January 31, 2008

"A world at peace they could scarcely remember"

C Northcote Parkinson performed the unusual feat of writing a biography of a fictional character, The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower: A Biography of C. S. Forester's Famous Naval Hero. It's not a good as the Hornblower books themselves, but it's not bad. Anyway, I happened to pick up my copy recently, and noticed this passage...

...To understand Hornblower's proposal [using explosive shells against wooden ships] and Cornwallis's reaction we have to remember that the senior officers of 1793-1815 had all been trained in the War of American Independence; a war fought between gentlemen on either side. Admiral Rodney had been living in France when war began. Howe had thought it enough to defeat the French, if he could; he did not talk of destroying them. Even Pellew had a great friend among his opponents. He and others retained some sense of chivalry. Thus, a ship-of-the-line in battle never fired at an enemy frigate unless she fired first. The game was played according to the rules; rules which might be broken but which were still held to exist. The French Revolution brought about an abrupt change of atmosphere, there being few gentlemen left on the French side. Some idea of fair play lingered even then but Napoleon lowered the tone still more, aiming now at his enemy's destruction. Some senior officers of the Royal Navy became almost as ruthless, Nelson being the chief of these.

After them, however, came younger men, and Hornblower among them, who had been trained in this particular war. Theirs was a war against the first of the modern dictators. Of the older and more chivalrous warfare they knew nothing. A world at peace they could scarcely remember, having seen it only from the classroom. Among them, moreover, were some, like Cochrane, who had been influenced by the industrial revolution....

This is accurate history, and is similar to what has happened in other wars. The American Civil War is a good example. And thinking about this gives me a certain feeling of optimism about our long-term prospects in the Global War on Jihadism.

We are in this war, and are now hobbled in fighting it, because of a variety of stupid leftist and fake-pacifist and "realist" ideas . Such as that jihadism is no big deal as long as they are just killing Jews. Or that the arhabis have legitimate grievances that can be appeased or placated.

But it seems to me likely that the young officers and troops now serving around the globe are going to be a lot more clear-sighted about things. And they are the leaders of the future. They will be much more willing to take the gloves off and destroy the enemy.

Oh, and by the way, by "destroy the enemy" I do not primarily mean by slaughter and mayhem, although those will be necessary (and merciful and Christian) at the proper times. Much more I mean the sort of thing we are doing right now in IRAQ, fostering democracy, economic freedom, and globalization, in alliance with the local population. These are weapons of the war. And their value is clearly demonstrated by how much our enemies HATE them. Jihadis, tyrants, fake-liberals, fake-pacifists, and nihilists of every stripe, are UNITED in their hatred for the possibility of Iraqis and Afghans, and other oppressed peoples becoming free and prosperous allies of the United States. That alone is enough to tell me that we are on the right course, and to say, "Thank you President Bush, for doing the right things."

   
Posted by John Weidner at 10:01 AM

January 29, 2008

Competitive in the $50-a-barrel range...

Charlene recommends this piece on flex-fuels, by Bob Zubrin (thanks to Glenn)...

...In light of this, a top priority of U.S. national security policy should be to break the oil cartel. This imperative has been apparent since the 1973 oil embargo, but nothing effective has been done. However there is now a way to break OPEC.

What is needed is for the Congress to pass a law requiring that all new cars sold in the United States be flex-fueled - able to run on any combination of alcohol or gasoline fuel. Such cars are existing technology - in fact about 24 different models of flex-fuel cars were produced by the Detroit Big Three in 2007, and they only cost about $100 more than the same car in a gasoline-only version. But, since alcohol fuel pumps (such as E85, a fuel mix that is 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) are nearly as rare as unicorns, flex-fuel cars only command about 3 percent of the new-car market.


The reason E85 pumps are so rare is that gas station owners don't want to dedicate one of their pumps to a kind of fuel that only a few percent of the cars can use. If we had a flex-fuel requirement, however, then within three years of enactment there would be 50 million cars on the road capable of running on high-alcohol fuels. Under those conditions, E85 and M50 (a 50 percent methanol, 50 percent gasoline fuel mix; flex-fuel cars can use any alcohol, including methanol) pumps would start appearing everywhere.

But most important, this would not just be happening here. By requiring that all new cars sold in the United States be flex-fueled, we would be forcing all the foreign car manufacturers to switch their lines to flex-fuel as well, effectively making flex-fuel the international standard. So there would be hundreds of millions of cars worldwide capable of running on alcohol, forcing gasoline to compete everywhere against alcohol fuels that can be produced from numerous sources. This would effectively break the vertical monopoly that the oil cartel currently holds on the world's fuel supply and keep prices in the $50-a-barrel range, because that is where alcohol fuels become competitive.....

I'm a bit doubtful, myself. There's no mention of how much energy, perhaps from petroleum, it will take to make the alcohol. And what this might do to food prices. What's the per-barrel price of alcohol now?

Posted by John Weidner at 7:56 AM

"Multiculturalists can't face all this"

PJ Media has a report on rapidly increasing gay-bashing in Europe.

.....Multiculturalists can’t face all this. So it is that even when there are brutal gay-bashings, few journalists write about them; of those who do, few mention that the perpetrators are Muslims; and those who do mention it take the line that these perpetrators are lashing out in desperate response to their own oppression.

Never mind that Europe, far from oppressing Muslims, offers personal freedoms and welfare-state benefits far beyond those available in any Muslim country. Never mind that few if any Europeans – certainly not gay people – are doing any Muslim-bashing. Never mind that Hindu and Buddhist immigrants, or immigrants from South America or China, feel no compulsion to react violently against their “oppression.” No, assaults by Muslims always have to be construed as defensive – as expressions not of power but of weakness, not of aggression but of helplessness. To suggest that the culprits, far from being fragile, sensitive flowers who’ve been pushed over the line by something we did, are in fact bullies driven by an overweening sense of superiority and a deep-seated malice – both of which they’ve been carefully taught at home, at school, and, yes, in the mosque – is verboten...

....Alas, it is now very clearly the opposite. The number of reported gay-bashings in Amsterdam now climbs steadily year by year. Nearly half Muslim, the city is a front in the struggle between democracy and sharia, under which, lest it be forgotten, homosexuality can be a capital offense....

So where are the protests by our "liberals?" Or "progressives," if they prefer that title? They are constantly complaining about Christians being anti-gay. Or Republicans�we're "homophobic," y'know.. But nary a peep do we hear about Moslems, who really are anti-gay.

Sorry to repeat myself, but none of this fits any standard views of "liberalism." It simply does not make sense if you consider liberalism a philosophy or ideology, one that puts a high value on tolerance. It does make perfect sense if you realize that liberals—progressives, leftists, whatever the current name—are completely "hollowed-out," and don't believe in anything at all.

They are—most of them—nihilists. They are wearing "progressivism" as a disguise, and the thing they fear is being called on it. Having the spotlight shine on them, and being asked: "You said you believe in this. Are you ready to fight for it?"

Posted by John Weidner at 6:53 AM

January 28, 2008

"...By lunchtime of September 11th"

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

A couple of good quotes on former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, a man I greatly admire. As usual, the Corgis-of-doom are biting at his ankles...

Mark Steyn, at The Corner....

...Personally I find the idea of [McCain] running explicitly as a "man of honor" rather unseemly, and more than a little reminiscent of Emerson's line that "the louder he proclaimed his honor, the faster we counted the spoons" - the spoons in this case being campaign finance, illegal immigration, global warming, Big Pharma demonization, etc.

But, that aside, there's something extraordinarily petty about the High Horseman's jibes at both Romney and Rummy. Rumsfeld's tenure at Defense is for the historians now, but I know this: he was an unusually far-sighted thinker for a Cabinet official, and his instant strategic clarity by lunchtime of September 11th was critical to this nation's response. The reductive notion peddled by the Senator � that everything that's gone wrong in Iraq is Rumsfeld's fault and everything that's gone right is McCain's � is not only false but weirdly obsessive.

Rumsfeld's (and Bush's) strategic clarity was to realize immediately on 9/11 that we were AT WAR. As opposed to the view that we were dealing with an aberration by a few lunatics. And that we must fight for our civilization and our safety, and the peace of the world. Which instantly earned them the hatred of all the lefty nihilists, who don't think anything worth fighting for.

Another good one, by Hugh Hewitt:

Rumsfeld's life has been defined by public service of the highest sort. His leadership in the war, from the moment he went towards the crash site on 9/11, was defined by a relentless focus on the enemy, a focus so extraordinary that it made him a political liability and a target for every grouser inside the Pentagon and every critic of the war--for whatever reason-- outside of the building. His conflicts with State are still only dimly understood, and the mistakes in Iraq though always assigned to him will be found in time to have had many fathers.

Only small-minded people think Rumsfeld is other than a great American and patriot, though of course a controversial one. He continues to deserve the respect and thanks of the American people.

I thus wonder whenever Senator McCain snarls out "Rumsfeld" as he does in debate after debate if others beside me find it unsettling and off-putting that there is so much venom there?...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:20 AM

"step left-and-lively"

A quote I saved, by the Anchoress, from 2005...

...Sen. John McCain discovered he could make the press “love” him by criticizing his party and not merely working with the opposition but shoving his metaphorical tongue down their metaphorical throats. He became the media darling of 1999 and 2000, with endless magazine covers, endless gushing interviews with Katie and Diane and Oprah, endless furrowed-brow talks with Ted Koppel. The “Maverick” became the only acceptable sort of GOP candidate and - for many in the press - a palatable alternative to Al Gore, who was becoming problematic, what with Buddhist nuns, controlling legal authorities, Clinton-fatigue and spots of embarrassing exaggerations regarding his personal life and his “inventiveness.”

When the press reluctantly left McCain behind to cover the actual GOP candidate, McCain was smart enough to realize that all he ever had to do to call them back and bask in the warmth of their klieg lights was to step left-and-lively, and he has done it ever since. He cannot stop himself. Those lights, those microphones, those headlines and all that unequivical approval - it’s heady stuff to a guy who crashed 5 planes...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:48 AM

January 27, 2008

"It takes a long time to produce a man"

....Finally, there is the courage to endure: perseverance. Perseverance binds together our past and present in their incessant ebb and flow, so as to build a solid future. Regardless of what some false prophets say, there is no future worth our pains without perseverance and faithfulness. No solid building, no work of value can be constructed, speaking from either a human or a spiritual vantage point, without our unflagging effort in time and our vigorous resistance to the forces of wear and tear and disintegration that bear down on us.

It takes a long time to produce a man, and only the one who perseveres to the end will reach the Kingdom. Without the courage to endure, no enterprise that is worth the name will last; the fairest promises will dissolve into idle boasts. The test of time is, for us, the touchstone of reality. "My truth," wrote Saint-Exupery, "must be firm, and who will love you if you veer and change your loves every day, and what will become of your great schemes? Continuity alone will bring your efforts to ripeness."

      -- Father Servais Pinckaers, O.P.

(From the January 2008 Magnificat)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:52 AM

January 26, 2008

Do not miss...

Do not miss How Bush Decided on the Surge, by Fred Barnes.

It is a fascinating article, and very important. Important especially because most of us have no idea how difficult a task it was to change our tactics, and persuade the leaders in government and the military to go along with the surge.

I hear people now claiming that Bush was a poor leader because our tactics should have been changed much earlier. Or that he should have dumped Rumsfeld earlier.(Rumsfeld does not seem to have been the main obstacle.) In fact, the turnaround was a long slow process, with many obstacles to be overcome. Bush was pushing for change long before anything could be seen on the surface.

The President is not a dictator, he can't just give orders and expect things to happen. Rather, any big change requires a vast amount of negotiation, and thought, and study, and the careful building of alliances. What was it that Clausewitz said?..."In war everything is simple, but the simple things are very difficult."

....Inside his own administration, Bush had few allies on a surge in Iraq aside from the vice president and a coterie of National Security Council (NSC) staffers. The Joint Chiefs were disinclined to send more troops to Iraq or adopt a new strategy. So were General George Casey, the American commander in Iraq, and Centcom commander John Abizaid. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice favored a troop pullback. A week earlier, the Iraq Study Group, better known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission, had recommended a graceful exit from Iraq.

The presence of former secretary of state James Baker, a longtime Bush family friend, on the commission was viewed in Washington and around the world as significant. It was assumed, correctly in this instance, that Baker wouldn't have taken the post if the president had objected. (At least one top Bush adviser faulted Rice for not blocking the amendment by Republican representative Frank Wolf of Virginia that created the commission in the first place.) Baker was seen as providing cover for Bush to order a gradual retreat from Iraq.

But retreat was the furthest thing from Bush's mind. "This is very trite," he told me. "Failure was no option .  .  . I never thought I had to give up the goal of winning." He wanted one more chance to win.

At the Pentagon, Bush listened sympathetically to the complaints and worries of the chiefs. He promised to ease the strain the war had put on the military. Bush knew the idea of deploying more troops and changing the strategy would be a tough sell. It had been hatched outside the Pentagon. Co-opting the chiefs was "tricky business," an aide said. It "would be the most demanding civil-military challenge the president would face."....
Posted by John Weidner at 12:58 PM

Beyond tiny...

This is really amazing...Microscopic art...

....The collection is valued at more than £11million and has just been bought by David Lloyd, the former tennis champion turned art collector.

Pieces include a Scottie dog on a grain of sand, Henry VIII and his wives in the eye of a needle and Prince Charles on a cocktail stick. There is also the Statue of Liberty in the eye of a needle and a sculpture of Marilyn Monroe, half the size of a full-stop, carved out of diamond.

The pieces are all the work of artist Willard Wigan, who said he slows down his heartbeat and goes into a meditative state to prevent tremors when he is working.

Each piece can require him to carve for up to 16 hours a day for two months - and the slightest movement can be disastrous.

He said: "The pulse in my fingertip can ruin a sculpture and I have to work at night because the vibrations from traffic can cause problems."...

Go look at the picture. Henry VIII and his six wives, standing inside the eye of a needle!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:40 AM

Icky compromises...

Peggy Noonan writes, in the WSJ:

....On the pundit civil wars, Rush Limbaugh declared on the radio this week, "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [Mr. McCain or Mike Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it!"

This is absurd. George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues.

Were there other causes? Yes, of course. But there was an immediate and essential cause....

Sorry Peggy, I think you are nuts.

Actually, I think the problems of the party, and of conservatives, are the problems of success.



We spent decades dreaming of getting control of both the White House and Congress. We thought that THEN we would be in the Promised Land!


But each group was assuming that they would then get all those things it especially wanted, and forgetting that the party has become a big tent, and different elements wanted different things. It was never possible for everyone to get all that they wanted. Disappointment was inevitable.


I could write a lonnnnng list of Bush accomplishments. But they still amount to each faction getting half a loaf. And people are not dealing well with that.


Also, many of the objectives conservatives were actually in agreement on have been achieved! Think of Welfare Reform--we did it, and now the issue is no longer uniting us. Or, even bigger, the fall of the Soviet Union. That used to be the biggest blob of glue holding Republicans together.

And even if all Republicans wanted the same things, there would still be disappointments, because we need to gain the support of "independents" to stay in power. That's just the way it is. And those things we've already accomplished are precisely the ones that were easiest to sell to independents!

Now we are facing the more difficult problems, ones that we will have to finesse, and make icky compromises on. I think Bush has done a fairly good job at this sausage-making task. But it's a totally THANKLESS task, because Republicans just hate to admit to themselves that messy incomplete wins are what they are going to have to settle for these days.

Also, we tend to forget the compromises that were made in the past, especially by St Ronnie! He was always being castigated for "betraying the conservative cause."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:21 AM

January 25, 2008

Well, this clarifies some things...

Can you believe the NYT endorsement of McCain!

Still, there is a choice to be made, and it is an easy one. Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe. [Wot a coincidence; "small angry fringe" was what I was going to call the NYT crowd.] With a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation [for instance, limiting the citizen's ability to donate money to buy ads for Republicans, while not limiting the media's ability to throw all its weight into electing Democrats. That's called "free speech"] he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field. [Whoopee. A choice between pro-war and anti-war Democrats.]

We have shuddered at Mr. McCain’s occasional, tactical pander to the right [Thank you for explaining. I had naively imagined he was at least a little bit Republican] because he has demonstrated that he has the character to stand on principle. He was an early advocate for battling global warming [Which we are supposed to accept on faith, ignoring the actual science] and risked his presidential bid to uphold fundamental American values in the immigration debate [Except the fundamental value called "Rule of Law."]. A genuine war hero among Republicans who proclaim their zeal to be commander in chief, Mr. McCain argues passionately that a country’s treatment of prisoners in the worst of times says a great deal about its character. [It does say a lot. McCains' (and the NYT's) position can be summarized in two words. "Free Mumia." That kind of "character" is Lefty nihilism. Me, I favor those who fight for the victims, not the crooks.]

Posted by John Weidner at 7:51 AM

January 24, 2008

Pacifism gets ready to kill again...

Michael Goldfarb writes in the Weekly Standard blog about a RAND report which drew on Chinese military journals and other unclassified documents to construct a best guess of how a conflict between the U.S. and China would kick off...

....Another interesting item, straight from the report this time:
Chinese analysts assess that even a small number of casualties is sufficient to spark strong popular opposition and erode domestic support for U.S. participation in a conflict. The U.S. experience in Somalia is usually cited in support of this assertion.
It's hard to gauge just how damaging Somalia was to American credibility. It's been much discussed that al Qaeda interpreted that retreat as a sign of U.S. weakness. (And of course, bin Laden claimed that it was al Qaeda trained affiliates that shot down the American helicopters in the Battle of Mogadish.) It seems the Chinese drew the same conclusion--Americans don't have the stomach for a fight. Which leads to the obvious question: how would the Chinese interpret an American withdraw from Iraq?...

[Regular readers can skip this; I've said it before.] Being "anti-war" is the best way to get yourself into a war. Pacifism kills.

Planet Earth is like a rough neighborhood. If you look weak, you get jumped. If you look dangerous you are respected and left alone. (Even better, you should look dangerous and crazy.)

It is very likely that President Clinton's decision to pull out of Somalia after 18 deaths has killed hundreds of thousands of people. And may kill millions in the future. (Our weakness in Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Iran hostage crisis have surely also contributed to the slaughter.)

We probably should not have gone so blithely into Somalia. BUT, once the stuff hit the fan, the most peaceful, the most humane, the most "pacifistic" thing to do would have been to smash the attackers with all available force.

I imagine someone saying about now, "It is always wrong to do evil so that good may come of it." (I have to invent imaginary opponents, because no one ever gives me a good counter-argument.) My reply is that it would NOT have been evil. The correct analogy is to police work, not to "starting wars". We are, de facto, the cops of this burg. Imagine an actual "rough neighborhood." One where gang violence is growing, and threatens to get out of control. Is it evil if the cops go after the gang members, using deadly force if necessary?

What would be the real evil option? A. Storming the gang hideout in a hail of bullets? Or B. Allowing the neighborhood to fall into the control of criminals, and thereby condemning thousands of innocent people to bleak lives of hopelessness and violence and crime?

[And if anyone wiser and more moral than I is reading, and doesn't like this thought, you are welcome to correct my reasoning in the comments.]

Posted by John Weidner at 11:47 AM

January 23, 2008

What's not to hate?

Amy Goldstein...

Have you noticed how all of the Republican candidates can barely conceal their contempt for Governor Mitt Romney? It goes way beyond the typical good-natured competition that usually is the hallmark of Republican contests. Senator McCain has snarled at Governor Romney in debates and Gov. Huckabee has tried to paint Romney as cold and uncaring, while Sen. Fred Thompson attacked Governor Romney right out of the box. This display of hatred usually is the hallmark of the Democrats.

So, why do the other candidates hate Mitt Romney? Several reasons:.....

Good stuff, worth reading. Makes me think I'm right to be a Romney supporter.

Actually though, I have to sympathize with the other candidates a wee bit. Romney's like a certain clean-cut square-jawed guy I remember from high school who was handsome AND got A's AND was on the team AND was elected class president.....AND had a cute girlfriend. Jeez, I hate him still.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:57 AM

Donating to McCain would be......painful

Hugh Hewitt: McCain's "Urgent Dash For Cash"

Genuine front-runners don't have to crisscross the country with a tin cup days before a crucial primary, but the Arizona maverick has no grassroots fund-raising effort like Obama's Romney's or Huckabee's, and no personal wealth to match Romney's. It is a foreshadowing of what the GOP will be up against from now until September if McCain is nominated --a poorly funded, aging, Beltway establishment figure with deep and abiding opposition among conservatives and no real ability to bring in the cash to compete with either Hillary or Obama should he draw the inside straight and gain the nomination.

Even fans of McCain have to admit his candidacy is built on the prayer of converting conservatives and then a second prayer of getting them to open their wallets. Because of the deep disagreements of the past, they won't be converting, and even if they resign themselves to his nomination should it happen, they won't be contributing....

That's the truth, I think. I know I'll vote for McCain if he's the Republican nominee, but will I dig deep in my usually fairly-empty pockets to contribute? Ummm...not sure. And it's important to remember that, contrary to popular lies, the Republican Party gets most of its funds in small contributions, and is much less in symbiosis with millionaires than the Dems.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 AM

January 22, 2008

" waiting for somebody with a bigger megaphone"

Jim Geraghty, postmortem on Fred...

....Thompson more or less “debuted” with the 60 second video responding to Michael Moore, one of the most brilliant media messages we've seen in a long while from a conservative.

I think one of the reasons that video struck a chord with so many righty bloggers was because we're constantly seeing, and confronting, insane political rhetoric from the left. It's maybe even a an obsession of righty bloggers, or perhaps we give it more attention than it deserves. But every time Michael Moore, Rosie O'Donnell or Cindy Sheehan spout off, or Charlie Sheen goes off on his 9/11 conspiracy theories… every time Nancy Pelosi goes to meet with a dictator, or a prominent Democrat refuses to acknowledge progress in Iraq, or somebody on either side of the aisle suggests that wanting immigration law enforced is inherently racist, every time somebody puts out some insane conspiracy theory that suggests President Bush is behind terror attacks…

We on the right hear it, we get driven up the wall by it, we try to push back in our own limited way, and we're waiting for somebody with a bigger megaphone than us to push back. Very few high-profile Republicans give a full-throated pushback because A) they don't see it if they're up to their noses in legislative work on Capitol Hill or in the White House all day and B) they probably see responding to some fat propagandist or screeching antiwar widow-turned-celebrity as beneath them. (I realize this is a separate issue, but this helps explain some of Ann Coulter's appeal even when she goes too far - there is nobody on the left she won't take on).

Along comes Fred, who doesn't act as if rebutting Moore's propaganda is beneath him, and he points out that Moore likes to snuggle with censoring, brutal dictators, he suggests Moore is mentally unstable... and we loved it. We've been looking for this combativeness from a conservative for years, and it makes Giuliani's “I don't need Michael Moore to tell me about 9/11” sound like Marquess de Queensbury rules. To quote Frank J, we've been looking for somebody to “punch the hippies.”

Alas, there was little to none of that from Fred once he became a candidate. It became a fairly ordinary campaign, despite having some good folks around him....

Us old-timers still have sweet sweet memories of the time during the Vietnam War when a bunch of lefty slime animals were protesting in favor of communist tyranny in New York, and some hard hats swarmed out of a construction project and beat them up!

Say I'm weary,
Say I'm sad;
Say that health and wealth have missed me;
Say I'm growing old, but add........
Posted by John Weidner at 1:27 PM

January 21, 2008

Lexus liberals

William Katz:

I doubt if the well-heeled Dems are siding with Obama because they believe in him. They are the modern incarnation of the limousine liberals. (Today they're Lexus liberals, who always opt for the better sound system.) They feel no pain when the policies and leaders they support fail badly. This is no insult to Mr. Obama, who has many worthy qualities, but we've seen this crowd before. Bad schools? They can afford private schools. Crime in the streets? Why, darlings, one moves to the suburbs or into a doorman building. War? Why, of course we're against it. Aren't all the good people?

They side with Obama because it's the stylish thing to do. He's the latest cause, trotted out when the whales are asleep. They can feel good about themselves.
Posted by John Weidner at 1:46 PM

Like '96?

Mark Steyn:

I'm not saying McCain is a "winner" in the Hail-to-the-Chief sense, I'm just saying right now he's most likely to wind up with the nomination. This is beginning to feel like a thriller with tons of wild plot twists but a disappointing finale. Imagine 1996 with exciting car chases round hairpin bends but you still wind up with Bob Dole...

Whoopee. Just what we need...another crankly prickly senator to run for president after a lifetime of never managing any organization bigger than 20 people...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:37 AM

January 20, 2008

Walk for Life, 08

On Saturday Charlene and I went on this year's Walk for Life. It was awesome. My estimate is that at least 25,000 people were there.

As we approached the end Charlene and I sat down to enjoy our picnic and watch the march go by. And I timed it. (We like to walk briskly, and had migrated ourselves to the front of the march.) I snapped this picture. People walked past us, pretty much solidly filling the roadway, for 40 minutes!

walk_for_life_08.jpg

There were some lefty-weirdo counter-protesters screaming obscenities, etc, but really, they were so minor and trivial compared to the marchers it was just a joke. Which is an amazing thing in San Francisco!

* Update: Gerald Augustinus (he's a professional photographer) has great pictures here. And here--the hotties. (Well, that's just the way it is. You can always tell the movement that's the future that way.)


Posted by John Weidner at 7:53 PM

January 19, 2008

"Every revolution devours its offspring..."

Do NOT miss The Wages of Sensitivity: The Democrats' politically correct chickens come home to roost, by Noemie Emery...

.... Looking ahead to the general election, Democrats were prepared to describe any critique made of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton as an example of the racism and sexism that they like to believe permeates the Republican universe. But this was before their own race became quite so close, and so spirited. They never seem to have stopped to think what might occur if they turned their sensitivity bludgeons against one another. They are now finding out....

"Sensitivity bludgeons." Yeah, they were getting ready to use them against ME. Against YOU. Since I despise from the bottom of my heart the whole foul devil's-brew of sensitivity and identity-politics, this is all just too sweet. It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of pompous frauds.

...Now they [Clintons] find themselves unable to criticize a black man for what they think are legitimate reasons, because they helped to teach people that criticism is bias in disguise, and they can't complain that their words have been misinterpreted, because the theory of hate speech maintains that the listener can project on to words uttered by others whatever motives he wants to see in them. If he declares himself offended, the listener has the last word.

Add this to the unforeseen clash of two groups who have been told for years by liberals that they are victims of everyone, and the result is explosive. It is, David Brooks writes, "a Tom Wolfe novel" beyond even Wolfe's imagining. "All the rhetorical devices that have been a staple of identity politics are now being exploited by the Clinton and Obama campaigns," Brooks continues, "competing to play the victim .  .  . accusing each other of insensitivity .  .  . deliberately misinterpreting each other's comments in order to somehow imply that the other is morally retrograde. All the habits of verbal thuggery that have long been used against critics of affirmative action .  .  . and critics of radical feminism .  .  . are now being turned inward by the Democratic front-runners. .  .  . Every revolution devours its offspring, and it seems that the multicultural one does, too."....

And this, sweet, sweet:

...For the Clintons, with their sense of private entitlement running head on into their boomer assertion of moral enlightenment, all this must come as a shock....

Ha ha and ha. How I despise my generation! At least this aspect of it. "Boomer assertion of moral enlightenment." I grew up in the middle of that, and I hate it. I spit upon it.

And on the plausible presidential candidacies of Liddy Dole and Colin Powell, which did not succeed:

Republicans (conservatives especially) more than Democrats define themselves by ideology--the objections to Powell were based on what the right saw as his deviationist liberal tendencies--and regard everything else as an afterthought. Republicans tend to disdain appeals on the basis of victimhood. They are resistant to group-think and allergic to identity politics. And their major donors and interest groups are race and gender neutral--the right to life movement, the Club for Growth, the National Rifle Association. The only ethnic lobbies they court are purely local affairs (like Miami's Cubans). There are no ethnic and gender spokesmen to deal with, no agendas to speak of, no interest groups to appease.

It is my theory that Leftizoids use "sensitivity bludgeons" not just because they are useful, but because they do not dare to compete in the arena of ideas. They don't have any. That is, they have no underlying beliefs or principles. They are nihilists. Everything I see going on today tends to confirm this.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:25 AM

January 18, 2008

"Hate-speech disguised as a public service"

Ralph Peters is excellently scathing today: The New Lepers: The Times' Trouble With Vets

...The purpose of Sunday's instantly notorious feature "alerting" the American people that our Iraq and Afghanistan vets are all potential murderers when they move in next door was to mark those defenders of freedom as "unclean" - as the new lepers who can't be trusted amid uninfected Americans.

In the more than six years since 9/11, the Times has never run a feature story half as long on any of the hundreds of heroes who've served our country - those who've won medals of honor, distinguished service crosses, Navy crosses, silver stars or bronze stars with a V device (for valor)...

...Pretending to pity tormented veterans (vets don't want our pity - they want our respect), the Times' feature was an artful example of hate-speech disguised as a public service.The image we all were supposed to take away from that story was of hopelessly damaged, victimized, infected human beings who've become outcasts from civilized society. The Times cast our vets as freaks from a slasher flick.The hard left's hatred of our military has deteriorated from a political stance into a pathology: The only good soldier is a dead soldier who can be wielded as a statistic (out of context again). Or a deserter who complains bitterly that he didn't join the Army to fight...

...So let me suggest the best-possible revenge on the veteran-trashing jerks at The New York Times: Instead of fleeing in terror the next time you see a veteran you know, just thank him or her for their service.

And let's save the leper's bells for dishonest journalists.

Smelly hippie lights cig on burning American flag

Posted by John Weidner at 7:38 AM

January 17, 2008

A tiny suspicion?

Ann Coulter:

...Dear Republicans: Please do one-tenth as much research before casting a vote in a presidential election as you do before buying a new car.

One clue that Romney is our strongest candidate is the fact that Democrats keep viciously attacking him while expressing their deep respect for Mike Huckabee and John McCain.

This point was already extensively covered in Chapter 1 of "How To Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)": Never take advice from your political enemies.

Turn on any cable news show right now, and you will see Democratic pundits attacking Romney, calling him a "flip-flopper," and heaping praise on McCain and Huckleberry -- almost as if they were reading some sort of "talking points."

Doesn't that raise the tiniest suspicions in any of you? Are you too busy boning up on Consumer Reports' reviews of microwave ovens to spend one day thinking about who should be the next leader of the free world? Are you familiar with our "no exchange/no return" policy on presidential candidates? Voting for McCain because he was a POW a quarter-century ago or Huckabee because he was a Baptist preacher is like buying a new car because you like the color.

The candidate Republicans should be clamoring for is the one liberals are feverishly denouncing. That is Mitt Romney by a landslide....
Posted by John Weidner at 10:15 PM

Effete idiocy...

As far as ANWR is concerned, I don’t want to drill in the Grand Canyon, and I don’t want to drill in the Everglades. This is one of the most pristine and beautiful parts of the world. -- John McCain [link]

Well yes, Alaska National Wildlife Refuge IS pristine and beautiful. What rarely gets mentioned is that the lofty snow-clad peaks and Grizzly Bears are not in the area where the oil is. The area proposed for drilling is a coastal mud-flat. A mosquito refuge. A place nobody visits.

And the drilling proposal would only occupy a tiny portion of it, with no likelihood of harm to wildlife—we've already built an oil pipeline all the way across the state without any reported harm to wildlife.

"Pristine and beautiful" are only human values. Nature cares nothing for them. If we used Yosemite Valley as a dumping place for old cars, the birds and raccoons would not mind at all.

But people don't think logically about this stuff. Because "Green" is a religion. The perfect faith for the nihilist, since the Goddess cares nothing about us, "created" us with no conscious intent to do so, may wipe us (and our whole planet) out in the blink of an eye, without remorse, and is "worshipped" by leaving things "pristine and beautiful," which is defined as having no humans touching them.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:33 AM

January 16, 2008

Art and design...

Any fans of typography--or of unintentional humor--will like this.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:25 PM

To keep in mind during election season....

Experience shows that if you lack a coherent set of beliefs and principles, you will flounder. You must know already what you want, and why, and broadly how best to attain it, if you are ever to deal effectively with the thousand-and-one crises that face you in government."

      -- Margaret Thatcher
Posted by John Weidner at 9:32 AM

Is this the biggest flip-flop since the Hitler/Stalin Pact?

(Hey Democrats, if you didn't receive the new orders, get your tooth-fillings checked.)

From the Wall St Journal...

If our Washington, D.C., readers noticed a cortege of blue suits carrying a casket in front of the Brookings Institution last week, be not mournful. You were merely watching the leading economists of the Democratic Party burying the faith once known as Rubinomics. May it rest in peace.

Rubinomics is the concept of "deficit reduction" as growth policy: Lower the federal budget deficit and, as dawn follows night, interest rates will fall and prosperity will break upon the land. Named for former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and much celebrated in the 1990s, the concept was embraced as gospel by nearly all Democrats as recently as a few weeks ago. But last week it officially expired, as those same Democrats reconverted to Keynesian deficit spending in the name of "economic stimulus."

Mr. Rubin's successor at Treasury, Larry Summers, started the bidding with a $65 billion tax rebate and spending plan. Hillary Clinton saw that and raised, and now wants $40 billion in tax rebates and $70 billion in new spending for unemployment insurance, housing assistance, home heating subsidies and green technologies. Barack Obama joined the fray Sunday, proposing a $75 billion "stimulus" that would have the government send millions of Americans a check for $250, plus another $250 in bonus Social Security payments.

But wait, what about those evil Bush deficits? Only weeks ago, Democrats claimed those were the road to perdition, even if the deficit had shrunk to 1.2% of GDP last year thanks to booming revenue growth. Remember the imperative of "pay as you go" budgeting? Ah, that was all before Iraq faded as a political winner and the economy became their favorite issue for regaining the White House. Now, all of a sudden, their motto is tax cut and spend...

The maddening thing is that you won't get the slightest bit of satisfaction from chiding Dems about their sudden change of policy. They won't even understand what you are saying. Once they pick up the new line, they will think that they've been in favor of tax cuts all along, against the resistance of those "greedy" budget-balancing Republicans.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:21 AM

January 15, 2008

Perception differs from reality....

Never fails. Just when I've decided to give the orders to have the entire management of the NYT shipped off for a little vacation..."To Guantanamo Bay, Where the flying fishes play, Towsay Mongalay, my dear, Towsey Mongalay..." then they go and print something decent.

I recommend Driving Mr. Romney, by Dean Barnett. (Besides being a writer and blogger, Dean was a volunteer driver for Mitt during his senate race...)

....As a longtime admirer of Mr. Romney’s, it pains me that many Americans believe these things. Even worse, Mr. Romney’s presidential campaign has given them cause to feel this way. As a result, in the Michigan primary today, he is fighting for his political life.

I often marvel at how the public perception of Mr. Romney differs so radically from the man I know. The blame for this lies in the campaign he has run.

Early in the presidential race, Mr. Romney perceived a tactical advantage in becoming the campaign’s social conservative. Religious conservatives and other Republicans with socially conservative views found the two early front-runners, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, unacceptable. As someone who shares the beliefs of social conservatives, Mr. Romney saw an opportunity that he could exploit. He made social issues the heart of his candidacy.

This tack rang false with the public because it was false. The problem wasn’t so much the perception of widespread “flip-flopping” on issues like abortion. The public allows its politicians a measure of flexibility. But the public correctly sensed something disingenuous about Mr. Romney’s campaign.

Voters perceived the cynicism of a campaign that tried to exploit wedge issues rather than focus on the issues that in truth most interested the candidate. They sensed phoniness. As a consequence, many have grown to feel that Mitt Romney can’t be trusted. This lack of trust is now the dominant and perhaps insurmountable obstacle that the Romney campaign faces.....

...Mr. Romney cares passionately about social issues, but he knows his Republican competitors can appoint strict constructionist judges as well as he can. The real value of a Romney presidency would lie in the talents, honed in the business world, that he would bring to the White House.

Because Mr. Romney chose to make this argument a secondary matter compared to his stands on social issues, he mounted a campaign that was, at its most basic level, insincere. Now, parts of the voting public have come to view everything Mr. Romney says through jaundiced eyes....
Posted by John Weidner at 12:32 PM

Something solid from the other side...

The biggest disappointment of my six years of blogging is that I've NEVER ONCE had a left-leaning opponent engage in principled debate with me. (Lot's of snark and sneers, but not the kind of debate where you rebut each of your opponent's arguments with facts and logic.)

Since I believe in debate (my faith is shaken, but not yet extinct) I like to take note when, rarely, someone on the Leftish or anti-war side actually makes a real argument backed by facts and ideas. And that goes double for for Barak Obama, who I've never once, until this morning, heard a rational argument in favor of. Just stupid mush about how he's dripping with charisma and "hope." And triple, since the argument was made by Phil Carter, who I consider right on many details and very wrong-headed on the big picture. (Note, I don't read him regularly, and so may be being unfair.)

Carter's points about Obama and vets:

....As a veteran, I support Barack Obama because of his deeds, not his words. Up front, I'll agree that he's been absent from Washington and on the campaign trail for a significant part of the last few months. That's no surprise. However, it'd be wrong to leap from that observation to concldue that Sen. Obama has not fought hard for America's veterans. During his time in Washington, and before in the Illinois state legislature, Obama has led the way on a number of important initiatives for veterans, earning my support and the support of many other veterans I know. Here are just a few of his deeds:
Homeless Veterans: As a United States Senator, Obama has authored legislation to extend and expand critically important programs to stop homelessness among American veterans. He's worked with other Senators on the Veterans Affairs committee, ranging from Daniel Akaka (D-HI) to Larry Craig (R-ID), to pass legislation providing comprehensive services and affordable housing options to veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development and community organizations.

Fighting for IL Veterans: After learning of reports that Illinois veterans were receiving less in disability than those from other states, Sen. Obama worked with Sen. Dick Durbin to engage with the VA and correct these gross disparities. As a result of his efforts, the VA opened an investigation into the issue and took steps to fix it including the hiring of more claims specialists for the Chicago VA office and the reexamination of vets' claims upon request.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Crossing the aisle once again to help vets, Sen. Obama also worked with Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) to pass an amendment ensuring that all service members returning from Iraq are properly screened for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). And Sen. Obama fought to include a requirement in this year's National Defense Authorization Act that the VA must provide combat veterans with a mental health care screening within 30 days of an appointment request. This provision originated in another Obama bill, the Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act, which he introduced in both the 109th and 110th Congress.

And the list goes on — deeds not words. In addition to these accomplishments, Sen. Obama's agenda includes significant proposals totake care of America's sons and daughters whom we send into harm's way. These include, but aren't limited to, proposals to improve post-discharge transition; requiring interoperability between DoD and VA medical records systems; fully funding VA medical care; eliminating the means test which keeps middle class veterans out of the VA medical system; improving mental health care, particularly for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans; continued research and innovation for TBI; fixing the VA benefits bureaucracy and eliminating the VA claims backlog; and continuing the VA medical system's tradition of excellence that's made it one of the nation's leading health care systems. He's also pledged to crack down on discrimination against veterans and to commit significant resources to the enforcement of the SCRA and USERRA statutes to protect active and reserve military personnel and their families.

These are the reasons why I support Sen. Obama, and why I am encouraging my fellow veterans to support him too. Notice that I haven't attacked the Clinton campaign at all; I think quite highly of Sen. Clinton and her work on the Armed Services Committee. However, I support Barack Obama because he inspires me, and because I believe he has the character, judgment and vision to lead this country. Attacking his rivals won't help veterans, nor will it help America. Electing Barack Obama will.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:52 AM

Stating the obvious...

This should be so obvious that it would never need to be mentioned. Anyone even slightly aware of our history (or that of almost any other country) knows that, unless they are suffering horrific losses, military forces improve rapidly under the stress of war. All the talk about how Iraq is destroying our military has just been rubbish.

But, since it seems to be necessary to state the obvious, here's The Lessons of Iraq, by Eric Swabb...

....It is true that repeated deployments have caused considerable strain on service members, equipment and our ability to respond to other contingencies. These problems, however, only tell half the story. The Iraq war is also dramatically improving the military's understanding, training and capabilities in irregular warfare. Since this is the preferred method of Islamic extremists, the experience in Iraq is transforming the military into the force required to help win the Long War....


....My old unit returned from Iraq last spring after serving in a city in Anbar Province. As a mechanized reconnaissance company, its traditional mission focused on scouting for Soviet-style armored forces. The unit's performance in Iraq more closely resembled that of the Green Berets.

Soon after occupying its forward outpost, the company met heavy insurgent attacks. But it did not over-react with mass detentions and other alienating tactics. Instead, the Marines took a patient approach to win the support of the population and eject the extremists hiding among them. They partnered with Iraqi police, established a pervasive security presence throughout the city, and worked with local leaders to improve basic services, governance and the economy. Such tactics used to be rare, but are now increasingly the norm, thanks to Gen. David Petraeus's dogged emphasis on seeing counterinsurgency conducted by all units...

And not all of the Iraq-is-killing-our-military talk has been leftist hate-America BS. Some has come from people who support our forces, but think they should be preserved in pristine condition, in original packaging, to be READY for large-scale armored conflict on the plains of.....well, somewhere. Sometime. You never know. It could happen.

Well, no, it can't happen. There is no threat like that on earth anymore. Actually, there aren't any wars any more. Not wars as the world has always defined them. Today's "wars" are all messy internal wars within failed states. Sorry, that's all we get. And our military has to fight those, or have no purpose at all.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:16 AM

Less offensive term...

Charlene noticed this at Gates of Vienna:

(BTW, I prefer the term “single-use activist” over “suicide bomber”. But that’s another story :)
Posted by John Weidner at 6:16 AM

January 14, 2008

If you subscribe to the NYT, you are "embedded" with the Father of Lies

John at PowerLine demolishes that vile NYT story about how returning vets are committing murders....

...Now put yourself in the place of a newspaper editor. Suppose you are asked to evaluate whether your paper should run a long article on a nationwide epidemic of murders committed by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan--a crime wave that, your reporter suggests, constitutes a "cross-country trail of death and heartbreak." Suppose that the reporter who proposes to write the article says it will be a searing indictment of the U.S. military's inadequate attention to post-traumatic stress disorder. Suppose further that you are not a complete idiot.

Given that last assumption, I'm pretty sure your first question will be: "How does the murder rate among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan compare to the murder rate for young American men generally?" Remarkably, this is a question the New York Times did not think to ask. Or, if the Times asked the question and figured out the answer, the paper preferred not to report it...

The evidence presented clearly says that the murder rate among returning vets is much lower than the national average for their age group!

But watch, this lie will not go away. It will probably become part of folklore. Like the despicable lie that Vietnam vets were more likely to have psychological problems than average.

The sort of people who work for the New York Times hate this country, and hate our military. They hate both for exactly the same reason--because both represent the idea that there are things worth fighting for. Things that are bigger and more important than "me." For nihilists, this is poison.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 AM

January 13, 2008

"I am here at this government interrogation under protest"

You've probably all already seen this clip, of Ezra Levant testifying before the Canadian "human rights" committee. But if you haven't, it's worth your time. He's a great man!

More Here.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:01 PM

Noon can only sear the Moon...

    TO A FRIEND

If knowledge like the mid-day heat
Uncooled with cloud, unstirred with breath
Of undulant air, begins to beat
On minds one moment after death,

From your rich soil what lives will spring,
What flower-entangled paradise,
Through what green walks the birds will sing,
What med'cinable gums, what spice,

Apples of what smooth gold! But fear
Gnaws at me for myself; the noon
That nourishes Earth can only sear
And scald the unresponding moon.

Her gaping valleys have no soil,
Her needle-pointed hills are bare;
Water, poured on those rocks, would boil,
And day lasts long, and long despair.

      -- CS Lewis

"Random Thoughts Sundays"250

Posted by John Weidner at 6:52 AM

January 12, 2008

Legacy...

Salim Mansur, on Bush's current trip to the Middle East...

....George Bush could have remained indifferent to the Arab-Muslim world's malignancy, mouthing pieties as members of the ever fashionable lib-left political class in the West endlessly does, while watching the Arabs sink deeper into the political squalor of their making.

Instead, Bush struck directly at the most rotten core of the Middle East -- Iraq, the land of two rivers, choked to death by the vilest of Arab tyrants in recent memory, Saddam Hussein -- to give the Arabs an opportunity one more time to make a better future.

Regime change in Baghdad has brought a new Iraq to emerge with American support despite the fanatical opposition of the most backward tribal warriors of the Arab-Muslim world.

Iraqis -- Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds -- now bear responsibility that comes with freedom to write a new history for Arabs as, for instance, the far more populous and ethnically diverse people of India are doing.

The Arab leaders greeting Bush remain frozen in their hypocrisy, unable to say publicly what they will say privately, being relieved in knowing the United States remains committed to maintaining order and security in the Persian Gulf region.

But free Iraq looms large in the capitals of the Arab states, and if Iraqis keep progressing in freedom their example will be an irresistible attraction for the Arab-Muslim world spread between the Atlantic and the Persian Gulf.

A democratic Iraq is George Bush's formidable legacy, and the Arabs will be talking about him long after his contemporary critics bite the dust and are forgotten.

The Bush-haters are pygmies. Moral and intellectual pygmies. They will not be remembered. If you delve into history, you quickly discover that 99% of what is happening at any particular time is just noise--static. It is soon forgotten. And as soon as a bit of distance allows us to ignore the static, then the very few things that are of real importance start to stand out.

The big project for us today is dealing with Islam. Bringing it into the global "Core." The problem has been festering for decades, and no one, no country, has grappled with it. Until now. Until GW Bush and America and our Anglosphere allies smashed right into the nasty heart of Arab despotism, and started on some radical surgery.

And I doubt if our course will change, even if one of the current horrid Democrat candidates becomes president. I suspect the logic of war won't let them change our course now even if they want to.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:30 PM

An old joke, but one that's been apposite for thousands of years...

I was really angered by this piece, by a fake-pacifist, about how Jews are being obnoxious by not "moving on" from the Holocaust, and how Israel is causing all its own problems by defending itself with weapons instead of "befriending its enemies." With, of course, not the slightest criticism of Moslems, or suggestion that they befriend anybody, or do anything positive.

I was going to fisk it, but really, it's hopeless to reason with this kind of dirt. So I'll just post an old joke:

You've all heard about the Romans used to feed Christians to lions in the arena. But you may not know that they also did so to Jews. With one difference; the Jews were always buried up to their necks first!

One time, when this was happening, a lion stepped over one of the Jews. The Jew stretched his head up and managed to bite the lion on the balls.

With one motion the entire arena full of Romans stood up and screamed, "Fight fair, Jew!"

* Update: I just remembered another one of these things, from years ago, but still aggravating to me. For a while Israel was discouraging Palestinian suicide bombers by bulldozing the houses of their families. And it worked! Violence dropped off. For a while at least, until the killers started concealing the identities of the bombers.

and that was the occasion for another fake-pacifist to heap harsh criticism on the Jews, for supposedly violating Jewish morality. Ohhh-kay. The Palestinians wrap dynamite with nails and ball-bearings, and shred whole pizza-parlors full of women and children. Then the Israelis respond with tactics that do not kill or injure a single human being. And THEY are the ones who have violated moral laws? And it's a "pacifist" who objects? Is it any wonder I call them fakes?

Posted by John Weidner at 3:00 PM

Your duty is to drop dead forthwith!!

Robert Novak:

...The absence of Oprah Winfrey from the frantic four last days of the New Hampshire primary campaign after her heavy schedule in Iowa backing Sen. Barack Obama may be traced to heavy, unaccustomed post-Iowa abuse of the popular entertainment superstar by women.

Winfrey did not publicize it, but her Website was swamped with complaints after she went to Iowa. The principal complaint was that she betrayed women by not supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton. The criticism was described as personal.

Several of these critics identified themselves as African-Americans, indicating that gender is more important than race for many people....

You gotta laugh at the Dems hoist by their own stupid identity politics. Depending on who gets nominated they are either sexist or racist. It's too bad Edwards isn't likely to win; then they could be both! Clinton and Obama are offending lots of people just by campaigning at all. Just by existing! "How dare you stand in the way of the first [black, woman, fill in the blank] president?" Your duty is to drop dead forthwith!!!"

But really, is there any hope for this country when so many of the electorate are just drooling idiots? Have we heard from ANY Dem who wants to vote for the best person to lead the nation, even if it's a white male capitalist?

Actually, I think most people have always been like this. Democracy works not by wisdom, but by lurching away when things get bad enough for people to notice.

* Update: Here's more!

A series of comments from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, her husband and her supporters are spurring a racial backlash and adding a divisive edge to the presidential primary as the candidates head south to heavily African-American South Carolina.

The comments, which ranged from the New York senator appearing to diminish the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement — an aide later said she misspoke — to Bill Clinton dismissing Sen. Barack Obama’s image in the media as a “fairy tale” — generated outrage on black radio, black blogs and cable television. And now they've drawn the attention of prominent African-American politicians.

“A cross-section of voters are alarmed at the tenor of some of these statements,” said Obama spokeswoman Candice Tolliver, who said that Clinton would have to decide whether she owed anyone an apology...

An apology is not enough! It's time for SENSITIVITY TRAINING!!!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:44 AM

I'm still liking Mitt the most...

We just sent a little donation to the Romney campaign. Now's the time our morsel will have an effect, if ever.

I still think Mitt's the best of the lot. (Here's a good case made.) And I still find him as a person somewhat hard to warm to. That doesn't matter to me personally; I don't make these decisions based on emotions. But, rationally, it's a problem in a candidate or president, both of which jobs depend on persuasion more than on correct decision-making.

My impression is, that if George W. Bush and Mitt Romney were my next-door neighbors, (and not in politics) George would seem like a regular guy who I could chat with as an equal, but Mitt would, while being unfailingly courteous, leave an feeling that he normally dwells on a higher level of existence, one you reach by the special executive elevator that goes only to the top floor. (NOTE: These are just impressions from a distance. No one who actually knows Romney seems to find him like this!)

It is interesting the number of people who just hate him on sight. I would be very curious to know how much that group overlaps with the group that instinctively hated Bush. (There is of course a considerable contingent of Leftists for whom American-successful-white-male-business-executive is the culmination of evil. I spit upon their nihilism. I'd ship them all to Cuba if I could.)

I looked back at this post, from last April, and noticed a good comment by Lyle:

Maybe he'll grow on us.

If choosing a president were the same as choosing a CEO, Romney might be the choice. He's smart, level-headed, and competent. He has presidential temperment and demeanor. He looks the part.

Maybe voice has something to do with it. I've heard Romney several times but his voice didn't leave an impression. In the sense that we're casting a leader as well as choosing a CEO, a commanding voice matters.

Imagine hearing President Hillary! alternately screech and drone for four long years. Or John Goober Edwards. But we've heard Giuliani's pragmatic briskness and Thompson's folksy growl for more than a decade, and both wear well.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 AM

January 11, 2008

They don't call them "feminazis" for nothing.

From the American Jewish Congress... Ms. Magazine Blocks Ad on Israeli Women

NEW YORK, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ms. Magazine has long been in the forefront of the fight for equal rights and equal opportunities for women. Apparently that is not the case if the women happen to be Israeli.

The magazine has turned down an AJCongress advertisement that did nothing more controversial than call attention to the fact that women currently occupy three of the most significant positions of power in Israeli public life. The proposed ad (The Ad Ms. Didn't Want You To See: http://www.ajcongress.org/site/DocServer/Ms.pdf?docID=1961 ) included a text that merely said, "This is Israel," under photographs of President of the Supreme Court Dorit Beinish, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik.

"What other conclusion can we reach," asked Richard Gordon, President of AJCongress, "except that the publishers − and if the publishers are right, a significant number of Ms. Magazine readers − are so hostile to Israel that they do not even want to see an ad that says something positive about Israel?"

When Director of AJCongress' Commission for Women's Empowerment Harriet Kurlander tried to place the ad, she was told that publishing the ad "will set off a firestorm" and that "there are very strong opinions" on the subject − the subject presumably being whether or not one can say anything positive about Israel...

So sick. Are there ANY liberals who aren't total frauds? Well, maybe a few. Maybe 1%.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:38 AM

January 10, 2008

Internet battle areas....

This is from an e-mail that Jonah Goldberg posted at The Corner:

...I know this is terrible, and I feel kind of like a kid separating flies from wings, but believe it or not, there's a sort of conservative underground that's banging on the Amazon 1-star ratings of your book to the point where Amazon is taking them down. And I love it! I mean, they're just disapppearing them. Amazon. Deleting. Liberal comments. About a Conservative (transcends Conservative, I got that) book. Un. F***ing. Believeable. And I speak as someone who's been commenting on Amazon, lo these many years.

In the last day, enough people have rated uninformed 1-star reviews badly enough that Amazon is taking them down. Simply disappearing them. Again, I have to say it, I can't believe it.....

"Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in the Industrial Age anymore." People write SF books about a near future when Cyberspace is the main arena where people interact and things happen. But the reality creeps up on us, and nobody quite notices how curious it all is.

       

Posted by John Weidner at 9:21 AM

January 8, 2008

We believe it at the NYT...So that makes it true.

I don't actually have a strong opinion on the death penalty itself.

But I despise utterly the thinking I encounter from "anti-death-penalty-activist" types. Of course I've only encountered some of them, there may be others I could respect. But from what I've seen, they are a scoundrelly and dishonest crowd.

This NYT editorial of yesterday is an example...

The Supreme Court hears arguments on Monday in a case about whether Kentucky’s use of a “cocktail” of injected poisons to carry out the death penalty is unconstitutional. We believe that the death penalty, no matter how it is administered, is unconstitutional and wrong. If a state does execute anyone, it must do so in a way that is humane and does not impose needless suffering. Kentucky’s method does not meet that standard...

First of all, this is flat-out dishonest, since there is no question that the death penalty is constitutional. As Matthew Hoy points out:

...Seriously, you’ve got to be a upper Manhattan liberal to read the constitution and come to the conclusion that the death penalty is unconstitutional. The Fifth Amendment clause “No person … shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….” apparently doesn’t exist in the abridged version of the constitution found in the Times’ offices.....

But that isn't my biggest beef with these people. They write: "If a state does execute anyone, it must do so in a way that is humane and does not impose needless suffering." BUT, they are utterly indifferent to the suffering of the victims. Ice-heartedly indifferent. Did you ever notice how none of the candle-light vigil crowd ever mentions the names of the victims?

And I'm bothered even more by their utter indifference to the communities that are devastated by crime and drugs. How does the frustrated cop in gangland feel when Hollywood Leftists drool over Tookie? How do the neighbors of the victims feel? None of those self-satisfied suburban white people who go out for the candle-light vigil thingies gives a flying fuck about the poor and downtrodden. Unless they are murderers. The simple folk who are trying to get ahead and raise their children right get no support at all from the fake-Quakers and fake-Christians.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:07 PM

Hollow man..

Quoting Orrin Judd:

...Here's an idea to consider: it may be that the Democrats' failure to reconcile themselves to Clintonism--the Third Way--requires them to nominate a hollow man. They don't like the ones who truly are New Democrats and know they can't afford to nominate true believers in the Second Way. So the best option is someone thoroughly insubstantial...

I think that's dead-on. If I were really smart, I would have, given my theories, predicted it. (I'll predict it right now--Obama will get the nomination.) My hypothesis is that the most important fact about the sort of people who are "core Democrats" is that they don't believe in anything, and that they are trying to hide this, mostly from themselves, by wearing leftish ideas as a sort of disguise.

They would prefer "Second Way" policies, but not enough to actually define them and fight for them. Their only hope of electing a President is to find a "New Democrat" southern governor, but they are not about to consciously make that choice, because it would be a tacit admission that their Leftish world-view has failed. (The last time America made a senator president, or made a northern liberal president, was.....1960. And that election was very close. And the senator in question was not very liberal by today's standards.)

I'll predict that candidate Obama will never define himself, or give many specifics about the "change" he is for. And that the Republican candidate will hammer him on this, but core Dems will not mind it at all. The interesting question will be what do the "Independents" make of him?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 AM

January 7, 2008

Jam tomorrow....

    Evolutionary Hymn

Lead us, Evolution, lead us
Up the future's endless stair;
Chop us, change us, prod us, weed us.
For stagnation is despair:
Groping, guessing, yet progressing,
Lead us nobody knows where.

Wrong or justice, joy or sorrow,
In the present what are they
While there's always jam-tomorrow,
While we tread the onward way?
Never knowing where we're going,
We can never go astray.

To whatever variation
Our posterity may turn
Hairy, squashy, or crustacean,
Bulbous-eyed or square of stern,
Tusked or toothless, mild or ruthless,
Towards that unknown god we yearn.

Ask not if it's god or devil,
Brethren, lest your words imply
Static norms of good and evil
(As in Plato) throned on high;
Such scholastic, inelastic,
Abstract yardsticks we deny.

Far too long have sages vainly
Glossed great Nature's simple text;
He who runs can read it plainly,
'Goodness = what comes next.'
By evolving, Life is solving
All the questions we perplexed.

Oh then! Value means survival-
Value. If our progeny
Spreads and spawns and licks each rival,
That will prove its deity
(Far from pleasant, by our present,
Standards, though it may well be).

      -- C S Lewis
Posted by John Weidner at 8:13 PM

Opportunist infection in a weakened body...

Mark Steyn writes, about Mr Huckabee:

....In The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan observed of Huck that "his great power, the thing really pushing his supporters, is that they believe that what ails America and threatens its continued existence is not economic collapse or jihad, it is our culture."....

...There is a potentially huge segment of the population that thinks homo economicus is missing the point. They're tired of the artificial and, indeed, creepily coercive secular multiculti pseudo-religion imposed on American grade schools. I'm sympathetic to this pitch myself. Unlike Miss Noonan, I think it's actually connected to the jihad, in the sense that radical Islamism is an opportunist enemy that has arisen in the wake of the Western world's one-way multiculturalism.

In the long run, the relativist mush peddled in our grade schools is a national security threat. But, even in the short term, it's a form of child abuse that cuts off America's next generation from the glories of their inheritance.

Where I part company with Huck's supporters is in believing he's any kind of solution. He's friendlier to the teachers' unions than any other so-called "cultural conservative" – which is why in New Hampshire he's the first Republican to be endorsed by the NEA. His health care pitch is Attack Of The Fifty Foot Nanny, beginning with his nationwide smoking ban. This is, as Jonah Goldberg put it, compassionate conservatism on steroids – big paternalistic government that can only enervate even further "our culture."....

"Relativist mush.....is a national security threat." I could not agree more. And homo economicus should realize it's an economic threat as well.

"Relativist mush" is deadly. consider. If we still retained the kind of civilizational morale we had in the days of the Indian wars, we would have slapped down the jihadists 4 or 5 decades ago. Slapped them down brutally and bloodily. A horrible wicked un-Christian thing that would have been. Hundreds of people might have been killed! Oh, and also, guess what? We would not be in a war right now! So HUNDREDS-OF-THOUSANDS of lives would have been saved. (How the "pacifists" would hate that!)

But that's purely a matter of culture, of spirit. Of belief. The strength has been there all along, but we haven't had the will to use it. So we were forced into a very preventable war. Relativist mush kills.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:52 AM

January 6, 2008

New prince...

If anyone's interested in Catholic stuff, you might like Rocco Palmo's long piece on (newly-minted) Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston. An awesome guy.....


Posted by John Weidner at 2:54 PM

Advice on Offering Your Work to God

Turn to Our Lord with confidence and say to him: "I don't feel like doing this at all, but I will offer it up for You." And then put our heart into the job you are doing, even though you think you are just play-acting. Blessed play-acting! I assure you it isn't.
——From Friends of God, by St Josemaria

(If you don't believe in God, this is still good advice. Just imagine Ben Franklin is watching...)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:30 AM

January 5, 2008

More from George Weigel

More from Hugh Hewitt's interview with George Weigel...

HH: Mr. Weigel, as we went to break, we were talking about how theology matters so much. Lesson two in your book is, “To speak of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as the ‘three Abrahamic faiths,’ the three religions of the book, or the three monotheisms, obscures rather than illuminates. These familiar tropes ought to be retired.” As soon as I read that, I said oh, you’re going for broke here. You’re going to break the china.

GW: (laughing)

HH: I mean, no one’s allowed to say that kind of thing, are they?

GW: (laughing) It’s a challenging statement, but I think it’s true, and I think serious Muslims with whom I’ve been in conversation would not find that an unacceptable formulation. The relationship that Islam has in its own self-understanding to Christianity and Judaism is simply incommensurable with how Judaism understands Christianity, and Christianity understands Judaism. In fact, this trope of the three Abrahamic faiths has no foundation in Islamic thought. It was invented by a French Catholic Arabist in the late 1920’s, who taught it to a generation of graduate students who then spread it throughout the world. And it’s one of these things that we become so familiar with because it’s used so promiscuously, that we then say wait a minute, what are we saying here? What does this mean? I’m a great believer in serious inter-religious dialogue. But inter-religious dialogue, as one of my Muslim colleagues, interlocutors has said to me, is not Kumbaya. It begins with the acknowledgement of serious differences, and tries to find, in this case, moral points of contact.

HH: You’re also a great believer in clarity, and I think you make an argument in Lesson three that, “Jihadism is the enemy in the multi-front war that has been declared on us, that can’t be refuted.” I am pleased that both Romney and Giuliani refer to the enemy as jihadism, as being a particular variant of radical Islam that the Takfiris embraced that says we can kill anyone at any time for any reason, because we’re right. And is it going to travel, do you think? Is it going to catch on?

GW: I hope so. I think it captures the reality of the situation, historically, which is that an intra-Islamic civil war that has to do with Islam’s very difficult encounter with modernity, and particularly political modernity, and such ideas as the right of religious freedom, or the separation of religious and political authority in the state, that intra-Islamic civil war in which Muslims declared jihad on their own, and for the sake of purifying the house of Islam, that is now broken out into the wider world. The second reason why I believe jihadism is the appropriate description of what it is we’re fighting is it’s what the enemy calls himself. And I believe in taking people seriously…

HH: Yup.

GW: …when they call themselves this. It is objected, it will be objected, it has been objected in the past, that the great majority of Muslims do not accept the jihadist definition of what the demands of Islam are. That is both true and completely beside the point. The fact is the jihadists believe that this is what their faith requires of them, and that’s why they behave the way they do. And if we don’t recognize that, if we indulge this weird, Victorian reticence about using the J word in public, then we are disarming ourselves in the face of an enemy who believes he has very serious warrant for what he is doing....

Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 AM

January 4, 2008

silver linings....

Lovely, just lovely. The nutsroots are not happy today...

....But Obama’s naiveté isn’t their deepest fear. As the Des Moines Register’s pre-caucus poll shows, the majority of Obama’s support comes from independents and Republicans, not registered Democrats. This is the progressive movement’s second worst nightmare: a Democratic President, elected by independents and moderates, who rhetorically rejected progressive elements to get elected. Ezra Klein blogged: “Obama’s comfort attacking liberals from the right is unsettling, and if he does win Iowa, it will not be a victory that either supporters or the media ascribe to the more progressive elements of his candidacy.” Bowers has similar thoughts: “Obama just isn’t using the same arguments or rhetoric that the progressive blogosphere uses about Republicans and Democrats. He is also … building his own, in-house activist movement instead of working with the existing progressive movement. And so, even though he is clearly at least the second favorite in the progressive blogosphere, if he wins, it will be in spite of the progressive blogosphere, rather than because of it.”

And that’s why the progressive movement is wary of an Obama victory. They fear that an Obama win will be remembered as a victory for some kind of fuzzy Obama-ism founded on bipartisan compromise and not the first victory of what they hope will be an enduring progressive coalition.

I sure don't want a President Obama, but if he grieves the net-nihilists, well, things could be worse.

And, Hillary has taken yet another tack. Captain Ed writes:

[quote from Ben Smith] A Clinton supporter forwards the talking points the campaign dispatched to surrogates around the country, which focus on process -- that the race is a "marathon" and that she started behind in Iowa -- and include just one line of substance, a clear signal that the card she has left to play is the one she rolled out in recent weeks: Security and risk.

"We’re going to continue to make the case that in these serious times when America faces big challenges, it will take a leader with Hillary’s strength and experience to deliver real change," the talking points say.


The irony of the once-leading Democrat using "security and risk" is just a little too delicious for those of us who listened to endless complaints about the divisiveness of Karl Rove. When the Bush campaign rightly focused on the threat from terrorism in 2004, Democrats complained about the "politics of fear". Rudy created an ad last week that allowed him to talk about the response of Americans to the 9/11 attack -- and not his own response -- and people began shrieking that Giuliani had exploited 9/11. Hillary's focus on this will probably not even garner a hint of criticism from these usual suspects.

Hillary should wrap herself in the flag and question his patriotism....

Posted by John Weidner at 3:25 PM

"the most important public health response -- is ending the war."

Remember the Lancet study that claimed that more than 600,000 Iraqis had died since the US invasion? It was not even close to any other mortality estimates, and was widely condemned as bad science motivated by politics. Now National Journal has an article suggesting that actual scientific fraud may have been involved!

I found this part on the politics of those involved very interesting. My guess, from watching such people closely since 2001, is that that they are deranged enough that they could jigger the figures and then sincerely believe that they were telling the "real truth," and not committing fraud.

...In fact, the funding came from the Open Society Institute created by Soros, a top Democratic donor, and from three other foundations, according to Tirman. The money was channeled through Tirman's Persian Gulf Initiative. Soros's group gave $46,000, and the Samuel Rubin Foundation gave $5,000. An anonymous donor, and another donor whose identity he does not know, provided the balance, Tirman said. The Lancet II study cost about $100,000, according to Tirman, including about $45,000 for publicity and travel. That means that nearly half of the study's funding came from an outspoken billionaire who has repeatedly criticized the Iraq campaign and who spent $30 million trying to defeat Bush in 2004.

Partisan considerations. Soros is not the only person associated with the Lancet studies who had one eye on the data and the other on the U.S. political calendar. In 2004, Roberts conceded that he opposed the Iraq invasion from the outset, and -- in a much more troubling admission -- said that he had e-mailed the first study to The Lancet on September 30, 2004, "under the condition that it come out before the election." Burnham admitted that he set the same condition for Lancet II. "We wanted to get the survey out before the election, if at all possible," he said.

"Les and Gil put themselves in position to be criticized on the basis of their views," Garfield concedes, before adding, "But you can have an opinion and still do good science." Perhaps, but the Lancet editor who agreed to rush their study into print, with an expedited peer-review process and without seeing the surveyors' original data, also makes no secret of his leftist politics. At a September 2006 rally in Manchester, England, Horton declared, "This axis of Anglo-American imperialism extends its influence through war and conflict, gathering power and wealth as it goes, so millions of people are left to die in poverty and disease." His speech can be viewed on YouTube.

Mr. Roberts tries to go to Washington. Roberts, who opposed removing Saddam from power, is the most politically outspoken of the authors. He initiated the first Lancet study and repeatedly used its conclusions to criticize Bush. "I consider myself an advocate," Roberts told an interviewer in early 2007. "When you start working documenting events in war, the public health response -- the most important public health response -- is ending the war."..

When he says "ending the war," he is telling a lie. He really means ending American involvement in the war. If the US pulled out of Iraq, and a million people died subsequently, that would not be "war." That would be "peace," and these animals would be preening themselves on "ending the war." (And you can bet your last nickel that there would never be any "Lancet studies" of those deaths!)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:53 AM

January 3, 2008

One of the greats...

One of the greats, George McDonald Fraser has just died. Everyone will be talking about the famous Flashman books. I'd like to put in a word of appreciation for his collections of short stories about Lt. Dand McNeil and his impossible burden, Private McAuslan (the dirtiest soldier in the British Army) which are extremely funny and charming.

From a reader-review [By Reader "piratebean" (Bristol, RI USA)] at amazon.com:

...George MacDonald Fraser has written the stories of this regiment and its most infamous soldier, Private McAuslan, in three collections: The General Danced at Dawn, McAuslan in the Rough, and The Sheikh and the Dustbin.

Through the narration by platoon commander Dand McNeil, McAuslan comes alive as the dirtiest soldier in the world, "wan o' nature's blunders; he cannae help bein' horrible. It's a gift."

Yet McAuslan is one of the most loveable creatures in all of literature. He may be grungy, filthy, clumsy, and disreputable, but he tries to do his best. Through his many misadventures, McAuslan marches into the heart of the reader, right leg and right arm swinging in unison, of course.

McAuslan, outcast that he is, experiences some infamous moments in his career: court martial defendant, ghost-catcher, star-crossed lover, golf caddie, expert map reader, and champion of the regimental quiz game (!). His tales, and the tales of his comrades-in-arms, are poignant at times, hilarious at others. These tales are so memorable because they are based on true stories.

The reader basks in all things Scottish in the stories. The language of the soldiers is written in Scottish brogue, although Fraser says in his introduction, "Incidentally, most of this volume is, I hope, written in English." Don't fret - a glossary is provided. (Reading the glossary alone causes some serious belly laughs.

And also for his superb memoir of his service in Burma during WWII, Quartered Safe Out Here: A Recollection of the War in Burma

You don't need much more evidence of the total decadence and decline of Britain, than to just point out that there seem to be no more George McDonald Fraser's in the pipeline...

* Update: (late late at night, and I'm drinking the Glenlivet.) I should point out that the cover pictured below on the The Complete McAuslan is a travesty!!! The immortal McAuslan is a scrawny malnourished wide boy from Gleska (Glasgow); not in any way fat. (So read the book, already!! You will thank me. Geez. Why do I even bother recommending things anyway?? People will just go buy some crappy movie on a DVD. Why do I even bother to keep living in a post-literate age???? I'm all alone. At least click-through my amzaon link to buy your stupid flick, so i make a profit on my wasted electrons...)

* Update: I mean really, why am I doing this?? I'll never speak to a soul who's read about Lt. McNeil's platoon standing guard at Edinburgh Castle. Or Captain Einstein's stunning defense of McAuslan at the Court Martial (Shakespeare himself would have smiled.) Or Captain Errol. Ah well. Let the barbarians over-run all. Perhaps a new and better civilization will arise from the steaming rubble...

* Update: One more glass. SO good. Scotland is doomed, but somebody will continue to distill the whiskey---there's too much money in it not to. SO, Mohammed--my brother--please--Scotch doesn't need to be flavored with Cardamom or Anise. Just stick with the original recipe and you will do fine. Trust me, the smokey flavor grows on you.

* Update: (I have a little program that inserts these "Update" dingbats with a keystroke--it's not like I have to working hard at this.) OK, I'll go along with the Cardamom. But, by the beard of the Prophet, that's where I draw the line!@!!

       

Posted by John Weidner at 9:13 AM

"Great challenges present great opportunities"

Hugh Hewitt had an interview with George Weigel. He posted this excerpt on his blog. (The interview transcript is here.)

HH: I want to read from the very beginning of the book, Page 8, on the complexity of the situation facing us, because I think this is one of the things that voters have to keep in mind as they cast their ballots this year, is just how difficult the situation the U.S. finds itself in. I quote now from George Weigel’s brand new book, Faith, Reason and the War Against Jihadism, “The war is now being fought on multiple fronts, with more likely to come. Many are interconnected. There is an Afghan front, an Iraqi front, an Iranian front, a Lebanese-Syrian front, a Gaza front, a Somali front, a Pakistani front, a North Africa-Magreb front, a Sudanese front, a Southeast Asian front, an intelligence front, a financial flows front, an economic front, and energy front, and a homeland security front. These are all fields of fire. Some kinetic, others of a different sort, in the same global war, and they must be understood as such.” George Weigel, that requires enormous capacity on the part of our leaders, our elected leaders.

GW: Well, great issues ought to test our great personalities to seize the opportunity to defend the cause of freedom. And as I indicate at the end of the book, Hugh, I think this can be a great moment of national renewal. We shouldn’t look at this as simply one in a series of problems to be solved, but rather if we were to gather ourselves, to make the kind of arguments for the free and virtuous society that we’re going to have to make, if we gathered ourselves to understand better, more comprehensively the role of religious and moral conviction in public life, if we rationalized our homeland security policies so that political correctness was not driving the bus, but the safety of the American people was driving the bus, if we began to defund jihadism by getting serious about alternatives to petroleum as a transportation fuel, all of these are aspects of a genuine process of national renewal for the United States. So if I were a candidate for the presidency, I would cast all of this as an opportunity, that great challenges present great opportunities. And I believe the American people are willing to rise to the occasion.

One of my beefs with President Bush is captured here. I think the oft-heard complaint that Bush has not asked the nation to "sacrifice" is really STUPID. (It usually implies mass mobilization like in the World Wars, which we don't need now, and those same critics would hate it if Bush actually did request such sacrifices.) But, I keenly regret that he has not called upon the nation to stretch itself in other ways. Jihadism is an intellectual and spiritual challenge, one that conventional liberalism is almost totally incapable of rising to.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:55 AM

January 2, 2008

Thank you, President Bush...for giving me a good laugh!

This is SO funny. Think of all of our lefties who want to apologize to the world for America's sins.....Especially the biggest sin, which is believing that our way of life (or anything) is worth fighting for... And all of them wanting to suck-up to the supposedly superior "culture and sophistication" of Europeans. And expressing their mortification at being in a country led by a cowboy...and even worse, a Christian!

And now we see Euro leaders elbowing and slapping each other aside to bask in the refulgent sunshine of....Oh, I just can't say it, it's too too too......too appalling....too mind-bending....

NY Sun: Not to be outdone by President Sarkozy's amorous overture to President Bush in Washington, Prime Minister Brown of Britain has used the first major foreign policy speech of his premiership to insist that Britain is America's closest ally.

After decades of Anglo-French rivalry, in which France has vehemently deplored the global influence America and Britain have attained and what every president of France since Charles de Gaulle has described as "Anglo-Saxon culture," Mr. Sarkozy claimed during his visit to Washington last week that France, not Britain, is now America's best friend and partner.

Mr. Brown, who has been portrayed on both sides of the Atlantic as having distanced himself from America to avoid the charge against his predecessor, Tony Blair, that he was Mr. Bush's "poodle," fought back last night, claiming in a speech at a banquet thrown by the lord mayor of the city of London that the French president's bid to usurp Britain's traditional place alongside America would not succeed.

"It is no secret that I am a lifelong admirer of America," Mr. Brown said. And, in a thinly veiled reference to France's traditional dislike of America and its culture, he added, "I have no truck with anti-Americanism in Britain or elsewhere in Europe, and I believe that our ties with America — founded on values we share — constitute our most important bilateral relationship."

He welcomed France's late conversion to the American cause and a similar newfound affection for America expressed by Chancellor Merkel of Germany in her visit to Mr. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, over the weekend.... (Thanks to Rand)

The highest accolade any Euro-premier can hope for, is to allowed to make a pilgrimage to Crawford, TX. Ha ha ha.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:42 PM

January 1, 2008

Digging in the muck...

John at PowerLine takes the trouble to demolish the deranged NYT editorial I mentioned yesterday. A dirty job, but someone has to do it....

...What is really "twisted beyond recognition" is the Times' account of America's interrogation practices. What the paper describes is simply a fantasy. In fact, President Bush issued an executive order directing that all prisoners be treated humanely. Torture is illegal, and there is no evidence that any executive agency has authorized the use of torture. Waterboarding is the most intense interrogation method that has been authorized, with respect to as few as two high-level terrorists. While opinions differ, I think it is obvious that waterboarding is not torture. It does no physical harm, and is a technique that we have used to train pilots. The Times' reference to the role of doctors is dishonest. What doctors actually do was described in the paper's own news story:
[I]n the spring of 2002, ... the intelligence officers flew in a surgeon from Johns Hopkins Hospital to treat Abu Zubaydah, who had been shot three times during his capture in Pakistan.
In fact, as the Times itself reported, the CIA started videotaping interrogations in part to show how well the captured terrorists were being treated...

...Perhaps the editorial board has joined the countless millions of Americans who don't read the Times....

And John has the same opinion as my friend---this is a temper tantrum...

...In other words: Elect a Democrat in 2008, or we're going to stamp our feet and hold our breath until we turn blue!

One anticipates with fascinated horror how they will react to a President Romney....

Posted by John Weidner at 12:41 PM

One of our gals...

Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard Blog notes the top ten opinion pieces (by page views) of the WaPo for 2007. Who's number one?

Retreat Isn't an Option, By Liz Cheney, January 23, 2007

....We are at war. America faces an existential threat. This is not, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi has claimed, a "situation to be solved." It would be nice if we could wake up tomorrow and say, as Sen. Barack Obama suggested at a Jan. 11 hearing, "Enough is enough." Wishing doesn't make it so. We will have to fight these terrorists to the death somewhere, sometime. We can't negotiate with them or "solve" their jihad. If we quit in Iraq now, we must get ready for a harder, longer, more deadly struggle later....

Liz is Dick and Lynne Cheney's daughter. that's her on the right in the picture. (And who's number two in the WaPo? A guy named Kristol.)

Vice president Cheney and his wife and daughters

Posted by John Weidner at 10:22 AM

Someone please argue against me...

Jonah Goldberg expresses the same frustration I've felt for years. Yeah, I know, he's flying at a much higher altitude than I am. But the problem is exactly the same.

Not surprisingly Matt Yglesias is vexed by the Times' "kind treatment" of my book. I've gotten into habit of ignoring what Yglesias says about me and I don't see much reason to kick that habit. But I should at least contradict him on one thing. He writes that "The reviewer, David Oshinsky, does concede that Goldberg's main thesis is false but that didn't seem to bother him."

Oshinsky in fact doesn't deal with my "main thesis" at all. As Ramesh notes, Oshinsky actually concedes that fascism is a phenomenon of the left. As for where Oshinsky does disagree with my thesis, it is so poorly supported and so unrelated to what I actually write, I'm still a bit flummoxed as to how to respond to it, save to thank the man for his kind words and hope some other liberal actually reads the book and offers a sustained argument against it. Honestly: I would actually like to read such a review. So far the reaction from Lefty blogs has been simply inane or deranged. I am sincerely interested in a serious liberal's — or leftist's — argument against what I have to say. And if Matt can put aside his animus towards me, maybe he's the guy to do it. But I'm not holding my breath.

I'll bet if I could ask him, Jonah would not be able to point to any occasion when a lefty critic gave him a really good counter-argument. One that caused him to lose sleep worrying about what reply he could make to such a well-reasoned criticism. I've been blogging since 11/2001, and it has yet to happen to me. (My libertarian-type readers do so now and then.)

It's all evidence for my thesis that "liberals" (most of them) aren't liberals at all any more. They are wearing lefty politics like the Invisible Man wore bandages, to give himself some sort of form or shape. They don't really believe any of it. They've been "hollowed-out", like certain church-goers we are all aware of, who recite the Creed every Sunday without believing it. They are nihilists.

(Also evidence for the proposition that political correctness lowers your effective IQ.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:27 AM