Monday, February 28, 2005

The Making Of A 9/11 Republican Here's an interesting piece in the San Francisco Chronicle from a former Marin County lefty on how she was driven to the right after 9/11, unlike many of her former fellow-travelers who instead saw Amerikkka getting what it deserved.

Indeed, liberals had become strangely conservative in their fierce attachment to the status quo. In contrast, the much-maligned neoconservatives (among whose ranks I count myself) and Bush had become the "radicals," bringing freedom and democracy to the despotic Middle East. Is it any wonder that in such a topsy-turvy world, I found myself in agreement with those I'd formerly denounced?

The war on terrorism is nothing more than the great struggle of our time, and, like the earlier ones against fascism and totalitarianism, we ignore it at our peril. Whether or not one accepts that we are engaged in a war, our enemies have declared it so. It took the horrors of 9/11 to awaken me to this reality, but for others, such lessons remain unlearned. For me, it was self-evident that in Islamic terrorism, America had found a nihilistic threat that sought to wipe out not only Western civilization but also civilization itself.

The Islamists have been clear all along about their plans to form an Islamic caliphate and inhabit the entire world with burqas, stonings, amputations, honor killings and a lack of religious and political freedom. Whether or not to oppose such a movement should have been a no-brainer, especially for self-proclaimed "progressives." Instead, they have extended their misguided sympathies to tyrants and terrorists.


I too wonder why I started out an obnoxious lefty (suppose attending Kent State had anything to do with it?) but wound up where I am today. It certainly had nothing to do with my parents. Mom is way off on the left politically but I don't really think she could explain why, other than having a vague need to "help people." I don't ever remember having a political discussion with my dad. So I really can't blame anyone but myself for my beliefs (with the possible exception of Pat Feeney and Atlas Shrugged).

I guess that is where it started. Sitting at the bar after work at the restaurant and arguing politics and having to defend my beliefs, such as they were. I found I couldn't defend them any more. What I once believed no longer made sense to me anymore. I once thought the world was a pretty black and white place. I know that isn't the case, but I at least know who is wearing the white and who is wearing the black. So to speak.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Ann Coulter here on the issue most important to our nation: Jeff Gannon/Guckert.

The heretofore-unknown Jeff Gannon of the heretofore-unknown "Talon News" service was caught red-handed asking friendly questions at a White House press briefing. Now the media is hot on the trail of a gay escort service that Gannon may have run some years ago. Are we supposed to like gay people now, or hate them? Is there a Web site where I can go to and find out how the Democrats want me to feel about gay people on a moment-to-moment basis?

     Liberals keep rolling out a scrolling series of attacks on Gannon for their Two Minutes Hate, but all their other charges against him fall apart after three seconds of scrutiny. Gannon's only offense is that he may be gay.

Friday, February 25, 2005

VDH's Private Papers :: Merchants of Despair

Monday, February 21, 2005

Somebody needs to lose their job over this. Some grade school teacher decided it would be a good idea for his students to send anti-war letters to soldiers. He called it a social studies lesson. I'd call it giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

Most of the 21 letters Jacobs provided to The Post mentioned some support for the armed forces, if not the Iraq war, and thanked him for his service. But nine of the students made clear their distaste for the president or the war.

The letters were written as a social-studies assignment.

The JHS 51 teacher, Alex Kunhardt, did not return phone calls, but the school principal, Xavier Costello, responded with a statement:

"While we would never censor anything that our children write, we sincerely apologize for forwarding letters that were in any way inappropriate to Pfc. Jacobs. This assignment was not intended to be insensitive, but to be supportive of the men and women in service to our nation."


They would never censor what their students write? Is he serious?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

What's US policy on Europe? No giggling Mark Steyn discusses the current charm offensive the Bush Administraton is trying with Europe. For what it's worth, which isn't much.

The EU isn't the Arab League, though for much of the past three years it's been hard to tell the difference. But it, too, is out of step. The question is whether the Europeans are smart enough, like the savvier Sunnis in Iraq, to realise it. The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt compared the President's inaugural speech with Gerhard Schröder's keynote address to the Munich Conference on Security Policy last week and observed that, while both men talked about the Middle East, terrorism and 21st-century security threats, Mr Bush used the word "freedom" 27 times while Herr Schröder uttered it not once; he preferred to emphasise, as if it were still March 2003 and he were Arab League Secretary-General, "stability" – the old realpolitik fetish the Administration has explicitly disavowed. It's not just that the two sides aren't speaking the same language, but that the key phrases of Mr Bush's vocabulary don't seem to exist in Chirac's or Schröder's.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Monster star burst was brighter than full Moon Yike. This is a scary but cool story about a "starquake" on a neutron star 50,000 light years away.

The high-radiation flash, detected last December 27, caused no harm to Earth but would have literally fried the planet had it occurred within a few light years of home.

Normally reserved skywatchers struggled for superlatives.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event," said Rob Fender of Britain's Southampton University.

"We have observed an object only 20 kilometers (12 miles) across, on the other side of our galaxy, releasing more energy in a 10th of a second than the Sun emits in 100,000 years."

Not Much Left An excellent piece from Marty Peretz, editor of the New Republic, on what has happened to the Liberal/Left side of American politics. It isn't pretty.

Ask yourself: Who is a truly influential liberal mind in our culture? Whose ideas challenge and whose ideals inspire? Whose books and articles are read and passed around? There's no one, really. What's left is the laundry list: the catalogue of programs (some dubious, some not) that Republicans aren't funding, and the blogs, with their daily panic dose about how the Bush administration is ruining the country.


A Christmas Carol if it had been written by various other writers:

Ayn Rand: The ruggedly handsome and weirdly articulate Ebeneezer Scrooge is a successful executive held back by the corrupt morality of a society that hates success and fails to understand the value of selfishness. So Scrooge explains that value in a 272-page soliloquy. Deep down, Scrooge's enemies know that he is right, but they resent him out of a sense of their own inferiority. Several hot sex scenes and unlikely monologues later, Scrooge triumphs over all adversity -- except a really mean review by Whittaker Chambers. Meanwhile, Tiny Tim croaks. Socialized medicine is to blame.


The Libertarian Party: It's pretty much the same as the Ayn Rand version, but about halfway through the story, we learn that Scrooge is an alcoholic wife-swapping embezzling weirdo who's wanted for back child support payments in several states. Even readers sympathetic to the Libertarian story throw up their hands in disgust and grudgingly seek out the Republican version.


I know it's out of season, but I just saw it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Richard Brookheiser here on that flaming asshole Ward Churchill, and how Churchill's gloating about 9/11 may get him fired.

Before we grapple with academic freedom, we must set to one side the question of free speech. If Ward Churchill said “little Eichmanns” at a meeting of 9/11 firefighter survivors, those would be “fighting words,” i.e., words likely to provoke a fight. If he said “little Eichmanns” and it was a registered trademark of Wal-Mart, that would be infringement of copyright. If he said, “The next time you want to really kill some little Eichmanns, here’s the secret passage to the West Wing of the White House” and then told Osama bin Laden, that would be treason. If he said, “How’d you like to handle my little Eichmann?” while leaning over a stage to take a $20 bill in his G-string, and if he said it near a public school or residential neighborhood, that would be obscenity. If he said “little Eichmanns” and Adolf Eichmann were still alive and could show that he was not a public figure, and that his reputation had been damaged by the remark, that would be libel. Otherwise, Ward Churchill—and every other American, Cherokee or paleface—can stick his head up his anus as far as his collarbone.

Debunking The 9/11 Myths Popular Mechanics takes on the moonbats. This is great to have it all in one place. Not that it will convince the loons, but at least it will be good reference for shooting them down.

Three and a half years later, not everyone is convinced we know the truth. Go to Google.com, type in the search phrase "World Trade Center conspiracy" and you'll get links to an estimated 628,000 Web sites. More than 3000 books on 9/11 have been published; many of them reject the official consensus that hijackers associated with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda flew passenger planes into U.S. landmarks.

Healthy skepticism, it seems, has curdled into paranoia. Wild conspiracy tales are peddled daily on the Internet, talk radio and in other media. Blurry photos, quotes taken out of context and sketchy eyewitness accounts have inspired a slew of elaborate theories: The Pentagon was struck by a missile; the World Trade Center was razed by demolition-style bombs; Flight 93 was shot down by a mysterious white jet. As outlandish as these claims may sound, they are increasingly accepted abroad and among extremists here in the United States.

To investigate 16 of the most prevalent claims made by conspiracy theorists, POPULAR MECHANICS assembled a team of nine researchers and reporters who, together with PM editors, consulted more than 70 professionals in fields that form the core content of this magazine, including aviation, engineering and the military.

In the end, we were able to debunk each of these assertions with hard evidence and a healthy dose of common sense.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

UN forces: just a bunch of thugs? Mark Steyn, good as always, on the different reactions the world press has to Abu Ghraib and the UN sex scandals. And the Euros wonder why the United States doesn't take them too seriously.

But think about it: the merest glimpse of a freaky West Virginia tramp leading an Abu Ghraib inmate around with girlie knickers on his head was enough to prompt calls for Rumsfeld's resignation, and for Ted Kennedy to charge that Saddam's torture chambers were now open "under new management", and for Robert Fisk to be driven into the kind of orgasmic frenzy unseen since his column on how much he enjoyed being beaten up by an Afghan mob: "Just look at the way US army reservist Lynndie England holds the leash of the naked, bearded Iraqi," wrote Fisk. "No sadistic movie could outdo the damage of this image. In September 2001, the planes smashed into the buildings; today, Lynndie smashes to pieces our entire morality with just one tug on the leash."

Who's straining at the leash here? Down, boy. But, if Lynndie's smashed to pieces our entire morality with just one tug, Bush's Zionist neocons getting it on with Congolese kindergarteners would have the Independent calling for US expulsion from the UN - no, wait, from Planet Earth: slice it off from Maine to Hawaii and use one of those new Euro-Airbuses to drag it out round the back of Uranus.

But systemic UN child sex in at least 50 per cent of their missions? The transnational morality set can barely stifle their yawns. If you're going to rape prepubescent girls, make sure you're wearing a blue helmet.


Friday, February 11, 2005

The Saddam-Osama Connection Here's an interesting transcript of a symposium detailing just what the title claims; that Saddam and Osama were linked, and that Saddam may have had a hand in the 1993 WTC bombing and 9/11.

The second fugitive from the Trade Center bombing is an Iraqi-American, who remains at large: Abdul Rahman Yasin. Yasin was born in the U.S., while his father was a graduate student here, but Yasin was raised in Iraq. Yasin entered the U.S. in September 1992, about the same time Yousef did. Yasin came from Baghdad, traveling on a U.S. passport he had obtained a few months before, by presenting his birth certificate to the U.S. embassy in Jordan. After the Trade Center bombing, Yasin returned to Baghdad, transiting back through Jordan, still traveling on his U.S. passport.

We now know some things that people like Jim Fox did not: 1) The Iraqi embassy in Jordan facilitated Yasin's onward travel to Baghdad; and 2) The Iraqi regime subsequently gave Yasin a house and a monthly stipend, according to documents found by US forces in Iraq.

The most simple, straightforward explanation of the 1993 Trade Center bombing is that it was a "false flag" operation, run by Iraq, with the militants meant to take the blame.

Ann Coulter here on that commie buffoon Ward Churchill, the Colorado professor who pretends he's an Indian, and so far has been allowed to get away with it in style. Apparently all he had to do to get tenure at CU was tell them he was an Indian and the proof was he wears his hair like one.

If he's not an Indian, it's not clear what Churchill does have to offer a university. In his book, "A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present," Churchill denounces Jews for presuming to imagine the Holocaust was unique. In the chapter titled "Lie for Lie: Linkages between Holocaust Deniers and Proponents of the Uniqueness of the Jewish Experience in World War II," Churchill calls the Third Reich merely "a crystallization" of Christopher Columbus' ravages of his people (if he were an Indian).

His research apparently consisted of watching the Disney movie "Pocahontas," which showed that the Indians meant the European settlers no harm. (That's if you don't count the frequent scalpings.)

Even the credulous Nation magazine -– always on red alert for tales of government oppression –- dismissed Churchill's 1988 book "Agents of Repression" about Cointelpro-type operations against the American Indian Movement, saying the book "does not give much new information" and "even a reader who is inclined to believe their allegations will want more evidence than they provide." If The Nation won't buy your anti-U.S. government conspiracy theories, Kemosabe, it's probably time to pack up the old teepee and hit the trail of tears.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Another Year at the Federal Trough: Farm Subsidies for the Rich, Famous, and Elected Jumped Again in 2002 Boy, I sure am glad that Republicans are in charge of the purse strings, otherwise the government might be wasting our tax dollars. Jesus.

Eligibility for farm subsidies is determined by crop, not by income or poverty standards. Growers of corn, wheat, cotton, soybeans, and rice receive more than 90 percent of all farm subsidies: Growers of nearly all of the 400 other domestic crops are completely shut out of farm subsidy programs. Further skewing these awards, the amounts of subsidies increase as a farmer plants more crops.

Thus, large farms and agribusinesses--which not only have the most land, but also are the nation's most profitable farms because of their economies of scale--receive the largest subsidies. Meanwhile, family farmers with few acres receive little or nothing in subsidies. Farm subsidies have evolved from a safety net for poor farmers to America's largest corporate welfare program.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Would you trust these men with $64bn of your cash? Of course not Mark Steyn, brilliant as usual on Oil for Food.

At tough times in my life, with the landlord tossing my clothes and record collection out on to the street, I could have used an aunt like Benon Sevan's. Asked to account for the appearance in his bank account of a certain $160,000, Mr Sevan, executive director of the UN Oil-for-Food programme, said it was a gift from his aunt. Lucky Sevan, eh? None of my aunts ever had that much of the folding stuff on tap.

And nor, it seems, did Mr Sevan's. She lived in a modest two-room flat back in Cyprus and her own bank accounts gave no indication of spare six-figure sums. Nonetheless, if a respected UN diplomat says he got 160,000 bucks from Auntie, we'll just have to take his word for it. Paul Volcker's committee of investigation did plan to ask the old lady to confirm her nephew's version of events, but, before they could, she fell down an elevator shaft and died.


She FELL DOWN AN ELEVATOR SHAFT?!!! I wonder if he's kidding? Who the hell falls down an elevator shaft on the isle of Cyprus? Isn't that just a touch suspicious? I heard that the lady was dead but hadn't heard that.

UPDATE: Nope, he wasn't kidding. SHE FELL DOWN AN ELEVATOR SHAFT before she could be questioned. Jesus Christ, these guys are no different than the mafia. The old lady was a retired government photographer who lived in a two room cottage on Cyprus and she gives her nephew $160,000 right before she meets with an unfortunate accident. Yeah.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Free to Dance in Iraq CK on the Iraqi elections. This section clearly describes the stakes:

As if to make a point even more definitively, it was not the suicide bombers but the voters they killed at the polls who were buried as martyrs. The remains of one suicide bomber were spat upon. Another suicide bomber, reported Iraq's interior minister, was a child with Down syndrome. There are no words for the depths of such depravity, sending an innocent to murder innocents, dressing this poor child in explosives and then leading him to his slaughter.

These are the people whom Michael Moore, avatar of the Democratic left, calls the "Minutemen." These are the people who Ted Kennedy, spokesman for the Democratic left, says are in a battle with the United States for "the hearts and minds of the people."


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Here's an interesting comment from John Burns, a reporter for the New York Times in Iraq about how we look at the country compared to how the Iraqis see it:

JOHN BURNS: Yes. And I'll tell you something else. That was another of the inspiriting aspects of our experiences yesterday, and a reproving one, if you will. How many times did voters say to me -- and I believe to many other reporters who began their interviews with them by asking them, as we so often do, are you Shiite, are you Sunni or are you Kurd -- they would say to us, what is that to you? Why are you people so obsessed with that?

I must have heard that several dozen times yesterday -- people who said, can't you get it straight in your mind that we are Iraqis first, and then Sunnis or Shiites second? And this is really very interesting. There is a sense amongst Iraqis that Americans arrived here with an obsession about the ethnic breakdown of this country.


Apparently our obsession with ethnicity in the US has colored (no pun intended) how we see other countries. Not that there isn't consideration of religion in Iraq, but maybe it isn't as big a deal as we've made it out to be. Maybe there is more nationalism than we thought.

Honor Thy Father -- Or Else The Religion of Peace, with yet another prominent feature that has nothing to do with the religion. Or something like that. Why is it that there are so many things done in the name of Islam that somehow have no connection to it? Jihad, honor killing, and terrorism, the apologists tell us, aren't what Islam is all about. Coulda fooled me.

All these elaborate protocols are done in the name of "protecting" women and girls from themselves. But the truth is, it is self-defense on the part of the Muslim man. To protect Muslim women, immigrant families to the West comply only 50 percent with normal Western dress codes. How often have I seen, in the south of France in the baking heat of summer, a North African family walking across a parking lot, daddy and the teenage son in smart Bermuda shorts, T-shirts and Reeboks, hair cut trendily short and gelled, as Western as you please, and lumbering along in their snappy wake, struggling with the shopping and the swathes of draperies, two or three ambulatory swathes of black sheeting.

The time devoted to the micromanagement of women in most, not all, Muslim societies is unique in the world, not shared by any other society. Plus, there's an entire sub-category in the Islamic publishing industry for manuals by mullahs on how to beat disobedient wives and daughters without leaving a mark. When Western men are watching football or cruising the home improvement aisles for new gadgets, Muslim men are working themselves into a lather worrying whether a female family member is showing a wrist.

Which brings us to "honor killings", or, if you insist on clarity, the tolerance of the murder of girls and women for stepping out of line.