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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Crichton on Environmentalism

Michael Chichton gave an wonderful speech (see link) on the subject of Fear, Complexity, & Environmental Management in the 21st Century.

It is filled with startling examples (especially if you are young) of headline smothering environmental catastrophes that were firmly predicted by never came to pass all the way from worldwide mass famine to the end of the world in an ice age.

The book really began in 1998, when I set out to write a novel about a global disaster. In the course of my preparation, I rather casually reviewed what had happened in Chernobyl, since that was the worst manmade disaster in recent times that I knew about.

What I discovered stunned me. Chernobyl was a tragic event, but nothing remotely close to the global catastrophe I imagined. About 50 people had died in Chernobyl, roughly the number of Americans that die every day in traffic accidents. I don’t mean to be gruesome, but it was a setback for me. You can’t write a novel about a global disaster in which only 50 people die.

Undaunted, I began to research other kinds of disasters that might fulfill my novelistic requirements. That’s when I began to realize how big our planet really is, and how resilient its systems seem to be. Even though I wanted to create a fictional catastrophe of global proportions, I found it hard to come up with a credible example. In the end, I set the book aside, and wrote Prey instead.

But the shock that I had experienced reverberated within me for a while. Because what I had been led to believe about Chernobyl was not merely wrong—it was astonishingly wrong. Let’s review the data.

The initial reports in 1986 claimed 2,000 dead, and an unknown number of future deaths and deformities occurring in a wide swath extending from Sweden to the Black Sea. As the years passed, the size of the disaster increased; by 2000, the BBC and New York Times estimated 15,000-30,000 dead, and so on…

Now, to report that 15,000-30,000 people have died, when the actual number is 56, represents a big error. Let’s try to get some idea of how big. Suppose we line up all the victims in a row. If 56 people are each represented by one foot of space, then 56 feet is roughly the distance from me to the fourth row of the auditorium. Fifteen thousand people is three miles away. It seems difficult to make a mistake of that scale.

Read the whole thing.

My Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

From Tech Central Station on how to win a Nobel Prize:

...that is precisely why I decided to go ahead and publish my acceptance speech now, because that way I could make it clear to those guys in Sweden that I know exactly what kind of thing they are looking for in a Nobel Prize laureate, which is fanatic, frothing-at-the-mouth, virulent anti-Americanism of the most vicious kind.


A creative mind is a wonderful thing to have, however, and I soon came up with my acceptance speech.

“Ladies and gentleman of the Swedish Academy. Thank you for honoring me with your prize, and thanks for all the money that comes with it. But now for the part you have all been waiting for -- my anti-American speech.

“America sucks! It sucks now and it has always sucked. As long as there is an American left alive, the world will suck because it has Americans in it. All Americans suck. I suck and all my friends back in America suck, too. In America, even the cats suck. It’s sickening to think how much we suck. In fact, just thinking about America makes me want to puke. See, look, I’m vomiting right now.” Of course, I won’t really be vomiting -- I’ll just be pretending to, the same way the Swedish Academy pretends to award literary merit. It will be like a work of conceptual art, and you can only imagine the electrifying effect as the Reuters newsflash bulletin makes its way around the globe: “American Nobel Prize Laureate Lee Harris Pukes All Over Himself Denouncing His Own Country.” You won’t hear anybody asking “Lee Harris Who?” after that, will you?

Who knows, after making such a good impression, I might go on to win the Peace Prize the next year -- and without having to commit a single act of terrorism!

Read the whole thing.

Density Is Destiny: On Politics and the Paperboy

From Tech Central Station (read the whole thing):

Why are things the way they are, politically speaking? Why are the Republicans' most effective ads straightforward clips of Democrats contradicting themselves? Why are conservative pundits so frequently flanking their liberal counterparts? Why is the left-of-center blogosphere moving their party away from the Democrats’ historic base while the right-of-center is co-opting libertarians and moderates?

Realizing that this is a question of the same magnitude as Douglas Adams' "Life, the Universe and Everything?" I nevertheless propose that the answer is "population density" in general and "the cost of newspaper delivery" specifically.

It all starts with an indisputable fact. Higher density urban areas tend to the political left of rural, lower-density areas. It doesn't really matter, in terms of this analysis, why this is the case. I'm not arguing the superiority of the conservative message, only its greater effectiveness at this time in history -- most easily evidenced by control of all three U.S. branches of government. There are, however, hints in history and economics about the reasons that cities tilt left.

The Newspaper Game: Buying Lies.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently ran a Molly Ivins column that repeated the hoax about the U Mass Student who claimed to have been visited by Federal agents for wishing to check Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book” out of the library. The story was fishy from the start, but the Left – ever ready to believe that Bush is a Nazi – bit on it and it became a story in the outermost fringes of the kook Left including Molly Ivins and Ted Kennedy.

This became a discussion topic on and I subsequently e-mailed the editorial page editor, Paul Harral, to get his response. I reprint it in full below.

Thanks for your comments about the UMass student which have been passedon to Molly Ivins.

You do understand, don't you, that she does not work for this newspaper?She's a syndicated columnist in the same way that Cal Thomas, whom wealso print, is a syndicated columnist.

That does not lessen our responsibility, but it is to say that hermaterial is not the property of the Star-Telegram. She writed forCreators Syndicate:

I have forwarded your messages along to her.

Paul K. Harral
Editorial Page Editor
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
PO Box 1870Fort Worth, TX 76101
817 390-7836

The formulation: “You do understand, don’t you…” is obviously meant to be translated as: “You dunce...”

Then there is the phrase “That does not lessen our responsibility...” This reminds me so much of the excuses that come out of Washington when things go wrong. Someone steps up and “takes full responsibility,” following which nothing happens. It’s as if the famous sign on Harry Truman’s desk was changed from “The buck stops here” to “The buck stops here; now move on.”

This morning I wrote Mr. Harral back.

Thank you for your reply.

Your response, however, it begs the question. What is your responsibility when you print something that has been proven to be a hoax?

It seems to me that in view of the numerous instances of journalistic malfeasance that have occurred - and been revealed - in the recent past, responsible newspapers would have instituted some more stringent quality controls.

If a car dealer sells a defective auto, or a pharmacist knowingly sells a defective drug it is held responsible. The fact that the car was not made by the dealer or the drug by the pharmacist does not absolve them of responsibility. Are newspapers held to lower standards than car dealers or pharmacists? Does it absolve you of responsibility if you don't have a liar on your payroll but simply buy lies via syndication?

I realize that “freedom of the press” provides the press special privileges that are not afforded other industries. You have a constitutional right to print falsehoods. However, I believe that it is not just a betrayal of the implicit agreement you have with your readers, but it is a bad business practice. Newspaper circulation has been dropping partially because of a perception of untrustworthiness. Making excuses that the untruth you provide is done via syndication and the promise to pass this along to the liar does not provide the consumer (me) with the feeling that you believe you have a problem.

These are not rhetorical questions. I work in a highly regulated industry where millions of dollars change hands based on a verbal handshake. Trust is vital in an increasingly interconnected world where, for the first time, your industry can be fact-checked by thousands of pajama clad critics who will make every misstep known worldwide.

Your situation is not unique and I am earnestly asking all editors these questions. I am very interested in their replies.

Thanks again for your response. I hope that you will favor me with a reply.


I'll post his reply if there is one.


Paul Harrell replied to my e-mail on 12828/2005 with:

We are continuing to check the story. We have a reader advocate here and he is backtracking. He is making contact with the newspaper that originally handled the story. We don't ignore these kinds of issues --but neither do we rush to judgment on them.

At a certain level this makes sense. Having been stung by a lie in the first place, a responsible organization would want to make sure that it does not compound the error. However, the newspaper that originally published the story - the Standard Times - has already, publicly exposed the story as a total fabrication. So far the only thing missing is the student's name, a fact that was withheld in the original article. So the need for a personal contact by the "reader advocate" of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram would seem superfluous in terms of printing a correction.

This is a common phenomenon. For example, remember the story of guards flushing the Koran down a toilet at Gitmo? The "flushed Koran" story received immediate, sensational and universal space on the pages of newspapers, magazines and the electronic media. Would I be overstating the case that there was a "rush to judgement" on the part of the media in that case? The improbability, nay the impossibility of the act never fazed the editors. And the "corrections" if they came, came weeks later; after the original lies led to an international black eye for the US and the deaths of people in far off lands.

Does anyone else find it strange, even suspicious that errors in reporting never seem to favor the Bush administration? Coincidence? You decide. I'm sure the Fort-Worth Star Telegram carried the original flushed Koran story. Would it be a low blow to ask if their "reader representative" is checking his sources on that story even now?

UPDATE 2 (12/30/2005):

I received another e-mail from Mr. Harral:

FYI ... Molly Ivins takes note that she fell for the hoax in her latestcolumn and we are publishing both that and an official correction.Correction runs Friday am. Column runs Sunday.

Stay tuned for the printed corrrection and see if we misjudged Mr. Harral. There is no misjudging Milly Ivins. Here "paper trail" is too long.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

HOAXES IN A TIME OF WAR. (You mean the Left would lie?)


The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed to have been visited by Homeland Security agents over his request for "The Little Red Book" by Mao Zedong has admitted to making up the entire story. The 22-year-old student tearfully admitted he made the story up to his history professor, Dr. Brian Glyn Williams, and his parents, after being confronted with the inconsistencies in his account. Had the student stuck to his original story, it might never have been proved false.


And that's the way it is.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Pallywood: The Staging of the Intifada

Click on the link and see how the movies showing the Palestinains being shot by Israelis are staged.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Keeping Secrets

From Belmont club:

Once upon a time signals intelligence was considered so important that considerable efforts were taken to prevent its compromise. Captain John Philip Cromwell, who was privy to the secrets of signals intelligence, elected to go down with the USS Sculpin rather than risk capture by the Japanese and reveal his knowledge under torture. Cromwell agonized over a problem the NYT editorial board might have found easier to resolve.

The destroyer quickly destroyed the bridge, killing Connaway, the XO (LT Nelson Allen), and the gunnery officer (LT Joseph De Frees – son of Rear Admiral De Frees). LT G. E. Brown, another reservist, was now the senior officer assigned to the submarine and quickly took command. He chose to scuttle the boat and gave the order, "abandon ship." The crew struggled into life jackets as the Chief of the Boat opened the vents. Captain Cromwell, division commander with only 13 days at sea on his first war patrol, was faced with a predicament. He could abandon ship and face the possibility of severe torture in a Japanese prison camp or go down with the ship. Knowing full well the possibility of the enemy gaining information about Operation Galvanic and the secrets of Ultra during torture, Cromwell chose to take the secret information to the bottom. He told LT Brown that he "knew too much" and would stay onboard. Ensign Fielder, perhaps feeling responsible, made the same decision. These two brave men – and ten others – rode the ship down for the last time. ...
When Admiral Lockwood learned of Sculpin and Captain Crowmell’s fate, he recommended Cromwell for the Medal of Honor. It was approved and awarded to his widow after the war. Admiral Lockwood went on to say, "Captain Cromwell's selfless act of personal sacrifice represents what our submarine force is all about. It stands for dedication, courage and honor in the face of adversity." "John Cromwell is a true American hero," he added.

Eavesdropping on the Enemy

No, not the Democrats, but the headchoppers and baby killers of Islam. From Powerline:

I've been working on and off on the legal issues surrounding the NSA's interception of communications directed to al Qaeda members overseas, some of which originated in the United States. I haven't had time yet to write up a full analysis of the case law. For now, let me just say that the question does not appear to be close. Under all existing authorities, the NSA program, as we understand the facts, was legal.

For now, let me simply quote the November 2002 decision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, in Sealed Case No. 02-001:

The Truong court [United States v. Truong Dinh Hung, 4th Cir. 1980], as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. *** We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power.

And those are cases that deal with electronic intercepts inside the United States. A fortiori, intercepts outside the United States that coincidentally sweep in messages sent from America would seem to be obviously within the President's inherent Article II powers. So far, I have found no authority to the contrary.

What Does Winning Mean?


Today's Muslim regimes cannot win this war in the long term. Most of them are absurd governments of kings and princes or brutal generals whose idea of succession planning is primogeniture. (Kings?!? How often do we Americans, who institutionalized lèse-majesté, consider how idiotic a system monarchy really is?) These kings, princes, sheikhs and generals-for-life are clowns, and anybody who views any of them -- even the "moderate" ones -- as better than contemptible is seriously deranged. History is against them, and every thoughtful person in the world knows it. The question is, what will replace them?

The jihadis are fighting to install a Caliphate and lower a dark curtain over a fifth of the world. The United States and its courageous allies are fighting to create room for modern democratic governments based on popular sovereignty.Since the region's clown governments lack credibility and citizens who are willing to take great personal risks to defend them, al Qaeda is able to create spaces in those countries in which to operate (see, e.g., southern Saudi Arabia and Pakistan's "tribal regions"). Where al Qaeda flourishes, it is able to cajole and coerce the local population -- the Average Abdul -- into cooperating. This creates a local base from which it can "vex and exhaust" the apostate regime.

We need Average Abdul to stop cooperating with al Qaeda and to start turning in the jihadis in the back of the mosque. Unfortunately, he won't turn in the jihadis because he is more afraid of them than the local regime and he will not bear any risk to defend the clowns. The jihadis will kill him and his family for blowing the whistle, but the clown regime will neither punish him for keeping silent or induce him to fight the jihadis out of patriotism. Average Abdul, simply put, is unwilling to risk his life for the clown regime, which has not earned his devotion, even for money.

Average Abdul will, however, risk his life for an idea, just as al Qaeda's jihadis do. Once, that idea was pan-Arabism, or Communism. Today, both are discredited. "Moderate Islam," whatever that means in a dusty town in Syria, Jordan or Egypt, obviously does not have the fire to motivate Abdul to risk his life to fight the Islamists. The only idea with the juice to do the job is popular sovereignty. Democracy. This is the realist case for the Bush administration's "democratization strategy."

Bush lied, people dyed. Their fingers.

Excerpt from Mark Steyn (read the whole thing):

Bush lied, people dyed. Their fingers. That's what this is about: Millions of Kurds, Shia and Sunnis beaming as they emerge from polling stations and hold up their purple fingers after the freest, fairest election ever held in the Arab world. "Liberal" in the American sense is a dirty word because it's come to stand for a shriveled parochial obsolescent irrelevance, of which ''Good Night, and Good Luck,'' Clooney's dreary little retread of the McCarthy years, is merely the latest example. (Clooney says he wants more journalists to "speak truth to power," which is why I'm insulting his movie.)

The Anglo-American political tradition is the most successful in the world in part because of the concept of "loyal opposition." Yes, the party out of office opposes the party in office and hopes to supplant it, but not at the expense of the broader political culture. A party that winds up cheerleading for a deranged loser death cult is the very definition of pointless self-defeating sour oppositionism. So, as Zarqawi flails, Dean and Murtha and Kerry flail ever more pathetically, too. Just wait till the WMD turn up.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

And here’s the problem…

A poster “Anonymous” who identifies himself as a law student comments on the war we are in : “Seriously, the war on terror is like the war on drugs, the war on poverty, or a war on …”

You can read the entire post HERE. But it reinforces a comment I made yesterday on another website:

Whenever the JustinKs [an anti-Bush poster] write their comments, the discussion quickly becomes disconnected from reality. Words and phrases creep in that are not fact related - remember the Left claiming that Bush said the Saddam was an imminent threat, when he said the exact opposite? This is usually followed by claims of lying, by claims that the administration acted illegally, that we are heading for a Fascist state (or have already arrived).

In another post a Leftist wrote that Bush was such a liar that he could not be trusted to with the powers to protect the country so - if the power to take appropriate action was taken away and we were attacked - it would be Bush's fault. This is such blatant sophistry that it defies belief.

People like this are not serious. They live in a solipsistic cocoon. It's all about them. There is no war. The images on the screen of people being beheaded, of people jumping out of burning buildings, of the collapse of the Twin Towers, of explosive laden cars exploding have all the reality of the "West Wing" or a Steven Spielberg movie.

For many, it's simply another political contest with the war in Iraq as background noise. They did not die on 9/11 and they really don't believe that there will be another attack - or, if there is - the chances of their involvement are low; rather like being killed in a car crash; no reason not to drive. So the issue of this titanic clash of cultures is unreal. What is real is the politics of the moment.

But it was ever thus. Even in countries where war has come, most people try focus on the things that interest them; unless they are in the path of a bullet or a bomb or faced with starvation. And in America, the reality is that most people believe they are safe; they are well fed and therefore there is no apparent need to rally to the defense of the country.

After 9/11 a part of America woke up from the end of history. Unfortunately, another part never did. They now play word games, or indulge in political sport. They are Liberals who have not been mugged yet.

There is an old saying that it’s the Generals who are always prepared to fight the last war. We give the military too little credit and the younger generation too much. Here we have a young-fuddy-duddy – a student in law school - insisting that we are waging a metaphorical war. His young mind has been trained to think in old ways. That real wars are fought by national armies surging across national boundaries with tanks and planes and troops in uniform. If it isn’t like the World War 2, it isn’t a war. Instead, it’s a metaphor like the “war on drugs.”

3000 dead on 9/11 did not allow him to break out of his mental cocoon. Ditto the attacks in Madrid, Bali or London. Ditto the terrorists in Iraq. But metaphors don’t die and leave widows and orphans. So we have to ask ourselves what will have to happen before this young man breaks his mental shackles. The answer is not obvious. Keep in mind that as the Germans rounded up their Jewish victims and transported them to their deaths, there was little resistance. Except for Warsaw, there was no rebellion even as people knew that either way, they would die.

That is the difference between Todd Beamer and “Anonymous.” Todd Beamer surveyed the situation, gathered some allies, said “Let’s roll” and changed history. “Anonymous” would consider the fact that attacking the hijackers could be considered a crime: assault, interfering with a flight crew. Beamer and his friends broke quite a few rules. “Anonymous” would have sat down and waited for the plane to land and then he would have complained to the authorities.

That’s why we cannot allow “Anonymous” anywhere near the levers of power.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Steyn on Stifling Dissent in Europe

Excerpt (read the whole thing):

Hollywood stars are forever complaining about the "crushing of dissent" in Bush's America, by which they mean Tim Robbins having a photo-op at the Baseball Hall of Fame cancelled because he's become an anti-war bore. But, thanks to the First Amendment, he can say anything he likes without the forces of the state coming round to grill him. It's in Britain and Europe where dissent is being crushed. Following the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands, film directors and museum curators and all the other "brave" "transgressive" artists usually so eager to "challenge" society are voting for self-censorship: "I don't want a knife in my chest," explained Albert Ter Heerdt, announcing his decision to "postpone" a sequel to his hit multicultural comedy Shouf Shouf Habibi!

But who needs to knife him when across Europe the authorities are so eager to criminalise him?

Katie Couric on Ramsay Clark: What a Shocker!

Katie Couric shows herself to be a clueless as we have all believed she is (from The Corner at NR):


On the Today Show this morning, Katie Couric said: “Now to another big story going on in Iraq: the trial of Saddam Hussein. And an unlikely member of his defense team: Former U.S. Attorney Ramsey Clark. He is here for his first interview since visiting his client in Baghdad last week. Mr. Clark, good morning.”

Yes, Katie, what a shocker! I mean, Ramsey Clark defending a bad guy? You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Of course, there may be just a little teeny-tiny bit of precedent for this. Clark did defend Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslavia president who is on trial for war crimes. And, of course, Radovan Karadzic, the former Yugoslavian general also indicted for war crimes.

Oh and come to think of it, Ramsey Clark also defended Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization leaders, when they were sued in connection with the Achille-Lauro terrorist attack. And didn’t he defend Libyan dictator Muammar El-Qaddafi after the United States bombed Libya in response to terrorist attacks?

Gosh, how could this have slipped both our minds, Katie (a senior moment?): Ramsey Clark also defended Karl Linnas, a Nazi who ran an Estonian concentration camp, and Jakob Reimer, a notorious Nazi concentration camp guard.

And – silly us – we plum forgot he defended Sheik Omar Abdel, convicted of conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks. And Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, a leader of the Rwandan genocide. And Charles Taylor, the former Liberian leader charged with crimes against humanity. And Leonard Peltier, convicted of killing 2 FBI agents. And Lyndon Larouche.

But I see your point, Katie: These were all unlikely cases – every single one of them. Which is why you went on to ask Clark this hardball question: “…And many Americans scratch their heads and say simply: Why? Why is this man with such a distinguished record, although controversial, why is he representing someone known as the Butcher of Baghdad?”

Clark’s response: “It's very simple. We are the ones that named him the Butcher of Baghdad and demonized him.” Yeah, once again we have met the enemy and he is us. We demonized Saddam – it has nothing to do with the mass graves and the rape rooms and the amputations and the poison gas used against Halabja and the genocidal campaign against the Kurds and the terrorist training camp at Salman Pak and the plot to assassinate a former U.S. president and…well, you know this history a lot better than I ever will. That’s why they pay you the big bucks! That’s why they’re considering making you an evening news anchorperson!

Anyway, as I was saying, Americans named Saddam the Butcher of Baghdad – when to his friends and family he’s always been the “Teddy Bear of Tikrit.”

So what’s on deck for tomorrow, Katie? I’m hoping you might have Ramsey Clark back. Ask him about his Christmas recipes. I hear they, too, are highly unlikely – and surprisingly tasty!

Alito Opponents Support Drug Dealers

Here's the latest ad supporting Judge Alito and tying his opponents to drug dealers.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Echo chamber

Iraq Elections

Get the latest directly from Iraq The Model blog.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Genghis John rides again

Sen. John Kerry's appearance last Sunday on "Face the Nation" suggests he's mastered the nuanced finesse of betraying his contempt for American soldiers without accusing them of behaving in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.
The Massachusetts Democrat has come a long way since 1971.
Back then, Mr. Kerry had the starring role as the principled and decorated Vietnam War veteran testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about supposed war atrocities committed not by the Viet Cong but by his fellow vets.

Kerry earnestly testified that other American soldiers said they had raped, cut off ears and heads, randomly shot at civilians and razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of the marauding mass murderer of Mongolia. They must have been remarkably discreet; Kerry never actually saw any of it. ....

By Dimitri Vassilaros, (excerpt) read the whole thing.

But seriously folks, this clown is dangerous

Good news! On Thursday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, who recently called for Israel to be wiped off the map, moderated his position. In a spirit of statesmanlike compromise, he now wants Israel wiped off the map of the Middle East and wiped on to the map of Europe.

"Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces," Ahmadinejad told Iranian TV viewers. "Although we don't accept this claim, if we suppose it is true," he added sportingly, "if European countries claim that they have killed Jews in World War II, why don't they provide the Zionist regime with a piece of Europe? Germany and Austria can provide the regime with two or three provinces for this regime to establish itself, and the issue will be resolved. You offer part of Europe, and we will support it."

Big of you. It's the perfect solution to the "Middle East peace process": out of sight, out of mind. And given that Ahmadinejad's out of his mind, we're already halfway there.

So let's see: We have a Holocaust denier who wants to relocate an entire nation to another continent, and he happens to be head of the world's newest nuclear state. (They're not 100 percent fully-fledged operational, but happily for them they can drag out the pseudo-negotiations with the European Union until they are. And Washington certainly won't do anything, because after all if we're not 100 percent certain they've got WMD -- which we won't be until there's a big smoking crater live on CNN one afternoon -- it would be just another Bushitlerburton lie to get us into another war for oil, right?)


There has always been a slightly post-modern quality to sovereignty in the transnational age: We pretend the Syrian foreign minister is no different from the New Zealand foreign minister, and in so doing we vastly inflate the status of the former at the expense of the latter. But with Ahmadinejad we're going way beyond that. If a genocidal fantasist is acceptable in polite society, we'll soon find ourselves dealing with a genocidal realist.

Mark Steyn on Iran. Read the whole thing.

The “Christmas” Wars

As Christians, as we prepare to celebrate, we ask only for simple respect. Do not ask us to pretend that our Faith is something offensive, something to hide.

Excerpt from the American Thinker. Read the whole thing.

Religious zealots, arranged right to left

Rabbi Yoffie also said that "we need beware of the zealots who want to make their religion the religion of everyone else." But isn't that exactly what liberals wish to do — make everyone liberal? Why, pray tell, are liberals who want everyone to be liberal considered moral and moderate, but Christians who want everyone to be Christian considered "zealots" and "bigots"?

From Dennis Prager on the LA Times.

Israel readies forces for strike on nuclear Iran

From the Sunday Times Online:

ISRAEL’S armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed.

Are We Taking Democrats Out of Context?

From Ace of Spades:

Juan Williams and other liberal partisans believe in drawing distinctions for their own political advantage, but when their opponents point out those distinctions, they claim there aren't really any meaningful distinctions in the first place.

It's a replay of the Democrats' notorious 2004 campaign "position" on gay marriage: John Kerry has the exact same policy on gay marriage as Bush and Cheney, but Bush and Cheney are terrible homophobes for supporting that policy.

At the risk of being obvious (but apparently some liberals need to read the obvious): You can claim to either have a better policy than Bush, or you can claim your policy is exactly the same as Bush's, but you can't claim your policy is both exactly the same as Bush's and also, somehow, better than Bush's. Either they're different or they're not.

The real "context" which explains this nonsense is that Democrats want it both ways. They want to be viewed as tough and resolute on matters military while simultaneously rejecting military solutions and calling for withdrawals; they want to placate their strenuously antiwar base while reassuring moderates who think that maybe it's a good idea to win wars our country begins.

These competing demands really can't be met simultaneously, so they say one thing one day and the complete opposite another, and then cry foul when someone (accurately) quotes one day's statement.

The real "context," in other words, is that they don't have a policy at all on the War on Terror. At least none they feel comfortable publicly and clearly admitting to.

Separation of sex and state

Carol Platt Liebau is an attorney, political analyst and guest radio talk-show host. She wrote an op-ed in the LA Times (yes, the LA Times). Click on the link the read the whole thing. some excerpts:

ONE OF THE most difficult tasks of a democracy is deciding which messages are suitable for universal consumption in the public square — especially when it comes to sex and religion.

So it's worth wondering: In a nation founded on religious principles, why should spiritual messages be tailored to the sensitivities of nonbelievers, while sexual messages are not similarly constrained for the sensibilities of traditionalists?

If there's a standard for deciding what content is appropriate for the public square, surely it should be uniformly applied. At the very least, we should rethink a status quo that presumes religious messages will elicit the kind of indignation once reserved for the crude sexual messages that pass without comment (or censure) today.

Mathematical Viewpoint

This is a strictly mathematical goes like this:

What Makes 100%?
What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?
Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%?

We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%?
What makes up 100% in life?
Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:

If: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z is represented as: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then: H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K 8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

and K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E 11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But, A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E 1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

And, B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T 2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

A-S-S-K-I-S-S-I-N-G 1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that While Hardwork and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the Bullshit and Ass kissing that will put you over the top.

I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December.

I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwin, but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his theory of evolution.

Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game. So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game.

"But it's a Christian prayer," some will argue.

Yes, and this is the United States of America, a country founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect-somebody chanting Hare Krishna?

If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer. If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer. If I went to a ping pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha. And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn't bother me one bit. When in Rome

"But what about the atheists?" is another argument. What about them?

Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!

Unfortunately, one or two will make that call.

One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations.

Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating; to pray before we go to sleep. Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.

God, help us.

And if that last sentence offends you, well ... just sue me.

The silent majority has been silent too long. It's time we let that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard .... that the vast majority don't care what they want.

It is time the majority rules! It's time we tell them, you don't have to pray; you don't have to say the pledge of allegiance; you don't have to believe in God or attend services that honor Him.

That is your right, and we will honor your right.

But by golly, you are no longer going to take our rights away.

Attributed to Paul Harvey

Why is Bob Cratchit So Poor?

Christmas is a time for oft told tales like Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol." At first glance, this story fills us with pity for the Cratchit family, always struggling to make ends meet. Poor Bob Cratchit is forced to work for Ebenezer Scrooge, whose personality makes an easy target for the cause of Bob's financial troubles. But, the true source of the Cratchits' poverty is not Scrooge but Bob's own impulse to live a lifestyle worthy of the Lord Mayor himself.

Bob Cratchit is a clerk and a member of the British middle class. He lives a genteel life. He goes to work with a coat and tie on. His family lives in a four-room house and has a much easier working existence than most of Victorian England.

Bob Cratchit earns more than an ample wage. His salary, we are told, is fifteen shillings a week. The British pound was divided into twenty shillings, and each shilling was divided into twelve pennies or pence. So, Bob Cratchit makes 15 shillings or 180 pence each week-about the wage of a metropolitan police officer and well above the truly needy.

Perhaps it was easier for the Spirits to reform Eboneezer Scrooge than make Bob Cratchit a responsible father.Essays of the Victorian era included titles such as, "How to live on eight shillings a week."

The Cratchit's daughter, Martha, is apprenticed to a milliner and earns additional income. And Peter, their eldest son, is about to obtain a job earning five shillings and six pence weekly. He, too, is to be a man of business. So why is the Cratchit family so poor?

Bob Cratchit is a spendthrift, or shopaholic. The shopaholic is one of eight different personality types in Bert Whitehead's book, "Facing Financial Dysfunction." Cratchit is on the opposite end of the spectrum from Ebenezer Scrooge. Whereas Scrooge combines greed with a propensity to save, Bob Cratchit combines fear with a propensity to spend.

Spendthrifts are some of the most pleasant people to be around. They are socially outgoing and often demonstrate their own friendliness by buying things for other people. As a typical spendthrift, Bob was probably raised in poverty. Buying gives spendthrifts great pleasure in life. Spending produces an addictive high and helps them establish their social status. In Bob's mind, raising his social status mistakenly depends on the amount he spends, not the amount he saves. For Bob Cratchit, living within a budget and saving money would be like setting out to deprive yourself and suffer.

Spendthrifts live for the pleasure of the moment. Eating out or buying clothes are viewed as immediate pleasures for relatively small amounts of money. They do not realize that the purpose of budgeting and saving is to make sure they are spending money on the things they really want instead of frittering it away.

On Christmas Eve, Mr. Scrooge has brought his banker's book home with him to review all evening. Shopaholics, on the other hand, almost never keep any records of their purchases. But, records would show the Cratchit family that Bob's spending habits are exposing his family to want and suffering.

Christmas grew in popularity during the Victorian era as a time of feasting and a time for those of stature to show their affluence. During the Victorian era, Christmas was more about food than about giving gifts and the Cratchit family is determined to show that they know how to keep Christmas.

The Cratchits buy a beautiful goose and then admired it for its cheapness. Spendthrifts typically go bankrupt saving money. We are not told what Bob paid for his Christmas goose, but stories of the day suggest that a goose conservatively cost about 400 pence (1.5 Pounds). At this amount, the Cratchit family goose is costing the family a year's supply of medical attention for the entire family.

Many spendthrifts justify their purchases as "investments." They often buy jewelry, clothes, or even fancy house wares as an investment to provide themselves an excuse to gain the trappings of a richer lifestyle. This purposeful self-deception shows the depth of a typical spendthrift's denial. An investment is something which pays you money, not an article of clothing.

But the Cratchit family are typical spendthrifts when it comes to clothing. On Christmas day, Bob Cratchit confers on his son Peter a shirt in honor of his apprenticeship. It was common in the day for the rich to go through the Parks to show off their finery. And Peter is amazed to find himself so gallantly attired that he too is anxious to show off his fashionable new linen in the park.

Even Mrs. Cratchit is described as "brave in ribbons, which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence." Making a good show is important for spendthrifts. Mrs. Cratchit's ribbons cost about two to three weeks of medical attention for the entire family. Their second daughter, Belinda, is also brave in ribbons too-another three weeks of medical attention. The Cratchit family is clearly living beyond their means.

While Bob Cratchit fears poverty, he also resents wealth. He is caught in the consumerism of the rising Victorian social and professional class. It is this propensity to spend that is the true cause of the Cratchit family's lack of means.

The tendency toward over-consumption and immediate gratification isn't limited to Victorian England. It is nearly the defining character traits of our baby-boomer generation. Like the Cratchit family, our generation has a tendency to blame financial troubles on the more productive members of society. If Scrooge was shown the starving children of Ignorance and Want, Bob Cratchit would be shown the starving children of Addiction and Entitlement.

Scrooge has earned the financial means necessary to help the Cratchit family, but the Spirits don't always give us a reformed Scrooge to bail us out of our financial problems. Sometimes they want us to become a reformed Cratchit! Perhaps this is why the Spirits visited Ebenezer? It was easier to make a frugal man generous than it was to make a spendthrift father financially responsible.

Bert Whitehead at the end of his section on shopaholics writes, "Before accepting a client whom I know is a severe shopaholic, I require them to begin intensive psychotherapy with a qualified professional." That sounds even worse than being haunted by Christmas Spirits!

Thanks to David John Marotta at Marotta Asset Management

Saturday, December 10, 2005

GOP Shows "Cut and Run" Democrats Video

See the video here

The White Moor As Willing Executioner

By Phyllis Chesler and Nancy Kobrin in TCS

Excerpt (read the whole thing):

An increasing number of Western men and women have converted to Islam. According to one report cited in an article by Ian Johnson in the Wall Street Journal, in the year after the 9/11 attacks, 71, 000 Germans had converted to Islam. If this number is correct, we might be looking at what people do when they are afraid or when they want to be on the "winning side." According to Osama bin Laden, people everywhere identify with the "strong" or "winning" horse. According to prison psychiatrist, Theodore Dalrymple, who has worked with Muslim prisoners in Britain, "a large part of the attraction of Islam to increasingly and essentially secularized men" is the opportunity Islam allows for the "abominable abuse of women."

Denying the Soviet Holocaust

By Stephen Schwartz.

Excerpt (read the whole thing):

I was interested, however, to note that Conquest's polemic against Canfora coincided with a brief item in the Daily Telegraph of London, dated December 1, reporting that the parliament of the Czech Republic is considering whether it should be a criminal offense, punishable by a three-year prison term, to deny the atrocities of Communism. This piquant item seems to answer a question implied by Conquest: what distinction may be made between a denier of the Nazi Holocaust and a denier of the Soviet Holocaust? (The immediate difference is that the latter will get a university teaching job without hiding his or her views.)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Dana Milbank is an Ass

Paul Wolfowitz is the President of the World Bank and a former assistant defense secretary. He gave a speech to the National Press Club (to quote Paul Mirengoff of Powerline) “on the role of trade in reducing poverty in Africa and other underdeveloped regions. Today, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post has an account of the speech, or rather its atmospherics -- the substance Wolfowitz's remarks about trade and poverty is of no interest to Milbank. In fact, Milbank seems to consider it evasive of the World Bank President to deliver a speech about issues relating to the Bank's mission, when he could have been, in Milbank's phrase, saying he was sorry for the war in Iraq.”

Now Dana Milbank would probably resent it if he were described as the best friend of Islamofascists and the Saddams of this world. But how else can we describe the political positions of a man who is sorry that Saddam is gone and that we are meeting the Islamofascists in Iraq rather than hunkered down waiting for the next planeload of suicide bombers? Because that is necessarily the inevitable conclusion we can draw from this cretin when he obviously thinks that “Wolfie” (as he calls him) should be saying he’s sorry for supporting this war.

It should be remembered that even World War 2 had its opponents in both America and Europe. It should not surprise us that the Dana Milbanks, sitting safe and secure in their offices in Washington, should have so little regard for the freedom and the lives of the people in the Middle East, that they are perfectly happy to consign them to torture and mass death in the service of cheap political points on the home front.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

But They Support the Troops?

Iraq Elections Handicapped

Excerpt from Pajamas Media:

In spite of the wide variety of political bodies competing in the December elections, making speculations and estimations is not difficult at all when one realizes that most Iraqis will follow their emotions, rather than minds, when they vote.

There will be little serious interest in exploring the platforms and programs of candidates and parties. Although we see more people and local media interviewing politicians and asking questions about programs and platforms, this increase in political awareness still cannot be considered the definitive method Iraqis will use to choose representatives.

Sectarian or ethnic loyalties will still have a greater role in deciding the winning parties.

This is not unexpected, in a country that lived under a totalitarian regime for so many years, where the State wasn’t the protector as much as were the tribe or family. Based on this fact, and by analyzing the nature of each electoral district, we can reach reasonably close estimations to what’s going to happen.But more important than all of this is the fact that in these few years, we have witnessed the birth of a sensibility that was buried for decades -- Iraqi patriotism.

This sense is currently represented in three political alliances/parties that ignore the ethnic and sectarian issues in their platforms. Relatively speaking, they are looking at Iraq as a whole.

One of these groups won a good deal of votes in the January elections because of its patriotic -- or more accurately, nationalist -- program. This group, which we call a "list," led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, won 1.5 million votes. That's a high number considering the state of political awareness and sense of patriotism.Allawi's list is expected to grow even bigger and stronger, although it is coming under harsh criticism from political opponents.

Two other lists are also attracting nationalist -- not sectarian -- interest and passion: one led by Ahmed Chalabi and another by Mithal al-Alusi. The problem facing these lists is that growing voter interest will probably not translate into votes. However, I expect the 3 lists -- Allawi's, Chalabi's and al-Alusi's -- to bring some small surprises. They will become a core for patriotic lists that view an Iraqi as an Iraqi, regardless of religion, sect or race.

The new and interesting thing in this election is the large-scale participation of Sunni parties for the first time. These parties think they have a good chance to win many seats in the parliament. However, the departure of Salih al-Mutlaq from the National Accord Front to form his own movement leaves the remaining components of this list -- made up of the Islamic Party and the Ahl al-Iraq conference -- in a weaker position.

Click on the link to read the rest.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Welcome to John Murtha's Wonderland

Comment by Cassanda in Scrappleface

Sung got the tune of
Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Army’s broke!-
(Zarqawi listening?)
Hand to mouth!
(That’s how they’re living!)
A pitiful sight
Yep - we’re defeated all right -
Welcome to John Murtha’s Wonderland

Gone away are those mean guys
Now we see them through *new* eyes
We’ll chatter and prance
With nations like France
Waltzing in John Murtha’s Wonderland

From the rear lines, we can smoke a peace pipe
Then we’ll all join hands and sing along.
If them freedom fighters come a-knockin’
We’ll just redeploy again
And pass the bong….

Later on
we’ll reach consensus…
Cause too much thinking
Just makes for tenseness.
Convene the Court at the Hague
Those durned Joooooooos are a Plague
They’re ruining our Peaceful UberLand

In the desert we can build a Straw Man
and pretend that he’s Father Saddam
He’ll bring back the good old days of rape rooms
And prove us right: Iraq is Vietnam

Next time the House
Gets mailed some anthrax
And monkeys round with the Patriot Act
We’ll just heave a big sigh
Kiss our fannies goodbye
‘Cos we’re living in John Murtha’s Wonderland

Europe, thy name is Cowardice.

Commentary by Mathias Dapfner CEO, Axel Springer, AG, a German publishing company and the largest newspaper publisher in Germany:

A few days ago Henry Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag,"Europe - your family name is appeasement." It's a phrase you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly true.

Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements. Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union, then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe where for decades, inhuman suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities.

Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally theAmericans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe yet again, and do our work for us.

Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East,European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzyword "equidistance,"now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.

Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, has the gall to issue bad grades to George Bush... Even as it is uncovered that the loudest critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions, no, TENS of billions, in the corrupt U.N. Oil-for-Food program.

And now we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement. How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere? By suggesting that we really should have a "Muslim Holiday" in Germany? I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of our (German) Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German people, actually believe that creating an Official State "Muslim Holiday" will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists.

One cannot help but recall Britain's Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable treaty signed byAdolph Hitler, and declaring European "Peace in ourtime". What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it?

There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction. It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation" but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.

Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush. His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.

In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society's values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China. On the contrary - we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those "arrogant Americans", as the World Champions of "tolerance", which even (Germany's Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes.

Why? Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic so devoid of a moral compass. For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar,huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy- because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake - literally everything. While we criticize the "capitalistic robber barons" of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We'd rather discuss reducing our 35-hour work week or our dental coverage, or our 4 weeks of paid vacation... Or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to "reach out to terrorists. To understand and forgive".

These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who,with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor's house.


Europe, thy name is Cowardice.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Oh, THAT Liberal Media

From Power Line:

Coincidentally, earlier this week, reader Michael Valois asked Columbia Journalism Review editor Steve Lovelady "what he thoughtabout the MSM ignoring Joe Lieberman's positive report from Iraq." Valois wrote:

Steve, Sen. Lieberman just returned from his FOURTH post-invasion trip to Iraq and writes in the Wall Street Journal: "I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn...It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern."

Why can't we read about Sen. Leiberman's views in the NY Times or in the Washington Post? Why is it that President Bush and Sen. Lieberman can give facts to readers from BOTH sides of the aisle, but Mr. [Calvin] Woodward can't manage to do so in an AP wire dispatch?

Lovelady responded:

You think the New York Times and Washington Post should write a story every time a neocon hawk pens an essay for the Wall Street Journal's editorial page?
Somehow, I don't see that happening...

And there, ladies and gentelemen, you have it.

Removing Methodist Bishops

Over half the bishops in the United Methodist Church have signed a “Resolution on the War in Iraq” which, in essence, calls for an immediate withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. That this resolution is based on a deliberately false premise is evident by the following preamble:

"Whereas, the premises advanced by the United States government for engaging in this war, namely, the presumption of weapons of mass destruction and alleged connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq have not been verified; and,

Whereas, the cycle of violence in which the United States is engaged has created a context for the denigration of human dignity and gross violations of human rights of prisoners of war; ...

Note here that the bishops are engaged in a deliberate deception. They state that the two reasons for going to war were WMDs and Al Qaeda connection. This is false. There were numerous reasons for going into Iraq; reasons which were enumerated in the congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq.

The Congressional resolution mentions the following reasons for the invasion:

- The fear that Iraq had WMDs and would either use them or supply them to terrorist organizations.

- The fact that Iraq had stores of WMDs after the first Gulf War and had not provided adequate evidence of their destruction.

- Its demonstrated willingness to use WMDs.

- The fact that Iraq has not cooperated with international efforts to discover its weapons programs

- The brutal repression of its civilian population, its refusal to account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained after the Gulf War 1 and failure to return property wrongfully seized during its invasion of Kuwait.

- Its continued hostility toward the United States including an attempt to assassinate President Bush and by firing “thousands of times” on coalition forces engaged in enforcing UN resolutions.

- Aiding and harboring Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that threaten the lives and safety of United States citizens.

- The attacks on 9/11 underscored the dangers associated with terrorist organizations.

- The numerous UN Security Council resolutions authorizing the “use of all necessary means...” to remove Saddam's threat

- The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 stated that it would be US policy to remove Saddam from power and support a democratic regime,

- The United States is determined to pursue the war on terror and Iraq under Saddam was providing support for international terrorist groups.

The bishops also refer to a “cycle of violence” but refers to the United States as the only actor in that “cycle.” This is not merely false equivalency, so often used during the Cold War to equate the United States to the Soviet Union, but worse. Here we have the bishops identifying the United States as the sole agent of violence. This statement is morally repugnant and intellectually corrupt.

We therefore conclude that the bishops who signed this petition are being either deliberately misleading or so poorly informed as to be a threat to their followers and to the United Methodist Church.

We, therefore, the members of the United Methodist Church, hereby withdraw our support for the bishops who signed this resolution and vote “no confidence” in their leadership.

We request a hearing by members of the jurisdictional conference to determine if the bishops who signed this resolution should be removed for cause.

Feel free to leave comments and identify your church affiliation and location.

Bush Speaking Out ... but...

Powerline makes a good point about Bush speaking out. He has been pummelled by the Left and the MSM (same thing). But he has been speaking out.

Follow the link to the Powerline post.

Target Boycotted over "Christmas"

Do you care about Christmas? I don’t mean the national holiday that falls on December 25th. I mean, do you care about the fact that those, like the ACLU, who have tried to remove Christian symbols from the national consciousness, have forced the word “Christmas” into a ghetto?

Going out to buy Christmas cards? There are many more “holiday” cards, or “season’s greetings” cards. Have you, yourself, become sensitive to the way you greet people around this time of year; wondering if you should say “Merry Christmas” or Happy Holidays?”

At some point, people who are feeling oppressed start to fight back. Even the Jews had their Warsaw Ghetto uprising. And when that oppressed group represents over 80% of a country’s population, the reaction can be dramatic.

The American Family Association headed by Don Wildmon has announced that they will encourage people to avoid shopping at Target stores because of their policy regarding Christmas. Click HERE for the full story.

The issue is whether retailers who make a very, very significant portion of their annual profits during the Christmas season, have increasingly removed “Christmas” from their greetings, their advertisements and their in-store displays. Instead, there is a generic reference to the “season” or an (unspecified) “holiday.”

As a result of complaints from Christians, some companies have changed their minds. Dr. James C. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, …said in each of the instances where companies have changed their minds, it was due in large part to customers who spoke up about the issue. “You can have an influence on this policy," he said, "but not if you just 'take it' — not if you just sit around."

I can understand that some of you may not care. And some would rather not raise the issue. Jonah Goldberg has a good article about it in RN Online.

But as for me, even though this is the season when the Prince of Peace’s birth is celebrated, the concept of Christmas is one that I will fight for … but in a peaceful way.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Senator Feingold Questions Legitimacy of the Iraqi Government

From Truth Laid Bear:

Here's an appalling little exchange I heard on NPR this morning, where Senator Russ Feingold, everybody's favorite defender of free speech, exercises his own to question the legitimacy of the elected Iraqi government.

Feingold was thrillled to point out that Iraqi leaders meeting in Egypt at an Arab League summit
called for a timetable for U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq. Steve Inskeep of NPR, to his credit, pointed out that the position of the elected government of Iraq differs from that expressed at the summit, but Feingold would have none of it (RealAudio):

Inskeep: "We heard earlier this hour from the national security advisor in Iraq, who said Iraqi politicians said [that they wanted a timetable for withdrawal] but the government of Iraq essentially agrees with the Bush administration."

Feingold: That's right: the government of Iraq that was produced basically as a result of an American occupation as opposed to a general consensus from the country is not the test. The test is what the major interests in the country said. The major interests in the country, the political parties, hey, these are the people that are going to decide the future of the country. If you got the Sunnis, the Shiites, and the Kurds all agreeing that we need a timetable, who do you listen do? Do you listen to them, or do you listen to these folks that have a very shaky government that frankly was a result --- of course, of an election --- but also of an American invasion of the country... that is a very bad way to ignore the wishes of the Iraqi people."

Absolutely charming.

Another way of describing, as Feingold put it in disapproving tones, "a very shaky government that frankly was a result... of an American invasion of the country," would be "One of the first democratic governments in the history of the Middle East which over two thousand American soldiers have given their lives to establish, and which many more stand in harm's way every day to protect."

Russ Feingold likes some “leaders” and does not have much use for the Iraqi government. On PBS he said “the government of Iraq that was produced basically as a result of an American occupation as opposed to a general consensus from the country”

In this opinion he pretty much agrees with the decapitators and car bombers, the Islamofascists who dream of Saddam’s restoration. Nice company you keep … Slimeball.

Hit ‘Em Again, Harder

Peter Mulhern in RealClearPolitics is not interested in the kindler, gentler Bush. He calls for tougher words.

When he took the nation’s highest office, George W. Bush famously called himself a uniter, not a divider, signaling a kinder, gentler approach to Washington politics. Fat lot of good it did him. He faces opponents who offer no quarter, even when the national interest is at stake. It is well past time to take off the gloves and return fire.

The President’s speech at the United States Naval Academy this week was powerful. It said most of the things that need saying about our war in Iraq and it left the Democrats backpedaling as they gasped for breath. At the heart of the President’s argument, however, was a contradiction which undercuts his case for the war in Iraq.

The President castigated those who demand an “artificial timetable” for an American withdrawal, but only after making this remarkable disclaimer:
“Many advocating an artificial timetable for withdrawing our troops are sincere, but I believe they’re sincerely wrong.”


How is it possible that purportedly patriotic American public officials can be sincere when they conspire to cut and run from our deadly enemies, to portray America as a weak and unreliable ally and to invite new attacks on our homeland? The President can’t have it both ways. If he is right about the dire consequences of preemptive withdrawal, he must be wrong about his opponents’ sincerity. When he concedes their sincerity he calls his own into question. The average listener hears him say that the Democrats are sincere and concludes that their policy prescriptions can’t be as outrageous as he says they are.

As it happens, the Democrats aren’t sincere....
President Bush has been extraordinarily fortunate in his political enemies. They, in turn, have been fortunate in him. He has no appetite for rhetorical hardball. Now and then he will state an unpleasant truth about the Democrats in Congress, but he never follows his own insights to their logical conclusions. The rest of us are left wondering whether he believes what he says.

A war leader can’t afford to raise that kind of doubt....


We can’t lose in Iraq; the balance of forces favors us overwhelmingly. We can, however, lose the political battle at home. Everything depends on the President’s ability to fight that battle. If he is going to do that effectively he has to start treating the Democrat Party as the domestic enemy that it is.

Continuing to pretend that the Democrats are a loyal, if misguided, opposition will only introduce more confusion where we most need clarity.


Attack until they stop twitching and then attack some more. If this seems unpresidential, the Vice President can do it. But one way or another, it’s past time for a serious offensive on the home front.

Fortune favors the bold.

AMEN (read the whole thing)

Murtha Spouts Crap

From Major John:

With all the eagerness of a dog returning to something it has vomited up, the conventional media has latched onto Rep. Murtha's rambling discourse about the Army being "broken" and "has done all they can."

Unmitigated crap.


From a commenter: Sadly, for almost everyone in my New York town, John Murtha's record seems only as relevant as last week's media reports which set in stone this military giant's faked change of heart. Two weeks into the story and I still haven't encountered a single discussion where anyone was aware Murtha declared the Iraq War "unwinnable" more than a year and a half ago. Too sad! but it's also a real conversation stopper (try it, it's fun!).

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Speech that George Bush Should Give: By James Q. Wilson

From the Wall Street Journal. Reprinted in full:

A Fitting Address
November 26, 2005; Page A10

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are arguing against critics of the Iraq war who are trying to rewrite history. There is some value in this, but it is a fight about the past and not about the future.
What most Americans care about is not who is lying but whether we are winning. I offer this speech that the president might use to tell Americans that we are winning.
* * *
"My fellow Americans: We are winning, and winning decisively, in Iraq and the Middle East. We defeated Saddam Hussein's army in just a few weeks. None of the disasters that many feared would follow our invasion occurred. Our troops did not have to fight door to door to take Baghdad. The Iraqi oil fields were not set on fire. There was no civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites. There was no grave humanitarian crisis.

Saddam Hussein was captured and is awaiting trial. His two murderous sons are dead. Most of the leading members of Saddam's regime have been captured or killed. After our easy military victory, we found ourselves inadequately prepared to defeat the terrorist insurgents, but now we are prevailing.
Iraq has held free elections in which millions of people voted. A new, democratic constitution has been adopted that contains an extensive bill of rights. Discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, or politics is banned. Soon the Iraqis will be electing their first parliament.

An independent judiciary exists, almost all public schools are open, every hospital is functioning, and oil sales have increased sharply. In most parts of the country, people move about freely and safely.

According to surveys, Iraqis are overwhelmingly opposed to the use of violence to achieve political ends, and the great majority believe that their lives will improve in the future. The Iraqi economy is growing very rapidly, much more rapidly than the inflation rate.

In some places, the terrorists who lost the war are now fighting back by killing Iraqi civilians. Some brave American soldiers have also been killed, but most of the attacks are directed at decent, honest Iraqis. This is not a civil war; it is terrorism gone mad.

And the terrorists have failed. They could not stop free elections. They could not prevent Iraqi leaders from taking office. They could not close the schools or hospitals. They could not prevent the emergence of a vigorous free press that now involves over 170 newspapers that represent every shade of opinion.

Terrorist leaders such as Zarqawi have lost. Most Sunni leaders, whom Zarqawi was hoping to mobilize, have rejected his call to defeat any constitution. The Muslims in his hometown in Jordan have denounced him. Despite his murderous efforts, candidates representing every legitimate point of view and every ethnic background are competing for office in the new Iraqi government.
The progress of democracy and reconstruction has occurred faster in Iraq than it did in Germany 60 years ago, even though we have far fewer troops in the Middle East than we had in Germany after Hitler was defeated.

We grieve deeply over every lost American and coalition soldier, but we also recognize what those deaths have accomplished. A nation the size of California, with 25 million inhabitants, has been freed from tyranny, equipped with a new democratic constitution, and provided with a growing new infrastructure that will help every Iraqi and not just the privileged members of a brutal regime. For every American soldier who died, 12,000 Iraqi voters were made into effective citizens.

Virtually every American soldier who writes home or comes back to visit his or her family tells the same story: We have won, Iraqis have won, and life in most of Iraq goes on without violence and with obvious affection between the Iraqi people and our troops. These soldiers have not just restored order in most places, they have built schools, aided businesses, distributed aid, and made friends.

To take their places, Iraq has trained, with American and NATO assistance, tens of thousands of new troops and police officers. In the last election, there were more Iraqi soldiers than American ones guarding the polling places.
We know that much remains to be done. Sunni and Shiite leaders must work together more closely. We know that for centuries Sunni leaders, including Saddam, ruled Iraq even though the Sunnis are only a minority of its population: The terrorists began by killing Shiites but now have killed Sunnis as well, all without the slightest moral justification. But we know from America's own experience that when different groups work together constructively, they learn to trust one another. That must happen, and will happen, in Iraq.

Our success is not confined to Iraq. Libya has renounced its search for nuclear weapons. Syria has pulled out of Lebanon. Afghanistan has produced a democratic government and economic progress for its people. Egypt has had the beginnings of a democratic vote. In an area once dominated by dictatorships, the few remaining ones are either changing or worrying deeply about those that have changed.

We know now that some of our information about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was wrong. But we also know now what we have always believed: That Saddam Hussein, who had already invaded both Iran and Kuwait, had the money, authority and determination to build up his stock of such weapons. When he did, he would have become the colossus of the Middle East, able to overwhelm other countries and rain rockets down on Israel.

We have created a balance of power in the Middle East in which no regime can easily threaten any other. In doing this, we and our allies have followed a long tradition: We worked to prevent Imperial Germany from dominating Europe in 1914, Hitler from doing the same in 1940, and the Soviet Union from doing this in 1945. Now we are doing it in the Middle East.

And we are winning. Soon Iraqi forces will be able to maintain order in the few hot spots that still exist in Iraq. We will stay the course until they are ready. We made no mistake ending Saddam's rule. We have brought not only freedom to Iraq, but progress to most of the Middle East. America should be proud of what it has accomplished. America will not cut and run until the Iraqis can manage their own security, and that will happen soon.

Thank you, and God bless you."

Mr. Wilson has taught at Harvard, UCLA and Pepperdine, and is the author, among other books, of "The Moral Sense" (Free Press, 1997).

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Midge Dector: The Never-Ending War: The Battle Over America's Self-Meaning

A long lecture, but well worth reading for those who are interested in the history
of the counterculture.


The first and most important thing of all for any real understanding of the nature of America’s cul­tural war is the fact that it has been going on not merely since the period identified by the name of “Vietnam” but for about a century and a half. That clash of ideas and attitudes that made such a deal of noise in the 1960s and 1970s—and which has con­tinued more quietly and more deeply in recent years—is in fact no more than a particularly gaudy episode in a very old conflict.
I like to say that this conflict began on July 8, 1839. Why that day in that year? Obviously, histor­ical developments can never really be dated quite so neatly, or neatly at all, especially where such developments have to do with culture. Anyway, I am, of course, being somewhat facetious.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Why does the ultimate precision guided weapon kill so many innocent bystanders?

Much has been made of the precision of American weapons. We can now destroy a building or a bridge with a single bomb; a job that took dozens - if not hundreds – of bombs in conflicts as recent as Viet Nam.

Yet with even these precise weapons, mistakes are made, bombs or rockets go awry and innocents are killed. Those opposed to the current war refer sneeringly to a term that the military coined for this: “collateral damage.” And every time it happens, it creates headlines.

Yet there is a weapon that are a great deal more precise than ours. In fact, this weapon can find the inside of a closed room, pick its spot, and blow up, killing everything in its range with both blast effect and shrapnel.

This is the suicide bomber: the ultimate precision weapons. The suicide bomber sees his victims face to face, assesses the situation and decides whether to kill or not. This is no precision guided bomb that – once it is released – will detonate since it is beyond recall.

The suicide bomber can walk into a wedding party and choose which side of the room he will destroy; which individuals he will kill. He can detonate his weapon in the midst of a crowd of schoolchildren gathered around an American handing out candy. He can enter a mosque and determine which worshippers he wants dead. He can target police recruits in a crowd knowing he will also kill the shopkeepers around him.

There can be no doubt that if we possessed a bomb that had this much discrimination, this much precision and this much judgment until the moment of detonation, we would not kill those children, shopkeepers and worshippers.

The question before the house is: if the US is condemned when one of our precision guided weapons kills innocents, why is there not condemnation (among the International Left) of the Islamofascists when their more precise weapons destroy vastly more innocents – on a daily basis?

Does the Left have any moral scruples at all? Did it ever?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Murtha On the Record

From Captain's Quarters: Click on the link to read the whole thing.

Earlier today, I posted about John Murtha's stance on Somalia based on a Newsmax article. Various CQ readers have had an opportunity to research the subject further, and have discovered several references to the cut-and-run position Murtha urged on the Clinton adminstration -- advice it took, and helped to create the paper-tiger reputation that led to a decade of escalating attacks on the United States. These remarks come not from Newsmax but from Nexis searches of mainline press and from the Congressional Record itself.

Let me be clear on one point. In 1993, many people espoused the cut-and-run position from Somalia, among them Curt Weldon, one of the most vociferous hawks on Iraq. In fact, it does not stretch the imagination at all to call that position one of the more bipartisan efforts in the 103rd Congress. The difference is that in the eight years between our run from Somalia and 9/11, most of us learned the bitter lesson that retreating in the face of Islamists does not connote reasonableness and humanity, but cowardice and powerlessness. Combined with our spinelessness in Teheran, Beirut, and in caving into hostage demands from Hezbollah in the mid-80s, the pattern clearly gave Islamists the accurate depiction that Americans could not stand any sort of casualties in war and would quickly retire after the first bloody nose.

Most of us learned that retreat means that the Islamists simply follow you home. The first WTC attack should have taught us that, but even though the Clinton administration insisted on treating it as an organized-crime case, other battles followed: Khobar Towers, Tanzania, Kenya, and finally an attack on the USS Cole, a daylight attack on our military that went unanswered. Each silence that followed each attack only emboldened our enemies more. They do not want peace -- they want a war, and will take it to our shores if we don't give it to them elsewhere.

I point out these examples of Murtha's statements on Somalia for two reasons. One, his remarks on the state of the troops sounds almost exactly like his assessment of the troops in Iraq; indeed, it sounds like he's using the same script. Two, his track record hardly makes him a "hawk", as the media describes him, but an isolationist that has never believed in a forward strategy against terror or anything else. That doesn't make Murtha dishonorable, at least to the extent that he doesn't pretend his record says anything other than what it does.
In the extended entry, I have copied Murtha's remarks from November 9, 1993 (page H9054) in the Congressional Record. I have also copied portions of Murtha's comments to the public as reported by Murtha's home-state newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (h/t: CQ reader Tom W). See if you, as I, notice the similarities in argument for Murtha. It points to a serial isolationist that refuses to stand and fight outside of the United States, not to a hawk on Iraq or any other theater of battle.

Bias In the Washington Post In Plain View

From Powerline:

My 17 year-old daughter is conservative but not across-the-board, and she has a very open mind. In fact, she led the family rebellion that caused us to re-subcribe to the Washington Post after I had cancelled our subscription in the summer of 2004.

I'm glad she did. Now, every morning she reads the headlines from both the Post and the Washington Times. Often the bias of the Post headlines leaves her shaking her head.

Today, the Post's headline for its story on Vice President Cheney's speech was "Cheney Again Assails Critics of War." (The Times said "Cheney hits Democrats on war tack). By using the word "again," the Post signaled to its readers that there was nothing new to report, and that Cheney was merely up to his old tricks. Nowhere in the article, however, does the Post make any mention of a prior instance in which Cheney "assailed" war critics.

The article, in fact, has little to do with Cheney's speech. Instead, it focuses on Cheney's poll ratings. Indeed, the subtitle of the piece is "Rejection of 'Revisionism' Comes as His Standing Drops in Polls.'" Here the Post signals to its readers that, even if they don't mind Cheney's alleged repetition, they should ignore the substance of the speech (as the Post does) because it's the work of a desperate man.

The Post also works Scooter Libby into the piece. Writers Michael Fletcher and Jim VandeHei claim that unnamed White House officials were surprised that Chaney replaced Libby with advisers who share his views on detainee policy and the war, and who testified before Fitzgerald's grand jury. Such officials, if they exist, are morons. Why would the indictment of Libby for perjury cause Cheney to appoint advisers who disagree with him on policy matters, or to shun aides who are not accused of perjury?

The Post also suggests that Cheney erred in describing the people who blow up innocent civilians in Iraq as "terrorists." It cites evidence that most of those fighting against the U.S. and the Iraqi government are not foreigners. But why does their status as Iraqis make them other than terrorists? Apparently, the Post takes offense that Cheney is assailing Iraqi killers as well as Democrats.
In any case, I'm not displeased that the Post is willing to risk sacrificing its credibility with a new generation of potential readers by failing to keep its bias out of their plain view.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Why Talk Radio Is Conservative

Why didn't I think of that? (Read the whole thing)

But consider the number of radio stations in each city, and the number of cities in America, with each station producing programming and fighting for local market share. The potential for something different to arise was vastly greater in radio than in television. And compared to television, “something different” could only mean something more conservative. Thus, when something different did arise, it had a ready-made audience in the millions of people that were sick of the left wing axis of drivel, ABC-CBS-NBC.

So talk radio became conservative because it could, and because there was a market for it when it did. Dan Rather helped create Rush Limbaugh. ...

Together, the twin forces of biased television news and socialized radio nearly ensured that commercial talk radio would become conservative. It was not, as is often implied, the result of some secret Rovian conspiracy in which political ideologues funded by billionaire megalomaniacs sought to propagandize listeners to their political agenda. That would be Air America.

Interestingly, this same sort of market-driven evolution can now be seen at work reshaping two other areas of the media. The proliferation of television stations via cable and satellite has finally created enough variation in news networks to allow viewers to select a non-liberal format from the mix: Fox News. Judging by Fox’s success, there is probably room for other such stations. One wonders why MSNBC insists on remaining CNN Jr.

And in the greatest example so far of low-production costs and diverse content knocking down a market-insulated monolith, the internet is busy destroying the newspaper business. Eat my digital dust, New York Times Corp. The Internet is somewhat more evenly split between liberal and conservative, however. But hopefully, the government will create National Public Internet News soon and destroy much innovation on the leftward side of the web as well.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Former FBI Director Freeh Slams 9/11 Commission

In a column in the Wall Street Journal, former FBI Director Louis Freeh demolishes the 9/11 Commission's report and it's handling of Able Danger.


The Able Danger intelligence, if confirmed, is undoubtedly the most relevant fact of the entire post-9/11 inquiry. Even the most junior investigator would immediately know that the name and photo ID of Atta in 2000 is precisely the kind of tactical intelligence the FBI has many times employed to prevent attacks and arrest terrorists. Yet the 9/11 Commission inexplicably concluded that it "was not historically significant." This astounding conclusion -- in combination with the failure to investigate Able Danger and incorporate it into its findings -- raises serious challenges to the commission's credibility and, if the facts prove out, might just render the commission historically insignificant itself.

The commission, at the very least, should have interviewed the 80 members of Able Danger, as the Pentagon did, five of whom say they saw "the chart." But this would have required admitting that the late-breaking news was inconveniently raised. So it was grossly neglected and branded as insignificant. Such a half-baked conclusion, drawn in only 10 days without any real investigation, simply ignores what looks like substantial direct evidence to the contrary coming from our own trained military intelligence officers.