January 31, 2009
New Cabinet post: Department of People-elimination,
..."It will reduces costs," Nancy Pelosi said on This Week, in reference to the "stimulus" rationale for sending millions of dollars to the states for "family planning."
What would once have been considered an astonishingly chilly and incomprehensible stretch is now blandly stated liberal policy.
The full title of Jonathan Swift's work, A Modest Proposal, was, For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden to their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public. Change a few of the words and it could be a Democratic Party policy paper. Swift suggested that 18th-century Ireland stimulate its economy by turning children into food for the wealthy. Pelosi proposes stimulating the U.S. economy by eliminating them....
...Pelosi has helpfully if dimly blurted out what's often implicit in many of the left's schemes for human improvement: that, after all the rhetorical bells and whistles have fallen silent, the final solution concealed within the schemes is to eliminate people.
Alan Weisman's The World Without Us isn't a horrifying thesis to the liberal elite but enjoyable beach reading. Al Gore lists population control as the first solution to global warming and they nod and give him a Nobel Prize.
They name awards after eugenicists like Margaret Sanger. "Unwanted" children are immediately seen as an unspeakable burden. Pregnancy is a punishment, and fertility is little more than a disease. Pelosi's gaffe illustrates the extent to which eugenics and economics merge in the liberal utilitarian mind. Malthus lives.
Hillary Clinton's State Department will soon treat people-elimination, in one form or another, as "development."...
The Lefist obsession with reducing population doesn't make sense if you think of it as "liberalism." But it makes perfect sense if you realize that most leftists (you've heard this from me before--sorry) are really self-worshippers, who care for no cause higher than themselves. I can easily slip into that frame of mind myself, and then it seems obvious that a lot of people should just vanish. Think how much less crowded the freeways would be!
All this is a good example of how there is terrible moral danger in a vague "do-gooder" attitude. What's that Google motto? "Don't be evil"? Something like that. That kind of thinking is a road that leads to....being evil. Morality isn't something you can just take for granted. Your conscience has to be educated. And it has to be exercised. If it isn't you just drift into the path of least resistance, a la Pelosi, and start thinking what a better world it would be if those icky poor people would just stop being born...
Thise is what "Democrats" were (and are) against...
...The turnout is expected to be strong even in Sunni areas. The head of the Iraqi electoral commission in Anbar province - a centre of the Sunni resistance to the US occupation - said he was expecting a 60% turnout.
Fewer than 2% voted in the 2005 election, with the result that Shia and Kurdish parties took control of parliament. Some Sunnis, like Khaled al-Azemi, said the boycott last time had been a mistake. "We lost a lot because we didn't vote and we saw the result - sectarian violence" he told the BBC. "That's why we want to vote now to avoid the mistakes of the past." The drawing of alienated Sunnis back into the political arena is one of the big changes these elections will crystallise, the BBC's Jim Muir reports from Baghdad.
On the Shia side, the results will also be closely watched amid signs that many voters intend to turn away from the big religious factions and towards nationalist or secular ones....
Thank you President Bush, for standing up for freedom and democracy, even for the "inferior races" that leftists despise. Democracy in Iraq may fail in the future, and it will certainly be more rough and trouble-plagued than ours. (But that's true of all of the poorer democracies.)
But it is still a million times better than what life was like under Saddam. Or under al-Qaeda, as they discovered in places like al Anbar. It was and is something worth fighting for.
January 30, 2009
Nothing good ever begins with the word "social."
It's a pity we no longer have a liberal in the White House...Mark Steyn, talking on the Hugh Hewitt show about Obama's al-Arabiya interview...
Hugh Hewitt: A lot of people have missed the Obama appeal to Arabiya, and the fact that he didn't bring up its gender apartheid, Christopher Hitchens calls it. It's where gays are executed. And he made no rebuke to these societies. I found it astonishing, Mark Steyn. What did you think?
Mark Steyn: Well, you don't have to be gay, an oppressed homosexual about to be executed. You don't have to be a woman who's being sold to an arranged child marriage. You just have to be a moderate, centrist Arab intellectual in, say, Cairo or Amman, and you listen to Obama sucking up to these creeps, and there's nothing for you in it. What he's doing is he says, he's saying to hell with the Bush freedom agenda. We just want to get back to schmoozing the feted Arab dictatorships and the mullahs in Tehran all over again. And so if you're a gay or a woman, you're out of there. And as I said, if you're a moderate Arab who just would like to have a free society in Cairo or Amman or wherever, you're out of it, too. You're on the Obama horizon. It was a pathetic, disgraceful Jimmy Carter speech.
Hugh Hewitt: I agree with this, and he did it on the day that the Iranians arrested those horrible criminals in Tehran who allowed the women soccer players to play with the men soccer players....
Mark Steyn: ....I think in fact, on that al-Arabiya interview, he just sounded basically way out of his league. And I hope someone brings him up to speed soon, because going around giving those interviews, as I said, he was talking about getting us back to thirty years ago. Well, thirty years ago, they were taking Americans hostage in Tehran. Thirty years ago, Jimmy Carter was communicating weakness to the world, and the Ayatollah rightly concluded these Americans are pushovers. And Obama shouldn't be doing that message all over again. [Transcript of the whole interview here.]
"A pathetic, disgraceful Jimmy Carter speech." Exactly.
It's important to remember how strongly Bush was pressuring the Middle East tyrants towards democracy and human rights, before the Democrat/al-Qaeda Alliance cut the ground from under him. Now we get a "Democrat" sucking up to dictators in the true Carter style.
I'm sure glad I'm not a part of such an evil party.
January 29, 2009
It's no longer just that the inmates are running the asylum...
...It's that they elect those among themselves who are mentally retarded to provide leadership.
...Berkeley's public library will face a showdown with the city's Peace and Justice Commission tonight over whether a service contract for the book check-out system violates the city's nuclear-free ordinance. The dispute centers on a five-year, $63,000 contract the library wants to sign with 3M, an international technology company based in Minnesota, to service five scanner machines library patrons use to check out books.
But 3M, a company with operations in 60 countries, refused to sign Berkeley's nuclear-free disclosure form as required by the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act passed by voters in 1986.
As a result, the library's self-checkout machines have not been serviced in about six months. Library officials say 3M is the only company authorized by the manufacturer to fix the machines, which were purchased in 2004.
The library asked the Peace and Justice Commission for a waiver, but at its Jan. 5 meeting the commission voted 7-1, with two abstentions, to reject the request. The library is now appealing the decision to the City Council...
....The Peace and Justice Commission does not see it that way. Commissioners said the library should try harder to find a company that complies with the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act. "We really mean it when we say we don't want to be part of the nuclear machinery," said commission member George Lippman. "The act is meant to be a blow against nuclear war. We're serious about upholding that."...
It's not a "blow against nuclear war." None of those fake-pacifists care about nuclear weapons in Russia or China or Pakistan. None of them gave any encouragement or support to President Bush in his efforts to diplomatically halt nuclear weapons development in Iran or North Korea.
And they are perfectly happy to be protected by the US military, nukes and all. But in the style of snotty teenagers who accept support from their parents as their due, while pretending to be independent and special.
(Via Mark Steyn)
January 28, 2009
I'm proud to say I've never read Updike...
...Updike was a novelist, not an economist. But the politics with which he infected his craft made him a star.
The media loved Updike because Updike was unsparingly critical of the United States. He castigated it for its greed, its stupidity, its xenophobia. He saw Americans as a group of know-nothing conservatives consumed with money-lust and more typical lust. He saw everyday Americans as hypocrites who thumped both Bibles and the minister's wife.
Updike has been hailed as one of the great American writers. When it comes to American writers, no one surpasses Mark Twain. In his famously brilliant essay, "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses," Twain took James Fenimore Cooper, author of "The Last of the Mohicans," to the woodshed. His words fairly describe Updike:"A work of art? It has no invention; it has no order, system, sequence, or result; it has no lifelikeness, no thrill, no stir, no seeming of reality; its characters are confusedly drawn, and by their acts and words they prove that they are not the sort of people the author claims that they are; its humor is pathetic; its pathos is funny; its conversations are -- oh! indescribable; its love-scenes odious; its English a crime against the language. Counting these out, what is left is Art. I think we must all admit that.
Long before I was even starting to think clearly about such things, I've had an aversion to all those literary globbits that we are required to like. Supposed to like. You know, supposed to like them because our betters who live in New York tell us to. Fatuous people who write for the New York/er/Times/Review of Books.
"He saw Americans as a group of know-nothing conservatives consumed with money-lust and more typical lust. He saw everyday Americans as hypocrites who thumped both Bibles and the minister's wife." And how did he find that out? From other liberals in Manhattan!
I know how this shit works--I live in San Francisco. Everybody can imitate the accent and asininity of a red-neck southern fundamentalist. How? From the movies, or learned from liberal culture. No liberal I've ever heard of would try to actually get to know small-town or conservative Americans. They already know what to think.
January 27, 2009
Stuff that our "news" media decide is not news...
This is old news to those of us who actually care about that great man and his talented family. But those who get their news from those dishonest people called "journalists" or "liberals" will be totally unaware. So I'm doing my tiny bit to spread the word....
...In her book, Now It's My Turn, Mary recounts how her father reacted when she first came out to him: "The first words out of his mouth were exactly the ones I wanted to hear: 'You're my daughter and I love you and I just want you to be happy.'" Later, he would welcome Mary's partner Heather into their family. They sat together at President Bush's first inauguration in 2001, his second in 2005, and even today at President Obama's swearing-in. Heather joined Mary on the stage with the families of the president and vice president when Bush declared victory in 2004. The two women sat together at the White House dinner for Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. In short, in settings both public as well as private, the conservative vice president treated his younger daughter's female partner just as he treated his older daughter's husband: as a member of the family. Cheney didn't just look out for his daughter. He also looked out for other gay people as well. When one of her friends, a Bush supporter, feared he might be "outed" and lose his job when the then-president announced his support for the FMA, she brought up his concerns with her father who told her to "tell this person that if anyone � I don't care who it is � if anyone gives him any trouble, he is to come see me and I'll take care of it." That conservative Republican was willing to go to bat for a gay person. No vice president in history has done so much for gay people as has Dick Cheney. To be sure, Cheney is the first vice president to have an openly gay child. He treats her as gay activists have long wanted parents to treat their gay children � loving them just as they did before they came out, accepting them as they are, and welcoming their same-sex spouses into their families. And it wasn't just in private where Cheney loved and accepted his daughter. In public, he was more than just the proud father of a lesbian daughter. He also spoke out on gay issues, even disagreeing with the then-president to express his opposition to a constitutional amendment the his running mate supported. Yet, when Cheney left office, encomia were not forthcoming from any gay organization. Searches of the websites of the leading gay organizations (e.g.,Human Rights Campaign, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Center for Lesbian Rights) reveal no mention of this historic vice presidency. The leading left-of-center gay bloggers (e.g.,Towleroad, Andrew Sullivan, Pam's House Blend, Joe.My.God, Queerty) were similarly silent. It would have been a lot different if he were a Democrat....
Actually most Republicans are not "homo-phobic." That's just lying propaganda. Those of us who think, for instance, that changing God's sacrament of marriage is a catastrophically bad idea, think that is harmful to gays most of all! Gays are being sold a bill o' goods by lefty activists who want to destroy our civilization. They are just cannon fodder in the assault on the culture, and are the real victims of the campaign to promote so-called gay marriage.
January 25, 2009
The biggest "youth protests" of our time...
...but it's a funny thing. The people who usually want "youts" to march and protest and shake-up the stodgy sclerotic establishment seem oddly unamused. I can't imagine why.
Well, Charlene and I and our daughter Betsy had a great hike on the Walk for Life. I'd guess there were 20k of us. (another estimate says 30k) Lots of families and kids. And I kept thinking of Mark Steyn's phrase, "The future belongs to those who show up for it."
Photo by Elizabeth Weidner
January 24, 2009
All or nothing...
Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: "This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved" (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim "Christian is my name and Catholic my surname," only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.
-- Pope Benedict XV
Well really, who would want a faith that says, "You can take all this stuff cum grano?" Or that you should decide on your own what is true? What's the point?
January 23, 2009
I saved this quote more than 3 years ago...
And, surprise, surprise...it still fits...
Patrick Hynes obviously doesn't understand the basic rules of political journalism. How many times do we have to explain it? Every election that goes badly for the Republicans is the fault of social conservatives. Every such election is the death knell of the social Right. The 1992 election marked the end of the Christian conservative moment in American politics. The 1998 election, too. And now the 2005 election. Once Hynes has gotten this down, we can work on the corollary: When Republicans win elections, the big story is the danger that social-conservative excess poses to them.
It's been pretty grim-yet-funny seeing the nattering nabobs of elite conservatism and "centrism" opining that we have to rebuild the Republican party by jettisoning all that old conservative stuff about morality and God that's keeping us from hanging with the cool kids... So embarrassing and old-fashioned.
They keep hoping, but the tiresome stuff just won't go away...
January 21, 2009
Add one more to the lonnnng list...
...ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Russia and neighboring Central Asian nations have agreed to let supplies pass through their territory to American soldiers in Afghanistan, lessening Washington's dependence on dangerous routes through Pakistan, a top U.S. commander said Tuesday.
Securing alternative routes to landlocked Afghanistan has taken on added urgency this year as the United States prepares to double troop numbers there to 60,000 to battle a resurgent Taliban eight years after the U.S.-led invasion....
So, is Mr Obama going to say "Thank you Mr Bush?" Thank you that my supply lines are no longer dependent on holding the Khyber Pass?
Here's my list of Bush accomplishments. Let the undoing begin!
January 20, 2009
When I read that the crowd today booed President Bush -- and then saw a video of it -- I thought of a quip my friend Eddie made, not long ago: "When the Left asks for a classless society, now I know what they mean."
They hate him for being right...
...In a few hours, George W. Bush will walk out of the Oval Office for the last time as president. As he leaves, he carries with him the near-universal opprobrium of the permanent class that inhabits our nation's capital. Yet perhaps the most important reason for this unpopularity is the one least commented on.
Here's a hint: It's not because of his failures. To the contrary, Mr. Bush's disfavor in Washington owes more to his greatest success. Simply put, there are those who will never forgive Mr. Bush for not losing a war they had all declared unwinnable.
Here in the afterglow of the turnaround led by Gen. David Petraeus, it's easy to forget what the smart set was saying two years ago -- and how categorical they all were in their certainty. The president was a simpleton, it was agreed. Didn't he know that Iraq was a civil war, and the only answer was to get out as fast as we could?
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- the man who will be sworn in as vice president today -- didn't limit himself to his own opinion. Days before the president announced the surge, Joe Biden suggested to the Washington Post he knew the president's people had also concluded the war was lost. They were, he said, just trying to "keep it from totally collapsing" until they could "hand it off to the next guy."...
But it is far more than just being right about not surrendering to al Qaeda. The implications concern the Democrats surrendering of Southeast Asia to Stalinist tyranny and genocide...
...This is Vietnam thinking. And the president never accepted it. That was why his critics went ape when, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he touched on the killing fields and exodus of boat people that followed America's humiliating exit off an embassy rooftop. As the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti noted, Mr. Bush had appropriated one of their most cherished analogies -- only he drew very different lessons from it...
Well, they were right to go ape over it. If the numbers could all be known it is likely that the Democrat Party has killed more people than Hitler.
January 19, 2009
So, when will we hear from the torture crowd?
...A Fatah official in Ramallah told the Post that at least 100 of his men had been killed or wounded as a result of the massive Hamas crackdown. Some had been brutally tortured, he added.
The official said that the perpetrators belonged to Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin Kassam, and to the movement's Internal Security Force.
According to the official, at least three of the detainees had their eyes put out by their interrogators, who accused them of providing Israel with wartime information about the location of Hamas militiamen and officials.
A number of Hamas leaders and spokesmen have claimed in the past few days that Fatah members in the Gaza Strip had been spying on their movement and passing the information to Israel....
So here's our chance to see if those people who have been howling about waterboarding etc. are really what they claim to be, or if they just hate America...
Oh, and those westerners who claim they care SO much about the Palestinians....are they gonna care about these Palestinians?
Summoned to a great cause, "liberals" have failed the test...
This is a bit of a piece that Orrin Judd has re-posted.
...Even setting aside the dependence of a healthy liberal democracy on a morality that only Judeo-Christianity can supply -- an issue you can probably never convince most secularists of -- it is unarguable that to the extent that you diminish the central role of religious institutions in society you create a vacuum which government fills and in the process cause people to be more dependent on government. Thus does secularism, which usually casts itself as a liberating movement, instead lead inexorably to an ever more powerful and intrusive state. The resulting State has no purpose other than its own continuance, a purpose which is obviously abetted by exactly that dependence which its very rise fosters, in a brilliant kind of recursive loop.
We can not be surprised then when our former liberal democratic allies in Europe prove incapable of being summoned to a higher cause--like liberalizing the Islamic world--their only cause is themselves. Though folk have been slow to accept the fact, it is simply the case that we longer share a common culture with them...
We don't have to look so far to find people "incapable of being summoned to a higher cause." That's the American Left in a nutshell. George W Bush summoned them to a noble and liberal cause, and they have failed the test.
Now we get to hear people gassing endlessly about the Civil Rights Movement, with the implication that they--liberals--are still the same people. That things are the same now as way back then, and we can continue to bask in the light of MLK forever. In fact today's leftists are solidly aligned with tyrants and big government, while the captives groan unheard. (Including minority children trapped in failing public schools--that's the civil rights cause of our time.)
And leftists jabber on and on about Hitler, as if "anti-fascist" is still what they are. But Saddam Hussein was the Hitler of our time, and 99% of "liberals" desperately wanted him to be left in power...because they knew a summons to greatness would reveal their utter emptiness. And they try to cover up by pretending to be "pacifists." Frauds.
January 18, 2009
"The central thing in the business of Europe..."
This looks like it may be a good book. Ignatius Press is re-publishing Hilaire Belloc's The Battleground: Syria and Palestine the Seed-plot of Religion. I've ordered a copy.
They have an except here, and I've posted an excerpt of the excerpt. (Why? Just because I can. No one can stop me!):
....It is a great misfortune to history that just at the moment when detailed historical study began, some two and a half centuries ago, there also began that gradual but increasingly rapid decay in religion which made it more and more difficult for those who would write history to understand the vital importance of doctrine.
Almost every force has been called in to explain this and that in the past--except the force of doctrine: dogma. Race has been appealed to; economic circumstance; military circumstance (certainly more important than the other two) has been appealed to, and the chief r�le has been given (by those who understand and value a decisive victory) to the fact that men were what they were because of this and that battle.
All these forces have their place in the story of change, but until quite lately the supreme factor of religious conflict has not been understood. It has puzzled and it has irritated, so that commonly it has been dismissed. Yet supreme it is.
The central thing in the business of Europe is the Doctrine of the Incarnation: the affirmation that God had appeared among men, and the denial thereof. From the first public announcement of that affirmation about A.D. 29-33, it has been the main issue dividing all men of the Graeco-Roman world, moulding and unmoulding our society.
Constantine had established his peace, he had founded his new city, he was prepared (from A.D. 325) to administer vigorously and with justice a united, orderly, permanently established society, when he found himself at the outset confronted by a storm within that world which took him by surprise, puzzled, and exasperated him. The magnitude of it he at last perceived, though he could not understand why it should be so great--and by the time he died it was the main issue in the world over which his successors were called to rule.
This storm had arisen on the fundamental question of Our Lord's Divinity.
Let there be no error; the question is fundamental not only to that time but to our own. It remains the root question for those who ridicule the doctrine, for those who are indifferent to it, and for those who would defend it. With Jesus Christ as God incarnate there is one view of the world. With Jesus Christ as a Prophet, a model, or a myth, there is another: and the one view is mortal enemy to the other. The meat of the one is poison to the other....
Update: Writing about things forces one to think them through. My experience, as a blogger from early days (since November 2001) has been like peeling an onion. I keep asking why things are the way they are, why various assumptions about things have turned out to be wrong. I peel back layers, and end up a Catholic who's reading stuff like the above. I think Belloc is on the trail of the real story of our world, and I'm avid to find out. (Which is why this will never be a popular blog--most people's reaction is, "Why do you care about this stuff?")
If anyone's curious, the assumption I had when I started Random Jottings was that most Americans of the Left, even though they were tiresomely anti-American in many ways, would rally to our country with warm hearts if she were attacked, much like all Americans did after Pearl Harbor. Wow, was that ever wrong! Which gradually led to the question of what's going on in their heads--an onion layer. Leading eventually to the question of what's going on in people's souls--a deeper layer. And under that the deep currents of history--what's driving them?
January 17, 2009
"Real" truth and the "state" truth
Bookworm, Can't fight group think:
Several years ago, I read one of Natan Sharansky's books in which he described his life as a refusenik in the former Soviet Union. One of the points he made that struck me with incredible force was the way in which citizens in totalitarian regimes develop an internal life entirely separate from the external forces against them. For example, Soviet citizens were forced in public to accept that their economy was a miracle of Communist exceptionalism, even as their logical brains figured out that this propaganda bore no relationship to the truth. Their brains developed a binary quality, processing the "real" truth and the "state" truth, creating an exceptional level of intellectual and emotional stress.
I was rather brutally reminded of that yesterday, when my husband and I had the opportunity to listen to our children speak to third parties about the upcoming inauguration. Both of them, using almost precisely the same words, stated that they were very excited about the inauguration because Obama is the first African-American president, which makes him special.
Later, Mr. Bookworm said to the kids that it sounded a bit funny to him them saying the same thing, and asked if they really meant that. Both assured him that they did not. That is, they didn't bear any hostility to Obama because of his race. They simply didn't care. However, both earnestly explained that, if they didn't say this rote line about Obama's historica importance, they would be ostracized....
A side effect seen in totalitarian states (you could call SF, and Bookworm's Marin County, sort of "honorary totalitarian states") is that those pushing the "state truth" are intellectually weakened, and that they become fearful. Liberals around here are often angry and defensive, and push the "state truth" stridently and insistently. They are afraid. They are living in fear, exactly like a tyrant who does not know who might be plotting against him.
Another irony is that Obama's election has been robbed of most of its "historic meaning" precisely because he ran as someone who was going to be "historic." That's sort of like letting all your friends know you would like a surprise birthday party. The affirmation that you are loved and valued lacks a certain indefinable something...
January 15, 2009
Pretend your neighbors were shooting at YOU...
Thanks to Bookworm, a video from Israel, on the years of rocket attacks they've been enduring. (None of which bothers our Jew-hating leftists and "pacifists.")
This is interesting...I confess I've stopped following the news from Bailout-istan. Too confusin'. But this piece was less opaque than most things I've read...
...Officials have thus far dispensed TARP money in ways that make it very likely that private sector recipients of those funds will repay the government over time. As a result, taxpayers will ultimately be responsible for little to none of the TARP expenditures.
As the TARP money has been doled out to banks and other financial companies, the government has taken back preferred stock and equity warrants in these companies.
The Treasury Department can sell these securities or hold them until they are redeemed by the companies that issued them. So in any company that survives--and most will with the benefit of government support--the government should get all its money back with interest.
New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg's recent estimate that the TARP funds have earned the government a profit of $8 billion in three months only underscores this point. As the new administration looks for ways to revive the economy, it should favor projects that could be sold or leased to the private sector after completion.
For example, the federal government could rebuild the nation's electricity transmission grid. The project would create thousands of new jobs, many of them skilled. And a modernized grid would have immediate commercial value both to existing power companies and to the new green energy companies that Obama has talked so much about....
Sounds like something that it actually makes sense for government to do. Hopefully culminating in selling the stuff off to the private sector. And if Mr Obama tried something like this, he would at least get a good lesson in the twisted way environmentalist wackos render impossible the very green-energy projects they claim to favor, by blocking anyone from building transmission lines from the usually rural areas where things like wind and solar power happen. And he could employ his socialist-bully muscles in steam-rollering over some Greens! that would give me a laugh or two...
Analysis of President Bush must ultimately be literary..
This, by Orrin Judd, is right-on about President Bush...
...To that last point, one of the great ironies of George W. Bush's career is that while even his most devoted supporters--among whom we include ourselves--would not argue that he is eloquent, nearly every major set piece speech he has given rewards later reading. Of few modern politicians can it be said that they laid out as consistent, direct, and predictive a philosophy and policy program as the current president. For example, go back and read his 2000 acceptance speech at the Republican convention and you see the template for nearly everything he's done in domestic policy. What you saw then was exactly what you got. And, recall, that was just the first time that bewildered pundits puzzled over how far he'd outperformed expectations [their own, of course], how beautifully he'd expressed himself, and how moved they were despite themselves. The analysis of this not especially literary man's presidency must ultimately depend be literary, because he has explained himself so thoroughly to us as he's gone along.
This is particularly true of the decision to regime change Iraq, about which so much subsequent confusion arose, some of it Mr. Bush's own fault, much of it driven by his enemies (sadly, not just opponents). All of the contemporaneous accounts by participants in and reporters upon this decision confirm that as soon as 9-11 occurred the President determined to remove Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath from power in Iraq. His personal preference even seems to have been to do so prior to taking on the Taliban--which would have been the better tactic politically, the Afghan War being inarguable even for the Left. Nor did he have any apparent concern about whether we had any allies along with us nor UN approval. However, during the period when the US military was getting the attacking forces into place, he acceded to Tony Blair's attempt to sell the war to Great Britain and to Colin Powell's attempt to get a new UN Resolution. Whatever those two good men may have known or believed about Saddam's Iraq, they chose to use the threat of WMD as the basis for their respective sales pitches. President Bush graciously backed them up and the public focus did shift to this raison de guerre.
However, in his seminal speech, before the UN on September 12, 2002, George W. Bush himself treated WMD as a somewhat peripheral and based his own case for regime change on holding Saddam Hussein accountable for violations of the UN Resolutions that had ended the Iraq War his father and General Powell fought and upon the ongoing human rights violations in Iraq. He challenged both Saddam Hussein to adhere to the Resolutions he'd agreed to--which actually required the dictator to regime change himself--and the UN to enforce its own edicts, or we'd do so for them....
There's never been a president who has so openly and clearly said what he wants to do...and then did it. My guess is that Leftists--including almost all journalists and historians--are incapable of seeing this, because it is a state of mind they cannot even imagine. Their very existence is about hiding the emptiness inside them. Think of all those loopy theories about Bush as secretive devious mastermind. (Or as moron manipulated by masterminds.) Yet he's been open all along about what he wants to do. My guess is that they can only interpret that as idiocy or a subtlety unfathomably deep...
January 14, 2009
Clotted liberal cliches...
...As I have repeatedly said in this column, I have never had the slightest problem in understanding Sarah Palin's meaning at any time. On the contrary, I have positively enjoyed her fresh, natural, rapid delivery with its syncopated stops and slides -- a fabulous example of which was the way (in her recent interview with John Ziegler) that she used a soft, swooping satiric undertone to zing Katie Couric's dippy narcissism and to assert her own outrage as a "mama grizzly" at libels against her family.
Ideology-driven attacks on Palin became clotted liberal cliches within 24 hours of her introduction as John McCain's running mate. What a bunch of tittering lemmings the urban elite have become in this country. From Couric's vicious manipulations of video clips to Cavett's bourgeois platitudes, the preemptive strike on Palin as a potential presidential candidate has grossly misfired. Whatever legitimate objections may be raised to Palin on political grounds (explored, for example, by David Talbot in Salon) have been lost in the amoral overkill that has defamed a self-made woman of concrete achievement in the public realm.....
There's nothing much I can do about the nihilist ant-workers who are busily devouring and destroying the culture. They will win in the end, because they are too stupid to realize they are destroying themselves at the same time. Sort of termites eating the ship, and going down with it.
But the remaining pleasure I can have is to hurt them---to make them suffer. And one way I can do that is to support Sarah Palin. Few things have been more revealing than the way they HATED her from the first day, even without knowing much about her. She's REAL, and our empty-hearted zombies, our fake-pacifists and fake-liberals and fake-progressives and fake-Quakers...they knew it instantly!
Sarah, if you never do anything else in the world, I will love you forever for the way you made the lefty slime-creatures squirm! what fun that was!
Progressives, Unite Against The Jews!
Charlene recommends this video, How To Effectively Boycott Israel...
Thanks to israellycool
January 13, 2009
Now us reality-based conservatives get to laugh at you...
This is NOT an important post--just my chance to "answer back" to a poor fellow who has enough sense to dimly percieve that something's wrong, but can't connect the dots...
Why the anti-war movement is lost, By John Bruhns:
AS INAUGURATION Day approaches, the anti-war movement is working hard to stay politically relevant. President-elect Barack Obama, the anti-war candidate [Nope. Obama is the Obama candidate.] has been empowered by a frustrated electorate demanding exactly what he promised in his campaign: change. [There were all sorts of "changes" hoped for, and each group of suckers lied to itself and "hoped" Obama agreed with them. Now us reality-based conservatives get to laugh at you.]
But the anti-war movement isn't buying the "change" Obama is selling. [Actually, we still don't know what he's selling.] Instead, they've crafted unrealistic demands for the next president, and should he not kowtow, they'll undoubtedly convince themselves he's no different from George W. Bush. Perhaps they already have. [And nobody will care.]
Most Americans agree that the war in Iraq has been a catastrophe financially and militarily. [In fact, compared to other occasions when America has liberated people from fascist tyranny, this one's been cheap and easy.] Some have strictly advocated against the war from a position of philanthropy for the Iraqi people and our service-people killed in action. Whatever the gripe, all aspects have legitimacy. [They are all just covers for nihilism.]
But many fail to realize that the war isn't something that can be easily corrected, because it's festered for far too long. [Festered? Wake up, mush-brain. The Iraq Campaign's been WON, and you are irrelevant.] And since day one, a bipartisan majority of Congress has repeatedly voted to give the Bush administration every tool needed to continue the war - even members of Congress who receive the anti-war vote. [As they say, never give a sucker an even break.]
In the summer of 2007, I had a meeting with Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and his senior military adviser. Davis, former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, struck me as a concerned moderate looking for a practical and realistic solution to the mess in Iraq. [We found one. It's called "victory." Your al-Qaeda pals have been crushed in battle, and the poor people of Iraq have at least a chance at the freedom you despise.]
DAVIS UNDERSTOOD my frustration with the war and said, "We have to be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in." I would hear Obama echo the exact same sentiment repeatedly on the campaign trail. [Ya can't be too careful. We're still in Germany and Japan 60 years later. Why don't we round the number up, and plan for a hundred years?]
Later, I and two other vets met with Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.). He listened for more than an hour. At the end, Castle agreed we needed to get out of Iraq. But he had no concrete solution - and neither did we. [How unfair. Al-Qaeda and the Ba'athists slaughtered tens-of-thousands of civilians for YOU, but some days you just can't get a break.]
As you can see, Republicans are not so different from Democrats on the war issue. [Nah, we're a million miles apart. Republicans love America and work for democracy and freedom. Democrats........]
The main contrast I saw in my years of anti-Iraq war advocacy was that while members of both parties voted the same way, the Democrats griped about their votes. They acknowledge that they were against what they were voting for. [Just when talking to you, sucker.] So what's the alternative? Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney aren't getting elected to anything anytime soon.
And here's what we have to look forward to. On March 19, many anti-war groups will assemble a tumultuous crowd at the post-Bush Pentagon. They'll scream for the immediate withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq while jumping up and down in opposition to the military industrial complex. [It's all about making themselves feel good.]
They'll demand that legal action be taken against Bush for ordering the invasion of Iraq. [They hate Bush because he's a liberal, in the old sense of Truman and JFK. He shows what phonies they are.]
But the Defense Department doesn't decide whether or not we go to war - that's up to the president and Congress. The military HQ is the wrong venue. [They hate our military because it is symbolic of believing in something enough to fight for it---nihilists hate belief.]
Some Iraq vets will join this protest out of a feeling of nostalgia for a time before they were even born. But it's no longer the Vietnam war, civil-rights, military draft '60s. Sporting a grungy military uniform is a tactic that the real policymakers can dismiss as a non-threat to their political viability. Even John Kerry quit that gig more than 30 years ago. [Well put. It was phony all along.]
Over the life of the recent anti-war movement, the attempted revival of the '60s was destined for failure from the beginning. [The 60's were a stupid tacky failure from the beginning--except for the birth of the conservative movement. That was the one success.]
Too many other issues were dragged into the effort. What middle-of-the-road Americans would attend a demonstration against the war if they knew they'd be standing in a mob of Che Guevara T-shirts listening to chants of 'Free Mumia!'? [A tautology. If they are comfortable with leftist lunacy, they are not "middle-of-the-road."]
I support people protesting what they think are injustices, but all issues aren't linked. It's not a good tactic to force people to stand under an umbrella of issues, all of which that they may not support. [Clue-up, dolt. The "anti-war" movement was always and only about the internal psycho-drama of nihilist whack-jobs. They hate America and Israel, and anything else that is symbolic of allegiance to a higher cause.]
In a democracy, strength is in numbers. This anti-establishment and absolutist view of the political process is likely to be the real cause of their implosion. [Kooks are kooks. Can't get around that.]
As someone who's been fighting for years for an end to the war in Iraq, I find this tragic because we need the voices of millions to put pressure on our elected officials to end the conflict and fix the many problems facing our country. But those voices have to be credible to be taken seriously, and circus acts never are. [A question for you, friend. Suppose America pulls out of Iraq. Would you define that as "the end of the conflict," even if fighting goes on for years and millions die subsequently? Hmmm? That's what the Vietnam protestors did. They "ended" the war, and then patted themselves on the back even as MILLIONS were being killed, or put into concentration camps. Is that OK with you? Look at yourself in the mirror when you shave, and ask yourself if you are that kind of person.]
But the truth is that the 'real' anti-war movement has become far too radical to be effective. [It never cared about actual people.]
They've pushed themselves into a corner where there's no possibility of meeting an opposing side halfway. If they ever hope to regroup into a force capable of generating a strong political will, they'll need to accept that it's 2009, not 1969 - and be more tolerant of other opinions. [I beg you, friend, re-think. You take notice of all this craziness and futility--now ask yourself some questions. You are working with people who would flush the entire population of Iraq down the toilet just to feel self-rightous. You are complicit in their evil. Do you think the same way? If America leaves Iraq, will Iraq drop off your radar? Or do you actually care about that land?]
January 11, 2009
In a superb example of investigative journalism, meteorologist Anthony Watts pursues a single inconsistent dot on map of recent US temperature anomalies and discovers a relocated instrument station that is now corrupting the climate database. In several years of research, Watts has found such problem sites by the score. Perhaps it is time to re-run climate models, inputting only rural stations with well-documented continuity � if there are enough of them...
What Watts is doing is totally cool, not just meteorologically, but as an example of digging into things using online tools. Here's a sample, but it's better in the Original, with all the many pictures and maps...
A simple question; what is that red dot on the map? I was looking at the CONUS map browser depicting the 2008 temperature departure from normal provided by NOAA's High Plains Regional Climate Center and noticed something odd:
Note the red dot in Arizona, which is the only one in the USA. Truly an anomaly. At first I thought it might be University of Arizona Tucson and its famous parking lot station, but that is further southeast.
The other map depiction HPRCC offers also shows it, and narrows it to a single data point:...
....The new location is at about 500 Main Street, rather than the 1206 Main Street listed in the NCDC MMS database. Perhaps it has been moved to a new location and NCDC has not caught up with the street address change. Perhaps the lat/lon is off. Anything is possible as I and the surfacestation volunteers constantly find discrepancies and errors in the database.
So I decided to use the new Google Street Level View feature to snoop around a bit at the two locations. I found nothing at 1206 S. Main Street except a lot of grass and buildings. It looks like perhaps a community college:
But when I went looking around 500 Main Street - BINGO! I can spot both the MMTS sensor unit and the standard rain gauge to the west of the street:
Looking at an aerial view using NCDC's most current coordinates of 33.0363,-111.388 and Microsoft Live Search Maps, we can see what surrounds the sensor:....
Since the whole purpose of the global Warming religion is to put Leftists into power over horrid people like you and me, what Watts and others like him are doing is vital work.
January 10, 2009
"Thinking about law and the right ordering of the world..."
In honor of Fr Neuhaus, who died recently, I'm quoting a bit from has delightful book, Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth...
...In an encyclical on evangelization, Redemptoris Missio, John Paul the Great offered a marvelous formulation. The Church imposes nothing, she only proposes. What she proposes, however, is the truth, and the truth does impose itself. That is because, at least according to Catholic anthropology, human beings are, so to speak, hard-wired for the truth. we live in an intelligible world that is accessible to reason. Our mind participates in the mind of God. With respect to the right ordering of the world, we can know God's law. Here too, St Thomas Aquinas is the helpful teacher. He writes of four distinct meanings of law: There is the eternal law, the natural law, the positive law, and the divine law. The eternal law is one with the eternal Being of God Himself. The natural law�and here Thomas follows St Paul in Romans 1 and 2�is the understanding of right and wrong that is written on every human heart. These are the truths that we "cannot not know," although we can deny that we know them. The positive law is human law: the man-made laws and regulations that societies adopt. These may or may not be in agreement with eternal and natural law. Fourth and finally, there is divine law, the law and laws revealed by God in the scriptures and Spirit-guided teaching of the Church.
There is no denying that this way of thinking about law and the right ordering of the world�and especially the right ordering of our own lives!�goes against the grain of our culture. The very idea of "moral truth" is a puzzlement and offense to many of our contemporaries. Twenty-five years ago the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre published his extraordinary little book, After Virtue. His argument, put much too simply, is that not only intellectuals but our popular culture has largely abandoned an understanding of moral truth and virtue, with the result that we are all dog-paddling in the murky sea of "modern emotivism."
Morality has become almost totally a matter of feelings and preferences. You have yours and I have mine. If I say that something is "wrong," I am expressing no more than my personal preference. "I am not comfortable with that." "I feel that is not right." "I would prefer you not do that." In short the making of arguments is replaced by the expression of emotions. In such a cultural context, the appeal to "conscience" is only an appeal to my personal preference. Conscience, in this view, does not discern moral truth, but subjectively establishes the truth...
I've been wondering about this...
when I drive near our local hospitals, I always see people wandering around the streets in scrubs. They seem to treat them as everyday comfy clothes. (And no doubt they display their health-wear to gain the little person's ego boost from being part of a prestigious and oppressive institution.)
You see them everywhere -- nurses, doctors and medical technicians in scrubs or lab coats. They shop in them, take buses and trains in them, go to restaurants in them, and wear them home. What you can't see on these garments are the bacteria that could kill you.
Dirty scrubs spread bacteria to patients in the hospital and allow hospital superbugs to escape into public places such as restaurants. Some hospitals now prohibit wearing scrubs outside the building, partly in response to the rapid increase in an infection called "C. diff." A national hospital survey released last November warns that Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections are sickening nearly half a million people a year in the U.S., more than six times previous estimates...
January 8, 2009
Today's bit of leftlunacy...
The Secularist Church must have come down hard on Ms. Huffington! Think of the cocktail parties she must have been about to be disinvited to, for daring to suggest that there might be two sides to a certain issue...
NewsBusters.org: Huffington: 'I Would Not Have Posted' Article Asking Gore To Apologize:
....The associate blog editor published the post. It was an error in judgment. I would not have posted it. Although HuffPost welcomes a vigorous debate on many subjects, I am a firm believer that there are not two sides to every issue, and that on some issues the jury is no longer out. The climate crisis is one of these issues...
Pretty funny. Think about how she must have choked when she discovered that she had published heresy! Here's a link to the article...
....Mr. Gore has stated, regarding climate change, that 'the science is in.' Well, he is absolutely right about that, except for one tiny thing. It is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind.
What is wrong with the statement? A brief list:....
Update: Perhaps I'm too harsh in criticizing "liberals" for having no principles. I'd guess a lot of them are firm believers that the "climate crisis" must not be debated. There's a bedrock principle for you! They will bravely nail their thesis to the door: "There are NOT two sides to every issue."
January 6, 2009
Suddenly we're all interested in the morality of war...
Jeffrey Goldberg, The World's Pornographic Interest in Jewish Moral Failure :
...Okay, yesterday I was depressed. Today, I'm just pissed off. It's absolutely astonishing to me how interested the world is in Israel's failings. This is the source of a bitter but hilarious observation I once heard a Kurdish leader make: He was complaining to me that his people were cursed, and I asked him what he meant: Cursed by geography, cursed by their proximity to Kurd-hating Arabs, what? He said the Kurds were cursed because they didn't have Jewish enemies. Only with Jewish enemies would the world pay attention to their plight...
I'm pissed too. Hamas has been shooting rockets into Israel for what? Three years now? And where were all the moral geniuses then? Where were the "pacifists?" The "anti-war activists?" Where was the Vatican, and "religious leaders?" Where were the "progressives?" What a bunch of phonies.
But let Israel start to fight back, and people start furrowing their brows and pondering ponderously. Suddenly morality is really a big deal. Mostly Jewish morality...
...One more thing, speaking of pornography -- we've all seen endless pictures of dead Palestinian children now. It's a terrible, ghastly, horrible thing, the deaths of children, and for the parents it doesn't matter if they were killed by accident or by mistake. But ask yourselves this: Why are these pictures so omnipresent? I'll tell you why, again from firsthand, and repeated, experience: Hamas (and the Aksa Brigades, and Islamic Jihad, the whole bunch) prevents the burial, or even preparation of the bodies for burial, until the bodies are used as props in the Palestinian Passion Play. Once, in Khan Younis, I actually saw gunmen unwrap a shrouded body, carry it a hundred yards and position it atop a pile of rubble -- and then wait a half-hour until photographers showed. It was one of the more horrible things I've seen in my life. And it's typical of Hamas. If reporters would probe deeper, they'd learn the awful truth of Hamas. But Palestinian moral failings are not of great interest to many people...
The "reporters" won't probe; they are on the other side.
January 4, 2009
One of the awesome things Charlene and I did on our pilgrimage to Israel last Spring [link, link] was to visit the remains of the synagogue in Capernaum, by the shore of the Sea of Gallilee. The synagogue was re-built in the 4th Century after an earthquake, but it is quite likely that the new one was much like the older one where Jesus preached. We were probably standing on the very floor He walked on!
This aerial view gives a good idea of what it's like. The local stone is an ugly black basalt, and many small houses have been excavated--you can see a little of that on the edges of the building. (I imagine and hope the houses would have been plastered and painted--the excavations look like worker-housing in Mordor.) The synagogue itself is limestone, brought from another place.
In my picture below you can see the rows of benches running along the sides of the main room. This was traditional for synagogues. Of course all the pillars would have been the height of those in the back. A historically important thing you can see here is how the Jews were embedded within a Greek world. The architecture is Greek, although I don't think there was any analogous pagan religious building.
One of the things that tell us that Judaism and Christianity were not just "the ones the got lucky" out of the vast crowd of ancient religions is that neither of them "fit" into any existing religious architecture in the world. Neither pagan temples nor the grottos of the mystery cults were designed for the multitude, nor for reading and preaching to a community. (The "business" of a pagan temple mostly happened at the altar which was outside.)
Christianity in particular was so weirdly unlike anything existing that Romans often thought of it as atheism! We can't really grasp that point, since we now assume that Christianity is what religion "normally" is like. One clue is that the Christian church--the building that is--is adapted from the basilica, a Roman public building used especially for law courts.
...The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?" But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, "Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father."
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life...-- John 6, 52-68
Well, if nothing else, Jesus was not the kind of guy who told people what the polls said they wanted to hear...
January 3, 2009
We need to squeeze more money out of the greedy corporations...
Steve Forbes, Ireland Gets It :
If the incoming Obama Administration is serious about squeezing more money from businesses, it should follow the example of Ireland and slash corporate tax rates. The U.S. has one of the highest profits levies in the developed world: 35% at the federal level, with another average of 5% from state and local taxes. Only Japan has worse. In contrast, Ireland's rate is a mere 12.5%. Imagine the howls from congressional Democrats if Barack Obama were to suggest enacting such a low corporate tax rate in the U.S.
But the accompanying table tells an eye-opening tale: Ireland's corporate tax take as a portion of its economy is higher than that of the U.S. High rates breed pressure for ever more complicated exemptions and ever more ingenious ways to avoid Uncle Sam's tax bite. But an Irish-like rate leaves companies to focus brainpower on growing their businesses instead of on jousting with tax collectors. A general flat tax, such as Yours Truly has been advocating for decades, would give just such a benefit to both individuals and businesses. Alas, misbegotten populist ideology still trumps fairness and common sense.
The Obama White House is pushing a massive stimulus plan that will do little to reinvigorate the recessed economy. Government spending does not create prosperity. If it did, the Soviet Union would have won the Cold War. Low tax rates positively change incentives: Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and investors are induced to take more risks; businesses become more expansion-minded; and individuals positively adjust their own behavior, knowing that they can keep more of what they earn and that success will not be punished....(Thanks to Orrin Judd)
The phenomon of people paying more taxes after their rates are lowered is a common one. The question that nags me is whether our "liberals" are psychologically incapable of seeing this, or whether they are just liars.
For instance, after both the Reagan and Bush tax-cuts, the percentage of income tax paid by the wealthy increased. I've never heard of a case where pointing this out to a leftist made the slightest difference. Have you? The mantra remains that Bush gave "tax cuts for the rich."