Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, October 31, 2005

World War IV continues

A while ago, I blogged about the threat from Saudi Arabia, which takes the form of funding terrorism all over the world. Today, you should read about Iran's worldwide threat. This threat, a few days ago was, for the first time, made manifest against Israel. However, it has, for some time, also been active in terms of funding terrorism, amazing its own weapons of mass destruction, and organizing actual terrorist attacks (which we know from the attacks that have been interrupted). And yet the IAEA tells us everything is copacetic, and the world just wrings its collective hands in vague distress. I wonder what horrors Iran will be able to launch before the world goes from handwringing to action.

What's in a name?

Here's the headline from the San Francisco Chronicle's online cover story about Alito's nomination:

Today, President Bush nominated conservative judge Samuel Alito to replace moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Just out of curiosity, do you think they could have said "Today, President Bush nominated judge Samuel Alito to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor?" The labels are interesting, since there really shouldn't be such labels associated with Judges at all. I mean, if this were a run for office, or something where they are identified with their party affiliations ("she's a registered Greenie," or "he's a registered Republican") that would make sense. Or if they spoke about their judicial philosophies: "she's an incremental activist and he's a strict constructionist, or orginalist" would also make sense. But in the context of this announcement, those labels are gratuitous and, when really analyzed, meaningless.

The inevitable end result of the Court's political games

I've always liked the Constitutional idea of the separation of powers, with the Legislature making the law, the Court interpreting the law and the President enforcing the law. Since the Warren Court, however, the Court has gotten more and more involved with making the law, rather than interpreting it. The reductio ad absurdum of the Court's abandonment of its historic role appears in this Chuck Schumer objection to Alito:

’It is sad that the president felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America instead of choosing a nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O’Connor, who would unify us,’ the New York Democrat said.
Sen. Schumer, just a little bit of history: politicians are meant to run on uniting/dividing platforms. Judges are simply meant to interpret the law through the Constitutional prism, something Sandy Day often had a problem doing. I mean, honestly, when it came to impenetrable opinions that are almost impossible to put into effect in the real world, nobody did it better than Justice O'Connor.

My mite on Alito

Alito sounds like a solid Conservative intellectual, who believes it is the court's role to interpret law, not make it. That's just excellent. What I also like about him, and this is my own bias, is that he's a Yale Law grad. In my semi-long career, I have consistently been impressed by the legal abilities of Yale Law grads. I don't know what they're doing there, but they turn out better legal thinkers than the other schools. And I'm not tooting my own horn here, since I didn't go to Yale.

Speaking in code continues

The American Thinker did an excellent mini-post about the riots taking place in a Paris suburb for the last four days. According to Thomas Lifson, the BBC was careful never to mention the fact that the rioters were Muslims, which is actually an extremely important issue in France where Muslims are (a) the single largest minority group and (b) usually concentrated in poor suburbs outside major urban areas. Lifson targeted the BBC as being especially interested in maintaining the polite fiction that it was just, ya' know, non-identifiable people who rioted. This same problem affected both the BBC and British officials when they had to deal with black on Muslim riots in England. I found it interesting that the taboo exists in the American press as well, although reporters did drop in a few code words here and there. Thus, in the CNN report on the fourth night of rioting, while the rioters are never identified we do learn that, for reasons never explained, the police fired tear gas into a mosque, that the Interior Minister met with the President of the Muslim community, and that two "African" teenagers were electrocuted when they fled police. I mean, it doesn't take a genius IQ to figure out that this rioters are Muslims, but good reporting shouldn't make a reader have to figure out this essential bit of information. As Lifson says with splendid disdain "Life was simpler when news agencies simply reported the news, rather than encoded it." Incidentally, if you want some really good insights on the press's self-censorship concerning the riots, be sure to check out Laer's post about the subject.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Word on the (Arab) street

You've probably had a chance to read about the various Western leaders' condemnations of Pres. Ahmadinejad's speech, as well as the lukewarm "shame on you" that issued from the UN. The really interesting reactions, however, originate with the Arab press. At American Future, you can find a compilation of these responses, all of which amount to "it's a damn good idea to obliterate Israel, provided that you can do so without killing any Arabs in the crossfire." I'm going to go out on a limb here, and incur the ire of the love/harmony/anti-war crowd, and say that these are not the thoughts of civilized or rational people. More scarily, these are the thoughts of violent, weaponized people. And just as scarily, none of these thoughts are showing up in America's papers, or at least not showing up with any force. This kind of explicitly expressed genocidal violence just doesn't fit in with the MSM's current view of the Islamists as a form of noble savage, expressing their dignity by striking back at evil First World imperialist oppressors.

Just how weird am I, really?

They know me so well.... Blogthings - How Weird Are You?: "

You Are 80% Weird
You're more than quirky, you're downright strange.
But you're also strangely compelling, like a cult leader.
" Hat tip: A Rose By Any Other Name

Multi-culti domestic abuse

I've been having a most exciting thread on my blog related to a post I did about the problems with multiculturalism. My point in that post was that multiculturalism is a bad thing for Western civilization, unless Western civilization's goal is the death of its own cultural norms. It now appears that multiculturalism is also a bad thing, a very bad thing, for women. How else can you describe the multicultural insanity that just reared its head in Australia. Australian police are now being told to treat Islamic wife abuse as "special," because Islamic tradition supports abusing women:

POLICE are being advised to treat Muslim domestic violence cases differently out of respect for Islamic traditions and habits. Officers are also being urged to work with Muslim leaders, who will try to keep the families together. Women’s groups are concerned the politically correct policing could give comfort to wife bashers and keep their victims in a cycle of violence. The instructions come in a religious diversity handbook given to Victorian police officers that also recommends special treatment for suspects of Aboriginal, Hindu and Buddhist background. Some police officers have claimed the directives hinder enforcing the law equally. Police are told: “In incidents such as domestic violence, police need to have an understanding of the traditions, ways of life and habits of Muslims.” They are told it would be appreciated in cases of domestic violence if police consult the local Muslim religious leader who will work against “fragmenting the family unit”.
I'm sure this deference is very comforting to Australian Muslim women who are at risk of being beaten to death. What's really strange about this news story is that I once used this scenario, years ago, as the reductio ad absurdum argument against the slavish deference to PC multiculturalism. That is, I argued that, when you come from another country to America, you should conform to American mores and not force America to conform to yours. (I also said that, to the extent that your cultural practices can coexist with American practices, America cannot and should not try to stifle you.) As examples of the type of practices that should not be allowed to continue in America, despite their approval in another's culture, I cited both culturally-sanctioned wife beating and honor killings. I'm not even arguing here that one cultural norm is better than another (although I state my personal opinion that a culture that does not have honor killings is better than one that does). I'm simply saying that, if you move to a country that does not legally allow whatever your cultural practice may be, by coming to that country, you have voluntarily elected to abandon that practice. I could, of course, argue that there is merit in forcing a culture to abandon practices that don't fit in with the highest Judeo-Christian ideals. I mean, I seriously wonder how many people today would argue that the British were wrong, when they took over India, to outlaw suttee, the practice by which a widow would immolate herself alive on her husband's funeral pyre. However, that's another argument altogether. My point is that, if you perceive that another country offers you a better life than your own country, and you voluntarily elect to come to that new country, you've also voluntarily abandoned those of your traditions that conflict with laws in the new country. And more to the point, if your country is a dead end and the new country is supposed to be better, what purpose is served by instantly attempting to turn the new country into that same dead end? Hat tip: Little Green Footballs UPDATE: Here's a little more on fundamentalist Islam's approach to multiculturalism.

It's the story behind the story that's interesting

The Supreme Court will be deciding whether the law can be used to decrease Social Security payments to pay off delinquent student loans. The underlying case, of course, has good facts, which have the risk to make for bad law. The good facts, as presented for public consumption, are that the individual being dunned is an elderly diabetic living on nothing more than a little social security and food stamps. The Government has now said it will cut his monthly checks by 15% so that he can pay down the loans on which he defaulted. I have no comment on how I think the case should come out, since I don't really know the facts, and I definitely don't know the law. What piqued my interest, though, was the fact that the guy, who is 67, has $80,000 in outstanding student loans, going back more than 20 years. My first thought was, why didn't he pay these loans off 20 years ago? My second thought was, what kind of major did he go into that meant he incurred that kind of debt without the possibility of paying it off? That was, to me, a much more interesting question. Think of it. Those of us who go to professional school (law, medical, architectural, etc.), knowingly incur a high amount of debt in reliance on the fact that, in our chosen professions, we'll earn enough money to pay off those loans within a reasonable amount of time, and without destroying our ability to save for our retirements. But think about the kid who goes to an Ivy League, incurs $80,000 in debt, and elects to get a degree in Art History. Now, this kid could conceivably turn out to be some major business maven who makes millions, but it's equally likely that this kid spends the rest of his career as a highly educated low earner. This makes it reasonable to believe that he might decide to default on his student loans. This default then means that you and I, the American taxpayers, paid for this kid to go to Harvard and learn Art History. I hate to say it, but that bothers me. If we go to a system such as that in England, where the government pays for University educations, the taxpayers at least know what their obligations are -- to pay for the lucky 2% who go to college, presumably for the betterment of all of England. However, if we have a system where, as here, the taxpayers end up paying for these pricey, and economically useless, educations by default, that's a problem -- especially if the taxpayer got someone else's kid into college, but can't afford to get his own kid into college. I'm all for student loans -- I received them and I paid them off -- but I do think we need to start analyzing seriously the ramifications of student loans that, from the get-go, are probably going to go unpaid. These loans must substantially contribute to the almost $7 billion in unpaid student loans that taxpayers are currently funding. I'm not advocating some simplistic solution, such as announcing that, henceforth, all student loans will only go to people who announce majors that have the possibility of creating post-degree income. I am saying though, that we need to question seriously schools as heavily endowed as Harvard that have tuition run amok and that have their students look, not to the endowment for tuition aid, but to the American public. I'm deficient on economic understanding and imagination, so that's all I could come up with, but I'm sure others, better informed and smarter than I am, can see some more exciting solutions to this problem.

Just plain giddy on words

Mark Steyn comes out with a good, albeit not great column about poor Scooter's indictment and premature Democratic rejoicing. However, the column did rank as one containing when of Steyn's best punning, giddy-on-words paragraphs, which I thought I'd include in my blog for the fun of it:

Just for the record, Scooter Libby is the highest-ranking Scooter in the Bush administration, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. All last week, lefty gloaters were eagerly anticipating 'Fitzmas,' their designation for that happy day when federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald hands down indictments against Libby, and Rove, and maybe Cheney, and -- boy oh boy, who knows? -- maybe Chimpy Bushitlerburton himself. Pat Fitzgerald has been making his list, checking it twice, found out who's naughty or nice, and he's ready to go on a Slay Ride leaving Bush the Little Drummed-Out Boy and the Dems having a blue blue blue blue blue-state Christmas in November 2006, if not before.
I realize when I read things like this that part of the pleasure of a Steyn column isn't just his often prescient political insight, it's his equally often silly writing style.

Hmm. I wonder if there is any truth to the rumors

Prince Charles is coming to America for a pro-Islam sales pitch. Although the article makes no mention of it, I've been hearing for years that Prince Charles is actually a secret convert to Islam. The idea of being a secret convert wouldn't be so foreign to Charles. His namesake, King Charles II, was a secret convert to Catholicism, something he revealed only on his deathbed. UPDATE: Welcome, American Thinker readers. This post is only an interesting little squiblet. I invite you to take a few minutes to look around and see if there's anything else on this blog that piques your interest.

Each culture has something about which to be proud

I was at a party a few nights ago and met a very friendly, charming French woman who has been living in the U.S. for the past 30 years. She was also very garrulous, and very quickly told me a lot about herself and her life. What I found amusing was a subtext that ran through her conversation, which I mentally classed as "But I'm French...." So, imagine if you will, a lilting French accent, and a monologue with these highlights: "I told him exactly what I think about him. But I'm French, and we are very honest and straightforward. *** I met with my good friend. Of course, I'm French, and when we make friends, we make friends for life. If we like you, we French are friends forever. *** When we were in Paris, my teenage niece went out all night with her friends. But they're French, and of course, French kids are so much more mature and responsible. When French kids go to college, they start medical school young, young, because they're French, and they know that they only have once chance. If they fail their tests, they get one chance. If they fail them a second time, they are kicked out. *** I got dressed for a party, and I looked into my closet and I thought, what shall I wear to show that I'm French, with that French style." A charming, friendly lady, as I said, with an A+ grade in French self-esteem.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Spring forward, fall backward

Don't forget to set your clocks back an hour. Otherwise, you'll find yourself at work an hour earlier than everyone else on Monday.

"Words, words, words, I'm so sick of words...."

Iran, facing censure from the UN, is promising that it never really meant to destroy Israel. Really, it didn't mean to. Honest. Indeed, it issued a statement that "It has never used force against a second country or threatened the use of force." I found this statement fascinating given its unending threats against the U.S. since 1979 (I'll ignore the hostage taking for the time-being as students run amok), and that little bitty war it had against Iraq, at the cost of 1 or 2 million lives. Other than that, I'm sure it's never gotten involved with anyone. I'm in agreement with Jay Nordlinger. In light of Iran's apocalyptic language regarding Israel, he had this to say:

Every time I hear some Middle Eastern leader call for the destruction of Israel — as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did on Wednesday — I think of those famous words of a Holocaust survivor. Asked what lesson he had drawn from the experience, he answered, "When someone tells you he wants to kill you, believe him."
The UN is just words, words, words, and Iran has snapped back with lying, meaningless words. Given the vigor of the "World without Zionism" campaign in Iran, given Iran's imminent nuclearization, and given Iran's blood-thirsty rhetoric and blood-soaked warfare, I say the heck with the words of censure and apology. Israel had better stay scared -- and aggressively defensive.

The religion of pieces strikes again

My friend sent me this great pun: "the religion of piece," pointing to the fact that Islamist attacks tend to end with people shredded or beheaded. After reading the following, it's no surprise to learn from the same article that there is a long history of Muslim vs. Christian sectarian violence in Central Sulawesi (Indonesia). I don't think any of us reading about the gruesome deaths of young Christian girls can really doubt who the perpetrators were:

Unidentified assailants attacked a group of high school girls on Saturday in Indonesia's tense province of Central Sulawesi, beheading three and seriously wounding another, police said. The students from a private Christian high school were ambushed while walking through a cocoa plantation in Poso Kota subdistrict on their way to class, police Maj. Riky Naldo said. The area is close to the provincial capital of Palu, about 1,000 miles northeast of Jakarta. Naldo said the heads of three victims were found several miles from their bodies. Two were left near a police station and another in front of a newly built Christian church. In Jakarta, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered police to track down the killers.
It just makes me ill to think of loving parents sending their daughters off to school, only to have those girls beheaded along the way. The Muslim obsession with beheading is unnerving, since the Western world dropped beheading as a uncivilized a long, long time ago.

This will teach India to have sent troops to Iraq

A Hindu marketplace was the scene of a bloody bombing, killing at least 58 people. The AP, of course, was careful not to name names (meaning, not to name names that might have militant Islamic connotations):

The Indian government faces opposition from dozens of militant organizations, from tiny fringe groups to well-armed Kashmiri insurgents who have previously attacked New Delhi, including a bloody 2001 assault on parliament. Some of those groups fiercely oppose the India-Pakistan peace process, which began early last year.
It is entirely possible that the bombing came from a splinter Indian group and has nothing whatsoever to do with Islamic tensions in that region. (After all, I haven't forgotten that a radical Jewish man assassinated Rabin). I therefore remain interested in hearing the ultimate findings. I just want to be the first on the record to say that, if the bombing, directed against Hindus, did in fact originate with radical Islamic militants, this would tend to show that involvement in Iraq is not the triggering factor behind enormous numbers of bombings originating with Islamic terrorists. [And yes, my post title is facetious, and not meant to be factually accurate.] UPDATE: It probably was an Islamic Kashmiri group behind the bombing.

Heads up for some good reading coming down the pike

Just thought you'd like to know that City Journal is slowly making available on line articles from the Autumn 2005 issue. I love these articles, and always anxiously await their online publication.

Outside of schoolyard ethics, did Scooter really do anything wrong?

No time for blogging today. I'll just note that Neo-Neocon has a very interesting post about what actually constitutes perjury, and leaving one to wonder whether Scooter's alleged lies amount to perjury at the legal level.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Just who is lying to whom here?

For an excellent round up about both MSM bias and the real scandal, not the manufactured scandal, underlying the whole blame affair, be sure to check out this Flopping Aces post. Some of what you read will surprise you, some will not, but it's all worth taking in.

Too much fun

I've been trying to listening to NPR's streaming audio while I work at something necessary but mindless. Something is terribly wrong at their end, though. There are huge moments of silence, followed by various familiar voices recording their intros and commentary. For example, I just heard Daniel Shore admit that he couldn't find information necessary to answer a question just posed regarding the Libby indictment. I then heard him mumbling and fumphering, asking the questioner to reread the question, and then returning an ostensibly polished, off-the-cuff answer. It's like listening to a dress rehearsal. I'll keep this on for now, bearing with the silences, in the hope that some gems emerge.

I want the President to go for broke

I want the President to go for broke . . . and so does Victor Davis Hanson. In a stand up and cheer kind of column, Hanson envisions a President who stops playing little political games and openly states what he stands for: a strict constructionist on the Supreme Court; the end of Arab-on-Arab tyranny in the Middle East, with all the worldwide fallout that creates; and the proper identification of the politicals of hate practiced by the Left at home. You really have to read the whole article get its flavor, but these are a few of the paragraphs that really leapt out at me:

[W]ith the Miers withdrawal, the president might as well go for broke to reclaim his base and redefine his second term as one of principle rather than triangulating politics. So he should call in top Republican senators and the point people of his base — never more needed than now — and get them to agree on the most brilliant, accomplished, and conservative jurist possible. He should then ram the nominee through, in a display to the American people of the principles at stake. *** The key to Iraq is enfeebling those around it who are weakening the country — namely Syria and Iran. The U.S. should be calling for democratic reform in both countries — constantly, without interruption, and in the same idealistic fashion as we appeal to the Iraqis. The president must focus world attention on just how awful those two regimes are. After all, an Iranian president threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the map at precisely the time his government lies and connives to obtain nuclear weapons — which alone could bring that avowed sick Khomeineseque dream to fruition, given Iran’s conventional military impotence. Again, the government of Iran is not just talking about warring with the Sharon government or attacking the Israeli nation, but rather liquidating the Jewish people — as Hitlerian a promise of genocide as we have seen since the Holocaust. And he boasts like a leader who fully expects to have nuclear weapons in the near future. *** George Bush also should begin addressing his most venomous critics at home, by condemning their current extremism. He must explain to the nation how a radical, vicious Left has more or less gotten a free pass in its rhetoric of hate, and has now passed the limits of accepted debate. In the last six months we have heard from various demagogues — though they are recognized as such due to their prominence in the media — that we were waging nuclear war in Iraq (Cindy Sheehan), that there was cannibalism in New Orleans (Randall Robinson), that George Bush and Dick Cheney should be shot (the novelist Jane Smiley) or executed (Al Franken). Alfred Knopf has published a book about the theoretical assassination of the president, and the Nazi slur is now commonplace in Democratic circles, where a Senator Dick Durbin or Ted Kennedy slanders American soldiers as akin to either Saddam’s torturers or even Nazis and Stalinists. The case needs to be made that we are seeing a new paranoid style — but from the Left, whose opponents are not to be out-argued, but rather deemed worthy of death or demonization as Nazis. The recent eclipse of George Galloway — due in no large part to Christopher Hitchens’ lonely and underappreciated pursuit of his perfidy — reminds us how hard these reprobates finally will fall.
Don't stop here, though. Read it all.

The degradation of American education never stops

Just when you think American education has bottomed, it surprises you by dropping down another notch. Today's report on educational insanity in America comes to you from the University of North Carolina, which is apparently using taxpayer dollars to host an "Orgasm Awareness Festival," for any benighted Southern women who might somehow have achieved adulthood without being aware of the possiblity that orgasms exist. I have to say that, as the mother of children a decade away from college, I'm selfishly hoping that the continuing revelations, through the blogosphere, about the goings-on at American Universities will lead to a purge that will clean things up by the time my kids are college age. And for those of you who are contemplating college for their kids now, my sincere condolences. Previous posts about laughable conduct in American education: Educational insanity continues This happened in Georgia, of all places The state of American education continues to dismay Colleges and indoctrination Another landmark on my road to conservatism "Wither" higher education? Free speech is dead on campus, but alive on the internet

Iranian reasoning

Here's Amir Taheri, writing in the New York Post about the reasoning behind Pres. Ahmadinejad's explicit call for the destruction of Israel, a call backed up by massive regional mobilization:

Yet Ahmadinejad has gone several steps further [than prior Iranian governments] — presenting the destruction of Israel as a major goal of his government. Why? One reason may be his desire to distance himself as far as possible from his predecessor, Muhammad Khatami, and from Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful mullah-cum-businessman who still heads a key faction within the regime. Ahmadinejad has criticized the 'softness' of Khatami and his mentor Rafsanjani, which led to 'a decline in revolutionary spirit.' Thus the new stand on Israel may be part of a package of measures to revive the regime's original radical message. Another reason may be Ahmadinejad's belief that Israel is preparing to attack Iran's nuclear sites as part of a broader U.S. plan against the Islamic Republic. He may thus be trying to mobilize Iranian and Arab public opinion for the coming showdown. But the real reason for Ahmadinejad's Jihadist outburst may well be his deep conviction that it is the historic mission of the Islamic Republic to lead the Muslim world in a 'war of civilization' against the West led by the United States. One of the first battlegrounds of such a war would be Israel. Since his election in June, Ahmadinejad and his 'strategic advisers' have used a bellicose terminology as part of their program to put Iran on a war footing. In the past few weeks, the regime has been massively militarized with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Ahmadinejad's main power-base, seizing control of almost all levers of power. According to Gen. Salehi, one of Ahmadinejad's military advisers, a clash between the Islamic Republic and the United States has become inevitable. 'We must be prepared,' Salehi says. 'The Americans will run away, leaving their illegitimate child [i.e., Israel] behind. And then Muslims would know what to do.' The war talk has given the Iranian economy the jitters, prompting the biggest crash ever of the Tehran Stock Exchange. Remarkably, the new foreign policy aimed at provoking war with Israel and America has never been properly debated in the parliament, or even within the Cabinet. Some of Iran's senior diplomats, speaking anonymously, say they, too, have not been consulted.
I'm reminded of the Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." This is interesting, and I feel a curse upon our times.

Terror prevention comes to the suburbs

It's a sad sign of the times, but I'm nonetheless pleased to see that my community is taking terrorism seriously:

Golden Gate Bridge officials are hoping to enlist the public's help in thwarting potential terrorist activities. This week, posters have gone up on district ferries, buses and the bridge itself as part of its 'See Something? Say Something!' public awareness program. 'It's a reminder to all of us that we can be the eyes and ears out there and serve as an extension in law enforcement,' said Mary Currie, bridge district spokeswoman. 'It's a reminder to all our customers to be vigilant.' The brightly colored placards show an abandoned backpack with an arrow pointing it out. The placards read 'See Something? Say Something!' and instructs people to 'report suspicious ... packages, people and activities,' and provides contact information for reporting something out of the norm.
I think this is especially important because many of these buses cross the Golden Gate Bridge regularly, and I don't think I need to say any more on that topic. I still haven't recovered from the scene in the first or second Superman movie (this is going back to the 1970s), when Lex Luthor creates an earthquake that destroys the Golden Gate Bridge. Twenty plus years later, I'm still white knuckled driving over the darn thing!

Terrorists - the new romantics

This just in: NPR thinks Paradise Now, the probably laudatory movie about terrorists who murder Israelis, a movie financed and promoted by the Germans, is just great. I've already talked about the fact that I've made the decision to boycott this movie, based on information I've received from a reliable source. Sadly, many in the liberal community consider NPR a reliable source.

Things worth reading

I did a rather ordinary post, here, about multiculturalism, which I dislike a great deal. What it triggered, however, was an extraordinary spate of comments (more than I've ever received on a single post) that I think are, in themselves, worth reading. A lot of thought on both sides of the argument has gone into the comments so, if you haven't already read my post and the comments, I humbly suggest that you do so, if only to read the interesting thoughts that my initial observations triggered.

A plea that will fall on deaf ears

Turkeyhead was kind enough to send me this link about Israel's formal demand that Iran be removed from the UN after Iran's president officially called for Israel's total destruction. Certainly, it seems antithetical to the basic concept behind a "united nations" to have one member state calling for the complete eradication of another member state. While Israel has been caught in the UN's crosshairs for decades, no country has ever dared cross the line from criticism to destruction. However, since the back rooms at the UN are probably, even now, filled with hooting and hollering Leftist and Muslim countries celebrating Iran's announcement, I rather doubt that the UN will take any action on Israel's demand.

The whole truth and nothing but the truth

Don't you love it when the MSM selectively edits source material, picking out quotations here and there, and then publishing them in a way that misrepresents entirely the original source? Okay, I don't love it and neither do you. Sadly, the NY Times has been caught doing just that. Through dishonest editing, it succeeded in a soldier who believed that his number was up (a premonition that, sadly, proved to be true) appear as an anti-War protestor, even though the opposite was true. If I've piqued your interest, in you can read the whole story here, at Michelle Malkin's blog.


If you're a Narnia fan, be sure to take a minute to read John J. Miller's article on the Chronicles of Narnia.

Hypocrits who live in glass houses

Jonah Goldberg has written a delightful column about the hypocrisy inherent in the Left's obsession with the Right's hypocrisy. Although I think you should give yourself the pleasure of the whole column, I was particularly charmed with this paragraph, and can't resist passing it on to you immediately:

Now, I've written thousands of words on why I don't think hypocrisy is the worst sin imaginable. There's not a good parent in the world who hasn't felt like a hypocrite at one point or another with their kids. Telling your kids not to do certain bad or unwise things you did when you were a kid may feel hypocritical, but telling your children it's O.K. to do wrong out of some craving to be hip or to assuage your own conscience is the most asinine form of vanity I can imagine. Similarly, it's certainly wrong to do drugs, but does giving in to your addiction mean you should also advocate doing drugs for everybody? During the run-up to the Iraq war, how many times did we hear that it was hypocritical for the United States to topple Saddam since we'd worked with him in the 1980s? The upshot seemed to be that it is better to do wrong consistently than do right inconsistently. [Emphasis mine.]

Iraq is not Vietnam -- and Americans don't want it to be

To save you the trouble of linking over to the Los Angeles Times, I'm printing here, in it's entirety, David Gelernter's column explaining why he doesn't believe it's Vietnam all over again:

A FEW DAYS AGO, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) made a speech urging the U.S., in effect, to get out of Iraq the way we got out of Vietnam. Leahy told the Senate that we cannot win in Iraq. "It has become increasingly apparent that the most powerful army in the world cannot stop a determined insurgency." (U.S. troops, Iraqi troops, long-suffering Iraqi civilians to Leahy: Thanks, senator, we needed that.) And Leahy announced that the president must lay out a public formula to tell the world just when U.S. troops will leave Iraq. Otherwise, Leahy said, he will urge the Senate to choke off the war by refusing to fund it. That's how the U.S. finally lost Vietnam: Congress snuffed out the money. Be warned, senator: If Democrats become the "let's treat Iraq as we treated Vietnam" party, the public will turn away in revulsion, and the Democratic Party will die. It's not in such great shape anyhow. Leahy's words lighted up a deep, dark secret that this nation would rather forget. Defeat in Vietnam was a catastrophe for the U.S., a body-slam to the nation's self-confidence. It was far worse for Southeast Asians, who were exiled, imprisoned, tortured and murdered by their vicious communist conquerors. But for left-wing Democrats it was a triumph. Forcing the mighty U.S. military to run away was the greatest victory they have ever known. That triumph broke a levee that sent a flood of left-wing ideas pounding across the U.S. landscape. The 1974 congressional elections were a blow-out victory for Democrats. Watergate was a big factor, but public exhaustion with Vietnam (encouraged by the media) helped too. In 1973, the last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam, but Washington had promised to support South Vietnam with money and weapons. Congress refused to pay. In March 1975, President Ford made a desperate last appeal for funds to keep America's promise. Congress refused. In April 1975, all remaining American diplomats and advisors were pulled out in a frantic, starvation-budget withdrawal. South Vietnam collapsed. "The decrease in American aid had made it impossible for Saigon troops to carry out their combat and force-development plans," North Vietnam's army chief of staff coolly explained. When Democrat Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976, he had large congressional majorities to work with. Carter described the Vietnam War as "moral poverty" in action. One of his first acts was to pardon all draft evaders — at a time when families were still mourning soldiers dead in battle. Carter preached anti-anti-communism: As the U.S. military deteriorated for lack of funds and confidence, and Cuban troops with Soviet advisors moved into Angola and Ethiopia, Carter's secretary of State announced that "to oppose Soviet or Cuban involvement in Africa would be futile." This was foreign policy as the left liked it. At home, too, liberals were happy; conservatives weren't. In the culture wars, feminism and environmentalism, affirmative action and the sexual revolution swept the country. Words like honor, bravery and patriotism were out. "Do your own thing" and "self-esteem" were in. MANY OBSERVERS have noticed that Democrats of the left speak of Iraq as another Vietnam. Few have explained why: Because Democrats of the left want Iraq to be another Vietnam. Not that they took pleasure in Vietnamese suffering, but they rejoiced in the left-wing power surge that transformed the United States in the aftermath. Naturally, they hope to repeat that experience: to humiliate Republicans, moderate Democrats and the military by pinning the label "bloody failure" on another foreign war. It's not going to happen. Iraq is nothing like Vietnam, and the public knows it. In the recent referendum, 63% of Iraqi voters cast ballots. Each vote screamed defiance at terrorism and defeatism. Each vote told the world that terrorism will lose and democracy will win, that Iraqis trust the United States to help protect them against vengeful insurgents bent on murdering whoever dares to hope and care and vote. An impressive 78% voted "yes" on the new constitution. Sunni Muslims said no, but many said it at the ballot box. The referendum made clear that ordinary people everywhere do want to govern themselves. Democracy could have worked in Vietnam too. This nation will abandon the Democratic Party before it abandons Iraq. Polls show American uneasiness about the war. Naturally. The fighting is dirty and dangerous. But the U.S. is a God-fearing nation; we are proving that by battling to spread justice. Polls also suggest that Americans are resolved to fight in Iraq until the job is done. Sen. Leahy thinks that he can smell another Vietnam. Not this time, senator.
I'm with the guys at Power Line: I hope he's right.

Something more to worry about

I generally find it extremely worrisome that the IAEA has abased itself before Iran, and has done so with European support. I find it especially worrisome with Iran's president iterating and reiterating that Israel should be wiped off the map, which is the kind of threat you'd here from a country confident that, in a year or two, it can do just that. I know that certain cultures -- Iran among them -- are much given to rhetorical flourishes meant to strike fear into other's hearts, and that those threats are not necessarily followed by action. I also know, however, that Iran was willing to sacrifice millions in its years-long war with Iraq; that it willingly challenged the biggest nation in the world in 1979 (only to have the inestimable Jimmy Carter apologize to Iran); and that it feels that Europe's dependence on its oil gives it a certain degree of carte blanche to do horrible things, especially since Europe has bought into the evil Israel paradigm. I often wonder if Europe has thought through the fact that, what it defends as merely political rhetoric may, in fact, trigger others to commit genocide on a scale never before imagined in world history. Words have power and while I believe devoutly in free speech, I also believe that intelligent minds are charged with the obligation to use that speech responsiblity, and to contemplate the consequences.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

"We have met the enemy and it is Saudi Arabia"

Frank Gaffney's hardhitting article, from which my title quote is drawn, begins this way:

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee was focused long-overdue attention on the single most important factor in the future course of the War for the Free World: Which side is Saudi Arabia on? Unfortunately, the press of other business has caused this most timely of hearings to be postponed. The reason this question deserves urgent attention should be obvious: Since November 2001, there has been a roughly three-fold increase in the price of a barrel of oil, from $18 to as much as $70. As a result, Saudi Arabia —which currently exports about 10 million barrels per day —receives an extra half billion dollars every day from oil-consuming nations. If even a fraction of that $500 million dollars in found-money — to say nothing of the other resources of the Saudi kingdom — is being put in the service of our Islamofascist enemies, we are likely to face an even more serious problem in the future than we do today. As the Judiciary Committee hearing has surely demonstrated, it is a safe bet that a significant portion of the Saudis' petro-windfall will be put in the hands of Islamist totalitarians bent on our destruction. That is not simply because Saudi Arabia has long had ties to Islamofascist terrorists. Worse yet, the Saudis are themselves the wellspring of Sunni Islamofascism. To paraphrase Pogo, we have met the enemy and it is Saudi Arabia.
Read the rest of the article here to get the details behind Gaffney's conclusion. Then, think about the fact that George Friedman, of Stratfor, has long held that the President's real motive in going to war wasn't WMDs or Iraqi terrorism or violating UN sanctions, although those were legitimate factors at the time. Instead, he has consistently claimed that the President went to war to threaten Saudi Arabia, a country impossible to attack directly because of its oil. If that's the case, we should be, as I am, grateful for the President's steadfast decision (which goes a long way to helping me almost forgive him for his profligate habits with American taxpayer dollars, separate from war expenses).

More from the inferiority complex religion

What good is a faith that cannot stand up to rigorous dispute? A good intellectual dispute is one in which one person says "I'm troubled by 'x' and these grounds," and another person defends 'x' on those grounds. Clearly, the dispute I contemplate does not include stereotyping, name calling, insults, or speech demanding that God and man visit their wrath on the other party to the debate. Increasingly, however, Muslims are shying away from these civil debates. Unfortunately, they are doing so, not simply by avoiding the debates, but by preventing them altogether through laws criminalizing speech that might be perceived as criticizing Islamic doctrine. As someone who believes profoundly in the free discussion of ideas (which, as I note, is different from granting absolute freedom to speech that demands imminent death for an idea's adherents), I find this trend absolutely appalling. I also find it incredibly sad that millions of people worldwide adhere to a religion that they apparently find indefensible, since they cannot take the risk of defending it. Anyway, if you'd like to see more on the latest chapter in this resumption of the medieval approach to religious discussion, visit this Daily Standard article which uses, at its springboard, Austrialia's Racial and Religious Tolerance Act. (By the way, this Act, and others like it, easily falls into the "Road to Hell is paved with good intentions" category.)

Multiculturalism and the death of civilizations

I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that the death knell for Western civilization is the cult of multiculturalism, which posits that all cultures are created equal, except for Western culture, which is racist, misogynistic, and homophobic and must therefore be destroyed. This attitude exists irrespective of the fact that the "other" cultures worshipped are often infinitely more racist, misogynistic and homophobic. Their failures are excused as being the result of damage inflicted by Western cultures, with the unspoken corollary being that, if we can effectively destroy Western cultures, these "other" cultures, in turn will have a wonderful flowering where they shed all their unpleasant -isms. Of course, once one has set up this dynamic, one big evil culture that, by its very existence, destroys all the other little, equal, wonderful subcultures, you have a paradigm that cannot comprehend that those little, equal, wonderful subcultures might not like each other very much. When that happens, the wonderful Melanie Phillips explains the inevitable results:

[A] rumour spread by pirate radio stations went round the Afro-Caribbean community in the run-down Lozells road area of the city that a 14 year-old black girl had been gang-raped by between three and 25 Pakistani men. Reports of what happened next are confusing and inadequate, but in the disturbances that followed a black Christian was set upon by up to 11 armed youths and stabbed to death as he walked home from the cinema, a mixed-race man was shot dead and an Asian taxi-driver was attacked. By any standards such occurrences are deeply disturbing. If this had been white on black violence, there would have been a media feeding frenzy and the newspapers would have been full of reconstructions, analysis and instant opinions and recriminations. Instead, there has been near silence. The reason is obvious. The cult of multiculturalism holds that all minorities are victims of the majority, and therefore minorities must always be blameless. When two minorities start beating each other up, therefore, politically correct Britain is paralysed. By definition, it cannot divide up the actors in the drama into good guys and bad guys. There can be no minority bad guys. It dare not investigate what actually happened, who started it and who was to blame because no minority can ever be blamed without incurring the dreaded labels of ‘racism’ and ‘prejudice’. Furthermore, the fact that Pakistanis were involved adds a further radioactive dimension. For Pakistani, read ‘Muslim’ —and that’s a road down which the media’s finest refuse to travel, for fear of what they might be forced to discover and the consequences for them that might follow. The result is that a serious and dangerous breakdown in community relations has not been investigated or analysed, the murder of two innocent people has been treated with near-indifference and the implications for multiculturalism all but ignored. Moreover, it may well be that the Pakistani Muslims have actually been traduced. For there is no evidence that this alleged gang-rape actually occurred. It may have done; but equally, it may simply have been an unwarranted rumour that spun out of control. But because of the absence of journalistic inquiry, we do not know.
Multiculturalism, with its blind worship of the "other," not only threatens to destroy our own Western culture (a culture I rather happen to like, warts and everything), but runs the risk of destroying these sanctified "other" cultures too by stifling honest discourse. Surely that can't be what the multi-culti fanatics want? Or is it? Is multiculturalism simply the desired precursor to pure anarchism? An interesting question to which I have no answer. Hat tip: Little Green Footballs

Murders and liars

In the wake of the Hadera bombing, Islamic Jihad announced that it did so to avenge the death of its military leader, Louai Saadi. As you may recall, the Nazis, if one of their soldiers was killed, would retaliate by slaughtering a village of civilians. Kind of like what happened here: a soldier was killed in a gun battle, and his army responded by slaughtering civilians (with a special emphasis on children, who were known to be on a school holiday). It turns out, though, that even this revolting Nazi-like explanation for an attack on civilians is untrue. I'm indebted to a friend for pointing me to the fact that the bombing was put in motion a week before it took place:

Hassan Abu Zeid 20, who murdered 5 Israelis and injured 30, when he detonated a large bomb at a falafel stand in the Hadera open market,on Oct. 26, left his home in Kabatya, Jenin, Sunday Oct. 16, ten days earlier – or Oct 17 at latest. He headed straight for a safe house prepared for him in an Israeli Arab village of the Triangle, which abuts the northern West Bank. This is reported by DEBKAfile’s exclusive counter-terror sources. This fact contradicts the Jihad Islami claim that the Hadera attack, like the Qassam missile bombardment, was staged in revenge for the death of its West Bank leader Louai Saadi, who died in a shootout with Israeli troops on Oct 24. The more likely triggers were the 10th anniversary of the liquidation of the Jihad Islami founder Fathi Shkaki by the Mossad in Malta and the gigantic Jerusalem Day march planned in Tehran and Beirut for Friday, Oct. 28.
You can find more information here.

The Swiss are a Godly people

If cleanliness is next to Godliness, the Swiss must be a nation of Saints. How else to explain the fact that, as part of selling your house, you must submit your house to a hygiene inspection, during which a government official comes and roots through every corner of your house?

'Let's start in the kitchen,' said Mr Swiss and I trotted eagerly after him. I was particularly proud of the kitchen - old postcards and invitations were gone from the walls, so too was the odd blob of spaghetti sauce, vintage 2002. The oven shone, the cupboards were bare. But Herr Schweizer was not impressed. He was too busy unscrewing my taps. "Look", he said pointing to the inside of a pipe I'd scarcely known existed. "All these calcium deposits, you'll have to get rid of them." We moved on to the ceramic hob. Mr Swiss bent over it. I could see his reflection in its pristine surface - he could see something else. He produced a razor blade from his pocket and scraped gently - a tiny black speck floated upwards. "Still dirty", he said.
I'm a fairly fastidious person, at least when it comes to other people's dirt. That is, I'm willing to tolerate a certain amount of disarray in my own house, but find off-putting a hotel room that is at about as clean (or dirty) as my own house. Indeed, I remember crossing from Italy into Switzerland once and just breathing a sigh of relief at coming into such a clean environment. Having said all that, I find the concept of a hygiene inspector not only amusing, but Big Brother creepy. Public hygiene is one thing, since it ties to public health and safety. The type of intrusion into people's private lives that the hygiene inspector represents, however, crosses a line I don't think most Americans would care to see crossed in their own homes.

It pays to know intelligent people

I've had a line of comments that have often challenged statements I made that attacks on Israel are motivated by anti-Semitism, and not merely the usual criticism one can direct at a country's policies. I've struggled to articulate why I believe this challenge is incorrect. Fortunately, I have friends smarter than I am, and one of them sent me this bullet-point list of the way to sniff out the anti-Semitism underlying the repeated attacks against Israel, at home and, especially, abroad:

Why anti-Israeli can be anti-Semitic: Israel, like any other country on earth, can have its policies criticized. Here's where criticism of Israel veers away from legitimate criticism and into bigotry: 1- when Israel is held to a higher moral standard than any other country on earth, and in particular a higher standard than her neighboring states. 2- when criticism scrutinizes Israel alone, failing to take into account the actions of neighbors, their incitement or terrorism. 3- when horrific human rights abuses in neighboring states are ignored or dismissed and Israeli actions are overly scrutinized. 4- when Israelis are presented as one-dimensional monsters. 5- when Israel's right to exist is questioned, but not Australia's, New Zealand's or that of other nations established recently with many immigrants from elsewhere. 6- when the death of about 50 Palestinians total in Jenin, with more than 30 of them armed members of terrorist organizations, is equated with the genocidal Nazi slaughter of millions of unarmed children and civilians. 7- when suicide bombings against Israelis are seen as qualitatively different than suicide bombings against civilians anywhere else in the world. 8- when the speaker becomes histrionic and compares Israelis to Nazis practicing genocide or Apartheid. 9- when the speaker doesn't like Jews but insists that he is just criticizing Israel.
Yup, it pays to have smart friends.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"They make a desert and call it peace"

Scenes from Hadera, Israel: [By the way, the Washington Post has some creepily biased coverage. If you go to the story on the bombing, the Post don't show the victims or their families. Instead, the weeping mother they show is the murder's mother. It staggers me that it is her picture, her grief, that the WaPo uses to illustrate the story about her son's intentionally murderous rampage.] Another "by the way," and the real point of this blog is that this is the "peace" Arabs and the European Left envisage when they talk about peace in Israel. Keep in mind that this act followed on the heels of the withdrawal from Gaza. This slaughterhouse view of peace is, I guess, scarcely surprising, when you have the President of Iran, a country that has consistently funded Palestinian terrorism and that is building its own nuclear weapons program with UN and European complicity, saying things like this:

Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, Iran’s fundamentalist president, on Wednesday declared that Israel should be “wiped off the map” and warned Arab countries against developing economic ties with Israel in response to its withdrawal from Gaza. *** “As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map,” Mr Ahmadi-Nejad said, citing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran’s Islamic revolution. The president told an audience of students there was “no doubt the new wave [of attacks] in Palestine will soon wipe off this disgraceful blot from the face of the Islamic world”. “Anybody who recognises Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury,” he said, in remarks aimed at Arab states.
I'm not so patiently waiting for Israel to do to Iran's nuclear weapons program what, in 1981, she did to Iraq's nuclear weapons program -- an aggressive act of self-protection for which we should all be grateful.

Educational insanity continues

I'm on a roll this week, taking the hatchet to the insanity that passes for education in this country. Today, I'm bringing you news of the creative spelling in at least one school district in Texas. Because I'm a regular reader of Steve's stellar blogging at Out of the Binjo Ditch, I now know, in a school district in his community, they no longer couple phonics with spelling. Well, let me let Steve describe it:

Well, we found out that there is a similar teaching style at work where we live. Our school district, and one of the adjacent districts don't teach phonics the way we learned them once upon a time. Rather than teaching sounds, and letter combinations, and then teaching exceptions as we go along, the schools now encourage children to write words the way they sound. So, instead of learning how to spell, they're learning how to spell incorrectly, and the theory is that they'll learn the proper spelling as they go through school. Ex. - I likd etng is crem satrday = I liked eating ice cream Saturday.
This "creative" spelling approach has been around for years, nay decades, and has consistently proven to be a failure, producing children who never properly learn to read or write. The reason for its ongoing popularity is that it's a way of teaching that doesn't call on one to correct the child. That is, in an ordinary world, if I child writes "I like katz," a normal teacher would say, "That's just wonderful, Johnny. Now lets make that sentence even better. Even though it doesn't make sense, we spell it 'cats.' 'Katz' is very logical, but it's just not how it's done." Notice that there's nothing critical in this approach. Indeed, when I do it with my children, they often emerge feeling doubly smug: first, that they spelled the word the logical way and, second, that they've added to their fund of knowledge by learning the correct spelling. However, our American teachers have learned to teach in a world that eschews the wonderful red ink correction -- "Hey, you. You need to fix this!" -- in lieu of the nonconfrontational violet ink correction -- "Um, excuse me, I think, maybe, that this isn't quite right, and, you know, maybe, like, you should change it." To teachers in this mindset, the idea that a child's "natural" spelling ability might yield gibberish is anathema. Everything a child does is good, or must be received as good in this universe. This approach to teaching, of course, falls into the category of "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." Or, should I say, "Th rode to Hel is payved with good intenshuns." My gosh, I feel positively Chaucerian. Previous posts about insane educational trends: This happened in Georgia, of all places The state of American education continues to dismay Colleges and indoctrination Another landmark on my road to conservatism "Wither" higher education? Free speech is dead on campus, but alive on the internet

Today's "I wish I'd said that" blogger

Gosh, it's another one of those days where a single blogger has so much good stuff, I'd just end up duplicating that blog if I tried to link to it all. Instead of doing things piecemeal, just go over to Done With Mirrors and feed your mind.

The real story behind the story of the Condi photo

If you were inclined to give USA Today a pass for inadvertently monkeying with the Condi photo, don't. Callimachus, at Done With Mirrors, took the time to investigate the story further and, no matter how you view it, USA Today was did not use that photo in a "business as usual" manner -- unless business as usual means purposely using a photo that denigrates America's Secretary of State.

You must read this

If you want to understand the threat to Jews and to Israel from Arabs, from Europeans, from careless thinking in America, from demands for concessions from a country that has nothing more to give, you must, you absolutely must, read this American Thinker article.. It's one of the most congent, logical, comprehensive articles on the subject I can ever remember reading. Anyone who wishes to opine on the situation in the Middle East, at least as it concerns Israel and her neighbors, is really obligated to read this before speaking on the subject. And then I recommend a donation to AIPAC.

Getting our priorities right in Iraq

Denigrating the sacrifice our service people have made in Iraq, the MSM is having an orgiastic roll in what Little Green Footballs calls the "grim milestone" watch. (See, e.g., this lgf post.) This is not about serving our military, and this is most emphatically not about accurately reporting on the war. That point is made very clear at a Media Research Center, which highlights the fact that the MSM has almost entirely ignored what the military has been fighting for -- bringing freedom to Iraq in terms of giving it a Democratic constitutional base -- and has focused entirely on what it hopes will be politically damaging for the President. Here's the wrap-up of this depressing article about a media bias that is having clear political efforts, in terms of the public's perception about the war:

A recent MRC study of this year’s Iraq war news found the networks had already produced 400 evening news stories noting America’s war casualties, far more than those discussing episodes of heroism on the part of those same troops. Indeed, on Tuesday morning only FNC’s Fox & Friends and CNN’s American Morning showcased Army Specialist Darrell Green, who thwarted the suicide bomber who tried to destroy Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel on Monday, saving many lives. Green’s captain told CNN that while “this was definitely a large explosion...this was a success story thanks to soldiers like Specialist Green.” ABC, CBS and NBC didn’t interview Specialist Green or mention his heroics. Evidently, they don’t consider him to be as newsworthy as the 2,000 victims of Bush’s war
Apparently, if you're the MSM, you can fool most of the people most of the time.

At least someone has the wisdom to look after the rest of us

I'm not going to steal Turkeyhead's thunder. He found just the funniest, most on the nose quotation I've seen in a long time about our military, and you'll have to click here if you want to enjoy it too.

The UN and Mugabe are at it again

I can't adequately summarize the travesty that passes for politics in Zimbabwe, or the sociopathic immorality that charactizes the UN that the American people continue to fund. Fortunately, Patrick, at Paragraph Farmer, found an article that can and does do just that, which you can check out here.

It's all women's fault

I have a very good friend who claims that the Islamists' fundamental problem with the West is how well the West treats its women at all levels (economic, social, sexual, political, whatever). All other thing, he think, could be forgiven, but Islamists cannot forgive a culture that has given up control over women. In traditional Islamism, of course, women are seen as an extension of a man's honor, as commodities, as providers of boy children, and as the one thing that can take a man, no matter how low, and give him the illusion that he is better than someone else. In case you're wondering about the truth of my last assertion, you should read this essay by Badriyya Al-Bishr, asking men to imagine being a woman in Saudi society. Then think about the fact that Muslim groups have been totally open about the fact that they'd like to reestablish the Caliphate and bring sharia law to every country in the world.

Things you can say in cartoons

Gotta work, but thought I'd bring attention to this funny cartoon before turning my back on the news and my blog for a few hours:

A fitting epitaph for George Galloway

I know my readers already are aware that George Galloway almost certainly perjured himself before Congress (and in a number of other places too). Leave it to Christopher Hitchens, however, after detailing the man's sins, to provide the perfect, brutal epitaph for a political socipath:

For George Galloway, however, the war would seem to be over. The evidence presented suggests that he lied in court when he sued the Daily Telegraph in London over similar allegations (and collected money for that, too). It suggests that he lied to the Senate under oath. And it suggests that he made a deceptive statement in the register of interests held by members of the British House of Commons. All in all, a bad week for him, especially coming as it does on the heels of the U.N. report on the murder of Rafik Hariri, which appears to pin the convict's badge on senior members of the Assad despotism in Damascus, Galloway's default patron after he lost his main ally in Baghdad. Yet this is the man who received wall-to-wall good press for insulting the Senate subcommittee in May, and who was later the subject of a fawning puff piece in the New York Times, and who was lionized by the anti-war movement when he came on a mendacious and demagogic tour of the country last month. I wonder if any of those who furnished him a platform will now have the grace to admit that they were hosting a man who is not just a pimp for fascism but one of its prostitutes as well.
Read the whole article here, which includes the hyperlinks I deleted from the above quotation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Isolationism with an "I hate George Bush" twist

At the American Future you'll learn that Isolationism is again beginning to appear on the political stage, this time in the form of an organization titled the "Antiwar League." Unsurprisingly, their goals are as well thought out, and as far seeing as were those of the Isolationists in the years immediately preceding WWII. There's nothing better than placing the future of the world in the hands of people who combine a deep hatred for themselves and their own country, with a stupidly naive Panglossian view about the intentions that can be attributed to the rest of the world. Check out the American Future post and see what you think.

I'm seeing a "must see" video

Reading the Mental Ward (Churchill) blog, I came across the link to a winner in the liberty film festival called Brainwashing 101. I'm watching it now (with some difficulty, because my link keeps dying), and I strongly urge every one of you to take the 46 minutes out of your day and watch it too. It's horrifying. In the way of the best -- honest -- documentaries, it simply lets the faculty and administrators at the campuses convict themselves out of their own mouths. The bit that keeps running through my head is the economics professor who complains that the Board of Trustees is his biggest problem because it has the temerity to demand that the classrooms provide balanced opinions by presenting, in his words, "enough different perspectives." The professor's feeling: he's the expert, and his is the only opinion that matters. This follows within seconds of hearing him complain that students who enter his class are incapable of critical thinking. I suspect that students who leave his class carrying with them that same inability. If you have a child in college or who will one day go to college, you'll be failing your child if you don't watch this film and learn what's going on in modern American education. Previous posts on education today: This happened in Georgia, of all places The state of American education continues to dismay Colleges and indoctrination Another landmark on my road to conservatism "Wither" higher education? Free speech is dead on campus, but alive on the internet

This happened in Georgia, of all places

If you want to know more than you ever imagined (or even wanted to imagine) existed in the world of fetish-style sex, you should check out this Mike S. Adams column about the "educational" events offered at Georgia Tech, a formerly science and engineering oriented school, in the formerly conservative State of Georgia. And then don't send your kids there. Previous posts on the degradation and inappropriate sexualization of American higher education: The state of American education continues to dismay Colleges and indoctrination Another landmark on my road to conservatism "Wither" higher education? Free speech is dead on campus, but alive on the internet

The subtle dagger in the back

A friend asked me today what I thought of Bernanke's appoint as Fed Chief. I replied that I thought it was a good thing -- everyone seems to think he's perfect for the job and, of course, the markets went wild with delight. I was therefore surprised when my friend, who is not a political animal and does not follow financial markets, announced that, of course, Rubin was the best man for the job. Robert Rubin, I thought. Where's that come from? Well, it turns out that my friend, who reads the San Francisco Chronicle religiously, found that little nugget here, in the Chron:

"From an economist's view, this is the most exciting thing that has happened. He got it on merit. It's not who he knew," says Christina Romer, an economist at UC Berkeley who, with her husband David Romer, wrote a paper on what makes a good Fed chief. The Romers, both Democrats, say Bernanke is the best Republican Bush could have chosen. Although he is not outwardly political, Bernanke is cut from the same free-market, small-government cloth as Greenspan, the Romers say. "He is a believer that taxes have a disincentive effect. Like Greenspan, he will have a preference for getting the deficit down by cutting spending," rather than raising taxes, says Christina Romer. One area where Bernanke trails Greenspan is experience on Wall Street. Bernanke has none. Greenspan built an economic forecasting practice that consulted for many Wall Street firms. "The best choice for Fed chairman from the perspective of financial markets was probably Robert Rubin," says Lonski. Rubin was at Goldman Sachs for many years before he became Bill Clinton's Treasury secretary. Today he is chairman of the executive committee at Citigroup. "Rubin would have been the choice if a Democrat was in the White House," says Lonski.
And there you have it. Rubin had Democratic ties, therefore he would have been the best, and only Bush's blindly partisan qualities prevented him from giving the U.S. the Fed Chief it really deserves. MSM -- you gotta love it.

Does the Times really want to make an enemy of this woman?

I'm sure you've all read about how the NY Times is working tirelessly to destroy Judith Miller's reputation. If you haven't John Podhoretz has as good a summation of this spectacle as any I've seen. My point to ponder this morning, before I begin the work that I ought to be doing, is whether the Times is being a bit shortsighted in turning on a woman who has the capacity to reveal that paper's own secrets. If I were the Times, I'd provide Miller with a lukewarm defense that wouldn't stoke her anger. As it is, if I were Judith Miller, I'd start putting out information regarding the Times own inner workings -- information I'm sure is not pretty. Of course, the wagons will circle. Other members of the MSM will bury such stories (Barbara Walter's girl will not be hustling Miller for an appearance on the show), but it would still be important to have that information out there. Are you listening, Judy? UPDATE: Aside from making a bad enemy, a post at the Captain's Quarters asks whether the Times' reprehensible and dishonorable conduct could actually deny it the prize it seeks -- indictments aimed at the heart of the Bush administration. Ironically, the Grey Lady's attack dogs may be making Miller too useless to function as prosecution witness.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Steynian thoughts on which to dwell

Mark Steyn, on the proximity of danger (bird flu, radical Islam) in a globalized world:

In a globalised economy, the anti-glob mob and the eco-warriors want us to worry about First World capitalism imposing its ways on bucolic, pastoral, primitive Third World backwaters. But globalisation cuts both ways, and the peculiarities of the backwaters can leap instantly to the First World - just because someone got on a plane. Indeed, when you look at it that way, the biggest globalisation success story of recent years is not McDonald's or Disney, but Islamism: the Saudis took what was 80 years ago a severe but obscure and unimportant strain of Islam practised by Bedouins in the middle of a desert miles from anywhere and successfully exported it to the heart of Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Leeds, Buffalo. It was a strictly local virus, but the bird flew the coop. And now, instead of the quaintly parochial terrorist movements of yore, we have the first globalised insurgency. What's the bigger threat? A globalisation that exports cheeseburgers and pop songs or a globalisation that exports the fiercest and unhealthiest aspects of its culture? Far too many American conservatives still think the dragons are at the far fringes of the map - that, in the 21st century, America can be a 19th-century republic untroubled by the world's pathogens because of its sheer distance from them. But, in an age of globalised proximity, all of us in the modern multicultural West are like Lincoln on the steps of the Capitol that Saturday morning: the world is in the room with us.
As always with Mark Steyn, there's more, which you can read here.

Thinker's block

Blogging has been light today and will probably continue light tomorrow. Today's lightness was a peculiar form of procrastination in which I regularly engage. I'd done something stupid (not bad, just stupid) last week, and it came back to haunt me this week. I knew what I had to do to deal with the results of my act, but found the remedial step distasteful and somewhat humiliating. So I spent all day avoiding doing it. To justify avoiding doing what I should do, I also had to stop blogging, which is what I like to do. And I got depressed and become ineffective with regard to my work. I finally bit the bullet a couple of hours ago, did what I had to do to begin remedying my error -- and I feel like a load has been taken off my shoulders. I'll still have consequences from my original action, but I'm back in the driver's seat. Still, because I was procrastinating about work, I've got to put in a double effort tomorrow, which will preclude anything but a few blog moments.

The hearts and minds of the liberal elite

This story, from Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus, bothered me a lot:

May I tell you a little music story? On Saturday night, I was in Carnegie Hall, to review the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. The soloist was the great Swedish mezzo-soprano Sofie von Otter. Believe it or not, she sang a song by Benny Andersson, co-founder of the blockbuster pop group ABBA. This was a song called 'At Home,' from a musical, about a woman named Kristina who emigrates to America. (This is a musical based on a famous Swedish novel — famous to Swedes, I mean.) Before she sang the song, von Otter explained to the audience that, in the 19th century, some two million were driven from Sweden by famine. Many of these came to America, 'this land of opportunity' — that's what the singer said. And the Carnegie Hall patrons around me laughed. You see, they found that phrase — 'land of opportunity' — comical, or ironic, at best. But von Otter appeared to be serious. I'll never forget when a Chinese actor named John Lone addressed the audience at the Academy Awards. He said something about how nice it was to be in America, where you were free to say what you wanted, or create as you wanted. The audience laughed — laughed. But John Lone wasn't laughing, and neither was Anne Sofie von Otter, and neither are we, right, dear hearts?
It really shatters me that those who might presumably benefit from living in the City most emblematic of the free world (there is that beautiful statue in the harbor) think that our freedom is a joke.

Apparently there's a fine line between fantasy and reality

I was standing in line at the grocery store when my eye was caught by the new TV Guide. On the cover was a 3/4 picture of a beaming Geena Davis. Next to the picture, there was some teaser paragraph about how she went from gawky to star. What really got me, though, was the last phrase in that tease, which described her stardom as being in a "ground breaking" new role. Excuse me, TV Guide people, but she's not really the President, she just plays one on TV. And there's nothing ground breaking about the role of first female president. I seem to remember Hollywood playing around with the idea at least once. After all, who could forget Polly Bergen in the dreadful Kisses for My President? Given that kind of nonsense beaming of the magazine rack, I wanted to grab some TV Guide copywriter by the shoulder and holler and him/her -- "It's TV. It's not real."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

There are no atheists in foxholes

Speaking of atheism (see my previous post), have you been wondering about the author Anne Rice? Here's the scoop:

After 25 novels in 25 years, Rice, 64, hasn't published a book since 2003's 'Blood Chronicle,' the tenth volume of her best-selling vampire series. They [her fans] may have heard she came close to death last year, when she had surgery for an intestinal blockage, and also back in 1998, when she went into a sudden diabetic coma; that same year she returned to the Roman Catholic Church, which she'd left at 18. They surely knew that Stan Rice, her husband of 41 years, died of a brain tumor in 2002. *** In two weeks, Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and—under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure—of soft-core S&M encounters, will publish 'Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt,' a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. 'I promised,' she says, 'that from now on I would write only for the Lord.' It's the most startling public turnaround since Bob Dylan's 'Slow Train Coming' announced that he'd been born again.
It's amazing how a bit of awful in your life can help bring clarity. I wish her well in her new endeavors, but I rather wonder how her over-the-top style will mesh with her new subject matter.

The difference between an ostensibly good society and a really good society

As I noted in the sidebar, I'm reading David Klinghoffer's The Discovery of God : Abraham and the Birth of Monotheism. It's a delightful book that reexamines the story of Abraham, and elects to use Talmud and Midrash (the ancient books written about the Torah), and other oral traditions interpreted through great Jewish thinkers, to interpret this part of the Bible. In Chapter 12, he tackles the interesting question of Abraham and Sarah's sojourn in Gerar. It was here, as earlier in Egypt, that Abraham sought to protect his life by having Sarah identify herself, not at his wife, but as his sister. The author comments that, when Abraham asked that she do so in Egypt, it was to protect himself from a blatantly lewd culture. The situation in Gerar was different, and I found Klinghoffer's thoughts on the subject fascinating, both in light of the historical parallel he draws, and the times in which we now live:

It was not so at Gerar [Gerar was not as openly licentious as Egypt]. The classical Jewish commentators, drawing on the oral tradition, depect that city as in the grip of a culture that modern folk would recognize. It was a civilized place that was, however, deficient in the quality called yirat Hashem, a phrase often mistranslated as "fear of the Lord." The word yirah means something more like "awe" and shares a root construction with the Hebrew verb meaning "to see." That is, someone who has yirat Hashem behaves as if he could see God, so to speak, standing before him. A country where the citizens behave themselves according to generally accepted rules of good conduct, but where they don't believe that God stands before them -- such a country is capable of anything. The medieval sage Radak makes this point in his commentary on the episode in Gerar. The later commentator Malbim, writing in the nineteenth century, explains that a civilization that has no faith in divine providence, however proper its "ethical" standards, can't be trusted not to take a sudden turn into barbarism. In this manner, Weimar Germany became, almost overnight, Nazi Germany.
[Pages 185-186, emphasis mine.] Think of these words, and think about the world in which we live. I suspect that this fragile "morality," more than anything, is the danger unique to atheistic, relativistic societies, where people conform to what they believe at any given time are nice, polite rules of behavior. It's all well and good when things are good and going well, but there's no true moral underpinning to protect when societal times get rough. I find this particularly troublesome from my own point of view, since I'm someone who is, believe it or not, an atheist. I was raised as an atheist, and can't seem to break through to a higher level. This means that, despite the fact that I'm deeply committed to Biblical ethics (as filtered through modern commentators -- I don't burn witches), I'm able to approach these ethics only through a filter of rationalism, and not because I "see" God before me. I guess I'm better than someone who is committed to pure moral relativism. However, good as I like to think myself and my rules of living, I wouldn't trust a society full of people like me very much in the long haul. UPDATE: Those who follow the news may be aware that, just as Germany tipped with ease into savagery 70 years ago, it seems to be putting weight on that side of the line again. I've blogged about the fact that the German government is financing and promoting a film that lauds Palestinian homicide bombers. And just a few days ago, we learned about the grossly anti-Semitic material promulgated at the Frankfurt Book Fair. There's a lot of good coverage on the latter, but the most comprehensive I've seen is in American Future. Germany is not acting like a culture that "sees" God. This is a reminder that all the post-war years of Holocaust education in Germany never went to core moral issues, but simply contained a list of rules for behavior. Germans have always been excellent at following rules. The scary thing is that, when the rules change, Germans unreflectively simply turn their boots and march in the opposite direction.

A headline we don't see

GAS PRICES PLUMMET Maybe not in your neck of the woods, but where I live gas prices have dropped by almost 50 cents a gallon in the last few weeks. Funnily enough, though, none of the headlines seem to have picked up on this fact. I wonder why?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The inferiority complex religion stabs a nun.

Can anyone identify for me any religion other than Islam where the adherents go on bloody rampages every time they think their religion has been slighted? The most recent was in Egypt, where Muslims went on yet another bloody rampage directed against a Coptic Church. The reason? These Muslims were deeply offended that the Coptic Church was performing a play telling the story of Muslims going on a rampage against a members of the Coptic faith. You'd have to be in a coma to miss the irony here. It seems to me that, if the Muslims actually had a secure belief in their own religious superiority, they wouldn't feel the need to go out and kill, on a regular basis, anyone who hints that there might be some problems, not even with core doctrine, but with how the religion is actually practiced. Perhaps it's because I grew up with the concept of a free speech, which requires that ideas be strong enough to be defensible against intellectual attack, but I find utterly foreign the belief that the only way to defend an idea is with the sword. As you ponder this question, I leave you with this picture of the bloodied nun alluded to in this post's caption:

A few words on the Plame affair

The AFP is almost incontinent with it's excitement over the possibility that the Special Prosecutor might be indicting people close to Bush over the Plame affair, but I tend to try to ignore that kind of unseemly glee. [Weirdly, minutes after I found this story on Yahoo's most popular, it had vanished, but I definitely saw it, so I'll still refer to it here.] Less easy to ignore (at least from my point of view) is this fascinating Varifrank post that resulted from someone actually reading Judith Miller's 2002 book, Germs : Biological Weapons and America's Secret War. It's a book I remember seeing on the library shelves at the time, but assiduously avoided, knowing that the better written it was, the more likely I'd suffer weeks of relentless nightmares. Aside from the fact that it was pretty clear that Iraq had WMD's, not in nuclear, but in easily accessible chemical, form, it also turns out that Judith Miller is spectacularly well connected. Her sources put her right up next to the CIA:

But here’s what I really want to say about this. If you read this book, which is excellently sourced with very good footnotes and cross-referenced to other materials, you know that Ms. Miller indeed knows a great many people who work in around intelligence, weapons of mass destruction and in the civil service that stays around no matter the administration. So, if she doesn’t know the person directly, then she knows the people they work closely with. Close enough I would gather to get a question answered in a few minutes. That being the case, how is it possible that with all the people she knew in Washington, in the White House, in the CIA in the military, that she didn’t know that Ambassador Wilson’s wife was in the CIA as well? It would not take very long to play a game of “six degrees of separation” with the people she has outlined in the book to come up with a direct link to Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson.
That being the case, Varifrank comes up with a lovely theory:
Could Richard Clarke be the source she is really protecting and the whole Libby/Rove connection simply a smokescreen to cover another trail that would lead to a far more damaging connection? That is, a rogue CIA organization that wishes to protect its power and cover up its large scale mistakes in regards to Iraq and the middle east?
I don't opine as to whether it's an accurate or a good theory, I just like it. Some last words from Varifrank:
Joseph Wilson it must be remembered, was making the case that people like Miller were inventing facts or even over representing the dangers that were posed by Saddam. Its clear when you read this book that Judy Miller must’ve taken that idea as a direct attack on her reputation as a reporter. So I ask you, based on this and other areas that Judy Miller reported and worked in for over 10 years, the extensive research into Weapons of Mass Destruction in the G.H.W. Bush, Clinton and the G.W. Bush administrations, how is it possible or even feasible for her to have not known who Valerie Plame was, given that her husband walked quiet literally through her crosshairs on the Niger case?
My suggestion? Read the whole Varifrank post (here) and, if you're not prone to nightmares, read Miller's book too -- only be sure to let me know what your conclusions are after reading it. Hat tip: The Anchoress

A little perspective

The Left, with its crocodile tears over American deaths in battle, is in ecstasy of the fact that, after almost three years of war, we're approaching our 2,000th American casuality in Iraq:

It's a grim milestone that no one wants to see come about, but the United States is nearing 2,000 military deaths in Iraq.
Not only is their wallowing in this numbering sheer political opportunism, it also reveals a level of ignorance that I find staggering. Let me go through a few numbers again: Battle of Antietam -- 23,100 dead in one day Gettysburg: 51,000 over three days July 1, 1916 (The Battle of the Somme): 58,000 British and French casualities in one day (and that's not counting German casualties) Agincourt (October 25, 1415): 7,000 - 10,000 French casualities Iwo Jima (mid February to mid March 1945): Almost 7,000 American casualties Please note that all of the above numbers relate to single battles, not whole wars. That is, in three years of war, we've been fortunate enough (and prepared enough, and hi tech enough) to have lost a scant percentage of men lost in some of the major single battles in history. As always, my point with these numbers is not to denigrate those of America's military who gave their lives for our country in this conflict. It is to put the Left's hysteria in perspective.