Archive for the ‘Iraq and WoT Stuff’ Category

The Troops See Star Trek First

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Instapundit says that’s a nice thing to do; we agree.

I am in the Army and currently deployed to Kuwait. We have a movie theater on post that shows “second run” movies, meaning that we get the movie about a week or two after they are released in the states. At times, a special effort is made to show the movie here on the same date it is released in the states. With that being said, I was shocked to see the movie schedule that was published for the first half of April. According to this schedule the new Star Trek movie will have a “special premier” on April 11th. I found it very hard to believe that we would be able to view a big “summer time blockbuster” movie that won’t premiere in the States for another 27 days.

Sure enough, the movie actually did get played today and I was able to get in to see it not just once, but twice. Not only did the movie arrive in Kuwait, but J.J. Abrams and most of the “bridge crew” cast (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Eric Bana and Karl Urban) were here as well.

The cast went out of their way to entertain us before and after the movie was shown. They were more than happy to interact with the soldiers (Eric Bana leaped out of his “reserved” seat and sat next to a female soldier who invited him next to her) and they took their time describing their experiences making the film and answering questions and requests (Quinto obliged a soldier who asked him to call his daughter back in the states and say hello to her). I was truly impressed and grateful in the fact that they went out of their way to thank us and to offer this film to us. I’ll admit that this review won’t be as objective as it could because of the way the cast lent themselves to us. My biggest thrill was walking up to J.J. Abrams after the film and having the opportunity to give him my general impressions of it. How many times does a geek like me get a chance to do that?

Very cool stuff. Classy move, JJ & Co.

Obama Better President Than Carter

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

At least as far as this little adventure is concerned…

An American ship captain was freed unharmed today in a U.S. Navy operation that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, a senior U.S. intelligence official said.

One of the pirates was wounded and in custody after a swift firefight, the official said.

Capt. Richard Phillips, 53, of Underhill, Vermont, was safely transported to a Navy warship nearby.

Negotiations broke down because the Americans wanted the pirates brought to justice.

“The negotiations between the elders and American officials have broken down. The reason is American officials wanted to arrest the pirates in Puntland and elders refused the arrest of the pirates,” said the commissioner, Abdi Aziz Aw Yusuf. He said he organized initial contacts between the elders and the Americans.

Two other Somalis, one involved in the negotiations and another in contact with the pirates, also said the talks collapsed because of the U.S. insistence that the pirates be arrested and brought to justice.

Phillips’ crew of 19 American sailors reached safe harbor in Kenya’s northeast port of Mombasa on Saturday night under guard of U.S. Navy Seals, exhilarated by their freedom but mourning the absence of Phillips.

Let’s give credit to the current leadership folks, it’s only fair. At least for now, it would appear the “order over chaos” thing was upheld. Perhaps it’s an only-Nixon-can-go-to-China moment…like Clinton signing welfare reform or Bush practicing compassionate-giveaway-conservatism. However it came about, it seems the good guys won on this one.

Good. I’m glad. Wish more pirates got killed, but I’ll take it. Congratulations and a hearty thank-you to the noble warriors involved.

Update: …and in the spirit of that final note, a brief sketch of that brave skipper.

[Richard P.] Phillips, who was the captain of the Maersk Alabama, gave himself up as a prisoner in exchange for the safety of his crew of 19 when the container ship was attacked by pirates armed with AK-47s en route to Kenya. His crew took back their ship, but some of the pirates escaped with Phillips as a hostage in a lifeboat.

The U.S. Navy and FBI followed the pirates and tried to negotiate Phillips’s release, but his captors threatened to kill him if they mounted a rescue attempt. Phillips tried to escape Thursday, but was quickly recaptured.

The 55-year-old Vermont resident and father of two was well aware that pirate activity in the area has reached crisis proportions, with more than 40 ships hijacked last year alone.

Torture and Gitmo!

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Pretty funny, but there is a serious point to be made here, which he makes at the very beginning. This word “torture”; what is that, exactly?

If it has come to mean — which I suspect is the case — “anything I wouldn’t like done if it was being done to me,” then, by an exceedingly short and dependable hop-skip-and-jump of durable logic, “We’re Too Good To Torture!” translates to “we’re too civilized to do anything to defend ourselves.” We catch ’em, we hold ’em awhile and make sure they’re comfy, then we turn ’em loose. What’s the point?

They aren’t comfy? Their prison cells are six-by-eight? Oh goodness, by our modern definition that’s torture, then. Better knock it off.

You make the simple and reasonable philosophical demand that the “We Don’t Torture!” brigade draws a line, makes a commitment about how to define these incendiary terms and then sticks to their own definition…the entire argument falls apart. Not just a little bit. Completely.

Hat tip: Blogger friend Rick.

Sippican’s Father Asks for Nothing

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

This one makes you think. I can’t remember who gets the hat tip. I’m going to research it in the days ahead because it’s someone who just started pointing to me in his sidebar, and I’m not pointing back — so I’m ripping off the poor fellow twice.

Awesome entry from Sippican.

Have you done something nice for an old person (especially a vet) lately? Lest we forget, that’s us, later on…best-case scenario.

Memo For File LXXXI

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” — Ayn Rand

When I see how politicians behave — especially last year, during the contentious elections — I see reason to believe the distinction between conservatives and liberals, is being irreversibly eroded. But then I read the news. The pattern that emerges is that there is a clear difference between conservatism and liberalism when I decide what it is that interests me about what’s going on, and the difference melts away when the politicians start making the decisions about what I’m supposed to look at.

Nadya Suleman, the octo-mom, is about to be homeless. Her own mom hasn’t been making payments on the mortgage, since last spring. That’s probably due to a combination of factors including genetic irresponsibility, and the burden of providing for a sociopath daughter who just lies around the house thinking of more ways to get pregnant.

Nadya Suleman and the eight babies she gave birth to last month could soon be homeless, according to reports from the US.

The octuplets mum, who gave birth to the babies after receiving IVF treatments, could risk being out of a home after repayments on the house she is living in have fallen into default.

People reports Ms Suleman’s mother, Angela, who owns the family home, hasn’t paid the mortgage in 10 months.

The bank filed a default notice on February 6 after Ms Suleman’s mother failed to pay the $2358 monthly repayment due since April 2008.

Now, it seems to me in a “civilized” society there would already be talks underway about when the younger Ms. Suleman is going to be sterilized. We were plenty civilized and technologically advanced to get her octupally-pregnant, weren’t we? But no. If talks are to be underway, they will be about how to keep the Sulemans in their beloved home and tell that mean old bank not to foreclose.

The arctic sea ice, we’ve lately discovered, hasn’t been shrinking like we thought. Faulty sensor. Whoops.

A glitch in satellite sensors caused scientists to underestimate the extent of Arctic sea ice by 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles), a California- size area, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center said.

The error, due to a problem called “sensor drift,” began in early January and caused a slowly growing underestimation of sea ice extent until mid-February. That’s when “puzzled readers” alerted the NSIDC about data showing ice-covered areas as stretches of open ocean, the Boulder, Colorado-based group said on its Web site.

“Sensor drift, although infrequent, does occasionally occur and it is one of the things that we account for during quality- control measures prior to archiving the data,” the center said. “Although we believe that data prior to early January are reliable, we will conduct a full quality check.”

But of course that won’t stop our liberal democrats from “acting” to “save the planet.” Together we can do this, you know.

Democratic leaders in both the Senate and House want to take action this year to stem global warming, but the imploding economy and balking Senate Republicans are likely to make that difficult.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he plans to take up the contentious climate issue by the end of the summer.

“We have to take a whack at it,” Reid told The Associated Press. He said failure to act “would be neglectful.”

Right on, Harry. Take a whack at making a planet cooler. How I’d love to see a goal associated with that: Earth mean temperature down to 68.6 degrees Fahrenheit; carbon saturation 344 ppm. You know, and I know, I’ll see nothing of the kind. The objective will be stated as, simply, “to act.” What they mean by that, is act — to get in the face of businesses and hard-working people. Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the man behind the tree.

The CEO of the Senate wants to take a look at it by the end of the summer. How convenient. Not much chance of inconvenient snowdrifts messing up your publicity tours in the last two weeks before labor day, huh Harry? Mark your calendar folks, there’ll be a lot of talk about “It’s hot lately, that’s irrefutable proof of GLOBAL WARMING.” The earth is gonna die if you don’t pay higher taxes.

But while you’re coming up with ideas, Harry, look to Massachusetts to lead the way.

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick (D) will unveil his transportation plan today, which may feature what the governor himself calls a “Hummer tax.”

The measure, the Boston Globe explains, would feature “higher registration fees for gas-guzzling cars and offering discounts for those that do less harm to the environment. One industry opponent said it would be the first such fee in the nation on the state level.” Backers say “saying it would encourage people to buy smaller and more fuel-efficient cars, which are increasingly seen as key to curbing global warming.” Representative William Brownsberger, co-sponsor of a similar bill, told the Globe, “The social costs of larger vehicles include not only the additional pollution, but also higher crash risks to other vehicles.”

Guantanamo is just dandy. Obama the Holy President ordered a review to see if it’s a terrible thing that defies international law, and it isn’t. The Chosen One will be working hard, now, to come up with some more excuses to close it down.

The Pentagon has concluded that the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay meets the standards for humane treatment of detainees established in the Geneva Convention accords.

In a report for President Obama on conditions at Guantanamo, the Pentagon recommended some changes — mainly providing some of the most troublesome inmates with more group recreation and opportunities for prayer — said an administration official who read the report and spoke on condition of anonymity, citing its confidential nature.

The lengthy report was done by a top Navy official, Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, in response to Obama’s Jan. 22 executive order to close the U.S. military detention facility in Cuba within a year.

Conservatives and Liberals, Individuals and SocietyI could pile on to that list all day. But if you’re smart, you already see the common theme.

The common theme is that in each of these, the rights of the individual is set against the broader needs of society as a whole.

Conservatives favor the rights of the individual over the rights of the many, when the individual has demonstrated a readiness, willingness and ability to accept the responsibilities that go with those rights.

Liberals favor the rights of the individual over the rights of the many, when the individual is a jackass. Ironically — society has an opportunity to prove how civilized it is (and this will never be completely accomplished) by accepting the liberal’s ultimatum. So a “civilized” society willingly subordinates its social contract to the whims of uncivilized people.

This is a good definition to throw in the file folder marked “how to tell conservatives and liberals apart”; you are not likely to ever have to yank it back out again, no matter what happens. When an individual has “rights” that liberals think are worthy of triumph over society’s needs, you can safely assume this is not an individual you want to be, or want to even personally know. He’s a kiddie-diddler, a whacked-out druggie, a convicted murderer facing the death penalty, a homeowner who hasn’t been paying the mortgage, or a terrorist being held at Guantanamo.

If the individual was acting civilized, they’d be leaving it to the conservatives to defend that individual’s rights. It isn’t that they’re opposed to responsible people retaining rights that actually mean something. The truth of it is far uglier: This is a struggle that they believe to be unworthy of their time.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Dick Cheney’s Apology

Monday, February 9th, 2009

The Washington Post thinks he should be giving one. But our former Vice President will not oblige, so Don Surber wrote one for him.

“I’m sorry that so many people are unappreciative of the efforts to protect the nation from terrorists. We were so good that people took our efforts for granted to the point where they now portray as a victim the mastermind behind 9/11 — KSM — who beheaded reporter Daniel Pearl. If I could do it all over again, the White House would have been more graphic in telling this tale, instead of relying on the media to be fair, balanced and accurate in its coverage of the war on terrorism.”

Hat tip to Gerard.


Sunday, February 1st, 2009

One Revolution AwayTime to get out the banner again.

His Holiness’ loyal followers are ticked off at Him, because He signed an executive order that appears to preserve the legitimacy of renditions, a controversial procedure in which scumbags are shipped off from countries that prohibit torture, whatever that is, to other countries that do not.

The CIA’s secret prisons are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantanamo Bay will eventually go back to being a wind-swept naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.

But even while dismantling these programs, President Obama left intact an equally controversial counter-terrorism tool.

Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program might be poised to play an expanded role going forward because it was the main remaining mechanism — aside from Predator missile strikes — for taking suspected terrorists off the street.

You catch that last bit?

Counter-terrorism efforts are contending with an ever-diminishing inventory of “mechanisms” they can use to take “terrorists off the street.” Pre-Obama, the problem has become so incapacitating that shipping the scumbags off to other countries is now “the main remaining mechanism.”

But the big news here, is that the banner is correct. Liberals are never quite happy with the status quo. You put ’em in charge of freakin’ everything…and oh dear, we’re still not quite good people just yet. Need another revolution.

And the profound irony is that it’s all about making us decent. But to most people, including quite a few Obama voters, allowing a terrorist attack to go ahead and make a smoking crater out of an American city filled with old people, women and children, just so you can go on the next day and brag about what an exquisitely-refined set of faux-European human-rights “values” you have — doesn’t make you decent.

It makes you an asshole.

On Closing Guantanamo

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

The first item of specificity, from the administration that has become famous (in my mind if in none other) for avoiding specifics.

Guantanamo will close in a year. Sounds like a settled agenda item.

But there are problems.

Q: If Guantanamo Bay prison is closed, where will the detainees go?

A: The Bush administration negotiated for many months with countries whose nationals are still at Guantanamo, trying to get them to take in detainees.

Some governments have denied the Guantanamo prisoners are in fact their citizens, while others have been reluctant to agree to U.S. requests to imprison or monitor returnees.

Some of those being held include Chinese Muslim Uighurs who Washington says would face persecution if they returned home, together with Libyans, Uzbeks and Algerians who are also at risk.

Some could be granted asylum by other nations if their own countries refuse to take them.

Last month, Portugal’s foreign minister urged other European countries to take in Guantanamo prisoners, saying such a move could make it easier for Obama to close the prison. Switzerland has said it is open to taking in detainees.

Q: What other problems does Obama face in closing the prison?

A: There are a host of legal and practical problems, particularly concerning those who are deemed “too dangerous” to free. More than a third of the prisoners left are from Yemen and the State Department has still not been able to reach a deal with that country on either security assurances or guarantees that prisoners would be treated humanely.

The Bush administration wanted to try about 80 Guantanamo prisoners on terrorism charges and held a few dozen others it did not intend to try but believed should be kept locked up. Those facing charges include five accused Sept. 11 plotters.

Biggest problem of all, is political:

The consensus among those who have most feverishly backed The Chosen One to become our next President, is that war, along with all strains of human conflict, should have been banished to the ash heap of history. Kumbaya, peace-and-love, let’s-all-get-along.

These are tie-dyed hippies who think, when two sides are in conflict, one side or the other can unilaterally decide hostilities shall cease and the other side will follow suit. Jean-Luc Picard diplomacy. No such thing in this big loving happy universe as a genuine badass. The question that must arise, is what happens when their vision of human affairs is put to the test?

I doubt the terrorists are of the proper mindset to learn much from the peace-and-love murmurings of othes, even as their jail cells are opened. That isn’t just my opinion, the Dalai Lama has said as much:

“It is difficult to deal with terrorism through non-violence,” the Tibetan spiritual leader said delivering the Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture here.

He termed terrorism as the worst kind of violence which is not carried by a few mad people but by those who are very brilliant and educated.

“They (terrorists) are very brilliant and educated…but a strong ill feeling is bred in them. Their minds are closed,” the Dalai Lama said.

Maybe this would be a good debate to have right now. What does a belligerent person, dedicated to the destruction of others, do when he encounters other people who treat him with mercy? I know what the fairy tales teach me about that. What does reality say?

And how many of us are truly ready to heed reality’s counsel?

We No Longer Need to Kill Osama, Says Obama

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Another intriguing link we find thanks to Neal.

“My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him,” [President-Elect Obama] said.

“But if we have so tightened his noose that he’s in a cave somewhere and can’t even communicate with his operatives then we will meet our goal of protecting America. I think that we have to so weaken (his) infrastructure that, whether he is technically alive or not, he is so pinned down that he cannot function.”

Some will find it worthy of note that the litmus test for success has just changed…like…now.

Some won’t.

Which camp would you say it’s fair to categorize, as filled to the bursting point with wild-eyed, extremist partisan zealots?

Wiretapping: LEGAL

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Decided five months ago, decision made public this week. Obviously in a desperate attempt by this lame-duck President to re-make his public image so he can selfishly trample away on our Constitutional rights in the last hours of his presidency:

The New York Times reported: “A federal intelligence court, in a rare public opinion, issued a major ruling validating the power of the president and Congress to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a specific court order, even when Americans’ private communications may be involved.”
The Times noted: “In validating the government’s wide authority to collect foreign intelligence, it may offer legal credence to the Bush administration’s repeated assertions that the president has the power to act without specific court approval in ordering national security eavesdropping that may involve Americans.”

So let’s see. We have the tax cuts, Guantanamo, and now we have “illegal” wiretapping. Just off the top of my head, that’s three things “everyone” has known are bad things, on which we have to form some new policies to turn things around…and suddenly we “know” something completely different now that the time’s come to actually form the policies.

We aren’t really reviewing the legality of wiretapping. We’re reviewing human nature. This is why, until you drive off and hit the freeway on-ramp you have nary a thought in your noggin about whether you left the stove on, but as the miles zip on by, at the very least practical time for you to be contemplating such a thing — you can’t think about anything else, can you.

Oh and one more little thing: George W. Bush does suck, in some ways, just like anybody who disagrees with me on this issue or that one. You know that, don’t you? Everyone who disagrees with me about anything sucks. That’s why Bush sucks. But one by one, these other treasured, dusty arguments about why George Bush sucks so much, memorized so faithfully by many a moonbat, are…well…

…aw, screw the awkward metaphor. Just think of them as balloons and watch this video clip of the crazy doggy one more time.

Yeah. Like that. They’re tumbling. Tumbling, because the typical anti-Bush bumper-sticker slogan never had too much logically holding it up. Since Michael Moore’s propaganda drive defined what it is, it has generally been found lying at the intersection of the political ambitions of people we will never actually meet, and a hot fashion trend.

Folks, those are the two very worst reasons for carrying a thought in your hat-hanger, right there.

Thing I Know #164. Some ideas look serious, only because they’re never taken that way. The most devastating thing you can do to a dumb idea is to take it seriously.

Hat tip: Boortz.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Doing It Eric’s Way

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Eric Holder, President-Elect Obama’s Attorney General Designate, testified before the Senate, and within the article talking about it, something caught my eye:

Hmmm. It’s purely a value judgment. They don’t talk too much about that in the article because if they did, that would hurt the argument.

But I thought of something. Suppose we re-word that slightly.


Did I re-word unfairly?

Or is that maybe perhaps an apt analogy…and the United States should stop doing both things. Just sort of be the puffball-of-the-globe.

Just come out and freakin’ say so. I don’t mean to defeat people with logic here; the election’s over, my side lost. But that’s all the more reason, isn’t it.

Enough of the self-important righteous bellowing. Just continue a fairly simple thought with some old-fashioned logic. If you please.

George W. Bush’s Legacy

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Jon Swift is predicting George W. Bush will be remembered by history as one of our great Presidents.

Me? I don’t think there’s any question about it.

Although the White House has sent around its own talking points highlighting the President’s accomplishments, I don’t think they go far enough. So I have put together my own list of talking points, which should convince anyone why George W. Bush belongs on Mount Rushmore, along with Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and the other guy.

I’ve been watching old Boston Legal episodes lately — pretty much everyone who knows me, and has seen it, has sworn up and down that I’d get hooked on it. They’re right, to a point, but there is one thing that bugs me.

Reports that you’d never in a million years know it was written by a lefty, I’m afraid, are mistaken. I can tell a lefty wrote it. I can tell this quite easily. Oh, the lefty lawyer says what lefties would say, that’s realistic enough. How his good bud the tighty-righty lawyer responds…some authenticity there, too. It’s what passes by without comment.

No, it isn’t the stuff about George W. Bush being an idiot. I know lots of conservatives who think Bush is an idiot. This I find realistic enough. It’s the little things. The things that pass by uncommented-upon. Here, I’ll give you an example —

The beady-eyed liberal lawyer thinks Guantanamo should be shut down. The entire episode degenerates into a debate about “this administration has kept us safe” versus “people disappearing in the dead-o-night being tortured.” Yeah, real people do argue that way, too.

Here’s the problem: The show makes the mistake of trying to address both the “Should the United States torture people” conundrum, and the thing about “Does the Constitution apply to non-citizens.” Now, the latter was decided at the Supreme Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. Wrongly, actually. And no I’m not saying that to address my own opinions, or what the old-n-pudgy Captain Kirk character should be saying — I’m saying what a strict-constructionist conclusion would have been. Hamdi was not a reasoned decision; it was not supposed to be. It was an “I like this and I don’t like that” decision.

But this lefty argument was presented not so much as a conclusion of the Hamdi decision, which wasn’t mentioned at all — it was presented parallel to that. So here’s the argument that was presented: Yeah, Guantanamo may or may not have to exist in order to continue to keep our country safe from terrorist attacks — but the Constitution forbids what we’re doing, like it or not. This is where the argument falls down. If it’s all about championing the death of common sense for the sake of the written law, well…the Constitution doesn’t apply to these detainees, like it or not. (At least, in the way it was described in this episode.) The left-wing argument was one of adhering to the sensibilities of nameless-faceless-strangers with regard to this legal matter over here, and then ignoring the sensibilities of nameless-faceless-strangers to uphold written statute over common sense with regard to that legal matter over there. And both of these whiplash-pretzel motions were necessary to preserve the desired conclusion of the argument, that we needed to shut Gitmo down.

All of this could be a legitimate argument, one suitably legitimate to discuss over scotch and cigars on the balcony of a law office. But it’s rather silly for that pretzel-reasoning to pass by without comment or challenge between two ideologically-opposed good-buddies. The old-n-pudgy Captain Kirk guy’s comments, instead, were used to further define what an adorably silly curmudgeon his character was…his lines had something to do with how a lot of other tyrants needed to be taken out, “and not because they’re brown people.” That’s the trouble with Manhattan humor. It’s only good when it’s potent as a tool to change real elections, and it’s only potent as a tool to change real elections when it asserts things that are not true.

But getting back to George Bush’s legacy. Quick: Name me a President that is a bad President, because he was a do-er. There are none. Presidents are bad Presidents because they’re awash in scandals, because they let things happen, because they were ineffectual, because they appointed their moral reprobate friends to high, influential and powerful positions.

Do-ers are remembered fondly, as our very best Presidents. They’re remembered even more fondly, if & when some among his contemporaries despised what he was doing. And when there were a whole lot of such contemporaries who despised what he was doing, he’s remembered by history even more fondly still…even if some of the objections to what he was doing, were in fact quite reasonable. Read some of the arguments against what Lincoln was doing. Read some of the comments against what Jefferson was doing. Read what the critics of Teddy Roosevelt had to say. Very good, morally upstanding, sturdy, reasoned arguments…far more respectable and durable than “BUSH KNEW!!1!”

Mind you, I disagree with Swift about Bush’s face being carved into a mountain. Won’t happen. But, those other gentlemen did make it up there. And this would have been quite a silly prospect to some of the folks who lived at the same time, and had things to say against what those guys were doing.

Viewed in that light, George Bush’s legacy is not only much rosier than what you usually hear of it, but in all likelihood, it’s more secure than most.

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.

President Gore Would’ve Invaded Too?

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Some Canuck white-coat pocket-protector propeller-beanie-head with a bunch of letters after his name has looked into this “what-if” scenario, specifically, whether President Gore would have proceeded with the invasion of Iraq. His surprising answer: Definitely.

Notwithstanding its widespread appeal, the ‘Bush-necon-war’ thesis remains an unsubstantiated assertion, a ‘theory’ without theoretical content, an argument devoid of logic or perspective. In essence, the most common explanation for the war is based on an historical account that overlooks almost all of the relevant historical facts.

In sum, a widely accepted explanation for one of the most important wars in decades has not yet been subjected to a careful, rigorous evaluation. The objective of the following report is to reveal significant logical, factual and historical errors consistently overlooked by its advocates.

It’s good to see overly-repeated and unscrutinized memes subjected to some challenge, even if the challenge is belated. It’s what science is supposed to do.

You can watch the FARK kids go nuts about it over here (subscription required).

Gonzo Has Blood on His Hands?

Friday, December 19th, 2008

That’s what you’re about to hear, thanks to this dispatch from the AP. Yes, we really do have to read and listen to this all…over…AGAIN.

Former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales misled Congress when he claimed the CIA in 2002 approved information that ended up in the 2003 State of the Union speech about Iraq’s alleged effort to buy uranium for its nuclear weapons program, a House Democrat said Thursday.

In a memo to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which he chairs, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., also expressed skepticism about assertions by then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice that she was unaware of the CIA’s doubts about the claim before President George W. Bush’s speech.

Yup, it’s Henry “Daddy Porked a Pig” Waxman. Yeah, I’m making fun of his looks. If he stops making himself look foolish without my help, then on that day I’ll consider feeling guilty.

Sorry if you don’t like it. Face it. The guy’s a buffoon. I’ll qualify that below.

Meanwhile —

The committee’s Republicans do not endorse Waxman’s report, said Frederick Hill, press secretary for Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the committee’s top Republican.


On the Net:

Waxman’s memo:

(This version [that] CORRECTS the report is by the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Report Committee, not the full committee.) [emphasis mine]

You know what that’s all about? Hmmmm?

It’s about this

499. We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government’s dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that:

The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought
significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

was well-founded. [emphasis mine]

That’s from the Butler Review. Linked above.

The formal assessment by Her Majesty’s Government about why they, our friends across the pond, thought they knew the things they knew, and when they thought they knew them.

After the Uranium claim turned out to be a poke-in-the-eye. After.

Which, by the way, it never should’ve. Saddam Hussein was a dangerous asshole who was trying to get hold of weapons all the time…except when he couldn’t afford to…either because someone was breathing down his neck or because he didn’t have the connections and/or money. Any other time, as far as the information that’s been made available can determine — he was all too willing to lay his hands on any weapons he could possibly reel in. He was the very picture of a tinpot dictator dickhead who needed to be taken down. One of many.

So this whole thing is a colossal bunny trail. Enough already.

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.

The Sheepdogs

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Poem by Russ Vaughn

Blackfive, via Rick.

Sign on the Door

Monday, December 1st, 2008

A sign on the door at Walter Reed, behind which lies a wounded Navy Seal:

Attention to all who enter here. If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20 percent further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere.

Thanks to Maggie’s Farm for pointing this out.

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.

Call It McCroskey Syndrome

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Looks like I picked the wrong day to declare 2008 the year of thinking flaccidly.

My point stands…problem is, today is Victory in Iraq day. A 24-hour oasis of virility and manly triumph in a 365-day ocean of impotence.

I just picked the wrong day.

Thank you, men AND women who’ve contributed to that crucial triumph, in ways large and small.

Hat tip: Rick.

“The bilious bastards…don’t know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating.” — Gen. George Patton, Jr., May 31, 1944

Veteran’s Day 2008

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Thank you for your service, vets.

Happy 233rd Marines

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Thinking of you on your birthday. True guardians never worry about whether or not vigilance is in style. But you made it through basic, you know that.

Thank you.

D’JEver Notice? XII

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

It’s tough to remember right now with all this talk of bailouts and subprimes and economy this and jobs that…but killing terrorists is still the most important issue of this election. The more the better.

Now, they’re telling me, in that authoritative way “they” tell me things when there are no real faces or reputations or identities behind the “they”…that history’s verdict is in on Bush. We don’t like ‘im, and while a lot of folks didn’t like him from the get-go, the big hairpin turn by which “all” of us decided “we” don’t like him, was when he invaded Saddam Hussein’s turf.

“They” tell me “we” hate George Bush because he lied to us to make it happen.

Because he didn’t have “proof” Saddam Hussein was developing or storing WMDs.

Because he didn’t have a more legally sturdy delegation of authority from Congress with an actual declaration of war.

Because if we knew the facts, we wouldn’t have supported the invasion of Iraq.

Because the U.N. didn’t bless it.

Question: Are these, like, either-or things? It’s an important question. Our country’s going to have to know the answer to that next time this has to be handled.

If the next ne’er-do-well around the world is caught engaging in his skulduggery and hijinks, what’s President Obama or McCain or Palin supposed to do, exactly? Get the approval of the electorate? Of Congress? Prove the shenanigans beyond the shadow of any doubt? Get the approval of the United Nations Security Council?

All of those? One of those? Two of those?

This is the trouble with that nameless faceless “they.” “They” are great at stating an argument or a case, but not in such a way that it makes sense. Is our lesson for future events that you can’t invade a nation until you P-R-O-V-E that you have to…and then…get U.N. approval? Why? What if you prove it, irrefutably, and then one deliberative body approves it and another one doesn’t?

Shouldn’t someone be debating that somewhere? Preferrably, out in the open with some high profile and visibility? Like before November 4th? I mean…”they” tell me “everybody” is really concerned about this. Seems like the question should’ve come up before now.

Didn’t Know the History

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

I can’t believe he’s issuing this talking point…++groan++

Barack Obama’s top political adviser said today Obama “didn’t know the history” of unrepentant bomber William Ayers’ activities in the violent Weather Underground movement when the candidate attended a political event at Ayers’ home in 1995.

“When he went he certainly didn’t know the history,” chief Obama strategist David Axelrod told CNN – arguing for the first time since the story surfaced early this year that Obama was unaware of Ayers’ past.

“There’s no evidence that they’re close,” Axelrod added.

Quick question: How many friends do you have that are America-hating assholes? I’m not talking about people voting for Barack Obama…some of those might be nice folks who are getting fooled.

I’m talking “God Damn America,” people who blew things up, people who tried to blow things up, people who wanted to…how many friends like those do you have?

Because Barack is up to something, like, four or five of those — so far as we know.

Isn’t it odd? His lack of judgment about character issues and personal backgrounds, has yet to negligently buddy-him-up with a conservative Republican by mistake. That, within the evidence that has come to my attention, has yet to happen. But the jackasses who want to blow up the country he seeks to govern, they’re like moths to a flame. He keeps getting fooled that way. And yet he’s just so luminescent and smart.

Sitting Down With Iran

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Hey — if you believe Obama’s position (as expressed by Obama) is the right way to go, it should already be raising an enormous red flag with you that we’re engaging in such an incredible volume of talking about the talks…and saying nothing, zero, zilch, nada, bubkes about what would actually be said in the talks.

That should raise a red flag with you, before that other red flag. The one where once we take the idea seriously, the running-mate starts lying his ass off, backpedaling. That’s your second red flag. But the first one is important too.

Recalling my own comments about sitting down to talk about things, last month:

Archie: Discuss…why wit’ you everything’s always gotta be like a meetin’?

Meathead: Because in a meeting, people sit down together and exchange ideas.

Archie: Oh, okay. Okay. Sit down, huh? (Meathead sits down.) (Archie Sits down.) Now. Let me hear your idea again.

Meathead: Okay. I want us to watch Jack Lemmon and a group of famous scientists discuss pollution and ecology on channel thirteen.

Archie: Good. And I want to watch football highlights on channel two. (Poignant pause, locks eyes on Meathead.) Now, guess what’s going to happen? (Cue laugh track.)

Meathead: (Pause.) You’re going to watch football highlights on channel two.

Archie: Meeting adjourned. (Gets up.) Hey Edith, lemmee have some beer in here, okay?

This Obama/Ahmadinejad would go different — oops, wait, I guess Biden says there wouldn’t be any such thing, but it looks like maybe Biden’s wrong — anyway, I’m to believe that meeting would go different from this one…why?

I’ve Got a Bracelet, Too

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Matthew Sheffield, Newsbusters.

In recent memory, every presidential debate eventually distills down into a few catchphrases. Al Gore became known for his sighs and love of lockboxes. John Kerry actually served in Vietnam. Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy.

I've Got A Bracelet, TooBarack Obama has a bracelet, too.

That inartful comeback will likely filter out through the political ether in the days ahead. What might not filter through our partisan press is that shortly after pointing out that, like John McCain, he sports a bracelet given to him by a military family, Barack Obama had to stop and look down find out the name of the soldier he’s honoring.

That soldier is Ryan David Jopek. Barack Obama doesn’t appear to have known that fact.

Here’s his complete line:

“Jim, let me just make a point. I’ve got a bracelet too. From, Sergeant, uh, uh, from the mother of, uh, Sergeant, Ryan David Jopek.”

Had a Republican, say Sarah Palin, made this gaffe, who wants to bet that we wouldn’t hear this clip repeated endlessly during the post-debate spin shows and in the days ahead? How much would the sincerity of our hypothetical Republican politician be called into question.

I didn’t hear it discussed once in the post-debate coverage. Did you?

Let’s be fair, here. Can you imagine how the mother of Sergeant Jopek would have felt, had Obama simply let this go — right while the bracelet was dangling on his own wrist? He had to say something. I hope that’s what motivated him, and I think he does have some human decency, and that that is indeed the case.

Now having said that, this kind of thing strikes me as extraordinarily sad. Because the people who are most enthused about supporting Barack Obama, voting for him, defending him — they don’t understand there’s a problem here. They have their own special definition of caring about someone.

They live in a special world in which nobody actually labors toward getting something done, except in the realm of “CALWWNTY” (Come A Long Way, We’re Not There Yet). Outside of the CALWWNTY vicious cycle of civil-rights-movements “we’re still working on that,” anything that requires effort is a manifestation of someone not caring about someone else. It’s the way they were raised. If you’re working on something, someone else should jump in, do it all for you, and present you with the results, immediately, or else you’re a victim of someone else’s lack of caring. Wherever there’s caring, there has to be a quick fix. Real work, therefore, exists only where people don’t care about each other…unless everyone is working on it, which is why CALWWNTY gets a pass. As does building a post-modern Star Trek utopian universe.

In that utopia they’re trying to build, people simply — exist. Mill about. Order free chocolate treats from food replicators whenever they want. They don’t really labor toward anything…not unless all of them are similarly engaged.

And so, to some of us, Obama having to re-check the name on his bracelet was just natural. The Sergeant had a funny name, after all! To the rest of us, this completely invalidates the point he was trying to make…and it’s not because we had preconceived desires to see his point invalidated. It’s because he really, truly, does not “care” in the way we define caring. He wants to see people alive and healthy and whole, but wants to see them abandon the effort on which they’ve spent their blood, sweat and tears. Once that’s done, in his world, everything will be all okay, because people will be intact, feelin’ good, unscathed, and covered by some fabulous universal medical care. And not really doing much of anything.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

On Ending War

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Some guy named Christian Liberal entered a comment on my son’s blog. I wasn’t familiar with this character, but thought his arguments were interesting. You’ve seen this isolationist/pacifist stance before; it comes down to three words, “end the war.”

So because I’ve seen this asserted so much, and the debate that logically continues from that pursued so little, I thought I’d leave the following nugget as food-fer-thought.

When two sides are at war with each other, how many sides does it take to decide to end it? One side, or both?

The whole issue really comes down to just that. And you know, it’s a little bit silly to imply that when two sides are at war, one side can unilaterally decide to end the war.

Dear Mr. Obama

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

An “Everyone else is blogging it, I might as well do it too” moment. And what could be a more worthy one.

The intended recipient may very well be sworn in this January, so I’m just doing my bit to make sure the message gets across. It’s the least I can do.

And don’t forget to watch all the way to the end.

Pam in San Bernardino Has Never Seen High Noon

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Via Rick, a discussion taking place on Desperate Preacher, kicked off by Pam with some comments that are truly asinine noteworthy:

In John McCain’s recent commercials, he calls himself the Original Maverick. In our household, we’ve had some different responses to this. I’d like to know how you hear it and what you think he’s trying to communicate.

First time we heard the commercial, both my husband and son started yelling “Goose!”, much to my amazement. I didn’t understand it at all. They said it was a reference to Top Gun, and that Maverick was a character in the movie, as was Goose.

I pictures guns and cowboy hats, and a swagger down a dusty street.

Neither of these images work for me as an appeal for Presidential Character.

Any thoughts?

My comment at Rick’s place speaks for itself. (DP, by banning Rick, has indicated that the place desires to be an echo chamber above all other things, so I’ll keep my silence there out of respect for their wishes.)

Rev Pam wishes to broadcast to the world wide web that she has never seen High Noon before.

Very well. Noted.

You remember High Noon, don’t you. It’s a movie where the bad guy is coming to Hadleyville on the noon train, and the Sheriff understands a confrontation is in order. All the citizens of Hadleyville go hiding behind doors and shutters, leaving him to face the evil alone. The “consensus” of the town seems to be that evil, in fact, doesn’t really exist — or if it does, it’ll just go away if it’s ignored. Only the Sheriff understands this is wrong, and in his solitude he is not deterred.

Arguably, if this is not the best western movie ever made, it could very well be the western movie with the strongest connection to the unsettling conundrums that surface from time to time in real life.

In fact, I would argue that this is what makes a western movie. Clarity of moral definition…coupled with ambiguity about what to do. Personal safety placed in the corner directly opposite from the “make sure good prevails over evil” corner.

That’s why our leftists hate cowboys so much. Well, it’s true. High time someone said so.

Fuquod, being a keyboard-building fool, chimes in with the discredited chickenhawk argument:

…and rick…did you even attempt to serve?

We call them “keyboard builders” here because their argument is predicated on the notion that if you aren’t personally doing something then you have no business thinking positive thoughts about anybody else who is doing it, nor are you permitted to so much as to acknowledge, audibly or in silence, that what they do needs doing.

The argument they seek to make, depends completely on this nonsensical premise. Not just a little bit. Completely.

So I figure every time I read this argument, and it was typed into a computer somewhere, whoever said it must build keyboards for a living. I mean, the accusation they’re leveling is one of hypocrisy, so I know no way could those guys be hypocrites. They have to be building keyboards.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

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?