November 30, 2007

In case you are one of those purblind fools...

...who thinks that the downward course of lefty nihilism and twisted "green" stupidity will hit some sort of, er, plateau, some "resting point" from which it will not go farther down....

Sorry, not there yet...

....Perhaps the greenest party this year wasn�t billed as such. Deitch Projects was the host of a do last February for the publication of the photographer Jason Schmidt�s book, �Artists.� The d�cor was supplied by Gelitin, four male Viennese conceptual artists who wore high heels and buckets on their heads but no pants, and who spent the evening building a plywood structure over the bewildered guests� heads. Anthony Roth Costanzo, a countertenor, sang a 16th-century melody called �Flow My Tears.� And then the Gelitin members, along with three Icelandic artists, also men, from a collective called Moms, took the buckets off their heads and urinated � with dead-eye accuracy, said Dodie Kazanjian, a Vogue editor and one of the events� hosts � into one another�s pails.

Talk about creative reuse. Still, even such a basic production involved an environmental no-no. In the week before the event, Ms. Kazanjian recalled, �I did see a lot of bottled water being brought into the gallery.�...

Thanks to Tim Blair for this moment of puke-worthy "Progressivism." (and one thing you can be sure of, they all vote Democrat.)

Posted by John Weidner at 2:01 PM

Strongest in the Gulf....

6,000 Sunnis Join Pact With US in Ira
By LAUREN FRAYER (AP) � Nearly 6,000 Sunni Arab residents joined a security pact with American forces Wednesday in what U.S. officers described as a critical step in plugging the remaining escape routes for extremists flushed from former strongholds.The new alliance � called the single largest single volunteer mobilization since the war began � covers the "last gateway" for groups such as al-Qaida in Iraq seeking new havens in northern Iraq, U.S. military officials said.

U.S. commanders have tried to build a ring around insurgents who fled military offensives launched earlier this year in the western Anbar province and later into Baghdad and surrounding areas. In many places, the U.S.-led battles were given key help from tribal militias � mainly Sunnis � that had turned again al-Qaida and other groups...

Fascinating news. There are lots of stories like this right now. I wonder if any of it gets onto the TV news? I don't watch TV, so I really have no idea.

I hope Republicans campaign next year as the party that brought us victory. A victory in our struggle with al Qaeda. One fears they may fall victim to the leftyist assumption that our country is something to be ashamed of, and that a hard-fought victory is a "mistake." As if only easy fights were worth fighting. Which is the shit-stupid idea that got us into the War on Terror in the first place. Pacifism kills.

I read someone's complaint recently, that the Iraq Campaign was a disaster because it has made Iran the strongest power on the Persian Gulf. I don't think so. First of all, the strongest power on the Gulf is the United States of America. And, regardless of who is President, we will have our forces in Iraq for a long time. Not to provide security within Iraq--that problem is shrinking fast, and is soon going to be handled by the ISF. But we are now negotiating a long-term security agreement with the Iraqi government, that will keep American troops on bases in Iraq. (Which tacitly insures that Iraq will not have any military coups.) And one of the many reasons for the Iraq Campaign was to bring this about. We will have an army right next to.........fill in the blanks. Ha ha ha.

But also, Iraq itself is on the path to becoming the strongest power on the Gulf. The Iraqi Army is of course growing steadily, it's up to about 15 divisions now. And with all that American training those divisions will be worth more than those of other ME countries. But MUCH more important, Iraq is a democracy. If it continues to be so, it will be able, in a crisis, to draw on the whole strength of its people. Democracies can be feckless in the short run, but over the long haul they are much stronger and more dangerous than tyrannies.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 AM

November 29, 2007

"Multicultural Pyramid of Oppression"

From a good piece by Evan Coyne Maloney...

....The dogma of multiculturalism holds that all cultures are equal, except Western culture, which (unlike every other society on the planet) has a history of oppression and war is therefore worse. All religions are equal, except Christianity, which informed the beliefs of the capitalist bloodsuckers who founded America and is therefore worse. All races are equal, except Caucasians, who long ago went into business with black slave traders in Africa, and therefore they are worse. The genders, too, are equal, except for those paternalistic males, who with their testosterone and aggression have made this planet a polluted living hell, and therefore they are worse.

Once you understand this, the Multicultural Pyramid of Oppression, you can begin to understand how to turn to your advantage certain circumstances that are beyond your control: such as where you were born, the type of genitalia you were born with, into what race you were born, and the religion of your parents. You see, the fewer things you have in common with The Oppressors, the more you can cast yourself as The Victim. And as The Victim, you are virtuous, so there are certain things you can get away with that others can't: like actually oppressing people.

According to the rules of Multicultural Hierarchy, oppression can be excused if the oppressor comes from a more exotic group�to Western eyes�than the oppressed. If a documentary filmmaker were slaughtered in broad daylight for making a film about domestic violence among, say, Christian evangelists in the American south, an outcry would rightfully ring out from Hollywood denouncing the violence that's intended to silence legitimate social commentary. But a documentary filmmaker killed for making a film about violence against women perpetrated in the name of Islam isn't worth any comment at all from those same folks who are so rarely silent with the rest of their opinions. Identical crimes would have to be interpreted two different ways, because the only variable that matters is the corpse's placement on the Multicultural Hierarchy relative to that of the murderer.

Consider what happens when you apply this thinking on a societal level: if we convince ourselves that all of the blame for the current state of the world should be placed at the feet of Western civilization, then why would any Westerner think that our civilization is worth fighting for? Or even worth saving? The rules of Multicultural Hierarchy require us to preemptively surrender, because any crime committed against us by a more worthy Victim is somehow deserved. And if we deserve it, then fighting against what we deserve amounts to fighting the administration of justice...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:59 AM

November 28, 2007

THE fashionable disease...

From An Epidemic of Falsehoods, by Michael Fumento...

The UNAIDS program has issued its annual report in which, finally, it doesn't say how many more current HIV infections there are this year than last. Rather it drops the figure by over six million from its 2006 estimate. Specifically, it went from 39.5 million to 33.2 million. Further, the Agency now admits the number of new HIV infections per year peaked way back around 1998.

For years, some of us have dared write that worldwide HIV and AIDS figures have been grossly exaggerated; that we were being lied to by just about everybody, including -- or especially -- the UNAIDS program and the World Health Organization...[...]

.....Such an extrapolation from a small non-representative portion of the population to literally the whole world is nonsense.
And UNAIDS knew it because it had been told by a number of careful, knowledgeable scientists such as Berkeley epidemiologist Dr. James Chin. Chin, when he worked for the UN, was responsible for some of the earliest world AIDS forecasts. Later he watched how politics -- not a virus -- made those figures zoom into the stratosphere.

Three years ago, Chin told me: "They [the UN] don't falsify per se" but "as an epidemiologist I look at these numbers and how they're derived. Every step of the way there is a range and you can choose the low end or the high end. Almost consistently the high end was chosen."

And guess what? Chin, who is also author of The AIDS Pandemic: The Collision of Epidemiology With Political Correctness, still thinks the numbers are too high. He estimates worldwide HIV infections to be 25 million, still about eight million less than the revised estimate...

Look, it's obvious that AIDS is THE fashionable disease. Africans dying of AIDS is a big deal, Africans dying because of polluted water supplies or lack of vaccinations is not very interesting to Western elites and Hollywood saints. The question is, why?

I myself have little doubt that it is--unconsciously perhaps--because it is mostly a "gay" disease, and all things homosexual are being officially "approved of" as part of Leftist attacks on traditional morality and values. And gays are just pawns here--Leftists would happily sacrifice them to the "cause." (If you think I exaggerate, imagine as a thought experiment a popular new movement in the gay culture, with all gays becoming monogamous and all voting Republican, leading to ZERO new cases of AIDS. Do you think for a moment that Lefty activists would be pleased?)

Part of the weirdness of the "popularity" of AIDS, (and the popularity of many other issues) is the way that all left-leaning people have picked-up their marching orders from...where? From out of the ether it seems. In the old days the Left had a hard core of communists who told the "useful idiots" how to think. But that's all gone, there is no center anymore, and no real belief in socialism. And yet, millions of people have a little internal Politburo that pushes them towards positions that advance the cause of socialism. In which they do not actually believe. Always towards atomizing society, and destroying institutions like families and churches that come between people and government.

 

Posted by John Weidner at 7:01 AM

November 27, 2007

Neutrality is a sham. Pacifism is a sham...

Norman Lebrech explains how there is a back-story to the latest album by soprano Anne-Sofie von Otter... [Thanks to Bookwormroom]

....Her tragic tale begins on a train, as so many war stories do. Anne-Sofie's father, Baron G�ran von Otter, was a Swedish diplomat in wartime Germany, adjutant to the ambassador. On the night of 20-21 August 1942, travelling from Warsaw to Berlin, he became an involuntary witness to the Holocaust.

Standing in the corridor because he could not get a sleeper, the diplomat saw an SS officer glancing in his direction. When the train stopped at a station, both men got off for fresh air. On the pitch-dark platform, the SS man asked for a light for his cigarette. Von Otter produced a pack of matches with a Swedish crest. 'I must talk to you,' said Kurt Gerstein.

'With beads of sweat on his forehead and tears in his eyes' (as von Otter reported to his superiors), Gerstein explained that he was head of a Waffen-SS Technical Disinfection unit, responsible for supplying poisons and gas equipment. 'Yesterday,' he told von Otter, weeping uncontrollably, 'I saw something appalling.' 'Is it about the Jews?' said the diplomat.

Over the next six or eight hours in the train corridor, having examined Gerstein's papers and satisfied himself of his credentials, von Otter heard a detailed account of the mechanics of genocide, the gas chambers, the mass graves. Gerstein gave chapter and verse, the names of senior personnel, the look in a little girl's eyes as she was shoved naked to the slaughter. 'I saw more than ten thousand die today,' he wept.

He implored the Baron to inform the Swedish government, in the hope of stopping the slaughter. 'I had no doubt as to the sincerity of his humanitarian intentions,' said von Otter, who promptly wrote a report to Stockholm and heard nothing more. Not long after, he was recalled. When he looked for his own report in Foreign Ministry files, there was nothing to be found....

....Von Otter's career stalled, possibly because his 1942 report compromised Sweden's blind-eye neutrality. He rose no higher than consul-general in London, and died in 1988.....

Of course his report disappeared. There was not the slightest chance that Sweden was going to allow itself to be aware of what was going on next door. 'Cause they are better than the rest of us, and don't get involved in evil stuff like wars.

It's the same thing now, with "liberals" not wanting to know about the atrocities of Saddam's regime, or about the concentration camps of North Korea---not as long as there any chance that they will actually have to help do something about it. Especially if they might have to cooperate with President Bush. Better a million rag-heads should die, than that the latte-sipping crowd should have to support America or her elected leaders.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:42 PM

"the stab in the front"

I thought this paragraph, by Noemie Emery, in the Weekly Standard, was pretty funny....

....As they took control of Congress at the start of 2007, the Democrats vowed this would be a year of historic importance, and it seems they were prescient: Seldom before in the annals of governance have so many politicians fought so long and so hard to completely screw up a winning strategy being waged on their country’s behalf. Some cruelly define this as treacherous conduct, but this is imprecise and unkind. They tried, it is true, to do serious damage, but were compromised in the event by their chronic incompetence, as well as by being too above-board and open to try to do things on the sly. A stab in the back as a concept was wholly beyond their capacities. This was not a stab in the back that works via guile and subterfuge. It was 41 different stabs in the front, that always fell far short of serious damage, unless you count the damage they did to their own reputations (the approval ratings for Congress are now in the twenties). It was the Stab in the Front, the Surge-against-the-Surge, the Pickett’s Charge of the Great War on Terror. It was a year to remember, that will live in the annals of fecklessness. It was historical. It was hysterical. It was the Stab that Failed....

What a bunch of robots.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:13 AM

November 26, 2007

Eloi Archbishop curries favor with Morlocks...

From the Times: US is �worst� imperialist: Archbishop.

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the United States wields its power in a way that is worse than Britain during its imperial heyday.

Rowan Williams claimed that America�s attempt to intervene overseas by �clearing the decks� with a �quick burst of violent action� [This is simply a dirty lie.] had led to �the worst of all worlds�. [Yeah, uppity niggers allowed to vote in Iraq and Afghanistan, and nobody respects their British betters any more.]

In a wide-ranging interview with a British Muslim magazine, the Anglican leader linked criticism of the United States to one of his most pessimistic declarations about the state of western civilisation. [Civilization is what you are willing to fight for. The "Archbishop" has already dropped out of Western Civ.]

He said the crisis was caused not just by America�s actions but also by its misguided sense of its own mission. He poured scorn on the �chosen nation myth of America, meaning that what happens in America is very much at the heart of God�s purpose for humanity�. [I'd say he's a nihilist, but Anti-Americansm is a kind of religion.]

Williams went beyond his previous critique of the conduct of the war on terror, saying the United States had lost the moral high ground since September 11. ["Moral high ground" means lying on the ground being kicked. You "lose the moral high ground" (if you are Western) the instant you start to fight back. I'm willing to bet money he NEVER tells his Moslem pals they should let themselves be booted around.] He urged it to launch a �generous and intelligent programme of aid directed to the societies that have been ravaged; [Welfare. Works so well.] a check on the economic exploitation of defeated territories; [UH, got any evidence for that Leftist lie, Rowan?] a demilitarisation of their presence�. [Earth to Rowan: They are not "defeated territories" anymore. They are soverign states with elected governments, which have allied with the United States. And they are, like any country under attack, raising armies. Since you are on the other side, you want them "demilitarized." SO, when have you ever suggested that any of America's ENEMIES be "demilitarized?" Why have you never suggested that Iran or North Korea or Syria be "demilitarized?"]

He went on to suggest that the West was fundamentally adrift: �Our modern western definition of humanity is clearly not working very well. There is something about western modernity which really does eat away at the soul.� [I agree. You are a perfect example.]

Williams suggested American leadership had broken down: �We have only one global hegemonic power. It is not accumulating territory: it is trying to accumulate influence and control. That�s not working.� [No, we are working to promote "self-control." We are the only cops on the planet, and our goal is to strengthen the elements of order and growth and freedom.]

He contrasted it unfavourably with how the British Empire governed India. �It is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it. Rightly or wrongly, that�s what the British Empire did � in India, for example. [And now India is a strong nuclear power ever more closely allied with the US.]

�It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks [The term we like is "destabilize."] and that you can move on and other people will put it back together � Iraq, for example.� [Huh? So he opposes the Democrats and Leftists who think we should pull out of Iraq? I don't think the "Archbishop" is playing with a full deck.]

In the interview in Emel, a Muslim lifestyle magazine, Williams makes only mild criticisms of the Islamic world. [I'm just SO surprised.] He said the Muslim world must acknowledge that its �political solutions were not the most impressive�.[Either fascist tyrannies or Islamic fundamentalist tyrannies or terrorist tyrannies. Yep, I'd say "not impressive" hits the nail on the head.]

He commends the Muslim practice of praying five times a day, which he says allows the remembrance of God to be �built in deeply in their daily rhythm�. [and he commends for Christians the nihilist practice of denouncing America five times a day.]

* Update: VDH has a good reply to the "Archbishop."

Posted by John Weidner at 5:45 AM

November 25, 2007

God dropping by for a visit...

From Why I am not a Deist, by John C Wright...

...You might wonder why, if God can convince atheists to worship Him merely by dropping by for a visit, [as happened to the author] He does not do it more often. The reason is that it does not help, not at all, not a bit. When I suffer doubts, when my faith gets weak, my faith in my memory gets weak too. Faith and faithlessness have NOTHING TO DO with evidence presented to reason or senses. It has to do with a humble will and an upright heart. If God presented evidence to skeptics, all that would happen is that skeptics would doubt their evidence. If God gave a logical argument to prove His own existence, all that would happen is that skeptics would doubt the power of logic to prove anything.

Skepticism pretends it is all about open-mindedness and evidence. Not so. Skepticism is about suspicion and pride and self-will. It is about pretending you are smarter than people who, if you only knew, are actually wiser than you and your sneering questions and foolish word-tricks. The only place we ever see a humble skeptic is in the physical sciences, because scientists are willing to let their conclusions be ruled on by nature....

"Skepticism is about suspicion and pride and self-will" Amen, Brother. You hit the nail on the head. Been there, done it.

Also from the same piece...

...( It is popular these days to remark on the scientific and philosophical achievements of Islam during the darkest days of the Dark Ages. This is an historical error. The peoples conquered by the savages from Arabia were Romans, members of the Roman Empire, Byzantines who had been Christian for four or five centuries. They were a highly civilized and advanced people. The Turks did not destroy their culture and learning. But to give them credit for their invention is like crediting the Soviets with the industry and wealth of East Germany. It is something they found and took, not something they made. The difference in learning was between the Latin and the Greek speaking parts of the Roman Empire: the West collapsed long, long before the East was overrun. )
Posted by John Weidner at 6:58 AM

November 24, 2007

"Our dead and wounded have not bled in vain"

Good piece by Ralph Peters in the NY Post, IRAQ: WHAT WENT RIGHT

....Attacks of every kind are down by at least half - in some cases by more than three-quarters. A wounded country's struggling back to health. And our mortal enemies, al Qaeda's terrorists, have suffered a defeat from which they may never fully recover: They've lost street cred.

Our dead and wounded have not bled in vain.What happened? How did this startling turnabout come to pass? Why does the good news continue to compound?

Some of the reasons are widely known, but others have been missed. Here are the "big five" reasons for the shift from near-failure to growing success:

We didn't quit: Even as some of us began to suspect that Iraqi society was hopelessly sick, our troops stood to and did their duty bravely. The tenacity of our soldiers and Marines in the face of mortal enemies in Iraq and blithe traitors at home is the No. 1 reason why Iraq has turned around.

Without their valor and sacrifice, nothing else would've mattered. Key leaders were courageous, too - men such as now-Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno. Big Ray was pilloried in our media for being too warlike, too aggressive and just too damned tough on our enemies.

Well, the Ray Odiernos, not the hearts-and-minds crowd, held the line against evil. Only by hammering our enemies year after year were we able to convince them that we couldn't - and wouldn't - be beaten. If the press wronged any single man or woman in uniform, it was Odierno - thank God he was promoted and stayed in the fight....

....The surge: While the increase in troop numbers was important, allowing us to consolidate gains in neighborhoods we'd rid of terrorists and insurgents, the psychological effect of the surge was crucial.

Pre-surge, our enemies were convinced they were winning - they monitored our media, which assured them that America would quit. Sorry, Muqtada - that's what you get for believing The New York Times. The message sent by the surge was that we not only wouldn't quit, but also were upping the ante. It stunned our enemies - while giving Sunni Arabs disenchanted with al Qaeda the confidence to flip to our side without fear of abandonment.....

You don't have to read much history to see that wars and battles tend to be most ferocious and deadly just before the end. The fact that casualties are rising and things are becoming more difficult does NOT mean that you are losing! Unfortunately it has been impossible to debate the Iraq Campaign rationally with peace-niks because (along with 999 other reasons), they won't make their position explicit on this point.

Oh well, since we can't win the debate, we must just go ahead and win the campaign.

I also get especially infuriated by the notion—never expressed clearly enough so one can debate it—that if in battle we seize a position, and then the enemy counter-attacks furiously, it means we've done something wrong! That's just so stupid. The opposite is almost always true. If we piss off our enemies, we are probably on the right track.

Remember Little Round Top, at the Battle of Gettysburg? A few men seizing that pile of rocks, and then both sides throwing more and more more men into the struggle for the hill. Hey, you Lefties out there, that was stupid, right? That was a "totally mismanaged" battle, right? I mean, what could be more mistaken, thousands dying over a hillock you wouldn't even notice as you drove by? Right?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:06 AM

November 23, 2007

"both bug-crusher and discretionary hat"

Steven Poole on that new e-book reader, called the "Kindle," from Amazon....

....I here propose a minimal list of features that any really successful ebook device must eventually have. Feature parity with physical books, after all, is surely a reasonable baseline demand. So here is what the electronic book of the future will be like.

1 It will have an inexhaustible source of energy and never need recharging.

2 It will have resolution as good as print. (No, Amazon, really as good as print.)

3 It will be able to survive coffee and wine spills, days of intense sunlight, dropping in the ocean, light charring, and falling completely into two or more pieces, while still remaining perfectly readable afterwards....

He's got more. Including:

...13 The ebook will function, morever, as both bug-crusher and discretionary hat. Placed on my face, it will make a soft roof against the sun on the beach.....

Posted by John Weidner at 4:47 PM

Good news...

This is very good news, if you care about France. The NYT article doesn't mention what's really at stake�they don't want anyone in their shrinking readership to get BAD ideas. This moment is precisely parallel to moments in the Thatcher and Reagan administrations, when those leaders faced challenges by strikers that could have crippled them, and destroyed hopes of reform.

PARIS, Nov. 22 — A crippling national transportation strike that has lasted nine days appeared to be sputtering to an end on Thursday as rail workers fighting to retain early retirement rights seemed willing to accept negotiations and voted throughout the country to return to work.

More than 40 union assemblies across France voted to return to work, but more votes were being held. The state-owned rail operator S.N.C.F. hailed the early voting as a sign of a “dynamic” to return to work, and union officials talked about “a climate to suspend” the strike....

Margaret Thatcher faced a coal miner's strike. Which was really a socialist strike, an action by the Labour Party intended to nullify the results of the ballot-box, and make her back down on her conservative reforms. But she had prepared carefully, building up stocks of coal beforehand. And she knew that the people were with her, and were willing to bear hardship to kill the beast.

Reagan was not expecting his strike, in the very first days of his Presidency. But he had the advantage that the air-traffic controller's strike was flat-out illegal. He acted without hesitation, knowing that the people supported him. (I remember it well. What a splendid, happy moment!) And, as in Britain, what was at stake was enormous. To lose would have crippled him from the beginning.

The history of our time is a story of Leftist policies failing, and of attempts to preserve them by means that circumvent democracy. Such as using the courts to legislate, and by controlling the press and the academy to prevent the flow of ideas, and by using strategic strikes by corrupt unions.

The French economy is in rotten shape because of insane policies. Sarkozy wants to change them, much like Thatcher and Reagan did. This could be the crucial victory. Good luck to him.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:53 AM

November 22, 2007

things to be thankful for...

We can all be thankful for our peerless military, and for the sight of happy schoolchildren in the Dora neighborhood. Thankful that Americans and the Iraqi Security Forces are even now delivering a crushing defeat to the murderous animals of al Qaeda. These children can smile because good and brave men took on the forces of evil.

 Soldiers and schoolchildren, Dora, Baghdad

A schoolboy waves at a U.S. soldier on foot patrol in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood on Wednesday.
HADI MIZBAN / ASSOCIATED PRESS Army Times
Frontline Photos 11-21-07


� � � � � � � � � � �

 Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division celebrate Thanksgiving Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division celebrate Thanksgiving in their tent at Firebase Wilderness in the Afghanistan Paktia Province. The soldiers had saved up cheeses, sausages, pretzels and other treats from home, which were sent out in care packages.

John D. McHugh / AFP /Getty Images. Army Times Frontline Photos 11-24-06


Posted by John Weidner at 12:33 PM

In reality, a mighty host...

Measured by the standards of men of their time, ... [the Pilgrims] were the humble of the earth. Measured by later accomplishments, they were the mighty. In appearance weak and persecuted they came -- rejected, despised -- an insignificant band; in reality strong and independent, a mighty host of whom the world was not worthy, destined to free mankind.
      -- Calvin Coolidge
Posted by John Weidner at 5:33 AM

November 21, 2007

Thanks once again Mr Bush...

From an editorial in National Review....

Today’s papers bring news of an enormous advance in stem-cell research. Scientists in the United States and Japan have managed to turn regular human skin cells into the equivalent of embryonic stem cells — achieving what they’ve sought until now through the destruction of embryos, but without the need to use embryos, to use cloning, or to use eggs...

...In an effort to cause the country to abandon this conviction, some advocates of the research, including nearly every prominent Democrat in Congress, have made reckless and irresponsible promises, offered false hope to the suffering, depicted their opponents as heartless enemies of science, and exploited sick people for crass political gain.

Meanwhile, in an effort to defend that conviction, President Bush and most congressional Republicans have stood up to all that pressure, and have pursued an approach that seeks to advance science while also insisting on ethics. Contrary to the common myth, Bush never “banned” stem-cell research, or even federal funding for it. Instead, he permitted such funding, for the first time, in a way that could help basic science advance while not encouraging the ongoing destruction of human embryos. He acknowledged the importance of the science, acknowledged the importance of the ethics, and sought to champion both.

For several years now, the president has also clearly understood that the potential for scientific alternatives to the destruction of embryos could offer a powerful means to that end. Helped along by a variety of experts who saw that promise — perhaps most notably William Hurlbut of Stanford University, who was a member of Bush’s bioethics council — he came to recognize that stem-cell science could solve the ethical quandary stem-cell science had created. As early as 2005, Bush was speaking about “ethical ways of getting the same kind of cells now taken from embryos without violating human life or dignity.” And after trying unsuccessfully to get the Congress to support such new avenues of research, he acted on his own through an executive order this summer....

As someone said, Bush accomplishes more in a bad year than Clinton did in his whole 8 years.

And even if you do not care about this particular issue, SANE people should recognize that there should be the possibility that elected governments can exercise oversight in scientific research. I don't think it is sane to say, "Scientists should be allowed to discover or build anything they like, and we should all just pay them to do so and accept humbly whatever they decide to give us." Am I right? (shall I pause and give you Democrats an hour to scratch your heads?)

And therefore sane people should agree that something good has been accomplished. Ordinary Americans said they were not happy with the way certain research was going, and the political process produced a pause, and a change of direction. That's a good thing, right?

And the administration is not "anti-science." That's lying crap from people who can't compete in the arena of ideas. Imagine that researchers were hoping to save lives by inventing what could be an Ozone Layer-destroying chemical? Or by slaughtering baby seals? Would not Al Gore and Democrats be arguing for a slowdown? A change of direction? Alternatives? Hmmm? That would not be "anti-science."

Actually, if you scrutinize that "baby seal-destroying research" analogy, it gives one pause. To be more analogous, Republicans would have to be eager, nay HUNGRY for the destruction of baby seals. And they would have to ignore the fact that there were more promising lines of research that did not kill seals. And they would have to heap scorn on anyone not eager to club little seals en mass, and deride them as knuckle-dragging obscurantists who didn't want Christopher Reeve to be cured.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:27 AM

November 20, 2007

Bad language fosters bad thinking...

From a post by Maclin Horton, on the misuse of the word "Inappropriate"....

...This is one of those small but significant ways in which bad language both reflects and fosters bad thinking. It's been some years now since I began to notice myself reacting to it with what first seemed to be an unreasonable irritation. I finally realized that it annoyed me because people were using it as a substitute for "wrong." In a time when the existence of objective moral standards is doubted and denied, and when no one wants to be accused of being judgmental, it's very bad form to say that anything short of mass murder is just plain wrong; mass murder, and perhaps racism.

But yet: order must be maintained. People in authority (or those who just wish they were) still need and desire to tell other people what to do. How can they justify it, if they can't appeal to some standard which is eventually rooted in the concept of right and wrong? "Inappropriate" became the solution...

It is very interesting to think of the very small number of things it is still "politically correct" to say are wrong. Slavery is wrong, as long as it was done by Dead White Men. The fact that Muslims are enslaving black Africans right now is never called "wrong."

Sexual harassment is wrong unless it was done by Bill Clinton.

It is wrong to be a fascist dictator in the 1940's, and it was right for democracies to overthrow them with massive military force and at a cost of millions of deaths. It is not wrong to be a fascist dictator in the 2000's, and overthrowing one at a cost of thousands of deaths is.....wrong.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:38 AM

illogic...

Good line by Dave Price...

...It's sort of amazing that the same people who claim to be defending democracy by arguing the thousands of deaths on 9/11 do not justify allegedly violating our sacred civil rights by warrantlessly wiretapping suspected terrorists can simultaneously argue that the violence in Iraq makes the incredible advance of democracy and basic human rights there meaningless...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:58 AM

November 19, 2007

"I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps"

You might want to take a look at a fudgy little video that John Hinderaker of PowerLine has posted...

...In the school district where I live, a concert is put on annually by the four high school choirs, plus a little kids' choir of elementary school children, of which my youngest daughter is a member. Participation in the high school choirs is competitive and their quality is high. A director for the concert is brought in from the outside, generally from a college. The concert begins with a couple of numbers by the kids' choir; this year, they started with a medley of The Pledge of Allegiance and America the Beautiful. The crowd--I live in a middle-of-the-road, non-elite area--loved it. The four high school choirs perform separately, and then at the end, they combine in a single large choir for a couple of songs. Most of the music sung is classical; lots of it is religious, often in Latin. As I said, the quality is high.

For the finale, they bring out the kids' choir to sing with all four high schools. This year, the finale was Battle Hymn of the Republic....

That's what's on the video. Gave me a lump in the throat. Maybe it's just because I live in this sinkhole of Lefty nihilism and anti-Americanism, and have put three kids through school without EVER hearing a concert of patriotic songs..... especially THAT patriotic song.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:14 PM

the "incivility" of the blogs...

This is by Diogenes, who comments with acid humor on religion. It is from a piece on the Anglican Church, but could fit current politics just as well...

....Flames of theological hatred? Not the way I'd put it. It seems to me instead that, with the coming of the Internet, the ecclesiastical bureaucracies lost their communications monopoly and were finally forced to hear what the orthodox had been trying to say all along. Fifty years of frustration at unreturned phone calls and ash-canned letters to the editor have added an edginess to some of the critique, but to label it hatred is a dodge. The boxer who rests on his laurels and refuses to get into the ring for ten years will find that, when he finally does so, his opponent's shots land harder than he remembers. That's why liberals are quick to deplore the "incivility" of the blogs....

I remember when writing a letter to the editor was a big deal. And having one actually published was a very big deal. "Imagine. Me. Little me. Actually being read by thousands of strangers."

So yes, there is a certain testiness to people like me. And I've been told a most amazing variety of ways that I'm "uncivil" and shouldn't say things like that. By people who never dare to get in the ring and slug it out about what is TRUE.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:08 AM

November 18, 2007

Indispensable man...

(I'm not, by the way, signing on to the views on the War on Terror of the columnist who dubs himself Spengler. But for 'thought-provoking," he's hard to beat. And this book sounds great; I'm surely going to read it.)

Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians by Fergus Kerr. Reviewed by Spengler

It may seem eccentric to hail a theological text by a Scots Dominican, ranked 133,692nd in recent Amazon sales, as the year's most important work on global strategy. Now that I have your attention, humor me for a paragraph or two.
To win a gunfight, first you have to bring a gun, and to win a religious war, you had better know something about religion. America's "war on terror" proceeds from a political philosophy that treats radical Islam as if it were a political movement - "Islamo-fascism" - rather than a truly religious response to the West. If we are in a fourth world war, as Norman Podhoretz proclaims, it is a religious war. The West is not fighting individual criminals, as the left insists; it is not fighting a Soviet-style state, as the Iraqi disaster makes clear; nor is it fighting a political movement. It is fighting a religion, specifically a religion that arose in enraged reaction to the West.
None of the political leaders of the West, and few of the West's opinion leaders, comprehend this. We are left with the anomaly that the only effective leader of the West is a man wholly averse to war, a pope who took his name from the Benedict who interceded for peace during World War I. Benedict XVI, alone among the leaders of the Christian world, challenges Islam as a religion, as he did in his September 2006 Regensburg address. Who is Joseph Ratzinger, this decisive figure of our times, and what led the Catholic Church to elect him? Fr Kerr has opened the coulisses of Catholic debate such that outsiders can understand the changes in Church thinking that made possible Benedict's papacy. Because Benedict is the leader not only of the Catholics but - by default - of the West, all concerned with the West's future should read his book...
....Kerr's subtitle is, From Neo-Scholasticism to Nuptial Mysticism. By this he means something quite accessible to laymen and non-Catholics. Between the early years of the 20th century, and the papacies of Wojtila and Ratzinger, emphasis in Catholic theology shifted from attempting to prove the tenets of the faith by philosophical argument, to portraying God's self-revelation through love by reference to such Biblical texts as the "Song of Songs". The present pope's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est ("God is Love"), summarizes what Kerr calls "nuptial mysticism".[3] ....
...In Kerr's engaging account, the rationalistic mainstream was challenged by theologians at the margin of the Church, such as the French Jesuit Henri de Lubac and the Swiss Jesuit Hans Urs von Balthasar, now widely regarded as the greatest Catholic theologian of the century. They were encouraged by the research of medievalists such as Etienne Gilson and Marie-Dominique Chenu, who challenged the Enlightenment distortion of Thomas Aquinas. These dissenters spent long and lonely years in the wilderness, sometimes forbidden to write or preach. Their day came with the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), and the reigns of John Paul II and Benedict XVI....

"Random Thoughts Sundays"250

Posted by John Weidner at 6:41 AM

November 17, 2007

Words mean something...

From City Journal, on the term "neocon."

...The term "neoconservatism" has undergone a number of shifts in meaning. It was coined in 1973 by the socialist intellectual Michael Harrington to deride liberal thinkers such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Nathan Glazer, who had begun to criticize the welfare state's excesses. By the 1980s, its meaning expanded to include a small group of former liberal intellectuals who hewed to a strong anti-Soviet line and had defected from the Democratic Party to support Ronald Reagan. They were motivated in part by an increased awareness of, and distinctive moral clarity about, human rights in international affairs, a worthy tradition whose liberal incarnation found embodiment in figures such as Senator Scoop Jackson, labor leaders George Meaney, Lane Kirkland, and Al Shanker, and intellectuals Bayard Rustin and Michael Walzer. None of these people held traditionally "movement conservative" views on economics or social issues�far from it; some of them were outright socialists. Neoconservatives had not been content with the detente policies of Richard Nixon, because they wanted not to coexist with communism, but to end it�a more ambitious goal that Reagan shared.

After September 11, the "neocon" label, which had fallen into disuse, came back into vogue as a way to categorize the intellectual godfathers behind the Bush Doctrine, which of course has advocated both military responses to terrorist threats and promoting liberty around the world via "regime change" (not all necessarily through military means). According to the leftist narrative, the neocons got us into the Iraq war�never mind the widespread assumption among intelligence services around the world that Saddam Hussein did have WMDs, or that large segments of the Democratic Party and liberal opinion leaders supported the invasion of Iraq, etc., etc.

By now, "neocon" has mutated into a political curse word to discredit not just those who happily accept their status as neoconservatives, but also anyone who merely believes that the West should respond in muscular fashion to national security threats, such as those posed by the cooperation of Iran, Syria, and North Korea on nuclear weapons technology and the equipping of terrorist groups around the world....

I'm not a neocon, but if people want to call me one I'll not get angry.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:41 PM

November 16, 2007

"Come home"

From Michael Yon's latest dispatch, on the re-opening of a Christian church in Baghdad....

....A Bishop came to St John’s Church in Baghdad today, 15 November, where a crowd of locals welcomed him home. They were joined at the service by soldiers from the 2-12 infantry battalion, many of whom had fought hard to secure these neighborhood streets. Members of the hard-fighting Iraqi Army 3rd Division were also here for this special day...

....LTC Michael told me today that when al Qaeda came to Dora, they began harassing Christians first, charging them “rent.” It was the local Muslims, according to LTC Michael, who first came to him for help to protect the Christians in his area. That’s right. LTC Michael told me more than once that the Muslims reached out to him to protect the Christians from al Qaeda. Real Muslims here are quick to say that al Qaeda members are not true Muslims. From charging “rent,” al Qaeda’s harassment escalated to killing Christians, and also Muslims. Untold thousands of Christians and Muslims fled Baghdad in the wake of the darkness of civil war. Most of the Christians are gone now; having fled to Syria, Jordan or Northern Iraq.....

....Today, Muslims mostly filled the front pews of St John’s. Muslims who want their Christian friends and neighbors to come home. The Christians who might see these photos likely will recognize their friends here. The Muslims in this neighborhood worry that other people will take the homes of their Christian neighbors, and that the Christians will never come back. And so they came to St John’s today in force, and they showed their faces, and they said, “Come back to Iraq. Come home.” They wanted the cameras to catch it. They wanted to spread the word: Come home. Muslims keep telling me to get it on the news. “Tell the Christians to come home to their country Iraq.”....

I don't know how many of those Christians will return. ALL the Christian communities of the Middle East are shrinking, even disappearing. Or rather, they've moved--nobody disappeared, they've moved to Australia or Britain or the US. One thing is for sure, the America-hating Leftists who used the flight of Baghdad's Christians as a club to bash the Bush Administration and our nation will not take any notice if they do.

And of course they will never criticize the real villains--the vile murderers of al Qaeda. You can't criticize your allies! And anyway, only the United States does bad things to the world.

In 1900 Istanbul was about 50% Christian--Now there are only a few thousand Christians left there. Iraq is actually more hospitable to it's old Christian communities than most Moslem countries.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:12 AM

November 13, 2007

This sort of weasellyness just fascinates me...

Politico, on the way Dem candidates would rather use the "N-word" than the "L-word."

Hillary Rodham Clinton was asked this summer if she would describe herself as a "liberal."

The Democratic front-runner shied away, saying the "word" � noticeably not using the word � has taken on a connotation that "describes big government.

"I prefer the word 'progressive,'" she said. It has a "real American meaning."
Then she expanded the term to "modern progressive," and, finally, clarified that she was a "modern American progressive."

These are heady days for Democrats. The party is favored by almost all measures in the coming presidential contest.

But while Democrats are emboldened, they remain wary of the term "liberal."

Republicans, by contrast, are as unpopular in the polls as they have been for at least 15 years.

Nonetheless, the label "conservative" remains in vogue...

I just bet you that pretty soon "modern American progressive" will seem too too......too, umm, something or other, and will be modified. Hillary will start to call herself a "Patriotic God-Respecting Crime-opposing Modern American Progressive." Or maybe a whole new word will be discovered.

That's the problem when you start to tell lies. You get all tangled up. The lie started, as you probably already know, when various New Dealers were asked if they were Socialists. They didn't want to admit that (though it was true, and a bunch of them were Communists, foul secret agents of Stalin) so they dubbed themselves "Liberals." Thereby giving the word a new meaning that was very different from the classical meaning of Liberal.

Of course the word Liberal soon came to mean "Quasi-socialist." So now our current crop of quasi-socialists label themselves "Progressive." So cute. And now, now we see Hillary squirming away from that word!! If you tell one lie, you have to tell more lies to cover up the first one.

How I hate liars!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:11 AM

November 12, 2007

"forms of artistic expression"

Fascinatin' stuff at PJ Media on fraudulant video from Palestinians, and how Western media are happy to help out with the fraud, and the Jew bashing...

...So when asked why he had inserted unconnected footage of an Israeli soldier firing a rifle into the Al Dura sequence in order to make it look like the Israelis had killed the boy in cold blood, an official of PA TV responded: These are forms of artistic expression, but all of this serves to convey the truth� We never forget our higher journalistic principles to which we are committed of relating the truth and nothing but the truth.When Talal abu Rahmah received an award for his footage of Muhammad al Dura in Morocco in 2001, he told a reporter, �I went into journalism to carry on the fight for my people.�

These remarks serve as an important prelude to considering the France2 rushes that will be shown in court in Paris on November 14 in the Enderlin France2 vs. Philippe Karsenty defamation case. These tapes were filmed by Talal abu Rahmah on September 30, 2000, and for seven years, Enderlin has claimed that the tapes prove him right and show the boy in such unbearable death throes that he cut them out of his report. But several experts who have seen the tapes (this author included) claim that the only scene of al Dura that Enderlin cut was the final scene where he seems alive and well; and still more disturbingly the rest of the rushes are filled with staged scenes. Indeed there seems to be a kind of �public secret� at work on the Arab �street�: people fake injury, others evacuate them hurriedly (and without stretchers) past Palestinian cameramen like Talal, who use Western video equipment to record these improvised scenes. Pallywood: the Palestinian movie industry.

Which brings us to a problem more complex than the fairly straightforward observation that Palestinian journalists play by a different set of rules in which this kind of manipulation of the �truth� is entirely legitimate. What do Western journalists do with these products of propaganda? Do they know these are fakes or are they fooled? Do they tell the cameramen working for them and using their equipment that filming such staged scenes is unethical and unacceptable? And if they do, why do cameramen who have worked for them for years � Talal worked for Enderlin for over a decade when he took these rushes � continue to film these scenes. And how often do our journalists run this staged footage as real news?

Here the evidence provided by the Al Dura affair suggests that, in some sense, journalists are �in� on the public secret. When representatives of France2 were confronted with the pervasive evidence of staging in Talal�s footage, they both responded the same way. �Oh, they always do that, it�s a cultural thing,� said Enderlin to me in Jerusalem. �Yes Monsieur, but, you know, it�s always like that,� said Didier Eppelbaum to Denis Jeambar, Daniel Leconte, and Luc Rosenzweig in Paris....

"forms of artistic expression..." The sick thing is that they LEARN this foul postmodernist crap from us. We TEACH THEM to be liars and murderers.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:22 PM

This is just SO 2006...

From AlterNet, (thanks to Dean) a paranoid rant about how Bush is, like the German military in 1918, preparing a "stabbed in the back legend" to shift blame for losing the Iraq Campaign...

....It may seem farfetched to compare a Prussian military dictatorship and its self-serving lies to the current Bush administration. Yet I'm not the first person to express concern about the emergence of our very own Iraqi Dolchstoßlegende. Back in 2004, Matthew Yglesias first brought up the possibility. Last year, in Harper's Magazine, Kevin Baker detailed the history of the stab-in-the-back, suggesting that Bush's Iraqi version was already beginning to germinate early in 2005, when news from Iraq turned definitively sour. And this October, in The Nation, Eric Alterman warned that the Bush administration was already busily sowing the seeds of this myth. Other Iraqi myth-trackers have included Gary Kamiya at Salon.com, and Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith at Commondreams.org. Just this August, Thomas Ricks, Washington Post columnist and author of the bestselling book, Fiasco, worried publicly about whether the military itself wasn't already embracing elements of the myth whose specific betrayers would include "weasely politicians" (are there any other kind?) and a "media who undercut us by focusing on the negative."

Is an American version of this myth really emerging then? Let's listen in on a recent Jim Lehrer interview with Senator John McCain, who, while officially convinced that the President's surge plan in Iraq was working, couldn't seem to help talking about how we might yet lose. His remarks quickly took a disturbing turn as he pointed out that our Achilles' heel in Iraq is... well, we the people of the United States and our growing impatience with the war. And the historical analogy he employed was Vietnam, the catalyst for the deployment of the previous American Dolchstoßlegende...

Of course the big problem here is that it looks like we are now winning in Iraq (and unlike Vietnam this will not be easy to conceal from the American people) and so there isn't going to be a need for defeatists to argue against a "Dolchstoßlegende." What they will need to be arguing is that the victory is a fluke, and does not validate the idea of fighting for our civilization and our traditional values. That's what's in store for Lefty nihilists everywhere.

Another problem with the piece is that what McCain was saying is the simple truth. In Vietnam we were "stabbed in the back," and the author, weirdly, includes the evidence, the smoking gun...

...It's a myth we ourselves are familiar with. As South Vietnam was collapsing in 1975, Army Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr., speaking to a North Vietnamese counterpart, claimed the U.S. military had never lost a battle in Vietnam. Perhaps so, the NVA colonel replied, "but it is also irrelevant." Summers recounts his conversation approvingly, without irony, in his book On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War. For him, even if we lost the war, our Army proved itself "unbeatable."

Though Summers' premise was -- and remains -- dangerously misleading, it reassured the true believers who ran, and continue to run, our military....

The thing is, that quote about how military victory was "irrelevant" was itself testimony of a stab in the back. What the colonel said was that our military victory was made irrelevant by a political defeat. And where did that that defeat happen? Was he saying that communists were winning elections or supporters in Southeast Asia? No, he is saying that the political defeat was here in America. And "stab in the back" is a perfectly reasonable description of that defeat...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:57 AM

November 11, 2007

11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month

(This is partly a re-post of a Veteran's Day piece I did in 2005)

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

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

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



Funeral for Americans

American soldiers at a funeral near Saint-Mihiel, 1917


Civil War troops at Catholic mass

[link]

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

And our nation has a similar problem. Our ancestors performed miracles of endurance and suffering and courage, so we could enjoy wealth and comfort such as the world has never seen. But this very success has created a sub-culture of Eloi, weak and foolish creatures who burble, "War never solved anything," when it has in fact solved a host of their problems. They are sitting in unthinking comfort and security on the heaped bones of America's enemies. And they sneer and carp at our military, while�of course�not moving to anywhere where they are not protected by strong men with guns.

To anyone such as myself, who has read a lot of history, the military we have now is an astonishment. Never on this planet has there been such a combination of soldierly proficiency, of devastating weapons used with extreme restraint, and such care to protect civilians and to nurture chaotic lands towards democracy and progress. I recently mentioned a splendid book, House to House, by David Bellavia, about deadly struggle in the second battle of Falluja. But in most of our wars, we would not have done that house-to-house stuff. We would have just flattened a Falluja, like we did to Aachen. We could easily have destroyed that horrid place, along with many civilians and many terrorist murderers, and not lost a single American life. Instead, American and Iraqi soldiers groped through a nightmare of booby-trapped buildings and carefully-prepared kill-zones. And many brave men died.

They gave their lives to save the innocent. History will record that they are the true Christians of our time, the real "good Samaritans." While our fake-pacifists are just ice-hearted free-loaders, living in safety because blood is shed by real men and women whose boots they are not worthy to lick.

'Strider' am I to one fat man who lives within a day's march of foes that would freeze his heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:19 PM

Faith involves the whole man...

From A Newman Treasury, edited by Charles Frederick Harrold...

...In other words we actually know more than we can express in conscious logical statements. We are constantly entertaining convictions with absolute certainty on grounds which we could never reduce to explicit argument. This is because a great deal of our reasoning is what Newman calls "implicit" or what we should call subconscious. If the mind is "unequal to its own powers of apprehension," then conscious logic cannot always adequately test the accuracy of its apprehensions.

Thus Newman must disagree with Locke, whom he quotes in the Grammar of Assent, that no one should "entertain any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built on will warrant." Life is too short for a philosophy or religion of inferences; it is also too concrete, too rich, too unbounded. We cannot always wait for proofs. In fact, says Newman, we do not wait, but proceed in our daily lives upon a vast number of implicit reasonings on probabilities, and only now and then follow the dictates of a syllogism. We are therefore living by faith far more than we realize. And when we face the problem of religious faith, the same facts of human nature spring into view, except that the virtue of a "right state of heart," and the moral imperatives of the conscience have a far greater rational import than than is commonly supposed.

In religious faith , the simple and the unlettered have the advantage over the mere intellectual, if the latter does not qualify his explicit reasonings with the right moral disposition and with the realization that faith involves the whole man and is never a matter of logic alone. Clearness of statement or even of thought is often not essential at all for the recognition of a great truth. Thus the ignorant but inspired man may arrive at truths which only a logician could analyze or debate; similarly, says Newman, "consider the preternatural sagacity with which a great general knows what his friends and enemies are about, and what will be the final result, and where, of their combined movements."...

 

Posted by John Weidner at 6:42 AM

November 10, 2007

Reality-based kooky mob...

John Hinderaker of PowerLine has a report from the Blog Expo in Las Vegas. (No, I don't need to be invited to blog expos. I don't think I would fit in.) Amazin' stuff...

....About half the participants in both panels were liberals; these are the people who had me thinking I had passed into a different world, and entered a sort of bubble inhabited only by leftists.

The first panel went off, inevitably I suppose, on Iraq. What was striking was the dogmatic nature of the liberals' assertions about what is happening there. Things aren't getting better; things can't possibly get better; the facts don't matter, it's tautological; no matter what happens from here on, the policy stays the same; we must get out as fast as possible regardless of the facts on the ground. This view, they repeated more times than I could count, is shared by "70% of the American people." One of the 70%, apparently, was Markos Moulitsos, who interjected loud comments from the audience from time to time.

I'm pretty sure the number of people who think the facts don't matter in Iraq is quite a bit less than 70%, and I'm also pretty sure that a political movement that explicitly declares its indifference to reality is in trouble.

Several of the liberal bloggers vowed to cut Hillary Clinton little or no slack as President if she does not act quickly to remove the troops from Iraq. There were references to Lyndon Johnson, and one of the liberals (who seemed like a nice person) fondly recalled Country Joe and the Fish. I was nonplussed: the liberals haven't even elected their President yet, and they're already talking about how to go about destroying her....

Country Joe and the Fish??? Geez, I was much amused by Country Joe when I was in high school. In the 1960's, for pity's sake! I hate to break it to you Lefties out there, but remaining mentally in the cultural-country of your teenage years is not a sign of staying young. It is, in fact, a sign that you grew old and afraid about 4 decades ago. Pitiable. Preposterous.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:08 AM

November 9, 2007

Palestinians celebrate their worst enemy

Our friend Cinnamon Stillwell posts about stuff going on a few blocks from me. (I am, as usual, oblivious, though I may be less so in the future, now that I have a son who is a freshman at State.)

As I noted yesterday at the Campus Watch blog, a mural has been erected at San Francisco State University (SFSU) honoring the late Columbia University English and comparative literature professor Edward Said.

Said was the author of the 1978 book, Orientalism, which posited that Western Middle East studies scholars were motivated solely by colonialist sympathies and racist attitudes. The rhetoric of post-colonialism inspired by Orientalism took hold in the field of Middle East studies and, from that point on, the historical and political narrative was framed in terms of colonialists vs. subjects, oppressors vs. victims, occupiers vs. resistance movements, white vs. brown, and, of course, West vs. East.

It is fitting that the Said mural appears on the wall of SFSU's "Cesar Chavez Student Center," which is located in "Malcolm X plaza." Such altars to political activists seen as opposing the powers that be have a long tradition at San Francisco State University, and Said's inclusion is just the latest.

Perhaps not coincidentally, a common theme of anti-Zionist and, at times, anti-Semitic sentiment seems to be a pattern in these murals. I was a student at SFSU during the years the Malcolm X mural was under construction and remember well the inclusion of none-too-subtle imagery of Stars of David and dollar signs dripping with blood. The mural was eventually destroyed and replaced with the more palatable version that appears today, but, for many, the negative feelings – compounded by a series of anti-Semitic incidents on campus – remained.


In the case of the Said mural, it was the initial inclusion of a character named Handala – created by the late Palestinian political cartoonist Naji Al-Ali...

You can see the mural here. Ugh

The pitiful thing is that Said's notions are the worst possible ideas for Palestinians, and Arabs in general to absorb. To teach people that they should consider themselves victims, and blame others for all their problems, is spiritual poison. In teaching Middle Eastern people, especially Palestinians, to be whiners and snivelers and grievance-mongers, he has probably single-handedly done them much more harm than Israel ever has.

Hey, any Palestinians reading this. Edward Said taught you to act like a bunch of girls. Men don't fuss and bellyache, they work hard and build things and get ahead. And if life hands them a tough break, they just get tougher, and work harder, and don't cry. You are pathetic. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 PM

Give it up, Joe...

Eli Lake reports on a speech by Joe Lieberman...

WASHINGTON — The Senate's only "independent Democrat" is lashing out at the party whose vice presidential nominee he once was, accusing its leaders of betraying the tradition of presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy.


At a speech before Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, Senator Lieberman of Connecticut said, "Since retaking Congress in November 2006, the top foreign policy priority of the Democratic Party has not been to expand the size of our military for the war on terror or to strengthen our democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East or to prevail in Afghanistan. It has been to pull our troops out of Iraq, to abandon the democratically elected government there, and to hand a defeat to President Bush."...


....Mr. Lieberman was particularly critical of his 22 Democratic colleagues in the Senate who voted against the senator's resolution to label Iran's revolutionary guard corps and elite Quds Force a foreign terrorist entity. He accused liberal Web logs of peddling a "conspiracy theory," namely that the legislation was a back door authorization for war. Also, without naming names, he said some of his colleagues who had voted against it said they agreed with its substance, but told the senator, "We don't trust Bush. He'll use this resolution as an excuse for war against Iran."


Mr. Lieberman concluded, "There is something profoundly wrong-something that should trouble all of us — when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how the Bush administration might respond to Iran's murder of our troops, than about the fact that Iran is murdering our troops." He added, "There is likewise something profoundly wrong when we see candidates who are willing to pander to this politically paranoid, hyper-partisan sentiment in the Democratic base — even if it sends a message of weakness and division to the Iranian regime."


A senior aide to Mr. Lieberman said the senator was attempting to draw out the long arc of the modern Democratic Party's approach to foreign affairs and persuade fellow Democrats that now was the time to embrace the Truman-Kennedy tradition again....

What a sad absurd thing. There is exactly zero chance that the Dems will return to the tradition of Harry Truman. They have become the party of the tradition of Henry Wallace.

George W Bush is our Truman. The Bush Doctrine has defined the fight we are in, just as the Truman Doctrine defined our position in the long struggle against Communism. And future administrations will not change this.

And people of the Left now hate the Iraq Campaign precisely because it is a liberal project, in the Truman-Kennedy tradition. They hate it because it shines a spotlight on what shams they have become.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:37 AM

November 8, 2007

I'm busy, here's a quote...

Mark Steyn:

....As I like to say, the future belongs to those who show up for it. The guys showing up are the highly fecund Osmond brothers of Utah, and the even more fecund al-Osmond brothers of Yemen, but not the Italians, Germans, San Franciscans, Vermonters, the John Feeneys of this world, or followers of the near parodic Presiding Bishop of the Episcopalian Church:
Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations... We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.
Which is why they'll be as irrelevant to the future "stewardship of the earth" as, say, the Inuit are today. See also Phillip Longman on "The Return Of Patriarchy".
Posted by John Weidner at 11:04 AM

November 6, 2007

Straight from BDS to GDS, with no pause!

This just makes me laugh. Leftists are so preposterous...

.....With the end of the dreaded Bush era approaching, Rudy Giuliani has slowly begun to supplant the president as the leading hate figure among liberals, a reality that will only help Mr. Giuliani in his efforts to overcome his differences with conservatives and win the Republican nomination...

....This sentiment has dominated liberal blogs, where a general consensus has formed that Mr. Giuliani would be the worst president imaginable. Mr. Giuliani's decision to include neoconservative icon Norman Podhoretz on his foreign-policy advisory team has also triggered liberal paranoia about his determination to attack Iran. Lost in all the fuss is the fact that Charles Hill, a Yale professor, is actually Mr. Giuliani's top adviser. What Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Hill have both emphasized is that if America makes it clear that it will not hesitate to use military force, diplomacy has a much more realistic chance of succeeding. Not that this line of reasoning would win over any of his critics on the left.

"If you want to spend enormous amounts of money and kill millions of people in service of policies that will be counterproductive for both democracy and American national security then Rudy's your man," wrote The American Prospect's Scott Lemieux in a post titled "Stop Rudy." Mr. Giuliani's deviations from conservatives don't score him any points among the left, either. Mr. Lemieux's colleague, Dana Goldstein, pleaded with her fellow progressives to "stop calling Rudy Giuliani pro-choice."The possibility of a Giuliani presidency had the Atlantic's Matthew Yglesias struggling for words: "One thing I'm wrestling with is finding a way to convey how terrified I am of the prospect of a Rudy Giuliani presidency in terms of its impact on our foreign policy."...

Ha ha ha. "The worst president imaginable." Poor Mr Yglesias is "terrified!" Oh baby, that's because you have no imagination---Wait'll you get a good dose of Mit Romney. Foaming at the mouth ain't in it.

Do you imagine Romney won't use military force to defend our country and police the world? Just as readily as Rudy? (And probably with more success--how you will hate that! ) AND he exemplifies traditional American values and is pro-life. And smart as the dickens!

I'd suspect that this was all a plot by you Lefties to make Rudy the Republican nominee, if I had that much respect for your intelligence.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:51 AM

"It's like watching two guys you really despise get into a barfight..."

You are, no doubt, familiar with the blog of Fake Steve Jobs... He's got a great rant on the "Hollywood writers."

.....Obtain a clue, people. You're sitting there fighting over residuals and terms of this and that when what you should be doing is leaving the system altogether and helping to build the next one. But you can't do that because you can't get off the heroin of network money. You're hooked to a lifestyle. For all your groovy talk and hip little soul patch beards, you're the most risk-averse people in the world. You're lifers. I mean, you belong to a fucking union! How fucked up and 20th century is that?

Listen, Hollywood TV writers. For fifty years you've had a nice little gig going for yourselves. You've unionized and set up all these stupid rules and you've created a closed-off little club and you've done all you could to keep other people out of the club so you could make ridiculous amounts of money just for pumping out piles of shit content. Now guess what? The Internet blows that up. The Internet is anarchy. There's no writers guild. There's no limit on the number of channels. The writers and actors and directors who've been shut out of your club are creating their own alternate universe. They don't want to be in your club. Worse yet for you, they don't want you in their club, either. They don't need you. They don't give a shit about what you do. They view you as a bunch old, fat, stupid, overpaid hacks. Which you are....

Posted by John Weidner at 5:36 AM

November 5, 2007

November

NOVEMBER

Yea, I have looked, and seen November there;
The changeless seal of change it seemed to be,
Fair death of things that, living once, were fair;
Bright sign of loneliness too great for me,
Strange image of the dread eternity,
In whose void patience how can these have part,
These outstretched feverish hands, this restless heart?

- William Morris

Posted by John Weidner at 8:07 PM

Good sense...

A friend sent the link to this NYT article by N. Gregory Mankiw , and remarked: "You might want to blog this if it doesn't pick up more circulation. I haven't seen anything yet. He refutes at least 50 Krugman columns on health care in about 5 or 6 hundred words."

STATEMENT 2 Some 47 million Americans do not have health insurance.

This number from the Census Bureau is often cited as evidence that the health system is failing for many American families. Yet by masking tremendous heterogeneity in personal circumstances, the figure exaggerates the magnitude of the problem.

To start with, the 47 million includes about 10 million residents who are not American citizens. Many are illegal immigrants. Even if we had national health insurance, they would probably not be covered.

The number also fails to take full account of Medicaid, the government's health program for the poor. For instance, it counts millions of the poor who are eligible for Medicaid but have not yet applied. These individuals, who are healthier, on average, than those who are enrolled, could always apply if they ever needed significant medical care. They are uninsured in name only.

The 47 million also includes many who could buy insurance but haven't. The Census Bureau reports that 18 million of the uninsured have annual household income of more than $50,000, which puts them in the top half of the income distribution. About a quarter of the uninsured have been offered employer-provided insurance but declined coverage.

Of course, millions of Americans have trouble getting health insurance. But they number far less than 47 million, and they make up only a few percent of the population of 300 million....

Mr Mankiw, I note, is a Romney advisor. I'd call that a good sign....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:14 AM

Yet another reason to be glad we have this President...

Jay Nordlinger:

As you may have heard, George W. Bush gave Oscar Biscet the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That is, he will present it to him on Monday. Or rather: He will give it to him in absentia. Dr. Biscet is a political prisoner in Cuba.
I have been yelling about him ever since this column began, I believe--- and that was in March 2001. (I think it was March.) He is one of the bravest and most inspired of the Cuban political prisoners. He is a physician, an "Afro-Cuban," a follower of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. If he were a prisoner of anyone but Castro-- a Communist dictator --he'd be world-famous. If he were a South African, under apartheid, he'd be on the stamps of virtually every country in the world...

...You will find a website dedicated to him here...

This is important! Why? Because the groups and organs that would normally be expected to protest human rights violations and fight for freedom are infected by the totalitarian sickness they supposedly are against. They support the brutal tropical hell-hole that is the Castro regime. They are on the other side, and Castro can commit any atrocity with impunity. They don't care at all

Only the President has the "bully pulpit" to bring such atrocities into public view. Most Presidents don't want to swim against the current like this. And even so, you won't be hearing much about Oscar Biscet on you TV news, I'm sure. I remember a few years ago when there was an award-winning documentary about political prisoners in Cuba. And all the local PBS affiliates were refusing to show it, or suggesting that it should only be shown if the Cuban government got "equal time" to refute it. Evil. These people are evil, and their concern about human rights is a sham.

And there is more you will not be hearing from your local Bolshie...

Jeff Jacoby:

...Peter Kirsanow, a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights, has written that the conditions of Biscet's incarceration are like something out of Victor Hugo: "windowless and suffocating, with wretched sanitary conditions. The stench seeping from the pit in the ground that serves as a toilet is intensified by being compressed into an unventilated cell only as wide as a broom closet. . . . Biscet reportedly suffers from osteoarthritis, ulcers, and hypertension. His teeth, those that haven't fallen out, are rotted and infected."...

Keep that in mind when Leftists complain about Gitmo! (Jacoby's article has a picture of the sort of tiny cell Biscet is in. Keep it in mind when you read about US guards putting gloves on to handle Korans at Gitmo.)

...A prolife Christian physician, Biscet first ran afoul of the Castro regime in the 1990s, when he investigated Cuban abortion techniques - Cuba has by far the highest abortion rates in the Western Hemisphere - and revealed that numerous infants had been killed after being delivered alive....

Keep that one in mind when pro-choicers say "Of course I'm opposed to infanticide."

...In 1997, he began the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, which seeks "to establish in Cuba a state based on the rule of law" and "sustained upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." In 1999, he was given a three-year sentence for "disrespecting patriotic symbols." To protest the regime's repression, he had hung a Cuban flag upside down....

Keep that in mind when lying leftists protest American "fascism" by burning our flag.

[Thanks to Betsy Newmark]

Posted by John Weidner at 6:37 AM

November 3, 2007

Like an image on the waters....

WE have familiar experience of the order, the constancy, the perpetual renovation of the material world which surrounds us. Frail and transitory as is every part of it, restless and migratory as are its elements, never-ceasing as are its changes, still it abides. It is bound together by a law of permanence, it is set up in unity; and, though it is ever dying, it is ever coming to life again. Dissolution does but give birth to fresh modes of organization, and one death is the parent of a thousand lives.

Each hour, as it comes, is but a testimony, how fleeting, yet how secure, how certain, is the great whole. It is like an image on the waters, which is ever the same, though the waters ever flow. Change upon change�yet one change cries out to another, like the alternate Seraphim, in praise and in glory of their Maker. The sun sinks to rise again; the day is swallowed up in the gloom of the night, to be born out of it, as fresh as if it had never been quenched. Spring passes into summer, and through summer and autumn into winter, only the more surely, by its own ultimate return, to triumph over that grave, towards which it resolutely hastened from its first hour. We mourn over the blossoms of May, because they are to wither; but we know, withal, that May is one day to have its revenge upon November, by the revolution of that solemn circle which never stops�which teaches us in our height of hope, ever to be sober, and in our depth of desolation, never to despair...
      �John Henry Cardinal Newman


[link. Read, as they say, the whole thing.]

Posted by John Weidner at 5:42 PM

Reason does battle with obscurantism...

A good friend invited us along to see the current production of Mozart's The Magic Flute at the SF Opera last Wednesday. It was a total treat, visually gorgeous and bizarre and fun. (And the music was nothing to scoff at, either!)

But I found it interesting as a historical artifact, because I'd just posted this piece on the Enlightenment a few days before. And the Magic Flute is a fairy tale based on the ideas of the Enlightenment, as filtered down to the fairly commonplace minds of Mozart and Schikaneder. (Not commonplace musically, of course, but you might call them cracker-barrel philosophes, picking up ideas third-hand at the local Masonic lodge.)

In the opera's story, the Queen of the Night is the villainess, and she represents the Church. (Officially, I believe, she personifies obscurantism and superstition, but everybody knew who fit that description!) And her antagonist Sarastro is a sort of enlightened despot ruling a realm of reason and brotherhood. And the interesting thing to me is that, looking at our own time, the story didn't turn out as expected.

The realm of Sarastro is now looking rather old and shabby, and can no longer muster the will to defend itself against even the most obviously non-rational and murderous opponents. And the Queen by contrast is looking pretty cool. "....for grace can, where nature cannot. The world grows old, but the Church is ever young ..." --John Henry Newman

Magic Flute, Zarastro and his minions
Above, Sarastro, with his entourage. Pamina and Tamino stand on the pyramid. (pictures from the SF Opera web site)

I've posted two more pictures below...

The magical beasts were marvelous.

Magic Flute, mysterious animals

I just loved these guys...

Magic Flute, Zarastro's acolytes

Posted by John Weidner at 4:36 PM

A small victory over PC

This was very pleasing to Charlene and me, especially since one of our sons is now a freshman at SF State, and hangs around with the Young Republicans... (for the beer and parties I imagine). Eugene Volokh quotes from the SF Recorder...

U.S. Magistrate Judge Wayne Brazil issued a temporary injunction against the CSU system Wednesday, in which he struck down a portion of the CSU conduct code that mandates students "be civil to one another." That language would likely not survive First Amendment scrutiny at trial, the magistrate found.


"It's fine to say, 'We hope you're civil to each other,'" Brazil said from the bench. "It's not fine to say, 'We'll punish you if you're not.'"


The magistrate also told the CSU system it can only discipline students for "intimidation" or "harassment" when the health or safety of another person is threatened. In addition, Brazil struck down language in the San Francisco State University student handbook that holds out the possibility of corrective action against student groups if their members behave in opposition to SFSU goals and principles.


The case grows out of an anti-terrorism rally held last year by College Republicans at SFSU. The event turned testy when the Republicans stomped on Hamas and Hezbollah flags bearing "Allah" written in Arabic script. Onlookers from the school's Muslim community objected, and one started to climb on stage to remove the flag, according to the university's court filings. The two sides engaged in heated debate.


After the protest, the school received a complaint alleging the Republicans had violated the student code by attempting to "incite violence" and create a hostile environment, the school says in its court filings. After an investigation, the complaint against the Republicans was dismissed....

Such a microcosm of the big world... If a Muslim becomes violent, then--obviously--somebody must be punished for "inciting violence."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM

November 2, 2007

logic error....

Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive points out a logical anomaly...

....I disagree on the judgment that the act of waterboarding fits the proper definition of torture or even the more restrictive definitions employed by human rights groups and the left.


Without going into the whys of that, let me pose a simple question.


If waterboarding is torture and torture is illegal, then didn't Congress break the law every year when they passed a military budget that contains funds specifically dedicated to conducting waterboarding [used in training of US troops] as a matter of course?...[Thanks to Dave Price.]

The real logical absurdity here is that most of the people complaining about torture don't really care about the subject at all. It's only the United States and the Bush administration that they hate. Any other use of torture leaves them ice-heartedly indifferent.
For instance, the regime of Saddam Hussein was guilty of---by anybody's reckoning---tens-of-thousands of times more torture than we are even accused of. It was in fact probably more obsessed with torturing people than any other government in history.

Yet none of our torture sob-sisters ever gives thanks to the US military and George W Bush for stopping this. Or even acknowledges that this is the case.

They are phonies, they are liars, they are frauds. Most people who complain about torture are frauds. (And if anyone out there doesn't like it that I am using such blunt and contemptuous language, don't start sniveling, refute my argument. Show me I'm wrong.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:35 AM

Quote for the morning...

I'm just testing a new version of my blogging client, Ecto 3....

Every government must rest on some principle or passion in the minds of the people....the very definition of a republic is 'an empire of laws, and not of men'. That is to say men are secured in their rights to life, liberty and property by clear and fair laws, falling equally on all, wisely and justly administered. Any society where rights are bestowed as privileges handed down at the whim of a king, or an aristocracy, or even of a popular assembly, is a society of men, not of laws, and a society that will tend inevitably to despotism and repression

--John Adams

Posted by John Weidner at 7:07 AM