've asked CU, and we'll keep you posted
Update 6/22/05 13:15: According to a CU spokesman, Emma Perez "has chosen not to be considered for the permanent position", leading us to believe this was a regularly scheduled change; we've asked CU for clarification.
Update 6/22/05 13:31: We've received word that Dr. Al Ramirez has been nominated by CU's Ethnic Studies faculty to chair the department, and that their recommendation has gone to Arts & Sciences' Dean, Todd Gleason, for final approval. Dr. Ramirez wrote a letter to the editor of CU faculty organ Silver & Gold Record February 17th (fourth letter), not so much in support of Ward Churchill as it was a call to arms to protect academic freedom and "the rights and privileges of CU faculty." Presently retired, Dr. Ramirez is a former Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder. A recipient of the Robert L. Stearns Award (for extraordinary achievement and service to the university), Dr. Ramirez returned the award because of Stearn's "disregard for academic freedom."
WorldNetDaily is running a ten-part series of excerpts from Jack Cashill's new book, Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture. Today's excerpt is a synopsis of Ward Churchill's career. Here Cashill discusses historian Russell Thornton's rejection of Churchill's "US Army purposely infects Indians with smallpox" meme (according to Thornton, the smallpox epidemic was accidentally started when a steamboat carrying infected settlers stopped at a Mandan village):
"If Churchill has sources that say otherwise, I'd like to see them," Thornton told the Los Angeles Times. "But right now I'm his source for this, and it's wrong." In fact, the epidemic horrified the white traders who worked through Fort Clark, and their letters communicated the same. Many of them lost their Indian wives and children as well as the trading partners upon whom they depended for a living. Some contracted the disease themselves. Other than pure evil, Churchill can suggest no motive for the elimination of an economically useful population many hundreds of miles away from white settlements.
We continue to wait patiently for the response CU promised us ten days ago to our story "Is Churchill guilty of 'fiscal misconduct'?"
What are we—chopped liver?
We're a little cheesed off at newshounds.com ("We watch FOX so you don't have to"), who—in their chortling glee at Bill O'Reilly's discomfort that "due process" on Churchill may take a long time—had this to say:
As many of you know, last February Bill O'Reilly launched an all-out assault on Churchill, calling for the professor to be fired from his tenured position at the University. O'Reilly enlisted the help of several others in his jihad: Conservative talk show host, Craig Silverman of Denver's KHOW radio, conservative Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi, conservative anti-academic madman David Horowitz, conservative University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos, conservative Republican Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado and conservative Indian and Horowitz buddy David Yeagley.
At first this unholy cabal had all the momentum going for them.
So. We couldn't even get an honorable mention? Would it have killed them to give us a little nod? Maybe we're not anti-academic madmen here at PB, but we've certainly been tardy a few times, which we were assured would remain in our Permanent Record forever. Sheesh. And who did Paul Campos screw to get on that list, by the way?
It's been noted that nature abhors a vacuum. Then why is this CU page still blank?
With the Ward Churchill debacle daily demonstrating what happens when you add the sinecure (from the latin sine, "without", and cura, "care") of guaranteed employment to a state-funded facility, a columnist in the Northern Illinois University newspaper Northstar sees the obvious solution: More Tenured Faculty Needed
We're putting on a happy face while waiting for the promised response from CU about our story "Is Churchill guilty of 'fiscal misconduct'?"
At least the Show-Me State still knows how to deal with plagiarism
College Dean, accused of plagiarism in his commencement speech, put on administrative leave (reg. req.) (story via SCSUScholars.com)
Contrast the UMKC reaction to this single instance of plagiarism in a commencement speech with CU's handling of Ward Churchill's serial fraud. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Our occasional colleague Dianna Deeley over at Squishy! might be talking about Ward Churchill (but isn't) as she examines the perpective "America has always been evil"
I have no idea what my ancestors back to the fall of man were up to. I am dead certain, given human nature, a few of them were villains of at least minor proportions. Had I all their sins and peccadilloes constantly before me, and did I believe I bore responsibility for those crimes and misdemeanors, I would be unable to do more than cower under the covers, whimpering.
To accept Howard Zinn’s perspective is to embrace national suicide.
Now that an entire week has passed, we anticipate any moment now the promised response from CU about our story "Is Churchill guilty of 'fiscal misconduct'?"
Gee, wonder why this CU page is blank (Of course! Who else would have noticed the empty chair! A squinty-eyed "Arrrr!" goes out to Drunkablog for this tip)
...and why isn't Emma Perez identified here as CU Ethnic Studies Department Chair?
OT: Rocky Mountain News: CU's big-spending, high-living Regents
OT: See how nicely she recites her lessons?
...and is the name "Elizabeth Wrigley-Field" too clever, or what? Is she related to Faith Popcorn? Mr. Potatohead? Ms. Choksondik?
It's the weekend, so we imagine CU interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano is resting up from his whistle-stop tour of the Western Slope, and mentally formulating his promised response to our week-old allegations raised in 'Is Churchill guilty of 'fiscal misconduct'?'
Family urges probe on Churchill intro to deceased wife's book
Earlier this week CU interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano asked the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct to add to its investigation into Ward Churchill's activities the new allegations recently raised by the Rocky Mountain News. We asked Churchill what he thought of DiStefano's action; here's his reply:
Look up "trial by news media" under the heading "Trials" in Black's Law Dictionary, and you'll see where this is headed. I mean, really. Wanting to "get" me is one thing, sheer stupidity is another. And it won't take me 50 pages to rebut this tinker-toy nonsense.
I tend to prefer worthier opponents.
PR gurus discuss new public face of CU
...but here's what the Colorado Daily thinks of the gurus
"We have to make changes here that demonstrate to the citizens of Colorado that we're a responsible university and we take all these issues - whatever they may be - very seriously," [CU Associate Vice President for University Communications Ray] Gomez said.
"You can't spin bad actions," he added.
...and what the Daily Camera thinks of them
Being trusting in nature, we continue to anticipate the promised response from CU about our story "Is Churchill guilty of 'fiscal misconduct'?"
So, what was the panel doing again?
Headline: Panel Investigating Churchill Investigates New Charges
We must be slipping: Embedded in this Rocky Mountain News story last Saturday is a note that a formal complaint against Churchill was filed Friday with CU
Caplis' cover letter and formal complaint are currently on this page of the KHOW website (sign-up required)
In a related development Friday, KHOW-AM (630) radio talk show host Dan Caplis filed a formal complaint with CU alleging that Churchill plagiarized a defunct environmental group's 1972 pamphlet on a long-since abandoned scheme to dam Canada's major rivers to divert water to the United States and Mexico.
When the house is on fire, raise the rent
Hefty tuition hikes go through, Owens unable to stop 28 percent raise at CU
Mildly OT: jgm over at Drunkablog has an incredibly funny vivisection of Tom Mayer's worshipful defense of Ward Churchill
...and Mayer has been carrying the torch for some time; here he is in February with a letter to the editor (second letter) in CU's faculty organ Silver & Gold Record, defending you-know-who
Now that interim Chancellor DiStefano seems to be back in the office, we anticipate a speedy response from CU about our "Is Churchill guilty of 'fiscal misconduct'?" story
Denver Post: CU interim Chancellor asks Research Misconduct Committee to add Rocky Mountain News allegations to Churchill review
...And the RMN has its own story on the expanded investigation
Churchill responded to the News with a one-word e-mail: "Yawn."
... and here's the CU press release
The Genocide of Indian Burns
by Jim Paine
How do you define the word "genocide"?
Chances are, you define it to mean the extermination of an ethnic or national group. You'll be happy to know that the Oxford English Dictionary (unabridged) agrees with you. Genocide, it says, is "[t]he deliberate and systematic extermination of an ethnic or national group." (italics mine)
Most of us, then, understand that when someone makes a charge of "genocide," they mean the extermination of an ethnic or national group is taking place, and naturally, we are greatly concerned, if not outraged. The accuser certainly has our attention.
That's how you understand it, and that's how you apply it. You hear "genocide" and you think of Nazi death camps. You hear "genocide" and you think of Pol Pot's killing fields. You hear "genocide" and you think of gassed Kurds.
Would it surprise you to know that "genocide" can be applied to the act of telling a Pollack joke? That the "tomahawk chop" of Atlanta Braves fans is, in fact, genocide? That the very name of the Braves baseball team is itself, genocide?
Unlike the accusations "fascist!" and "Nazi!" which have in their over-application become virtually meaningless, almost without sting, the word "genocide" has retained its original meaning while maintaining maximum impact—entirely due to the fact that it does not mean what you think it means.
The word was first coined by Raphael Lemkin in his Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation - Analysis of Government - Proposals for Redress, (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944), In coining the word, Lemkin offered this initial definition:
"By 'genocide' we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group."
Had Lemkin left it at that, generations of (primarily leftist) activists would have been deprived of a favorite accusation (rivaled only, of course, by "fascist!" and "Nazi!"). Fortunately, Lemkin went on to more fully define his new word (emphasis mine):
"[W]e must see to it that the Hague Regulations are so amended as expressly to prohibit genocide in any war which may occur in the future. De lege ferenda, the definition of genocide in the Hague Regulations thus amended should consist of two essential parts, in the first should be included every action infringing upon the life, liberty, health, corporal integrity, economic existence, and the honor of the inhabitants when committed because they belong to a national, religious, or racial group; and in the second, every policy aiming at the destruction or the aggrandizement of one of such groups to the prejudice or detriment of another."
From this, it is easy to see that Ward Churchill's many accusations of genocide are well within the meaning of the word as Lemkin himself defined it. With Lemkin's definition in hand, it can easily be argued that the assimilation of one ethnic group by another is genocide (which Churchill has, in fact, used as an example of genocide), since "every action" that infringes upon the "corporal integrity" of a group is genocide. It can easily be argued that telling a Pollack joke "infringes on... the honor" of Poland, and is therefore—by Lemkin's own definition—genocide. It can easily be argued that giving an "Indian burn" is particularly genocidal because both its name and its application infringes upon the honor of Native Americans. The use of that childhood staple's other name, "Dutch rub" would, of course, be equally genocidal in its infringement of the honor of the Dutch.
Obviously (to you and me, not to the intellectual Left), these are ludicrous examples. Even though they fit Lemkin's criteria, Pollack jokes, or tomahawk chops, or "Indian burns"—crude or unkind or puerile they may be—are not acts of genocide. But "genocide" can be, and very often is—applied to actions in a way that is just as absurd—and still cleave to Lemkin's definition. Intellectuals like Churchill can properly and quite correctly attribute genocide to the the Atlanta Braves, to a Big Chief writing tablet, to the Land o Lakes butter logo, to the tomahawk chop.
And therein lies the problem, this dichotomy between what we plebeians (along with the Oxford English Dictionary) understand "genocide" to mean, and what the cognizanti know it to mean (and yes, they know what Lemkin said; check the number of citations to his definition in (primarily leftist) screeds—including Churchill's).
It can easily be argued that the (primarily leftist) ideologues who use "genocide" in Lemkin's expanded definition are guilty of exploiting our erroneous belief that it means the "extermination of an ethnic or national group" in order to arouse our passions against some act we might otherwise consider (rightly or wrongly) innocuous and ignore.
If you think I'm exaggerating, google the phrases "zionist genocide" (369 listings), "religious genocide" (3,620), "gay genocide" (610), "animal genocide" (279) or "[pick any noun] genocide" sometime. I recommend you do it when you have a great deal of free time, and absolutely nothing more important to do.
To use a quote by Russell Thornton slightly out of context, "The history is bad enough— there's no need to embellish it." Using the charge of "genocide" to describe any act of which you disapprove simply because you know it will get everyone's attention is not clever. It's dishonest—even when you know you're using the word in a way Lemkin would have approved.
My thanks to PirateBallerina's own troll, Kern, without whose goading this essay might not have been conceived.
Update: It occurs to me that I misspoke; as any recipient of both can tell you, the Indian burn and the Dutch rub—though equally unpleasant (and, yes, genocidal)—are not the same thing.
"We'll show that not only does the emperor have no clothes, but he has no balls, either," said [Grant] Crowell, referring to Churchill's absence from open debate forums and refusal to be interviewed for [his] documentary.
This editorial raises an interesting point: If you named a Guantanamo detainee as successor to Ward Churchill as CU Ethnic Studies Chairman, would anybody notice?
How much education do you need to tell the difference between "academic freedom" and "freedom of speech"?
Apparently more than college professors (emphasis ours)
Roger Bowen, the general secretary of the Association of American University Professors, said in an interview that he is angry at Brooklyn College’s president for criticizing [Timothy] Shortell’s past comments on religion [Shortell has called religious believers "moral retards" and says they are "incapable of moral action."] and for appointing a panel to investigate them. He sees both of those moves as infringing on Shortell’s academic freedom. But he also says that Brooklyn administrators have the right to decide that a department chair is sufficiently controversial that they would prefer someone else in that spot.
“Academic freedom is academic freedom — for everyone,” Bowen said.
The Rocky Mountain News examines the battle between state and university tuition demands
The article notes that according to a CU poll of out-of-state students who were admitted but declined to enroll, 66% had heard of the Ward Churchill controversy, but only 18% said it affected their decision not to attend CU
Owens said the increase violated an understanding the state had with the university to limit the individual increases. He also sent an open letter to Coloradans challenging reasons University President Betsy Hoffman gave for the increases.
Owens blamed bad publicity generated by the football recruiting scandal and the Ward Churchill controversy for the school’s decline in out-of-state enrollment, but CU officials said a poll of out-of-state students who were admitted but chose not to attend showed finances were their chief concern.
If PirateBallerina just doesn't seem to satisfy your Churchill jones, you can bid on this CD that supposedly contains 32-1/2 hours of Ward Churchill interviews and speeches. Better act quickly, though... only 3 days left on the auction.
Update: We received an email today (6-14-05) from the National AIM office that confirms the authenticity of the scanned image of the October 1986 letter at the heart of our story on Churchill's possible misuse of CU facilities and services Sunday.
CU Scandals: Just a useful exercise for students?
Interim CU Chancellor and entourage on whistle-stop tour of state to drum up support for 26% increase of in-state tuition cost
"From the standpoint of the students, it's been useful," [associate chair of CU communications department Cindy] White said. "It's generated discussion, both about free speech issues and about responsibility and the power of speech. Without those events on campus that are close and relevant and real, students don't engage in the same way."
The controversy also revealed a variety of viewpoints among students. "That's been useful too, in generating dialogue and understanding difference," White said.
"It's done some harm," [interim CU Chancellor Phil] DiStefano said of the Churchill issue. "But we've had controversies before. At the core of the campus, we have outstanding faculty and students. The silver lining is students have debated this issue, (and) taken different positions.
"It's what a campus is about."
Still no answers from CU administrators to the questions we posed in our article "Is Churchill Guilty of 'Fiscal Misconduct'?"
Here are the questions we emailed to the Regents, the interim Chancellor, and selected CU administrators Sunday:
We'll keep our readers posted.
Did Churchill misuse university facilities and resources in 1986 for CO-AIM?
Did he use those resources and facilities with the approval of CU administration?
Since many CU policies governing fiscal misconduct are newer than the 1986 event, were similar policies in effect at that time? Where can [we] find those policies?
Was Churchill in violation of university policies that were in effect in 1986?
Update: We just received an email from Managing Senior Associate University Counsel L. Louise Romero that when DiStefano returns (we assume from the whistle-stop tour of Colorado noted above), she and the Chancellor will discuss our email and get back to us.
From last Thursday's Colorado Daily (sorry we missed it), Tom Mayer, a professor with CU's Sociology Department, does an op-ed defense of Churchill
Churchill has influenced how we think about indigenous people. He has made us consider three interrelated propositions: (1) The genocide of indigenous people is not just a regrettable episode of bygone times, but an ongoing political and ecological reality. (2) The principal force behind this ongoing genocide is the voracious appetite of advanced capitalist societies for profit and consumption. (3) Most Americans have, willy-nilly, collaborated in the destruction of indigenous peoples and cultures. Thus Americans will be targeted when forceful resistance movements emerge.
Update: As our reader Leah points out, the same op-ed piece by Mayer also appears in today's Boulder Daily Camera
CNews 13 June05
An article in University of South Florida's Oracle is reporting that Ward Churchill signed an online petition in support of a USF professor.
Without commenting on the merits of the USF professor case (with which we're admittedly unfamiliar), and not contesting the possibility that Ward Churchill did sign the online petition, we note that the petitiononline.com website doesn't have a method of verifying signers are who they say they are. For instance, when we took a look at the signer list a few weeks ago on the petitiononline.com's CO-AIM petition in support of Ward Churchill, we found the following unlikely signatories:
"Duston '"Little Big Man'' Hoffman"
"George W. Bush"
"george w bush"
..and we're not including "line voided" (count: 150+), which indicates, we assume, that the petition's sponsors at CO-AIM eliminated only the obviously bogus names.
No response yet from CU administrators on our story yesterday on Churchill's possible 'fiscal misconduct', but hey, it's early, they're probably all still standing in line at Starbucks
Speaking of the Denver Post, The Revolutionary Communist Party (U.S.) picks up on DP reporter Amy Herdy's fallacious lede and runs with it in defense of Churchill (we thoroughly fisked Herdy's patently misleading story here and here)
from the Revolutionary Communist Party's site:
Asked this spring to nominate their favorite professor, students at the University of Colorado at Boulder overwhelmingly picked Ward Churchill.
from Herdy's article:
Asked to nominate their favorite professor, students at the University of Colorado at Boulder overwhelmingly picked Ward Churchill.
The Denver Post attempts to paint Churchill as a scholar and CU's review process as sound with its "move along, nothing to see here" two-part series on tenure
from part two:
David Longanecker, executive director of the Boulder-based Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, says that the system in its current form isn't necessarily designed to flag issues like those now surrounding CU's embattled ethnic- studies professor.
If a professor has published work in respected journals or contributed to books put out by respected academic presses, that often rigorous external editing process might be judged sufficient. A post-tenure review committee wouldn't necessarily delve deeper into the scholarship.
Yes, but what if a professor was only published by left-wing fanzines and workers' collectives that also sell such scholarly fare as A Hand In The Bush: The Fine Art Of Vaginal Fisting?
from part one:
"The drama is in these bizarre, isolated incidents," says Richard Chait, a Harvard professor and self-described "tenure agnostic" recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the subject. "Day in and day out, most college and university faculty do the work the public expects them to do.
"Ward Churchill is a very isolated man-bites-dog story."
Exclusive: Is Churchill guilty of 'fiscal misconduct'?
Did Ward Churchill use his office at the University of Colorado, Boulder, for political and personal purposes contrary to university policy and state law?
This is the question posed by one of our sources, who points us to evidence that Churchill may have done just that.
In 1986, Churchill had his office at the Willard Administration Center on the campus of CU in Boulder. He was not yet a professor; rather, he was involved in the American Indian Equal Opportunities Program. A scanned image available on the AIM website*, shows that at least one letter Churchill sent on Colorado American Indian Movement (CO-AIM) letterhead, for which he was then co-director, represented Churchill's CU address and phone number as CO-AIM's address and phone number. From the first page of the October 1986 letter (bottom of the page):
Willard Administrative Center * Campus Box 146 * Boulder, Colorado 80309 * (303) 492-8241
(A previous letter Churchill wrote to Bill Means in May 1986, this time on CU's Educational Development Program stationery, lists the identical address and phone number.) The address is a CU address; the phone number is apparently a longtime possession of CU, since it currently rings in the office of Devin Nordberg of CU's Psychology Department, and in 1998 it was the phone number of Dr. Ron P.A. Gaykema, also of the Psychology Department.
Interestingly, when we checked today, none of the pages available on the website of CO-AIM lists a physical address of its offices; the only way it would appear one could contact CO-AIM is via an email address.
The October 1986 letter itself is a bitingly sarcastic rebuke addressed to Bill Means and (now-deceased) Bill Wahpepah at the International Indian Treaty Council, whom Churchill refers to as "Double-Billing." Nowhere is university business discussed or even alluded to. This is obviously CO-AIM correspondence conducted for CO-AIM's (or at least, Churchill's) benefit. The letter contains at its end the notation "WC/jas" which any typing student knows is the standard method to show the letter was dictated to and prepared by a third party. We have been unable to confirm whether a typist (presumably a state employee) with the initials "jas" worked for the university nearly 20 years ago, and in fact, the mere inclusion of the "WC/jas" does not mean the letter was actually typed by a third party; it could have been prepared by Churchill himself, who may have merely added the "WC/jas" for reasons of his own.
In any case, the letterhead with the CU address and phone number clearly demonstrates at least one instance of the use of university facilities for non-university business.
In 1975, the CU Regents adopted the following policy:
The University shall conduct its affairs so that no member of the University community shall derive private gain from his or her association with the University except as provided by explicit policies of the University.
And here's what, university policies define as fiscal misconduct (emphasis ours):
Examples include circumstances of embezzlement; defalcation; misappropriation of goods, services, or resources; diversion of assets; conflict of interest situations that result in financial loss; and violation of University fiscal policies and procedures for personal gain. Some of these terms are technical legal terms and the references noted above should be reviewed if clarification is required.
State rules (as quoted by CU policies here) state simply:
"All expenditures by State Agencies shall meet the following standards of propriety:
- Are for official State business purposes only; and
- Are reasonable and necessary under the circumstances
Further, current CU policy includes a handy "Seven Tests of Propriety" (emphasis ours):
Evaluating the propriety of some University expenditures requires a high degree of judgment. The list below contains seven tests of propriety that form an expenditure evaluation framework. University expenditures will be considered proper if they meet all of the following seven tests of propriety:
- The expenditures are in the best interests of the University and for official University business only (see written Procurement Service Center Policies and Procedures for additional guidance on specific types of expenditures).
- The expenditures comply with all existing federal, state, and University laws, rules, and policies.
- The expenditures do not appear to, nor do they actually, provide any personal benefit to any employee without there being a valid business benefit to the University (see written Procurement Service Center Policies and Procedures for additional guidance on specific types of expenditures).
- The expenditures are within approved budgets as determined by the appointed Fund/Unit Manager.
- The expenditures are necessary to the accomplishment of University business, meaning that, without the expenditures, programmatic objectives would be difficult or otherwise more costly to achieve, or that the impact, level or quality of the achievement of these objectives would be reduced.
- The expenditures are reasonable, meaning the quality and quantity of the goods or services were sufficient to meet, but not exceed, the identified need.
- The appropriate level of management has approved the expenditures.
Even to the layman, Churchill's CO-AIM letter to Means clearly fails at least two of the "tests" (2, 5), and it's probable that a legal review would find at least two other failures (3 and 4), and finally, that the CU administration itself could shed light on whether the letter passed any of the three remaining tests (1, 6, 7). And the question of passing or failing the test may be moot; these "seven tests" appear to have been formulated in 1993, so it is questionable whether CU had similar "tests" or policies in place in 1986.
It is possible, though unlikely, that Churchill had the approval of CU officials to conduct CO-AIM business out of his campus office. This excerpt from a 1987 article in The Denver Post seems to imply at least a shut-eye approval (emphasis ours):
"Well, Churchill is not your normal desk jockey. He is the director of the Education Development Program, which develops campus minority projects, and the office is a good base from which to do his Native American work.
Now he has settled in at CU and is writing a book about the FBI and the confrontation at Pine Ridge. He is devoting much of his time to AIM issues."
Did Churchill misuse university facilities and resources for CO-AIM? Did he do it with the approval of CU administration? And despite any CU approval of his CO-AIM activities from his CU office, is he guilty of fiscal misconduct? Was he in violation of university policies that were in effect in 1986 (and this is a significant question, since some of the CU policies quoted above were formulated years later).
We've emailed a copy of this article along with a request for the answer to these questions to the appropriate CU officials. We'll keep our readers posted.
* AIM is not affiliated with CO-AIM, and has been in bitter contention for years with CO-AIM over a variety of charges and counter-charges.
UPDATE: We have located a current phone number for CO-AIM on this webpage (a February 2, 2005 press release): 303-871-0463. We find that the phone number is registered to a "G T Morris" of "1574 S Pennsylvania St" in Denver. "G T Morris" is in all probably the same Glenn Morris who joined Russell Means in incorporating the "The American Indian Movement" (if link fails to work, visit this page and search for for the business name "american indian movement") at that same address with the Colorado Secretary of State's office in 1992 (the not-for-profit organization started doing business under the name "The American Indian Movement of Colorado, Inc." in 1993; it was "administratively dissolved" in 2003, although from the looks of the CO-AIM website, nobody bothered to tell CO-AIM's webmaster of the dissolution).
Interestingly, the address listed for "The American Indian Movement" at the time of its dissolution was "201 W 5th Ave, Denver, CO 80204", which is also listed on Russell Means' website as the location of Four Winds American Indian Council, and is listed on this page as home of the Living Waters Indian Ministry. One can only imagine the immensity of the parking lot.
Update (6-14-05): We received an email from the National AIM office that confirms the authenticity of the scanned image of the October 1986 letter in question. Their exact words: "This is a true image of the original letter."
Update (6-23-05): We received a response from the University of Colorado at Boulder to the questions raised above:
Chancellor DiStefano has requested that I answer your communication on his behalf. The Chancellor thanks you very much for your interest in the Boulder campus.
We are unaware of the policies that were in effect in 1986, almost 20 years ago. Further, none of the current administrators in the chain of authority were in office at that time, so it is impossible to know whether there was approval of the use of University resources. Although with much time and effort, the campus could locate the relevant documents, the truth is that any violation would be a de minimus violation. As such the sanction (for misusing University letterhead a couple of times) would probably be a letter of reprimand to the employee’s file. The Chancellor is unaware of any similar misuse since Professor Churchill has been in academics, rather than administration.
L. Louise Romero
Managing Senior Associate University Counsel
Office of the University Counsel
University of Colorado at Boulder
Ward's Not the Only One Unhappy with Charlie Brennan
Update: We're informed that the Rocky Mountain News actually ran a correction in the print version of today's paper. So Charlie's off the hook.... and we're more than a little embarrassed. Our apologies, Charlie. We did you wrong.
Now, we have to wonder just how valuable the News' website people are when they can't keep up with the print edition, since the correction still does not show up on the Rocky Mountain News' corrections page.
UPDATE 6-12-05, 12:40 am: And now, the News correction page shows the correction. Our humiliation is complete.
'Walking Eagle Productions' sends out press release on status of its video on Ward Churchill
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The Rocky's motto is "Give light and the people will find their own way." But with the Churchill series, the Rocky has shined its squid light into an obscure sewer tunnel and lost itself. Which is to say the endeavor was so petty and misdirected that I can muster no outrage. I'm just shaking my head. All this zeal, all this talent and ink, wasted on a raving nobody of no consequence.
Crikey, shine that light up Governor Owens' or John Hickenlooper's fanny and see what you find. But the proctological examination of Churchill has served only to demonstrate that the Rocky's head is up Churchill's ass. Disgust is the only natural response.
OT: Over at Cheat-Seeking Missles, they've found an embarrasing Boulder Daily Camera story involving those expensive public relations mavens CU hired and a misaddressed email:
More PR Diasters at Colorado
Lamar University Professor 'unworried' about Churchill's charges against him
Lamar [University] received Churchill's complaint, charging [Associate Professor Thomas F.] Brown with academic misconduct and research fraud, on Tuesday, a university statement said.
"(The administration) told me not to worry," Brown said. "(Churchill) is in a lot of trouble, and he's lashing out like a cornered animal."
Brown, who has not seen the complaint against him yet, said Lamar recently awarded him a grant to study the Mandan smallpox epidemic and determine what part, if any, the Army played in the epidemic.
"The university is not going to punish me after giving me money to study the topic," Brown said.
Aspiring filmmaker Churchill once called a 'fascist cartoonist' oddly unable to get Churchill to agree to interview
RMN to print correction to error concerning PirateBallerina
In today's Rocky Mountain News, an article co-authored by Charlie Brennan (noted in today's first CNews item) cites PirateBallerina's possession of Professor Saito's email update thus:
Because we had requested the original email from Professor Saito prior to receiving the email from another source (and had made this clear to Mr. Brennan in answer to his email request for verification of the Saito email's authenticity), and because we felt that Mr. Brennan's misreporting implied some duplicity on our part, either with our anonymous source, or with Ward Churchill, we alerted Mr. Brennan this morning to the incorrect sequence of events. Mr. Brennan has since notified PirateBallerina that the misreporting was an innocent error, and that a correction will appear in tomorrow's News.
"Jim Paine, of Hartsel, who maintains an anti-Churchill Web site, said he received a copy of Saito's letter from a source he would not identify, but then asked for and received a copy directly from Saito."
Rocky Mountain News: CU Can't Consider New Questions Raised by Five-Part Series
The University of Colorado is not allowed, at this point in its investigation, to consider new questions raised about ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill during a weeklong Rocky Mountain News series, a spokeswoman said.
[Executive Director of University Communications] Pauline Hale said confidentiality rules prevent her from discussing in detail the Churchill investigation, which is in its "preliminary inquiry" phase.
But during this initial stage of the investigation, she said, CU's standing committee on research misconduct can examine only the specific allegations already before it.
What is it about Ward Churchill news that brings out the Kaczynski in people?
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OMG: This website attempts to synthesize Michele Foucault and Ward Churchill
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OT: John Bruce of In The Shadow of Mt. Hollywood has an excellent series of posts wherein he discusses his 'modest proposal' for academic reform
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In the future, everyone will be fisked for 15 minutes
OT: Rockywatch attempts to fisk the Rocky Mountain News with the same ferocity some attribute to PB's fisking of Ward Churchill
Unfortunately, they have far less evidence to work with; the sole bone they gnaw these days appears to be RMN editor Vincent Carroll and his authorship of the book Christianity On Trial
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Denver Post: Churchill files complaint on accuser
[ed. note: the article, surprisingly evenhanded given the Post's propensity for preposterous slant on Churchill-related stories, neglects to point out that the charge is an academic charge, made to Lamar University, rather than a criminal or civil charge made to the courts. Perhaps the reporter assumes the reader will infer this fact, although we're apparently more dense than the Post's reader, since we inferred nothing of the kind.
Update: Apparently we're alone in our density; here's the headline the news staff at KKTV gave their version of the complaint story: "Churchill Files Lawsuit"
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Day five in the Rocky Mountain News Series on Ward Churchill
The Charge: Misrepresentation
wherein the RMN
...and presents voluminous supporting documentation
- Ward Churchill ancestor tree (PDF)
- Ward Churchill ancestor list (PDF)
- Richard Tyner descendant tree (PDF)
[ed. note: As we mentioned in an earlier post, PirateBallerina and our colleague Bill Cullen assisted in the research the RMN uses in the above-noted article and documentation, as did independent genealogist Jack Ott. Our thanks to reporter Kevin Flynn and the Rocky Mountain News for the acknowledgment]
...and finds Churchill's 'connect the dots' remark about his Indian blood wanting
'Connect the dots' a wild goose chase
...and scolds CU for failing to forward charges from Leah Kelly's family to the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct
Family: Errors riddle passage on late wife
...and RMN columnist Mike Littwin practices the art of understatement:
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In almost preternatural timing with our "Ward Churchill's Ghost Dance" essay yesterday, one of his incipient minions checks in
Ward Churchill's Ghost Dance
by Jim Paine
"In those days there will be no reservation, no messenger from the Great Father to say to the Indians: 'Come back here; stay on your reservation.' " —Scarlet Woman (Walokpis band of Sioux), who was thought to have been chosen to give birth to the Native American Messiah, from her testimony in court, 1890 (taken from a November 15, 1890 Chillicothe Constitution (MO) article on this website)
By the 1880s, most Native Americans had been either exterminated in endless wars for land, decimated by plagues, chased into oblivion, or rounded up onto steadily shrinking reservations—and a few had been assimilated into the larger white culture.
The Ghost Dance originated two decades earlier. Tävibo, a Piute mystic, prophesied that the whites would soon be swallowed up by the earth and that all dead Indians would rise to enjoy a life free of their conquerors. This mystic is credited with initiating the first form of the Ghost Dance among tribes in Nevada, California and Oregon.
Then came another Piute, Wakova, raised by a white rancher and known also as Jack Wilson. By 1878 he was claiming to be the son of Tävibo and the promised Messiah, and was preaching an amalgam of Christianity and Indian spirituality, with his prophesying a return of the buffalo, a swallowing of the white intruders, and the rising of the Indian dead to a pristine land of immortality more of an apocalyptic vision than one of salvation. He counseled his Indian brethren to "not hurt anybody or do harm to anyone."
Wakova also laid out specific rules for the conduct of the Ghost Dance, and by 1888, the Dance was endemic among the Western tribes. It found particular acceptance among the Sioux, who added to the growing tradition trances, speaking with the dead, and a Ghost Shirt that would protect its wearer from Army bullets. Two Miniconjou Sioux mystics—Kicking Bear and Short Bull—were instrumental in the rise of the Ghost Dance and its new Sioux beliefs; they counted Sitting Bull among their friends, though the great Chief was skeptical of the bullet-repellent powers of the Ghost Shirt.
When Sitting Bull was killed while in Army custody (entire shelves of books exist about this controversial event), great outrage and even greater fear rose among the Sioux. They fled to the camps of Kicking Bear and Big Foot. Later, the Army would round up these and other Sioux (who offered no resistance) and force them to set up camp near Wounded Knee Creek. The apparently accidental discharge of a weapon is credited with the bloody battle (or massacre, if you prefer) that ensued, wherein many of these believers—the majority of them women and children—many of them clad in their Ghost Shirts, were killed by the Army while "resisting arrest."
That's a very brief (and certainly contestable) accounting of the rise of the Ghost Dance and its tragic end. As historian Russell Thornton has said, "The history is bad enough. It doesn't need to be embellished."
Which brings us to Ward Churchill, a mystic of the new age, preaching an Indian paradise once the U.S. is off the planet. His goal, at least from his perspective, is noble: To return the land to the Indian and to vanquish the white intruder. He lies, fabricates, and exaggerates to achieve this goal—not particularly reprehensible strategies when amongst one's enemy.
All of Churchill's academic imbroglios aside, Churchill's problem is not that the paradise he preaches—like that of the original Ghost Dancers—will never come to pass. His problem is that the warriors he preaches his new brand of Ghost Dance to are not warriors at all. They are not even Indians; Native Americans, for the most part, are working hard to survive and even perhaps one day prosper among the whites (and yes, to achieve some form of justice from a government that has treated their ancestors terribly). Churchill's Ghost Dancers, on the other hand, are disaffected white youths (and misguided adults) who wear chicken-hats to show their (mostly fleeting) support. Most of these supporters will come to their senses as they mature, and the ones who don't will find their fellow whites frown on the petty vandalism in which they sometimes engage.
For while Churchill may be the Indian's new messiah, his followers are not fit to wear the Ghost Shirt. Callow, loutish, often stupid, those who dance his Ghost Dance make a poor comparison to the Sioux of the 1890s, who in desperation chose a spirituality that proved to be tragic in its practice. They died for that belief, but they believed it even as they died.
That's the tragic element to Churchill's new Ghost Dance, if only for Churchill. The white minions he encourages are for the most part cowards and dullards; their beliefs change with the latest pronouncement from the newest anti-culture icon. They have no stake in the white man leaving North America; they'd be among the first to have to leave. And while the young and the foolish are always eager for the iconoclast, their adoration ends where any struggle actually begins. One type of man may hold the struggle toward a hopeless goal close to his heart for all of his days, but those who wear the chicken-hat are made of another substance.
This does not make Churchill (assuming he is earnest in his goal) an heroic figure, but rather, a tragic one. When this thought occurs to Churchill, or worse, when its truth is brought forth in the inevitable outcome of one of his encouraged "actions," there will be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth in the Churchill tent.
[ed. note: Readers can find many of the same themes and conclusions discussed with far more authority in Professor Thomas F. Brown's chapter “The Prophetic Tradition in American Indian Politics” in the forthcoming Nationalisms Across the Globe: An overview of the nationalisms of state-endowed and stateless nations, edited by Wojciech Burszta, Tomasz Kamusella and Sebastian Wojciechowski. Poznan, Poland: Wyzsza Szkola Nauk Humanistycznych i Dziennikarstwa, 2005.]
Mildly OT: Jon Sanders at FrontPage.com takes an in-depth and broad-ranging look at Queer Studies at CU, including Emma Perez, who replaced Churchill as Ethnic Studies chair, and who teaches "ETHN 3010: Queer Ethnic Studies"
Day four in the Rocky Mountain News Five-Day Series
The Charge: Mischaracterization
Has the U.S. government engaged, as Churchill contends, in a conscious sustained effort to rid it self of the Indians by wipe them out?
Ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill says that the Dawes Act of 1887, a copy of which is shown at the CU Law Library, established a "blood quantum" to define Indian identity on racial grounds. But the law, which resulted in one of the nation’s most duplicitous land grabs, contains no mention of a blood quantum.
Later in the article, Churchill defends a novel contention: Government as matchmaker:
That the government's goal was to eliminate Indians by diluting their blood through intermarriage is also self-evident, Churchill said.
"Can you do arithmetic?" he said. "Sometimes the 'duh' factor gets so loud. I really have to cite this to people who are capable of tying their shoes without instructions?"
...and then there's
Racist plot also seen in Arts and Crafts Act
Churchill: 1990 law an effort to eliminate Indians as legal entity
...and for reference, the RMN provides links to both The Dawes Act and The Indian Arts and Crafts Act
...and we provide a link to this About.com article on tribal membership
... as well as this Bureau of Indian Affairs discussion of its involvement in tribal enrollment and membership:
Tribal enrollment criteria are set forth in tribal constitutions, articles of incorporation or ordinances. The criterion varies from tribe to tribe, so uniform membership requirements do not exist.
Two common requirements for membership are lineal decendency from someone named on the tribe's base roll or relationship to a tribal member who descended from someone named on the base roll. (A "base roll" is the original list of members as designated in a tribal constitution or other document specifying enrollment criteria.) Other conditions such as tribal blood quantum, tribal residency, or continued contact with the tribe are common.
Rarely is the BIA involved in enrollment and membership. Each tribe determines whether an individual is eligible for membership. Each tribe maintains it's [sic] own enrollment records and records about past members. To obtain information about your eligibility for membership, you must contact the tribe.
Exclusive: Professor Saito's Email Defense of Ward Churchill
Pirateballerina is in possession of the email "Update" Professor Natsu Taylor Saito sent out to "friends and colleagues" to defend her husband against the current range of allegations. We'll keep you posted as we review the email and the attached documents.
In the meantime, you can check it all out yourself - including attachments - right here
List of Attachments (all available via above link):
- Excerpts from Ward Churchill cover letter to Standing Committee on Research Misconduct [from May 16, 2005]
- Ward Churchill Response to Statement of the United Keetoowah Band [dated May 18, 2005]
- Ward Churchill Statement on allegations of "Academic Fraud" [dated June 2, 2005]
- Open Letter from Department of Ethnic Studies [undated, but appears to be the same 'Open Letter' we discovered and published April 27, 2005]
- Statement of Shareef Aleem [actually a call for support for Shareef Aleem, who was arrested for assaulting a police officer during a February 3, 2005 CU Regents meeting concerning Ward Churchill]
Update: As much as we hate to say it, we can find nothing new in either the email or the attachments. It is, however, a well-organized answer to some of the various charges against Churchill. Not a definitive or effective answer, but a well-written and well-organized answer. If you're new to the Churchill debacle, it provides an adequate synopsis of Churchill's responses to some of the charges, including the more recent ones.
Update: Upon re-reading Ward Churchill's Statement on allegations of "Academic Fraud" (third attachment) it occurs to us that it seems to be laying the foundation for a probable legal strategy should Churchill decide to sue CU. Any legal scholars reading this are invited to opine.
Churchill's wife issues letter defending him in detail (link updated, original google-group link here)
"The University of Colorado has capitulated to political pressure and there is no sign that it will not continue to do so. We cannot take any comfort in the fact that the University has acknowledged that Ward Churchill's speech is constitutionally protected. It is, in fact, far more dangerous to allow dissent to be silenced through the subterfuge of investigating various "frauds." The pressure continues; those who [are] fueling the attacks, such as our local Clear Channel radio station, seem to have unlimited resources to spend on this campaign. So, we fully expect to face yet another "investigation" after the current allegations have been refuted -- at which point you'll likely be getting updates about our federal lawsuit."
OT: Steven Plaut discovers another example of diversity on the campus of UC Santa Barbara:
Lisa Hajjar has made an entire academic career out of bashing the United States and Israel for their supposed use of “torture” against Arabs. She spouts off these baseless accusations from her academic home at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), where she teaches in its “Law and Society” program. In fact she has no credentials at all in law. (She also teaches “Middle East Studies” at UCSB, with even fewer qualifications in that field.) Instead she holds a PhD in sociology from American University. The one in Washington, not Cairo.
Part Three of the Rocky Mountain News' five-part series on Churchill
The charge: Plagiarism
Wherein the RMN focuses on the single question of who wrote an article on Indian fishing rights
"It's plainly a clever rip-off," said [Legal historian Peter] Hoffer, who chronicled plagiarism throughout history in the book Past Imperfect.
"The very consistency and slyness of the rephrasing indicates the intention to use the research findings of another without appropriate attribution."
Excerpt from an interview, wherein Churchill explains it all
[ed. note: It would have been illuminating for the RMN to have included the question that elicited the above response]
"I am the mystery man — the world's great mystery — who wrote the famous Russell Means speech. (unintelligible) not something I wrote, it's my words that someone else has written down. I am the someone else. And if you ask Russ, he'd tell you that. Well, that's 1980, OK?"
Our Favorite Reviews
It's probably a bad sign (and perhaps a little sad) that we're deriving such great pleasure from reading comments on the Internet about PirateBallerina. That said, even though we've added the following to our lefthand column, we thought we'd massage our own ego a bit more with this collection of our favorite PirateBallerina reviews:
"[...]I just stumbled upon THE most comprehensive achive of goofy professor Ward Churchill ever assembled. Pirate Ballerina is to Churchill what a proctologist is to your lower colon. If the a**hole is your thing, Pirate Ballerina is your colonoscope." —Prairie Fire
"For those of us who find every new revelation better than a month of Desperate Housewives, it’s the site to visit." —Independent Sources
"PirateBallerina has assembled an amazing compendium of information on the man: sort of an "everything you never wanted to know about Ward Churchill". Check it out - it's truly impressive." —Villainous Company
"PirateBallerina.com has been a virtual one-stop shop for all things Churchill..." —RedState.org
"[W]ell worth scrolling through." —Ed Driscoll
"Pirate Ballerina [...] seems positively Javert-like in his/her monomaniacal pursuit of Mr. Churchill" —Neo-Neocon
"Pirate Ballerina - Ward Churchill Stalker
The right's obsession with our secret liberal intellectual overlord Ward Churchill is still going strong. Today in stats I discovered that a blog entirely devoted to tracking and discrediting Ward Churchill had linked to LiberalAvenger.com. How exciting!
If you've ever wondered whether or not your own blogging habits are a waste of time, don't. Your time wastage can't hold a candle to the Pirate Ballerina blog." —The Liberal Avenger
"Pirate Ballerina, aside from being an exceptionally cool blog title, is a treasure trove of all things Ward Churchillian." —Digito Society
"There's really no point in anyone blogging about it when Pirate Ballerina is already doing it to perfection." —Dum Pendebat
"Oh, come on. You can't quote some "pirateballerina" blog as evidence of anything." —comment on Daily Kos
Churchill responds via email to the Rocky Mountain News series
Points out flaw in Charlie Brennan's article on Churchill's math
Charlie, Charlie, Charlie.
Go back and listen to the mass media reportage for the afternoon/evening of 9-11. THAT'S the relevent date, 'cause that's when I turned the "little Eichmann's" phrase? Eh?
You're gonna hear the 4,500 number tossed around repeatedly (that is, of course, before Orin Hatch decided that 7,000 sounded better).
Commenting on the Rocky Mountain News series on Ward Churchill, David French of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) warns that an air-tight case will be needed to rid Colorado of its notorious professor:
"It is still too early in the series to fully and fairly evaluate the evidence presented, but it should be noted that—as a practical matter—Colorado must have airtight evidence of at least one of the more serious violations before it can take formal action against Churchill. Speaking as a former trial lawyer, I can tell you that discipline based on a shaky plagiarism case, for example, would be viewed by most judges as pretextual, as simply an alternative to punishing Churchill for the thing that really offends Colorado: his constitutionally protected speech."
This isn't an attack; this is D-Day
The Charge: Fabrication
Day Two of the Rocky Mountain News series focuses on the "US Army spread smallpox among the Indians" meme Churchill has been touting for years in various books and speeches
"My own view is Churchill probably just wanted to have something more to holler about," said the UCLA professor, Russell Thornton.
"I think it's just out-and-out fabrication. It depends on how you want to look at it, but in one sense, it's just making up of data, and that kind of thing shouldn't be tolerated in scholarship or science."
But Churchill holds to his story with an almost Bagdhad Bob-like tenacity:
The most impressive feature of this first of four detailed looks into specific charges against Churchill is the inclusion of numerous PDF files (they're linked in a sidebar of the online article). These PDFs are of the actual book pages containing Churchill claims and footnotes contrasted side-by-side with the book-pages containing what the sources really said--which strengthens the main article's impact immeasureably, and the effect is devastating; if this is an indication of the depth and breadth of the remaining three parts of the series, Churchill better start looking for a spider hole.
"What happened at Fort Clark was far worse than I indicated. Far worse," [Churchill] said. "And now I've got the documentation, the paper, to prove it. So next time I iterate it, it's going to be a much sharper finding on genocidal intent with Fort Clark."
However, the sources he pointed the News to don't support his assertion either.
A second article does the same thorough job of fisking Churchill's claims that smallpox was used as a weapon against the Indians on other occasions (no PDFs this time, but there are references to online texts)
... and there's this excerpt from an interview with Churchill concerning his smallpox claims and the sources he cites
Meanwhile, the Denver Post attended the same speech we did yesterday, but came away with a very different impression
Churchill talks to supportive group in Salida
..and Salida's Mountain Mail has its own take on the speech
Churchill remains defiant
...and the Pueblo Chieftain checks in with probably the best synopsis of Churchill's actual presentation (ht Daniel Ong)
Backers, others hear Churchill
...and we would be shortchanging our readers if we did not include the perspective of the Far Left
This is All About COINTELPRO
Ten Bucks Wasted
wherein our intrepid reporter journeys to Salida, Colorado to witness Churchill's comeuppance, which he finds to his chagrin is not forthcoming
by Jim Paine
So really, what was I expecting to happen in Salida?
At first I considered it rather daring for Ward Churchill to enter the belly of the Red-State beast today to speak in Salida, Colorado. While this was arguably the biggest thing to happen to Salida since the mid-60s (when my steer took fourth place there at the Chaffee County 4-H livestock show--I'm sure they're still talking about it on Sackett Avenue today), I knew certainly that it would not be a field day for me like my associate, zombie, had with the looney-tunes in San Francisco, who showed up in chicken-hats to show their support. Salida is the heartland of Colorado; these people were not the sort to wear a foam-rubber chicken-hat for anybody.
And what I saw in the Salida audience was as expected: maybe two or three people under the age of thirty adrift in a sea of grey or balding heads. Stern faces were the majority. Surely, I thought while surveying the crowd, this would be Churchill's undoing; these retirees and ancient ranchers had had nothing to do for days except prepare insightful, biting questions for this symbol of the America-hating Left.
Shows you just how wrong you can be. But in hindsight, who would expect an audience made up of these older people to do anything but listen attentively, politely, patiently? I realized that whether Churchill knew it or not, this was the true meaning of freedom of speech--all those polite, attentive faces, listening to him meander through his remarks. I watched each time there was applause (not as often as usual), and the audience was generally split 50-50 between those applauding and those sitting stoically. Tough crowd, as they say, tough crowd.
I'm not going to bore our readers with yet another litany of the usual Churchilliana; suffice it to say that since this was supposed to be a talk on "Government punishment of unpopular ideas and the people who express them", Churchill diverged slightly from his usual text, lashing out at Gov. Bill Owens and some Colorado state legislators for trying to silence him and others who, of course, speak truth to that ole' debbil power. But it wasn't long before Churchill began lecturing the silent crowd on various other cases of academic fraud and plagiarism, naming lots of names like Michael Bellesiles, John Lott, Stephen Ambrose, to the point I began wondering worriedly if any of these names were going to be on the test.
All the rambling pontification and elucidating and self-exoneration-by-proxy seemed rather inane (and a bit confusing to the audience, if the looks on their faces were any indication), unless it was to make the audience tired of the whole plagiarism and scholarly misconduct thing, which--if that were the case--I believe Churchill was quite successful.
It was during his question and answer period Churchill was able to get his feet back on solid activist ground; the appropriateness of his "little Eichmanns" comment, of course, provided the audience with Churchill's canned response. One man asked that since those who swept the floors and bussed the tables in the twin towers provided support services for the "technocrats of power" weren't they too just as deserving--in Churchill's view--of being called "little Eichmanns." Rather than answer the question, Churchill chose to see this as an instance of someone trying to put words in his mouth, and he silenced the questioner with a blunt "That's enough."
So what did I expect to happen in Salida? I guess I thought Churchill might be somehow charismatic in person, and that charisma--missing from the audio clips of Churchill I've listened to--might account for the following he has among students and the Left. What I saw was a tired pedagogue (or demagogue, if you prefer) lecturing a small group of pensioners about things alien to their lives and antithetical to their natures.
And that's when the scales fell from my eyes: This was nothing so much as a bizarre church meeting, and these people were here for a different twist on their usual Sunday self-flagellation-and-repentance. All church-goers are inured to being called sinners, aren't they? They hear it every Sunday, and they sit quietly and respectfully during the harangue. And what was this if not another harangue about sinfulness?
Unlike the usual reverend or minister or priest, however, Churchill offered no redemption, no communion, no salvation. There was no quid pro quo. The congregation will tolerate admonishment as sinners if there's a payoff at the end. What does it matter to be called a damnable sinner when Heaven's just around the corner?
What Churchill offered his congregation was of no use to the people who came to hear him. After all, these people were of the same flesh and blood as those who died on 9/11, and as such, were as much "little Eichmanns" as Churchill's "technocrats of empire." His only offered method of repentance was self-annihilation. When he said US off the planet, he was speaking about these people. Perhaps he didn't mean these people, but they certainly consider themselves the US--because they are the US.
These people (unlike Churchill's usual amen-corner audience) were able to connect Churchill's implied dots, to see their inevitable conclusion--and then to deny their validity and thus repudiate any relevance Churchill's admonishments had to their lives.
And so they sat there, for the most part stonily silent, and let Churchill drone his last. Such is the awful truth about freedom of speech. Churchill had the freedom to tell them what he thought. They had the freedom to hold it in silent contempt.
Which is what it appears they did.
Reading Between the Lies
by Jim Paine
The reporter's rule regarding the credibility of sources has always been expressed as "if your mother tells you the sun rises in the east—verify." If this rule had any reason to exist, it is in its application to Ward Churchill.
While Churchill is arguably not a "mother," his every utterance, his every written word, is proof that the maxim is a necessary weapon in any reporter's intellectual arsenal.
And proving Churchill is incorrect, or misleading, or lying, is not difficult. One only needs to choose an assertion—any assertion—and google it (or in our case, MSN Search it). We did it as an exercise here in relation to Churchill's claim in his infamous "roosting chickens" essay that US sanctions were responsible for 500,000 dead Iraqi children. Charlie Brennan did it here on Churchill's lack of math skills in that same essay. Professor Thomas Brown did it here on a wide range of Churchill's fabrications, and Professor John LaVelle does it here for a gamut of Churchill "facts."
In fact, it's our assertion that any declarative statement written or uttered by Churchill that has his untruths excised would consist entirely of definite and indefinite articles, some inconsequential pronouns, and an occasional "and" or "therefore."
For example, let's remove the demonstrable untruths from this Churchill quote:
We find quickly that Churchill's fabrications aren't even internally consistent (don't worry; we'll do the math).
Since the quote is from 2001, let's look at actual population figures for Iraq for that period: 23.6 million (source: United Nations Population Fund). We've already dealt with the "500,000 kids lost..." phrase, so that leaves us with the "25 percent of their age group."
Well, in 2001, minors did, in fact, represent 26% of the U.S. population (source: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics), but the CIA World Factbook says that in 2005 Iraqi children ages 0-14 years account for 40% of the country's total population, and we'll make a guess that that age group comprised roughly the same proportion of the population in 2001—which means that there were roughly 9.3 million children under the age of 16 in Iraq in 2001, which means that Churchill's "something on the order of 25 percent of their age group" is five times the actual percentage of 5.34%. (If, like Churchill, you prefer not to trust the CIA, the WorldPress website has similar estimates: Iraq population in 2001: 23.3 million, with 41.64% of that population aged 0-14 years.)
So, after expunging the provable misrepresentations, misleading "facts" and outright lies from Churchill's original quote, what are we left with?
And that, dear readers, is a Churchill statement with which we can all agree.
Update: It only occured to us after posting this commentary that it represents a "reverse dowdification" of Churchill's words. Dowdification (first coined by James Taranto of Opinion Journal's Best of the Web) is the process of selectively quoting a source by omitting actual phrases from a sentence in order to make the resulting statement say something very different from what the source intended. Since the dowdification process invariably results in a lie, we see our work above as a sort of reverse-dowdification, since the result arrives at a truth (however mundane).
Yes... but is it a "witch hunt" if you actually find a witch?
Extra: With its "Witch Hunt Escalation", The Sten Gazette attempts to discredit the Rocky Mountain News series noted below, at least in part by toting-up the amount of ink the RMN devotes to it:
It begins on page one, obviously, and note that it occupies two-thirds of the page. Under the picture are the words “The five-day series begins today on 21A.” A five-day series! Turn to page 21A and you find the entire top half of the page is devoted to “THE CHURCHILL FILES Shadows of doubt.” 80% of that space is occupied by a photo, with a single column of text on the right, ending with “Flip to FILES on 22A.”
The diatribe goes on about the various column-inches devoted to the Churchill series for, oh, at least half of the diatribe. Then it deals with the series' "revelations." Here's one example:
One cannot, at least in the Sten Gazette's world, refute a scholar by simply pointing out that the sources he cites do not support the scholar's claim, one must prove that the scholar's thus-eviscerated claim is also wrong. This is similar to the following argument:
Did Ward Churchill falsely accuse the U.S. Army of using smallpox as a weapon of genocide against American Indians?
His claim cannot be supported by the sources he has cited.
[end RMN quote]
That’s a very clear and concise question, calling for a yes or no answer, and the “findings” do not answer the question. In the first place, there’s a difference between a false accusation and a claim. All that the News has been able to “reveal” is that the claim is not supported by the sources that Churchill cited. If his claim could be disproved we are sure they would have said so.
Sally: "Mary said your hat was stupid!"
Gladys: "I know for a fact that Mary did not say that!"
Sally: "Well, prove your hat isn't stupid!"
The subsequent "revelations" are dealt with in much the same manner.
And then, the pay-off:
These are not revelations, and they are not news, and there can be only one reason for promoting this issue so hysterically– the Rocky Mountain News, along with it’s [sic] Republican ownership, is out to get Ward Churchill by any means necessary.The only people who will conceivably read their report in full are those who are already convinced that Churchill is a witch who must be burned at the stake.
Need any more convincing? Dont’ [sic] forget we have two competing newspapers in Denver. How much attention did the Denver Post pay to these new revelations? The Saturday paper is a combined issue, and includes a single editorial page under the RMN masthead. On that page there was not a single word about the Churchill affair.
The Sten Gazette has not, apparently, been made aware that the Rocky Mountain News (spit!) and the Denver Post (viva!) are both published by the same company.
[full disclosure: PirateBallerina assisted the Rocky Mountain News in preparing its article on Churchill's genealogical claims to Indian heritage scheduled for publication later next week]
The Rocky Mountain News kicks off a week of investigative reports on Ward Churchill
Shadows of doubt
wherein the News presents a lengthy overview of the allegations against Churchill, including plagiarism, copyright infringement, race fraud, historical fabrication, and repeated mischaracterization of federal law
...a fisking of Churchill's math in his infamous 'roosting chickens' essay[ed. note: we do a bit of Churchill-fisking ourselves here, here, here, here and here] [update: Churchill has responded to the RMN's criticism of his "inflated" 9-11 casualty count]
...an excerpt from an interview with Churchill concerning his hiring as tenured professor
...a sobering overview of the Misconduct Committee's procedures
...and an RMN editorial calls for the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct to include the new allegations of copyright infringement and plagiarism in its investigation
SCSUScholars has a well-written overview of Churchill's latest copyright/plagiarism woes. (and if you take the time to read their other posts, you'll find they fisk quite a bit of economic myth, as well)
Churchill to give talk in Salida, Colorado on Sunday
The Topic: Government Punishment of Unpopular Ideas & People Who Express Them
[ed. note for non-Coloradoans: A small retirement and ranching community in central Colorado, Salida is the Chaffee County seat, a red county in a red state (56% for Bush, 43% for Kerry, 0.8% for Nader). We doubt there'll be many chicken-hat-wearing Churchill fans there.]
Update: One of our readers points us to a Letter to the Editor of the Mountain Mail from the speaking engagement's organizers describing more fully the purpose of Churchill's appearance in Salida.
Experts: Professor broke copyright law
3 authors say Churchill reproduced their essays without their permission
"He should have gotten permission," said Barbara Weil Laff, a Denver attorney who specializes in intellectual property copyright law. "I would assume that someone who writes books for a living would understand copyright law."
'The Water Plot' thickens
Essays listing professor as author mirror 1972 work by Canadian dams group
Dam the Dams published The Water Plot in 1972. In 1989, Churchill published a version of The Water Plot with the same structure, language and information found in the original. He credited that piece to Dam the Dams and his own research organization, Institute for Natural Progress.
In 1991, Churchill took sole credit for another version of The Water Plot that was largely identical to the 1989 version. In 2002, he published a third version of the essay under his own name.
Note to the CU Standing Committee on Research Misconduct:
The quote "It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham" leading off Ward Churchill's 2003 book Perversions of Justice is erroneously attributed by Churchill to Groucho Marx. It's actually from Woody Allen's film, "Bananas". Has the man no shame?
Could this be called 'rueing the day'?
Campus of Controversy
Relationship sours between UW System and GOP lawmakers
Hamilton College re-examining selection process for campus speakers
Well, a lack of wookie heritage would be harder to prove
Let's Get Small
For those of you still in shock that Deep Throat's identity has been revealed and consequently have been incapable of noticing anything else, the wannabe terrorist is Tarik Ibn Osman Shah, who was arrested Saturday, and who, according to this New York Post story, told an undercover FBI agent "I could be joking and smiling and then cutting their throats in the next second." Ho-kay... we'll scratch Tarik off this year's list of Mother Theresa Humanitarian Award nominees.
It's the penultimate paragraph of the NYP story, though, that has the blogosphere up in arms:
Shah's silver Chevrolet Impala was parked outside his Bronx apartment yesterday. In the back seat was a reminder to buy a DVD of Ward Churchill, the Colorado professor who called 9/11 victims "little Eichmanns."
Now, let's take a deep breath here. It's not as if Tarik had plans for a dirty bomb autographed by Churchill in his glove compartment. Tarik, a US citizen, has numerous character flaws, foremost among them a disinterest in the continued well-being of his fellow US citizens. He deserves investigation, and if found guilty, incarceration.
Churchill has his own set of peccadilloes to answer for. And as sure as Mom's apple pie is the best, answer for them he will. But while we are loathe to rush to Ward Churchill's defense, seriously, trying to hoist Churchill on Tarik's petard is a reach beyond anyone's grasp.
It's not as if Tarik had "Stairway to Heaven" playing on his car radio. Now that would be creepy.