03 August 2006

What's the Frequency, Kofi?

Rarely do we see a paragraph so mistaken as this gem from Mark Malloch Brown, the #2 man at the United Nations. And by gem, I mean piece of poo.

Mark Malloch Brown, currently Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, started his career, or at least the high-profile segment, as a journalist. He wrote for The Economist from 1977-1979, and so his investigative skill should be particularly sharp, as The Economist is often liberal but rarely shoddy. So we expect Mr. Brown to tell us something substantial. Something helpful. At least something true.

Let's listen.

It’s not helpful to couch this war [between Israel and international terrorist organization Hez'b'Allah] in the language of international terrorism. Hizbollah employs terrorist tactics, it is an organisation however whose roots historically are completely separate and different from Al Qaeda.

This Orwellian inversion of "helpful" to "not helpful", and of "identical to" to "separate and different from", can only hold true within a tightly-defined context.

First off, it's certainly not helpful from the point of view of international terrorists, that's for sure. International terrorists probably don't like many things about the Global War Against Terror, such as the American PATRIOT Act endorsed, strengthened and supported by all three branches of the U.S. government, the International Terrorist Telecommunications Surveillance Program run by the NSA, or the International Terrorist Finance Monitoring Program with access to the SWIFT database of worldwide monetary transfers. And so far, we haven't even mentioned bombs or bullets--all things which the international terrorists do not find helpful, but which those countries fighting against international terrorism do find immensely helpful. So I guess we can see where the UN feels its interests lie, and that provides us with the necessary context for Mr. Brown's remarks.

Moving on to the second sentence, Mr. Brown courageously knocks out his own shadow while the international terrorists of the U.N. march down the hall, unimpeded, past the office of Mark Malloch Brown. Nobody said that Hez'b'Allah was al-Qaeda, except perhaps Mr. Brown. But it takes a big man to reverse himself when spouting silliness and immediately begin spouting the opposite silliness. You see, he has traded up from Dan Rather's "fake but true" to "real but false". So with his journalistic integrity intact, he bravely and accurately destroys the truly unspoken argument that Hez'b'Allah is al-Qaeda by citing facts which are not true--that the Hezbos' and the Alkies' "roots historically are completely separate and different".

This might hold water if one organization were derived from a radical arm of bloodthirsty sect of a dark ages religion bent on world domination, and the other were, say, Shinto. It might make sense, if the goals of the two organizations were, on the one hand, genocide against the surviving members of the world's oldest mainstream religion, huddled on a tiny strip of land where they watch the graves of their ancestors pillaged to make urinals under the watchful eyes of the United Nations, and on the other hand, a goal of freeing the oppressed peoples of the Arabian Peninsula, Northern Africa, Southern Asia--and everywhere else the world's 1.3 billion Muslims live--from the hateful and repressive regimes they currently suffer under.

Of course, if you limit the context of Mr. Brown's comments to matters of nationality, and a certain time-frame, and if you quibble over differences caused largely by geography (and certainly not ideology), you could indeed say that these two organizations are separate and different.

But no, the origins of Hez'b'Allah and al-Qaeda are the exact same; hatred and repression under Islamic dictatorships which manufacture handy bogeymen to blame for all of the privations caused by first, Islam, and second, dictatorship. So America and Israel are the Emmanuel Goldstein of Islam's permanent 1984, a society Hell-bent on sending us all back to the year Nine-Eighty-Four.

Not only their origins then, but their goals too, are identical, and at any rate not hard to discover. It doesn't take an investigative reporter of any particularly great skill to ferret out the true goals of both al-Qaeda and Hez'b'Allah--Death to America, Death to Israel. You may even have heard these phrases yourself.

And so I am reminded of Winston Smith in the Orwell novel 1984, and I will remember the last four words of that book until my dying day, so complete was my horror at the masterful conclusion of the novel. Unfortunately, only the bad parts are familiar in reference to Mr. Brown, and the good parts are not present. There is no conclusion, and if Deputy Secretary-General of the international terrorist organizations the United Nations Mark Malloch Brown has his way, there also will never be a conclusion. Not one that you can read in a language other than Arabic, anyway. Also, the lack of conclusion is not masterful, it is pathetic, or it would be, if that didn't also require pathos. Only the horror remains, but it is ours, not Mr. Brown's, as we realize the bone-chilling truth behind this journalist-cum-diplomat and his views on truth, proof, context, and goals:

He loved Dan Rather.

24 July 2006

Kim Jong-Il goes to Washington

Kim Jong Il goes to Washington
  Okay, it's a scenario, and one which I do not relish. That little turd is about thirty years overdue to be strung up by his ankles from a lamp-post. He is certainly not overdue for some Presidential treatment.

But the opportunity presents itself for the President to use the awesome power of his office to make a real change in an otherwise stagnant situation. Kim Jong-Il wants bilateral talks? He wants to sit at the big table? Fine. Bring his ass to Washington.

Put him in a room with W, and let the good times roll. President Bush could tell that dime-store dictator that if he doesn't mend his ways today, there will be Hell to pay tomorrow.

There is an increasing rumble in Congress for the president to tell Kim Jong-Il to calm down or be "calmed". Senator Joe Biden (D) thinks that we should tell him directly, "If you do anything too stupid, we will AN-NI-HIL-ATE you." It is a joy to hear the Senator speak those words--listen on the 16 July 2006 edition of Meet The Press.

Senator Biden and (of all people) Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are in very close agreement as to what to do with (or to) Kim Jong-Il. Newt: "If you put a missile on the launch pad, we'll take it down, and if you fire ONE ROUND into South Korea, your regime is OVER."

They agree that these are the things which President Bush should be saying to Kim Jong-Il. For added effect, Bush could slap the little bastard on his fat cheek to punctuate each point. What's Kim going to do--call Jan Egeland?

That petty tyrant should depart U.S. soil afraid, angry, ashamed, astonished, and absolutely convinced that every morning he should mumble a bitter "thank you" to President Bush for not having him killed the night before.

The six-party talks have been a kid-gloves evolution designed more to force our slow-footed nominal allies into actually helping than to coerce Kim to do anything. If those talks have been a failure, the answer is not to be even more kid-gloved with the unspeakable horror from beyond the 38th parallel. It is well past time to show this human plague how lucky he was to have been at six-party talks. I now support bilateral talks between America and North Korea, but only with that demonic piece of shit placed firmly into Receive Mode.

Israel isn't taking any crap from the Islamic Party of God; why is America being pushed around by a small man with bad hair? The problem is not that Kim has too little hope--the problem is that he has far too much hope, and the United States is derelict in our duty to remove that hope from him.

Israel Justified, Force Appropriate Says Everybody

Here are the results of my informal and non-scientific poll:

Respondants who support Israel and think current level of force is appropriate:
Arch-Conservative English teacher, Proprietor of this blog.
Conservative Canadian English teacher, eh.
Liberal Democrat English teacher with tattoos, greatly admires Bill Clinton.
Aging Liberal English Teacher, balding with ponytail, greatly admires Jimmy Carter.

Respondants who do not support Israel, think current level of force is too much:

Respondants who will not commit to a position:
Fellow who said "the last I heard, the Ginza strip was given to the... Palestinians?"
Fellow who said "kill them all, let God sort them out."

So across the political spectrum, it's 4-0 in favor of Israel, with two abstentions.

21 July 2006

Bob Schieffer, the Middle East, and the Second-Ugliest Truth

Bob Schieffer has mis-appropriated the fable of the Frog and the Scorpion, and rolled it into the media campaign against Israel. If you start with the world-view that the Middle East is impossible to understand, you wind up condemning Israel. The converse is true as well; If you start by condemning Israel, then the Middle East is impossible to understand. On the other hand, if you start with the idea that the wars in the Middle East can be understood, and have largely rational causes, you wind up with this: the Arabs will accept nothing less than the destruction of Israel.

The story below, as the closing comments of the July 15 2006 broadcast of Face The Nation is how Bob Schieffer views the Middle East: Unfathomable.
When the war broke out in the Middle East, I thought about the old story of the frog and the scorpion who were trying to cross a river there.

The scorpion couldn't swim and the frog was lost, so the scorpion proposed a deal: Give me a ride on your back and I'll show you the way.

The frog agreed and the trip went fine until they got to the middle of the river and the scorpion stung the frog. As they were sinking, the frog asked in his dying breath, "why would you do that?"

To which the scorpion replied, "because it is the Middle East."

It is worth noting that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip did not kidnap that Israeli soldier and provoke all this because the Israelis were invading Gaza. No, all this happened in the wake of the Israeli withdrawal, which was what the Palestinians wanted, but this is the Middle East. Why fundamentalists in Gaza and Lebanon chose to provoke this war makes no sense.

Israel had every right to respond and did. But this is the Middle East. So, the response may have made it worse by giving moderate Arabs in the region an excuse to distance themselves from Israel.

There was a time when America spent a lot of its diplomatic effort on the Middle East and sometimes, it had real impact. Jimmy Carter's Camp David accords, after all, removed Egypt as the main threat to Israel.

But in recent years, we have stepped back. Why? Hard to say. Except this is the Middle East.

That sounds cute, and I am sure that Bob Schieffer actually heard it that way at some point, and so in a sense he is faithfully reproducing a story he has heard. But I find it impossible to believe that a man as presumably well-read as Bob Schieffer has never heard the fable in its original form. Note that Bob Schieffer has assigned the role of Frog to Israel, and the role of Scorpion to the Arabs--or else the paragraph which ends with the words "...makes no sense." makes no sense itself. I agree with the assignment of characters, but want to point out that it is Bob Schieffer himself who has cast the roles. Seeing the fable the way it was written will shed a lot more light on the situation today--which is what Aesop wrote his fables for in the first place.

The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion
says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

Replies the scorpion: "It's my nature..."

Now that is a very true observation about Scorpions, and about the Middle East as well. Let us re-visit Bob Schieffer's version with Aesop's original intent restored. And remember--I didn't draw this analogy--Bob Schieffer is the one who said that the Frog is Israel while the Arabs are the Scorpion.

We could simply replace every occurrence of "...because this is the Middle East" with "...because that is the nature of the Arabs", which would be closer to the truth, and would represent a concrete statement of cause rather than Bob Schieffer's abdication of the whole thought process. But we can actually use this as an tool for analysis of the situation by making explicit a proposed nature of the Arabs, which is this: "...because the Arabs will accept nothing less than the destruction of Israel". If that conjecture fits into the story, then it is a good bet that it is true; at least as true as the timeless nature of the fable itself, which in this analysis we regard as a valid argument. At any rate, this is far better than Bob Schieffer simply throwing his hands up and declaring the problem incomprehensible. Let's try:

When the war broke out in the Middle East, I thought about the old story of the Israeli frog and the Arab scorpion who were trying to cross a river there.

The scorpion couldn't swim and the frog was lost, so the scorpion proposed a deal: Give me a ride on your back and I'll show you the way.

The frog agreed and the trip went fine until they got to the middle of the river and the scorpion stung the frog. As they were sinking, the frog asked in his dying breath, "why would you do that?"

To which the scorpion replied, "Because the Arabs will accept nothing less than the destruction of Israel."

It is worth noting that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip did not kidnap that Israeli soldier and provoke all this because the Israelis were invading Gaza. No, all this happened in the wake of the Israeli withdrawal, which was what the Palestinians wanted, but the Arabs will accept nothing less than the destruction of Israel. Why fundamentalists in Gaza and Lebanon chose to provoke this war makes no sense.

Israel had every right to respond and did. But the Arabs will accept nothing less than the destruction of Israel. So, the response may have made it worse by giving moderate Arabs in the region an excuse to distance themselves from Israel.

There was a time when America spent a lot of its diplomatic effort on the Middle East and sometimes, it had real impact. Jimmy Carter's Camp David accords, after all, removed Egypt as the main threat to Israel.

But in recent years, we have stepped back. Why? Hard to say. Except that we know this: the Arabs will accept nothing less than the destruction of Israel.


This new version actually holds together pretty well, with the glaring exception of this sentence; "Why fundamentalists in Gaza and Lebanon chose to provoke this war makes no sense." Wrong, Bob, it makes all kinds of sense, and where this sentence, the heart of your analysis, used to fit into the larger story, it now sticks out irreconcilable with the obvious truth, which is this: The Middle East is simple to understand if you are willing to admit that the Arabs will accept nothing less than the destruction of Israel.

An analysis of Aesop's fable of The Scorpion in the September 1995 edition of The Ethical Spectacle concludes this:
In any event, the scorpion's unexpected and self-destructive defection [betrayal--HBD] raises the issue of how to counter a player who defects first, and defects in a way that prevents you from retaliating on the next move (your life has ended in the meantime.) All assassins and terrorists play the game this way. Because they are willing to die--it is their nature--the future has no shadow [deterrent effect--HBD] for them. This madness is not unique to humans--the bee that stings to defend the hive, then dies, is a suicidal defector in nature.

"A-ha!", you say, "I have you now! The suicide bombers of HAMAS and the IPG (Islamic Party of God, or "Hez'b'allah" in Arabic) are like bees, dying if necessary to defend their, uh, hive from the marauding Jews!"

Not so fast, Ahmed. Nobody is marauding the hive, not even Jews. Even Bob Schieffer, who does not think this thing can be understood, can see that the Israelis withdrew from Lebanon years ago, and from Gaza a year ago, and that both of the attacks upon Israel in the recent war were unprovoked. He uses that word, unprovoked, in his own editorial voice. But "provokedness" requires a context, and the fact is that Israel may indeed have provoked the Arabs by unilaterally withdrawing from occupied territory. The only way this begins to make sense is if you accept this fact: the Arabs will accept nothing less than the destruction of Israel.

For in withdrawing, the Israelis give the Arabs what they have asked for, and gain the internationally agreed-upon moral high ground. This is an unacceptable state of affairs for the Arabs, because if the United Nations is no longer able to publish an un-ending stream of condemnations of Israel, then it becomes very difficult to explain the ceaseless terror attacks as "defense". The Arabs' worst nightmare is that Israel gives them everything they want except the destruction of Israel. That would take away their opportunity to destroy Israel with the full cooperation of most of the world, and the second-ugliest truth is that everything else they could possibly gain from Israel is secondary to that quest for the Muslim Holy Grail, which is succinctly and plainly expressed every single day by hundreds of thousands of Arabs and other Muslims in mosques and on streetcorners, in public and in private: Death To Israel.

How can we not believe that this is their true goal? How can we even assert that they would accept anything less? How can we then make our Foreign Policy one of "Honest Brokerage" between bloodthirsty genocidal savages in the thrall of the bloodiest organization the world has ever known on the one hand, and a tiny Democracy founded by war-weary survivors of a previous genocide on the other?

How can we? Like this:
First, fail to admit the obvious truth that the Arabs will accept nothing less than the destruction of Israel.
Second, anytime that obvious truth is plainly shown by well-reported events, watched and discussed by billions of people, repeat the mantra of nonsense:
"The Middle East is incomprehensible. Those people have been killing each other for thousands of years. You can't make any sense of it. There is no meaning. Nobody there thinks, they just do things to each other for no reason, and if perchance, one of them were to ask another why he acted that way, they would simply throw their hands in the air and say--because this is the Middle East."

Third, fill the media with people who will refuse to admit the obvious truth, and get the media talking heads to repeat the nonsense mantra from step two. People will have such a hard time trying to understand what the media is saying, that they will believe the Middle East is impossible to understand.

And that is actually the Ugliest Truth. The Media is the Second Holocaust

05 July 2006

No Twisters in Tornado Alley--Gore Blames Bush

"No Tornadoes Confirmed In Nebraska-Kansas Area This Year
First Time Since 1950 There's Been No Tornadoes In Region"

Failed Presidential Candidate and former Senator and Vice-President Albert V. Gore Junior (D-OZ) issued a statement condemning the Bush administration for the lack of tornadoes this year in Kansas and Nebraska. "You can't have KANzuzz... without tornadoes... [sigh]... and you can't have NuhBRASkuhh... without any twisters... and... [sigh]... if *I* were president, we would have had a bumper crop of tornadoes. Believe me, a Gore Presidency would have seen F5 tornadoes ripping the roofs off of churches and guillotining whole herds of schoolchildren with flying... duhbreee."

local6.com - Weather - No Tornadoes Confirmed In Nebraska-Kansas Area This Year


[Flashback--NK Missile Launches] Ted Turner: Good Riddance to Bad Money

Ted Turner, departing stage far left a broken and meek man, had this to say:
"I just wish the last five years I could have made a bigger contribution," Turner said. "I hung in there as long as I could. I've done my best."
Failure. Like a mobster who has been shot in the face to prevent an open-casket service, Turner slinks quietly away, his money having far outlasted his sanity.

Here is Ted Turner's astounding appearance on CNN, interviewed by a gob-smacked Wolf Blitzer.
Ted Turner: "...I talked with quite a few of the North Korean leaders and South Korean leaders, too, and spent really the most time with the head negotiator for North Korea. And I was really over there to try and persuade North and South Korea to make the DMZ into an international peace park when, when they sign a peace treaty, which I anticipate will be fairly soon, now that we have the six-party talks, we have agreement there. But I had a great time. I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere. There's really no reason -- no reason for them to cheat or do anything to violate this very forward agreement. I mean, I think we can put the North Korea and East Asia problems behind us and concentrate on Iran and Iraq, where, where we still have some ongoing difficulties."
Blitzer countered: "I've got to tell you, Ted, given the record of North Korea, especially the fact that, in the Clinton administration in '93-'94, they made a similar pledge, which they violated and they backed out of, I'm not exactly sure that I accept all your optimism."
Turner: "Well, you know, I was optimistic about the Cold War when I got to Russia, too. But I looked them right in the eyes. And they looked like they meant the truth. I mean, you know, just because somebody's done something wrong in the past doesn't mean they can't do right in the future or in the present. That happens all the, all the time."
Blitzer: "But this is one of the most despotic regimes and Kim Jong Il is one of the worst men on Earth. Isn't that a fair assessment?"
Turner: "Well, I didn't get, I didn't get to meet him, but he didn't look, in the pictures that I've seen of him on CNN, he didn't look too much different than most other people."
Blitzer: "But look at the way, look at the way he's, look at the way he's treating his own people."
Turner asserted: "Well, hey, listen. I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars, but ah-"
Blitzer: "Lot of those people are starving."
Turner: "I didn't see, I didn't see any, I didn't see any brutality in the capital or out in the, on the DMZ. We went, we visit, drove through the countryside quite a bit to get down to Panmunjom and Kaesong. We traveled around. I'm sure we were on a special route, but I don't see, there's really no reason, North Korea's got enough problems with their, with their economy and their agriculture. I think they want to join the western world and improve the quality of life for their people just like everybody else. And I think that we should give them another chance. It doesn't cost us anything. We already have agreements. And North Korea never posed any significant threat to the United States. I mean, the whole economy of North Korea's only $30 billion a year. It's less than the city of Detroit. It's a small place, and we do not have to worry about them attacking us."
Blitzer: "You know, they have a million troops within literally a few miles"
Turner: "A half million."
Blitzer: "Well, best estimates are a million. A million troops along the DMZ."
Turner: "We have a half a million troops, of which 28,000 are Americans and they've been there for 50 years. One of the things I said in both North and South Korea is it's time to end the Korean War officially and move on. And get those hundreds of thousands of young men that are sitting there back building hospitals and roads and schools in North and South Korea and improving the gross national product. It's just a waste of time and energy for them to sit there."
Blitzer: "I think the bottom line, though, Ted, and I think you'd agree, they had this opportunity in the '90s, when they signed this first agreement and they cheated. They didn't live up to it. Now they have a second chance. I hope you're right. I certainly do."
Turner: "Well I hope I'm right, too. But you know it's, in the Bible says you're supposed to forgive seven times seventy, or something like that, but just because, just because, you know, I mean, in 1940, the Germans were our enemies. For the last 50 years, they've been our allies. Same with the Russians were our enemies before '91 when the Cold War ended. Let's give 'em a break. Give 'em a break And besides, even if they do -- even if they do threaten us again, the threat is non-existent to the United States. They can't threaten us. I mean, it's like a fleet attacking an elephant."
Blitzer: "What about those ground to ground missiles that they have, and the CIA-"
Turner: "They can't reach us."
Blitzer: "Well, they can reach Japan. They can reach South Korea. They can reach a lot of our allies-"
Turner: "They can't reach the USA, and we can pound them into, into oblivion in 24 hours."
Blitzer: "But, you don't want to get, you don't want to get to that. There are some estimates, by the way, that could reach Alaska."
Turner: "Well, what, the Aleutian Islands? There's nothing up there but a few sea lions."
Blitzer: "Well, you know, this is a serious issue. I hope you're right, as I said-"
Turner: "I know it's a serious issue. I mean, I didn't go over there to waste my time."
Blitzer: "No, no, no. I'm just, I'm just saying the point you said-"
Turner: "Have you ever been there?"
Blitzer: "I've been to South Korea. I've been to the DMZ."
Turner: "Have you ever been to North Korea?"
Blitzer: "No, I've never been to North Korea."
Turner: "Well, you know, I mean, at least go up there and look in their eyes and have a chat with them before you -- before you accuse them of-"
Blitzer: "By the way, I've made several requests, but they haven't let me into North Korea. But maybe if I go with you the next time they'll let me in."
Turner: "Alright, I'll take you. I took Christiane Amanpour with me this time."

When Wolf Blitzer is the guy bring you back from the fringe left, you have truly gone where no man has gone before.

Here's a statement from the aftermath of one of Turner's many comparisons between Rupert Murdoch and Adolf Hitler--Fox takes the relatively high road:
In response to Turner's statements, Fox News issued a statement in New York saying: "Ted is understandably bitter having lost his ratings, his network and now his mind — we wish him well.”
I am not so charitable. I hope Ted Turner goes to Hell, which is still better than the unspeakably gruesome regime in North Korea.
Don't come back, Ted.

Star Jones Reynolds is a Class Act

WTF? Is this the wrong blog?

Conservative. Republican. Rationalist. Military.

These are not words commonly associated with the (ABC?) television show "The View". I believe that I have seen the show exactly once, and was astounded at the stupidity, the willful ignorance, the liberalism, the militant idiocy on display. All of that and an around-the-world-and-back snap. Even so, I'm going to wade in on what I guess is some kind of big controversy. It all began innocently enough...

I watch a lot of CNN, I'm afraid, and I was ambushed by a re-run of Larry King on which Star Jones Reynolds was interviewed. She done good. She and I might wind up fistfighting in the aisles of a town hall meeting, but in her current dispute with BabaWawa and the rest of those harpies at ABC, she has proven to be an adversary worthy of far better opposition.

They fired her and told her that she could make up any story she wanted when she left, and they would back her up. Well, what her exit story wound up being was this: they fired me. This sort of honesty didn't seem welcome at ABC. Amazingly, she was quite even-handed in her firing announcement, saying simply that the show was going in a new direction, and that she would not return in the coming season. Anybody who can speak English can hear her saying, quite graciously, that she had been fired. She then offered plenty of positive comments for her co-hosts, and seemed to go out on a high note.

No fool, she prepared for Armageddon and still offered olive branches. When her peace gestures were rebuffed by the greedy corporate shills at ABC, and especially the liar Barbara Walters, she unleashed a fistful of the other hand. Oh, it gets a bit thick at times, "I will not denigrate Berbara Walters at any time--that's not part of who I am," she says, by way of denigrating Barbara Walters. But BabaWawa and the rest of the ABC gaggle made it easy for Star. Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie behaved deplorably, and they are now eating poop for it.

Spoon it down, chumps. DO NOT DIS THE STAR!

Truth be told, I couldn't care less about any of this. But I was surprised to see the way in which she conducted herself, and was so impressed I felt compelled to give credit.

Of course, I could be wrong. But if I am, don't tell Star Jones Reynolds. The last thing I want is her on my case. She's also a lawyer.

Guardian v. Israel (again...)

Here's a stupid article, or opinion piece, or for all I know news story from the guardian. This is a British newspaper, which is also called al-Guardian for its strident anti-Israel tone; like al-Jazeera for al-Bion.

If you scroll through the comments at al-Guardian, you will see that this is the same letter I posted in the online comments section of that paper, with a few minor tweaks (omitted words, misspellings) but nothing substantial has been changed. Note that the response only quotes a single sentence from the article, then proceeds from there. You can read the rest of the article, but it doesn't get any better. Here is my response:

This is a remarkably densely-written article. And by dense, I mean thick, stupid, obtuse.

Take this sentence from the [first] paragraph--"Israel's most recent effort to end the territorial stalemate by pulling out of Gaza and dismantling some of the West Bank settlements has drawn criticism for being too little, too late."

Never mind the fact that it was a completely unilateral withdrawal, a physical, tangible thing freely given in exchange for absolutely nothing. With no quid pro quo, this constituted an awesome good-faith gesture, and should have been recognized as Israel's genuine hope for peace and co-existence. Instead, it has indeed been criticized as "too little too late". Of course, this is said by those for whom nothing less than the death of all Jews is sufficient, and no time later than 1945 is acceptable.

How appropriate then, that Mathias Mossberg posits a solution which has been tried before, and under names such as Segregation, Apartheid and the Final Solution. What he suggests is the doctrine of separate-but-equal, wherein a somewhat intermingled but definitely separate society exists within a larger dominant culture. And with over one Billion Muslims clustered about that land, who does Mr. Mossberg think will be the dominant culture? Shall the Jews wear little yellow badges, stars perhaps, to indicate which set of laws applies to them?

When Arafat walked away from peace after Oslo, the Palestinians had their best chance to repudiate him as self-serving. They did not, and perhaps could not, due to pressure from the larger Arab and Muslim world. Why are Palestinians no longer welcome in Jordan? Why did the so-called refugees leave in the first place? The Palestinians are pawns in a cruel Arab game, but this does not make it incumbent upon Israel to lie down and die, which is the inevitable outcome of Mr. Mossberg's insipid suggestion.

Since all other solutions proposed or tried have not worked, I have my own--we should all go party at Mr. Mossberg's house. He'll pay for everything. Well, my idea may not be realistic, but nothing else has worked... and that's justification enough for Mossberg.

04 July 2006

The American Party Party

America is one big party and we're all invited. Please kick in for beer and munchies--there is no free ride. Please sign in. Everybody will get a goofy little nametag which may seem a little troublesome, but it is also proof that you are a party-goer in good standing, with full rights to the keg, the buffet, and the selection of music.
Which brings us to The Music! There will be a band, which takes requests, and when they're not playing, there's also a thumpin' stereo system. Bring music! If you don't like somebody else's music, just simmer down and they'll do the same when your music is playing. You can set up other stereos in other rooms, but please, remain part of the party--we're all in this together.
Please speak up if we seem to be running low on anything--some folks have thrown extra money into a pot for just this type of emergency. Bring guests too, as many you like, but guests must also be paid for and must sign in. It's just common sense, right?
See you there!

Okay, I'm sorry to do this, I need to make an announcement. It has come to my attention that some people, actually quite a few, have come in through the screen door on the side of the house. They have been drinking your beer, eating your sandwiches, programming your music and just throwing trash all over the floor. I would like to ask for everybody's co-operation in spotting people without nametags. Ask them to leave. For Heaven's sake, it's easy enough to walk in the front door and sign in, pay a little money. Even if they don't have enough money, well, we're all still neighbors--we do have a little surplus, and I don't think anybody would mind if a few people were allowed to sign in without paying the full amount. Right? So if you need a nametag, just go on out and come in through the front door. They'll take care of you there. Ed, what was the music? Yeah, please start the music up again. Thanks everybody--sorry to interrupt, but I'm sure you can see why I had to. Party On!

Okay, Okay, Okay! Yes, sorry to interrupt again, but the--yes, exactly, the people at the front door are having a hell of a time. Do you know that there's a line stretching around the block? Yeah well apparently some of our party-goers have been telling people in line that they don't need to pay anything, and word is racing through the neighborhood. Say that again? Right, I don't know who it is, but I would REALLY like to find out. Now the people at the door are in the uncomfortable position of having to explain the same old rules as if things had changed suddenly, and it sucks. Everybody is disappointed now--the people waiting in line, the people at the door, and us in here, too.
Well, no, obviously the problem is not that people need to sign in and pay. That has always been the case, although it wasn't always enforced so strongly. If anything, that was our mistake--allowing some people to "get away" with having snuck into the party. But even worse is the wrong information being spread by some people inside the party.
Let's get one thing straight--this party can take people in as fast as they come--but only if the sign-in and payment systems are working properly, and more importantly, only if everybody knows these systems are working properly.
I want to bring up something Ted over here said. He said we ought to allow the gate-crashers to stay here no problem if they got here before six o'clock, just give them a nametag, that they ought to work in the yard for a while then then be given a nametag if they if they got here between six and seven, and that those who got here after seven should go out, work in the yard, bring some extra money and come through the front door.
Yeah, I don't think so either.

Bad News, I'm afraid. Listen, everybody needs to walk slowly toward a door, or even a window. I hate to say it, and please stay calm, but it seems that Ted's friends have been holed up in the basement, listening to largely unpopular music, and plotting to take the house over. The worst part is that they have been burning the support timbers to keep warm down there. Yes, you're exactly right--if they had just stayed within reasonable bounds, then they could have enjoyed the warmth we all paid for, and which we all share up here in the house. No, I don't know why he did this. Yes, they could have simply joined the party across the street where that kind of music is popular. Well, for the better food, and colder beer, I guess. I don't know. Sorry, The party's over, and you can thank Ted and his gate-crashers for making it unaffordable to continue, and for undermining the very infrastructure needed to support a house in the first place.

THIS IS TED SPEAKING. I am in charge now, and I would like to say a few things.
First, that the condition of this house is deplorable. The previous administration has left us with a tottering shambles and it will take hard work to set things right. Crews are already hard at work de-constructing the bourgeois furniture in order to fashion added supports for the basement--I have seen it, and it's in terrible shape. Do not interfere with the de-constructionists--they know what they are doing.
Second, from now on, and for the foreseeable future, there will be no more free beer. Food rations will be limited to one plate per day. If you want to know who to blame, just remember who ran this place into the ground over the last four years.
Third, we saw the damage caused by having two different kinds of music available. Henceforth, I as your leader will select the music. When dancing is allowed, you will dance to my tune. There will be no complaints allowed.
Fourth, I am ordering the doors and windows bolted shut. There can be no question but that the open window-and-door policy of the previous administration cost us dearly. Their inept bumbling and incompetence has led directly to the sorry state of affairs in which we find ourselves.
Fifth, the multiple-tiered approach to party-going was a failure, and therefore, from now on there will be only one kind of party membership. We will all be the same in work and in play, in thought and in deed. Only this way can we truly be a fair-minded house. You can see how things such as complaining about the music, or asking for more food, are exactly the wrong-headed thinking we must leave in the past.

Russ Feingold, Part II

What Is Russ Feingold On?

Part II
Russ Feingold (D-Atlantis) is full of something, and it isn't patriotic fervor.
All quotes in this post are taken from his 25 June 2006 appearance on Meet The Press with Tim Russert, whose quotes are indicated by RF and TR, respectively.

Russ Feingold on the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program:
RF: ...President Karzai said that he’s very concerned. He said it just yesterday, apparently. He’s very concerned that our strategy in the fight against terrorism isn’t working. He’s concerned that we’re not dealing with the financing of terrorists.
Senator Feingold appears to be criticizing the Bush administration by agreeing with remarks from President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai. Therefore, Feingold seems to think that we are not doing enough to deal with terrorist finances. So we may safely consider Feingold an ardent supporter of TFTP, aka SWIFT. We thank you for your support, Senator, and will count on you when the time comes.

Russ Feingold on Offense:
RF: We’re on the defensive in many of the places in the world. We’re on the defensive in Afghanistan right now in some ways. [...] So even in Afghanistan, which was, of course, an intervention that I supported, we don’t have our eye on the ball, and we need to win that battle. You notice I’ve never called for leaving Afghanistan. I’ve never called for a timetable to leave Afghanistan. That is a situation that we have got to prevail in, and we have lost ground in Afghanistan because our resources have been diverted to Iraq. That is well known, that our ability to succeed in Afghanistan has been hampered by the bad decision to go into Iraq.
U.S. Troops in Tora Bora, in Baghdad, and other such far-flung places are not on the defensive. Accountants and Travel Agents in the World Trade Towers were on the defensive. Note to Russ: when you're playing on your own turf, it's defense. We are on the offense in Afghanistan, and in Iraq. What Feingold wants to do is drop the ball at the ten-yard line ("cut") and stroll calmly for the benches ("run"). And if the enemy should, say, pick that ball up and run it into our territory (again), then it would be okay with Senator Feingold to go back and start all over again (see Russ Feingold on Quagmires).

Russ Feingold on Motivation:
TR: You said some Democratic senators told you privately they felt intimidated to vote for the war. Why?
RF: They may not have used that exact word, but they certainly indicated that they felt that there was enormous political pressure. Because the White House has done a terrible job of running the fight against terrorism. A terrible job in Iraq, but they’ve done a brilliant job of intimidating Democrats.
First, this makes no real sense. Feingold says "The administration is terrible at war planning and execution, and THEREFORE Democrats are intimidating into voting for the war? Huh? If it were true that the administration were so bad at all of this, it would be a simple thing to say, "Your war is a disaster and we're not following you there--bring the troops home NOW." SO this argument makes no sense--he is arguing against his own cause. I'll assume that the question caught him off-guard, and he simply retreated incoherently into talking points e.g., war bad, Rumsfeld incompetent, Bush lied, etc. So we'll give him a pass of sorts on this. The next example, however, is pretty clear-cut. The very next thing he said was this:
Somehow Democrats are afraid to say, “Look, not only was this a mistake, but it continues to be a mistake and it’s being run in a mistaken way.” And I cannot understand why the structure of the Democratic Party, the consultants that are here in Washington, constantly advise Democrats not to take a strong stand. This election could turn on this Iraq issue, in fact, the 2006 election, and maybe even 2008. The party that says we have a reasonable plan to bring the troops home by, by this date and to refocus on the anti-terrorism issue is the party that will win.
Russ Feingold says that it is consultants setting the Democrats' agenda. Fair enough, there's a lot of that going around. Let's admit that all politicians are motivated by a mixture of causes, noble and well, ignoble. Ignoble causes will include petty political calculations, but there's a harsh consideration here; if you lose your office, it won't matter what any other motivations of yours had been. So we'll admit that this mixture of motivations is a healthy part of any government.
This means also that anybody who tells you that his motivations are completely noble is completely suspect.
RF: The president—see, he has to give up the—his goal here, which is, which is not consistent with the interests of the American people. His goal is to broaden the power of the executive beyond all reason, it’s an abuse of power. His goal should be to go after the terrorists, not to try to broaden the power of the president beyond all reason.
TR: The Washington Post [says that] 56 percent of Americans feel that you are using [your motion to censure President Bush] for political advantage. Do you agree with that analysis?
RF: Well, of course I don’t agree that I’m doing it for political purposes. That same poll, Tim, showed that a very substantial number of Americans supported the censure resolution, regardless of what they thought my motives are.
As to my motives, Tim, I came here to Washington to stand up for the Constitution and for the Bill of Rights. I believe this is an historical affront to the Constitution. I guarantee you, that is the reason I proposed it; that is what I believe. ...our children and grandchildren... where were the representatives...? Where were the congressmen, where were the senators...?
That’s my motive, believe it or not.
I don't believe it. Chalk one up in the Tis-So-Tain't-So column, I guess.

More to come in Part III, where we analyze the man's amazing PSYCHIC POWERS!

29 June 2006

Geneva Conventions and Guantanamo

I have been studying the Geneva conventions (four treaties and three subsequent "protocols"), and have come to several conclusions:
1. No group of people has ever behaved so exactly antithetical to the aims of the Geneva Conventions as the Islamists. It seems that for each prohibited action, they do that thing, and for every required action, they refuse.
2. The Islamists are unquestionably NOT covered under the Geneva Conventions. Many of the SHALLs and SHALL NOTs alluded to above are what actually determine whether or not a force is entitled to protection under the accords.
3. The Islamists, far from being mistreated, are only the most recent in a long line of foes to have the INCREDIBLE GOOD FORTUNE of fighting against the United States. The Geneva Conventions (GC) clearly do not apply to the Islamists, because tha Islamists clearly do not apply the GC to any of their own actions. Nonetheless, they are housed, fed, cared for, and even litigated for by Americans. The only thing keeping these people alive is an astouding preference for mercy on the part of America and Americans.
4. There is no legal obstacle to simply executing the lot of the Guantanamo "detainees" and dumping their bodies over the fence--kill them all, and let Castro sort them out--other than America's own laws as expressed by or passed through the Uniform Code of Military Justice which governs the actions of our servicemen. The captured Islamists have no rights, however, under the U.S. Constitution. They are not U.S. Citizens. They are not in America. Perhaps Cuba has an anti-littering provision which is germane.
5. The left is not so upset about Camp XRAY as they are that we still have not given Guantanamo back to the benevolent Agrarian Reformer and Friend of Che.
6. SCOTUS better come back with nothing other than "They have no rights, and the proper thing is for the U.S. Military to keep them right where they are until they no longer pose a threat".

The point is that criminal law has no bearing on the detainees, captured on the battlefield.
Also, US Civil law has no bearing on the detainees, captured on the battlefield.
Also, the provisions of the Geneva Conventions have no bearing on the detainees, captured on the battlefield.

The whole purpose of the Geneva Conventions is to reduce (or perhaps, even to eliminate) wartime atrocities by setting down both protections and requirements for combatants. It is expressly a "Golden-Rule" type of accord, in which those who will not abide by will also not be protected by it.

That is not a side effect--that is the central mechanism for reducing wartime atrocities.

The detainees are indeed in a legal black hole--they have worked very hard to slip past the event horizon of human behavior, and now they cannot return to the universe where normal rules apply.

So eat shit-covered koran pages and die slow horrible deaths, al-Qaeda. Serve as an example, and help us all strengthen the Geneva Conventions. Peace Be Unto You Sooner Rather Than Later.

28 June 2006

Polarization is good. Bipartisanship is bad. -or- THE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE

The Roman Republic had a Triumvirate-a three-way split in power. This collapsed to a two-way sahre, which of course soon led to a single man in charge of the whole shebang. At that point it was no longer the Roman Republic-it was the Roman Empire, which devoured itself.

I read a wonderful book entitled The Armchair Economist, (which citation I will expand in place without comment) that had a passage concerning bipartisanship. The author said that it amounted to collusion, like price-fixing. If all of the gas stations on your street are working together, then they can only be working against you, and prices stay too high--they trust each other not to start a price war, also known as fair competition.

If you believe in market forces as fervently as that author does, and I confess that I can follow closely where he goes, then it is no far stretch to feel that a Congress eternally at odds with itself, consantly mired in bickering and petty, mean, nasty partisan attacks is the perfect system of American government. The worst form of American government is one in which the members of Congress feel more in common with each other than with their respective constituents.

This leads me as an aside, to a comment made by a very different sort of fellow--a History Professor who feels that the ability of Representatives and Senators to raise funds within Washington, D.C. places them at odds with the people who sent them there in the first place. If they were allowed to raise funds only within their own constituencies, they would pay much more attention to their rightful masters, pajama-people like you and me, and the power of large lobbying groups would be greatly diminished. This should have the knock-on effect of breaking the death-grip of some useless geezers on their own seats. All of which would be good for Joe six-vote, uh, I mean, Joe six-pack one-vote. Sounds like a great way to return power to the people, huh? I'd like to hear what my economist has to say about it. The History Professor is Newt Gingrich.

Politics and Economics are naturally tied to each other, and it has nothing (well little) to do with money. Economic theories are just as valid when discussing dollars as they are when discussing seashells, kisses from pretty girls, or Global ecopolotics, because economic theories do not directly address money. Economics is the science of practical human decision-making.

We have heard a great deal recently about the evils of our partisan bickering, and the road to Hell along which we thunder in Hot Rods of Hatred.


We are awakening from History, as we blink ourselves upright in the Post-Cold-War dawn. The sun rises, thawing the world, and some early morning predators have shown themselves. We remind ourselves that this is how the world has always been, that before the long Soviet Night there was not peace but war, more war, and still more war. The responsible among us take up defensive positions, and in some cases scoot out to punish the predators which get too cavalier near our camp. Offense is better--it always has been.
Long before mid-day, we will organize a regular hunting party, the same as we did yesterday. The sunken-eyed guardians who watched our camp all night will sleep in the heat of the coming day. Life in our camp will go on as it always has, provided that we do what we always have.
We forget our violent nature only at our peril.

We are awakening from history, and the relative calm imposed by the Cold War is evaporating. Think radical Islamism is bad? Wait five years and it will be worse. Do nothing for five years and it will be MUCH worse. There is a reason that people call this the "Long War", and it is honesty. The fact that Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on much, and bitterly disagree on most, is not alarming under these trying and dimly remembered circumstances. Politics is a messy business, and if the views of the people are to be honestly and forthrightly represented in Washington D.C., it must be an odious, unpleasant business as well. The truth is that in the last sixty-odd years, we haven't needed much from Washington, and it has seemed relatively pleasant. Now we need it to function as a cutting room, and it is getting ugly.

I for one do not mind the current partisanship and "poisonous" atmosphere in Washington, and the political sphere at large. Poisons such as this are small fry, and serve to weed out the weak. In an American Democracy which is supposed to function as a "Marketplace of Ideas", only the strong should survive. I expect the caustic atmosphere to eliminate any Representative who cannot cut the mustard. I expect the partisan attacks to topple any Senator who does not meet the standard--efficacy.

Therefore, the last thing I want to hear is that a Democrat has a proposal and a Republican has co-sponsored it. Or vice-versa.

I predict that what is now called the American Century (1900-1999) will actually be called the Totalitarian Century, after the sponsors of the great wars of the period. 2000-2099 will be the American Century. The political rumblings you hear now are just the beginning.

Welcome to the American Renaissance.

27 June 2006

Russ Feingold, Part I [updated]

What Is Russ Feingold On?

Russ Feingold (D-Atlantis) is full of something, and it isn't patriotic fervor.
All quotes in this post are taken from his 25 June 2006 appearance on Meet The Press with Tim Russert, whose quotes are indicated by RF and TR, respectively.

Russ Feingold On Amnesty:
RF: I don't think there should be amnesty for people who have killed or are trying to kill American troops...we, as Americans, cannot tolerate the idea that people who have murdered American soldiers should get off scot-free.
Bill Keller, editor of the New York Times, is actively destroying our ability to prevent terrorist attacks not only on our soldiers, but on Americans here at home. Note that even Bill Keller does not dispute that he destroyed a valuable program which has successfully stopped terrorist attacks, and caught terrorists from earlier successful attacks. What does Russ Feingold think of Bill Keller's attempts to murder accountants and travel agents in America? My guess is that amnesty for Bill Keller is what Russ Feingold has in mind. Congress seems to be getting up in its hind legs about this--perhaps we will get to hear what Russ Feingold has to say.

Russ Feingold On Timetables:
TR: Army General George Casey presented his plan to Pentagon leaders and President Bush in confidential briefings... the number of combat brigades could shrink to seven or eight by the middle of next year, and to five or six by the end of 2007. Make sense?
RF: ...it shows that all this talk about a timetable being unreasonable or ridiculous is just wrong. ...our [Kerry-Feingold] timetable that we proposed last week had to do with bringing the troops home within one year. I mean, how is this different? ... The fact is it is a public timetable...
The fact is that Casey's plan is only public because it was leaked to the New York Times! Notice where it said "confidential briefings"? So one difference is that the now-public nature of this plan is the result of a crime. By the way, the late late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's timetable also "had to do with" bringing American troops home within one year. Another difference, under-reported by our feckless media, is that General Casey's "Win" plan is based entirely on conditions in Iraq, while Kerry and Feingold's "Cut and Run" plan is based entirely on arbitrary calendar dates. One of these is a sound basis for planning, and the other is a recipe for defeat. There's the difference, Russ Feingold.

Russ Feingold On Somalia:
RF: You know, Tim, today it was announced that [a known Al-Qaeda operative, on the State Department's Terrorist List] has taken over in Mogadishu, in Somalia.
Russ Feingold goes on to say that this is because we are stuck in the Iraq Quagmire, and that it is preventing us from addressing real problems such as Somalia.
I am astounded at the sheer nerve, the chutzpah, of this Cut and Run Democrat to take the Bush Administration to task for Somalia. Of course, the right time to deal with Somalia was when we were there a decade ago. Now there was an opportunity. Of course, we cut and run from Somalia under a Democrat President, an act which was cited by no less a terrorism expert than Osama bin Laden as a major reason for attacking the United States on 11 September, 2001.
I find it revealing that Tim Russert, who is no dummy, did not see fit to point this out to Russ Feingold.

Russ Feingold On Quagmires:
TR: [If we were to cut and run] If things did get worse, would you consider going back in?
RF: Sure. Look. You don't just lock this down permanently. I'm trying to propose what makes sense at this point. My guess is that things would not get worse.
Russ Feingold is on the record saying that if we cut and run from Iraq, he does not think that things will get worse. How then, does he explain what happened to Somalia? As far as "not locking this thing down permanently", nobody is saying that when we meet our objectives in Iraq, the rest of its peaceful future is guaranteed. I haven't heard anybody in the Bush administration say that we can "lock this thing down permanently". This is Russ Feingold's misunderstanding or worse, misrepresentation of our own reasonable, obtainable, and measurable goals in Iraq. But why is he so cavalier about putting troops back in if it gets worse after we cut and run? If Russ Feingold were truly interested in winning in Iraq, wouldn't he want to do that now, rather than giving the enemy a respite, a la Vietnam, before committing more troops to die? Shouldn't we press the advantages we now have in position and momentum?

Russ Feingold is advocating the same strategy that failed in Vietnam--a little bit here, a little bit there, don't ever truly accomplish an objective, but be willing to come back and pound the same worthless targets at great risk to American lives. He is also advocating the same strategy that failed in Somalia and bought us 9/11--show the terrorists that we will leave when they tell us to.

The Democrats at large are advocating a strategy which won in Vietnam--it won for the other side. Defeat the will of the American people. Their cynical ploy amounts to cowardice at best, and treason at worst. More on this in Part II.

23 June 2006

A Prairie Home Com-SHUT THE HELL UP!

Here's a comment I left at Slate's site about a column of theirs, written by Sam Anderson, trying to figure out why suddenly some people might not actually love listening to Garrison Keillor. I said:

You folks on the left just don't know how truly tone-deaf you can be, because you are not, in fact, dosed with unceasing rightist sentiment sanctified as "the center". You live in a bubble of uninterrupted leftist thought, assumptions unchallenged and therefore never noticed. The leftist assumptions made along the way to your opinions about Garrison Keillor are striking.
Some of your quotes:
"He began his career in the early '70s writing short humorous essays for The New Yorker (he later became a staff writer then left, on a very high horse, when Tina Brown took over as editor in 1992). He is probably the purest living specimen of the magazine's Golden Age aesthetic..."

The New Yorker is about as leftist-elite as you can get, and he was too leftist-elite for that magazine.
"How has someone so relentlessly inoffensive managed to become so divisive?"

He's only inoffensive if you snuggle comfortably in the bosom of the leftist elite.
"Keillor delivers the news in a kind of whispery trance. When he speaks, blood pressures drop across the country, wild horses accept the saddle, family dogs that have been hanging on at the end of chronic illnesses close their eyes and drift away."

Your mistake is in never having noticed that the blood pressure of many people actually rises when his dripping-water monotone delivery of leftist humor begins, and this has always been so. The problem is that you seem never to have met any of these people. His cloying adagio may appeal to people who already agree with him, but to those who find his unavoidable politics suspect, the extra time between drawn-out syllables is precious life itself down the tube, wasted, never to be regained. The fact that he takes an hour to deliver twenty minutes of bilgewater does not increase the value of the bilgewater.
There is nothing new in popular irritation with Garrison Keillor. His movie has not uncovered a new phenomenon, and has certainly not caused any American to change opinion of him. I have always loathed exposure to his leaking-faucet radio program. As with any annoying, repetitive, purposeless noise, I move quickly to stem it at the source. I hasten to add that if I were unable to, I might also wish to "close my eyes and drift away", much like a dog with a terminal illness.
I am reminded of an often-repeated story about a newspaper employee, snuggled comfortably in the bosom of the New York Times, who burst into tears upon the election of Richard M. Nixon to the office of President. She could not believe that he had been elected, and refused to accept it at any rate. "It simply can't be true," she wailed, "I don't know ANYBODY who voted for him!" How far is it from the New York Times to The New Yorker?
I am fairly sure, Sam Anderson of New York, that you don't know ANYBODY who doesn't like Garrison Keillor. Pity that. Such a friend could have saved you from writing this article, better entitled "In Which I Demonstrate My Utter Ignorance that Half of the Country Exists."
Garrison Keillor is relentlessly many things, but inoffensive is not one of them. Boring. Pompous. Tedious. Sanctimonious.
He's Michael Moore without the flying spittle.

08 June 2006

Execute 1LT Ehren Watada

Here's one for the lawyers: please find the justification to execute commissioned wartime traitor Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada. Surely this cannot be difficult.

If a Commissioned Officer is refusing orders to go to war, is he still accepting paychecks? He has accepted a promotion from Second Lt. to First Lt. since the invasion in March 2003.

Patriots are not the only ones whose blood refreshes the tree of Liberty--this coward is now worth more dead than alive.

DISCLAIMER: Obviously, this is predicated upon the accuracy of his reported and planned actions. An execution will only be appropriate after a Court Martial, and the attendant fact-finding. I am not in favor of lawlessness--hence the plea to the LAWYERS.

05 June 2006

Bang Bang Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iran had our hostages, Ayatollah proteges
noone seemed to mind
Four-hundred and forty-four days, a
Mahmoud Ahma'nejad said he did it for his God
Carter walked behind
Democrats in Washington have this
But when they want to threaten the world,
They do it from Tehran
Bang, bang, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
We were not misled
Bang, bang, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Did just what he said!

A. Q. Khan again, working out of Pakistan,
Has something to share
Knowing all too well that where there's a will, there's a way
Baradei sounded pissed--Kofi said comply with this
Strongly-worded note
Or he'll have no choice but to send ano-other one
And while the Jews are saying their prayers
We'll stuff it down their throats!
Bang, bang, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
We were not misled
Bang, bang, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Did just what he said!

Hillary Clinton won, Worser than the other one,
Israel stands alone
Never been more certain of being ki-hi-hi-illed
Kofi Annan and Mohammed el-Baradei
High-five in the hall(BACKGROUND SPOKEN CHEERS)
Saying after all, it was Allah's wi-hi-hi-ill
But the plot's been foiled for on their own soil
Americans lance the boil!
Bang, bang, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
We were not misled
Bang, bang, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Did just what he said!

22 May 2006

Why Smart People Become Liberal Idiots -- Second Draft

Let's face it--there's a lot of brainpower going to waste behind the Neuron Curtain of accepted Liberal discourse in this country. Not all of those University professors are idiots--neither are all of their students. The starlets and leading men of Hollywood had to work hard to get where they are, and more to the point, they had to navigate levels and mazes of treacherous studio politics. I can't make any sense of Hollywood--can you? They did.

So while Heaven knows there is no shortage of stunningly stupid people on the left, mental retardation is not actually synonymous with liberalism in American politics (and for those of you from or in someplace not America, we use the terms liberal and conservative somewhat differently here--beware). What is synonymous with liberalism is condescension--that smug superiority which oozes from the very pores of liberals. They manage somehow to ignore you and lecture to you at the same time*, which is an amazing feat. They manage to focus their attention on a spot about three feet behind you, as if you are an ignorant bystander in a conversation between two People Who Matter.

American liberals are people who think that we should be forced to do as our betters in Washington D.C. command, for they are wise and just, and would not have risen to that position without being so. Unless they are Republicans, the nasty cockroaches. You may say that this liberal willingness to accept the dictates of authority ("We're going to take money away from you for your own good"--Hillary Clinton) is a result of liberal thinking, but I say that it is the source. Liberalism is not based upon stupidity--that is the result of liberal thinking. Liberalism is, however, based on feelings of superiority.

If you start with the assumption that you are a superior being, everything in Liberalism starts to make sense. You are a Person Who Matters, and that brings many privileges. You get to tell people what to do. You get to keep talking long after your turn has ended. You don't have to make sense when you argue--your word is sufficient that a thing is true. If anybody tries to dispute your facts, simply repeat what you said a moment ago--your opponent clearly did not hear you, or worse, does not realize who you are--mention your credentials again.
Here's one of the neatest tricks of all--Liberalism lets you feel superior to the the rest of the world, while denying that you would possibly harbor any feelings of superiority, as that is an inferior mode of thought.

You get to reject common sense and the hard-won wisdom of bitter experience not in spite of its eminent sensibility, but precisely because of it. You can hardly feel superior to the masses if you agree with them--therefore perversity and cynicism must necessarily dominate your decision-making, your bullshit-filtering process. If you are forced to agree with the masses, at least argue a minor point: the sky isn't actually blue, it just looks that way. No doubt because your puny conservative eyes see it that way.

I recall my recurring unease at the venom directed toward anything resembling "Social Darwinism" in my University work. Social Darwinism is the point of view that some cultures are superior to others and either will or should displace, assimilate, or eliminate the lesser cultures. This is a discredited way of thinking, because in the Liberal Cosmogeny, all cultures are created equal, with the exception of Protestantism, which is clearly a holdover from Neanderthal times. It is therefore not just wrong, but Wrong to say that there are features of culture and society which make a given one more or less suited to long-term survival, or that some cultures and societies have features which confer benefits upon a people, and others which confer burdens. We shall not say that Western Civilization displaces everything else because of a unique combination of work ethic, individualism, and scientific inquisitiveness. No, we must admit, screeching, that our corrupt Coca-Cola culture is spread at bayonet point, and (rend garment now) with financing by a global Zionist Conspiracy. Never mind the implications of alternating-current infrastructure.

It is simply not Correct to say that America is strong because Americans made it strong, and that Americans had that oportunity because of many identifiable factors. No, only negative things can be identified in America, so while the good, honest, hard-working people of Sweatshopistan (who remain that way because of their strong family values, their religious predilection to work hard, and the righteous fear of neighbors and God avenging wrongdoing) are clamoring to come to sinful America, the fat, lazy Americans (who got that way through the concerted efforts of Madison Street, Wall Street, Pensylvania Avenue and the overlords in Tel Aviv) should simply accept death with a smile and make room for the Sweatshopistanis.

*I have peeled this description from Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park. It is a wonderful book, and contains a line something like "Arkady felt as though he was being simultaneously lectured to and ignored." No doubt, I am butchering the quote, but the sense has remained with me for over twenty years--truly a fantastic book.

16 May 2006

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) lays down the LAW!

This is how a Leader handles business. A short statement fromm Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee:
"This is Senator Pat Roberts. In all of the furor in Washington, and the criticism about the intelligence community's capability of detecting and stopping terrorist attacks--I have a warning. This business of continued leaks, making it possible for terrorists to understand classified information about how we are preventing their attacks on America is endangering our country, and it is endangering intelligence sources, methods, and lives.

Now I think the great majority of American people get it. Al-Qaeda is at war with the United States. Terrorists are planning attacks even as I speak. But, through a very effective and highly classified program, we have stopped these attacks. The fact that we have had another tragedy like 9/11 is no accident. But today in the Congress and throughout Washington, leaks and misinformation, and quite frankly just plain politics are endangering this program. Bin Laden, and Zarqawi, and the terrorists must be rejoicing. We are going to get to a point where we are unilaterally disarming ourselves of the technology advantage that we have in the war against terrorism. Game, set, match: Al-Qaeda.

And mark my words: the same people who are attacking the Commander-in-Chief for legal efforts to track terrorism here will be the first people to attack the government for not doing enough if there is another attack. Now I am a strong supporter of the Fourth Amendment, and protecting our civil liberties. But you don't have any civil liberties if you are dead. Remember Khobar Towers, and Beirut, and USS COLE, and the Embassy attacks, and the two attacks on the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon, and more to come if this surveillance program is compromised.

Now about these phone records. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that phone records are useful in law enforcement and intelligence investigations. Now I'm not talking about the contents of a telephone call--what you say to someone over the telephone. I am talking about a businees record that contins the number dialed, the time of the call, and the length of the call. Not any conversations. Law enforcement officers and intelligence analysts have been using phone records to track the criminals and the threats to national security for years.

And Congress is doing its oversight! On the Senate Intelligence Committe, we have a Terrorist Surveillance Program Sub-Committee: seven Senators. We have had three hearings, more to come, numerous briefings, I have been to the NSA, I have seen how the program works; I have never seen a program more tightly run or closely scrutinized.

When people asked on September 12th whether we were doing everything in power power to prevent another attack, the answer, unfortunately, was no. Well now we are. And we need to keep doing it. And if there is another attack, as promised by Al-Qaeda, the leakers, and the uninformed, and the mis-informed critics will bear part of that responsibility."
Any Questions?

11 May 2006

President Bush's 'Fourth Way'

As President, Bill Clinton popularized the 'Third Way', which was one of the incarnations of triangulating against one's own base and the opposition. The Third Way, when successfully executed, yields a healthy percentage of the moderate middle, while alienating only a small percentage of the hard-core base, which will still likely vote along party lines.
Long story short; in failing to deal effectively with the Mexico problem, President Bush is pioneering the Fourth Way, in which an attempted appeasement of the middle will fail to yield any of the moderate vote, while radicalizing the base to the extent that they do not vote, or even protest in disgust by voting for another candidate.
Even President Reagan could not leap this chasm in two short hops--the 1986 amnesty was one of his few unmitigated failures. Bush is a fool to try.
This Fourth Way is the mirror reflection of the Third Way; halfway between the two ends of the political spectrum, but rather than elevated in success, sunken in failure.

08 May 2006

The Proper Response from Bush to Ahmadinejad

Look at this:
My Way News - Officials: Iran's President Writes to Bush
"In the letter, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposes "new solutions for getting out of international problems and the current fragile situation of the world," spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham told a news conference."

This took me about fifteen seconds, but I'm a little slow tonight. Here is what President Bush should tell his polar opposite:
"The next time I speak to an Iranian dictator it will be over your dead body. Trust is important and I will never trust you. If you think that you'll get a different answer when I am no longer President, you go ahead and wait. You and the horse you rode in on. Meanwhile, your nucular [sic] program needs to stop. NOW."

The beauty of this is that it not only shows Iran that we will not be bought off with vaguely intimated hopes, and that we know without a doubt that there is no hope behind the slippery dictator's words, just more delays for the West to accept while the "Iranhattan Project" continues; it also shows the rest of the world, bad guys and good, that the United States will not be shoved around just because elections loom in 2006 and 2008.

Beyond Beauty, however, lies virtue, and the virtue of this is that even if the Republicans lost the White House, House, Senate, Five justices and all of the State Governorships to the Democrats; the Democrats would still be forced to take a tough line with Iran. Nothing is guaranteed, but this is as close as it gets, and there is truly nothing to lose but time and freedom to act.

For those who are inclined to argue that my plan prejudices any productive outcome of working with rather than against Iran, please see the previous post, entitled "Pony".

02 May 2006

Southern California Name Contest

Please submit your witty name conflating the current mess in California with Middle-Eastern themes. I am disgusted every time I see millions of people marching in America. Next thing you know, we'll be rending our garments and ululating over spilt milk, but only when the cameras are on.


The Calistinian Authority.
Hassan Diego.

And so on.

A winner will be selected by my subjective standards, unless I am shouted down by a massive reader outcry. Who says that Snivelry is dead?

AND if anybody think this is racist, ethnist, or any of the rest of that, consider who claims Everything For The Race. Hint: Race is pronounced "Raza" in that motto.

I see very real parallels between on the one hand, the Arab states which prolong the suffering of "Palestinians" and on the other hand, the Mexican Government and its race-baiting American enablers who quite profitably prolong the misery of "Aztlanos", Mexican workers in America.

[UPDATE] 11MAY2006 Massive Reader Outcry narrowly averted.

01 May 2006

A Day Without Illegal Immigrants--GREAT!

Today was a great day! My hourly wage TRIPLED, my Federal Taxes were SLASHED, I didn't have to wait at the health clinic today, and when I got out of there, the bill was a LOT less than what I'm used to paying! To top it all off, my daughter's reading level went up by a WHOLE GRADE overnight, because her class had not been held back for years by children in families who refuse to assimilate but stumble along with Spanglish instead. Can I please have EVERYDAY without illegal immigrants?


The American Worker

Communist May Day Celebrated by Millions in American Cities

Never mind the actual issue most Americans are considering; illegal immigration. Put that aside for a moment and look instead at something in the background of Today's events. Real Power.

The demonstrations, scheduled for the first day of May, are a show of force by the still very healthy international Communists. Through groups like International A.N.S.W.E.R., the global Communist movement captures the energy of any center-to-left political faction and perverts it for the purposes of the Communists.

Why on earth would a protest about illegal immigration from Mexico be held on May first, when the fifth of May is so close? May fifth in Spanish is Cinco de Mayo, which is Mexican Independence Day. It would make much more sense for millions of people from Mexico to take the fifth as a holiday. Why would they march on the first instead?

May first is the biggest holiday of the Communist faith. It is Christmas and Hanukkah combined, and in Communist countries, there is a month-long Ramadan of feverish factory activity which consumes most of April, in preparation for "May Day", the holiday dedicated to Workers of the World. April is marked by much exhortation of the proletariat to ever-greater production, in order to have something to celebrate on May Day. Hallelujah, Comrade.

This scheduling detail regarding the first vice the fifth of May is a show of force by the Communists who run the "incubators" of supposedly grassroots movements. The very name "Common Cause" admits the co-optive nature of that organization. The "answer" in "International A.N.S.W.E.R" stands for "Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. This is a clear example of casting a wide net in order to claim a common cause.

In what I could call Phase I of the (New, Post-Soviet) COMINTERN American Operation, these incubators contact other movements and provide training and financial support. Somebody dispute me on this. The smaller movements are invited to join massive marches to show Solidarity, demonstrate Common Cause, and enjoy the publicity benefits which smaller events will not bring.

But notice that whenever a massive protest is held in America, there always seems to be an uninvited guest: Communism. Of course, the Commies are welcome at any table set by the American Left, but when was the last time you saw Communism or its financial underpinning Socialism mentioned in the publicity for any of these events? Gold Star Mothers for Peace and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat--and the Destruction of Israel. A Day Without Immigrants, or Jews for that matter, you Zio-Capitalist Pigs.

A year ago, I would have confidently surmised that we would never see Communist or Socialist sentiment expressed openly in the publicity surrounding a demonstration or other sort of mass event. Rally, even. Now however, I am grateful I said no such thing, for I feel quite certain that we will see the International Communist movement switch smoothly into Phase II of the American Operation--manifestly Communist demonstrations, and I give it one year from the date of this blog post.

We are winning the battle in Iraq, and we are losing the war at home.

Today's marches in various cities are a show of force. This is a demonstration that leadership of these organizations large and small are either populated or controlled by Communists to such a degree that they can move millions of Mexicans to stay away from work on May Day, but work straight through Cinco de Mayo.

That is real power.

30 April 2006

Remember Rolling Blackouts? Iran Does.

Here's a letter I wrote to the stalwart stock at POWERLINEBLOG:


I have not seen mentioned *anywhere* the logical connection between California's electricity woes of a few years ago, and our current oil price misery.

The problem in California was that after the *insufficient* deregulation of the power industry, power providers wound up with a cap on prices, while consumers had (therefore) no cap on consumption. The supply side, which can do basic math, stopped investing and reduced operations to perfunctory, mandated, caretaker tasks, while the demand side chugged an ever-larger draught until the taps were dry, barback unseen and not coming soon.

If this Republican administration and Republican Congress deal with oil in the same pandering, bite-the-hand-which-feeds way that California "dealt with" electricity years ago, the results will be much the same, with the added specter of Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's replacement all rubbing their hands with glee as they carve up the remnants of our crippled economy.

This treatment is precisely what I see coming when I hear opportunistic House Reps and Bush Admin. types begin to take up the cudgel of wanking against an American industry whose profits, as a percentage, are lower than the average for all American industries. Some facts would help.

Thank you,

Haakon B. Dahl

Yokohama, Japan

20 April 2006

Howard Dean tips the Liberal Hand--First Amendment be Damned

In a surprise move, the DNC has begun its attack on the First Amendment before it has finished destroying the Second. This is, of course a grave strategic mistake. Adherents of the "anti-tyranny" reading of the Second Amendment could hardly have been given a greater gift than Howard Dean's attack on the First Amendment. Read on to gain the full "chilling effect"!

On April 20th, 2006, at the Christian Science Monitor's Monitor Breakfast, Howard Dean said "The religious community has to decide whether they want to be tax exempt or involved in politics." Here is part of the description of that Breakfast, from the Christian Science Monitor's website: "The Monitor Breakfast is a simple concept: bring journalists and public officials together over bacon and eggs for an in-depth, spirited discussion of the latest issues."

Howard Dean is wrong about the religious community and its rights and obligations under our Constitution, and he is more wrong about this than he usually is about most things, which is noteworthy. Is there any way to interpret his statement other than as a threat? "If you are involved in politics, we are going to pull your tax-exempt status; your choice." Briefly, he could properly have said: "The religious community has to decide whether they want to be tax exempt or involved in earning a profit," or he could have said "The religious community has to decide whether they want to be involved in politics or in earning a profit."

This is a shamelessly transparent threat to the religious side of the right, from the irreligious side of the left. Obviously, it is in the Democrat Party's interest if church-going, God-fearing people stay home on election day, and keep quiet until then. The problem is that he is trying to use a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists to trump the United States Constitution. What's more, he doesn't understand the letter in the first place.

Here is the relevant passage from Jefferson's famed 1802 Letter to the Danbury Baptists:
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State"

Notice that this recitation of the two church/state clauses refers only to State actions impact upon churches. Would not a threat to revoke tax-exempt status in retaliation for political activity directly conflict with the second of the church/state clauses? Does it not prohibit the free exercise thereof?

Here is the "wall" phrase used by Jefferson once more, in a similar letter, to "the Virginia Baptists". This 1808 example is less well-known:
"Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the 'wall of separation between church and state,' therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.
"We have solved ... the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries."

No wonder this example is less well-known. It develops in greater depth the anti-government-meddling thrust of the separation, and since it is Democrats who triumphantly wave the Danbury letter around as if it were tickets to a Whoopi Goldberg filth concert, we can fairly expect them to leave this clearer version by the wayside. It clarifies that the threat is of government preventing the free exercise of speech and especially, religion or the lack thereof, through the establisment of a church/State entity. Again, the threat latent in church/state entanglement is that the government establishes, "supports", or "forces [the] views [of]" a church on persons of other faiths, or on persons of no faith.

At no time is the Constitution or Thomas Jefferson fearful that the political actions of church-going people will cause the destruction of the Union. The converse is the threat; that religious actions of the State will cause the destruction of the people.

As the Chairman of the Democrat Party, Howard Dean could be expected, between jam and biscuits, to attempt to discourage the religious right from going to the polls or from speaking up about right and wrong in politics. Yet even if his quite anti-Constitutional threat had been veiled, would it not constitute a "chilling effect" against the exercise of free speech, which is quite clearly protected, and especially against free religious speech, which is specifically and explicitly protected not once but twice? He is actually threatening to use the power of government to curtail the political activity of conservatives. This not only clarifies the preference of the Democrat Party for cherry-picking laws, judges, and amendments, as well as sources to govern all of the above, it also demonstrates a breath-taking advance of their anti-Constitutional agenda. Truly, I seek a better term to describe it, but there it is. And yet the threat is not veiled! "You shut those churches up or we'll hit you in the pocketbook!"

How much simpler is it to understand that the framers of the Constitution believed that individual rights were sovereign in Man, and that the greatest threat to that self-determination was government tyranny, than to accept the penumbrae, the aurae, the emanations of legal decisions designed to protect the "rights" of groups at the expense of individuals? There are no groups mentioned in the Bill of Rights. Every enumerated or implied right resides in an individual. The liberal left has never "understood" this when that misunderstanding afforded them an opportunity to chip away at rights they do not like, such as that guaranteed by the Second Amendment. And in issuing threats which restrict the Free Exercise of religion, they have come now for the First Amendment. Welcome to the foreshadow of Government Tyranny.

Perhaps Mister Dean could be persuaded to put down his croissant long enough to step to the window. He would see the real face of America, armed by the Second Amendment to preserve the First. That's why we have a Second Amendment.

18 April 2006

Bedrock Principles

No philosophy makes any sense without reference to basic principles. Here are mine:

Individual Rights are the only rights which exist.
The very idea of collective or group rights is in conflict with the idea of individual rights. The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain enumerated rights to Americans without prejudicing unmentioned rights.

The Constitution is the source document for all law in America.
No law contrary to the Constitution is a law. No other document (or worse, undocumented idea) is equal in stature to the Constitution. Rights do not flow from the Constitution, but pass through it to us from a higher source. The higher source is unassailable by any law.

Islam is manifestly incompatible with democracy and is therefore hostile to the United States. This does not make individual Muslims guilty of supporting terrorism.

Personal responsibility is the preferred means to address societal ills.
Market principles should govern wherever possible. Free-Market operations should be regulated by government only to prevent long-lasting and otherwise unstoppable abuses. Other lesser abuses will be taken care of by market forces.
The Death penalty increases the value of life through market principles. It sets a high price on murder, which addresses the problem from a standpoint of personal responsibility.

Other points...

Military Officers, Government Officials, and corporate "whistle-blowers" should be willing to resign or face termination for speaking up. Otherwise, one can hardly be said to have taken a stand. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have no credibility because they assume no personal risk--Martin Luther King jr garnered enormous credibility by accepting jail time and putting himself at great personal risk.

Iraq was a threat of many types, and more valid reasons existed to invade than could possbily be listed on an evening news show. The invasion was right.

The war on terrorism will last a long time.

People like Donna Brazile and NM Gov Bill Richardson are saying that the US can no longer "outsource the negotiations" with Iran to the UN and the IAEA, and that we need to "engage" the Iranians directly. This is madness. First, I'll explain what they are talking about. They are talking about allowing Iran to win by bringing the US into fruitless talks which make the problem appear as a tiff between a hegemonist US and the poor, oppressed Iranians.
No, the US is doing exactly the right thing. Let the hot-air flow freely from its masters at the UN and the frankly complicit IAEA. This talk of sanctions and other ineffective measures is the good cop, while the US plays bad cop. Deal with the UN, or get slapped down by the US.

building a wall on the southern border is not "sealing the border" or any of the rest of that. It just requires people to come through our welcoming doors and sign the guest book, not crash through the damned walls and pour in the windows.

11 April 2006

Global Warming is Hot Air

This is the lead paragraph of a calmly-written, scientific-toned opinion piece by Bob Carter of the Daily Telegraph:
For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).
This is a great read, and the sort of cautious but backed-up-by-facts discourse I expect in scientific reading. Contrast this with the death shrieks which usually accompany public statements on the fiction of Global Warming.

The article is long on facts and short on the eyes, so it won't take you too long to come away with a consistent set of arguments for or against your own position. Of course, the whole popint of a scientific point of view is to change your mind when confronted with overwhelming evidence. Let's see what the so-called scientists in the Global Warming industry do with this information.

Here are two more paragraphs from close to the end of the article which touch on something I said about a year ago. The paragraphs:
The British Government urgently needs to recast the sources from which it draws its climate advice. The shrill alarmism of its public advisers, and the often eco-fundamentalist policy initiatives that bubble up from the depths of the Civil Service, have all long since been detached from science reality. Intern-ationally, the IPCC is a deeply flawed organisation, as acknowledged in a recent House of Lords report, and the Kyoto Protocol has proved a costly flop. Clearly, the wrong horses have been backed.

As mooted recently by Tony Blair, perhaps the time has come for Britain to join instead the new Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6), whose six member countries are committed to the development of new technologies to improve environmental outcomes. There, at least, some real solutions are likely to emerge for improving energy efficiency and reducing pollution.

Er, I'm still looking through my e-mail for a dimly remembered post about Kyoto and CO2 vs the AP6 and the real contributions made by mankind to any heating of the climate. Meanwhile, here's what I said in a comment at the no oil for pacifists blog:
I agree with you that most of the global warming bunk we hear is the product of an almost religious belief system. The only scientific cycle proven so far is the positive feedback loop between global warming research funds and results which call for funding further global warming research.
If you check the link to my article there, you will see that I tried to convince the "natural cycles" author of the original post that he had misinterpreted data to support the "our" side of the argument. Even when forced to argue against my own point, I will stand up to say that one has misinterpreted (or worse, cherry-picked) data to make a point with which I agree.

My exasperated sister once took me to task for something I said by telling me, "Next thing we know, you'll be talking about the "so-called global warming!" Well, at the time, I let it go, because she is after all, my sister. But she was right about my point of view. Global Warming should always be underlined and capitalized, for it is the title of a work of fiction.

10 April 2006

Death, Part II--a rough draft

Comments welcome.

In my Defense of the Death Penalty, one of the key points is that the value of life is set in a market, not as an absloute. It may be an absolute to you that every life is precious, and frankly, I appreciate your upward contribution to the aggregate value, but there are people who do not hold so refreshing a view as yours. To some, the value of your life is to be measured against, say, the value of that wristwatch of yours, as modified by your ability to deny its possession. In this way, perhaps the Buddhists are correct, in that the value of your worldly wealth is subtracted from the value of your life (this is a gross simplification, and I hope any Buddhist reader would offer a beter phrasing).

This marketplace for the value of life has many implications, and we turn now from the microeconomics of mugging and self-defense to the macroeconomics of war and collective defense. Of course there is a middle ground which is approached from the micro- side through the effecvt of laws such as capital punishment and its upward contribution to the value of each individual life through by modifying downward the potential value of any goods gained through taking that life--the threat of payment in kind. This sort of middle ground, the interplay between large and small scale effects in questions of life and death of individuals and groups, can also be approached from the macroeconomic side by looking at war, rules of war, and conduct of individuals in wartime. An esential feture of markets is that they offer differing products, so we will let the valuse of lives adjust to local market conditions and prevailing sector values--think of a black man's life in Mississippi in 1820, a Baptist minister's in Saudi Arabia today, or an outspoken student journalist in Tiananmen Square, China in 1989. Some factors are global, some are local, some are categorical, and some are due to individual action. It is not racist, classist, or anything-else-ist for us to point out thse functions of a market.

Suicide atacks are generally frowned upon, and typically seen to be less effective than conventional attacks, except in rare circumstances. This is the key to understanding how war has changed, and why the Long War will be, well, long, and why it won't look liie any progress is being made, when in fact your continued existence should be taken as proof positive that we are winning--that is what it means to be playing defense--get used to it.

What has changed is that the sxtenuatuing circumstances whoch would justify suicie attacks were hostorically lilmited to short-term situations. Japan near the end of World War II was hopelessly overmatched, yet for complex reasons would not syurrender. Part of it was simple stubborn/honor-based notions of the meaning of surrender, some of it was realist fear of retribtib not rom the victor, bt from the victor's associstes (China, Korea, the rest of Aisa--one could argue the America's presence in Japan over the last 60 years jas been as much to protectr japan from asian retributuon as much as to support operations against COmmunism. I just may argue that later), and some of it was due to the agonizing sloth of bureaucrqatic politics the likes of which are rarely seen in the West.

This put Japan in the position of fighting a conventional war that they could not win, and they could not stop fighting. This desperation led to eserate tactics, the real result of which was to increase the cost of each attack the Japanese attempted. There were successful aspects of the widespread adoption of the tactic, functioning as a portable minefield--it won't wipe out the American attacker (since Japan was by this time now on the defense), but it would make the advance so painful and dangerous that the Americans were foced to slow down and consolidate before each step forward, and hunker down while consolidating.

But the increased cost of each suicide attack, whereby it used to take a bomb for each attack and the risk of a pilot and plane, but now it takes a pilot and plane, and don't even count the cost of the bomb, meant that the suicide attack, as a tactic employed by a state fighting a conventioal war was limited in time--it was only an end-game tactic, to somehow have an upward influence on the potential outcome--perhaps the Americans can be persuaded not to invade--perhaps they can be sued for peace (incongruous with the refusal to surrender, but not unthinkable given rapidly changing circumstances)--perhaps we can hurt them eough that they back off and we ratake the offensive. Whatever the hoped-for effect, it was a temporary tactic. As a nation, japan expected Victory or Death, and was guaranteed one or the other if they refused to surrender.

There as been much talk recently about the effectiveness of suicide tactics, and te motivation of people at an individual level. I will be quick to point tout that any fghting man, or any threatened mother, for that matter, can be persuaded to engage in a suicide attack. In the market of human lives, sometime's even one's own highest price is met by the bidder--be it an enemy soldier with a grenade in your tent, or a bear menacing wither you or your children. So for the rest of this discussion, I will not address suicide attacks as a pathology of the individual, but as a rational choice made by individuals. The pathology comes in when suicide attacks are embraced as a society, or a force.

In April 2006, three bombs went off at a crowded Mosque in Najaf. Two, and perhaps all three were attached to suicide atackers. The tactics were impressive. This particular mosque was heavily guarded, so the first bomb was blown close to but well outside of the compound. In the ensuing panic, the protion of the corwd closest to the mosque ran into the compund and into the mosque, and thw more suicide bombers infiltrated by simply mixing with that crowd.

The bombers did not need to overwhelm mosque security--they let the panicked crowd do that for them. Cost, one suicide bomber, and don't worry about the cost of the bomb. It would likely have cost more attacking lives to overwhelm the security forces in a conventional fight, say a gun battle, than the suicide attack did. The difference is that the single suicide attacker was guaranteed to die, whereas each individual in a squad has only a risk of dying. No matter how hopeless the attack, each given attacker could potentially survive a conventional attack. This is of course not the case when you blow your own vest.

The rest is fairly straightforward; the remaining attackers rushed in and blew their vests at different locations. The attackers took down an entire mosque, killed 79 innocents and wounded presumably twice that number, and all on the third aniversary of the fall of the famous statue of Saddam. You know, that one.

In cost/benefit terms, this operation was a success. For that matter, so have most of these suicide attacks. One reason is that they are targeting soft targets. Another is that their opponent has not yet begin fighting as if this were a war of survival. America is still fighting this war as a side job.

If suicide attacks are so sucessful, why are they not used more often? The attacks are successful on the microeconomic scale, ut on the macro- scale, something else happens. The average value of all lives on the suicide bomber's side goes down. If Americans manning checkpoints feel ever more threatened by jihadi bombers, then the Americans have ever less resistance to shooting suspect pedestrians and speeding cars when too close to the checkpoint. Again, in this arena with a lowered value on the life of people behaving oddly near checkpoints, an individual lowers the value of his wn life considr=erably by speeding toward a checkpoint, or by walking across the road several times on the approach.

There is a restoring function, however. When the value of lives is lowered, people are by definition exposed to more risk. On a macro-scale, people will tend to resist this, but only if the market is allowed to functiuon. If oqdinary Iraqi begin to fear the Americans in their neighborhoods because thy know the jihadis, who are indistinguishable from ordinary Iraqis unitl it is potentially too late, are making the AMericns nervous, then the ordinary Iraqis do not want the jihadis around. The actual mechanism here is arguable however--perhaps the ordinary Iraqis can more easily persuade the Americans to leave than persuade the jihadis to stop. Tye key to this one, then, is community syupport. If the jihadis have no community suport, then they will be easier to convice to stop or leave, but uif they are supported, it is easier to get the Americans to leave. Likewise American support. This is what is meant by "hearts and minds". Americans distributing chocolate is not short-sighted appeasement any more than restoring the power grid, or on that metter overthrowing Saddam was. Everything is designed to show the raqi people that tey are better off with American influence and friendship than without it--that we, and the welcoming community of nations have more to offer than the dead hand of jihad.

One reason the market has functioned less well thatn we would like is that we have hobnbled the restoring function, and for two reasons--one good and one bad. The good reason for hobbling the restoring function is that it depends upon ordinary Iraqis being afrad iof the consequences of AMericans feeling threatened in the neighborhoods of Iraq. This means allowing American forces' own fear to dictate that they shoot first and ask questions later, wiping out Iraqis as they see fit. Clearly, this is wrong, and we're not going to do it. It is therefore a good reason not to allow the market to run free.

On the other hand, if Americans were more serious about this war, we would be standing up in other arenas where we are currently, well, lying down. Abdul Rahman. Danish Cartoons. CAIR. Border security. These are all literlally life-and-0death issues where the official, and popular American position has been a big shrug. If we fought in these areas as if our lives depended upon it, we would see fewer suicide bombings, including those like the 9/11, 3/11 and 7/7 attacks, in the long run. Unfortunately, in the Long War, the long run is a hard sell in the short term, and it is the here and now where the jihdis are winning the battles for the long term.

America does not yet feel threatened enough to behave in a market-dictated fashion. It is as if the cost of raw materials started to soar, but one manufacturer stubbornly refused to adjust prices or output. It won't matter how much market share he captures if all he can do with it is sell at a loss--it looks like a short term winner, but it is death in the long term.

There is an argument that America is responsible for creating the suicide bombers. Technicallym this is correct, but not in the way "people" like disgraced former professor Ward Churchill think.

The Japanese kamikaze atacks were our creation as well. We were winning that war so undeniably, so completely, that they gave up on the conventional war--that is, after all, the only way to get people to kill themselves for a goal--leave them no other hope. As several observers on both sides of the war said before it even began, American production, as brought to the Pacific by the heroism of the American military, overwhelmed Japan so staggeringly that for the first time in two thousand years, they wondered in a very real and short-term sense if their nation would survive. That does things to people. The individual perception of self-worth in the long term goes to zero if the short-term is a disaster, and this person is now willing to die for an ideal. Note that this statement also applies to the grenade in the tent scenario, the bear between you and your children scenarion, and it also applies to people living in a society which offers as little to its own as political Islam does.

The world of Islam is a billion people who during the twentieth century slid into eligibility for "martyrdom operations". The West went from horses to Segways, and from kites to Lunar landings in the same period of time that political Islam went from camels to camels, except where oil and the money of the West was involved. That billion people have accomplished absolutely nothing in the last hundred years, except in their sole area of success, where they have been sucessfully prostituted by their own ruling class to people who don't even pray five times a day, and this is *still* not how America has created the suicide bombers--this is just the precondition.

Duruing the same hundred years, America and the West have developd more and more sophisticated methods of warfare, enabling on the micro- scale, one person to kill many more than before. When stated this way, it sounds like insanity. But on a macroeconomic scale, this causes fewer casualties total, because killing people was never the point; control is the point, and if a small force can sucessfully threaten a larger one, then they need not be killed if they can be controlled. Tis is crucial--the increase in the lethality of modern weapons in the twentieht century has resulted in fewer and fewer deathcs and cansualties.

The problem is that the West and the Communist bloc and all of their client states were playing the same game--conventioanl war, sometimes with the strategic deterrents to conventional war thrown in. The big problme now is that the forces of jihad are not state-based, cannot fight a conventioal war, and cannot even move from their hut to a car outside without being seen by airborn thermal imaging. Tey can only aproack by blending into crowds, and they can only attack by suicide. If America were fighting this war with the weapons of World War II, the jihadis would be figthing in armies, because it would pffer some hope of at least affecting our position. Perhpas they would never win a war by squads, but they could accomplsh their goals of influencing our policy. Against the awesome technology we now employ, there is no hope of even getting our attention without blowing themselves up to do it, and there are a limited number of ways that this will change.

One is the Iranian bomb. [discuss]

One is America fighting this as if it mattered. [discuss]