Thursday, December 30, 2004
Call me a skeptic, but I have a hard time with the idea that a pilot's eyes are just accidentally going to be exposed to lasers. You don't hear of passengers having this sort of trouble, right?
I get a creepy feeling that this maybe isn't terrorists. I think maybe it's Russian, or Chinese, or some other rival power. Anyway, I think we should keep an open mind about who might be perpetrating it.
This does very little to make me feel better about airline security.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Before detailing French statutes making such a preposterous case possible, a brief recap of the Al Durrah hoax is in order. On Sept. 30, 2000, dozens of reporters and cameraman waited around for news as children lobbed stones, Molotov cocktails and heavy appliances from the ground and nearby buildings onto the roof of the only Israeli guard post at Netzarim Junction. In a superb investigative coup, renowned Israeli physicist Nacham Shahaf wrested three hours of raw September 30 news reels from Reuters and the Associated Press. These rushes show very clearly that the Israelis shot only when fired upon, and that Palestinians walked around without fear.
Another important fact shows too: The Israeli post was situated at a very wide angle to the position of Jamal and Mohammed Al Durrah--behind a Palestinian warehouse two times its own height.
In other words, even if the Israelis were filmed shooting, which they weren't, it was physically impossible for them to have wounded either Mohammed or his father Jamal Al Durrah, who were crouched, entirely out of view, behind a barrel topped by a cement cinder block. On the Al Durrah's side, moreover, the barrel has no bullet holes. If bullets penetrated it from the Israeli side, they did not come out.
Do I believe Israel is completely innocent in the conflict? No. No party to any conflict is completely innocent. Israel is surrounded by hundreds of millions of enemies. They have to true ally in the world that I can see outside the US. It would be a miracle if they could have continued to survive this long if they hadn't resorted to...er...alternative means of defending itself, getting information, etc.
Do I believe Israel has been viciously slandered and libeled by dirty bloodsucking whoremongers who have a tenuous claim (at best) to "human" rights? Why, yes. Yes, I do.
It's very, very hard to address the legitimate grievances the Palestinians have against Israel when so many of them turn out to be outright lies. Or maybe Al Durrah's death was "fake but accurate"? That would explain a lot.
I think it's time for the UN (and the EU) to just shut up about the United States and worry about their own stinginess, corruption, sex slavery, and lack of ability to resolve any conflict anywhere with any means. In fact, I'd take it as a kindness if they would just shut up, period. Their constant harping at every step without any accompanying help in getting it right is getting really old, really fast.
I'm not sure I agree with every single one of the "errors", but there are so many of the bullet points that are simple facts not open to interpretation that this will serve as the penultimate example of a transparent attempt at a major whitewash.
I have a Bachelor degree in Mass Communications. I went in for the advertising program, but they made all Mass Comm students take classes in each of the broad concentration categories of print journalism, broadcast journalism, advertising and Public Relations. On this particular issue I know of what I speak (at least far more than the average git on the street) and the following points leap to mind:
1) Dan Rather has disgraced not just himself, and not just CBS News, but the entire concept of journalism as a profession. It could have been just him or just CBS News, but I've seen enough pieces like the one linked to that I need look no further. There's a veritable contest to see who can shit their pants first in an effort to whitewash Rather and CBS. They're circling the wagons.
2) Blogs will change (have already begun to change, really) the entire face of news and information dissemination. The dinosaur media will either roll with these changes or get steamrolled by them. It's their choice, but they should look at what's happening to Rather, how it happened and who made it happen before they decide.
3) In most people's minds--or at least those who have been paying attention--the Rathergate episode took journalism and those who practice it down a notch or two. It's too bad, as it really is a noble profession when handled professionally. Of course, when political reporting is handled professionally, the viewer has absolutely no idea which side the reporter is rooting for. It's been a long time since I saw anything that made me wonder what side the reporter was on.
4) I'm SO glad I decided to ditch journalism and that all this is pretty much academic to me.
That's all I have to say about that.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Here's a much more balanced and well-interpreted narrative of the war against Islamism to date, including how Iraq fits into things. Very, very cool and provides a lot of food for thought. This is the sort of thing I would write if I had any talent for writing.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Monday, December 20, 2004
Oh, you only heard about the question and not that it was planted. Yeah, the media didn't really spend much time covering the fact that a reporter planted the question and then bragged about it to his colleagues. The media is like that a lot. They filter the information so they can throw whatever spin they want on it.
For instance, maybe you never heard that most of the vehicles in that reservists outfit are actually already armored, and the rest were already being efforted as he asked the question. Which makes his question dishonest and a betrayal of his upper command, if you ask me.
No wonder so many people have questions about Rumsfeld. Sure, he makes questionable calls sometimes, just show me a military leader who doesn't. But when he does things right, people just lie about it and say he did it wrong, and make sure those lies are well-publicized. He can't win.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Friday, December 17, 2004
I'll probably continue to post from time to time, but this will likely be a permanent change in character and reduction in posting for the blog. I feel the need to reduce myself to a spectator and consumer of politics so I can put all my energy into other things.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
We may need to just resign ourselves to the idea that maybe there will continue to be terrorist attacks in the Sunni triangle until we finish up the elections, pick up stakes and get out.
I'm glad my people have advanced beyond this stupid tribal crap. Why can't those losers organize their tribal behavior like the Native Americans? Ben can offer a better evaluation of this than I can, but it seems to me that NA tribes are what the Sunni tribes will look like if they ever evolve far enough.
It's also interesting to note that the only Arabs slated to vote in a free election anytime soon are currently living under occupation of either Israel or the United States. You'd think Democrats (except the Saddam-loving Bonior and McDermott, of course), and liberals in general would be celebrating anything that LOOKS like a free election in a world previously dominated throughout recorded history by brutal despots and cruel dictators.
To be fair, some liberals do seem willing to wait and see how it all pans out and some of them even seem cautiously optimistic. But an alarming number seem to take it as a given that it can never happen, or if it does that it won't mean anything. I thought these people were supposed to be the pie-in-the-sky idealists in this equation. I guess they must have shed that mantle, and GWB has picked it up.
And the Dems wonder how it is they lost the election. You know, there was another idealist president a couple of decades ago that astounded people with his electoral and diplomatic victories as well. He too was called "stupid". He was an optimist. He freed millions. He was reviled by both his domestic opposition and overseas, particularly Europe.
It's history all over again, and it's sometimes fun to watch.
LADIES WITHOUT HIJAB, YOU'RE AN ATOM UNDONE,
YOU'VE EXPLODED IN SOCIETY, THE FATALITIES WILL COME.
Or how about this sample of what are many pieces idealizing the hijab:
The hair is the crowning glory of every women.
Our long hair professes our beauty and most powerful of our image.
Our eyes speaks louder than our voice.
Our voice speaks louder than our body.
Our body is the very case of our being.
Our softness is a blessing from Allah, the Creator.
But this beauty becomes a medium for sinful eyes.
Allah is indeed Merciful and our Protector.
Alhamdullilah for Hijab...Niqab...and Burqah...
Truly the identity of every Muslimah.
Hijab, a covering that implies inner and outer modesty.
It is quite impossible to see the inside when one observe the outside.
Hijab is not some kind of culture or racial identity.
Rather our hijab is the identity required by Allah.
Well, actually the hijab IS a cultural identity. One that was invented in the late 60s or early 70s, if my information is correct. I haven't been able to locate a picture depicting anything like the modern hijab in any photo older than that, anyway.
While I'm thinking about it, there's something just a little bit creepy about the sexual repression inherent in Islamism (and in a few of the very strict sects of Christianity). Especially when you've seen, as I have, how Muslim males come to the US for college and sleep around with any American woman who will have them. Then they go back to their home country and screech about the "immorality" of Americans. Note to Islamofascist bastards: if you want to have any credibility in the morality mileu, you should really do something about all the horndogs you keep sending over that constantly give the lie to your preachifying.
Anyway, the "moderate" Muslims better start showing up soon, don't you think? I'm beginning to think they're a little like the yeti, or the Loch Ness monster or something. This site is probably the most moderate one I've seen in awhile, and there's still a lot of not-so-well-hidden nuggets of hatred and backwardness all over the place.
Leonel Arias, 47, told police he was playing a practical joke by donning the Bin Laden mask, toting his pellet rifle and jumping out to scare drivers on a narrow street in his hometown, Carrizal de Alajuela, about 20 miles north of San Jose.
Arias had startled several drivers that way on Monday afternoon. But when he jumped out in front of taxi driver Juan Pablo Sandoval, the motorist reached for a gun and shot him twice in the stomach. He was hospitalized in stable condition.
A guy in a funny mask jumps out in front of where you're driving with a gun. You happen to have a gun with you. So you shoot him. Works for me. Here's my favorite part:
Police declined to detain Sandoval, saying he had believed he was acting in self-defense.
If this had happened in Britain, the guy defending himself would have been thrown in jail forever. Ask Tony Martin. It's not that bad yet in the US, but not for lack of effort on the part of the PC brigade.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
I tend to feel pretty useless when I hear stories like this. I wish they'd just said "what the hell" and let me into the service when I wanted in during Desert Shield. I'd haul my butt over there today too if they wanted me. Note for aspiring soldiers: if you really want in, never under any circumstances tell the recruiter that you've ever had nasal polyps. It doesn't matter how good your test scores are or how much you want in, that one little admission will get you permanently disqualified from all branches.
UPDATE: You know, there's really rather a LOT of good news in Afghanistan. I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that we're not seeing this sort of thing on more front pages.
Friday, December 10, 2004
For almost a decade before Sept. 11, we did absolutely nothing about Afghanistan. A few cruise missiles hurled into empty tents, followed by expressions of satisfaction about the "message" we had sent. It was, in fact, a message of utter passivity and unseriousness.
Then comes our Pearl Harbor, and the sleeping giant awakens. Within 100 days, al Qaeda is routed and the Taliban overthrown. Then the first election in Afghanistan's history. Now the inauguration of a deeply respected democrat who, upon being sworn in as the legitimate president of his country, thanks America for its liberation.
This in Afghanistan, which only three years ago was not just hostile but untouchable. What do liberals have to say about this singular achievement by the Bush administration? That Afghanistan is growing poppies.
Which is like saying that congress of full of lawyers. Duh. And if the opium trade was somehow stamped out tomorrow, they'd be complaining that Afghanistan lacked universal health insurance. If the Left has been reduced to bitching about the opium production levels in Afghanistan, it's an unqualified victory for the Bush doctrine.
I remember VERY WELL how things were in the month between 9/11 and the Afghanistan invasion. I and everyone I knew was kind of edgy. I had trouble sleeping, I fell off my running program for awhile, and I was sort of in shock as my internal political orientation was rapidly changing. We were being bombarded by the media with gloom and doom about the expected follow-on attacks after 9/11. We were assured that we'd never win in Afghanistan because the Soviets, Brits, and everybody else who had tried had been driven out. And even if we did win, the media line went, we'd never be able to force democracy on them at the point of a gun, much like the line we're currently hearing about Iraq. I personally was gearing my expectations for something like 20,000-50,000 US soldiers killed in an Afghanistan campaign.
Well, you know what? We haven't reached 1/10 of the lower end of that range in Afghanistan and Iraq combined after 3 years of fighting. The media basically crapped in their own nest as far as scaring me about casualties...I'm still waiting for their death-and-destruction predictions of the last campaign to be met.
In the meantime, we've introduced democracy to a basket case of a country at the point of a gun, just like we did in Japan and Germany, and just like we're doing in Iraq, and just like the elites keep saying we can't do. The anti-Bushies say "well, just look at all the violence still happening in Afghanistan", to which I say that no, it's not perfect Jeffersonian democracy right out the gate, but the violence is decreasing, our military footprint has been reduced, and stuff like this is starting to happen.
I just wish the anti-Bushies could shut up with their doom and gloom long enough to celebrate a genuine victory for democracy in the war on terror. It's worth celebrating.
The U.N. needs to be either fixed, or crippled so thoroughly that it can no longer harm U.S. interests in the slightest. Whether it is aware of it or not, the "international community" seems to be opting for number two.
He'll get nothing but full, hearty agreement from this corner. And after we're done crippling it, a bullet to the brain to be sure would do just fine.
People all over, and especially in Europe, seem to tend to look at the US and wonder how the hell it is that we became the richest, most powerful country. They claim lots of reasons depending on who you talk to, ranging from us being pure machiavellians to the happy accident of our natural resource allotment to us not playing "fair".
To be honest, yes, there is a touch of Machiavelli about us (but only a touch). We do have a healthy share of natural resources, but no more per square mile or per capita than a lot of poorer and less powerful countries have (witness the energy wealth of the terminally dysfunctional and psychotic Saudi Arabia and Iran, among others). And it can be argued that we don't play "fair", but it can easily--and I believe convincingly--argued that we play about as "fair" as the average country and maybe better.
All that said, I think Glenn has hit on the real differentiator here, and that is the American belief in accountability, made easier for us by our fondness for simplicity. If you make a promise, you keep it. If you're responsible for something, then when things go wrong there will be consequences and repercussions. It's the flip side of the American dream, really. If you're responsible for something and things go very right, throw in a dash of luck and you're a millionaire.
It amazes me, and a lot of Americans, that people line up to defend Annan without even bothering to find out what happened first. $21+ billion (with a B) have gone missing and nobody but us seems to care in the least. They prefer to defend the corrupt leader of the most corrupt organization in history against even having to answer valid questions about what went on under his watch. The UN is completely unaccountable to its constituents or anybody else, and that will, in the final analysis, be its undoing.
Which is really all to the good; we can finally get around to the infinitely more useful business of creating a new replacement organization that demands a modicum of democracy in a country's governance as part of the admission price. And if we're smart, we'll make damn sure that never again can tin pot dictators and despots be in the majority, or even in a position of honor on the international stage.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
If I like it, I think I'm going to contact these guys and set up a franchise here. More needs to be done to shake people up around here.
Hat tip: The Morning Improv
UPDATE: The more I think about this, the more I want to join.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Monday, December 06, 2004
Sunday, December 05, 2004
You can criticize the US military all you want, but they don't run at the first shot or bomb blast, they stick with the mission, and as many Iraqis and Afghans will tell you they often make a positive difference. They help people when they say they will and they don't run brothels that enslave the people they're supposed to be helping. If you were in a war zone, who would YOU rather have coming to your rescue? No blue helmets for me, thanks. Give me GI Joe.
Friday, December 03, 2004
I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm sure the guy is qualified and all, but this just isn't good for the infantile Left who just can't seem to help themselves when it comes to making posters and such for their useless demonstrations.
This almost convinced me to get fish again. Cool.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Election season is over and the major players of the 2004 election can concentrate on their Christmas baking and gift-giving. Everyone loves and agrees on Christmas cookies. Well, not everyone. the country is so divided and no one can agree, even on Christmas cookies...Here's what the faces of the 2004 election might have said about cookies.
George Bush: "We are baking the cookies now whether Europe likes it or not. Tony Blair likes cookies. We are baking cookies because the economy is strong, and deficits are good. These cookies are going in the oven NOW. Don't let the cookies win! Mission accomplished!"
John Kerry: "The UN needs to approve the cookies. I have a plan. I voted for chocolate. I voted against chocolate. I voted for chocolate before I voted against it. Our intelligence on the cookies is faulty. This president has made the cookies more dangerous for America. I can't decide what flavor, but I have a plan."
Dick Cheney: "We are baking the cookies because we won the government no bid cookie contract."
Ann Coulter: "Burnt cookies are always the liberals' fault."
Ralph Nader: "I support cookies because they're environmentally friendly. And I bake all my own too. What else do I have to do in this election?"
Dan Rather: "I swear the Christmas cookie recipe was not forged."
Michael Moore: "I swear too. These are the facts. The cookies being ruined is all Bush's fault. Americans are too fat and stupid and lazy to make coookies anyway. Stupid white men messed up the cookies. By the way, let me have another cookie. Or a dozen. I'm the only expert on cookies."
The New York Times: "George W. Bush jeapardized the safety of the cookies. He caused the cookies to be moved."
John Edwards: "John Kerry is the best man to bake cookies. And if they make you fat, I'll sue the cookie makers. No cookies for the rich!"
And that's all I have to say about that.
Nearly half of Britons in a poll said they had never heard of Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in southern Poland that became a symbol of the Holocaust and the attempted genocide of the Jews.
The results of the survey conducted by the BBC were released on Thursday as Britain's public broadcaster announced it will show a new series next January to mark the 60th anniversary of the concentration camp's liberation.
Just...wow. It's no wonder we disagree with Europe on so many things when they forget their own history. This may help explain why they are so eager to repeat it, as per the previous post. I often wonder why it seems as though America was the only one that actually meant it when we declared "never again".
The only thing I can't figure out here is why the BBC would allow these poll results to see the light of day, as it paints somebody other than America as being deficient in some way. First time for everything, I suppose.
The Groningen Protocol is the proposal of doctors in the Netherlands for the establishment of an "independent committee" charged with selecting babies and other severely handicapped or disabled people for euthanasia.
There will be much discussion about this briefly--longer if the blogosphere can keep mainstream media from sweeping it under the rug--but all you really need to know is right there. Well, that plus the fact, also contained in the linked article, that they don't need the child's or the child's parents' consent to kill the child.
Where I come from, there is a well-known word for "terminating someone's life without their consent", and it is most definitely not "euthanasia". This is like Nazism mixed with 1984-style socialism. The Nazis claimed that a lot of the most gruesome things they were doing were for the victims' own good, too.
I've heard of some Europeans being afraid of the US since 9/11. I can understand how they might feel that way, but they have nothing to fear from us and despite their protestations they know it well or they would have kicked out our troops. But the Europe I learned about as a kid is dying and I'm afraid of the one that's replacing it.