Archive for September, 2006

On Making More Terrorists

Friday, September 29th, 2006

On Making More Terrorists

Regarding last night’s post I really don’t mean to pick on the Hog. His site is one of my favorites, and the points he has made are long overdue. The thing about being tired of the finger-pointing, popular as that sentiment is, I’m just wondering who could possibly be saying this and meaning it. I would have to guess the presumption is, that nothing fruitful is coming from it and nothing can.

Hog’s pattern of thinking is clear to me. Everybody else’s, not so much. I just find it curious that so many people are so fatigued all of a sudden. Conspiracy theorists say the Jews made 9/11 happen, or President Bush did, or space aliens did…we hear the most whacked-out things about this, and nobody says “I’m so tired of this.” Clinton starts acting like some of it may be his fault, through the Shakespeare “doth protest too much” thingy. Details come out, woops, looks like some of it might actually have been his fault…suddenly people are tired of the blame game five or six days later.

Hey look what we got here! “Everybody” thinks the same thing! Nobody can articulate exactly why…the fad is sweeping the nation…and it just so happens to work to the benefit of Bubba. Golly, I’ve NEVER seen that before!

You know what? Here’s something I personally find rather exhausting, and it’s just shifting in to high gear right about…now. We’ve been talking about it all week long.

The global war on terrorism is stoking people into becoming terrorists, therefore we are creating a new generation of terrorists.

Perhaps my tolerance of this tired old cliche would be reinvigorated, if it was put to some intellectual challenge to show there’s something to it. Oh, I know there’s some evidence to back it up…I’m talking about a challenge, which is a little different. The meme actually does get some intellectual treatment in a Weekly Standard article I’ve come to learn about via blogger friend James Bostwick at Newsblog Central. It gets some challenge there…

…and in very, very few other places.

That’s a problem. The problem I’m really having with it, is that if you are a jihadist, you are a nut. Well, I grew up in Bellingham, Washington; I know nuts don’t have to be “stoked.” If you’re a nut, by definition, your gears are already stripped. I say that because of the plain insanity of what you are planning to do. That you would follow through on it, says far more about you than it does about whatever motivated you.

And I frankly don’t care how many people fall into that class. Targeting civilians to make a point, is nuts.

A guy on the radio put it the best way I’ve heard so far: You are never in more danger of being stung by hornets, than when you knock the hornet’s nest down. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

We tried leaving the hornet’s nest up. We tried it. We know where it gets us.

Hornets get pretty pissed when their nest is knocked down. That shouldn’t provide us with an argument for leaving the nest up. What it should do, is make us more and more grateful to the men and women who are closest to the nest — and the leaders who made the decision to knock it down. That would qualify us for the definition I have in mind for the word “civilization.”

Thing I Know #130. The noble savage gives us life. Then we outlaw his very existence. We call this process “civilization.” I don’t know why.

Update 10-2-06: Two elaborate compliments from the blogosphere in rapid succession…for an analogy that I shamelessly ripped off from somewhere else. Hey, I’ll take ‘em. But credit must be redirected toward where it is due. HORNET ANALOGY: It goes to the Armstrong and Getty Show on KSTE, 650KHz. I think…and I’m about 75% sure of this, it’s no guarantee…it was Joe Getty who said this.

There. Now, if the Hornet analogy just takes off like a rocket and sets the “blogosphere” on fire, my conscience will be clean. And you know, if nobody ever comes by to read The Blog That Nobody Reads, that’ll be just fine with me, as long as the analogy finds an audience. Hornets. It’s perfect. Fits like a hand in a glove.

Keep the hornet’s nest up, so no one gets stung? Right over the seesaw or slide on which your kids play?

That’s what the Democrats want us to do. That is exactly what the Democrats want us to do. Pretend the hornets aren’t there…and criticize anyone who makes the slightest noise about taking the nest down.

When They Stop Licking It

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

When They Stop Licking It

I do not agree with this at all, at least, I don’t agree with the main focus of it. It seeks to add mass and momentum to the growing avalanche of opinion that says “I’m so sick and tired of Bush’s people and Clinton’s people pointing fingers at each otherrrrrrrrr!!!!!” as if it’s been going on and on and on for weeks, months, years, no end in sight.

Erm…I don’t get that. I really don’t. The finger-pointing is a product of Clinton’s little hissy fit which took place five days ago. And…”The Path to 9/11″ which began stirring up a lot of huffing and puffing less than a month ago. People people people — for how long did we have to endure the nonsense that was the Plame scandal? And what the hell was that about anyway. Democrats seeking to investigate how a “covert op” got her name leaked to “blackmail” her husband. Really striking a blow for the sanctity of national-security related secrets, those Democrats were. Did anyone, anywhere, believe that?

And yet, what is the finger-pointing about? It’s about looking back on the neglect shown by our leaders — Democrat and Republican alike — as those leaders worked so hard to piously reflect the laziness and ignorance the rest of us had. We’re supposed to “never again” allow 9/11 to happen, and “never forget” that it did. Okay, then. That means every clear-thinking citizen has a 9/11 commission hearing between his left ear and his right. And we look back. Embarrass Bush, embarrass Clinton, emberrass ourselves, emberrass everybody. We all got it comin’. We’re supposed to never again allow it to happen…well, that’s the first step.

So “Hog” and I disagree. I think it’s useful, and I’m not tired of it. Personally, I’ve gone a lot longer than five days, reading about stuff that was far, far less relevant to anything that remotely mattered, to anyone. So I’m not done.

I agree with everything else, though. And this is just plum good writing. Acidic, without working too hard trying to be; likably rustic, without working too hard trying to be; frank and un-subtle, without working too hard trying to be.

Perfect. Really a thing of beauty. Funniest thing I’ve read in quite some time, and not unintentionally so.

…you can’t stand on your chair and fling poo every time a journalist asks you a reasonable and important question. Clinton thinks Wallace attacked him. My response? When the press licks your behind clean every day for 14 years, and one day they stop, it probably DOES feel like an attack. But it’s not.

Clinton feels like he got manhandled. He didn’t, but even if he had been, conservatives are lied about and berated on the air every day. If they can take it, so should he. The big sissy.

It still amazes me that people think Clinton is a super genius. He got into Yale Law School because he drove a senator’s car, and because he came from Arkansas, an area where Ivy League Schools have to search pretty hard to find qualified applicants. He attended Yale on a pass/fail basis because at that time, liberal nuts had done away with grading. He doesn’t have a grade point average. All we know is that he passed. And graduating from law school is no sign of great intelligence.
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Now he has gone on the air and thrown a tantrum, and he made ridiculous statements easily proven false, and after that he was stupid enough to ream out his own staff in the presence of a TV journalist, threatening to fire them, as though it was THEIR fault he had no self-control. Brilliant? Where is the evidence?

That’s just a tiny sampling. Go read the whole thing.

I Hate Bush!

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

I Hate Bush!

Good morning! There are now 845 days before hating President George W. Bush is just as stylish and just as relevant to current events as hating James K. Polk, or Louis XIII of France.

And yet this piece, now three years old, has lost no currency, none whatsoever. That observation is a rather tragic and, one would hope, poor summation of the most advanced civilization in the world, wouldn’t you have to say?

In My World: Bush Haters of the World Unite!
Posted by Frank J. at 07:19 AM

“The meeting of Bush Haters is called to order,” Michael Moore announced, “Jonathan Chait, please read the minutes from the last meeting.”

“By unanimous vote, we declared that we hate Bush,” Chait said as he read from the minutes that were made from hastily writing with a crayon, “Also, by unanimous vote, we declared that we are much smarter than the general populace. By majority vote, it was decided that people were much happier under Saddam than the occupying force led by Bush. We also determined that we will spend more time trying to resolve how Bush can be both extremely dumb and evil and scheming and constantly outsmarting us at the same time. Still open to debate is whether Bush is worse than Hitler.”

“I like Hitler! He kill joos!”

“Oh, I would like to welcome some new members to the Bush Haters club,” Moore said, “but I need to remind our Islamic extremist friends that we refer to Jews here as ‘neo-conservatives’. I think it’s time to open the floor to general fomenting. I’ll start.” Moore took a deep breath and fixed his hat. “I hate Bush!” he screamed, shaking the floor as he jumped up and down, “I’m too busy hating Bush to shave or bathe. And he drives me to eat excessively!”

“You could use some of your eating time to instead bathe,” suggested someone in the audience.

“You shut up!” Moore responded.

After five years of stewardship by an administration the Bush-haters say wasn’t even elected, the upcoming election is about finally — FINALLY — translating their frustration over this “stolen” election into public policy. I guess when they lose elections, they get mad, and when they get mad they compaign and that leads to possibly winning the next election. Fair enough…otherwise disinterested people are persuaded to change their votes out of proxy anger, that’s their right. It’s their vote. And yet, if this process is more representative of the popular will than President Bush himself, how is it that it takes almost six years in a country with two-year election cycles?

And why is it so difficult to collect coherent reasons for hating a President? Yeah yeah, war is not good for children and other living things, and all that. But where is the unifying effect of such a clean and simple hatred? The war has been executed with its share of mistakes, strategic, tactical, and public-relations. How is it that all this other stuff enters into it?

1. In exchange for large U.S. oil companies gaining access to occupied territories, Bush reportedly gave $43 million of your tax dollars to the Taliban in May of 2001 – only 4 months before their September 11th attacks on the United States!

2. Bush had no concern about terrorist attacks on the U.S. before 9/11/01 (see #12 for more info).

3. Bush wholeheartedly supported the infamous “Patriot Act,” which infringes on most of your constitutional rights. In addition, he is an outspoken supporter of the “Patriot Act II.”

4. The Bush Regime failed to protect the people of Baghdad from looting, riots, bombings, and other undue circumstances, following the fall of the city – so that the oil ministry would be heavily guarded by U.S. troops.

5. Bush pulled the United States out of the Kyoto Treaty, a global warming agreement between major world powers, signed in 1997.

6. Bush banned federal aid to any international group offering abortions or abortion counseling, even if their funding from those projects came from other sources. THE HYPOCRISY HAS SPOKEN� although the Bush Regime has been attacking abortion rights in the U.S. too…

7. Bush used his presidential powers to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax for corporations. All taxes paid under the AMT since its 1987 inception were refunded to the corporations. Does anyone else smell Bush’s campaign finance scheme?

8. CRIMINAL ALERT!!! Bush appointed Elliott Abrams to the National Security Council. Abrams was convicted during the Reagan administration for Iran-Contra ties. Do you really feel safe with a convicted criminal helping to oversee national security?

9. Bush proposed to nominate the attorney responsible for the court case that weakened the Americans with Disabilities Act, Jeffrey Sutton, to judgeship in a federal appeals court.

10. Bush turned the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on the U.S. into a scheme to justify severely limiting civil rights and attacking the Constitution (see #3), and to avert public attention from the extreme economic threats the Bush Regime has invoked upon the millions of middle-class, working-class, and poor Americans, while giving break after break to large corporations and rich individuals.

11. Of Bush’s proposed $2 trillion tax cut 43% goes to the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

12. After Bush’s “election” was officially announced, President Clinton requested numerous meetings with Bush – specifically to discuss terrorists threats and making them a priority of Bush’s Regime. Bush refused to meet with Pres. Clinton, but allowed one of his staff “underlings” to talk to Clinton instead. Not surprisingly, Bush never bothered to find out what Clinton had to say.

13. Bush cut $35 million in funding for doctors to receive advanced pediatric training. Is this him saying, “No child left behind, unless they’re ill”??

14. Bush has already packed the federal courts with radical conservative judges – Charles Pickering, Pricilla Owens, and Miguel Estrada – to name a few…

The case against President Bush, as I’ve written before, is plagued with the problem of “Mass Murder and Overtime Parking.” If you believe Bush is guilty of Reason-To-Hate-#1 how can you possibly give a rat’s ass about #11? Reason-To-Hate-#5, has to do with the continuing survival of the entire planet, home to six billion souls. If you believe the President’s actions with regard to the Kyoto Treaty have some relevance, which has extinction-level implications for us, how are #6 and #14 even on the radar?

Well, anyway. I got me a whacky idea. Because it seems to me, the pressing issue of our time is not that President Bush has too much power, or not enough of it; the issue of greatest importance, is that all the other issues are being left unaddressed. Our government is spending way too much money, dirty little men who want to live in the seventh century are trying to kill us, we’re being invaded by illegal aliens, and up to about age thirty the average American is bone-chillingly stupid about American principles — and the English language. Those are our issues. President Bush has something to do with one of them through the Bush Doctrine, which we can continue to debate after he’s gone — he’s absolutely on the wrong side on another two of those, and he’s completely irrelevant to the remaining one.

We shouldn’t be arguing about whether we like him or not. Like him? Isn’t that a personal decision/problem anyway? What on earth could it have to do with an election in the first place?

So here’s my idea. Let the Bush-haters win this one. Their swelling hatred makes them something like an inflating balloon…an inflating balloon in a theater, with something life-impactingly important on the screen, and the balloon right in front of your face. It’s so hard to see what’s going on with them running around — hating. Let them win a midterm, and maybe the balloon will pop. And then we can examine the issues much more worthy of our attention. A nationwide discussion of just one of them, conducted with some honesty on both sides, would be a vast improvement what we have now.

Of course, we should consider the consequences of letting the Bush-haters win. If they win the Senate, Bush will have a much harder time confirming judicial officers like John Roberts and Samuel Alito. The likely victor in such a confirmation process, will more closely resemble such distinguished luminaries as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens. Hmmm.

Well, there’s a problem. I’m not so sure mainstream America supports Ginsburg and Stevens over Roberts and Alito. Sure the fringe left does, but…once these liberal assholes are sworn in and seated, they tend to — how do I put this nicely. They destroy the law. Utterly, completely. The law can say “don’t destroy property” and the liberal judge will want to debate what “destroy” means, what “property” means, and most assuredly, whether the property-destroyer was motivated by social pressures and personal angst that gave him a special entitlement to set cars on fire. Simply put, where they interpret it, there is no law.

So I guess that idea ultimately favors a government governing without law. That doesn’t seem like one of my better ones. Oh well, we could let the Bush-haters have the House instead. The House doesn’t confirm federal officers or sign treaties, instead, it just — controls the purse strings. And what President ever needed a check on his ability to spend money, besides President Bush?

Yes, that’s the ticket. Pop the Bush-hating balloon, and seat a Democratic House that will exercise the financial restraint for which the Democrats have come to be famous…

…oy.

Well, at least we’ll have some more prudent, cool-headed, reasoned people in charge of those all-important House leadership positions.


…yeesh.

*sigh*

Well, you know…sometimes I guess these wild ideas I get aren’t very good. Back to the drawing board.

This Is Good XXIII

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

This Is Good XXIII

Debra Saunders on Bill Clinton’s interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News this weekend, in which the former President demonstrated his performance anxieties all too clearly.

I don’t get it. If Bill Clinton is so smart, why has he made his failure to get Osama bin Laden the big story of the week twice in the last month?

Start with the ABC miniseries “The Path to 9/11.” I never saw it, so all I know about it is that Clinton thought it showed him to be too soft on bin Laden. Oddly, when Democrats were billing themselves as tough on terrorism, Clinton turned the spotlight on his failure to vanquish bin Laden.
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Read Richard Clarke’s book, the former president repeatedly admonished Wallace. Hmm. If Clinton wants to remind voters that his own National Security Adviser Sandy Berger pleaded guilty to sneaking out and shredding three copies of a Clarke memo about the growing terrorist threat in America, well, OK. Twist my arm.

That’s kind of been my problem all along, too. The lefty mindset instructs me to believe that former President Clinton “put Wallace in his place” during the interview, which, I guess, means I’m supposed to observe Clinton’s behavior and then make decisions about his administration’s actions regarding bin Laden. Okay. So I observe Clinton’s behavior, and ask, is this the behavior of someone proud of the actions he took and the decisions he made?

Well Christ on a cracker, are these people watching the same video that I’m watching? He’s saying “the entire military was against” going in and getting bin Laden…so under his leadership, we didn’t do it…sounds to me like a scathing indictment against groupthink. The President relied on consensus, and people died.

I’m just going with Clinton’s side of the story to get that. Those are his words. And that’s his behavior. It seems Bill Clinton has learned his lesson — it’s a real sore sticking-point with him — I just hope we’ve all learned ours.

Come to think of it, it seems to be beyond the point of disagreement, which is really saying something considering how divisive this whole thing has turned out to be — Clinton really did have opportunities to “get” bin Laden in one form or another, that the current President has not had. Well, it’s a matter of fact that under the leadership of Clinton’s successor, we’ve killed a lot of terrorists. How many dead terrorists under Bill Clinton’s watch? Are we ready to achieve agreement and unity on the notion that there’s a link between our safety and our liberty…and lots of dead terrorists? If so, wouldn’t it be nice for our image-conscious former President if he had some dead terrorists he could talk about?

Very Credible Testimony

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

Very Credible Testimony

Larry Sabato, the most quoted college professor in the land, had said earlier on Hardball with Chris Matthews “the fact is, [Sen. George Allen] did use the n-word [in college], whether he’s denying it now or not. He did use it.”

Via Talking Points Memo: Prof. Sabato is presenting himself now, as a second-hand source for this.

One of Virginia’s best-known political analysts says that he had never personally heard Senator George Allen use racial epithets.
But Larry Sabato insists that that claims by former Allen football teammates and acquaintances are valid.

Sabato is the director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. He said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that he didn’t personally hear Allen say the n-word. Sabato went on to say that his conclusion is based on — quote — “very credible testimony.”

Sabato was a classmate of Allen’s at the University of Virginia in the early 1970s. Yesterday, he said on M-S-N-B-C’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” that he knew Allen had used racial slurs, but declined to say whether he had witnessed them.

Allen is a Republican running for a second U-S Senate term and has been mentioned as a presidential contender. His campaign said yesterday that Sabato’s claim was inaccurate.

Allen campaign manager Dick Wadhams says the campaign is obviously glad that Sabato clarified his comments.

The allegations against Sen. Allen have been compared to “Swift Boating,” a reference to the 527 group of Vietnam veterans who had mobilized two years ago to fight John Kerry’s bid for the Presidency. There are some similarities; the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth advanced the notion that Sen. Kerry did not truly earn his three purple hearts during his brief tour in that war. Those who criticize Senator Allen, therefore, are saying certain things happened three decades ago, just as the Swift Boat Vets were saying certain things happened 36 years ago in ‘Nam. Another similarity: Those who wish to follow the Allen controversy, are called upon to exert a little bit of mental effort just to figure out what’s first-hand testimony and what’s second-hand, for things are not always what they seem to be. It seems many among the Swift Boat Vets shared the river with the Massachusetts Senator during one of the conflicts in question but not the boat. The Kerry campaign, you may recall, had sought to advance the argument that this made for some kind of a problem, although I recall much of what the Swift Boaters had to say concerned the nature of the conflict, not so much with Sen. Kerry’s actions during that conflict.

Well, people seem to be forgetting the comparison itself has some problems. What the Swift Boat Vets wanted to tell us, had to do with a war…George Allen’s critics seek to tell us unseemly things about the Senator’s character and beliefs, based on things he was supposed to have said and done a few years ago. The thing of it is, if Sen. Allen was a racist then, he’s probably a racist now — otherwise, what would be the concern?

And if that’s the case, can someone find some anecdotal evidence with a little bit of freshness to it? Maybe some wisecrack he made last year, or the year before?

Anyone who takes that rhetorical question and turns it around, attempting to apply it to Sen. Kerry’s conundrum with the Swift Boat Vets, would necessarily leverage their position with the argument used to spring a child rapist or a chainsaw-murderer from the pokey based on his “good behavior” in jail. Good behavior is fine and good…there are no children in jail. At least, I hope, not in a jail to which a child rapist would be sent. There are no chainsaws in jail. What is good behavior, if it’s just an absence of the kind of behavior that cannot be exercised anyway?

Sen. Kerry hasn’t ended any tours in Viet Nam lately by manipulating the system for a quick deluge of purple hearts. He hasn’t been called on to go on such a tour lately.

Sen. Allen is accused of throwing around the N-word. You know, you can do that anytime you want.

Sabato has just proven that there are some people involving themselves in this issue, persuading others that they heard something first-hand, that they really didn’t. He’s proven that because he’s shown himself to be one of those people. How many others are there?

Makes Me Sad

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Makes Me Sad

You know what really makes me sad about this?

Nora Ephron: Socks
Mon Sep 25, 4:08 PM ET

What surprised me most about the Clinton meltdown yesterday was that no one told him to pull up his socks. This is a man who never goes anywhere without staff, lots of staff. Was there no one there to see that his pants were hiked up too high and his socks were pulled down too low and the flesh on his legs was showing? Can no one say things like this to the former POTUS?

So Bill Clinton was sandbagged by Chris Wallace…How does it happen? How does one of the smartest men ever elected president end up sandbagged by Chris Wallace? Is this what one docudrama does to the guy? I don’t think so. I’m afraid this is classic Clinton, Clinton the monologist, Clinton the guy who used to keep his White House houseguests up until 4 a.m. while he went on and on about what the press was doing to him. What a waste…

Clinton should simply have answered Wallace’s question. He should have said that he went after Bin Laden and that if Al Gore had been elected (which he was) we probably would have killed him and 9/11 would never have happened…Come on, guy. Pull up your socks.

It’s not that Nora Ephron has hit the nail on the head, that former President Clinton is a man obsessed with image; that his capacity for dealing with substance has been seriously questioned, and his way of dealing with the questions is just more maneuvering to safeguard his image. It isn’t that Ephron has captured this conundrum, and then gone on to speculate that with Al Gore in the White House, bin Laden would be dead already. Great forensic prowess there, Nora. Great crystal ball ya got there. Based on what, may I ask?

President Gore would have sternly lectured bin Laden to not ever do that again, formed a commission to study the greenhouse gas emissions from Ground Zero, and then called a press release to announce that Al Gore invented skyscrapers in the first place.

No, the source of my sorrow is this:

The socks cannot be categorized as a marginal detail, or as something irrelevant. It’s not as if nobody cares. Clinton would care. Based on what I have seen of Bill Clinton over the last fourteen years, Bill Clinton would have valued this advice above and beyond anything that might have had to do with saving lives.

Ex-President Clinton says he came closer to rubbing out Osama than anybody before or since. Now I gotta ask: To what kind of mindset is this worthy of comment? Is it even possible to remain sincerely committed to killing bin Laden, or even stopping him — and then paying the slightest bit of attention, whatsoever, to how close you got to hitting him?

How many hot summer days have you sat around watching TV trying to kill that one stubborn housefly, swatter in hand. Whack, whack, whack, whack. The fly’s just a little too quick, a little too smart. Ever start arguing about who got closest to killing the fly? Ever? Has that subject ever come up? Your flyswatter was two inches away, my flyswatter was half an inch away, I got closer than you did. Can such an argument take place among people who really want that fly dead?

That’s what makes me sad. In the Clinton era, the guy who calls on the President to say, “I know what you can do with your footwear to enhance your public image” is granted an immediate audience. That guy will probably end up going jogging with the President…or at least jogging-in-place while the Commander in Chief runs inside McDonald’s, or Gennifer Flowers’ apartment. Once President-42 re-emerges, they’ll go back to jogging and talking about footwear and trouser length.

And the guy who says “I know what we can do to get bin Laden” is left in the waiting room while someone goes to check to see if President Clinton is available. ALL DAY. Even Clinton’s fans, will not seek to assert it will happen any other way.

I don’t blame Clinton. People who care more about image than substance, have always been around, and they’ll always be around. I blame the people who support him. The people who argue on his behalf, injecting all their hatred toward the current President into every chat room they can find — further propagating the meme about “Clinton kept us safe” and “Bush lied, people died.” The people who know, without a doubt, that this is all about image. That Clinton gave a great interview, because of how it made them “feel.” How he “stood up” for himself and for Democrats everywhere. The people who always have to get in the last word. And yet they know, intuitively, down to the marrow of their bones…

…it was NEVER about stopping any terrorists. That was all, and it remains, just a big game of pretend.

They know this. Craven, cowardly liars, every damn one of them.

Not Articulated Outright II

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Not Articulated Outright II

Just amazing. Two little pieces of news arising naturally from developing events: Rumors of Osama bin Laden being dead, and a string of polls indicating President Bush’s approval rating is headed upward. Seems like a given that the former will have a further effect on the latter…but the readings we have on the current President’s popularity, are already pretty positive, presumably without that effect even setting in just yet.

And from those, we get three pieces of news arising artificially as media-driven things, from acts deliberately undertaken by people. Clinton throws his hissy-fit on Fox, someone leaks a report from the spooks at 16 agencies to the New York Times…and John Kerry writes an editorial As is usually the case when things come up to make President Bush look somewhat good, the sense of urgency the Democrats have in getting their word out, is nothing short of explosive. It borders on the hysterical. It borders on the prissy.

Losing Afghanistan
We’re not adequately fighting the war we should be fighting.
BY JOHN KERRY
Monday, September 25, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

As we marked the fifth anniversary of the worst attack on American soil, there was enormous discussion of the lessons of 9/11. But after the bagpipes stopped, and news coverage turned to other issues, perhaps the first lesson of that day seemed quickly forgotten: We cannot allow Afghanistan to become a terrorist stronghold and a staging ground for attacks on America.

If Washington seems to have forgotten Afghanistan, it is clear the Taliban and al Qaeda have not. Less than five years after American troops masterfully toppled the Taliban, the disastrous diversion in Iraq has allowed these radicals the chance to rise again. Time is running out to reverse an unfolding disaster in the war we were right to fight after 9/11.

Senator Kerry’s conclusions rest on a central premise, the entertainment of which is necessary for curious mind wishing to follow his argument — but which he will not articulate outright. The premise doesn’t make enough sense for him, or anyone else with a reputation worth protecting, to do so.

The premise has to do with this “staging ground” thing. I’m ready to call shenanigans on the whole thing. For it to make sense, the following must happen:

Men want to commit terrorist acts and kill Americans. They have no regard for innocent civilian life, and are sufficiently determined and resourceful to make it happen — but not without a staging ground. Okee dokee. They find the staging ground, we’re in danger, and if they don’t we’re not.

This is what you have to believe to sustain Senator Kerry’s argument. The gears these evil men have in their heads that have been long ago stripped, by…whatever. Their homicidal tendencies. Their nuttiness. Their willingness to follow others without thinking for themselves. Those things do not make a deadly terrorist act likely — or at least not much. Toss in a training ground or staging area, and whoa! Now we’re in some real trouble.

It’s the same kind of thinking you have with the gun control thing. Bad guy wants to kill you for your wallet — this doesn’t put you in danger. But he’s got a gun, and now, uh oh, you’re in trouble. With his psychopathic tendencies, his rap sheet, his freedom…without the damn gun, that would all be okay.

It’s not the disrespect for human life that puts innocent people in danger. It’s the equipment. Terrorists have a staging ground already, or other terrorists are looking for one. This makes some kind of enormous difference.

Does anyone anywhere believe that? For reals? Like they’d bet testes on it? A lot of people are willing to say so…or, not say so…just kind of suggest it in a weasely sort of way.

This monotonous drumbeat has been going on for years. Time to call bullshit on it and see if there’s something to it or not. How I’m going to go about doing that, I don’t know, but if someone were to simply step forward and assert this is the case it would be a dandy first step. Well…I’m waiting. So is America.

Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… XIX

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… XIX

I have nothing further to add to this piece…except I’m a little sorry there’s a necessity for pointing it out. People everywhere, smart, dumb, patriotic, otherwise, everything in between — should have already realized this without reading it somewhere. Let posterity forget they were my countrymen. I’ll say nothing further.

The “Bravery” of Keith Olbermann, et al.
Posted by: Dale Franks on Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You know, I don’t mind it when people say outrageous things. I don’t really mind when people engage in a little overstatement for polemic effect. But it strikes me as a little stupid when people make outrageous statements in which they clearly don’t believe.

McQ’s Olbermann post got me to thinking about this a little bit. For instance, there are people on the left who declaim that George W. Bush is setting up a theocratic fascist state. Then, in the next breath, they discuss whether they want Hillary Clinton or whoever to become president in 2008. You cannot simultaneously believe that Chimpy McBushitlerburton will impose a fascist theocracy, and that there will even be an election in 2008. One of these two things cannot be true. And frankly, no one who is even remotely serious believes that George W. Bush will do anything other than go back to Texas in January 2009.

Similarly, Mr. Olbermann knows that he is, in fact, permitted to disagree with the Bush Administration. He has no fear whatever about spouting off with his views on (theoretically) nationwide television. Moreover, he knows, beyond any doubt, that the Secret police won’t be knocking on his door at 2:00 am to drag him off into the nacht und nebel, never to be heard from again. He knows that he can say anything he wants, without fear of reprisal.

So let’s not get all giddy over Mr. Olbermann’s “bravery” at “speaking truth to power”. Bravery requires risk, and, as Mr. Olbermann knows to a certainty, he risks nothing.

Read the whole thing

Bill Clinton’s Excuses

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Bill Clinton’s Excuses

Byron York, writing for the National Review Online today, does something awfully mean to former President Clinton’s position propped up by that temper tantrum last night (recorded Friday, as I understand). He…just checks out the facts. Not pretty.

Bill Clinton�s Excuses
No matter what he says, the record shows he failed to act against terrorism.
By Byron York

�I worked hard to try and kill him,� former president Bill Clinton told Fox News Sunday. �I tried. I tried and failed.�

�Him� is Osama bin Laden. And in his interview with Fox News� Chris Wallace, the former president based nearly his entire defense on one source: Against All Enemies: Inside America�s War on Terror, the book by former White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke. �All I�m asking is if anybody wants to say I didn�t do enough, you read Richard Clarke�s book,� Clinton said at one point in the interview. �All you have to do is read Richard Clarke�s book to look at what we did in a comprehensive systematic way to try to protect the country against terror,� he said at another. �All you have to do is read Richard Clarke�s findings and you know it�s not true,� he said at yet another point. In all, Clinton mentioned Clarke�s name 11 times during the Fox interview.

But Clarke�s book does not, in fact, support Clinton�s claim. Judging by Clarke�s sympathetic account � as well as by the sympathetic accounts of other former Clinton aides like Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon � it�s not quite accurate to say that Clinton tried to kill bin Laden. Rather, he tried to convince � as opposed to, say, order � U.S. military and intelligence agencies to kill bin Laden. And when, on a number of occasions, those agencies refused to act, Clinton, the commander-in-chief, gave up.

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We’re All Such Independent Thinkers II

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

We’re All Such Independent Thinkers II

On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina striking the gulf coast, I wrote about what the occasion meant to me, which had to do with independent thinking.

You have to learn from experience to be an independent thinker. You have to admit when you’ve been duped.

And the sad fact is, most people don’t do this. Most people haven’t even spent time in an environment where they can be duped…and, subsequently, be placed in a situation where they’ll be forced to admit that’s what happened. Most people are cloistered within happy lifestyles in which they can be duped, blissfully, six different ways before breakfast, and never become aware of it.

I can prove this easily.

A society chock full of critical thinkers…we wouldn’t have, or tolerate, anniversaries of terrible events like Hurricane Katrina. What in the BLUEFUGG is the point of an anniversary? It is nothing more than a commandment from a layer of elites way-on-high, down to the dirty-unwashed commoners, to spend lots of time thinking about a certain thing, masquerading beneath a costume of “news.”…The hurricane isn’t happening. This is not news; it simply isn’t.

Of course, I would have to add that the critique about being cloistered, applies to all of us. Except for those who of us make decisions about things, unilaterally; things that come back to haunt us. Things we can blame on nobody else. It seems as the generations trickle on past, this is a situation from which more and more of us are being spared. And that’s not a good thing.

The people who are supposed to bring us facts — and, instead, are becoming energized and skilled in bringing us their opinions, which are not facts — have raised questions about their worthiness of our trust. They are placed under no supervision which could address these questions; the First Amendment, as we understand it, forbids such supervision. Is that a good thing? Maybe. But the questions still remain unaddressed. And they’re getting bigger.

Late Friday or early Saturday, reports began to trickle in that Osama bin Laden may be dead, and I commented that…

If this is true, our current President can claim just as much credit for getting bin Laden, after all, as the previous U.S. President can claim for the balmy economic climate of the 1990′s. Happened on his watch and all that.

Well, now. Nobody ever reads this blog, of course. But maybe this one time, somebody did. Here it is Sunday morning, and lookee, lookee what we have here…from our oh-so-unbiased and objective media, cleansed and purified of the tiniest scintilla of any personal agenda in the election of our leaders whatsoever.

America’s spy agencies have concluded that the invasion of Iraq has created a flood of new Islamic terrorists and increased the danger to US interests to a higher level than at any time since the 9/11 attacks.

This grim assessment is provided in a classified intelligence document called the National Intelligence Estimate, large parts of which have been leaked to the New York Times. The report is the largest US intelligence survey of the global terror threat carried out since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. [emphasis mine]

Now, look at what you have going on here. Assume for the sake of argument, God pops out of the sky and says, “that bullshit the media have been telling you about how they are oh-so-unbiased and objective…that’s true. I have been deploying my Angels of Unbiasedness, as each journalist has been hired on to each newspaper, from the New York Times down to the tiniest little Mayberry Gazette wannabe, and purified from their conciousnesses any and all political leanings to the left or the right. They speak truth. They are objective in all political events, and it is My doing.” Suppose we had some iron-clad evidence like that, that there is no such thing as a reporter or editor who wants an election to come out a certain way. Never happened.

Suppose, further, that the “spymasters” as the article goes on to call them (and Democrats) are correct and that Iraq is a breeding ground for terrorism. This isn’t an issue with terrorists already converted to terrorism, looking around the world for a place to train and a way to strike the U.S., and in 2003 going “Aha! We can do it over here, let’s go!” No, let’s suppose these are peaceful goat farmers and fennel farmers and what-not, living out their lives, and since the invasion of Iraq they decided to get into the terrorism biz. That George Bush and his idiotic policies are making more terrorists. Okay…

Iraq’s been a breeding ground for quite awhile, then, right?

The “spymasters” have known this for a couple years, at least, right?

Six weeks from Tuesday, we got a midterm election. Friday night’s news might, just might, have created hundreds of thousands of voters who might have changed their outlook on what the Bush administration has achieved over the last three years. “Where’s Osama?” has been a favorite mantra among the Democrats and other assorted Bush-bashers, Move-on-dot-org-sters, Michael Moore America-haters and anarchists, etc. If Osama is really room temperature, this would be the crumbling of a keystone in the delicate liberal power structure. Can’t have that.

Can’t have that, says who? The unbiased reporters and editors? No! God said they’re perfectly objective and just want to give us facts! And yet…somebody has a bias. Article says the report has been leaked. IT SAYS SO. Look at what they’re leaking. It could have been leaked any time. Why now?

The White House and senior Republicans often say their tough line has made America safer over the past five years. This report indicates that America’s spymasters disagree with that opinion, and its findings could embarrass President George Bush in the run-up to November’s crucial midterm elections.

Uh, YEAH. Ya think?

Okay, then…let’s summarize what we’re supposed to believe here. Our journalists are paragons of objectivity, and the spooks cannot be that. Not when it comes to figuring out when to leak stuff, and what to leak…not unless you want to advance the notion that the timing is a coincidence. But as far as the stuff the spooks are leaking, how they came to put the report together, and the data that went into it, the spooks are honest and clear-headed thinkers, who only seek truth. They start to form an agenda about how our elections should turn out, ONLY, when they figure out what to do with the report when it’s put together. And, of course, when. They sit on the classified info like they have sworn to do, and when something comes along that might offer just the slightest chance of making the President look good, they pick something to leak, and out it goes.

At this point, though, if I choose to believe “news” is “objective,” I must necessarily maintain that objectivity is decided by the intent of the editor who put it together, and the reporter who got it…both of them objective and unbiased. The guy who gave it to the reporter is either biased as hell — or has a knack for timing. But I can still believe what I read. Anybody want to go for that one?

What the hell good does it do us if the reporters are objective? How does that even matter? We’re being led down a path. I can’t wait to see someone try to address this, and provide a sound argument to the effect that we’re not.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form XVI

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

Imitation is the Sincerest Form XVI

At the beginning of last month I had advanced the notion, abjuring any credit for coming up with it on my own, that there was an important but little-discussed cause for MMGW (this blog’s acronym for “man made global warming”). Supposing for the moment that MMGW is a reality, the thing we’re doing to cause it has nothing to do with driving cars or using deoderant, but rather, yelling at each other. Specifically, I blamed the liberals for being a bunch of hotheads during precisely the same timeframe they wanted to bitch and bellyache and kibitz and piss and moan about President Bush causing hurricanes.

We have discovered the real cause of global warming. And it is the anger and nastiness of liberals. It’s rising up into the atmosphere, and acting like a greenhouse gas.

Makes perfect sense. What is the timeframe of global warming, after all? Ostensibly, it is a phenomenon gradually setting in since the industrial revolution, but it has really started to peak in the last handful of years. The hottest year on record, I’m told, was 1998 — that was the hear move-on-dot-org got started. In 2001, liberals were driven out of all the branches of government because we were sick and tired of them. The liberals got angry, and accused the elections officials of shenanigans. The accusations were checked out, and smacked-down; the liberals got angrier.

Now, I don’t know if Peggy Noonan reads my blog. I would suspect hardly anybody does. But how, then, do you explain this gem which appeared on Opinion Journal yesterday morning.

This is what I was thinking as I walked this week along the siren-filled streets of New York: The temperature of the world is very high.

We have a global warming problem, and maybe it’s due to an increase in the output of heated words. And they too can, in the end, melt icecaps.

“The Pope must die.” “The Holocaust is a lie.” “I can still smell the sulfur.”

The last of course from the democratically elected president of the republic of Venezuela, population 26 million, which helps keep America going economically by selling it, at significant profit, oil.

Noonan’s point is that as crazy as the Venezuelan asshole’s words are, in deciding to ignore those words the administration is making a mistake. Crazy or not, she says, the words were heard and therefore they demand a response.

On this, I disagree with Ms. Noonan. Mister Asshole has demonstrated not that there is validity in the words he has uttered, but rather, that there was an urgency involved in him getting them said. To believe the former, barring some outside evidence you would have to believe that all spoken things must necessarily be true; whereas to believe the latter, you simply have to recognize someone took the time and trouble to speak them. Which, as a matter of fact, is…a matter of fact.

If the White House does plan to take Peggy Noonan’s advice, I recommend the response be limited to the five words of wisdom brandished by Atticus Finch: “Do you really think so?” The wisdom of anyone, be they powerful or otherwise, answering in the affirmative must be opened to new or renewed inspection. If not their wisdom, then surely their sanity. George Bush is The Devil? Really?

Old Nick is doing a rather piss poor job of things, isn’t he? Isn’t the Prince of Darkness supposed to be soothing us with an intoxicating elixir, so that his every whim is carried instantly, effortlessly, to the farthest corners of creation, so that all of humanity save for the most dedicated worshippers of God are lulled into everlasting submission to mankind’s greatest enemy?

President Bush chokes on a pretzel, and we have a nationwide scandal. Pres. Chavez’ ideas simply don’t stand up to scrutiny. To simply take them seriously, is to do them irreparable damage in the arena of ideas. So to leave them unaddressed, impresses me as an effective strategy.

But I agree with the thing about heated words causing the global warming. I said it first, and someone else said it before I did. Maybe Peggy read something from whoever else it was. Maybe she came up with it on her own. Not very likely that she read it here…but it’s fun to think so. I’ll go with that one.

I’ve been robbed, but I’m not calling the police. I’m quite flattered.

Rangel

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

Rangel

It’s so sad we’ve had to wait five years, give or take, to see some of this. But I’m glad it’s finally here.

“I want President Chavez to please understand that even though many people in the United States are critical of our president that we resent the fact that he would come to the United States and criticize President Bush,” said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.

If we go to the Congressman’s website, we see he is, in the words of Jack Woltz, “even more frank.”

I want to express my extreme displeasure with statements by the President of Venezuela attacking U.S. President George Bush in such a personal and disparaging way during his remarks at the United Nations General Assembly.

It should be clear to all heads of government that criticism of Bush Administration policies, either domestic or foreign, does not entitle them to attack the President personally.

George Bush is the President of the United States and represents the entire country. Any demeaning public attack against him is viewed by Republicans and Democrats, and all Americans, as an attack on all of us.

I feel that I must speak out now since the Venezuelan government has been instrumental in providing oil at discounted prices to people in low income communities who have suffered increases in rent as heating oil prices have risen sharply. By offering this benefit to people in need, Venezuela has won many friends in poor communities of New York and other states. I am surprised that American oil companies have not stepped up to provide that kind of assistance to the poor.

Venezuela’s generosity to the poor, however, should not be interpreted as license to attack President Bush. Those who take issue with Bush Administration policies have no right to attack him personally. It was not helpful when President Bush referred to certain nations as an “axis of evil.” Neither is it helpful for a head of state to use the sacred halls of the United Nations to insult President Bush.

That’s a class act right there, Congressman. You can argue with me about President Bush and call me a big ol’ stupid-head for re-electing him, all you want. So long as our disagreement stops at the water’s edge, you’re all right in my book. Y’know…to a point, anyway. Kudos to you.

Bin Laden Dead?

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

Bin Laden Dead?

A French newspaper is saying Osama bin Laden might have died last month from typhoid in Pakistan.

A French regional newspaper quoted a French secret service report on Saturday as saying that Saudi Arabia is convinced that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan last month.

L’Est Republicain printed what it said was a copy of the report dated September 21 and said it was shown to President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and France’s interior and defense ministers on the same day.

“According to a usually reliable source, the Saudi services are now convinced that Osama bin Laden is dead,” the document said.

“The information gathered by the Saudis indicates that the head of al Qaeda was a victim while he was in Pakistan on August 23, 2006, of a very serious case of typhoid which led to a partial paralysis of his internal organs.”

If this is true, our current President can claim just as much credit for getting bin Laden, after all, as the previous U.S. President can claim for the balmy economic climate of the 1990′s. Happened on his watch and all that.

Update: Just a tad bit more information in this story from MSNBC.

Well, That Was Lame III

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

Well, That Was Lame III

Via Boortz: For the good of the GOP, the White House and the treacherous traitors in the Senate have kissed and made-up. Perhaps the last shot has been fired in this little fracas. In the article that describes the compromise, one statement jumps out and makes me want to vomit one more time.

The agreement contains concessions by both sides, though the White House yielded ground on two of the most contentious issues: It agreed to drop a provision that would have narrowly interpreted international standards of prisoner treatment and another allowing defendants to be convicted on evidence they never see.

The accord, however, explicitly states that the president has the authority to enforce Geneva Convention standards and enumerates acts that constitute a war crime, including torture, rape, biological experiments, and cruel and inhuman treatment.

The agreement would grant Congress’ permission for Bush to convene military tribunals to prosecute terrorism suspects, a process the Supreme Court had blocked in June because it had not been authorized by lawmakers.

During those trials, coerced testimony would be admissible if a judge allows and if it was obtained before cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment was forbidden by a 2005 law. Bush wanted to allow all such testimony, while three maverick Republican senators John McCain of Arizona, John Warner of Virginia and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had wanted to exclude it. [emphasis mine]

Maybe not in my lifetime, but perhaps in the lifetime of my son and my grandchildren: Historians will look over the rusty wreck of what once was America, and wonder when the whole thing jumped the shark. They’ll decide the turning point was the Chief Justiceship of Earl Warren, 1954-1969. The decade-and-a-half in which the law stopped thinking about what happened, and began to worry excessively about what could be proven to have happened, according to…rules? They started out that way. Rules. Nowadays, there isn’t much logic involved in them. The important thing doesn’t seem to be what the rules actually are, but that they’re simply there. That there’s resistance, as much as possible. They’re more like obstacles on a miniature golf course. Barricades. Resistance for resistance’s sake.

Up until then, justice had something to do with truth. Chief Justice Warren unmoored the boat of justice from the dock of truth. Since then, year by year, traitors to truth like McCain Warner and Graham, push the boat farther away as the “Fuck The Establishment” crowd cheers them on; whoever tries to bring the boat in, and put Truth and Justice in the same sentence, is pilloried and excoriated. We’ve seen that. And now, after generations of politicians re-defining justice to bolster their approval ratings, between truth and justice, there’s no overlap; none at all. There is the question of the defendant’s guilt or lack thereof, and there is the question of what will happen to him. Nobody even expects one to have an affect on the other anymore. Guilty guys in jail? Innocent men being set free? Maybe it’ll happen, maybe not. Why would you expect it. This isn’t Dodge City, and Marshall Matt Dillon is dead as dead can be.

If a bad guy is a bad guy and we know he’s a bad guy, the paramount question is no longer whether he’s a bad guy or not, but whether his badness was established according to vague, ethereal rules. Sensible rules, or not…who knows…but unwritten, and predictable as a bouncing football. McCain/Warner/Graham and their sympathizers, instruct me to believe that the rules define “what America is all about.” But nobody really knows what they are, and nobody’s really supposed to. They define what the country is all about, the way the tax code defines what the country is all about. A hundred accountants will give you a hundred answers, and nobody thinks otherwise.

It’s supposed to be about upholding rights. But you can tell that isn’t it. Such an exercise would be a balancing act. But the black-hearted, cockfaced RINO triumvirate of McCain/Warner/Graham don’t behave as people do when they’re engaged in a balancing act. They don’t walk the way a man does when he’s on a tightrope; the knee-wobbling, the hip-jiggling, the surgical precision, these things are absent just as they were in Earl Warren’s time. Their struggle is unidirectional.

Because of course, those rules are never more glorious than when they are interpreted broadly. This kind of brain surgery isn’t done with a scalpel, instead the instrument at hand is an exploding grenade.

It’s all about making a legacy. I say to myself, if an exclusionary rule didn’t apply when I got this cool job, and now it does, gee whiz I just accomplished something. And if there was such an exclusionary rule, and under my watch it has been expanded, gee whiz then I, too, accomplished something. These legislative and judicial officers are supposed to be advancing both interests — bringing bad guys to justice and ensuring our civil liberties stay intact. But nobody ever achieves “hero” status through this balancing act in which they’re supposed to be engaged. No, the guy who expands the exclusionary rule is cheered with a virtual ticker-tape parade — inevitably, unwaveringly, assuredly — even as the bad guys are let out into the street for lack of evidence to hold them under the new rules. And his counterpart, who swings the pendulum the other direction by narrowing the exclusionary rules…he is booed and hissed. Again, without exception. He “curtailed our civil liberties,” after all.

So, balancing act my ass. That’s what these politicians are supposed to be doing, but they’re not balancing a damn thing. They’re whittling something away, generation after generation like water on a rock, until there won’t be any more of it.

And so, we have to release more and more bad guys, and find new, creative, innovative ways to release bad guys, to thunderous applause. Keep in mind, it only counts if logic is molested. To release a good guy who was really falsely accused, wouldn’t count, because America has always been a place where the accused enjoy the benefit of the doubt. There’s no novelty in saying “Here’s your exculpatory evidence, now you must release him” — rather a cliched, Hollywood fairy-tale by now. No, to get the adoration of the cheering masses, you have to release scum. You have to flood the streets with people that common sense says, really committed the crimes of which they are accused. Because a “new” law that fails to buck common sense, wouldn’t pack the punch. It wouldn’t have that special zing. It wouldn’t stick it to Da Man.

Go back and read that bolded fragment one more time. McCain/Warner/Graham wanted to exclude evidence…so you have evidence that says Ahmed wanted to blow something up, the RINOs say you can’t present it, and if that means Ahmed walks then he walks.

Because, I guess, that’s the “American” way of doing things.

For how long, I wonder?

2002 Floral Flag

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

2002 Floral Flag

Picture was taken out near Vandenberg AFB. Made up of Larkspur plants, and yes…there are fifty stars, each with five points.

Simply amazing.

Update: Don’t drive there…not just yet. According to satellite photos on Google Maps, the flag isn’t there. One of the guys in the office thought he dug something up that said the flag reappears year-to-year since WWII, and what you see above was planted only over the 2002 season. Photo to the left indicates where you would have found it, assuming I’ve lined up the landmarks correctly. Which seems like a safe bet.

The flag would have measured 740 feet on the longest side, covering six and a half acres. That would have to be a crapload of water, and I’m sure the time and effort invested in maintaining it day-to-day would quickly surpass the aleady mind-boggling task of designing the flag and somehow figuring out where all the seeds are supposed to go. It’s “flown” by the Bodger Seed Co. in Lompoc, CA, and you can read more about it here.

Even today, nobody says anything nasty about flying Old Glory if the flying involves a little bit of inspiration, creativity and hard work. The carping and sniping is reserved for the “flying” that is relatively effortless. Like, for example, the wearing of the lapel pin by people like me. And really, nobody’s had a word to say against me about that, although we know when someone more prestigious and visible does the same thing there’s going to be some kibitzing as a result. Someone like Sean Hannity or Brit Hume.

So this says something interesting about the bellyaching about flags by our “real patriots.” Flags displayed with relative ease, like from front porches or from the collar of your golf shirt or from the bumper of your car, are supposed to be “oppressive” and stand as symbols of “hegemony” and “jingoism.” Was the Bodger Seed Co. being “jingoistic”? I’d be amazed if you can find even one person who thinks so. And this is where my curiosity is aroused — it’s supposed to be all about the symbol, but on closer inspection, though, we see that it probably isn’t about that.

The resentment seems to be mathematical in nature: the ratio between the number of people likely to observe your decision to display the flag, divided by the minimal amount of conscious thought you put into displaying it. Against antisocial misfits like me who wear the flag, but are likely to be seen by very few people — or dedicated patriots like Bodger Seed Co. putting some real elbow grease into it (assuming they decided to plant the flag nowadays, after it has become more controversial) — the “real patriots” who rankle at the flag-flying, have no beef. And so the issue, I think, is one of indoctrination. For a message to be communicated far-and-wide, with little thought, and little effort, is a privilege reserved only for the most provocative left-wing tropes.

Some America-hating college professor spews a bunch of mindless bile in his classroom and threatens to flunk any student who dares disagree, we have no problem. Fox News displays the American flag, and suddenly we have a problem.

I just find it interesting. It isn’t the patriotism, or the lack of effort, or the number of people the message will reach. It is the confluence of those three that sets off the “real patriots” and gets them upset. If they were honest in their objections it would be the message communicated, alone, that would trip the circuit.

Summit III

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

Summit III

Two years ago I placed a small wager on the Presidential elections. On the big afternoon, a conservative colleague, emotionally invested in the outcome, nervously wandered up to me with news of these exit polls. Wasn’t I worried about them? I told her no, and she shouldn’t be either. My boss asked out of curiosity what I thought the final tally was going to be. At around 3 in the afternoon pacific time, I said the President would be re-elected with about 286 electoral votes.

Like Forrest Gump, Ah’m not a smart man. It’s just that I like to keep in mind what is a fact and what is an opinion, and treat those two differently — it’s the way I think — and for reasons I have yet to discern, this way of thinking has come to be a freakish, unpopular pastime nowadays. But this election and polling and voting stuff, there is no magic to this. Remember, there were only three states in play at the time I said 286, so it wasn’t exactly like tossing a dime into a teacup from a tall building; more like eight-ball in the corner-pocket. As for the exit polls meaning nothing, it would be most accurate to call it an educated bias. A last-minute surprise, I’ve noticed, is always friendly to the left-wing side when the surprise is media-driven. And in that set of circumstances, it’s always estranged from reality. Correct in the way a stopped clock is correct every twelve hours. Essentially meaningless.

I don’t have that sense of confidence two years later, because I have come to recognize President Bush, or rather his family’s dynastic philosophy about politics, has been right all along. Politics is very much like banking. Approval is the currency of exchange. At some point, the account has to be exhausted, and the balance in the Republicans’ account is very, very low. After the Katrina disaster, it hit the “check the balance before the five dollar service charge hits” threshold of lowness — then a few more withdrawals were made, with no deposits. One overdraft statement from the bank, just one, and we’ll have House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, guaranteed…and I’m thinking we’re about $1.12 from that. With this loss of solvency, the Republicans run into a problem with flexibility. Their options are being eliminated. They need all the votes they can get. They need a constituency that is excited and energized on election day, and their constituency is a haphazard hodge-podge of voters who quote the Bible, and voters who quote Atlas Shrugged. Fun-loving grown-ups who want to go someplace with hot wings and cold beer and good-lookin’ waitresses in skimpy outfits…and concerned, married parents who’d like to stop everybody from going to such a place.

To put it more concisely, look at the record. Republicans have won three elections in a row. I have strong doubts that they can win a fourth. STRONG doubts. Their message, put into exercise, has lacked the clarity to earn such a streak. It’s contrary to human nature to put a party into power that long, in a changing world, while sustaining genuine confusion as to what that party is all about. Yes, the Democrats are an equally messy hodge-podge…but they’re not the issue. They don’t run things yet.

I haven’t placed any bets on the election. I won’t.

Well, Roger L. Simon has arrived to give me hope. It turns out that there are many reasons to believe we’ve passed a turning point, a good one; and the turning point he’d like to talk about, is a very good one indeed.

Good News for Bush and Chomsky, Bad News for the UN

Today’s Hugo Chavez ‘stemwinder’ at the UN – which saw the Venezuelan Mussolini wannabe calling Bush Satan, replete with sulphurous fumes, while waving around a tome by Noam Chomsky – was certainly a plus for both subjects … Bush, already recovering in the polls, gets a further boost from the thug’s almost comical attack (“Live in New York… it’s Hugo Chavez!”) and the the multi-millionaire marxiste gets another goose to his already copious book sales.

The big loser was, of course, the United Nations, not the least because Chavez was saluted for his efforts by a hearty round of applause. As I have written numerous times on this blog, I am a supporter of the UN. But now I wonder if it’s salvageable as do, no doubt, many Americans whose tax dollars provide the primary support for what looks increasingly like a social club for sociopaths and kleptocrats.

Pondering the idea of Republicans winning a fourth time in a row, it just hit me — you know what American politics is like? Banking isn’t quite the best analogy. It’s more like a game of Jenga. Looking back on it, 2004 was an easy call; this one is quite a bit tougher. If the Republicans do manage to pull this fat out of the fire and keep their committee chairmanships, 2008 will be an even tougher row to hoe.

Every move, while one party remains in charge, gets shakier and shakier. Every time a brick is pulled out, at this point, all who watch the game in progress let out sighs of astonishment, relief, and on the other side of the aisle, despair. Success is greated with greater and greater levels of sincere surprise, until the potential for failure approches one. Sooner or later, the tower has to come down.

I’m not suggesting Republicans purposely lose 2006 in order to have a better shot at the White House in two years. This election is far, far too important for that. I’m just pointing out reality: Democrats will have another issue for ’08, namely, “we wanted to open investigations into lying about Iraq in order to start a war for oil, and Republicans stopped us from doing it (by kicking our asses), WHAT’RE THEY TRYING TO HIDE???” Yes, they’ll say it, and yes, it’ll work. Pretty stupid device to use, but this kind of stuff works and you can bet they’ll use it.

Dead terrorists…versus, revenge for Monica-gate. That’s what this coming November is all about.

On The Groupthink

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

This blog, which nobody actually reads anyway, makes a habit of inspecting the ideas “we” have that make very little sense — and that means, the big “we.” “All” of us. There’s a recurring theme in the blog’s pages, in which we launch repeated attacks against the ideas borne out of “groupthink” and, instead, reserve our respect for the ideas at which people arrive in groups of one. Why do we do this? We’ve been looking around for quite awhile at ideas and how they are formed…and we can’t help but notice people tend to forget lots of things when they think in groups. Important things. “Keystone” type things, upon which entire classes of other things depend, utterly, completely. Things like — What do I know? How do I know it?

This cool new idea we all just had…who, exactly, is going to look like a raging asshole if it doesn’t work? And what’s the worst that will happen if we don’t do it?

Individuals don’t forget stuff like that. Groups do, in a hummingbird’s heartbeat. And then there is the matter of history; not to say that groups don’t think up some good ideas that help out in the long run. But if you collect for me a randomly-selected list of a hundred nice things a committee has done, I’ll show you ninety-nine cases of plagiarism in which a good idea was stolen from an individual. An individual thought of it, the committee sat to put it in motion, claim credit for it, and then adjourn. Ironically, group-thinking is at its most toxic when it admits this outright. “We’re here to arrive at a plan, and to ensure all those involved have a voice in the process,” the group might say, “and the decision of the committee will be final.” Indeed it shall. And we shall have accountability, through the involvement of the group. But not the kind of accountability people cherish right before they get something good done — more like un-accountability. The decision may be found to be counter-productive, and with the benefit of hindsight we see the decision made no sense at all. Whose idea was it? Nobody’s. The group sanctioned it. What was the rationale for the decision? No helpful answer awaits such a question, only noise. Among the participants who supported the bad decision and will cop to it, each man’s justification was his own. Nobody can authoritively state what “everybody” was thinking when they made the bad decision.

So the blog that nobody reads, hammers away at the “prevailing viewpoint” with regularity and gusto. And we haven’t done an awful lot to defend Ann Coulter. But once again, we find a lot of reason to attack those who attack her.

She came up with a column yesterday. At the same time, Hugo Chavez made a speech to the United Nations in which he called our current President “El Diablo,” meaning The Devil. And while he was at it, the Venezuelan crackpot made sure everybody knew that he’s a fan of Noam Chomsky, the M.I.T. egghead who specializes in linguistics but would rather devote his energies to political science. I’ve read enough of Chomsky to get an inkling of what he’s all about, I think. And I’ll confess, that isn’t very much. If Professor Chomsky was a presenter of fact, it would be important for me to read much more before commenting. But he isn’t. He’s a presenter of opinion. His opinion is, that United States foreign policy is bad. That’s really about all you need to know — that’s what makes Chomsky an outspoken left-wing zealot, and that’s what makes him so popular.

Now, what does “groupthink” say about Ann Coulter and Noam Chomsky? Probably something nice and palatable, like, they’re both “firebrands” and one is on the “right” and the other is on the “left.” Group-think will never deign to suggest that either one of them will have more productive things to say than the other, because of course that would be “biased.” Group-think will — and this rule has very few exceptions, I note, even across a great deal of time — labor to ensure that when a decision is made, and somehow both Coulter and Chomsky have influence upon the decision made, that there is equilibrium between the two pundits upon the decision made. We must have balance, you know.

An individual will do things better. Even an individual who disagrees with me about Ann Coulter, will do something far more sensible than what the group will do. He’ll say “Ann Coulter is a nutcase and she shouldn’t decide anything,” and make sure the decision is cleansed of the tiniest tincture of Coulter-think. Well, if you think the lady’s crazy, that just makes sense.

The group will thunder on about “balance,” but won’t even show consistency with its own dictates. Time has a way of making sure right-wingers get equal time for scolding left-wingers, and left-wingers can reciprocate against the right wingers, but in conference rooms things end up being done the left-wing way. We see it even in the last few hours, as the United Nations comes up with a new deadline for Iran. Like Diogenes searching for an honest man, I’m trying to find an individual — liberal, conservative, anarchist, I don’t care — who thinks this is a swell idea, or at least, makes sense on some level. I’m not holding my breath.

But surely the group must be wiser than the individual…who has been known to do half-cocked things, like, for example, actually agree with Ann Coulter. And Ann Coulter says such irresponsible things, like…

Never mind trusting liberals with national security. Never mind trusting them with raising kids. These people shouldn’t even be allowed to own pets.

And you see, that is just so irresponsible. I don’t know what gets into her sometimes. Why does she think such a thing? I wish I could somehow find out, but of course, that’s impossible.

Oh wait I forgot. Ann Coulter is not a committee, she’s an individual. Therefore, she knows why she thinks the things she thinks. Which a committee does not. And in this case, she even wrote it down.

The belief that we can impress the enemy with our magnanimity is an idea that just won’t die…[it] has never worked, no matter how many times liberals make us do it. It didn’t work with the Soviet Union, Imperial Japan, Hitler or the North Vietnamese � enemies notable for being more civilized than the Islamic savages we are at war with today.

By the way, how did the Geneva Conventions work out for McCain at the Hanoi Hilton?

It doesn’t even work with the Democrats, whom Bush kept sucking up to his first year in office. No more movie nights at the White House with Teddy Kennedy these days, I’m guessing.

It was this idea (Be nice!) that fueled liberals’ rage at Reagan when he vanquished the Soviet Union with his macho “cowboy diplomacy” that was going to get us all blown up. As the Times editorial page hysterically described Reagan’s first year in office: “Mr. Reagan looked at the world through gun sights.” Yes, he did! And now the Evil Empire is no more.

It was this idiotic idea of being nice to predators that drove liberal crime policies in the ’60s and ’70s � leading like night into day to unprecedented crime rates. Now these same liberal ninnies want to extend their tender mercies not just to rapists and murderers, but to Islamic terrorists.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill had a different idea: Instead of rewarding bad behavior, punish bad behavior. How many times does punishment have to work and coddling have to fail before we never have to hear again that if we treat terrorists well, the terrorists will treat our prisoners well?

Fortunately, history always begins this morning for liberals, so they can keep flogging the same idiotic idea that has never, ever worked: Be nice to our enemies and they will reward us with good behavior.

Now, it should be noted this argument is not so strong as to be unanswerable, for there is a refutation of it circulating in American discourse. And that refutation is — let me see if I can paraphrase it — “Ann Coulter is misrepresenting liberals” and “Ann Coulter is so nasty.” But as they say, facts are stubborn things.

Ann Coulter is misrepresenting liberals, by the way. Speaking for myself, I have never, ever heard anyone advance the notion that if we’re nice, Al Qaeda “will reward us with good behavior.” Not conservatives, not liberals, not as individuals, not in groups. Things do have to make a certain amount of sense in order to be spoken by somebody with a name, and that little strategy always seems to be lopped off from the end of the argument being advanced. Words are reserved for the stuff leading up to that conclusion. We must, we ought, we shall, we’re better than them, blah blah blah. That’s the kind of nonsense that makes just enough sense to find its way through the voiceboxes of people with reputations and microphones.

Oh and the reverse gets a lot of press play, too. If we torture the bad guys, our troops are in danger on the battlefield. We hear that all the time from the important people who are sent out to peddle group-think ideas. But the prediction that would actually matter and would actually seal the deal — if we abide by the Geneva conventions, Al Qaeda will learn from our superior example — is never quite articulated syllable-for-syllable. It doesn’t make enough sense for that. It’s only implied.

And yet, this is the bare minimum of what would have to be asserted, to make the whole treat-em-nice school of thought strategically appealing. And don’t even get me started on the new deadline for Iran…what with that Iranian dog having eaten the homework, or whatever.

So say what you want about Ann Coulter, she makes more sense in five minutes than treat-em-nice crowd has all year long; more than the United Nations has in half a century. You need group-think to make the treat-em-nice ideas look somewhat sound. An individual will want to know what the payoff is when we’re so nice to those who want to kill us. Well, it seems there is no payoff, and Ms. Coulter has done a great job of making that point.

By the way, this is a life-and-death issue, although a lot of folks don’t want it to be seen that way. It is life-and-death, in that, there are people who want us dead. Let’s be clear: To say our lives are not at stake, is to assert 1) those people don’t want to kill us, after all; or 2) there is a significant likelihood their attempts on our lives, will everlastingly fail.

The people who try to coerce and intimidate us from thinking of terrorism as a life-and-death issue, will not say which of those two assertions receive their support. They don’t have to. Only an individual would insist that they make such a decision, and their sales pitches are designed for the group environment.

Four Types of God

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

Four Types of God

Well, the Bacon-Eating Atheist Jew buttoned this one down. Others have cited it, and I’m sure others have cited it first. But his link seems to be the most substantial one, and his own thoughts are the most original ones.

Of course, anybody who’s been watching the media for any length of time at all, knows that they have their own agenda about things and it just stands to reason that they do — they’re people. And, it’s a settled pattern by now, that when “most” people agree with the media’s agenda, we’ll hear about that over and over again. George Bush is an idiot, George Bush is an idiot, George Bush is an idiot. Iraq was a mistake, Iraq was a mistake, Iraq was a mistake. Three out of four Americans agree on this, 62% of us agree on that, etc. Ever wonder what the media does when their agenda is contrary to the views of most Americans?

The God thing is a great example. It turns out over 91% of us agree there is a God…what is the media to do? They divide and conquer.

Just keep in mind how incredibly selective the media is when it comes to this dividing and conquering…like for example, I’m sure you’ll be waiting awhile before you see this. Most Americans agree Saddam Hussein was not a threat to us, but in what kind of harmless Saddam Hussein do most Americans believe? Or this…Most Americans think we did the wrong thing with Iraq, but what do they think we should have done? No, we’ll just work on God for right now thankyewverymuch.

You know, I can’t guarantee that everyone hostile to the concept of God, wants to run the world, has malicious intent in this ambition, and wants to be accountable to no one. But I can guarantee you that everyone who wants to run the world with malicious intent and desires accountability to no one…is going to be hostile to the concept of God. So speaking for myself, I’m taking this with a grain of salt. But that’s just me.

Suicidal Hand-Wringing

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

Suicidal Hand-Wringing

Dr. Sowell nailed it yet AGAIN. The subject is the treatment of captured terrorists in our custody, and whether the treatment complies with the Geneva conventions…or whether it should. The Supreme Court has already ruled on this, and so it is the law of the land that the detainees are so entitled. But is it, is it really? Because in order to assert that, you have to ignore said “law of the land.”

Article III, Section II of the Constitution gives Congress the power to limit the jurisdiction of federal courts, and Congress has specifically taken away the jurisdiction of the courts in cases involving the detention of illegal combatants, such as terrorists, who are not — repeat, not — prisoners of war covered by the Geneva convention.

The Supreme Court ignored that law.
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The argument is made that we must respect the Geneva convention because, otherwise, our own soldiers will be at risk of mistreatment when they become prisoners of war.

Does any sane adult believe that the cutthroats we are dealing with will respect the Geneva convention? Or that our extension of Geneva convention rights to them will be seen as anything other than another sign of weakness and confusion that will encourage them in their terrorism?

Any sane adult…well, gee. To answer that, first you’d have to find someone willing to articulate that if we take the purple-paisly route, the terrorists will start liking us — then, you’d have to test their sanity. Well speaking just for myself, I’m still working on Step #1.

Oh, I can find lots of folks willing to tell me we should go the purple-paisly route and start filing court briefs when Mahmoud Al-Hoozeewotsit doesn’t get light cream cheese on his bagel. I can find lots and lots of people who will tell me we should do that…I have yet to find one who will explain the benefits to be realized when this is what we do. Evidently, the argument in which these folks have such bumptious confidence, doesn’t quite extend to this topic.

But it’s kind of interesting. We are to cease any and all debate on whether terrorists are entitled to Geneva protections, because the Supreme Court has ruled and their word is final. But…their word is final, because we are a nation of laws, and for no other reason. To hand down their word, they had to break the law.

Wimpy III

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

Wimpy III

Perhaps the folks I defined in the post immediately previous, are somehow responsible for this observation made by Mark Steyn, which I’ve been noticing myself without collaborating with him in any way.

Coverage of 9/11 anniversary was too wimpy
September 17, 2006

A lot of the 9/11 anniversary coverage struck me as distastefully tasteful. On the morning of Sept. 12, I was pumping gas just off I-91 in Vermont and picked up the Valley News. Its lead headline covered the annual roll call of the dead — or, as the alliterative editor put it, “Litany of the Lost.” That would be a grand entry for Litany of the Lame, an anthology of all-time worst headlines. Sept. 11 wasn’t a shipwreck: The dead weren’t “lost,” they were murdered.

So I skipped that story. Underneath was something headlined “Half a Decade Gone By, A Reporter Still Cannot Comprehend Why.” Well, in that case maybe you shouldn’t be in the reporting business. After half a decade, it’s not that hard to “comprehend”: Osama bin Laden issued a declaration of war and then his agents carried out a big attack. He talked the talk, his boys walked the walk. If you need to flesh it out a bit, you could go to the library and look up a book.

But, of course, that’s not what the headline means: Instead, it’s “incomprehensible” in the sense that, to persons of a certain mushily “progressive” disposition, all such acts are “incomprehensible,” all violence is “senseless.” Unfortunately, it made perfect sense to the fellows who perpetrated it. Which is what that headline writer finds hard to “comprehend” — or, rather, doesn’t wish to comprehend. The piece itself was categorized as “Reflection” — dread word. No self-respecting newspaper should be running “reflections” anywhere upfront of Section G Page 27, and certainly not on the front page. But it has exactly the kind of self-regarding pseudo-sophistication the American media love. The proper tone for 9/11 commemorations is to be sad about all the dead — “the lost” — but in a very generalized soft-focus way.

You’ve seen it yourself, I’m sure. All the stories, in 2001, and 2006, carefully point out to us everything that will provoke an emotional reaction…but are carefully excised of anything that will provoke any sort of call to arms or any wish for same. Such a delicate balancing act — taken on in so many places, carried out with such delicacy and enthusiasm, repeated over and over again.

Be sad. Just don’t expect, or demand, that anything actually get done about it. Go to therapy or something. That is Big Brother’s order for you today.

Easily Slides Into Moral Relativism

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

Easily Slides Into Moral Relativism

Here’s a question you can ponder that’s been on my mind awhile. And by “awhile” I mean thirty years or so.

Let’s revisit American cinema in the 1970′s. The big screen. We have vigilante justice movies, we have disaster movies, we have natural predator movies. Then Star Wars comes along, and bam! Science fiction is the new hotness. Suddenly, everything has to have a spaceship. James Bond goes into outer space. Battlestar Galactica takes off. Buck Rogers and Star Trek are revived.

But nothing really has the staying power of Star Wars. We look back, and we see the astonishing success of Star Wars had very little to do with the birth of a new outer-space genre, but rather, the reincarnation of an older one: American Westerns, with the timeless confrontation between good and evil. It was always about this contrast; half a dozen characters, at the very most, represented “right” things and “wrong” things, and this was the hub around which the rest of the story revolved. Cute robots, humming swords — they were just glitter.

Not everybody will agree with me on that. But a lot of other people do “get it,” including the people who make and lose real money on this stuff.

So here is my question.

Where was, or is, the revival with regard to “Good versus Evil” movies? The demand is there; the supply is not. Some social taboo keeps getting in the way. We can’t have something like “High Noon” even when the audience wants it. Every hero, it seems, has to have a prison record and a bad attitude. Every villain, two thirds of the way through, has to deliver a monologue to the hero about “we are not so different, you and I” and the message has to be delivered that on some level, the villain is correct. And the audience loses interest.

I am frequently instructed by people more wealthy and powerful than me, that I’m supposed to believe good and evil depend greatly on one’s perspective; one man’s good, is another man’s evil. And yet, some people are evil because they target innocents. They want something, they perceive some method of acquiring it that involves putting civilians in harm’s way…civilians who have no dog in the hunt…civilians, against whom, the protagonist has no beef. And then they go about acquiring the “MacGuffin” — salvation in the next world, respect in this one, revenge, goods and services — and get innocent people killed. Is it really such a subjective thing to call that evil? Really?

Now my liberals instruct me that I’m I’m supposed to believe America’s own military operations, and those by Israel, are wonderful examples of the evil of which I speak, when & if they involve collateral damage. Bloody Palestinian babies and all that. Problem: In those examples, the “MacGuffin” would be self-defense — unless the argument advanced, seeks to simultaneously support some conspiracy theory about “Blood For Oil.” Say what you want about airstrikes for the purpose of self-defense that involve civilian casualties, either calculated, or accidental; they fall outside the scope of my statement. As for Blood-fer-Oil, should this be proven, it would fall well within said scope but disrupt nothing in the definition of evil. In other words, show me we really got people killed just to get our grubby mitts on oil, and I’m down with that — that would be evil. But my definition stands. The debate is whether or not some things are objectively evil, and so far, the opposing side in the debate has forfeited.

Some things are simply, rottenly, evil. And people are innately programmed to see it defeated — bring it down ourselves, or cheer for someone else who does so. Somehow, it seems, we have these cultural taboos against telling a story about evil being trumped by good, or to even acknowledge the existence of evil.

I don’t mind a cultural taboo or two, but I do ask that a taboo make some sense. And that it not be suicidal. These are the thoughts on my mind, as I peruse this excellent piece by Bret Stephens that appeared over the weekend in Opinion Journal. It seems to me all the huffing-and-puffing about midterm elections, and September 11, and terrorism, is all about this.

Here’s a puzzle: Why is it so frequently the case that the people who have the most at stake in the battle against Islamic extremism and the most to lose when Islamism gains–namely, liberals–are typically the most reluctant to fight it?
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An instinct for pacifism surely goes some way toward explaining the left’s curious unwillingness to sign up for a war to defend its core values. A suspicion of black-and-white moral distinctions of the kind President Bush is fond of making about terrorism–a suspicion that easily slides into moral relativism–is another.

But there are deeper factors at work. One is appeasement: “Many Europeans feel that a confrontation with Islamism will give the Islamists more opportunities to recruit–that confronting evil is counterproductive,” says Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born, former Dutch parliamentarian whose outspoken opposition to Islamism (and to Islam itself) forced her repeatedly into hiding and now into exile in the United States. “They think that by appeasing them–allowing them their own ghettoes, their own Muslim schools–they will win their friendship.”

A second factor, she says, is the superficial confluence between the bugaboos of the Chomskyite left and modern-day Islamism. “Many social democrats have this stereotype that the corporate world, the U.S. and Israel are the real evil. And [since] Islamists are also against Israel and America, [social democrats] sense an alliance with them.” [emphasis mine]

Isn’t that last bit something interesting, and haven’t we run into that an awful lot before. You talk about perverts and psychos and sickos and weirdos kidnapping little kids and chopping them up, or Islamo-fascist murderers shooting schoolgirls in the back and flying planes into buildings; many among us stumble around, insisting that evil is a matter of perspective. But then you toss in the word “corporation” and — almost as if someone yelled “Go!” — everything changes.

Last year, the Star Wars franchise was wrapped up by an episode in which the Obi-Wan Kenobi character ignited speculation that the whole story may be a screed against President Bush, with a single line: “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” Anti-war liberals entrenched in the habit of gleaning their moral philosophies from movies — united with the anti-war liberals who instinctively grasp for compatriot arguments, perceived or imagined, wherever they can find them — clucked with glee. All year long.

Until someone pointed out Kenobi’s statement, in itself, was an absolute. Oops.

If it was an anti-Bush screed, Kenobi suffers from the cognitive dissonance of the forementioned “Chomskyite left”: There is no such thing as absolute evil, and yet, the hated corporations are absolutely evil.

But I’m much more intrigued with that first crowd, the “I don’t like comparisons between good-and-evil, and neither should you” crowd. One of the most interesting things about people, I notice, is that the instincts with which they are wired down to the marrow of their bones, tend toward consistency — no equal-and-opposite reaction, for the action. Ninety-nine of us will have an instinct not to touch a hot stove…and yet, the likelihood that you’ll find a hundredth guy with an opposite instinct, is quite remote. Ninety-nine mothers will want to see their children live and prosper. Searching for a hundredth mother who likes to kill her children, maybe you’ll find something — probably not. Such mutations of the human genome are to be found after the searcher has sifted through millions, maybe more. After such an abundance of rejections, the anomaly found can no longer be characterized as an alternative flavor of the species, but purely an aberration. In other words, we are “designed” to resemble the millions of specimens thrown away before you got that one mutant.

Yet with good and evil it’s different; people do come in flavors, like ice cream. Some of us, down to the depths of our souls, have this longing to see good triumph and evil defeated. But then there are a bunch of others among us, who, down to the depths of their souls, have this irrational phobia about ever seeing evil defined, let alone defeated. I can easily find representative instances of both classes. The aberration that can’t be found so easily, would be the fellow who falls in between the two — he is the one who doesn’t seem to exist, except as a mutation. The folks with the irrational phobia, are actually quite plentiful.

They rankle and sneer at the idea of Matt Dillon facing down a guy in a black hat in Dodge City…drawing second, shooting first, saving the town, doing his job. They act like they have a rational argument for why people shouldn’t watch “cowboy” movies — but if you ask them to articulate that argument, you quickly find out there is no such thing.

It’s fear, and a smoldering emotional resentment, nothing more. It appears such people have reached maturity with the conviction that if there is such a thing as justice, dedicated to the triumph of good over evil, then such a thing has never helped them. And if the concept of justice has not been known to bring them any tangible benefits, then it shouldn’t help anyone else either, no matter what the circumstances and no matter how desperately justice may be needed in some parts of the world.

And so…they easily slide, as Stephens said, into moral relativism. Justice is something that should benefit them, or else it should benefit nobody, and to the best they can see it has yet to benefit them.

Aslim Taslam

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

Aslim Taslam

Thinking independently, I have noticed, is something like driving a car competently. Everybody understands there’s an issue here. Nobody’s going to ‘fess up to being part of the problem — it’s always the other guy pissing down his leg. With everyone commenting on themselves, it seems we’re all just a bunch of Indy 500 racecar drivers out there.

And yet, if we all thought independently, it wouldn’t be worth anybody’s time to bribe, blackmail, bully, intimidate, coerce, and threaten over what is presented to people, before they do that independent thinking.

My rant is inspired by the similarities between the letter from Senate Democrats over the “Path to 9/11″ controversy

The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.
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Should Disney allow this programming to proceed as planned, the factual record, millions of viewers, countless schoolchildren, and the reputation of Disney as a corporation worthy of the trust of the American people and the United States Congress will be deeply damaged. We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.

…and events in the aftermath of the Pope’s speech about Islam

At a press conference in Gaza City, a number of Muslim clerics said the pope’s statements were “the result of his hatred for Islam and not the result of ignorance.”

One of them, Dr. Imad Hamto, called on the pope to “repent and ask for forgiveness.” He added: “We want to use the words of the Prophet Muhammad and tell the pope: ‘Aslim Taslam’” Aslim Taslam is a phrase that was taken from the letters sent by the Prophet Muhammad to the chiefs of tribes in his times in which he reportedly urged them to convert to Islam to spare their lives.

Some Muslim scholars, however, have endorsed a more moderate interpretation of the term, arguing that its real meaning was that those who surrendered to the will of God would find peace.

How come it is, both in the east half of the world and the west, it has become so commonplace for people to threaten each other for having the wrong opinions or for saying the wrong things? In a land where all are independent thinkers, this kind of control over what is said & what is thought, would be worth nothing; it, plus $3.25, would get you a foamy latte.

Well, we got here a land where every man thinks he is an independent thinker. And yet — we have the arm-twisting. So much energy being put into it. Everywhere, it seems. Why is that, if people are really capable of thinking things through? It’s like the body shops and the tow trucks and the insurance investigators — why so much demand for their services, if everyone is blessed with such great driving skills?

Aslim Taslam — if I’m understanding it right, it’s telling people what to think. It seems to have a place in the world, if we make such a place for it. And appearances being any indication, it has a place. That says something bad about everybody.

Head-in-the-Sand Liberals

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

Head-in-the-Sand Liberals

Came across this via James Taranto’s Best of the Web feature in Opinion Journal. Wow.

Perhaps I should establish my liberal bone fides at the outset. I’d like to see taxes raised on the wealthy, drugs decriminalized and homosexuals free to marry. I also think that the Bush administration deserves most of the criticism it has received in the last six years � especially with respect to its waging of the war in Iraq, its scuttling of science and its fiscal irresponsibility.

But my correspondence with liberals has convinced me that liberalism has grown dangerously out of touch with the realities of our world � specifically with what devout Muslims actually believe about the West, about paradise and about the ultimate ascendance of their faith.

On questions of national security, I am now as wary of my fellow liberals as I am of the religious demagogues on the Christian right.

This may seem like frank acquiescence to the charge that “liberals are soft on terrorism.” It is, and they are.

Read the whole thing.

You Have To Watch It Now

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

You Have To Watch It Now

There’s something a little disturbing in the comments beneath the video clip of Robert Novak proclaiming, or bragging, or ‘fessing up, that he doesn’t watch The Daily Show. The tone that permeates through the thread, is flavored with no small amount of viciousness.

The first time I saw TDS, I was highly entertained but somewhere in the back of my mind, I noticed this blurring of the line between news and entertainment. Then, when I noticed it was really catching on, through an election cycle or two I came to be aware of the swelling demography of people who formed their understanding of significant events through TDS. Then, I came to find out, people who learned about significant events through TDS, considered their knowledge of those events to be superior to the knowledge other people had acquired through other outlets…other outlets that aren’t quite so much “fun” to consume as TDS, not quite so carefully edited…maybe requiring a little bit longer attention span. The TDS watchers, it seems, bristle at any insinuation that maybe, just maybe, there might be something more to the story — just maybe, it could be a worthy exercise to learn about things through some other avenue.

And now it seems the circle is complete. The TDS watchers, have words of derision, ridicule, derogation and scolding for anybody who does not watch TDS. I realize this is ThinkProgress and these are left-wing bloggers and web-commenters; not exactly a kind-hearted or jolly group, certainly not a “tolerant” one.

But still. TDS is a comedy show. Jon Stewart will be the first one to point that out, the next time he is nailed for one of his segments giving a less-than-accurate impression of true-life events. Fine, so it’s a comedy show. So here we have a reporter being asked — being asked — about what he watches, and it turns out he doesn’t want to watch…this comedy show. And just look at all the bile bubbling to the surface. I mean, just read some of it. Any random sampling.

Amazing.

I can’t stand Hanna-Barbera cartoons. I’ve never liked “I Love Lucy.” Don’t let these guys find out. They might explode.

Update: I’m sure you’ve seen this trope somewhere, since it’s been repeated over and over and over and over again:

A year-long study by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA)[8] (http://www.pipa.org/OnlineReports/Iraq/Media_10_02_03_Report.pdf) reported that Americans who relied on the Fox News Channel for their coverage of the Iraq war were the most likely to believe misinformation about the war, whatever their political affiliation may be. Those mistaken facts, the study found, increased viewers’ support for the war.

The study found that, in general, people who watched Fox News were, more than for other sources, convinced of several untrue propositions which were actively promoted by the Bush administration and the cheerleading media led by Fox, in rallying support for the invasion of Iraq:

(percentages are of all poll respondents, not just Fox watchers)

* 57% believed the falsity that Iraq gave substantial support to Al-Qaida, or was directly involved in the September 11 attacks. (48% after invasion)
* 69% believed the falsity that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11 attacks.
* 22% believed the falsity that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. (21% believed that chem/bio weapons had actually been used against U.S. soldiers in Iraq during 2003)

In the composite analysis of the PIPA study, 80% of Fox news watchers had one of more of these misperceptions; in contrast to 71% for CBS and 27% who tuned to NPR/PBS. [emphasis mine]

And the question I would have, is this: Where is the similar study focused on watchers of The Daily Show?

After all, people may select Fox as their “primary” source of news, but it seems far-fetched to infer a significant chunk of that crowd rely exclusively on Fox for this…whereas, from arguing with TDS watchers, I notice it’s a little bit of a touchy subject to inquire from what other areas they may have gathered their information. There’s also the question about whether we’re seeing a cause, or an effect. People who embrace or tolerate these — ahem — “falsities,” these beliefs anti-war liberals don’t like people to have, would be much more inclined to watch Fox News in the first place. On the other hand, people watch TDS to be entertained.

Come to think of it, there’s yet another “falsity” far-flung and widespread, and carried aloft with gusto, of which I have come to be aware: A lot of people believe the “falsity” that the world is no safer with Saddam Hussein driven from power. Where’s the study probing the percentage of CNN or PBS watchers believing in that falsity? And Daily Show watchers? It would be interesting to see that statistic compared with the equivalent selection of Fox News viewers.

And I can’t wait to see the comments Fox News viewers would have for people who don’t watch Fox News. It probably wouldn’t be nearly as nasty or as personal as what I saw on the ThinkProgress site.

Morgan Favors the Nanny State

Monday, September 18th, 2006

Morgan Favors the Nanny State

Not very often I’m on the same side of the aisle as the “nanny state.” I’m much closer to the classic libertarian guy, the “Who the hell says we need sidewalks and fire halls” kinda guy who was born 150 years too late.

Not very often the stuff I want done, gets done.

So isn’t this suspicious. At the end of last month, I kibitzed about people in Sacramento talking on their goddamned cell phones too much…those of you who live elsewhere, come visit if you think I’m overreacting. You wouldn’t believe it. Every goddamned day you drive a car, every mile of road you gobble up, they’re all around you. Blah, blah, blah. They’re all convinced they drive better than Bo and Luke Duke combined…and Lord knows what kind of important business they’re conducting while they resentfully acknolwedge your negligible existence in their seven-ton whatevers. “Huh? What? I said, Jeezus Christ, I almost ran this mutherfucker off the road! Yeah! Huh? What? Yeah, that’s what I said! Huh? What? You’re breaking up! Not my problem, I got…uh…three bars! Yeah! So, NOW whaddya doing? Oh really? Huh? What? I said, oh really? Yeah! Huh? What? Yeah, right! Oh SHIT you wouldn’t believe how close I came to ramming that guy! Yeah that’s right! Huh? What? Yeah, right! Huh?”

Sorry, fellow libertarian guys. I can’t join you on this one…the thing of it is, what we call “hands-free” costs, like, ten to fifteen dollars now. All the cell phones, so far as I’m aware, support it in some form or another. I should not be seeing anyone, in any car, anywhere I drive, holding up an appliance next to their ears. Not if they share the road with me and the people about whom I care. Not one person. NONE.

So…John Birch type libertarian-leanings notwithstanding — since it costs about ten bucks to comply, or else, just hanging the hell up until you got where you’re going — I’m in favor of this. Accuse me of whatever you want to accuse me of, but I’m in favor of it.

California today became the fourth state to ban motorists from holding cell phones while driving, moving the issue of driver distraction to the forefront of the national agenda.

In a live webcast, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law legislation that passed in the California Assembly last month. The measure goes into effect in July 2008, imposing a minimum $20 fine for anyone caught driving and using a cell phone unless the driver uses a headset, ear bud or other technology that frees both hands.

Emergency situations are exempt.

San Francisco Chronicle has more

Californians are going to have to put down their cell phone and use a hands-free device starting in 2008 if they want to talk and drive at the same time under a bill Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to sign into law today.”Public safety is the governor’s No. 1 priority, and this bill make the streets and highways of California safer by making sure drivers have both hands available for driving,” said Margita Thompson, a spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger.

Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, said data from the California Highway Patrol showed that not only were cell phones the No. 1 cause of distracted driving accidents, but that hands-free technology substantially reduced the number of crashes.

“We’ve got this readily available technology that costs next to nothing and that saves lives. My argument has been, why not use it?” Simitian said.

“Chief Agent”

Monday, September 18th, 2006

“Chief Agent”

Vice President Cheney is “the nation’s foremost 9/11 conspiracy theorist.” And if you happen to believe Saddam Hussein might have had something to do with the September 11 attacks, Cheney probably put that thought in your head. You, certainly, had nothing to do with it.

It just goes to show what this is all about. All this fighting about Iraq — it doesn’t have that much to do with Iraq. Or terrorism. In the end, it’s all about thinking for yourself. Because you can write as many editorials to the contrary as you want, and through it all you can’t prove a negative. And, increasingly, we see the anti-war types gauging the success of the administration in muddying-up the public discourse, through polls that reveal X many percent of us think Saddam Hussein was dangerous and may have had something to do with the 9/11 plot.

Well, you can probably count me among those who think the potential was there. And certainly, you can count me among those who think the world’s better off without him.

In all likelihood, John Young disagrees with me. But do I bear no responsibility, personally, for forming this opinion he doesn’t want me to have? Have I not engaged in my own cognitive process in forming it? Perhaps Vice President Cheney has made the pitch, and I’ve made the decision to buy…thereby showing myself to be some kind of a big dummy. How culpable is the “chief conspiracy theorist” in that scenario? Isn’t it just the job of an administration, to sell the initiatives that it thinks should be done? Packing the Supreme Court? Japanese Internment? Korea? Medicare? Civil Rights Act? Aren’t higher-level administration officials supposed to be good salesmen?

One more little thing. I’d like to examine Mr. Young’s logic. A huge chunk of the public believes Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11…that’s a black eye for the administration somehow. A huge chunk of the public suffers from “distrust” which is the “hallmark of [the] adminstration” — that, too, is supposed to be a black eye. The logic behind one of those sentiments, is a hundred and eighty degrees twisted from the other one. They’re polar opposites. Nevertheless, over the next month and a half, expect to see a whole lot more of both.

Public distrust has become hallmark of administration
By John Young

THE NATION’S foremost 9/11 conspiracy theorist was on “Meet the Press” last week. And we all thought conspiracy theorists got no face time in mainstream media.

Well, it helps when you are vice president of the United States.

That would be Dick Cheney. Next possibly to Fox News, he’s the chief agent behind the belief held by so many, including many in our fighting forces, that we attacked Iraq because it had something to do with 9/11.

Why We Can’t Win

Monday, September 18th, 2006

Why We Can’t Win

I thought this was pretty cute. Article starts out like this

Why we can’t win the “war on terror”
A provocative new book from an expert on terrorism argues that Bush’s tough-guy stance is making things much worse — and that we should negotiate with al-Qaida.

As the midterm elections approach, the Bush administration has launched its latest propaganda campaign, claiming that it is our Churchillian duty to fight the menace of “Islamofascism” — a meaninglessly broad term that conflates secular insurgents in Iraq, al-Qaida-inspired Sunni extremists, Syrian Alawites and Baathists, Palestinian nationalists, Shiite leaders in Iran and Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. Those who don’t sign on to this supposedly WWII-like struggle, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld charged, are “appeasers.”

It is hardly surprising that George W. Bush has revived this kind of heroic, clash-of-civilizations rhetoric, which has always worked for him. In fact, this is an insultingly simplistic formulation that, by failing to distinguish between different types of groups, not only would keep us bogged down forever in Iraq but threatens to enmesh us in new quagmires.

And then halfway down, I’m supposed to click on a sponsor logo to read the rest of it. I moved my mouse pointer toward it, but when it was halfway there I suddenly had all these thoughts going through my head about why I should not click it.

It all just seemed so futile.

So I didn’t finish reading it.

Five Reasons They Should Love Him

Monday, September 18th, 2006

Five Reasons They Should Love Him

And yet, hating him has become their modus operandi. Apart from their profuse hatred of him, they have very little to say. Shouldn’t things be a little different?

Five Reasons Democrats Should Love George W. Bush

For the sake of argument, we all can agree that in the context of Iraq, several countries, most notably the U.S., entered into war based on faulty intelligence. But that was only one factor. Regardless of whether Saddam presently had weapons of mass death, we know that the Baghdad butcher was a mass murderer, and we know that Hussein had been in flagrant violation of his terms of surrender, violating international law. The man deserved to be removed from office, did he not? So long as certain members of the U.N. Security Council were on the payroll, however, Hussein thought he was safe.

But he wasn�t safe, thanks to the real hero of the Democrat Party, George W. Bush. You see, the Democrats tell us that they hate political corruption. But their should-be-hero saw through the corruption of the U.N. and with a modest international coalition of 49 members, he ousted a murdering rapist and ended financial kickbacks to prominent U.N. members.

So reason number one the Democrats should love Bush is because he stood up to political corruption, both at the U.N. and in Iraq. Due to his strength of character and unfaltering commitment to the Democratic ideal of ending political corruption, he was willing to �go it alone.�

Reason number two for Democrats to love Bush is the fact that human rights violations have stopped. Liberals would have us believe that they are more sensitive than Republicans when it comes to international human rights, yet they irrationally despise the man who stopped the atrocities. Reason number three (a subset of number two) would be minority and ethnic rights. The fact that the Kurds are no longer being poisoned with chemical weapons and thrown into mass graves should cause Democrats great joy, not anger.

Memo For File XXV

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

Memo For File XXV

“Antid Odo” cracks me up.

He/she/it is the proprietor and CEO and chief-chef-cook-bottle-washer of Left Behinds which is a left-wing Blogger blog. He/she/it lacks cognitive power; or else, I am, without realizing it, a materially wealthy white/protestant/straight/male Captain of Industry without a care in the world. Both may not apply, and one or the other must.

The background is pretty simple. “Civil Rights Leaders” are upset that a white candidate is running to represent a black congressional district, specifically, the 11th district of the state of New York. Well, I fail to see the problem. I think blacks can represent whites and vice-versa.

Antid Odo says…

Based on what I can confirm cursorily, mkfreeberg is definitely male, not Jewish or black. I’m about 95% sure he’s a white guy (I’m pretty sure only a white person would so blithely identify race as a problem for other people to fix). In other words, while it’s very sad, all the unfairness and ugliness and all, we can’t ever make any progress toward fixing it, we just have to leave things as they are–which only happens to leave him on top.

What did I say to inspire this poor soul to think I identify race as “a problem for other people to fix”? Well…I’m pretty sure I let it leak that I don’t consider “race” to be a problem, per se. Because I don’t. People come from different races, they have different heights, different genders, different phobias. They are complex creatures — they have all kinds of attributes. Differentials in these attributes, are not “problems,” to my way of thinking.

It is true I do think people should be divided up along certain things, indeed, will take the initiative to divide themselves that way if no outside agent does this for them. But those things have nothing to do with race.

But it stuns me to realize that, just by opposing the idea of white congressmen for white constituents, black congressmen for black constituents — just for questioning such an arrangement — I’m instantly independently wealthy. Or “on top,” as Odo says. Actually, it does more than stun me, it cracks me up. Hey, guess what…I been talking to them black folks. Working with them. Buying things from them, selling things to ‘em. Me, a white guy. Working hard to stay “on top,” I guess.

Well, God bless the liberals. They just want a decent shake for those who are born less well-off, and I for one am willing to judge their character based on this benevolent desire. Most of them, I mean. They’re just well-meaning folk with atrophied cognitive skills, that’s all. They’re nice. They just think of people in terms of, literally, “black and white”…then, they project this mindset onto others, while pretending not to engage in it themselves. Sure they create racial tension where little-to-none of it existed previously. But they don’t mean to. Their transgression is, simply, that they don’t stick to what they know best. They’re like jugglers with delerium tremens trying to branch out into brain surgery. Entertainment -wise, by-and-large, liberals tend to be very gifted, have much to contribute, and, when you get down to it, make people feel good. That’s valuable.

If they followed my advice, they’d stick to that. Leave the heavy thinking to people who can handle it.

And Antid Odo, Thursday, did just that. The results are…well, no better than I could have done if I did my own hunting on YouTube. But I did not. And this just made me laugh, so I’m going to give credit where it is due.

Or…have my butler do it. Hee hee! I just started laughing again.

The Clintonistas Don’t Want You To See It

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

The Clintonistas Don’t Want You To See It

Via blogger friend Good Lieutenant at Mein Blogovault we come to find out about this guy lady, who in turn points us to Larry Elder’s column called “Why the Clintonistas did not want you to see ‘The Path to 9/11′”.

It simply substantiates what should have been obvious to everybody: The Path to 9/11, original cut, contains lines of dialog that didn’t actually happen. The lines made the Clinton administration look pretty bad. So…Democrats in Congress wrote a letter threatening to pull a broadcast license or two — without specifically threatening to pull said license, mind you. In so doing, they struck these lines of dialog that didn’t happen, which would have made Clinton look bad. Thus advancing the notion that real lines of dialog, would have made President Clinton look good — again, without specifically going on record saying such a thing.

These are real trustworthy stewards of the public interest. Really. I’ll come out and specifically say that.

Because I’m being sarcastic.

Why the Clintonistas did not want you to see “The Path to 9/11″
By Larry Elder
Thursday, September 14, 2006

“I don’t want any lies in there parading as the truth, that’s all.” With that, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, former President Bill Clinton (the man impeached by the House of Representatives for lying under oath), struck again…Implicitly threatening to yank ABC’s broadcast license, several Democratic senators wrote [to Disney CEO and President Roger Iger], “Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law. . . . ” Where’s the ACLU when you need them?
:
Regarding the Clinton administration’s efforts, the 9/11 Report (pages 350-351) reads: “Before 9/11, the United States tried to solve the al Qaeda problem with the same government institutions and capabilities it had used in the last stages of the Cold War and its immediate aftermath. These capabilities were insufficient, but little was done to expand or reform them. . . . At no point before 9/11 was the Department of Defense fully engaged in the mission of countering al Qaeda, although this was perhaps the most dangerous foreign enemy then threatening the United States. The Clinton administration effectively relied on the CIA to take the lead in preparing long-term offensive plans against an enemy sanctuary.”

Also (page 358): “Responsibility for domestic intelligence gathering on terrorism was vested solely in the FBI, yet during almost all of the Clinton administration the relationship between the FBI Director and the President was nearly nonexistent. The FBI director would not communicate directly with the President. His key personnel shared very little information with the National Security Council and the rest of the national security community. As a consequence, one of the critical working relationships in the counterterrorism effort was broken.”

So if I vote for these clowns, I guess I get to pick between burning up in a skyscraper in a puddle of jet fuel, or leaping off said skyscraper, after some dirty little weird-beards crash a plane into it.

But the Democrats in charge will make sure if a movie is made about my demise, said movie will make the Democrats look good! Or else some broadcast licenses will get pulled. Wowee! No wonder they call themselves the party of the little guy. They really are little guys. Little, selfish, greedy, pandering, obsequious guys.

Oh well, at least when I jump off the building I’ll have full Medicare benefits…and maybe some reduced premiums. And as the air goes whizzing past my ears on the way down, I’ll take comfort in the fact that my Democrat Congress and my Democrat President did everything they could to prevent such a catastrophe. Or, if they didn’t, everybody will forget about it.

Thing I Know #121. One verifiable fact can sell a whole package of unlikely speculation. One appealing opinion can sell a whole package of outright falsehood.
Thing I Know #129. Leaders; votes; clergy; academics; pundits; prevailing sentiment; political expediency. Wherever these decide what is & isn’t true, an empire will surely fall.