May 31, 2008

"Bogus world brotherhood"

Simon Jenkins, in the Guardian, Once, 'international' sounded saintly. Now it means bureaucracy and waste...(Thanks to Orrin)

Gazing briefly at the Eurovision song contest this week I could not rid my mind of a quite different image, that of Nato's multilateral force headquarters in Kabul. There was the same flag-waving and confusion of purpose, the same small-state rivalry and cynical balancing of interests. There was the same belief that, simply by being international, a so-called community of nations was forged.

For Eurovision and Nato, read the Olympics and Burma, read the Moscow cup final and Darfur. Read the European parliament, Fifa, the World Bank, the Organisation of African Unity, the European parliament. I was brought up to regard "international" as synonymous with saintly. It was a concept to supplant the rude nationalism of the 20th century in a worldwide concord of peace, ruled by a clerisy of selfless bureaucrats; Dag Hammersköld out of Albert Schweitzer.

Today the word "international" suggests tailored suits, tax-free salaries, white Land Cruisers and Geneva. The Eurovision contest is run by the European Broadcasting Union with 400 staff in Switzerland, with no risk of oversight or reform. It takes after the International Olympics Committee, which now charges its host taxpayers $20-30bn for two weeks of extravaganza in the name of bogus world brotherhood...

Read it all; there's lots to appall.

But Jenkins is wrong on one point. Actually, "internationalism" was bogus from the beginning. It was never an "ideal" that was corrupted. The UN was, from its very founding, supported by Leftists because it would hinder and limit the United States of America, and would hurt Western Civilization. Millions of ordinary people bought into the "ideal," and imagined something noble, (Lots still do, despite evidence) but it was always a lie. And it was always intended to thwart what was truly noble, our working to spread freedom and capitalism and—most importantly, democracy, to the masses of this planet.

"Internationalism" is always about elites running things without accountability to voters.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:03 AM

May 30, 2008

"News blackout"

Regular readers will know that it's not my habit to mock and ridicule the various "oppressed" peoples of the earth. It's not Political Correctness, which I hate and despise; rather, it's just not my style.

But this is.....unbelievable! Morons! We have here racial/ethnic/religious/regional imbecility!

....The takeoff warning horn was blaring away in the cockpit because they had all 4 engines at full power. The aircraft computers thought they were trying to takeoff but it had not been configured properly (flaps/slats, etc.) Then one of the ADAT [Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies] crew decided to pull the circuit breaker on the Ground Proximity Sensor to silence the alarm.

This fools the aircraft into thinking it is in the air.

The computers automatically released all the brakes and set the aircraft rocketing forward. The ADAT crew had no idea that this is a safety feature so that pilots can't land with the brakes on.

Not one member of the seven-man Arab crew was smart enough to throttle back the engines from their max power setting, so the $80 million brand-new aircraft crashed into a blast barrier, totaling it.

The extent of injuries to the crew is unknown, for there has been a news blackout in the major media in France and elsewhere. Coverage of the story was deemed insulting to Moslem Arabs. Finally, the photos are starting to leak out.

Actually, my contempt for those brain-damaged (by a sick culture) Arabs is minor compared to my contempt for the French. "News blackout" indeed. That's not surprising, since they've had—how many now, 10 or 20 thousand?—cars torched by "youths," without ever mentioning that they are all Moslem criminals? The French are liars and cowards! A culture of lies and cowardice. Nihilism. They've rebelled against God, and now we see them sink back into the slime.

(Thanks to Bookworm)

Posted by John Weidner at 2:45 PM

May 29, 2008

"Is it a country or a cause?"

Amir Taheri, in the WSJ, writes about how Iran is both a nation, that we can deal with rationally, and a revolutionary regime that feels no need to placate the Great Satan, or anybody.

It's very easy to be confused; to assume that one Iran or the other is the "real" one. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an apocalyptic nut-job, but also won office by running on a platform of economic reform. It's a peculiar situation. Iran will probably become more moderate and friendly over time, but we need to deal with things right now...

....The reason is that Iran is gripped by a typical crisis of identity that afflicts most nations that pass through a revolutionary experience. The Islamic Republic does not know how to behave: as a nation-state, or as the embodiment of a revolution with universal messianic pretensions. Is it a country or a cause?

A nation-state wants concrete things such as demarcated borders, markets, access to natural resources, security, influence, and, of course, stability – all things that could be negotiated with other nation-states. A revolution, on the other hand, doesn't want anything in particular because it wants everything...

....The problem that the world, including the U.S., has today is not with Iran as a nation-state but with the Islamic Republic as a revolutionary cause bent on world conquest under the guidance of the "Hidden Imam." The following statement by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the "Supreme leader" of the Islamic Republic – who Mr. Obama admits has ultimate power in Iran -- exposes the futility of the very talks Mr. Obama proposes: "You have nothing to say to us. We object. We do not agree to a relationship with you! We are not prepared to establish relations with powerful world devourers like you! The Iranian nation has no need of the United States, nor is the Iranian nation afraid of the United States. We . . . do not accept your behavior, your oppression and intervention in various parts of the world."...

...whenever Iran has appeared as a nation-state, others have been able to negotiate with it, occasionally with good results. In Iraq, for example, Iran has successfully negotiated a range of issues with both the Iraqi government and the U.S. Agreement has been reached on conditions under which millions of Iranians visit Iraq each year for pilgrimage. An accord has been worked out to dredge the Shatt al-Arab waterway of three decades of war debris, thus enabling both neighbors to reopen their biggest ports. Again acting as a nation-state, Iran has secured permission for its citizens to invest in Iraq.

When it comes to Iran behaving as the embodiment of a revolutionary cause, however, no agreement is possible. There will be no compromise on Iranian smuggling of weapons into Iraq. Nor will the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps agree to stop training Hezbollah-style terrorists in Shiite parts of Iraq. Iraq and its allies should not allow the mullahs of Tehran to export their sick ideology to the newly liberated country through violence and terror....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 AM

May 28, 2008

My dad called them "educated fools"

Hugh Hewitt writes...

...It has become obvious in a very short period of time that Senator Obama attended some very fine schools and learned almost nothing of American history. He has, however, hung out with radicals for the past few decades, and their view of America and its history has sunk in, leaving Obama not only gaffe-prone, but wholly unprepared to be the Commander-in-Chief. He's a product of his years and years in the Chicago machine with its nonsensical view of why things are the way they are and how the county and the economy works.

This takes us back to the Rev. Wright and Obama's two decades of listening to and reading the pastor's worldview, and before that to his college years in California and New York, and working as a "community organizer" in Chicago. Senator Obama has lived his entire life in places where the distorted history of left-wing radicalism prevailed, and the consequences of this long immersion in pseudo-history and pseudo-economics are easy to see and will be disqualifying for most voters.....

This is absolutely consistent with my experiences, living in liberal SF, but especially in attempting, as a blogger, to have reasoned debates with left-leaning people. Or watching other bloggers do so.

That's never happened. It's never worked. Lefties live in a fantasy world.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:40 AM

May 26, 2008

Remember too the men of 1917...

Last surviving doughboy honored...

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last known living American-born veteran of World War I, was honored Sunday at the Liberty Memorial during Memorial Day weekend celebrations.

"I had a feeling of longevity and that I might be among those who survived, but I didn't know I'd be the No. 1," the 107-year-old veteran said at a ceremony to unveil his portrait...

....Born in Missouri in 1901 and raised in Oklahoma, Buckles visited a string of military recruiters after the United States entered the "war to end all wars" in April 1917.

He was rejected by the Marines and the Navy, but eventually persuaded an Army captain he was 18 and enlisted, convincing him Missouri didn't keep public records of birth.

Buckles sailed for England in 1917 on the Carpathia, which is known for its rescue of Titanic survivors, and spent his tour of duty working mainly as a driver and a warehouse clerk in Germany and France. He rose to the rank of corporal and after Armistice Day he helped return prisoners of war to Germany.

Buckles later traveled the world working for the shipping company White Star Line and was in the Philippines in 1940 when the Japanese invaded. He became a prisoner of war for nearly three years...
Frank Woodruff Buckles, last WWI vet.
Buckles gained notoriety when he attended a Veteran's Day ceremony at the Arlington grave of Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing, who led U.S. forces in World War I, said his daughter, Susannah Flanagan.

He ended up on the podium and became a featured guest at the event, and the VIP invites and media interview requests came rolling in shortly afterward.

"This has been such a great surprise," Flanagan said. "You wouldn't think there would be this much interest in World War I. But the timing in history has been such and it's been unreal."

Buckles spent much of his museum tour Sunday looking at mementos of Pershing, whom he admired. He posed for pictures in front of a flag that used to be in Pershing's office and retold stories about meeting the famous general.

While Pershing claims most of the fame, Buckles now has a featured place at the museum.

"This is such an extraordinary occasion that we here at the museum decided that the photo of Mr. Buckles should be permanently installed in the main hallway here" said Brian Alexander, the museum's president and chief executive.
Posted by John Weidner at 5:15 PM

There's a little Jimmy Carter in all of us....

John at PowerLine:

On the stump, Barack Obama usually concludes his comments on Iraq by saying, "and it hasn't made us safer." It is an article of faith on the left that nothing the Bush administration has done has enhanced our security, and, on the contrary, its various alleged blunders have only contributed to the number of jihadists who want to attack us.

Empirically, however, it seems beyond dispute that something has made us safer since 2001. Over the course of the Bush administration, successful attacks on the United States and its interests overseas have dwindled to virtually nothing.

Some perspective here is required. While most Americans may not have been paying attention, a considerable number of terrorist attacks on America and American interests abroad were launched from the 1980s forward, too many of which were successful. What follows is a partial history.....

He has a very interesting timeline of terror attacks inside America or against American interests abroad. And a very interesting list of possible reasons why attacks on us have dwindled to nothing.

And yet I think he misses the real explanation.

Terrorist attacks are done for a reason. The terrorists hope to get something out of them. The normal reaction in the West is to give them what they want. They want to sow fear, so we become fearful. They want publicity, so our "journalists" hasten to oblige. They want to demonstrate that we are not really dangerous, and so we lash out ineffectually. They want concessions, we run to the negotiating table. They want a break, we give them a truce.

It's like our collective mind has a little Jimmy Carter whispering in its ear.

2002 and 2003 was the first time we responded to terror attacks by doing something they REALLY don't want us to do. We cold-bloodedly and effectively brought democracy and freedom to two Islamic countries, and most importantly, one of them right in the Arab heartland. If our project in Iraq succeeds, al-Qaeda and its project are locked out of that country forever. They know it, they've said it, they've thrown their best efforts into the counter-attack.

And they fear that if they attack us we may do something like Iraq again

That's why they have not hit us.

* Update: And also, what has been our reaction to al-Qaeda's bloody counterattack in Iraq? It should have been: "YES! We've stung them! Let's do more of this! Faster, please."

Instead, for many of us, including almost all Democrats and leftists, and much of our government, it's been, "Give them what they want!" And who has done the most to resist the pressure to cave in Iraq? To resist the pressure to give the terrorists what they want? President George W. Bush. We are gonna miss this guy, I predict. We're gonna miss him once he's gone. [My thoughts on WHY the left is so desperate to lose in Iraq are here.]

(This is just an old photo from 2003, from my Iraq archives.)

Iraqi schoolgirls with new slates
Iraqi schoolgirls show off their new chalkboards donated by friends and family of U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Four. Navy Seabee units have been participating in extensive reconstruction of schools, hospitals and bridges throughout Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Brandon Harding [From DefendAmerica's Sept.'03 Photo Archive]

Posted by John Weidner at 7:50 AM

May 25, 2008

Chilly outside?

Here's a nice summary of some of the reasons we possibly ought to be thinking about global cooling. It's hidden in a small-town paper, no surprise; the big media are not about to speculate outside their comfort-zone. Thanks to Alan Sullivan...

Eau-Claire Leader-Telegram:
The 2008 winter was the coldest in 40 years for the upper Midwest, Plains states and most of Canada. Minnesota newspapers report that this year's opening of the locks to Mississippi barge traffic, delayed by three weeks, was the latest since the modern waterway opened in 1940.

Eau Claire, where "old-fashioned winters" have been a thing of the past, recorded 43 days of below-zero temperatures, while folks down in Madison shoveled away at a 117-year record snowfall throughout the season, as did many in New England and Canada.

Rare snowfalls struck Buenos Aires, Capetown, and Sidney during their mid-year winter, while China continually battled blizzards. Even Baghdad experienced measurable snowfall.

Antarctic pack-ice far exceeded what Captain Cook saw on his 18th century voyage into the Southern Ocean. On the continent itself the miles-thick ice continues to accumulate despite peripheral melting along the Antarctic Peninsula and occasional calving of an ice block. At the opposite pole, flow-ice once again spans the entire Arctic Ocean, and by April it had extended into the Bering Strait, making up for the much heralded melt-back last summer.

From January 2007 through the end of January 2008, the average global temperature fell by nearly a degree Fahrenheit, based on data obtained by the MET Office in Great Britain and other international temperature monitoring networks....

There's also Argo which I wrote about here. Remember that AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) theory is mostly based on computer models. And the models agree that the oceans are earth's great (and stable) heat sink. Surface temperatures may go up and down in a confusing way, but warming should be clearly seen in deep ocean temperatures. Argo is one of the biggest scientific experiments ever. Argo was intended to clinch AGW theory. And now, funny thing, our brave and clear-sighted scientists and journalists don't mention Argo.

Oh, and then there are those Sunspots. Read on....

....Solar experts highlighted how sunspots, and associated magnetic storms on the Sun's surface, affect Earth's weather and climate. The previous (very strong) 11-year sunspot cycle, associated with the recent warmth, ended in 2007, after having peaked in 2002. The new cycle should have already begun, but hasn't yet.

In the absence of sunspots, solar flares are minimal. Flares eject massive streams of electrons and protons outward from the Sun. A portion of this stream, called the "solar wind", bathes our planet producing the aurora and interfering with communications. The solar wind, as it interacts with Earth's magnetic field, also protects us from the harmful effects of cosmic radiation.

During periods of weak solar activity - as at present - cosmic rays (high-energy protons originating in interstellar space) penetrate through the troposphere and ionize oxygen and nitrogen molecules. The ions become nucleating sites for water vapor that condenses into clouds. And when sunspots are at a minimum, more clouds form and correspondingly more sunlight is reflected back into space. The enhanced reflectance (albedo) cools the Earth. We all have experienced how quickly the temperature drops when the sun ducks behind a puffy white cloud on a warm, dry afternoon.

Past cool periods, identified with the late stages of the "Little Ice Age" and with the Maunder and Dalton climate minima, closely correlate with low sunspot numbers (astronomers have kept close tabs on sunspots since Galileo's time). Some solar-physicists are now saying if the current cycle doesn't begin to produce spots soon, we can expect a cool-down like the 19th-Century Dalton minimum - or worse. Decades-long cooling in the past brought crop failures to Europe from repeated summer frosts and restricted growing seasons.....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:16 AM

"penetrates our thinking like a toxic vapor"

Maclin Horton:

The two hemispheres of my mind were in the sharpest contrast…. Nearly all that I loved I believed to be imaginary; nearly all that I believed to be real I thought grim and meaningless.
      —C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy
Lewis, describing here his own condition prior to his embrace of Christianity, gives us the essential truth about the agony of the modern Western world. If you have absorbed the materialist assumptions which dominate our culture (whether you realized you did so or not, and it’s probably worse if you didn’t), you believe, or are always fighting not to believe, that everything human is ultimately meaningless, a sort of vapor that emanates from matter and clings to it, then vanishes with the death of the body.

Love? Just a sentimental name we give to the reproductive instinct, not intrinsically different from the division of an amoeba. Beauty? Another sentimental word with which we justify a meaningless preference for one thing over another, not intrinsically different from a cat’s preference for fish over broccoli. Truth? Truth is death—we are dead stuff, briefly animated by chemical processes, and soon to revert to dead stuff. Nothing we ever did or can do has ultimate meaning.

Not to believe these ideas requires a constant effort. Their authority comes from the sciences, or rather from the misuse of the sciences: because the method of science requires limiting the scope of inquiry to physical data, and because technology has been so successful in using science to tame the physical world, the assumption that only what science can see is real penetrates our thinking like a toxic vapor.

To believe that what really matters does not really exist is a prescription for misery followed by despair. The souls that thrive best in this mental environment are those which are most defective. The more one believes that love, truth, and beauty are the essence of life, not just accidental and illusory by-products, the more miserable one is likely to be, unless supported by a solid faith, a set of beliefs that are strong and coherent enough to challenge materialism....

Posted by John Weidner at 5:17 AM

May 24, 2008

New terrain...

Good post by Victor Davis Hanson: Any more Grants and Shermans?...

Who becomes a general — and why — tells us a lot about whether our military is on the right or wrong track.

The annual spring list of Army colonels promoted to brigadier generals will be shortly released. Already, rumors suggest this year, unlike in the recent past, a number of maverick officers who have distinguished themselves fighting — and usually defeating — insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq will be chosen...

Let's hope so! All of America's significant wars have been new terrain for those who fought them—each a new type of war. All of them started with costly mistakes until the new way of warfare was learned. [The leftist claim that the Iraq Campaign is somehow illegitimate because mistakes have been made is stupid and dishonest.] And always many officers, steeped in the thinking of the last war, had to be removed or sidelined to make room for those who could adapt.

Hanson writes about the Civil War, and the many generals Lincoln went through before getting Grant and Sherman. And also how WWII was won by generals that George Marshall promoted from relative obscurity.

WWI was a similar case.

I wrote a small piece here about General Pershing's immense task in finding officers for our huge "instant army," when so many colonels and generals were sunk in mental lethargy from decades of garrison duty broken only by occasional indian wars. (Hunter Liggett, who was mentally ready, was given a Division in January, 1918, and by October was commanding an Army!)

And Pershing himself had been bumped in rank over many senior officers. Teddy Roosevelt thought highly of him, and wanted to make him a colonel. But the Army would not agree. There was, however, another possibility... From Wikipedia:

...In June 1903, Pershing was ordered to return to the United States. He was forty-three years old and still a captain in the U.S. Army. President Theodore Roosevelt petitioned the Army General Staff to promote Pershing to colonel. At the time, Army officer promotions were based primarily on seniority, rather than merit, and although there was widespread acknowledgment that Pershing should serve as a colonel, the Army General Staff declined to change their seniority based promotion tradition just to accommodate Pershing. They would not consider a promotion to lieutenant colonel or even major. This angered Roosevelt, but since the President could only promote army officers in the General ranks, his hands were tied...

...After serving as an observer in the Russo-Japanese War, Pershing returned to the United States in the fall of 1905. In a move that shocked the army establishment, President Roosevelt convinced Congress to authorize the appointment of Pershing as a brigadier general, skipping three ranks and more than 835 officers senior to him....

General Pershing and colonel Marshall, during WWI

Posted by John Weidner at 10:37 AM

May 23, 2008

More BS from AP...

Nibras Kazimi deconstructs the AP story about Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani issuing fatwas against the American "occupation." (Of course we are not really "occupiers," since we remain there at the invitation of Iraq's elected constitutional government.) It's worth reading the whole post.

Red Herring Fatwas
So what happens if the western media can’t spin or sensationalize events in Iraq when not much is happening? Why, they make it up!

The Associated Press put out a wire report yesterday hinting that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is about to declare jihad against the Americans. Whhhhhaaaaaat???....

....If we’ve learned anything from the recent events in Basra, Sadr City and Mosul—by the way, these are Iraq’s three largest population reservoirs—it should be that the reporters and commentators who are tasked to describe Iraq to American and western audiences are at worst dishonest and duplicious, at best some string puller’s chorus of useful idiots.

It is in this vein that this AP story is released; to distract from other things that could be reported in Iraq, such as how things are dramatically improving and how this war has been decisively won.....

....UPDATE: A source close to Sistani denied today (Arabic link) that the Grand Ayotallah's about to announce jihad, saying that Sistani believes that occupation ( a general sense) must be resisted by peaceful, not military, means under a given set of circumstances.

Don't expect AP to release a retraction, though. Plus, don't expect the punditeers who feverishly linked to the AP fairytale to update their posts either.

That's you, Orrin...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:04 AM

Things could get much worse...

I've been meaning to post on this very important possibility, but I've been as distracted as usual. Alan Sullivan has been following the ongoing eruption of the volcano at Chaitén. This is from a couple of weeks ago...

....Let’s recall the onset of the eruption. One significant earthquake on April 30 preceded the first explosions; four more accompanied them on May 2. Epicenters were arrayed radially around the caldera. Their locations implied that a very large magma chamber might be released by the eruptive process. After the initial blasts, the eruption settled into a near steady-state, sustained so long that a vast amount of material must have been spewed by now — perhaps doubling the two cubic kilometers of ejecta estimated in the first phase. (Caveat: that’s just a guess.) But the plume has not been punching high enough to matter, in the global scale.

That may change very soon. If the magma conduit is breaking up, and the capping lava dome explodes away, a Tambora-sized event could happen in the next few days. It is plausible that the blowout could be even greater. The tragedies of China, Burma, or Sumatra are trivial in comparison with what may be about to occur. Global climate is already cooling; food supplies are already tight. The Four Horsemen have been stabled for many years. Tonight I can hear their mounts champing...

So what is a "Tambora-sized event?" Tambora exploded in 1815. From Wikipedia: The Year Without a Summer:

The Year Without a Summer, also known as the Poverty Year, The Year There Was No Summer or Eighteen hundred and froze to death, was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities destroyed crops in Northern Europe, the American Northeast and eastern Canada.[1][2] Historian John D. Post has called this "the last great subsistence crisis in the Western world".[3] It appears to have been caused by a volcanic winter.

Chaitén is quiet at the moment, but:

...The Chilean government issued a new statement today. The Volcanism Blog has yet to post one of its elegant translations. I ran the text through Babelfish and got comical results. It’s not geared for science. But there’s nothing funny about what’s happening at the volcano. It is exactly as I suspected. Major dome building is now underway. The geologists were astonished by their flyby yesterday. Seismic signals indicate continued magma movement. The authorities remain worried about a catastrophic blowout. This event is not over. It may continue for weeks or even months before a climactic phase ensues...

I remember "dome building" before Mt St Helens blew. But this seems to be something considerably bigger.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 AM

May 22, 2008

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a....

Well, well, I'm just SO surprised. Mr Obama has yet more Jew-hating pals. (But of course he's a supporter of Israel. He says so! What more could anyone ask?)

Sabrina Leigh Schaeffer, The Company Senator Obama Keeps:

....The senator has tried to dismiss Wright as a “crazy uncle,” but if you take a closer look at the crowd the senator runs with, it appears he has a whole lot of crazy relatives to disinvite from dinner.

It was widely circulated that Wright supported — and even publicly commended — radical black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan. Yet little has been said about Sen. Obama’s relationship with Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Catholic pastor at St. Sabina, also on the South Side of Chicago. In 2004, Obama told the Chicago Sun Times that Pfleger was one of his three spiritual mentors.

Pfleger’s name became more widely recognizable two years ago when Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed a Farrakhan aide to serve on a hate-crimes commission. When the appointee, Sister Claudette, refused to denounce Farrakhan’s racist and anti-Semitic remarks, three Jewish members on the commission resigned — a situation that prompted Pfleger to respond, “good riddance.”

No less reprehensible than Reverends Wright and Pfleger is the Obama campaign’s national co-chairman, retired Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Merrill “Tony” McPeak, who has made numerous anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments. While the general has a long blame-Israel-first record, the most repugnant remark came during a 2003 interview, when he blamed the Jewish-American community for the failure of the peace process between Israel and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Despite calls on Senator Obama to remove McPeak as a key adviser, the general continues to serve on the campaign.

Obama’s support among radicals in the Palestinian community — and even from Ahmed Yousef of Hamas — has not gone unnoticed. In fact, in 2003 Obama helped honor Rashid Khalidi, a well-known critic of Israel and advocate of Palestinian rights, at a celebration where anti-Israel poetry was read and the United States was sharply criticized.

That evening, Obama told guests stories about his long relationship with the Khalidis, the meals he had shared with Rashid and his wife, Mona, and the effect they had had on his political thinking.

Last month, another concerning relationship came to light between the Obamas and Hatem El-Hady, former chairman of the Toledo-based Islamic organization Kindhearts for Charitable Human Development — a group shut down in 2006 for raising money for Hamas. Until recently, El-Hady had a personal website on the official Obama campaign site and Michelle Obama was listed as one of El-Hady’s three “friends.”....

All them crazy uncles, who knows where they come from? No blame attaches, these things just happen. (Unless you are a Republican. Then it's wrong to hate the Jews---then you're a Nazi.)

Here's a YouTube of Pfleger in action. Ugh.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:03 PM

Ballad of the Londoner

Evening falls on the smoky walls,
    And the railings drip with rain,
And I will cross the old river
    To see my girl again.

The great and solemn-gliding tram,
    Love's still-mysterious car,
Has many a light of gold and white,
    And a single dark red star.

I know a garden in a street
    Which no one ever knew;
I know a rose beyond the Thames,
    Where flowers are pale and few.

    -- James Elroy Flecker
Posted by John Weidner at 5:04 PM

Lead the caravan, let the dogs bark...

Reg Jones posted this excerpt in a comment, and I'd like to emphasize it. If you do the right thing, you are not going to be popular. But history will remember those who fought evil and tyranny and poverty and terrorism. And will utterly forget the ankle-biters who hinder them. The nihilist dogs bark, but the caravan moves on...

This is Jay Nordlinger, interviewing President Kartzai of Afghanistan...

...I say, “There is a lot of contempt for President Bush expressed at conferences like this. What is your opinion of him?” Karzai says that he, along with Afghanistan at large, has nothing but “respect, admiration, and praise” for him...He says that, without American action, Afghanistan would be “the most miserable nation on earth — the poorest, the hungriest, the most suffering.”

But, thanks to that action, the country has a new life. Decency, health, and material supply have been restored. Afghan identity has been “recovered and revived.” And “we are extremely grateful. The Afghans owe George Bush and the United States a lot.”...On the subject of Bush, one of the journalists teases him a little. He says, “You’re the only one who supports him.” Karzai responds that he doesn’t care — he’s not going to criticize someone just because others do; he will not “jump on a bandwagon.” “Others can say what they have to say. I have my own opinion. And my judgment is one of praise and recognition.”

He even allows that he has argued with U.S. senators over Bush, irritating them. I can just see it!..

      -- Jay Nordlinger, Sharm El Sheikh Journal, 5/21/2008
Posted by John Weidner at 9:44 AM

May 21, 2008

We're the good guys. Of course we win...

Ralph Peters:

May 20, 2008 -- DO we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?

If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.

Want a real "inconvenient truth?" Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.

But that fact isn't helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily.

You won't see that above the fold in The New York Times. And forget the Obama-intoxicated news networks - they've adopted his story line that the clock stopped back in 2003.....

...And Obama, the NYT, and al-Qaeda are the bad guys. They want America and the free people of Iraq to lose. They are on the other side.

Oh well. So what else is new...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:54 AM

"A defining feature of his campaign and of his political persona..."

Caroline Glick, from Jerusalem, refreshingly blunt.

....The only strong reaction that Bush's remarks provoked in Israel was relief. In spite of the Bush administration's own participation in the six-party talks with North Korea, its support for the EU-3's feckless discussions with the mullahs, its paralysis in the face of Hizbullah's takeover of Lebanon, and its support for the establishment of a Palestinian state run by Fatah terrorists dedicated to Israel's destruction, at the very least, standing before the Knesset, Bush effectively pledged not to allow Iran to acquire the means to conduct a new Holocaust.

From an Israeli vantage point then, it was shocking to see that immediately after Bush stepped down from the rostrum, Obama and his Democratic supporters began pillorying him for his remarks. Most distressing is what Obama's reaction said about the Democratic presidential hopeful.

Obama's response to Bush's speech was an effective acknowledgement that appeasing Iran and other terror sponsors is a defining feature of his campaign and of his political persona. As far as he is concerned, an attack against appeasement is an attack against Obama....

Of course he's an appeaser. And anti-Israel. He could not possibly be a successful and popular Democrat candidate otherwise. If he weren't, the "activist" Dems would turn on him, like they turned on Joe Lieberman. It's the party of appeasement. And you already know why it's the party of appeasement, 'cause I've told you lots of times.

And also good is Bret Stephens, Obama and the Jews...

...Or take Iran, which Israelis universally see as their deadliest enemy. Yes, there are arguments to be made in favor of presidential-level negotiations between Washington and Tehran – perhaps as a last-ditch effort to avert military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. But does anyone seriously think Mr. Obama would authorize such strikes?

Instead, Mr. Obama says he favors "tough diplomacy," including tighter sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. Last fall, however, he was one of only 22 senators to oppose a Senate resolution calling for the IRGC to be designated as a terrorist organization, a vote that made him a dove even within the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama argued at the time the amendment would give the administration a pretext to go to war with Iran. It was an odd claim for a nonbinding resolution...

"Tough diplomacy." Right. There's no such animal. If you are tough in general, then diplomacy often works. Diplomacy is a way of avoiding a fight. But out enemies will look at Obama and know he doesn't want to fight. So why should they negotiate?

Posted by John Weidner at 7:18 AM

May 19, 2008

"The Europeans are paying for their own nihilism..."

Spengler, on German President Horst Koehler's bewilderment at the world financial markets...

....The monster is not the financial system, crooked and stupid as it may have been. The monster is the burgeoning horde of pensioners in Germany and other industrial countries. It is easy to change the financial system. The central banks can assemble on any Tuesday morning and announce tougher lending standards. But it is impossible to fix the financial problems that arise from Europe's senescence. Thanks to the one-child policy, moreover, China has a relatively young population that is aging faster than any other, and China's appetite for savings vastly exceeds what its own financial market can offer.

There is nothing complicated about finance. It is based on old people lending to young people. Young people invest in homes and businesses; aging people save to acquire assets on which to retire. The new generation supports the old one, and retirement systems simply apportion rights to income between the generations. Never before in human history, though, has a new generation simply failed to appear.

As the above chart makes clear, America's population profile is far more benign than Germany's, but it is aging nonetheless. There simply aren't enough young people in America to borrow money from Europe's and Japan's aging savers...

....Koehler's indignation is understandable, but it is pointless to blame the sausage-maker. Economics simply does not offer a solution to a lapse of the will to live among some of the world's richest economies. The Europeans are paying for their own nihilism. Having invented the perfect post-Christian society with cradle-to-grave services, they have not found anyone willing to live in it, except for the immigrants who well may inherit it from the disappearing locals.

It's is good to keep in mind that despite our gross faults, the Republicans are the party that tends to oppose imitating Europe, and the Democrats are the party that wants us to be Europe. And Europe is DYING.

Euro-style social democracy and secularism is perhaps the biggest "experiment" ever run on this planet, and it has failed calamitously. No European country is reproducing at the replacement rate. All European countries are in demographic collapse. (Population collapse will hit when their "baby-boom" generation starts to die off.) Equally important, Europe is no longer producing new ideas, new movements, new inventions. To a person like me who reads history, this change is shocking. (That's one of the many reasons liberals discourage the study of history.)

The death of Europe (and some other developed lands, such as Japan) is the biggest "fact" we have to deal with in our time. The biggest QUESTION. What does it mean for the human race? What does it mean for us? For me?

In my opinion, if you are not chewing on this problem, and wondering if your current ideas need to change because of it, you are not a serious person.

[Me, I think St Anthony got it right: "After the deluge, only the fishes will survive."]

* Update: Actually, there is still one European leader who is also a world leader. And one European state�a very small one�that still produces exciting new ideas that the world debates and takes seriously....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:13 AM

May 18, 2008

"But yet the Lord, who dwelleth on high, is mightier"

...But in truth the whole course of Christianity from the first, when we come to examine it, is but one series of troubles and disorders. Every century is like every other, and to those who live in it seems worse than all times before it. The Church is ever ailing, and lingers on in weakness, "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in her body." Religion seems ever expiring, schisms dominant, the light of Truth dim, its adherents scattered. The cause of Christ is ever in its last agony, as though it were but a question of time whether it fails finally this day or another. The Saints are ever all but failing from the earth, and Christ all but coming; and thus the Day of Judgment is literally ever at hand; and it is our duty ever to be looking out for it, not disappointed that we have so often said, "now is the moment," and that at the last, contrary to our expectation, Truth has somewhat rallied.

Such is God's will, gathering in His elect, first one and then another, by little and little, in the intervals of sunshine between storm and storm, or snatching them from the surge of evil, even when the waters rage most furiously. Well may prophets cry out, "How long will it be, O Lord, to the end of these wonders?" how long will this mystery proceed? how long will this perishing world be sustained by the feeble lights which struggle for existence in its unhealthy atmosphere? God alone knows the day and the hour when that will at length be, which He is ever threatening; meanwhile, thus much of comfort do we gain from what has been hitherto,—not to despond, not to be dismayed, not to be anxious, at the troubles which encompass us. They have ever been; they ever shall be; they are our portion. "The floods are risen, the floods have lift up their voice, the floods lift up their waves. The waves of the sea are mighty, and rage horribly; but yet the Lord, who dwelleth on high, is mightier."

--John Henry Newman, from
The Prophetical Office of the Church - Lecture 14

JH Newman portrait, engraving by R Woodman, after portrait by Sir WC Ross
John Henry Newman,
Engraving by R. Woodman, after portrait by Sir W.C. Ross

Posted by John Weidner at 5:22 AM

May 17, 2008

This one's for Andrew Cory...

Here's a little brain food for ya, punster pal. This is how us evil Republicans want to destroy Social Security....

By Richard W. Rahn - BERLIN, Germany.

If you were asked to name one person who has enabled more people to gain wealth and security than any other person on the globe, who would you name?

In 1881, here in Berlin, Otto von Bismarck started the world's first modern pay-as-you-go social security system which served as the model for the U.S. Social Security system and that of many other countries, including setting the retirement age at 65. No, Bismarck is not the answer to the opening question, the answer is Jose Pinera, and here is why.

Bismarck's social security system was basically a Ponzi scheme whereby young workers pay taxes to support the retirees. It only works over the long run where the population is growing and where most retirees do not live very long.

These conditions no longer exist in the high-income countries. And even in low- and middle-income countries, population growth has slowed, and lifespans increase rapidly. As a result, many of the world's social security systems have become retirement insecurity systems as they head toward bankruptcy.

Thirty years ago, a young Jose Pinera, who had earned a Ph.D. at Harvard, was Chile's labor minister. He saw the coming disaster in the government old-age pension system.

Inspired by an idea from the late Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, he developed a solution that empowers workers and gives them real financial security. Pinera-type social security systems have now been adopted by more than 30 countries and cover several hundred million people — for a very simple reason — it works!
Under the Pinera-type social security systems, workers are required to invest in highly diversified, qualified funds. Because they actually own their pension funds (like 401(k) funds in the United States), workers can choose their age of retirement, whether it is age 50 or 80. The longer they work, the more money they will have — but again each individual determines his or her own retirement age. (The very poor and those unable to work are still covered by a government system.)

Mr. Pinera is here in Berlin, selling his concept to German opinion leaders, as part of a multi-country "Free Market Road Show" sponsored by the European Center for Economic Growth and the Hayek Institute of Vienna, Austria.

The Chilean privatized system began in 1981, exactly 100 years after Bismarck instituted his system in Germany. It has been 29 years since the system went into effect in Chile so Mr. Pinera now can answer his critics, not only with theoretical arguments, but with hard data.

The results are remarkable. Chile's citizens have on average experienced a 10 percent per year, above inflation, compounded growth rate in their pension funds for the last 29 years. The result is most Chileans are no longer poor, but are, in fact, "small capitalists."

The Chilean government, increasingly freed from paying pensions out of tax funds (almost all Chileans have moved into the private accounts, though they could have stayed in the old government system), is now running a budget surplus of 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), which could pave the way for the abolition of the income tax.

The new Chilean system has provided so much investment capital that Chile moved from being a poor country to being a solid middle-income country with the highest per capita income in South America. Critics in the U.S. and elsewhere claim investing pension funds in stocks and bonds is risky, but the real risk to the elderly is being trapped in government social security schemes headed toward insolvency.

In 1981, the Dow Jones stock average stood at about 800. Despite all the ups and downs over the years, and the turmoil of this last year, the Dow Jones average stands about 12,800 or about 16 times where it was in 1981. Those Americans now retiring on Social Security will unfortunately receive only very modest payments in relation to what they could have received if their political leaders had not kept them locked into a fiscally unsustainable government system...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:06 PM

Fisk du Joor...

There's a certain sort of article where every sentence brings a sarcastic reply to the tip of my tongue. And now, thanks to the magic of the Interweb, I can share my snark with all of you! [Heads nod towards sleep, eyes glaze over, the crowd shuffles away. That's OK, I do this mostly for my own fun. You've read it before, so feel free to skip.]

Harold Meyerson | May 15, 2008 | The American Prospect

If the McCain campaign is still trying out songs, there's one by a couple of Brits, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, that it should consider. We have to change the words "an Englishman" to "American" to get it to work, but, that done, the song expresses succinctly and entirely the case for John McCain and, by implication, against Barack Obama:

For he himself has said it,
And it's greatly to his credit,
That he is American!
That he is American!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the sum total of the Republican message this year. That is why McCain's first post-primary ad proclaimed him "the American president Americans have been waiting for." Not the "strong" or "experienced" president, though those are contrasts he could seek to draw with Obama. The "American" president -- because that's the only contrast through which McCain has even a chance of prevailing. [Uh, right now, Obama fans are howling because he's being tarred as an appeaser, and pounded for associations with Wright, Rezko, Hamas, etc. If these attacks have no "chance of prevailing," why the fuss?]

Now, I mean to take nothing away from McCain's Americanness by noting that it's Obama's story that represents a triumph of specifically American identity over racial and religious identity. It was the lure of America, the shining city on a hill, that brought his black Kenyan father here, where he met Obama's white Kansan mother. It is because America is uniquely the land of immigrants and has moved beyond a racial caste system that Obama exists, has thrived and stands a good chance of being our next president. [But, curious thing, Barry achieved the "American dream" (Harvard Law, Wall Street, big $, etc.) and then proceeded to SHED that American identity, becoming a "community organizer," joining an "Afro-centric" church, and reinventing himself as a black person. In fact, re-inventing the racial caste system! So why, exactly, should pointing this out be a bad thing?

In fact you are only bothered by this issue because you know that the charge is TRUE. I live among people like you and the Obama's. I know you. I know perfectly well your utter alienation from ordinary Americans who enjoy Christian faith, bowling, Nascar, deer-hunting, suburban life, and the Superbowl. Why, exactly, should they not reject a candidate who rejects THEM, who rejects the very things the ARE? Why should McCain not point these things out?]

That's not the America, though, that the Republicans refer to in proclaiming their own Americanness. For them, "American" is a term to be used as a wedge issue, a way to distinguish their more racially and religiously homogeneous party from the historically more polyglot Democrats. Such separation has a long pedigree: Campaigning for GOP presidential nominee Alf Landon in 1936, Republican leader Frank Knox said that the Democratic Party under President Franklin Roosevelt "has been seized by alien and un-American elements. Next November, you will choose the American way."

Knox meant two things: that the New Deal represented an ideology outside the pale of American thinking and that the New Deal coalition, which represented record numbers of foreign-born, non-Protestant Americans, was therefore un-American.[Well, it was true. Socialism IS outside the "pale of American thinking," and we now know that some of the New-Dealers were secret agents for Stalin.] In more recent elections, Republicans have depicted Democratic presidential candidates as un-American cultural elitists heading up a dangerously diverse party. [Diverse is an interesting word to pick, since it has become a code-word for racial quotas, which are very un-American. So much so that a code-word is necessary. And, come to think, Obama probably favors racial quotas, but will lie like Ananias about the subject, and many other similar subjects. So really, calling him "un-American" is a proxy for real and substantive ISSUES that he would prefer to duck.]

This year, we can expect to see almost nothing but these kinds of assaults as the campaign progresses. The Republican attack against Obama all but ignores the issue differences [Obama is currently under attack on the issues of foreign policy and Federal judicial nominations, to name just a few.] between the candidates to go after what is presumably his inadequately American identity. He is, writes one leading conservative columnist, "out of touch with everyday America." [Obviously.] His reluctance to wear a flag pin, writes another, shows that he "has declared himself superior to an almost universal form of popular patriotism." [It's the simple truth. I live in SF, I know.]

There are good reasons Republicans are focusing on identity rather than issues this year: In poll after poll, there's not a single major issue on which the public agrees with them or their presumptive nominee. [Surrre. Americans are SO ready for higher taxes, abortion, gay marriage, nationalized health care, appeasement, speech-codes and multiculturalism.] Not Iraq, certainly. Not the economy. Should the election turn on the question of "What are you going to do for America?" rather than "Are you a real American?" Republicans are doomed. They offer no solutions for the stagnation (or decline) of American living standards, [So why is building extra storage space for people's stuff a booming business?] or for the weakening of America's economic power. [The EU, China--they're gonna steam-roller us any day 'cause they're so superior!] They offer no resolution to America's war of choice in Iraq. [Except winning--we are providing that one. I know it disgusts you lefties, but Americans go for winning our wars.] Their party leader, the incumbent president, let a great American city drown. [Oh right, he had a little button he could push that would re-build the failed levees, and cause the Democratic leadership of Louisiana to be honest and effective. But he just sat there and didn't push it.] They are the American party, and McCain the American nominee, that hasn't a clue about how to help America in its (prolonged, I fear) moment of need. [We're sinking, we're sinking! We need Big Government and Barack to save us. Glub, glub.......]

What remains for the GOP is a campaign premised more on issues of national identity, aimed largely at that portion of our population for which "American" is synonymous with "white" and "Christian," than any national campaign has been since the American Party (also known as the Know Nothings) based its 1856 campaign chiefly on Protestant bigotry against Irish and German Catholic immigrants. In Appalachian America (the heart of which went to the polls yesterday in West Virginia), as Mark Schmitt notes in the forthcoming issue of the American Prospect (which I edit), a disproportionate number of people write "American" when answering the census question on ethnic origin. [That is so disgusting, "American." Ugh! Horrid rednecks. And they've only been here since the 18th Century! They should think of themselves as an ethnic group oppressed by white Christians, and needing Affirmative Action.] For some, "American" is a race -- white -- no less than a nationality, and it's on this equation that Republican prospects depend. [We get the picture. In fact,the real point of this piece is preparing for defeat. if Obama loses, it means we are RACISTS, not that we are rejecting Obama's leftism. I spit, with the utmost contempt, upon that formula. In fact, we Republicans would be delighted to consider voting for a black person. IF they were also, like Colin Powell or Condi Rice, or Bobby Jindal, or Janet Brown, AMERICANS. Not anti-American leftists.

Which is why Gilbert and Sullivan penned what could be the perfect McCain marching song:

But in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
He remains American!
He remains American!
[Which in itself is good reason to vote for him, rather then Mr Fraudulent.]

PS: I hate to break it to you, Mr Meyerson, but the knuckle-draggers in Appalachia are perfectly aware that "American" is not usually considered an "ethnic origin." They do that because they loath your identity-politics, which are un-American.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:04 PM

A cautionary tale...

Dean Barnett writes...

...Barack Obama continued to display his surprisingly flimsy grasp of American history yesterday. “This whole notion of not talking to people,” began the longtime community organizer. “It didn't hold in the '60s, it didn't hold in the '70s ... When Kennedy met with (Soviet leader Nikita) Khrushchev, we were on the brink of nuclear war."

There’s only one problem with this analysis – Khrushchev and Kennedy met in the first months of Kennedy’s term. The Cuban Missile Crisis didn’t happen until 16 months later. Furthermore, if we really want to dig into the history, many historians believe that the Vienna Summit between the two leaders did much to trigger the Cuban Missile Crisis. Khrushchev, relying on the Bay of Pigs fiasco and what he later saw at Vienna, determined that his American counterpart was a weak sister who could be bullied.

Since Obama obviously knows nothing about the Vienna Summit, he surely doesn’t know that in some circles it’s viewed as a cautionary tale regarding the inherent risks of diplomacy with malevolent regimes (or “talking to people” as Obama prefers to think of such activities)....

A lot of Charlene's work as an attorney is negotiation. Almost all cases settle; it's unusual to take one to trial. She mentioned this morning that a tactic she often uses is to act a little crazy. The other side makes some trivial demand, and she says, "Forget it. We're outta here. We'll take it to trial!"

It's a ploy, and the more experienced of her opponents know it. But they still respect her more because of it. Because she WILL take a case to trial if she thinks she can't get a fair settlement for her clients. (And it's in the record; they can look her up and see the trials she's won.)

Going to trial is like going to war. It's what happens when you can't resolve things through negotiation. And in ALL negotiations, if you want to avoid war, it is essential to be clearly willing to go to war. It's the same in a labor negotiation; if you are seen as willing to go on strike, (or lock 'em out) you are more likely to resolve things peacefully.

Being warlike is the way to peace.

Being "peaceful" is the way to get war. Barack Obama is a warmonger. "Pacifists" are warmongers. Quakers are warmongers.

Barack Obama's entire campaign is an incitement to future wars. He projects fecklessness and naiveté. He is an obvious target to bullies.

If I were a jihadist, or an evil dictator, I'd look at Obama right now and think one thing: "He will flinch. If I act crazy, he will flinch away from war."

Obama is another Jimmy Carter. (And, like Carter, he is especially an incitement to attacks on Israel. He has already sent many signals that he will betray the Jews if he can get away with it.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:47 AM

You knew this, but it's nice to have them admit it...

Nibras Kazimi writes:

Fascinating: The Jihadists Admit Defeat in Iraq

A prolific jihadist sympathizer has posted an ‘explosive’ study on one of the main jihadist websites in which he laments the dire situation that the
mujaheddin find themselves in Iraq by citing the steep drop in the number of insurgent operations conducted by the various jihadist groups, most notably Al-Qaeda’s 94 percent decline in operational ability over the last 12 months when only a year and half ago Al-Qaeda accounted for 60 percent of all jihadist activity!

The author, writing under the pseudonym ‘Dir’a limen wehhed’ [‘A Shield for the Monotheist’], posted his ‘Brief Study on the Consequences of the Division [Among] the [Jihadist] Groups on the Cause of Jihad in Iraq’ on May 12 and it is being
displayed by the administration of the Al-Ekhlaas website—one of Al-Qaeda’s chief media outlets—among its more prominent recent posts. He's considered one of Al-Ekhlaas's "esteemed" writers....

Worth reading. Charts and all. They are in Arabic, but even so the picture is dramatic...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:20 AM

May 16, 2008

True superiority....

I have a long list of reasons why I think George W Bush is a great president (NO, that doesn't mean I agree with him on everything. I've never swooned over him like those pathetic lefties fainting for Obama.) This is a very small but telling example of how he's much classier than the general run of politicians...

US President George W Bush has revealed that he quit playing golf in 2003 out of respect for the families of American soldiers killed in Iraq.

"I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal," Mr Bush said in an online interview for Yahoo and Politico magazine.

"I don't want some mum whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them."...

It is illogical but true, that in our culture golf looks like the sport of those who are indifferent to the pain of the world. As opposed to, say tennis. A leader playing golf in a time of crisis looks nonchalant and detached. Whereas if he's sweating on the tennis court, it's assumed that he's burning off the intolerable stress of one who has the cares of the world on his shoulders. (This probably has some connection with the fact that academics and journalists play tennis much more than golf.)

The important thing is that Bush never said a word about this until now, or used it to make himself look good. That's class.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:18 AM

Can I re-define "taxpayer" to exclude me?

From Justice Baxter's opinion (Quoted by Hugh Hewitt) on the California Supreme Court's

...History confirms the importance of the judiciary’s constitutional role as a check against majoritarian abuse. Still, courts must use caution when exercising the potentially transformative authority to articulate constitutional rights. Otherwise, judges with limited accountability risk infringing upon our society’s most basic shared premise — the People’s general right, directly or through their chosen legislators, to decide fundamental issues of public policy for themselves.

Judicial restraint is particularly appropriate where, as here, the claimed constitutional entitlement is of recent conception and challenges the most fundamental assumption about a basic social institution.

The majority has violated these principles. It simply does not have the right to erase, then recast, the age-old definition of marriage, as virtually all societies have understood it, in order to satisfy its own contemporary notions of equality and justice...

If judges can simply re-define marriage at their whim, then what can't they re-define?

The real issue here is that leftists hate democracy, and work tirelessly to circumvent it. They used to hate it because they were socialists, and no people, knowing what they are getting into, will ever vote for socialism. Now they are nihilists, and their only goal is to worship themselves, and feel good about themselves. But the result is the same. They feel good about themselves because of their supposed superiority, and so they need to circumvent democracy, and impose their superior ideas on people who would never vote for them.

And ALL the lefty whims work in one way or another to destroy those institutions and cultures (such as families, churches, traditional morality) that stand between the individual and the state. To atomize society, so that the state (staffed almost entirely by liberals) will have supreme power. So the end that's being worked-toward is still......socialism!

* Update: It is very ironic here that the twisted and racist accusations of Jeremiah Wright---that whites have invented AIDS, or have introduced cocaine in order to kill blacks---are partly true. White middle-class liberals have worked tirelessly to legalize and legitimize drug use, with devastating effects on black communities. And they've done everything they can to legitimize and popularize the suicidal promiscuity of the gay community. And promiscuity in general. So gays and drug-using minorities are destroyed by AIDS, while the Prius-driving crowd continues to feel superior to all those red-neck conservatives who are so horribly "intolerant" of gays or drug use.

Jeremiah Wright is correct--whites are trying to destroy blacks. White liberals, that is. Like Barack Obama.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:55 AM

May 15, 2008

Want a laugh?

From a post on The New Editor , a blog on John McCain's web-site:

I just saw a clip on MSNBC of Barack Obama criticizing John McCain's campaign: "They want to make this campaign about me!"...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:28 AM

May 14, 2008

"The emptiest vessel ever..."

Baseball Crank has a worthwhilepiece on the importance of experience in a presidential candidate...

.....And if one must speak of hypocrisy, it is rather amusing that we heard Democrats the past few years arguing that various Bush appointees were underqualified hacks who lacked the basic qualifications for their jobs (e.g., Miers, Mike Brown), but those same Democrats who were outraged at appointing unqualified people to mid-level jobs in the Administration are suddenly unconcerned about picking a guy without adequate experience for the top job, the guy who appoints all the others.

But for the same reasons why I rejected that style of argument when I came out in opposition to Harriet Miers (here and here) and Mitt Romney, Obama's lack of all the relevant types of experience, taken together, are very much a problem and quite arguably disqualifying by themselves, or at least very substantial reasons to be skeptical of his candidacy. Assuming he does hang on to squeeze Hillary out of the race, Obama is the emptiest vessel ever to get a major party nomination, a man who can't be judged on the results he has achieved because he's scarcely left a trace of results anywhere. It's all too easy to say "yes, we can" when you haven't ever had to be the guy people look to to say "yes we did."

He's never run anything at all, not even a small law practice like John Edwards. Besides his campaign, probably the biggest thing he's ever run was the Harvard Law Review.

He has nothing resembling national security experience or even particularly sustained advocacy on the issue before announcing his candidacy in 2007. The man has apparently hardly even traveled to Europe, to pick one example.

He is running in a contested election outside the insular world of Chicago politics for the first time and has never had any sort of responsibility for political leadership.

He's never served in the military and seems to have scarcely any experience even knowing people who served in the military.

His private-sector business background is negligible.

Are any of these things disqualifying from the Presidency? No. But electing a man who is so seriously lacking in all of them is indeed unprecedented. And that is and should be a central issue in this campaign......

I think Obama's lack of experience is central to his appeal to "core Democrats." They prefer it. Why? Because, as I've argued many times before, Liberals aren't "Liberal" any more. They have no belief in anything bigger than themselves. They wear "Liberalism" as a disguise, and to give themselves reasons to feel superior and important.

Their big fear is that they are going to be called on this. That they will be put into a situation where they will have to either fight fight for something, or admit they are frauds. That's why they hate the Iraq Campaign so bitterly, whether it's going well or badly. Overthrowing a fascist dictator and sponsoring democracy and freedom are Liberal ideas, and leftists still preen themselves on their regime-change in Nazi Germany. Iraq called this bluff.

Even the minimal experience Clinton can claim is associated with making choices. The latte-sipping crowd longs to float above all the gritty choices of practical politics, and just feel good about themselves. They want, for instance, to endlessly bask in the warm glow of the Civil Rights Movement, while ignoring the current plight of minority children in dysfunctional inner-city schools. And ignore the fact that black Africans are being enslaved right now, by Moslems in Sudan.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:53 AM

May 13, 2008

Mommy! Mommy! Johnny McCain said a bad word!

Rich Lowry on the Obama Rules. Which purport to declare all sorts of criticisms of Obama "off-limits" in acceptable political discourse...

....Here are the Obama rules in detail: He can’t be called a “liberal” (“the same names and labels they pin on everyone,” as Obama puts it); his toughness on the war on terror can’t be questioned (“attempts to play on our fears”); his extreme positions on social issues can’t be exposed (“the same efforts to distract us from the issues that affect our lives” and “turn us against each other”); and his Chicago background too is off-limits (“pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy”). Besides that, it should be a freewheeling and spirited campaign.

Democrats always want cultural issues not to matter because they are on the least-popular side of many of them, and want patriotic symbols like the Pledge of Allegiance and flag pins to be irrelevant when they can’t manage to nominate presidential candidates who wholeheartedly embrace them (which shouldn’t be that difficult). As for “fear” and “division,” they are vaporous pejoratives that can be applied to any warning of negative consequences of a given policy or any political position that doesn’t command 100 percent assent....

We've been hearing lots of this poop. We also not supposed to point out that his pastor is a racist jew-hating nut job... "How dare you! He's a prophet!" Or that he's been endorsed by Hamas. (They know a Jimmy Carter when they see one.) Or that he's pals with unrepentant murdering 1960's terrorists.

I'd advise McCain to confront this nonsense directly, and declare that the "rules" are codswallop, and that he's not going to follow any of them. And that he reserves the right to call Obama a white liberal elitist if he wants to!

Posted by John Weidner at 12:01 PM

May 12, 2008

I'll bet this is right

From a 5/12/08 NY Sun column by Nibras Kazimi...

Iran’s Shifting Strategy

The healing in Iraq and the deterioration in Lebanon are not unrelated. In fact, Iraq will serve as both cause and effect to Lebanon’s misfortunes. Iran, eclipsed in Sadr City, had decided to allow its sectarian acolytes to put on a show of strength in Beirut. And the jihadists of Al Qaeda’s ilk, soon to be eclipsed in Mosul, will migrate to Beirut to meet Iran’s challenge.

Five years ago, there was a hope that held Iraq as a would-be beacon for democracy throughout the Middle East, but that vision had too many determined enemies both inside and outside Iraq. Yet as the situation there darkened through the actions of these regressive forces, the spontaneous outpouring of liberty demonstrated by the Lebanese people seemed to validate the notion that democracy and liberty would take in the region, and that the hope for what Iraq may portend was not misplaced. But the Cedar Revolution, as the March 2005 events of Beirut are remembered, also had too many internal and external enemies determined to spoil the elation.

Two countries that were dead-set against Iraq succeeding were Syria and Iran. These are also the two countries most responsible for fomenting political paralysis and chaos in Lebanon....
Posted by John Weidner at 12:42 PM

May 7, 2008

22 Ways to be a good Democrat...

Bookworm posted this....



1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.

2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.

3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are more of a threat than nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese and North Korean communists.

4. You have to believe that there was no art before federal funding.

5. You have to believe that global temperatures are more affected by soccer moms driving SUVs than by scientifically documented cyclical changes in the earth’s climate.

6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial, but being homosexual is natural.

7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.

8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can’t teach fourth graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

9. You have to believe that hunters don’t care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside of San Francisco do.

10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make The Passion of the Christ for financial gain only.

12. You have to believe that the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell.

15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

16. You have to believe that Hillary Clinton is normal and is a very nice person.

17. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been tried is because the right people haven’t been in charge.

18. You have to believe that conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and sex offender belonged in the White House.

19. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites, and bestiality should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.

20. You have to believe that illegal Democratic Party funding by the Chinese Government is somehow in the best interest of the United States

21. You have to believe that it’s okay to give federal workers the day off on Christmas Day, but it’s not okay to say “Merry Christmas.”

22. You have to believe that this message is part of a vast right wing conspiracy.

As a charter member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, I endorse this message...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:45 AM

Lawsuit over "hostile work environment"

This just tops all...(From WSJ)

Often it seems as though American higher education exists only to provide gag material for the outside world. The latest spectacle is an Ivy League professor threatening to sue her students because, she claims, their "anti-intellectualism" violated her civil rights.

Priya Venkatesan taught English at Dartmouth College. She maintains that some of her students were so unreceptive of "French narrative theory" that it amounted to a hostile working environment. She is also readying lawsuits against her superiors, who she says papered over the harassment, as well as a confessional exposé, which she promises will "name names."...

...Ms. Venkatesan lectured in freshman composition, intended to introduce undergraduates to the rigors of expository argument. "My students were very bully-ish, very aggressive, and very disrespectful," she told Tyler Brace of the Dartmouth Review. "They'd argue with your ideas." This caused "subversiveness," a principle English professors usually favor...

...Ms. Venkatesan informed her pupils that their behavior was "fascist demagoguery." Then, after consulting a physician about "intellectual distress," she cancelled classes for a week. Thus the pending litigation.....

Don't I wish I could sue certain people for inflicting "intellectual distress" on me!

Posted by John Weidner at 6:21 AM

May 6, 2008

Caves everywhere...

We're back...

Right now I'm too tired to even consider blogging about the profundities of our trip to the Holy Land. It was awesome. Charlene and I saw so many things, they are a blur in our minds, and we haven't digested them at all.

But here's an interesting (at least to me) historical note. I have always tended to disregard the story that the stable where Jesus was born was a cave. It sounded a bit improbable. A cave?.

Actually, it would be improbable for it not to have been a cave. Judea is mostly limestone, which forms caves very easily. You see caves everywhere! And the pale limestone makes for very clean and pleasant cavities----not at all dirty or gloomy. People in Judea still build houses in front of, or over, caves. You can see them dotted in strata along the hillsides. Or you see caves with fences across the front, for livestock.

Ancient Bethlehem was just a little place, about the size of a football field, with one or two-room houses built over caves. There would not have been an inn; you would stay in someone's home. with your relatives presumably. And the cave/stable would be a reasonable retreat to gain a bit of privacy for a birth.

This is a picture of an excavated cave, in the Church of the Nativity complex. It's just a few steps from where Jesus was born. (Those columns have been added to ensure support of the roof.)

Cave, Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Also strange and intriguing to me was how small and close-together things in Israel are. Nothing is remote, in our sense of the word. You could drive from Jerusalem to Bethlehem in 5 minutes, if it were not for the security checkpoints. Or to the Dead Sea in half an hour. And it's very common to be able to stand on a high place and point out a dozen famous historical sites.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:54 AM