Archive for the ‘The Muslim Question’ Category

“Leaving Islam?”

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Fox News:

The questions on the ads aren’t subtle: Leaving Islam? Fatwa on your head? Is your family threatening you?

A conservative activist and the organizations she leads have paid several thousand dollars for the ads to run on at least 30 city buses for a month. The ads point to a website called, which offers information to those wishing to leave Islam, but some Muslims are calling the ads a smoke screen for an anti-Muslim agenda.

Pamela Geller, who leads an organization called Stop Islamization of America, said the ads were meant to help provide resources for Muslims who are fearful of leaving the faith.

“It’s not offensive to Muslims, it’s religious freedom,” she said. “It’s not targeted at practicing Muslims. It doesn’t say ‘leave,’ it says ‘leaving’ with a question mark.”

Geller said the ad buy cost about $8,000, contributed by the readers of her blog, Atlas Shrugs, and other websites. Similar ads have run on buses in Miami, and she said ad buys were planned for other cities.

Atlas Shrugs is here.

I hope it doesn’t cause too much of a fuss. After all, I recall barely a ripple of discontent a couple years ago when Richard Dawkins launched his “There Is Probably No God” campaign.

Sauce? Goose? Gander?

Northwest/Delta Flight 253

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

American Thinker may have the best article up about this, and they definitely have the best lead-in I’ve seen so far (hat tip to PalinTwibe‘s twitter feed):

The passengers of Northwest/Delta Airlines Flight 253 are lucky they are still alive. They should be the last passengers in the US exposed to this kind of risk because of political correctness.

Update: I first learned about Jasper Schuringa at Blogger Friend Rick’s page, and it looks like a lot of other folks first learned about him there as well. Congratulations to our friend for the scoop.

Jasper Schuringa, a video director and producer from Amsterdam, told CNN how he helped the cabin crew to subdue Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old who reportedly ignited a small explosive device on board the plane Friday as it prepared to land in Detroit.

Thanks also from Amsterdam’s acting Prime Minister:

According to the Dutch newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, the Acting Dutch Prime Minister Wouter Bos today thanked Dutch video director and producer from Amsterdam, Jasper Schuringa, for his actions aboard the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Bos thanked Schuringa on behalf of the Dutch Cabinet for the role he played in subduing the alleged terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and possibly preventing a tragedy.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has video:

Hopeless Terrorists

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

Let’s try to learn something about this in 2009. There’s a lot riding on it, and I see a lot of people bloviating about the issue from one direction or another, but not too many folks offering solid evidence.

Except, of course, for Mohamed Atta and his colleagues. That’s evidence. And they didn’t fit the profile of poverty, disease, hopelessness, “root causes,” et al. Not terribly well.

In last weekend’s Wall Street Journal, Kimberley Strassel published a truly fascinating interview with President Bush…He said, “freedom includes freedom from disease, because (terrorists) can exploit hopelessness, and that’s the only thing they can exploit.”

At which point one can only throw one’s hands in the air and sigh. Because this means he doesn’t understand terrorism. At all. Terrorists aren’t recruited because they feel hopeless. Quite the contrary; they feel inspired, galvanized, heroic and saintly. They are revolutionaries, they are seeking to change the world, and their actions are not one last desperate throw of the dice. Theirs are acts of hope and optimism, certainly not of despair. They think they’re part of a victorious army, not isolated individuals crushed by misery.

I suppose it’s all relative. Humans are designed to feel motivated to do whatever will positively impact their status in life, whether it’s from misery to satisfaction, or from abundance to glory.

At the same time, true misery has a horse-blinder effect on the human mind. When you can’t breathe, anything unrelated to air isn’t going to interest you a whole lot. By the same token, I think when you can’t feed yourself or you’re watching your own family flail about trying to feed itself, such noble pursuits as driving the Great Satan out of the Holy Land, aren’t going to grab your attention too well. Those ideas are going to be for the rich boys like Atta and his pals. You’re going to be much more interested in food. This is basic human behavior, Maslow Pyramid type stuff.

So I know about those college-educated Glorious Nineteen. And I know about Osama bin Laden…he’s a skinny guy, last I saw of him, but if he’s alive somewhere I don’t think he’s starving.

Ledeen might have a good point here, I think. But I was already suspicious, because I hear this bumper sticker slogan about “root causes” quite often, and it’s never exposed to scrutiny. I’m naturally suspicious of things being repeated over and over again that aren’t exposed to scrutiny, especially if they have to do with creating welfare programs where there may be no call for them.

Terrorists Throw Like Girls

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Everything you need to know about the shoe-throwing incident is at IMAO. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

By the way, I stole the headline from Plentyobailouts (7th comment). But at the same time, I’m just loving the contribution of No One Of Consequence (comment #2). Remember the beginning of Casino Royale? At the top of that crane when the bad guy ran out of bullets and threw his empty gun at James Bond? Yeah, baby…YEAH.

Ah, if only Bush had, in a single motion, caught the shoe, and flung it back at the guy, nailing him in the forehead, that would have been awesome!

Not entirely sure where in Article II he derives the authority to throw shoes back at people. Fortunately our country was spared this constitutional crisis.

Woulda been worth it, though.

I Keep Telling You And Telling You; The Most Devastating Thing To Do To A Stupid Idea…

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

…is to take it seriously.

That’s why I ride my bike to work every single day. I tell everybody who asks, it’s about being a moderately fat middle-aged guy as opposed to a grotesquely fat middle-aged guy, and not only that, but UNLESS EVERYBODY STARTS DOING THIS RIGHT NOW THE EARTH IS GONNA DIE!!!! An umptyfratz-many esteemed scientists have told us so so it must be true.

I deadpan that last one. Just for fun. It makes me happy when I get funny looks. I wouldn’t have gotten funny looks on that one just a couple years ago.

The most devastating thing you can do to a stupid idea is to take it seriously.

Or, elect it to be your next President.

Earlier today, I noted that Barack Obama’s team has started hinting that they will move back towards John McCain’s position on interrogation techniqiues. Now supporters of Obama who have criticized the Bush administration’s position on indefinite detention have begun rethinking that policy as well:

As a presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama sketched the broad outlines of a plan to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba: try detainees in American courts and reject the Bush administration’s military commission system.

Now, as Mr. Obama moves closer to assuming responsibility for Guantánamo, his pledge to close the detention center is bringing to the fore thorny questions under consideration by his advisers. They include where Guantánamo’s detainees could be held in this country, how many might be sent home and a matter that people with ties to the Obama transition team say is worrying them most: What if some detainees are acquitted or cannot be prosecuted at all?

That concern is at the center of a debate among national security, human rights and legal experts that has intensified since the election. Even some liberals are arguing that to deal realistically with terrorism, the new administration should seek Congressional authority for preventive detention of terrorism suspects deemed too dangerous to release even if they cannot be successfully prosecuted.

“You can’t be a purist and say there’s never any circumstance in which a democratic society can preventively detain someone,” said one civil liberties lawyer, David D. Cole, a Georgetown law professor who has been a critic of the Bush administration.

You can’t? That’s all we’ve heard from the close-Gitmo crowd for the last seven years. Indefinite detention supposedly violates American values, we’re losing the war if we adapt to the threat against us, blah blah blah. Certainly Barack Obama never gave any indication of nuanced thinking along the lines of indefinite detention during the last two years while campaigning for the presidency. In fact, Obama made the absolutist case that Cole now belatedly rejects in June 2007:

“While we’re at it,” he said, “we’re going to close Guantanamo. And we’re going to restore habeas corpus. … We’re going to lead by example _ by not just word but by deed. That’s our vision for the future.

Now that Obama has to live with these decisions and not simply snipe from the sidelines, the game appears to have changed. A month ago, the NYT’s editorial board scoffed at the Bush administration’s efforts to keep Gitmo detainees from being released as merely a way to avoid bad press and not to keep dangerous people from killing Americans. Suddenly, the New York Times discovers that the American system does allow for indefinite detention to protect society from dangerous individuals without full-blown criminal trials — as with the criminally insane.

Gosh, and all that “shut down Gitmo” stuff sounded so rational and sensible back in the olden days, when we were reassured it wasn’t really gonna happen soon.

So how far did you get when you parents told you to go ahead and run away from home?

I wish like the dickens I could patent this obvious truth, that some silly ideas seem attractive and sensible right up until they’re about to be implemented and then suddenly the beer goggles fall off. But I can’t. The earliest I became aware of it was when Carlin Romano said it after announcing in a book review that, according to Catharine MacKinnon’s “logic,” he just finished raping her. “People claim I dehumanized her,” he said. “In fact, I did worse — I took her seriously. The worst thing that can happen to a flamboyant claim is to be tested.”

That was way back in ’94. Since then, I have seen the wisdom of his words proven over and over again.

So this McCain voter is not weeping, wailing, or gnashing his teeth. He’s not stomping his feet or holding his breath until his face turns blue. He’s conducting his life, riding his bike to work…occasionally indulging in making an Obamaton squirm about driving that enormous SUV everywhere while the earth is dying. And, just reading the news to see how this hopey-changey goodness turns out. This McCain voter is very much like your mom and dad telling you to go ahead and run away from home, and watching to see what happens next.

This McCain voter is expecting — and not just a little bit — that what comes down the news pipeline, as all this hopey-changey goodness is nailed into place, resembles very much this first example. Oh no, Obamatons, your ideas are being taken seriously! What’re ya gonna do now?

Hat tip: Anchoress.

Lights Out on Liberty

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Excerpts from a lecture delivered by Mark Steyn at Hillsdale College, five months ago. The subject under discussion is the awful, guileful danger involved when, in the name of tolerance, intolerance itself is tolerated:

After the London Tube bombings and the French riots a few years back, commentators lined up behind the idea that Western Muslims are insufficiently assimilated. But in their mastery of legalisms and the language of victimology, they’re superbly assimilated. Since these are the principal means of discourse in multicultural societies, they’ve mastered all they need to know. Every day of the week, somewhere in the West, a Muslim lobbying group is engaging in an action similar to what I’m facing in Canada. Meanwhile, in London, masked men marched through the streets with signs reading “Behead the Enemies of Islam” and promising another 9/11 and another Holocaust, all while being protected by a phalanx of London policemen.

Thus we see that today’s multicultural societies tolerate the explicitly intolerant and avowedly unicultural, while refusing to tolerate anyone pointing out that intolerance. It’s been that way for 20 years now, ever since Valentine’s Day 1989, when the Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa against the novelist Salman Rushdie, a British subject, and shortly thereafter large numbers of British Muslims marched through English cities openly calling for Rushdie to be killed. A reader in Bradford wrote to me recalling asking a West Yorkshire policeman on the street that day why the various “Muslim community leaders” weren’t being arrested for incitement to murder. The officer said they’d been told to “play it cool.” The calls for blood got more raucous. My correspondent asked his question again. The policeman told him to “Push off” (he expressed the sentiment rather more Anglo-Saxonly, but let that pass) “or I’ll arrest you.” Mr. Rushdie was infuriated when the then Archbishop of Canterbury lapsed into root-cause mode. “I well understand the devout Muslims’ reaction, wounded by what they hold most dear and would themselves die for,” said His Grace. Rushdie replied tersely: “There is only one person around here who is in any danger of dying.”

Sharpened steel, coming into contact with glass, will scratch the glass while the glass will not make any imprint whatsoever upon the steel. Diamond, impressed on the steel, will scratch the steel while the steel will not alter the diamond. It does nothing to slander or derogate in anyway, the glass, the steel, or the diamond to point any of this out. It is a direct consequence of the relative hardness of things.

And the radical Islamic culture is much harder than the pansy phony-tolerance multi-culti politically-correct culture.

The question that remains to be pondered, is whether the western civilizations would have been allowed to keep some of their liberty if some doctrine of equal-enforcement were observed and upheld, with sincerity. This would mean the constables would have received no such instructions to “play it cool,” and the Muslims marching for the head of Salman Rushdie would have been brought before a tribunal to explain themselves. That, or Mark Steyn and his publishers would be just as free as you & me.

I don’t know if equality of enforcement by itself would do the trick — anything goes when intolerance is tolerated. But since our Canadian and European friends are not placing much value on equality of enforcement and the situation is even worse still, it isn’t too tough to predict what happens next. For the tempered steel has been sharpened, as on the business edge of a surgeon’s scalpel, and is now being pressed into…something like room temperature butter.

How concerned should we be?

72 Virgins Dating Service

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

H/T: The Sudden Curve.

Open Letter From Obama Supporters to Islamist Whack-Jobs

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

As written by Gerard:

9/11 JumpersTO: ISLAM


You may have asked yourselves if, with the rise of Barack Hussein Obama, we American supporters of the candidate of the millennium are impatient with you. Yes, it’s true. You are not fulfilling our desires which we believe we have made clear with our worship of Obama. Let’s be clear about one thing, as supporters of Obama we thirst for death.

We would like you, at your earliest opportunity, to expunge our guilt – especially that of the whitest and therefore most guilty among us – by slaughtering us wholesale.

Just as you hate us for what we are so we hate ourselves for who we are. We have so much while you, the petulant children of a whacked-out god, oppressed by your own ratty cultures and fascist governments and unable to contribute anything to civilization for over 500 years, have so little except your “trauma.” Because of this we feel it is only fair that you get to kill more of us at will.

As Obama-Americans we have a problem with our self-esteem in this country, and that problem is that you are not killing enough of us quickly enough. Especially if we support Obama. You don’t think we’re working for him for our health, or even our health-plan, do you?

Pretty much. There’s much more. Go read the whole thing.

Twenty-first century American liberalism in a nutshell: That which builds or preserves must, at all costs, be destroyed; that which destroys must, at all costs, be preserved.

Eleven Percent

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

I was just listening to Meet The Press with half-an-ear, and someone had commented on a poll that says a large majority of voters understand Barack Obama is a Christian, twenty-something percent don’t know what he is and eleven percent still say he’s a Muslim. Time for Tivo. I was disappointed in my ability to receive the television medium because I was specifically looking for some foundation to this argument they were having — Tim Russert was going into borderline hysterics about what a good Christian Barack Obama is. “Borderline hysterics” meaning…throwing out factoids that would be meaningful only to people who are trying to figure out what Obama’s religion is. A long string of ’em. Which is a little weird, because if he was trying to prove something, one or two would have sufficed.

My impression was that since the media is in the tank for Obama, they were trying to conjure up a boogeyman that doesn’t actually exist: The millions-strong mob of likely voters who have eliminated Obama on the unfair and false accusation that he’s a Muslim. I was skeptical that this mob exists. Having heard this eleven percent thing, I remain just as skeptical.

It isn’t that my Madd Googl Skilz have failed to wrap their virtual tendrils around this poll. I’m sure I’ll come across it later. I think eleven percent sounds about right.

And yeah, I believe every single anecdote about encounters with these people. I think they’re out there.

It’s just that I doubt they’re worth discussing. At all. I don’t think they matter, I don’t think they’re significant, and I certainly don’t think they’re going to affect the outcome of anything. Naturally, if I’m wrong, that would be a good thing because this is an exceptionally just-plain-bad presidential candidate.

But back to these eleven percenters who “still think he’s a Muslim.”

I think they’re worth talking about, only because when people talk about them, all present feel a strengthening of their loyalties to the Obamessiah…and they like this. Obama appeals to the “feelings” voter. And I can’t help noticing that “feelings” voters use their feelings as sort of a security blanket — they can’t drop ’em for too long or they get all antsy.

That, and of course, they don’t think. One of the persistent myths of our time, one accepted by far more than eleven percent, is that a single person can throw both his feelings and thoughts into a single decision. Not so. You have to choose which master you serve. To a thinking voter, “He Isn’t A Muslim After All!” is a pretty poor qualification for President. I’m not a Muslim, and I don’t know if I’m up to the job…although I’d be better than him, because I have the capacity to mix in an occasional wise decision in with my long train of stupid ones. That, and when I don’t know something, I think I’m pretty good at figuring out what it is I don’t know. Besides, isn’t being a Muslim supposed to be more-or-less okay?

I challenge the idea that eleven percent of anything means very much. Good heavens, what would happen if George Bush’s approval rating was suddenly eleven percent? World War Three could break out that very same morning and you’d probably hear nothing of it. The networks would rush to give us instructions to believe that eleven percent is statistically the same as zero…and they’d be right about that.

Because the elephant in the room that they’re trying to ignore, is that eleven percent, which is one out of nine, is a fraction descending far into the heavy fog of “statistical nobody.” You can come up with any cockeyed idea you want to — and it will find acceptance in one out of nine people, and probably more, with no trouble at all. One out of nine…you’ll probably find exuberant, enthusiastic acceptance of whatever-it-is among that many.

Obama should be pleased as punch. One out of nine means this canard is effectively dead.

Now, the real question, as far as I’m concerned, is how many likely voters think Obama wants the radical Muslim whack-jobs we’re fighting to come out of this thing whole, so they can stir up some more trouble later on. Seems to me this is far more pertinent to our decision than Obama’s personal faith, which is constitutionally barred as a litmus test for his candidacy anyway. The only thing I took away from all that stuff about his church is that he has a history of making friends with America-hating dickheads, and I already knew that. I’m concerned not with his personal creed, but with his sympathies.

And you know what? I’ll bet that’s true of the people who were questioned in whatever that poll was. In fact, I’ll bet it’s true of the eleven-percenters.

Tolerance and Intolerance II

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

Once again it is shown: Tolerance and intolerance are mutually-exclusive things. It is an act of intolerance, to tolerate intolerance.

Let all who doubt that, feast their eyes:

This morning, my son asked to go swimming at 10 am. As he was going to play with a friend at 11.30, I agreed to take him early. I checked the pool programme online… and the opening times. Apparently, the pool was open, and no special programmes were being run. So, off we trundled. When I arrived at the pool, I was told that we could not swim in it until 10.45. The reason is that it was being used for ‘Muslim Male Swimming’. This is apparently so every Sunday morning. I couldn’t quite believe that a swimming pool was really institutionalising both gender and religious segregation… Apparently, this is a policy insisted on by Hackney Council, which sets the policy for all Hackney pools.

Or, as I said at the early part of last year:

Whenever someone in a position of authority uses those four words in sequence, “aimed at promoting tolerance,” something that had previously been tolerated, no longer will be, and it is soon to be subjected to intolerance.

On Liberal Morality

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

I had cited in the seven lies I was told, as a boy in public school, presumably being told the same things that many other kids were told, the canard that “Republicans and Democrats want to get the same things done but have different ideas of how to go about doing it.” Post-high-school-graduation, I have seen very little evidence of this. Higher standard of living, maybe? Republicans and democrats both want that? I dunno about even that one. There are a lot of Republicans, it seems to me, who take the “money is the root of all evil” thing a little too seriously (chopping off the “love of” at the beginning of that cliche). And the democrats who want to raise standards of living, I’ve notice, always seem to want to target certain favored classes of people. With other classes not quite so smiled-upon, an increased standard of living is, in their minds, an evil thing.

One of the wonderful things about America, in my mind, is that our ideological split is rather singular in nature — us on the one side, them on the other. This gives rise to some unhealthy things, such as people in both camps who are tempted to cross the fourth milestone to insanity, essentially insisting “nobody from my tribe can have a bad idea, and nobody from the other tribe can ever have a good one.” That isn’t good at all. But consider the alternative to a single ideological split: Many of the same. Ugh. You think it’s hard, now, for an election campaign to be run on issues rather than personalities. I’ll take one single big fat chalk line down the middle of the house, thank you very much.

But here’s another wonderful thing about America’s split between conservatives and liberals: It goes right down to the definition of morality. This means you can find decent people on both side of the line — we aren’t quibbling about whether to be moral, we’re disagreeing about how to test it. In that sense, the old falsehood has a kernel of truth to it (as do all potent and convincing falsehoods). We all — or most, anyway — want to be good people. How do we define it?

I’m amused that this piece that leans right contains essentially the same phraseology as this other piece that leans left…”Liberal morality is a very alien thing…” versus “…social conservatives frequently take stances that liberals find baffling, if not downright evil.”

Now here is a differential across the divide: Once we do have morality defined in a way that makes us comfortable, what do we think of people who fail to adhere to our standards?

I think Larry Elder summed it up very capably when he said,

Conservatives consider liberals well-intentioned, but misguided. Liberals consider conservatives not only wrong, but really, really bad people.

The column in question concerns Elders’ encounter in a barbershop with a fellow patron who was shocked to learn Elder had voted to re-elect George W. Bush. It is titled “Open-Minded Liberals”…with a question mark at the end.

The older I get, the more befuddled I am that this “open-minded” nonsense ever got started. It is one of the few mysteries in life that my unhealthy childhood television diet back in the seventies, might provide some assistance in unlocking. I recall it was very fashionable for television networks to release pastiches of “All in the Family” in one boring episode or another, setting up a central character to be good-hearted “meathead” and another marginal character, often a one-time-only character, to be “Archie” except not so lovable. It became ritualistic for the central character to deliver some caustic, dismissive line in one of the last scenes while the canned studio audience sound effects would cheer wildly, condemning the marginal character’s racism or, occasionally, sexism. The marginal character would give this look downward at his toes like “aw gee, I suck so much” and he’d never be seen again.

It was boring and unimaginative immediately. It didn’t get to be tragically funny until years later. Half-hour sitcoms telling us what values to have? Nowadays we have cable television shows like “Desperate Housewives” or “Six Feet Under” or “Dead Like Me” telling us how to look at life…which is another problem…but overall, a vast improvement.

I digress. The point, here, is that stale comedy shows from the era of double-digit inflation and gas rationing, represent the last time I have ever seen liberal ideas given even the semblance of “open-mindedness.” How our left-wing friends got all twisted around from tolerance, to anything-but, is a delicious chronicling of irony. It’s as if they set themselves up for it from Day One. Like their bumper sticker slogan might as well have been…”we all need to be respectful of people who aren’t like us…and we have no room anywhere for anybody who disagrees.” Or how did Austin Powers’ father put it? Something like “There’s two things I can’t stand, people who are intolerant of other cultures…and the Dutch.”

Discarding all the occasions where intolerance would necessitate some form of action, I haven’t seen the people we call “liberals” tolerate anything outside their perimeter of favored cultural sexual-preference and skin-color baubles since…well…ever. Their morality seems to have something to do with intolerance, if anything. And the intolerance is a complicated thing. It has at least two tiers. They’re intolerant of terrorists…they’re intolerant of conservatives…you don’t exactly have to be a seasoned scholar of modern popular culture to realize these are two entirely different things. There is a commitment to making sure the conservatives don’t get their way. To make sure of it. And if the conservatives do indeed get away with some shenanigans, why, vengeance will surely belong to the liberals someday.

Myself and others have thought, very often, how things would look now if liberals were as committed to thwarting terrorism as they were to thwarting conservatism.

And how long do you have to wait for a liberal to, even in the midst of denying what’s above, justify it nevertheless? Something about your odds of being killed in a terrorist attack being thirty gazillion to one? When we waterboard we’re worse than they are? Aren’t those favored liberal talking points now?

Anyway, all that is just a prelude to what follows below. I was having a discussion over at Phil’s place which led to an interesting off-line. The subject isn’t quite so much liberalism, it’s more like very mild forms of egalitarianism…the minimalist sort that formed, among other things, the American experiment itself. Phil was referring to the last 200 years or so in terms of how tyrants come to power, and I’ve always been rather interested with what came before the 200-year period. What started all this, I wonder? The storming of the Bastille? The subject immediately under discussion is what Rush Limbaugh sometimes calls “Gettin Even Withem Ism” (it’s a phonetic expression and I have no idea how one correctly spells it), which by itself is a curiosity. Listen to liberals for awhile, especially Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, and you’ll see it’s almost compulsory to call out some bad guy who’s due to be taken down a peg or two. One gets the impression that their brand of liberalism cannot survive long without this essential element, not even for a breath or two.

That has always struck me as odd and strange. If we’re trying to achieve an open, tolerant, transparent and diverse society, why we could just babble away about that noble vision for months at a time without calling out any villains, right?

Today’s liberals can connect bad guys to anything you want to discuss. Health crises, like AIDS. Weather phenomena like Hurricane Katrina. I mean…you just name it. Maybe this is why Barack Obama is kicking Hillary’s ass lately; maybe the liberals themselves are just sick of it. That’d be a good thing. It would imply that like the rest of us, they have a hunger for solutions and are ready to subordinate the distribution of blame to a decidedly inferior priority. That they’re finally starting to grow up a little bit. To think about becoming what, in my lifetime, they have always bragged about being: “progressive.”

But on the subject of morality, I thought this DailyKOS writer did a pretty good job of drawing up the difference:

Liberal Christian morality differs from conservative Christian morality in that liberal Christians don’t look at the Bible and see rules but instead see guidance for how to think about morality and justice. Right and wrong is not determined by God, but God’s morality is based on fundamental truths of right and wrong. Conservative Christians criticize this thinking as non-Biblical, because it excludes sections of the Bible that are clearly rules-based. Liberal Christians have a number of responses, including the idea that God is constantly trying to get us to change and move beyond what we once were.

If I understand this right, the liberal view of morality is not superior or inferior, but rather dynamic instead of static. It defines continual self-improvement as one of the most important pillars, perhaps the all-important pillar. We are a continuously self-improving thing, designed to discern for ourselves what is right and what is wrong.

Maybe that’s why liberals don’t like us to talk about terrorism. It highlights self-contradictory things about this that would normally be kept in the dark, and it lights up those contradictions rather brilliantly. If we are in a process of evolution, becoming a progressively more moral species, relegating to the realm of wrongness things that were previously thought right, we can cheerfully avoid ethical conundrums right up until the point where we encounter some “missing links” such as the terrorists who murdered thousands of people on September 11, 2001. If we’re being socially tolerant, then we need to respect other cultures, and that includes the decision to live in the seventh century. If some other culture wants to live as million-year-old chimpanzees on the spectrum of moral evolution, and the rest of us our in a process of relegating previously-right things to the realm of wrongness, that would mean these primitives are living in a time when the acts we consider wrong, are in fact right. And if that includes murdering thousands of office workers and bystanders to make a point about our foreign policies, then the potential exists that the September 11 attacks fall into the zone of “aw, that’s quite alright” — at least in the perspective of those who committed them. And we are honor-bound to respect that.

If you want to avoid that conclusion, then you have to at least allow for the idea that some issues of right and wrong are absolute. And if you want to allow for that, then you have to embrace at least some of…oh, dear…that awful, dreaded conservatism.

Well, it’s widely accepted that moderation is a good thing. So maybe that’s how the liberals justify it. But when you listen to liberals and their opinions of conservatives for very long, it doesn’t seem like this can be the case. They seem to think of conservatism the way Yoda spoke of the Dark Side of the Force…you know…once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

They are the doctor’s hands, scrubbed and ready for surgery. We’re the filth, slime and muck. They are not to come into contact with us. It’s exactly what Larry Elder saw in that barbershop.

I was looking around for something that would more reasonably explain all this, and I stumbled across this piece that invoked images of the Bastille all over again, and made a brilliant point besides.

The Nature of Liberal Morality
By John “Birdman” Bryant

In contrast to conservative morality, liberalism is based on the premise that Reason, rather than Tradition, should be the criterion of good. Ironically, however, the first historical instance in which Reason was made the basis of morality — the French Revolution — not only witnessed some of the most immoral acts ever performed by man, but saw Reason literally transformed into the god of a religion thru the efforts of Hebert and others, so that Reason simply became a different form of Tradition.

I know if I tried to be a liberal, I’d make a very bad one. This notion of moral definition that is dynamic across time, has always troubled me greatly, and I suspect it troubles everybody else too — even liberals.

I do something marginally terrible, such as jaywalking or littering, and fifty years later my grandson is busted for exactly the same crime. We both go through the judicial process and receive, half a century apart, radically different judgments. Both those episodes are alright? How can that be? If that is the case, what is to be said if the crime for which we are each respectfully busted, me now, him five decades from now, is far more serious? What if we each kill someone under identical situations? I serve 25-to-life and my grandson gets out after two and a half years? Or vice-versa? Neither scenario carries some kind of miscarriage of justice? How can that possibly be?

If that is indeed the case, what are we to think about slavery — back when it was actually practiced here? We’d have to grant some kind of approving nod to it, wouldn’t we? Or at least, fail to condemn it. And if we fail to condemn that, what else would we have to say is alright…so long as it comes from a respectfully primitive time.

The author goes on to quote himself, and finds an exception to a rule that previously left such exception unmentioned:

“The principal axiom — and fallacy — of the philosophy which in the present day goes by the name of “liberalism” is that any given human life possesses infinite value. It is this axiom which explains the liberals’ eagerness to feed the starving third-world masses, in spite of the fact that such feeding will not stop starvation, but will make it all the worse once an infusion of food has made it possible for those who are starving to add to their numbers. It is this axiom which explains the liberals’ abhorrence of the death penalty, even for those persons who have committed the most heinous and despicable crimes. It is this axiom which explains the liberals’ opposition to war, even when the enemy is clearly opposed to the democratic principles which make the liberals’ self-righteously resounding protests possible. And it is this axiom which so arouses the liberals’ anger when scientists, in the study of their carefully-gathered statistics, conclude that some racial, ethnic or other groups may be inferior to others, thereby implying that — since the value of some people is less than that of others — that therefore not all those values are indeed infinite. “There is, however, a notable exception to the above axiom, which is that liberals, in favoring a woman’s right to abortion, do not seem particularly concerned with the lives of the unborn. I am not sure why this exception has arisen — or indeed that it is an exception, as liberals may well be split on the issue — but my suspicion is that it has much to do with liberal opposition to religion, and particularly the liberal distaste for the views of religious fundamentalists on abortion, who maintain that every fetus possesses that apparently-imaginary entity known as a ‘soul’.

Personally, I think that might explain part of it, but there’s got to be a whole lot more to it than that. Some liberals are religious, after all.

The relationship between liberals, and oppression of humans by other humans, is a curious one. They outwardly deplore it, but as we saw with the Iraq war, they also condemn bitterly those who interfere with it. It’s kind of like the big brother who pronounces nobody can ever touch a hair on his little brother’s head — except him.

Except the big-brother-bully occasionally has to translate his words into action, while our liberals seem opposed to doing that or allowing anybody else to do it either. Whaddya get when you cross bullying with laziness…liberalism.

Cause of Global WarmingThe abortion issue has always seemed, to me, to have something to do with a minimalist definition of what people are. I reach this conclusion by observing it from a high level, from which I can simultaneously observe the euthanasia issue, the death penalty issue, the evolution-versus-intelligent-design flap, and the “don’t emit carbon ManBearPig” thing. Across all five of these issues, it seems the one axiom that earns opposition and condemnation from our liberals, is the one that says we matter. That we are here to accomplish something wonderful and great. Five times out of five, this dictum wanders into arguments that our liberals cannot allow to stand.

And you could power large cities off the energy they arouse in opposing them.

One can’t help but wonder if “global warming” isn’t caused, over the last ten years, primarily by liberal outrage. I guess when you work really hard over a lifetime at being ordinary, you get extra-extra-ticked-off if you see someone else trying to be extraordinary. Maybe that’s what liberalism is.

Salvage’s Frosting Diet

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Salvage is Canadian, but I’d like to make it clear at this time that there are other Canadians who are not like him. He’s been hanging around Rick’s blog ever since Zossima dropped out of it…which is interesting…giving us an almost-daily education about sarcasm. How it is open to abuse. How pure sarcasm, can be used to prop up just about any silly statement. Convincingly. Somewhat convincingly when coming from salvage…perhaps more convincingly when manipulated by someone more capable.

It’s worth keeping in mind, I think. Some folks are known to use sarcasm to decide anything and everything. They are strangers to genuine exchanges of ideas. They are the “Daily Show” generation — those who were brought up under the belief that when they were watching certain entertainment programs, they were watching “news.” Who is to blame them for thinking any idea worth pondering, should fit onto a bumper sticker or within a single lungful of air?

Sarcasm has its place. But in my view, that place is as a garnish. Or cake frosting. We got a lot of young people walking around, I see, who substitute that frosting in place of the cake, the sherbet, the Hors D’Oeuvres, the vegetables, and the entree.

Their “diet” is as far away from healthy as you can get. And at Brutally Honest, we get a reminder of this every time we watch salvage do his “dining.”

Well, yesterday salvage took a break from the bucket o’ frosting and compromised with his mommy to chow down on a hunk of muffin…or sugar cookie…or something…with lots of sarcastic frosting spread all over it, of course. Can’t take a break from it, you know — in no other context, can his absurd ideas enjoy even the appearance of legitimacy. At issue was the case of Ezra Levant’s case before the Human Rights Commission.

A complaint has been filed with Canada’s HRC, which has lately become notorious. The point of the complaint is a selection of those horribly offensive cartoons about the prophet Muhammed, of which Levant is the publisher.

Van der Leun put up the YouTube clips from Levant, and then Rick linked to Van der Leun. Rick wondered aloud how it could be justified that this story is ignored, by the very same folks who “want to trumpet the loss of civil rights at the hands of Bushitler and his co-chimp Cheney and other ‘neocons’.”

…and salvage jumped in to provide an answer to that.

Yes, the elimination of habeas corpus and the indefinite detention certainly compares to the undemocratic hell that is a Human Rights Commission hearing and there is no doubt that Ezra Levant will be sentenced to life in the Maple Syrup mines.

Actually the Human Rights Commission is just following their mandate, someone made a complaint and now they’re investigating it. Sometimes people make stupid complaints but they still have to be followed up.

And yes, this is a stupid one you can tell because it’s gotten you wingnuts all worked up which is always fun to watch.

So keep it up, and when the Commission finds there isn’t any grounds and it ends? I’m sure you and your wingnut buddies will talk about that with equal enthusiasm.

Nah, just kidding, you’ll just find another molehill to shriek your fear and loathing at.

It’s clear to me that salvage didn’t watch the clips — that, or if he did, the point went whistling at Mach 1 right over what passes for his noggin.

See, when the argument is made about President Bush’s “elimination of habeas corpus and the indefinite detention,” this actually resonates with fair-minded moderate folks such as myself, even if it doesn’t completely convince us, because that says what we have is a decision we are accustomed to having made in the public spotlight, with transparency, publicity, and oversight, suddenly made in what might be thought of as a “black box.” We find the argument compelling, even if we don’t find it altogether convincing for a number of reasons. Some of the problems have to do with the nature of military operations. We have “detainees” captured on the field of battle…should the detainees be released to our court system? Can it not be said that the rights of the detainees have been violated, if this does not come to pass?

The argument isn’t dismissed lightly. Folks like salvage, gorging themselves on the frosting of sarcasm, think it is — because it does not triumph. The grownups, who understand things like roughage and protein and vitamins, and therefore do not dine on frosting alone, have other things to consider…

…like, for example, what laws have these “detainees” broken? The most-liberal guy where I work came up with an interesting point: He’s opposed to releasing detainees into the legal system, because regardless of his feelings about pre-emptive military strikes, he certainly doesn’t want America to be empowered to go around the world arresting people. On that, he and I agree. And then there’s the matter of what a legal system does with prisoners, who are found to have not violated any laws (or, more to the point, cannot be proven to have violated any laws).

Those prisoners have to be released, right?

It just doesn’t seem to fit the situation. It would appear we have found the reason why some things are treated as legal issues, and other things aren’t. The legal process is all about “rights,” whereas in thousands of years of war, nobody with a respected viewpoint on the matter ever declared the day-to-day business of war to have much to do with rights.

Saying so, doesn’t make you a right-winger or a Bush-bot. It makes you a grownup. But as salvage helps to remind us, lot of the folks talking about this stuff now aren’t really grownups.

But getting back to the back-room nature of how the Bush administration has been dealing with the detainees. I think we can all agree, at the grownup dining table at least, that the detainees do have some rights — and that whatever these rights are, they ought to fall short of the rights needed to run wild & free and make trouble. And so even though we don’t bow to the wisdom of the frosting-kids, as reasonable adults we are bothered by the idea that people in authority are deciding things and their decisions are not open ones.

Salvage and the rest of the frosting-kids, fresh off of making that argument, and festering in their disappointment that this one argument didn’t determine the outcome…then indulge in the unbelievable, which I’m pretty sure is the point Rick was making. They look upon the closed-door proceedings of the HRC — not the hearings we are able to browse on YouTube, thanks to the uploading by the defendant himself, but the process by which these decisions are handed down — they understand the rubber is going to meet the road in whatever way it’s gonna. And this raises no red flags with them.

To state it a little more succinctly. It is in the nature of a military tribunal that oversight is limited — that’s supposed to be an awful thing. Oversight seems to be missing altogether from what the HRC does…it’s not immediately obvious how the HRC finds it necessary to function without it, but it’s missing anyway…and that’s perfectly alright?

It should be noted the care involved in choosing the word “limited.” It does not mean “non-existent.” Far from it. At least, that is the case where the military tribunals are concerned.

President George W. Bush has ordered that certain detainees imprisoned at the Naval base at Guantanamo Bay were to be tried by military commissions. This decision sparked controversy and litigation. On June 29, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court limited the power of the Bush administration to conduct military tribunals to suspected terrorists at Guantánamo Bay.

In December of 2006, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 was passed and authorized the establishment of military commissions subject to certain requirements and with a designated system of appealing those decisions. A military commission system addressing objections identified by the U.S. Supreme Court was then established by the Department of Defense. Litigation concerning the establishment of this system is ongoing. As of June 13, 2007, the appellate body in this military commission system had not yet been constituted.

Three cases had been commenced in the new system, as of June 13, 2007. One detainee, David Matthew Hicks plea bargained and was sent to Australia to serve a nine month sentence. Two case were dismissed without prejudice because the tribunal believed that the men charged had not been properly determined to be persons within the commission’s jurisdiction on June 4, 2007, and the military prosecutors asked the commission to reconsider that decision on June 8, 2007. One of the dismissed cases involved Omar Ahmed Khadr, who was captured at age 15 in Afghanistan after having killed a U.S. soldier with a grenade. The other dismissed case involved Salim Ahmed Hamdan who is alleged to have been Osama bin Laden’s driver and is the lead plaintiff in a key series of cases challenging the military commission system. The system is in limbo until the jurisdictional issues addressed in the early cases are resolved.

This has always bothered me about the “eliminating habeas corpus” argument. I remember all the crowing and champagne-glass-clinking when the Supreme Court decision was handed down. Oooh, we’re so wonderful and Bush sucks so much, because the Supreme Court showed him what-for. And then the process is reformed to accommodate the decision…and then is challenged anew…and heard in court some more.

That’s oversight. It’s there, or it isn’t. If you’re victorious in getting it installed, or using it, or exploiting it, and you want to shout from the highest hilltops that you had your victory against the Imperial Galactic Bush Administration and bask in your wonderful-ness — seems to me, the option to grumble about lack of that openness and oversight at some later time, has been jettisoned. You can’t have it both ways.

Okay now if the issue is comparing the military tribunal situation to the Human Rights Commission hearings…and it seems to be, because if I’m reading it right, Rick laid down a challenge and then cupcake-frosting-boy went and picked it up…it’s fair to ask: Does the HRC have as much transparency and oversight as this military tribunal process — which I’m told has none, but clearly does have plenty?

We’re not off to a good start here. I would cite as Exhibit A, Levant’s seventh clip, “What Was Your Intent?”

LEVANT: Why is that a relevant question?

MCGOVERN: Under section 31a, it talks about the intention…purpose…we like to get some background, as well.

LEVANT: Is it, you’d like to get some background? Or does this determine anything? We publish what we publish. The words speak for themselves. Are you saying that one answer is wrong and one answer is right? Is a certain answer contrary to law?


LEVANT: So if I were to say — hypothetically — that the purpose was to instill hatred, incite hatred, and to cause offense, are you saying that’s an acceptable answer?

MCGOVERN: I have to look at it in the context of all the information, and determine if it was indeed.

You have to admire the way Levant is handling this. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say he is Henry Rearden sprung to life, leaping straight out of the pages of Atlas Shrugged:

“I do not recognise this court’s right to try me.”


“I do not recognise this court’s right to try me.”

“But, Mr. Rearden, this is the legally appointed court to try this particular category of crime.”

“I do not recognise my action as a crime.”

“But you have admitted that you have broken our regulations controlling the sale of your Metal.”

“I do not recognise your right to control the sale of my Metal.”

“Is it necessary for me to point out that your recognition was not required?”

“No. I am fully aware of it and I am acting accordingly.”

He noted the stillness of the room. By the rules of the complicated pretence which all those people played for one another’s benefit, they should have considered his stand as incomprehensible folly; there should have been rustles of astonishment and derision; there were none; they sat still; they understood.

“Do you mean that you are refusing to obey the law?” asked the judge.

“No. I am complying with the law – to the letter. Your law holds that my life, my work and my property may be disposed of without my consent. Very well, you may now dispose of me without my participation in the matter. I will not play the part of defending myself, where no defence is possible, and I will not simulate the illusion of dealing with a tribunal of justice.”

“But, Mr. Rearden, the law provides specifically that you are to be given an opportunity to present your side of the case and to defend yourself.”

“A prisoner brought to trial can defend himself only if there is an objective principle of justice recognised by his judges, a principle upholding his rights, which they may not violate and which he can invoke. The law, by which you are trying me, holds that there are no principles, that I have no rights and that you may do with me whatever you please. Very well. Do it.”

“Mr. Rearden, the law which you are denouncing is based on the highest principle – the principle of the public good.”

“Who is the public? What does it hold as its good? There was a time when men believed that ‘the good’ was a concept to be defined by a code of moral values and that no man had the right to seek his good through the violation of the rights of another. If it is now believed that my fellow men may sacrifice me in any manner they please for the sake of whatever they deem to e their own good, if they believe that they may seize my property simply because they need it – well, so does any burglar. There is only this difference: the burglar does not ask me to sanction his act.”

A group of seats at the side of the courtroom was reserved for the prominent visitors who had come from New York to witness the trial. Dagny sat motionless and her face showed nothing but a solemn attention, the attention of listening with the knowledge that the flow of his words would determine the course of her life. Eddie Willers sat beside her. James Taggart had not come. Paul Larkin sat hunched forward, his face thrust out, pointed like an animal’s muzzle, sharpened by a look of fear now turning into malicious hatred. Mr. Mowen, who sat beside him, was a man of greater innocence and smaller understanding; his fear was of a simpler nature; he listened in bewildered indignation and he whispered to Larkin, “Good God, now he’s done it! Now he’ll convince the whole country that all businessmen are enemies of the public good!”

“Are we to understand,” asked the judge, “that you hold your own interests above the interests of the public?”

“I hold that such a question can never arise except in a society of cannibals.”

“What … do you mean?”

“I hold that there is no clash of interests among men who do not demand the unearned and do not practice human sacrifices.”

“Are we to understand that if the public deems it necessary to curtail your profits, you do not recognise its right to do so?”

“Why, yes, I do. The public may curtail my profits any time it wishes – by refusing to buy my product.”

“We are speaking of … other methods.”

“Any other method of curtailing profits is the method of looters – and I recognise it as such.”

“Mr. Rearden, this is hardly the way to defend yourself.”

“I said that I would not defend myself.”

“But this is unheard of! Do you realise the gravity of the charge against you?”

“I do not care to consider it.”

“Do you realise the possible consequences of your stand?”


“It is the opinion of this court that the facts presented by the prosecution seem to warrant no leniency. The penalty which this court has the power to impose on you is extremely severe.”

“Go ahead.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Impose it.”

The three judges looked at one another. Then their spokesman turned back to Rearden. “This is unprecedented,” he said.

“It is completely irregular,” said the second judge. “The law requires you submit to a plea in your own defence. Your only alternative is to state for the record that you throw yourself upon the mercy of the court.”

“I do not.”

“But you have to.”

“Do you mean that what you expect from me is some sort of voluntary action?”


“I volunteer nothing.”

“But the law demands that the defendant’s side be represented on the record.”

“Do you mean that you need my help to make this procedure legal?”

“Well, no … yes … that is, to complete the form.”

“I will not help you.”

The third and youngest judge, who had acted as prosecutor snapped impatiently, “This is ridiculous and unfair! Do you want to let it look as if a man of your prominence had been railroaded without a –” He cut himself off short. Somebody at the back of the courtroom emitted a long whistle.

“I want,” said Rearden gravely, “to let the nature of this procedure appear exactly for what it is. If you need my help to disguise it – I will not help you.”

“But we are giving you a chance to defend yourself – and it is you who are rejecting it.”

“I will not help you to pretend that I have a chance. I will not help you to preserve an appearance of righteousness where rights are not recognised. I will not help you to preserve an appearance of rationality by entering a debate in which a gun is the final argument. I will not help you to pretend that you are administering justice.”

“But the law compels you to volunteer a defence!”

There was laughter at the back of the courtroom.

“That is the flaw in your theory, gentlemen,” said Rearden gravely, “and I will not help you out of it. If you choose to deal with men by means of compulsion, do so. But you will discover that you need the voluntary co-operation of your victims, in many more ways than you can see at present. And your victims should discover that it is their own volition – which you cannot force – that makes you possible. I choose to be consistent and I will obey you in the manner you demand. Whatever you wish me to do, I will do it at the point of a gun. If you sentence me to jail, you will have to send armed men to carry me there – I will not volunteer to move. If you fine me, you will have to seize my property to collect the fine – I will not volunteer to pay it. If you believe that you have the right to force me – use your guns openly. I will not help you to disguise the nature of your action.”

I did a quick check at the Fallaci award nominee page to see if Levine was nominated, as I was. Negatori. He should’ve been, at least next year if not this one. I’ll make a point to see what I can do about that next cycle.

It seems to me, at the very least, what we have here is a “black box” process for producing an outcome. I think even McGovern would agree with that — and with that, what we have is a breakdown in the ability to ensure consistency across the cases that come up before the Human Rights Commission.

McGovern is being deliberately evasive on the matter of how intent factors into the decision. She’s being asked about this directly. She has no answer. This is as valid a delineation as any other, in my mind at least, between free and un-free societies. The authorities are going to meet in a back room someplace and decide what’s what. Will they do that with any kind of consistency? With “equal protection,” as we call it down here?

Who knows? Who cares?

With nothing to hold the authorities to consistency and the provision of equal protection, they can show whatever favoritism they want to. What is to stop them? What oversight? Nevermind oversight…what opportunity to inspect, to criticize?

But of course this is not Guantanamo. These are full-fledged citizens of the country within whose government the HRC functions — not unlawful combatants.

Rick has issued the challenge, and frosting-boy salvage has failed in trying to accept it. He has no answer. His competence in following the facts and forming reasoned opinions about them, has been called into question. That has failed, or else his impartiality has failed. Maybe both.

Let’s pause for a minute or two to ponder how many people just like this are walking around — as free as you & me — spouting their nonsense, with “undecideds” listening to them, taking them seriously. It’s not a pretty picture. We have a multi-national conglomerate of folks who worry, ostentatiously, about things that are supposed to be described by words like “liberty” and “freedom.” But they have no understanding, or very little, about what those words really mean. And so when freedom is subject to genuine abuse, it can take place right in front of their eyes. And they can’t see it.

The frosting that is sarcasm is simply a poor diet. It makes for an imbalanced diet. To consume it, and nothing else, remains a bad idea, even if a lot of other folks are doing it. And if your diet of thinking is imbalanced, you can’t think straight…which is a problem for real lovers of freedom, because freedom is maintained only by means of rigorous, healthy, balanced, critical thinking. Here endeth the lesson.

Memo For File L

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

Cinnamon Stillwell has some criticism for CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Specifically, on CAIR’s latest effort to muzzle talk show host Michael Savage.

CAIR has a rebuttal for Ms. Stillwell. It is rather thin on fact and rather thick on instructions to readers about what-to-think. It accuses her of “cherry-picking,” and then, I notice, proceeds to show us how it is done.

It seems the folks who read CAIR’s rebuttal, at least the ones who were motivated to comment on it, are not entirely convinced.

A central piece of evidence to CAIR’s “you should think the way we think you should think” argument is Hate Hurts America and their web site…that web site’s front page…the articles appearing in that front page. systematically dismantles CAIR’s argument.

Northeast Intelligence Network does more of the same.

The funny thing about our right to supposed “freedom of speech”? That right’s most dangerous enemies, are not the ones who declare an all-and-out frontal assault on it…it’s the ones who want to tailor it to their own private agendas. The ones who say, oh sure, you have a right to speech here…but not there.

CAIR seeks to redefine what America, and its freedom-of-speech, are all about. If they can just do that, they’ll succeed at dismantling this great nation brick-by-brick. If they cannot, they will not.

Benazir Bhutto Killed In Attack

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Uh oh. This is going to lead to some bad things, I think.

Benazir Bhutto Killed In Attack

Pakistan Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has died after a suicide attack at a political rally. “At 6.16 p.m. she expired,” said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto’s party at Rawalpindi General Hospital.

“She has been martyred,” said party offical Rehman Malik.

The explosion went off just after Ms Bhutto left the rally in Rawalpindi, minutes after her speech to thousands of people. Her support[er]s have smashed windows at the entrance to the hospital where she was being treated, some calling “Dog, Musharraf, dog,”.

It is the first major attack since President General Pervez Musharraf lifted emergency rule two weeks ago. At least 15 people died in the attack in the heart of Pakistan’s military and parliamentary district.

Other headlines say different things, though.

Benazir Bhutto ‘badly injured’ in bomb attack

Another headline says she was unhurt

Another headline says no, she was killed

And another

Malkin says Bhutto was Assassinated

Update: Do not miss the FARK thread on this. Do NOT miss it…even if you haven’t bothered to start a “Rogue’s Gallery of Inane Stupid Leftwing Moonbat Bullshit Conspiracy Theories”…but most especially if you are among the ones who have. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s got everything — some of which will make you laugh, some of which will be sure to make you cry. And best of all, a whole googleplex of facepalms.

And, as you might guess, the stupid deranged crap that inspires facepalms to be put on display.

Fruit Ripe fer Pickin’

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Well, I’ve been soundly beaten up, and perhaps rightfully so, for my willingness to come out and admit I didn’t know something before this week…which a lot of other folks have known for awhile. I’m a living representation of how susceptible we all are to the “Everybody’s Doin’ It” excuse. I got bit by the political correctness bug. Showed a shortage of skepticism to some things, and an excess of it to others.

Thought I should jot down some things that, for exactly the same reasons, a lot of other people might not know…even though they should.

1. These people we call “radical Islamists”…if one faction among them thinks some stuff and another faction thinks some other stuff…it is possible for the rift to be healed. Even across the Sunni/Shi’ite divde — they can often work together just fine and dandy in spite of that.

2. They really, really do want to kill us.

3. Many amongst them support a goal of replacing the United States government with an Islamic one operating under Shari’a law.

4. They have authorized themselves to lie in order to spread their religion.

5. In some parts of the Western world…in fact, pretty much every part except America…they have a “human right” not to have anything bad said about them.

These are not cynical personal opinions, these are matters of verifiable fact.

And here we sit, on soil underneath which our ancestors buried three or four of their infants at once while battling rattlesnakes and frostbite and wolves and famine to try to settle the land…to survive…bitching about how we didn’t get enough cinnamon in our candified Starbucks drinks this morning. A nation of fatted veal calves if ever there was one. Fruit ripe for the pickin’.

Concerned? Alarmed? To what extent would be appropriate?


Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Heard a comment on the radio that “the Koran gives you permission to lie to advance Islam.” This impressed me as something that I hadn’t heard before, and surely it could not be within the realm of the disputed since it seems to be a pretty clear encapsulation of something purported to exist within a defined body of work.

I’m blindsided by this one. Sidebar resource Linda SOG covered this years ago.

Al-taqiyya is a word used for the practice of Muslims blatantly lying to non-Muslims. Muslims consider the act of Al-taqiyya or lying to non-Muslims to be a good work. Especially if it helps support the war against the infidel. In case you’ve forgotten, you are the infidel, so am I, so is each and every American who is not muslim.

From “Islam’s Shell Game” by Johnn “Trike” Schroeder

Muslims say one thing and think another, because their holy book allows such action in the furtherance of their religion. They do not punish the insane killers in their communities who strike at Americans, because they do not see the terrorists as wrong, rather they see them as warriors, honorable and holy themselves.

Thus there is no conflict with their religion, and no real dichotomy exists between the terrorists and Islam as a whole. If one acts as a neutral (for no Muslim speaks out one way or the other as a rule on terrorists and their acts), to create a sort of wall behind which our enemies can move and strike at us, they act as our enemies as well!

We have a decision to make here, just how are we to protect ourselves, when we allow such a tactical and strategic screw up to exist in our very midst! Who is killing us and our allies, MUSLIMS, not the little old ladies the airport security strip searches to protect us from illegal knitting needles!

We need to start seriously applying common sense while we still have a few people not yet blown up or under threat of being so.

The terrorists want one thing, (just as the Koran calls for), a world united as Islam or nothing! This is about world conquest as a religious duty.

Let us begin to understand that we face an enemy who will happily kill you, your family and friends and celebrate their own death doing it. It matters not if you are on the right or the left, they want us DEAD! Nothing else will do for them.

And unless we get in gear, they will do just that to far too many of us. as we wring our hands and cringe, crying out “Can’t we just get along?” If we do not act, that will be our pathetic epitaph.

So. All of a sudden Muslims like America and Americans? Yeah. Sure they do.

Al-taqqiya is a war tactic, the sheep’s clothing worn by the wolves in our midst. and you can’t see the forest for the trees.

I’m troubled by the breezy conflation of “Muslim” with these psycho whackjobs who would be willing to off themselves just to take a few of us down with ’em. Not a fan of political correctness, but I like to use correct terms to describe things, and just as I’m reluctant to paint “Christians” with a broad brush, I should show similar reluctance here…

…but I’ll tell you what I find even more troubling: A religious cult that instructs people to lie, for the sake of advancing itself — existing within post-modern America, a place that just can’t get enough of people saying the right things, truth & facts be damned.

I’m really having trouble with the exercise of trying to envision anything more dangerous than that.

Update: Via Planck’s Constant, Exhibit A.

Hop the Turnstyle, Punch a Ballot

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

What better way is there for us to apologize for our very existence as a nation, than to hunt down those who would kill themselves in order to take a few of us down with ’em…and give them the right to vote for or against our public officials.

Here’s the thing. An immigration investigation by the federal government found 4,000 probable illegal voters in that race. It was decided by less than 1,000 votes. Eight of the 9-11 hijackers, eight of the 19 hijackers, were registered to vote — because they’d gotten driver’s licenses.

This is a “Why We Have Blogs” moment if ever there was one. The Newsbusters pice excerpted above is a little on the long side, jam-packed with interesting tidbits you’re not going to hear on the alphabet-soup networks on the boob tube. Ever write a letter to your senator or congressman and wonder why they aren’t exactly slobbering with anticipation for your latest clear guidance about how they should be voting? Well, it almost seems sensible…they’re so busy, and you’re just one voter.

Well, in all likelihood you’re not even that. America, The Beautiful — where the voters elect leaders, and then the leaders get together and decide who’s going to vote. And then the voters wonder why it is they don’t have a say anymore, when the answer is right in front of our faces the whole time.

The donk party just barely managed to squeak out a congressional victory for the first time this century last year. They’ve managed to win 3 out of 10 presidential elections since 1968.

Overall, in spite of the enormous amounts of money they spend bullying us around and telling us what to think, we just don’t want them running anything. And so, we see through Hillary’s embarrassing performance in that debate earlier this week, and through that asinine Motor Voter law enacted in the first year of her husband’s presidency, they want to give the right to vote to people who enter the country illegally.

If the donks were forced to spend one twentieth as much time proving the above musings false, as Republicans are forced to prove they aren’t sexists and racists, we might have a chance as a country. Me, I’m braced for a full year of listening to Hillary and Co. endure hard-nosed, scrutinizing questions such as “how does campaigning make you feel?”

Speaking of which, I wanted to be sure and capture this (H/T: Duffy), which I expect to come in handy in the long months ahead…

Memo For File XL

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

A couple of weeks ago the Dean’s World blogger, Dean Esmay, laid down a law. It was a new Anti-Islamophobe policy. And for the new policy he drew inspiration from a “Line in the Sand” drawn by William F. Buckley at the National Review half a century ago:

Back in the 1950s William F. Buckley Jr. conducted a purge in the ranks of his young publication, The National Review. He was running a conservative publication at a time when conservative publications were not respected and were thus by nature low-circulation. In those circumstances it would be hard to stand on principal and refuse to associate with certain parties who might provide short-term gain.

Buckley refused to align his publication with elements on the right that were excessively hateful, rabidly racist, or just plain nuts. The whole thing came to a head when Buckley one day drew a line in the sand:

You could either be a John Birch Society supporter, or you could write for the National Review.

One or the other. “Both” was not an option.
…having wearied of fighting constantly against Islamophobic fools on Dean’s World and other places, only to have people ridiculously deny the very possibility that there could be any such thing as Islamophobia even when the evidence is presented them full in the face, I’ve decided to draw a similar line in the sand:

You can be an Islamophobe, or you can contribute to Dean’s World. You cannot do both.

This is meant for front-page contributors, submitters, or even commenters. It is time for you to make a choice, and to live by that choice. Because I certainly intend to.

Simply put, you must agree to all of the following assumptions:

1) Islam does not represent the forces of Satan or the Anti-Christ bent on destruction of the Christian world.

2) There is no 1,400 year old “war with the West/Christianity” being waged by Muslims or anyone else.

3) Islam as a religion is no more inherently incompatible with modernity, minority rights, women’s rights, or democratic pluralism than most religions.

4) Medieval, anachronistic, obscure terms like “dhimmitude” or “taqiyya” are suitable for polite intellectual discussion. They are not and never will be appropriate to slap in the face of everyday Muslims or their friends.

5) Muslims have no more need to prove that they can be good Americans, loyal citizens, decent people, or enemies of terrorism than anyone else does.

Is this a test of “ideological purity?”

Why yes. Yes it is.
Criticism is fine. Intellectual argument is fine. Traditionalist moral arguments are fine. But I will not provide a forum for haters or paranoids.

I’m done. Islamophobia has no more place in polite society than any other form of irrational hatred, and I will no longer be any part of hosting discussions or “debates” with Islamophobes.

I learned about this from His Royal Majesty, and it’s an interesting phenomenon to watch, although certainly by no means anything untested. Nowadays, anytime the ideological purists erect their guardrails of ideological purity, the first trailheads to be sealed off are the ones leading to something that someone somewhere can call “hate.” The ideological purists, then, block off all the other trailheads later. Until purity is achieved.

This Bullet #2 in Dean’s “Line” has caused a lot of discussion; one gains the impression, the discussion exceeds whatever Dean himself had in mind about it. FIAR at Radioactive Liberty enjoyed fisking this one immensely, it seems:

Uh, be sure to send a copy of the memo to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hamas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, etc. I’m pretty sure they missed the memo. I think you should also send a BCC to the Marines so that they can play whack a muj by listening for the sound of explosive laughter.

It’s caused quite the controversy. Frank J is disturbed. Misha says, “Enjoy your echo chamber.” His own wife is glad she’s not a contributor, or she would be out. Contributor Ron Coleman says Buh-Bye now. It’s odd that an Orthodox Jew might be troubled, isn’t it? Contributor Kevin Dombrowski is out too. Contributor Mary Madigan compares him to Maoists.

The forementioned Rosemary The Queen provides the most entertaining response, I think:

I’d certainly not be welcome here any longer. Dean’s line in the sand is one that I would stomp all over, if, I were still an active contributor here.

Dean is welcome to make all the rules he wants but I don’t like echo chambers. There can be no debate if everyone agrees. What’s the friggin’ point? Does it make me an Islamophobe to notice that people who strap bombs on themselves in the name of Allah are … muslim? Well, tough crap. I’m NOT BLIND. Does that mean I think all muslims are bad? No. But there are some problems in the muslim world and it doesn’t make me a racist to say so.

I have a problem with all of Dean’s assertions. My problem is the fact that we are being blackmailed into accepting his edict. Well, I won’t be browbeaten into “acceptance”, I like to think for myself and make my own decisions. Demanding that I accept his edict on Islam is not gonna happen. I won’t be told what to do or believe, that’s why I quit being a Democrat. And if I were still a major writer here, I’d quit too.

Anyone who wants to debate without having to swallow what Dean’s serving is welcome at The Queen of All Evil or as I have been affectionately dubbed, the Queen of the Banned.

And on her own resource linked above, she opines against one of the sub-edicts in particular, with no small amount of solid justification for doing so.

Well, I have a big problem with #3 and I would like to thank Saudi Arabia’s latest decision for spelling it out so clearly.

A 19-year-old Saudi woman who was kidnapped, beaten and gang raped by seven men who then took photos of their victim and threatened to kill her, was sentenced under the country’s Islamic-based law to 90 lashes for the “crime” of being alone with a man not related to her.

Well, most ancient religions are well versed in the ideals of the 21st century. Till, Islam catches up, #3 is a big FUCKING JOKE. I’m also pretty sure that no ancient religion currently hangs gays for being gay, either… cough Iran cough.

But for sheer quality and educational value, nothing beats Ron Coleman’s essay on the subject.

I was very inclined to wait this out, but then in the comments someone raised the issue of “Galileos” on the masthead. I don’t want it to be inferred that in order to have access to this platform — which I value highly, as Dean knows well — I am going along with what are arguably controversial propositions. I think Dean is grossly oversimplifying the issue, one of the most important and controversial in the world today. I think, for what it’s worth, that he’s doing so because of a powerful inclination he has to do the right thing, especially by underdogs.

Why he thinks Muslims are underdogs in this time (and place), as I have said before, I do not know. I’ve been a little annoyed by the suggestions that as a Jew, I should be the one to be most sympathetic to the plight of the oppressed Muslim, which frankly I believe is preposterous. As a Jew I am the number-one guy in the gunsight of the oppressed Muslim, just because of who I am. Not every Muslim kills Jews, but in my lifetime no one has killed as many Jews as Muslims. I won’t have my view of what that implies about Muslim civilization dictated to me by anyone.

Just as Dean has certain things that he’s really picky about, I do too. And number one is being told. Tied for number one is cowardice. Those are my lines in the sand.

So by drawing his line in the sand Dean has forced my hand. Not because I’m an “Islamophobe.” My way of life as a strictly orthodox Jew has more in common with that of religious Muslims than Dean’s does, and then some. But I won’t be cornered this way. It’s a bit of a precedent issue — where will Dean draw the next line? I don’t want to find out or to worry about it.

Well, speaking for myself I think folks are being a bit tough on Dean. Dean didn’t invent this practice of Clean Thinking, and he will not be the last to practice it. He’s just the latest example of someone who thinks it’s a swell idea.

Trouble with it is, it’s antithetical to “learning” in the strictest definition of that word. It justifies itself, not by providing an alternative avenue by which information may be acquired, but by declaring itself a scourge of hate. So by its own foundation it provides a choice: You may learn, or you may abjure hatred. And then, it foresakes the first of those two, and demands all others do the same.

But it never seems to stop there, does it? Once you refuse to learn things because you’re afraid of what you might learn — you have to continue honoring that taboo. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition. A new piece of information might make you hateful…or protestant…or agnostic…or gay. You risk becoming tomorrow, things you are not today, and don’t want to be today. This kind of risk is what learning is all about. And so, in the same manner you may “guarantee” no car will run you over, if you simply resolve to stay in your house all day long…you’re assured you will cling to the same values everlastingly, so long as you refuse to learn new things. The only catch is this: There can be no exceptions. It’s a “needle and balloon” situation. No room for moderation.

Can’t be half-a-dimwit, or the formula doesn’t work.

As far as those with a sincere desire to exchange ideas, I think the Queen of Evil said it best. “There can be no debate if everyone agrees. What’s the friggin’ point?”

Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot… XII

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007


I just don’t know what to say about this.

We do use books that call Jews ‘apes’ admits head of Islamic school

The principal of an Islamic school has admitted that it uses textbooks which describe Jews as “apes” and Christians as “pigs” and has refused to withdraw them.

Dr Sumaya Alyusuf confirmed that the offending books exist after former teacher Colin Cook, 57, alleged that children as young as five are taught from racist materials at the King Fahd Academy in Acton.

In an interview on BBC2’s Newsnight, Dr Alyusuf was asked by Jeremy Paxman whether she recognised the books.

She said: “Yes, I do recognise these books, of course. We have these books in our school. These books have good chapters that can be used by the teachers. It depends on the objectives the teacher wants to achieve.”

In another exchange, Dr Alyusuf insisted the books should not be scrapped, saying that allegedly racist sections had been “misinterpreted”.

The school is owned, funded and run by the government of Saudi Arabia. Mr Paxman asked: “Will you now remove this nonsense from the Saudi Ministry of Education from your school?”

Dr Alyusuf replied: “Just to reiterate what I said earlier, there are chapters from these books that are used and that will serve our objectives. But we don’t teach hatred towards Judaism or Christianity – on the contrary.”

It would appear the above is in response to this. I await additional information on how, exactly, this was “misinterpreted.” And what objectives are being served.

I just gotta believe there’d be some discussion about that already if we were talking about a Catholic school using derogatory epithets to describe Muslims. I gotta believe the discussion would be pretty intense without my even asking for it…as in, hard to avoid.

Update 2-8-07: Okay…twenty-four hours ago Google did not yet pick up the following, but it did by yesterday afternoon. Dr. Alyusuf is deploying the Bill Clinton two-pronged defense of “he didn’t do it, even if he did it isn’t wrong, it isn’t wrong because everybody does it, people do it all the time, and he doesn’t.”

The pages didn’t say what you think you said because they were taking out of context…AND…they have been ripped out.

However, she said that the material had now been torn out. “The press interest in these unused chapters has shocked us,” she added. Dr Alyusuf said that, since the claims emerged, pupils and parents had been abused by local residents.

The school said that the allegations made by Mr Cook in his claim for unfair dismissal were absurd. Mr Cook, who worked at the school for 19 years and educated his two daughters there, had never made complaints over racist teaching materials before, a spokesman added.

If there is an encyclopedia somewhere about “ways to get away with it” Dr. Alyusuf must be making a point of hitting each and every single entry therein. She’s using ALL the tropes and obfuscating every way she can. She’s making a suggestion that more harm has been done by people paying attention to the passages, than by people previously ignoring the issue altogether. She’s used the “context” thing, she’s done the “you’re the first one who’s ever complained” deal — which needs no definition to anyone who’s ever called a tech support line.

I’m keeping in mind all we have here, is one guy saying things are the way he says they are. Or were. It could be nothing more than an urban legend.

But the way Dr. Alyusuf has chosen to manage her P.R. makes me deeply suspicious.

I could chalk it up to the way the story is written. It’s quite bad. I don’t know why these things that people say are so important to the story, and yet, I have to be given high-level general explanations of what these people said…as opposed to some good hard quotes. This trend is repeated over here, and the last two paragraphs…well, they just raise more questions in my mind.

Alyusuf said the controversial chapters had never been taught at the school and that the quote was based on a mis-translation that appeared only as an explanatory footnote.

However, she said the offending pages had now been cut out of the textbooks, and she had informed the Saudi Department of Education of the decision.

If it’s an explanatory footnote that never had been taught anyway, why tell the Saudi Department of Education? Do they have partial ownership of some textbooks that are being carved up? That would make sense. Kinda. Story behind the first link says the school gets “£4 million a year from the Saudi royal family” so maybe this is something they’re required to do.

Just say so.

It kinda looks like she’s saying “we’ve asked the Saudis for their consent to stop calling jews ‘pigs’ and we’re waiting to see if they approve.”

Remember when conservative talk radio was linked to the Oklahoma City bombing? The argument was that Rush Limbaugh was doing his show three hours a day…and then among his twenty million listeners, would be a few slope-foreheaded unhinged rednecks who just got angrier and angrier, and eventually loaded fertilizer on a truck somewhere.

My whole issue is with the double standard. Has it been addressed now that the “offending pages” have been “ripped out”? No, not by a damn sight. Every single time I’ve heard President Bush got some of our troops killed in Iraq…I only have to do a little bit of digging to find out it was someone else who did the killing. The Iraqis who get killed, the Israelis who get killed…it’s all done by knuckle-dragging, unhinged lunatics. And when & where I get to learn a bit more about said lunatics — invariably, I find out they’ve been lunatics for a long, long time. Since a young age. Raised that way.

How much death is linked to this lately? A lot. A whole lot.

This isn’t just any ol’ “racism” issue. It’s huge. Some racist refuses to hire or promote you…or rent you an apartment…that’s a whole different kettle of fish from blowing you up into little pieces with a dynamite belt. I’m told some kind of “huge” deal has been made out of this in the news cycle.

Huge by what standards, might I ask? We ought to be hearing about this day after day…like we heard about Abu Ghraib.

Sanction of the Victim

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

So three days ago I dropped this cryptic clue and then messed around with a lot of non-blog stuff in my life…I have to do that every now and then, ya know. I said this upcoming Friday has something to do with things that should be on our minds, and those things have nothing to do with groundhogs or shadows. Here it is Friday.

So what was I talking about?

I’ll get to that. First, just as a mental exercise, try this.

Suppose there is an imaginary country that is hit by the Islamic psycopaths in a nature similar to the September 11 attacks. And they lose their government — not to the Islamic psycopaths, but to those who are determined to fight the psychopaths. Imagine that this new government is everything our Hollywood halfwits say the Bush/Cheney government is: Refusal to listen to others; rampant incompetence; suspension and removal of constitutional freedoms, people disappearing overnight, dissenters silenced, the whole shebang. And when it’s over, you can’t travel from one place to another without telling this new government what you’re doing there and when you’ll be back…and waiting for the okay to go ahead.

Now…imagine some bright, literate, intelligent young girl-woman lies to the pencil-necked bureaucrats over there, so that she can come over here. She starts a career as a scriptwriter right here in the United States, and after the real September 11 attacks starts to warn us about where we are headed. She warns us that this road to disaster ends in death…and it begins with a surrendering of your ability to noodle things through, as an independent, rational individual, and trusting your government to do that for you.

Sounds like some kind of a screed straight out of DailyKOS, right? Or the skeleton to an unfinished script rattling around in Hollywood. Maybe even getting a red-light because it was too liberal; the blue-state elites down there thought it was great in spirit, but lacking in subtlety. They wouldn’t market it because we would never buy it.

And yet.

RandRemove terrorist attacks, and replace them with economic disaster, with a touch of anti-semitism mixed in to the new government’s countermeasures. Change nothing else and what you are left with is the early biography of Alyssa Rosenbaum, whom you know as Ayn Rand, b. February 2, 1905.

Throughout her life she described herself as both a philosopher and a writer; in which domain did she achieve excellence? As a writer, to answer that you first have to define the distinction between skill and talent. She possessed an abundance of the former. In this surgical-precision selection of exactly the right noun, adjective and verb, she is in a class by herself. Talent? I have my reservations about this…not that I have much place to talk. Talent as a writer, has something to do with the effectiveness with which one communicates ideas. As an overwhelmingly strong Yin she drew the perimeter around her efforts, and the ability of others to properly interpret her content was decidedly outside of it.

As a direct consequence of this, she wrote like George Will. Or…some guy who blogs away on “a blog nobody reads.”

The three of us have it in common, that the point to writing is primarily just to get the thought out there. Carve the legacy. Take charge of the communication process right up to, and including, the point where ambiguity is eradicated to the most thorough extent possible. Not one single inch further than that, though. How the ideas are absorbed by those who consume them — that is outside of our scope. There is a boundary to the project-at-hand, and a reason for defining where it is. Efforts applied outside of that line are inevitably ineffectual, and could even be damaging.

I have noticed that the tendency to approach life this way, seems to be inexplicably intertwined with the tendency to think as an individual — to hoarde the responsibility and rewards associated with the cognitive and cogitative processes to onesself. Here at the blog that nobody reads, we call this the Yin and Yang theory and have written a great deal about it.

Ayn Rand’s message for us — it is a decidedly post-industrial-revolution message, but I would argue it’s timeless by nature — is this: In matters of government, think like Yin. Define your boundaries. Take charge of your own thinking, for you alone are responsible for the plausibility of the conclusions you reach and the wisdom involved in the actions you take. You are the sole stakeholder there. Necessarily, this involves the reduction of actions taken for “public good”…down to a pinpoint. For who is the stakeholder in those? Breezy, half-assed answers like “we all are” or “the least among us” are insufficiently reinforced to sustain any pursuit of the discussion at hand.

“Public” will…nobody ultimately responsible for the direction of that will, insofar as wisdom, strategy or accuracy…results in things being done that benefit no one, over the longer term. It results in death. And there is a certain direction this takes: Concentration of authority over even the most mundane decisions, into elite groups; the inevitable attack upon individuality, since thinking men only be governed, but never “ruled” in the classic sense; Bathosploration; absurd clean-up efforts at decidedly inappropriate times, of the alphabetize-the-spice-rack variety, kind of like the proverbial rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic. A government too infatuated with its own public image, too far invested in appealing to the Yang, over time, begins to desire approval from the Yang and from nobody else.

And this ultimately means the government compels us to recognize and to cogitate all together.

I’m sure our liberals would argue that if Ayn Rand were alive today, she’d have just as much criticism for the Bush administration as anyone else. I’m sure they’re right about that. And yet, I have to ask: Can’t our leftists find a way to speak out against his policies, that would appeal better to her sensibilities? Since this century began, as they have desperately grasped at the votes needed just to present the President with a more hostile Congress, they have made a point of recruiting from the Yang and from nobody else. Their initiatives, at least the ones that don’t deal with attacking the individual, all involve Trudging Toward Zero; endeavoring toward an ideal rather than into a frontier. Captain Kirk’s famous introduction — “to boldly go where no man has gone before” — has absolutely no place for them. They work inward, eliminating injury and discomfort, scolding and chastising anyone who would direct resources to anything else including the inspection of what might be the origin of such injury or discomfort.

They are most threatening when the injuries and discomforts are not re-inflicted, for it is then that they flail about looking for other things to do. Bellies must be filled until they are all full — and then — we must vigorously attack the obesity epidemic. And then we must inspect nutritional balances. And then we must inspect racial and gender differentials; why are women more prone to calcium deficiencies than men? And then, and then, and then.

To keep themselves appealing, they have to talk up only one task in this strategy at a time; to inspect where it’s all going, is to associate it with death. To eliminate all injuries, you have to eliminate all discomforts; to eliminate discomfort, you have to eliminate all exigencies; to eliminate all exigencies you have to eliminate all variants, and to eliminate variants you have to eradicate life. The ultimate goal of socialism is non-existence. The vision it has for humanity, is to behave like the cartoon character who jumps into a hole and pulls the hole itself in after him. To avoid that, socialism would have to progress only a limited distance down its selected path, and then stop; it being an Absolutist ideology by nature, this is impossible.

And here in the United States, liberals have become nothing more than socialists sufficiently clever to throw the word “freedom” around when they describe what they want to do. They want to tell everyone what to believe, so they can make everyone forget that you can’t eliminate all discomfort without eliminating life. They, too, are absolutists. They, too, will never, ever stop. No defeat is ever taken as rejection; defeat is simply a signal that different packaging must be used for the same product. And no victory is ever complete. There is always another discomfort to be attacked, and then another, and then another. Until life ends outright, or is made impossible. This trail does not end short of that cliff, and our “trail bosses” will not abandon it before said cliff. It’s absolutist; it doesn’t waver, yield, or stop. Liberalism is death. We distinguish one from the other, only when we think in the way we are told to think, by others.

This is unavoidable. Our individual achievements, our body temperatures, our pulses…anything out of some kind of norm, which manifests the fact that we still live…these are targets. To be recognized by liberals as an unwarranted discomfort, imposed upon this class if not on that one, and thus to be eradicated. If not now, then later.

They have no choice. Once life is comfortable, the constituents must be prevailed-upon to demand more comfort. No woodworking project is ever sanded sufficiently, to be removed from the lathe. That’s what liberalism has become. Achievement? Accomplishment? Making things work? Bah. We are all here to be made comfortable. The purpose of life is to be happy. And yet…to bring that about, our liberals excite us into unhappiness, in perpetuity. All thinking people would recognize this as inherently self-contradictory — and so — our liberals have a solution for that too. Stop thinking. Let us do all the thinking. “Bush lied” because we said he did, stop asking what the lie was. The terrorist attack was unfortunate, but stop thinking about it. Think about Social Security instead. Bush is opposed to freedom and we are in favor of it…because we say so. Stop asking questions.

Before it is over, they’ll take things away from us that we need, to support the lives we have built for ourselves. They’ll do far worse than ask “Who told you to build that?” They’ll demand that we approve of what they take from us. They’ll demand Sanction of the Victim. Unprecedented? Not by a damn sight. Since 1933, this is the way they have always worked.

A lot of people are going to spend the day watching that Bill Murray movie. While you’re at it, go buy Atlas Shrugged, used & new from $3.95. Try to get it finished by Memorial Day. Read the first three chapters by Valentine’s Day. They, you will find, are exactly like what is happening in the world right now.

Kind of spooky, huh?

Thing I Know #112. Strong leadership is a dialog: That which is led, states the problem, the leader provides the solution. It’s a weak brand of leadership that addresses a problem by directing people to ignore the problem.