December 30, 2005
Pacifism Kills, part 42
Christopher Hitchins is scathing in this piece on Darfur. The genocide is effectively over---because most of the blacks are dead.
But hey, we did all the things that the "realists" and pacifists and appeasers and "moderates" wanted! Negotiations, sanctions, diplomacy, multi-lateralism, the UN...and of course, very important: "allow the inspectors more time."
It would have been perfectly feasible for us to intervene...but probably not politically possible, due to the savage and unscrupulous partisan attacks that hinder everything the administration does. Hitch writes:
...Any critique of realism has to begin with a sober assessment of the horrors of peace. Everybody now wishes, or at least says they wish, that we had not made ourselves complicit spectators in Rwanda. But what if it had been decided to take action? Only one member state of the U.N. Security Council would have had the capacity to act with speed to deploy pre-emptive force (and that would have been very necessary, given the weight of the French state, and the French veto, on the side of the genocidaires). It is a certainty that at some stage, American troops would have had to open fire on the "Hutu Power" mobs and militias, actually killing people and very probably getting killed in return. Body bags would have been involved. It is not an absolute certainty that all detained members of those militias would have been treated with unfailing tenderness. It is probable that some of the military contractors would have overcharged, and that some locals would have engaged in profiteering and even in tribal politics....
"The horrors of peace." That puts it perfectly. The leftist/pacifist crowd has enabled yet another genocide. Another Rawanda. They get to carve another notch on their pistols. Funny how it's always somebody else who does the suffering and dying so peaceniks get to feel morally superior and get to have clean consciences untouched by the evils of war.
The Bush and Blair administrations were clearly interested, and if encouraged would probably have intervened. I think Bush should have just gone ahead and done it. If he had made the case forcefully to the American people, they would have supported him. And he should have kicked the Democrat-murderers and pacifist-murderers in the teeth, and told them to do their worst.
(Thanks to Mary Madigan, who has lots more worth reading.)
Makes my day...
Here's a snarky little piece that tries to make news out of the fact that Bush's core staff is very loyal and has almost no turnover.
I amuse myself by imagining the descriptive terminology that would be used if Bill Clinton had had similar subordinates...loyalty, modesty. selflessness, duty, collegiality, harmony, good management, band-of-brothers, sticking to one's post....I bet we'd hear them all.
Since it's Bush, the terms used are things like out-of-touch, group-think, "surrounded by people who agree with him..."
And of course: "...inside a bubble that isolates him from smart dissent, healthy competition, fresh ideas and bad news."
At least the news is good news....
The WaPo continues its attack on our country, with more anonymous sources leaking what is surely classified information. Lafayette Baker, where are you when we need you!!! At least the news is good news, with the administration so far refusing to truckle to the leftists...
Covert CIA Program Withstands New Furor
Anti-Terror Effort Continues to Grow, By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, December 30, 2005; Page A01
The effort President Bush authorized shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, to fight al Qaeda has grown into the largest CIA covert action program since the height of the Cold War, expanding in size and ambition despite a growing outcry at home and abroad over its clandestine tactics, according to former and current intelligence officials and congressional and administration sources.
The broad-based effort, known within the agency by the initials GST, is compartmentalized into dozens of highly classified individual programs, details of which are known mainly to those directly involved....
It's a WAR we are in, for Pete's sake, and if the enemy won't come out of the shadows and fight, obviously we have to go in after him....
..."The executive branch will not pull back unless it has to," said a former Justice Department lawyer involved in the initial discussions on executive power. "Because if it pulls back unilaterally and another attack occurs, it will get blamed."...
That's right. I would have some sympathy with those, including the WaPo, who are attacking the administration if they said, "Let the blame for any future attacks be upon us." But no, if we are attacked the filthy hypocrites will snivel, "BUSH promised to protect us!"
...Refining what constitutes an assassination was just one of many legal interpretations made by Bush administration lawyers. Time and again, the administration asked government lawyers to draw up new rules and reinterpret old ones to approve activities once banned or discouraged under the congressional reforms beginning in the 1970s, according to these officials and seven lawyers who once worked on these matters....
1970's. There's the kicker. The Decade God Forgot. Think back, brothers and sisters. Think back to hordes of new Congressmen swept in on the Watergate tide. (There was even one 26 year-old Congressman still living with his mother.) Think back to the millions of South Vietnamese being betrayed (after we had won the war and withdrawn our troops) into Communist tyranny, concentration camps, murder and flight. Think back to Jimmy Carter refusing to use force when our citizens were kidnapped by Islamist loons. These were not only America-hating spasms of weakness, they were America-hating acts that led directly to the war we are in now. (And perhaps you think I am flinging epithets like "America-hating" thoughtlessly. Not so. That is exactly how those people think (and I'm "embedded," I know). If you press them on their views, you will always hear a narrative where America blunders across the globe like a thousand-mile-high golem, and our enemies mostly evaporate. They will say "We supported Pinochet," as if that was done out of mere wickedness, and not as an alternative to their guys, like Castro. As an alternative to communist conquest and an impoverished totalitarian police-state.
Those laws of the 1970's were created on the premise that America is evil. And unfortunately, those same people are still around, and still hold that view. And they lie and dissemble ceaselessly, and say, "Of course we support the troops." Or "How dare you question my patriotism." Or "We're not socialists liberals, we're 'Progressives.'" Or "We're just trying to protect our civil liberties." Blah blah blah. All lies.
Oh, and one more thing. The same people who think America is evil going back at least to Cain, ALSO, whenever America (with a Republican in the WH) actually tries to DO something, will claim that the innocent and idealistic country they used to know is NOW being corrupted and transformed...
December 29, 2005
Protest at White House--not news
This protest is apparently not getting any notice, except this Dec. 22 piece in FoxNews...
WHITE HOUSE — It's almost Christmas, and U.S. Navy chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt is on a hunger strike that includes nightly prayers outside the White House.
Lieutenant Klingenschmitt, an Evangelical Episcopal priest, says he won't eat until President Bush signs an executive order allowing military chaplains to pray according to their beliefs.
Klingenschmitt, who began his fast on Tuesday, says Navy admirals have told him that he can't pray publicly in Jesus' name unless he's wearing civilian clothes. He's continuing to pray as the Bible says Jesus instructed, but not in uniform.
More than 70 members of Congress and 170,000 petitioners also are calling on President Bush to let chaplains pray according to their faith instead of being limited to generic invocations.
This is the sort of stupid shit you get when you let liberals run things. Destroying Christianity is much more important than having an effective military. And I will be willing to bet money that it wasn't believing Jews or Moslems or Buddhists who found the mention of Jesus "offensive." It was leftists. "Tolerant" libs. Multiculturalists. Probably the same crowd who expressed fake shock and outrage when a prisoner at Gitmo claimed his Koran was pissed on...
I also mentioned the insane limitations now put on our military chaplains in this post. I keep being reminded of a Kurt Vonnegut book, where there was a country where Christianity is the official religion, but Protestantism and Catholicism are outlawed...
December 28, 2005
This is pretty silly stuff, but laughing at it is a way to while away a few idle minutes....
Lord of the blogs, by Kathleen Parker (Whose pieces I often enjoy)
...There's something frankly creepy about the explosion we now call the Blogosphere - the big-bang "electroniverse" where recently wired squatters set up new camps each day. As I write, the number of "blogs" (Web logs) and "bloggers"(those who blog) is estimated in the tens of millions worldwide.
And most of them are teenage girls writing for 6 friends.
Although I've been a blog fan since the beginning, and have written favorably about the value added to journalism and public knowledge thanks to the new "citizen journalist," I'm also wary of power untempered by restraint and accountability.
That describes the NYT much more than it does blogs, which are pummeled with comments if they get their facts wrong, and frequently correct stories within minutes...
Say what you will about the so-called mainstream media, but no industry agonizes more about how to improve its product, police its own members and better serve its communities. Newspapers are filled with carpal-tunneled wretches, overworked and underpaid, who suffer near-pathological allegiance to getting it right.
Actually what we see is near-pathological allegiance to getting it LEFT... Here's an example of how hard those wretches work. This ridiculous paragraph is a perfect example of the MSM's reaction to blogs...attacking the critics and heaping puff-praise on themselves.
That a Jayson Blair of The New York Times or a Jack Kelley of USA Today surfaces now and then as a plagiarist or a fabricator ultimately is testament to the high standards tens of thousands of others strive to uphold each day without recognition. Blair and Kelley are infamous, but they're also gone.
Red herring alert. It's not the fabrications of a Jason Blair that bloggers obsess over (actually we mostly felt sorry for Blair, and criticized the NYT newsroom culture that led him to destruction) but the daily bending and selection of facts to fit the Party Line.
Bloggers persist no matter their contributions or quality, though most would have little to occupy their time were the mainstream media to disappear tomorrow. Some bloggers do their own reporting, but most rely on mainstream reporters to do the heavy lifting. Some bloggers also offer superb commentary, but most babble, buzz and blurt like caffeinated adolescents competing for the Ritalin generation's inevitable senior superlative: Most Obsessive-Compulsive.
Red herring alert #2. Few bloggers are CLAIMING to be reporters or to have replaced the MSM. "Most babble, buzz and blurt." So what? For every WaPo or WSJ there are hundreds of trivial and trashy publications babbling and blurting, and no one's claiming that that discredits the reputable ones. It's just Sturgeon's Law at work.
Even so, they hold the same megaphone as the adults and enjoy perceived credibility owing to membership in the larger world of blog grown-ups. These effete and often clever baby "bloggies" are rich in time and toys, but bereft of adult supervision. Spoiled and undisciplined, they have grabbed the mike and seized the stage, a privilege granted not by years in the trenches, but by virtue of a three-pronged plug and the miracle of WiFi.
Nonsense. There's no stage or mike to be "grabbed." Visiting blogs is purely voluntary. The metaphor is a stupid relic of the old media-monopoly days, when a town might have two newspapers and 3 television channels. Back then a few people "had the mike," and others were silenced... (Also I, in blogging my opinions, have had decades "in the trenches" thinking about things.)
They play tag team with hyperlinks ("I'll say you're important if you'll say I'm important) and shriek "Gotcha!" when they catch some weary wage earner in a mistake or oversight. Plenty smart but lacking in wisdom, they possess the power of a forum, but neither the maturity nor humility that years of experience impose.
Oh my heart bleeds for the "weary wage earner." Or it would if those "mistakes" didn't always go in one direction...Actually it's the journalists who tend to lack wisdom, because most of them have never done anything themselves--they just watch from outside, and are often poorly educated in J schools. Whatever the subject, bloggers tend to out-perform journalists in analysis and understanding, because some of them--or their commenters--have actually worked in the field in question.
Each time I wander into blogdom, I'm reminded of the savage children stranded on an island in William Golding's "Lord of the Flies." Without adult supervision, they organize themselves into rival tribes, learn to hunt and kill, and eventually become murderous barbarians in the absence of a civilizing structure. What Golding demonstrated - and what we're witnessing as the Blogosphere's offspring multiply - is that people tend to abuse power when it is unearned and will bring down others to enhance themselves. Likewise, many bloggers seek the destruction of others for their own self-aggrandizement. When a mainstream journalist stumbles, they pile on like so many savages, hoisting his or her head on a bloody stick as Golding's children did the fly-covered head of a butchered sow.
Golding was writing FICTION. He "demonstrated" nothing. In fact, the influential blogs are usually very careful to be accurate, and often ask for and publish replies from those they criticize. They only really "pile on" the mainstream journalist when he refuses to correct mistakes. Which is...ahem...a Rather problem frequent.
Schadenfreude - pleasure in others' misfortunes - has become the new barbarity on an island called Blog. When someone trips, whether Dan Rather or Eason Jordan or Judith Miller, bloggers are the bloodthirsty masses slavering for a public flogging. Incivility is their weapon and humanity their victim.
None of those people "tripped up." They all performed deliberate public actions that could bear criticism. Rather and Jordan created malicious falsehoods (and retractions would have ended most criticism). And no Schadenfreude is so keen, no island so barbarous as the MSM when they think they have a scandal that could hurt the Bush Administration.
I mean no disrespect to the many brilliant people out there - professors, lawyers, doctors, philosophers, scientists and other journalists who also happen to blog. Again, they know who they are. But we should beware and resist the rest of the ego-gratifying rabble who contribute only snark, sass and destruction.
"Professors, lawyers, doctors, philosophers..." Yeah, I get it. People with union cards. They have license to speak. Us in the rabble don't.
We can't silence them, but for civilization's sake - and the integrity of information by which we all live or die - we can and should ignore them.
No we should ignore YOU, who are slandering people without bothering with facts.
D it is...
Here's something you should read, on the importance of keeping up your Vitamin D level to prevent cancer. A daily dose of 1,000 International Units is being recommended. (Of course your body uses sunlight to make Vitamin D, so if you are getting lots of sun you should be OK. Except for getting skin cancer...) Interestingly, I see that the multivitamin I take contains 400 IU, and Charlene's contains 67 IU! Odd.
(Thanks to Orrin)
The pattern of our times...
This is becoming the pattern of our times. That is, finding out, years or decades after the brouhaha, that the "innocent martyrs" being defended by leftists were guilty, and their defenders knew it.
Now we find out that Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty as hell! And their famous lefty defender knew it, when he led the popular crusade to free them. A letter by Upton Sinclair has been discovered, where he says that the defense attorney told him the men were guilty and their alibis were framed by him. Apparently Sinclair felt a bit conflicted about writing a novel in which they were innocent, but decided the "cause" was more important than truth.
The cause is socialism, and the lie is always that the United States (or some other free and democratic country) is a place of cruel injustice. And the lie will live on. Don't expect history textbooks to have little errata slips pasted in, explaining that chapter 12 on the Red Scare of the 1920's is no longer correct. Your children, and probably your grandchildren, will go on learning that America is a place of injustice...
Betsy Newmark writes: ...So, of course he decided to stay silent and let his public and allies all go on thinking that two innocent men had been put to death. Apparently, his position among other like-thinking leftists and his readers was more important.
This isn't the last time that leftist intellectuals have rallied to the cause of someone they feel has been unjustly sentenced by the government. Think of Alger Hiss. Jim Bass is thinking about the Free Mumia movement. And, of course, witness the latest brouhaha over Tookie Williams. The pattern of guilt being secondary to the political outcry and demagoguery continues...
If you've forgotten Alger Hiss, he was the poster-boy for the "injustices" of the 1950's red scare. You know, "McCarthyism." But now we are finding out interesting stuff, as the archives of the Soviet Union become available. And it turns out that Hiss was a spy for Stalin, and was working to impose Stalin's tyranny on the US. And it turns out that a lot of other "innocent victims," such as many of the Hollywood lefties who were black-listed, were guilty as hell.
And we need to keep hammering on this stuff. Not just "refuting" lies, but kicking these people in the face over and over. Cramming the truth down their throats.
Because the sort of leftists who recently rallied to Tookie are liars, and care nothing for truth--or Tookie. (Which you can easily observe from the lack of lefties rallying to another black man on Death Row, one who is arguably the victim of injustice.)
December 27, 2005
"Unconfirmable?" My guess is no...
This Washington Post article on John Yoo is good, but also somewhat silly in it's liberal world-view, which finds it mysterious that leftish criticism has not caused Yoo to shrivel up and die. Welcome to the next generation, turkeys! My generation of conservatives is currently in charge, and we grew up in the world of the "Great Society." We still often have a reflexive cringe, as if we are not sure our positions are legitimate. But Yoo grew up admiring Ronald Reagan. He's a different kind of cat...
....Yoo has alienated so many influential opponents that he is considered unconfirmable for a judgeship or high office, not unlike a certain conservative jurist rejected by the Senate for the Supreme Court.
"Someone said to me that I was the Robert Bork of my generation," he reported the other day.
Yet Yoo, 38, an engaging and outspoken lifelong conservative who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, can be found at seminars and radio microphones, standing up for Bush administration legal arguments that will be studied for decades.
"The worst thing you could do, now that people are critical of your views, is to run and hide. I agree with the work I did. I have an obligation to explain it,"....
Actually, I suspect that if Bork were nominated now (for the first time) he would be confirmed. Bork was "unconfirmable" after a smear campaign that was poorly answered, and with a Democrat majority in the Senate. Them days are gone. Gone and won't be back in my lifetime. I expect to see Yoo on the court sooner or later.
...Yoo traces his convictions in no small part to his parents, and Ronald Reagan. His father and mother are psychiatrists who grew up in Korea during the Japanese occupation and the Korean War. They emigrated in 1967, when Yoo was 3 months old. They sought three things, he said: education, economic opportunity and democracy. They settled in Philadelphia because they admired Eugene Ormandy, then conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra...
December 26, 2005
It's OK to lie if you're saving the Earth...
NewsBusters has a piece I found funny (and pathetic) about the Today Show accompanying a piece on drilling in ANWR with pictures of lovely snow-capped peaks. Trouble is, the area of proposed drilling is an ugly featureless coastal plain. ANWR has 19 million acres, most of which no one is even suggesting be touched.. And the flat coastal area is 1.5 million acres, of which only 2,000 can be disturbed under the current bill!
If the public could actually see ANWR, perhaps from orbit, and then have pointed out to them the tiny boring smidgeon to be drilled in, they would laugh the environmentalist wackos to scorn. Hence the pretty pictures.Update: Here's a map, showing it all to scale. The line called TAPS is the pipeline, which went right across the state without hurting the wildlife.)
It was just harmless garden-variety thiodiglycol...
I bet you don't see this on the TV news...
The TIMES: A DUTCH businessman was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday for helping Saddam Hussein to acquire the chemical weapons that he used to kill thousands of Kurdish civilians in the Iran-Iraq war....
....Prosecutors accused Van Anraat of delivering more than 1,000 tonnes of thiodiglycol. It can be used to make mustard gas, which causes horrific burns to the lungs and eyes and is often fatal.
He was also accused of importing chemicals to make nerve agents. The prosecution said that the lethal cargo was shipped from America via Belgium and Jordan to Iraq. He also imported other shipments from Japan via Italy.
Van Anraat was first arrested in 1989 in Italy on a US warrant. He then fled to Baghdad where he lived for 14 years under an assumed name. After the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 he made his way back to the Netherlands, where he was arrested a year ago....
So Saddam harbored this guy for 14 years. Uh huh. Probably the kind-hearted Iraqi leader was protecting him from persecution by lying Americans with their paranoid fantasies of imaginary chemical weapons...(Thanks to Captain Ed).
Not "contrary to civilized values;" --just the opposite.
...The most misleading line in Stephen Spielberg's Munich comes near the beginning. Israel's prime minister, Golda Meir, tells her cabinet, "Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values." The implication is that Meir was reluctant to hunt down the terrorists responsible for the Munich massacre, and that doing so was contrary to Israeli, and civilized, values.
The truth is just the opposite. Meir understood that Israel's chief obligation is to ensure that Jews will never again be slaughtered with impunity, simply for being Jewish. Holding mass murderers accountable is not a compromise; it is Israel's reason for being....
It is also a moral act. It is our moral duty as civilized people to protect the innocent by fighting terrorists relentlessly. And when Germany released the Black September terrorists two months later, it committed a profoundly immoral act. I'm sure they covered the deed with some sort of pacifist moral-equivalence appeasement bullshit, but in fact their duty, their moral duty, was to execute those terrorists promptly, and to make it utterly clear that there would be no compromise with terrorism, no matter the cost. By not doing so, they became accessories to murder...
(For some even more sickening evil, read on in the review about Avery Brundage, the American President of the IOC at the time of the massacre.)
Meet the future...
From an interesting LAT piece, The future of America -- in Iraq, By Robert D. Kaplan:
IF YOU WANT to meet the future political leaders of the United States, go to Iraq. I am not referring to the generals, or even the colonels. I mean the junior officers and enlistees in their 20s and 30s. In the decades ahead, they will represent something uncommon in U.S. military history: war veterans with practical experience in democratic governance, learned under the most challenging of conditions....
....Throughout Iraq, young Army and Marine captains have become veritable mayors of micro-regions, meeting with local sheiks, setting up waste-removal programs to employ young men, dealing with complaints about cuts in electricity and so on. They have learned to arbitrate tribal politics, to speak articulately and to sit through endless speeches without losing patience...
....Regardless of whether you support or oppose the U.S. engagement in Iraq, you should be aware that that country has had a startling effect on a new generation of soldiers often from troubled backgrounds, whose infantry training has provided no framework for building democracy from scratch.
At a Thanksgiving evangelical service, one NCO told the young crowd to cheers: "The Pilgrims during the first winter in the New World suffered a 54% casualty rate from disease and cold. That's a casualty rate that would render any of our units combat ineffective. But did the Pilgrims sail back to England? Did they give up? No. This country isn't a quitter. It doesn't withdraw." ....
A leftish friend of mine recently said that returning veterans would soon be running for office as Democrats, and transforming the fortunes of the party. I think that's delusional, but let us imagine they do. Let's imagine that thousands of our troops come back from Iraq, and plunge into Democrat politics, and flourish there. Do you think they would be Democrats like the ones we are putting up with now?
No way. The very first thing they would toss on the ash-heap of history would be the reflexive America-hating leftism that is characteristic mental mush of "core Democrats" now. Those new guys are not going to feel little quivers of delight thinking of Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro. Nor will they feel little shivers of distaste at the American flag or traditional Christianity or patriotism. Actually, it's not delusional to think that returning vets may transform the fortunes of the Democrat party, it's just delusional to think that the party, in it's present form, has any future. It's a walking corpse, and will continue to be until my fatuous generation is pushed into the wings.
Something more interesting to me is that the best way to master a subject is to teach it to someone else. That's what's happening with democracy and freedom in Iraq. Ordinary Americans, often unschooled but with gut knowledge of freedom, are teaching people how it works. And whether or not they are successful in teaching, it's a dead cert that they will understand the subject like never before. Silly people sometimes suggest that our getting involved with the world's problems will pollute and dilute American democracy, and cause us to crash and burn like empires of yore. Nonsense. Just the opposite.
December 25, 2005
Merry Christmas and a big thanks to all those who stand on Freedom's Wall, keeping us safe at home and guarding the world's peace...
[Pictures: Sgt Richard Wightman III, from the 80th Division, with children in Tamil, Iraq.
Capt. Elizabeth Kmiecik, a nurse from the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, with earthquake victim in Pakistan.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld serves fake Christmas dinner to soldiers in Mosul, Iraq, December 24 (thanks to Gateway Pundit)
MY soul, there is a country
Far beyond the stars,
Where stands a wing�d sentry
All skilful in the wars:
There, above noise and danger,
Sweet Peace sits crown'd with smiles,
And One born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files.....
December 24, 2005
To house the King of Kings....
IN TERRA NOSTRA
By brake unleaved and hedgerow
Alight with barren thorn,
Along our English byways
The Son of God is born.
Where northern mountains muster
In steely grip their chain,
Or nursed by Gentler hillocks
that hold a Suffolk lane:
On Cotswold ridge of splendour
By fretted music crowned,
Or where the streams meander
Through marshy Kentish ground;
In rain that clogs the earthways
Or snow on timid wings
A Manger stands erected
To house the King of Kings.
--Alan C. Tarbat
the waving song, the mystery...
I noticed this poem because I was just last night listening to a CD with Byrd and Tallis and other Renaissance masters...
KING'S COLLEGE CHAPEL
When to the music of Byrd or Tallis,
The ruffled boys singing in the blackened stalls,
The candles lighting the small bones on their faces,
The Tudors stiff in marble on the walls,
There comes to evensong Elizabeth or Henry,
Rich with brocade, pearl, golden lilies, at the altar,
The scarlet lions leaping on their bosoms,
Pale royal hands fingering the crackling psalter,
Henry is thinking of his lute and of backgammon,
Elizabeth follows the waving song, the mystery,
Proud in her red wig and green jewelled favors,
They sit in their white lawn sleeves, as cool as history.
December 22, 2005
You get what you pay for...
Bill Quick: ...I wish I could say I feel sorry for the folks in the Big Apple, but I don't. They are the ones who have voted into office decade after decade officials who have made the city unions the monsters they are today. Stupidity has a nasty way of becoming its own reward. If I had my druthers, I'd love to see this strike continue for a couple of months, until it became crystal clear to every New Yorker the perils of giving the keys to the kingdom to union bosses in exchange for electioneering boodle.....
That's for sure. The workers get shafted, while the "government workers" are absurdly over-paid in return for helping their own bosses get elected. Imagine if unions representing General Motors workers could use money and influence to choose who's going to run the company. That's the sicko situation you have when government employees are allowed to unionize.
And what really annoys me, living as I do among similar idiots, is that it's a certainty thatthose New Yorkers who vote for liberals think it's "compassionate" and "caring" and "moral" and all kinds of similar weepy stupid shit. Actually voting for liberals is the exact opposite, and if New Yorkers wanted a government that really helps the poor and unfortunate, they should be electing flinty-eyed cheese-paring Republicans...because what the poor really need most is a vibrant growing economy. That would lift most of them out of poverty, and leave government funds for the really needy few. Instead, in New York, high taxes drive away many of the jobs, and the government is chronically broke from paying things like the transit worker's real wages (with benefits and overtime, etc) of something over $100,000 a year.
December 21, 2005
A day by the sea...
Charlene, Rob, Betsy and I joined our friends Dave Trowbridge, Deborah Ross and their daughter Rose, for an excursion to A�o Nuevo State Reserve, to see the Elephant Seals. They are one of nature's extravagances, and this little spit and offshore island called A�o Nuevo is the only place in the world you can get a good look at them. They only come on land once a year, for mating and calving.
There's no easy way to convey their scale in a picture--you do NOT want to go stand next to them--but the big male lifting his head in the middle of the picture is probably 15" long, and weighs about 5,000 lb. (4.57 meter, 2267 kg). The slug-like blobs on the left are his harem of females.
That guy could be dangerous if he thought you were another male, or if you got between him and a male he wanted to drive away. Though they move on land by sort of galumpfing along with their blubbery bodies they can hit up to 35 mph for a short run, before overheating. They look absurd on land, but at sea they are superb predators, diving as deep as 5,000 feet (1524 meters) twice as deep as our subs go, to gorge on squid. They spend perhaps 8 minutes on the surface breathing and the rest of an hour underwater. They also sleep underwater, and we saw one in a shallow pond, happily snoozing with his head under water.
It was a very misty and rainy day, and a few hours hiking on the dunes made us very glad to get back to our van for some of Charlene's awesome Red Bell Pepper soup.
Here's a closer look at one...We were cold and wet, but he spends most of his life in freezing water, and finds the land too warm for comfort...
Why is it suddenly controversial now?
On the whole subject of NSA intercepts, you should be reading PowerLine. It's certainly looking like the President's right to monitor foreign calls is a constitutional one, overriding FISA. And, as I noted previously, Democrat Presidents have been doing much more extensive surveillance, without any objection from our guardian saints of the NYT. From John at PowerLine:
...Has any administration ever backed the position now urged by the Times? It doesn't appear so. Matt Drudge points out that the Clinton administration engaged in warrantless wiretapping. Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick wrote that the President "has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes." That is an accurate summary of the holding of every federal court decision that has addressed the issue.
On May 23, 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed an executive order that said, "Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order."
The Clinton-era "Echelon" electronic surveillance program went far beyond anything now under discussion, and became controversial precisely because of its extraordinary scope. A transcript of a 60 Minutes program on Echelon is available here. But the basic concept that the President could order warrantless searches for national security purposes wasn't controversial during the Carter administration or the Clinton administration. Why is it suddenly controversial now?...
Why oh why oh why? Because they are on the other side (in both the war and politics) and would gladly hinder our war efforts to help put Dems back in power. Scoundrels.
Oh how I hope the administration takes off the gloves and starts prosecuting these slimeballs. The hypocrites howled that the Plame leak should be investigated, and it was. Now the NYT has openly said that their story contains classified information from anonymous "sources." a clear violation of the law! I hope the Justice Department is demanding the names of the leakers right now, and preparing to lock up reporters AND editors if it is not forthcoming.
December 20, 2005
#197: Slowly retreating from his dire predictions...
KRUGMAN TRUTH SQUAD
Paul Krugman has been slowly retreating from his longstanding, dire predictions about the direction US economy. We don’t hear much about impending “banana republic-hood” or the “irresponsible Bush tax cuts” or “W’s Double-Dip.” Instead we hear such weary comments as:
“Yet by some measures, the economy is doing reasonably well. In particular, gross domestic product is rising at a pretty fast clip. So why aren't people pleased with the economy's performance?”
The retreat we are talking about is reflected in PK’s answer. The overall numbers look pretty good, he says, but many Americans are being left behind as reflected in lagging median wages. He has a small point here (the word “median” is important), but, as we will explain, it is a very small point indeed.
Let’s begin with brief discussion what actually drives labor compensation –– productivity. Chart I shows the growth rate in output per hour of labor input (labor productivity) and average real business wages since the late 50’s. We have followed the normal practice of smoothing the quarterly/monthly data (in this case we used a 3-year moving average) because the shorter-term observations are so erratic that longer run patterns are difficult to discern.
Chart I shows a phenomenon familiar to all economists. Productivity (the blue line) was high coming out of the 50s and into the 60s, fell off a cliff beginning roughly with the 70s, then, despite some occasional fits and starts, did not begin a full recovery until the mid-90s. The simplified explanation for this pattern is that by the end of the sixties the “old economy” based on electricity and combustion engines had run its course and the “new economy” incorporating information technology did not kick in until the mid-nineties.
We think this scenario is essentially correct, but it raises an obvious question about why IT did not have an impact earlier? After all, computers had been around in abundance since the 60s. Most economists believe this is because major new technologies have long incubation periods before they actually change the way enterprises organize and function. So, just as electricity had been around for many prior decades, it was not until the 1920s that it had a major impact of business methods and productivity. The technology conundrum is that the cycles are so long and variable that it is hard to know contemporaneously where we are in any particular cycle. Thus Nobel winning economist Robert Solow is famous for quipping in 1987 “you can see the computer everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” His frustration with the computer “conundrum” was to last another 8 years.
But what does this have to do with labor compensation? This should be obvious from a look at real wages (the green line) in Chart I. Wages follow productivity! Always have and always will. However, over the last few years there has been a modest disconnect as wages have not followed productivity increases into new high ground. We would argue this is temporary and due in most part to the bursting of the stock market bubble in 2000, 9/11/2001 and the subsequent recession.
However, this is where Krugman pounces. He’ll have no part of bursting bubbles or recessions (which he blames on Bush and Greenspan, anyway). Furthermore, he claims that a MEDIAN measure of wage growth (instead of an average measure) would show even slower growth because those at the top end pull up the average wage. This is a variation on his familiar “tax cuts for the rich” theme. Unfortunately there is no way to check his argument. He has used the terms “the hourly wage of the typical worker” in The Big Squeeze (10/17/05) and “real median household income” in The Joyless Economy (12/05/05). We searched the databases of both the Labor Department and the Commerce Department and could find no data on median wages or family incomes.
Nevertheless, we suspect that Krugman has a minor point about the median wage lagging. However, rather than venality on the part of the Bush Administration, it is most likely due to globalization The undeniable fact is that the wages of semi-skilled labor in this country will have a hard time keeping up with wages generally when the world market for semi-skilled labor is determined in south China.
But we have been here before as a nation and as an economy and the solution is the same as always. American labor will take advantage of the vast and deep educational opportunities in this country and upgrade their skills so that they participate and benefit in a more technologically advanced economy. It’s happening as we write. Local community colleges are overflowing with ambitious students all across the country.
Inevitably a few will be left behind. That’s life. If Krugman wants to spend his time whining about a few laggards, that is his choice. But most workers, especially younger ones, are too busy getting ahead to sit around feeling sorry for themselves. We think the result will be an upturn soon in wage growth as it continues to track long term productivity.
[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. ]
...Let's consider the president's right to start wars. Liberal intellectuals believe that Bush's exercise of his commander-in-chief power has exceeded his constitutional authority and led to a quagmire in Iraq. If only Congress had undertaken the solemn process of declaring war, they have argued, faulty intelligence would have been smoked out, the debate would have produced consensus, and the American people would have been firmly committed to the ordeal ahead. But they are off the mark.
Neither presidents nor Congress have ever acted under the belief that the Constitution requires a declaration of war before the U.S. can engage in military hostilities abroad. Although this nation has used force abroad more than 100 times, it has declared war only five times: the War of 1812, the Mexican-American and Spanish-American Wars, and World Wars I and II. Without declarations of war or any other congressional authorization, presidents have sent troops to fight Chinese Communists in Korea, to remove Manuel Noriega from power in Panama and to prevent human rights disasters in the Balkans. Other conflicts, such as the Persian Gulf War, received "authorization" from Congress but not declarations of war.
Critics of these wars want to upend this long practice by appeals to an "original understanding" of the Constitution. The Constitution, however, does not set out a clear process for starting war. Congress has the power to "declare war," but this clause allows Congress to establish the nation's legal status under international law. The framers wouldn't have equated "declaring" war with beginning a military conflict — indeed, in the 100 years before the Constitution, the British only once "declared" war at the start of a conflict...
...Would outcomes be better if Congress alone began wars? Not necessarily. Congress led us into two bad wars, the 1798 quasi-war with France and the War of 1812. Excessive congressional control can also prevent the U.S. from entering into conflicts that are in the national interest. Most would agree now that congressional isolationism before World War II harmed U.S. interests, and that FDR should have been able to enter the conflict much earlier....
The liberals mentioned are loathsome hypocrites--the issue is just another club to hit Bush with, and if a Dem were in the White House they would be arguing that the President's powers should be expanded...
I wouldn't call the War of 1812 a "bad war." It wasn't the sort of conclusive triumph we are used to in more recent American wars, but considering that we were fighting an opponent far stronger and a military far larger than ours, one honed by two decades of war with Napoleon, we didn't do too poorly. When Washington's administration signed the Jay Treaty in 1794, they knew it was just a way to gain time for the country to grow, and that in another 20 years we would be strong enough to finish the fight that had been stopped inconclusively by the Treaty of Paris. And so it was. And we did well enough that Britain never again wanted to tangle with us, and most importantly, we gained the port of New Orleans, and thereby opened the vast lands of the Louisiana Purchase to exploitation.
Mike McConnell of Kokonut Pundits has a very good post thanking Rob McGovern, a JAG officer who served in Afghanistan, then spent two tireless years on the prosecution of Sgt Hasan Akbar, obtaining a richly appropriate death penalty, and after that went to Iraq to work with Iraqi prosecutors.
...And like so many American stories, it begins on 9/11.
“I walk up the subway stairs,” he says of that day. “And I see hundreds of people in the street. But I don’t see the towers yet. I just see all of these people, looking over my head. I remember the looks on their faces. I’ll never forget that. And then I look up, and I see the hole in the north tower. I could not believe my eyes.”
On Sept. 11, McGovern was a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. He prosecuted drug crimes. He liked his work. McGovern has always wanted to put away bad guys. Maybe that urge came from football. In any case, when he saw the hole in the north tower, he knew that his life would change. He spent the next five days helping with the rescue mission at Ground Zero. Mostly, he dug through rubble.
“I just wanted to help somebody,” he says. “That was the overpowering feeling we all had. It was like: ‘God, just please let me help somebody. Please let me find someone.’ ”
He did not find anyone alive. He did, though, dig out a body. A medical person shouted out: “Are you OK? Can you do it?” McGovern braced himself and nodded. He could barely hold himself together. But he put the body in a plastic bag.
“We all felt so helpless,” he says. “So immensely helpless. There was nothing we could do to change the events. I thought, in some small way, maybe finding that body would help the family, bring some closure for them. Maybe it wasn’t much. Maybe it doesn’t amount to much. I don’t know.”
McGovern was in the Army Reserve then. He signed up for active duty....
One of the men murdered by Akbar was a cousin McConnell never knew he had.
December 19, 2005
failure has not altered Democratic thinking an iota...
....They believe human events unfold in a neat and predictable manner. Call it the Theory of Human Orderliness. The idea is that one can harness the insights of science and the methods of engineering to perfect societies. Theorists believe sound plans can impel people to behave in an ordered manner -- like asteroids tracing their paths through the void....
.....The only flaw in the Orderliness Hypothesis is that it doesn't work if people are present. The war on poverty looked great on paper. It failed miserably in real life. Air-cleansing regulatory schemes looked great in computer models, but failed abysmally in reality. Centralized health care boasted of chalkboard elegance, but is breaking the bank right here, right now. The myth of managed affluence collapsed with the Berlin Wall.
And yet, failure has not altered Democratic thinking an iota. John Kerry boasted dozens of times in his debates with George W. Bush that he had a plan -- for everything: dental care, tree planting, street paving, book binding, teen rutting, mass transit, air circulation, steel production ... you name it. He announced these schemes with a sense of triumph, as if having a plan were superior to having a clue.
In resisting President Bush's infinitely variable approach to the ever-shifting situation in Iraq, Democrats have reverted to form. The cries for benchmarks and deadlines merely embody their weird faith in plans. Howard Dean unwittingly captured the absurdity of it all when he announced this week the precise number of National Guard units required to subdue Al-Qaida.....
You know, we never did hear the details of Kerry's plans. Pretty selfish of him not to share his wisdom.
It's tempting to gloat over a Democrat "meltdown," but that's not quite the word for it. Too liquid and flexible. We need a metaphor of rigidity, a term that might be used to describe a granite statue being transported in an old wagon without springs over a bumpy road, banging and slamming up and down, and gradually turning into a rounded blob churned in a soup of chips and dust...
Lying leftists have been presenting the Bush NSA eavesdropping as some sort of shocking innovation. Not so...
NewsMax...During the 1990's under President Clinton, the National Security Agency monitored millions of private phone calls placed by U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries under a super secret program code-named Echelon....
....In February 2000, for instance, CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft introduced a report on the Clinton-era spy program by noting:
"If you made a phone call today or sent an e-mail to a friend, there's a good chance what you said or wrote was captured and screened by the country's largest intelligence agency. The top-secret Global Surveillance Network is called Echelon, and it's run by the National Security Agency." NSA computers, said Kroft, "capture virtually every electronic conversation around the world."
Echelon expert Mike Frost, who spent 20 years as a spy for the Canadian equivalent of the National Security Agency, told "60 Minutes" that the agency was monitoring "everything from data transfers to cell phones to portable phones to baby monitors to ATMs."...
Somehow it's OK if a Democrat President monitors millions of calls. But if a Republicans monitors hundreds of calls from numbers known to be associated with terrorists, HE'S SPYING ON AMERICANS!!!!
And there's this:
In 2000, former Clinton CIA director James Woolsey set off a firestorm of protest in Europe when he told the French newspaper Le Figaro that he was ordered by Clinton in 1993 to transform Echelon into a tool for gathering economic intelligence.
"We have a triple and limited objective," the former intelligence chief told the French paper. "To look out for companies which are breaking US or UN sanctions; to trace 'dual' technologies, i.e., for civil and military use, and to track corruption in international business...
...In his comments to Le Figaro, Woolsey defended the program, declaring flatly: "Spying on Europe is justified."
"I can tell you that five years ago, several European countries were giving substantial bribes to export business more easily. I hope that's no longer the case."
During hearings in 2000 on the surveillance flap, Woolsey told Congress that in 1993 alone, U.S. firms obtained contracts worth $6.5 billion with the help of timely intelligence information....
Nothing wrong with this folks, 'cause these are the good guys, not fascist Republicans....
Today's funny line...
Washington Times: ...But Mr. Reid was furious. "We've become like the House of Commons. Whoever has the most votes wins. It hasn't worked that way in 216 years," he said...
Shocking. I'm sure LBJ or FDR never abused their position by passing legislation in such a cowardly and underhanded fashion, by letting the majority decide...
A lie is born...
We can actually watch, like a scientific experiment, as an urban legend is deliberately created. President Bush answered this question yesterday:
Q Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I'd like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.
THE PRESIDENT: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.
The lying news media instantly changed this to 30,000 civilians! You can see examples at Mudville Gazette and Michelle Malkin and DogPundit. The American immune system is also active, and people are already fighting back---apparently the SF Chron has changed its headline.
So who will win? My guess is that the figure of 30,000 civilians will still be repeated by America-haters when we are all old and gray...The liars of the so-called anti-war movement are still repeating the debunked figure of 100,000 civilian dead in Iraq.
An additional irony is that, in left-lingo, the terrorist who shreds a bunch of children in Iraq is an "insurgent," entitled to be treated as a POW (instead of being hanged as a murderer). But if he's killed, for purposes of statistics he's a "civilian," and presumed dead only because of America imperialism.
In fact, a lot of the dead in Iraq are people who, as they say in Texas, needed killin'. And we killed them and that's GOOD, and a fact to be proud of.
December 18, 2005
Best comment on the President's speech...
From Bill Hennnessey: No president should ever have to go on TV to beg Americans not to undermine our troops in battle.
Amen, brother. I should not repeat my complaints, but what we have seen in the last few years is one of the most despicable betrayals in American history. Certainly the worst of the last hundred years, which have seen huge and bloody wars, all led by the Democrat Party, and all supported loyally by the party that was out-of-power, the Republicans.
Every war has mistakes, but in those past wars Republicans never seized on the mistakes of our forces for partisan political gain, or out of hatred for the President. And baby, those mistakes not only dwarf current mistakes, they dwarf the entire current war! 9,000 casualties at Peleliu, for an island that could have been bypassed. 25,000 casualties at Iwo Jima, for an island that never served any tactical purpose. 800 men lost in an hour at Slapton Sands, because somebody couldn't imagine a German attack. Belleau Wood. LZ Bitch. Chosin Reservoir. The unexpected bocage at Normandy.
Here's a little fact to ponder. Before the Korean war, we had hundreds of P-38's in South Korea, left over from WWII. The Truman Administration ordered them destroyed, so as not to be "provocative." A few months later our men and the South Koreans were in desperate retreat, and were screaming for air cover that wasn't there.
SO, did Republicans demand the impeachment of President Truman? Did they stand aside from the fight, and sneer, and snivel, "Wars never solved anything?" Of course not. They were AMERICANS. Not a bunch of twisty tranzi flubberworms.
Here's a little more detail on Dick Cheney's visit to Iraq. (Thanks to Glenn.) But what's odd to me is that this is a story by the Canadian Press, aggregated by something called Newstex, and now aggregated again by Pajamas Media. I'm supposedly signed up as part of PJ Media, but I'm darned if I can figure out the point of this...
Now I have an idea. PJ Media should take various much-discussed articles and display them with multiple layers of Fisking!. Click once and you see the article displayed interlinear comments by one or two top bloggers. Click again to see the piece larded with additional comments by others. Click again and the comments themselves will be interlaced with anti-comments and refutations... Perhaps the comments should be color-coded, with, say, conservatives in red text, liberals in blue, libertarians in white...
I didn't learn much from the piece, but here's a good example of snark:
...Cheney flew around the Baghdad area in a pack of eight fast-moving Blackhawk helicopters with guns mounted on the sides. He flew along the airport road that has been the site of many insurgent attacks and passed over the courthouse where Saddam's Hussein's trial is being held.
He saw rows of housing for soldiers at Camp Victory fortified by concrete walls. Smoke from the trash fires burning throughout the occupied city drifted up toward his chopper....
Here's an example of a Reuters "news" article that's even more biased than usual: Cheney visits Iraq amid calls for US pullout. I clicked on the link because I thought it was an article about Vice President Cheney's visit to Iraq. But there's only one sentence about Cheney, and then it's all innuendo and quotes from anyone and everyone who dislikes the election and Americans...
Massacre of the innocents...
Bill Roggio continues to be a must-read. This post is about the Iraqi elections, and a terrorist attack on a school...
....We waited on the top deck of the dam for the night flight back to the air base. The flights were delayed as there was a lightening storm across the lake, which along with high winds precluded the helos from landing. After a month in Iraq with dry clear skies, the lightening strikes in the distance were a sight to behold.
The weather cleared at 2:00 AM, and we loaded the ballots onto the helos, and took the short flight back to Asad. Once there, the ballots where unloaded and stored in a secure location. It was quite an experience to accompany the transformation of mere sheets of paper into a statement of self determination and will.
The elation of the long days of travel and witnessing history was punctured by events in Barwana late this morning. The place where I stood just hours ago, a place of joy and hope for the Iraqi people, became a scene of terror and sorrow. The polling center, which once was a Ba’ath Party headquarters and now has been converted into a school, was struck by three mortar rounds.
Four children and one Iraqi soldier died on the spot. The soldiers were cleaning up the site from yesterday’s crowds while the children were playing soccer in the schoolyard. Two other children were wounded and evacuated to the air base for medical treatment. One of the children died while being treated. “Insurgents” continue to have no compunctions against killing children in their quests to destroy the dreams of the Iraqi people. And the joy of the ballots – possessing the will of Barwana’s citizens – continue to stand against the perpetrators of such acts of evil....
These animals who fire mortars into a school are the animals that our "peace activists" want us to surrender to so they can work their will on the Middle East. And of course none of our phony peaceniks or phony bishops or phony "Democrats" will expend any energy condemning this outrage. Their only goal is to put Democrats in the White House, and a few children are worth sacrificing for that...
December 17, 2005
The timing IS suspicious...
....It was the MSM's worst nightmare-in-the-making: the prospect of a day, maybe more, of nothing but jubilant Iraqis waving those damn purple fingers, some of them no doubt soppily shouting "thank you, Mr. Bush!" Ugh. Can't let that happen.
Don't worry, MSM: the New York Times, with a nice assist from the Washington Post, have got your back.
The Times has admitted that, in response to a administration request, it had been holding the story on alleged US spying on Al-Qaida-linked phone numbers in the US for a year...
...So when do the Times and the WaPo choose to break it? Why, today of course, just in time to rain on the Iraqi election good-news parade....
If they loved their country, or even had a few shreds of warmth and sweetness left in their hearts, they would have been happy, having waited a year, to wait one more day so as not to detract from a splendid American triumph. Especially a triumph so unselfish in its nature, centered on having other people grow and become stronger and more free...
PS: My son tells me that CNN.com's leading story was: "Cold grips northern US."
President George W. Bush stands with out-of-country Iraqi voters Thursday in the Oval Office of the White House. The President told the media later, "I was struck by how joyous they were to be able to vote for a government -- a permanent government under a new constitution." (White House photo by Paul Morse) Thanks to Gateway Pundit.
A good start...
Great speech by the President, hitting back at the scum who are leaking secret information to hurt the war, and claiming, falsely, that our NSA intercepts are illegal or are infringing civil liberties...Read it here.
...To fight the war on terror, I am using authority vested in me by Congress, including the Joint Authorization for Use of Military Force, which passed overwhelmingly in the first week after September the 11th. I'm also using constitutional authority vested in me as Commander-in-Chief.
In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks.
This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country. [So for Pete's sake start putting these idiots in jail!]
As the 9/11 Commission pointed out, it was clear that terrorists inside the United States were communicating with terrorists abroad before the September the 11th attacks, and the commission criticized our nation's inability to uncover links between terrorists here at home and terrorists abroad. Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al Hamzi and Khalid al Mihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn't know they were here, until it was too late. [And if we had known, stupid laws would have prevented our doing anything.]
The authorization I gave the National Security Agency after September the 11th helped address that problem in a way that is fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities. The activities I have authorized make it more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time. And the activities conducted under this authorization have helped detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad. [If we prevent attacks, then the crazies say that we are 'inventing" threats as a cover for undermining civil liberties. If we fail to prevent them they whine that "Bush promised to protect us."]
The activities I authorized are reviewed approximately every 45 days. Each review is based on a fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government and the threat of catastrophic damage to our homeland. During each assessment, previous activities under the authorization are reviewed. The review includes approval by our nation's top legal officials, including the Attorney General and the Counsel to the President. I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups.
The NSA's activities under this authorization are thoroughly reviewed by the Justice Department and NSA's top legal officials, including NSA's general counsel and inspector general. Leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it. Intelligence officials involved in this activity also receive extensive training to ensure they perform their duties consistent with the letter and intent of the authorization....[The Administration is OBVIOUSLY bending over backwards to prevent this program from endangering our liberties. But will the frauds who are always prating about civil liberties give them the slightest credit or encouragement for this? No.]
What's just insane is that, under the loony logic of the Plame affair, the news media can publish sensitive information routinely, claim protection of their "sources" ("freedom of the press, you know) then demand that the President's men be investigated and punished for leaking our country's secrets to the press (while still not asking the sacred reporters to tell who their sources are) and all the while claim that those leakers who agree with their politics are patriots motivated by the highest principles who should not be investigated...
December 15, 2005
Georgetown and Harvard are among the Universities that don't want to allow military recruiters on campus, because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays. Their "consciences" can't abide contact with such wickedness. But Best of the Web has the goods on how the frauds are happy to accept big bucks from those famously tolerant folks, the Saudis...
I just read a very interesting book, The Faith of the American Soldier, by Stephen Mansfield. Most of us are aware that active Christian faith is common in our military. Mansfield probes the subject, and also the history of faith in the US military. Very interesting stuff.
One odd thing is that, for many of our troops, their faith is improvised, self-taught, and exists in small groups, rather than being part of any denomination or organization. Partly this mirrors developments at home, where new stand-alone churches are drawing people away from older denominations. And also the old main-line denominations, their Christian faith having been mostly replaced by mushy leftism, have no interest (of a positive sort) in our military and no longer contribute many chaplains. (Which is probably good, because many of those frauds are on the other side, and would be as eager to betray the Iraqis and Afghans into tyranny and torture and murder as they were to betray the South Vietnamese into tyranny and torture and murder.)
Partly it is because, as I was shocked to learn, the chaplain corps is severely limited in what they are allowed to do or say. They are not allowed to accompany troops into combat (!) which makes them seem irrelevant to those who come under fire. And, in fact, they are not supposed to do much of anything except personal counseling and conducting ceremonies. Most crucially, they are not allowed to provide a warrior creed for our troops. They can't say that we are fighting a just (or unjust) war! Christianity and American tradition both support just wars, but the secularists have pretty much stopped any official support for these great traditions.
A warrior's creed is what is needed, and it is fascinating to see how our soldiers are cobbling together their own.
Remember how General Boykin was castigated and reproved for saying that the War on Terror was a Christian and moral war, that America is a Christian nation with a Christian President? What you didn't hear is that his words resonated with the troops...
...As one Lieutenant Colonel serving at USCENTCOM at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida said, "I won't say it publicly, and you can't use my name, but I will tell you that I agree with everything Boykin said. Most of us would give anything if the chaplains or our commanders would speak to us in the same terms Boykin did. What he gave us was the spiritual map we needed."
December 14, 2005
And when the history of these days is written....
From the President's speech yesterday...
...In our fight to keep America free, we'll never quit. We've lost wonderful Americans like Ryan McGlothlin. We cherish the memory of each one. We pray the loved ones -- pray for the loved ones they've left behind, and we count it a privilege to be citizens of a country they served. We also honor them by acknowledging that their sacrifice has brought us to this moment: the birth of a free and sovereign Iraqi nation that will be a friend of the United States, and a force for good in a troubled region of the world.
The story of freedom has just begun in the Middle East. And when the history of these days is written, it will tell how America once again defended its own freedom by using liberty to transform nations from bitter foes to strong allies. And history will say that this generation, like generations before, laid the foundation of peace for generations to come.
May God bless you all.
It's ironic that the people who castigate Bush for not deferring to our allies never acknowledge that many of them are our allies precisely because we liberated or conquered them with application of massive destructive force, and then took enormous pains and trouble to sponsor democracy and freedom in those places. Iraq may prove a better ally in the long run, because it has had the enormous advantage, unlike Germany or Japan, of having had to fight and bleed for its freedom.
THE SPARROW'S SKULL
Memento Mori Written at the Fall of France
The kingdoms fall in sequence, like the waves on the shore.
All save divine and desperate hopes go down, they are no more.
Solitary is our place, the castle in the sea,
And I muse on those I have loved, and on those who have loved me.
I gather up my loves, and keep them all warm,
While above our heads blows the bitter storm:
The blessed natural loves, of life-supporting flame,
And those whose name is Wonder, which have no other name.
The skull is in my hand, the minute cup of bone,
And I remember her, the tame, the loving one,
Who came in at the window, and seemed to have a mind
More towards sorrowful man than to those of her own kind.
She came for a long time, but at length she grew old;
And on her death-day she came, so feeble and so bold;
And all day, as if knowing what the day would bring,
She waited by the window, with her head beneath her wing.
And I will keep the skull, for in the hollow here
Lodged the minute brain that had outgrown a fear;
Transcended an old terror, and found a new love,
and entered a strange life, a world it was not of.
Even so, dread God! even so my Lord!
The fire is at my feet, and at my breast the sword:
and I must gather up my soul, and clap my wings, and flee
Into the heart of terror, to find myself in thee.
Big changes take time...
Washington Times: The Pentagon yesterday announced a landmark change in the use of combat troops, elevating "stability missions" -- commonly called nation-building -- to an equal status with major combat operations.
The evolution in war-planning priorities underscores how the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terror network continue to fundamentally reshape how U.S. military commanders deploy the armed forces.
Not only are U.S. forces becoming more mobile to better counter Islamic terrorists, but the chain of command now will be trained in how to "build" nations by creating indigenous security forces, democratic institutions and free markets...
That's pure Barnett, though he goes farther and advocates two separate forces, which I'm not sure I agree with. (And I keenly hope that his terminology doesn't become standard. He refers to traditional war-winning troops as "Leviathan," and the nation builders as the "SysAdmin forces." I think he has a tin ear.) Oh, and who actually gave the order?
....That is all supposed to change under Directive 3000, which first was ordered to be developed 18 months ago by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Its major objectives include making sure there is a plan to restore security quickly after major combat operations end, and then have funds ready to begin rebuilding.
Military officers say that until that time, such stability operations were almost an afterthought to war planners, who focused on the primary mission of defeating the enemy and taking territory....
SO, do you suppose the "critics" who assign Donald Rumsfeld all responsibility for policies that overemphasized war-winning over dealing with the aftermath of war, will now give him the slightest morsel of credit for ordering new policies to be written? 18 months ago? Criticisms like this:
...I doubt that Donald Rumsfeld will be all that interested in Syrian nation building. In Iraq he was less interested in the messianic urge to implant democracy than he was in the 9/11-given opportunity to prove his theories about a new, lightning-fast, American military. To achieve that end he single-mindedly focused on the race to Baghdad, refusing to even consider that getting to Baghdad might not mean mission accomplished, but only the beginning of a guerilla war...
No, I didn't think so either...
The History Train's moving...
Iraqi soldiers have to vote early, for obvious reasons...
Here's an article on Iraqis in America voting yesterday, sent by Mike Plaiss...
....While Bush has seen his support sag in the U.S. over prolonged U.S. engagement in the Mideast nation, Iraqi voters, thankful for the overthrow of Hussein, praised him today.
"I love President Bush. I have his picture hanging in the door,'' Salim said. "Believe me, I can say about 3 million or 4 million Kurds, everybody loves Bush,'" he said, noting the thousands of Kurds killed by the Iraqi regime in a 1988 chemical attack in Halabja.
Kirmange Abdulqadir, 26, drove people two hours from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to vote. He predicted a higher turnout than previous elections since this election is for a permanent assembly.
Fadhel al-Sahlani, a Shiite Muslim originally from Basra who now lives in New York, said today's election was a dream come true. "It was a dream and thanks God that this dream became a reality. And we are happy and proud that the Iraqis are heading in the right direction,'" Sahlani said. ...
The Freedom Train's moving; it's not going to be stopped. Iraqi democracy, and democracy in other Middle East countries, will make lots of horrid blunders, and be far from perfect. And our "Democrats" will salivate over every mistake, and ignore every success, but it doesn't matter. "Power to the people" is an unquenchable idea, and though leftists and terrorists hate it above all else, they won't stop it over the long run.
Here's something I quoted once before: Greyhawk writes:
What I've told troops confronted with "protest" is a bit more simple: "America is with you. As far as the protestors, don't sweat it. You're making history; they're making noise.
Look at any of the great deeds of history, look close, and you will see muddle and confusion, mixed motives and mistakes. It doesn't matter. It's always that way, LIFE is that way. Washington, Lincoln, Truman, FDR, Reagan, Churchill...all are counted as liberators, and any of them can be made to look horrible under the historical microscope.
But we remember them as the greatest of their generation, and nobody remembers the Copperheads.
December 13, 2005
Hearing a lefty appeaser say "his heart sinks," is always music to my ears...
A Hungry Eye for Damascus?
By H.D.S. Greenway, boston Globe, December 13, 2005
MY HEART SANK when I read that Syrian exile Farid Ghadry met recently with Ahmed Chalabi, Iraq's deputy prime minister, in a Washington suburb. Ghadry heads something called the Syrian Reform Party. The party was formed three years ago, and is made up almost entirely of exiles, such as Ghadry, who left Syria when he was 10. ''Ahmed paved the way in Iraq for what we want to do in Syria," Ghadry told The Wall Street Journal.
Sounds good to me...What could Mr Greenway be bothered about?
The real heart-sinker was that the two met in the living room of Richard Pearl, whom George Packer, author of ''The Assassins' Gate," calls the ''impresario of the neo-cons." Pearl was among the leading intellectual lights urging forceful regime change in Iraq.
For excellent reasons...and one of them is that it would lead to the fatal weakening of the terror-supporting Syrian regime. And so it has happened. We ARE in a war, you know. Destroying our enemies is the whole idea.
Pearl told the Journal that ''there's no reason to think engagement with Syria will bring about any change," and he is worried that the conquistador zeal to spread democracy is diminishing within the Bush administration. Syria's strongman Bashir Assad ''has never been weaker, and we should take advantage of that," according to Pearl.
Mr Perle (not "Pearl," stupid) helped start the earthquake shaking, and the foes of democracy, such as Greenway, will not be able to stop it. Assad is doomed, one way or the other.
And so regime change raises its head to hiss once again. But selling that apple to the Eves in the Bush administration won't be so easy this time around. Things have gone so badly in Iraq that I hope regime change won't gain a lot of traction outside of Vice President Cheney's office.
The great pity of the world is that the excellent Mr Cheney is too old to run for President in '08. As it happens, things are going WELL in Iraq, which means that forceful regime-change in Syria will NOT be necessary. But it helps to PRETEND that it could come at any time. Which may be what this meeting is "about." Once again the "warmongers" are pushing peaceful change, and the appeasers are undercutting it, making the use force more likely.
I doubt that Donald Rumsfeld will be all that interested in Syrian nation building. In Iraq he was less interested in the messianic urge to implant democracy than he was in the 9/11-given opportunity to prove his theories about a new, lightning-fast, American military. To achieve that end he single-mindedly focused on the race to Baghdad, refusing to even consider that getting to Baghdad might not mean mission accomplished, but only the beginning of a guerilla war.
Nonetheless, the job gets done. And the terrorists and Ba'athists and Western media allies would have attacked ANY democratic Iraqi government. No doubt Greenway would have solved that by installing a new dictator, and avoiding nasty democracy. Fortunately he will never have any power or influence whatsoever.
The quagmire of Iraq has not only damaged his army...
Bullshit. The biggest problem any army has is not getting the experience that only combat can provide. Our forces are clearly far more deadly and effective than they were three years ago. And our combat soldiers in Iraq are re-enlisting in record numbers--they know.
..but guaranteed Rumsfeld's place in history as one of the secretaries of war who did the most harm to his country. When it comes to Syria, one hopes he would follow his own dictum: ''When you are in a hole, stop digging."
Fortunately, it's the terrorists and their media allies who are in a hole, not us. But anyway, your whole point is just stupid--Rumsfeld's not calling the shots. He's just a TOOL...
But the neo-conservative agenda is not just spreading democracy. It's American dominance -- ''benevolent world hegemony," as William Kristol and Robert Kagan call it.
The Neocons are also just tools. The only agenda that matters is that of Bush and Rice. And they would best be described as "Theocons."
As for Chalabi, he is often accused of seducing the administration with false intelligence into invading Iraq. But the fact is that the Bush administration desperately wanted to be seduced. If you are feeling charitable, you can say that Chalabi, having lived in exile for so many years, may just have been out of touch with the real situation in Iraq.
There was no seduction; Iraq was the obvious next move in the War. And for an "out of touch" guy Chalabi has been remarkably sure-footed in Iraqi electoral politics...
But one suspects that Farid Ghadry may be no better informed about his homeland than was Chalabi.
Doesn't matter. The Freedom Train's rolling, and Ghadry may or may not climb aboard. The Greenways and the terrorists and tyrants will try to slow it down, but they will fail...(Thanks to Orrin for the link)
December 12, 2005
Even NY City is in the black...
OpinionJournal repeats an important fact: Our economy is strong and growing steadily, and this started with the Bush tax cuts. Especially important because we are bombarded with fatuous propaganda stating the opposite. A large percentage of drooling idiots (which, when it comes to economics, is a large percentage of the populace) actually believe that Bush "is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich." Believing such stupidity should automatically remove a person from the voting rolls, (and from the ranks of Republican Congressmen) but alas does not...
...The very fact that it is proving so difficult to secure a mere two-year extension of President Bush's most notable first-term domestic-policy achievement underscores how far Republicans in Congress have stumbled of late. The 2003 tax cut is about as clear a policy success as has come out of Washington in many years:
Finally, we wonder if any of the faux debt-hawks in Congress noticed that thanks to the sizzling economy, states and localities are now running hefty budget surpluses, reversing years of red ink and painful service cutbacks. Even New York City--which for years looked like the U.S. version of debt-plagued Argentina--is back in the black....(Thanks to Betsy Newmark)
- The stock market has risen by about $4 trillion in value, and an estimated 40% of that gain is directly attributable to increases in the after-tax return on equities, thanks to the tax cut. (If the tax cut expires, the market will instantly give back those gains.)
- Housing values have soared so rapidly that the fear is we now face a bubble. Household net wealth has climbed by $10 trillion.
- Business investment--which had sunk into the abyss during the recession, falling by 21% between 2000 and 2002--has roared back to life. Spending is up nearly 25% over the past 30 months.
- Dividend payments to shareholders have doubled in two years, according to data gathered by the American Shareholders Association. The cumulative impact of the tax cut and the higher dividend payments has put $100 billion into the pockets of America's burgeoning investor class. The macro-economic signs all point to a solid, sustainable expansion.
- Employment is up 4.4 million and real GDP growth has averaged 4%--or twice the OECD average--since 2003. Today's unemployment rate of 5% means there are now roughly one million more Americans working than were projected before the tax cut.
- Oh, and yes, there was a $120 billion reduction in the budget deficit in 2005. That's because tax receipts rose by more than in any previous year in U.S. history, even adjusting for inflation. Receipts were up by $55 billion above projections in 2004; $122 billion above projections in 2005; and are already running well ahead of projections so far in fiscal 2006 (which began in October).
By the way, the percentage of taxes being paid by the upper brackets of income has been increasing for decades. Starting at least with the Reagan tax cuts. (I strongly suspect the Kennedy tax cuts had the same effect.) In fact, whenever you cut tax rates across the board, the "rich" end up paying more! (It's insulting to the high intelligence of RJ readers to explain why, but the reason is that, the higher your tax rate, the more incentive you have to eschew productive investment in favor of tax-avoidance schemes...or to just spend your money instead of investing it.)
Lower the tax rates, and investment is more attractive. And it is the poor who benefit most from this. The rich will still be rich either way, but the poor stand to gain jobs, raises, self-respect, and a chance to rise in the world, and to shed the welfare-dependency and weakness that results from "Democrat" policies..
December 10, 2005
Something I didn’t know about the massacre in Montreal that happened back in 1989 ....when the killer told the men in the classroom to leave, they all obeyed, leaving their female classmates to their fate. They obeyed the man with the gun, just like good little brainwashed citizens of Oceania.
Canada is the country America-hating leftists are always citing as a paragon of peace and tolerance and an example that the US should follow. We can return to paradise: all we have to do is become spineless programmable jellyfish unable to protect ourselves or others weaker than ourselves, and every once in a while we have to sacrifice a few of the weak ones, that’s all.
Leftists not only want America to become Canada, they want us to become exactly like those stupid sheep who let themselves be slaughtered. It's not a bug, you understand, it's a feature. The endless push for gun banning is part of the same plan--it has nothing to do with stopping crime; the aim is to produce sheep.
I was recently considered for inclusion on a jury, in a shooting (wounding, not murder) case. I was on the first batch of 20 being questioned, and one of the sensitive topics being probed was firearms. And what really made me want to puke were two women on the panel, vague mewling creatures who kept repeating that they just couldn't understand how anyone could want to have anything to do with guns. The defense counsel would probe them, with questions like, "Do you think this would make it impossible for you to decide fairly?" But they were incapable of rising to that level of rationality; they would duck their heads and answer, "I just can't...understand...I grew up in Berkeley, I never...it's just...I just can't understand how anyone could....could...guns..."
Jesus wept...and went back to the drawing board.
Known as "the Butcher"
Cori Dauber points to this fascinating story, which the "mainstream" media apparently don't consider "news." Only Fox reported it...
FoxNews BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraqi citizens turned over a high-ranking Al Qaeda member known as "the Butcher" to U.S. forces in Ramadi Friday a military statement said.
Amir Khalaf Fanus was No. 3 on the 28th Infantry Division's High Value Individual list for Ramadi, wanted for murder and kidnapping in connection with his affiliation with Al Qaeda in Iraq.
"He is the highest ranking Al Qaeda in Iraq member to be turned into Iraqi and U.S. officials by local citizens," Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool said in a statement released from Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi. "His capture is another indication that the local citizens tire of the insurgents' presence within their community."
According to Pool, Iraqi and U.S. Forces "have witnessed increasing signs of citizens fighting the terrorists within Ramadi as the Dec. 15 National Elections draw nearer."
He said that another 1,200 Iraqi Security Force soldiers were recently stationed in Ramadi, while 1,100 Iraqi special police commandos and a mechanized Iraqi army company had moved into the city.
What's grimly amusing, as always, is that the Gasping Media [one of the Iraqi bloggers came up with that term...I love it..] think they are helping Democrats by protecting us from good news from Iraq. In fact they are setting the Dems up for richly-deserved defeats in '06 and '08. Republicans are already creating ads featuring nothing but clips of Democrat leaders expressing their defeatist hate-America views. With a white flag for decoration. Ha ha. To see them is to know them...and feel utter contempt.
December 9, 2005
Wars of freedom...
[This is a re-post of a piece from December 2002]
I hadn't intended to write about war right now, but I keep thinking that it was just about this time of year that Epaminondas persuaded the Thebans to march against Sparta. That was one of the best and most surprising events in history.
Surprising first because in the ancient Mediterranean world, citizen-armies never fought in winter. Ships were laid-up, and men stayed home by the fire.
Surprising because the Theban Confederacy, comprising most of Boeotia (bee OH shuh) had just become a democracy, the last flowering of democracy in Greece before the Macedonian conquest. And in some ways the best, because Boeotia was conservative and rural, and avoided the corrosive radicalism of other Greek democracies, with their masses of urban poor.
And surprising most of all, because Sparta was then the pre-eminent land-power of Greece, and all Greek states tried their best to avoid fighting her invincible army.
Surprising also because this Theban army was about the last hurrah of the Hoplite Phalanx, those armies of free Greek citizens who, densely arrayed, in heavy bronze armor, would decide a war in an single hour's brutal clash, and then return to their farms. Thebes had long been ruled by a small aristocracy, upheld and bullied by Sparta. The coming of democracy made all Theban citizens eligible to fight as Hoplites, and they now formed a mighty force that was able to challenge Sparta for the first time. Sparta was eager to crush this new threat, and several battles were fought, culminating in a heavy Spartan defeat at Leuctra, in 371 BC.
The Thebans might have thought this sufficient, but a remarkable man, Epaminondas, one of the Theban generals, (and a Pythagorian philosopher) dreamed of ending the Spartan threat forever. Spartan power rested on the ability of all her citizens to be full-time soldiers, devoting their whole lives to military training. This was possible because they had long-before conquered the large neighboring province of Messenia, and reduced its people to near-slaves, the Helots, held down by brutal totalitarian tactics, including a ruthless secret police.
If Messenia could be freed, the basis of Spartan power would be destroyed. This is what Epaminondas persuaded the Thebans to undertake. And it was the rise of democracy and freedom in Thebes that gave the Thebans the upsurge of energy and courage to accomplish what no one had dreamed of before. They were fighting for practical reasons, to destroy a threat and to have revenge for past wrongs. But they were also fighting to free the most wretched and oppressed people in Greece.
When the Thebans marched into Laconia, the Spartan homeland, the Spartans did not dare to come out and fight them in the open-- in itself a momentous change and a huge psychological victory. From there they marched west into Messenia, and with the Messenians, built, with astonishing speed, a new walled city and fortress, Messene, and endowed it with the plunder of the campaign. From this stronghold the Messenians could defy Spartan power.
We might keep that long-ago war of liberation in mind, as we face the likelihood of our own coming campaigns to destroy our enemies and free the oppressed. The similarities are many. then as now there were sophisticated and nuanced types who loathed the whole enterprise and would have thwarted it if they had had the military strength. Back then it was the Athenians, who held the rustic Thebans in contempt. Beoetian was used as a sneer, as we might use bumpkin ... or cowboy. The Athenians were helping the Spartans in this war, for reasons a Scowcroft or a Chirac would understand.
Then and now, it's the Beoetians of the world who treasure liberty, and who do the dangerous and dirty work needed to preserve it. (And it's the clever Athenian/lefty types who write the books, which is why we don't hear often of Epaminondas as one of the greatest of the Greeks) The book you want to read is The Soul of Battle, by Victor Hanson.
The picture shows the ruins of the walls of ancient Messene.
December 8, 2005
What is it that makes victims so easy to forget?...
Jeff Jacoby writes, on the latest sicko suck-up to a murderer...
...As cofounder of the deadly Crips street gang in 1971, Williams's criminal legacy goes well beyond the four murders for which he was convicted. The gang violence he unleashed 34 years ago has destroyed thousands of lives and left countless other victims scarred by rape, assault, and armed robbery. Though he now claims to have reformed and has written books with an antigang message, he has never admitted his guilt or expressed any remorse for the slaughter of Albert Owens and the Yang family. If his supposed contrition amounts to anything more than lip service, he has yet to prove it. Williams adamantly refuses to be debriefed by police about the Crips and their operations or to provide any information that could help bring other killers to justice. In fact, officials at San Quentin have said he continues to orchestrate gang activity from behind bars.
Incredibly, this thug is the object of the left's latest craze. For many anti-death penalty fundamentalists, it is not enough to oppose the execution of a savage killer -- the killer must be extolled as a noble soul whose death would be a loss for humanity. Thus Hollywood has honored Williams with a made-for-TV movie. The media have weighed in with sympathetic stories. A slew of celebrities, including such moral giants as Tom Hayden and Snoop Dogg, are clamoring for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant clemency and spare Williams's life. And all but forgotten amid this orgy of adulation are the victims Williams so cruelly murdered nearly three decades ago.
What is it that makes victims so easy to forget? When Kenneth Boyd was executed in North Carolina last week, it was reported everywhere that he was the 1,000th murderer to be put to death since the resumption of capital punishment in 1976. But how many stories devoted more than a passing mention to the two people Boyd sent to early graves -- his estranged wife, Julie Curry Boyd, and her father, Thomas Curry? Why doesn't the media's round-number fetish extend to the victims of homicide as well as the perpetrators? If the 1,000th execution made headlines, why didn't the 1,000th murder? Or the 10,000th? Or the 100,000th?...
The Left supports Williams for the exact same reason they supported Stalin and Lenin and Ho and Mao and Saddam and Castro and Chavez and Mugabe and Ortega and Arafat...
They pretend to care about "life," but that's a filthy lie. More than 10,000 people have been killed by gangs in LA since the founding of the "Crips," and Hollywood lefties have never shown any interest in any of them. And they pretend to care about "innocent" people being executed, but that's another lie--their outrage about an execution is always at it highest when the subject is clearly guilty of horrible crimes...
In fact the anti-death-penalty frauds seem to prefer that innocent people get killed. If Williams had just killed other hoodlums, they would be much less interested. But slaughtering a family! That makes him almost as thrilling as Saddam. Go read the article, about how Williams imitated the death agonies of one of his victims, and laughed hysterically. There's the sick heart of "liberalism" for you--you can bet they will also be weeping over Saddam when he's hanged. Probably holding "candle-light vigils," the swine.
December 7, 2005
The enemy of my anemone is my...
My daughter pressed this upon me--I think it's hilarious...
Maybe everybody already knows this guy, Steven Pastis, and in my isolated life I'm the last to discover him...He has several books and a calendar.
You can see his work here
Update: Charlene pointed me to these strips, by Pastis, on the Intifada. Not funny. Awesome...
December 6, 2005
I think this means were at the "mopping up" stage
AP, WASHINGTON -- Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, likened the war in Iraq to Vietnam yesterday and said, ''The idea that the United States is going to win the war in Iraq is just plain wrong,"...(Thanks to Hugh)
Ha ha. Life is frustrating, but there are moments, oh yes. This is better than when RW Apple said that Afghanistan was a "quagmire! (A week after we started!)"
Actually our Iraq Campaign had multiple reasons (not all of which could be articulated in this limp-wristed age) and so it can have multiple "wins." Let's see how we are doing...
√ Transform WoT; make terrorists react to OUR moves, not vice versa.
√ End dangerous perception that Americans won't take casualties.
√ Destroy one terror-supporting tyrant, to wake-up the others.
√ Force the terrorists to stand and fight, by seizing part of the Arab Heartland.
√ End Saddam's internal war against his own people. (Which was so hideous a war you'd think even pacifists might be glad it was stopped--but you would be wrong.)
√ Eliminate future danger from Saddam's WMD's.
Bring Democracy to Iraq, to create an anti-terrorist ally in the ME [On track]
Bring Democracy to Iraq, to begin a wave of transformation in the ME [On track]
√ Uncover the Oil-for-Food scandal (Unanticipated, but very important)
√ Position our forces adjacent to certain terror-supporting countries; Syria, Iran, Arabia...
√ Restore national honor.
√ Expose Leftist pretenses of being "anti-fascist" and "pro-democracy" for the vile shams that they are.
Not too shabby. I could add more, but this seems to hit most of the high points...Posted by John Weidner at 8:36 AM
December 5, 2005
A drink or two, and then type type type...
Hale Adams comments, on the previous post:
...Scruton writes: "I would put the point in terms that echo Burke and Chesterton: the free market provides the optimal solution to the competition among the living for scarce resources; but when applied to the goods in which the dead and the unborn have an interest (sex, for instance) it wastes what must be saved...."
I wish Scruton would be more specific here: What, precisely, is being wasted, and how? The dead no longer exist, except in memory. They do not have any rights, let alone rights to property, except to rest unmolested. The unborn also do not exist, and may never exist, and likewise have no rights. Scruton might argue that it is a grossly impoverished society that is unmindful of the inheritance passed on to them by the dead. And equally impoverished is the society that is also unmindful of what they must pass on to the now-unborn when the time comes. And he would be right. But that's a matter for religion and conscience, not economics. But Scruton doesn't give us any specifics, never tells us what needs to be removed from the realm of economics. Until he does state some specifics, his statement is only so much pious-sounding gas, a nebulous notion that can justify all sorts of needless restrictions on the living. And it's the living whom society must serve...
This is a realm where I mostly have questions, not answers, so this is just going to ramble....
Scruton mentioned city planning. I feel the corrosiveness of the marketplace in this particularly, because I'm passionately fond of the architecture and city-scapes and urban life of times gone by. I've too often seen some pleasant urban block, perhaps with shops and restaurants and bars that have been part of the city's life for decades, blasted, destroyed as easily as by a terrorist's bomb, and replaced overnight with some cold ugly marble-sheathed office tower, with a wind-blown "plaza" that has no sweetness to offer to city life. The very economic freedom I value also destroys various other things I value enormously...
However, I've pondered for decades the problem of how to run cities differently, and, other than making me dictator of the world, I don't see any answer. (And even that would probably produce disappointing results) The only thing that can over-ride the marketplace is the state. And when you set the machinery of the state to work fixing things, you immediately run into the problem of who in the government is going to make the decisions, and on what basis, what plan and how is that plan to be chosen... and how will we correct the inevitable abuses? And the answer to that is democracy, and democracy is just another damned marketplace...
And, as soon as I start thinking about preserving that old street with some funny German restaurant I used to eat in years ago, I'm thinking like an elitist, who wants to bully people, using government power, into doing what's "good for them," and what pleases my whims, rather than what they probably want, and economically need. In other words, I'm being a socialist! It's a tangle.
But even the most deep-died Libertarian or free-market ideologue has things they value, which they try to preserve from the acid bath of the market. Maybe they have children. What the market offers your kids ain't pretty. Or there are moral values. Honor, for instance. The reports from our troops tell me it's still in existence, but it's not something the market is any friend of. And yet, it is valuable. Try to win a war without it, and you'd be glad to spend a trillion dollars to get it. But it can't be bought, or commanded. But if you start pondering how to nurture it, then perhaps you will find the illogical and cranky remarks of old mustachios long dead are not so obsolete as is generally supposed.
I'm not really sure what Scruton means when he refers to "the dead and the unborn." But it has a sort of poetic logic, hinting at a great many things that are intangible and hard to pin down, things we need to care about, but hardly have the language to discuss. "National character, for instance." It's real, as real as the national debt (and probably far more important economically). It's rooted in the past, and grows its shoots towards the future. But its almost ungraspable, untouchable. I suspect we conservatives concentrate on economic questions because they are the easy ones. We have a hammer, and there's some nails, so, whack!
But consider the Anglosphere, the countries where English and the influence of England has spread. They seem to have a big advantage over other countries, in the long haul. There's something there, something you can take to the bank, something valuable. But what? It's something that can be destroyed, or so the recent progress of Great Britain would cause me to suspect. Something that it's the important duty of Conservatives to fight for protect, to defend, to cherish. How, I'm not sure. But if I'm prickly about modernisers and utopians tossing out old things because they are inefficient or boring, well, maybe I'm not just being peevish. Things are being destroyed that I think we need. Need to have in our took kit when we suddenly find ourselves dumped into the future, like Neanderthals in some SF story brought into the present.
John Adams and his cousin Sam started a revolution to protect "The Rights of Englishmen." And history seems to confirm that they were on to something. But I'd be a little embarrassed if I had to list those rights. I've never been sure precisely what they are (Like porn, I know it when I see it!) But they are probably as valuable, and worth fighting for, as the insights of Adam Smith, published at about the same time.
Suppose, as I'm vaguely saying, that many of the things we need most to cherish can't quite be grasped by logic, or reduced to syllogisms. Maybe the seemingly illogical notions of Scruton and Chesterton are an attitude, a state of mind, a stance that will help us see them and touch them. Chesterton wrote: "Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead." Makes not much sense in a logical way, but perhaps it may be a vantage point to stand at and try to see lots of almost invisible things.
each dependent on the other...
Mike wrote, in a comment to the previous post about the interview with Roger Scruton:
I find this an encouraging post. Much is made of a potential split in the alliance of libertarian/conservatives and cultural conservatives. But to hear a cultural conservative speak so highly of von Misses and Hayek, and to refer to the case for "maintaining [the free-market] as the core of economic life" as "unanswerable", makes me think that alliance is still very strong.
I think each part is dependent for success on the success of the other, and so the alliance is far far stronger than is usually consciously realized.
In particular, I think a key ingredient of a nation's success is that its people believe in the future, and have a willingness to endure risk and sacrifice in the present to build a better future. And that is largely tied, I think, to religion. I don't think it is an accident, that the further "post-Christian" Europe becomes, the more risk-averse it grows, and the more obsessed with present security and comfort. They are in economic stagnation because they won't undertake the risk of creating new enterprises (with the attendant certainty of destroying old ones) and they are facing demographic collapse because they won't take the horrible risk and bother of bringing children into the world. (And we see a lot of the same perilous slide here, which is what gives the Culture Wars their bitter edge.)
Economic success requires "creative destruction." New enterprises must be born, and old ones die. In the 80's America let a lot of its inefficient old "Rust-Belt businesses die. Far from being a catastrophe, this was the basis of our present success. A big part of our national strength was freed up, and forced to re-think and grow. And we could only do this because of a widespread faith in the future, faith that it would bring forth new and better things. There were lots of politicians ready to "save" America's industrial might by keeping those businesses alive. Still are. But that viewpoint lost. And that made all the difference.
And I believe, though of course there's no way of proving it, that what lies deep underneath those political and personal decisions is faith. Either religious faith, or just a generic faith in the future. And the same faith let Reagan (and in a smaller, more residual way Thatcher) undertake the huge military build-up that helped pressure the Soviet Union into fatal "reforms," thereby opening our world to vast new possibilities (and dangers).
And the alliance works in the other direction. A hopeful view of the future is reinforced by our strong and growing economy...
December 4, 2005
"withdrawing what we value from the market"
There's a good interview with Roger Scruton in Right Reason...
...MG: What deleterious consequences result from the "free market ideology" you mention? Are there particular economic arrangements that conservatives ought to prefer?
Scruton: The free market is a necessary part of any stable community, and the arguments for maintaining it as the core of economic life were unanswerably set out by Ludwig von Mises. Hayek developed the arguments further, in order to offer a general defence of "spontaneous order", as the means to produce and maintain socially necessary knowledge. As Hayek points out, there are many varieties of spontaneous order that exemplify the epistemic virtues that he values: the common law is one of them, so too is ordinary morality.
The problem for conservatism is to reconcile the many and often conflicting demands that these various forms of life impose on us. The free-market ideologues take one instance of spontaneous order, and erect it into a prescription for all the others. They ask us to believe that the free exchange of commodities is the model for all social interaction. But many of our most important forms of life involve withdrawing what we value from the market: sexual morality is an obvious instance, city planning another. (America has failed abysmally in both those respects, of course.)
Looked at from the anthropological point of view religion can be seen as an elaborate (and spontaneous) way in which communities remove what is most precious to them (i.e. all that concerns the creation and reproduction of community) from the erosion of the market. A cultural conservative, such as I am, supports that enterprise. I would put the point in terms that echo Burke and Chesterton: the free market provides the optimal solution to the competition among the living for scarce resources; but when applied to the goods in which the dead and the unborn have an interest (sex, for instance) it wastes what must be saved....
As I learned long ago from Peter Drucker, there are only two ways that developed societies can make their decisions; either they are made by the state, or by the marketplace. And this is a Procrustean bed we are always miserable in, because the state is oppressive and inefficient, but the market is corrosive, and denies our hunger for equality. There is no way to avoid this dilemma, and no easy way to shield even a little of our existence from it. Scruton expresses the same perplexity in slightly different words.
Conservatives should make it a goal to preserve and encourage all intermediate institutions, private and public, as windbreaks that may temper the storm blasts of state and market. Sort of like the"checks and balances," of our Constitution, that were deliberately created to hamper change and activity. Which is hard, because we now have power in our hands after a long hiatus, and there are all sorts of horrid problems that need solving...
Good book. Scary.
On rare clear days we can see the Farallones, a cluster of rocky islets 27 miles from San Francisco, where many ships have perished. Charlene and I have been reading The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks, by Susan Casey, a book about them, and about the astonishing fact that for about 3 months a year they are a gathering place for Great White Sharks. LOTS of White Sharks! Hundreds, nobody knows how many for sure.
But a handful of scientists study them, at considerable risk and hardship. For instance, there is no safe place to tie up their whaler, which is lowered from a crane when they rush out because a kill has been spotted. Which is about the only way they have to get close to the sharks, watching for seal kills. Thousands of seals and sea lions live on the Farallones, and the sharks arrive lean and hungry, and depart much fatter in a few months.
Great Whites are BIG. Females can be 20 feet long, and 8 feet wide! They are mysterious creatures, smart, fast, warm-blooded. There's a terrible story, true, (and one I could not help laughing over, evil person that I am) in the book about some people who found an injured seal and nursed it back to health. And decided those nice islands off the coast would be a good place to release it back to the wild...in about 30 seconds a shark bit the thing literally in half!
...Later I saw the pictures myself, and they are spectacular. A two-ton, sixteen-foot male shark named Gouge [they give them names not to be cutsy, but to help keep track of them--some have been returning for a decade or more] is heaving himself out of the water only a few feet from the camera...In one image a tiny flipper can be seen hanging out of the left side of Gouge's mouth...
An agenda of their own...
WASHINGTON POST, Dec. 3 -- Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean offered a preview of the 2006 elections here Saturday with a blistering critique of President Bush's policies on Iraq and immigration and the Republicans' ethics scandals... Ethics, Iraq, Immigration...Building your house upon the stone, Howard? But he warned Democrats they cannot expect to win next year without offering an agenda of their own...
Yep, that's gonna be the hard part...
Speaking at the fall meeting of the Democratic National Committee, Dean pledged that Democrats would offer tax policies aimed at middle-class voters, define "Middle Class," Howard. I dare you a plan to provide health insurance to all Americans, "Oh Canada, oh Canada, wie gr�n sind deine Bl�tter!" immigration proposals that offer a path to legalization for illegal immigrants, sounds like Bush to me and defense policies that would protect the nation and expose the "hollow promises" of the Bush administration. Please! In DETAIL. I'm just SO waiting to hear this.
Dean warmly praised Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) for "standing up and telling the truth" about Bush's policies in Iraq, and suggested that the Pennsylvanian had offered a vision around which Democrats could rally. a VISION! But Dean stopped well short of embracing Murtha's call for a withdrawal plan that would redeploy all U.S. troops within about six months. Coward Instead Dean called on Democrats to coalesce around a proposal that would keep some U.S. forces in Iraq for two more years. Bush Lite, PLUS sending a message of encouragement to terrorists. Yay!
I HOPE Republicans are planning to say loud and clear that Murtha is one of the people who STARTED this war. He encouraged the pull-out from Somalia that so emboldened Osama bin Laden. Pacifism KILLS.
The former Vermont governor's remarks underscored the party's continuing debate over Iraq and the reluctance of many party leaders to support Murtha's call for a speedy withdrawal strategy. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) announced her support for Murtha's plan last week, but others in the party leadership have declined to do so, not to mention the party followership in part out of fears that a swift withdrawal could leave Iraq worse off than it is today and hand the GOP a political weapon. Or maybe fears about advocating surrender just as it becomes clear the campaign is being WON? Such timing.
Dean came to national prominence in 2003 by opposing Bush's decision to invade Iraq and has spoken for the party's antiwar grass-roots activists. But in his speech he blended strong criticism of the president for going to war under false pretenses with a more measured endorsement of a plan promoted by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, which would redeploy ("re-deploy" is DemSpeak for bug out) about 80,000 U.S. troops from Iraq in 2006 and the remainder by the end of 2007. What a joke. That's what Bush is going to do, give-or-take a year. But it will be because of victory, while Dems want to do the same thing and call it defeat, and beg the nice terrorists not to kick us again.
Displaying the fiery style that excited many Democrats but not many ordinary voters during his unsuccessful presidential campaign, Dean attacked "political hacks and cronies" of the president for eroding civil rights and voting rights protections I'm going to put on my bed-sheet and demand that picture ID be presented in order to vote. That'll fix them uppity darkies... and said of Republicans: "Theirs is a party of self-absorption and selfishness." and Dems are the party of idealism and dreams...and Dean's going to tell us what they are, but not this year...
Saying Bush had used race and gay rights to divide the electorate, Dean said, "In 2006, it's going to be immigration; that's who he's going to scapegoat next." He said Democrats must favor tougher enforcement of existing immigration laws and provide tighter border security, but said a balanced immigration policy would provide a way to give many of the 11 million illegal immigrants a path to legal status. That's pure Bush. Dean's in a bind here.
The Democratic meeting came at a time of growing confidence within the party that 2006 could bring significant gains in Congress and the statehouses because of Bush's low approval ratings and public anxiety about Iraq. which peaked exactly a year too early... But Dean said those conditions alone are not sufficient to produce Democratic victories. "We're doing the things that need to be done, but we have a long way to go," he said. "The collapse of confidence in the Republican leadership is not enough to elect Democratic leadership. We have to stand up for what we believe." PLEASE stand up for what you believe. Or at least tell us what it is. Pleaase...
Dean has faced criticism within some parts of the party for his stewardship at the DNC, particularly the pace at which the national party has been spending money -- something that has alarmed many Democratic strategists who fear Republicans will have a huge financial advantage next year. Don't worry, Soros or some other narcissistic billionaire will help the "party of the little guy." Of course, since you stupidly helped pass CFR, he won't be able to give it to YOU. He'll go off on his merry own, and you will have dance your feet leftwards to please him, while leaning your body to the right to please Americans...
But he won near-universal praise among the DNC and state party leaders who gathered here this weekend, saying his emphasis on grass-roots organization was a welcome change from the past. Dean's policies are sure to help grass-roots organizing...in Ann Arbor. Dean built his campaign for chairman by courting state party leaders, and many said this weekend that he had delivered on his promise to shift money and resources into their states. They defended the money he has spent by saying it represents an investment in party-building in places long ignored by the national party. Party-building. What a concept!
Note: if anyone reading this is new to politics, do NOT hold your breath while waiting for the Dems to say what they really believe. I could have written the same sarcastic remarks any time in the four years I've been blogging...They believe in NOTHING.
December 1, 2005
Important Word Note for the Christmas season...
Charlene has a book of Advent meditations, and she read me this:
The English word "merry" did not originally convey "jolly, mirthful." It was more along the lines of "blessed, peaceful"—a deep down inner joy rather than revelry.Update: This post seems to be in error. The definition does not appear in the OED. See comments.
One gets a sense of its original meaning in the well-known carol "God rest ye merry, gentlemen." As can be seen from the comma, the word is not used to describe jolly gentlemen, but rather it is a blessing from God invoked upon them—"God rest ye peacefully, gentlemen."
Thus, Merry Christmas," when spoken to one another, is a blessing...
I was in a criminal courtroom today, filling out a jury questionnaire. (I have to go back next week for the actual selection. I bet nobody will want a wise-ass like me on their jury, but we'll see.)
What I found very charming was the Clerk, a dignified Filipino-American gentleman. As I was scribbling I could hear him talking to those people who were requesting to be excused. One of the possible excuses is insufficient command of English. And so every now and then I would hear him say, warmly and commandingly, "You mus learn English! You learn English, you come back in one year, you sit in that red seat. Is very good seat."
"It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me..."
I was too busy yesterday to even think about the President's speech, but I read it here. It's worth reading, though any RJ reader already knows what going on...
I LOVED the jab at the DNC Times New York Times. The line the President quoted, by Marine Corporal Jeff Starr was the exact same line that the NYT snipped out of Starr's e-mail, in order to produce an effect of gloomy resignation.
I don't think that omission was just the usual bashing of Bush and the Iraq Campaign. Leftys HATE any exposure to the spirit of honor and self-sacrifice that is common in our military today. It makes them uncomfortable, makes them suspect that there's something missing in their reactionary politics and their dedication to security and the Nanny State. And no amount of institutionalized repetition of those tales of civil rights marches in the misty past will cover their current lack of any ideals that they are willing to fight for.
...Before our mission in Iraq is accomplished, there will be tough days ahead. A time of war is a time of sacrifice, and we've lost some very fine men and women in this war on terror. Many of you know comrades and classmates who left our shores to defend freedom and who did not live to make the journey home. We pray for the military families who mourn the loss of loves ones. We hold them in our hearts -- and we honor the memory of every fallen soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman, and Marine.
One of those fallen heroes is a Marine Corporal named Jeff Starr, who was killed fighting the terrorists in Ramadi earlier this year. After he died, a letter was found on his laptop computer. Here's what he wrote, he said, "[I]f you're reading this, then I've died in Iraq. I don't regret going. Everybody dies, but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so they can live the way we live. Not [to] have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators_. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."
There is only one way to honor the sacrifice of Corporal Starr and his fallen comrades -- and that is to take up their mantle, carry on their fight, and complete their mission.
We will take the fight to the terrorists. We will help the Iraqi people lay the foundations of a strong democracy that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. And by laying the foundations of freedom in Iraq, we will lay the foundation of peace for generations to come...