November 30, 2005

appalling but true...

John Derbyshire:

...Thy neighbor's ass. Regardless of what you think of religion in general, or Christianity in particular, all those past centuries of widespread Bible reading were wonderfully enriching to our language. Now that is all slipping away, and our language is correspondingly poorer. I noticed this a few years ago, when I complained to my Wall Street boss, a lady with a degree from a good university and a six-digit salary, that in giving me a project to complete without the proper means to complete it, she was asking me to make bricks without straw. She stared at me uncomprehendingly. "Bricks? Straw? What on earth are you talking about, John?"

It happened again the other day. In conversation with some intelligent and well-educated Americans, I used the word "covet." Blank looks. Then, nervously (I am not a stranger to these people): "Er, John, do you mean... cover?" No, I said, I meant "covet," as in the Tenth Commandment. You know: Thou shalt not covet they neighbor's ox, nor his ass... Now they were looking at each other as if I had lapsed into Klingon. Where is
Roy Moore when you need him?...

It's also a matter of just not reading the good stuff. Good books are enriched with biblical terminology, and anyone well-read would probably "get" bricks without straw, even if they had never touched the Bible. (Mud bricks, what we call here "adobe," include straw with the mud, so the bricks will dry evenly, instead of just on the outside first. The Israelites, when they were held captive in Egypt, were once forced to make bricks without straw, that is, to undertake a task doomed to failure for lack of a critical material.)

And it's also a matter of lack of curiosity, something which just bewilders me. Why wasn't the "Wall Street Boss" interested? Why are most people not interested in an odd new metaphor? I guess they get rich in money, and I get rich in words...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:06 PM

November 28, 2005

If you are thinking of taking up a sport...

There's Segway Polo twice a month at a park in Sunnyvale..."...a lot like regular polo, but with nothing to shovel..."

(Thanks to my daughter Betsy)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:18 PM

November 27, 2005

Time for bed...

I actually made a genuinely funny joke tonight. (Usually I think of the funny remark the next day.) Charlene and I were talking about St Martin de Porres, OP, whose statue we had noticed after Lessons and Carols tonight. Charlene said, "He was 'Blessed' when I was young. But once they get to Blessed they almost always become Saints." And I replied, "It's the Peter Principle."

Posted by John Weidner at 9:43 PM

Words of hope on the Internet Railroad...

Tienchi Liao writes in the NY Daily News W's message will inspire millions of Chinese thanks to an Internet underground railroad,

...The police indeed had a stressful time, because they needed as many helping hands as possible in order to produce a pleasant atmosphere in Beijing for President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. All disturbing elements had to be eliminated before the arrival of the guests. The protesters, the dissidents and the active members of the democratic movement had to be kept either under house arrest or sent out of town. The renowned dissident writer Liu Xiaobo saw his connections to the outside world cut off before and after Bush's visit. He had no phone connection and no Internet access until the presidential couple had left the capital. However, Liu did not begrudge the U.S. President these inconveniences. "No, I do not complain; I am thankful that President Bush visited China," said Liu. "He urged the Chinese leaders to grant more freedom to the Chinese people in his Kyoto speech. He went to a church in Beijing. Bush has not abandoned us, even though the authoritarian regime greeted him with 150 Boeing contracts."

Bush's visit has prompted, in some small way, freedom of speech for the Chinese. The President's remarks encouraging human rights have been disseminated to students and others by the country's intellectuals, who are able to bypass the government's Internet blocks. These leaders, among the 80 million to 100 million Web users, are tapping into the U.S. State Department's site to pass along Bush's remarks urging freedom and democracy.

Neither China's elite nor its common people care how many billions of dollars in contracts have been signed by the two countries. They now know that George Bush has spoken on behalf of their rights and their views. They are not angry that they suffered a temporary loss of freedom because of Bush's visit. They hope to gain lasting freedom, which Bush has pleaded for on their behalf.

I suspect that we will look back on this time much as we look back now at another much-hated cowboy, Ronald Reagan, and remember how his words and actions helped end the Evil Empire.

But words alone can't accomplish anything important. Anyone can demand human rights for some oppressed group, but so what? Who's likely to listen? Reagan earned the right to be heard by using his political capital to rebuild our military, to start SDI, to deploy Pershing missiles in Europe, to bomb Libya. Each of these was the result of a bitter messy political brawl, in which Reagan held firm, and won. They were bellicose actions that led to peaceful change.

Today, President Bush has earned the right to speak for people oppressed under communist regimes. Earned it by standing firm for freedom despite the attacks of terrorists and their leftist allies...

And the possibility of peaceful change is now much greater due to the credibility we have earned. If the "pacifists" and peaceniks were not politicized frauds, they would laud these possibilities and not try to undercut them.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 AM

November 26, 2005

Sidebar stuff...

I've added a picture of me to the sidebar. I read something at Andrea's about how that's one of the seven deadly sins of blogging, to not let people see what you look like...

OK. Duty done.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:18 PM

Curious omission

Spc. Phil Van Treuren notes a teensy weensy little omission from the NYT story on the bombing at the hospital in Mahmudiya Iraq. The NYT mentions that a US convoy was near, but not that the Americans were handing out candy to children, while others in their group were inspecting the hospital for refurbishment.

This is precisely the sort of dishonesty I was writing about in my earlier post Bizarro World law. The NYT is encouraging terrorist acts by attempting to shield the terrorists from the revulsion that they deserve. And this dishonesty is in the service of their domestic political ends; the pretense of caring about Iraq is a sham.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:43 AM

November 25, 2005

The Gizzard of Oz...

Dr Weevil links to a contest in Australia to find a new name for kangaroo meat, and suggests:

...Hmmm . . . . Australia was founded by or for British criminals. Given the proverbial thievishness of the Welsh (“Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief”) and the name of New South Wales, many of them were presumably Welsh. Kangaroos are herbivorous creatures known for their jumping. They’re also overabundant in Australia, which suggests that they spend way a fair amount of their time reproducing. I’ve got it! How about “Welsh rabbit”? Too bad that name’s already taken. Back to the drawing board . . . . Oz Rabbit? Pouch Rabbit? Ozzy Bunny? Big Bunny? Superbunny? (According to the Wall Street Journal, a restaurant in Shanghai that specializes in rat dishes calls itself “Super Deer”.) Something along those lines might do. Then again, perhaps they should just appeal to the macho element of the population and imply that only real men eat kangaroo....

Outback Veal? The Other Other White Meat? Cloncurry Chops? Nullarbor Nuggets? Darwinian Beef?

Posted by John Weidner at 12:39 PM

November 24, 2005

Bizarro World law...

The Geneva Conventions, especially the Fourth Convention, are intended to reduce the brutality of war, primarily by keeping it separate from civilians. The rules concerning prisoners are not the main purpose of the Convention, rather they are a carrot, a reward, for fighting according to rules.

The rules forbid attacking civilians, obviously, but also forbid placing troops in civilian neighborhoods, or storing military supplies in schools or churches, or using symbols like the Red Cross to hide combatants. And the requirement for wearing distinctive uniforms is important because it protects all those NOT in uniform from being shot by mistake, or because they might be spies. And from being imprisoned just because they might be an enemy. (There are circumstances where uniforms may not be available, but you must still bear arms openly.)

IF you fight war by the rules, you are entitled to privileges, such as having your people protected by POW status. A status the US always extends to lawful combatants, such as the Iraqi soldiers we captured in the invasion of Iraq. If you don't obey the rules, you are not entitled to POW status, and to be given that status is itself a violation of the Convention.

Unfortunately, the Rules of War are being intentionally and cynically corrupted by those who hate America and any allies who are willing to fight with us. A new standard is being promulgated in a thousand sneaky ways, always implying that war crimes don't matter as long as you are opposed to the US. And that "International Law" exists only to hamper the United States, and that everyone else (wink wink nudge nudge) need not fear any penalties.

By the lunatic standards of these moral imbeciles, terrorists can shred a crowd of children with a car bomb, or blow up a wedding party, or put fighting positions in a mosque and not get so much as a raised eyebrow. And if these war criminals are captured we are supposed to give them POW status. And their American captors are to be given the harshest scrutiny, and threatened with "war crimes" prosecution.

This is a total inversion of the idea of rules of war. Those who break the rules are rewarded. Those who obey them are penalized and demonized. This is sickness. Lefty sickness. During the Second Battle of Falluja, the terrorists were openly broadcasting from the minarets their intention to torture and kill any Americans they captured. None of our fake peaceniks took the slightest notice, or made any criticism.

This sort of Bizarro World International Law is often pushed in the name of "peace," but, like so many things put under that label, actually encourages war and violence, and the killing of civilians.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:17 PM

"To Americans, genealogy is a hobby. To Iraqis, it is honor..."

I found very interesting an article by Michael Rubin on Ahmad Chalabi in National Review. (You can read the beginning here. But you have to be a subscriber to read the rest.)

...While the CIA has politicized its intelligence products to support its own proxies, its analytical failures go beyond institutional axe-grinding. Most analysts are in their 20s and 30s; recruited fresh out of college or graduate school, few have significant experience in the countries to which they are assigned. Security officers look with suspicion on anyone with too many foreign contacts and too much time spent in adversarial countries. While many CIA analysts gain book knowledge of their subjects, they lack cultural understanding. They study politicians, but have no sense of personalities. Too often, their products reflect mirror-imaging of the analysts’ own thought-processes into their subjects. Cultural equivalence, too, pollutes analysis: Family may be important to Americans and Iraqis alike, but it means much more for Iraqis. To Americans, genealogy is a hobby. To Iraqis, it is honor.

And here Chalabi has an advantage. Chalabi’s grandfather built modern Kadhimiya, a sprawling Shiite town that has since been absorbed into modern Baghdad; his father was president of the Iraqi senate during the monarchy. Genealogy gives gravitas. In contrast, even as Iraqis suffered under Saddam Hussein’s rule, they expressed disdain for Saddam with reference to his uncertain paternity. (In post-liberation Iraq, the CIA’s blind eye toward genealogy has been evident in its embrace of powerful Baathist families — the Bunias and al-Janabis, for example — even as many Iraqis dismiss such figures as déclassé and embarrassing beneficiaries of Saddam’s largesse.)....

....While all the other Governing Council members appropriated large houses abandoned by officials of the previous regime, Chalabi returned to his family’s home — and the symbolism was clear to Iraqis. Ayad Allawi, in contrast, hemorrhaged support after accepting a house in the Green Zone and employing American security contractors. ...
Posted by John Weidner at 1:52 PM

Thanksgiving pies...

Charlene, the only "morning person" in the family, was up betimes, working her usual magic in the kitchen. Here are our pies...
Pies, Thanksgiving 2005
Widdershins, from the front: pear tart, shaker lemon, pecan, pumpkin, cranberry-apple, and in the middle, pumpkin with maple.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:21 AM

Pure malarky...

I've noticed Juan Cole's interpretation of the Cairo conference being quoted here and there...

...The other surprise of the Cairo conference is that the negotiators accepted the right for Iraqi groups to mount an armed resistance against the foreign troops. The participants were careful to condemn universally the killing of innocent non-combatants. They decried "takfir" or declaring a Muslim to be an unbeliever...[my emphasis]

In fact this is just Cole's Third-Worldist anti-American fantasy. Tony Badran has the real story...

(Thanks to Dan Darling)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:14 AM

"Watchmen on the walls of world freedom"

“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

I Don't have any inspiration for a cool Thanksgiving post this morning, but there's some stuff in my archives...

For instance this, about residents of Falluja leaving notes of thanks for the coalition troops fighting to liberate their town.

Or this, about a family that spent their vacation taking wounded men From Walter Reed Hospital out for meals...

This, about the President's 2003 Thanksgiving flight to Iraq...

This, on the logistics of bringing a feast to the troops...

And this, from last year, 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 8:34 AM

November 23, 2005

My brains is sort of going round and round...

Here's a GREAT optical illusion...

(Thanks to Zannah)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:19 PM

Awesomely cute...

I loved this photo essay on Iraqi schools and children, by Michael Yon. I've read, in accounts by our soldiers, that Iraqis really love their children, and that you don't see there the abandoned or maimed begging children that are found in other poor countries...

Also worth reading is his account of the party thrown by the unit he was embedded with in Iraq, "Deuce-Four," after returning home to the States...

(Thanks to Hugh Hewitt)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:29 AM

November 21, 2005

They're not evil -- they just have a different perspective...

Reader Harold send the link to this:

Four years after 9/11 and the "crazy zeitgeist" that permeated the United States, most Americans have still not learned to know their enemies instead of just hating them, U.S. political journalist Chris Matthews says...

Hey, it's possible to know someone AND hate them. We've learned a LOT about Islamofascist murderers. And it's not crazy to loathe killers who slaughter 3,000 people just to make a splash. Even the pacifists probably would have disapproved, in the old days before they sold out.

...In a speech to political science students at the University of Toronto yesterday, the host of the CNBC current affairs show Hardball had plenty of harsh words for U.S. President George W. Bush, as well as the political climate that has characterized his country for the past few years...

Pretty frustrating that people no longer take your liberal views for granted, for "mainstream."

"The period between 9/11 and Iraq was not a good time for America. There wasn't a robust discussion of what we were doing," Matthews said...

Bullshit. Utter crapola. There was furious political debate. And millions found your propensity for appeasement vile, and said so loud and clear. I guess in your lexicon "robust" means "dominated by liberal media figures."

..."If we stop trying to figure out the other side, we've given up. The person on the other side is not evil -- they just have a different perspective."

I'm glad you have such a broad-minded attitude towards America, Matthews. And towards President Bush too. I'm happy you think he just has a "different perspective." Oh? What's that? You were referring to al Zarqawi? Oh, of course. Sawing people's heads off on camera is OK, but EVIL is something you won't tolerate...

This is such a good example of the utter sickness of the Left. Al Queda just sent a married couple to blow up a wedding party in Amman, Jordan. But drooling appeasers are still saying "we have to understand," just like they did after 9/11.

NO, we do NOT have to "understand." If I went and blew up the wedding of Chris Matthews's daughter, would he waste a minute understanding MY "different perspective?" Ha. Well, maybe if I were black and on Death Row. Then I would be "innocent," and a "victim," and fake-leftists would hold candle-light vigils...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:46 AM

#196: The al-Zarqawi view of American resolve...

P. Krugman


Paul “Blackhawk Down” Krugman convincingly shows his true colors (if anyone ever doubted them) in Time to Leave (11/21/05). We can think of no one who could take the al-Zarqawi view of American resolve and turn it into a statement of American policy better than Krugman. However, we feel inadequate compared to others we have read in blasting this latest sickness metastasizing on the anti-war left. A good place to start is with Ralph Peter’s column today. He says it all. But what a shame it has to be said!

[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 10:13 AM

We are all "Document Experts"

Via PowerLine, I see that "Buckhead," the person who first noticed that the Dan Rather memos were fabrications, has come forward with his name, and with a very interesting (if you like such things) account of how he came to be extremely aware of typography, which made the forgery obvious. (He points out that millions of other people have the same knowledge, and that someone else would have caught it in minutes if he hadn't.) He is disgusted that Mary Mapes is now selling a book and appearing on TV peddling the same damn forgeries, and the same shit-stupid lies about the President...Go here, then click on "Explanation and Comment:"

...In any case, the other side objected to the brief on the grounds that it did not comply with the local court rule specifying that there could be no more than 10 printed characters per inch - a rule of which I was not aware at the time. I filed a brief in response to the objection. Trust me, the prospect of losing a contingency case over a font rule when you have invested years of work in the case will galvanize your attention on the subject of fonts. A pdf scan of a certified copy of that brief is available here at the link above to "1999 Brief." Compare what I said about typewriters, monospaced fonts and proportionally spaced fonts in the brief filed in 1999 with what I said in post # 47, on 9/8/04. I knew what I knew a long time ago, and the brief proves it definitively. So long, conspiracy theory...

We are ALL experts in some sort of document. There is some type of paperwork we handle so frequently that a crude forgery would be blatantly obvious to us. "Document examiners" are widely knowledgeable, but every one of us is more knowledgeable than them on something. For instance, even without the typographic problems, the fabrications were obvious to those familiar with 1970's Air Force documents. The military services are very fussy about the layout, abbreviations, punctuation etc of their paperwork. And each service is different. The use of Army stylistic details in a supposed Air National Guard memo is as conclusive as the typography. Especially since the forger-presumptive had served in the National Guard.

And Col. Killian's family were experts. They knew he never created such things, and that he didn't even know how to type.

I myself am a "document expert" of sorts, because I've tried to reproduce old decorative writing with a graphics program. It's hugely difficult, even just trying to manipulate scanned artwork a little. The different technologies yield a different look. Pixels want to line up neatly, and trying to recreate the slight irregularities of hand-drawn lines (or typewriter key hitting ribbon and paper) is maddening. I even created a font--there are programs that let you do that. (I discovered that I just didn't have the time to do the job right. Designing fonts is a very painstaking process. Alas, when I was young I had heaps of time but no computer. Now the reverse is true).

So anyway, when I saw how the Microsoft Word version lined up perfectly with the supposed typewritten one, I knew the odds against that being an accident were probably greater than the number of protons in the universe.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:35 AM

November 19, 2005

Book report...

I'm currently reading Titan, by Stephen Baxter, on the recommendation of my son. It's very entertaining so far. It's about a last-gasp effort by a dying NASA, launching a low-budget expedition to Saturn's moon Titan, where slight signs of life have been detected.

But there's one thing in particular that interests me, as a conservative blogger in the year 2005. The book was written about 10 years ago, takes place in 2007 and in some ways it is a very revealing liberal fantasy.

• The glorious American space program is almost dead.
• Young people don't care about space, or much of anything.
• A villainous Military-Industrial Complex tries to shoot down (literally) the brave expedition.
• AND, there's a disastrous incoming Republican President, a FUNDAMENTALIST, who hates space travel, and almost everything else...

...Armed militia bands came in from Idaho and Arizona, to fire off black-powder salutes to the nationalist-populist who promised to repeal all gun control laws. In the crowd, Hadamard saw a couple of Ku Klux Klan costumes...there was a rumor that a a former Klan leader was being made ready to become a future White House chief of his speech Machlachlan appealed to the people to end what he called the "Israeli occupation of Congress"...

...foreign aid stopped. The UN was being thrown out of New York,...started to build a wall, two-thousand miles of it, to exclude illegal immigrants...withdrawn the US from the North American Free Trade treaty, from the World Trade Organization, from GATT...he had raised tariff--ten percent against Japan, fifty percent against the Chinese--and world trade collapsed...

...And back home, Machlachlan had cut off any remaining programs which benefitted blacks and other minorities...

Well. Quite a fantasy. And fascinating, considering that the story takes place right about now. So what's happened? We can compare! We actually have an evangelical Christian Republican president, and Republican control of Congress!

But, strange to tell, it's the liberal Democrats who are now the protectionists and isolationists. And it's Christians and conservatives who are the idealists, who want to change the world, and overthrow fascist dictators and stop genocide in places like Sudan. It's the Republican administration that is pursuing free trade, and, conspicuously, NOT building a 2,000 mile-long wall on the border. And trying to expand NAFTA, and working with the WTO. Even trying to work with the UN (!) for which they get precious little thanks from Lefties.

I think Baxter's picture, which we have all heard over and over, is a protective fantasy. One that hides a painful truth. The sourpusses, the reactionaries, are now on the Left; something they are in deep denial about. It's mostly lefties who now claim that Jews are secretly running things (and it's Dems who have the former KKK leader.)

In Baxter's book, young people are weirdly indifferent to the adventure of space, and graying NASA veterans are leading one last charge. This is probably mostly a Baby-Boomer fantasy, but it also covers something liberals don't want to think about--"liberal" is no longer synonymous with young and cool and idealistic.

And, far from losing interest in space and letting NASA die, people now, young people, are starting thrilling new space ventures (and letting NASA die). The big-government/NASA/send-only-the-elite-few vision of space travel is being replaced by one where young billionaires want to let everybody get to space. And it's not a movement that has much connection with traditional politics, but it fits more with conservative thinking than liberal.

There are lots of people still in denial, still insisting, comically, that fascist insect Republicans and prudish Christians are sending us back to the Dark Ages, and that every judicial nominee is going to undo the Civil Rights Movement. But the evidence to the contrary is all around them. And the person pushing it in their faces is President Bush, which is why he drives them nuts. One revealing oddity of the book is that the author is very savvy about political maneuvering, except that this horrid President can just do whatever he wants. Baxter must surely know that a President can't raise tariffs, or withdraw us from a treaty, or expel the UN. Congress does that. But he is a useful boogyman, not an attempt at reality...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 PM

Even worse a betrayal...

Hugh Hewitt posts a good letter:

Congressman Murtha,
PO Box 780
Johnstown, PA 15907-0780

As a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam Era and the father of two sons, one a 6 year Army Veteran and the other a 13 year active duty soldier preparing for his 3rd tour in Iraq, I want you to know that I, and they, feel you have abandoned them today. We have great respect for your honorable service but your past service makes it even worse a betrayal of those who fight today!

My oldest son said it best after 9/11 when I told him “well the American people are behind you now”. His response was “yeah Dad….for how long?” It didn’t take the Democratic Party very long to abandon them. It took you a little longer but the betrayal is complete. We are winning this war everywhere except at home. You have forgotten what it felt like to be a soldier spit on by your fellow citizens. You join the ranks of those who want to drive military recruiters out of the schools. You sir, should be ashamed.

I suspect what's driving liberal Democrats, especially of my generation, crazy, is not that they fear Iraq will become a Vietnam, but that they are terrified that it won't. Their peace of mind is based on denying the reality of their ghastly betrayal of South Vietnam, which probably killed more Asians than the war did, and left a brutal tyranny that endures to this day.

And denying their betrayal of America of course. It's a commonplace of psychology that people resent, even come to hate, someone they have injured. I think that a lot of the obsessive anti-Americanism of leftists stems from the knowledge that they have harmed their country terribly.

If our forces persist through great difficulties and help Iraq achieve freedom and prosperity, it will contrast glaringly with South Vietnam, which might today be happily similar to Taiwan or South Korea, but instead is a Communist hell-hole. And will shine a cruel spotlight on the fraudulence and evil of the "anti-war" movement and the fake-pacifists.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:06 PM

November 18, 2005

Amazing developments...

Jay Nordlinger writes:

...One of the most amazing developments of the recent period is the Left’s newfound respect for the CIA — especially for the sanctity of covertness. For pretty much all of my lifetime, the CIA has been the villain of every movie (or at least every movie in which the agency appeared). When I was in college, to say “CIA” was essentially to say “SS” or “Gestapo” — it was simply assumed that everyone thought of America’s intelligence service as nefarious. And most people I knew thought Philip Agee cool.

I have often said, it took Ronald Reagan and his SDI proposal to make the Left love Mutual Assured Destruction. And it has taken George W. Bush, Ahmad Chalabi, and Lewis Libby to make it love the CIA....

And it took only a couple of retired generals criticizing Bush to make them discard the idea of civilian control of the military. And a candidate with three (Bandaid type) wounds from Vietnam to make them believe that only blooded warriors should lead the country...core values, you know...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:53 PM

#195: “I'm not an opponent of markets"

P. Krugman


Paul Krugman has written two consecutive columns on health care in the United StatesHealth Economics 101 (11/14/05) and Private Obsession (11/18/05). Both columns are boring as hell and can be dismissed on the basis of one colossal howler:

“I'm not an opponent of markets. On the contrary, I've spent a lot of my career defending their virtues. But the fact is that the free market doesn't work for health insurance, and never did.”
This is pure fantasy. We can think of no domestic issue on which Krugman has ever sided with a market solution over a government solution. The reason is simple. For the left, government solutions are where the votes are. Making people think they must depend on government to provide services for which someone else is paying is the name of their game. Market solutions encourage people think, choose, evaluate and compare. An informed, self-reliant consumer is the left’s worst nightmare.

In the first of these columns Krugman argues that markets cannot work in healthcare because “adverse selection” makes healthcare different from all other markets. Read this nonsense if you must but realize there are counter examples to all of his points. More important, the issue is never whether the free market handles adverse selection perfectly, but whether a one-size-fits-all government solution improves things. I think we all know the answer to that. “You want a BLUE car comrade? Come back in two years-we may have one.”

In the second column Krugman goes after the one aspect of the recent drug bill that made it halfway reasonable-the possibility of introducing some competition and consumer choice into the industry. The private market has responded to an extent no one thought likely. But to Krugman, this is exactly the nightmare we described above; the threat of an informed consumer! So he starts pounding at how complicated and bewildering the program is to older Americans. He doesn’t say so, but in his condescension he makes buying healthcare sound almost as complicated as buying a house or condominium. We wonder how he thinks older Americans manage to do that.

Krugman also criticizes the private market for having higher costs due to advertising and other marketing programs explaining their various products to consumers. Ah, for the simple life where government provided as much of the same thing to as many people as wanted it and someone else paid. This mentality led the political satirist P. J. O’Rourke to once comment,

“If you think healthcare’s expensive now, wait til it’s free”
Someone always pays and consumer sovereignty is our only hope of controlling costs.

[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 11:50 AM

November 17, 2005

Update on "Open Source Media"

UPDATE: I wrote previously that Open Source Media (Pajams Media) had dumped the minor bloggers like me. It looks like I was wrong. I just got an email from them, telling me to.....Stand by! Stand by because there will be other e-mails coming.....We shall see. I apologize if I've wronged them.

However, my remarks about this being a herd, not a pack, still hold. Communication is still only in one direction.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:20 PM

Killer question...

Scott at PowerLine posts a memory of William F. Buckley:

...He fielded student questions following the speech from a microphone placed on the floor below the podium. One of my classmates, visibly drunk, approached the microphone to ask Buckley a killer question.

"Mr. Buckley, Mr. Buckley, Mr. Buckley," he said as he warmed to his theme. "Do you really think the American involvement in Vietnam is right, or do you recognize that it's an imperialistic war where we're pursuing our own interests at the expense of the Vietnam people with no justification except the higher interests of American business and its friends in the Nixon administration..." and so on, at slightly greater length.

"The former," Buckley responded. That's one moment that has stuck with me for a long time....

That guy reminds me of some recent commenters...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:40 AM

November 16, 2005

"Throwing their own words back at them"

..... What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war. The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out. American soldiers and Marines are out there every day in dangerous conditions and desert temperatures – conducting raids, training Iraqi forces, countering attacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers – and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie.

The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history. We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them. And far more important, we're going to continue sending a consistent message to the men and women who are fighting the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other fronts. We can never say enough how much we appreciate them, and how proud they make us. They and their families can be certain: That this cause is right … and the performance of our military has been brave and honorable … and this nation will stand behind our fighting forces with pride and without wavering until the day of victory."

-- Vice President Cheney

From remarks at the Frontiers of Freedom Institute 2005 Ronald Reagan Gala

Posted by John Weidner at 6:17 PM

And another seven...and another...

Brian Maloney, guest-blogging at Michelle Malkin, lists seven reasons why conservatives should not be feeling "malaise." Here are seven more...

1. The economy is strong and unlikely to slow soon. The press tries to paint a different picture, but we are (I hope) getting better at routing around such obstacles.

2. The war is going well, and this will become apparent at the right time...we are likely planning to withdraw troops soon, and the current Dem noises on this point should be viewed as an attempt to take credit in advance.

3. Dems not only have no positive program to offer, but they are also split on their opposition points. They are in the position that Republicans were in in the 30's and 40's. They are torn between an irresistible pull to become more leftist, as moderates leave or are unable to win elections, and the pull to try to become Republican-Lite, which is a very hard trick to pull off.

4. The movement of money away from parties caused by Campaign Finance "Reform" has, so far, hurt Dems more than us. Our independent groups are not dragging us into any fever swamps.

5. I hate Gerrymandering, and would end it in a flash if I could, but it does help the majority party the most.

6. Bush is by no means an extinct volcano, nor is Rove. Look for more surprises.

7. New information emerging from places like the Iraqi archives or the Oil-For-Appeasement investigation is not likely to help the slithering left...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:13 AM

November 15, 2005

Where's the blog? Where's the "pack?"

"Open Source Media," (formerly called Pajamas Media) is supposed to debut tomorrow. Here's an article. [Many thanks to Dennis the Peasant, who's got the much to tell you]

I was one of the bloggers who originally signed up with Pajamas Media. I wrote then:

...Of course I have this sort of schoolboy feeling that someone will soon tap me on the shoulder and explain that the offer was actually intended for the cool kids who are part of the in-crowd, not me. We'll see what happens....

Well, that's just what happened, although they didn't even have the courtesy to tell the minor bloggers; they just stopped sending e-mails. And that was after we jumped through various hoops, and signed contracts and faxed them back, and promised secrecy, etc, etc. You may be thinking, "What a bunch of capitalist jerks." Actually, I think the problem is that they are not capitalists, not businesspeople. Experienced businessfolk would never be so stupid as to mistreat bloggers who might include in their number next year's rising star. I suspect this is "business" as learned by Roger Simon by writing Hollywood scripts.

I'm guessing they won't accomplish much, not because they are arrogant, but because I never saw, in my contacts with them, anything that wasn't Industrial Age thinking. Top-down thinking. What's Glenn Reynolds's saying? "A pack, not a herd?" Well, maybe things were different among the elite, but us little folk were only treated like a herd. "Sit quiet, and we'll soon tell you all the amazing things we have planned."

Nuh uh. I'm not impressed by even the cleverest Five-Year-Plan. What I wondered was, "Where's the blog?" Where was the PJ Media internal blog or forum where all the "members" could exchange ideas and criticisms and comments, so as to pool their intelligence and skills into a super-organism? That's what bloggers did, for instance, when, in a matter of hours they collated the knowledge of hundreds of people to expose the Dan Rather forgeries. Knowledge ranging from advanced computer typography to remembered abbreviations on Air Guard memos from the 70's!

Maybe I was out of the loop, but I saw not the slightest sign of that in what I heard from PJ Media. And frankly, it's just stupid. I've been a businessman (very small-scale, to be sure) for decades, and my wife is a lawyer who advises businesses. So there is probably a 98% likelihood that we know something that would be useful to this new venture. And the couple of hundred other bloggers who were dropped probably ALL could have made valuable contributions. But there was never a hint that us pygmy-bloggers would ever be expected to contribute anything. Just take orders, and be awed by the brilliance of our betters.


*: UPDATE: I may be wrong. I just got an email from Open Source Media, telling me to.....Stand by! Stand by because there will be other e-mails coming.....We shall see. I apologize if I've wronged them.

However, my remarks about this being a herd, not a pack, still hold. Communication is still only in one direction.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:15 PM

Headline fatigue...

As you probably know, Stephen den Beste is back, doing some blogging at Red State.Org. This is a good point to keep in mind

Stephen Green writes about how the press is the "arm of decision" in the current war. Given the nature of terrorist campaigns, that's definitely true, and in some ways it's clear that our decision makers haven't really dealt with this aspect of the war as well as they probably should have.

But for the terrorists and Islamists, there's a distinct drawback in this kind of war: headline fatigue. Even given that the western press tends to be more sympathetic to the terrorists than to western governments in the war, an ongoing campaign of car bombings in Iraq eventually becomes boring and gets consigned to the rear pages of the newspaper.

That means that the terrorists have to come up with increasingly spectacular escapades in order to maintain the attention of the western press. A couple of years ago the new innovation was video decapitations, but eventually the novelty wore off.

But the other side of the coin of headline fatigue is revulsion. Increasingly spectacular escapades become increasingly vile atrocities. They get the headlines, alright, but repel more people than they attract. This week's bombing in Amman is a good example of that; the reaction to it in Jordan was universally extremely negative on the "Arab Street" and al Qaeda's apparent anonymous-public spokesmen (online) found themselves trying to do spin and damage control...

Also, press, Democrats and "anti-war" activists are allies of al Qaeda, but they are not reliable allies. They could turn their coats at any moment; they only wish to harm Bush and the Republicans. Who knows, even the "pacifists" could turn against slaughter, if the political winds start to blow that way...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:17 AM

November 14, 2005

Gotta go with the crowd...

Edwards joins politicians who “regret” war in Iraq

No doubt he...

Regrets the ending of Saddam's war against his own nation--what business is it of ours how he deals with "his people?"
Regrets that tens-of-thousands of Iraqis are not being tortured and murdered each year. (And we are talking real torture, not Democrat-talking-points torture.)

Regrets that Syria is now surrounded by countries friendly to the United States.
Regrets that Iran is now surrounded by countries friendly to the Great Satan.

Regrets that all those mass-graves are being dug up, that should have been forgot.

Regrets that Iraq's economy is growing strongly, and instead of starving children, Iraq is a place where Iranians come for jobs and shopping sprees...
Regrets that the idea of democracy is catching on in the region, partly because of Iraqis voting. (Including Iraqis living in places like Syria and Egypt.)
Regrets freedom.
Regrets honor, courage and selflessness mobilized to build a better world.

Regrets this:

Australian Iraqi voters in Sidney
Overseas Iraqis voting

Has a vague regretful though, that once again Republicans are standing firm in defense of freedom and our nation's honor, while no Democrat President has done so in living memory.
Has a vague regretful feeling that he too ought to have some principle or belief that he would stick to even in the face of criticism. But nothing pops into mind.

Probably regrets that he didn't get some oil-for-food money like our "allies," to help him understand sooner the importance of keeping Saddam in power.

And one gathers he feels...
NO regret that he is now giving encouragement to the terrorists we are fighting, and to tyrants everywhere.
NO regret that he is now giving terrorists more reason to kill Americans and Iraqis.
NO regret that he voted to send Americans into battle, and now stands aside and sneers, because it's the fad of the moment to do so.

Truth is, Edwards a slimy little shyster whose only regret is that his politically expedient vote back then now has him in hot water with the crazies who control the Democratic nominations. Neither then nor now were any principles involved, because he doesn't have any. He'd vote against Oxygen if the polls told him to.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:11 PM

November 13, 2005

Political prosecution...

This has really become sick, and gotten way out of hand...

NewsMax: It has been more than two years since news first broke that Rush Limbaugh had an addiction to painkillers.

That news led to a criminal investigation of Limbaugh by Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer, who in December 2003 leaked to the media that his office had uncovered evidence of 10 felony counts, including "doctor shopping," money laundering and drug trafficking. Despite the sensational allegations, no charges have been brought.

Worse, in the latest round between the State Attorney's office and Limbaugh, Assistant State Attorney James Martz made a startling admission in open court on Tuesday as he sought a court order allowing his office to interview Rush's doctors.

Martz told Circuit Court Judge David Crow that his office has "no idea" if Limbaugh had even committed a crime, but still wanted the Florida judge to grant them the extraordinary privilege of interviewing Limbaugh's doctors without his consent....

This is a disgusting political prosecution. There's very good reason (see the article) to believe that Rush did NOT commit the crime of "doctor shopping." And even if he had, lots of people have been in the same spot Rush was in. And, for a first offense, if they admit it, and seek treatment, NOBODY gets a prosecution like the one against Limbaugh. There's only been one indictment for "doctor shopping" in the history of Palm Beach County, and that case was dropped.

The prosecutors won the legal battle to look at Rush's medical records. So they looked at them. And found no crime. But they are like the little "optimist" boy in the joke, shoveling manure like crazy and saying, "There's gotta be a pony in there somewhere."

Posted by John Weidner at 5:40 PM

An underestimated virtue

DJ Drummond writes, to a disaffected conservative...

....I understand that you would like a grand gesture from Dubs, but remember - the "show on demand" President was Clinton. Dubya does things because he is doing the job. What he said on the rubble in New York was unscripted, and he meant every syllable of what he said. That's what made the difference. George W. Bush, whatever you think of his elocution, never says something unless he means it, and he is not one to grandstand, even when Conservatives think that will help.

What I am saying is this - the George W. Bush we have now, is exactly the one we have always had. He's maddening at times, because he will not say what you want him to say, and he will not make a gesture just for points. The same George W. Bush who annoyed Conservatives by not threatening China in the plane collision incident in 2001, was the same President who had no trouble sending troops into Afghanistan and Iraq. The same Dubya who nominated Harriet Miers to the United States Supreme Court also nominated Samuel Alito and John Roberts, and for the same reason in each case; he honestly believed in his nominee, and thought they were the right choice.

The same Dubya who refused to get outraged at the slander from Kerry'ss campaign last year, also refused to fire or punish Cheney, Rumsfeld, or any other Administration member who was attacked simply for doing their job well. The man is who he is, and on the whole we are truly blessed to have him at the helm, a man unwilling to panic or be sweet-talked, and a man whose perspective goes a bit further than any other politician on the horizon right now....

Steadiness is a virtue that is sadly underestimated by clever and impatient people. It is because Bush hasn't yielded to wrongful attacks on his top lieutenants, that he was able to drop Michael Brown and drop the Miers nomination without taking a lot of political damage. It is because he kept cool during the China incident and solved it through diplomacy and compromise that he could later go to war without anyone (among serious people) suspecting that he just felt a political need to "look tough." And it will be because Bush has been steady through tough times in Iraq, that he will in future have the option to compromise or yield or even look weak if it will help solve other problems.

And of course steadiness in Iraq has given us enormous diplomatic credibility. We are in a much better position to solve other problems peacefully now. It is evidence of how phony and unserious the "anti-war" activists are, that they have no interest in preserving America's credibility in negotiation. Or even acknowledging that such a thing might be important

(And by the way, my recent post about Donald Rumsfeld in Germany gives us a clear look at how phony and unserious are the people who are always complaining that Bush should defer more to our "allies." Here's Rumsfeld practically begging the Europeans to take the lead in an international crisis. So do any of those people give him some support or praise? Of course not, the frauds.)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:36 PM

November 11, 2005

"It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil..."

Great speech by the President today. It's so good to see him finally hit back at the despicable lying attacks that he has been bombarded with. I only hope this is the start of a lot more pushback.

I've said this before, but all of our great wars during the 20th Century were Democrat wars. And in every one the Republicans were the loyal opposition, and supported our country and our troops warm-heartedly, and whole-heartedly. Even though it might harm them politically. Even though those wars had screw-ups that sometimes killed 2,000 men in a day. And now, now, to see how evilly we are repaid by those loathsome blackguards and cheats, how they put their momentary political advantage above loyalty to their country, how they voted to send our soldiers into battle, and then turned on them and now undercut their mission in a thousand ways, giving great encouragement to our enemies...

And they aren't even Democrats, really. Hippie frauds and flakes who stand for nothing. Harry Truman would have hated them. He believed in fighting for freedom. They don't deserve to live in this great country.

The main part of the speech of course was on the war....

...The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They've been sheltered by authoritarian regimes — allies of convenience like Iran and Syria — that share the goal of hurting America and modern Muslim governments, and use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West, on America, and on the Jews. This week the government of Syria took two disturbing steps. First, it arrested Dr. Kamal Labwani for serving as an advocate for democratic reform. Then President Assad delivered a strident speech that attacked both the Lebanese government and the integrity of the Mehlis investigation into the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister.

The government of Syria must do what the international community has demanded: cooperate fully with the Mehlis investigation and stop trying to intimidate and de-stabilize the Lebanese government. The government of Syria must stop exporting violence and start importing democracy...

You turkeys heard him right; that's must, not should. Nexxxxt domino! Faster, please. Of course the fake peaceniks will try to keep Assad in power, just like they tried to keep Saddam in power. Because Assad is so peaceful, you understand. A man of peace. They just can't help but love him.

...Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples — claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent. Zarqawi has said that Americans are, "the most cowardly of God's creatures." But let us be clear: It is cowardice that seeks to kill children and the elderly with car bombs, and cuts the throat of a bound captive, and targets worshipers leaving a mosque.

It is courage that liberated more than 50 million people from tyranny. It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies of rising democracies. And it is courage in the cause of freedom that will once again destroy the enemies of freedom....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:12 PM

November 10, 2005

Veteran's Day

It's good to stop on Veteran's Day and remember that everything we have, we have because of war, because brave men fought in savage conflicts to protect and enlarge our patrimony. Often, when I'm feeling that my life is just too too difficult, I think about an Iraqi man I read about, who spent 17 years in a little crawl-space between two walls in his family's home, to avoid arrest by Saddam's secret police. War freed him, and war keeps us from suffering a similar fate, or far worse...

Remember, as you enjoy your holiday (or, like Charlene and I, you enjoy the huge privilege of being self-employed, and working hard today because the work is there) that you are not worrying about visits by secret police because a lot of good guys killed a lot of bad guys over the course of many centuries...

American troops pray before action in Iraq.Jpg
David Furst / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images
Soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division gather together to pray moments before setting off on a patrol of western Baghdad on Thursday.
Army Times 11/8/05

Funeral for Americans
American soldiers at a funeral near Saint-Mihiel, 1917

Civil War troops at Catholic mass

You all know how it's often a problem, when children are raised in prosperity, that they sometimes have no appreciation of how hard their parents worked, and how hard life can be.

And our nation has a similar problem. Our ancestors performed miracles of endurance and suffering and courage, so we could enjoy wealth and comfort such as the world has never seen. But this very success has created a sub-culture of Eloi, weak and foolish creatures who burble, "War never solved anything," when it has in fact solved a host of their problems. They are sitting in unthinking comfort and security on the heaped bones of America's enemies.

And while smugly enjoying the spoils of war, some of the Eloi have embraced the twisted idea that war is evil and therefore other people should suffer. They will lick the grease of the Christmas goose off their fingers while doing their moral duty in helping to keep Koreans starving (burp!), and Iraqis shredded, and Sudanese enslaved, and the Afghans under the heel of the Taliban....

The quote I keep on my sidebar fits this day pretty well...

"I disputed the premise, "Blessed are the peacemakers."
On the contrary, it was always those who fought evil
whom history remembered as the greatest in their generations."
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Posted by John Weidner at 7:57 PM

Achilles' heel...

You should not miss Reuel Marc Gerecht's piece in OpinionJurnal. It explodes a lot of CIA myths.

...Truth be told, however, the agency doesn't care much at all about cover. Inside the CIA, serious case officers have often looked with horror and mirth upon the pathetic operational camouflage that is usually given to both "inside" officers (operatives who carry official, usually diplomatic, cover) and nonofficial-cover officers (the "NOC" cadre), who most often masquerade as businessmen. Yet Langley tenaciously guards the cover myth--that camouflage for case officers is of paramount importance to its operations and the health of its operatives.

Know the truth about cover--that it is the Achilles' heel of the clandestine service--and you will begin to appreciate how deeply dysfunctional the operations directorate has been for years. Only a profoundly unserious Counter-Proliferation Division would have sent Mr. Wilson on an eight-day walkabout in Niger to uncover the truth about uranium sales to Saddam Hussein and then allowed him to give an oral report....

....Today, operational camouflage is usually shredded within weeks of a case officer's arrival at his station, since the manner, method and paperwork of operatives is just too different from real foreign-service officers. (Even if the CIA really wanted to fix this inadequate verisimilitude--and it does not--it probably couldn't reconcile the differing demands and bureaucracies of the two institutions.) Minimally competent foreign security services know a great deal of what occurs inside U.S. embassies and consulates since these institutions are completely dependent upon local employees--the State Department calls them "foreign-service nationals"--who, through patriotism or coercion, often report on the activities of their employers.

The situation is better with nonofficial-cover officers who live overseas, most often in rather civilized places where hunting for American NOCs hasn't been a major pursuit of the local security services and where the "outing" of an NOC wouldn't likely lead to the officer's physical harm or long-term imprisonment. As a general rule, the more dangerous the country, the less likely that NOCs, who don't benefit from diplomatic immunity, will be stationed or visit there. (Imagining CIA nonofficial operatives penetrating Islamic radical groups even after 9/11 isn't possible.)....

It is SO high-time to shine some light on the CIA fraud. Or, even better, just abolish it and move to an open-source model of intelligence gathering. Openness would benefit us much more than it would our enemies. (And 10,000 Democrats would be faced with the prospect of finding real jobs and doing real work. An extra plus!)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:27 AM

November 9, 2005


I'm too disgusted to blog about the elections of California and San Francisco.

Bill writes:

...This does, however, sort of underline my theory that one of the attractions of liberal statism to the liberal voter is that it avoids the need to ever, ever make a decision. Just leave it to the permanent ruling class of gerrymandered liberal legislators...

I think the stupefying deluge of union+entrenched-politician political advertising we've just endured achieved its goal. Which was not to persuade, but to just make the "voters" throw up their hands and vote NO on everything, rather than endure the pain of actually thinking and making decisions. Too often I meet ordinary folks, who are just bewildered that I actually care about all this stuff..

And hey, guess what. There may be a strike at the SF public schools tomorrow. Funny timing that.

Charlene reminds me about Reagan firing every PATCO striker. One of the few bright moments in a ghastly situation...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:05 PM

They didn't think you wanted to be burdened with too much knowledge...

Cori Dauber notes that Monday the NY Times had a pessimistic front page article about the slow pace of development in Afghanistan. And then yesterday they had an article on the sizzling pace of private development in Afghanistan, and how foreigners find that their expectations of violence and danger are overblown...

...Noor Delawari, director of Afghanistan's central bank, acknowledged the regulatory confusion but said the economy was booming in spite of it, expanding at a projected 14 percent this year, up from 10.6 percent in 2004. Much of the expansion is being fueled by construction as the country rebuilds after nearly three decades of war.

Aside from the improving security picture, it is the bustle that is feeding the upbeat attitude of foreign business executives. Ms. Sheffield said that it was once possible to show visitors devastation from the wars. "Not any more," she said. "It's disappearing fast."...

So where did the Times put this article? On page C-11!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:37 PM

Awesome technology

Take a look at this book scanning machine. I knew that Google and Amazon and others were scanning books, but I never had any notion how they did it. Coolies? Magic? This is better.

Found on this interesting post at Long Tail, about the long tail of books...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:34 PM

Roll out the barrel....

From an article by Sen. John Cornyn:

The headline of a Roll Call article on Tuesday — "Democratic Agenda Off for 2005 — wasn’t exactly breaking news to anyone who has paid attention to Congress over the past few years. Though Democrats continue an organized campaign to find something — anything — to justify their anger at the president, they have yet to develop a campaign for anything.

The article quoted a Democrat who said: “This fall is not the time for Democrats to roll out a positive agenda.”...

I understand. Timing, you know. It's just not exactly precisely the right strategic moment--this fall--to ROLL OUT the positive agenda. But they've got one, oh yes. Obviously they do, or how could they say that it's not the right time to ROLL IT OUT?

But when they do, when they ROLL HER OUT, by golly, it's going to be a crackerjack. They've had a long time to work on it, to tune it and tweek it, so you just know it's going to be, like, um, positive! Very very positive!

In fact it's been a very very long time, so I'm sure the result will be dazzling. It's been since...hmmm, it was right on the tip of my tongue. Anybody remember when the last time was that the Dems ROLLED OUT the old positive agenda?

Posted by John Weidner at 7:15 PM

another reporter, another story...

Very interesting, Patrick Belton of Oxblog reports from les banlieus.

...Most residents of the cités where I spent the day behaved in a way that's quite familiar from housing projects across the world; they queued to pick up their playing children from school, they dropped off teenagers by car in the late evening, and a handful of them engaged in the time-honoured pursuit of sitting about outside with a cigarette or two trying their best to look ominous. Talk to them, and to admit selection bias I haven't yet caught up with anyone with a sledgehammer, and they express intense fury at the rioters, who they feel will quite neatly worsen the lot of the banlieu residents and people of north African descent, playing perfectly into the worst suspicions held about them and mitigating any chance for improving their lot...

How does that fit in with everything else we've been hearing? With the other reporters who have visited the same areas, and wished they were back in safe Beruit or Baghdad? Beats me.

One thought; it doesn't take many guys to torch a thousand cars, if they are moving fast on motorcycles and have the technique down. So flames rising everywhere it may look like, but doesn't necessarily mean a mass uprising. And if we don't see any police wading into the riots and cracking heads, it may be that riot is the wrong word here.

Which may explain the curious (to an American) lack of looting, and, it must be said, deaths. And the seeming lack of response by the French government, which might be due to the lack of anything very tangible to respond to. It may be that these "riots" do not quite fit any of our existing categories.

Who knows, maybe France will surprise us, and respond with fresh thinking and real reforms, and not like the neo-Stalinist slow-motion-train-wreck that it seems to be. Now that would make my day! Or decade.

* Update: Dave Trowbridge sends me a link to a similar story...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:08 AM

November 8, 2005

Totally awesome...

Totally Wow! Take a look at this scale representation of our Solar System, with each pixel equalling ~1,000 km! A fubsy little planet like Earth is just lost in the vastness. You can hardly find it unless you use the cheats...

(Thanks to wohba, via Dean)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:29 PM

Sweeter fact, Awesome

You should check out the Rumsfeld interview with Spiegal. It's all worth reading, but this bit is priceless...

SPIEGEL: ...and nuclear ambitions...

Rumsfeld: That's apparently what France, Germany, the UK and the International Atomic Energy Agency have concluded. Everyone wants to have the Iranians as part of the world community, but they aren't yet. Therefore there's less predictability and more danger.

The US is trying to make the case in the United Nations Security Council.

Rumsfeld: I would not say that. I thought France, Germany and the UK were working on that problem.

SPIEGEL: What kind of sanctions are we talking about?

Rumsfeld: I'm not talking about sanctions. I thought you, and the U.K. and France were.

SPIEGEL: You aren't?

Rumsfeld: I'm not talking about sanctions. You've got the lead. Well, lead!

SPIEGEL: You mean the Europeans.

Rumsfeld: Sure. My Goodness, Iran is your neighbour. We don't have to do everything!.
(Thanks to
David's medienkritik)..

"You've got the lead. Well, lead!" Can you just imagine how many German "leaders" choked on their kaffekuchen when they read that one? Ha ha ha. How I admire the man. What fun.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:52 PM

Even more sweet...

From The American Spectator

BREAKING NEWS: Formal Leak Investigation - Tuesday, November 08, 2005 @ 11:25:25 AM
Look for a formal announcement from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert within the next couple of hours on a joint House and Senate Intelligence investigation into leaks to the media and special interest groups related to the CIA imprisonment of al Qaeda terrorists overseas. (Thanks to
Hugh Hewitt)

All the frauds and hypocrites of the press acted "shocked, shocked!" at the supposed outing of a CIA covert agent...but those guys routinely publish leaked classified info from their CIA pals, as part of their joint war against our elected government and the War on Terror.

Finally, finally, the good guys are starting to push back. I just hope they are serious. I hope that a bunch of reporters and publishers and CIA apparatchiks are going to be in very hot water. This is a front in the War, and those guys are on the other side...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:04 PM


(From Luciferous, via Orrin Judd)

Buffett Cuts Forex Loss After $1.2b Hit

Inexplicable. He researched carefully. All the best people agreed with him that the Bushitler deficits are going to sink America, and the EU will be a mighty engine of growth....
Why does that fascist blogger fellow keep grinning and cackling like that??

Posted by John Weidner at 5:23 PM

Repressed knowledge

Bill Quick:

In case you'd like a glimpse of what the mainstream media's future looks like, the blogosphere has done a far better job of reporting on the French riots than the collective gazillionaire weight of the MSM.

There's a reason for this, of course. Most of those reporting and editing for the MSM have a visceral feeling of support for the Eurosocialist project, and hate to report any news that puts the entire liberal-left program there in a bad light.

I feel tons of schadenfreude right now, but not for the poor French. It's for all those people who have told me, over the course of my whole life, that stylish Europeans do everything so much better than us coarse crude greedy bumbling Americans. And how getting rid of religion, patriotism, individualism, unmanaged capitalism, and old-fashioned-morality was going to bring paradise...

Actually the French problems are just a somewhat-harder-to-ignore version of messages we've been getting for the last 40 years or so. But a large number of us have repressed the knowledge. I suspect that that's a large part of why left-leaners are acting so crazy these days. The psychological toll of holding their world-view together by repressing almost everything happening in the world must be terrible.

There seems to be a fad in popular psychology right now to discover "repressed memories." It seems kind of iffy to me, living as I am in a city where at least 80% of the population is desperately trying to repress at least 80% of what is happening all around them. They cling to NPR and the NYT, drink blix, and pretend that nothing has changed...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:04 AM

November 7, 2005

atavistic hatred. insults and degradations...

Peter Burnett writes:

...Perhaps it is best not to get too hung up on words like multiculturalism and assimilation and focus instead on the hard daily realities of the immigrant experience. The world's three most successful immigrant societies–The United States, Australia and Canada-- preach different ideals but arrive pretty much at the same place in the end. Americans hold fast to the ideal of the melting pot and unquestioned fidelity to the constitution, yet are extremely tolerant and even encouraging of cultural and religious retention. For decades, Canada and Australia have pursued official multiculturalist policies that read right from the tranzi playbook, yet there is little separation of cultures and communities beyond the first generation. Both invest huge resources in what is really assimilation by another name and, when tempted by a wacky or even dangerous political correctness, are often set right by their immigrants themselves.

In Europe, not even the rigorous enforcement of a sterile and uncompromising anti-cultural secularism based upon abstract notions of universal brotherhood and equality has tempered their atavistic hatred and distancing of the other. Behind all the officialese lie thousands of daily insults and degradations that would make even the most nativist North American squirm. Recently in Greece, Albanian immigrants were (officially) denied tickets to a Greece-Albania soccer match for “security reasons”. In France and Belgium, African immigrants are often spoken to publically like wayward servants and nobody protests. A fourth generation Turkish-German is still a Turk and who can imagine a modern American presidential election being fought over the menace to the nation posed by Polish plumbers?....

The United States, Australia and Canada...the Anglosphere again. And contrast French problems with this story: fears across Europe that low-cost workers would steal jobs, multicultural Britain has absorbed these workers with hardly a ripple. Unemployment is still low at 4.7 percent, and economic growth continues apace. Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians and other Easterners are arriving at an average rate of 16,000 a month, a result of Britain's decision to allow unlimited access to the citizens of the eight East European countries that joined the European Union last year.

Since May 2004, more than 230,000 East Europeans have registered to work in Britain, many more than the government expected. Still, the government says it has shortages of 600,000 workers in fields like nursing and construction.

"They are coming in and making a very good reputation as highly skilled, highly motivated workers," said Christopher Thompson, a diplomat at the British Embassy in Warsaw. "The U.K. is pleased with the way it's progressed over the first 16 months, and we're confident it will be a beneficial relationship for both sides in the future."

Tens of thousands of East Europeans have also moved to Ireland and Sweden, the only other West European countries that opened their labor markets to the new European Union members.

With nearly full employment, Ireland's booming economy still needs workers, and immigration is encouraged. More than 128,000 East Europeans from the new European Union member states registered to work in Ireland from May 2004 to August 2005....
There may be hope for the British Isles...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:54 AM

Will the lies live on?

Via Matthew Hoy, an interesting story on the press and the Massey affair, Why did the press swallow Massey's stories?...

Media outlets throughout the world have reported Jimmy Massey's claims of war crimes, frequently without ever seeking to verify them.

For instance, no one ever called any of the five journalists who were embedded with Massey's battalion to ask him or her about his claims.

The Associated Press, which serves more than 8,500 newspaper, radio and television stations worldwide, wrote three stories about Massey, including an interview with him in October about his new book.

But none of the AP reporters ever called Ravi Nessman, an Associated Press reporter who was embedded with Massey's unit. Nessman wrote more than 30 stories about the unit from the beginning of the war until April 15, after Baghdad had fallen.

Jack Stokes, a spokesman for the AP, said he didn't know why the reporters didn't talk to Nessman, nor could he explain why the AP ran stories without seeking a response from the Marine Corps. The organization also refused to allow Nessman to be interviewed for this story....

Some of the news media have issued corrections, some haven't. Why the original failures? Well, do you ever notice the press making mistakes that FAVOR Bush or Republicans?

What I wonder (without being willing to go into the swamps to find out) is whether the lefty/anti-war/pacifist bloggers are issuing corrections? Or whether the lies will live on and on and on?

Posted by John Weidner at 7:37 AM

November 6, 2005

The future is a come-as-you-are party...

Required reading on the French situation should be this piece by Theodore Dalrymple, from 2002, The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris. (Thanks to Betsy N for reminding me.) I remember vividly reading it back then, and being appalled.

I especially remember his description of the hoodlums openly breaking into a parking meter on a crowded street, and how only some old people told them to stop. And that is a very important detail.

If you were in Paris 20 years ago, those old people would then have been among the strong middle-aged people who were running things, who were in charge. Their values would seem to be the settled norm. And if some evil "social conservative" or "Christian fundamentalist" had tried to point out danger signs, little things that could mean big trouble in the future, you would have laughed at them, and said, "Look around. Things haven't changed much. France is like it always was."

But time's river relentlessly carries whole generations off into old age and death. And floats new ones into positions of responsibility, ready or not. And if they are not ready, it is too late to learn from their elders, who are now too weak to guide anyone effectively.

When I was a boy, the grey-haired leaders of our land were of the generation which had fought in WWI. And the handsome young men in their 30's, who were raising youngsters and moving into what you might call "middle-management," were the men who had fought in WWII. How strong and capable they seemed to me, how confident, and yet still young and capable of doing crazy fun things. It scares the bejeezus out of me now to think that they are mostly retired, they are walking with canes, and we are reading stories about the last few survivors of some long-ago WWII battle or unit.

Time moves too fast. When you are young it seems slow, but let me tell you, it isn't so. Back when I was holding my young children so effortlessly in the crook of my arm, or maybe one on each hip and a few packages besides, older people would come up to me and say, "Enjoy this while you can, it will be over so soon." And I'd already seen enough of life to suspect they were right, but with three kids there was no time for introspection. And they were right, and now I'm saying the same thing to other people. It's shocking how fast it happened. And the point is, I'm really just now getting my thoughts in order, getting my philosophy clarified, but it's too late already to teach my kids much. I can only hope they have acquired from their parents a predilection for sensible things, and will gravitate towards them in their lives.

We are hurtling down that river into the future at a frightful pace, and the voyage is (As James Bennett has put it), a come-as-you-are party. For anyone or any nation caught, in a spiritual sense, with no clothes on, it's not going to be a fun event. There is not now, nor will be, time to invent new philosophies to cope with all the new problems that we are going to be colliding with, like rocks in the river. Any remnants we have of older values, hard-won wisdom, and national character will likely turn out to be more valuable than petroleum or Uranium or all the nano-tech gadgets we may devise.

And conservatives are not old-fashioned spoil-sports trying to stop the party. They are the true futurists, and the things conserved are tools we will need as we are flung into bewildering, even terrifying events-to-come.

Roger Scruton wrote:
...Put bluntly, conservatism is not about profit but about loss: it survives and flourishes because people are in the habit of mourning their losses, and resolving to safeguard against them.

This does not mean that conservatives are pessimists. In America, they are the only true optimists, since they are the only ones with a clear vision of the future and a clear determination to bring that future into being.

For the conservative temperament the future is the past. Hence, like the past, it is knowable and lovable. It follows that by studying the past of America -- its traditions of enterprise, risk-taking, fortitude, piety and responsible citizenship -- you can derive the best case for its future: a future in which the national loyalty will endure, holding things together, and providing all of us, liberals included, with our required sources of hope...
Lovable. That's the key word, the one to remember in the difficult exciting times to come.

[NOTE: The Roger Scruton link leads to a subscription-only page, but I have the whole piece if anyone is interested]
Posted by John Weidner at 3:50 PM

Along with the previous...

Here's another bit from the same Mark Steyn piece I mentioned yesterday, Wake up, Europe, you've a war on your hands..

....A few years back I was criticized for a throwaway observation to the effect that ''I find it easier to be optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than, say, Holland or Denmark." But this is why. In defiance of traditional immigration patterns, these young men [the rioters in France and Denmark] are less assimilated than their grandparents. French cynics like the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, have spent the last two years scoffing at the Bush Doctrine: Why, everyone knows Islam and democracy are incompatible. If so, that's less a problem for Iraq or Afghanistan than for France and Belgium....

What we are actually seeing in Iraq or Afghanistan is that democracy is compatible with any culture that is willing to pay the price. And the price is the willingness to fight for freedom. Those pictures of grinning people with purple fingers were pictures of people, millions of people, who have risked death for democracy, for the chance to vote. The exhilaration one must feel, having faced death, and lived...We can't even imagine.

I think that if we were going to devise a way to make democracy take firm root in Iraq or Afghanistan, the best thing we could have done would have been to invent the insurgencies, supposing they didn't exist. I don't agree with those who claim that the Iraqi insurgency was the result of American mistakes, but if it was we accidentally gave Iraqi democracy the best launch it could have. And Iraq's future is more worth feeling optimistic about than those of Holland or Denmark precisely because Iraqis are shedding blood for the privilege of voting, while Holland or Denmark had it handed to them gratis by the Allied armies in 1945.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:47 PM

Hit the Jews first, pt. 2

As I think about recent the growth of anti-semitism among left-leaning people of Europe and America (a growth documented by bloggers, and almost totally ignored by the Gasping Media) it occurs to me that it is a kind of pre-emptive surrender.

I think people know, mostly unconsciously, that attacks on Jews are testing our willingness to defend our principles and our civilization. We promised, remember? After WWII we said "never again." Now we are being asked to keep our promise. We are being asked to fight for our beliefs. And leftish types are busily signaling, with all available code-words (and code head-gear) that they won't fight "for King and Country."

And we humans always resent those we have injured. That's a basic fact of human psychology. I suspect that much of the anti-semitism we see is based on our resentment of those we are planning to betray. We have already seen it in various instances in Europe, where attacks on Jews have been followed by advice to the Jewish community to be less provocative! To not wear kippahs, to not look different. (In other words, you're on your own. we won't defend you.) One can feel the resentment, the wish that the irritation would just go away.

If you don't get what I'm saying, compare the atmosphere today with the famous story from occupied Denmark during WWII, of the King putting on a Star of David when the Jews were ordered to wear them. (The story is actually a myth, but also a symbol of the Danish resistance to the War Against The Jews, a resistance that is not a myth).

And the psychology is the same on the level of nations. When Arab or Muslim leaders openly call for the destruction of Israel, the response of many Western nations is to demand that Israel be less provocative. Make concessions, yield to "just demands." These nations know in their hearts that they are betraying a humane, tolerant and democratic state to fascists and murderers, and the the result is hatred of the victim. Hatred of Israel. Hatred of Jews,and claims that they are the cause of all our problems.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:06 PM

Hit the Jews first

The insurrection continues to grow in France. Everything us evil fascist conservatives predicted seems to be happening. One of the predictors has been Mark Steyn, who has another good piece: Wake up, Europe, you've a war on your hands,...

...For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle...(my emphasis).

Jews are always the first target. They are attacked to test the defenses.

And we have exactly the same tendencies here, though I don't think we will let them get too far. You can see it at any "anti-war" demonstration. There is always lots of stuff about Palestinians, and many people wearing kaffiyas. Don't be fooled into thinking those people actually give a damn about Palestinians; whenever Arab countries mistreat Palestinians nobody makes a peep. The fake "pro-Palestinian" pose is just a cute way to express anti-semitism.

And both in France and here, as usual, Jews try to pretend it's not happening. American Jews continue to vote Democrat, even as the party falls more and more into the hands of the sort of people who think secret conspiracies of Jews neocons are running the country for the benefit of Ariel Sharon. The kind of people who would NOT be stalwart in defending Jews.

Imagine that "youths" of a certain unmentioned ethnicity start testing our defenses, maybe by defacing Jewish cemeteries, or breaking the windows of kosher butchers. (Or spreading lies about Palestinian baby's blood being used to make matzos, as happened a few years ago at SF State Univ.) Can't you just picture a President Kerry or a President Gore going all multi-culti, and saying that we have to understand their grievances? That we have to fight the "white racism" that is the cause of their discontent? Can't you see them pressuring Israel to make concessions in the "peace process," in order to address the cause of Arab unrest? I sure can.

Fortunately, America seems to generate more antibodies to fight these kinds of things than other countries. There are many fascinating reasons for this. One of them is that we are not centralized. Elites in New York or Washington DC can not impose their ideas on the rest of the country, and new ideas and movements are constantly bubbling up in unlikely places. This means we are not brittle, like France. The French government is now paralyzed, much like we were in the Carter years. But no Reagan, no conservative movement will take root and grow in the provinces of France, which, by tradition have little freedom and are given little responsibility...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:13 AM

November 5, 2005

asking for trouble...

John Derbyshire posts in The Corner:

An acquaintance of mine -- French, currently resident in North Africa -- sent a long post about the French riots to an email group I belong to. It is a fascinating post, but much too long to paste here. I did think, though, that the following passage would interest NRO readers, so with his permission, I pass it on.

It is from a passage headed: "Why an Intifada in France?" It is among a long list of reasons given as answers to the question.
"The Iraq war: as I had noticed very strongly in Tunisia a little more than 2 years ago, the opposition of France to intervention in Iraq has been perceived as a sign of weakness, and French are since considered as Dhimmis. The change of attitude from Arabs against French has been dramatic: now I know problems of security in Tunisia, and even in the French planes to go and come from there, and in Nice (French Riviera) Airport! This opposition, probably motivated by the money earned in Oil For Terror program and by threats from Saudi Arabia and Iran, has marked the end of France as a Western country (whatever one thinks about the Iraq war per se!)."...
This makes a lot of sense. Muggers don't attack those they think are strong, and are likely to fight back. They go for whoever communicates, with subtle signs, with body language, that they are weak, that they will flinch. (This is something that's been researched, see below) Same with mass-shootings; you never hear of some postal type walking into a police station and opening fire.

Terrorists and Islamo-fascists are the same as muggers. They attack those who communicate weakness. Osama openly said that he thought America didn't have the stomach for a fight, because we ran away from trouble in Somalia and Beruit and the Iran hostage crisis and Vietnam. Pacifism causes wars. Reluctance to fight gets you into fights. Now they've learned better, thanks to President Bush, and trouble is going to be striking elsewhere than America. I think there hasn't been another 9/11, not because it is impossible, but because the first one didn't yield the expected results. (And yes, I know we are still being attacked in Iraq. But that's the strategic genius of the Iraq Campaign; we have forced them to attack us where we are strong, by invading the Arab heartland. That's our game plan, not theirs.)

France has been sucking up to Islamic evil (Arafat, Saddam) for decades, and openly hoping it would keep them out of trouble. They think betraying their allies and their own civilization is going to make Muslims like them. Leave them alone. Ha. The exact opposite is true.

About the muggers. I once read a fascinating article about a research project in which they showed films of people walking on urban streets, to both muggers (in prison) and to experienced beat cops. And both groups picked out the same people, and said they were the ones who would most likely be mugged, though they could not articulate how they knew. The researchers found that it was the way the people walked. They all had an odd stride where the heel brushed the ground as each foot was moving forward.

And the funny thing was, at the time I read the article I knew somebody who walked like that. And he got knocked down and had his jacket taken in broad daylight near Market Street! And since then I have a few times seen other people who walk the same way, and they are always somehow lacking in confidence and self-possession. I've even noticed in myself a certain urge to bully them...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:31 PM

If true, why didn't he speak up two years ago?????

WorldNetDaily: A retired Army general says the man at the center of the CIA leak controversy, Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, revealed wife Valerie Plame's identity in a casual conversation more than a year before she allegedly was "outed" by the White House through a columnist.

Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely told WorldNetDaily that Wilson mentioned Plame's status as a CIA operative in at least three, possibly five, separate conversations in 2002 in the Fox News Channel's "green room" in Washington, D.C., as they waited to appear on air as analysts...(Thanks to

I hope this guy gets presented with a bill for the entire cost of the Fitzgerald investigation.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:15 PM

Wrong lessons taught.

Since you are blog readers, and not dependent on the Gasping Media, you probably already know that there is now also rioting in Denmark. Not surprising.

There are various pathologies colliding in the Muslim ghettos of Europe. One of them that's on much my mind right now, is the "liberal" idea that enforcing law and order is something that harms minorities and the poor. In fact, the opposite is true. It is the poor who are most vulnerable to crime and to all forms of terrorism, and who need order enforced in their communities if they are to have any hope of escaping poverty.

We have the same pernicious idea here, though nothing near as extreme. One example is the way rioters in black communities have often been allowed to run amok, while liberals in authority wring their hands and ooze white-guilt from their pores. The result is the blighting of the black community, the destruction of black-owned businesses and homes...and many lives lost. Many more than would have been lost if the police had aborted the riot by shooting the first rioters to appear. (NOTE: This is not something to be done in a spirit of punishment or even cost-benefit analysis. It is a mercy. Christian charity requires fighting against evil. I quoted something applicable in earlier in this post)

And even worse than the lives lost is the evil spiritual lesson conveyed, perhaps to millions of people. The lesson that hard work and honesty and sobriety are not valued by the state. The lesson that arson and robbery and rape will be winked at by the authorities if you wrap yourself in victim-rags, and mug for the TV cameras. The lesson that "liberal" authorities consider blacks to be children, incapable of living up to the standards they would expect from other races. These are lessons that will continue to kill people and destroy lives far into the future. When you hear of gang shootings today, remember that these stem in a large part from many bad lessons taught long ago, such as the lesson that looting and arson are no big deal.

And there is another point on this topic. The truth is that a timely violence can often prevent other riots or crimes in the future. And the lack of it can cause future riots. (A fact which the simpletons who claim to be pacifists deliberately ignore.) Suppose that in the first hour of the long-ago Watts Riots, the police had gunned-down rioters ruthlessly. The lives lost would have been less than the toll from letting the riots rage. But more important, future riots could likely have been stopped by the mere threat of force. Stopped without violence, as long as the police and the government kept the credibility they had won by one threat carried through with instant deadly force.

(Of course the same thing applies in the realm of nations. If we had ruthlessly applied our power a couple of decades ago, the WoT could have been aborted by the killing of a few hundred people. In the same way, the Bush Administration, by refusing to flinch in the face of terrorist attacks, is preventing future wars, wars that would probably be far worse. When you see a "pacifist" or an 'antiwar" activist, you are seeing a murderer, and in the aggregate they are killers far worse than Pol Pot or Stalin. The real man of peace in our time is George W Bush.)

When you read about the Muslim Banlieu, you always read that the police don't patrol there. This is a staggering dereliction of duty. When an advanced country accepts immigrants from a more primitive land, it has a duty to bring them into its culture and see that they do not go astray. It is in loco parentis.

America is much better at this than most places, but we are worse than we used to be. Our schools used to thoroughly propagandize children on patriotism and free enterprise and the American dream and the triumphs and sacrifices of our ancestors. These are the lessons immigrants need to be taught clearly and unambiguously (they can learn the subtleties later). Much of that has been destroyed by the "liberals" who run our schools, and who want people to be weak and atomized, to make them easy victims of state control. Liberalism kills!

(By the way, meeting Muslim rioters with appeasement is not unknown in this country. See here and here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:01 PM

November 4, 2005

A real man of peace...

You might want to read Kerry Dupont's article in NRO, Hero of the People: Meet Iraqi’s Mithal al-Alusi. Al-Alusi has been savagely attacked (his two sons were recently killed in an attack aimed at him) for his trip to Israel, for his call for peace between all nations of the Middle East, and for his refusal to have any dealings with former members of the Ba'ath Party...

...As for the advocates of religious intolerance willing to kill the [Iraqi] identity, or those who now imagine they might establish a [new] state in Iraq, be it religious or non-religious, I tell them, "Brothers, verily you have made a grave mistake." I tell them, "There can be no state in Iraq except for one founded on institutions and law. . . . I will continue to call for peace — even [for peace] with Israel. And may all the world hear that there will be no war if the Palestinians, Syrians, Egyptians, and Jordanians do not want war. I am not prepared to allow Iraqis to be turned into kindling for the flames of terrorists and ghosts of death....

He's a very different sort from our own worthless "peaceniks," who invariably align their campaigns to whatever the Left desires, and for whom "peace" means appeasement to terrorists, and eternal bondage for the oppressed. And you won't read about him in the Old Media, because he's a friend to America, Britain and the other coalition nations.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:07 PM

Train-wreck happening...

Hugh Hewitt has an great interview with Mark Steyn, mostly on the rioting in Paris...

...HH: Mark Steyn, how do you account for the indifference or ignorance of the mainstream media in America?

MS: Well, I think this is now basically becoming a willful effort at misleading. It's not just the United States. Other countries, too, are reporting this as their youths, or their French youth. And it isn't until you get thirteen paragraphs into the story, and they're quoting one of these youths, and you realize he's called Mohammed, that it occurs to you that there might be an ethno-cultural religious component to this situation. And this is absolutely grotesque, because the one...I'm sometimes accused of being terribly pessimistic when I speak in North America. And I always tell Americans and Canadians, that the one great advantage people have, you know, everything may...there may be a lot of bad news in the world, but the one advantage North Americans have, is that Europe is ahead of you in the line. And you have to learn what's happening....

There is an obvious effort to mislead. (see also this post, by Dafyyd.) Why? Think of these groups:

Mainstream media
Democrat Party
"Blue State" America
European governing elites
"Anti-war" activists
Almost all academics, "artists," and intellectuals.

They all share a common ideology, though one that's so inchoate that it 's hard to define clearly. But it is congruent with terms like multiculturalism, secular rationalism, pluralism, open society... And "Old Europe" is the laboratory where those ideas have been most thoroughly put into practice. And the Old Media is burying this story, and a thousand other stories, because they dare not admit, especially to themselves, how utterly their policies have failed.

Conservatives have been arguing for decades that those ideas are disastrous folly, and will lead the societies that practice them over a cliff. And one of the predicted flash-points is the unassimilated Muslim populations in Europe. They are a danger point because several of Europe's pathologies combine in affecting one group.

By choosing security and stability over the changes that free enterprise and globalization bring, Western European states have created an economic stagnation that means that most of those Muslim immigrants don't have jobs or a future, or any economic stake in society.

And by destroying Christianity and Judaism, and losing faith in their own civilization, they have created a terrible moral vacuum in which Islamic pathologies can grow. The bitter irony ofthe endless assaults we see on Christianity and Christmas, and those shit-stupid complaints that "Christian fundamentalism is the great danger to us," is that these assaults are destroying Muslims first of all.

Quoting Mark Steyn again:

....They're [the Parisian suburbs where Muslim immigrants live] miserable places. But what was interesting to me is that after that, I then flew on to the Middle East, and I was in Yemen, and a couple of other places. And what was interesting to me was that I found more menace in the suburbs of Paris than I did in some pretty scary places in the Middle East. I mean, there is a real...this, I think, is the start of a long Eurabian civil war we're witnessing here...

It is, I think, a war we are seeing. And in war, the most important thing is not having numbers, or the best weapons, it is believing in your cause and being willing to fight for it. I predict that the war will not go well for traditional Europe.

War will happen exactly because they don't want to fight. They have embraced the evil doctrine of pacifism, and the result, as always, will be war. Bloody war.

Let make some predictions, so as to "put my money where my mouth is." (Any "pacifists" and leftiests out there care to make a counter-prediction. I predict that the future of Iraq and Afghanistan, and other countries where we are pushing the ideas of freedom and democracy with armed force and diplomatic pressure, will be increasingly prosperous and democratic. And the future of Old Europe, and of all the places where "war never solved anything" is an accepted idea, will be exactly the opposite.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:25 AM

November 3, 2005

Big Brother watches, lest Jim Crow return...

When it comes to Civil Rights Movement, America is like one of those "revolutionary" countries that celebrates incessantly the deeds of the revolutionary heroes (now long gone) while crushing anyone in the present who rebels in the slightest way.

From the Washington Times:

...Black Democratic leaders in Maryland say that racially tinged attacks against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in his bid for the U.S. Senate are fair because he is a conservative Republican.

Such attacks against the first black man to win a statewide election in Maryland include pelting him with Oreo cookies during a campaign appearance, calling him an "Uncle Tom" and depicting him as a black-faced minstrel on a liberal Web log...(Thanks to

The "Revolution" has spawned a vast nomenklatura ensconced in comfy positions, who drape themselves in the mantle of The Struggle, and wage endless war against The Old Regime, which is always about to return, unless the people are drilled and propagandized repeatedly. My daughter once said, "At my school, Black History Month comes four times a year."

Here the Old Regime is "racism," which is claimed to permeate the national psyche so indelibly that it can never be removed, but only struggled against forever by the thought-police. And any suggestion that ceaseless revolutionary struggle is no longer necessary is evidence that one is...racist!

Civil rights, as used in current Democrat Party parlance, has NOTHING to do with civil rights. It's more like a franchise they think they own, which entitles them to an income stream. If you bought a Burger King franchise, and somebody opened Burger King Deluxe across the street, you'd fight them with any weapon you could find. Mr Steele is being attacked just like Condi Rice or Clarence Thomas have been, for threatening the credibility of the leadership of the Permanent Revolution.

The real civil rights battle right now is over inner-city public schools, which crush the hopes of poor and minority children. And in this battle the Democrat Party is Jim Crow.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:17 AM

November 2, 2005

A wee quote

From Best of the Web:

Democrats love to mock the Republican base for believing the Bible is true. Democratic basemen believe "Fahrenheit 9/11" is true!...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:43 PM

November 1, 2005

Old friend gone....

Kathy Kinsley notes sadly the passing of Momma Bear. Back in the misty past--does anyone now remember 2001, 2002?--Momma Bear used to e-mail comments to me, and send tit-bits from the news that she thought I would find provocative.

I remember when I wrote a post on throwing things as self-defense (which was excellent advice, though no one paid much attention), she would send me news items about grocers driving off robbers by pelting them with canned goods...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:22 PM