Another version of Suil A Ruin (Walk My Love).
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
From The Washington Post:
RICHMOND, Jan. 30 The Virginia House of Delegates approved a far-reaching proposal Tuesday to strip charities and other organizations of state and local funding if any of the money is used to provide services to immigrants in the country illegally.
The proposal, one of nearly 50 immigration-related bills under consideration by the General Assembly, could force such groups as the Salvation Army and the Virginia Association of Free Clinics to verify immigration status before offering assistance to those in need or risk losing funding.
"This is to make sure the monies that are going to charities and organizations go to the people they are intended to go to, which is legal immigrants," said Del. Jackson H. Miller (R-Manassas), the sponsor of the bill. "The ultimate goal is to make the commonwealth of Virginia an unwelcome place if you are in this country illegally."
Responded Kitty Hardt, director of program operations at Commonwealth Catholic Charities: "We don't stop services to look for documentation."
Nor should you, as Christians, however you have to know that money from the government comes with strings attached and if you want to keep getting it yoiu have to dance to whatever tune the state wishes to play. Why not trust God to move his people's hearts to give whatever He has decided you need and tell the government to kiss off?
This is a good thing that the Virginans are doing. Every square inch of America should be an "unwelcome place" if you are here illegally. The sooner other states and the federal government pick up on that fact the better.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The New York Times has topped every previous effort in arrogance, condescension and outright lying in an editorial today entitled "A Day Without Guns"*. Let's have a look at it:
Twenty years ago, the Florida Legislature cravenly decided to allow “law abiding” citizens to carry concealed weapons merely by declaring their preference for self-defense. Then last July, at the prodding of the gun lobby, the current crop of state lawmakers proved they could be even more corrupt and cowardly than their predecessors by deciding to make the list of gun-toting Floridians a secret.
In the military they would call this a "target rich environment". First of all notice the scare quotes around the phrase law abiding before the word citizens. To the left-liberals who write for The New York Times there is absolutely no premium attached to being one who obeys the law. If fact if you look at who they reserve the most sympathy for, who they advocate for and whose behavior they consistently seek to excuse the Times obviously has a preference for law breakers. And given their position on amnesty for illegal aliens (otherwise known as alien criminals) they have no particular love of citizens either.
Then we see that the Times describes the Florida legislature as "craven" for allowing those "law abiding" citizens to carry concealed "merely by declaring their preference for self-defense". Now this is so poorly written that it is difficult to discern its meaning, however what they are getting at is that the Florida legislature bowed to the will of the majority in passing a "shall issue" concealed carry law (meaning that law enforcement must issue a carry permit to anyone who meets the state imposed standards). The editors at the Times obviously prefer a totalitarian form of government which takes little or no notice of the will of its subjects. I'm sure that Brezhnev thought that Jimmy Carter was craven for stepping down just because he lost an election too.
Next the legislature is called "corrupt and cowardly" for listening to the "gun lobby" (notice the scare quotes again), in other words the hated will of the hated people, again and voting not to make public the names of carry permit holders. In other words they decided to not tell criminals which houses to break into in order to steal firearms, specifically easily concealed firearms.
Now sane people are probably wondering why the Times has a problem with a measure which will make it harder for criminals to obtain firearms. Well one must remember that the Times editors are left-liberals so whatever else they are they are NOT sane. To them the harassment and endangering of lawful gun owners, especially gun owners who have signaled their intention to take responsibility for their own lives and safety, is infinitely more important than merely keeping violent criminals away from guns and protecting innocent people's lives. After all to a New York Times editor there are no innocent people there are only "innocent" people.
Enough with the first paragraph let's see if there are any other examples of bias raised to the level of the grotesque and/or factual inaccuracies:
When the law was first enacted, there were fewer than 25,000 licensed gun holders. Since then, the state roll has boomed to 410,000 and counting. As the veil descends on this dangerously macho part of the public record, enterprising articles in The Florida Sun-Sentinel are laying bare the fact that more than 1,400 people easily got gun licenses despite pleading guilty or no contest to felonies that included manslaughter, burglary and child molestation. In Broward County alone, gun licenses grew in 20 years to more than 35,000 from 25.
Sampling records just before the law took effect, the newspaper uncovered hundreds of tales of mayhem, official indifference and glaring loopholes in criminal justice protection. One man got a license after pleading no contest to manslaughter in fatally shooting his girlfriend in the head while she cooked him breakfast. Another applicant was licensed despite guilty pleas to grand theft and assault charges for holding a handgun against his roommate’s head in an argument.
Those permitted to pack concealed weapons include 216 people with outstanding criminal warrants, 128 under domestic violence injunctions and 6 registered sex offenders.
Anybody surprised that there were? Come on show of hands, anybody. . .
What is wrong with the above is that it uses the stage magician's trick of misdirection. If you read the shrill dishonest article in the Orlando Sentinel that the Times shrill dishonest editorial is based on you discover that no convicted felons have been granted licenses to carry concealed in Florida. There are people who have been accused of felonies, and charged with felonies and even pleaded guilty to felonies, but no one who has been convicted of a felony.
The "loophole" that the Times and the Sentinel are so upset over is the constitutionally mandated presumption of innocence. Which, I guess, brings us back to the Times love of totalitarian government. I suppose that in their minds the ideal Attorney General in the Hillary Clinton administration would be Mike Nifong.
Even after all this we see that the Times isn't through with their insane raving:
As in some of those states, Florida’s legislators take the position that it’s no fun to have a gun if you can’t use it. So they loosened the laws on self-defense to allow a civilian to stand and use deadly force “if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary.” If lawmakers had any sense of shame, they would undo these lethal threats to their constituents.
What does the law define as a reasonable justification for the use of deadly force? If you answered "a reasonable threat of death or grave bodily injury" you would be correct. So what the Times objects to is the fact that in Florida a person who has never been convicted of a felony, and is therefore not legally a felon, can obtain permission from the state to carry a concealed handgun and use it to defend him/herself from being murdered, maimed or raped.
The editors at the Times are also displeased that a stalker will henceforth be unable to consult the list of persons with concealed weapons permits in order to determine if the woman whose home he wishes to invade, whose body he wishes to violate, whose life he wishes to extinguish, is not legally enabled to carry a gun.
Perhaps there will be a Democrat politician in Florida who will be crazy and/or evil enough to introduce a bill in the state legislature to repeal the states concealed carry law. In honor of the esteemed editors it could be called "The New York Times' Rapist and Murderers Protection Act of 2007".
* OK, this doesn't do more than match their outright denial of the terror famine in Ukraine which was deliberately caused by Stalin, but this wins the prize for this generation.
From The Washington Post:
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Kuwait rarely rebuffs its ally, the United States, partly out of gratitude for the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But in October it reneged on a pledge to send three military observers to an American-led naval exercise in the Gulf, according to U.S. officials and Kuwaiti analysts.
"We understood," a State Department official said. "The Kuwaitis were being careful not to antagonize the Iranians."
Four years after the United States invaded Iraq, in part to transform the Middle East, Iran is ascendant, many in the region view the Americans in retreat, and Arab countries, their own feelings of weakness accentuated, are awash in sharpening sectarian currents that many blame the United States for exacerbating.
Arabs are not complete fools. They can look at the situation and form a reasonable conclusion based upon what they see. Soon after we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, with a population and political establishment which seemed, at that time, to be united behind a resolute president, Libya's dictator, Muammar al-Gaddafi, very publicly gave up his nuclear aspirations. He looked at the situation on the ground and made the decision that he didn't want to be America's next target in their "let's keep Islamofascist nutjobs from getting the bomb" crusade.
But now the situation has changed. It didn't take the Democrat Party (otherwise known as the Cut, Run and Surrender party, the Party of Treason or the Hate-America Party) and its Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment (otherwise known as the mainstream media) long to jump off the "let's defeat America's enemies" bandwagon and begin a literally 24/7 attack on the president and the war.
The American people who are not, for the most part, stupid simply do not pay much attention to politics or political issues. More than half the electorate still get their news from a broadcast network's nightly news program or from a daily newspaper. All of the network news broadcasts, almost of all of the daily newspapers and all of the cable news outlets except for FOX News are slanted far leftward. Even the daily newspapers which are conservative in their editorial outlook use the left-wing wire services which slant their reporting in an anti-American direction.
With the majority of the public not paying attention* and getting what little news they get from sources which have taken the decision to help the enemy to defeat the United States public opinion almost had to turn against the president and the war. Arab leaders look at the situation and form a reasonable conclusion. They know that when the American Democrat Party succeeds in doing what the terrorists could never hope to accomplish, drive the United States military off the field of battle and send them fleeing home in humiliation, that Iran, Syria and al Qaeda will own the Middle East and they are preparing to make obeisance to them.
All of you centerist "Reagan Democrats" and Republicans who stayed at home on election day because you were upset about earmarks and Abramoff and thought the Republicans needed to be "taught a lesson". Are you proud of yourselves?
When al Qeada's stock rises 100,000% because of their success in driving the "Great Satan" out of Iraq the same why they forced the Soviet Union out of Afghanastan and we have to stop taking our kids to see Santa at the mall because it is too tempting a target for suidcide bombers will you look upon your handiwork and feel the pride of a job well done?
*The part of the public which pays attention to politics every day tends to cluster around talk radio and the Internet. This is why the blogosphere and talk radio are dominated by conservatives. People who are actually paying attention almost have to be conservative.
Monday, January 29, 2007
From The Brussels Journal:
A quote from Oskari Juurikkala at Mises.org, 24 January 2007
“People will always have children,” assured Konrad Adenauer, the German Chancellor, in 1957. He was convinced that the future of the brave new pay-as-you-go social security system would not be undermined by demographic changes. Adenauer was as wrong as ever. […] [S]ocial security replaces children and the family as the main support in old age by literally socializing the traditional duties of the family. Why have children when the state will take care of you in your old age? […]
Every kind of socialism creates perverse incentives, and socialism directed to the family perverts the family.
This is true and it goes beyond couples deciding to have children together. It also applies to young women and the decision to marry. Why should a young woman seek a husband when the state will take over the traditional husband's duty of providing a living for his woman and children?
Through welfare of all sorts, housing assistance, medical care, subsidized food and direct cash payments the government provides a more secure living for a single mother and her children than an uneducated young man could. Once a young woman had to consider her future security when deciding on sexual activity. A careless affair could leave her pregnant and single with few prospects. The incentives were to wait until she had found a responsible man who would commit to her and their children before breeding.
Today the generous nature of Western European and American social services makes single motherhood the safer bet. Since she can continue living in her subsidized apartment, eating her subsidized food and spending her free money while allowing a man to live with her, satisfying her desire for (what passes for) romance there is no down side to remaining single.
Of course the effect upon the young men of this state of affairs is pronounced. The primary civilizing force on young men is the need to settle down and provide for their wives and children. Take the very purpose which he was put upon this earth to fulfill away from and young man and replace him with a government check, or debit card, and he finds himself filled with a rage whose source he scarcely understands.
Since there is no force in his life which he is prepared to listen to pressuring him to behave responsibly he follows the path of least resistance and behaves irresponsibly. Crime and substance abuse are the predictable consequences of having his purpose stolen from him. The target for his hopeless fury often becomes the woman whose infidelity (she may sleep with him, but the government is her true husband) has psychologically emasculated him.
This witches brew of factors is largely responsible for the massive dysfunction within the inner city black community.
From The Washington Post:
BAGHDAD, Jan. 28 -- Iraqi soldiers, backed by U.S. helicopters, stormed an encampment of hundreds of insurgents hiding among date palm orchards in southern Iraq in an operation Sunday that set off fierce, day-long gun battles during the holiest week for the country's Shiite Muslims.
Iraqi security officials said the troops killed scores of insurgents while foiling a plot to annihilate the Shiite religious leadership in the revered city of Najaf. A U.S. helicopter crashed during the fighting, killing two soldiers.
The spokesman for Iraqi security forces in Najaf, Col. Ali Nomas Jerao, said that 250 suspected insurgents were killed in the fighting, which took place about eight miles northeast of Najaf, and that 40 people were detained. The U.S. military did not provide death tolls for Iraqi forces or insurgents.
Thousands of Shiite pilgrims from Iraq and neighboring countries are traveling this week in drum-beating caravans to the southern city of Karbala, 50 miles north of Najaf, in commemoration of the death of the prophet Muhammad's grandson in the 7th century. Iraqi authorities said they believed that the fighters, a diverse cadre of Sunni, Shiite, Afghan and other foreign gunmen, convened under cover of the pilgrims to set up a camp within striking distance of the Shiite religious leadership when attention was away from Najaf.
One battle does not a war win, or lose, but this is the way things are supposed to be going. As we train the Iraqi armed forces they become more and more able to mount this kind of operation with less and less support from American forces.
Slowly but surely the balance will shift with successes like this becoming more and more common and terrorist successes becoming more and more rare. Then one day we will look around and notice that the insurgency is simply gone.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Sorry about the light posting today. I left home early this morning and didn't get back till nearly 9:00 PM. I went with a group of friends to the Biltmore House and then out to dinner. It was loads of fun, but I didn't get any pictures. The Estate doesn't allow photography inside and it was too cold to stand around outside snapping pictures.
The best part of the trip (well, the second best) was that there were three folks who had never been before. It is great fun to see the reactions of first timers. The House was wonderful, as always. They have opened up the third floor servant's quarters so you get an idea of how the staff lived as well as how the family and guests lived.
The actual best part of the trip was that it was free. So many people visit the Estate during November and December (to see the Christmas decorations) that attendance falls off in January. To remedy this the company decided to give us annual passholders four free tickets that can be used in Jan. We can get additional tickets for $10.00 and kids under 16 get in free with a passholder, instead of having to have an $8.00 child's ticket.
Even the hotel is discounted with a room on a weeknight going for $119.00 until Feb. 17.
When we got to the ticket office and I asked for 8 tickets the machine printed them all out as free tickets. The manager said that it was too much trouble to cancel the four extra freebies so everybody got in gratis.
It looked like the free and discount tickets were a huge success since the House was packed.
I'll get some pictures in the spring when the gardens are in bloom.
From The New York Times:
Saudi Arabia, which benefited immensely from record oil prices last year, has sent signals in the past two weeks that it is committed to keeping oil at around $50 a barrel — down $27 a barrel from the summer peak that shook consumers across the developed world.
The indications came in typically cryptic fashion for the oil-rich kingdom. In Tokyo last week, Ali al-Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, said Saudi Arabia’s policy was to maintain “moderate prices.” The previous week, on a stop in New Delhi, he effectively put his veto on an emergency meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to prop up prices after oil briefly dropped below $50 a barrel, the lowest level in nearly two years.
The Saudis know that keeping the price of oil at a reasonable level is in their own interests. However there are pressures which will seek to drive the price of oil back up in the years to come.
Primarily what will drive prices up is the increasing demand of developing economies like India and China. As those two nations become more heavily industrialized and as their citizens become more prosperous their demand for electricity, fuel for automobiles and manufactured goods which require petrochemicals will skyrocket. This cannot help but drive the price of oil up.
There are two things that the United States can do (realistically) to keep the price of oil under control. One is to win the war in Iraq and bring in American specialists to prove and develop the whole of Iraq's oil resources. It is a common belief among oil geologists that Iraq has larger oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, but they remain unproven. That is we have the indications that they are there, but we haven't verified it and located them precisely. Right now Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer in the world and they are the only nation with surplus capacity. If Iraq's oil producing ability was enlarged beyond the Saudi's supply would at least for a time outstrip demand and price pressures would trend down, rather than up.
This would give the Saudi royal family less petrodollars to spend supporting and spreading the poisonous malignancy of Whabbi Islam and less money with which to bribe terrorists to attack the West rather than the Saudis.
The other thing the US could do is to reduce our dependency on oil through practical measures such as converting our entire electrical generation system to nuclear power. We should develop all of our domestic oil resources wherever they are to be found from the Alaskan tundra to the coast of Florida. These two things alone would allow us to more than eliminate Middle Eastern imports (which amount to only 12% of our total imports).
Another thing we should be doing, and in the long run this could be the most important thing of all, is devoting some serious attention to the processes developed by the Germans in WWII to convert coal to motor fuel and natural gas. Germany ran its tanks and trucks and automobiles and planes on synthetic fuel made from coal. Patton ran his tanks and other vehicles on captured synthetic fuel for a time as well. It was only after allied bombing destroyed the synthetic fuel plants that Hitler's war machine began to grind to a halt.
Petrolium has always been so cheap that persuing the German technology has never made economic sense, however with all the technological advances which have been made since the end of WWII I believe that if serious efforts were directed at developing the German technology that we could perfect it. This would mean a practicle doubling of the world's oil producing capacity and exert massive downward pressure on oil prices.
In addition to lower pump prices and cheaper electricity this would also remove the major source of funding for the Islamofascists global ambitions.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
As I was driving home Friday I heard radio talk host Mike Church read portions of an editorial from some paper talking about Hillary's attempt to transform herself, or the public perception of herself, from a shrill, hard-edged, totalitarian Marxist hyper-feminist to a moderate and reasonable woman of the political center.
I wanted to post it, but couldn't remember which paper had printed it. I found it over on Shooting the Messenger so follow the link and it will be worthh your while.
Here is a sample:
Fifteen years ago there was once a principled, if somewhat rebarbative and unelectable politician called Hillary Rodham Clinton. A woman who aggressively preached abortion on demand and the right of children to sue their own parents, a committed believer in the power of government who tried to create a healthcare system of such bureaucratic complexity it would have made the Soviets blush; a militant feminist who scorned mothers who take time out from work to rear their children as “women who stay home and bake cookies”.
Today we have a different Hillary Rodham Clinton, all soft focus and expensively coiffed, exuding moderation and tolerance.
From The Washington Times:
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday that Congress' push to oppose President Bush's troop increase in Iraq "emboldens the enemy" and undercuts the commanders in the field.
[. . .]
"A resolution that, in effect, says that the general going out to take command of the arena shouldn't have the resources he thinks he needs to be successful certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries," he said in his first press conference. "Any indication of flagging will in the United States gives encouragement to those folks. And I'm sure that that's not the intent behind the resolutions, but I think it may be the effect," Mr. Gates said.
As I've said before the enemy's greatest asset is hope. They cannot defeat us on the battlefield, in fact they cannot defeat the Iraqi Army on the battlefield (they probably couldn't even defeat the French Army on the battlefield). They know that in absolute terms they are nearly powerless, but America's past actions indicate that we are extremely weak willed and will run if faced with resolute resistance.
AS long as they believe that they will be willing to say "yes" one more time than we will be willing to say "no" they will continue the fight.
There is a dispute going on between Dinesh D'Souza and Serge Trifkovic and a few others over the correct way to relate to Muslims. In short D'Souza believes that "attacking Islam" by writing books which accurately record the history of Islam, the true teachings of Mohammad on topics such as jihad, the position of women in Islamic societies and the way in which non-Muslims are treated in Islamic cultures will only drive "moderate" Muslims into the arms of the militant extremist Islamists.
D'Souza is most likely correct, however as Mr. Trifkovic points out, this essentially destroys D'Souza's case. If the alleged moderates in Islam will find the company of people who hijack airplanes full of innocent people and fly them into buildings full of more innocent people preferable to those who accurately report what the Koran actually says about "holy war" or the way women are forced to live in Islamic countries governed under sharia then how "moderate" are they truly?
If you are interested in following the debate you can visit Front Page Magazine. What I want to talk about here is this section of Mr. Trifkovic's article:
Furthermore, D'Souza uses "Islamophobia" with the implicit assumption that the term's meaning is well familiar to his readers. For the uninitiated it is nevertheless necessary to spell out its formal, legally tested definition, however. It is provided by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), a lavishly-funded organ of the European Union. Based in Vienna, this body diligently tracks the instances of "Islamophobia" all over the Old Continent and summarizes them in its reports. The Monitoring Center's definition of Islamophobia includes eight salient features:
1. Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change. 2. Islam is seen as separate and "other." 3. Islam is seen as inferior to the West, barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist. 4. slam is seen as violent, aggressive, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a clash of civilizations. 5. Islam is seen as a political ideology. 6. Criticisms made of the West by Islam are rejected out of hand. 7. Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society. 8. Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural or normal.
Note that every single point in the European Union's definition of "Islamophobia" is to some extent true and most of them are completely true. What is significant is that in the EU under certain circumstances "Islamophobia" like other kinds of racism or sexism can be a prosecutable offense.
Europe has turned speaking the truth into a hate crime.
Here are some selected responses from Mr. Trifkovic's comments about each of the above points:
1. That Islam is fundamentally static and unresponsive to change is evident from the absence of an orthodox school of thought capable of reflecting critically upon jihad, Sharia, jizya, etc. and developing new Islamic interpretations that Western liberals (and notably the 9-11 Commission's Final Report) keep hoping for. Attempts to reformulate the doctrine are not new, but they have failed because they opposed centuries of orthodoxy. . . it is not the jihadists who are "distorting" Islam; the would-be reformers are.
2. That Islam is separate from our (Western, Christian, European) culture and civilization, and other than our culture and civilization, is a fact that will not change even if the West (Christendom, Europe) eventually succumb to the ongoing jihadist demographic onslaught.
3. Whether Islam is "inferior to the West" is a matter of opinion. That it cannot create a prosperous, harmonious, stable, creative and attractive polity is not. Whether Islam is "barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist" is at least debatable; but that its fruits are such is beyond reasonable doubt.
4. Islam is seen as "violent, aggressive, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a clash of civilizations" not because of an irrational "phobia" in the feverish mind of the beholder, but because of the clear mandate of its scripture, because of the record of almost 14 centuries of historical practice, and above all because of the timeless example of its founder.
5. "Islam is seen as a political ideology" because its defining characteristic is a highly developed program to improve man and create a new society; to impose complete control over that society; and to train cadres ready, even eager, to spill blood. The doctrine of Jihad makes Islam closer to Bolshevism or National Socialism than to any religion known to man. It breeds a gnostic paradigm within which the standard response to the challenge presented by non-Muslim cultural, technological and economic achievements is hostility and hatred. D'Souza's alleged distinction between Islamic "extremists" and "moderates" is a Western liberal construct. . .
6. Criticisms made of the West by Islam should not be rejected out of hand, they should be understood. Islam's chief "criticism" of the West—and each and every other non-Islamic culture, civilization, or tradition—is that it is infidel, and therefore undeserving of existence.
7. A priori hostility towards Islam should not be "used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims." Quite the contrary, a comprehensive education campaign about the teaching and practice of Islam should result in legislative action that would exclude Islam from the societies it is targeting, not because it is an offensive religion but because it is an inherently seditious totalitarian ideology incompatible with the fundamental values of the West—and all other civilized societies, India, China and Japan included.
8. "Anti-Muslim hostility" is not "natural or normal." The infidels' determination to defend their lands, families, cultures and faith against Islamic aggression is both natural and normal, however, and must not be neutralized by the Eurocrats from the left of by D'Souza and his likes on the "right." They will deny that Islam, in Muhammad's revelations, traditions and their codification, threatens the rest of us, that it is the cult of war and intolerance, but the truth will out. Until the petrodollars support a comprehensive and explicit Kuranic revisionism capable of growing popular roots, we should seek ways to defend ourselves by disengaging from the world of Islam, physically and figuratively, by learning to keep our distance from the affairs of the Muslim world and by keeping the Muslim world away from "the world of war" that it seeks to conquer or destroy.
This is all good sense. That it will be found contraversial by those on the left is an example of how disconnected from reality they are.
The Economist comments on China's recent test of its anti-satellite weapon:
An arms race in space would leave everyone, including its “winner”, worse off. Likewise, insisting on a treaty or nothing, with interminable debates over the legal definition of what is a space weapon—just something that can be fired or also the sophisticated bits and pieces that help find and track targets too?—won't stop the emerging space competition turning ugly. Better to try something more modest: a code of responsible conduct between existing space powers that emerging ones could also sign up to.
No evidence is given to support their conclusion that in a space arms race even the "winner" (not the scare quotes) would be worse off. It is simply presented as though it were self evident, an axiom of the post-modern intelligentsia.
But let's look more closely at their thesis. In a space-based arms race could there be a winner and would the winner be worse off, or perhaps better off?
In the post WWII nuclear arms race between the US and the USSR it was not just possible but logical to maintain that a nuclear war would have no winner. Even if one side had been able to come through the conflict with a functioning government and manage to send an army of occupation to stand in the rubble of the "losing" side's cities what would its "victory" really have been worth?
However the prospect of a conflict over control of orbital space presents a different picture. In the first place the winner of this arms race will receive more than radioactive ash as a prize. The nation which secures dominance of orbital space will be immune from conventional or nuclear attack from land, sea, air or space. The only vulnerability the master of space will have is to terrorism, just as any nation can be attacked in that fashion today.
Along with mastery of orbital space comes the ability to play gatekeeper for the rest of the Solar system. Aside from Earth there are seven other planets, dozens of moons, a million asteroids and more than a billion comets and planetoids. Also virtually limitless free energy from the sun.
It is very difficult to see how The Economist can envision a "winnerless" outcome to any serious competition to rule the high frontier. Unless what is driving their evaluation of the situation is not rational thought, but a knee-jerk pacifism left over from the Cold War.
Either that or the Euroelite's Pavlovian reaction of disdain for anything the United States is able to do better than Europe.
NEW YORK (AP) -- One month into one of the mildest winters on record in the Northeast, an arctic blast sent temperatures into the danger zone Friday, and New York gave its police legal authority to remove homeless people from the streets to keep them from freezing to death.
Temperatures from Maine to Pennsylvania were in the single digits and the teens, with lows of minus-10 recorded in northern Pennsylvania.
The temperature in Central Park was 9 degrees before daybreak and reached 12 degrees by dawn, but the wind chill made it feel like minus 6.
City officials declared a weather alert that gave police power to remove hundreds of homeless people from the streets and put them in shelters. Authorities are normally not permitted to force anyone off the street without their consent.
Can the planet stand much more of this horrible heat?
Friday, January 26, 2007
From The Washington Post:
The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort.
For more than a year, U.S. forces in Iraq have secretly detained dozens of suspected Iranian agents, holding them for three to four days at a time. The "catch and release" policy was designed to avoid escalating tensions with Iran and yet intimidate its emissaries. U.S. forces collected DNA samples from some of the Iranians without their knowledge, subjected others to retina scans, and fingerprinted and photographed all of them before letting them go.
Last summer, however, senior administration officials decided that a more confrontational approach was necessary, as Iran's regional influence grew and U.S. efforts to isolate Tehran appeared to be failing. The country's nuclear work was advancing, U.S. allies were resisting robust sanctions against the Tehran government, and Iran was aggravating sectarian violence in Iraq.
"There were no costs for the Iranians," said one senior administration official. "They are hurting our mission in Iraq, and we were bending over backwards not to fight back."
Three officials said that about 150 Iranian intelligence officers, plus members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Command, are believed to be active inside Iraq at any given time. There is no evidence the Iranians have directly attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, intelligence officials said.
But, for three years, the Iranians have operated an embedding program there, offering operational training, intelligence and weaponry to several Shiite militias connected to the Iraqi government, to the insurgency and to the violence against Sunni factions. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the CIA, told the Senate recently that the amount of Iranian-supplied materiel used against U.S. troops in Iraq "has been quite striking."
"Iran seems to be conducting a foreign policy with a sense of dangerous triumphalism," Hayden said.
This has been going on for years and we are just now beginning to do something about it. A major cause of the problems we are having in Iraq is our reluctance to fight all the enemies we have in the region. The Shiite militias would not be a problem now if we had stepped on the Iranians and Syrians at the first sign that they were interfering in Iraq.
I believe that the Administration's unwillingness to broaden the conflict in the Middle East is rooted in his reluctance to broaden the war at home. No commander wishes to fight a war on two fronts and almost from the beginning of the Iraq war Mr. Bush has found himself in a brutal war against the Islamofascists domestic allies, otherwise known as the Democrat Party and the mainstream media.
This is another reason why the left is such a malignancy. If you look at the results of elections you will see that the nation is about evenly divided between Democrat and Republican. This means that before conservatives can do anything to move the country forward in any signifigant way they must overcome a retrograde force which is almost as powerful as their forward impulse. Imagine a healthy and strong 200 pound man who must do everything with a 199 pound dead body strapped to his back. Or an airliner which can go 350 MPH constantly having to fly into a 345 MPH headwind.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Loreena McKennitt's The Bonny Swans from the CD The Mask and the Mirror.
The story of the song is about a farmer who had three beautiful daughters. The oldest had jet black hair and the youngest was blond and fair, the middle daughter is not mentioned after the first line of the song.
A handsome young knight who desired to take a wife heard of the beauty of the young women so he visited the farm with gifts for each of them. He took each of them riding and spent time with each of them until he made his choice, the youngest.
Consumed with jealousy the oldest daughter invited her younger sister to walk with her by the water. There she pushed her sister (who could not swim) into the river. The youngest sister begged her older sister to help her but the dark haired girl would not - unless she would agree to give up her true love. This the youngest would not do, even to save her life.
So she drowned.
Her body washed down the river until it was caught in the miller's dam. There a wandering minstrel found it and fashioned a harp from the bones and strings from the hair. Later he stopped at the farmer's house to lodge for the night. When he put the harp on the table it began (all by itself) to play a dirge. Upon hearing the harp play the older sister went insane.
I am aware of several versions of the song which have been recorded by various artists.
Today's Front Page Magazine reprints an article from City Journal by Steven Malanga on Rudolph Giuliani's conservative credentials. The article's title, "Yes, Rudy Giuliani Is a Conservative", sums up the uphill battle which Giuliani must fight to be taken seriously by the nation's conservatives.
Here is how it begins:
Not since Teddy Roosevelt took on Tammany Hall a century ago has a New York politician closely linked to urban reform looked like residential timber. But today ex–New York mayor Rudy Giuliani sits at or near the top of virtually every poll of potential 2008 presidential candidates. Already, Giuliani’s popularity has set off a “stop Rudy” movement among cultural conservatives, who object to his three marriages and his support for abortion rights, gay unions, and curbs on gun ownership.
Mr. Malanga then goes on to list Mr. Giuliani's many achievements as Mayor of New York City. Among them his dramatic lowering of the crime rate and he revitalizing of the city's economy. This, he says, proves Rudy's conservative credentials and makes him a good candidate for president.
Everything that Mr. Malanga says about Giuliani's governance of NYC is correct. The trouble is, and this is not bragging, I could have done the same thing. The fact is that most of the readers of this blog could have done the same thing. As the article states the situation in New York had gone so far down the left-liberal toilet that the city had become almost impossible to live in. What Giuliani did was apply common sense center-right principles to bring some sanity back to the city's government and police force.
In the decades before Giuliani New York City had become the playground for political "progressives". It had implemented every lame-brained idea of governance, policing, economics and race relations. By the time Rudy was elected mayor those ideas had borne their inevitable fruit and the city was awash in crime, poverty and every other kind of social dysfunction.
By the early 1990s things had grown so miserable that even the liberal Democrats of Manhattan briefly awoke from their normal delusional state and elected an grownup with adult ideas to be the leader of their city.
Giuliani rode to the rescue with ideas which seemed so radical to New Yorkers that they almost seemed to descend from outer space, but the sad reality is that they would have been familiar to any one of multiplied thousands of small town Republican mayors, sheriffs, county commission members and millions and millions of "just plain folks".
That is why I said that I and most readers of this blog could have done what Giuliani did. Not because we are so damn smart, but because New York had for so very long been the plaything of people who were so damn stupid.
In the kingdom of people with IQs of 75 the man with an IQ of 95 will be king.
Now here is what will hamper Rudy's presidential ambitions. The entire USA is not NYC. Rudy's departure from the Manhattan elite's lunacy on the issues of law enforcement, tax policy and other fiscal issues does mean that he isn't completely nuts. However his unity with Manhattan's loony left on abortion, gay marriage and gun control along with other social issues does mean that he is partially nuts.
Given that other more sane candidates will step forward as the primary season draws closer being less loony than the other inmates in the asylum will cease to be much of an asset in the race.
I admire what Giuliani was able to accomplish in New York City before 9/11 and I appreciate the leadership he showed after. However being the most conservative person who could be elected in New York does not qualify one to be the president of the entire nation.
If the Republican Party wishes to reward Mayor Giuliani service (and they should) let it be with the New York governor's mansion or one of New York's Senate seats. This will be far better than letting him be the Party's standard bearer in 2008 in a race which he will probably lose because too many of the nation's real conservatives will not support him.
Ann once again puts things into perspective:
It's nice to have a president who is not so sleazy that not a single Supreme Court justice shows up for his State of the Union address (Bill Clinton, January 1999, when eight justices stayed away to protest Clinton's disregard for the law and David Souter skipped the speech to watch "Sex and the City").
Speaking of which, the horny hick's wife finally ended the breathless anticipation by announcing that she is running for president. I studied tapes of Hillary feigning surprise at hearing about Monica to help me look surprised upon learning that she's running.
As long as we have revived the practice of celebrating multicultural milestones (briefly suspended when Condoleezza Rice became the first black female to be secretary of state), let us pause to note that Mrs. Clinton, if elected, would be the first woman to become president after her husband had sex with an intern in the Oval Office.
According to the famed "polls" – or, as I call them, "surveys of uninformed people who think it's possible to get the answer wrong" – Hillary is the current front-runner for the Democrats. Other than the massive case of narcolepsy her name inspires, this would cause me not the slightest distress – except for the fact that the Republicans' current front-runners are John McCain and Rudy Giuliani.
Fortunately, polls at this stage are nothing but name recognition contests, so please stop asking me to comment on them. "Arsenic" and "proctologist" have sky-high name recognition going for them, too.
Now go and read the rest, it is even more funny, and accurate.
From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 — One day after President Bush implored Congress to give his Iraq strategy a chance to succeed, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution on Wednesday denouncing the plan to send more troops to Baghdad, setting up the most direct confrontation over the war since it began nearly four years ago.
Here is why conservatives question the patriotism of the anti-war crowd.
We are in a war against an enemy which cannot win on the battlefield, and knows it. They cannot win a war of attrition (that is they cannot kill so many of our people or destroy so much of our equipment that we become unable to continue fighting), and they know it. They cannot occupy any piece of territory which we desire to take from them, and they know it.
The only thing which gives them any hope of victory is the belief that they can outlast us. They believe that if they can continue the fight long enough that we will lose the will to continue. After all we lost the Vietnam war because we simply gave up. We ran from Beirut after suffering a handful of casualties. We ran from Somalia after TV news showed a few dead American soldiers. They believe that if they can just keep killing a few here and a few there that we will throw up our hands and surrender.
When the American public goes to the polls and votes in the party of surrender and defeat (whatever their true motives for doing so) they send a message to the enemy that their strategy is working. When the newly elected congress votes on resolutions which express no faith in American victory and no faith in the Commander-in-Chief the message is sent to the enemy that they are winning and only need to hold on for a little while longer.
Am I saying that any disagreement with the president or the conduct of the war is always treasonous? No. In WWII neither the German nor the Japanese conduct of the war nor their determination to hold out to the last possible minute would have been effected in the slightest way by anything that was said by any American political figure.
However in the particular situation which America finds itself in at the present the only thing keeping the enemy in the field is their faith in our lack of will. Anything which reinforces that faith on the part of the enemy gives aid and comfort to the enemy and that is, like it or not, the actual constitutional definition of treason.
It does not matter at all what the intentions of Joe Biden or Chuck Hagel are. It matters not one microscopic little bit if their motives are 100% pure and righteous and inspired by nothing but love of country and care for the troops. All that matters is that they have given the enemy the only thing that he needs to continue fighting -- HOPE.
If the Democrats and dissident Republicans genuinely want to help their nation achieve victory over its enemies and they genuinely believe that the current plan has no chance of victory and they have a better plan to defeat the enemy (not to cut and run) then they should go to the President in private and discuss it with him. I guarantee that if they come to George W Bush with a plausible plan for victory (rather than surrender) he will listen.
That they instead air their criticism in a public forum where they know full well that the enemy pays attention to and draws inspiration from indicates that their motives are not "pure" and they do not care about victory and their only motivation is to improve their domestic political situation.
What some people in congress (of both parties, but mainly Democrats) are doing today in this war is, on a moral level, EXACTLY THE SAME as if Republicans in the closing days of WWII had taken all the data from the Manhattan Project along with the actual atomic bombs and handed them over to the Japanese. Because the only thing which could have given Japan the victory in that war was overwhelmingly powerful weapons and the only thing which can give the Islamofascists victory in this war is our own irresolution.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Become a bit less friendly for liberals:
Belgium is going to vote a bill which forbids humans from having sex with animals. Recently a Belgian man who had sexual intercourse with his bitch was acquitted in court. The judge argued that he had done nothing illegal since there is no law prohibiting sex with dogs. Last week the Belgian Senate refused to institute a prohibition of sex with animals. On Tuesday, however, a majority in the Health Committee of the Belgian House of Representatives, which can introduce bills without the approval of the Senate, deemed that intercourse between men and beasts is harmful for the animals and decided to prohibit it as part of the new Animal Welfare Act.
In future, Belgians who copulate with their dogs or cats, or rape their rabbits, risk a jail sentence of six months to one year and a fine of €1,000 ($1,300). While Belgian legislators are no longer concerned about public morality at least they care about animal welfare…
This from Paul Belien at The Brussels Journal.
A moonbat who stops by every once in a while left this comment in defense of Old Europe:
Oh yea!! High crime rate, gun violence, crumbling cities, starving people begging for food, people dying from a serious lack of health care, yea you're right, they are really on they're last leg over there.
Actually the standard of living is higher in liberal areas of the US and the world than it is in conservative ones. Maybe you should look a little further than a right wing website to gather your stats and ideas. Here's a novel idea, how about actually going to europe and see it for yourself. I've been many times and it's hardly the sewer of forgotten glories you guys make it out to be.
Actually Europe is on its last leg. They have built themselves a comfortable welfare state with cradle to grave social services and financed it with confiscatory tax rates. Tax rates which suck so much money out of the private sector that a company like Airbus needs government subsidies to survive because there isn't enough cash in the private sector to finance them through investment.
Employment laws make it so difficult and expensive to fire a non-productive employee that most employers don't even try. Of course they also do all in their power to avoid hiring anyone new, because doing so gives them what amounts to a lifetime obligation. This is a large part of the reason that the unemployment rate in most European nations is over 10% and shows no sign of ever dropping.
Then there's the low birthrate. Europeans are not reproducing in numbers sufficient to maintain their population. This presents a serious problem because Europe's generous old age/retirement benefits have to be paid for by current tax revenue. To solve this problem European nations have imported vast numbers of predominantly Muslim immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East. These immigrants have failed to assimilate and will soon become a majority of the population in many Old European countries.
These Muslim immigrants practice "fetching marriages" which bring in still more Muslim immigrants who are even more unassimilated. Many of these Muslims go on welfare and live in self segregated communities which enforce sharia law and where native police are not welcome, and fear to go.
As these Muslim immigrants become larger percentages of the population they demand greater accommodation from the native citizens. Before long they will demand that Islamic law be applied across the entire culture. Let me ask you this, will you still like to travel to Europe when all the bars and brothels have been closed down?
As for crime I guess you weren't there when the "immigrant youths" were lighting up the Paris nights with burning cars, and in some cases burning people. For a no holds barred look at what is becoming of Europe I recommend Bruce Bawer's book While Europe Slept.
Far from a right-wing ideologue Bawer is a politicaly liberal homosexual who left the United States in order to live in a place where his homosexuality would be not just tolerated but celebrated. He also wished to legally marry his companion who was European.
Have you ever heard the expression "eating the seed corn"? Europe has sacrificed its future to a more comfortable present. The bill is coming due.
From The Washington Post:
President Bush implored lawmakers and the nation last night to give him one more chance to win the war in Iraq and avoid the "nightmare scenario" of defeat while presenting a domestic agenda intended to find common cause with the new Democratic Congress on issues such as energy and immigration.
Politically wounded but rhetorically unbowed, Bush gave no ground on his decision to dispatch 21,500 more troops to Iraq despite a bipartisan cascade of criticism. Addressing for the first time a Congress controlled by the other party, Bush challenged Democrats to "show our enemies abroad that we are united in the goal of victory" and warned that the consequences of failure in Iraq "would be grievous and far-reaching."
We will leave aside the areas in which the president wishes to find common cause with the socialists (the areas were he wants to sell out the nation, in other words) for another post. Right now I want to focus on what he said about Iraq.
You might think that going to war in Iraq was the greatest mistake ever in the history of presidential mistakes. Let's say for the sake of argument that you are correct and it was a blunder of massive proportions. From where we are standing now it simply doesn't matter.
I'll say that again. It doesn't matter if the war was a mistake. It doesn't matter if Bush lied to get us there. All that counts is that we are there and every ally and potential ally we have is watching what we will do and every enemy and potential enemy is also watching what we will do.
Osama bin Laden has said that a large part of the reason that he believed that the 9/11 attack would accomplish his goal of getting the US out of the Middle East was his opinion, based upon America's actions in Viet Nam, Lebanon and Somalia that America was a paper tiger whose citizens had been rendered soft and cowardly by the nation's great wealth and the ease of our lives. He hoped that the public would be so shocked and frightened by the death toll of 9/11 that we would insist that the government withdraw from Saudi Arabia and reconsider our support for Israel. The Taliban government of Afghanistan allowed their nation to be used as al Qaeda's base of operations because they shared bin Laden's opinion of the United States.
The "insurgency" in Iraq, whether al Qaeda in Iraq, or the neo-Nazi Ba'ath Party bitter enders or Iranian backed Shiite militias or freelance jihadi "holy warriors" from Saudi Arabia all believe that the resolve that America has shown so far in invading Afghanistan and Iraq is a fluke caused by the people "screwing up" and electing an actual man to be their president.
They believe that if they can just wear down the American public with a constant trickle of deaths and injuries that our weakness and cowardice will come to the surface and we will force
"the last true man in America" to end his resistance to the global jihad and America will retreat within its borders.
It doesn't matter if you disagree with bin Laden's analysis and laugh at the idea of Bush being the "last true man in America"; that is how the militant Muslims see the situation. And they will act upon their perceptions not yours.
If we leave Iraq without defeating the insurgency and establishing a stable government which will be pro-Western, an opponent of terrorism and which offers its citizens some measure of political, economic and religious freedom it will be seen as a defeat of the US and it will be seen as proof that the US lacks the courage to stay in the fight to the finish. It will not matter what words we use to describe our failure. It will not matter in the least if we place the blame on the Iraqis and say that we gave them plenty of time to get their own house in order and they failed and we could not be expected to keep an open ended commitment that was costing us billions of dollars and thousands of lives.
All that will matter is that the jihadists will see it as the signal to begin the next phase of their operations. The next phase will involve bringing the war to the continental United States. America is very vulnerable to attack. A few men with hunting rifles could cause a cascading power failure which would black out everything from Chicago to New York City and south as far as Memphis, TN. A few small canisters of nerve gas in the New York subways would, without killing that many people, cause a panic which would paralyze the city for days and bring the financial markets to a standstill, costing billions.
Suicide bombers in shopping malls, restaurants, schools and stadiums would sow panic and despair and cost the nation's retailers billions. The nation's network of rail transport could be seriously disrupted by blowing up just a handful of railroad bridges. One effect of this would be to cause power plants which burn coal to shut down. Pipelines which carry petroleum and natural gas could be sabotaged causing prices to skyrocket.
A large part of the reason why this isn't happening right now is that Iraq and Afghanistan are occupying the attention of the militant Muslims. Kicking us off of "holy" Middle Eastern soil is job number one for them AND our continued presence there is proof that we are still too "hard" as a nation for attacks within our borders to have the desired effect.
What the global jihad awaits is proof that America's will to resist has been broken and that proof will come when we tuck our tails between our legs and slink back home from Iraq. It will not matter if politicians make speeches about how this is an Iraqi failure not an American failure. All that will matter is that the enemy will see a defeated America and know that the time is right to strike at the heart of the infidel.
The effect on other nations outside of the Middle East must also be taken into account. For example the governments in China and Taiwan are watching all of this. Do you not think that Taiwanese officials are looking at this and wondering how much faith to place in America's guarantees of their security. Do you not think that they are wondering if it might not be best to cut a deal with China. Do you really want to see Taiwan's considerable military and economic power joined to China's even more considerable military and economic power?
Do you want the next president, whoever it happens to be, to have to decide whether to get into a shooting war with China over the Spratley Islands? The Chinese are watching us in Iraq. If we show them that we don't have the resolve to defend our interests in Iraq (even if you don't think we have any legitimate interests in Iraq try to wrap your mind around the idea that everybody else in the world outside of Old Europe and the American Democrat Party does recognize America's interests in Iraq) might they not be moved to exert what they claim to view as their legitimate claim to the Islands? Especially if they have already secured Taiwan?
What about nuclear armed Pakistan? It already has a population in sympathy with the Islamists. How much more pressure will be brought on the government to leave its political position on the edge of the Western World and align itself fully with the terror states if America stops being a part of the Middle East equation?
In the eyes of politicians like Pelosi, Murtha and Kennedy a defeat for the US in Iraq equals a defeat for Bush and the Republicans and therefore a victory for them. Their minds are too small to grasp the fact that the consequences of an American retreat in the face of a dynamic, committed and expansionist enemy, who has what they believe to be the promise of God that they will conquer and transform the entire world, would only result in an escalation of the war, not an end to it.
I restate my original thesis. Even if you believe that the war in Iraq was the most cosmic blunder in the history of the universe we are there now and we have to deal with the situation as it is, not as we wish it might have been. To stay and devote however many lives, however much money and however much time it takes to win an unambiguous victory will, in the end, save countless lives, money and time. And it will be the first step in transforming the Islamic religion and the Arab culture which Islam has created into something fit to exist in 21st century civilization.
Finally, if you are one of those who believes that we CANNOT win stop and think about that. Are you really going to say that a nation with the manpower, wealth and technology of the United States CANNOT defeat around 20 - 30 thousand terrorists? If they are so invincible then why are they already abandoning Baghdad in the face of a promised increase in US troop strength?
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
We hear a great deal from organizations like CAIR (Counsel on American/Islamic Relations) that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not supporters of terrorism. I thought I would take this opportunity to explain how to tell the Muslims who support terrorism, either directly or by their silent acquiescence from the Muslims who truly oppose the extremists who wage violent jihad.
The Muslims who oppose the terrorists are the ones like Salman Rushdie, Nonie Darwish, Bat Ye'or and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. What do these people all have in common? They all must live in hiding or surround themselves with bodyguards because they oppose the militant form of Islam which seeks to exterminate all infidels.
That is how you tell a good Muslim from a bad Muslim. If he or she claims to oppose terrorism but isn't living under a constant threat of death from other Muslims then they are a lying.
From The Sun:
TOM Cruise is the new “Christ” of Scientology, according to leaders of the cult-like religion.
The Mission: Impossible star has been told he has been “chosen” to spread the word of his faith throughout the world.
And leader David Miscavige believes that in future, Cruise, 44, will be worshipped like Jesus for his work to raise awareness of the religion.
From World Net Daily:
JERUSALEM – Palestinians in the northern West Bank have named a major street after late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein that was funded – along with the surrounding municipality – by the United States Agency for International Development.
Go read the rest.
Why, pray tell, are we giving money to the Palestinians? Aren't there any good old American murders we could give money to?
From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 — The public financing system for presidential campaigns, a post-Watergate initiative hailed for decades as the best way to rid politics of the corrupting influence of money, may have quietly died over the weekend.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York became the first candidate since the program began in 1976 to forgo public financing for both the primary and the general election because of the spending limits that come with the federal money. By declaring her confidence that she could raise far more than the roughly $150 million the system would provide for the 2008 presidential primaries and general election, Mrs. Clinton makes it difficult for other serious candidates to participate in the system without putting themselves at a significant disadvantage.
Officials of the Federal Election Commission and advisers to several campaigns say they expect the two candidates who reach Election Day 2008 will raise more than $500 million apiece. Including money raised by other primary candidates, the total spent on the presidential election could easily exceed $1 billion.
If Hillary Clinton's actions have truly killed the public financing of campaigns in this country then it will be the one true act of public service that she has ever done and most likely ever will do.
Many people will think that a billion dollars it too much to spend on a presidential campaign, but is it? The American public will spend more money in 2008 on potato chips. American women (and a few men) will spend more money on cosmetics. We will spend more money on beer, more money on fast food hamburgers and more money on Internet porn downloads.
Isn't the decision on who will set the direction for the nation for the next four years and beyond more important than chips, eye liner and Paris Hilton's sex video?
The more information that the public has about the candidates the better they will be able to decide how they should vote. More money means more advertising and more advertising means more information. Now you may be saying that a candidate's commercials are misleading that they inflate their own qualifications while unfairly attacking their opponents. This is true, but important information can be learned by what a person says about himself even if he's exaggerating.
For example when you listen to Barak Hussein Obama do you get the impression that he thinks of government as a necessary evil, but an evil nonetheless? Do you get the idea that he believes that the government which governs least governs best? Do you think that he believes in the idea of seeking out our enemies and killing them before they have the chance to kill us? Do you get the impression that he believes that money is best spent by the people who earn it, rather than by government redistributionists?
If you listen to the man the answer to all those questions will be a resounding no. The more money he spends on advertising the more clearly he will get his message out that he does not believe that the individual American is qualified to spend his own money or make any of his own decisions in any but the most trivial of areas.
The same will be true of Hillary and Edwards and any other candidate that the left throws at the wall to see if they will stick.
And the same will be true of the Republicans. Will Rudy or McCain be able to convince enough conservatives that they should be given the chance to lead the nation? More, rather than less information is the key to the people being able to make an informed decision. Taking federal money out of the process will lead to the public being able to make a better choice.
In political campaigns as in everything else the dead hand of government offers nothing of true value and much which does true harm.
I will have visitor 50,000 sometime today or tomorrow. If I can ID the person there will be a prize.
Technically I have already crossed 50,000 since I didn't put sitemeter on the blog for a couple of months, but it ain't official unless its counted.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Tonight's episode was fairly slow moving and mainly set up things for the upcoming episodes. We got revelations about Jack's family, however.
The episode begins where the last one left off with the mushroom cloud rising north of LA. The president's people estimate that 12000 people have died as one square mile of Valencia has been destroyed. The good news is that the fallout cloud is moving away from the city.
Jack helps save the pilot of a chopper which crashed onto a rooftop when it was hit by the shockwave. He calls Col. McQueen and tells him to send a car, he takes back the business about quitting. BTY, it seems that the power grid and every cell phone in LA has been hardened against EMP since none of them are affected.
Evil Terrorist Mastermind (tm) has escaped with his other nuclear bombs and calls up his amoral international arms merchant to get a new nuclear arms engineer to arm his other bombs, the one that President Chapell let go having been vaporized. The arms merchant agrees to find someone who can do the job in between arguing with his skanky gold-digger girlfriend.
Dr. Bashier tells the boys at CTU that they had been trying to get some nukes from a former general in the Red Army, but nothing had come of it. Al Bundy figures out that Jack's father's company had done business with the general and that their contact had been Jack's old man.
Jack calls his brother to find out where the old man is and we get the first major revelation. Jack's brother Graham is the head of the Bluetooth Mafia from last season. He was the one pulling the strings on President Weasel.
Meanwhile at Gitmo, sorry, Palmdale the head of CAIR has agreed to be wired up. Anita Hill hates this. The idea of helping stop terrorists rather than helping put them on the streets to kill and kill and kill is revolting to her. The FBI roughs up the CAIR guy to give him street cred with the club jihad guys. It works and they let him into their circle.
Jack is able to get his SUV across town to his brother's house despite the most massive traffic jam in the history of the universe as everyone with two brain cells attempts to flee the fallout.
At brother's house we learn that Jack and his sister-in-law were an item before Jack met his wife and that sister-in-law may still be carrying a torch for Jack. We meet Jack's nephew and a seed is planted which may bloom into the boy being Jack's son.
Jack asks to speak to his brother in private so they go into his office. There Jack punches him out and starts to torture him for information. I think this family has issues.
In the previews we see the next major revelation. Jack Bauer's father is Zefram Cochrane, the inventor of warp drive. This explains how Jack is able to move from any place in the vicinity of LA to any other place in the vicinity of LA in the space of a commercial break.
Will Jack be able to beat the information out of his brother or will his brother's evil minions turn the tables on Jack and leave him twisting in the breeze?
Tune in next week. Same Bauer time, same Bauer channel.
From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 — Bush administration officials said that they had been unable to get even the most basic diplomatic response from China after their detection of a successful test to destroy a satellite 10 days ago, and that they were uncertain whether China’s top leaders, including President Hu Jintao, were fully aware of the test or the reaction it would engender.
In interviews over the past two days, American officials with access to the intelligence on the test said the United States kept mum about it in hopes that China would come forth with an explanation.
It was more than a week before the intelligence leaked out: a Chinese missile had been launched and an aging weather satellite in its path, more than 500 miles above the earth, had been reduced to rubble. But protests filed by the United States, Japan, Canada and Australia, among others, were met with silence — and quizzical looks from officials in The Chinese Foreign Ministry, who seemed to be caught unaware.
How about this for an explanation; the Chinese don't care what we think and are letting us stew for a bit before they come forward with platitudes designed to soothe diplomats and imbeciles (OK, redundant).
The Chinese have proven that they can blind our intelligence gathering satellites, which would certainly be the first step in a planned conquest of Taiwan. This knowledge is intended to make us timid and accommodating. Especially with a congress which will be extremely reluctant to spend money defending the nation, rather than buying votes with social programs. After all to liberals appeasement is always more preferable than confrontation.
America needs to get off the stick and start taking the Chinese threat seriously. Otherwise we will wake up one morning and find that the power grid has crashed and is offline. The Internet is down along with our telecommunications network. The financial information in our banks and brokerage houses will be corrupted, wiping out pension funds and the bank accounts of the bulk of the population. Government operations will be compromised meaning federal employees will not be paid and the Social Security, VA and welfare checks will not be mailed or direct deposited.
Pipelines which carry oil and gas will be shut down and the nation's railroads will grind to a halt. The nation's industry which depends on electric power and "just in time" delivery of supplies, which in turn depends upon the telecommunications network and the Internet will have no choice but to shut down.
As the nation shivers in the cold (this will most likely come in winter) and floods the supermarkets attempting to barter jewelry and family heirlooms for food when cash is no longer enough (and in some areas people will fight to the death over cans of pork and beans) reports will trickle into the Pentagon about massive troop movements in China and massive amounts of shipping moving across the straits of Formosa toward Taiwan.
The American carrier battle group in the area may survive if it is in deep water where the Chinese diesel-electric submarines (almost perfectly silent) can't get to it, but it will be unable to effectively support the Taiwanese and lacking satellite communications be unable to even report its situation and request orders.
Of course scrambled computer data and crashed networks will be restored when technicians load backup copies of programs and files, but the costs will still be counted in the hundreds of billions. The damage to America's reputation as a superpower will be irreparable.
As sure as night follows day the world will begin realigning itself around a Chinese axis.
Everything I've said here can and will happen, but only if we allow it.
Tonight's video is of Melissa Kacalanos playing the hurdy gurdy. The hurdy gurdy was popular all across medieval and Renaissance Europe. I leave you to the wikipedia article for the details of how it works.
You will have noticed the hurdy gurdy in the videos of Corvus Corax and Loreena McKennett.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
That's right. Two in one day. Stuck on Stupid has joined up. This is a good blog and they will add to the Ecosystem. We should all be glad to have them. Go over and give them a big hillbilly welcome.
From The Washington Post:
Former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are leading an effort to forge dozens of small and medium-size, black and white Baptist organizations into a robust coalition that would serve as a counterweight to the conservative Southern Baptist Convention.
The giant SBC, with more than 16 million members, has long dominated the political, theological and social landscape among Baptists, often spawning resentment among smaller Baptist groups. It has also been closely aligned with the Republican Party.
The new coalition, which is Carter's brainchild, would give moderate Baptists a stronger collective voice and could provide Democrats with greater entree into the Baptist community. But Carter and other organizers are trying to walk a fine line, insisting that the alliance is not directly political while touting its potential to recast the role of religion in the public square.
Any organization which joins a religious movement led by the rabid anti-Semite which Carter has revealed himself to be and the pathological liar and adulterer which Clinton has proven himself to be has no right calling itself "Christian".
This new "Baptist" coalition says that it isn't going to be political [Lemuel stops and laughs out loud for 45 minutes]; so what will they be involving themselves with?
"We're not against any other group of people of faith," he said. "We're against the fact that 100,000 people died last month of malaria. We're against the fact that hundreds of thousands of Africans face starvation each year."
OK, then I expect to see you wearing out the carpet in the House and Senate office buildings as you go from office to office demanding that EPA rules banning DDT be revoked and that we begin spraying it wherever malaria is a problem to control the mosquito population.
Then I expect you to start programs to teach Africans the benefits of free market capitalism, which out of all the economic and political systems that have ever existed in the history of the earth is the one which can produce the most wealth for the most people. And I expect them to warn the Africans to avoid socialism like the plague because it is a lie wrapped in a deception and served up with a heaping side order of misery and oppression.
When they begin to do these things I will consider taking them seriously as Christians who want to help people rather than just another group of squalid little leftists seeking to deceive the gullible by wrapping themselves in the mantle of a religion which they fail to understand let alone live up to.