April 24, 2008

Oh, by his cockle hat and staff, And by his sandal shoon

Blogging will be paused for a while, because tomorrow, Charlene and I are off and away for our first overseas venture since 2001. Leaving our children home to run the circus. (Well, they really can't be called children any more—young adults—and considering all the pets one night call this a zoo.)

Where are we going? You will be amazed. Saturday night we will shall sleep by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, in Tiberius! We are off to the Holy Land with a group from our parish. I'm not bringing a computer, nor planning to blog along the way. But I shall bring back pictures, and tales of derring-do.... See you in about 10 days.

Jerusalem view by David Roberts, about 1845

Jerusalem du cote du Nord, by DAVID ROBERTS, Scottish, 1796-1864

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 AM

April 23, 2008

Tree guys...

We had our trees trimmed today.

I was very interested in how the tree guys maneuvered by ropes, since I'd recently read about that in a great book, The Wild Trees, by Richard Preston, which is about a bunch of scientists who clamber about in the canopies of the tallest Redwoods, 350 feet or so above the ground. And they learned their rope techniques from arborists, after having poor results from rock-climbing gear.

There's another guy on the other end of those ropes you see, on the ground, tightening or loosening. And the trimmer has most of his weight supported, and can move out on thin branches, chain-sawing away with the appearance at least of great ease. tree-trimmer

The book is a lot of fun. A good read.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:44 PM

April 22, 2008

good job...

When casualties were high in Iraq, Democrat leaders deplored them loudly. Pretended they gave a damn about Americans and Iraqis dying. And SO, when casualty-rates dropped 80 or 90%, did they express pleasure? Satisfaction? Of course not, the liars.

They just changed the subject, and deplored that Iraq was not making political progress, and not hitting the "benchmarks." Pretended they cared about that. So, now that Iraq has been hitting one benchmark after another, do they say thank you? Do they say "Well done?"

Of course not. They are all black-hearted liars.

Iraq just achieved another one of those benchmarks, with a mass-release of prisoners, mostly Sunni, not accused of serious crimes. Shall I hold my breath waiting for the Ried's and Pelosis and Obama's and Clinton's to acknowledge that goals they said they considered important are being met? Of course not. They were lying. They are America-hating liars, and the magnificent feats-of-arms of our troops and our Iraqi allies are the last thing they want to happen.

They are on the other side.

Well, I'll say it. Congratulations, to Prime Minister al-Maliki, and to the free people of Iraq.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:21 PM

"The mother-of-all-environmental scares"

From Happy Earth Day, by Steven F. Hayward...

More than 30 years ago political scientist Anthony Downs discerned what he called the “issue-attention cycle,” a five-stage process by which the public and especially the news media grow alarmed over an issue, agitate for action, generate piles of scary headlines, and then begin to draw back as we come to recognize that the problem has been exaggerated or misconceived, and the price tag for action comes in. While Downs thought that the issue-attention cycle for the environment would last longer than most issues, it appears the mother-of-all-environmental scares -- global warming -- is following his model and is going to begin to fade like other environmental alarms of the past such as the population bomb and the “we’re running out of everything” scares.

The current media and political blitz on Capitol Hill for government controls on energy production are the product of the panic felt by environmentalists who realize that opinion polls show the public is climbing off global warming bandwagon...

I think a lot of the panic is coming from the unconscious, because even if the globalistas ignore the facts that contradict global warming theory, they had to be expecting a lot more bad news than there has been. Global mean temps have not increased since 1998! That's gotta be making certain people nervous.

And Argo. Argo was going to clinch the case for global warming. People were expecting that. Now you hear almost nothing about it.

What's bothersome to me is that the demise of each scare-issue doesn't cause ordinary people to start thinking for themselves. Minds just gradually adjust to the new CW, without people noticing that there's something really wrong. The "population bomb" fades away, and people stop worrying, but they retain a vague idea that there are too many people, and some of them really ought to be eliminated to "save the planet." That the predictions of mass-starvation never came true.... that's not dwelt upon.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:36 AM

April 21, 2008

They are all snobs...

I just had to fisk this silly thing. I need a bit of fun now and then...

There's real danger to Obama in a cry of 'snob', by Michael Crowley, The Observer, Sunday April 20 2008

....Obama's line was not fatal, but Norquist still has grounds for glee. For a fundamental battle has been joined here - that battle to define the Democratic nominee's character. [The Republican nominee, on the other hand, has always been open and honest about himself. This is a huge advantage for ANY human being.]

One recurring feature of recent presidential campaigns has been the disgraceful effort of the Republican party to compensate for its unpopular positions on major issues, from health care to Iraq, by impugning the character of the Democratic presidential nominee [By telling the truth about them. Notice that Crowley never claims Obama is NOT a person with character flaws. He just wishes the issue would go away.]. Liberals have made this complaint for some time, but I lent it new credence after listening to a senior figure in the Bush political machine. 'You guys never get it,' he said to a group of journalists who'd been debating the politics of some newsworthy issue. 'People don't vote on issues. They vote on character.' [The voters are wise. Issues morph and change; character is forever. And, I hate to break this to you, Mr "Journalist," but "newsworthy" means what people (those horrid little commoners) want to hear about, not what you want to report.]

The man knew whereof he spoke, for character largely explains how Bush won two presidential elections. In 2004, torture and beheadings were the norm in Iraq. [Performed by your al-Qaeda news-generating teams.] Yet Republicans substantially focused the election around John Kerry's persona. He was a flip-flopper, a windsurfer and snowboarder, a Swiss-educated man with a slightly 'foreign' mien. Never mind that Bush was the wealthy son of a former President educated at both Yale and Harvard - he was the 'regular guy'. [Bush IS a regular guy...he oozes Midland Texas from every pore. A fact confirmed by the way Dems heap scorn on all his "regular guy" traits! You can't ridicule someone for mis-pronouncing "nuclear," and then claim he's a rich Ivy-Leaguer]

Amazingly, one poll taken just before the election showed that pro-Bush voters cared more about 'character and strength of leadership than how a candidate stands on the issues' by a nearly three-to-one margin. Is it any wonder American politics is the subject of ridicule and derision around the world? [SO, how's them Italian/German/French/Belgian politics workin' out? Big success, right? Hmmm?]

It had been the same story four years earlier. A long stretch of peace and prosperity had made Al Gore clear favourite to succeed Clinton. But the GOP skilfully caricatured Gore as a pedantic snob [He is], a know-it-all who allegedly claimed to have 'invented' the internet. That defamation campaign, in turn, was modelled after the 1988 ridicule of Michael Dukakis as a product of pointy-headed academic Boston.

In every case, the GOP message to America was the same: the Democratic candidate is too fancy to understand your world. He looks down on you. He is a product of a coastal elite establishment that derides real Americans. [I live among the coastal elites. This is simple truth] Republicans have always known how they would attack Hillary Clinton's character: They've had more than 15 years of trashing her as mean-tempered, ultra-feminist prevaricator. [She is] But Obama's comments, which can at least be construed to deride the legitimate faith, traditions and concerns of small-towners, have opened the GOP door to tarring him with the label of elitist snob. [Notice we are presented with zero evidence showing he is not an elitist snob.] This is how it's going to go. In the derisive commentary of the past two weeks, we can see how Obama is heading for the Kerry-Gore-Dukakis treatment. He will be cast as a 'professor' from the university enclave of Chicago's Hyde Park. [Fits] And just as Kerry was heckled by conservatives for supposedly looking French, the campaign to define Obama as 'foreign', thanks to his Kenyan father and his boyhood years in Indonesia, is already underway. [If the charge is false, it won't stick. So how's that bowling score, Barry? Geeze, I could bowl more convincingly, and I haven't touched a ball for 40 years.]

And just as the elder George Bush used Dukakis's opposition to a constitutional ban on flag burning to impugn his patriotism, so the right is now encouraging the preposterous story that Obama is unpatriotic because he doesn't wear an American flag lapel pin and was once photographed without his hand placed over his heart during the national anthem. [I'm "embedded" among lefty elitists. They are NOT patriotic, and their aversion to flag pins reflects their beliefs perfectly] Attacks like these will be particularly convenient for Republicans given McCain's unimpeachably heroic and patriotic background.

Obama's campaign handlers have proven themselves a highly shrewd bunch. They are already working to bolster his regular-guy credibility - see Obama's recent photo-op at a Pennsylvania bowling alley [Must be the same guys that put Dukakis in a tank. Shrewd, shrewd.] and his endorsement by that ultimate salt-of-the-earth tribune [Triple-Word-Score in Pointy-Head Scrabble™] Bruce Springsteen. [To paraphrase Andy Warhol, there's nothing so un-regular as trying to be a regular guy.]

[Also, stupider by an order-of-magnitude is trying to make a girl a into a "regular guy." Hillary tossing back a shot in a bar tops all of this, in my opinion! Puke-worthy.]

That may help against Clinton on Tuesday. But an autumn endorsement by the Boss, alas, wasn't enough to save Kerry. Obama will have to muster a better defence. He can start by choosing his words more carefully. [Ha ha ha. In other words, be more careful about living a lie. Honest people don't have to worry about "choosing their words carefully." What comes out is what they are.] He can also console himself in knowing that the Bush Republicans have left American in such rotten shape that even the GOP's mendacious character politics may not be enough to save them this time around. [Dream on, Lefty losers.]

What always amazes me is that Dems are so insular and anti-American that they never get serious about fixing these big problems. You'd think they would have a "regular guy" summer camp, where effete coastal snob politicians go to learn how to eat cheese steaks, and drink boiler-makers, and talk to ranchers.

The Newman quote on my sidebar says,
"Aim at things and your words will be right without aiming." But most lefties can't do that, because they live in fear. They no longer have any underlying philosophy they can build their lives on. They are not just hiding their souls from ordinary Americans, they are hiding from themselves. Their dishonesty goes to the bone.

* Update: Another odd thing. Imagine the situation were reversed, and McCain was trying to win the votes of lefty trendoid professors by arranging photo-ops at MOMA, or listening to avant-guard poetry in a coffee house. Who would not laugh at such nonsense? Yet no leftist seems to notice that it is just as preposterous to put Baracky-boy in a bowling alley. I mean, who are the stupids here? Republicans are called the "stupid party," but who's cluelix?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:33 AM

April 20, 2008

Melchizedek

Thrice bless'd are they, who feel their loneliness;
To whom nor voice of friends nor pleasant scene
Brings aught on which the sadden'd heart can lean;
Yea, the rich earth, garb'd in her daintiest dress
Of light and joy, doth but the more oppress,
Claiming responsive smiles and rapture high;
Till, sick at heart, beyond the veil they fly,
Seeking His Presence, who alone can bless.
Such, in strange days, the weapons of Heaven's grace;
When, passing o'er the high-born Hebrew line,
He moulds the vessel of His vast design;
Fatherless, homeless, reft of age and place,
Sever'd from earth, and careless of its wreck,
Born through long woe His rare Melchizedek.
      -- John Henry Newman

Posted by John Weidner at 5:22 AM

April 19, 2008

I'll just wait for the protests to happen....

From The Australian...

SUPPORTERS of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party have set up a network of torture camps where they have been assaulting opposition activists, a leading rights group says.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said suspected supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were being rounded up and then beaten for several hours at a time with wooden sticks and batons in the wake of last month's disputed elections.

"Torture and violence are surging in Zimbabwe," Human Rights Watch's Africa director Georgette Gagnon said in a new report.

"ZANU-PF members are setting up torture camps to systematically target, beat, and torture people suspected of having voted for the MDC in last month's elections."

The organisation said it had conducted interviews with more than 30 people who had sustained serious injuries, including broken limbs, as a result of the beatings in the camps.

The aim of the beatings was to punish people for voting for the opposition in the March 29 polls and coerce them into supporting Mugabe in a possible second round run-off, HRW added. (Thanks to jammiewearingfool)

Any minute now the hundred-thousand or so people who have wailed for years about abu Ghraib will be making ringing denunciations of this new evil. I'll just sit here and hold my breath 'till it happens! Any minute now. Candle-light vigils, for sure. Headlines in the NYT.

Of course they won't do any such thing, the despicable frauds. 99% of the abu Ghraib bitching was pure hatred of America. None of them care about torture, unless there is a political point to be made.

And I'm still disgusted about how the splendid work of the 391st Military Police Battalion, from Columbus, Ohio, has never gotten a single morsel of credit. They are the ones who took over abu Ghraib prison after the scandal, and broke their backs doing everything with scrupulous care, so as to restore our country's honor. The trouble is, shams like Mark Shea, and all the other torture pomposos, couldn't care less. All they are interested in is tearing down this great nation, under the pretense of superior morality. Not a word of thanks ever to those who do things right.

And for that matter, Saddam's regime was, in the opinion of this history buff, the worst for torture in the history of this planet. Saddam's nine different secret police agencies tortured at least ten-thousand people every year, in the most hideous ways imaginable. Like having people eaten alive by dogs. Or torturing children in front of their parents. The US military put an end to that torture—torture on a scale a million times worse than abu Ghraib. And do any of our torture-mongers ever pause from complaining about water-boarding to say thank you to our troops, for stopping Saddam's torture regime, at the risk of their lives?

Of course not. They are all—from Shea on down—utterly uninterested in the subject of torture--a miillion brown-skinned foreigners could be tortured every day, and they would never shed a tear. Unless the USA could be blamed for it. THEN it would be a "moral issue."

Posted by John Weidner at 5:44 PM

Our two critical advantages...

Don't Miss mark Steyn's scathing comments on Mr Obama's rare moment of truthfulness. Guns and God? Hell, yes!

....Sen. Obama's remarks about poor dumb, bitter rural losers "clinging to" guns and God certainly testify to the instinctive snobbery of a big segment of the political class. But we shouldn't let it go by merely deploring coastal condescension toward the knuckledraggers. No, what Michelle Malkin calls Crackerquiddick (quite rightly – it's more than just another dreary "-gate") is not just snobbish nor even merely wrongheaded. It's an attack on two of the critical advantages the United States holds over most of the rest of the Western world. In the other G7 developed nations, nobody clings to God 'n' guns. The guns got taken away, and the Europeans gave up on churchgoing once they embraced Big Government as the new religion.

How's that working out? ....

Workin' out like shit. Spiritual collapse, demographic collapse, economic stagnation, an utter absence of any compelling new movements or dreams. That's Europe. And that's what Obama and the San Francisco Democrats want for us. They want it desperately, even though they dare not make a case for it openly.

Why? Because what they are fleeing from is belief. Belief in anything that is bigger than oneself.

I'd say this is a good answer to nihilist Euro-weenie hate-America Democrats like Clinton and Obama:

Posted by John Weidner at 1:17 PM

Music to think by...

I rarely blog about music, because probably 98% of you are more musical than I. But I'll make an exception for this CD, Echoes: The Einaudi Collection, which my wife and daughter also like. Einaudi is what I think would be called a "contemporary classical" composer. And also a pianist. His pieces tend to be very simple, some orchestrated, some just himself playing the piano.

And "music to think by" is just how I find him. He seems to "fit" with serious thoughts, in the same way other music tends, for me to fit with, say, frivolous fantasies. (Or "bitter" right-wing "hatemongering."--ed. Oh yeah, that too.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:27 AM

"Tangential" issues...

Stephen Spruiell, at The Corner:

A bunch of liberal journalists have written an open letter to ABC to whine about its handling of Wednesday night's debate. "We're at a crucial moment in our country's history," they write. "Large majorities of our fellow Americans tell pollsters they're deeply worried about the country's direction... Tough, probing questions on these issues clearly serve the public interest... excessive emphasis on tangential 'character' issues do not."

The signers include at least seven contributors to The Nation, whose editors never saw anything "tangential" about George W. Bush's Air National Guard service and what that said about his character. A Google search of The Nation's website for stories on that topic yields 72 stories — none of which called on the media to stop focusing on such a tangential character issue...

Do I ever remember how self-rightous the press and the Left was about the issue of Bush's service—even while insisting that we should ignore a few hundred vets who wanted to raise the issue of Lt Kerry's service and character back then.

And in both cases it is the Democrat whose character really needs to be scrutinized, simply because neither of them have ever accomplished anything of note. We need to guess at what sort of leaders Obama or Kerry will be, because they've never led. Whereas Bush had run businesses, a baseball team, the State of Texas, and served a term as President. And McCain at least has his name on major legislation, and has been fighting over big issues in the public eye for decades. Not to mention being a very open person, who wears his heart on his sleeve.

And the "journalists" know this perfectly well. Their job is always to slip the Democrat past the electorate. And most of them think the same about small-town Pennsylvanians as Obama does. They are just wishing his character was more adept at faking being American.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:48 AM

April 17, 2008

Don't trust Wikipedia

Charlene recommends this piece, by Lawrence Solomon in the National Post, on how Wikipedia is bogus on the subject of Global warming. "Information wants to be free," but not when the subject has become part of a monomaniacal religion...(Thanks to Instapundit)

...Tabletop, it turns out, has another name: Kim Dabelstein Petersen. She (or he?) is an editor at Wikipedia. What does she edit? Reams and reams of global warming pages. I started checking them. In every instance I checked, she defended those warning of catastrophe and deprecated those who believe the science is not settled. I investigated further. Others had tried to correct her interpretations and had the same experience as I -- no sooner did they make their corrections than she pounced, preventing Wikipedia readers from reading anyone's views but her own. When they protested plaintively, she wore them down and snuffed them out.

By patrolling Wikipedia pages and ensuring that her spin reigns supreme over all climate change pages, she has made of Wikipedia a propaganda vehicle for global warming alarmists. But unlike government propaganda, its source is not self-evident. We don't suspend belief when we read Wikipedia, as we do when we read literature from an organization with an agenda, because Wikipedia benefits from the Internet's cachet of making information free and democratic. This Big Brother enforces its views with a mouse.

While I've been writing this column, the Naomi Oreskes page has changed 10 times. Since I first tried to correct the distortions on the page, it has changed 28 times. If you have read a climate change article on Wikipedia -- or on any controversial subject that may have its own Kim Dabelstein Petersen -- beware. Wikipedia is in the hands of the zealots.
Posted by John Weidner at 5:56 AM

April 16, 2008

Rubes, fools, and hate-mongers for John McCain!

From The Rubes and the Elites, by Michael Lind, in Salon...

....In the act of rushing to Obama's defense, some prominent liberal bloggers reinforced the stereotype of elite liberal snobbery. On Friday, regular DailyKos diarist RKA argued, "This quote and the resulting feeding frenzy are a huge opportunity for Obama to get the attention of low-information small-town voters who are skeptical of him and convince some of them to vote their pocketbooks instead of their culture." On TPM Cafe, Todd Gitlin wrote that "Obama spoke artlessly, forgetting that the first law of American politics is: Flatter the rubes."

Now there's a campaign slogan. Hey, rubes -- I mean low-information voters -- Vote Your Pocketbook, Not Your Culture!

Should anyone doubt that dissing rather than flattering the "rubes" is an aberration, examples of liberal snobbery are not hard to find in progressive publications. Sometimes it's genteel, sometimes it's raw. In an essay titled "The Urban Archipelago" a few years ago, the editors of Seattle's alt-weekly the Stranger wrote: "It's time to state something that we've felt for a long time but have been too polite to say out loud: Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America. We live on islands of sanity, liberalism, and compassion -- New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and on and on ... And we are the real Americans. They -- rural, red-state voters, the denizens of the exurbs -- are not real Americans. They are rubes, fools, and hate-mongers ... We can secede emotionally ... by turning our backs on the heartland ... We're everywhere any sane person wants to be. Let them have the shitholes, the Oklahomas, Wyomings, and Alabamas. We'll take Manhattan."....

Doesn't that just capture it all...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:07 AM

April 15, 2008

Smart is not the same as wise...

Orrin Judd:

It would be easier to feel sorry for the Democrats if they ever learned anything from their mistake--singular, because it's the same one almost every time. While the Republicans nominate the guy whose turn it is next, a well-known and battle-tested veteran, the Democrats repeatedly serve up a neophyte Northern liberal and then act stunned when he's not ready for primetime and voters dislike him once they get to know his political views.

There's lots one could say to amplify this. One is that being smart is not the same thing as being wise. And since a large part of being wise is having the humility to realize you don't know it all, and the humility to see things as they are, rather then what your theory says they should be, you can almost bet that anyone who people look at and say "he's so smart" is not wise.

"Wise" can't really be defined. It's just one of those things you know when you see it, if you are looking. When it comes to politicians, it's even harder to be sure. But a good bet is that a "well-known and battle-tested veteran" has probably had a chance to reveal any un-wisdom he may have.

Is McCain wise? I have various doubts about him, but I feel confident that he is far wiser than Barry or Hillary. For one thing, there's no doubt that he is a patriotic American, and that in itself is deeply wise. Because this great nation is herself "a well-known and battle-tested veteran," and the results have shown this a thousand times. Betting on America is the smart bet. Betting on Europe is the sucker's bet.

And if you are a liberal reading that previous paragraph, you probably instantly thought of all the reasons you despise this country (without having the guts or conscience to move elsewhere). You thought of all her supposed hideous faults, things that are taken for granted over the Brie and Chardonnay at San Francisco soirées, where guys like Obama go to raise big bucks. If you did, you are not wise. You are a fool.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:50 AM

April 14, 2008

I needed a good laugh...

[link] Movie rental house Blockbuster has made an unsolicited takeover bid for struggling electronics retailer Circuit City, a move that aims to combine the stores of both companies into "a game-changing retail concept" akin to Apple Inc.'s widely successful international retail operation...

You can just smell the synergy crackling and smoking!

And to really make a man giggle...

...Blockbuster isn't the only technology player looking to replicate the success of Apple's retail business. Last week it was reported the Microsoft is also mulling the prospect of opening a self-branded chain of retail stores to promote its Windows franchise...

"Microsoft" What a concept!

Posted by John Weidner at 12:55 PM

We know these guys...

I think my dear wife just captured Mr Obama's essence perfectly. She said, "He's a white liberal elitist."

Posted by John Weidner at 5:35 AM

April 13, 2008

"Not one moment's wavering of trust"

My hero, John Henry Newman, rarely answered the many attacks made on him in his lifetime. But when he did, it was "shock and awe!" (One of the greatest books of both English literature and religious biography, is his Apologia Pro Vita Sua, which was written in response to a scurrilous attack on his conversion to Roman Catholicism—his first response after about twenty years of harsh criticism.)

This letter was written to The Globe, in response to the printing of a rumor that he was planning to return to the Anglican church...

I have not had one moment's wavering of trust in the Catholic Church ever since I was received into her fold. I hold, and ever have held, that her Sovereign Pontiff is the centre of unity and the Vicar of Christ; and I have ever had, and have still, an unclouded faith in her creed in all its articles; a supreme satisfaction in her worship, discipline and teaching; and an eager longing, and a hope against hope, that the many dear friends whom I have left in Protestantism may be partakers in my happiness.

This being my state of mind, to add, as I hereby go on to do, that I have no intention, and never had any intention, of leaving the Catholic Church, and becoming a Protestant again, would be superfluous, except that Protestants are always on the look-out for some loophole or evasion in a Catholic's statement of fact. Therefore, in order to give them full satisfaction, if I can, I do hereby profess ex animo, with an absolute internal assent and consent, that Protestantism is the dreariest of possible religions; that the thought of the Anglican service makes me shiver, and the thought of the Thirty-nine Articles makes me shudder. Return to the Church of England! No; 'the net is broken and we are delivered'. I should be a consummate fool (to use a mild term) if in my old age I left "the land flowing with milk and honey" for the city of confusion and the house of bondage.

    I am, Sir,
        Your obedient servant,
            John H. Newman

I'll second all that. "The city of confusion and the house of bondage." Geez, that sounds like San Francisco...

I found the letter quoted in Louis Bouyer's Newman an Intellectual and Spiritual Biography, which i give my highest recommendation

Posted by John Weidner at 5:04 AM

April 12, 2008

"Emerging truth"

I commend to your attention this piece from the National Post, about how the BBC was cajoled into changing an article that didn't conform to The Church of Climate Change orthodoxy... (Thanks to Michael Goldfarb)

This is just a part of the quoted e-mail exchange. "Roger" is the journalist, "Jo" is cracking the whip on behalf of the "Campaign Against Climate Change."

jo.

From: Roger Harrabin

The article makes all these points quite clear. We can't ignore the fact that skeptics have jumped on the lack of increase since 1998. It is appearing reguarly now in general media.

Best to tackle this -- and explain it, which is what we have done

Or people feel like debate is being censored, which makes them v. suspicious.

Roger

---

Hi Roger,

... . Your word "debate." This is not an issue of "debate." This is an issue of emerging truth. I don't think you should worry about whether people feel they are countering some kind of conspiracy, or suspicious that the full extent of the truth is being withheld from them.

Every day more information is added to the stack showing the desperate plight of the planet.

It would be better if you did not quote the skeptics. Their voice is heard everywhere, on every channel. They are deliberately obstructing the emergence of the truth.

I would ask : Please reserve the main BBC Online channel for emerging truth.

Otherwise, I would have to conclude that you are insufficiently educated to be able to know when you have been psychologically manipulated. And that would make you an unreliable reporter.

I am about to send your comments to others for their contribution, unless you request I do not. They are likely to want to post your comments on forums/fora, so please indicate if you do not want this to happen. You may appear in an unfavourable light because it could be said that you have had your head turned by the skeptics. Respectfully,

jo.

---

From: Roger Harrabin

Have a look in 10 minutes and tell me you are happier. We have changed headline and more.

"This is not an issue of "debate." This is an issue of emerging truth." You gotta love the frankness!

Notice how Jo Abbess just assumes she has the right to demand suppression of facts! As does the "journalist," Roger Harrabin. He doesn't even pretend to be objective; he merely claims it is better tactics to be open about inconvenient truths.

And this is similar to a few occasions I recall when the Old Media have been c aught being taken to task by Democrats for publishing some story that hurts a Dem. It is just assumed that the media are in the leftist camp, and that it is perfectly proper to tell them they can't publisj tjis or that.

And you just know that these "journalists" go to journalist banquets where they present each other with plaques and awards for journalistic integrity and "speaking truth to power." And listen to speeches about how a free press is essential to the functioning of democracy.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:28 PM

"syllogistic string of superciliousness:"

John Podhorertz: (Thanks to Glenn)

Well, it has finally happened. Barack Obama has done what Democratic candidates for president invariably do — he has revealed the profound sense of unearned superiority that is the sad and persistent hallmark of contemporary liberalism. Obama’s statement today that small-town folk “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations” may be the most distilled example of this train of thought I’ve ever seen.

Obama’s astonishing sentence offers a syllogistic string of superciliousness: Gun ownership is equated with religious fanaticism, which is said to accompany hatred of the other in the form of opposition to immigration and support for trade barriers. It drips with an attitude so important to the spiritual well-being of the American liberal — the paternalistic attitude that says, “Oh, well, people only do thing differently from me because they are ignorant and superstitious and backward” — that it has survived and thrived despite the suicidal impact it has had on the achievement of liberal political goals and aims.....

Actually, feeling superior IS the liberal goal. If you don't believe in anything bigger than yourself, then how you feel is the most important thing there is. And if liberals DO believe in something bigger them themselves, well, what is it? Can someone tell me?

* Update: Hmm. Why does this line seem to have a certain similarity... Beijing's second in command in Tibet, Qiangba Puncog: "I believe Tibetans are a good, simple people who know how to be grateful..."

* Update: Rand Simberg is a don't-miss: "By cracky, it's like the man sees into my soul!

"Thirty years ago, I had a good job in the mill in Pittsburgh. I was bringing in a good income, going to jazz clubs, discussing Proust over white wine and brie, with my gay friends of all colors. I was all for free trade, so that we could sell the steel overseas, and I never bothered to go to church, let alone actually believe in God.

"But then, the plant closed down, and I couldn't get another job. I went on unemployment, and found odd jobs here and there, but they barely paid the rent in the loft, and the payment on the Bimmer. I couldn't afford the wine and brie any more, and had to shift over to beer and brats.

"Of course, as a result, I started hanging out with the wrong crowd--the beer drinkers..."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:34 AM

April 11, 2008

Liberation Day....

Nibras Kazimi:

For me, April 9th will forever be Liberation Day.

Last year, I expressed my feeling about this time of year in column titled Absolutely Worth It.

This piece continues to express how I feel. Yet, five years on, the sum of anniversaries has an added personal symmetry for me.

It was on this day, in 1998, that I formally joined the Iraqi opposition to Saddam at a young age a few days shy of 22. I had dabbled before here and there, but it was then that I took the plunge to do this for real. At first, my family thought that it was a waste of life, but they eventually came around after I made this argument: I won't do this forever, no way, but I'll do it for a maximum of five years or until whenever Saddam is overthrown within that time period. My paternal grandfather, my parents, and my uncles had all be badly bruised by their forays into politics, and those experiences had left them with broken hearts, surrounded by broken things. Another generation trying to fix things, especially after the bleak horrors of Saddam, was a fool's errand, a waste of youth, a despairing venture.

I sold my own stint in this field to my folks as a form of mandatory military service that I'd have to go through before I did the proper middle class thing of finding a real, paying job. Their attitude turned from one of initial hesitation to an outpouring of unconditional support. My brother, especially, took it upon himself to help me get by throughout the years I worked as a volunteer. I could tell too, as the years advanced and liberation was within sight, that my father and mother had started to look upon me with something beyond pride, closer to awe. This sustained me with immeasurable power, and clarity of mind. It kept me centered when I was scared or despondent or vengeful for I always had a point of reference to the values I was brought up with...

Awesome. It's no wonder that nihilists hate the liberation of Iraq with such intensity...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:00 AM

April 10, 2008

Just have the decency to shut up...

Orrin Judd, commenting on an article about how "realists" are trying to get the ear of John McCain...

...Given that the Iraq war is a function of their failure to remove Saddam in '91, the pragmatists ought to have the decency to shut up. Maintaining dictatorships so that we won't be bothered by messy new situations is a policy that is beneath the contempt of any decent party and should be left to the Democrats.
Posted by John Weidner at 3:07 PM

There's nothin' like peace

Israel Today (Thanks to ALa)

Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure Benjamin Ben-Eliezer warned on Monday that if Iran attacks the Jewish state, it will suffer widespread destruction as a result.

Speaking at the headquarters for Israel's largest ever national emergency and defense drill, Ben-Eliezer said that "an Iranian attack will prompt a severe reaction from Israel, which will destroy the Iranian nation."...

....In related news, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proudly announced on Tuesday that his nation had begun installing an additional 6,000 advanced centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium. Iran already has 3,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges on line....

What Iran and Israel are doing makes sense---crazy dictators always want to kill Jews, it's in their nature. And Jews quite naturally have another opinion.

What gets me, what seems just crazy, is that if the US now drops some bunker-busters on those centrifuges, we will be called "warmongers," and aggressors!

And if President Bush does nothing, sits on his hands, lets two countries edge towards nuclear war, that's "peace."

Sick. Pacifism is sick.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:42 AM

Germans!

From BBC News: (Thanks to Tim Blair)

Germany's celebrity polar bear Knut has triggered a new controversy by fishing out 10 live carp from his moat and killing them in front of visitors.

Critics say Berlin Zoo should not have put live fish inside Knut's enclosure. But German media report that the carp were put there to eat up algae.

There is speculation that hand-reared Knut killed the carp just for fun...

Well, why not? He's a BEAR, for pity's sake. He'd kill people too, if they annoyed him. And eat them, if he was hungry.

Of course, to most "animal lovers," killing a human is less bad than killing a carp. And "animal lover" is a religion to many people these days—a morally depraved one.

Just juxtapose the two following sentences...

...Knut was rejected by his mother, but Berlin Zoo decided to hand-rear him, in a controversial move. There has been heated debate about whether cubs rejected by their mothers should be saved or whether nature should be allowed to run its course...

...The Frankfurter Allgemeine news website reports that Knut "senselessly murdered the carp", fishing them out, playing with them and then leaving the remains...

So, letting the bear die is "nature," but killing carp is "murder?" Huh? I guess Knut, being so cute and all, has been made an honorary human, so infanticide is OK. Whatever it takes to reduce the burden on Gaia, and her endangered carp.

Amazin' to think we used to fight bloody wars against these idiots.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:13 AM

April 8, 2008

The “Fighting rages” dodge...

Nibras Kazimi is still, it seems to me, making sense of Maliki's offensive in Iraq...

...For how can one not pity those miserable journalists as they scramble to find new narratives to define the last 48 hours in Iraq?

Not only has Maliki not backed down, but newly emboldened with wide political backing he’s begun to smash through Sadr City itself and is threatening to banish the Sadrists to a political Siberia. Muqtada al-Sadr, the guy the media has us thinking had won, has prostrated himself at the feet of Grand Ayotallah Sistani, promising Maliki that he would indeed demobilize his militia if the wise old men of Shi’ism would have it so. Gone are the millenarian certainties of taking orders from the Mahdi, the messiah. Gone is all that bluster of al-Sadr’s virile, confident ‘Outspoken hawza’ contrasted with Sistani’s supposedly feeble and retro ‘Silent hawza’. And he sends out his plea for clemency from Iran. FROM IRAN?!! From a place of chosen exile with which he had often derided the Hakims for seeking sanctuary and shelter there after Saddam has nearly eradicated their lineage. The place too, towards which his father’s confidants still point their accusing fingers for the murder that had befallen the old man and that of Muqtada’s two older, more worthy brothers.

Sadr surrendering his fate to Sistani and submissively muttering, “Do as you please, Sir.” Who would have imagined?

It is almost as baffling as Maliki’s abrupt transformation from an incompetent administrator into a wartime commander-in-chief!....

and...

...Well, it now seems that the rumor is official according to this press report (Arabic): Muqtada al-Sadr has cancelled his 'March of the Millions' anti-American demonstration set for tomorrow to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the liberation of Baghdad.

In retaliation for whimping out, Code Pink has formally revoked al-Sadr's membership and expelled him from its ranks. Furthermore, Barack Obama has withdrawn his offer of a cabinet post that he had offered to Muqtada. Going yet further, Nancy Pelosi has cast off her Mahdi Army bandanna. Dozens of western journalists were seen protesting the cancellation outside Sadr's HQ in Sadr City, angry over the time and effort they had lavished while pre-writing tomorrow's story and the waste of all those flashy headlines and headcounts that they won't get to use. Ha!....

I like this guy! And this for our fraudulent journalists, is perfect:

...Yes, you miserable souls: keep writing in that passive tense, that “Fighting rages” dodge. Never mind that Maliki and the Iraqi Army are actively picking a fight with the outlaws, a fight that the government is winning, and that’s the reason why the bullets are whooshing by...

There are times when fighting is supposed to "rage." Like, uh, when you are attacking somebody! That's good. That's a good sign. It's a war, you dolts. (I don't actually think that "war" is the correct term to describe the "Global War on Terror," but it will have to do until I think of a better one.)

Posted by John Weidner at 12:06 PM

April 7, 2008

We're better than the bad old days....

This is actually a comment by Mike Plaiss to this post, but he was unable to post the comment due to a bug in my version of MT that bites me now and then. So I'll just make it a blog-post. It's certainly interesting enough...

Mike writes:

As you can imagine, I’m no fan of leftist schemes to perfect human nature, but there is evidence that human nature has improved over time. I have posted this here before. It is a fascinating essay by a Harvard psychologist with a good sense of history. His basic point is contained in this quote:

...Some of the evidence has been under our nose all along. Conventional history has long shown that, in many ways, we have been getting kinder and gentler. Cruelty as entertainment, human sacrifice to indulge superstition, slavery as a labor-saving device, conquest as the mission statement of government, genocide as a means of acquiring real estate, torture and mutilation as routine punishment, the death penalty for misdemeanors and differences of opinion, assassination as the mechanism of political succession, rape as the spoils of war, pogroms as outlets for frustration, homicide as the major form of conflict resolution—all were unexceptionable features of life for most of human history. But, today, they are rare to nonexistent in the West, far less common elsewhere than they used to be, concealed when they do occur, and widely condemned when they are brought to light...
The reason, says the author, and it rings true to me, is that civilization has had, well, a civilizing affect on us. Or in the author’s words, “Far from causing us to become more violent, something in modernity and its cultural institutions has made us nobler.

The conundrum for most leftists is that the antidote for the litany of savagery detailed above is largely Western thought, philosophy, and culture.

Well, I don't think "human nature" has changed in the slightest. If it could change like that, it wouldn't be our "nature." What's being discussed is our culture. And that's certainly changed. But I'd guess that if you took any of our oh-so-civilized people, and let them be reborn in sixteenth-century Paris, they would enjoy the "cat burning" (see Pinker's article) as much as the next guy. Our "nature" is the same as it always has been.

And Pinker celebrates us getting getting "kinder and gentler." But I'm not sure that's all of what's going on. Let's just invent a crazy hypothetical. Let's suppose a million people are being killed in, oh, let's say, Rawanda. So, bodies are floatin' down the rivers like rafts of lumber, and the reaction of us kind 'n gentle superior Westerners is....... "But hey, we're peaceful. We're kinder and gentler. So we can't actually DO something. That would be, like, forceful. Pushy. Confrontational. Those things are part of the bad old days, like cat-burning." Phooey. Give me some hard-assed old cowboys who can solve problems with guns or a noose.

And "nobler?" I don't buy that at all. I'd characterize our world as "ignoble."

Posted by John Weidner at 4:24 PM

The Little Engine that Could..

You've surely already seen quotes from this article, Anti-McCain groups lag in fundraising. On a whim I read page two of the piece, and found lots to make me laugh...

...."A lot of the big Media Fund people were Hillary people, and [California billionaire Steve] Bing's just not going to write a check unless she's the nominee," the operative said. [Love that party loyalty!]

Another Democrat said the Campaign to Defend America had run into unexpected legal hurdles connected to its incorporation as a 501(c)(4) charity, which some campaign finance lawyers now see as the preferred independent spending vehicle. [A charity! Delightful.]

However, other lawyers warn that a focus on an election could prove legally problematic for such entities. [Do you think so?] The group "can engage in elections only as a secondary function," the Campaign Finance Institute reported earlier this month, warning that some activities could either threaten its tax status or draw penalties from the Federal Election Commission. [It will be fun to find out what the "primary function" is.]

Matzzie and two other officials of the Campaign to Defend America did not respond to requests for comment on its activities. [Heh]

A spokeswoman for the Fund for America, meanwhile, insisted that the group's mission is broader than electoral politics. [surrrre...]

"We're not focused on the 2008 election," said Fund for America spokeswoman Katharine Lister. [Dems? Not focused on 2008? Surrrre.]

The other traditional outlet for attacks on the Republican nominee is the Democratic National Committee. Its chairman, Howard Dean, has emerged as a leading McCain critic. [Ah, those devastating substantive criticisms from Howard. Refresh my memory, please? What were they?]

A spokeswoman for the committee, Karen Finney, disputed the notion that an opportunity has already been missed in the two months since McCain effectively secured the nomination. "We wanted to have solid research first," she said. [Oh I get it. They've got to dig up the dirt on McCain. His lunatic pastors, the shady financiers, the peculiar suicides, the Red Chinese donors, the futures trading that turns $1,000 into $100,000. Keep digging kids, there must be a pony somewhere.]

Finney noted that the DNC has been conducting focus groups and polling on McCain and finding that voters know little about his policy positions and identify him strongly with the unpopular Iraq war. [Of course there IS the nasty little fact that your al Qaeda surrogates are losing in Iraq.]

"We all know the importance of early framing and being aggressive, but if you do it the wrong way you can't undo it," she said. "We recognize that now is the time to define him." [You've spent EIGHT YEARS defining him as the bi-partisan anti-Bush kind of Republican you like. Way to do that "early framing."]

Finney also said the committee is now working to raise the money to finance an anti-McCain campaign. [Think big. Call it the Anti-War Heroes Fund.]

"We've been making a pitch to Clinton and Obama donors that regardless of who you support in the primary, you need to support the Democratic Party now," she said, saying results of that pitch had been "mixed." ["Mixed," as in "You are a racist (or sexist) if you take funds away from my candidate!]

"We're getting there. People are starting to understand the urgency," she said, adding that new polling would be released next week. "When they see the polling, they'll understand that we have a really sharp opportunity to define McCain, but we've got to do it now." [The Little Engine that Could.]

There's lots I don't like about McCain, but I LOVE the bind he's put Dems in. And there are SO MANY things to look forward to. Just think how their fake complaints about American "torture" are going to look next to the guy that was really tortured by the very Commies who were supported by all the fake anti-war Dems?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 AM

April 6, 2008

"The liberal message of national improvement"

The Patriotism Problem Thursday, Apr. 03, 2008 By Joe Klein

....But there was still something missing. I noticed it during Obama's response to a young man who remembered how the country had come together after Sept. 11 and lamented "the dangerously low levels of patriotism and pride in our country, the loss of faith in our elected officials." Obama used this, understandably, to go after George W. Bush. "Cynicism has become the hot stock," he said, "the growth industry during the Bush Administration." He talked about the Administration's mendacity, its incompetence during Hurricane Katrina, its lack of transparency. But he never returned to the question of patriotism. He never said, "But hey, look, we're Americans. This is the greatest country on earth. We'll rise to the occasion."

This is a chronic disease among Democrats, who tend to talk more about what's wrong with America than what's right. When Ronald Reagan touted "Morning in America" in the 1980s, Dick Gephardt famously countered that it was near midnight "and getting darker all the time." This is ironic and weirdly self-defeating, since the liberal message of national improvement is profoundly more optimistic, and patriotic, than the innate conservative pessimism about the perfectibility of human nature. Obama's hopemongering is about as American as a message can get — although, in the end, it is mostly about our ability to transcend our imperfections rather than the effortless brilliance of our diversity, informality and freedom-propelled creativity...

"...the liberal message of national improvement is profoundly more optimistic, and patriotic, than the innate conservative pessimism about the perfectibility of human nature..." What is wrong with this statement? For one thing, "conservative pessimism" is intrinsic to what America IS. It is woven into our Constitution, whose "checks and balances," and limitations on government power assume the non-perfectibility of human nature.

Also, in practice, that "national improvement" stuff starts with the premise that America is a horrid place, except for its liberal elites, and needs to be bullied and "re-educated" towards goals that ordinary Americans by no means hold. It is the opposite of patriotism.

Am I "questioning somebody's patriotism?" Damn right I am. Is there something wrong with questioning people's patriotism? NO! It's my right as a patriotic American. Do I think Mr Klein, Mr Obama, & Mrs Clinton are unpatriotic? Yes, I do. Their underlying assumptions are those of leftist anti-Americanism. They are unpatriotic.

...Patriotism is, sadly, a crucial challenge for Obama now. His aides believe that the Wright controversy was more about anti-Americanism than it was about race. Michelle Obama's unfortunate comment that the success of the campaign had made her proud of America "for the first time" in her adult life and the Senator's own decision to stow his American-flag lapel pin — plus his Islamic-sounding name — have fed a scurrilous undercurrent of doubt about whether he is "American" enough...

Why is it "scurrilous?" Why is it scurrilous to ask if a candidate for President of the US actually loves the US? Why, Mr Klein? Why exactly? And why did you put "American" in scare quotes?

"The liberal message of national improvement.." I for one do not want to be "improved." I spit upon your "improvements" with the utmost contempt. If anyone needs to be improved, it's you anti-American lefties. Maybe a few years in a Cuban prison camp, along with various Cuban writers who dared to suggest improvements in the much-admired Castro's socialist paradise, would give you a little insight into why us non-elite people proudly wear our American flag pins.

* Update: By the way Mr Klein, you seem to disagree with "conservative pessimism about the perfectibility of human nature." Would you be so kind as to share with us your evidence? Could you give us some example of human nature being "perfected?" Or even just slightly improved? I would be very curious to see this wonder.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:00 PM

The old Manichean error

A bit of Michael Heller, quoted at First Things:

....And what about chancy or random events? Do they destroy mathematical harmony of the universe, and introduce into it elements of chaos and disorder? Is chance a rival force of God’s creative Mind, a sort of Manichean principle fighting against goals of creation? But what is chance? It is an event of low probability which happens in spite of the fact that it is of low probability. If one wants to determine whether an event is of low or high probability, one must use the calculus of probability, and the calculus of probability is a mathematical theory as good as any other mathematical theory. Chance and random processes are elements of the mathematical blueprint of the universe in the same way as other aspects of the world architecture.

Mathematical structures that are parts of the composition determining the functioning of the universe are called laws of physics. It is a very subtle composition indeed. Like in any masterly symphony, elements of chance and necessity are interwoven with each other and together span the structure of the whole. Elements of necessity determine the pattern of possibilities and dynamical paths of becoming, but they leave enough room for chancy events to make this becoming rich and individual.

Adherents of the so-called intelligent design ideology commit a grave theological error. They claim that scientific theories that ascribe a great role to chance and random events in the evolutionary processes should be replaced, or supplemented, by theories acknowledging the thread of intelligent design in the universe. Such views are theologically erroneous. They implicitly revive the old Manichean error postulating the existence of two forces acting against each other: God and an inert matter; in this case, chance and intelligent design. There is no opposition here. Within the all-comprising Mind of God, what we call chance and random events is well composed into the symphony of creation....

-- Michael (Michał) Heller is a Polish cosmologist and Catholic priest. These remarks were made at the news conference announcing his reception of the 2008 Templeton Prize.

PS: I just saw this, posted by JB Watson:

Any deity worthy of a graven image can cobble up a working universe complete with fake fossils in under a week… But to start with a big ball of elementary particles and end up with the duckbill platypus without constant twiddling requires a degree of subtlety and the ability to Think Things Through: exactly the qualities I’m looking for when I’m shopping for a Supreme Being.
-- a Usenet poster
Posted by John Weidner at 5:10 AM

April 5, 2008

Alternate views...

Nibras Kazimi is a Visiting Scholar at the Hudson Institute, who writes a weekly column on the Middle East for the New York Sun, and a monthly column for the Prospect Magazine (UK).

His blog is Talisman Gate, and he's been writing fascinating posts on what's been happening in Basra. I don't know enough to judge his accuracy, but he's a lot more convincing than what we've been getting from the Western media, and Western bloggers.

A sample: Monday, March 31, 2008 The ‘Intifada’ That Wasn’t

...The western media operating in Iraq regurgitated the Mahdi Army’s bravado as fact thereby serving as useful propaganda tools for the criminal cartels. I’d single out the New York Times, the Associated Press, McClatchy and CNN as the worst transgressors. Many journalists were positively orgasmic in anticipation of another ‘intifada’ or uprising to crease Bush’s message of hope and regeneration. But as the dust began to clear and the real scope of the battle was revealed, these journalists were reduced to alarmism of the “What if Martians decide to invade Basra too?” variety. Understandably, some of these journalists wanted the Iraq scene to heat up so that the public back in America would pay attention to Iraq and consequently to the careers of those reporting on Iraq for their once-glamorous war zone beat that was sure to land one a book deal a couple of years back had gone dull and dreary.

What then did these journalists do when they didn’t get their ‘intifada’? They couldn’t further imperil their careers by admitting that they were wrong—hell no!—so they’ve decided to brand Maliki and the Iraqi Army as the losers....

...Operation Cavalry Charge was a reality warp for all those who’ve internalized the rhetoric that Iraq is a failed state. Instead of being dismissed as a ‘Green Zone politician’, Maliki took his war cabinet to Basra and went all Untouchables on the Al Capones of Iraq’s oil-rich south; plenty of journalists and ‘experts’ simply could not grasp these dramatic changes to the political topography of Iraq.

Maliki won, pure and simple. The western media invented the narrative that Maliki was at war with the Sadrist movement, even though no such declaration was ever made. No one was interested in turning the Sadrists into martyrs when their stocks are sinking faster than Bear Stearns' anyway. Why turn the Sadrists into desperadoes with nothing to loose? Maliki’s approach is piece-meal: he’s taken out the intimidation factor that kept much of the Sadrist sway in place and he’s done that by showing them that they are no armed match for a better-disciplined, better-supplied Iraqi Army with plenty of stamina. The Sadrists are left with some political gains that they’ve accrued from joining the political process, such as government posts and lucrative contracts that they’d be loathe to part with and that’s their collateral for good behavior from now on....

Some other posts to read: The Great Green Zone Freak-Out of ‘08, and As the haze clears, and More Media Distortions...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:43 AM

April 4, 2008

Excellent...

I still have my disagreements with McCain, but this is VERY cool.

And you can bet that Mr elite-white-liberal-writer here has his own retirement bucks in a 401-K, or IRA....or wishes he did. But he hates the thought of the little people getting the same "risky" opportunity.

Oh how I wish I could be a sort of Robin Hood, and take the retirement $ of every one of these lefty frauds and "invest" them in Social Security. And see how they like the returns.

He's 'McSame' on Social Security, Too
By Joe Conason
The most puzzling aspect of John McCain's political persona is his habitual attraction to George W. Bush's bad ideas. Their shared enthusiasm for invading Iraq [and our side's winning--not yours!] and then escalating the war [of course al Qaeda never did any escalating...for leftists, only America is real, only american can "escalate".] is why "McSame" will soon become the new shorthand for the Arizona Republican, replacing "maverick" -- but that isn't the only reason. He doesn't just endorse the disastrous foreign policy initiatives; he loves the failed domestic policy schemes, too.

Specifically, McCain is a longtime supporter of President Bush's Social Security privatization initiative, last seen descending into oblivion only months after its introduction in 2005. He played a cameo role in the promotion of that notion (which never became an actual plan or bill in Congress) when the White House trotted him in for one of the President's staged public "conversations" on the subject. Back then his pleas for everyone to sit down and negotiate the surrender of Social Security to Wall Street were universally ignored, yet that scarcely seems to have discouraged him. [If Wall Street is so bad, I'm sure Mr C puts his own investments in the Cuban market.]

Actually, McCain supported Social Security privatization before it was uncool, when he first ran for president eight years ago. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that a proposal to divert a portion of payroll taxes to finance private accounts, like the Bush scheme, was "a centerpiece of a McCain presidential bid in 2000." Both he and Bush have wanted to dismantle [ie: Make it actually work] Social Security for many years, in fact, and he has indicated that will be an important goal for a McCain presidency....

Notice that, even if you read the whole piece, this lefty does not make a single factual or economic argument against SS reform. It's pure politics, winning or losing, for him. He does not dare argue his case on its merits, nor does he care what's actually the best policy.

And "McSame" won't fly. Not with McCain. Not after the lefty news-media have spent 8 years eagerly pointing out his differences with Bush.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:25 AM

April 2, 2008

It's about time...

Jeez, it's about time. The Pentagon may finally getting tough with the lefty scoff-laws of the "academy." How I despise fakes, especially fake pacifists. There they sit, fat 'n useless, enjoying prosperity and freedom secured by military violence, and then they spit on our troops, and pretend they are dwelling on some superior moral plane.. And it's not like they actually believe any of their anti-war bullshit. If al Qaeda moved into Berkeley or Ann Arbor, they'd all of them be howling for the Marines.

Army Times: The Defense Department has announced a new get-tough policy with colleges and universities that interfere with the work of military recruiters and Reserve Officer Training Corps programs.

Under rules that will take effect April 28, defense officials said they want the exact same access to student directories that is provided to all other prospective employers.

Students can opt out of having their information turned over to the military only if they opt out of having their information provided to all other recruiters, but schools cannot have policies that exclude only the military, defense officials said in a March 28 notice of the new policy in the Federal Register.

The Defense Department “will honor only those student ‘opt-outs’ from the disclosure of directory information that are even-handedly applied to all prospective employers seeking information for recruiting purposes,” the notice says....

....The new policy also no longer lets schools ban military recruiters from working on campuses solely because a school determines that no students have expressed interest in joining the military. If other employers are invited, the military has to have the same access.

Federal funding can be cut off if colleges and universities do not give recruiters and ROTC programs campus access. While student financial assistance is not at risk, other federal aid, especially research funding, can disappear if a school does not cooperate.

The Pentagon can declare colleges or universities anti-ROTC if they prohibit or prevent a Senior ROTC program from being established, maintained or efficiently operated.

The new policy is, in part, the result of a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the federal government’s ability to use funding as a means of forcing equal access for military recruiters and ROTC units on campuses....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:05 PM

Curveball...

From WSJ, Curveball Revisited, March 29, 2008; Page A8

In the long history of U.S. intelligence fiascos, few have been as minutely examined as the "Curveball" episode – the source whose fraudulent claims were largely responsible for the pre-Iraq War view that Saddam Hussein possessed biological weapons. So it's worth noting what a new, remarkable report from the German magazine Der Spiegel tells us about the spy who lied...

....But Curveball was nobody's stooge. On the contrary, he is Rafid Ahmed Alwan, an opportunistic Iraqi asylum-seeker who came to Germany in 1999. His claims to having inside knowledge of Saddam's illicit weapons program quickly made him a prized asset of Germany's intelligence service, the BND. So convinced were the Germans of the reliability of his information that in the fall of 2001 they purchased 35 million doses of smallpox vaccine for fear of what Saddam might be cooking up.

More remarkable is that even after September 11 – when then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder promised "infinite solidarity" with the U.S. – the German government refused to allow the CIA to interview Curveball in person. Often, the Germans resorted to dishonest pretexts for their lack of cooperation, such as that Curveball didn't speak English, when in fact he spoke it fluently (and as if nobody in the CIA spoke German or Arabic). "It was a blockade that made it impossible for any other service to validate his information," David Kay, who ran the Iraq Survey Group that looked for WMD after the war, told Der Spiegel.

BND nonetheless sent some 100 reports about Curveball's information to the CIA. And while doubts about Curveball's credibility began to emerge on both sides of the Atlantic as early as 2000, the Germans persisted in believing him. In November 2002, according to Der Spiegel, Curveball's disclosures formed the centerpiece of a top secret briefing by the BND to the foreign affairs committee of the German parliament. This caused one of those who were briefed to note the "enormous discrepancy between the public statements made by the government" – which opposed the war and downplayed the Iraq threat – "and the knowledge it had in its possession."...

I don't really care about this in regards to our decisions--I think we had plentiful reasons both moral and practical to liberate Iraq. But it is very interesting as a psychological window into the nihilism of most of Europe. Germany believed that Saddam posed a huge danger to them and the world---believed it enough to purchase 25 million doses of smallpox vaccine. And yet, amazingly, at the same time, Germany was eager to prevent us from doing anything about it! That seems insane.

(Regular readers already know where I'm going here...feel free to skip.)

But it's not actually insane if you follow my thinking about these things. (And I'd be happy to entertain alternate theories, or critiques of my logic.) My theory is that the amorphous leftism (what we Americans usually call "liberalism") that is the norm in Europe's governing classes and much of its population, is now being worn as a disguise, to cover up the complete lack of any real beliefs. To conceal nihilism.

It was precisely because they believed or suspected that Iraq was a real threat that the bulk of the world's leftists hated the idea of taking any military action. (And regardless of how things turned out, it looked in 2002 like Iraq was a big threat, with a large well-equipped military, active WMD programs, and active sponsorship of many terrorist groups.)

The invasion of Iraq posed a huge existential threat to the left, because it was implicitly a blow in defense of Western civilization, and our own interests. It was saying that we believe that our world is worth fighting for. It said that we believe in our Western and liberal values, such as the value of liberating people from a hideous fascist tyranny. It is belief that is a threat to the nihilist.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:51 AM