Tuesday, November 30, 2004
The international Red Cross said Tuesday that U.S. officials have failed to address concerns about significant problems in the treatment of terror suspects detained at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
But the neutral agency, which is the only independent monitor allowed to visit the facility, refused "to publicly confirm or deny" whether details in a New York Times article Tuesday were from its reports to U.S. officials about its findings during its Guantanamo visits.
However, a Pentagon spokesman in Washington confirmed Monday that Red Cross officials have "made their view known" that the indefinite detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amounts to torture.
So lets review: In Abu Ghraib, there was no cutting off of limbs, caning, blinding, killing or maiming of prisoners' families or really any other acts traditionally considered torture, so Europe, the human rights industry and their allies on the Left suddenly decided that a banana up the butt and a forced blowjob were actually torture, rather than prisoner abuse milder than what happens in many U.S. (or French) prisons.
Now, we've got the International Red Cross (who for their anti-American actions before and during the Afghanistan war have already hardened me against ever giving blood or anything else to any Red Cross anywhere) telling us that, since they couldn't find any actual torture even on the mild scale of Abu Ghraib--and since it IS, after all, the United States we're talking about here--they are now once again redefining torture to mean pretty much anything they decide they want it to mean in any given circumstances, including just holding unlawful combatants indefinitely, no matter how well they are treated, what intelligence value they might have or what crimes they may have committed.
It's getting hard to keep up with all the hubris on the Left.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Anyway, here's wishing all of you a happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season to come.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
The Hotel Ivoire incident has attracted much comment in the blogosphere. Probably the most extensive coverage and discussion are provided on Free Will (hat tip Instapundit). By contrast, the traditional mainstream media have largely ignored it. Bloggers have pointed out the hypocrisy. It does not require a very elaborate demonstration to be able to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it were not the French, but rather the American military that was caught on videotape firing into a crowd of civilians, it would be all over the airwaves 24/7.
Oh, yeah, you can say that again. We would have been crucified by now. But since it's France, you don't even see a single mention of it on the news. When Abu Ghraib hit (you remember, that scandal where nobody died) it was hard to find a part of the news that wasn't about Abu Ghraib.
This picture just makes me want to go home and kick my dog. I would, too, except that he's big enough to eat me.
I'm feeling sick- literally. I can't get the video Al-Jazeera played out of my head:
If I had to guess, I'd say that that's because Al-Jazeera has had it on a continuous loop for a week now.
The mosque strewn with bodies of Iraqis- not still with prayer or meditation, but prostrate with death- Some seemingly bloated… an old man with a younger one leaning upon him… legs, feet, hands, blood everywhere… The dusty sun filtering in through the windows… the stillness of the horrid place. Then the stillness is broken- in walk some marines, guns pointed at the bodies... the mosque resonates with harsh American voices arguing over a body- was he dead, was he alive? I watched, tense, wondering what they would do- I expected the usual Marines treatment- that a heavy, booted foot would kick the man perhaps to see if he groaned. But it didn't work that way- the crack of gunfire suddenly explodes in the mosque as the Marine fires at the seemingly dead man and then come the words, "He's dead now."
Lie by omission. I watched that tape too, and I clearly heard the marine YELL LOUDLY to watch out because the guy was faking it. Whether he was right or not can perhaps be debated, but he didn't just start shooting for no reason. He thought he saw something, and said so in a very loud void right on the tape.
"He's dead now." He said it calmly, matter-of-factly, in a sort of sing-song voice that made my blood run cold… and the Marines around him didn't care. They just roamed around the mosque and began to drag around the corpses because, apparently, this was nothing to them. This was probably a commonplace incident.
Well, it sort of is. I mean, just the day before, that unit lost one of its members and had several other wounded by a boobytrapped corpse just like those around them in the tape. If things had worked out just a little differently, that group of marines might have looked a lot like those Iraqis, laying around bleeding. No doubt that would have pleased Riverbend and her ilk to no end.
We sat, horrified, stunned with the horror of the scene that unfolded in front of our eyes. It's the third day of Eid and we were finally able to gather as a family- a cousin, his wife and their two daughters, two aunts, and an elderly uncle. E. and my cousin had been standing in line for two days to get fuel so we could go visit the elderly uncle on the final day of a very desolate Eid. The room was silent at the end of the scene, with only the voice of the news anchor and the sobs of my aunt. My little cousin flinched and dropped her spoon, face frozen with shock, eyes wide with disbelief, glued to the television screen, "Is he dead? Did they kill him?" I swallowed hard, trying to gulp away the lump lodged in my throat and watched as my cousin buried his face in his hands, ashamed to look at his daughter.
"What was I supposed to tell them?" He asked, an hour later, after we had sent his two daughters to help their grandmother in the kitchen. "What am I supposed to tell them- 'Yes darling, they killed him- the Americans killed a wounded man; they are occupying our country, killing people and we are sitting here eating, drinking and watching tv'?" He shook his head, "How much more do they have to see? What is left for them to see?"
There's a LOT more for them to see. Hopefully one day they will take field trips with their classes at school to go visit the monuments built to Saddam Hussein's hundreds of thousands of victims. There should be a convenient location somewhere nearby; you can't seem to swing a dead cat in a circle in post-Saddam Iraq without hitting a mass grave.
They killed a wounded man. It's hard to believe. They killed a man who was completely helpless- like he was some sort of diseased animal.
A diseased animal he undoubtedly was, but he was laying in his firing position in a house of worship, lady. He was a combatant, he was shooting at the Americans, and he was taking his chances. It didn't work out for him, but he was anything but helpless. The unarmed, tied up, blindfolded hostages that his side beheaded while alive on tape are the ones who were helpless. And yet you can't seem to well up with tears for them. Why is that, exactly?
I had read the articles and heard the stories of this happening before- wounded civilians being thrown on the side of the road or shot in cold blood- but to see it happening on television is something else- it makes me crazy with anger.
I've heard a lot of those stories too...and never seen any evidence of wrongdoing outside of Abu Ghraib, and even then the actual wrongdoing was blown all out of proportion. What makes me crazy with anger is that I've read enough of Riverbend's stuff over the last 2 years or so (I've mostly avoided it lately) to know that she is a Sunni and is either a Baathist or someone who was politically connected enough with the Baathists that she did not suffer under their regime and wants it back. She can overlook the mass graves of innocents and bitch about one armed combatant getting waxed.
Well screw her. I can't.
UPDATE: Cap'n Ed compares the new UN brouhaha to Abu Ghraib and makes some excellent points.
Monday, November 22, 2004
Doing it in the other order will get you roundly ignored, at least in this quarter.
I actually thought this French thing wasn't going to fly, but it may yet have legs. And even some truth.
The discount retailing giant has decided this year not to allow the red kettles and volunteers to collect donations near its stores, despite the Salvation Army’s 113-year history of doing so during the holiday season.
Citing a long-standing corporate policy banning solicitation, Target stated: "If we continue to allow the Salvation Army to solicit, then it opens the door to other groups that wish to solicit our guests."
My wife used to work for the Salvation Army. I was there during the Red River Valley floods in '97 and saw for myself how they operate. I've been to their Fargo, ND headquarters and seen the kinds of people they help. I was married in that church, and its members are my friends.
The Salvation Army is a sect of Christianity, but is better-known for the good work it does through its charities. When you think about it, that fact alone tells you all you need to know. When you think "Lutheran" or "Baptist", do you you think of a homeless shelter? If they were purely Christian you probably would.
Try to think of a charity scandal (embezzlement, etc) related to SA. I bet you can't. I bet if you've ever seen them minister to people, you were impressed too. They consistently rate as one of the best charities, in terms of how many people they help, how little they spend on administration, and so forth. They're WONDERFUL.
So now Target has decided to disallow them from raising money at their stores. Well I have news for Target. I probably spend in the neighborhood of $200 per month at Target on average. The Target where I usually shop is across the street from a K-Mart. I'm sure K-Mart wouldn't mind the extra business.
As far as it "opening the door to other groups", BULL. Target makes its own policies, nobody else does. They can allow or disallow whoever they want to solicit funds on their property. They're not the government, and as a corporation they have no constitutional restrictions or obligations regarding who they allow on their property for whatever purpose.
I thought well of Target for allowing a great organization like the SA to keep up its work on their premises during the Christmas season. I no longer think so well of them.
Life defeats parody. I just want to put a plea out there that when the secessions start, somebody please help me out of Blue America. We should probably start setting up the underground railroad now, don't you think?
Sunday, November 21, 2004
A few guesses: I'm thinking Kenny will argue it's not asinine, *I* am. Ben will make some obscure point about the Babylonian empire and its philosophical contributions to modern dance, sand painting and warfare. Jo will call Ben *and* me idiots and my sister will sit silently as always, marveling that I would use my spare time doing something like this.
Just a few guesses. Probably all off the mark.
I can't believe America even needs to defend itself against these stupid, trumped-up charges anymore, when so many others are doing so much worse everyday (including France), and they get a complete pass from all the ones pointing their fingers at us, stomping and screaming like little babies.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
But you know, the issue is still alive. I realize the media has it pounded into the public's heads by now that "there are no weapons". Leaving aside the notion that it's impossible to prove a negative, and absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and all those other nice sayings, WE'RE STILL FINDING TRACES OF EVIDENCE. Why the hell would the Iraqis keep so many chemical suits, testing kits and the like around, if not to protect their guys when they attack us?
I've heard two exclupatory theories I consider plausible. One is that they thought the US would use chem/bio. In order to believe that, they have to be dumber than posts. We know they're not. They know we have a much more effective foe in the media than in them. We have far superior firepower, and can take them out that way militarily. Why in hell would we use those kinds of weapons and magnify their propaganda efforts? If they were Democrats, I might find that level of stupefying stupidity more plausible. But they've proven themselves far smarter than that.
The other is that they had such kits, suits and the like to defend against Iran. I find this to be a potentially convincing argument. I don't know the vintage of the kits and suits that have been found, but if everything we've found so far dates to 1989 or before, we'll have to search more.
That still doesn't satisfy my suspicion as to why this stuff seems to be laying around so many different places, and it certainly doesn't excuse the media for not giving more coverage to these kinds of finds, but it does make me admit that our case for weapons isn't ready for prime time.
The bright spot is that all of the other parts of our case for war in Iraq remain, despite the best efforts of the Left, either as strong as they ever were or stronger. Proof positive (mass graves, fedayeen "training" videos, and so on) has been provided for atrocities on a scale not publicly seen in the world for 60 years (maybe less if you count Pol Pot and friends). We have proof that Saddam violated the 1991 cease-fire by shooting at our planes. And the growing Oil-for Food scandal is finally beginning to get traction with the public, showing that Saddam skimmed over 20 BILLION dollars. And that's just what we know about so far.
Yes, I love the idea that my tax money was paid as blood money to palestinian homicide bombers' families, how about you? With any luck, this will be the scandal that eventually gets the US extricated from the morass that is the modern UN.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
I watched the video, and I saw NOTHING in that video to suggest to me that the marine in question did anything illegal. I'd even go so far as to say that while it can be debated whether he made the right decision, he certainly made the safest.
I don't think any of these whining babies calling for the marine to be court-martialed have a clue as to what we're up against. On O'Reilly tonight there was a guy from Human Rights Watch crying about how if we don't bend this marine over a barrel and dry-rape him, we'll regret it on future battlefields. I've got news for that guy. Our future enemies may and probably will try, but it's physically, morally and logically impossible to find a more craven, heartless and deceptive enemy than we're facing right now.
I would suggest that HRW should spend time decrying human rights abuses on each side proportionate to the prevalence with which they actually occurred, but given the amount of effort they've expended on condemning America, there isn't enough time left in future history to do the jihadis justice.
There are those who read here sometimes that will disgree with me, and that's fine. Unlike our enemy in Iraq, I like that people in other places can freely express their point of view. But understand that unless somebody has something beyond just what's on that tape, the case is dead in the water. Not only will our boy not be convicted, but he might get a commendation for making a smart snap judgement. If the guy he shot was still alive and trying to detonate a boobytrap or bring down the building, that marine would have been responsible for saving his fellow soldiers. That's all that matters to me, and it's probably all that would matter to a court-martial. In my humble opinion, it's all that would matter to anybody with just a little bit of capacity for empathy.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Monday, November 15, 2004
I wonder what it will take to get the elites to admit that the Afghanistan invasion was not only worthwhile, but a smashing success when viewed in historical context.
I wonder if anybody anywhere outside the blogosphere will hear boo about Iraq once we've managed to turn the corner there and peace and prosperity suddenly break out, as it likely will before Bush leaves office. If that happens, you can bet they'll be burying it all under mounds of "bad" news from the new front in Syria, or Iran, or whatever is the next country to fail to understand that we're not kidding anymore when we say they shouldn't pick a fight with us.
What's the next word in this series: Taliban...Saddam Hussein...? Not Ghaddafi...he seems to have turned over enough of a new leaf that we don't need to consider him a real threat. Kim Sung-Il is a possibility, but I get the feeling we won't move against him militarily. China is more of a strategic threat, but they feel much more like a rival to me than an actual enemy, although that could change. Too many Americans have their noses up the Saudis' asses for various reasons to think we would move against the KSA. The only ones I can really think of that really piss us off to the point of armed conflict are Syria and Iran.
I further suspect that if we confronted Iran and either we attacked or they folded, Syria would cease to be a real threat too. Without Iranian backing they're the thinnest of paper tigers...and Israel's north border would probably see better security long-term, too. Plus, I've heard rumblings of a democracy movement in Syria that, while not as strong as the one in Iran, nonetheless makes Assad and company nervous.
We should be throwing wads of money at the democracy movements inside Iran, as well as broadcasting radio and satellite into the country. We should be fomenting unrest in any way we can think of, and we should stand ready to bomb Qom at the very first sufficient provocation. Iran is where all this Islamist crap got its real start in 1979, and the path back to relative security is likely to lead right back through that country.
Friday, November 12, 2004
Basically, it's a roundup of many different books that have been written that are either anti-American or about anti-Americanism itself, and some that are just about America. It examines each's treatment of America and points out many things to think about regarding each one. It deals with most of the prevalent memes about what causes anti-Americanism, whether America is an empire, why Europe seems brain-dead to Americans and vice versa, etc.
This is the best single piece I think I've read since at least 9/11. It's long, but well worth the effort. I will be mentally chewing over some of this stuff for YEARS, and I've printed it off so I can read it again and again offline.
If you are anti-American, and after reading this your view hasn't softened the tiniest bit, then nothing anybody can ever say in any context EVER will be able to change your mind. Certainly not anything I might come up with.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
This is not the first time Moore has stooped so low. He used footage of the funeral of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone for Fahrenheit 9/11. Maj. Stone's family told The Washington Times:
''We are furious that Greg was in that casket and cannot defend himself,'' Kandi Gallagher, Maj. Stone's aunt, said. ''And my sister, Greg's mother … called him (Moore) a 'maggot that eats off the dead.'''
Gold Star families are capable of speaking for themselves (for Bush or against). I know four such families personally. And Eva Savage's response to Moore is most appropriate for Veterans Day: ''I am the mother of a United States Marine. Jeremiah was killed in action in Ramadi, Iraq on May 12, 2004.
''People like Moore would have you believe that we hold President Bush responsible for my son's death. Michael Moore has not spoken to me — ever. So he cannot profess to know how I feel. He is a coward who thrives on the lives of others by twisting the truth and rewriting it to suit his own agenda.
''Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Edward Savage was a United States Marine. He was not drafted. He chose to join. It takes a special person, someone with a sense of honor, duty, commitment and courage to be a member of the Armed Forces. My son believed in his mission, in his duty to protect the way of life all Americans enjoy.
''A few Americans take that for granted and would have you believe that our military heroes have died in vain. My son did not die in vain. The only way that would be true is if you believe people like Michael Moore. My son died for Moore's right to use the First Amendment. But if Moore had said those same things about Saddam Hussein as an Iraqi, he would no longer be living.
"A maggot that eats off the dead". Yep, you'll get no argument from me...although I'd hesitate to be so kind to that scumbag. But coming from the people whose sorrow Moore hijacked to make scads of money, it's gotta mean something.
When I first saw some clips from "Roger and Me", I made the judgement that Moore was a scumbag who would never see any of my money. I've stayed true to that, and I haven't been sorry in the least. I've probably seen over 50% of the total footage in each of his movies in the course of viewing clips people show on the internet as people point out the inaccuracies, misleading tricks and outright lies.
I'm not going to pay money for that kind of shoddy workmanship. I wouldn't pay money for a car that doesn't run and I won't pay money for a fact-free "documentary". The fact that F9/11 won an oscar cheapens the award. Never again will I be impressed by an actor being an "oscar-winner". It just doesn't mean much after a liar like Moore gets one for a film ostensibly informing people of truthful things.
And now Moore has been slammed again (this is just the latest in a long line of those Moore used lining up to kick his ass). Good. It's veteran's day, which I think is a great time to point out what a waste of oxygen Moore and his ilk are, and how they care much more for money than for the lives of the men fighting in Iraq. When one of those men takes a dump in the desert, he's leaving something that has more worth than Michael Moore.
And now I sign off for the day. Later.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Vitamin E hasn't proven to be good for the heart, and now a study suggests that too much vitamin E — daily doses of 400 IU or more — actually increases the risk of dying, according to new findings.
For those who aren't aware, I am a cystic fibrosis patient. In my case, that's not as scary as it sounds, although I'm already past the median survival age and the doctor can't tell me why I'm not too much affected. I have a sister who is more affected than me, but still not badly compared to the children you may have seen in Cystic Fibrosis Foundation ads fighting for their lives at age 7 or whatever.
Nonetheless, there are a few things I must do, and supplementing my diet with vitamins is one of those. One of the particular vitamins I must take is, you guessed it, vitamin E. Further, the dosage I take is, you guessed it, 400 IU.
So cheer up, libs. You have a 10% greater chance of me kicking the bucket unexpectedly than any of us suspected.
I suspect I'll still be here posting in 30 or 40 years though. I'm too ornery to die easy.
Or you could take it the other way and search for the truth. But I suppose that wouldn't be as much fun as using more lies for America-bashing.
Once he starts to actually provide the answers for himself, he may or may not still remain a liberal, but if he does, at least he'll be far more understanding of conservatives. And for me the world will turn just a bit easier. I'm getting a little nervous about all the "secession" and related talk.
If Wretchard has it right, and he usually does, it's pretty frightening how good the US military is getting. The upshot of the current battle? We've taken some casualties, but absolutely nothing like what the enemy is taking.
Years ago I once read a pretty amateurish sci fi short story about some guys who went in a space ship to another planet. They had laser pistols for protection, which was good because the planet was full of native life that was described as dumb but vicious, very like our wolves.
Soon, headquarters hadn't heard from their colonists and sent out a rescue mission to make sure they were alright, and when they got to the landing site they found one man left (the rest had been killed). He had been using his laser to fight off the wolves, but the laser basically just made the "wolves" disappear, or at least it killed them so quickly they didn't feel pain. The other "wolves" did not see their compatriots suffer, and therefore, being dumb animals, saw no reason to stop attacking. The man had been forced to use his gear to rig a bow and arrow. The "wolves" finally understood what was happening when they saw one of their compatriots howling with an arrow in his side, and they stopped attacking.
I hope we let a couple get away in Fallujah to go and tell their friends what they're in for if they don't lay down their weapons and set the people of Iraq free to elect their government. We should also make sure they understand that this is the only way they will EVER be rid of the US presence that they claim is the reason they are fighting. I have every confidence our military leaders are doing these things, and I have growing confidence that the whole enterprise will take a major turn for the better over the next couple of months.
Fair enough. Let's have a look at which states give the most versus which states have the most to give, and let's just see how it all falls out.
I knew liberals were phonies, but the absolute completeness of the result of this ranking fairly blew me away. Not a single blue state ranked in the top half. Not one. That amazes me.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Be it also known that I am a particular fan of King's Dark Tower series, and I happen to think that Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass is the finest tome in that series.
My thought is that when they get around to casting that, they need to look up Sam Elliot to play the part of Eldred Jonas. They should do it soon, too, while Elliot is, you know, able to play the part. He's no spring chicken. But just picture this guy in an appropriate gunslinger getup with longer hair a la "Road House". Yeehaw.
Just a thought.
UPDATE: More casting ideas in this vein: a younger Leonardo DiCaprio (circa Gilbert Grape or so) as Cuthbert. River Phoenix around the time of "Stand By Me" as Alain. Roland himself is a tough one, especially since you'd have to find two actors that fit the part with one looking like a plausible younger version of the other, but maybe...Gah. I can't even think of a good Susan, nevermind Roland.
Chris Finarelli could barely believe his own eyes last Wednesday. As Vice President of the College Republican Club at San Francisco State University, Finarelli showed up at the student union building that morning to help table and distribute literature to solicit new club members after President Bush’s victory the previous election day. What he found was a noisy and menacing mob of over 300 Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and radical leftist students surrounding his club’s table being held back by 13 San Francisco State police officers. The police officers were forced to surround the CR’s table both in front and in back in order to protect the conservative students’ safety.
The previous Monday, the day before the election, the CR’s were physically attacked while handing out Bush/Cheney materials in the University’s Malcolm X Plaza. On that day, Victor Traycey, one of the members of the conservative club, was slapped by Nala Gardizi, an Arab woman student who was part of an entourage led by four Palestinian women who accused the conservative students of being responsible for the “murder of Palestinian babies” due to their support for President Bush. In addition, food was thrown at the Republican college students and drinks poured over the campaign materials on their table. Gardizi harangued Victor Traycey that day and even called him “a Nazi,” according to eye-witness reports.
Somebody, quick, tell me where I can sign up to be a Democrat. And please tell me where the nearest mosque is so I can rush right over and take that Muslim oath. You know, the one where if you break it and decide not to be a Muslim anymore, they kill you.
You know, on second thought, I think I'll just stay an independent Christian, thanks.
Monday, November 08, 2004
Thanks for pointing me to Jim Lindgren's "new Scopes" article, Dan. He opens with the statement "in David Brooks' latest editorial in the New York Times, he rightly dismisses the conventional wisdom about the election," which is true. I found the article very amusing, as Brooks derides liberals for their ridiculous self-flattering worldview from within the unassailable fortress of his own self-flattering worldview. The Democrat's 48% minority is evidence of their utter and complete defeat to be trumpeted in the annals of human history, buried beneath the majestic 51% majority of Americans who obviously agree with Brooks on all matters subject to debate within the Republic. He laughs condescendingly from the apogee seat on the seesaw of politics at the pathetic liberals eternally imprisoned three degrees below himself, and knows that God favours only him.
As a Jacksonian Democrat who voted for Bush as the lesser of two incompetencies, I doubt the central thesis of Brook's existence, that the 51% of American voters who elected GWB did so because they believe the President's path is the correct one to take. The majority of Americans I've spoken with just knew the folly of changing canoes in mid-stream, especially when John Kerry was piloting the other canoe. The "secret plan" strategy of the Junior Senator from Massachusetts clearly backfired; normally when the public is dissatisfied with a sitting president the challenger's strategy is to criticize the incumbent's strategy while hiding his own, thus precluding criticism. This has always worked in the past, but this election was different. Unlike the Vietnam War, where John Kerry first achieved political prominence by betraying his fellow sailors and soldiers, America didn't think our boys in Iraq were the tools of evil.I reside in Canada, a beautiful country but one without a strong public awareness of military matters. My wife (a Canadian) only knew one person of all her acquaintances who had joined "the Forces." He spent his entire career in Canada, where the only obstacle to promotion was the politically correct Francophone bilingualism required by the political bureaucracy and the fact that the Canadian military has no mechanism for discharging its' incompetent members. She was shocked to discover that there were no male members of my American family over the age of eighteen who did not have prior military service, merchant marine service in time of war or farm deferments from service. Americans serve their country.
Brooks haughtily derides the 48% of Americans who voted for Kerry as Ivy League intellectual professors who have no contact with the real America, categorizing their attitude with an unattributed borrowed phrase, the "Rage of the Drowning Man." We could summarize the reality better by placing Brooks and the vast majority of all other journalists into a pot containing the 10% of Americans who've never had to dig a hole in the ground, a category lumping him with the left wing intellectuals he's spitting down upon from his height at the top of the seesaw.George W. Bush did not win an outstanding approval rating for the policies of his advisors; a slim majority of Americans felt that GWB had dug us into a hole, but there were a lot of people down in that hole that we could not with any conscience abandon.
You referred me to an article on the Volokh Conspiracy web page written by Jim Lindgren, and asked my opinion of it.
Lindgren is wishy washy on substance while creating an impressive façade of style. He's against things that are *bad*. He's for things that are *good*. He doesn't say he's against the teaching of evolution, but that evolution is tied to racism and the notion of white superiority, which is *bad*. He bases his conclusions on the prosecutor of Scopes, William Jennings Bryan, the three time failing Democrat candidate for president. Bryan didn't just disapprove of evolution, he disapproved of white supremacy, so he was *good*.
Lindgren wrote an article on Bryan, so it's natural to base his opinion on something he's recently researched. However, Bryan's opinion on why he took the case is only relevant to discussing Bryan, especially as Bryan didn't voice his personal opinions in the trial. If he had, he would have lost. No, he played to the prejudices of the Tennessee jury. Ironically if the *bad* things of eugenics and white supremacy had been presented in the case to the white male Tennessee jury of 1920 they most likely would have been favourably impressed with Evolution. While Lindgren states the opinion that eugenic theory and white supremacy is abhorrent to the majority of modern citizens of the United States, he fails to mention that it was popular with the majority of Americans in 1920. So much so that Congress passed the Eugenics laws in 1922, America applying them to Jewish refugees aboard the steam ship St. Louis in 1939. Canada and the United States both refused to accept the refugees (both nations had similar eugenics laws from the same period) and the U.S. finally repatriated them to Occupied France. The Nazis then placed the St. Louis refugees in concentration camps, and hundreds of them perished by the end of World War II. Jews were genetically inferior before the eyes of the law, and were treated accordingly in immigration policy. At the time eugenics was an extremely popular theory with the majority of voting white people in North America. Lindgren implies the opposite to be true.
Lindgren goes on to say; "For me, this irony cuts many different ways. The ACLU and Darrow were right in principle that the legislature shouldn't be determining what is or is not good science, but the version of evolution (white genetic superiority) that was being taught in Scopes would be viewed as very bad science today." I love the phrasing of this; eugenics WOULD be viewed as very bad science today. I suppose that Mr. Lindgren will find out in the completion of his Ph.D. in sociology that the American public ALREADY DOES view eugenics in a very bad light. The mere mention of the subject is enough to end an academic career if one is not careful enough to foam at the mouth and gnash one's teeth at the very utterance of the word. The irony for me in this subject is that Lindgren associates the modern teaching of evolution with the racist cultural mores and values of 1920s white male America, thus demonizing evolution, then goes on to say that eugenics has been disavowed by the scientific method. It is true that eugenics has been disavowed by all academic institutions, but not due to reasoned theory rigorously employed in experiment followed by peer reviewed analysis of presented empirical data. The sad fact of the matter is that if you mention the word "eugenics" before you've attained tenure, you're out of a job. Discussion of the subject has fallen into the realm of political correctness. The scientific method Lindgren lionizes wasn't (and isn't) employed at all.
Frighteningly to me, it is Noam Chomsky, the light sabre of leftist political thought in America, who says that some ideas should not be examined because of the social damage they may cause. (There were several essays, many published in Chomsky on Democracy and Education that express this opinion. Ironically Chomsky insists that heredity is of vital importance to language learning, but must never be examined in regards to academic or vocational learning.) Chomsky insists that a scientist doing research must assess the social cost of the potential results of the research as weighed against the possible benefits. Chomsky also insists that we live in a racist society, which I'm willing to stipulate, but he hypothesizes a non-racist society in which data concerning race would be benevolently utilized. This creates a bizarre contextualization of fact completely alien to the scientific method. He is claiming that research into such subjects as race and IQ can cause more harm than they do good, echoing Lindgren's argument that evolution may lead to eugenics, which is *bad*.
This forestalling of scientific inquiry by two men of obvious intellect and positions of respect in the academic community at both ends of the political spectrum terrify me. In 1988 Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder, as an analyst for CBS Sports, said that black people were great athletes because of the breeding programs of pre-civil war plantation owners. He was immediately fired and demonized by the popular and academic press for his blatant eugenic stance on heredity. In the entire following publicity maelstrom no one said *why* he was wrong, only that he was evil for having said what he did. He was a racist beyond hope of redemption, morally beneath Klansmen and bikers and bib-overall wearing banjo playing backwoods hicks. I eventually had to research the matter myself, finding the genetic evidence for black athletic supremacy absent, but a mountain of sociological data that indicated that athletic supremacy would be popularly attributed to the socially constructed racial group in the lowest socio-economic status that is allowed at the time to compete. The scary part of this was the counsel I received from college professors and research librarians; don't publish anything on human biodiversity that could indicate differences between any two groups, because if you do your academic career will be over before it starts.
Lindgren smugly states in his closing paragraph, "this also illustrates that the spirit of free inquiry works, not because it is always right, but because people are free to put ideas out and have them refined and corrected." He's wrong. This illustrates a left wing pitchfork and torch-wielding mob on a politically correct pogrom. They may be correct in fact, but you will be lynched by them for using the scientific method to ask if they are.
DAN ADDS: A really thoughtful take. You pointed out a lot of things I hadn't considered. As always when reading your stuff, I found myself alternately nodding my head and slapping it, which probably means I was learning something but won't realize it until later. Thanks.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
I say we sponsor a resolution in the UN general assembly condemning this barbaric act of agression against innocent civilians. Heh. France should really shut up from now on when other people do this sort of thing accidentally, and concentrate their copious and freely-shared venom on those that do it on purpose, as is currently happening in Sudan.
Saturday, November 06, 2004
People, however bad you may think a second Bush term will be, IT'S NOT GOING TO BE THAT BAD. The world won't end, the sun will keep rising and setting, dogs will not lie down with cats and Ross and Rachel are not going to break up again in a reunion special.
The worst that could happen is that it may, depending on confirmation battles, become illegal to kill unborn babies. I realize that's tragic, but come on, work with us a little here.
Friday, November 05, 2004
Perhaps he'll treat the next four years like a permanent Friday, spending even more time at the ranch or in Kennebunkport. And why shouldn't he? He's already proved his point, avenged his father and kicked our ass.
This quote is my personal favorite and can be found in point number 14, but the rest are well-worth reading. It's good to see the right people abjectly humbled.
Got it? Ok. Now, after reading that, if you're nodding your head in agreement with the actions of the European authorities in this case and wondering why I'm outraged, then you're likely a blue-stater and you likely voted (if you voted) for John Kerry.
If, on the other hand, you're shaking your head in negation and you have a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach at what Europe has come to and you're wondering where it's likely to go, then welcome to red-statehood.
Even if you're in a blue state like I am.
A detainee was forced to kneel so many times he was bruised, a barber gave reverse mohawks and a female interrogator ran her fingers through a prisoner's hair and sat in his lap, the U.S. government says in the most detailed accounting of eight abuse cases at its Guantanamo Bay (search) prison for terror suspects.
A couple weeks ago, I got bruises on my knees from laying ceramic tile for too long. Reverse mohawks grow out. Females sitting in your lap and running their fingers through your hair is not "torture" or even "abuse" if you're a normal person.
Sigh. More of the same Abu Ghraib crap. I really wish these human rights jagoffs would just shut up until there's actual abuse or torture. You know, like if a female interrogator started to nag them about taking out the garbage or made them wash the car or shovel the walk.
Seriously, I've already started to tune them out completely, and that can't be good. They should report things that are bad not by European standards, but by actual HUMAN standards.
In the letter dated Oct. 31, Annan told American, British and Iraqi leaders that the United Nations wants to help prepare for the elections, scheduled for the end of January, but fears a rise in violence could disrupt the process.
"I have in mind not only the risk of increased insurgent violence, but also reports of major military offensives being planned by the multinational force in key localities such as Fallujah," Annan wrote in the letter, obtained by The Associated Press.
Kofi, listen carefully and try to comprehend. There are many dangerous people in Iraq right now. They have been waging an unceasing campaign of terror against the population there for decades. The people in Iraq (outside of the Baath party) are tired, beaten down, and sick of the people who are pounding them into the ground. You are one of the people who supported the people who are pounded them into the ground. Therefore, you are not the one whose words they want to hear. Bug out.
America is helping them out of their hole. You won't admit it, and the media refuse to report most of it, but word is leaking out both with our troops rotating back home and from Iraqi and military blogs that things in Iraq are looking very bright indeed.
One of the biggest remaining impediments to Iraqi self-government is the thugs holed up in Falluja, Ramadi and a few other towns. We now have it arranged so all those bastards are in a few concentrated spots and most of the civilians have been cleared out. If you get between our soldiers and those thugs, you will die. Step aside now. Coming through.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
One of the reasons I'm offended by the behavior of the Left is because I am what many would call an "Evangelical Christian". You know, the ones that are so very evil that we're destroying the country. The ignorant hicks. The racists. The uneducated, unwashed masses.
Let's just straighten a few things out. Yes, I do believe in the power of prayer just as President Bush does, and I've prayed for him regularly. I attend church regularly. My faith is important to me, especially the last couple of years as I've found my way back to the church after a decade of agnosticism. Yes, I wish there were more Christians around. No, I don't condemn non-Christians. Quite the opposite. Christ taught that first and foremost we should love our neighbors (Christian or not) as ourselves. Anyone not doing that is not following Christian doctrine.
I don't hate gays, either, and neither do any Christians I know. Yes, that's right. Of all the Christians I know, I don't know A SINGLE ONE that hates gays, at least not openly. Many, perhaps most, of them do not approve of the gay lifestyle, since parts of the Bible teach against it. I personally can accept gays as complete equals, though I oppose gay marriage, mostly on traditional grounds. Marriage has simply historically been consistently defined, across nearly all cultures, as a union of one man and one woman. The only exception I remember is an American Indian tribe I remember seeing a documentary on where they made allowances for a woman to have a "second husband", but I think it was more a sexual arrangement than anything else. I accept that gays should have equal rights, and I would accept some sort of civil union, though I wouldn't actively support it. Most of the rights they complain about (beneficiaries for life insurance policies, employer health insurance, etc.) can in most cases be arranged without more fodder to clog up our laws.
Now to the vicious lies and hatred about us that have come from what I call the "Atheistic Left".
1) Uneducated? Many of the Christians I know hold college degrees. I'm one of them. Many of the atheists/Leftists I know don't. Christians are generally ambitious, industrious people and they're pretty smart on the whole. Don't "misunderestimate" us.
2) I am not racist, and in fact I view race quotas, "Affirmative Action" and other of the Left pet policies as racist. I believe all people of all races should receive equal opportunities, and NOT equal results. Results should depend mostly on their efforts and a little on luck. Handouts based on race are condescending and insulting to the recipients. Any handouts should be based on need and need alone.
3) Snake handlers are freaks. I've never seen it done outside of condescending "documentaries" on Christianity that bore no relation to any flavor of Christianity I've ever known.
4) I love rock music and I occasionally like to dance. I see nothing wrong with either one, though some of the stricter brands of Christianity do indeed frown on both. One of my all-time favorite bands is Kiss. Another is Def Leppard. Even Alice Cooper. Yes, their lyrics are sinful, but anybody who listens to rock music for the lyrics is disturbed. Many evangelical Christians disagree with my assessment of rock music. None of them have condemned me for it.
5) Some Christians Speak In Tongues. I have never seen this, though I know people who take it seriously. I punt on this issue, as I don't know how to handle it, but let's just say I'm skeptical. Different strokes, this is free country and all that.
6) I'm not a hick. I live in a metropolitan area. I love the theater. I love to sit in a coffee shop and sip a latte as much as a liberal, though I prefer deeper and more serious discussions of politics than the typical liberal bush-bashing I've seen in these settings.
7) They've been getting their information about Christians from incidents like this. They need to understand that most Christians will agree that this man is a fruitcake and should be restrained for his own safety and that of his neighbors.
8) It's more a conservative issue than a Christian one, but yes, many of us are gun owners and yes, that's an important issue to us. The second amendment is written into the bill of rights for many reasons, and you can read the federalist papers yourself to see how the founders reasoned it all out, but the fact of the matter is that they considered it a fundamental right. There should be a federal concealed-carry amendment similar to the law passed in 28 (?) states if you ask me. Taking people's guns away is not tamping down violent crime in Britain (quite the opposite) and it won't help here.
9) To me, evolution is simply fact. I don't understand some Christians' resistance to the idea that we share ancestors with the apes, any more than I understand atheists' bashing of some Christians for believing in a literal interpretation of the creation story as put forth in Genesis. I believe evolution is the ongoing mechanism by which God performed and is performing the Creation. There are probably as many interpretations of this as there are Christians. We're not monolithic in that or any other respect.
"Bush sucks" is not my idea of a good conversation. Neither is "These right-wing Christians are wrecking our country". Neither is "these NRA card-carrying tobacco-spitting hicks should not be allowed to vote". I've had four years of vicious invective aimed at conservatives and Christians. I'm not really sure if there's a cause/effect relationship, but during those same four years I've found myself becoming more and more conservative and religious. I do know that their poisonous rhetoric has NOT made me see "the error of my ways", so I hope they haven't been trying to persuade me of anything.
And now, after four long years of endless hatred-spewing, they've bought themselves four more years of the same leadership, and I'm sensing that in spite of their long-running and constant hatefulness, they still have an opportunity to mend some bridges...but they can't expect conservatives to fight and fight and finally win the elections resoundingly almost across the board, and then govern like liberals.
They've painted a picture of liberalism that isn't anything like what I ever want this country to be. Ever. They need to be the ones that reach out, and we'll be happy when they do that to take their hands, shake them, and begin trying to figure out how to steer this ship together. Until then, we'll likely have to do the best we can without them.
It was at a time when I was finding the vicious streak of the Left more fascinating than usual, and the guys there seemed to write their opinions well (though they are by no means opinions I share) so I drop in from time to time. Today I thought I'd catch their reaction to the election, and I found...well, follow the link. I won't be stopping in there much longer, I don't think. My time would probably be better spent quoting from the Bible, handling snakes, speaking in tongues or bashing gays, I guess.
Initial thoughts, if true:
1) The Left will have huge wakes all over the place for their hero. Europe will basically shut down for a few days.
2) Many aren't aware that Arafat basically invented skyjacking. He's the godfather of Atta and friends.
3) Many also aren't aware that Arafat has personally ordered many of the suicide bombings in Israel, both since September 2000 and before. He is probably responsible for more deaths than anybody else in the middle east.
4) He's really, really ugly.
5) He's homosexual (or at least bi, not really sure which), which really doesn't play well with a certain muslim-fanatical segment of his base.
6) There's going to be real trouble among the Palestinians, as they are accustomed to being ruled by one strongman, and Arafat has had all his possible successors killed.
7) Aside from Saddam Hussein, he's probably embezzled more "humanitarian" funds than any other living person. Rumor has it that his wife (the slimy harpy living in Paris) is technically a billionaire. Where do you suppose that money came from?
8) There are very few people in the world that I honestly, literally wish death on. Osama, Saddam, and Yasser are probably about half the list.
UPDATE: Oops. It *is* alive. Now the eater of uncountable cheeseburgers is presuming to know the minds of our dead soldiers (that they're unhappy and we need their forgiveness). I personally believe those dead soldiers on the whole wanted to accomplish the mission. Now that President Bush has been reelected, so we shall. And I shall hold them in far higher honor than Mr. Moore, as I would never cynically use their sacrifices for politics.
•Official: Arafat in Coma
- Arafat Congratulates Bush
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Between now and the inauguration is a time for everybody to adjust their expectations and begin planning for what comes after...namely the Supreme Court confirmation fights that loom. The obstructionist-in-chief was swatted down by his electorate, as per my prediction of yesterday, but I'm not counting on the Democrats learning their lesson there. After all, they didn't learn from their loss in 2000 to nominate more of a centrist, did they? If they'd nominated Lieberman, they'd probably be the ones cheering right now, given the problems Bush has had.
But the Supreme Court is where it's at for this presidency. It's why I was so adamant that Bush HAD to win. The war is important, and may yet become as important as the SCOTUS nominations with benefit of hindsight, but I have the foresight to see that those nominations are going to affect American life for a generation or longer, and we need to be thinking about that.
All I ask of Bush in this regard is that he follow his campaign promise to nominate judges who are strict constructionist. We've had enough of activist judges who legislate from the bench. The course we've been following has to be reversed or we'll all be genuflecting before our robed gavel-weilding masters before long.
The only other thing I'd like to add is that the demonization of the Christian Right I've seen from a lot of Democrats was a big reason they got it stuck to them yesterday, and if they continue their senseless attack on religion and tradition, they will be thrown back again and again until they realize that this country is not Europe. Outside of the Democrats' traditional strongholds in Philadelphia, New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, etc. we love God, we're not afraid to display the ten commandments in public places, we LIKE Christmas trees in the public square, an awful lot of us have real problems with immorality as it is generally outlined in the Bible/Torah, and in general we will abide people with different beliefs from ours as the first amendment demands but we won't allow those people to keep crapping all over OUR beliefs.
And that's about all I really have to say for now on the election. The result speaks for itself, and I have no desire to gloat. I'm just glad it's over, I'm happy with the result, and I hope the next four years brings a little more respectability to the discourse than we've seen for the last four.
UPDATE: I almost forgot to offer my heartfelt thanks to John Kerry for gracefully conceding a hopeless race and saving us all a lot of bitter acrimony. It was the right thing to do and hopefully helped set a conciliatory tone that both sides will use to move forward.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
But I have to admit that the Dems seem to have played straight for the most part, and I respect that. Provided that no problems are turned up later, the fact that they don't seem to have massively cheated prompts me to make the following promise.
If John Kerry somehow pulls this thing out, I won't claim not to be massively disappointed and even somewhat frightened about what his leadership might mean for this country. I think it will be a HUGE step backward for our sovereignty and the progress we've made in the wars against the Baathists and Al Qaeda. But as an American and a huge fan of democracy, my second-most-important job after voting is to accept the results of votes that I don't like. So in the event of a Kerry administration, I'm going to do my damnedest to see in Kerry the things that his voters saw that made them vote for him, and I'm going to really, honestly try to support him in whatever ways I can just as I would Bush.
I honestly hope that Dems are thinking about this too, and preparing themselves to make a similar pledge to peacefully abide by the will of the people as the results become clear tonight, tomorrow or whenever.
It's a whole bunch of stuff just like this that took me, at one time a solid Democrat, and turned me completely around so that I just can't vote for them under any circumstances.
UPDATE: And more...and more.
I can also report that anybody complaining of voter intimidation in MY precinct is full of crap. Further, I can report that the system needs badly to be fixed, because while I was standing in line I figured out several ways I could have cast multiple ballots. I never had to show ID, and they just took my word for it when I told them my ex no longer lived in town and they could take her off the roll. I mean, it happens to be true in my case, but how do they know that, and how did they know I was actually me without checking ID?
Anyway, that aside, I was watching and I saw no sign of any untoward activity at my voting station. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but to listen to the media you would think the voters were being disenfranchised EVERYWHERE. If I was, I didn't see a sign of it, and the turnout was looking good. Too good...I had to wait in line quite a while, which is unusual here.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Now it's beginning to look like Kerry received an other-than-honorable discharge (a discharge that ranks at the midpoint between "honorable" and "dishonorable"). There is no way that I want as president a man who received anything but an honorable discharge. My father got one. Several of my uncles got one to the best of my knowledge. I guarantee you I would have gotten one if they hadn't disqualified me for medical reasons when I tried to enlist during Desert Shield. It's just not that hard if you've done what you were supposed to.
Since it would be so easy for Kerry to clear all this up with one signature, and seeing that he has declined to be open and honest about it, and given the stakes involved, a reasonable person can be forgiven for assuming the worst in the absence of Kerry's cooperation.
Cheers, Dean. You've done a better job here than any of the bigs.
When the terrorists attacked the US on 9/11, Bush's reflex was nearly instant, very strong, and I've always felt just exactly appropriate. I was worried he was going to nuke Afghanistan. He had the political capital to do it and get away with it, too, although history probably wouldn't have been kind. But it was a viable option, and lots of people were screaming for it. He declined.
Instead, he launch the most viciously fast, well-coordinated counterstrike I've ever heard or read about. Afghanistan had this mystique of being impenetrable. The Mujahideen were supposed to be the best fighters in the world. Bush sized things up, and in about a month had fire raining down on the jihadis. AND NOT NUCLEAR FIRE.
The short of it is that when America was attacked, Bush's instinct was to counterattack, and do it as though we meant business. Watchers were to draw the lesson that they should really consider their options before ever attacking us in the future.
In the time between them and now, whenever a new tape surfaced, or some other jihadi had things to say about America, Bush verbally counterattacked the attacker. When things like the Bali bombing, bombings in Israel, and others happened, Bush's instinct was to condemn the perpetrators and do what he could to see that they were captured or killed.
Now we get to Kerry's reflexes on this sort of thing. According to Kerry's own account, his reflexes deserted him for approximately 40 minutes after the attacks, versus the approximately 7 minutes Bush paused while his security detail worked out travel arrangements. Kerry should be attacking the jihadis when they rape schoolgirls in Beslan or bomb a nightclub, but his reflex is to find a way, no matter how weak, and try to cast the event in a light that makes Bush look bad, or even responsible.
Kerry's reflex in '71 was to attack the American soldiers in Vietnam trying to win a war for us with spurious claims of widespread horrors they committed. His reflex in '04 is to attack our soldiers for bumbleheaded incompetence before there's sufficient evidence to say whether they did anything wrong or whether there was even any harm done.
Kerry's reflex with the new Osama tape is to attack Bush instead of Osama...and I now can understand that completely. If you listen to the tape, Osama agrees with Kerry on almost every issue before us today. Whenever someone suggests that the terrorists want Kerry to win, the Dems blow a gasket. They should consider the question when they're in a calm mood and try to truly answer the question, all politics aside. Does Osama prefer that Kerry win?
Of course he does. He's counting on it. If Bush wins, and Osama really is still alive, then his fate will likely resemble Hussein's. Or, preferably, Hussein's sons'.
Some of the comments to that post talk about how they were voting not so much because they loved Bush, but because they wanted to hear the Left scream. I know that feeling well...it's one of my reasons for being such a staunch Bush supporter when I'm a little lukewarm about some of his policy choices.
But that exact feeling is also what impelled me to vote for Jesse Ventura in '98. I hated both the other candidates and Jesse said things that sounded great with that Jesse flair. That was SUCH a great election night, watching the reactions both in Minnesota and around the country, and even the world. For the following year or two, any time one of us Minnesotans travelled, when we met somebody and they found out we were from Minnesota, the reactions were priceless. Some gave us the thumbs-up and a pat on the back. Some sniffed and turned away. Some just called us stupid, or smart, or late for dinner, but everybody had a comment and it was fun.
Aside from all the other reasons I've outlined why I'm voting for Bush, I have to admit that it will be HUGE fun to run into a Brit or German or ESPECIALLY a Frenchie and hear what they have to say about another Bush term. I can't wait.