November 30, 2008
Failed policies that caused war re-packaged as..."a radically different strategy"
This piece by Walter Mearsheimer is just everything I hate...
The United States is in deep trouble in the Middle East. Despite Barack Obama's promises to withdraw from Iraq, the debacle there shows no sign of ending soon. [Actually things seem to be working out rather well. In fact we've clearly won.] Hamas rules in Gaza; [So? How is this more trouble than Palestinian terrorism has always been?] Iran is quickly moving to acquire a nuclear deterrent. [If they only wanted to deter, they wouldn't be a problem.] We need a radically different strategy for the region. [Wait for it, folks, he's gonna propose something we've never heard before...]
Fortunately, there is a strategy that has proved effective in the past and could serve again today: "offshore balancing." It's less ambitious than President Bush's grand plan to spread democracy throughout the Middle East, but it would be much better at protecting actual U.S. interests. The United States would station its military forces outside the region. And "balancing" would mean we'd rely on regional powers like Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia to check each other. [I get it. You're consulting Richard Nixon via Ouija Board! So how's our partnership with the Shah workin' out?] Washington would remain diplomatically engaged, and when necessary would assist the weaker side in a conflict. [Like the Iran-Iraq War, right?] It would also use its air and naval power to respond quickly to unexpected threats. But--and this is the key point--America would put boots on the ground only if the local balance of power seriously broke down and one country threatened to dominate the others. [So if Iran gets its nukes, then we should invade? Is that what you're saying?]
This approach might strike some as cynical. It would do little to foster democracy or promote human rights. But Bush couldn't deliver on those promises anyway, [Iraqis are voting, and traveling, and criticizing their government, and not being tortured to death by a mad tyrant. Same for Afghanistan. Sounds like Bush delivers pretty well.] and it is ultimately up to individual countries to determine their own political systems. [How about this: The PEOPLE of those countries determine their own political systems.] It is hardly cynical to base U.S. strategy on a realistic appraisal of American interests and a clear-eyed sense of what U.S. power can and cannot accomplish. [It is purely cynical and evil. I spit on your nihilism with the utmost contempt.]
Offshore balancing is nothing new: the United States pursued such a strategy in the Middle East quite successfully during much of the Cold War. ["Successful" if you are cynical and don't care what happens to worthless brown-skinned people.] America helped Iraq contain revolutionary Iran in the 1980s. [A million HUMAN BEINGS perished that war, but hey, why should we care about some rag-heads?] Then, when Iraq's conquest of Kuwait in 1990 threatened to tilt things in Baghdad's favor, the United States assembled a multinational coalition to smash Saddam Hussein's military machine. [And you "realists" managed to keep Saddam in power when we might easily have removed him. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died as a result. That's your "realistic appraisal of American interests?" The blood of the Shi'ites is dripping from your hands.]
The strategy has three particular virtues. First, it would significantly reduce the chances that we would get involved in another bloody and costly war like Iraq. America doesn't need to control the Middle East with its own forces; it merely needs to ensure that no other country does. [Canard. We are not trying to control the ME with our forces. Iraq is shaping up to, with a bit of luck, be a democratic terrorist-hating nation with a powerful military that will tend to stabilize its own neighborhood.]
Second, offshore balancing would ameliorate America's terrorism problem. Foreign occupiers generate fierce resentment. Keeping America's military forces out of sight would minimize the anger created by having them stationed on Arab soil. [The same old BS--They are only terrorists because WE are horrid. Oh, and Jews of course--they should do some "offshore balancing" into the Mediterranean.]
Third, offshore balancing would reduce fears in Iran and Syria that the United States aims to attack them and remove their regimes--a key reason these states are currently seeking weapons of mass destruction. Persuading Tehran to abandon its nuclear program will require Washington to address Iran's legitimate security concerns and to refrain from overt threats. [To Jew-haters, Iran and Syria always have "legitimate security concerns." Guess who they have the "legitimate" right to target?]
A final, compelling reason to adopt this approach is that nothing else has worked. [Including this approach.] After the Gulf war, the Clinton administration pursued a "dual containment" strategy: instead of using Iraq and Iran to check each other, the United States began trying to contain both. As a result, both came to view the United States as a bitter enemy. The policy also required the United States to deploy large numbers of troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which helped persuade Osama bin Laden to declare war on America. [He has said openly he dared to attack us because we have RUN AWAY from fights in places like Somalia, and are afraid to take casualties. It's Mearsheimer-ism that's got us into this war.]
Offshore balancing wouldn't eliminate all the problems we face in the Middle East. But it would be considerably less expensive in both human and financial terms. It's not a foolproof strategy, but it's probably as close as we can get.
[Think of it this way. There are neighborhoods in any big city that are dangerous places. Let's have the cops practice "offshore balancing," so crooks will no longer be angry at the "occupying" forces, and we can save a lot of expense. We'll just "balance" the criminal gangs, encouraging them to fight each other! It's foolish to worry about the PEOPLE in those neighborhoods; if they had any value they would already have moved to where the better sort live.]
Mearsheimer is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and coauthor of“The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." [The old blood libel was that Jews are secretly controlling the world like puppet-masters. The new one is that ISRAEL is secretly pulling the strings. I say they are both the same toxic brew.]
Note: PowerLine Blog has exhaustively covered the grotesque anti-Semitism of the authors of “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." See this search. (Of course the PowerLine guys are important and respectable, and never call anyone "anti-Semitic. Just anti-Israel. [Here's an example.] I'm a nobody, and don't have to be so mealy-mouthed.)
If you can see one step in advance...
....For in any matter so momentous and practical as the welfare of the soul, a wise man will not wait for the fullest evidence before he acts; and will show his caution, not in remaining uninfluenced by the existing report of a divine message, but by obeying it though it might be more clearly attested. If it is but fairly probable that rejection of the Gospel will involve his eternal ruin, it is safest and wisest to act as if it were certain.
On the other hand, when a man does not make the truth of Christianity a practical concern, but a mere matter of philosophical or historical research, he will feel himself at leisure (and reasonably on his own grounds) to find fault with the evidence. When we inquire into a point of history, or investigate an opinion of science, we do demand decisive evidence; we consider it allowable to wait till we obtain it, to remain undecided; in a word, to be sceptical.
If religion be not a practical matter, it is right and philosophical in us to be sceptics. Assuredly higher and fuller evidence of its truth might be given us; and, after all, there are a number of deep questions concerning the laws of nature, the constitution of the human mind, and the like, which must be solved before we can feel perfectly satisfied.
And those whose hearts are not "tender," [2 Kings xxii. 19.] as Scripture expresses it,�that is, who have not a vivid perception of the Divine Voice within them, and of the necessity of His existence from whom it issues,�do not feel Christianity as a practical matter, and let it pass accordingly. They are accustomed to say that death will soon come upon them, and solve the great secret for them without their trouble,�that is, they wait for sight: not understanding, or being able to be made to comprehend, that their solving this great problem without sight is the very end and business of their mortal life: according to St. Paul's decision, that faith is "the substance," or the realizing, "of things hoped for," "the evidence," or the making trial of, the acting on, the belief of "things not seen." [Heb. xi. 1.]
What the Apostle says of Abraham is a description of all true faith; it goes out not knowing whither it goes. It does not crave or bargain to see the end of the journey; it does not argue with St. Thomas, in the days of his ignorance, "we know not whither, and how can we know the way?" it is persuaded that it has quite enough light to walk by, far more than sinful man has a right to expect, if it sees one step in advance; and it leaves all knowledge of the country over which it is journeying, to Him who calls it on...
--John Henry Newman [Link. Paragraphing added by me.]
November 29, 2008
"Ordained in the eternal constitution of things..."
...Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity - in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves.
Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters...
-- Edmund Burke, A Letter From Mr. Burke To A Member Of The National Assembly, 1791
November 28, 2008
Wake up, wake up, wake up....
Bill Roggio, in the Weekly Standard Blog...
...While it is too early to know exactly how the Mumbai strikes were planned and executed, one thing seems clear: This attack is the most significant terrorist attack since the Sept. 11 attack against the United States.
The terrorists launched a sophisticated, multi-pronged attack into a city of 18 million residents. This requires planning, training, funding, and detailed reconnaissance. The targets were chosen carefully to achieve maximum effect. The terrorists hit hotels, a train station, a movie house, a residential complex, and a hospital--all soft targets. They also were able to plant bombs in taxis as well as capture a police van, which was then used in a drive-by shooting spree.
The assault teams--there is no other way to describe them--coordinated and synchronized their attacks to overwhelm Mumbai security. The terrorists were able to take a significant number of hostages. They knew where to find foreigners and wealthy Indians--at the five star hotels...
Some of the things I'd say this means...
• If you voted for Obama because you wanted to go back to the "Holiday from History" of the 1990's, you just lost your bet.
• In Fourth Generation Warfare, the "front lines" can be anywhere, at any time. You--yes, YOU--can be drafted into the War on Terror at without notice. Your duty is to fight.
• I think that intelligent law-abiding citizens of the civilized nations should be strongly encouraged to carry concealed firearms. My very first week as a blogger, in the dark ages of 2001, I posted this quote, from an article by John Lott in the NY Post:
..Israelis realize that the police and military simply can't be there all the time to protect people when terrorists attack: There are simply too many vulnerable targets. (When the police or military are nearby, terrorists wait until they leave.) And when terrorists strike, their first targets include anyone openly carrying a gun.
What Israel has found helpful in thwarting terrorist attacks is allowing law-abiding, trained citizens to carry concealed handguns. About 10 percent of Jewish adults there now have permits to carry concealed handguns...
• India seems to have been, up to now, fairly muddled and morally unclear about fighting terrorism. I daresay this will concentrate some minds.
• It is my belief that we have not been hit again since 9/11 because George W Bush led America and her few allies in doing exactly what al-Qaeda and other islamic terror groups DID NOT WANT......Bringing freedom and democracy right into the Arab heartland. To Iraq. They are not afraid to die, but they are afraid of that. If Obama is smart--I don't think he is quite this smart--he will announce that, criticisms of the Iraq Campaign notwithstanding, if there's another 9/11 he going to be throwing a dart at a list of terror-supporting Muslim nations, and regime-changing one of them!
Old joke...I was looking at my earliest blog posts, way back in the stone-ages, and I found this...
A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered altitude and spotted a man below. She descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."
The man consulted his GPS and replied, "You're are in a hot air balloon approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346 feet above sea level. You are 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude, and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude."
"You must be a Republican," said the balloonist. "I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "Everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help so far."
The man responded, "You must be a Democrat." "I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?" "Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault ."
November 27, 2008
A commenter writes that he can't see the amazon.com link in this post, or the one on the sidebar. (They are little Christmassy things that say "Find the perfect holiday gift.")
Anybody else have problems with them?I'll pop in another one here...
Update: Problem solved, (I hope). Ad blockers may be the culprits. Thanks to Kathy K.
Here's a simple link to the amazon page, if you can't see the above ad.
We are thankful for the men and women who stand on Freedom's Wall!
The crew of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine Jacksonville tends the mooring lines Nov. 24 upon returning to Norfolk, Va., after a six-month deployment. The deployment was Jacksonville's first in five years after the recent refueling and modernization of the ship. MASS COMMUNICATION SPC. 2ND CLASS XANDER GAMBLE / NAVY [link]
Thankful for the little things...
From Barack Obama, Supply-Sider? by Kevin A. Hassett...
If you paid attention to the political rhetoric that President-elect Barack Obama engaged in during the Democratic primary, then you probably expected his economic team to be made up of left-wing ideologues. When Obama took a rare holiday from blaming all of America's problems on NAFTA and deregulation, he bashed Hillary Clinton for her cozy relationship with that corporate symbol of evil incarnate: Wal-Mart.
But that rhetoric was, we now know, just that. How "sensible" is Obama's economic team? So sensible, that one can construct a pretty stirring defense of supply-side economics relying solely on their work...
Pretty funny, (especially for one like me who stood firm on Reaganomics at the time of David Stockman's apostasy, and has been vindicated by history). Of course I suspect it would be better for the country if the administration was overtly socialist, and was for that reason tossed out in 2010. (My guess is that they will be overtly moderate and Clintonian and probably popular, while covertly doing everything possible to subtly undermine traditional American culture and morals, secure in the knowledge that that will get them where they want to go in the long run.)
But one must be thankful for life's little pleasures, and one of them right now is thinking about the duped Leftizoids who just assumed that hope-n-change meant their policies, and that Obam would be listening to them! Ha ha ha...
And the following part of the article is well worth reading, because one occasionally encounters a certain argument that correlates tax-cuts with poor economic growth or stock market values. Or tax increases with economic growth...
...Incoming head of the Council of Economic advisers Christina Romer also has made numerous significant contributions toward our understanding of supply-side economics. Most importantly, she, along with her husband, David Romer, wrote perhaps the most important paper in the area in the last decade.
One problem hampering the study of tax policy is that it is endogenous. When the economy is bad, politicians tend to reduce tax rates. That means tax reductions tend to be associated with worse than average growth. Given that set up, it is easy to make the mistaken conclusion that tax policy is ineffective.
But the Romers had the brilliant insight that tax policy occasionally happens for reasons that are unrelated to the business cycle, that is, some tax changes are exogenous. If taxes change in 2010, for example, they will do so because the Bush tax cuts expire, something that was set in motion a decade earlier, when policymakers had no clue what the 2010 economy might look like. By isolating episodes when changes are exogenous, the Romers were able to better identify their impact than has been done in the past.
Their conclusion is striking and worth quoting, "The resulting estimates indicate that tax increases are highly contractionary. The effects are strongly significant, highly robust and much larger than those obtained using broader measures of tax changes."....
For many seasons, many years...
0 Lord, my Lord,
for my being, life, reason,
for nurture, protection, guidance,
for education, civil rights, religion,
for Thy gifts of grace, nature, fortune,
for redemption, regeneration, instruction,
for my call, recall, yea, many calls besides;
for Thy forbearance, longsuffering,
many seasons, many years;
for all good things received, successes granted me,
good things done;
for the use of things present,
for Thy promise, and my hope
of the enjoyment of good things to come ;
for my parents honest and good,
benefactors never to be forgotten,
fellow-ministers who are of one mind,
for all who have advantaged me
by writings, sermons, converse,
prayers, examples, rebukes, injuries;
for all these, and all others
which I know, which I know not,
done when I wished, when I wished not,
I confess to Thee and will confess,
I biess Thee and will bless,
I give thanks to Thee, and will give thanks,
all the days of my life.
Who am I, or what is my father's house,
that Thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog
as I am?
What shall I render unto the Lord
for all His benefits toward me?
for all things in which He hath spared
and borne with me until now?
Holy, holy, holy,
Thou art worthy,
O Lord and our God, the Holy One,
to receive glory, honour, and power:
for Thou hast created all things,
and for Thy pleasure they are
and were created.
From The Private Devotions of Lancelot Andrewes, ca. 1600.
(Andrewes was one of the men who
created the King James translation of the Bible.)
November 26, 2008
"Liberalism" is anti-human...It's really about the bullying. Liberalism starts out with trying to help people, but there is a little Lenin inside each of us, and if you nourish him, and give him some space to grow, then you are on the road to being a prison-camp guard...
Sunday Mercury: POLITICALLY correct NHS bosses in Birmingham are battling to ban a smoking room for terminally ill patients -- forcing them to be turfed out into the cold to enjoy their final cigarettes.
The Sheldon Unit, a palliative care home for patients dying from lung cancer and other diseases, in Northfield, is one of only two health centres in the region that has escaped rigid Smoke Free legislation on 'sympathetic grounds'.
But when board members of South Birmingham Primary Care Trust, in charge of the unit, heard of plans to upgrade the smoking room with a new ventilation system, the whole scheme went up in smoke.
Bureaucrat Dr Chris Spencer-Jones, South Birmingham public health director, ranted against the renovation plans, saying he did not care if lifelong smokers were dying, he still didn't want them smoking indoors.
"It doesn't matter if patients might be terminally ill," said Dr Spencer-Jones, who also heads the British Medical Association's (BMA) national committee for public health....
For a small Christmas gift....
...Charlene recommends the Chef'n Palm Peeler:
It's a gadget that fits in the palm of your hand, with a finger through the loop. Then you peel fruits and veggies by just rubbing your hand over them!
Me, I'll keep using the old spud peeler. The old ways are best. I'd say this oddly-colored item is in what O'Brian would call a "reckless, Jacobin, democratical line..."
As Tom Pullings put it...
..."Then on her quarter, with the patched inner jib, that's the Hope: or maybe she's the Ocean -- they're much of a muchness, out of the same yard and off of the same draught. But any gait, all of 'em you see in this weather line, is what we call twelve-hundred-tonners; though to be sure some gauges thirteen and even fifteen hundred ton, Thames measurement. Wexford, there, with her brass fo'c'sle eight-pounder winking in the sun, she does: but we call her a twelve hundred ton ship."
"Sir, might it not be simpler to call her a fifteen hundred ton ship?"
"Simpler, maybe: but it would never do. You don't want to be upsetting the old ways. Oh dear me, no. God's my life, if the Captain was to hear you carrying on in that reckless Jacobin, democratical line, why, I dare say he would turn you adrift on a three-inch plank, with both your ears nailed down to it, to learn you bashfulness. The way he served three young gentlemen in the Med. No, no: you don't want to go arsing around with the old ways: the French did so, and look at the scrape it got them into....
-- Patrick O'Brian, HMS Surprise
He laughs bitterly, yet again...
In the previous post, Doug commented with a link to this 2006 article from American Thinker, about wiretapping and surveillance under Clinton...
The controversy following revelations that U.S. intelligence agencies have monitored suspected terrorist related communications since 9/11 reflects a severe case of selective amnesia by the New York Times and other media opponents of President Bush. They certainly didn't show the same outrage when a much more invasive and indiscriminate domestic surveillance program came to light during the Clinton administration in the 1990's. At that time, the Times called the surveillance 'a necessity.''If you made a phone call today or sent an -mail to a friend, there's a good chance what you said or wrote was captured and screened by the country's largest intelligence agency.' (Steve Kroft, CBS' 60 Minutes)Those words were aired on February 27, 2000 to describe the National Security Agency and an electronic surveillance program called Echelon whose mission, according to Kroft,'is to eavesdrop on enemies of the state: foreign countries, terrorist groups and drug cartels. But in the process, Echelon's computers capture virtually every electronic conversation around the world.'Echelon was, or is (its existence has been under--reported in the American media), an electronic eavesdropping program conducted by the United States and a few select allies such as the United Kingdom....
If I saw that article, I'd forgotten it. It's got some hot stuff, about Echelon surveillance product being passed to big Clinton donors for use against business rivals, and other fun things.
What foul frauds leftists and Democrats are. Just think of of the torrents of crap we've been subjected to about how Bush is "shredding our civil liberties," and such. And none of those phonies cared a bit about Clinton's much bigger surveillance program...
He laughs, bitterly...
Michelle, on the latest from the Obama transition process, aka: Becoming Grownups In 60 Days...
...Nothing clarifies the mind like a jihadi boomerang. Never before have an administration and its followers matured so quickly in office -- and they haven't even taken office yet. While Obama paid lip service to the "Close the Gitmo gulag!" agenda on 60 Minutes over the weekend, his kitchen cabinet is proceeding more pragmatically. Believe it or not, the Obama crowd is now contemplating a preventive detention law and an alternative judicial system for the most sensitive national security cases involving the most highly classified information. Information that has no place being aired in the civilian courts for public consumption...
...Moreover, Obama transition team members have suggested to the Wall Street Journal that despite his campaign season CIA-bashing, "Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight."
Next thing you know, they'll start arguing that the world has been fooled by years of sob-story propaganda about the Gitmo detainees-- funded by Kuwaiti government-subsidized lawyers who cast them all as innocent potato farmers and schmucks dazed and confused on battlefields.....
The deeper issue revealed here is that the domestic opponents of our efforts in the War on Terror have been deeply dishonest and morally corrupt. Random Jottings has been arguing that since November 2001. People put on a guise of principled opposition to war, or religious opposition or pacifism or respect for "international law." But these are just camouflage for brutally expedient Leftism.
Just you watch. Once a Dem is in the White House, then a bit of roughness in dealing with terrorists will be no big deal. Laudable, even. Remember, "extraordinary rendition" was an invention of the Clinton Administration.
November 25, 2008
Leftist theory imposed on people; MILLIONS die...
....How many times have we heard that story!John Noonan, in the Weekly Standard blog...
...The story of Zimbabwe is one of the great tragedies of the 20th century. Once a first-world nation, Rhodesia -- and Zimbabwe during the 80s -- exported enough food to feed roughly half of Africa. Though deeply stained by the apartheid policies of the white minority government, Rhodesia still boasted the largest black middle class in Africa, had a top-tier educational system for both blacks and whites that rivaled those in Europe and the United States, a Rhodesian dollar that was nearly equal with its U.S. cousin, and unemployment that was in the low single digits.
Today, after Robert Mugabe's tyrannical 28 year reign, Zimbabwe has become one of the poorest nations in the world. Unemployment is at 80 percent and rising. Inflation is an unbelievable 2000 percent, also rising. Once the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe is now reliant on Western food relief to feed its people. Refugees pour over the South African and Botswanan borders by the thousands, as AIDS (and now cholera) ravage the countryside. Life expectancy for a Rhodesian male was appx. 67 years. That number has collapsed to an unthinkable 37 years.
To this day, Carter is unrepentant for his assistance in Mugabe's rise to power...
He is unrepentant. In fact, as far as I can see, ALL leftists are unrepentant about this latest batch of millions of deaths they have caused. They don't care---their "theory" is what is real; the human beings are just cardboard figures.
If you are a "liberal," if you are part of Lefty/Progressive/Democrat/Quaker/peacenik/liberal-christian "Axis Of Fuzzy Thinking," then YOU helped destroy these people. Cholera! Cholera in the 21st Century! That's INSANE. But you don't care.
And almost worse than the ice-heartedness of leftists is that none of you will re-think.
In fact I suspect the textbooks will continue to trumpet the great "civil rights" victory of removing whites from power in Rhodesia! That's much more important than the deaths of a few niggers.
One would have thought that the great prosperity of Rhodesia would have caused people to be cautious, so as not to kill the goose whose golden eggs helped blacks as well as white ruling class. (Rhodesia was not "apartheid," by the way). It should have been obvious to anyone that the real resource behind the prosperity of Rhodesia was white people, and that preserving that capital should be the number one priority of anyone who really wanted to help blacks!
But the real priority was always feeding the smugness of "liberals."
People refer to the Gulag, or Pol Pot, or the Cultural Revolution, as mistakes of the past. But the death toll of Jimmy Carter and other liberals who helped Mugabe into power could easily top Cambodia. Jimmy Carter is our Pol Pot!
November 24, 2008
Heavyweights vs. Lightweights?
...and it may be unfair to compare his cabinet to the best since George Washington's, it's nonetheless embarrassing to see what lightweights they are alongside W's:
VP: former Chief of Staff and Defense Secretary vs. Senator
Secretary of State: former General, Chairman of Joint Chiefs, and National Security Advisor vs. Senator
Secretary of Defense: former Chief of Staff and Secretary of Defense vs. well, he got the double Bush holdover right
Secretary of Treasury: former CEO of Alcoa and chairman of Rand vs. well, another Bush holdover but promoted.
Attorney General: former governor, senator and US attorney vs. US attorney
Secretary of HHS: former governor vs. former senator
I'm not one of those who thinks executive experience is the most important thing, but there are going to be a lot of mistakes that will trip up all these former senators, because they've never run anything. And it is interesting , just the whole lightweight/heavyweight thing. Bill Clinton had 8 years as president. Where are the "seasoned executives" that he brought up through the ranks, so to speak?
Maybe they are there, and I just don't follow these things closely enough to know them. And also, where are the guys like Cheney or Rumsfeld, who, when their party is out of power, go run big companies? And then take huge pay-cuts to come back and serve thir country?
November 23, 2008
Try to believe that 2 + 2 = 5...
From chapter five of Newman's Apologia pro Vita Sua...
...People say that the doctrine of Transubstantiation is difficult to believe; I did not believe the doctrine till I was a Catholic. I had no difficulty in believing it as soon as I believed that the Catholic Roman Church was the oracle of God, and that she had declared this doctrine to be part of the original revelation. It is difficult, impossible to imagine, I grant--but how is it difficult to believe?......
Newman is getting at an important point. (Just in case anybody out there in "the audient void" is repelled from faith because various things are "hard to believe.")
In general, Christian doctrines are not hard to believe, they are hard to imagine.
If someone told you that 2 + 2 = 5, now that's hard to believe!
On the other hand, that a god created the universe is unimaginable (ie: You cannot imagine what the event might have been like), but at least as believable as any scientific explanation I've encountered.
(Scientific explanations such as this: "The creation of the universe itself involved information processing: random fluctuations in the quantum foam, like a random number generator in a computer program, produced higher-density areas, then matter, stars, galaxies and life...").
Likewise, once you believe in a creator god, it's not unbelievable that he might be interested in us, if only on the analogy that we can be very interested in microbes and insects.
Likewise, if there is a god who created the universe, he presumably is outside the realm of this physical universe which we apprehend by our senses. Therefore it's believable that there are realms where god and other beings can exist that our five senses cannot perceive. Ie: the Supernatural.
You can apply this down the line, and find that it works...
November 22, 2008
Guess where this is heading...
India Times: India, which is planning to send four more warships to the Gulf of Aden, has already conveyed to Somalia that it will use all necessary means to fight pirates who have targeted merchant ships passing through one of the world's strategic shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia.... [It's in those Anglosphere genes.]
....After the Indian offensive against the pirates, the Indian government is now considering the option of augmenting forces in the pirate-infested waters. [Ramp it up. If nothing else, you will blood the troops.] At present India has deployed INS Tabar, a stealth guided missile frigate, that has successfully defended two merchant ships against a pirate attack and ensured safe passage of many more. [Unilateralist cowboys! Advocates of violence!] The proposal is to send four more warships to the region. Naval officials also met defence minister A K Antony to discuss matters related to the continuing naval operation.
But even as the Navy takes a decision at augmenting its efforts in the Gulf of Aden, there is also consensus within the Navy and the government that the menace can only be tackled effectively if there is a coordinated international effort to take on the pirates who have managed to grab the world's attention by seizing a number of ships including Saudi owned supertanker. At the moment countries are only defending their own merchant ships. [The term you will be needing soon is "Coalition of the Willing." Try the Poles.]
India has been pushing for such an international effort and at a recent meeting of the International Maritime Organisation had revived a proposal to set up a UN peacekeeping force to take on pirates in the region. "These proposals are under consideration," said Mr Ravi, adding that a concrete proposal would emerge after consultations in the UN. [Been there, done that. Won't work.]
Mr Ravi also pointed out that were two United Nations Security Council resolutions on piracy. UN resolution 1816, which was approved on June 2, 2008, allows foreign navies to enter Somalian territorial waters to pursue pirates while resolution 1838, which was passed on October 20, 2008, authorises the use of "necessary means" to combat piracy in international waters. India can take action under these two resolutions but there is recognition that a more substantive resolution is needed for a coordinated international effort. [There were 16 "Binding UN Resolutions" against the Saddam regime. When we finally enforced them, all the world's lefty frauds said we were "violating international law." Just warning you.]
However, India is not isolated in its call for an international effort. The US and other countries have also talked about the need for an international effort against pirates. The US said that it is worked in the Security Council to pass a new resolution piracy. ["The US and other countries..." It's called the "Axis of Good." Guy named Bush started it. It means you go through the UN bullshit, then a few non-decadent countries just go ahead and do what's necessary.]
"It's an international problem. You're not going to solve this � the US is not going to solve this alone," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack was quoted as saying. [Actually, we could. But we are paralyzed by the Nihilist Party.] Similarly, an anti-piracy watchdog, which welcomed the sinking of the pirate ship, also called for an international effort. "If all warships do this, it will be a strong deterrent. But if it's just a rare case, then it won't work," Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre told an agency.... [In other words, the problem could be solved fairly easily if everybody did their duty. Instead the evil of pacifism will prolong the problem indefinitely, and cause rivers of blood to flow...]
(Thanks to O Judd.)
November 20, 2008
If Lenin were here he would know exactly what's going on....
One thing that keeps striking me about certain current conflicts like gay rights and abortion and infanticide rights is that, though it was all in a good cause, the American Civil Rights Movement was also one of the great calamities of our history.
Why do I say such a politically incorrect thing? One which would get me cast out of polite liberal society, had I ever been invited into polite liberal society?
Because it has imposed a template on our world. A template that says that anyone who is campaigning for any sort of imagined "civil right" is entitled to trample their opposition. To just bulldoze over them.
And to feel utterly smug and superior, and to indulge in orgies of self congratulation. To be automatically granted a kind of "secular sainthood."
And, most appealing of all, the template says you can treat your opponents with complete contempt and disrespect....because, of course, they are just "rednecks."
I was recently called a "hateful bigot" by someone who should know better. For what? For simply agreeing with what 99.9999% of human being have always considered to be true. That is, that marriage happens between men and women. Something that no one, liberal or conservative, doubted until a few years ago.
That's the "template" at work. One needs merely assert a new right, and then one can act like a pompous ass.
And the template was always intended for sinister purposes by the Lefty "activists" who organize rights campaigns from the shadows. Our current battles are examples of a type of Leftist plot that the world has seen hundreds of times over the last century. If Lenin were here he would know instantly what's going on, and approve. (And then send the gays to the Gulag when they were no longer needed.)
The scheme is always the same. Champion some "oppressed" group, lure large numbers of "useful idiots" to fight the battle, manipulate the battle to gain Leftist goals, then discard the "oppressed group" the instant they are no longer useful.
The classic example is Communists battling for labor rights, then crushing labor once they gain power. Another is the way, when I was in college, everyone talked about "the People of Vietnam." Those poor souls were instantly forgotten once the Communists were in control. (Stupid me, I thought the peaceniks really cared!) Or the black peoples of South Africa. In the 80's liberals were shedding copious tears over them. But as soon as they were no longer useful they were dropped. People in Soweto are STILL poor and STILL badly governed. Does anybody talk about them now at the Quaker Meeting? Will publishers want to publish their stories NOW? Ha ha.
Most of the supporters of gay marriage are in the "useful idiot" category. The big problem is that relentless propaganda has made the "template" a default mindset for most Americans. They never question anything, no matter how flaky, it it's packaged as a rights crusade. The useful idiots are now approaching a majority of the population!
Andrew, your analogy was really stupid. The question before us is not, "Why can't I marry whoever I want?" The question is, "What IS marriage." All Americans already have the right to marry whoever they want, within the current definition of marriage. YOU are proposing to change the definition. So YOU need to come up with good arguments why people like you know better than all the great thinkers and religious leaders of all of human history, and the common opinion of all of mankind up to very recently.
If you were HONEST, that's what you would be arguing about. But the template frees you from the requirement of honest argument---why, it would be like arguing the merits of segregation. Instead you just make assertions.
The arguments you are making could be used to support my right to marry a two-year old, or to marry three people. Or a dog, or a cute robot. Do you support those things? Do you have a good argument against them? Or for them? Of course not, you haven't done any thinking.
There are going to be lots of new "rights" crusades coming in the future. Have you thought out where you will draw the line?
(What a hateful bigot I am, to suggest that any "rights" could be over the line! I Oughta be shot. I'm just a redneck. The next thing you know I'll be coming up with oppressive hillbilly ideas such as "right and wrong." Or "God," or "morals." Just ignore me; the important thing is that rights must be protected. Especially ancient rights, like ones that are more than 6 weeks old.)
November 19, 2008
Hey Lefties, look in the mirror....Michelle Malkin...
...Before election day, national media hand-wringers forged a wildly popular narrative: The Right was, in the words of New York Times" columnist Paul Krugman, gripped by "insane rage." Outbreaks of incivility (some real, but mostly imagined) were proof positive of the extremist takeover of the Republican Party. The cluck-cluckers and tut-tutters shook in fear.
But when the GOP took a beating on Nov. 4, no mass protests ensued. No nationwide boycotts erupted. Conservatives took their lumps and began the peaceful post-defeat process of self-flagellation, self-analysis, and self-autopsy. In fact, there's only one angry mob gripped by "insane rage" in the wake of campaign 2008: The mob of left-wing, same-sex marriage activists incensed at their defeat in California. Voters there approved a traditional marriage initiative, Proposition 8, by 52-48.
Instead of introspection and self-criticism, however, the sore losers who opposed Prop. 8 have responded with threats, fists, and blacklists.
That's right. Activists have published an "Anti-Gay Black List" of Prop. 8 donors on the Internet. If the tables had been turned and Prop. 8 proponents created such an enemies" list, everyone in Hollywood would be screaming "McCarthyism" faster than you can count to eight. A Los Angeles restaurant whose manager made a small donation to the Prop. 8 campaign has been besieged nightly by hordes of protesters who have disrupted the business, intimidated patrons, and brought employees there to tears. In fear for their jobs and their lives, workers at El Coyote Mexican Caf� pooled together $500 to pay off the bullies.
Scott Eckern, a beleaguered artistic director at the California Musical Theatre, was forced to resign over his $1,000 donation to the Prop. 8 campaign. The director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, Rich Raddon, is next on the chopping block after the anti-Prop. 8 mob discovered that he had also contributed to the Yes on 8 campaign. Calls have been pouring in for his firing.
Over the past two weeks, anti-Prop. 8 organizers have targeted Mormon, Catholic, and evangelical churches. Sentiments like this one, found on the anti-Prop.8 website "JoeMyGod," are common across the left-wing blogosphere: "Burn their f�ing churches to the ground, and then tax the charred timbers." Thousands of gay-rights demonstrators stood in front of the Mormon temple in Los Angeles shouting "Mormon scum."...
Just in case you thought the "gay marriage" push was about equal rights or something...
November 18, 2008
Just another "I told you so."
A pacifistical friend once criticized me, writing: "You advocate and even celebrate violence, which goes against the commandment not to violently resist evil."
No, I advocate peace. I'm the real pacifist around here. Here's a perfect example. I wrote here about how INSANE we were to not stamp out Somali piracy when it first arose years ago. We avoided using ruthless violence when a small amount of it might have ended the problem.
Now we will eventually be forced to use a much larger amount of violence. The Somali pirates are now ranging much farther out to sea, and have seized a supertanker, 450 miles away from Somalia! Here's an example in a good article of how much better organized the pirates are becoming:
...In a warning to mariners in late August, the IMB's Piracy Reporting Centre described three large "mother ships" -- two Russian-made stern trawlers and a tugboat -- that officials suspected were coordinating at least some of the recent attacks. Pirates based on such "mother ships" have typically targeted slow-moving vessels, which are difficult to maneuver. Working in small, fast boats, they typically speed up alongside target ships, fire on them with small arms and then board them with simple ladders and grappling hooks...
Well, of course they are getting better. We have encouraged them. The world paid an estimated 30 million dollars in ransoms. What would happen in your town if kidnappers were raking in that kind of dough?
The civilized nations are in the position of cops in a rough neighborhood. It is our duty to not allow criminals to take over. And the best way is to smash outlaw gangs right away, even if some innocent bystanders suffer. The alternative is much more suffering in the future. And it is the "innocent bystander" types who will do that suffering--the cops get to go home and sleep in much safer neighborhoods.
If the cops practice "turn the other cheek" to the crooks, they are really turning someone else's cheek. That's the sick flaw in theories of "pacifism."
Update: Even more infuriating to think about is that, even though this is happening near Europe, the USA will probably end up dealing with the mess. And when we do, all our fake Leftists/Democrats/pacifists will, with one voice, declare that America has STARTED a war. With the implication that all was peace until the unilateralist cowboys started attacking. (Correction, not attacking, "bombing." Even if not a single bomb is dropped. And the brain-dead squirrels will display bumper stickers saying "Who Would Jesus Bomb?")
November 17, 2008
Just fisking this for the fun of it...
Not important...Silly stuff in fact...
US News and World Report, Sarah Palin for President in 2012? No Way :
...But for all the enthusiasm she generated among the base, Palin has become a caricature for millions of casual political observers. [Uh, EVERY Republican is "a caricature for millions of casual political observers." Comes with the territory. Reagan = B-actor, Bush = cowboy. They managed.] Many people, including crucial swaths of the independent and youth vote, will be unable to distinguish the real Sarah Palin from Tina Fey's Saturday Night Live impression of her. To them, she will always be remembered, fairly or not, as an overmatched vixen in an overpriced wardrobe. [Their tiny brains will soon forget.]
The fundamental question, then, is: Do Republicans at the grass-roots and national levels really want to start the most significant rebuilding the party has faced since Watergate, having to convince a large segment of voters that Palin is qualified to be president, when a majority of Americans recently said otherwise? [You're saying that the election was a referendum on PALIN?? McCain had nothing to do with it? Wow, she's really got you intimidated.]
There is also the inconvenient reality that Palin would have to mastermind a run for president at a distance of nearly 4,000 miles and four time zones from New York City and Washington. The Internet makes many things possible, but changing geography is not yet one of them. [Well it seems to make more and more things possible. And more and more "insiders" redundant.] And who among the savvy D.C. insiders that are essential to building buzz [I bet this guy thinks of himself as a "savvy insider," and is desperately hoping that makes him important. Actually, Sarah seems to generate a ton of buzz with no help from the savvy's.] for potential candidates is willing to hop on a snow machine for regularly scheduled huddles in Wasilla? [If she looks like the next big thing, they will crawl over broken glaciers to bask in her radiance. And so will you, turkey.]
Since Ronald Reagan's election in 1980, there has not been a presidential nominee whose 'day job' kept him more than one time zone from the centers of media and government. George W. Bush had the greatest distance to travel, but his disadvantage was mitigated by three factors, none of which apply to Palin's circumstances. He was the head of a decentralized executive branch in which the lieutenant governor arguably has more day-to-day responsibilities. His father and grandfather had spent decades building the family name and network in Washington, including 12 years in the White House. And this base allowed him to build a sense of inevitability two years out from the presidential race, meaning that advisers and fellow governors were tripping over themselves to come to Austin to meet with him and discuss a run. [Hmmm. "Sense of inevitability." I wonder who could fit that description, among Republicans right now?]
Four more years as governor (assuming she wins re-election in 2010) may add some gravitas for Palin, but it will also complicate her path to the nomination. For example, the gas pipeline deal that she brokered will move from the conceptual stage to implementation, bringing on the attendant complexities. [Complexities! Surely too much for a mere girl to handle.] And she will face a legislature with Democrats, and some Republicans, eager to take the gleam off her credentials as a reformer. [Well, they will try.]
But perhaps the most difficult roadblock to Palin's candidacy is the same thing that has generated so much of her appeal�her status as America's most famous 'hockey mom.' Putting aside the demands of being governor, Palin's domestic plate runneth over. She is a mother of five, including an infant with Down syndrome and a son in Iraq. She is also about to become a grandmother to the child of her 17-year-old daughter, with all the responsibilities that entails. And don't forget her remaining daughters, ages 13 and 7. [RFK had what, ten kids? What sexist nonsense. Also there is the teensy detail, that the Palins are going to have lots of money now. Sarah can probably ask 50k for a lecture fee, and her book will get a multi-million $ advance. So.....they will be able to HIRE HELP, stupid. ]
Finally, her husband's careers in oil production and commercial fishing necessarily mean he is away from home regularly, as does his championship-level snow-machine racing. By all accounts, the Palins have raised a happy family while excelling in their chosen fields. And they appeared to manage their domestic duties seamlessly during the recent campaign. But this was a two-month sprint, not the multiyear marathon required of successful presidential nominees. [Sorry to break it to you, but those marathons are attempts to become known and liked by the Republican base. Guess what Sarah's ALREADY accomplished?]
Sarah Palin will remain a star in the Republican Party for decades, perhaps even ascending to the presidency someday. But to imagine that day is just four years away is to deny the very simple calculus of her current situation." [Dream on, pal. Other Republicans will put up a fight, and maybe a better candidate will come to the fore. But right now Palin's the obvious front-runner, and you "savvy insiders" will be begging for her crumbs...]
Photo thanks to Meghan McCain's blog. Which I recommend for its pictures of life on the campaign trail.
We get "scaled back" because we are stupid...
This piece about Obama writing to federal employees before the election is a subject where I could criticize the Dems harshly for a variety of conservative reasons. But others will do that job, no doubt. I'm in a mood to criticize... Republicans....
In wooing federal employee votes on the eve of the election, Barack Obama wrote a series of letters to workers that offer detailed descriptions of how he intends to add muscle to specific government programs, give new power to bureaucrats and roll back some Bush administration policies.
The letters, sent to employees at seven agencies, describe Obama's intention to scale back on contracts to private firms doing government work, to remove censorship from scientific research, and to champion tougher industry regulation to protect workers and the environment...
Notice the bold type above. You read in Random Jottings way back in 2002 about what Bush was doing to open federal jobs to private bidders. Link [I've been giving you the straight dope since November-2001! Has it earned me fame and fortune? Nah.]
SO, how much have you heard about this since? In particular, how much support and praise did President Bush get from Republicans? From conservatives? From the "oh-so-wise" at National Review? None, as far as I've noticed. Bush was out in front doing things conservatives should be lauding, encouraging, publicizing.
I'm sure this would have been popular with voters, if it had been publicized. It's not like ordinary Americans are fond of Federal bureaucrats. So why hasn't the party been running on things like this? Bragging about it? And conservatives, libertarians, wake up: this is the closest you are ever going to get to cutting back the Federal monster. Shrinking big government isn't going to happen--but there are a lot of things we can to to mitigate the problem. You had a chance to, and it looks like you blew it...
PS: If you think I'm surprised by anything Obama's doing, well, I notice that I was also writing in 2002 about the fact then emerging that President Carter asked the SOVIETS to help him defeat Reagan! If I write that "Democrats" are evil slime animals, it is not because I'm intemperate and uncharitable, it's because they are, obviously, evil slime animals...
November 16, 2008
John Henry Newman, on "religious liberalism." (He was not writing about political liberalism, but it is easy to descry the analogous false step that underlies leftist politics)...[link]
....Whenever men are able to act at all, there is the chance of extreme and intemperate action; and therefore, when there is exercise of mind, there is the chance of wayward or mistaken exercise. Liberty of thought is in itself a good; but it gives an opening to false liberty. Now by Liberalism I mean false liberty of thought, or the exercise of thought upon matters, in which, from the constitution of the human mind, thought cannot be brought to any successful issue, and therefore is out of place. Among such matters are first principles of whatever kind; and of these the most sacred and momentous are especially to be reckoned the truths of Revelation.This is from the notes to his Apologia pro Vita Sua. Newman's Apologia is a classic. The Latin title means "defense of one's life." It is the sort of book that you would guess would be a very dull dry book indeed, since it is purely a history of Newman's religious thought during the first half of his life, and rigorously excludes all the action and personalities of his very active life. But the book is oddly compelling and readable. Recommended for all serious people, if there are any left.
Liberalism then is the mistake of subjecting to human judgment those revealed doctrines which are in their nature beyond and independent of it, and of claiming to determine on intrinsic grounds the truth and value of propositions which rest for their reception simply on the external authority of the Divine Word....
"Everything is of consequence..."
From Letters to a Young Catholic, by George Weigel
....And here's the second proposition to ponder: for all the sentimentality that occasionally clings to Catholic piety, there is nothing sentimental about Catholicism. "There is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism," Flannery O'Connor wrote, because Christianity stands or falls with the Incarnation � God's entry into history through Jesus of Nazareth, who is both the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, and the son of Mary, a young Jewish girl living on the outer fringes of the Roman Empire.
History and humanity are the vehicles by which God reveals himself to the world he created. History is the arena and humanity is the vessel, through which God redeems the world. History and humanity count, and count ultimately: not because of our pride but because of God's merciful love, the unsentimental but cleansing love of the father who welcomes the prodigal son hame, knowing full well that the prodigal has made a thoroughgoing mess of his life by his selfishness, his "autonomy," his conviction that nothing, including himself, really counts.
"If you live today you breathe in nihilism...it's the gas you breathe," wrote Flannery O'Connor; "If I hadn't had the Church to fight it with or to tell me the necessity of fighting it, I would be the stinkingest logical positivist you ever saw right now." So, I expect, would I. So, perhaps, would you. So here's one more way to think about Catholicism and its distinctive optic on the world and on us: Catholicism is an antidote to nihilism. And by "nihilism," I mean, not the sour, dark, often violent nihilism of Nietzsche and Sartre, but what my friend, the late Father Ernest Fortin (who borrowed the term from his friend Alan Bloom) used to call "debonair nihilism": the nihilism that enjoys itself on the way to oblivion, convinced that all of this�the world, us, relationships, sex, beauty, history�is really just a cosmic joke. Against the nihilist claim that nothing is of consequence, Catholicism insists that everything is of consequence, because everything has been redeemed by Christ....
November 15, 2008
The bar has been set, Dems...
I think it is about time to update my list of the accomplishments of President George W Bush. Just so we will have a baseline to judge other presidents of the new millennium...
Global War on Terror
- Moral clarity!
- Willing to FIGHT. Sticks with decisions when weak sisters are whimpering and caving.
- Two of the worst tyrannies in the world overthrown...50 million liberated! (He's the REAL anti-fascist!)
- Supported the "Surge" and Gen. Petraeus, against Dems who wanted to hand victory to al-Qaeda.
- No domestic terror attacks since 9/11.
- Many successful attacks on Al Qaeda and other terror groups, and their funding.
- Iraq Campaign has utterly transformed WOT, as Islamist groups were forced to react to OUR move, forced to fight us where we have our best forces. Also, Iran now has US forces on both sides.
- Patriot Act, and improved foreign surveillance for the wireless age.
- Work begun on Missile Defense. Outdated Cold-War Missile Defense treaty ended
- Bush Doctrine: Updated the Westphalian system, establishing the principle that national sovereignty is dependent on democratic legitimacy.
- PSI & Caspian Guard. Libya out of the WMD game.
- Syria out of Lebanon. Democratic stirrings all across the Islamic world. (These, alas, have been undercut by pro-tyranny Dems.)
- Refused to deal with Arafat.
- Expressed appreciation of our military in countless small and large ways. (Often privately, without any publicity.)
- Established a template for the WOT, which future presidents will follow. (I predict.)
Foreign policy and trade
- "Axis of Good". Major new alignment with traditional Anglospheric allies, and also Poland, India, Brazil, Indonesia, a newly-militarizing Japan, etc. Moved away from reliance on dying nihilist Europe. This will be comparable to the North Atlantic Alliance of the Cold War era.
- Especially, the alliance with India. Game changer!
- Rejected ICC
- Openly said we will defend Taiwan.
- Strong push to stop sex-trafficking and slavery
- Big push against HIV/AIDS in Africa
- Strengthened alliance with Colombia. Gave them aid against communist terrorists.
- Many free trade agreements, which get almost no notice, though everyone screamed about the (soon ended) steel tariffs.
- CAFTA. Free-trade agreement with Chile
- Reformed foreign aid to focus on results, accountability, transparency, and anti-corruption and pro-democracy requirements.
Economy and "Ownership Society"
- Ownership Society initiatives. [link, link]
- Numerous substantive tax cuts--result, economic recovery. ---[Yes, I know about the current problems---those were mostly caused by Dems, (read this) and our economy will sooner or later shrug them off and continue the astonishing upward trajectory that began with the Reagan tax cuts. Unless Dems increase taxes] The rich are paying a higher percentage of taxes than when Bush elected.
- Supported tort reform
- HSA's are now a reality, after being blocked for decades by Dems.
- Attempted to start to fix Social Security. (First president ever to have the guts to.)
- Moral clarity!
- Faith-based initiatives: Fought the notion that "separation of church and state" should mean atheism as our state religion.
- Signed Partial Birth Abortion ban and ban on funding abortions through UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund).
- Restored Mexico City agreement.
- Stopped Fed funding for new lines of embryonic stem cells; a strong symbolic victory for the Culture of Life. INCREASED funding for stem cell research.
- HHS pushed into abstinence education.
- Ended the hypocrisy of "supporting" the Kyoto Treaty, which was rejected by the Senate 95-0 during Clinton's time.
- US carbon emissions decreased.
- Healthy Forests Initiative
- Justices Roberts and Alito!
- Nominated many excellent appellate judges.
White House and Executive Branch
- Restored dignity to White House! No more sleaze and scandals, pardon-selling, or frat-boy antics. No jeans in WH.
- forced "merit" hiring and promotion onto a big chunk of the Fed bureaucracy. Made it much easier for private firms to bid for work now done by Civil Service.
- First president ever to have a VP doing real work in the administration--in fact the Cheney's are a whole amazing family of conservatives working for us.
- NCLB, which is now starting to have real positive effects as public schools are forced to meet standards. (More improvement in reading scores in five years than in the previous 28 combined)
- Put federal weight behind teaching of Phonics.
- Vouchers for DC, and for Katrina victims.
- Pushed federal arts funding away from nihilism towards.....art! (Farewell Mapplethorpe, Hello Shakespeare)
- Defeated two wretched Democrat candidates.
- Saved us from having John McCain as Republican candidate in 2000! (Now we see! Thank you Karl and George.)
- Gave us a smart bookish First Lady we can be proud of.
- Campaigns not only to get himself re-elected but also to help other Republican candidates
I forgot who sent me this...maybe it was Mike P. ---Thanks!
Update: Of course there are things about the Bush Administration I disagree with or would change. But that's another topic.
November 13, 2008
Tolerant and diverse Obamanoids.....
This John Kass column doesn't surprise me a bit. Living in SF, I get to see plenty of this kind of thing, and San Francisco isn't really bad compared with--ugh! Barf!-- "affluent suburbs." You have to be somewhat tolerant to live in the City, because there's such a smorgasbord of different types and groups here. If you have a bunch of white liberal elitists living together, then you get the real bigots. (And worse than the bigotry is the way they ooze the butter of self-satisfaction from every pore. Gag me with a silver spoon!) [Thanx to Bookworm]
A liberal gal we know (one with an atypically strong self-image, and a Republican boyfriend) was telling me the other day about her bewilderment at many of her liberal friends, whose reaction to Republicans and opposing ideas was total shut-out: "I don't want to hear it!" I just nodded my head and said Ummm hmmm. That's the era we are in. The Republic is probably doomed, but at least I have the satisfaction of not being part of the idiocy.
...Catherine Vogt, 14, is an Illinois 8th grader, the daughter of a liberal mom and a conservative dad. She wanted to conduct an experiment in political tolerance and diversity of opinion at her school in the liberal suburb of Oak Park.
She noticed that fellow students at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama for president. His campaign kept preaching 'inclusion,' and she decided to see how included she could be.
So just before the election, Catherine consulted with her history teacher, then bravely wore a unique T-shirt to school and recorded the comments of teachers and students in her journal. The T-shirt bore the simple yet quite subversive words drawn with a red marker:
'I was just really curious how they'd react to something that different, because a lot of people at my school wore Obama shirts and they are big Obama supporters,' Catherine told us. 'I just really wanted to see what their reaction would be.'
Immediately, Catherine learned she was stupid for wearing a shirt with Republican John McCain's name. Not merely stupid. Very stupid.
'People were upset. But they started saying things, calling me very stupid, telling me my shirt was stupid and I shouldn't be wearing it,' Catherine said. Then it got worse.
'One person told me to go die. It was a lot of dying. A lot of comments about how I should be killed,' Catherine said, of the tolerance in Oak Park.
But students weren't the only ones surprised that she wore a shirt supporting McCain.
'In one class, I had one teacher say she will not judge me for my choice, but that she was surprised that I supported McCain,' Catherine said.
If Catherine was shocked by such passive-aggressive threats from instructors, just wait until she goes to college.
'Later, that teacher found out about the experiment and said she was embarrassed because she knew I was writing down what she said,' Catherine said.
One student suggested that she be put up on a cross for her political beliefs.
'He said, 'You should be crucifixed.' It was kind of funny because, I was like, don't you mean 'crucified?' ' Catherine said.
Other entries in her notebook involved suggestions by classmates that she be 'burned with her shirt on' for 'being a filthy-rich Republican.'
Some said that because she supported McCain, by extension she supported a plan by deranged skinheads to kill Obama before the election. And I thought such politicized logic was confined to American newsrooms. Yet Catherine refused to argue with her peers. She didn't want to jeopardize her experiment.....
The Africa thing was a hoax...
It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.
Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. 'Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,' Mr. Shuster said.
Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn't exist. His blog does, but it's a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow � the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy � is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.
And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.....
Tim Blair is still catching "journalists" reporting the lie that President Bush posed with a plastic turkey in Iraq in 2003! Perhaps he can start a Palin/Africa watch too, since I'd guess a lot of people will find this "too good to check" even after it's been checked and debunked...
Hmmm. Perhaps I should bill myself as a "Fellow of the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy!" It has a nice sound. Maybe "Senior Fellow." Or perhaps "Visiting Scholar?" That's nice and slippery, hard to pin-down... What do you think?
Charlene recommends this Remembrance Day photo essay at Andrew Cusack's blog. It includes photos of the last three living British veterans of WWI, and celebrations around the globe...
November 11, 2008
But... He's "shredding our civil liberties!"Shannon Love:
....Let the rehabilitation of Bush begin! For the past 8 years, the most strident and hysterical leftist criticism of Bush has centered on his intelligence policies which leftists assured us arose purely out of a callous disregard for civil liberties and human rights, if not outright evil.
Now we read this from the WSJ [h/t Instapundit]:President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say... They say he is likely to fill key intelligence posts with pragmatists.Whoa, whoa whoa! Pragmatic? Bush's polices are suddenly pragmatic? What about the incessant ranting for years that Bush had gone far beyond any practical necessity?
Poof, it's gone. It's gone because it has fulfilled its purpose. Leftists demonized and distorted Bush's policies for one of two reasons: (1) They were idiots who didn't understand modern technology and conditions or (2) they sought to demonize Bush for their own political gain. I think Obama operates from Reason 2. Now that the responsibility for national security falls in his lap, the steps that Bush took to bring intelligence methods and law into the 21st Century suddenly look like nothing but common sense. Obama will not risk American lives and his own legacy merely to pander to leftist hysterics who still think everyone communicates over analog phone lines....
In advance, I spit with utmost contempt on all you leftists and "Democrats" who are going to shrug off Obama's doing the very same things that you howled in fake-outrage over Bush doing... You shit upon this great country in her hour of need, and now that it suits your politics you will take shameless advantage of the selfless labors of real men and women....
Surprise! Obama lied.....
We still know little about what sort of President Obama is going to be. But there a certain things leftists always tend towards, and we can be almost certain they will make themselves known in the coming months. One of them is hating Jews and Israel...
Today we got some concrete evidence...
...After it became known Malley was working on the campaign and the ensuing backlash, the Obama campaign immediately issued a statement saying Malley was only giving the campaign "informal advice."
Then in May, the London Times reported that Malley � who wasn't supposed to be working on the campaign � had been sacked from a post on the campaign's Middle East advisory council because he had recently held meetings with Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
Well now sources are reporting "Aides said Obama had sent senior foreign policy adviser Robert Malley to Egypt and Syria over the last few weeks to outline the Democratic candidate's policy on the Middle East."...
There's going to be lots of this kind of thing over the next four years. The new administration will be filled with leftists, and so they won't be able to help it. Politically it is just not smart to have toxic swine like Malley sucking up to tyrants and terrorists. But you watch. You will see the Obama crowd doing this over and over---and then lying like crazy to cover up their Jew-hatred...
And "liberal Jews" will be squirming and wriggling and doing everything they can to fudge the issue, even though it means helping people who would be delighted to saw their heads off with rusty knives, and then circulate the video-tape...
November 10, 2008
End-of-World postponed 'till next year...
Thanks to Matthew Hoy, a spiffy chart of sea-ice extent since 2002, when NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Aqua Satellite satellite was launched. The red line that ends at November is 2008. You will see that it is currently above the other lines. (Be good chaps now, and pretend you don't notice---It's for the children.)
I need to retract one criticism I have made of Mr Obama. I wrote that no one has come forward with any stories of the little good deeds that people do without expecting recompense or praise.
A friend sent me a link that mentions such stories...
....Good stories about Obama abound; from his personal relationship with his Secret Service agents (he invites them into his home to watch sports, and shoots hoops with them) to the story about how, more than twenty years ago, while standing in the check-in line at an airport, Obama paid a $100 baggage surcharge for a stranger who was broke and stuck. (Obama was virtually penniless himself in those days.) Years later after he became a senator, that stranger recognized Obama's picture and wrote to him to thank him. She received a kindly note back from the senator. (The story only surfaced because the person, who lives in Norway, told a local newspaper after Obama ran for the presidency. The paper published a photograph of this lady proudly displaying Senator Obama's letter.)...
Make of it what you will. It's not conclusive evidence, but it is evidence. The rest of the article is preposterous Obama-worship, of the sort I could spend half a day tearing to shreds, if I didn't have to do things like work for a living....
We all criticize McCain, but keep this in mind...
This is important to keep in mind. From Now it's our turn to hope, by William Kristol...
...In politics, as one suspects in life, no good deed goes unpunished. John McCain staked everything on success in Iraq. He advocated the surge publicly and made the case for it privately. He defended it passionately and intelligently, and was indispensable in beating back critics, shoring up nervous supporters, and keeping enough public support for the surge so the Democratic party's repeated efforts to abort it failed.
The surge worked. It worked better than even its proponents expected. The strategic and moral calamity of an American withdrawal in defeat from the central front in the war on Islamic jihadism was averted. The positive outcome of a reasonably stable, democratic, and friendly Iraq is now in sight. Thanks in large part to John McCain, we did not have a second Vietnam-like humiliation. Thanks in large part to John McCain, the United States is on the verge of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
And as a result of the remarkable progress in Iraq over the past two years--progress whose possibility was scoffed at and whose reality was then denied by all leading Democrats except Joe Lieberman--Iraq faded as an issue in the presidential race. And with it, the critical question of who should be commander in chief also receded. By the fall of 2008, McCain got no credit for one of the great acts of statesmanship by a senator--let alone a senator who was also a presidential candidate--in American history...
And it is important to realize that when he mentions a "Vietnam-like humiliation," it is precisely because of such that we are now fighting a global war. Vietnam, the Iran hostage crisis, Beirut, Somalia... We have repeatedly flinched away from war and casualties, and the result was something far worse. We TOLD the terrorists in no uncertain terms that we could be safely attacked. We TOLD the world that we were afraid to fight for our civilization, and the bad guys took note. And so we have to fight.
The success of the "Surge" will make future wars less likely. John McCain is a true Christian pacifist.
The people who label themselves "pacifists" and "anti-war activists" are warmongers. They are making future wars much more likely. What they are doing is profoundly twisted and evil. It is the opposite of Christianity. (And if any lefties and "Democrats" reading this are offended, well, the comments are open. Don't snivel and whine, you cowards. Make a case! Show how I'm I'm wrong.)
November 9, 2008
We loved this film...
I don't normally recommend films, because I don't normally watch them. I'm weird that way. But I made an exception for Russian Ark .
It is technically mind-boggling; 90 minutes shot in one continuous take, moving through many rooms of the Winter Palace, which is now the main part of the Hermitage Museum. And this includes enormous and complex scenes with hundreds of richly costumed actors.
The film also moves through time, weaving back and forth over 300 years, from Peter the Great, to modern museum rooms. And we accompany a skeptical 19th Century European, the Marquis, dressed in black, who converses with a ghostly narrator, discussing Russia and Russian culture. He is almost invisible to the actors, who don't see him most of the time.
The technical feat is no mere gimmick; in fact you soon forget about it and sink into the odd and delightful and dreamlike world of the film. If you are into history, you must not miss it. The costumes, the very faces, are perfect--never like modern people in period dress. (And if you are one of those poor souls who need a plot....you will probably hate it!)
...these cute little egg-poaching cups. You just float the cups in simmering water, crack the eggs into them, and cover...
Like a chom it voiks....
The Apples of the Hesperides...On Being Catholic, by Thomas Howard...
...get in touch
With what? Oneself? Many go to the desert or to the therapist with just such a quarry in mind. But "myself" turns out either to be eluding me, like the egg in Alice in Wonderland, or to be a less satisfactory prize than I had supposed, our own epoch having drilled into me the notion that the question "who am I" is the Golden Key.
Not so , says history. Not so say the sages. Not so, say all the myths. The quest for yourself leads to solitude. It is a vortex from which escape is almost impossible. On and on you will go, from the therapist to the medicine man, rifling into your viscera, swallowing the pills, identifying the syndromes and neuroses, discovering how you have been victimized and abused, and embarking on ever fresh techniques. But, like Palomides chasing his chimera, never apprehending your quarry...
Alas! you mortal soul, the voice of the bard cries out to us. It is not yourself but rather the Apples of the Hesperides that you seek. It is Arcadia, say the poets. It is the Garden of Adonis. It is the Well at the World's End. It is the Grail.
No no, whisper the therapists: those are illusions wrought from the fever of your own estrangement from yourself.
Wrong, say the bards and the prophets, the sages and the seers: you lost yourself because you had, long before, lost the god.
Who is he?
The answer, from far beyond the myths and oracles and pantheons, comes to us from the burning bush: I Am That I Am....
"A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death -- the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders, we are not going to be judged."
-- Czeslaw Milosz (pronounced CHESS-wahf MEE-wosh)
(I saved this from a long-ago post by long-ago blogger Arthur Chrenkoff)
November 8, 2008
Drives me nuts...
This is from a good piece by Dafydd....
..But let's broaden this out a bit. It doesn't matter even if a candidate has a comprehensive economic policy, if he's unable to communicate it effectively to voters. And everything said about McCain's inability to communicate a comprehensive economic policy (whether or not he had one) can also be said about his inability to communicate a comprehensive policy on energy (drill everywhere -- except ANWR), on climate change (his "drill, baby, drill" motto conflicts with his insistance that globaloney is real and the most urgent problem we face), on the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis (fight the war with everything we have -- but don't harshly interrogate captured terrorists, don't hold military tribunals, close Guantanamo Bay, and release the prisoners), on immigration (he argued for a process to allow eventual legalization of illegal aliens but never explained how that helps the American economy or national security)...
I remain filled with scorn and disgust at the ability of Obama to remain a cypher, and the stupidity of the American people in going along with it. But McCain is only good in comparison.
We still don't know what McCain would have been like as President. Not because he is hiding stuff like Obama is, but because his past positions don't give much clue to what his future ones would be. They don't reveal any guiding principles that organize and predict his positions. In fact they seem pretty random...
I sure hope Sarah turns to to be better in this regard. I'm pretty sure she will. But she ought to hire me as her official armchair theorist....
Update: And there's this, by Andrew McCarthy...
Sen. McCain did not allow a nanosecond to go buy without issuing a sanctimonius, full-throated condemnation of any Republican who dared use Sen. Obama's middle name, mention Jeremiah Wright, or otherwise trash The One.
So where is the vigorous defense of his running-mate?
November 7, 2008
This evening's quote...
I can see the future, and it's headlined "48% of Americans still racist."�
November 6, 2008
This makes me think about "debating" with liberals...(An anonymous commenter posted this here long ago.)
Plato knew about nailing jello
...For, in accordance with their text-books, they are always in motion; but as for dwelling upon an argument or a question, and quietly asking and answering in turn, they can no more do so than they can fly; or rather, the determination of these fellows not to have a particle of rest in them is more than the utmost powers of negation can express. If you ask any of them a question, he will produce, as from a quiver, sayings brief and dark, and shoot them at you; and if you inquire the reason of what he has said, you will be hit by some other new-fangled word, and will make no way with any of them, nor they with one another; their great care is, not to allow of any settled principle either in their arguments or in their minds, conceiving, as I imagine, that any such principle would be stationary; for they are at war with the stationary, and do what they can to drive it out everywhere...
Chew on this morsel of hope-n-change, chomskies....
Democratic leaders are tamping down on expectations for rapid change and trying to signal they will place a calm hand on the nation's tiller.
"The country must be governed from the middle," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday. Repeating themes from election night, she said she plans to emphasize "civility" and "fiscal responsibility."
Her comments emphasized that after an election consistently referred to as "historic," Democrats face the daunting task of dealing with the plunging economy and two wars.
Yet, they face massive expectations for change and deep-seated fears of overreaching. But senior aides say they've learned from the mistakes of the past. Nearly every member of the current Democratic leadership in the House served through the 1992 election, when Bill Clinton was elected president. Two years later, the GOP gained control of Congress.
More recently, they've watched Republicans go from complete dominance to minority status in the space of two elections.
"The difference is we have the benefit of experience in seeing what happens when you gain control," said a senior Democratic aide. "I do not envision a scenario where we'd go off on an ideological mission in an undisciplined way."...
I guess this means FOCA and Card Check are on hold. Maybe the courts can discover that they are "rights" enshrined on the Constitution...
November 5, 2008
Just resting on my oars a bit...
Not giving up on anything...
It's an odd situation we are in, politically. We've never elected a cypher before. I have lots of speculations, but nothing clever to say at the moment...
Charlene said this morning, "I hope the Iraqis appreciate what we Republicans have sacrificed for them." Well, whether they do or not, we did the right thing, and that is a good feeling. How I despise the finger-to-the-wind types like Obama who switch positions back and forth depending on what plays well at the moment.
November 4, 2008
I just discovered a most useful locution!
It's hard to talk about something if it doesn't have a name. And that's been the case with the curious men's fashion of intentionally looking like one has not shaved for several days.
I've been re-reading my old Anthony Price books. Just to get me in the mood for the brave new Obama Administration, y'know, should that come to pass. And I came across the term: "designer-stubble!" Perfect.
Now my next question is, do they have special electric shavers that leave stubble of a certain desired length? So you can shave every day and always look unshaven in the same fashionable way??
So let's wait and see who apologizes...
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A report has cleared Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of ethics violations in the firing of her public safety commissioner. Released Monday, the report says there is no probable cause to believe Palin or any other state official violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with the firing. The report was prepared by Timothy Petumenos, an independent counsel for the Alaska Personnel Board.
The previous "report" was an obvious smear. It was by the hired investigator alone, and had no official imprimatur. Now the official report comes out, timed to be too late to effect the election.
I expect no apologies from you cowardly fake-progressives who have been claiming that Governor Palin has "serious ethical problems" in Alaska. And seeing-no-evil in Chicago politics...
November 3, 2008
Dead fish floating up....
I will make now a prediction about one thing we will see in the event of an Obama Presidency, and stick by it: Obama will never be free of his past.
During the 8 years of the Bush presidency, we have heard relatively little new information about his pre-presidential career, with the exception of the 2004 effort to dig further into his Texas Air National Guard service to contrast him with John Kerry. There's a reason for this: when Bush ran for President in 2000, the media crawled all over whatever they could find, most famously culminating in the story of his 1976 DUI arrest that broke the week of the election.
Much the same was true of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. The press dealt mostly with their tenure in office, having already fully vetted them prior to their elections. We have seen in recent months the same process for Sarah Palin, with every aspect of her life being turned over by investigative reporters. And of course, John McCain as well.
Contrast the Clinton Administration - during the Clinton years, we had a steady stream of stories, often starting either with legal processes or with reportage by conservative media outlets, bringing us new information about the Clintons' past, ranging from Hillary's 1978 commodities investment (which was fully concealed during the 1992 campaign by concealment of f the Clintons' tax returns) to the ins and outs of the Whitewater investigation to Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick to things like the Mena airport saga that came out gradually....
Me, I would not want to be a chomsky right now, and be facing four years of subliminal nervousness, wondering about the dead fish that will be floating to the surface from time to time. It's much smarter to be open and honest, than to try to pull a fast one...
I'm sure no RJ reader needs this sort of reminder, but it is quite possible that a lot of the polls are disinformation, for the purpose of vote suppression... To persuade Republicans to just give up in discouragement.
And I'm sure the vile "news" media will be announcing early on that Obama has an overwhelming lead, whether he does or not. To persuade us westerners to just say, "The heck with it."
VOTE ANYWAY.My guess is that Obama will be elected. And when he is it will be claimed immediately that he has a MANDATE for all the leftist schemes that he hasn't had the guts and honesty to actually run on. Things that he has done his best to hide during the election.
VOTE ANYWAY. That will make it slightly harder for lying Dems to say the voters really want them to bankrupt the coal industry and raise electricity prices. (They will say it even if he wins by one vote, but it will be a harder sell...)
Makes 'em feel cool...
....But I was struck by all the e-mails that came from the left: many of them seething with hate, and many of them � surprisingly enough � defending communism. It's not that these readers thought I had defamed Barack Obama; they thought I had defamed communism. Nine decades of killing fields, and still . . . well, never mind....
That doesn't surprise me. There are tons of people around here like that. It's wierd, really. None of them will ever call themselves communists, but anything commie has a glow for them. It gives them a buzz of pleasure to say nice things about Mao or Castro. Sort of like they are fans of a rock band, who never personally endorse their sex-drugs-violence drenched suicidal life-stye, no no no.... but obviously enjoy being close to the thrilling and dirty ambience.
Next, little stuffed animal toys....
Nibras Kazimi, on the New official Obama campaign T-Shirt, the slogan of which reads: "One Voice Can Change The World".
I really don't know what to say to this. I'm speechless. It's like a freshmen orientation slogan at a liberal arts college.
America, where are the grown-ups?
Good question. Democrats: party of cutesy banality....
November 2, 2008
Does this say it all or does this say it all?
Jay Nordlinger, at The Corner:
Senator Obama said this about John McCain: "By the end of the week, he'll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich." That's interesting. Obama evidently thinks of communists as people who share. I think of them as people who kill.
"The Truth is Always Pastoral"
A excerpt from a post by Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
...7). Anyone who comes in the Catholic Church thinking that they will find clouds of angels at Mass dressed as parishioners; hordes of perfect saints kneeling for communion; seminaries packed with angelic young men burning to be priests; a parish hall stacked to the ceiling with morally pure people eager to serve; and a priest without flaw or blemish, well, you're cracked and you probably need to go back and try again. Telling Catholics that they aren't perfect makes as much sense as telling fish they're wet. We know already. Move on.
8). Of the hundreds of priests and religious I know, I know two who could count as saints right now. The rest of us are deeply flawed, impure, struggling creatures who know all too well that we fail utterly to meet the basic standards of holiness. For that matter: so do you. Get in line.
9). The Catholic Church owes no one a revision of her doctrine or dogma. She didn't change to save most of Europe from becoming Protestant, why would you imagine that she would change just to get you in one of her parishes?
10). If you want to become Catholic, do it. But do it because you think the Church teaches the true faith. If a cranky priest on a blogsite is enough to keep you from embracing the truth of the faith, then two things are painfully clear: 1) you do not believe the Church teaches the faith; 2) and you care more about expresssing your hurt consumer feelings than you do for your immortal soul.
Fr. Philip, OP
UPDATE: Yes, I am a priest, and a huge part of my ministry is to console, to be present, to advise, and to try my best to shine out the light of Christ. As a Dominican friar, I do all of that first and best by telling the truth! The best pastoral approach is always to tell the truth, so please, forget the notion that "to be pastoral" is somehow opposed to "telling the truth" or "teaching the faith."
The Truth is Always Pastoral.
November 1, 2008
"Who feels threatened?"
This piece, by Caroline Glick of the The Jerusalem Post, The Threat of a Jewish Army, is intensely interesting to me, because I'm obsessed with the broad movements of Western Civilization. Thanks to Richard Fernandez, who writes that Israel is the "canary in the coalmine."�
Glick writes: "The Left's vision of Israel as an atheistic, multicultural, morally relativist society holds little attraction for most Israelis." I sure hope so, since that's the Left's vision of America too. My guess is that the chomskys are going to be very disappointed in the results if their current "Manchurian Candidate" is elected He will have about as much success in advancing socialism as Clinton did. His judicial appointees will do a lot by legislating from the bench, since the vile measures of the Left rarely find favor with American voters they despise. That will be an evil thing, but he won't do any better with his version of HillaryCare than Bill did.
....Under the title "Without a Lord of (Military) Hosts," the paper demanded that IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi "put the military rabbinate in its place" and force it to limit its activities to ensuring that IDF grub is kosher and that religious soldiers have what they need to observe religious laws. Haaretz further insisted that the position of chief rabbi be cancelled and that the position of "chief religious services officer" be created in its place. As the editorial put it, "The injection of a religious dimension into the Israel Defense Forces' goals constitutes a serious internal threat."
The real question is, who feels threatened? The Haaretz editorial claimed that Israel "has a secular majority, which would be outraged if anyone tried to change its way of life through religious coercion." But this is untrue and Haaretz's editors know it.
They know it because last November Haaretz published the results of a survey conducted by the Israeli Democracy Institute regarding how Israeli Jews self-identify on the secular-religious spectrum. The results of that survey showed that only twenty percent of Israelis classify themselves as secular. Eighty percent of Israelis view themselves as either religious or traditional.
Rabbi Ronski himself is the most beloved and charismatic IDF chief rabbi since Rabbi Shmuel Goren, who served as chief rabbi during the Six-Day War. Rabbi Ronski, 56, regularly risks his life by accompanying combat units on missions. He doesn't simply show up. The soldiers ask him to join them.
The popularity of leaders like Rabbi Ronski is an unbearable affront to the Israeli Left. The enthusiasm with which young Israelis embrace their Jewish heritage is a direct assault on the Left's demand for cultural supremacy. But what the Left refuses to acknowledge is the simple fact that Israeli society has never accepted their views of what Israel is supposed to be.
Until the mid-1970s, most of today's leftists were Labor Zionists. They believed Israeli society followed them both for their Zionism and for their socialism. But Israeli society never bought into the Left's utopian social theories. Labor Zionists were the cultural avant-garde because they were Zionists.
When, in the late 1970s, the Labor Zionist movement began disavowing Zionism, it became increasingly estranged from the general public. Religious Zionists like Rabbi Ronski are followed while the leftist cultural elites are ignored because religious Zionists today are the most outspoken advocates of values shared by the vast majority of Israelis.
The Left's vision of Israel as an atheistic, multicultural, morally relativist society holds little attraction for most Israelis. So to reassert their cultural superiority, leftists have increasingly taken to bullying and intimidating the rest of the country to toe their line. The seasonal assaults on religious soldiers are simply one aspect of their larger culture war against Israeli society as a whole.
"When, in the late 1970s, the Labor Zionist movement began disavowing Zionism, it became increasingly estranged from the general public..." Substitute "Democrat Party" for Labor-Zionist, and "Christianity/Judaism" for Zionism, and you describe current American politics. I bet we will be seeing more attacks on the US military for having too many Christians...