June 28, 2009

A little quote for you...

Roger L. Simon:

All of a sudden... well, not quite all of a sudden, but recently...I have noticed my liberal friends (except for the most extreme and knee-jerk) are not very interested in discussing man-made global warming. The subject rarely comes up and, when it does, it is passed over quickly, given only a nod. It's as if that was last year's — or last decade's — fad, at the very moment the House of Representatives has been browbeaten by LaPelosita into voting for a cap-and-trade bill no known person has read, let alone understood....

It often happens that ideas are defended most furiously just before they collapse. My guess is that AGW is pretty close to the point where a loud noise can start the avalanche.

But what interests me, as always, is the larger question of whether people can or will re-think. My guess is that most leftish types will be able to flip effortlessly to supporting the Kyoto Global-Cooling Treaty, without a moment of self-doubt. They don't dare think or probe.

(Tangentially, I was bothered as a child when my Dad told me that if you throw a ball up, and then it falls down, there is a brief moment when it is stationary. I still find that hard to swallow. I think it's either going up, or going down.)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:30 PM

June 27, 2009

"The young heart rejoices when it hears the news"

This is from a good book on Christian apologetics I'm reading, Fundamentals of the Faith, by Peter Kreeft.

...Many have never heard the good news that there is such a thing as objective truth and an absolute right and wrong. If only they catch something of the joy and love in us when we tell them this good news, they will see that it is good news indeed. They usually see it as neither good nor as news.

The saints attracted young people. Jesus attracted young people. The pope attracts young people. Mother Teresa attracts young people. The growing movements in the Church today are attracting young people. Biblical orthodoxy is attracting young people. Orthodox Judaism is attracting young people. Even Islamic fundamentalism is attracting young people. the reason is plain: the young heart rejoices when it hears the news that, beyond modern hope, Truth exists. The thing a thousand bland and joyless voices from every corner of our dying culture have abandoned as mere myth, the beloved of the human spirit, Truth with a capital T, really exists!

This brings me to my fourth point: you must be passionately in love with Truth yourself and therefore totally honest. You can't give what you don't have; therefore the love of Truth can never be taught except by a lover of Truth...

WORD NOTE: The word apologetics has nothing to do with apologizing. It means a defense. It comes from the Greek apologeisthei, "to speak in one's own defense." The title of Newman's famous book, Apologia pro Vita Sua, means "a defense of my life."

 

Posted by John Weidner at 5:04 PM

What man...if his son asks him for bread, will give him subsidiarity?

A friend linked to an odd piece, A Credo for Authentic Conservatives and Other Sane People, by Thomas Fleming.

There's nothing in it that's exactly wrong, but it's weird. Kind of bloodless and gutless. Wishful thinking. There's no suggestion that conservatism is a noble cause that a person might risk their life to defend.

I think the peculiar thing here is that this is called a "credo." But credo means "I believe." It does not mean, "Gee, it would be kinda nice if everybody was sensible like me." Early Christian martyrs scratched "CREDO" in the sand of the arena, as the last quarts of their blood gushed out. That's "credo," friend.

"Credo" implies Truth. With the capital "T." Do you have Truth, sir? If a socialist or a jihadi puts a gun to your head and says, "recant," can you say, "shoot and be damned?" Or "Father forgive them?" One doubts.

Also, note that first section "E" I've quoted below. Elephant-in-living-room alert!!! Over large portions of the globe today, people are choosing NOT to propagate. All of Europe is in demographic collapse. Likewise Japan and other "successful" Asian nations. Whole societies are dying, Mr Fleming. Dying before your eyes. Your chalky philosophy says to this....what? Hundreds of millions of people are finding no reason to endure the suffering that investing in future generations involves. Your waxen ideas offer....what? What reason to suffer? What reason to sacrifice?

What demands do you make on people? The paradoxical thing is that people are at their best—and free-est— when they are servants. Servants of causes or beliefs that are bigger than the individual, and demand our sacrifice and devotion. (And, biggest of all, we are all called to be Servants of the Word.)

Of course this writer may have put the chewy stuff elsewhere in his writings. (If so I apologize.) But the flavor here is decadent.

....E. Human beings under most circumstances quite naturally seek to survive, thrive, and propagate, but they also protect the ability of their family members and friends or social allies (socii) to do the same...

... G Marriage and family are natural institutions fulfilling human needs; and, since each presupposes a hierarchy of authority, not only society itself but also social and political authority are natural, in the sense that they are the outgrowth of human nature and natural necessities. Thus there has never been a state of nature, much less of natural equality. In the most nearly natural human societies of which we have any knowledge, females defer to males, children to parents, young to old.

H The origins of the commonwealth, then, are much as Aristotle, Cicero, Thomas, and Althusius supposed: a progression from the �dyad� of the marital pair to the extended family to the village or tribal community to that confederation of different lineages, tribes, villages that is the commonwealth. Each society, of course, has its own history, but the general outline is clear enough.

I Since the commonwealth is an extension of marriage, family, and community, and since it exists, at least in part, to provide for the needs less perfectly supplied by lower forms of association, it can be viewed as relatively legitimate whenever it assists families and communities in their never-ending quest for food, shelter, and stability, but when it deprives these lower associations of the necessary economic autonomy to survive and propagate, takes away homes, or interferes in the relations between parents and children, husbands and wives, promotes adultery and abortion [Nota bene: I am not saying tolerates], it is acting illegitimately. Such infractions do not necessarily render a government illegitimate, but a systematic pattern of abuse—e.g., the liberation of wives and children, seizure of private property, confiscatory taxation�the legitimacy of such a government must fall under suspicion of acting tyrannically, far more so than when it merely deprives citizens of such civil rights as the franchise, jury duty, etc...
Posted by John Weidner at 4:39 PM

Just in case you still think "global warmists" are doing science...

From Anthony Watts, Warmists deny Copenhagen access to polar bear scientist...

Over the coming days a curiously revealing event will be taking place in Copenhagen. Top of the agenda at a meeting of the Polar Bear Specialist Group, set up under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission, will be the need to produce a suitably scary report on how polar bears are being threatened with extinction by man-made global warming.

This is one of a steady drizzle of events planned to stoke up alarm in the run-up to the UN's major conference on climate change in Copenhagen next December. But one of the world's leading experts on polar bears has been told to stay away from this week's meeting, specifically because his views on global warming do not accord with the views of the rest of the group.

Dr Mitchell Taylor has been researching into the status and management of polar bears in Canada and around the Arctic Circle for 30 years, as both an academic and a government employee. More than once since 2006 he has made headlines by insisting that polar bear numbers, far from decreasing, are much higher than they were 30 years ago. Of the 19 different bear populations, almost all are increasing or at optimum levels, only two have for local reasons modestly declined....
Posted by John Weidner at 1:00 PM

June 26, 2009

We right. You wrong...

White House Is Drafting Executive Order to Allow Indefinite Detention of Terror Suspects - washingtonpost.com:

The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, is drafting an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.

Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Obama advisers are concerned that bypassing Congress could place the president on weaker footing before the courts and anger key supporters, the officials said....

This issue is, and was from the beginning, a no-brainer. If you fight a war with some group, you have to hold prisoners. It's either that or shoot them all on the battlefield. Am I right?

And if your enemy follows the laws of war (which require wearing uniforms) then it will be obvious who is a combatant deserving to be held. If they don't, then they are committing war crimes, and THEY are responsible if someone is held wrongly. AND, gentle reader, those leftists who blame America for—possibly—holding someone unjustly are committing a grave moral wrong, by not apportioning blame honestly.

Likewise, if our enemy follows the laws of war, then it will be clear to all when the war has ended, and thus when prisoners should be released. If they fail to do so, then prisoners will be held indefinitely. BUT, that is the fault of the enemy, such as al-Qaeda. Not us. And it is a disgusting moral crime when anti-American leftists claim that it is America's fault that there is no clear end for the conflict.

Pre-dawn raid, Ain Lalin, Iraq
[Picture originally posted here]

Posted by John Weidner at 8:27 PM

June 25, 2009

"State-sanctioned terror against its own..."

Victor Davis Hanson, Sorta Sums It All Up:

From today's news: "Reacting to Obama's comment Tuesday that he is 'appalled and outraged' by crackdowns in Iran, Ahmadinejad said, 'Mr Obama made a mistake to say those things . . . our question is why he fell into this trap and said things that previously Bush used to say.'"

This revelation of theocratic hurt, surprise, and hubris actually explains a lot: Iran — given the six months (or longer?) of Obama's both backdoor and overt efforts to normalize relations — believes (a) that it has an understanding now with the Obama administration that normal relations with the U.S. trump all other American concerns, and more or less gives the regime a green light to do what it wishes — hence Ahmadinejad's shock at Obama's belated and unexpected criticism; (b) this was quite different from the past administration, which made it clear the U.S. was nauseated by Iran's nefarious activities and didn't care much to normalize unless and until it reentered the family of nations and ceased being a terrorist state (at home and abroad); (c) Iran doesn't much care what the U.S. has said, now or in the past, and apparently assumes that Obama acted out of his accustomed character ("a mistake") and will soon "express ... regret." I suppose all our videos, apologies, and global addresses to the Muslim world at least achieved an Iranian admission that America now has acted out its new character and is beginning to resemble its old character, which translates into something like "Bush was tough on us, you aren't — so what's going on with this 'appalled' stuff?"

Meanwhile, as the mullahs begin the long, drawn-out work of hunting down and doing away with dissidents in the wee hours of the night, how can an American president be seen with, talk to, or reach out toward a police state in the systematic process of state-sanctioned terror against its own?...

Good question...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:06 PM

June 24, 2009

"Have their justice glands been removed in a complicated surgical procedure?"

This is kind of belaboring the obvious, but my little blog is the only means I have to express the vast disgust I feel about all our lefty "pacifists" and Quakers-so-called and all the other "activist" frauds...

And observations of this sort are why I'm totally NOT impressed by declarations that Obama has been doing exactly the right thing by not "meddling" in Iran, and how DARE you suggest he is not eager to see the Iranians gain freedom, you horrid neo-con! Piffle. He is doing exactly what most of the world's leftists are doing. Being not happy to see the little people rebelling against their elite masters.

Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Where Are All the Demonstrators?:

...Ma'ariv (Monday, June 22, 09) by Ben Caspit and Ben-Dror Yemini (opinion) –

Tell us, where is everyone? Where did all the people who demonstrated against Israel's brutality in Operation Cast Lead, in the Second Lebanon War, in Operation Defensive Shield, or even in The Hague, when we were dragged there unwillingly after daring to build a separation barrier between us and the suicide bombers, disappear to? We see demonstrations here and there, but these are mainly Iranian exiles. Europe, in principle, is peaceful and calm. So is the United States.

Here and there a few dozens, here and there a few hundreds. Have they evaporated because it is Tehran and not here?

All the peace-loving and justice-loving Europeans, British professors in search of freedom and equality, the friends filling the newspapers, magazines and various academic journals with various demands for boycotting Israel, defaming Zionism and blaming us and it for all the ills and woes of the world—could it be that they have taken a long summer vacation? Now of all times, when the Basij hooligans have begun to slaughter innocent civilians in the city squares of Tehran? Aren't they connected to the Internet? Don't they have YouTube? Has a terrible virus struck down their computer? Have their justice glands been removed in a complicated surgical procedure (to be re-implanted successfully for the next confrontation in Gaza)? How can it be that when a Jew kills a Muslim, the entire world boils, and when extremist Islam slaughters its citizens, whose sole sin is the aspiration to freedom, the world is silent?

Imagine that this were not happening now in Tehran, but rather here. Let's say in Nablus. Spontaneous demonstrations of Palestinians turning into an ongoing bloodbath. Border Policemen armed with knives, on motorcycles, butchering demonstrators. A young woman downed by a sniper in midday, dying before the cameras. Actually, why imagine? We can just recall what happened with the child Mohammed a-Dura. How the affair (which was very harsh, admittedly) swept the world from one end to another. The fact that a later independent investigative report raised tough questions as to the identity of the weapon from which a-Dura was shot, did not make a difference to anyone. The Zionists were to blame, and that was that....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:09 AM

June 23, 2009

Doggie diplomacy...

Hoy. Funny, but kinda misses the point...

Another bit that came out of today's press conference was President Obama's refusal to rescind invitations to Iran's diplomats across the globe to July 4 celebrations at U.S. embassies — aptly described as "weenie diplomacy."

All of this, of course, raises a major issue: Are the hot dogs real, American-style hot dogs which are typically made with — pork!? If the embassies are serving all-beef hot dogs, are they Oscar Meyer or are they Hebrew National? Would an Iranian theocrat diplomat eat a Hebrew National hot dog?

Has the White House thought through this very important issue?...
C'mon, Matthew. Obama. State Department...we're talking commies. There will be elegant buffets with things...you know, French. Quelque chose. Any hot dogs cooked up will be just for display; no one will actually eat them. They will smile at them. Democracies, thugocracies, mullahcracies, people's republics, cannibal islanders...it doesn't matter. The elites at the embassies will look at each other and smile.

We could be roasting babies in our various embassy gardens, and everybody would understand that that's what leaders need to do to appease the swining masses so they can get on with the real business of running the world.

Doggie Diner Heads

[Link]

Posted by John Weidner at 10:52 PM

I think this is about right..

Andy McCarthy Understanding Obama on Iran:

...The fact is that, as a man of the hard Left, Obama is more comfortable with a totalitarian Islamic regime than he would be with a free Iranian society. In this he is no different from his allies like the Congressional Black Caucus and Bill Ayers, who have shown themselves perfectly comfortable with Castro and Chàvez. Indeed, he is the product of a hard-Left tradition that apologized for Stalin and was more comfortable with the Soviets than the anti-Communists (and that, in Soros parlance, saw George Bush as a bigger terrorist than bin Laden).

Because of obvious divergences (inequality for women and non-Muslims, hatred of homosexuals) radical Islam and radical Leftism are commonly mistaken to be incompatible. In fact, they have much more in common than not, especially when it comes to suppression of freedom, intrusiveness in all aspects of life, notions of "social justice," and their economic programs. (On this, as in so many other things, Anthony Daniels should be required reading — see his incisive New English Review essay, "There Is No God but Politics", comparing Marx and Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb.) The divergences between radical Islam and radical Leftism are much overrated — "equal rights" and "social justice" are always more rally-cry propaganda than real goals for totalitarians, and hatred of certain groups is always a feature of their societies.

The key to understanding Obama, on Iran as on other matters, is that he is a power-politician of the hard Left : He is steeped in Leftist ideology, fueled in anger and resentment over what he chooses to see in America's history, but a "pragmatist" in the sense that where ideology and power collide (as they are apt to do when your ideology becomes less popular the more people understand it), Obama will always give ground on ideology (as little as circumstances allow) in order to maintain his grip on power....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:31 AM

June 22, 2009

Events have destroyed our excuses...

Spengler:

Now that it is obvious that engaging Iran was a delusional misstep, President Obama should denounce the Iranian regime as a rogue state that employs terrorism against its own people as well as overseas. It is time for a Reaganesque statement. The administration should say, in so many words,"

"The clerical regime in Tehran has revealed its moral bankruptcy by using terrorism against its own people;

"The sponsorship of terrorism by Iran in Lebanon through Hezbollah, in Gaza and the West Bank through Hamas, and in Iraq through various entities is intolerable, and America will exact heavy penalties should it continue;"...

Nice try, Spengler old chap. You are right, but no dice. Obama can't be Reaganesque, because that implies believing in something enough to fight for it.*(See note)

"America will exact heavy penalties should it continue." What does that mean? The truth is that we are already at war with Iran. But we have been and still are desperately eager to pretend we are not. Why? Because we don't want to test whether we believe in ourselves enough to fight. (Iraq was a much easier test, since we opposed a much more obviously fascist regime, and then opposed terrorists who slaughtered people en masse. Even so we came close to failing.)

And our big excuse for not risking open conflict with Iran has been that the Iranian regime holds elections, and therefore it is wiser to wait, and let the democratic processes work. It made some sense, but was mostly wishful thinking.

Well, that excuse is now gone. But the hunger to deny reality is still as active as ever.

*Note: If Mr Spengler read Random Jottings, he would have a better understanding of what's really happening in our world. The key is that "liberals" like Obama are—most of them—not liberals anymore. Their "faith" has drained away, and they are believe in nothing. They are nihilists. And to the nihilist, belief is an intolerable affront and irritation. This explains a thousand different things we see around us. For example, the way "liberals" are not unwilling to commit American forces in places where we have no strategic interest. Such as the Balkans. Why do no "pacifists" or activists protest our ongoing military commitment in Bosnia? Because it does not imply belief that America is worth fighting for.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:41 AM

June 21, 2009

40-day cycles... It's not over yet

In Iran, One Woman's Death May Have Many Consequences - TIME:

...Although it is not yet clear who shot "Neda" (a soldier? pro-government militant? an accidental misfiring?), her death may have changed everything. For the cycles of mourning in Shiite Islam actually provide a schedule for political combat — a way to generate or revive momentum. Shiite Muslims mourn their dead on the third, seventh and 40th days after a death, and these commemorations are a pivotal part of Iran's rich history. During the revolution, the pattern of confrontations between the shah's security forces and the revolutionaries often played out in 40-day cycles...

The first clashes in January 1978 produced two deaths that were then commemorated on the 40th day in mass gatherings, which in turn produced new confrontations with security forces — and new deaths. Those deaths then generated another 40-day period of mourning, new clashes, and further deaths. The cycle continued throughout most of the year until the shah's ouster in January 1979.

The same cycle has already become an undercurrent in Iran's current crisis. The largest demonstration, on Thursday of last week, was called by opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi to commemorate the deaths of protesters three days after they were killed.

Shiite mourning is not simply a time to react with sadness. Particularly in times of conflict, it is also an opportunity for renewal. The commemorations for "Neda" and the others killed this weekend are still to come. And the 40th day events are usually the largest and most important.

"Neda" is already being hailed as a martyr, a second important concept in Shiism. With the reported deaths of 19 people Saturday, martyrdom also provides a potent force that could further deepen public anger at Iran's regime.....

PS: Here's an old post of mine on the warm welcome Iranians gave to some American wrestlers in 2003. That was also the year of many demonstrations and clashes. An abortive uprising. My guess is that the current situation is much more broad-based. Not just students.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:04 PM

Solidarity...

From a column by George Weigel that seems to fit today's events:

...What can we learn from the Nine Days, [The visit of Pope John Paul II to Poland, June 2-10, 1979] three decades later? Several important things, I'd suggest.

The first thing the Nine Days and the subsequent Solidarity revolution teach us is that history doesn't work through politics and economics alone. The power of the human spirit can ignite world-historical change.

The second lesson from the Nine Days is that tradition can be as powerful a force for dramatic social and political change as a revolutionary rupture with the past. "Revolution," in the Solidarity experience, meant the recovery of lost values and cultural truths and their creative re-application to new situations. Tradition, according to an old theological maxim, is the living faith of the dead—a lively faith that can move history forward rather than dragging it backwards.

The third thing we ought to learn from the Nine Days and what followed in Poland is that moral conviction can be the lever once sought by Archimedes—the lever with which to move the world. There is nothing more potent in history, for good or ill, than ideas. The history of the 20th century prior to 1979 had been unspeakably bloody because of the power of false ideas and lies. The Solidarity revolution proved that the opposite could also be true, with its insistence on truth-telling amidst the communist culture of prevarication (or, as one famous slogan of the day had it, "For Poland to be Poland, 2+2 must always = 4").

The fourth thing we learn from the Nine Days and the moral revolution they ignited is that "public life" and "politics," "civil society" and "politics" are not the same. Rather, the health of politics depends on the moral health of civil society.

And the fifth thing we learn about from the Nine Days of John Paul II is what the Pope later came to call "the subjectivity of society." Free associations of men and women who are citizens, not subjects, are where democrats are made, for it's in those free associations that we learn the habits of heart and mind that make it possible for us to be self-governing....
Posted by John Weidner at 4:44 AM

June 20, 2009

Quote for today...

Commentary—Blog Archive—Obama's New Historic First: Indifference to Revolution:

Abe Greenwald: ...Pundits speak as if only hawkishness can become dogmatic, but the U.S. is dealing itself out of an anti-Khomeinist revolution because of the administration's fanatical "realism."...

Revolutions are for Americans and other freedom-loving types. What possible interest could a reactionary Alinsky-ite like Obama have in one?

Posted by John Weidner at 1:07 PM

Must-read. Makes sense of what we see...

Highly recommended. Joshua Muravchik has a long piece putting together all the evidence of a general theme of The Abandonment of Democracy by the Obama administration...:

The most surprising thing about the first half-year of Barack Obama's presidency, at least in the realm of foreign policy, has been its indifference to the issues of human rights and democracy. No administration has ever made these its primary, much less its exclusive, goals overseas. But ever since Jimmy Carter spoke about human rights in his 1977 inaugural address and created a new infrastructure to give bureaucratic meaning to his words, the advancement of human rights has been one of the consistent objectives of America's diplomats and an occasional one of its soldiers.

This tradition has been ruptured by the Obama administration...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:37 AM

Wasn't something like this... Predicted?

This is from a few days ago, but still right on target...Kathryn Jean Lopez - The Corner on National Review Online:

...Reading items like the piece you excerpted from the New Republic reminds me of the strategic opportunities that Obama has squandered by demonizing Bush and the Iraq war for years.

Imagine how powerful it would be for Obama (or, more likely, a surrogate) to be able to stand up and say to the Iranian protesters, "Under the USA, your neighbor Iraq held free and fair elections. The government of Iran went out of its way to demonize the US and undermine those elections. We are now seeing the results of that mindset come home to Iran as you are denied a voice by your government in your own elections. The US government stands behind all who seek free and fair elections."

Of course, he can't say that with any legitimacy because he has spent years putting down Bush and Iraq. This is a classic example of why partisan bickering needs to be toned down; it hamstrings the new Administration. So frustrating to watch....

I'm remembering all the chomskies who scoffed and sneered when people like me said that liberating Iraq could lead to the start of a wave of democracy across the Middle East. Of course you cowardly dogs will pretend it never happened, but I remember. I was right, and my pal George W Bush was right.

Remember this?
Note, Condoleeza Rice to the President, "Iraq is soverign."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 AM

June 19, 2009

Am I the only one who notices that what we are doing is INSANE?

North Korea has announced that it will shoot a missile in the direction of Hawaii. So what do we do? We take defensive measures! Arrrghhh!

I mean, like, if a 400lb crazy brute is harassing people, you do want to be a wee bit cautious about how you handle the situation. But suppose a two-foot tall midget lunatic is wandering around whacking people with a golf club. And we react...How? By being very careful not to provoke him, and by trying to bribe him not to express his feelings. And by advising people to wear shin-guards, just in case.

And by searching our consciences to find out what we've done to deserve these blows. And by declaring that stopping this pint-sized juggernaut would be un-Chistian. And that even talking about doing so is evidence that one is dangerously bellicose, and not to be trusted.

And then when we learn that he's trying to build a machin e gun, we...do what? Why, redouble our efforts to be pacifistic and non-judgemental.

And if I point out that he has people imprisoned in his basement, and is torturing them and starving them to death.... Why, that means I'm some kind of neo-con imperialist! A bad person, obviously!

Mark Steyn, on the Hugh Hewitt Show...

...HH: Now let me play for you an extraordinary, historic bit of tape, Mark Steyn. Earlier today, Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense:

RG: We do have some concerns of they were to launch a missile to the West in the direction of Hawaii. I've directed the deployment again of THAD missiles to Hawaii, and the SBX radar has deployed away from Hawaii to provide support.

HH: Mark Steyn, he's talking about North Korea shooting missiles in the general direction of Hawaii.

MS: Yeah, and this has been a slow-motion train wreck, I think, for American credibility in the world. Ostensibly, they're not supposed to have the capability to do this. Again, the Washington bigwigs used to mock the rumors that were, going back now to I think 1998-1999. There was a rumor that the North Koreans were planning on firing a nuke at Vancouver or Montreal because it would demonstrate to the Americans that they were serious, but without inviting their own nuclear retaliation. And the State Department mocked it as preposterous. Now flash forward ten years later, and we have the Secretary of Defense of the United States making a serious, sober statement about protecting Hawaii from a nuclear attack by a state that has a lower GDP per capita than Zimbabwe. This is deeply damaging to American credibility in the world today....
Posted by John Weidner at 5:03 PM

This approach actually works... So of course Dems are not interested...

Greg Scandlen, More choice for consumers is always healthy - BostonHerald.com:

...Meanwhile there is an approach that has proven to work after six years of testing by millions of people nationwide. Consumer-driven health (CDH) plans empower individuals by taking money away from third-party payers and putting it in the hands of consumers to spend as they wish.

Now that one out of five Americans under age 65 is paying some of his or her own bills through health savings accounts (HSA), high deductible plans and similar consumer-driven plans, policymakers are beginning to see a profound effect on the service side of the ledger. Consumer-driven health (CDH) plans cost 25 percent to 40 percent less than preferred provider organizations (PPO) and health maintenance organizations (HMO), and their rate of annual cost increases is one-third of that of the two other plans.

It isn't just vendors with a vested interest that are capturing these results. Last fall the Kaiser Family Foundation found the average family premium for an HMO totaled $13,100 while an HSA cost only $9,100. The premiums for CDHs at WellPoint and Cigna actually fell over a two-year period, while premiums for their HMOs and PPOs rose about 10 percent.

Costs for CDH plans are falling because people are becoming more invested in their own health - something policymakers have long been trying to achieve without success. Consumers with a CDH participate in wellness/prevention programs at a higher rate than others, and they choose generic drugs over name brands, avoid using emergency rooms in favor of retail clinics or their own doctor, and comply better with recommended treatment programs.

By any measure, CDH is a success, confirmed last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It found 20 percent of the under-65 population is now in some version of a CDH.

So, why isn't Orszag jumping for joy? His hope for a more efficient, better quality health care system that actually lowers costs is being realized right before his eyes. He either is not paying attention or he prefers to hope for complicated, government remedies that may never work....

Of course he does. Dems want to run the circus, and are only interested in "solutions" that involve bigger government.

Well, thank you Republicans, for getting HSA's passed after decades of Democrat obstruction. And thank you George W. Bush!

Posted by John Weidner at 3:51 PM

"An electric and contagious effect"

Sometimes it happens in the Blogosphere that one observes the back-and-forth of a debate over some article or statement, without having read the original piece. That's me in the case with this piece by Charles Krauthammer, Obama Misses the Point With Iran Response. I've seen many approving mentions, and noticed various Lefty bloggers squirming! [Link, link.]

Well, I just read it, and it's too cool. Scathing!

...The latter [fall of the Islamic Republic] is improbable but, for the first time in 30 years, not impossible. Imagine the repercussions. It would mark a decisive blow to Islamist radicalism, of which Iran today is not just standard-bearer and model, but financier and arms supplier. It would do to Islamism what the collapse of the Soviet Union did to communism -- leave it forever spent and discredited.

In the region, it would launch a second Arab spring. The first in 2005 -- the expulsion of Syria from Lebanon, the first elections in Iraq and early liberalization in the Gulf states and Egypt -- was aborted by a fierce counterattack from the forces of repression and reaction, led and funded by Iran.

Now, with Hezbollah having lost elections in Lebanon and with Iraq establishing the institutions of a young democracy, the fall of the Islamist dictatorship in Iran would have an electric and contagious effect. The exception -- Iraq and Lebanon -- becomes the rule. Democracy becomes the wave. Syria becomes isolated; Hezbollah and Hamas, patronless. The entire trajectory of the region is reversed.

All hangs in the balance. The Khamenei regime is deciding whether to do a Tiananmen. And what side is the Obama administration taking? None. Except for the desire that this "vigorous debate" (press secretary Robert Gibbs's disgraceful euphemism) over election "irregularities" not stand in the way of U.S.-Iranian engagement on nuclear weapons.

Even from the narrow perspective of the nuclear issue, the administration's geopolitical calculus is absurd. There is zero chance that any such talks will denuclearize Iran. On Monday, President Ahmadinejad declared yet again that the nuclear "file is shut, forever." The only hope for a resolution of the nuclear question is regime change, which (if the successor regime were as moderate as pre-Khomeini Iran) might either stop the program, or make it manageable and nonthreatening.

That's our fundamental interest. And our fundamental values demand that America stand with demonstrators opposing a regime that is the antithesis of all we believe.

And where is our president? Afraid of "meddling." Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, women-shackling exporters of terror -- and the people in the street yearning to breathe free. This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America's moral standing in the world.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:31 AM

June 18, 2009

One of the neat things this time of year...

...Is the return from dormancy of our Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis).

It's a splendid creature right now. But for more than half the year it's just a sort of leafless stump. Spring comes, the garden explodes with growth...and still no Royal Fern. Every year Charlene and I wonder if it has died.

And then in May the fiddleheads start to emerge. Now it's about 3' in diameter. Those yellow stalks sticking up above are the "fertile fronds," that carry the spores.

Royal Fern

Posted by John Weidner at 11:03 PM

June 17, 2009

Test case: Becoming liberal damages the cognitive functions...

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

Will The Neocons Never Learn? Here's Wehner:
How President Obama deals with this matter — whether he takes actions that show tangible support for the forces of liberation or whether he sits passively by as events unfold, nervous to offend cruel regimes — will tell us a lot about him and his core commitments.
Oh, yes, obviously Obama wants the uprising to fail. Jesus, these people are shameless....

That's not even remotely an argument. Just a sneer. Wehner's point is just common sense: what Obama does will tell us a lot about him. Well, duh! Sullivan twists this into a straw-man in a way that is pathetic.

And my memory is that Sullivan never argued poorly when he was a conservative. [link, link, link, link (on neo-cons)]

I've seen this before. Someone moves to the liberal side of the aisle, and becomes stupid. And slippery and imprecise. It is very interesting, or would be if one could study the phenomenon dispassionately, instead of wondering when the self-induced lobotomies will let enough water into the Titanic called Western Civilization to send her to the bottom...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:56 PM

"Our hearts are with people who yearn for universal freedom"

This is from the Transcript of an interview of Victor Davis Hanson, by Hugh Hewitt:

...HH: Okay, stepping back from the American response to a more historical long view, how often to such popular uprisings succeed, and how often, Victor Davis Hanson, are they simply rather bloodily suppressed?

VDH: Well, it depends, because they all have one predictable pattern, and that is at a critical point, the regime has to determine, whether it was the Papadopoulos government in Greece, or whether it was the Shah of Iran, or whether Pinochet in Chile, whether they want to use a necessary level of violence. And if that critical moment passes, then things get out of control. So I imagine the next 48 hours that theocracy, they're going to have to decide whether it wants to kill X number of people. And if it doesn't, things will start to, I think, get out of hand. And so it would be very important for us as Americans to lend them support and condemn the theocracy as much as we can. Europe, it's funny, we have become to the left of Europe, so Europe is out there, the EU has already been condemned by Ahmadinejad's government, but we haven't. It's very strange what's going on. I can't remember a time since Jimmy Carter where the United States was far to the left, and far less a proponent of human rights and democracy than Europe was...

I remember Jeanne Kirkpatrick and the Kirkpatrick Doctrine. She wrote that "authoritarian" dictatorships were fundamentally different from revolutionary totalitarian regimes, and that the former could evolve towards democracy. The Left howled, but I think history has proved her right. The question now is, which sort of regime is Iran?

Our policy towards Iran has been incoherent, and still is, but I suspect that that's simply because nobody knows which type of regime we are dealing with. We may find out very soon.

...HH: I asked the question last hour, I'll ask it of you, what WWWD, what would W. do? What do you think George Bush would have done by now?

VDH: Well, he would have given a statement like he did in Iraq, and like he said about Iran earlier. He would have said our hearts are with people who yearn for universal freedom, and then say it's not predicated on any particular culture. It's something we all share. And he would have come out, I think, pretty strongly. But you know, once you've apologized to a dictatorship, and you've said that we don't meddle in the affairs of a dictatorship, and we're sorry for what happened in the past, then you've sort of self-censored yourself. And that's what Obama's done, that he's already predicated that he wouldn't make, exercise moral judgment, and he wouldn't meddle. He only meddles in democracies. So if it's a democracy like Iraq, or it's Uribe in Colombia, or if it's Israel, then he will meddle and dictate and tell them what he thinks of them, but not an autocracy....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:54 AM

June 16, 2009

Just, you know, for a comparison...

Reagan didn't remain silent on Poland:

...In mid-December 1981, the Polish government declared martial law, hoping to suppress the Solidarity uprising that started in Gdansk earlier that year. The Soviet puppet Wojciech Jaruzelski imprisoned thousands, including Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, and attempted to suppress self-determination by the Poles through force and intimidation. Then-President Ronald Reagan immediately reacted to the imposition of martial law by publicizing his conversation with Pope John Paul II the next day...

There's more...

And, from a great post on Iran by the Anchoress, Twittering Liberty...and Hope — UPDATED...

...I am a little puzzled, though, by President Obama's contention that America has no right to opine on (or ability to direct) any of Iran's business; he doesn't seem to feel the same way about Israel, after all...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:52 PM

Shills for the regime...

DRUDGE REPORT: ABC TURNS PROGRAMMING OVER TO OBAMA 2009®:

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care -- a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special -- 'Prescription for America' -- originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.

MORE

Late Monday night, Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay fired off a complaint to the head of ABCNEWS: ....

If I were running the Republican party, I'd organize a counter-protest, an online "news hour," and "news room," and I'd make a big push (including ads on network TV) to get people to "tune in" and watch various conservative stars respond to Obam's socialist propaganda, and criticize the fraudulent "news" media who shill for him. It would be a great time to get ordinary people in the habit of using the Internet to route around obstructions.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 AM

June 15, 2009

How we miss W.

Jennifer Rubin: Don't Iranians Deserve "Hope and Change" Too?:

The Iranian election has given the world a jolt of reality. For those confused about the nature of the Iranian regime, its true colors are now revealed. But it has also been a clarifying event in America.

It has been obvious for some time that the American Left has given up on democracy and human rights as fundamental tenets of American foreign policy. But never before has it been so clear just how ruthless and indifferent they are to the aspirations of those who would be crushed by the boot of despotic regimes. And never before have we seen how Herculean a task it is to deny and obfuscate the nature of these sorts of regimes in order to pursue a policy devoted to stability, engagement, and process as goals in and of themselves (rather than as means to some greater ends).

The Iranian election and its aftermath demonstrate just how vast is the difference in approach between the Obama administration, which has embodied the Left's total embrace of realpolitik, and its conservative critics....

"Realpolitic." "Realism." "stability, engagement, and process as goals in and of themselves." I spit upon such leftist depravities with the utmost contempt.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:39 PM

Hello? "Democrats?"

Any Dems reading this?

Right this moment hundreds of thousands of people are battling a brutal terror-supporting regime. They are fighting and dying in Iran for freedom and democracy.

And your fearless leaders have said nothing. Fake-liberal Mr Obama has said nothing. Fake-liberal Hillary has said nothing. They have given them not the slightest shred of encouragement or moral support.

How can you live with this? How can you look at yourselves in the mirror in the morning?

How can you all be such worms?

* Update: In fairness, lots of liberals really are liberal, and their hearts are in the right place right now. Especially, kudos to Andrew Sullivan, who I normally loath, for covering Iran non-stop...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:41 PM

"Climate governing system"

I am very much intrigued by this guest post by Willis Eschenbach at Anthony Watts' blog, The Thermostat Hypothesis:

Abstract: The Thermostat Hypothesis is that tropical clouds and thunderstorms actively regulate the temperature of the earth. This keeps the earth at a equilibrium temperature.

Several kinds of evidence are presented to establish and elucidate the Thermostat Hypothesis — historical temperature stability of the Earth, theoretical considerations, satellite photos, and a description of the equilibrium mechanism....

The interesting words there are "actively regulate." It has long been considered plausible that there is negative feedback caused by clouds. That is, more heat > more evaporation > more clouds > more sunlight reflected away from the earth > less heat. But Eschenbach is not just thinking of negative feedback...

(also, you might want to keep in mind that AGW (the theory of Anthropogenic—man-made—Global Warming) is entirely based on computer models, none of which can model clouds!)

...The tropical sun is strong, and despite the negative feedback from the cumulus clouds, the day continues to heat up. The more the sun hits the ocean, the more warm, moist air is formed, and the more cumulus clouds form. This, of course, reflects more sun, the throttle closes a bit more. But the day continues to warm.

The full development of the cumulus clouds sets the stage for the second part of temperature regulation. This is not simple negative feedback. It is the climate governing system. As the temperature continues to rise, as the evaporation climbs, some of the fluffy cumulus clouds suddenly transform themselves. They rapidly extend skywards, thrusting up to form pillars of cloud thousands of meters high in a short time. These cumulus are transformed into cumulonimbus or thunderstorm clouds. The columnar body of the thunderstorm acts as a huge vertical heat pipe. The thunderstorm sucks up warm, moist air at the surface and shoots it skyward. At altitude the water condenses, transforming the latent heat into sensible heat. The air is rewarmed by this release of sensible heat, and continues to rise.

At the top, the air is released from the cloud up high, way above most of the CO2. In that rarified atmosphere, the air is much freer to radiate to space. By moving inside the thunderstorm heat pipe, the air bypasses most of the greenhouse gases and comes out near the top of the troposphere. During the transport aloft, there is no radiative or turbulent interaction between the rising air and the lower and middle troposphere. Inside the thunderstorm, the rising air is tunneled through most of the troposphere to emerge at the top.

In addition to reflecting sunlight from their top surface as cumulus clouds do, and transporting heat to the upper troposphere where it radiates easily to space, thunderstorms cool the surface in a variety of other ways, particularly over the ocean...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM

June 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Army!

Ethan Hahn—soldier and RJ reader— e-mailed to remind me...

Here's a picture I blogged last year:

1215 service members re-enlist in Baghdad

1,215 Servicemembers from all over Iraq gather in the Al Faw Palace rotunda on Camp Victory, to re-enlist and celebrate America’s Independence Day, July 4, 2008. Photo by MNF-I Public Affairs.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:03 PM

Kreeft on creeds...

I like this excerpt, What's the Point of Creeds? from Fundamentals of the Faith, by Peter Kreeft. (Found at the excellent Ignatius Press blog.)

...God providentially arranged for the great creeds of the Church to be formulated in ages that cared passionately about objective truth. By modern standards, they ignored the subjective, psychological dimension of faith.

But we moderns fall into the opposite and far worse extreme: we are so interested in the subject that we often forget or even scorn the object. Psychology has become our new religion, as Paul Vitz and Kirk Kilpatrick have both so brilliantly shown.

Yet it's the object, not the subjective act, of faith that makes the creeds sacred. They are sacred because Truth is sacred, not because believing is sacred. Creeds do not say merely what we believe, but what is. Creeds wake us from our dreams and prejudices into objective reality. Creeds do not confine us in little cages, as the modern world thinks; creeds free us into the outdoors, into the real world where the winds of heaven whip around our heads. ...
...Two extremes must be avoided: intellectualism and anti-intellectualism, worshipping the words and scorning the words. If the ancient mind tended to the former extreme, the modern mind certainly tends to the latter. Both errors are deadly.

Intellectualism misses the core of faith, both objectively and subjectively. Objectively, the core of faith is God, who is a Person, not a concept. Subjectively, the core of faith is the will, not the intellect. Though informed by the intellect, it is the will that freely chooses to believe.

Faith is not the relation between an intellect and an idea, but the relation between an I and a Thou. That is why faith makes the difference between heaven and hell. God does not send you to hell for flunking his theology exam but for willingly divorcing from him.

Anti-intellectualism also misses the core of faith, both objectively and subjectively. Objectively, because its faith has no object. It calls faith an experience ("the faith experience") — a term never used by our Lord, Scripture, the creeds, or the popes. Modern people are constantly saying, "Have faith!" But faith in what or whom? They often mean "have faith in faith. " But faith in faith in what?

Anti-intellectualism is a modern reaction against the modern narrowing of reason to scientific reason. When the ancients and medievals called man a "rational animal", they did not mean a computerized camera mounted in an ape. They meant by "reason" understanding, wisdom, insight, and conscience as well as logical calculation.

Modern thinkers often forget this dimension of man and think only of reasoning (as in calculating) and feeling. And because they see that faith is not a matter of reasoning, they conclude that it must be a matter of feeling. Thus "I believe" comes to mean "I feel" and creeds simply have no place. Faith becomes a "leap" in the dark instead of a leap in the light.

Many of the Church's greatest saints have been doctors of the Church, theologians, philosophers, intellectuals: Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Bonaventure. Anti-intellectuals like Tatian and Tertullian and Luther (who called reason "the devil's whore") often die excommunicated, as heretics....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:18 PM

June 12, 2009

Worth reading:

Dr. Sanity: The Left Legitimizes Anti-Semitism Every Day:

Anthony Watts: Suggestions of "strong negative cloud feedbacks" in a warmer climate

Edgelings.com---The Obama Surprise:

...Be careful what you wish for. No segment of American industry did more than high tech to elect Barack Obama as President of the United States....

...The first surprise to many Valleyites is how innately anti-entrepreneurial the new Administration has turned out to be....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:02 AM

June 11, 2009

Busy over the weekend...

So probably no bloggiting until Sunday...

But here's a little alternative to the Obamists...an example of how Americans solve energy shortages, stimulate the economy and make the world a better place...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:06 PM

June 10, 2009

"Obama's identification with the Muslim predicament runs deep"

David P. Goldman (Spengler) is very good in First Things: Obama and Cairo:

...Americans shield themselves from the horror of national death. In the eyes of the third world, the Holocaust is of no special consequence. Every tribe and nation will face its own Holocaust, that is, its own extinction. The world is in the midst of a Great Extinction of peoples, in which between half and nine-tenths of the world's 6,000 languages will be silent forever during the next century. Americans shield their eyes from the horror that pervades life in the Muslim world, the sense of looming extinction that lies upon ordinary life like an unending plague of darkness. As Franz Rosenzweig wrote, "Just as every individual must reckon with his eventual death, the peoples of the world foresee their eventual extinction, be it however distant in time. Indeed, the love of the peoples for their own nationhood is sweet and pregnant with the presentiment of death. Thus the peoples of the world foresee a time when their land with its rivers and mountains still lies under heaven as it does today, but other people dwell there; when their language is entombed in books, and their laws and customers have lost their living power."

At one level, the Palestinian belief that the cozy settlements of their exile are the equivalent of the Nazi death camps is delusional. At a deeper level, it is true, for the Palestinians Arabs are dying of shame and humiliation, that is, of their incapacity to adapt to the modern world. They are not dying quite so fast as their Persian coreligionists, but they are dying nonetheless. They know they are dying. They make a virtue of it in the slogan, "You love life: we love death." They fight like men with nothing to lose, because they have nothing to lose in fact.

It used to be the conservatives who stood athwart history, shouting "Stop!" Now it is the president of the United States. As the son, stepson, and half-sibling of Muslims, Obama's identification with the Muslim predicament runs deep. Contrary to some benign interpretations, I do not believe that Obama has made a well-meaning or naive gesture towards the so-called Muslim world. On the contrary, his opinions were long in formation, and his actions precisely calculated. But he is cleverer by far than his American critics. He understands the various tribes of American politics as cultures to be profiled and manipulated....

"Every tribe and nation will face its own Holocaust..." Very true. And I've advocated measures which will advance this, by spreading democracy and capitalism into parts of the world that are now ignorant of them. You could easily say I'm a monster, a destroyer of cultures, were it not for the fact that it's going to happen no matter what we do. It's just happening. Globalization is dissolving local things all around us. Democracy is advancing at a rate of 1.5 countries per year. Despite horrible exceptions, the world is growing richer, and fewer people are poor. (The economic liberalization in India starting in the 90's is estimated to have lifted 300 million people out of poverty, and into the Indian middle-class. Think about that number: 300 million. Almost the population of the whole US. Stupefying, a prodigy, though people seem to just take it for granted.)

But America is a dying culture as much as any. Our very success is now replacing our traditional culture with another one that looks similar on the outside, but is nowhere near the same inside. I'm old enough to know. I grew up with some old-timers, worked with them, and absorbed America through my pores. And I was also part, though I didn't realize it at the time, of the first great discontinuity in American culture, in the 1960's, when vast numbers of young people simply dropped much of what it was to be American and invented new and bizarre alternatives.

I've been concerned in a diffuse way about such things since the 1970's, but the big eye-opener for me was 9/11. Because I had just assumed that Americans would rally to their country's defense in the same way they did after Pearl Harbor. What a shock it was to me when a large portion of Americans didn't! It was, and still is, like being in one of those science-fiction stories where the alien shape-shifters are replacing ordinary people, and the hero tries to warn the others, and they think he's crazy.

Which leads inevitably—if one is not afraid to follow the inferences—to the question, "What, if anything, does NOT change?" And If you ponder that, you quickly realize that simple conservative rigidity doesn't work. For any organization to stay the same, it is necessary to adapt to a changing world while keeping the essentials un-changed. A very tall order! Impossible!

There is one group on earth that seems to be able to do exactly this. And I joined that very group without even being aware of it. It was only after I decided to join the Church Catholic that I grasped that she really was this flexible but unchanging organism. (I don't have time to go into this fascinating topic right now, but I assure you I can back my assertion up with facts if needed.)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:12 AM

June 8, 2009

They wouldn't have tried this on Bush...

Reporters get 12-year terms in N. Korea - CNN.com:

Two U.S. journalists who were detained in North Korea while covering the plight of defectors living along the China-North Korea border have been sentenced to 12 years in labor prisons, the country's state-run media said Monday....

The correct response is war.

The even more correct response is to have been so war-like in the past that crazy tyrants don't even dream of trying this kind of thing. America should always be the "crazy unilateralist cowboy" that Bush was falsely accused of being. That's how you get peace.

Pacifism causes war. Pacifism makes diplomacy futile. Diplomacy only works as an alternative to war.

Alas, what I'm sure we are going to get in the current situation is "negotiations" and bribes to free people who never deserved to be imprisoned. In other words, paying ransoms to kidnappers.

What happens if you pay ransoms? You get more kidnappings! AND, it's much harder to stop once the habit of kidnapping becomes established. It is far wiser to to totally tough when the first kidnapping occurs. That first victim may die, but there won't be any more victims.

The analog in foreign policy is to be ready to fight over the slightest insult. It sounds "war-like" but it's actually the true pacifism.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:20 AM

June 6, 2009

"To distinguish the true from the false, and deceit from truth"

Alcuin Reid, We are lucky this Pope is 'ecclesiastically incorrect':

...On April 18 2005 a 78-year-old cardinal, at the end of his working life, preached the sermon for the cardinal-electors before they entered the conclave to elect a new pope. Joseph Ratzinger spoke that evening of the Church "moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognise anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires", and reminded the cardinals that the Church's true role is "to distinguish the true from the false, and deceit from truth".

His remarks were direct and incisive. They were the words of a man utterly without ambition who was ready to retire under the new pope. So "ecclesiastically incorrect" were they that one cardinal-elector, a strong supporter of his candidacy, later remarked that he wondered whether, by speaking thus, Ratzinger was deliberately trying not to be elected pope.

But the following day he was elected. Journalists, most famously Margaret Hebblethwaite on BBC television, bewailed that "Rottweiler Ratzinger" now held the Keys of St Peter. Even those of us who had read him for decades and who had known him as cardinal in brief but profoundly convincing encounters could barely believe that the cardinal who had so resolutely held and reaffirmed the Church's teaching on faith and morals — with the clear support of Pope John Paul II — and who had pioneered critical debate about the state of the Church following the Second Vatican Council, in fact emerged on the balcony of St Peter's as the Successor of St Peter.

But the cardinals knew Ratzinger personally, better than anyone, which is why, under the influence of God the Holy Spirit, they elected him. The media and most Catholics only knew his public reputation, which is why we had such hysteria.....

Cardinal Ratzinger provoked (still does) hysteria among the relativists because he symbolizes the uncompromising reality of what they are really afraid of...God. Symbolically the Cardinal, as Prefect of the Faith, was saying, "Sorry, Truth is real. The wizard is not going to emerge from behind the curtain and give us a little wink, and some wiggle-room."

Well, it's so. You don't keep going strong for 2,000 years by trickery. (3,500 years really, since the Church is the New Israel.) Nothing else has lasted a quarter as long.

"In fact, there's nothing that keeps its youth
So far as I know, but a tree and truth..."
Posted by John Weidner at 10:32 PM

All those who harshly criticized Bush for issuing "signing statements..."

You are, are you not, going to criticize Obama now that he's doing the same thing?

Hmmm? I'm waiting..........

(And Clinton too, of course. Somehow people never got around to that one.)

Posted by John Weidner at 12:12 PM

If you can't trust the data...

Anthony Watts notes an interesting editorial in the Orange County Register, about his own work...A significant editorial on weather stations and data quality:

...Now another serious doubt has been raised concerning how much of the 1-degree centigrade increase over the past century allegedly caused by escalating emissions has even occurred.

"We can't know for sure if global warming is a problem if we can't trust the data," said Anthony Watts, veteran broadcast meteorologist, who for three years organized an extensive review of official ground temperature monitoring stations, in conjunction with Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., senior research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and professor emeritus of the Department of Atmospheric Science at the University of Colorado.

The study, recently published by the free-market Heartland Institute, inspected 860 of the 1,221 U.S. ground stations that gauge temperature changes. The findings were alarming.

They found 89 percent of stations "fail to meet the National Weather Service's own siting requirements" that say stations must be located at least 100 feet from artificial heat sources.

"We found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering hot rooftops and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat," Mr. Watts reported.

Many stations also had added more sensitive measuring devices, heat-generating radio transmission devices and even latex paint to replace original whitewash, resulting in greater heat retention and reflection.

At one location, Mr. Watts said when he "stood next to the temperature sensor, I could feel warm exhaust air from the nearby cell phone tower equipment sheds blowing past me! I realized this official thermometer was recording the temperature of a hot zone...and other biasing influences including buildings, air conditioner vents and masonry."...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:11 PM

"Men are as clay in the hands of the consummate leader."

From a don't-miss piece by Jonah Goldberg, You want a more 'progressive' America? Careful what you wish for: (Thanks to Rand)

....Wilson, like the bulk of progressive intellectuals in fin-de-siécle America, was deeply influenced by three strands of thought: philosophical Pragmatism, Hegelianism, and Darwinism. This heady intellectual cocktail produced a drunken arrogance and the conviction that the old rules no longer applied.

The classical liberalism of the Founders — free markets, individualism, property rights, etc. — had been eclipsed by a new "experimental" age. Horace Kallen, a protégé of Pragmatism exponent William James, denounced fixed philosophical dogmas as mere rationalizations of the status quo. Sounding much like today's critical theorists, Mr. Kallen lamented that "Men have invented philosophy precisely because they find change, chance, and process too much for them, and desire infallible security and certainty."

The old conception of absolute truths and immutable laws had been replaced by a "Darwinian" vision of organic change.

Hence Wilson argued that the old "Newtonian" vision — fixed rules enshrined in the Constitution and laws — had to give way to the "Darwinian" view of "living constitutions" and the like.

"Government," Wilson wrote approvingly in his magnum opus, "The State," "does now whatever experience permits or the times demand." "No doubt," he wrote elsewhere, taking dead aim at the Declaration of Independence, "a lot of nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of the individual, and a great deal that was mere vague sentiment and pleasing speculation has been put forward as fundamental principle."

In his 1890 essay, "Leaders of Men," Wilson explained that a "true leader" uses the masses like "tools." He must inflame their passions with little heed for the facts. "Men are as clay in the hands of the consummate leader."

Wilson once told a black delegation, that "segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen." But his racism wasn't just a product of his Southern roots; it was often of a piece with the reigning progressive obsession with eugenics, the pseudoscience that strove to perfect society through better breeding.....

You can slot-in to the above Lenin or Hillary or Hitler or Obama or Alinsky. Or any random sociology prof at your local community college...

What is the intellectual problem with this statement: "The old conception of absolute truths and immutable laws had been replaced by a "Darwinian" vision of organic change..."   What's wrong is that there isn't any "solid ground." No truth that can be used to measure or define anything else.

A "Pragmatist" would say that "what works" is the measure, but there is in his philosophy no absolute standard of "what works." "What works" means whatever you want it to mean. If Wilson had had the power, he probably would have done to inferior races exactly what Hitler did. (He did have the power to introduce Jim Crow laws into the District of Columbia, and proceeded to do so.) And if you accept his philosophy, he would have been perfectly justified in a Final Solution to the negro problem. Eugenics seemed to be "what works" at that moment in time, and Progressives had abandoned any absolute standard that Eugenics might be measured against.

Once you abandon the Truths handed down from our ancestors, then the only "truth" is the intellectual fashion of the moment. Now, kind hearted reader, you may imagine that today's progressives are "nice" people who would not do the horrid things done by Twentieth Century tyrants. Yes? You may believe they would never kill millions of people for the sake of an idea, right? Kill for an intellectual fad? No no no. Impossible.

Well, if you think that, you are wrong. Millions are dying at this moment because a "Progressive" intellectual fad was imposed on hapless people. Read about it in my post here. If you are a leftist, read. Think!



Posted by John Weidner at 8:41 AM

"Down the blue night the unending columns press..."

    CLOUDS

Down the blue night the unending columns press
In noiseless tumult, break and wave and flow,
Now tread the far South, or lift rounds of snow
Up to the white moon's hidden loveliness.

Some pause in their grave wandering comradeless,
And turn with profound gesture vague and slow,
As who would pray good for the world, but know
Their benediction empty as they bless.

They say that the Dead die not, but remain
Near to the rich heirs of their grief and mirth.
I think they ride the calm mid-heaven, as these,
In wise majestic melancholy train,
And watch the moon, and the still-raging seas,
And men, coming and going on the earth.

-- Rupert Brook



Posted by John Weidner at 7:12 AM

June 5, 2009

Why this blog is "hate-filled" #187

"Hate-filled," in liberal-speak, means, as I'm sure you know, "criticises the Left." But why? Why am I so filled with "hate?"

Here's one reason...This is one of my old posts from January 2003 I stumbled upon...


Reasons why we shouldn't/couldn't/mustn't liberate Iraq; #187:

From a column by Arnold Ahlert in the NY Post. (via Andrea)
January 5, 2003 -- IT was probably an amazing coincidence, but twice in the past week when the argument was being made for a "hands off" policy regarding Saddam Hussein, I got the exact same answer to a question.

The question: Does it make any difference to you that Saddam Hussein has murdered more than 180,000 Iraqis? The answer both times: Well, they're his people, aren't they?...

...Were the Jews "Hitler's people"? This particular follow-up question elicited no response...

Being an embedded journalist in a far-left city, I wasn't surprised, exactly. But it is very strange, historically speaking, for liberals to be so illiberal.

Actually, you could say that my whole blogging project since back then has been to point out that things like this are VERY STRANGE!

And to ask WHY? (Some of my answers are here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:26 AM

"Equidistant Position"

David Frum is very good Obama's speech... (Thanks to Hugh Hewitt.)

...The president's Cairo speech: worse than feared. Let's itemize the ways.

President Obama likes to position himself as an intermediary, explaining two conflicting parties each to the other. He did so in his race speech in Philadelphia, he did so when he spoke about abortion at Notre Dame

In Cairo, he took a similar position between the United States and the Islamic world. He urged Americans to take a positive view of Islam, and urged Muslims to take a positive view of the United States.

But whereas in Philadelphia and Notre Dame Obama was explaining two groups of Americans to each other, in Cairo he exhibited the amazing spectacle of an American president taking an equidistant position between the country he leads and its detractors and enemies. It is as if he saw himself as a judge in some legal dispute, People of the Islamic World v. United States. But the job to which he was elected was not that of impartial judge, but that of leader and champion of the American nation...

There's plenty more worth reading.

Of course that "equidistant position" is exactly how leftists like Obama talk. I hear it here in San Francisco. "Americans are... militaristic/racist/crude/Walmart/greedy...whatever" Said as if the speaker is not part of that horrid crowd.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:58 AM

June 4, 2009

Heart of Darkness...

Alan Sullivan:

"Mr. President, the missile is in the air. It was ship-launched from somewhere near Bermuda. It appears to be aimed at Washington."

"Isn't there anything you can do?"

"If it's rigged for ground detonation, we might be able to stop it before it hits. The Patriot batteries are ready to fire. But their range is limited, and we suspect the bomb is rigged to explode at high elevation. If so, in five minutes the population of the East Coast is going to learn what life was like in the Dark Ages."

"Why can't we stop it?"

"Because you cut our ballistic missile defense program. You thought you could sweet-talk people who had been screaming "death to America" for thirty years."

I would just add that opposition by the Left to missile defense has been unrelenting for many decades. They oppose it consistently, and to a far greater degree than their general opposition to our military and to defense spending. And they hate missile defense much more than they hate offensive weapons systems!

I suspect that if there some way to peer into their psyches, and find out what's going on with that, you would be close to the "heart of darkness"....

Posted by John Weidner at 8:46 AM

Slippery and dishonest...

Obama has belatedly, and quietly, issued a statement about the shooting of two soldiers in Arkansas:

... "I am deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence against two brave young soldiers who were doing their part to strengthen our armed forces and keep our country safe. I would like to wish Quinton Ezeagwula a speedy recovery, and to offer my condolences and prayers to William Long's family as they mourn the loss of their son."

It makes an interesting contrast with the statement he made about the murder of the abortionist...

I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence....

For one thing, it's the Tiller killing that is a "senseless act of violence," since all pro-life groups and leaders explicitly condemn vigilante attacks. It was done by someone who had lost his senses.

The shooting of the soldiers, on the other hand, was NOT senseless. The number of Islamic groups and leaders who endorse or encourage such violence is legion. (That's why "pacifists" and "anti-war" activists like them so much.) The attack made perfect "sense" to a large subset of the world's Muslims.

And notice how the second sentence of the abortionist statement implies, in the slippery dishonest way one expects from Leftists, that "Americans" are resolving our differences by acts of violence. This is a dirty lie. One very reminiscent of the deceptious way that Clinton linked the Oklahoma City bombing to conservatives. (And refused to investigate the connections the bombers had to radical Islam, by the way.) [Link, link]

On the other hand, it would NOT have been a lie if it had been applied to the Muslim who shot our soldiers!

But mostly it's the different tone of the two statements that is telling. I live among lots of people who think like Obama does. I have no doubt that they reacted just like Obama did. The murder of s soldier was not important to them, but the murder of an abortionist provoked "shock and outrage." (And ooohhh yes, instant political calculation.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:40 AM

June 3, 2009

Go John...

Boehner keeps up the pressure on that horrid lying harridan Nancy Pelosi. Of course the press will ignore this, but it is still an honorable effort, deserving of our support....

House Minority Leader John Boehner:

"Ten days ago, Speaker Pelosi not only refused to back up her accusations against our intelligence professionals, but she actually stood by her comments that they have repeatedly lied to her and lied to Congress. "Now, the Speaker gets regular briefings from our intelligence professionals today. Does she still believe that they're lying to her?

"I made this request of the Speaker more than two weeks ago: Either offer proof that our intelligence professionals lied to her or she should retract that statement and offer an apology. And to date she's done neither. She's done nothing to address the damage that she's left by her unsupported accusations.

"This is a matter — I think it's serious and requires a bipartisan investigation to determine the facts. Republicans have requested that the — that a bipartisan select committee of the Intelligence Committee be established to look at the issues that the speaker has raised.

"Unfortunately, ten days ago, House Democrats blocked this request for a bipartisan investigation.

"Let's be clear, these are serious allegations. Not providing proof to back them up is an affront to our intelligence professionals. And I'm disappointed that House Democrats continue to stonewall this investigation. And my hope is that the Speaker will step up and bring this issue to rest once and for all.

"My colleagues and I are prepared to continue to press this issue until it is resolved."
Posted by John Weidner at 6:31 PM

Something to be aware of...

From Anthony Watts:

...In addition, a significant new report was released, the NIPCC. It is a comprehensive rebuttal to the IPCC report.

Climate Change Reconsidered, the 2009 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), is the report on global warming the United Nations' climate panel should have written – but didn't.

The 880-page report, released June 2nd, 2009 at an international meeting in Washington DC of scientists and policy experts, rigorously critiques the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concluded that harmful global warming "very likely" has been due to human activity in the release of greenhouse gases. The science behind that conclusion is soundly refuted in Climate Change Reconsidered, coauthored by Dr. S. Fred Singer and Dr. Craig Idso.

The full text of the report and related materials can be found here....

Here's a video of the introduction of the report yesterday...

 

Posted by John Weidner at 5:24 PM

"Just a regular old guy"

"We Didn't Know He Was Clarence Thomas":

High school seniors Terrence Stephens and Jason Ankrah, star football players at Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Md., were sitting on a plane returning from a recruitment session at the University of Nebraska when they struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to them.

Their seat-mate just happened to be a major Cornhuskers fan.

When they started chatting, Stephens and Ankrah didn't have a clue they were holding court with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

"I was amazed this guy knew so much about us as football players and as people," said Stephens. "That was shocking. I felt honored to be known by someone of his caliber. He was just a regular old guy, sitting in coach, which really shocked me."...
Typical of the man. I've heard plenty of stories like this. If a liberal acted like Clarence Thomas, it'd be big news. This too...
...By the time the plane landed, the students had figured out who Thomas was, and they promptly told their principal they wanted to invite Thomas to give the keynote speech at their high school graduation. Of course, Principal Carole Working didn't exactly think Thomas would take them up on it. But he showed up at the high school on Monday...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:20 AM

June 2, 2009

Once the poison is in the system...

Wall Street Journal: Islamists Lose Ground in the Middle East:

...The results of Kuwait's elections last month -- in which Islamists were rebuffed and four women were elected to parliament -- will likely reinvigorate the movement for greater democracy in the region that has stalled since the hopeful "Arab spring" of 2005...

Well, it didn't just "stall." When our "Democrats" undermined their own country in war-time, they were also undermining all the good things that were flowing from our efforts.

...It also puts pressure on the Obama administration to end its deafening silence on democracy promotion....

Yeah, like they care...

...Although ruled by a hereditary monarch, Kuwait is the most democratic of the Arab countries. The press is relatively free, parliament has real power, and politicians are chosen in legitimate elections. However, Kuwait is a part of the Persian Gulf, where the subordination of women is traditionally most severe. Historically, Kuwait's political process was for males only. But in 2005 parliament yielded to female activists and approved a bill giving women the right to vote and hold office.

In 2006 and 2008, several women ran for parliament, though none won. The women that captured four of the 50 seats last month weren't aided by quotas; they won on their own merits. Their success will undoubtedly inspire a new wave of women's activism in nearby countries.

So, "feminist" organizations and leaders. You're going to support this, right? Ha ha.

...Almost as significant as the women's gains were the Islamist losses. The archconservative Salafist Movement's campaign for a boycott of female candidates obviously fell flat, and the number of seats held by Sunni Islamists fell sharply.

Thus continues a string of defeats for Islamists over the last year and a half from west to east...

President George W. Bush knew exactly what he was doing when he injected his democracy juice right into the arteries of Islamic despotism. And our "Democrats" and "pacifists" and "feminists" and all the other fake-leftists knew exactly what they were doing when they fought him every inch of the way. Their aim is tyranny.

(I have no good reason to put this picture in, save to remind us of happier times, and perhaps irritate some prune-faced fake-liberals...)

Barbara, Laura and Jenna Bush

Posted by John Weidner at 7:15 AM

John Ashcroft we hardly knew ye....

Dafydd: The Double-Standard Gauntlet Is Thrown:

...So far as I've heard, every single pro-life organization and a great many pro-life individuals denounced and condemned this murder as despicable, cowardly, and a violation of the entire thrust of the pro-life community. And they did so the very day it happened, Sunday, May 31st, 2009.

But I have yet to hear or read a single radical leftist anti-war organization, politician, or blogger condemning the assassination of Private William Long, United States Army, and the attempted assassination of Private Quinton Ezeagwula, United States Army. As of the timestamp of this post, not a word on the website of International ANSWER; nary a peep from the chicks at Code Pink....

'cause they're on the other side...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:58 AM