November 30, 2009

(Yes, I know I'm obsessing over Climategate - and I should get a life)



This piece by Clive Crook on Warmergate is pretty good, but there's something here that really bothers me...

More on Climategate - Clive Crook:

...While I'm listing surprises, let me note how disappointed I was by The Economist's coverage of all this. "Leaked emails do not show climate scientists at their best," it observes. No indeed. I should say I worked at the magazine for years, admire it as much as ever, and rely on the science coverage especially. But I was baffled by its reaction to the scandal. "Little wonder that the scientists are looking tribal and jumpy, and that sceptics have leapt so eagerly on such tiny scraps as proof of a conspiracy," its report concludes. Tiny scraps?  I detest anti-scientific thinking as much as The Economist does. I admire expertise, and scientific expertise especially; like any intelligent citizen I am willing to defer to it. But that puts a great obligation on science. The people whose instinct is to respect and admire science should be the ones most disturbed by these revelations. The scientists have let them down, and made the anti-science crowd look wise. That is outrageous. ...

NO, this is not the "anti-science crowd" vs the "science-crowd. It's the honest-science crowd vs the dishonest-science crowd. It's been stupid all along to say that the skeptics are "anti-science," since many of them are cracker-jack scientists, or engineers, or amateurs with a deep appreciation of what natural science is and should be. Steve McIntyre has show those big-shot "scientists" Mann and Briffa and Caspar Amman to be dead wrong, and he did it without complete datasets, and without the big grants that Jones & Co had. He's a scientist.

It's a hundred times more wrong and STUPID to say the critics are "anti-science" now.

Being a scientist is not a matter of having a white lab coat and a union card. A scientist is a seeker of Truth. Everything else is trivial compared to that. Phil Jones and his gang ARE NOT SCIENTISTS. Not even a little bit. (You might perhaps call them scientific technicians.)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:51 PM

Peer-Review--a magical spell...





Shannon Love, No One Peer-Reviews Scientific Software:

...Too often these days when people want to use a scientific study to bolster a political position, they utter the phrase, "It was peer reviewed" like a magical spell to shut off any criticism of a paper's findings.

Worse, the concept of "peer review" is increasingly being treated in the popular discourse as synonymous with "the findings were reproduced and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt."

This is never what peer review was intended to accomplish. Peer review functions largely to catch trivial mistakes and to filter out the loons. It does not confirm or refute a paper's findings....

[...]

....Custom-written scientific programs are much, much larger and much, much more complex than any spreadsheet. It would take a huge amount of time for a peer reviewer to go through the code line by line to see if the software had any faults. Normally, peer reviewers work for only a token payment and they work in isolation. They don't have the time or resources to actually check out a complex piece of software. Further, there is no guarantee that a peer reviewer in a particular field is competent to judge software. That is like assuming that a biologist who understands everything about the Humboldt squid can also rebuild any automotive transmission.

The practical inability of peer reviewers to verify scientific software doesn't mean much in reality, because scientific institutions never even developed the standard that experimenters had to make the code for their software available to reviewers in the first place!

This raises a troubling question: When scientists tell the public that a scientific study that used a large, custom-written piece of software has been "peer reviewed" does that mean the study faced the same level of peer scrutiny as did a study that used more traditional hardware instruments and procedures?

Clearly not.

Scientists have let a massive flaw slowly creep into the scientific review system as they have ignored the gradually increasing significance and complexity of computer software...
Posted by John Weidner at 12:13 PM

November 29, 2009

From those wonderful folks who brought you *man-made* global warming...



This is too too good. Programmer's comments culled from the source code from the CRU computer programs used to soften us up for "Global Governance."

Lorrie Goldstein: 'Botch after botch after botch':

...As you read the programmer's comments below, remember, this is only a fraction of what he says.

- "But what are all those monthly files? DON'T KNOW, UNDOCUMENTED. Wherever I look, there are data files, no info about what they are other than their names. And that's useless ..." (Page 17)

- "It's botch after botch after botch." (18)

- "The biggest immediate problem was the loss of an hour's edits to the program, when the network died ... no explanation from anyone, I hope it's not a return to last year's troubles ... This surely is the worst project I've ever attempted. Eeeek." (31)

- "Oh, GOD, if I could start this project again and actually argue the case for junking the inherited program suite." (37)

- "... this should all have been rewritten from scratch a year ago!" (45)

- "Am I the first person to attempt to get the CRU databases in working order?!!" (47)

- "As far as I can see, this renders the (weather) station counts totally meaningless." (57)

- "COBAR AIRPORT AWS (data from an Australian weather station) cannot start in 1962, it didn't open until 1993!" (71)

- "What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah -- there is no 'supposed,' I can make it up. So I have : - )" (98)

- "You can't imagine what this has cost me -- to actually allow the operator to assign false WMO (World Meteorological Organization) codes!! But what else is there in such situations? Especially when dealing with a 'Master' database of dubious provenance ..." (98)

- "So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option -- to match every WMO possible, and turn the rest into new stations ... In other words what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad ..." (98-9)

- "OH F--- THIS. It's Sunday evening, I've worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done, I'm hitting yet another problem that's based on the hopeless state of our databases." (241)....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:14 PM

Makes Piltdown Man look like child's play...



Christopher Booker has a powerful editorial in the Telegraph, Climate change: This is the Worst Scientific Scandal of our Generation:

I've added my own emphasis, comments and links. ('cause what's the use of having a blog if not to have fun?)

A week after my colleague James Delingpole, on his Telegraph blog, coined the term "Climategate" to describe the scandal revealed by the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, Google was showing that the word now appears across the internet more than nine million times. [And growing fast!] But in all these acres of electronic coverage, one hugely relevant point about these thousands of documents has largely been missed.

The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Professor Philip Jones, the CRU's director, is in charge of the two key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of the IPCC's key scientific contributors, his global temperature record is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments rely — not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it.

Dr Jones is also a key part of the closely knit group of American and British scientists responsible for promoting that picture of world temperatures conveyed by Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph which 10 years ago turned climate history on its head by showing that, after 1,000 years of decline, global temperatures have recently shot up to their highest level in recorded history....
...Given star billing by the IPCC, not least for the way it appeared to eliminate the long-accepted Mediaeval Warm Period when temperatures were higher they are today, the graph became the central icon of the entire man-made global warming movement. [Prediction: We will be rooting out hockey stick graphs for a generation.]

Since 2003, however, when the statistical methods used to create the "hockey stick" were first exposed as fundamentally flawed by an expert Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre, an increasingly heated battle has been raging between Mann's supporters, calling themselves "the Hockey Team", and McIntyre and his own allies, as they have ever more devastatingly called into question the entire statistical basis on which the IPCC and CRU construct their case.

The senders and recipients of the leaked CRU emails constitute a cast list of the IPCC's scientific elite, including not just the "Hockey Team", such as Dr Mann himself, Dr Jones and his CRU colleague Keith Briffa, [LINK] but Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial rewriting of key passages in the IPCC's 1995 report; Kevin Trenberth, who similarly controversially pushed the IPCC into scaremongering over hurricane activity; [Yeah, what happened to those huge hurricanes we were promised?] and Gavin Schmidt, right-hand man to Al Gore's ally Dr James Hansen, whose own GISS record of surface temperature data is second in importance only to that of the CRU itself. [And here's another culprit.]

There are three threads in particular in the leaked documents which have sent a shock wave through informed observers across the world. [You could even call me an "informed observer," in the most minor way. And I'm stunned by this. Suspicions confirmed a thousandfold beyond anything I could have dreamed of.] Perhaps the most obvious, as lucidly put together by Willis Eschenbach (see McIntyre's blog Climate Audit and Anthony Watt's blog Watts Up With That), is the highly disturbing series of emails which show how Dr Jones and his colleagues have for years been discussing the devious tactics whereby they could avoid releasing their data to outsiders under freedom of information laws.

They have come up with every possible excuse for concealing the background data on which their findings and temperature records were based.

This in itself has become a major scandal, not least Dr Jones's refusal to release the basic data from which the CRU derives its hugely influential temperature record, which culminated last summer in his startling claim that much of the data from all over the world had simply got "lost". [The dog ate it.] Most incriminating of all are the emails in which scientists are advised to delete large chunks of data, which, when this is done after receipt of a freedom of information request, is a criminal offence.

But the question which inevitably arises from this systematic refusal to release their data is — what is it that these scientists seem so anxious to hide? The second and most shocking revelation of the leaked documents is how they show the scientists trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction — to lower past temperatures and to "adjust" recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming. This comes up so often (not least in the documents relating to computer data in the Harry Read Me file) that it becomes the most disturbing single element of the entire story. This is what Mr McIntyre caught Dr Hansen doing with his GISS temperature record last year (after which Hansen was forced to revise his record), [Here's a LINK. And don't miss second half of the article!]] and two further shocking examples have now come to light from Australia and New Zealand. [Drip drip drip, like Watergate!]

In each of these countries it has been possible for local scientists to compare the official temperature record with the original data on which it was supposedly based. In each case it is clear that the same trick has been played — to turn an essentially flat temperature chart into a graph which shows temperatures steadily rising. And in each case this manipulation was carried out under the influence of the CRU. [Lots more of this coming, I bet.]

What is tragically evident from the Harry Read Me file [We'll be mining that mother-lode of mendacity for years.] is the picture it gives of the CRU scientists hopelessly at sea with the complex computer programmes they had devised to contort their data in the approved direction, more than once expressing their own desperation at how difficult it was to get the desired results.

The third shocking revelation of these documents is the ruthless way in which these academics have been determined to silence any expert questioning of the findings they have arrived at by such dubious methods — not just by refusing to disclose their basic data but by discrediting and freezing out any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics' work. It seems they are prepared to stop at nothing to stifle scientific debate in this way, not least by ensuring that no dissenting research should find its way into the pages of IPCC reports. [Years of ferocious and unscrupulous attacks have made the skeptics tough and dangerous. TRUTH is the best revenge, and now it's payback time.]

There's more in the article. But it's time to stop enjoying myself and get back to ordinary life...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:41 AM

November 28, 2009

God's silent, searching flight....

From NIGHT, by Henry Vaughan

          ...Dear night! this world's defeat;
The stop to busy fools; care's check and curb;
The day of Spirits; my soul's calm retreat
               Which none disturb!
     Christ's progress, and his prayer time;
     The hours to which high Heaven doth chime.

          God's silent, searching flight:
When my Lord's head is filled with dew, and all
His locks are wet with the clear drops of night;
               His still, soft call;
     His knocking time; the soul's dumb watch,
     When Spirits their fair kindred catch.

          Were all my loud, evil days
Calm and unhaunted as is thy dark Tent,
Whose peace but by some Angel's wing or voice
               Is seldom rent;
     Then I in Heaven all the long year
     Would keep, and never wander here.

          But living where the sun
Doth all things wake, and where all mix and tire
Themselves and others, I consent and run
               To every mire,
     And by this world's ill-guiding light,
     Err more than I can do by night.

          There is in God (some say)
A deep, but dazzling darkness; as men here
Say it is late and dusky, because they
               See not all clear;
     O for that night! where I in him
     Might live invisible and dim.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:42 PM

November 27, 2009

Utter contrast...

I thought last year that the 2008 presidential election was really between Obama and Palin, with McCain and Biden just place-holders in nice suits. Everything that has happened since just seems to confirm that. And the pattern is always that Obama is given every possible advantage, and ought to simply outshine Governor Palin...... and yet it never happens! If someone had written this story as a novel it would be dismissed as "too contrived."

In the story below there is a line about how the press didn't fact-check Obam's books because "they likely feared what they would find" Wow, isn't that just the pattern of so much we see on the Left? Isn't that exactly why they keep insisting that the "science is settled?" Wasn't that the Bush-Kerry military service clash? The Left lives in fear. We need to understand that. That's what "political correctness" is; a whole bunch of "don't go there signs." Don't discuss, don't fact-check, don't criticize. Fear.

I recommend this piece by Jack Cashill in American Thinker, The Competing Narratives of Barry and Sarah:

...In 1992, while an anxious Obama dithers in an office that the University of Chicago has given him to write Dreams, half of his $150,000 advance already cashed, Palin is pulling her babies, Track and Bristol, along on a sled as she goes door-to-door seeking votes in her run for Wasilla city council.

Not yet thirty, Palin settles upon the philosophy that will guide her political career: reducing taxes "and redefining government's proper role." Like few Republicans this side of Ronald Reagan, Palin will adhere to these principles throughout her political ascent.

Not surprisingly, Palin's tenacity makes enemies among those who have cashed in their Republican heritage for the perks and power of office. Palin's perseverance in the face of this resistance makes for compelling political drama. That she is a woman challenging the good old boys of backroom Alaska heightens that drama.

Yet despite pushing the boundaries of female accomplishment throughout her career -- as sports reporter, as commercial fisherman, as councilwoman, as mayor, as oil and gas commissioner, as governor, as vice-presidential candidate -- Palin never loses her sense of the feminine. Having five children surely helps. So does living in an environment where manly virtues still matter.

An exchange with the larger-than-life Todd helps clarify Alaskan reality. Todd is a four-time winner of the Iron Dog competition, a 2,200 mile snowmobiling marathon. One night, Sarah expresses interest in competing. Says Todd:
Can you get the back end of a six-hundred-pound machine unstuck by yourself with open water up to your thighs, then change out an engine at forty below in the pitch black on a frozen river and replace thrashed shocks and jury rig a suspension using tree limbs along the trail?
When Sarah answers "Nope," Todd replies, "Then go back to sleep, Sarah." Todd lives his Eskimo heritage. He does not just dream about it, let alone exploit it...
...While Palin is slugging through Alaska's political morass like a determined Iditarod musher, Obama is cruising through Illinois politics on skids greased by his Chicago cronies. In his 2004 run for U.S. Senate, both his chief primary opponent and his expected general election opponent are undone by damaging personal information leaked to the media. Obama wins both elections easily.

The combination of his black genes and white upbringing makes the famously "articulate and bright and clean" Obama an irresistible choice to keynote the race-conscious 2004 Democratic convention. "I mean, that's a storybook, man," alleges the inimitable Joe Biden.

The story told in Dreams will become a huge bestseller in the wake of the 2004 convention. The lofty, lyrical style of the book will seal the Ivy-educated Obama's reputation as a genius, and its much-celebrated narrative would serve as a foundational myth for Obama's ascent to the White House.

Said NEA chairman Rocco Landesman just last month, reiterating the accepted wisdom of the chattering classes, "This is the first president that actually writes his own books since Teddy Roosevelt and arguably the first to write them really well since Lincoln."

The establishment will not be so kind to Palin. In the week of Going Rogue's release, the New York Times house conservative David Brooks will call her "a joke." Dick Cavett, the Norma Desmond of TV talk, will dismiss her as a "know-nothing." Ex-con Dem fundraiser Martha Stewart will brand Palin "a dangerous person." And literally thousands of lesser liberal lights will deride her as "stupid," an "idiot," or a "moron" (8.5 million Google hits and counting for "Palin" "moron").

In that same week, Chris Matthews was worrying out loud that Obama was "too darned intellectual," and author Michael Eric Dyson was celebrating Obama's "sexy brilliance." But while the Associated Press was sending a platoon of reporters to fact-check Palin's book, neither the AP nor any other media outlet dared check either Dreams or Audacity of Hope.

They likely feared what they would find -- namely that Obama's genius depends solely on his willingness to lie about it. "I've written two books," Obama told a crowd of teachers in Virginia last year. "I actually wrote them myself." He did no such thing. He had massive help with both books....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:04 AM

November 26, 2009

"...and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving to one another"

      PRAYER FOR HOME AND FAMILY - Robert Louis Stevenson

Lord, behold our family here assembled. We thank Thee for this place in which we dwell; for the love that unites us; for the peace accorded us this day; for the hope with which we expect the morrow; for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful; for our friends in all parts of the earth.

Let peace abound in our small company. Purge out of every heart the lurking grudge. Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere. Offenders, give us the grace to accept and to forgive offenders. Forgetful ourselves, help us to bear cheerfully the forgetfulness of others.

Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavors. If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving to one another.

As the clay to the potter, as the windmill to the wind, as children of their sire, we beseech of Thee this help and mercy for Christ's sake.

Note: To most of the country colorful autumn leaves are fairly unmemorable. But in San Francisco they are quite rare, so we take note of them. I snapped this this morning...

autumn leaves at the Weidners

They did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened
(Rom. 1:21).
Posted by John Weidner at 8:56 AM

November 25, 2009

Remember this when people chirp about Palin's RNC campaign clothing expenses...

The Associated Press: First lady wears Naeem Khan gown to state dinner:

...Designer Khan is no stranger to helping women make a grand entrance; he has become a fixture on the Hollywood red-carpet circuit, dressing Beyonce, Carrie Underwood, Katherine Heigl and even Queen Noor of Jordan. Mrs. Obama's gown took three weeks at the designer's family workshop in India — with 40 people working on it — to complete, Khan said....

40 people, working three weeks. I struggle with complex math, but that looks to me like 120 man-weeks. Which is, ummm, a bit over 2 man-years. (I suppose I should say "person-years.) For one dress.

But it would be racist of me to criticize...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:13 PM

"Perverse... even to imagine so heinous a crime"

Here's a little insight into how attitudes towards scientific fraud have changed since I was a boy.

In 1957 Isaac Asimov was still a professor of bio-chemistry at Boston University Medical School. His science fiction was popular, but SF was then a marginal genre that wouldn't support a man with a family. He was also starting to branch out into other sorts of writing.

He wrote a mystery novel, a A Whiff of Death, which he had a hard time getting published, and which was not a commercial success. This quote is from his autobiography, In Joy Still Felt:
...I sent it to several publishers of mystery novels, such as Harper and William Morrow. and it kept coming back. Apparently Doubleday's decision as to its unworthiness was part of a general notion.

That bothered me, for I was convinced the murder mystery was a good one. Of course the setting of a graduate chemistry department was an esoteric one, but that should have been a point in the book's favor.

I discovered eventually, that the chief flaw in the book from the standpoint of the publishers was the inadequacy of the motive for the murder. It involved a Ph.D. student faking results, and that seemed a tiny sin to most editorial readers.

When I gave fellow professors an inkling of the plot, however, they shuddered and turned away, obviously suspecting some deep-seated perverse element in my nature even to imagine so heinous a crime. Too little for one group of people, too much for another!...
[My emphasis]

I took quite a few science classes in high school and college, and I'm pretty sure the subject of scientific fraud was never mentioned. I don't think anyone considered it even possible. That's certainly a contrast with what we've seen in the CRU e-mails. Or in many other things, such as the years of frustration Steve McIntyre had trying to get a look at Keith Briffa's tree-ring data. Wow!

And it is all of a piece with the meta-theme of this blog in recent years, that much of what we see around us can be explained as results of the slow draining away, over generations, of habits inherited from the Christian and Jewish faith and culture of Western Civilization. Religious faith has been declining for several centuries, but Christian habits of mind have long lingered. And we tend to just take them for granted, until one day they are gone!

One of those habits has been the intense respect we once had had for honesty in the practice of natural science. It used to be so common that no one even imagined a different possibility... (except one science fiction writer!). What we call "science" (really just one example of science; the scientific study of the natural realm) is a product of Medieval European Catholic faith and culture. It was not invented by Newton or Sir Francis Bacon—they just popularized a philosophical tradition that had been growing for centuries before them.

This tradition grew out of Catholic beliefs, including that the created realm is good, and real, and intelligible. And that there is Truth, and we are called to be servants of Truth.

(I'll try to find time to post a bit more to support this, though it is a subject that is far vaster than me! 'Till then, a couple of quotes: Link, Link.)

[I've posted below the fold a quote from Chesterton on Aquinas, describing St Thomas's epic battle with Siger of Brabant on the nature of scientific truth. Just to give you the flavor of what I'm hinting at....]

...Nevertheless, it was never the existence of atheists, any more than Arabs or Aristotelian pagans, that disturbed the extraordinary controversial composure of Thomas Aquinas. The real peril that followed on the victory he had won for Aristotle was vividly presented in the curious case of Siger of Brabant; and it is well worth study, for anyone who would begin to comprehend the strange history of Christendom. It is marked by one rather queer quality; which has always been the unique note of the Faith, though it is not noticed by its modern enemies, and rarely by its modern friends. It is the fact symbolised in the legend of Antichrist, who was the double of Christ; in the profound proverb that the Devil is the ape of God. It is the fact that falsehood is never so false as when it is very nearly true. It is when the stab comes near the nerve of truth, that the Christian conscience cries out in pain. And Siger of Brabant, following on some of the Arabian Aristotelians, advanced a theory which most modern newspaper readers would instantly have declared to be the same as the theory of St. Thomas. That was what finally roused St. Thomas to his last and most emphatic protest. He had won his battle for a wider scope of philosophy and science; he had cleared the ground for a general understanding about faith and enquiry; an understanding that has generally been observed among Catholics, and certainly never deserted without disaster. It was the idea that the scientist should go on exploring and experimenting freely, so long as he did not claim an infallibility and finality which it was against his own principles to claim. Meanwhile the Church should go on developing and defining, about supernatural things, so long as she did not claim a right to alter the deposit of faith, which it was against her own principles to claim. And when he had said this, Siger of Brabant got up and said something so horribly like it, and so horribly unlike, that (like the Antichrist) he might have deceived the very elect.

Siger of Brabant said this: the Church must be right theologically, but she can be wrong scientifically. There are two truths; the truth of the supernatural world, and the truth of the natural world, which contradicts the supernatural world. While we are being naturalists, we can suppose that Christianity is all nonsense; but then, when we remember that we are Christians, we must admit that Christianity is true even if it is nonsense. In other words, Siger of Brabant split the human head in two, like the blow in an old legend of battle; and declared that a man has two minds, with one of which he must entirely believe and with the other may utterly disbelieve. To many this would at least seem like a parody of Thomism. As a fact, it was the assassination of Thomism. It was not two ways of finding the same truth; it was an untruthful way of pretending that there are two truths. And it is extraordinarily interesting to note that this is the one occasion when the Dumb Ox really came out like a wild bull. When he stood up to answer Siger of Brabant, he was altogether transfigured, and the very style of his sentences, which is a thing like the tone of a man's voice, is suddenly altered. He had never been angry with any of the enemies who disagreed with him. But these enemies had attempted the worst treachery: they had made him agree with them.

Those who complain that theologians draw fine distinctions could hardly find a better example of their own folly. In fact, a fine distinction can be a flat contradiction. It was notably so in this case. St. Thomas was willing to allow the one truth to be approached by two paths, precisely because he was sure there was only one truth. Because the Faith was the one truth, nothing discovered in nature could ultimately contradict the Faith. Because the Faith was the one truth, nothing really deduced from the Faith could ultimately contradict the facts. It was in truth a curiously daring confidence in the reality of his religion: and though some may linger to dispute it, it has been justified. The scientific facts, which were supposed to contradict the Faith in the nineteenth century, are nearly all of them regarded as unscientific fictions in the twentieth century. Even the materialists have fled from materialism; and those who lectured us about determinism in psychology are already talking about indeterminism in matter. But whether his confidence was right or wrong, it was specially and supremely a confidence that there is one truth which cannot contradict itself. And this last group of enemies suddenly sprang up, to tell him they entirely agreed with him in saying that there are two contradictory truths. Truth, in the medieval phrase, carried two faces under one hood; and these double-faced sophists practically dared to suggest that it was the Dominican hood.

So, in his last battle and for the first time, he fought as with a battle-axe. There is a ring in the words altogether beyond the almost impersonal patience he maintained in debate with so many enemies. "Behold our refutation of the error. It is not based on documents of faith, but on the reasons and statements of the philosophers themselves. If then anyone there be who, boastfully taking pride in his supposed wisdom, wishes to challenge what we have written, let him not do it in some corner nor before children who are powerless to decide on such difficult matters. Let him reply openly if he dare. He shall find me then confronting him, and not only my negligible self, but many another whose study is truth. We shall do battle with his errors or bring a cure to his ignorance."

The Dumb Ox is bellowing now; like one at bay and yet terrible and towering over all the baying pack. We have already noted why, in this one quarrel with Siger of Brabant, Thomas Aquinas let loose such thunders of purely moral passion; it was because the whole work of his life was being betrayed behind his back, by those who had used his victories over the reactionaries. The point at the moment is that this is perhaps his one moment of personal passion, save for a single flash in the troubles of his youth: and he is once more fighting his enemies with a firebrand. And yet, even in this isolated apocalypse of anger, there is one phrase that may be commended for all time to men who are angry with much less cause. If there is one sentence that could be carved in marble, as representing the calmest and most enduring rationality of his unique intelligence, it is a sentence which came pouring out with all the rest of this molten lava. If there is one phrase that stands before history as typical of Thomas Aquinas, it is that phrase about his own argument: "It is not based on documents of faith, but on the reasons and statements of the philosophers themselves."
Posted by John Weidner at 10:23 AM

PC imbecilicity...

The ultimate (so far) PC insanity...

Navy SEALs Face Assault Charges for Capturing Most-Wanted Terrorist (and giving him a fat lip):

Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told FoxNews.com.

The three, all members of the Navy's elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called an admiral's mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers....

I was going to vent on this crap, but Uncle Jimbo was there fustest and bestest (addressing a certain fool who wants to toss our guys under the PC bus)

...Let me explain something to you amigo. That wrist slap would be a career-ender in Spec Ops for these men. You understand? We take three guys who accomplish more in a lazy afternoon than you have in your entire anonymous, snarking-from-the-sideline, existence and we put them out of work making dead tangos. And that sounds like what should have happened to this ass clown. If he dies during the take down we have no problems.

I know you have no earthly clue just how god-awful complicated it is to actually perform a raid and scarf up a bad guy, let's just say it rates up there with trying to conduct a Beethoven Symphony with your orchestra in free fall, screaming towards Earth like a phalanx of freaking lawn darts. That is why we like to send a f**king Hellfire down on them and last time I checked that leaves a little more than a god damn bloody lip. And yes I am saying I don't care if he got it once he got to base. What if the guy who clocked his murderous ass knew Scott Helverson, who this bastard helped kill, burn and then defile his corpse? Do you really want to be on record saying he should be made an example of? Do you remember what Kos said about the four men this scumbag killed you dumbass? I'll remind you "F**k them". You are sure in illustrious company.

I realize you get paid to say controversial shite all day long. Every once in a while you ought to take a gander at who gives you the freedom to flap your freakin' gums and think twice before you decide that zero-tolerance demands that your betters suffer for some bullshit like this. Don't offer the PC losers cover, ever. They will use it against my friends.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:44 AM

November 24, 2009

Today's catchy tune...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:57 PM

Good summary piece on "Climategate"

Probably you Random Jottings people are already up to speed on this, but here's a clear summary to pass on to those still in the dark.

Iain Murray, Pajamas Media — Three Things You Absolutely Must Know About Climategate:

...They're calling it "Climategate." The scandal that the suffix —gate implies is the state of climate science over the past decade or so revealed by a thousand or so emails, documents, and computer code sets between various prominent scientists released following a leak from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the UK.

This may seem obscure, but the science involved is being used to justify the diversion of literally trillions of dollars of the world's wealth in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out fossil fuels. The CRU is the Pentagon of global warming science, and these documents are its Pentagon Papers.

Here are three things everyone should know about the Climategate Papers. Links are provided so that the full context of every quote can be seen by anyone interested....

One of the interesting things about this is that it's not the kind of conspiracy where a cabal manipulates things in darkness. Megan McArdle wrote today: "I have so far seen no evidence of the kind of grand conspiracy that some critics have charged." She misses the essence of the thing. It's like high school, where everybody knows who's "in" and who's "out." And most kids would KILL to be in the "in crowd." No one has to be "recruited" into that rat-race. It's a conspiracy with no conspirators. For instance, there is one e-mail in the pile that says something like: "those people will know what to say without being prompted."

It's similar to how no one among the press and the liberal public needed to be prompted to start referring to teachers as some sort of precious national treasures (a silly idea; a good teacher IS a treasure, but most of them are mediocrities.) And sending them up in space shuttles, etc. The corrupt teacher's unions own the Democrat Party, so once conservatives started talking about privatizing schools, the faithful rallied round. They probably weren't even lying; they believe what the crowd believes...

Most people today have the morals of high schoolers. I bet Phil Jones and the other Climate-gaters could give speeches to young people explaining how science works because of skeptics, and peer-review, and open-ness........ without feeling any cognitive dissonance whatsoever! Just like teenagers might lie and cheat to get into the "in crowd," and not even connect that with "being dishonest."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM

It costs nothing...to be generous or liberal when what you give is not your own


...And it must be confessed, on the other hand, that there is a common-place state of mind which does show itself calm, composed, and candid, yet is very far from the true Christian temper. In this day especially it is very easy for men to be benevolent, liberal, and dispassionate.

It costs nothing to be dispassionate when you feel nothing, to be cheerful when you have nothing to fear, to be generous or liberal when what you give is not your own, and to be benevolent and considerate when you have no principles and no opinions. Men nowadays are moderate and equitable, not because the Lord is at hand, but because they do not feel that He is coming. Quietness is a grace, not in itself, only when it is grafted on the stem of faith, zeal, self-abasement, and diligence...[Link].

    -- John Henry Newman

Posted by John Weidner at 6:32 AM

November 23, 2009

Just the usual craziness..

Dave Winer, No escalation in Afghanistan:

...I assumed that because we elected Obama to end the war in Iraq that it went without saying that the war in Afghanistan would be ended as well.

Apparently not so.

The President is now considering an escalation of the war in Afghanistan...

I can't believe the stupidity of this. Stupid of course on the surface level since Obama and the "democrats" pounded on Bush for years for supposedly neglecting the "good war" in Afghanistan in favor of putting resources into Iraq. Even someone stupid enough to vote for Obama has to realize that it wouldn't be possible to instantly say "We were lying."

But more importantly, stupid in the way we've seen so many times, with Leftists simply not believing that anything is real except the US (and Israel). We saw the same thing in Vietnam. Once the US troops went home, "the war was over." In fact it wasn't over. Millions of people were still to be killed and imprisoned and driven into exile by the Progressives. But to Leftists, the war really was over! Only the US is real to them. Actually, not even that—they are reacting to the bogeyman US that exists only in their heads.

Does any SANE person believe that peace will drop the like the dew on Afghanistan if the Yanks pull out? That "the war will be over?" To a Lefty, only America or Israel wage war. Imagine we leave Afghanistan—leave completely. And imagine a Leftizoid then saying, "There's a war going on between the Taliban and the Afghan Government." It's unimaginable. They would never say it. (Unless they could somehow blame the US. Then it would be a war.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:53 PM

Life is hard.... but there are sweet moments...

Viscount Monckton on Global WarmingGate: 'They Are Criminals':

...This is what they did — these climate "scientists" on whose unsupported word the world's classe politique proposes to set up an unelected global government this December in Copenhagen, with vast and unprecedented powers to control all formerly free markets, to tax wealthy nations and all of their financial transactions, to regulate the economic and environmental affairs of all nations, and to confiscate and extinguish all patent and intellectual property rights.

The tiny, close-knit clique of climate scientists who invented and now drive the "global warming" fraud — for fraud is what we now know it to be — tampered with temperature data so assiduously that, on the recent admission of one of them, land temperatures since 1980 have risen twice as fast as ocean temperatures. One of the thousands of emails recently circulated by a whistleblower at the University of East Anglia, where one of the world's four global-temperature datasets is compiled, reveals that data were altered so as to prevent a recent decline in temperature from showing in the record. In fact, there has been no statistically significant "global warming" for 15 years — and there has been rapid and significant cooling for nine years.

Worse, these arrogant fraudsters — for fraudsters are what we now know them to be — have refused, for years and years and years, to reveal their data and their computer program listings. Now we know why: As a revealing 15,000-line document from the computer division at the Climate Research Unit shows, the programs and data are a hopeless, tangled mess. In effect, the global temperature trends have simply been made up. Unfortunately, the British researchers have been acting closely in league with their U.S. counterparts who compile the other terrestrial temperature dataset — the GISS/NCDC dataset. That dataset too contains numerous biases intended artificially to inflate the natural warming of the 20th century.

Finally, these huckstering snake-oil salesmen and "global warming" profiteers — for that is what they are — have written to each other encouraging the destruction of data that had been lawfully requested under the Freedom of Information Act in the UK by scientists who wanted to check whether their global temperature record had been properly compiled. And that procurement of data destruction, as they are about to find out to their cost, is a criminal offense. They are not merely bad scientists — they are crooks. And crooks who have perpetrated their crimes at the expense of British and U.S. taxpayers....

"And that procurement of data destruction.... is a criminal offense." Oh let it be so. How I want to see those animals prosecuted. It probably won't happen because they are on the Left, but they deserve to be seen in jumpsuits and shackles, hanging their heads as they are sentenced for..... Well, murder would be the appropriate term, since they are trying to stifle economic growth that could save the lives of tens-of-millions of the world's poorest people.

I still retain some remnants of faith in science. (Using the word in the common sense to mean natural science. Actually any disciplined truth-quest should be called "science.") To see these scoundrels corrupt science for personal gain—if not in the form of $, then of esteem and fame and promotions, and invites to "conferences" at swank resorts—is utterly disgusting to me...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:15 AM

November 22, 2009

When bad men combine...


"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
    --Edmund Burke

Posted by John Weidner at 9:52 AM

Just in case you were wondering WHY...

Just in case you were wondering why "scientists" at the CRU have been fabricating global-warming science, let Mr Steyn fill you in on the intoxicating levels of POWER environmental scientists and politicians are trying to get their hands on...

Gullible eager-beaver planet savers:

I'm always appreciative when a fellow says what he really means. Tim Flannery, the jet-setting doomsaying global warm-monger from down under, was in Ottawa the other day promoting his latest eco-tract, and offered a few thoughts on "Copenhagen"—which is transnational-speak for December's UN Convention on Climate Change. "We all too often mistake the nature of those negotiations in Copenhagen," remarked professor Flannery. "We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case. The negotiations now ongoing toward the Copenhagen agreement are in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They deal with every aspect of our life and they will influence every aspect of our life, our economy, our society."

Hold that thought: "They deal with every aspect of our life." Did you know every aspect of your life was being negotiated at Copenhagen? But in a good way! So no need to worry. After all, we all care about the environment, don't we? So we ought to do something about it, right? And, since "the environment" isn't just in your town or county but spreads across the entire planet, we can only really do something at the planetary level. But what to do? According to paragraph 38 on page 18 of the latest negotiating text, the convention will set up a "government" to manage the "new funds" and the "related facilitative processes."...

Do read it all.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:39 AM

November 21, 2009

Sweet. So sweet....

The "hacked" (or maybe released by some insider) e-mails and files of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia make intoxicating reading. As a minor member of the crowd which has been saying for years that fishy stuff is going on, the schadenfreude is just yummy. A treat. If I had lots of time I would be downloading the whole file and picking out gems of duplicity. But lots of other people are doing that, so I can just enjoy.

The thing to keep in mind is that the research that justifies the enormous economic and political power-grabs of "Global Warmism" does not come from all over the globe. A large part of it comes from the CRU (and the allied Met Office Hadley Centre). A handful of people have produced most of the papers. Now they are exposed as liars and frauds. And people like me have been shown to have been right all along...

* Update: "Bishop Hill" has summaries of the most interesting e-mails, with links to a searchable database that's been established Ha ha, ain't technology wonderful!

a bit of commentary from ICECAP:

...Jones claims the files were obtained illegally as if that absolves the content. It doesn't and it is enough to destroy all their careers. Jones gave a foretaste of his behavior in 2005. Warwick Hughes asked for the data and method he used for his claim of a 0.6C temperature rise since the end of the nineteenth century. Jones responded, "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" He has stonewalled ever since. The main reason was because it was used as a key argument in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports to convince the world humans caused rapid warming in the 20th century. The emails obtained are a frightening record of arrogance, and deception far beyond his 2005 effort.

Another glimpse into what the files and emails reveal was the report by Professor Deming. He wrote, "With publication of an article in Science (in 1995) I gained sufficient credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said. "We must get rid of the Medieval Warm Period." The person in question was Jonathan Overpeck and his even more revealing emails are part of those exposed by the hacker. It is now very clear that Deming's charge was precise. They have perverted science in the service of social and political causes.

Professor Wegman showed how this "community of scientists" published together and peer reviewed each other's work. I was always suspicious about why peer review was such a big deal. Now all my suspicions are confirmed. The emails reveal how they controlled the process, including manipulating some of the major journals like Science and Nature. We know the editor of the Journal of Climate, Andrew Weaver, was one of the "community". They organized lists of reviewers when required making sure they gave the editor only favorable names. They threatened to isolate and marginalize one editor who they believed was recalcitrant.

Total Control

These people controlled the global weather data used by the IPCC through the joint Hadley and CRU and produced the HadCRUT data. They controlled the IPCC, especially crucial chapters and especially preparation of the Summary for PolicyMakers (SPM). Stephen Schneider was a prime mover there from the earliest reports to the most influential in 2001. They also had a left wing conduit to the New York Times. The emails between Andy Revkin and the community are very revealing and must place his journalistic integrity in serious jeopardy. Of course the IPCC Reports and especially the SPM Reports are the basis for Kyoto and the Copenhagen Accord, but now we know they are based on completely falsified and manipulated data and science. It is no longer a suspicion. Surely this is the death knell for the CRU, the IPCC, Kyoto and Copenhagen and the Carbon Credits shell game....

Here are some earlier posts of mine on this goldmine of fishyness.
Link,
Link,
Link,
Link,
Link,
Link,
Link.

Or heck, just go to my "science" category. There's tons of this stuff. surprises even me how much 've blogged over the years...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:42 PM

"The attempt to live in the 'now' is utterly futile"

This is from a religious piece, but applies to secular life just as well...

SUB TUUM: Fr. Hawks Answers the Archbishop of Canterbury's Vision of Ecumenism ... in 1935:

...Since the days when Dr. Percival drew his disciples together, the world has changed. We have all become besmirched with a detestable vulgarity which is not, as it professes to be, a broadening of the mind and a widening of our sympathies. It is rather a passion for what is obtained without effort, and for what is cast quickly aside as one superficial interest succeeds another.

Humanity is an intensely vulgar thing when deprived of its spiritual ideals. Every kind of human excellence is inseparable from the sense of permanence. It must have its roots deep in the past and send its branches far out into the future. The attempt to live in the "now" is utterly futile, for what is the "now" but a fleeting moment whose only worth lies in its fruit of past labor and in its seeding for futurity. One cannot live, for the moment as a human being: such a course is only fitted to the brutes. The moment is momentous truly, but only as it weaves the fabric of abiding history, and unending destiny....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:32 PM

Thoughts from an old-time revolutionary...

Ought history to hide the faults of men and Orders? It was not after this fashion that the Saints laid open the scandals of their times... God indeed has conferred upon His Church the prerogative of infallibility, but to none of her members has He granted immunity from sin. Peter was a sinner and a renegade, and God has been at pains to have that fact recorded in the Gospels.
    -- Jean-Baptise Henri Lacordaire, O.P.


Thanks to Pat McNamara

Posted by John Weidner at 6:32 PM

Today's laugh...

The GOP's New Hope? - Page 2 - The Daily Beast:

...Pawlenty's greatest advantage is that the Republican field in 2012 looks fairly thin. Mitch Daniels has the strongest credentials, but he doesn't have an obvious base. Mitt Romney has formidable financial resources and he gained crucial experience during his 2008 presidential bid, but, as the former governor of Massachusetts and a newly minted pro-lifer, he has a number of liabilities. Mike Huckabee has won the loyalty of evangelical voters, yet economic conservatives are allergic to his brand of populism and it's not clear that he has much appeal beyond his base. Rather depressingly, Tim Pawlenty could win the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 simply by being the least offensive candidate. Even if enthusiasm for Obama dies down in a few years time, that doesn't bode well for the general election....

Dream on, Frumster boy....

* Update: I'm just shaking my head in wonderment over all the people obsessing over how Sarah is not worth obsessing over. Here's another...Why Sarah Palin is unlikely to be the future of the Republican Party. - By John Dickerson - Slate Magazine. SO, if she's not the future, WHY are you going on and on about her?

* Update: Then there's this, about how SF bookstores won't carry the book. "...There are no copies of the book at Cover to Cover Booksellers in Noe Valley, either. "Anything like that we wouldn't carry," said clerk Emily Stackhouse. "We're a small store and it would probably gross us all out. Some things you carry because of freedom of speech, but a book like that is just gross."..."

That's funny to me, because years ago I built a great many bookshelves for Cover to Cover. (VERY nice folks, by the way. I have fond memories of them.) And I used to live in the Noe Valley neighborhood. But what's missing in the article is that SF independent bookstores have already told people like me that we are not welcome, by stocking only books that appeal to people on the Left/hippie axis.... AND by an attitude that just assumes that book readers are all liberals. (That's actually more offensive than the obvious fact that these people would consider me "gross.") I bet quite a few copies of Sarah's book are selling to San Franciscans... via amazon.com.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:34 PM

November 20, 2009

American war crimes...

Click here for shocking scenes of American imperialistic brutality against hapless Third-World children...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:44 PM

I wish I'd been so clueful when I was 17!

The young gal in this video is 17 year-old Jackie Seal. [Starts about 1:15] She was ambushed quite unfairly by Norah O'Donnell of MSNBC, but held her ground most admirably. I'm so impressed. If I'd been in that kind of spot at that age I doubt if I could have gotten a word out.

This isn't the first time we've seen a reporter argue with a Palin supporter, rather than, like, report the news! What a meltdown! Astonishin' what Sarah does to these people. I mean, how hugely insecure O'Donnell must be to feel the need to defeat a teenager!

This is from Jackie's blog....

...I then see Norah O'Donnell approach a man all decked out in Palin garb. She asked him a few questions (camera not rolling) then said she'd like to have a woman in the shot. She asked a woman who refused then pointed at me and said "Hey talk to her" So I walked over. I knew I was walking into hot water with MSNBC— thought I was prepared.... Seconds later I met her... One of the many faces of liberal media bias. She asked me my name and then before going on air asked me why I liked Sarah Palin, I repeated what I told the NYT reporter. Norah didn't seem to like that much.

So what did she do? I mean she couldn't ask me that question on television, heaven forbid her not have a biting response.. I noticed her look down at my shirt then, she turned around blackberry in hand spoke to a man, thumbs tapping the blackberry (I don't remember if she called or not, she may have. But she was on her blackberry), then jotted down a quick note. Little did I know that note would be used against me. She told us she'd be walking up to us. You know like she just stumbled upon us. The shot began... I kept telling myself answer her question well, don't freak out. Well, I thought she'd ask me the same question. She asked the man beside me (who by the way is NOT my dad) the same question she had before we went on air. Myself on the other hand, not the same story. She had me read my shirt and then proceeded to ask me "Did you know Sarah Palin supported the bailout" to be 100% honest I was like, are you kidding me? She is trying to use my shirt against me. I was so shocked by the craftiness she had that I was truly stumped. I asked her where she got her fact and she read her little note. Then she asked me what I liked about Sarah, and I talked about the Constitution...

(Here's the link to her blog-post)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:39 PM

November 19, 2009

Just airbrush some hurricanes in...

Alex Jones' Prison Planet.com —With Hurricanes At Thirty Year Low, Gore Turns To Photoshop:

...With the increasingly discredited notion of man-made global warming crashing and burning on a daily basis, climate alarmists are being forced to accelerate their fearmongering to unprecedented levels. With the evidence failing to match up to the doomsday proclamations, Al Gore has turned to photoshop in order to make a CO2-choked earth look scary enough to sell his cap and trade scam.

The latest example of climate cult fakery comes in the form of the front cover of Al Gore's new book, Our Choice; A Plan To Solve The Climate Crisis.

Shortly after the devastation of Katrina, Al Gore was busy making a correlation between hurricanes and global warming in an effort to drive home his claim that higher global CO2 emissions cause an increase in extreme weather events. The cover art for Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, features an image of a hurricane rising out of a smoke stack.

Seemingly underwhelmed that there have been no major hurricanes since Katrina, along with the fact that global hurricane activity is now at a thirty year low, Gore came up with an ingenious method of solving the problem of the lack of scary depictions of frightening hurricanes to display on his book — simply airbrush them in!...

Don't miss the pictures! You can compare the original photo with the one in Gore's new book, with the added extra hurricanes, including one rotating the wrong way! And a hurricane on the equator! Fascinatin' what scientists can discover these days.

And look at Greenland. I always thought there was land under the Greenland ice-cap, but it sure looks like the recent melting has revealed blue water right in the middle!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:53 AM

November 18, 2009

Ka Ching....

The Crescat:

...if islam is such a "religion of peace" then why the hell is our president, liberal politicians, and the media so afraid to offend moslems? I think tip toeing around moslems delicate sensibilities sends a very clear message... they don't even believe their own bull shit....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:40 PM

Truth to tell....

This is a teaser for tonight's Palin interview with Sean Hannity. In it she says that Major Hasan is an obvious case for profiling. And she says she's going to get clobbered when the interview is aired for saying such an un-PC thing.

We'll see. I'm guessing she's picked the right moment to say what needs to be said.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:34 AM

I'd say this graph alone...

...Could constitute a large part of Republican campaigns in 2010.

Massive Obama deficits in 2009

Thanks to Gateway Pundit. And notice the trend of the Bush years. The deficits were bigger than most of us preferred, but despite wars and hurricanes and starting with a recession the trend is towards smaller deficits...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:25 AM

November 17, 2009

But I'm sure this has nothing to do with religion... Pre-Traumatic Stress Syndrome no doubt...

The Jawa Report: Plot Thickens: Indians Now Believe American Key to Mumbai Massacre
UPDATE: Attack on Nuke Sites Planned?
:

...Today we learn that Headley also visited Mumbai's Chabad center -- also a target in the 2008 attacks -- and passed himself off as Jewish.

On Saturday I said that this could be a coincidence. The two hotels that Headley stayed at are frequented by Westerners. But to call this a coincidence would be to stretch incredulity.

It is becoming increasingly clear why the FBI would raid a halal meat processing plant (that employed only 13 people) run by Headley's accomplice -- Tahawar Rana -- with over 100 agents: Headley and possibly Rana were involved in the Mumbai massacre.

To what extent did Headley or Rana know that LeT was planning an attack on such a massive scale? That remains a mystery. It could very well be that Headley alone or in concert with Rana was asked to scope out areas of Mumbai but not told for what reason.

But it should be remembered that Headley approached LeT with the plan to attack the Jyllands-Posten. That is, we know that he is a terrorist entrepreneur. Perhaps he thought Mumbai offered a soft target the LeT would be interested in?

Either way, this is bad news. Headley is an American citizen. And to have any Americans involved in the Mumbai attacks is bad news. It means our homegrown terror problem is much worse than even I thought....

My prediction is that the Democrat strategy of pretending the War on Terror was just a bad dream is not going to work in the long-term...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:30 PM

Compare and contrast...

Just as an addendum and a comparison to the previous post, this is an example of Christopher Hitchens at his clear and thoughtful best...

Seven salient facts about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan:

...The above list is not exhaustive, but I would submit that five of the seven items (the first and the last four) would have been grounds to have had him either put under close surveillance or dismissed from the service. Proselytizing in uniform, for example, is already banned by a general order. To be "inclusive," the United States armed forces must exclude or discipline those who oppose inclusion. This, of course, goes for zealots of all faiths, and it won't do to point out that it isn't always universally applied. The Hasan atrocity makes such an application more urgent, not less...

...I wrote some years ago that the three most salient characteristics of the Muslim death-squad type were self-righteousness, self-pity, and self-hatred. Surrounded as he was by fellow shrinks who were often very distressed by his menacing manner, Maj. Hasan managed to personify all three traits—with the theocratic rhetoric openly thrown in for good measure—and yet be treated even now as if the real word for him was troubled. Prepare to keep on meeting those three symptoms again, along with official attempts to oppose them only with therapy, if that. At least the holy warriors know they are committing suicide.

If I were more awake and witty this morning I'd write about the three most salient characteristics of the Leftist who's losing his faith..... Maybe: Ranting against God, Sarah Palin, and? Hmmm...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:51 AM

November 16, 2009

Somebody gettin' nervous?

I think this Newsweek article by Christopher Hitchens is interesting, not because of what it says about Sarah Palin, but what Hitchens is revealing about himself..

Sarah Palin's Political Instincts:

...The Palin problem, then, might be that she cynically incites a crowd that she has no real intention of pleasing. If she were ever to get herself to the nation's capital, the teabaggers would be just as much on the outside as they are now, and would simply have been the instruments that helped get her elected. In my own not-all-that-humble opinion, duping the hicks is a degree or two worse than condescending to them. It's also much more dangerous, because it meanwhile involves giving a sort of respectability to ideas that were discredited when William Jennings Bryan was last on the stump. The Weekly Standard (itself not exactly a prairie-based publication) might want to think twice before flirting with popular delusions and resentments that are as impossible to satisfy as the demand for a silver standard or a ban on the teaching of Darwin, and are for that very reason hard to tamp down. Many of Palin's admirers seem to expect that, on receipt of the Republican Party nomination, she would immediately embark on a crusade against Wall Street and the banks. This notion is stupid to much the same degree that it is irresponsible.

Then there's the question of character and personality. Decades ago, Walter Dean Burnham pointed out that right-wing populists tended to fail because they projected anger and therefore also attracted it. (He was one of the few on the left to predict that the genial Ronald Reagan would win for this very reason.) Let's admit that Sarah Palin is more attractive—some might even want to say more appealing—than much of her enraged core constituency. But then all we are considering is a point of packaging and marketing, where charm is supposed to make up for what education and experience have failed thus far to supply. We are further obliged to consider the question: exactly how charming is the Joan of Arc of the New Right, who also hears voices speaking to her of "spiritual warfare"?...

Now I like Hitchens, and have always respected him even when I disagree with him. But recently he's been writing stuff that's just not very good and not very convincing. His Atheist book, and his scratching at Sarah in particular. And I think that tells us something about him. For instance, what evidence does he have that Sarah is "duping the hicks?" None, as far as I know. And in fact the tea party crowd aren't really hicks. At least, I've been to a tea party and that simply wasn't true. Most attendees were not sophisticated or intellectual, but they seemed to be thoughtful concerned ordinary citizens. Nor did they show any interest in the "teaching of Darwin."

Palin supporters are angry at things that ordinary Americans have always gotten angry about, from the very beginning of this country. Americans have often angrily protested high taxes, big government programs (What were called "improvements" in Jefferson's time) and intrusive government. To pretend that tea parties are some sort of ugly primitive aberration is just stupid. Why is a smart guy like Hitch being stupid?

My theory is that Hitchens has, intellectually, gotten himself into an unnerving spot, and he's lashing out in anger because he's frightened. He has several times in recent years criticized his fellow leftists, for things such as supporting tyrants like Saddam, and not being willing to fight the War on Terror. (For which I honor him.) But for a thinking person (which Hitch is and most Lefties aren't) the obvious question that comes next is, how many other things does my Lefty crowd have wrong? Could we have it ALL wrong?

Palin is a symbol of Hitchens' uneasiness. She's the most exciting politician in the country right now... Maybe in the world. And every aspect of her is a repudiation of the Leftist zeitgeist. Her clothes, her hair, her baby... everything about her. She's far more of a threat to a wavering Lefty than some "moderate" Republican would be, because the threat is that—if she's right—everything might have to change!

Same thing with the atheism schtick. If you are a thinking atheist, there are lots of disturbing things to ponder right now. For instance, Hitch was probably raised to assume that Euro-socialism and secularism were successful projects, the "wave of the future." How's that working out? Or how about those assumptions that humanity was going to "outgrow" religion? Also, it's not a good time to be a thinking atheist, when the only world-class European figure is the Pope!

And that stuff about "duping the hicks?" And "cynically inciting crowds?" Could that be, er, projection, Mr Hitchens?It sounds more like what one might say about Obama than Palin.

Likewise with "instruments that helped get her elected." Perhaps that should read "him?" Or "ideas that were discredited when William Jennings Bryan was last on the stump." What precisely do you mean? I'd say you ought to be pondering whether socialism or big-government liberalism or unions might be called "discredited." I'd be a bit nervous if I were in your intellectual shoes...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:32 PM

November 15, 2009

The few, not the many..

It is plain every great change is effected by the few, not by the many; by the resolute, undaunted, zealous few.

-- John Henry Newman, from the sermon Witnesses of the Resurrection (1831)


Posted by John Weidner at 8:01 PM

Just do it...

John Hinderaker, at Power Line:

...On our radio show yesterday, Andy McCarthy proposed an explanation that amplifies on Scott's last paragraph. He suggested that the Obama administration views KSM et al. as its allies (my paraphrase) in its war against the Bush administration. Obama expects them to make their treatment by the Bush administration, real and imagined, the centerpiece of their defense, with the possible result that Bush, Cheney, and others may be indicted as war criminals by European countries or international courts, thereby satisfying the far left of the Democratic Party, which Obama represents. I'll post a podcast of the interview when it's available.

Makes sense to me. Leftists hate President Bush because he is a liberal. (Just think: What could be a more liberal—in the style of Truman and FDR—project, than toppling a fascist dictator and bringing democracy to the liberated.) Bush revealed how utterly empty and fraudulent our "liberals" are. (They hate Sarah Palin because she is.... America. Same dynamic.)

Well, I say, "Bring it on!" Just do it. I hope KSM is "acquitted," and walks out of the courtroom a free man, pumping his fist in the air and yelling "Allahooo Ackabar!" while crowds of smelly hippies and "pacifists" cheer. I look forward to President Palin explaining—politely of course—that any indictments of any Americans by those pygmy "international courts" will constitute an Act of War...

Smelly hippie lights cig on burning American flag

Posted by John Weidner at 9:41 AM

November 14, 2009

Not all trends are down... Even in Europe

Spanish cloistered nuns see surge in vocations:

Madrid, Spain, Nov 5, 2009 / 01:51 pm (CNA).- A 43 year-old prioresses has revolutionized an old Poor Clares convent in Spain, turning it onto a magnet for dozens of young professional women.

Sister Veronica joined the Poor Clares Convent of the Ascension founded in 1604 in Lerma (Spain) at at time when it was going through a vocations crisis. It was January 22, 1984, and Marijose Berzosa - Sr. Veronica's name prior to entering the convent - decided, at age 18, to leave behind a career in medicine, friends, nightlife and basketball.

"Nobody understood me. There were bets that it would not last, but they did not feel the force of the hurricane that drew me in," says Sr. Veronica. "I was a classic teenager looking for a way out ... and I made a decision in just 15 days."

Sr. Veronica joined the convent which had not seen a new vocation in nearly 23 years....
Posted by John Weidner at 4:13 PM

My prediction: More terror attacks...

I recently read an interesting book, The Battle: A New History of Waterloo. It was very useful in explaining something about 18th Century battles that I vaguely knew, but hadn't focused on. Those battles never started with a big all-out attack. Rather, two armies would start grinding at each other here and there in a small way. Like a fire in damp grass that flares up and then dies down, as Clausewitz put it. In those days each commander could see the enemy forces in the distance, and could draw conclusions from how they reacted to artillery fire or probing attacks. (And of course the officers involved in the attacks would report back on what they were seeing—and they would often get close enough to "see the whites of their eyes!") There was a kind of "body language" to armies and their various divisions and battalions that could convey weakness or resolve.

Napoleon watched the allied lines at Waterloo, waiting for flinching or wavering. That would be his moment to launch a powerful attack against that point. And Wellington, who was on the defensive, watched for the same thing, and would shore up weak sections of his line with battalions from his reserve. (On a modern battlefield things are very different. If you peek out and actually see other people, probably nothing much is happening. If you see no one, duck!)

The funny thing is that war we are in—if war it should be called—has brought us back to the time when our "body language" of aggression or weakness is being watched, scrutinized, by cold and bitter eyes. The slaughter by Major Hasan was a probing attack. It doesn't matter whether Major Hasan was formally a terrorist or totally a nut-job one-man-show. The effect is the same.

And Obama flinched. That's the simple fact. He has just told the world that he is weak, and doesn't want to fight. He's doing the same thing with Afghanistan. So he—and all of us—are going to be hit.

Terrorists do things for a purpose. One of the things they want is to force us out of Afghanistan. Therefore the correct response to Hasan's attack would have been to announce that we are sending an extra 5,000 troops to Afghanistan forthwith. (And we should take Anwar Al Awlaki's scalp, of course.) But instead Obama has chosen to do what will cause more people, including Americans, to be killed. He should have said that if you mess with Americans you're gonna get a poke in the eye with his eye-poking stick. Instead he has told them clearly that violence will get them things they want.

On of the odd things about Joe Biden's political Tourette's Syndrome is that he sometimes blurts out the truth... without being taken seriously of course. Remember this?...

Barack's been tested, and has failed...

Correct response:

Terrorists turned to grease spot in Yemen.

* Update: This is just armchair theorizin', but I think that if Bush were still President, Major Hasan would not have "gone Muslim." My guess is that he's totally in tune with jihadi thought patterns, whether or not he gets direct input. And that it's 'in the air" right now that Obama's looking like a weak sister, and isn't going to hit back. I don't think they thought like that about Bush at all. He's a man, and showed it in Afghanistan, Iraq, and especially with the Surge, doubling down when things got tough. Even if Hasan is crazy, well, living in the big city one notices that crazies usually aren't as crazy as they look. They never seem to harass the guy who's going to punch them in the nose!

Posted by John Weidner at 12:38 PM

As Rush says, they always tell us who they are afraid of...

Mark Steyn, on the AP's preposterous efforts to "fact check" a stolen copy of Governor Palin's forthcoming book:

...Wow. That's ten "AP writers" plus Calvin Woodward, the AP writer whose twinkling pen honed the above contributions into the turgid sludge of the actual report. That's 11 writers for a 695-word report. What on? Obamacare? The Iranian nuke program? The upcoming trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

No, the Associated Press assigned 11 writers to "fact-check" Sarah Palin's new book, and in return the 11 fact-checkers triumphantly unearthed six errors. That's 1.8333333 writers for each error. What earth-shattering misstatements did they uncover for this impressive investment? Stand well back:...

"Stand well back" I'll have to remember that locution!

But what panic! I love it. I feel warm and tingly thinking about it. Can you imagine liberals even caring what Mit Romney writes? Or going into tizzies when that fellow Huckabor writes a book, if he does?

And how fine it feels to be supporting such a solid person. Leftists have been desperately hammering on her since "Palin Day," 8-29-08...... and what have they come up with? Nothing of substance. The squirmy-ness of Dems right now has got to be partially because they know deep down that their guy could never stand up to such scrutiny. Aren't there still a few whole years of Obam's life unaccounted for? Not to mention Chicago politics. Dead fish could float to the surface at any time! Or bodies.

Life is so much better when one does not have to live in fear. And it makes a person smarter. There are no "Don't go there" signs in my brain, such as Leftists seem to have. (Think of "political correctness.")

 

Posted by John Weidner at 7:40 AM

November 13, 2009

"Hang 'em high!"

Thank you, governor...

Facebook | Sarah Palin: Obama Administration's Atrocious Decision:

Horrible decision, absolutely horrible. It is devastating for so many of us to hear that the Obama Administration decided that the 9/11 terrorist mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will be given a criminal trial in New York. This is an atrocious decision.

Mohammed and his terrorist co-conspirators are responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 Americans. Thousands of American families have suffered through the loss of loved ones because of the disgusting attacks launched against the United States, and now this trial venue adds insult to injury, in addition to compromising our efforts in the War on Terror. Heaven forbid our allies see this decision as a reason to become less likely to support our efforts in the future. [They'd be stupid not to.]

Criminal defense attorneys will now enter into delaying tactics and other methods in the hope of securing some kind of win for their "clients." [Send for Johnny Cochran!] The trial will afford Mohammed the opportunity to grandstand and make use of his time in front of the world media to rally his disgusting terrorist cohorts. It will also be an insult to the victims of 9/11, as Mohammed will no doubt use the opportunity to spew his hateful rhetoric in the same neighborhood in which he ruthlessly cut down the lives of so many Americans.

It is crucially important that Americans be made aware that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks may walk away from this trial without receiving just punishment because of a "hung jury" or from any variety of court room technicalities. If we are stuck with this terrible Obama Administration decision, I, like most Americans, hope that Mohammed and his co-conspirators are convicted. Hang 'em high. [And if anyone raises the objection that this would be un-Christian, I reply that Obama's appeasement is un-Christian, and will make bloodshed and violence and terrorism more likely. Like most "pacifists," he is an enemy of peace, and of the USA.]

Posted by John Weidner at 5:50 PM

Review: "Where The Wild Things Are"

Excerpted from an e-mail from my daughter Elizabeth, who is a credit to her parents...

The girls and I saw "Where the Wild Things Are" on Veteran's day (though I pleaded to go see "The Men Who Stare at Goats," which looks hilarious! And has Ewan McGregor, and he's definitely in my top-five of people, were I an actress, I would want to work with). WTWTA wasn't really worth it. The girls were okay with it, but I thought it was almost nihilistic and hopeless. It seemed to glorify all the things that were bad about being a child, and didn't resolve anything at all. I'm moderately peeved to say the least. It definitely could have been better.

And now instead of being a beloved children's book, it is something the hipster-indie-chic kids are looking at as the next bible. They think it's the coolest thing, and they won't really see that they need to grow up (these are the kids who wear American Apparel, and buy shoes that light up, like the ones I had when I was a kid, because now, instead of wearing them to be cool, they're wearing them for the irony of them being not cool. It's really deep, you should try it).

     
Posted by John Weidner at 11:50 AM

November 12, 2009

"A House majority that is caught in amber circa October 2008"

Rich Lowry has a great piece on how our Constitution is designed to prevent demagogues from ramming through legislation in the heat of the moment:

...The Democrats enjoy such a large House majority thanks partly to an accident of timing. The election was held in uniquely disastrous circumstances for the Republicans, in the immediate wake of the collapse of Lehman and the ensuing financial panic. Piled on top of the other causes of Republican woe (some of them quite well-deserved), the crisis allowed Democrats to run up the score. But in a matter of months public opinion began snapping back to its center-right state. So we have a House majority that is caught in amber circa October 2008 when the nation's mood has already moved on.

Hey, you might say, such is the dumb luck of timing in elections. True. But in their wisdom our Founders devised a check to keep a majority augmented by temporary circumstances from running amok. It's called the Senate.

The House stands for election all at once, capturing public opinion at one moment in time. In contrast, only one-third of the Senate stands for election at once. Originally, its members were selected by state legislatures, further shielding it from public opinion (a feature done away with by the Seventeenth Amendment, of course)....

Seventeenth Amendment, bad move....

...If Obamacare is so necessary and wise, there's no true need to hurry. If it fails to pass the Senate, Democrats should campaign on it around the country. They should keep talking of its wonders, and build up public support for it, turning around the polls. They should enhance their majority in the House and the Senate, bringing new Obamacare Democrats to Washington. That's how you build toward passing historic legislation in a system such as ours naturally resistant to large-scale change...

The Dems know it's a steaming pile of you-know-what. If you have a clean conscience, you don't rush bills through before anyone has had time to read them.

My personal opinion is that their consciences are a lot muckier that most people guess, and a more honest nickname for this legislation would be "Screwtapecare."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:52 AM

"It is whatever its various adherents say it is."

Charlene recommends some good stuff from Mark Shea (thanks to Kathy Shaidle):

...We want very much to believe that Violent Islam is a perversion of the Islamic tradition and Wise and Benevolent Islam is the Real Islamic tradition. But the reality is that Islam is an invented human religion that borrows from fragments of Judaism and Christianity, mixes in Mohammed's own delusional (or lying) claims of revelation, and completes it with a dash of conventional wisdom from seventh-century Arab culture. It is not a magisterial faith with some adjudicating body that defines what is and is not the orthodox reading of the Koran. It is whatever its various adherents say it is.

That means that if you are looking for a sanction for violence in the Koran, you can find it, because it's there. So is the wisdom, almsgiving, and peace stuff, if you want that. So Muslims who commit these heinous acts with such frequency are not "betraying Islam" when doing so out of self-described piety. They are, in fact, implementing one possible interpretation of the Muslim tradition (and often slaughtering a great many other Muslims in the process). Westerners who lie to themselves that these monsters are "not real Muslims" are simply self-deluded fools. They are as Muslim as Mohammed, as are their Muslim victims. There is no Islamic Magisterium to excommunicate them. They don't speak for all Muslims, but they most certainly do speak and act for the disturbingly large percentage of Muslims who either applaud them, remain silent, or complain about being victims of suspicion and distrust by the victims of terror instead of complaining about the thugs who commit the terror in the name of Islam.

That said, the reality is that the cure, if it is to come at all, will have to come from within Islam: from Muslims who inculcate in their children a sense of shame for Radical Murderous Islam, just as Christians have successfully inculcated shame in their own ranks for expressions of Christianity that turned a blind eye to slavery, terrorism, oppression of women, and racism. It will not come from the preferred Western dream of a post-religious secular world scrubbed clean of "religion." Such experiments have been attempted in communist countries; they are akin to saying, "We've noticed a correlation between immune systems and disease, so let's get rid of immune systems." Not accidentally, the disease of human sin has only prospered in such regimes to the tune of millions slaughtered. Instead of pretending the beast of Radical Islam is not there, the West will sooner or later have to learn how to educate itself about theology again -- or perish. It will also have to profile those who have not a particular skin color but a particular ideological paper trail of ideas and views that makes it obvious they sympathize with Radical Islamic violence, just as we should profile those who sympathize with skinheads, Klansmen, or tales of the Glorious IRA Terrorists.

Most of all, it means we need to get theologically literate again and find a more sophisticated way of understanding things than simply dumping Christianity and Islam into a bucket and calling it all "religion" (which, as we all know, leads to undifferentiated "violence"). The only way to counter an inflamed theology like Islam is with a healthy one, not with the watery delusions of postmodern secularism. And that, sooner or later, means a return to the sanity of the Catholic Faith.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:39 AM

November 11, 2009

Thank you, gay Hillary guys in Boystown, Chicago...

This is very cool, and gives me a shred of hope for the Dems. (Thanks to the Anchoress) Thank you former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush—HillBuzz:

Before:

...If you have been reading us for any length of time, you know that we used to make fun of "Dubya" nearly every day...parroting the same comedic bits we heard in our Democrat circles, where Bush is still, to this day, lampooned as a chimp, a bumbling idiot, and a poor, clumsy public speaker

Oh, how we RAILED against Bush in 2000...and how we RAILED against the surge in support Bush received post-9/11 when he went to Ground Zero and stood there with his bullhorn in the ruins on that hideous day...

Now:

...As we will always be grateful for what George and Laura Bush did this week, with no media attention, when they very quietly went to Ft. Hood and met personally with the families of the victims of this terrorist attack.

FOR HOURS.

The Bushes went and met privately with these families for HOURS, hugging them, holding them, comforting them.

If there are any of you out there with any connection at all to the Bushes, we implore you to give them our thanks...you tell them at a bunch of gay Hillary guys in Boystown, Chicago were wrong about the Bushes...and are deeply, deeply sorry for any jokes we told about them in the past, any bad thoughts we had about these good, good people.

You may be as surprised by this as we are ourselves, but from this day forward George W. and Laura Bush are now on the same list for us as the Clintons, Geraldine Ferraro, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and the other political figures we keep in our hearts and never allow anyone to badmouth.

Criticize their policies academically and intelligently and discuss the Bush presidency in historical and political terms…but you mess with the Bushes personally and, from this day forward, and you'll answer to us.

We hope someday to be able to thank George W. and Laura in person for all they've done, and continue to do. They didn't have to head to Ft. Hood. That was not their responsibility.

The Obamas should have done that.

But didn't.

Wouldn't....

What most people don't know about, because our slime-animal "journalists" wouldn't report it, is that President Bush, when in office, spent huge amounts of time visiting our wounded, and visiting the families of those who had died. And never once milked this for any publicity whatsoever. (And here's something similar George and Laura did--with no publicity.)

I also remember with deep disgust certain Lefties criticizing the President for not attending military funerals. In fact by longstanding tradition the president does not attend individual military funerals during war-time. (To understand why, read here.)

I also remember with loathing the massive criticism of Bush for not going to New Orleans during Katrina. (Stupid, since he would just have interfered with rescue efforts, but that's how people think the president should act in this Oprah-fied time.) But Obama gets a free pass.


Posted by John Weidner at 6:28 PM

In a small, dimly-lit airport...

Something for Veteran's day. A re-post of an old post from August 05, 2004...

This is a splendid story. I've been in dingy airports at 3AM, and the thought of one of those spooky dumps becoming a place of Grace is weird and beautiful...

3 A.M. With the VFW
By Sgt. Michael Thomas

...Thirty-six hours after our scheduled arrival, we landed in Bangor, Maine. It was 3 a.m. We were tired, hungry, and as desperate as we were to get to Colorado, our excitement was tainted with bitterness. While we were originally told our National Guard deployment would be mere months, here we were – 369 days later – frustrated and angry.

As I walked off the plane, I was taken aback: in the small, dimly-lit airport, a group of elderly veterans lined up to shake our hands. Some were standing, some confined to wheelchairs, all wore their uniform hats. Their now-feeble right hands arms stiffened in salutes, their left hands holding coffee, snacks and cell phones for us.

As I made my way through the line, each man thanking me for my service, I choked back tears. Here we were, returning from one year in Iraq where we had portable DVD players, three square meals and phones, being honored by men who had crawled through mud for years with little more than the occasional letter from home.

These soldiers – many of whom who had lost limbs and comrades – shook our hands proudly, as if our service could somehow rival their own....

This picture has nothing to do with the above story, I just put it in for my own satisfaction. (It's from an old post about the death of the last combat-wounded veteran of WWI. Link. My 77th division post is here.)

doughboys_argonne.jpg
Doughboys of the 77th divsion wait on the edge of the Argonne Forest, before the attack on September 26, 1918.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:29 PM

No additional comment necessary...

Urban Desertification:

The Kelo case was a dreadful constitutional error by a Supreme Court that had somehow been seduced into reckoning local government's pursuit of "economic development" was more important than individual property rights. So the bulldozers rolled — and then, even before the recession — the developers disappeared. Now, another blow to the foolish municipality of New London, CT. Pfizer drug company, whose adjacent facility was the excuse for the whole Kelo exercise, has announced it will close the R&D headquarters. (Is this in anticipation of US policy?) So New London will have an abandoned business to keep the razed neighborhood company. Welcome to the wonderful world of "city planning."
Posted by John Weidner at 8:41 AM

November 10, 2009

"Leadership is mimetic"

Rob Harrison:

...Now, as I've noted before, I'm a preacher, and I think like one; and one of the things that years of preaching the word of God given through such hard-headed types as Paul and James has taught me is that "out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks." In other words, what we say (and also what we do) proceeds out of our beliefs, our attitudes, and our moral commitments. The willingness to set aside the moral crimes of foreign governments and just "do bidness" with them Chicago style cannot be judged or regarded merely as an intellectual approach; it is a moral act, it is an expression of the faith of our president, and must be understood as such. The same is true of his remarks following the Fort Hood shooting.

Similarly, the fact that Gov. Palin persists in addressing such events as the shooting at Fort Hood and the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and that she was willing to take a stand amidst the chaos of the NY-23 special election, cannot be interpreted merely in terms of political calculation; this, too, speaks to her moral qualifications for leadership. Her statements give us indications as to whether she has the strength of character to lead without flinching from the task, and the wisdom to lead well; they also tell us much about what she believes at the core of her being, and how those beliefs drive and shape her as a leader. As such, while most have been parsing her statements for what they say about her intellectual qualifications (for, in particular, the top job)—and while this is not insignificant—what they say about her moral qualifications is, in my view, more important.

You see, from a biblical point of view, the most basic part of leadership isn't decision-making or setting the agenda or casting the vision or knowing the issues; rather, the most basic part is providing a model for people to follow. The most basic statement of Christian leadership is offered by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1: "Be imitators of me as I am of Christ." Now, obviously, this doesn't transfer directly to political leadership (though for those who claim to be Christians, the correspondence is a lot closer than you might think), but the basic principle holds: leadership is mimetic, which is to say, it's about imitation.

To be specific, it's about taking your faith—the principles you believe in, the truths you understand to be primary, the values you see as of first importance—and incarnating it, making it real in your life, so that others can look at you and see what it means to live, in the real world, according to those beliefs. For most people, that's the only way they'll be able to go and do likewise. Most people need more than just to have it explained, they need to see it in action—and that is the heartbeat of leadership. This necessitates a deep commitment to one's faith, a staunch consistency in adhering to it, and the courage to stand to it even when that seems to be the harder, riskier or more dangerous path; it requires leaders to choose what they believe to be right over what is popular or expedient or safe, trusting that their vindication will come in due time....
Posted by John Weidner at 2:48 PM

November 9, 2009

Too true...

Jay Nordlinger:

The general media reaction to the Ft. Hood massacre reminded me of an old joke. It's about modern American liberals. One reason I feel secure in telling it is that I learned it from a liberal — from the commentator Mark Shields, who told it on television many years ago.
Two liberals are walking down the road and they come to a person in the ditch. He has been beaten, and lies moaning, broken, bleeding. One liberal says to the other, "Quick, we have to find the people who did this: They need help."
Posted by John Weidner at 2:10 PM

Blockhead of the week...

The Evil That Men Do - Megan McArdle:

...This guy was some form of lunatic or psychopath, [There are HUNDREDS of suicidal Islamic attacks every year. Are they all "lunatics or psychopaths"? Should we treat them psychologically?] and it seems pretty clear to me at this point that he was inspired by terrorists. [He wasn't just "inspired." He lived and breathed Muslim jihadist ideology.] But there's no evidence that he was a terrorist--that is, that he was hooked into some organized network. [That's just STUPID. It's like saying you can't be a capitalist unless you work for a corporation.] Lots of people do terrible things in the name of their religion--just ask George Tiller. [Nice touch of the ol' moral equivalence.] Their acts are, as the Catholic Church says, "sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance". But they are no more indictments of a community than the acts of that Korean kid who went crazy at Virginia Tech. [Bullshit. These things are not the same. There is a LARGE subset of the Muslim community that supports jihad in various ways. There is NO part of the Christian community that encourages violence (though people with guilty consciences often fantasize that they are under threat).

Nobody gets kicked out of his mosque for saying that suicide bombers are "martyrs" or "heroes." But If I publicly praised the murder of Tiller, wow! I'd instantly be the most reviled person in my parish. Maybe in the whole Archdiocese!]


There is absolutely no political lesson to be learned from this. [There is a HUGE political lesson. See below.] Gun control would not have stopped a commissioned officer from obtaining guns. [But as always it kept the victims helpless.] Barack Obama had no power to stop this. [He's a leader of the climate of opinion that encourages this.] Infectious PTSD is a lousy theory. And nations certainly do not--and should not--shape their foreign policy around the possibility that a random psychopath will start shooting up a crowd. [Random. Surrrre. Muslims attacking US military personnel is almost unheard of.] Evil people do evil things. [This is a case of an evil ideology TEACHING people to do evil things.] That's all....

"There is absolutely no political lesson to be learned from this." That's the stupidest thing I've read this week. The war we are in and the intense desire to forget that it exists is one of the 3 or 4 most important subtexts of politics today.

There is a large part of the European and American populaces who are in deep denial about Islamic terrorism. They are desperate to block out the truth. Whenever some Muslim makes an individual attack they LEAP to proclaim that he is just a lunatic, and that there is no evidence of terrorism. It seems to get pasted into the very first news reports automatically.... "All-we-know-as-of-yet-is-that-there-has-been-a-shooting-but-officials-emphasize-that-there-is-no-evidence-of-terrorism."

And people VOTE on this issue. Politicians pander to it. Not overtly—no politician says "Vote for me and I'll cooperate with you in pretending we are not in a deadly conflict." But that's the sub-text. That's the message conveyed by what is not said. And by body language. You can just look at Barack, and his whole style says, "I'm NOT a cowboy, and Jesse James is our fault, and I will NEVER ask you to admit that there are causes worth fighting for."

I bet if you could peer into Ms McArdle's head you would find that she voted for Obama, and did so partly because his covert message was that he would be an enabler of our curious addiction to denying the obvious. Actually, I'd guess that a lot of people voted for him because of his middle name—it's the contemporary equivalent of "Neville."

As for WHY people act this way, I've explained it too many times and won't go over it again today. Click here for more.

* Update: " a random psychopath will start shooting up a crowd..." So. Random, huh. Suppose I started hanging out with "white supremacists," and praising their violent acts. And then I shoot up a crowd of non-whites. That would be "random," Ms McArdle, right? Hmmm? Random, not, er, connected with anything? I'd just be a "random psychopath," right?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 AM

November 8, 2009

Even a schlep like me can see the flaw in this reasoning...

Marvin Olasky:

...Confirmation of biblical wisdom came earlier this fall from an unlikely source: an Ivy League savant who says it's wrong to depend on the Bible.

The prestigious Oxford University Press sent me the new book Morality Without God? by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, a Dartmouth professor. (I'm going to quote him a lot, so I'll use his initials.) WSA begins by complaining that his students quote to him Dostoevsky's favorite line, "If God is dead, everything is permitted." WSA then argues that we don't need God: We all should simply agree not to harm others—cause death, pain, or disability—unless there is "adequate reason."...

The obvious flaw is that who defines "harm?" Who defines "others?" Who defines "adequate reason"? If I can define my own terms, then I can harm anybody..... I'll just define them as not being a person, or define my harm as not really harmful.

The whole concept of people deciding what their own morality will be is just stupid. It's like the lab mice deciding on how the science experiment should be analyzed. Nothing can be judged from the inside. There always has to be some standard, or some judge or critic, that comes from outside the system, something which has authority because it is at a higher level than what is being critiqued.

Now you may be thinking, "What right has a nobody like Mr Weidner to call a Dartmouth professor stupid?" Fortunately Marvin Olasky gave me the necessary data by posing a moral question to Mr WSA. In fact, the obvious moral question, one that WSA must surely have heard and had time to think out an answer to. But he can't give a cogent answer!

Here, judge for yourself...

Wondering if WSA is one of those exceedingly rare secular professors with the courage to be pro-life, I emailed him to ask. He responded that there is no "simple solution to this complex problem . . . the moral problem of abortion cannot be solved by citing religious texts or religious leaders."

Hmm . . . How can it be solved? WSA wrote, "What matters is the present and future harm to the fetus and others. This does not solve the problem, but it tells us where to focus our discussions. I hope this helps."

Hmm . . . It helps only if WSA can tell us how to compare "harm to the fetus" (death) to other harms, so I emailed him again. He responded, "The bottom line is that I think some moral problems are insoluble. . . . They are just too difficult for us to figure out. . . . The answer, 'I do not know,' should become common."

Hmm . . . I asked WSA whether people could really make "I don't know" the default statement. He responded, "Why not? People get used to having a belief about everything, but they do not have to. Life can be lived like an experiment where you guess but do not believe until you see how it turns out."

Why can't this guy give a good answer? I bet I could fudge-up some plausible-sounding cackle. The question I think we should ask is: "Why has this man made himself stupid?" He presumably has a higher IQ than me, but he seems to have given himself a lobotomy! Why?

My theory (feel free to skip this if you've read it on this blog before) is that people have been coasting on Christian and Jewish morality and values, even though fewer and fewer people practice the religions faithfully. That morality has lingered as habits. (Imagine parents who have lived through the Great Depression and later become prosperous, trying to transmit their habits of thrift to their children. Some of it will rub off, some will be lost. And more will be lost when the kids try to pass this wisdom on to the grandkids. Good habits drain away if one is separated from their source.)

Mr WSA thinks he's devising morality de novo, but really he assumes a lot of Judeo-Christian morality. Probably most of the people who have ever lived have believed that it's FINE to harm people if they are not in your tribe. But WSA assumes that this is not where his ice-your-own-cupcake morality is heading. Why? Because the habit of not thinking that way is part of Western Judeo-Christian culture. He just assumes that faith-based moral habits will be there. Sort of like children assuming that the grownups will always take care of them!

But the problem is that the habits are wearing off, a little each generation. And now reality is starting to bite people. He won't admit it consciously, but I think that deep down Mr WSA is becoming very afraid. And that is why he, and millions of other people, have made themselves stupid. They don't want to think about their situation. They don't want to realize that next year it may be just "decided" that they are not "anybody," and can be "aborted retroactively" without violating morality. A good current example of this fear-based stupidity is the many important pundits who have been gravely saying that we may never know what motivated Major Hasan, and whether religion had anything to do with it! That is literally insane.

Romano Guardini wrote, back in the 1950's:

...As unbelievers deny Revelation more decisively, as they put their denial into more consistent practice, it will become the more evident what it really means to be a Christian. At the same time, the unbeliever will emerge from the fogs of secularism. He will cease to reap benefit from the values and forces developed by the very Revelation he denies. He must learn to exist honestly without Christ and without the God revealed through Him; he will have to learn to experience what this honestly means. Nietzsche had already warned us that the non-Christian of the modern world had no realization of what it truly meant to be without Christ. The last decades [the two world wars] have suggested what life without Christ really is. The last decades were only the beginning...
    -- Romano Guardini, from The End of the Modern World

* Update: Just want to amplify a little my comment that WSA "assumes a lot of Judeo-Christian morality." His phrase "We all should simply agree not to harm others" is a debased version of a Christian moral concept. The Pharisee who agreed that we should love our neighbor asked Jesus, "Who IS my neighbor?" His culture would have assumed that "his neighbor" meant "fellow Jews." Jesus answered with the story of the good Samaritan. The story implies something really radical and shocking: that everyone should be treated as our neighbor. (Jews and Samaritans hated each other like poison.) The idea that we should not hurt anybody is a corollary of this new idea.

WSA claims that we can just invent morality. He's fooling himself. If people with no preconceptions invented a morality, they would not come up with anything like what he expects.

I also strongly suspect that he thinks his formula is a TRUTH, though he would never dare admit it in the academy, or to himself. If somebody invented a morality that said: "We all should simply agree to harm anybody who annoys us," I'd guess he would exclaim "That's Wrong!" Wrong with a capital "W." I'd bet money that deep down he believes that there are moral laws that objectively exist, that are not invented by people. Therefore his atheism is a fake. Deep down he knows there is a Higher Power, but he's a coward and shrinks away from the implications.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:34 AM

"Our legislators can listen now, or they can hear us in 2010"

A good strong statement from Sarah Palin, The Pelosi Bill Was Rammed Through on Saturday, But Sunday's Coming:

...We've got to hold on to hope, and we've got to fight hard because Congressional action tonight just put America on a path toward an unrecognizable country.

The same government leaders that got us into the mortgage business and the car business are now getting us into the health care business.

Despite Americans' decisive message last Tuesday that they reject the troubling path this country has been taking, Speaker Pelosi has broken her own promises of transparency to ram a health "care" bill through the House of Representatives just before midnight. Why did she push the 2,000 page bill this weekend? Was she perhaps afraid to give her peers and the constituents for whom she works the chance to actually read this monstrous bill carefully, if at all? Was she concerned that Americans might really digest the details of a bill that the Wall Street Journal has called "the worst piece of post-New Deal legislation ever introduced"?

This out-of-control bureaucratic mess will be disastrous for our economy, our small businesses, and our personal liberty. It will slam businesses at a time when we are at double-digit unemployment rates — the highest we've seen in a quarter of a century. This massive new bureaucracy will cost us and our children money we don't have. It will rob Americans of more of our freedom and further hamper the free market.

Make no mistake: we're on course to have government commandeer one-sixth of our economy. The people who gave us Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now want to run our health care. Think about that.
All of us who value the sanctity of life are grateful for the success of the pro-life majority in the House this evening in its battle against federal funding of abortion in this bill, but it's ironic because we were promised that abortion wasn't covered in the bill to begin with. Our healthy distrust of these government leaders made us look deeper into the bill because unfortunately we knew better than to trust what they were saying. The victory tonight to amend the bill and eliminate that federal funding for abortion was great — because abortion is not health care. Now we can only hope that Rep. Stupak's amendment will hold in the final bill, though the Democratic leadership has already refused to promise that it won't be scrapped later.

We had been told there were no "death panels" in the bill either. But look closely at the provision mandating bureaucratic panels that will be calling the shots regarding who will receive government health care.

Look closely at provisions addressing illegal aliens' health care coverage too.

Those of us who love freedom and believe in open and transparent government can only be dismayed by midnight action on a Saturday. Speaker Pelosi's promise that Americans would have 72 hours to read the final bill before the vote was just another one of the D.C. establishment's too-common political ploys. It's broken promises like this that turn people off to politics and leave them disillusioned about the future of their country.

But despite this late-night maneuvering, many of us were paying close attention tonight. We'll keep paying close attention. We need to let our legislators in Washington know that they still represent us, and that the majority of Americans are not in favor of the "reform" they are pushing. After all, this is still a country "of the people, by the people, and for the people." We will make our voices heard. It's on to the Senate now. Our legislators can listen now, or they can hear us in 2010. It's their choice.
    -- Sarah Palin...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:50 AM

November 7, 2009

"The Issue beneath all the other issues"

From a 2006 article by George Weigel:

...But perhaps the most intriguing intervention of the conference came from my friend Rémi Brague, who divides his time between the Sorbonne in Paris, where he teaches philosophy, and Munich, where he holds the chair of the late, great Romano Guardini. Professor Brague's name would rightly appear on any list of Ten Most Intelligent Catholics in the World, and in Vienna, he didn't disappoint.

Picking up on a phrase I had used in The Cube And the Cathedral , that Europe is "dying from a false story," Brague suggested a fascinating way of looking at the last two centuries of western history. The 19th century, he proposed, was focused on the question of good-and-evil: the "social question," posed by the industrial revolution, the emergence of an urban working class, and the demise of traditional society, dominated the landscape. The 20th century, he argued, had been the century of the question of true-and-false: totalitarian ideologies, built on perverse misunderstandings of the human person, defined the contest for the human future that drove history from the aftermath of World War I until the Soviet crack-up in 1991.

And the 21st century? Ours, Professor Brague said, is the century of the question of being-and-nothingness — the century of the metaphysical question.

Which may sound extremely abstract, but is, in fact, very concrete. For if nothing is "given" in the human condition, then everything is up-for-grabs. If, to take a salient example on both sides of the Atlantic, maleness and femaleness are mere "social constructs," then "marriage" can mean anything someone wants it to mean, including not only "gay marriage" but polygamy and polyandry — and to deny that is an act of irrational bigotry.
Brague, who knows a great deal about Islamic philosophy, knows all about the threat to the West from jihadist Islam. In Vienna, however, he insisted that nihilism — a soured cynicism about the mystery and wonder of being — is the prior enemy-within-the-gates. For nihilism leads to deep skepticism about the human capacity to know the truth of anything; skepticism leads to what Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger described on April 18, 2005, as the "dictatorship of relativism;" and relativism is a solvent eating away the foundations of western self-understanding, western civilizational morale — and the western capacity for intelligent self-defense.

An Enlightenment intellectual, cited by Professor Brague, once said that he didn't have children because begetting children was a criminal act — a matter of condemning another human being to death, to oblivion. That is the kind of nihilism that lies beneath Europe's demographic suicide of recent decades. That is the kind of nihilism that occupies some of the commanding heights of American culture. That is the kind of nihilism that makes the defense of western civilization difficult today — and would make it impossible tomorrow, were it to triumph culturally.

The very goodness of life, the goodness of being — that is The Issue beneath all the other issues of the 21st century. So suggested Rémi Brague. I'm afraid he's right....

 

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 PM

Pathetic. Obamba's a girly-man.

Reuters : One year on, Obama cites struggle with Bush legacy:

...MADISON, Wis. — A year after his historic election, President Barack Obama sought to remind Americans on Wednesday the biggest problems he is grappling with — from the economy to the war in Afghanistan — are the legacy of his predecessor, George W. Bush....

Ya'know, Brrack old chap, President Bush left you another legacy as well. He left you a splendid example of how a MAN deals with tough situations. You may have forgotten, but he also inherited an economic recession. The Dot.Com bust happened just before he was inaugurated. And 9/11—a legacy of shocking Clinton neglect—dealt us another heavy economic blow a few months later.

Did you ever hear him whining that Clinton had left him a bucket of worms? No, he never did. Not once. He never complained or pointed fingers, he just rolled up his sleeves and started fixing the problems. That's what grownups do.

Oh, and legacy #3. He fixed his economic problems. Tip: Start by cutting taxes. Wait one year. Cut again. Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary. It works.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:47 PM

November 6, 2009

Am I right or am I right?

From a CBS News story, Female Cop Hailed as Ft. Hood Hero:

...Hasan, who was facing deployment overseas, was initially reported killed in the attack but he survived his wounds and is currently in stable condition in a civilian hospital. Officials are trying to piece together a possible motive for the attack, believed to be the worst ever at a U.S. domestic military debate. [sic]...

It's gonna be tough, folks. "Piecing together" a "possible motive" for the attack. It's a good thing we have experts who understand these things. Most likely we will just never know why this mentally disturbed person, who belongs to a "religion of peace," went berserk. He was handing out Korans that very morning, which is surly a peaceful thing to do, right? Right?

Maybe it was something he ate.



(In case someone hasn't been following, my title refers to this post, where I quoted:

...Over the past couple of years there have been several SJS incidents directed against Americans. It is remarkable that even when the perpetrator explicitly linked his motives to jihad, the authorities refused to accept his word....)
Posted by John Weidner at 10:58 AM

Political Correctness kills...

Armed Israeli Defense Force girls

The above picture is one I took on our last year's pilgrimage to the Holy Land. You see young people like this everywhere in Israel. Maybe, just maybe, Israelis know something about dealing with Muslim terrorists. Hmm?

Political Correctness and the Ft. Hood Shooting - Stephanie Gutmann:

...Soldiers in other countries are allowed to carry arms on base and even when they are off-duty. In Israel, for instance, soldiers are issued a rifle and then . . . it's theirs. One sees slender 18-year-old girls, traveling from base, home to the suburbs for Shabbat dinner, still slung with a massive M-16 rifle almost as big as they are. The prevalence of arms doesn't mean the country experiences the kind of random mass murders seen in the United States. It means that the few times someone has gone crazy with a gun in a city street, he was taken down fast by bystanders.

But not American soldiers....

Pacifism, or rather nihilism disguised as fake-pacifism, is one of the sicknesses of our time. No matter how many times it's proved wrong, a large portion of the populace will continue to believe that looking and being weak will make them safer and will prevent violence and war. But pacifism causes war.

Whoever gave the orders that American soldiers should not carry their sidearms or other weapons on our military bases murdered those soldiers who died at Ft Hood. Charlene was an Army brat, and she says that personnel carried their weapons on the base when she was young. Somebody (the phrase "death panel" springs to mind) disarmed the very men and women who are sworn to protect us using violent force when necessary. INSANE! SICK!

And I remember when Reagan became President, one of his first acts was to rescind an order that forbade officers from wearing their uniforms much of the time when working in Washington DC. It's the same sickness.

Bookworm writes, in a good post:

...I've also heard from back channels that people like Hasan have been an ongoing concern within the military. The fear inspired by political correctness, however, has meant that internal enforcement agencies (FBI, military police, etc.) have been afraid to act on their suspicions for fear of being tarred as racists or ideologues. This climate of PC fear must have increased dramatically since Obama's justice department made it plain that it considered those who acted in defense of the U.S. as potential war criminals. In the topsy turvy world of Obama politics, it's a worse sin to be politically incorrect than to be a terrorist. Our national security forces have read the tea leaves and, no matter how patriotic I'm sure they are, they've concluded that the sure risk to their career for being un-PC is greater than the potential risk of a terrorist attack from some psychiatrist or foot soldier somewhere in the South or the Midwest, or wherever else the next Muslim loony-toonz starts making noise on American soil...

Any sane society would have interned Major Hassan. Slapped him into a nice comfy summer-camp as soon as he started talking his Islamist trash-talk. Or at least discharged him! But that would require believing that our country is worth doing tough, even brutal, things for. It is belief that the nihilist fears. Belief in anything that is bigger than the self, anything that demands putting the self second.

What is the common thread among the things that our fake-liberals hate and want to destroy? Christianity and Judaism, America, Israel, family, Western Civ., traditional morality, traditional art and architecture, our military, global responsibility. TRUTH. ALL of them are, on a symbolic level, things that are bigger than the individual, bigger than the supposedly "autonomous" self. Things that demand servanthood, and sacrifice, and devotion.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:47 AM

Sudden Jihad Syndrome... again...

Victor Davis Hanson :

...2) what I once in two NRO essays called al Qaedism, or the spontaneous rage of disaffected Muslims, who connect their own failures in some sense to generic radical Islamist sentiments, and act out that anger by running over the innocent (San Francisco or North Carolina), shooting Jews (the LAX or Seattle attacks), or shooting up malls or sniping. These are of course different from but in addition to the 24 organized plots that have been broken up since 9/11, four of them this year alone.

In reaction officials and news people often opt for therapeutic exegeses — stress, often of the post-traumatic sort, ill-feeling and bias shown Muslims, family problems, or brainwashing by nefarious outside actors — to explain the cold-blooded nature of the murdering...

It's called Sudden Jihad Syndrome, Mr Hanson. I blogged a bit about it two years ago here:

[Quoting Srdja Trifkovic] ...The SJS pattern, both in America and in Europe, is boringly predictable: a Muslim commits an act of violence, or is caught plotting to commit one. The authorities are either quick to deny the suspect's links with Islamic terrorism, or, if such a link is nevertheless suspected, adamant that he is acting alone. The local Muslim community responds with a mix of indignation and denial. Non-Muslim civic leaders then respond by reassuring the Muslim community that it is loved and appreciated. The media report heart rendering stories of the Muslim sense of sadness, rejection, alienation, or else dwell on the perpetrator's history of woe—in a "Bosnian" case by evoking alleged wartime traumas and blaming the Serbs.

Over the past couple of years there have been several SJS incidents directed against Americans. It is remarkable that even when the perpetrator explicitly linked his motives to jihad, the authorities refused to accept his word....

Something I wrote back then, which still applies:

...And we are not just talking left/liberal elites here. Republican leaders do it as well. I suspect they all know, perhaps unconsciously, that there is no centralized elite-controlled remedy, that the only way to fight such sporadic attacks is to empower ordinary people to arm themselves and watch and fight back. And to communicate horizontally, rather than up and down a hierarchy.

And the critical lack in many of our leaders is the belief that our civilization is worth fighting for. Or anything is worth fighting for. They may concede that that we should fight terrorists in far-off Afghanistan, where they don't have to see it. But what's also needed is to get really hard-assed right here in our own towns. There are groups right here who include or shelter our deadly enemies, and they should be getting slammed around hard. For the sake of peace.

And a lot of our paralysis is due to political correctness. For instance anyone in school now is bombarded with the message that America did a loathsome thing by interning Japanese-Americans in WWII. Well, OK, but it is never mentioned that IF that community had really included the spies and saboteurs that were feared, and IF there had been no other way to stop them, then internment would have been the correct decision. I suspect that a lot of people preaching jihad should be interned right now. But if I were a leader I would not suggest it, because most people have been so brainwashed that they could not even consider or discuss the question. They literally could. Not. Think. (I recommend you read: Political correctness lowers your effective IQ.)
Posted by John Weidner at 8:07 AM

November 5, 2009

Thanks again, Sarah...

NRSC Won't Spend Money In Contested Primaries:

...On the heels of the NY-23 special House election, in which Conservative Party insurgent Doug Hoffman overtook moderate GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava, only to lose to Democrat Bill Owens, NRSC chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) has announced that the GOP's national Senate committee will not be spending money in contested primaries.

"There's no incentive for us to weigh in," Cornyn told ABC News. "We have to look at our resources."

This could have huge ramifications in the Florida Senate race, where moderate Gov. Charlie Crist has been endorsed by the NRSC, and faces the more conservative former state House Speaker Marco Rubio. Crist has already emerged as a new top target for the same right-wing activists who went after Scozzafava....

Us "right-wing activists" just want to have a fair debate. The NRSC has no business "anointing" candidates, and giving them our money. The purpose of primaries is to let the people decide. Of course it makes short-term tactical sense to agree on a candidate without the bloodshed of a primary battle. But in the long run it's a mistake, and leads to the Scozzafava Effect....

Posted by John Weidner at 9:35 AM

November 4, 2009

Today's good line...

Stephen Spruiell:

...Scozzafava also failed a single-issue litmus test: There wasn't a single issue on which she held a conservative position....
Posted by John Weidner at 3:14 PM

2.4 million GOP votes to 1.9 million for the Democrats...

American Thinker: Forget the 2-1 spin; it was a rout:

...What we did not know was just how overwhelming the anti-Democrat tide would be among voters. In the three talked about races, it was a blow out of something like 55-42% overall in precincts that voted for Obama 56-44 just a year ago. The raw totals will end up a tad under 2.4 million GOP votes to 1.9 million for the Democrats in round numbers.

So don't buy into any 2-1 split decision analysis. It was a stunning reversal of a full quarter of the electorate in one year's time.

For the record, Barack Obama "voted present" by not even watching the election returns — let alone commenting -- as his party suffered the massive 25% reversal. (OK, I don't believe White House reports that he didn't watch, but who could blame him a little fib considering the magnitude of the actual loss.)

The stunning stat of the night might be this: that McDonnell beat Creigh Deeds by 1000 times the margin he did in 2005. Or it might be that Christie overcame a 700 thousand party voter disadvantage to win a race with about two million total voters. Or it may be that all this happened with zero references about "reaching across the aisle" or mavericks. So what does this mean?

It means Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and "big tent" politics just suffered a huge electoral defeat. Likely the same can be said of whatever this week's Obama-Baucus-Bogus-Consumer-Ponzi-Care bill is being called these days. To quote CNBC's politically minded financial analyst Jerry Bowyer, the 1900 page health care bill is "now pulp." He made that call before 8 p.m. eastern...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:09 AM

November 3, 2009

Long march to nowhere...

Belmont Club:

...Although Barack Obama has often been described as an "Alinsky organizer", the calumny was on Alinsky. Barack Obama is the very antithesis of the kind of organizer that Saul Alinsky envisioned: a man who permanently eschewed the limelight; who developed leaders and never became a leader himself and who always lived by the axiom, "let the people decide". In Obama we see a man who purposefully mobilized supporters in order to control them from the outset. Then when Obama attained the White House, he reconfirmed his earlier decision. Organizing For America became Organizing for President Obama.

To the question, "Where are the Tea Parties of the Left?" the simple answer is: they were led from the top. The crucial question which every man of the left must wrestle with is whether Tea Parties of the Left will ever be led from the bottom. George Orwell always assumed the answer to be "yes" until he learned differently in Catalonia. Most people on the Left think that rebellion is a permanent condition of "their" side. When out of power maybe. When in power things are different. Conservatives operate on a different model from that of the Left. They band together at need but tend to form no permanent organizations. By contrast, the Left is a standing political army. It never sleeps. It never disbands. It is always on the march, in season and out of season. And even when it isn't doing anything — it is doing something. And when it is in power, it must do even more....

The problem is that if people are allowed to do what they want, well, another name for that is Capitalism. The underlying philosophy of Leftist thought is what Peter Drucker called "salvation by society." Which means that individuals have to fall in line. Or, oft-times, fall in line and march towards the boxcars. The will never be a leftish version of the Tea Party Movement, at least not for very long....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:49 PM

November 1, 2009

Life rarely arranges such pellucid political object lessons..

Dr. Weevil, on DeDe Scozzafava endorsing the Dem...

... Now that she's withdrawn and endorsed the Democratic candidate, can the Republican Party ask for their $900,000 back? Can individuals who contributed to her under the impression that she was a Republican ask for their money back?...

My opinion is that 900k is dirt cheap for a show-and-tell like this. Right now millions of Americans are feeling like the tongue-tied person who finally finds the needed word or phrase.

Maybe: Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:50 PM

Conventional Wisdom self-destructs...

Jonah Goldberg:

I'm writing about this for my USA Today column, but the Frank Rich hissy fit is a perfect example of the real story of the election. The story is not that the GOP is self-destructing, it is that the conventional wisdom is being shown to be ludicrous. For some time now Frank Rich, Sam Tanenhaus and countless others (including David Frum) have been arguing that the GOP is a rump party and the only way for it to survive is for it to embrace me-too Republicanism of one flavor or another.

The story of all three major races (VA, NJ, and NY-23) is that this conventional wisdom was incandescently wrong and ill-advised. Hoffman and McDonnell owe their success to the support of independents (the independents all of these people said wanted moderate, Democrat-lite policies) and to Republicans determined to stay true to conservative principles. Not only was the conventional wisdom wrong, the idea that there's a "civil war" with the GOP revolving around this argument is nonsense. The GOP is an unapologetically conservative party, providing a choice not an echo, and — horror of horrors — it's working.

My own belief is that the Republican and conservative revolution that began with Goldwater and Reagan is far from running out of steam. One problem is that being conservative (or orthodox Christian or Jewish) is that in our culture you have to swim against the current all the time. You have to be counter-cultural. And most people just don't have the energy for that. So things go in fits and starts, with lots of slipping backwards.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:43 AM