November 30, 2004

Just ordinary American stuff...

Blackfive posted a letter from a Navy guy visiting the Navy Hospital at Bethesda. In a restaraunt, he sees a wounded Marine dining with his parents...

...I pop over to check on him, thank him for his service and subsequently find out the following. They aren’t his parents. His parents live in California and wouldn’t be getting in until tonight. These folks had driven down from Philadelphia for a week, on their vacation time, to visit the troops in Walter Reed and Bethesda. Every night, they’re taking a troop out for dinner, someone who’s able to ambulate and who doesn’t have family in the area. You could tell this meant everything in the world to the Marine, and, to them.

They have 7 of their own children, 2 still at home. The two at home are staying with friends. I got it immediately (I have a flair for the obvious)—they had taken vacation time from their jobs, farmed the kids out with friends, just to drive 300 miles on their own dime, to visit wounded American troops.

Jeez, I could hardly make it back to my table without spilling tears.

It gets better. I decide a good idea would be to pick up their check, so I call over the waitress. “Too late,” she says, “somebody else already has, but you’re the fourth person who’s offered.”...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:43 PM

Bitter? Who, me?

I recently got an e-mail from an old pal, one that gives me an excuse to rattle on interminably and bore you with favorite topics:
Browsing through your Random Jottings, I was quite moved at the quotation by John Kennedy that went undelivered... Not quite clever enough to figure out how to add a comment within your "Random Jottings" blogsite, however. Thank you for remembering that not all Dems come with horns and a pointy tail...

The Democrats you and I grew up with were often splendid patriotic Americans. JFK was a staunch anti-Communist, willing to fight to protect our country and others from tyranny. He cut taxes massively, triggering an economic boom. (Remember the Go-Go Years?) He was unabashedly patriotic and idealistic. He was a Hawk. Guess what...JFK wouldn't find any home in today's Democrat Party. That world is GONE, gone utterly. There are no more Trumans, no more Scoop Jacksons. Wake up to it.

...You lament the lack of a stiff opposition and a good debate. I believe you've got enough bile stored up to nuke my poor little computer into smouldering plastic, so I daren't stick my head into the Dragon's lair; but I do wonder from time to time how you became such a HAWK...

Hawks are the people who want to prevent war! If the Islamic terrorists had been stomped on hard a decade or two ago, tens-of-thousands of lives would have been saved, and we would not be in a war now. That´s what Hawks do. You "doves" (if that's what you are) are the ones who are causing wars. You want to let things slide so that we will have far worse battles in the future. You are the warmongers.

...Of course, we grew up in Dick Nixon's backyard in All-the-Way-Right Orange County; birthplace of touchy-feely organizations like the John Birch Society. So, naturally, we're inclined to go goose-stepping about and bitching about the trains running on time and whatnot, but Good Lord, man, with exposure to the world-at-large and possibly a little counseling, one can learn to overcome embarrassing twitches forcing the right arm erect and vocalizations sounding suspiciously like "Seig Heil!"

That's funny! Now that vee haf a zecond term, vee vill make der rabble OBEY!

[A small note enjoining historical accuracy. You've probably been educated to see politics as a spectrum, with socialists on one end, and fascists on the other. Wrong. The well-known fascist groups, such as the Nazis, were not right-wingers or conservatives. They were just another flavor of
Socialists, tarted-up with some oddments of nationalist and conservative rhetoric.]

Also, those Orange County right-wingers were not quite so wacky as portrayed by leftish historians. The extremists filled the headlines, while ordinary decent folks went unnoticed. But even the extreme ones may not have been so misguided as they are shown. Young Congressman Nixon looks rather better now that we've learned from the Soviet archives that Alger Hiss really was a secret agent for Stalin. And McCarthy was a scoundrel, but we now know that there really were a bunch of Communists in the State Department...

Here's a couple observations in your blogspot that I suspected might be half-a-bubble out of plumb- so long as you don't get sore at me! These are from previous postings: Shortly before the (tragic, in my opinion) election, you were criticizing John Kerry for expressing opinions on the War in Iraq, and suggesting the remarks might be treason. Treason?! As in None Dare Call it Treason, that hateful rant I slurped up in my misguided youth? It seems to me that one of the principal principles of our whole American ideal is that differences of opinion are allowed! It's the very cornerstone of our freedom- that opinions vary and are tolerated. In fact, that's what the whole idea of a democracy is about- the will of the majority of the people. For that reason, unhappy as I may be, I must respect the will of the American people in electing George Bush. (Note I say electing, not re-electing; but let's set that aside). It seems to me that suggesting Kerry's opinions as treason is too much, really unfair. It's all water under the bridge now, but what was the guy supposed to do? Say "no comment"? Say "Georgie's doin' a fine, wunnaful job over there?" He HAD to express an opinion, didn't he?

I don't remember using "treason." (But I might have, I'm very angry with the Dems) But what, exactly, am I angry about? Of course I agree that differences of opinion are allowed. However, things are a little bit different in wartime. Once our people are getting shot at, it´s the duty of both parties to be on OUR side. Constructive criticism—yes. OF COURSE! But what Kerry was doing was something else. The terrorists have no hope of defeating us militarily. Their only hope is to persuade us to lose courage, and withdraw from the fight. And Kerry´s whole campaign was one big hint that if elected he would cut and run. And that was a clear message to terrorists: "Kill lots of Americans, and help elect me."

And remember, Kerry VOTED for the Iraq Campaign. He voted to send our forces into harm's way, then undercut them, and told the world that what they are doing is wrong. Treason...well, no. DESPICABLE? yes! Am I bitter? Remember this: ALL our big wars of the 20th Century were
Democrat wars. And Republicans always supported our military whole-heartedly, even when they had been opposed to going to war before the fighting started. Damn right I'm feeling bitter.

Another thing that caused me a little indigestion was your apologizing for the conduct of those responsible for the mistreatment of the Iraqui POW's...

I did NOT apologize for those who abused the detainees. (They are not POW's; that is a status reserved for those who follow the rules of war.) But I am furious at the Dems/newsmedia/America-haters, who have given you a carefully edited propaganda campaign, so that Abu Ghraib is the one big thing on your mind.

You mention Saddam had no cameras. OH YES HE DID!!! There are thousands of videotapes available of REAL tortures (not "being humiliated by American trailer-trash"). Stuff like people being eaten alive by dogs. Children tortured in front of their parents. Wives raped in front of their husbands. But your lefty news media don't show you that, because it doesn't help their politics. Because you might be tempted to think America is doing something noble and good.

What ELSE is edited out? Well, for every crime we commit, there are also thousands of deeds of generosity and compassion (see
here, here, here). And heroism (see here, here, here, here). Us bloggers pass the stories around, like samizdat in the old Soviet Union. But anyone dependent on ABC, CBS, the NYT, the LAT—they almost never hear those things. It's ALSO not usually reported that most Iraqis are grateful for what we are doing, and are excited about the possibility of elections...(see here, here, here, here, here, here Or just click on Iraq in my subject list)

Instead Abu Ghraib was trumpeted in tens of thousands of news stories, and all the world was bombarded. Remember the time you were traveling, and people in distant typhoon-lashed places were all agog at LA's floods? Abu Ghraib is the same kind of
distortion amplified a thousand-fold. You are being USED. Duped. Fed a diet of lies solely to advance the Democrat Party. If it were just were lies about, say Social Security reform, that´s not such a big deal. But to distort and besmirch what our troops are doing—that's loathsome. VILE.

To me, that was the icing on the cake called WMD's and where the hell are they? If we already looked like Horse's Asses for starting a war over a Non-Issue in the opinion of the world, that was the black eye that sent us reeling into the ropes. And despite what too many Americans (probably including yourself) think, WORLD OPINION MATTERS.

Hmm, well let's see. Did your TV news give you much detail about the parts of a Uranium enrichment plant just found in South Africa? Hmmm? All packed up in shipping containers, ready to go? I bet not. They don't want you to start thinking bad thoughts.

In fact, we had a LOT of reasons for the Iraq campaign. (It's NOT a war, it is one campaign of the War on Terror) Here's my list of ten. But you know what? World opinion this Administration. So we worked hard to get UN approval, And the only way to do that was to justify the invasion as being about WMD's. Because the UN, and the French and Germans, (and your precious present-day Dems) care nothing for stopping genocide and torture, nor for freedom and democracy, nor for bringing new hope to a region sunk in despotism, nor for fighting vigorously for right in order to prevent far worse wars in the future.

And lack of WMD's was only a "black eye" because it is now
framed that way by people who hate America. Actually, the Europeans, the UN, and your precious Dems (read this) ALL agreed that Saddam's WMD's were a grave danger. It was not a "non-issue" then. Now they stand aside and pretend it was just Bush's idea. Bullshit. In fact, we now know, from the Duelfer Report, that even Saddam's top aides and generals thought he had WMD's ready to use!!

In war, intelligence is ALWAYS imperfect. The Rangers scaled the cliff at
Pont du Hoc, and discovered that the German guns had recently been moved. They were still heroes! The decision to attack there was still correct. Bush and Blair and Howard are great men, heroes, because they are willing to ACT to fix problems. They are willing to make tough decisions. They are willing to FIGHT. Your cutesy little Democrats want to ignore problems, and hope they go away. You are welcome to that crew—I despise them.

The problem is that- rightly or wrongly- I always thought of America and Americans as the Good Guys- the folks who came along in WW1, WW2, and Korea- who fought hard, set things right, and hit the trail. We didn't need to be told the Geneva Convention. To my knowledge- and I'll admit I could be wrong here- we never tortured or humiliated Japanese or German POW's in WW2, despite the atrocities they inflicted on our men. I don't think many Japanese POW's were "killed while trying to escape", and the German POW's were happy campers! So it seems so sad and unnecessary and frankly, sickening- to see the photos that came out of that prison. Is this how we look to the rest of the world? Did we really succeed in making Saddam Hussein look good by comparison? (At least he had the sense to not allow cameras, fer Chrissakes!!!)

We WERE and ARE the good guys. But we also did bad things. (Not incompatible) I'm a bookworm, and have wandered through scores of memoirs from those wars. We often shot people who were trying to surrender—sometimes in reprisal, sometimes not. But you never see that stuff in the general history books. (Because most historians are Democrats. If a Republican had been President, "history" would read very differently.) Japanese skulls were popular souvenirs. There were almost no Jap POW's—they didn't surrender. But we routinely shot any Japanese bodies, just to make sure they were dead. And a huge mass of Germans who surrendered right at the end were kept in squalor and actual-starvation because we had made inadequate provision for their numbers.

And we DID set things right. But it took some high-handedness, even brutality. Pushing people around. The sanitized history books make it all seem
gemütlich, but it wasn't. And it took a lot of time, and expense, and awkward learning-by-making-mistakes. Much like what's happening right now in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Is this how we look to the rest of the world?" Only because of a vast edifice of lies and distortions. Did you know that hundreds of Abu Ghraib prisoners have been killed and wounded? Of course you don't, because Americans aren't doing it. (see here) So it's not news. You don't hear about it.

You've been gulled. Hoodwinked. A bunch of 60's "activist" flakes have taken over the Democrat Party/news-media, and, like children playing dress-up, donned the mantles of FDR and Truman and Jimmy Byrnes and JFK. And now sneer at anyone who acts with the decisiveness of those great Dems.
Posted by John Weidner at 10:02 AM

November 29, 2004

"Though the heart be still as loving, And the moon be still as bright"


So, we'll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And Love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we'll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.

--Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:06 PM

"Dangerously uninformed about American realities"

TM Lutas is working on an essay to explain America to foreigners who are not getting the truth from their own news media. I will be interested to see what results, though my guess is that people in many other lands just don't want to know.

...If you (outside the US) depend on getting information about the US from news sources who maintain their own cordon sanitaire and do not read, listen, or react to the alternative media structures of the US center-right, you will be laughably misinformed, even dangerously uninformed, though you do your part and consume your national news media voraciously. Far too many foreigners seem dangerously uninformed about american realities.

If you woke up and neither you, nor anybody you knew, could explain why George W Bush was reelected, it's a strong warning sign. If everybody was depressed over how such a bad man could have possibly been elected, this is a dangerous warning sign that you and your set have not gotten enough information to even come close to predicting the US. It's not a problem of you disagreeing with the US electorate. Diversity is the spice of life. It is that those whose opinions were different were invisible to you and when they made their force felt at the ballot box, you were shocked by their very existence. Your news media had an absolute duty to explain these people to you and they failed to do so. That failure is just one data point in a very busy graph.

Suppose you are a Frenchman. The logical conclusion to draw from History, and from American and Anglosphere (and before them Dutch) success is that your nation took a wrong turn somewhere around the time of Cardinal Mazarin. And that, as a practical matter, there is no way France is going to change at this late date. Your best bet is to stick your fingers in your ears, shout "I can't hear you! Bush_Is_Hitler!" and hope things don't get too much worse...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:51 AM

November 27, 2004

The next election on the horizon...

British writer Quentin Langley has a piece on 10 reasons elections in Iraq will succeed. They look about right to me. Including something I hadn't thought of:

7. The electoral system chosen (national lists) is not particularly vulnerable to intimidation. Votes are counted locally but the totals are calculated nationally, and seats in parliament are awarded in proportion to votes. A gang that intimidates voters locally will have almost no impact on the national vote.

I had thought that "national list" system was wrong-headed, but it makes sense in this context. And of course, this election is only for one year, for writing the new constitution...

We can guarantee that during this time, while the fighting is at its worst, the faint hearts and pessimists - the French and German governments; the U.N.; the Democrats; CNN and CBS - will tell us that the effort is doomed. They will say that the Iraqi elections will be a flop, turnout will be low, and that Saddam's supporters will likely come back to power. They will also tell us that only American soldiers are getting killed, with no reference to the brave Iraqis fighting to take their country back from the terrorists. Here are the top 10 reasons why they are wrong....

They are not "faint-hearted and pessimistic," they are on the other side. But maybe our "Democrats" will surprise me this time, and support democracy. With enthusiasm. And consider it something worth fighting for, and worth putting aside partisan advantage for. Ha ha, just kidding. Never happen...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:16 AM

November 26, 2004

counting our blessings...

Orrin writes, in a post titled Much for W to be thankful for:

When Jim Jeffords switched parties in June 2001, throwing the Senate to the Democrats, after the bitterly contested post-Election of 2000, more than one pundit started counting down the Bush presidency. Here we are at Thanksgiving 2004 and just consider how many of his major opponents have instead reached the end of their political careers: Al Gore, Dick Gephardt, Tom Daschle, Saddam Hussein, Howell Raines, Dan Rather, & Tom Brokaw. That's quite a kill ratio.

MORE: And soon Kim Jong Il.

Almost scary. And he's arranged for Terry McAuliffe to remain head of the Dem Party, until replaced by Howard Dean.

The real puzzler is, did Karl have a little chat with the architect of the Clinton Library?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:49 AM

November 25, 2004

"the 'tune-in, turn-on, chug-up' ethos of the Pabst Blue Ribbon underground..."

Iowahawk is hilarious on the spread of a strange self-destructive new subculture among the teenagers of NPR America...

...Jane Michelson is not alone in her story. Throughout coastal America, school adminstrators and parents are reporting an alarming surge in 'Cracker' cliques on campus. Also known as 'Y'alls' or 'Neckies,' officials say the groups thrive by attracting outcasts and misfits from the student body.

"We try hard to engage all of our students in fun, healthy activities like Progressive Eco-Action March and Rage Against Intolerance Week," says Lawrence DiBenedetto of Patrice Lumumba Magnet School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "Unfortunately, there are going to be those who fall through the cracks, into a life of bass fishing and stockcar racing."

It appears those cracks are widening. In one recent three-week period, fourteen high school students in Portland, Oregon were suspended for distributing pork rinds; a Burlington, Vermont high school was briefly closed for decontamination after janitors found a bible hidden in a restroom; and forty-six undergraduate coeds at Swarthmore were expelled for staging clandestine Mary Kay cosmetics parties...

It's just good clean silliness, but I think there's a morsel of truth here. We are affected by the zeitgeist more than we realize, and the well-deserved drubbing and ridicule of Bleu-State culture is probably percolating through a lot of young psyches...I love it.

A couple of other good lines:

...McCormack says that Rain's erratic behavior would also come to include excessive politeness and deference...."Everytime I tried to talk to him it was 'yes Momma,' and 'no Momma,' when he knows damn well my name is Ellen," she says, anger rising in her voice. "It was like I didn't even know him anymore."...

..."We are people of faith who keep the sabbath," says Sandy, a curator in the Dada collection of the Museum of Modern Art. "Even when she was a toddler,  we made sure Emily got up early every Sunday morning to read the New York Times Book Review. Sunday morning was our time, until..."

Posted by John Weidner at 12:16 PM

November 24, 2004

People we are thankful for...

Perhaps this should have been posted on Veteran's Day, but it fits Thanksgiving very well...

Pearl Harbor survivor embraces Iraq vet
Pearl Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas is overcome with emotion as he embraces Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke Jr. during the Dallas Veterans Day Commemoration at Dallas City Hall on Thursday. Graunke, who was a member of a Marine ordnance-disposal team, lost a hand, a leg and an eye while attempting to defuse a bomb in Iraq last July.
Jim Mahoney, The Dallas (Texas) Morning News / AP photo
Army Times Frontline Photos, Novenber 12, 2004

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 PM

Thanksgiving Proclamation

George Washington
City of New York, October 3, 1789

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th. day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
(link) (thanks to Judd)
Posted by John Weidner at 6:07 PM

November 23, 2004

"What in the World Ever Became of Sweet Jane?"

Andrew linked to a piece that seems to be going around in liberal circles:

The Life of Joe RepublicanJoe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance -- now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained...

There's lots more, and it's pretty funny. And some of it is even valid.

But I couldn't resist fudging-up my own version:
A Day in the Life of Jane Democrat, in the year 2010Jane wakes up, and brews a fragrant pot of Sulawesi. She gives nary a thought to the world's sea lanes kept open by the US and those allies who still think civilization is worth fighting for. The hard-fought battle that re-opened the Straits of Malacca she dismisses as "neocon warmongering."

She takes her medications, unaware that almost all cutting-edge pharmaceutical research happens in the US, where drug companies are still allowed to be seriously profitable.

Jane drives past a neighborhood that used to be a slum, but is not so bad these days. She makes no connection with Welfare Reform (forced on Bill Clinton by a Republican Congress). Or with the Faith Based Initiatives that have enlisted the strength of local churches to fight poverty and drug addiction, with an effectiveness that bureaucracies can't equal.

Jane arrives work, at a high-tech start-up. There she is treated like a valued team member—the entrepreneur who founded the company knows well the crushing burden of sullenness, inefficiency and disruption that unionization would place on them.

Jane is unaware that her company is prospering partly because a majority-Republican Congress is starting to carve away choking thickets of burdensome government regulations. And also because new free-trade breakthroughs, and NAFTA (invented by Republicans, but signed, most admirably, by Bill Clinton) are behind it's export-led growth.

Jane IS however, aware of big possibilities in the stock-options and profit-sharing that come with her job. She and her co-workers put in long hours and give of their best to make the company a success. Her trendy "whole-learning" education has left her without the mental tools to understand that Capitalism is not some plot by evil corporations, but is in fact the very thing she is doing right now. But the incentives still work, and she has a good chance of becoming very prosperous.

Jane looks at her pay stub. She fails to ponder that one portion of her Social Security tax is going into a Vanguard Index Fund, and is expanding like yeasty dough. While the other portion, that goes into the traditional government program, earns nothing. But the light-bulb will go on eventually.

She considers calling her doctor for an appointment because she is feeling run-down. But these non-catastrophic medical problems are now paid out of her own HSA. It's her own (pre-tax) money, and the account's been growing and growing. She can appreciate that, and decides it's time to get serious about a healthier life-style, and to get more exercise.

She starts to climb a ladder. She notices the 14 safety-warning labels on the ladder, and has a vague thought that the depredations of the Trial Lawyers might have gone a bit too far. Little does she know that everything she buys is cheaper these days, because Republicans have enacted tort-reform legislation.

Jane is feeling good about life, and stops after work at Nordstrom's, and splurges on a couple of pairs of Feragamos. Not thinking, of course, about the latest tax-cut that has left the money in her own pocketbook, and put new energy in the economy.

She picks up her daughter Jeanette at school. Jane had considered having an abortion, but she is sensitive to the climate of opinion around her. And somehow, even among Democrats, the casual destruction of life just doesn't seem so acceptable anymore. She doesn't speculate on why opinion has changed.

She's delighted that Jeanette is learning to read much more easily than she did. Perhaps there's something in this Phonics stuff after all. As a parent she appreciates how the schools are being held to tougher standards now. She knows people who have exercised their new right under NCLB to demand a different school if their current one is failing. She doesn't think that will be necessary for her—the mere threat of such possibilities has produced huge improvements in the local district.

She walks along a dark street, and suddenly, there is a rag-head terrorist standing right in front of her! But no, it's just a movie poster...There WAS a terrorist who was going to saw Jane's pretty-but-empty head off. But the Coalition's recent invasion of Jihadistan forced Achmed to change his plans. The establishment of yet another democracy in the Middle East would be a calamity for his movement, and must be stopped. So, instead of Jane, he's going to encounter an 18-year old kid from Modesto with an M-16. A young man who understands that Freedom's Wall must be defended by patriots, so fluff-brains like Jane can live in peace. The odds do not favor Achmed...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:41 PM

Kerry-supporters, close your eyes. You don't want to know this...

If we didn't have the Internet, how little we would know about what's going on in Iraq...

This is amazing. Iraqis in Falluja leaving notes for our Marines, saying "please sleep in the beds!" Stupefying! From an e-mail posted by Rich Lowry at the Corner (Thank you, Andrea!):

I am also a professor at a military-related institution, and my little brother is an enlisted Marine (a sniper with 1-3) in Fallujah. This weekend he called for the first time since the battle began.
He informed us that a large number of the residents of Fallujah, before fleeing the battle, left blankets and bedding for the Marines and Soldiers along with notes thanking the Americans for liberating their city from the terrorists, as well as invitations to the Marines and Soldiers to sleep in their houses. I've yet to see a report in the media of this. Imagine that.

Additionally, he said their spirits are high, but they would certainly appreciate any "care packages" that folks in the States would care to send their way (preferably consisting of non-perishable food items, candy, deodorant, eye-drops, q-tips, toothpaste, toothbrushes, lip balm, hand/feet warmers, black/dark undershirts, underwear & socks, and non-aerosol bug spray)

It would be great if you could pass this message along to anyone interested in helping out."

[Emphasis mine, 'cause heaven knows our "official purveyors" of information won't pass this stuff on to us]

Marines resting in a house in Falluja
Marines with the 5th Division get ready for a new day
after staying overnight in Fallujah, Iraq,
in a house close to the city’s center.
Anja Niedringhaus / AP photo
Posted by John Weidner at 12:50 PM

"Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

Charlene just discovered a great blog, Irish Elk. It has lots of things odd and whimsical, and serious too. This, from a speech JFK died before delivering, is great:

“We in this country, in this generation, are, by destiny rather than choice, the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of ‘peace on earth, goodwill toward men.’ That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago, ‘except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’”

John F. Kennedy
Undelivered luncheon speech
Dallas, Texas
Nov. 22, 1963

Unfortunately, Dems like that are pretty much extinct. Fortunately, we have George W Bush. Less eloquent, but the sentiments are the same.

And for a laugh, scroll down a bit and click on this post where it mentions Three happy chappies in snappy serapes...(Of course, for the full benefit you have to have had children who had the Disney video with that song on it, and to have heard it about 200 times.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:45 AM

A sort of dull, crabby lumpen-elite

Peter Burnet:

...Forgive the self-reference, but one thing I noticed during arguments with anti-war, anti-Bushites during the election was how unread and uninformed so many were. A little CBC boilerplate, Sixty Minutes and Michael Moore were all they needed to ground their angry certainties on the war on terror and, indeed, whatever else ails the world. Brothersjudd savages the intellectual “elites” mercilessly, but in many cases it is all too easy. Too often, the enemy is not a courageous cutting edge of iconoclastic and original thought, but rather a sort of dull, crabby lumpen-elite that keeps repeating shibboleths adopted decades ago. Perhaps, like arcades and television talk shows, leftist cant is dumbing down and working its way down the social ladder. We may live to see the day it is featured primarily, not in centers of serious, original thought and debate, but in articles by Theodore Dalrymple...

As you chop machete-trails through the intentionally confusing thickets of leftism, you are probably near the Heart of Darkness when you notice that "helping the victims," or merely talking about it, puts a person in a position of superiority. You can be a total loser but when you prate about how "the poor are being ground down by Capitalism and Republicans, and are too stupid to notice it," you are like a wise god peering at bugs in a microscope. Very comforting if you are a school-teacher or journalist with an '88 Corolla and a "re-defeat Bush" bumper sticker. And you don't need much these days to qualify as an intellectual. A few courses at the local community college, some sociology, or history of cinema, and voila!

Which is why partly privatizing Social Security, which is so supremely do-able and sensible that it should be uncontroversial, is opposed by Democrats. It doesn't imperil a major part of their coalition the way tort reform or school vouchers do (though I'm sure the SS bureaucracy is at least 90% Democrat) but it cuts right to the heart of their psychology. The workers, the old...The whole socialist experiment started with "helping the workers." Now, after a hundred-million or so deaths, the workers are going to become little capitalists? Unthinkable.

One frustration I've felt blogging during the last few years is that I've never once had a good debate. The occasional lefty-blogger will drop in, but it's more like a drive-by shooting...they will pick out some little inaccuracy or mistake I've made, cry Ah Hah, gotcha! whoop whoop whoop! with infuriating smugness, and then scoot. Or proclaim in a comment that budget deficits mean that interest rates will rise and the economy will crash....then not stick around for some shibboleth-deconstruction. "Dull, crabby lumpen-elite." Yeah.

I believe there is no one principle, which predominates in Human Nature so much in every stage of Life, from the Cradle to the grave, in Males and Females, old and young, black and white, rich and poor, high and low, as this Passion for Superiority . . . . Every human Being compares itself in its own Imagination, with every other round it, and will find some superiority over every other real or imaginary, or it will die of Grief and Vexation.

John Adams, in a letter to Abigail Adams, April 17, 1777
Posted by John Weidner at 8:49 AM

November 21, 2004

Drooling cats

"Valiant reporter discovers American (of course) war crime." God how I hate those smug jerks. (Alan has stuff on Sites & Co, here and here) Everything the terrorists are doing is a war crime. They are just one big traveling three-ring-circus of crimes of war. And all the while our "Progressives" sit like drooling cats at a mousehole, waiting for any mistake made by an American. So they can squeak: "War Crime!"

Bill Quick has posted this, by blogger Bob Lonsberry:

I think ALL reporters (especially ones with camera and tape recorders) should be required to check out ALL dead or wounded terrorists. The Marines should just motion for the embedded to come over and check them out first before the Marine does. That way the journalist can get first hand account of what a booby trapped terrorist really is and exactly what the Marines are up against day and night. Let the reporters sacrifice their lives for their newspapers, instead of their country......and save the lives of our marines at the same time.. (Bob's got a great post you should read.)

Great idea. In fact, ALL the people who are watching our troops hungrily, so they can pounce on a "war crime," should be given a chance to go to Iraq and help protect "insurgents" from those American criminals. They should search cars for bombs, sacrificing their lives to protect people from trigger-happy Marines. And enter the houses of suspects first, so soldiers don't shoot someone by mistake...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:16 AM

November 20, 2004

Battle of the Bulge without the German Army...

Here's another interesting Paul Wolfowitz quote from the Prospect Magazine interview:

Radek Sikorski With the benefit of hindsight and now that the election campaign is over, what would you say could have been done differently in Iraq?

Paul Wolfowitz People make a lot about the decision to dismiss the Iraqi army. But I don't think people are shooting at Americans and blowing up schools because we dismissed the Iraqi army. When people talk about why Iraq is as difficult as it is, they always start and finish with a list of American mistakes. Nobody ever talks about the enemy. It would be like saying why the battle of the bulge was tough without ever mentioning the German army. Saddam Hussein didn't stop fighting us, at least until he was captured in December last year. Al-Zarqawi didn't surrender when Baghdad fell. He stepped up his efforts.

There are all these organisations that are unheard of in Europe and barely known in the US that people ought to know about. There was the M-14 division of the Iraqi intelligence service, its so-called "anti-terrorism" division, which specialised in hijackings and bombings, kidnappings and assassinations. There was the M-16 division, which perfected new bombing techniques. Many of these guys are out in Falluja and Ramadi in the western parts of Iraq today making bombs. A fellow named Abu Ibrahim spent 20 years in Iraq developing these techniques. He can fashion plastic explosives in the shape of decorative wall hangings. He was putting bombs in suitcases on American airplanes in 1982. If you don't understand that the people who killed and raped and murdered and tortured for 35 years are not quitting and still think they can win, then you won't understand what we're fighting...

It's a useful litmus test of attitudes, to just notice those who assume, ab initio, that any problems in Iraq (or anywhere) are due to mistakes by the US. There are sure are a lot of them, and they assume that all the world is peaceful and happy until American shows up. Of course they only look at those places in the world where America happens to be active. So those are the only places where they see problems.

The thought that there might be trouble in Iraq precisely because we are doing something right is not a concept they can grasp. Strange as it may seem, the fact that brutal killers—torturers and murderers—hate what we are up to, and will stop at nothing to prevent it, is never taken as evidence that we are on the right track...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:40 AM

and then raise taxes...

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.
-- Groucho Marx
Posted by John Weidner at 10:03 AM

November 19, 2004

"The unreality of this question is breath-taking"

Thomas Sowell writes:

During the recent election campaign, it has been a liberal mantra that they "support the troops" while opposing the war in Iraq. Just what does supporting the troops mean -- other than just a throwaway line to escape the political consequences of a long history of being anti-military?

It certainly does not mean making the slightest effort to understand the pressures and dangers of combat, so as to avoid the obscenity of sitting in peace and comfort while second-guessing at leisure some life-and-death decisions that had to be made in a split second by men 10,000 miles away.

The latest example is the now widely-publicized incident in which an American Marine in Iraq shot and killed a wounded terrorist in Fallujah. Chris Matthews on Hardball spoke of "what may be the illegal killing of a wounded, unarmed insurgent" -- the politically correct media term for a terrorist -- and asked: "Is there ever a justification for shooting an unarmed enemy?"

The unreality of this question is breath-taking, both logically and historically. How do you know that someone is unarmed, when finding out can cost you your life? A hand grenade is easily concealed and can kill you just as dead as if you were shot by a machine gun or hit by a nuclear missile.,,

Read the whole ting...

Chris Matthews, and the Old Media and the Democrat party are on the other side. They leap hungrily on any chance to criticize Americans. And they never mention the non-stop war crimes of their allies. Never call them terrorists, or show the torture-rooms and mutilated bodies from Falluja. If any of our guys surrendered, they would be tortured and killed—the terrorists have bragged that they would do exactly that. But of course "war crimes" are only committed by Americans.

I don't wish for anyone to be kidnapped by terrorists, but if it has to happen, I kind of hope some America-hating lefty jerks like Matthews could be the victims. As their heads are being sawed off (on camera, for distribution to media allies) the thought might drift through their heads, that perhaps "insurgents" wasn't quite le mot juste.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:29 AM

removing shackles, universal values...

There's a great interview with Paul Wolfowitz in Prospect. I recommend it. Here's one good thought:

Radek Sikorski Conservatives are suspicious of projects to change human nature. They oppose social engineering in domestic policy. Yet here you are, full of ideological zeal, crafting a new form of government for people very different from us. Is this a contradiction?

Paul Wolfowitz If you put it that way, you create a contradiction. We're not trying to graft our system of government on to people who are different from us. We're trying to remove shackles that keep them from having what they want. And it's astonishing how many of them want something that's similar to what we in the west have. I was assistant secretary of state for east Asia when we first confronted Marcos under the Reagan administration. People said: "What are you doing? We'll end up with what Carter got in Iran." But we pressed Marcos very hard in the Philippines and I think the proof is in the outcome. The contradiction is to say that allowing people to choose their government freely is to impose our ideas on them. There was a wonderful moment at a conference here in Washington where someone said it's arrogant of us to impose our values on the Arab world, and an Arab got up and said it's arrogant of you to say these are your values because they are universal values.

Exactly! to say that Democracy is a "Western value" is like someone a hundred years ago saying that science or industrialization or stock markets are "Western skills." Only until the Japanese started doing the same. The West just happened to develop the tool-kits, but once that's been done it's anybody's game.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:45 AM

November 18, 2004

"fifty million Frenchmen can't be wrong"

Pejman points to a fascinating article on the "French Paradox." Why don't the people who of all the world love food the most get fat?

Despite a diet stuffed with cream, butter, cheese and meat, just 10 per cent of French adults are obese, compared with our 22 per cent, and America's colossal 33 per cent. The French live longer too, and have lower death rates from coronary heart disease - in spite of those artery-clogging feasts of cholesterol and saturated fat. This curious observation, dubbed 'the French paradox', has baffled scientists for more than a decade. And it leaves us diet-obsessed Brits smarting...

There are various theories mentioned...this is just a sample...

...Dr Andrew Hill, senior lecturer in behavioural sciences at Leeds University, agrees. 'I suspect that the French paradox has something to do with our differing core attitudes to food and eating. French food is real food - prepared in the kitchen, with time taken to choose, buy and prepare meals. In other words, there's space for food in the daily routine.

Eating in France is a social activity. There are several but small courses, with plenty of time between courses for the physiological feedback to kick in. In England, we eat more pre-prepared foods and ready-meals; we eat fast food both in and outside the home. We have single, large meals, and family members will eat different foods at different times... Fast food is, by definition, eaten fast, so there's no time for that physiological feedback.'...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:08 PM

November 17, 2004

Just play in C...

This is from a small piece by Condaleeza Rice:

...Throughout my life I have never doubted the existence of God, but, like most people, I have had some ups and downs in practicing my faith. After I moved to California in 1981, there were a lot of years when I was not attending church regularly.

Then something happened that I will always remember. One Sunday morning, I was approached at the supermarket by a man buying some things for his church picnic. He asked me, "Do you play the piano by any chance?" I said, "Yes." And he said his congregation was looking for someone to play the piano at their church. It was a small African-American church and I started playing there every Sunday. And I thought to myself, "My goodness, God has a long reach - all the way to a Lucky's Supermarket in the spice section on a Sunday morning."

The only problem was, it was a Baptist church and I don't play gospel very well, unlike our great Attorney General John Ashcroft. I play Brahms. So I called my mother for advice. She said, "Honey, just play in C and they'll come back to you." And that's true. If you play in C, the foundational key in music, people will come back. Perhaps God plays in C, and that's why we always seem to find our way back to Him, sometimes in spite of ourselves....

(Thanks to Amy Ridenauer)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:27 PM

Q & A

George Will writes:
Condoleezza Rice, a sports buff, knows that, as a professional basketball player has said, ``It's not going to be peaches and gravy all the time.'' Herewith some hard questions senators might ask in her confirmation hearings:
I'll pretend to be Rice, and give you my suggested answers...with the advantage that I don't have to be politic and polite...
Did you see the television coverage of Yasser Arafat's funeral -- riot as mourning, gunfire as liturgy? Is it reasonable to expect that in the Jan. 9 elections to choose Arafat's successor, the Palestinian polity will select what the president called (June 24, 2002) a necessary condition for progress -- leadership "not compromised by terror''?
Probably not, but it's a start in the learning process. More likely to help than the so-called "Peace Process."
The president says it is "cultural condescension'' to question "whether this country, or that people, or this group, are 'ready' for democracy." Condescending, perhaps, but is it realistic? Tony Blair says it is a "myth" that "our attachment to freedom is a product of our culture." Are there cultural prerequisites for free polities? Does Iraq have them? Do the Palestinian people, after a decade of saturation propaganda inciting terrorism and anti-Semitism? Does the United States know how to transplant those prerequisites?
It was not so long ago that it was thought that only white Northern European Protestants had the necessary prerequisites for democracy...Then European Catholics were added, and Jews. Next it was discovered that the more-developed Asian countries could do it. Now we think it nothing out-of-the-ordinary for Latin American countries, or Turkey, India, The Philippines...The President seems to have history and the evidence on his side.

Should the Sunnis, Iraq's tyrants for decades, be allowed, by boycott or insurgency, to delay the Jan. 31 elections?
If, knowing what we now know about Iraq's weapons programs, you still think pre-emptive war was justified, what other nations might, by the same criteria, merit pre-emptive action?...
OK dimwits, I'll put this in simple terms even a Democrat can understand. We make decisions based on the info we have at the moment. That's all anyone can do. Being psychic isn't an option. Even if we had invaded and found the Garden of Eden, invasion was still justified. Hindsight is totally irrelevant.
As for other nations, don't play those little games with me. Every situation is different. And if I happen to mention pre-emptive action against another nation, it's probably a calculated leak designed to intimidate them—precisely so that that action can be
avoided. (Ooops, sorry, I promised not to use concepts Democrats can't grasp.)
In 1991, the secretary of defense, explaining the unwisdom of regime change, said: "Once you've got Baghdad, it's not clear what you do with it. It's not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that's currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists? How much credibility is that government going to have if it's set up by the United States military when it's there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for that government, and what happens to it once we leave?" Was Dick Cheney right?
His arguments seemed good in the context of the times. But 9/11 CHANGED EVERYTHING. You shouldn't have to be told that. The democracy and freedom we are trying to foster in Iraq is a weapon in a much wider war, part of our Grand Strategy to defeat terrorism in the long run. As such, it is worth far more in terms of life and treasure than it would have seemed in 1991.
In 2000, before becoming George W. Bush's national security adviser, you questioned the use of U.S. military forces in peacekeeping operations: "Carrying out civil administration and police functions is simply going to degrade the American capability to do the things America has to do. We don't need to have the 82nd Airborne escorting kids to kindergarten." Are current noncombat operations in Iraq degrading U.S. military capabilities?
See previous answer for changed situation. In 2000 I didn't realize we were engaged in Fourth Generation War, in which the battlefield can be
anywhere! Including kindergartens. Including Senate Hearing Rooms, where Senators who actually voted for our current campaign can morph into allies of terrorists, and undercut our soldiers even while they are under fire. and our military capabilities are INCREASING. We are getting stronger, both on the traditional battlefield and on the new 4-G battlefields of schools, newsrooms and politics.
You have said that it would be "unacceptable" for Iran or North Korea to acquire nuclear weapons. What, if anything, does that commit the United States to do if negotiations continue to be unavailing? Or if, as some intelligence reports suggest, North Korea already has several such weapons?
We're not "committed" to anything. We will be applying pressure in every way we can, including talking tough and saying this or that is "unacceptable." Our pressure would be much more effective if BOTH parties supported America's foreign policy.
Does the Genocide Convention require a more forceful response to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, or is it, like the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact that outlawed war many wars ago, a waste of paper?
It is a waste as far as Democrats and the UN are concerned. Fortunately the influence of Christians is at work, and the situation now being taken very seriously. Of course they would do the same without the Genocide Convention.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:40 AM

November 16, 2004

big fight...

It looks like the first big struggle of the new term is going to be an attempt to clean out the stables at CIA and State. It's a battle well worth fighting, and I wish the President well. It won't be easy. The Old Media is already filling up with stories about how the "hard-liners" are destroying the agencies and trampling on all the tender delicate flowers with their big fascist Republican boots. And of course, "failing to reach-out." (Republicans are always supposed to "reach out." Democrats, France and Germany, China, the Palestinians, lefty bureaucrats; they're never chided for not reaching out.)

It occurs to me that it is very smart to take on both these agencies at once. It will be all the more clear to the public what is going on, as the same kind of leaks come simultaneously from State and CIA, and are breathlessly repeated by the same news sources and pundits.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:15 AM

November 15, 2004

I'm sure glad I'm a Republican...

...and have no connection with this latest lunacy:

AP: The Pentagon has agreed to warn military bases worldwide that they should not directly sponsor Boy Scout troops, partially resolving claims that the government has improperly supported a group that requires members to believe in God.

The settlement, announced Monday, came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which says American military units have sponsored hundreds of Boy Scout troops
..(thanks to Betsy N)

This has nothing to do with "separation of church and state," religious liberty, discrimination, fairness, or concern about the Constitution. The ACLU is a classic leftist organization, and they HATE Christianity. And they HATE the Boy Scouts for supporting traditional American values and patriotism, and for defying leftist attempts to destroy traditional morality (disguised as a campaign for gay rights, though the left really only cares about gays as a useful tool of destruction, and would dump them in an instant if they left the reservation.)

If the Boy Scouts required a belief in Buddha, do you think the ACLU would be starting lawsuits? No way. Or Allah? Then they would be defending the Scouts.

Specifically, the BSA endeavors to develop American citizens who are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit; have a high degree of self-reliance as evidenced in such qualities as initiative, courage, and resourcefulness; have personal values based on religious concepts; have the desire and skills to help others; understand the principles of the American social, economic, and governmental systems; are knowledgeable about and take pride in their American heritage and understand our nation's role in the world; have a keen respect for the basic rights of all people; and are prepared to participate in and give leadership to American society.

Imagine how your local lefties sneer at stuff like that...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:15 PM

"to fight for jobs without knowing what they are"

A quote from Reason:

...The quest for efficiency—whether with machines or foreigners—will continue to create more than it destroys. But since destruction will always remain a part of the process, there will always be another Pat Buchanan or John Kerry. Free markets will continue to be a tough sell because the tradeoff will always be the same: exchanging some of today's jobs for more and better jobs that often don't yet exist. Protestors rarely wave angry signs at protectionist politicians who would jeopardize future jobs, but it's not fanciful to fight for jobs without knowing what they are. After all, when they were in third grade, today's 30-something web designers could not have dreamed of what they would end up doing. Likewise, today's third graders have no idea what's in store for them...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:02 PM

They squirm away with slippery answers...

Francis W. Porretto has an interesting fisk of Robert Kaiser's editorial on what the Dems ought to do This is just a snippet...

And a neoconservative foreign policy is hardly a popular platform—couldn’t Democrats come up with a believable approach to national security that actually makes sense?
The worst self-delusion of all. It would have been closer to true before Black Tuesday, but still less true than not. A policy of aggressive engagement in those lands that have given rise to international terrorism, coupled with a cold-shouldered withdrawal from those nations whose governments have attempted to obstruct us, is the most popular international posture since World War II. President Bush’s absolute refusal to bend on it, despite its difficulties and costs, was the true key to his re-election; it persuaded voters that he was sincere, in contrast to his endlessly waffling opponent. The unwillingness to modify one’s views for popularity’s sake stands near the heart of what most of us mean by “moral values.”
To me, the oft-raised question of how to get to a credible Democrat (or European) defense policy always raises a deeper question: What do you believe in enough to fight for?

What do you believe in enough to kill for?

That's the question we never get an answer to. Instead we hear that Dems ought to have more "think tanks," to come up with more "new policy ideas." Phooey.

The people who voted for Bush have an answer to that question.Talk to conservatives, or to people in America's heartland, and almost all will agree that our freedoms, and our property, are worth fighting for. And not just easy fights, but, if necessary, long bloody wars. almost all will agree that America must winits wars, even if it means winning ugly.

Try getting some similar answer from the people in that Volvo with the Kerry sticker. Try to pin them down. You can't. They will squirm away every time. You will get some of those answers that have "but" right in the middle of the sentence. "Of course there are times we must use our military, but..."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:43 AM

November 14, 2004

He always looks crazy to me...

Andrea reports on TV's Krugman...

I was supposed to be out of here by now because I have places to go and things to do, but I was caught like a fly in amber watching Paul Krugman on C-Span speaking at the Miami International Bookfair.

I’m no psych major but if Krugman doesn’t end up at some point during the next four years strapped to a bed in a psych ward I’ll be surprised. He has all the early symptoms of incipient mental breakdown: the gaze that alternates between a fixed, glazed-over stare and constant, uneasy eye-rolling scan of his surroundings; the flushed face and quiver-voiced diction ... the obsession with conspiracy theories...

It would be rich if he were carried away screaming about Republican spiders crawling up his legs. But in his pictures he always looks a bit wacko to me, so maybe it's just the way he is.
...Another thing: there was a point in his speech where Krugman started stuttering about “the scandals, the scandals we are pretty sure have happened, are happening.” ...
Keep the faith! Believe! Scandals will save you. Another Watergate, and you win. Win another Jimmy Carter, that is....

Hey, what we need is a conspiracy to feed Paul Krugman tantalizing morsels of evidence that there really is a vast right-wing conspiracy of some sort!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:31 AM

November 13, 2004

Good question...

Jason van Steenwyk asks a good question:

Where are the photographers, Kenneth??? 
Hey, the media published all kinds of photos from Abu Ghraib. They even published fake photos as if they were real.

So where are the photographers now?

How come we aren't seeing the photographic evidence of the war crimes perpetrated by the enemy in Fallujah?

How come we aren't seeing photographs of the blood-soaked straw mats?

How come we didn't see photographs of the Iraqi taxi driver who had been chained to a wall for 10 days after being brutally whipped with an electrical cable?

How come we're not seeing photographs a young men found dead with his feet hacked off?
How come we aren't seeing photographs of the IED factories and arms caches within schools and mosques?

Why isn't the media telling the full story about what cretins we're fighting? Why are they candy coating the terrorists?

Why isn't the media documenting their atrocities in as vivid and striking a fashion as it documented the crimes at Abu Ghraib?...
[Jason adds in an update that Fox is on the job. Good for them.]

Answer: Because they are on the other side. The media and the Democrats (same thing really) are tacitly allied with the terrorists. They all hate the thought of American victory, and the possibility of the Bush Administration succeeding in its efforts to bring freedom to the Middle East.

The loathsome frauds of the press reveled in denouncing American "torture" at Abu Ghraib, but don't give a damn that our soldiers and Marines are risking their lives to stop terrorists who are really torturing people. I noticed someone recently getting all huffy and self-righteous because Alberto Gonzalez once gave a legal opinion that the US government was not forbidden by law from torture. Big deal, he was just reporting what the law is, not advocating torture. But somehow that makes him a pariah, and is something worth getting excited about. While brave men actually killing or capturing torturers is too boring and tawdry to notice.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:21 PM


Some cool new technology hits the battlefield...


Until recently, that meant popping their heads out of [Stryker] vehicle hatches to check out the terrain, then ducking back in to view a dashboard computer showing friendly and enemy forces on a digital map compiled by the Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below battle management system.

Commanders made these checks a grueling 70 to 80 times each hour, said Bruce Westcoat, market segment manager for aerospace and defense with MicroVision Inc. of Bothell, Wash.

“Physically, it was very taxing,” Westcoat said. “Mentally, it was distracting to have to go down in the vehicle and lose the terrain view.”

But now Stryker commanders use wearable technology that lets them keep their eyes on the battlefield most of the time while patrolling dangerous terrain. The technology—a Nomad helmet-mounted device developed by Microvision—provides a see-through computer display that officials say is improving safety, accuracy and efficiency...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:17 PM

November 12, 2004

Time for a little "I told'ja so"

I've said a tedious number of times, that our tackling Iraq was a merciful act intended to promote peace through diplomacy. The notion, common on the Rive Gauche, that diplomacy can be effective without being backed-up by the credible threat of force, is ASININE. Only after picking up one of the wacko terror-supporting countries, and throwing it against the wall, were the others going to pay attention. Only then would diplomacy work.

The process has been slow up to now, because all the world's brutal dictators and genocidal tyrants have been hoping and praying for a Kerry victory, to get them off the hook, and let business go on as usual. Now hope is gone....

Sudan Belatedly Tries to Sharpen its Act By Alice Thomson

..."After Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush could go for us next," said his friend, Imad Musa. "It's either us, Iran or Syria. He can do what he wants now he has won such a big victory."

In northern Sudan, this is their fear - that they will become the next Iraq, just as their lot seems to be improving....

...In many ways, Sudan is in dire straits, particularly in southern Darfur, where villages continue to be torched by the Janjaweed. But the situation in the rest of the country is improving. In the north, the imams are relaxing their grip. Women walk with their heads uncovered. At an orphanage I visited two years ago, babies found on the streets by the police were often left to die; single mothers were stoned. Now the same police beam as they rush the babies to the doctors.

It is no longer illegal to talk negatively about the regime. As a result, many I met were openly outraged by corruption. Even the ministers are trying belatedly to sharpen up their act. "Iraq has been a lesson to us all," said one Sudanese minister, who didn't want to be named...

It's the obvious ploy here for Bush to play "bad cop," and Tony Blair to play "good cop."

...Mr Blair has promised that Africa is his top priority. He has been saying that since his party conference speech three years ago. Now he seems to mean it. When Britain takes over the presidency of both the G8 and the European Union next year, Africa will be the main topic.

Sudan is an obvious starting point. So what do the Sudanese think Mr Bush and Mr Blair should do? The answer on the streets is that they should put more pressure on those involved in the peace agreements. Then ensure that Khartoum sticks to its promise of independent elections...(Thanks to Orrin Judd)

Within the Administration, Colin Powell gets to play good cop all around the globe, with Rumsfeld pretending to be the loose cannon who would rather flatten a city than waste time in negotiations. Powell can say, "You gotta give a little here, give me some help, or those maniacs at the Pentagon...I just don't know what they might do."

You watch, this is just starting to bring results. I'll be saying "I told you so" frequently. The one hindrance to the game is that a lot of our voters don't understand that talking tough doesn't actually mean you are a bad guy, and talking nicey-nicey doesn't make you a good guy. They don't understand that tough-love is a form of love. They are STUPID. (To use more technical terminology, they are "Democrats," or "Independents.")

The greatest moral and peaceful act of our times was Ronald Reagan's defense build-up. He played the part of the steely-eyed Cold Warrior, until the Soviets cracked, and made the fatal first step of instituting "reforms." The result was the liberation of hundreds of millions of people from tyranny, and the end of 40 years of cruel and often bloody struggle. (Reagan was actually a very soft-hearted man, which is one of the reasons we withdrew from Lebanon. A "peaceful" deed that has led to the deaths of many thousands, and is part of why we are at war now.) There are scads of people who still think that Reagan was a war-mongering brute. Fortunately he didn't care what people thought, as long as he got results. Bush is like that too.

To do the most good in the world, the President should actually act a lot badder than he does. But his options are somewhat limited, because people just don't understand. Not just our people (a lot of us are thrilled when he gets tough...Zapatero has been holding the phone for a week now, while the recorded "hold" music plays. I hope it's Country) but the citizens of Britain and Australia and other allies.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:03 PM

November 11, 2004

"we want a deal done with Altanmia within 24 hours and don't take any excuses."

An NYT article is worth reading, on the curious business of the Halliburton Corp, supposedly guilty of overcharging, actually being forced by our "diplomats" to buy expensive fuel from only one Kuwaiti company:

...Another document, an e-mail message from the United States ambassador to Kuwait, shows the urgency American diplomats felt. On Dec. 2, 2003 - shortly before Pentagon auditors questioned the fuel prices but well after the issue had been raised in Washington - the ambassador, Richard H. Jones, who also served as deputy administrator of the coalition authority in Iraq, wrote to a colleague: "Please, tell KBR[Halliburton's subsidiary] to get off their butts and conclude deals with Kuwait NOW! Tell them we want a deal done with Altanmia within 24 hours and don't take any excuses."

Other documents suggest that American diplomats were so eager to bolster fuel supplies and to cultivate Kuwait's wider cooperation in the Iraq struggle that they rejected questions being raised about the propriety of the KBR-Altanmia arrangements. "The Government of Kuwait is ready to do whatever is necessary to get fuel to Iraq," a Dec. 3 memo addressed to Mr. Jones reads. But KBR's reticence to sign further contracts at that time, it said, not only threatens the fuel supply but "is undermining our ability to get other very high priority items from the Government of Kuwait."...

SO, I will just sit here and wait for the filthy lying SOB's concerned patriotic citizens of the "Progressive" sort who have been screaming about the evil war-profiteering of the Halliburton Corporation to now turn with equal fury on our State Department....Ha ha ha...

And who will be surprised if certain diplomats, when they retire, move to lucrative positions in a new "think tank?" Perhaps The Altanmia Institute of East-West Peace Studies...But, hey, it's OK, they are all Democrats, and only Republicans can be war-profiteers...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:01 AM

I like this!

After hearing all sorts of idiots moaning about what a great man their proxy-Jew killer Arafat was , it's purely pleasant to not get any of that guff from our President:

November 10, 2004


The death of Yasser Arafat is a significant moment in Palestinian history. We express our condolences to the Palestinian people. For the Palestinian people, we hope that the future will bring peace and the fulfillment of their aspirations for an independent, democratic Palestine that is at peace with its neighbors. During the period of transition that is ahead, we urge all in the region and throughout the world to join in helping make progress toward these goals and toward the ultimate goal of peace. [link]

(thanks to Judd)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:59 AM

Stars are born....

Michelle Malkin writes about how the press reacted to Barack Obama:

...After Obama's Democratic National Convention address this summer, The New York Times exulted: "As Quickly as Overnight, a New Democratic Star Is Born." A headline in the Christian Science Monitor echoed: "A Star is Born." USA Today panted: "Rising star brings Democrats to their feet." NBC's Andrea Mitchell enthused: "I think the real breakout tonight is Obama. I mean Teresa is a fascinating story, but Obama is a rock star!" And Newsweek's Howard Fineman proclaimed: "He is the best argument for the American dream that's around in politics."...
But there were a couple of other path-breaking minority politicians coming on the scene right then...and no one in the press called them "rock stars."

Van Tran, a Vietnamese-American, first to serve in the Calif Assembly--no "rock star" he. And Bobby Jindal? 33 year-old Indian-American, almost becomes the Governor of Louisiana. Why wasn't the press gushing about how HE is "the best argument for the American dream?" Hmmm?

'cause they are Republicans.


Here are a few mainstream media rules of thumb: Minority Democrats in public office are inspirational role models. Minority Republicans in public office are embarrassing sellouts.

Minority Democrat politicians are principled. Minority Republican politicians are misguided.

Minority Democrat politicians represent the hopes and dreams of all Americans. Minority Republican politicians are traitors to their "communities."...

These rules of thumb are not going to work for much longer. They depend on assuming that the Democrats are the party of civil rights, and minority aspiration, which is no longer true. The current civil rights battle is being fought over the public schools that betray the hopes of minorities. And the good guys are Republicans, and the "Dixiecrats" and Bull Connors this time are Democrats and the NEA. (Actually both Connor and the Dixiecrats were Democrats the first time around, but that confuses the story-line, and isn't mentioned much. Connor was on the DNC)

And more and more people are noticing that it's the Republican Party that is the party of minority advancement. Hellooo...first Hispanic Attorney General? Anybody gushing in the MSM? And the Dems in the Senate didn't block Miguel Estrada because there was anything wrong with him, but because he is so good that he's obvious Supreme Court material.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:41 AM

November 10, 2004

We are just pygmies compared to these guys...


Pictures from Army Times Frontline Photos, 11/10/04

Weary Marine, smoking, Falluja
Luis Sinco, The Los Angeles Times / AP photo
A member of Charlie Company, 8th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, smokes a cigarette in Fallujah, Iraq, on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Allawi with wounded troops
John Moore / AP photo
Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi meets with U.S. Marines wounded in Fallujah at the 31st Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad on Wednesday. Two members of Allawi's family were abducted from their Baghdad home Tuesday evening, including his cousin, Ghazi Allawi, and his cousin's daughter-in law.
There's the price of freedom for you. I'm guessing the PM will not be stopped by this thuggery. He's already survived being axed by Saddam's assassins, he's tough stuff.

Cuffs removed from Iraqi freed from the terrorists

Anja Niedringhaus / AP photo
Marines from the 1st Division use a bolt cutter to remove the handcuffs from an Iraqi at a makeshift military hospital in Fallujah, Iraq, on Wednesday. The man, whose name was not released, was found handcuffed in an insurgent hiding place in Fallujah after being kidnapped 10 days ago in Baghdad's suburb of Abu Ghraib. The Marines believe he was used as a human shield.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:07 PM

"History" belongs to the untainted...

Here's a historian, Jesse Lemisch who thinks it's wrong wrong WRONG for some conservatives to be involved in the study of history...
Having had a busy autumn, I've only just seen the New-York Historical Society's Alexander Hamilton exhibit (it runs September 10-February 28; U.S. tour, 2005-2008). As we would expect from Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, the two rich right-wingers who have in effect taken over the N-YHS, the exhibit leads inexorably to the re-election of George Bush, the rejection of the last thirty-five years of social history, and a paean to triumphalist capitalism.
EVERYONE knows that history is supposed to undermine capitalism, trash Republicans and show that the US is a cesspool of greed and oppression and genocide. That's just, like, so OBVIOUS, NOBODY disagrees....
The central themes of the Hamilton exhibit announce themselves fairly garishly even before you enter. A huge, multi-colored banner stretching a full block along Central Park West reproduces the ten dollar bill (take a look in your wallet).
Well that settles it right there. Dollars! Ugh. I'm sure he exchanges his own dollars for some more correct currency...Cuban Pesos perhaps.

...The exhibit is entitled "The Man who Made Modern America," reflecting a theory of how history happens, an archaically hagiographic approach (which is coming back into style in Bush's America),...
Lots of archaic things aren't as dead as you have been assuming...
and a certain political partisanship...
REAL historians NEVER show any political partisanship. Noooo.
These two wealthy Yalies ('60), supporters of the right-wing Manhattan Institute (Gilder is founder and a former chair), have a clear ideological program. To me, the strategy seems reminiscent of the CIA's suppport for the Congress for Cultural Freedom...
Gotcha. Right wing/CIA/anti-communism = BAD. I'm so glad YOU don't have an ideological program.
Gilder and Lehrman are buying legitimacy by buying historians, giving money to Yale and to the Organization of American Historians...
Me, I think smart, rich, public-spirited guys like Gilder and Lehrman already HAVE legitimacy. But what do I know?
...constructing a board with some stellar left-liberal types on it (what is with this, guys?).
Gotcha. left-liberal = "stellar." So what's with them? Uh, maybe they believe in Diversity? Maybe they believe the people tainted with Capitalism should also be allowed into intellectual debates? Or maybe they are just a "coalition of the bribed and coerced..."

My big question: In the first paragraph it says "the exhibit leads inexorably to the re-election of George Bush."SO, if taking pride in the greatness of our country and in the accomplishments of one of our Founding Fathers helps BUSH, what does that tell us about the Democrats?

(thanks to Betsy N)

Posted by John Weidner at 12:35 PM

Wee little line-items

From the President's press conference:

...Asked about the growing budget deficit, he said he would like to revive the so-called line-item veto....
A line-item veto would be a splendid reform. Most state governments have them, and all those governors are glad they do. Go George!
...He also said the key to controlling the deficit was to have "spending discipline" and an effort to "grow the economy." He added, "As the economy grows, there will be more revenues coming into the Treasury. That's what you have seen recently. If you notice, there's been some write-downs of the budget deficit. In other words, the deficit is less than we thought because the revenues is exceeding projections.... The revenues ARE exceeding projections. Sometimes I mangle the English language, I get that."...
One of the problems with discussing economic matters is that most people are CLUELESS!

They hear that taxes have been cut and the deficit is increasing, and their response is: We're gonna CRASH! Aaaaauuuuggghhhhhhhh!!!!

It's useless to try to explain that our economy is growing more rapidly because there is less of a tax-burden clinging to its ankles, and that the debts will end up smaller as a percentage of our total wealth. That we are in effect borrowing money to buy stocks in a rising market. And also that a larger economy means higher tax revenues, which will shrink the deficit in absolute terms. Both these things are already happening.

It's not that they argue cogently against these ideas, they just don't want to hear them at all. In fact they don't even want to know that our economy IS growing. There seems to be a strong correlation with this sort of obtuseness and support of John Kerry and other Democrats. If a person of moderate intelligence wants to be a Democrat, they must cultivate economic ignorance.

(Thanks to BroJudd)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:20 AM

November 9, 2004

High and high in the diamond air...


Flying low over the warm roof of an old barn,
Down in a flask to the water, up and way with a cry,
And a wild swoop and a swift turn
And a fever of life under a thundery sky,
So they go, so they go by.                                        

And high and high and high in the diamond light,
They soar and they shriek in the sunlight when
         heaven is bare,
With the pride of life in their strong flight
And a rapture of love to lift them, to hurtle them        
High and high in the diamond air.

And away with the summer, away like the spirit of glee
Flashing and calling, and strong on the wing,
         and wild in their play,                                      
With a high cry to the high sea,
And a heart for the south, a heart for the diamond
So they go over, so go away.

--Ruth Pitter, 1930

Posted by John Weidner at 3:16 PM

NYT...looking weak and foolish...

The NYT had a letter from President Bush's uncle yesterday, expressing dismay that the NYT Book Review gave a puff-piece review to that vile scandal-monger Kitty Kelly's book on the Bush family...

...As in any big family there will always be one or two disgruntled exiles, and, not surprisingly, Kelley has used these for some of her material. That they have in some cases retracted the statements doesn't seem to have fazed Ted Widmer, your reviewer, who cites them anyway.

Abundantly clear is the fact that the timing of the release of this book, so close to the election, was clearly designed to enrich Kelley and Doubleday, her publisher. They have greedily published for large monetary gain a book designed by lies, distortion and fabrication to hurt and cause emotional distress to a large, closely knit family.

Might one assume that, by giving this trash such a prominent review, the editors of the Book Review could have been trying to give a slight boost to the candidacy of J. F. Kerry?...(thanks to PowerLine)

A literary journal has a lot of power to shape the reviews it gets, by who it chooses to write them. So who was asked to write this one? You would think, given the circumstances, it would be someone authoritative and respected, wouldn't you? No, it was a Ted Widmer, a former Clinton speechwriter who I've certainly never heard of.

I've read a good deal about the Bush family. They are as decent and honorable a crowd as you are likely to find. Quite unlike the Kennedys. And hard-working; they have more money than you or I, but not the kind of dough that lets them live in idleness. Bush senior, after leaving the presidency, put in about a decade's worth of work earning money to buy the famous Kennebunkport compound from his aunt, to save it from development and preserve it for the whole family.

By the way, if you want something very funny to read, I recommend The Belles Lettres Papers, by Charles Simmons. It's a maliciously witty fictional look at the world of book-reviewing and best-seller lists, by a former editor of the NYT Book Review.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:22 AM

November 7, 2004

Olive branches...

Pedro has a little list:

I’ve been hearing a lot from the Losers, aka Lefties, aka Democrats about how NOW is the time for the Republicans to come to their Democratic brethren in a spirit of compromise, maybe appoint a few Democrats to cabinet positions, and in general act as if Senator Kerry had won the election.

Thanks anyway.  We’ll not and say we did.

Here’s what it would take for me to accept the olive branch from the Left.

First, the Left would have to actually extend an olive branch.  Pretending that they already have won’t do, and neither will shrill and insulting demands that we extend one instead. 

Second, I need apologies, and lots of ‘em. 

For instance: [long list follows]

I myself am in less of a take-no-prisoners mood than the Happy Carpenter, and I'm not looking for any apologies, but I have to say that those things I've been reading, about how Bush should seize this opportunity and "move to the center," and become President "of all the people," are pretty silly.

Bad news guys, Bush is in the center. Most of the positions he holds are held by 60% or 70% of Americans. It may make you feel good to say he has a "radical right-wing agenda," but nothing could be further from the truth...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:58 PM

November 6, 2004

dreamers and "realists"

Steyn writes another great column.

...What was revealing about this election campaign was how little the condescending Europeans understand even about the side in American politics they purport to agree with - witness The Guardian's disastrous intervention in Clark County. Simon Schama last week week defined the Bush/Kerry divide as "Godly America" and "Worldly America", hailing the latter as "pragmatic, practical, rational and sceptical". That's exactly the wrong way round: it's Godly America that is rational and sceptical - especially of Euro-delusions. Uncowed by Islamists, undeferential to government, unshrivelled in its birthrates, Bush's redneck America is a more reliable long-term bet. Europe's media would do their readers a service if they stopped condescending to it.
"it's Godly America that is rational and sceptical" Yes. The "common wisdom" of the intellectual coastal elites is pounded into our heads non-stop. And it's Bush's American that is clear-eyed enough to see that it's mostly malarky. "Euro-delusions."

The stuff doesn't work. We see this every day. Appeasement and "give peace a chance" only make war more likely. Neither atheism nor the lifestyle of "urban singles" brings happiness. Big government can't create prosperity or innovation. Raising taxes is not "fiscal sanity." Banning guns doesn't decrease crime. Neither does more welfare. A "realist" foreign policy doesn't make us safer. Terrorists are not seeking sympathy and understanding. Or apologies.

And it's "Bush's redneck America" that sees that the Emperor has no clothes.

There's been lots of flapping and squawking about that Bush aide who said to Ron Suskind:

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''...
What's most funny is that this is obviously a JOKE, the aide is pulling Suskind's chain, rattling his cage, and several tens-of-thousands of liberals don't get the joke!

They are all huffing and puffing, sputtering, turning purple, and declaring that they will take pride in being "reality based," and start printing up their "reality based" t-shirts!.......But even funnier, they don't see the bigger joke hidden within the smaller one. Because the paradoxical statement is truer than they can imagine. It's the dreamers who create reality, who fight evil and change the world and start new things.

And it's the people who sneer at them, their heads full of Euro-rubbish, or science-as-religion, who are utterly paralyzed and stagnant. If you think I'm kidding, go to any Kerry supporter and try to extract from her or him their blue-state-ish compelling vision and plan for the future....I've tried, with no success. Or ask them what the are for. They never have much of an answer.

My friend Andrew, a fairly open-minded Dem, tried in a recent post.

So, this is an open thread. Tell me what the Democratic Party stands for. Give me a vision, and an example of a plan which furthers that vision.
All he got was a "litany of complaints." (Speaking of which, wouldn't it be the right thing for Senator Kerry to release his plans now? You know, the ones he said he had, to solve things Bush couldn't? Since he has better plans, it is his duty as an American to make them public!)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:10 PM

#168: The five-stages-of-death model...

P. Krugman

Paul Krugman must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed on election eve. In Faith in America (11/01/04) he wrote a generous tribute to democratic ideals that was free partisan cheap shots and optimistic about "America's great gift to the world." He even hinted that he was more concerned about the process of casting of votes than about who actually won the election.

So what's wrong with this picture? This is clearly not the Krugster we have all come to know and love. However, our guess is that whatever overcame him on Tuesday will be short lived. And it is fun to speculate about the drift of his columns over the next years. Will it be despair followed by bitterness, or will it be bitterness first, and then despair. Or maybe his mood will follow the five-stages-of-death model developed by Swiss psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Somehow we don't think acceptance is in Krugman's DNA, but we expect a full load of the other four. Our bet is that he starts out in denial.


Update: Before the Squad Report on the Krugman column of (11/01/04) was posted we had the release of No Surrender (11/05/04). We were a little bit off in our prognostications. Using the Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of death [see above], we expected just “denial” in his first post election column. But he included “anger” and “bargaining” as well. We were right that “acceptance” is nowhere on his radar screen. However, stay tuned for “depression”; that’s probably next.

Here’s how we interpret today’s column:

Denial: “This election did not prove the Republicans unbeatable. Mr. Bush did not win in a landslide. Without the fading but still potent aura of 9/11, when the nation was ready to rally around any leader, he wouldn't have won at all. And future events will almost surely offer opportunities for a Democratic comeback.”

“Does this mean that the Democrats are condemned to permanent minority status? No. The religious right - not to be confused with religious Americans in general - isn't a majority, or even a dominant minority. It's just one bloc of voters, whom the Republican Party has learned to mobilize with wedge issues like this year's polarizing debate over gay marriage.”

Anger: “President Bush isn't a conservative. He's a radical - the leader of a coalition that deeply dislikes America as it is. Part of that coalition wants to tear down the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt, eviscerating Social Security and, eventually, Medicare. Another part wants to break down the barriers between church and state. And thanks to a heavy turnout by evangelical Christians, Mr. Bush has four more years to advance that radical agenda.”

Bargaining: “Yes, Democrats need to make it clear that they support personal virtue, that they value fidelity, responsibility, honesty and faith. This shouldn't be a hard case to make: Democrats are as likely as Republicans to be faithful spouses and good parents, and Republicans are as likely as Democrats to be adulterers, gamblers or drug abusers. Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country; blue states, on average, have lower rates of out-of-wedlock births than red states.”

The bargaining quote was close call. It might have been denial. We went with bargaining because Krugman seems to be saying:
“C’mon you guys, this is all a big mistake. Can’t you see that we (the blue staters) love our wives and husbands, go to church and don’t get divorced at any higher rates than those religious fanatics out west? We are just as good as they are; better, in fact. So give us a break!”
On a related issue, it is interesting that the liberal media, including Krugman, is desperate to have this election be seen as one about values, rather than about Iraq, terrorism or the economy. They seem to draw some consolation from the idea that they didn’t lose on the real issues, but instead to an anomalous uprising by their cultural inferiors in the red states. It’s as though losing to some small town yokels and country bumpkins who believe in the virgin birth, that Jesus died for our sins and that we are NOT descended from monkeys makes it all hurt less.

Well that is fine with us. As long as they keep losing they can feel as culturally superior as they want to.

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Posted by John Weidner at 5:38 PM

Kerry-supporters (in Tehran) depressed...

Iranians Welcome Massively Bush's Re-election SMCCDI (Information Service) Nov 3, 2004 Millions of Iranians expressed their satisfaction on the outcome of the US Presidential elections and George W. Bush's victory by calling and congratulating each other. Many were seen walking in the streets and shaking each others hands or showing a discret V sign.

Many are speaking about the promises made by Mr. Bush to back the Iranian Nation in its quest for freedom and democracy.

As Iranians and especially the younger generations have become happy , those affiliated to the Islamic regime are seen deeply worried about their future....

...the Islamic regime tried hard to bring the few thousands of professional demonstrators for its organized celebration of the 1979 attack against the US Embassy in Tehran. It's to note that the Iranian Capital has over 12 millions of inhabitants and that the today's official commemoration of one of the main Islamist act of terror ecountered another massive popular rejection... (Thanks to Roger Simon)

Bush's re-election is a powerful blow against the terror-supporting regime in Tehran. We are already engaged in a proxy-war against them in Iraq. You can look for their efforts there to loose a lot of steam, now that one of it's main objectives, putting an appeaser president in the White House, has failed.

The Mullahs are extremely unpopular, and quite possibly this failure of their hopes will be the last straw. They lost this election.

Also lost: The man who, more than any other American, is responsible for the war of the terrorists against Western Civilization, Jimmy Carter. His doing nothing when the Iranians seized our people as hostages, was the big signal to terrorists that America was weak, and wouldn't fight for it's values and safety. And I'm sure that, at least unconsciously, Carter does not consider our country worth fighting for. He is smack-dab in the mainstream of lefty thought there. And at the Dem Convention he was in a box with Michael Moore! A more concentrated stew of vileness would be hard to find.

Anti-Americans have lost. Decisively.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:31 AM

November 5, 2004

It has nothing to do with "theocracy"

It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship.
-- Patrick Henry
Posted by John Weidner at 9:43 PM

This reminds me why I don't read Business Week...

Wishful thinking from Business Week:
To appreciate Bush's achievement, consider the obstacles in his path: Despite four tax cuts, the pre-election economy was 940,000 jobs short of recovering from the losses of the 2001 recession. Sky-high oil prices are sapping growth, and consumer confidence declined in the final four months leading up to the election. The Dow Jones industrial average meandered all year, stuck near 10,000. And analysts scored a hyperkinetic Bush 0 for 3 in the fall debates against a confident, Presidential-looking Kerry.
Oooops, 337,000 jobs added last month, oil prices dropping fast, Dow heading up...and what "analysts" exactly?
As for Iraq, the President's defining metaphor for leadership, the U.S.-led occupation looms as a disastrous counterpoint to the 3 1/2-week blitz that toppled Saddam Hussein's forces. After more than 1,100 U.S. casualties, what Americans mainly have to show for Operation Iraq Inc. is a seething Iraqi insurrection, uncertain prospects for free elections, and allies who are buckling under the threat of kidnappings and murders.
In your dreams. The election, like the transfer of sovereignty and the interim government, will happen right on schedule. The insurgency will be crushed. Democrats buckle under the threat of kidnappings and murders...that's why they can't be trusted to govern in wartime. Republicans will stand fast, because we still BELIEVE in American and the rightness of our cause. And we believe our battles should be WON.
[What we also have to show is tens-of-thousands of Iraqis saved from hideous tortures and murder...and millions saved from the soul-destroying effects of tyranny. Nothing there that would matter to Democrats.]

Bush's clear-cut victory puts him in a strong position to push ahead with the next leg of his ambitious conservative agenda. But given the deep divisions rending the nation, it would be a stretch to interpret his triumph as an overwhelming endorsement of anything concrete -- much less "stay the course" entreaties on Iraq, a deficit-be-damned drive for more tax cuts, or a dimly perceived "Ownership Society" that proposes partial privatization of Social Security and aims to replace the employer-based health-insurance system.
A new bumper sticker for your Volvo: "Visualize No Mandate."
Also the Ownership Society is not at all "dim." It is very concrete, and you will be dealing with it very soon.

Hemmed in by hostile Democrats, a busted piggybank, and a lack of national consensus on his conservative reforms, Bush faces tough struggles on Capitol Hill.
Does anybody remember Bush's first term? Starting with NO margin of victory? And how he instantly started wringing congress out like an old dishtowel, extracting 3 tax cuts, NCLB, Fast Track, Iraq, Missile Defense, Medicare & HSA's?...And somehow these lunatics think that now he's going to feel "hemmed in?" By Democrats? Ha ha ha ha ha.
What the President mainly won on Election Day, experts say, is a chance to revise the script of 2000, when he ignored a contested victory to govern more from the conservative than the compassionate end of the spectrum.
Actually, conservatism is inherently compassionate. It saves lives and souls from being destroyed by collectivism and "postmodernism.". But to make you happy, the script is being revised. Instead of the falling-safe cartoon, you will get the steamroller cartoon.
He also gained an opportunity to reach across party lines and bind the nation's wounds. "The country remains clearly divided," says Richard M. Kovacevich, chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo & Co.. His hope is that "President Bush would decide to bring the country together and be President of all the people."
When you hear that kind of cackle, do NOT make a bet on which little cup the ball is under.
Will Bush seize the moment, morphing from partisan to conciliator?
No. How about you? Why not morph from ankle-biter into useful citizen?
Not likely, longtime Bush-watchers suspect. While the President may mute some base-stoking rhetoric for a while, when Congress convenes in January he's expected to dig in his spurs and charge. good. That means pushing ahead with a troubled Iraq venture, good. possibly upping the ante in a showdown with Iran, good. kicking off a sweeping drive for free-market reforms of domestic programs, good. and -- given the chance -- naming conservative anti-abortion jurists to the Supreme Court. I hope he does it just to make Nancy Pelosi shit ice cubes...
"If Bush were like Thomas Jefferson -- which he is not -- he would issue a statesmanlike call for reconciliation," says Rutgers University political scientist Ross K. Baker.
Them calls never mean anything, even from Jefferson. But here's the deal, guys. The Republicans are now the majority party. It's up to YOU to find ways to deal with that. Ways to accommodate yourself to our plans, and get some crumbs in exchange. And when you join our parade, in a supernumerary capacity, one of the rewards will be told that you are "statesmanlike!"
"Instead he'll interpret his win as a strong sign of support for things like private Social Security accounts."
You political "scientists" are so quick on the uptake...

You know, I'm never sure what these saps mean when they say the President should "bind the nation's wounds." Whatever it is, I'm sure I wouldn't like it. This essay is a good collection of meaningless political clichés. Like "bring the country together and be President of all the people."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 PM

"and now I intend to spend it..."

Ethan Hahn sent me the link to this news article

WASHINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Thursday he earned "political capital" from the 59 million people who voted for him and will use it to advance a broad agenda that includes protecting America and reforming the intelligence community, the tax code and Social Security.

"I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it," Bush told a news conference a day after Democrat John Kerry conceded the election to the president...

That is splendid to hear. Not unexpected, but still thrilling. The biggest political disappointment I can remember was the first President Bush, who had his rain-barrel filled with political capital after the Gulf War, and then did absolutely nothing with it...

Ethan also reminds me of this post, from last May, where I wrote about Bush using his capital to maximum effect. And also how he is willing to give the appearance of being weak and ineffectual, but really waiting for the right moment to apply maximum force at a single weak point.

One thing I've learned to depend on is that every summer the Bush administration looks like it has run out of steam. And every year, come September, we discover that the president has been holding a good hand, and looking weak while the Dems push more and more chips onto the table, and think whatever they are ranting about is a winning issue.

Think of the Vietnam Era service issue. Bush served honorably in a dangerous and difficult job, and got high marks. Frankly, his service looks better to a lot of Americans (including the guys who served with him) than Kerry's peculiar stunts. If nothing else, you can take it to the bank that if George W Bush had been in Kerry's place, he would never have used a preposterous technicality to desert his men during a shooting war.

But the Bush campaign just sat there, like the Tar Baby, and said nothing (driving me crazy). And let the Kerry Campaign drag the Vietnam War back into the national consciousness...which was just a crazy thing for them to do, since it is hard to find, except for Jane Fonda, a more conspicuous symbol of the disgusting anti-American pro-communist lefty vileness of that horrid time than....John Kerry.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:52 AM

November 4, 2004

Coming tasks...

Our friend Andrew Cory writes in a comment to my post on gloating:

One would think, at this point, that hearing our cries and the lamentations of our women (wymon?) would be enough for you people...

Sheesh! I hope you’re right about the best direction for this country. For the next 2 years, you’ve got everything lined up your way...

More than the next two years. If my 70-Year Cycle posts are anywhere near reality, Dems will be flailing for 20 years or so. One generation. You will have occasional gains when Republicans mess-up (depend on it, we will) but generally your percentages will keep shrinking. Democrats of my generation, currently in charge, are too old to re-think and re-build. The current leadership will probably oscillate between being faux-conservative, much like Wendell Wilkie was a faux-Republican [Note to Mrs. Clinton: Your opportunity. Learn to bake cookies, and shoot a burgler. In the back.] and being more shrill-leftist than ever, as the people most alienated by conservative victories are and will be the most energized among Democrats.

During this decade and part of the next, things will be similar to the 1930's, when businessmen and bankers moved almost en masse to the Republicans, because they hated the New Deal. This was the wrong way for the Republican Party to move at a time when industrial workers were switching en masse to the Democrats. Republicans became very energetic, but as reactionaries. All they could say was "Stop! We don't like these innovations. We are the Party of Lincoln! We should be running things, the way we always have." They were also hate-filled and cranky. It was the heyday of Father Coughlin, and many people saw FDR as a communist demon who was bent on destroying America.

Your generation gets to start rebuilding the Democrat Party. You are roughly the equivalent of the WWII generation, of the Republican generation of Goldwater, Nixon and Reagan, and thinkers like Irving Kristol and Bill Buckley...Your Jeffersonian roots are waiting to be re-discovered.

[It occurs to me that all the advice-giving going on right now is probably more irritating to Democrats than gloating. George Will: "the Democratic Party should purge its Michael Moore faction..." Yeah, like that's Sooo easy. Just build a bonfire of giant puppets and fling those guys on it.]

Posted by John Weidner at 9:19 AM

November 3, 2004

to gloat, or not to...

John Derbyrshire has an article of gloating. I think he's right about who to gloat at. He's not gloating at Kerry, or Edwards, or the news media, or even...

In fact, I can't even summon up much of a gloat for the Hollywood lefties. They are too stupid, their opinions too vaporous. Who really cares about them? "Vagabonds and strumpets," was the old English view of the acting profession, and I think this is one we got right back then...
Moore and Soros richly deserve gloating, and:
The big gloat, though, must be directed at our enemies. How they wanted Kerry to win! How they must be sunk in gloom in their caves and hideouts and seedy rented rooms! They knew that, for all his podium salutes and tough talk, Kerry would be another Jimmy Carter, another groveller, another guilt-addled cringing apologizer for America's sins, past and present. Now, instead of a boneless wonder, they are faced with a resolute and determined opponent, a commander-in-chief who actually inspires his troops, and who knows that, as Winston Churchill usefully noted, you can't win wars without fighting...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:11 PM

November 2, 2004

Eee-Leck-Shun Day!!!!

Kern County sherrif's Car with sign

Posted by John Weidner at 11:25 PM

The "ghastly phosphorescent presence" of Republicans...

Hilarious. Joseph Bottum on the ludicrous shenanigans of Tom Daschle:

...Daschle's new outbreak of ornithological lunacy started yesterday, when he requested from federal circuit-court judge a temporary restraining order banning Republican--and only Republican--poll watchers from all election sites on Indian reservations or majority Indian districts...

...Daschle's South Dakota filing is available online, and it makes great reading. Let's not pretend any of that goo-goo nonsense about how the law ought to apply to both parties equally. Does Heaven grant equal opportunity to evil? Does water sign consent decrees with fire? Republicans are, by definition, oppressors of minorities. They are evil, and their ghastly phosphorescent presence burns--man, how it burns. The mere knowledge that a Republican might be somewhere near watching, watching, always watching . . . why, that's enough to make minority voters tremble so anxiously that they can't vote. Republican poll watchers are against the laws of God and man. It says so, right there in 42 U.S.C. 1973i(b)...

...Did Daschle's lawyers have to make their candidate a laughing-stock by filing the case with Judge Lawrence Piersol--a strong personal friend who was Daschle's own lawyer in the court contests during the 1978 election and who only four days before had given a radio interview praising Daschle? Did they have to call as their only witness a professional Democrat who had helped out with Howard Dean's triumphant disaster in the primaries and had been in the state of South Dakota for only 48 hours? And did they really have to insist that one of the early Republican poll watchers had--wait for it, now, it's gonna be a measure of human depravity--actually rolled his eyes to another poll watcher? Did they have to name the Republican candidate John Thune as the lead defendant, despite their utter lack of evidence or even claims about the candidate himself--thereby enshrining the case in the public record as Daschle v. Thune?...


Posted by John Weidner at 11:17 AM

Just voted...

We really like SF's ballots. Machine-readable ballots, very clear, you complete the divided arrow that points to what you want, using a special pen. Anyone who's confused by them shouldn't be voting anyway...

Our polling place was more crowded than I've ever seen, but the other good thing about our ballots is that you don't need to be in a voting booth to vote...
SF voting, 2004
The people in the foreground are filling out ballots...the black enclosures in the background are voting booths. The ballot-box we use is a machine that sucks in ballots and displays the number that have been deposited...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:57 AM

November 1, 2004

Two good quotes...

Dean Esmay:

...Although Steyn doesn't say so, you can even see it in the fact that so many Democrats complain about how frightening it is that Republicans are "unified" and "disciplined" and even "ideologues." What they're really saying when they say that is that Republicans believe in certain big ideas, whereas Democrats only believe that they are basically good at heart. They otherwise stand for nothing coherent, believe nothing in particular, except that their political opponents are evil. That, and an apparent need to cringe and apologize whenever American power is exercised abroad.
Michael Graham, in The Corner:
When the MSM says "Kerry's Winning Big," that means "It's close." When they say "It's Tied," that means "Bush is Winning." When they complain that Bush has somehow stolen a slim electoral majority but not nearly large enough to give him a mandate...

That means "Landslide."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:49 AM