Raging Right Wing Republican

For those of us who are politically informed, and therefore Republican.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Saddam Offered to Help Get Chirac Re-Elected

I saw this just now and had to put it up before leaving.

Mass murdering dictator's aren't stupid. They have to know who is with them, who is against them, and have their finger on the pulse of the nation and those around them to read them properly and maintain their power.

And they know who their friends are: Saddam's spies 'offered to help Chirac get re-elected'.
Saddam Hussein's spies planned a wide-ranging scheme to bribe members of the French political elite in the run-up to the Anglo-American invasion, including an offer to help fund President Jacques Chirac's 2002 re-election campaign.

That bid failed, according to Iraqi secret service papers seen by The Daily Telegraph, when Mr Chirac's aides allegedly said they did not need the cash.

According to the series of Iraqi intelligence service memorandums uncovered by investigators working for the energy committee of the US House of Representatives, the Iraqis identified a group of politicians and businessmen close to Mr Chirac.

A memo from the head of the 2nd Department of the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence service, purported to report on conversations between its representative in Paris and Roselyne Bachelot, then a member of the National Assembly and the spokesman for Mr Chirac's re-election campaign. The Mukhabarat described Mrs Bachelot as "a friend of Iraq".

The spies claimed that Mrs Bachelot offered an assurance that France would veto any American proposal to invade Iraq at the UN Security Council and would work to have UN-approved sanctions against Saddam lifted.

But the memo also claimed that Mr Chirac's team had turned down the cash. The Mukhabarat had conveyed the message that "Iraq is prepared to offer financial support to Chirac, for his election campaign. [Mrs Bachelot] replied joyfully that she will deliver this offer to the financial official of the election campaign." The Chirac campaign had expressed the "gratitude and appreciation of France" but turned the offer down because the money was not required, the document says.

Mrs Bachelot, 58, who later became French environment minister and is now an MEP, said yesterday that she had not received such an offer.

Though she had met many Iraqis in the course of her duties and was a campaigner against UN sanctions, she had not met any intelligence agents. The allegations in the files were "deplorable insinuations", she said.

Going Away

I'm going to be visiting France and Iran, of all places, over the next few weeks. It'll be an interesting voyage, without a doubt. Unfortunately, this means that blogging will have to be put on hold until I return. But on the other hand, I'll have a lot of experiences to carry back with me that could make for interesting tidbits to share.

The French will certainly be something. I plan on visiting the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumphe, along with the Louvre. Perhaps they'll have some real art, instead of junk from earlier.

As for Iran, I recall the Persian Gulf from my childhood, as well as the cities and the ranches out in the middle of the open desert. It'll be interesting to compare it to what I remember it as. I always found it ironic that the Iranians are one of the most, if not the most, pro-American people in the Middle East, yet their government is the one most opposed to us.

At any rate, the plane leaves tomorrow, so expect everything to start running smoothly once I return.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Riots Over Newsweek Article

We cherish the freedom of speech we enjoy in this country. With that freedom, comes a responsibility to exercise our freedoms properly and with wisdom. Unfortunately, in the media's daily rat race to publish the most sensationalistic findings, integrity and restraint are often overwhelmed by muck raking. The endless coverage given to minute military accidents comes to mind, serving as an easy propaganda tool for those who would wield them against us in the Middle East. And the more press a hostage crisis gets, the greater the incentive for a terrorist to kidnap and decapitate someone, as they do it purely for the shock and initimidation value, which is then disseminated by the media.

A Newsweek report of alleged "desecration of the Quran" at Guantamano Bay provoked a mob of Islamic extremists into rioting in Kabul. Furthermore, it has been latched onto by anti-American radicals as a pre-text to further inflame resentment in the region.

However, as Roger L. Simon points out, the Newsweek report that triggered these deadly riots was based on an anonymous source.

These unsourced allegations from Newsweek that interrogators at Gauntamano Bay "desecrated the Quran" have thus provoked a storm of Islamic fury across the world.
In Gaza, several thousand Palestinians marched through a refugee camp in a protest organized by the Islamic militant group Hamas. Several hundred Palestinians also marched in the West Bank city of Hebron. "The Holy Koran was defiled by the dirtiest of hands, by American hands," a protester shouted at the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza, where U.S. and Israeli flags were also burned.
In addition to the fact that they have no source for their flagrantly irresponsible accusations, the military itself has come forward and shown that there is no evidence to back the reports of the Quran's desecration:
Washington: The top US military officer, General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that no evidence has been found yet to back allegations that a Quran was put down a toilet at the Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba to intimidate Muslim prisoners. ...

"They have looked through the logs, the interrogation logs, and they cannot confirm yet that there was ever the case of the toilet incident," the General said. "He did note a log entry, which they still have to confirm, where a detainee was reported by a guard to be ripping pages out of a Quran and putting them in a toilet to stop it up as a protest. But not where the US did it."
And so from these unsourced allegations came violence across the region and the deaths of at least nine innocent people. How much more hatred will this falsehood direct towards our soldiers? No doubt, this will make more people in the Middle East open their ears to the extremists who will take advantage of this.

Congratulations, Newsweek! The blood of at least nine innocents coats your hands.

UPDATE: Blackfive offers a similar opinion that is more thorough in it's approach.
They will, undoubtedly, tell themselves that this is not their fault. That in the service of truth, a few eggs must be broken. But it is certain that, were there government malfeasance involved, Newsweek would not be so quick to minimize the heartbreak of these men's families.  We'd see in-depth cover stories of the anguished widows. Their grief would be exposed for our entertainment.

We would be manipulated to a suitable level of outrage.

I do not want to see the press muzzled, nor anyone hauled off to jail. But I cannot help but wonder: who was served by publication of this story? In their exercise of that freedom of speech we hold most dear, was there no thought for those who guarantee that right?

And have we grown so self-centered as a nation that we think only of our rights, and never of our responsibilities?
Read all of it.

Saddam's Bribery System


Here's an article written by Claudia Rosett, who originally broke the Oil for Food scandal, at National Review. Saddam had an entire system of bribes and kickbacks set up and aided by an all too willing UN. It pervaded the organization like an infestation within the hollow shell of a rotting tree. And he had the entire affair in his control, at his fingertips; puppets and their strings.
Another of the report's findings is especially interesting in light not only of Saddam's subversion of Oil-for-Food to bust sanctions, but also as context for the hot debate within the U.N. Security Council just prior to the U.S.-led military overthrow of Saddam in 2003. The report explains that the prime targets of Saddam's scheme to buy influence were "individuals and entities from countries on the U.N. Security Council." Both documents and interviews with former senior officials of Saddam's regime confirm that "The regime steered a massive portion of its allocations toward Security Council members that were believed by the Hussein regime to support Iraq in its efforts to lift sanctions - namely, Russia, France, and China."
Once again, these also were the nations who then happened to be opposed to liberating Iraq from Saddam's rule. And not only that, but they repaid him twofold, leading the pack in his defense.
It turns out that not only did several of Saddam's oil-ministry charts expressly separate oil-allocation recipients by country; these charts further spelled out whether the country was a member of the Security Council. ...

It may be worth taking a moment to reflect on just how far the U.N. strayed in this program from its widely advertised humanitarian brief. The program, which ran from 1996-2003, was supposed to allow U.N.-sanctioned Saddam to export Iraq's oil solely to buy humanitarian aid, such as milk and medicine, for the people of Iraq. The idea was that the U.N. would oversee the process, with the Secretariat collecting 2.2 percent of Saddam's oil revenues to defray its costs for ensuring the integrity of the program. (That U.N. commission totaled $1.4 billion, from which U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan last year plucked $30 million in residual funds to cover the U.N.-authorized independent inquiry led by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, who has yet to provide the kind of insight offered in this Senate report).

The U.N. let Saddam pick his own business partners, and kept the deals secret, and at Annan's behest greatly expanded the program. That opened the way to Saddam for such scams as underpricing oil and allocating shipments as rewards to favored business partners, who could then make fat profits by reselling these allocations on the world market. The Senate report quotes a former Iraqi official saying that inside Saddam's oil-marketing agency, this arrangement was known as the "Saddam Bribery System."

The flip side, for the aid contracts, was that Saddam would overpay, effectively skimming money out of the humanitarian funds and transferring it to favored aid contractors. As the program became an entrenched feature at the U.N., routinely renewed about every six months at the urging of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council, Saddam began demanding kickbacks on these deals. That added a layer of graft which allowed him to amass not only favors owed, but money salted away in secret accounts for his own uses.
After only a few years, the organization which was meant to protect Iraqis from Saddam's bloodthirsty rule was side by side with his vanguard, ensuring Saddam's will was done as the money which was meant to go to food and other necessities of life for Iraqis disappeared into Saddam's vaults and the pockets of his supporters.

Execution in Connecticut

Tonight, the media tells the story of New England, which becomes the Wild West as a murderer is put to death in Connecticut's first application of the death penalty in 45 years.

CNN notes that his "execution could break down a political and psychological barrier against capital punishment in New England and start a domino effect in the region."

What?! You mean more rapists and child killers will get what they deserve and be brought to justice? The horror!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fight Over Bolton Really About Bush

David Limbaugh: It's not about Bolton.
Sen. Joe Biden, in his laborious monologue to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concerning the appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, denied he and other Democrats were on a witchhunt against Bolton. Granted. The fight isn't about Bolton but President Bush.

Their primary purpose is not to smear Bolton, though that's a sacrifice they're willing to make; it's to thwart the president's foreign policy, with which they radically disagree. It's to prevent him from exercising his constitutional authority to appoint qualified and respectable individuals to represent him in various departments of government.
They lost the election, and as sore losers they're trying to get back at Bush.

Phantom Menace

(Cartoon courtesy of Cox and Forkum.)

Senate Panel Clears Bolton's Nomination.
John Bolton's nomination for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was sent out of committee Thursday, albeit with a glaring asterisk.

The Republican-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-8 in favor of sending Bolton's nomination forward to a full floor vote, but without a recommendation.

Committees that are unsure about a nominee may send a vote to the floor without an endorsement, to allow the full Senate to decide. Bolton should have an easier time there, where Republicans hold a 55-45 majority.

Giving the Finger, Too Late

The idiot who refused to give a man back his severed finger, preferring to hide it to keep it as "evidence" (as if a photograph wasn't enough), now offers to return in.

Unfortunately, a severed finger has to be reattached within six hours, if at all.

Thanks a lot, jackass.

Those Serial Killers Sure Have it Tough

Reuters has an article trying to sympathize with death row in-mates.

Foreign Aid Won't Eradicate World Poverty

John Hawkins has written a post about the ineffectiveness of foreign aid and the failure of that aid in fulfilling the aims we gave the money for.

Good News from Iraq

Arthur Chrenkoff once again offers his meticulously detailed, thorough collection of good and hopeful news from Iraq - and this is Part 27. Good material, all of it.

Rice on Gun Rights

Rice has expressed her views on the Second Amendment before, and she demonstrates again her staunch support of gun rights.
In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," Rice said she came to that view from personal experience. She said her father, a black minister, and his friends armed themselves to defended the black community in Birmingham, Ala., against the White Knight Riders in 1962 and 1963. She said if local authorities had had lists of registered weapons, she did not think her father and other blacks would have been able to defend themselves. ...

Rice said the Founding Fathers understood "there might be circumstances that people like my father experienced in Birmingham, Ala., when, in fact, the police weren't going to protect you."
To paraphrase an old saying, the Second Amendment is there for when the First Amendment fails.

The right to life is a fundamental human right. As such, there is implicitly, a right to self defense, because if something is worth defending, then obviously, one should be able to defend it - a gun is the best tool for self defense, as well as preventing tyranny. And so, gun rights are integral to a legitimate framework of rights and a set of laws designed to safeguard liberty.

After all, for all those oppressed under the iron fisted rule of tyrants, they would have fared much better had they been armed, which is why the dictator first and foremost disarms the populace before heading through with his plans.

UNSCAM UPDATE


Remember all of that "principled" opposition to the liberation of Iraq emanating from Europe in early '03? Well, the "principle" involved apparently was whom could shovel the most money in their general direction:
UNITED NATIONS (AP) A U.S. Senate committee probing corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program released new evidence purporting to show that two leading politicians from Britain and France received millions of barrels of Iraqi oil in exchange for their support of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Citing contracts, letters and interviews with former Iraqi leaders, the probe set out evidence Wednesday to back the claim that British lawmaker George Galloway and former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua accepted oil allocations under the scheme.
This is most likely only the tip of a gigantic iceberg. Once we can get real, in depth investigations rolling, we're bound to find out just how many journalists, politicians, humanitarians, anti-war activists, pacifists and more were taking blood money from Saddam to oppose liberating the millions suffering under his boot.

The fact of the matter is that economically, militarily, and politically, the liberation of Iraq was a world necessity even if 9/11 had never occured. This is why Bill Clinton and Al Gore had already set out a strategy to overthrow Saddam back in the 90's.

UPDATE: An interesting footnote in regards to Saddam and his terror related activities, according to page 5 of the Senate Report: "Terrorist individuals and entities who received allocations include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Abbas, and the Mujahedeen-e Khalq." (Powerline has much more on this.)

Some People Just Can't be Pleased...


(Via Dr. Sanity.)

Pat Buchanan Again Calls America's Entry into WW2 Unnecessary

He thinks we never should've intervened. Happy VE Day!

Now, Pat Buchanan is a personally charming and charismatic guy. And he has some interesting opinions on many issues. I've read his book, Death of the West, and most of it is very well written and soundly reasoned. But for the last ten years or so, ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, he seems to have lost his purpose, so to speak. He used to make sense, but ever since then he's been sailing off the edge of the cliff.

Of course, Pat Buchanan no longer resembles anything representing American conservatism. He hasn't for a long time. Which is funny, since every time he says something the media falls over itself to give him a soapbox to rant on.

If he opposed WW2 because of the costs and it's effects, he could he have been such a fervent supporter of the Cold War? Didn't that require an even greater dedication of troops abroad, with an even higher risks and much more at stake?

UPDATE: JunkYardBlog writes:
Once, a long time ago, Pat Buchanan could write well and make a lot of sense. That was back when he was a bona fide conservative. Over the last few years, and especially after he formally left the GOP, he has become more and more of a fringe actor who flirts with statism and even a kind of labor-leaning Marxism. And now his vision of WWII history is revisionist, selective and tilts toward a crazy angle.
Stephen Green has some harsh words for Pat Buchanan.
It took 40 years, but today Pat Buchanan hit bottom on the slippery slope from Young Turk conservative columnist to Nazi Apologist troglodyte.
And he continues on picking Buchanan apart from there. However, like the post made at JunkYardBlog, I think that his attempt to smear him with that line about his sister detracts from the overall value of Stephen's post.

Buchanan's not all bad. Every now and then he goes and makes some crazy statements, though.

Who's to Blame?

Thomas Friedman gets it exactly right on the problems we're having with Iranian and North Korean nukes.
At the end of the day, the Chinese would rather live with a nuclear North Korea than risk a collapsed nonnuclear North Korea, and the Europeans would rather live with a nuclear Iran - that Europe can make all kinds of money off of - rather than risk losing Iran's business to prevent it from going nuclear. The Chinese and the Europeans "each assume that in the end, the U.S. will deter both the North Koreans and the Iranians anyway, so why worry," [Johns Hopkins foreign policy expert] Mr. [Michael] Mandelbaum said.

Are the Europeans and Chinese behaving cynically? Of course, these are the very countries constantly complaining about U.S. "hegemony," and calling for a "multipolar world." Yet the only thing they are really interested in being a pole for is to oppose the U.S. - not to actually do something hard themselves to stabilize the global system.

Conservatism

Jonah Goldberg has written an interesting article over at NRO attempting to define the nature of conservatism

How Far "Art" Has Gone



Above: "Art" by a chimpanzee. Could be auctioned for $1,500.

This is not art. This is an animal splattering paint onto a canvas, much as a Kindergartener would do. At least Kindergartener's paintings sometimes make sense.

$1,500? I gotta get me a chimpanzee.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Bush Bashing in Star Wars?

Considering the previous rants George Lucas had thrown our way about the evils of BushHitler™, I'm surprised it took so long to filter down into his 'work'. And so George Lucas has gone the way of every other washed up Hollywood liberal has-been.

It's stunning resemblances to the Iraq war could all be a coincidence, but according to this, Revenge of the Sith could have just as easily been titled Revenge of the Republicans.
But something else is disturbingly -- and rather awkwardly - evident: a recurring anti-Bush, anti-Iraq war message. Forget about the merits of the argument in question. This stuff has no place in a Star Wars flick.

The dialogue in ROTS is rife with distinctly unsubtle references to the current political situation. "This war represents a failure to listen," Padme laments at one point, before declaring after a vote to give executive power to Chancellor Palpatine: "So this is how liberty dies -- to thunderous applause." The wicked Chancellor, played brilliantly by Ian McDiarmid, talks on and on about "security", giving it an evilly sibilant S, and about "peace". As he lures Anakin over to the dark side, telling him what to say in Jedi Council meetings, you wonder if he's supposed to be Karl Rove. He does, after all, appear to be the smartest man in the movie.

The ultimate reference comes in the climactic duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi on the planet of Mustafar, which seems to have long ago failed in its struggle against global warming. "If you're not with me, you're my enemy," Anakin shouts to Obi-Wan, who responds: "Only a Sith lord deals in absolutes." Yes, and so, it would seem, do neo-cons.
Star Wars was once the greatest franchise in cinematic history. Now it's a joke. You might as well save a few bucks, rent Fahrenheit 911, and stay home.

Of course, sometimes a movie is just a movie.

UPDATE: John Podhoretz comments at The Corner that the movie's plot is so jumbled and confusing that it doesn't matter, anyway.

How to get an "A" at One Elite School

David Horowitz:
... Far too many of today's tenured faculty are political activists first and teachers only secondarily, if at all. Their agenda is indoctrinating students in their own political prejudices, while their academic colleagues who are not activists or ideologues studiously refuse to notice the abuses that are going on.

The student, who was a political science major, had written a paper supporting the Iraq war in a class he had recently taken. When he got the paper back it had been graded "F." On his previous paper he had gotten a "C-" which he accepted grudgingly at the time, not because he thought he deserved it, but because he couldn't actually believe his professor was grading him for his political views and not his academic performance. But an "F" was ridiculous. No one at this elite college, which required high SAT scores for admission, got "F's" unless they wrote their papers drunk -- and probably not even then. This time he went to his professor and complained. Taken aback by the student's passion in defending his paper, the professor conceded that maybe he had graded the paper unfairly. "I'll give you a chance to rewrite it," he said, "but you need to use the sources more." Since the sources were universally hostile to the war in Iraq, the cue was unmistakeable. The student went back and changed every statement that represented a point view to its opposite. Thus, where he had argued that the conflict in Iraq was central to the war on terror he changed the relevant sentence to say that it was a "distraction" from the War on Terror. The entire structure of the paper he handed back remained the same. Only the conclusions were changed. He got an "A." From then on he lied on the papers he wrote for this professor feeding him the leftwing conclusions he wanted to hear. The result was a series of papers the professor graded with an "A."
The professor didn't seem too agreeable when meeting Horowitz afterwards, to put it lightly.

For Political Junkies

The Pew Research Center has a new report on political "typology" - it's fourth attempt of this kind to categorize Americans "on the basis of a broad range of value orientations rather than simply on the basis of party identification or self-reported ideology."

It's very thorough and in depth but quite a task to actually to manage reading through. Keep in mind that like most attempts to organize people into categories, each method comes with it's own pitfalls, overestimates, underestimates, and so on. It's generally a broad set of generalizations that can help give us some insight into trends.

Pew also made a typology quiz that can give the results they normally assign through their organizational processes. Where do you fit?

You won't be surprised by which category I fit under...

Out of Ideas

John Zogby has some critical words for the Democrats:
...what are the Democrats offering to the American people? Where is their plan? They are merely reactive. The Republicans produce the ideas, the Democrats merely react by saying no. If we examine the last several months' offerings from the great liberal magazines, all we see is criticism of the President, criticism of the GOP leadership, criticism of the religious Right, criticism of fellow Democrats, just plain criticism -- without one goddamned new idea to appeal to the middle class and the non-ideological middle.
The Democrats' intellectual movement has long gone dormant, since the collapse of Communism and socialism. Not many ideas left now, just stale re-hashes knee jerk resentment.

Demagoguery

David Limbaugh writes about the seething hate that many liberals have apparently deemed is an adequate substitution for civil debate and disagreement:
I hate it when liberals accuse those who disagree with them as purveying hatred. I truly hate such distortions and manipulations of language. For me to oppose gay marriage, for example, does not mean I hate gays. For me to oppose abortion doesn't mean I hate women who favor it. As a Christian, I certainly don't hate non-believers. We are called to evangelize non-believers out of duty and love, not hatred. But liberals have discovered that they can get a lot of political and cultural mileage by falsely accusing conservatives and Christians of hatred -- so they do it. And it's truly vicious when you think about it. And it's also profoundly ironic, because when you really observe what's going on, you'll see a lot more hate emanating from the Left. It's not even close.

Gay Marriage in Dem Platform?

For moment, forget whether or not you think gay marriage is right or wrong for society.

The Democrats, like any other political party, are supposed to represent the voters. They're supposed to be the representatives of the people; their voice within the halls of Washington. And both Democrats and Republicans alike are adamantly opposed to gay marriage.

Now the Democrats in Massachussetts might actually write gay marriage into their party platform, demonstrating their disconnect with the average American voter, once again. It probably won't cost them any votes in Massachussetts, but it will hurt the Democrats everywhere else.

PETA Kills Animals

Ankle Biting Pundits writes: PETA Kills Animals.
This one is sure to drive the smug, ultra-left, "animal rights" hippies into a blind rage. There's a 60 X 60 foot billboard in Times Square that says "PETA Kills Animals", and there's a website giving you the facts about how PETA kills animals.

Granted, this is probably the same thing that unfortunately has to be done at many Humane Society's across the country. A sad fact, but a necessary reality. What makes this so interesting is that these PETA people call the rest of us who eat meat or favor animal testing for medical research killers and spending money to help extremists fringe groups. They even want to stop us from drinking milk.

Hey, here's how I feel - I'm at the top of the food chain for a reason. God put some animals on earth to be eaten. And some of them taste damn good - I'm thinking here of a Filet Mignon, Venison, and Lamb. Hmm, I'm hungry.
It's hard for PETA to have any credibility when they're awash in hypocrisy.

"If They Fail in Iraq, Osama and His Whole Crew are Finished"

Ace over at Ace of Spades has written a great post about Iraq that ties in Frank Miller's Sin City and The Dark Knight Returns.
One of the climactic moments in The Dark Knight Returns -- Frank (Sin City) Miller's brilliant graphic novel about an aged Batman coming back out of retirment -- was his triumph over a particularly loathsome and large "mutant" gang member.

The gang leader was quicker, more nimble, and more innately vicious than the old crimefighter, and beat the hell out of Batman at their first encounter. Realizing he can't beat the quick and vicious thug on the thug's own terms, Batman baits him into fighting in a sludge-pit at a quarry. The gang leader soon finds himself to be as slowed by the sludge as Batman is slowed by advanced age, no longer having any sort of advantage over the much-older man.

And then Batman starts using all the dirty little in-fighting tricks he's learned over a long career of kicking ass and taking names. As he starts to break his young opponent's bones and tear his tendons, he explains, "This only looks like a mud-pit. It's an operating table. And I'm the surgeon."

Iraq is beginning to look like an operating table.
It's definitely worth spending the few minutes it'll take to read the entire post.

Now that the terrorists have been flushed out of their hiding places such as in Fallujah, and no longer have many 'fortresses' to prepare a constant stream of suicide bombers, they've taken to desperation and have begun to fling themselves full force into the hail of bullets fired by our troops. That kind of more conventional combat is precisely what the military excels at, which means the terrorists are getting savaged in each battle before they can cause any significant damage.

Revisionist History: Alamo is a Symbol of Slavery

I'm not Texan, but I'd imagine I'd be pretty irked by this:
A claim on the children's cable TV outlet Nickelodeon that the 1836 Battle of the Alamo was fought so 'white farmers could keep their slaves' has sparked controversy and outrage in this city, where the Texans who died in the historic battle are held up as examples for people to emulate, 1200 WOAI news reported Tuesday.

The fifty second long piece on Nickelodeon, which is part of an ongoing series of features about the U.S. called 'My Back Yard," shows a San Antonio teenager telling the largely pre-teen audience that 'in the early 1800's, most of the people living in San Antonio were white farmers who brought their slaves with them.' It goes on to claim that conflict over slavery between slaveholding settlers and a Mexican government which had abolished slavery 'led up' to the Battle of the Alamo. ...

E-mails obtained by WOAI radio show Alamo historian Dr. R. Bruce Winders, one of the country's leading experts on pre Civil War southwestern history, told Nickelodeon producers that the slavery claim was 'simplistic and inaccurate,' but the piece was aired anyway.

Mark Lyons, a senior producer for Nick News at Lucky Duck Productions in New York City, a contractor to Nickelodeon, which is a unit of Viacom, Inc. says the piece, called an 'interstitial,' was not meant to convey the full story of the Alamo.

"We recognize that there were several key issues in the Battle of the Alamo and one of them was slavery," Lyons said. "We want to tell our viewers something they may not have known, like the fact that at the time Texas was a part of Mexico."

Winders remains critical of the way the piece was presented.

"I think this is an extreme interpretation that was very one-sided as well as inaccurate," he said Monday. They replied that they wanted to get a Hispanic opinion of the battle. I pointed out that many people would not be able to tell that the piece was opinion and not fact, but they ran the story as it was."
Great. Enough of our history has already been warped by viewing it through lens fogged by the continuous use of the race card. The Alamo is and always has been a symbol of liberty and the sacrifices men uptake to fight for it, as has been our proud American tradition and heritage, not slavery.

When the left talks about revising history, they should look in the mirror.

DU on Grenade Plot

The Bush hating conspiracy theorists over at Democratic Underground are confused over how to react over the news that somebody lobbed a grenade at Bush earlier on his visit to Russia. And any threats of violence against the President will most likely end up being an indirect way to meet the Secret Service.

Of course, it's all just another diabolical Rovian plot...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Living Wage

Thomas Sowell:
"The fashionable notion of "a living wage" is a wage that will support a family of four. And, sure enough, The New York Times finds a Wal-Mart employee who complains that he is not making "a living wage."

How is he living, if he is not making a living wage?

Should people be paid according to what they "need" instead of according to what their work is worth? Should they decide how big a family they want and then put the cost of paying to support that family on somebody else?

If their work is not worth enough to pay for what they want, is it up to others to make up the difference, rather than up to them to upgrade their skills in order to earn what they want?"

Reid Gives Away the Game

The Democrat talking point was that filibustering is not about requiring a supermajority to approve judges, but rather it is about stopping some radical rightwing nutjobs from being given lifetime appointments to the federal bench.

Scratch that talking point. Let's face the truth. The Democrats want to establish -- in advance of a Supreme Court nomination -- that the President must get someone who can be approved with a 60% majority, not a 51% majority. Keep in mind that the Constitution specifies very specific tasks requiring more than a 51% majority. Those matters that are not specified as requiring a supermajority, including judges, have always been recognized to require just a simple majority.

Not any more.

Need proof? Let Harry Reid explain it to you.
This fight is not about seven radical nominees; it's about clearing the way for a Supreme Court nominee who only needs 51 votes, instead of 60 votes.
At least he is admitting it's about holding the Senate hostage to the whims of a supermajority and they can drop the shtick about the filibusters blocking "radical nominees."

Now that Reid admits the Democrats are not filibustering for cause on a case by case basis, but are filibustering to require the Senate to vote in a way the Constitution does not contemplate, will the Republicans get on with it and nuke the judicial filibuster?

The Feckless UN

Here's yet another example of how our money is wasted on this bureaucratic hodgepodge of an organization.

Apparently the very week the massive earthquake and tsunami hit South Asia, the UN agency "charged with monitoring seismic activity around the globe sent all of it's 310 employees on vacation".

What's more, it all costs $105 million a year, and 19 percent of it is provided by American taxpayers. More:
The man responsible for that staffing decision is Secretariat Wolfgang Hoffman, 69, a German, who will be leaving the post in August after what one insider at the agency call "nine years of abuse of power." During his tenure, marked by "mismanagement of monumental proportions," he has made about $3 million in salaries and benefits.
So like every other example of abuse within the UN, instead of fixing the problem and moving on, those who commit the wrongdoing are protected by the bureaucracy and encouraged to continue their illicit bargains.
That same year, the U.N. agency was the target of a scathing report on its use of human resources. Yet, more than two years later, the most damning report was the Asian death toll of 227,000 because all 310 employees went on vacation the same week.
And so the cost we all must pay for the negligence and corruption at the UN goes beyond simple dollars, but extends to the disaster they sat around doing nothing to salvage.
According to one staffer, anti-Semitism, racism and sexism are rampant in the agency.

Others say most senior staffers spend most of their office time smoking and drinking coffee on the fourth and seventh floor bars of the C Building of the Vienna International Centre. Many of the senior professional staff only go to the office to check their email and surf the Internet, according to G2 Bulletin sources.

These senior employees earn in excess of $100,000 annually and the income is tax-free.
Sounds like an easy job, eh?

Happy 100

It's been 100 days since Kerry promised to sign form SF-180 and meet the President on his deal to release military records.

Grenade Thrown at President Bush

According to MSNBC's Flash News, a grenade was thrown at President Bush in Russia. However, the Secret Service managed to get it away before it went off.

Wow...

Screen captured by Political Teen. Hat tip to Blogs for Bush.

UPDATE 10:35 PM: ABC NEWS: Officials say grenade thrown at Bush in Georgia, Nobody Hurt.
May 10, 2005 — A device identified as a grenade was thrown within 100 feet of the stage where President Bush was giving a speech today in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, local authorities told the U.S. Secret Service. The device did not go off and no one was hurt, the Secret Service said.

Local police told the Secret Service the device was thrown as Bush spoke in Freedom Square in Tblisi, the Georgian capital. The device hit someone and fell to the ground about 100 feet away from the stage, where local authorities grabbed it up, Georgian officials told the Secret Service.

The Secret Service said it was unaware of any disturbance until it was informed of the incident by Georgian police.

It was not clear whether the device was a live grenade. The Secret Service said none of its personnel had seen the device, but it was taking the matter seriously. Secret Service agents were in Tblisi investigating.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

10 Commandments of Multiculturalism

The Baron Gates of Vienna has posted the "Ten Commandments of Multiculturalism":
1. America is uniquely evil.
2. America is never justified in defending itself.
3. Illiterate people from poor societies are superior to Americans.
4. The Earth would be better off without human beings.
5. Making a profit is always immoral.
6. Differences between individuals or groups are unfair.
7. For Designated Victim Groups, strong feelings excuse all behavior.
8. Policies informed by Judæo-Christian principles are inherently suspect.
9. Conservatives are hypocrites; liberals are sincere.
10. There are no acts of God; there are only acts of Government.
He goes on to discuss each item on the list in greater depth.

Picked this up from Dr. Sanity.

Political Quiz from British Point of View

Here's an interesting quiz that measures your political views against Britain's general population on issues such as war, crime and punishment, foreign policy, and economics.

Expect to be placed further along to the right than you normally would, because the answers are defined in relation to Britain's politics, and not ours, so it's center is going to be farther to the left than ours.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Another of the Good Guys

One of many.

Michael Schiavo: Still a Lowlife

Michael Schiavo's true self is made painfully apparent once again:
MIAMI (AP) – The family of a severely brain-damaged woman who died after her feeding tube was removed in March said Friday they still have not been told where her remains will be laid to rest.

Terri Schiavo's parents and siblings, who waged a lengthy court battle over her end-of-life wishes, said on Fox's "Hannity & Colmes" show that her husband is keeping her remains from them.

"They were supposed to tell us, and we still have not heard from Michael Schiavo where Terri's been laid," said Terri Schiavo’s brother, Bobby Schindler. "Our family expected this. Michael has disobeyed court orders throughout the ordeal and continues to do so today."

Sick Society

Here's one showing of how our lawsuit culture turns people into monsters:
To a dessert shop customer, the severed fingertip found in a pint of frozen custard could be worth big dollars in a potential lawsuit. To the shop worker who lost it, the value is far more than monetary.

But Clarence Stowers still has the digit, refusing to return the evidence so it could be reattached. And now it's too late for doctors to do anything for 23-year-old Brandon Fizer.

"I'm not saying who has it, but somebody has it," Stowers said this week in a telephone interview, refusing to let on where the fingertip is now.

Soon after Stowers found the finger in a mouthful of chocolate soft-serve he bought Sunday at Kohl's Frozen Custard in Wilmington, he put it in his freezer at home, taking it out only occasionally to show to television cameras.

He refused to give it to the shop's owner, and refused to give it to a doctor who was Fizer, who accidentally stuck his hand in a mixing machine and had his right index finger lopped off at the first knuckle.

Medical experts say an attempt to reattach a severed finger can generally be made within six hours.

But according to the shop's management, Stowers wouldn't give it back when he was in the store 30 minutes after the accident.

"The general manager attempted to retrieve it and rush it to the hospital," reads a statement posted Thursday on Kohl's Web site. "Unfortunately, the customer refused to give it to her and declared that he would be calling the TV stations and an attorney as he exited the store."

Friday, May 06, 2005

Blair Wins!

Congratulations to Blair. I'm not familiar with all of the domestic problems Britain is grappling with, but when it came time to take a stand, he was there with America when it mattered, and for that he and the British military deserve gratitude.

Economy Still Growing

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data earlier today on April’s employment situation.

According to the report, 274,000 new payroll jobs were created in April. The unemployment rate stayed at 5.2% - that is below the averages of the last three decades. Nearly 3.5 million jobs have been created since May 2003. Home sales are at an all time high. Productivity is at a 9-month high. The manufacturing sector grew for the 23rd consecutive month, the longest period of growth in 16 years.

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert praised the numbers today:
"We have had two years of solid job growth because Americans elected a Republican Congress that is putting the right policies in place to keep this economy strong ... More people will come home from work today and will enjoy the weekend with more money in their pockets to save or spend it however they want. At the same time, the Democratic leaders are often voting against our job creation agenda and want to raise taxes that destroy jobs."
USA Today notes that job growth exceeded expectations...
Employers created a surprising 274,000 jobs in April and added more workers in each of the two preceding months than first thought, the Labor Department said Friday in a report that may ease fears about economic growth.

The April jobs total far outstripped economists' expectations for 170,000 new jobs. Further underlining the surge, the government said 93,000 more jobs were created in February and March than it previously reported — 146,000 in March instead of 110,000 and a whopping 300,000 in February instead of 243,000.
(Via Blogs for Bush.)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cinco de Mayo

The holiday of Cinco De Mayo, on the Fifth Of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexicans over the French at the Battle Of Puebla in 1862.

I knew there was a reason why I loved this holiday.

Theocracy Now!

Repeat after me: There is no theocracy in America. I don't know what the deal is with so many on the Left these days, but this whole idea that there is some growing move on the religious Right to turn the US into a theocracy is just a load of utter crap.

Yesterday, former New York Times reporter John McCandlish Phillips picked up on this theme in the Washington Post. He, too, is wondering what's behind all the talk of theocracy and Christian Jihad in the Old Media.
In more than 50 years of direct engagement in and observation of the major news media I have never encountered anything remotely like the fear and loathing lavished on us by opinion mongers in these world-class newspapers in the past 40 days. If I had a $5 bill for every time the word "frightening" and its close lexicographical kin have appeared in the Times and The Post, with an accusatory finger pointed at the Christian right, I could take my stack to the stock market.
Sure, he could take his stack there, but he’d probably lose it all, and end up poor and penniless, if it wasn't for the wonderfulness of the Social Security system to prevent him from spending his final days eating Whiskas. But that's another post.

In a nation like ours though, where public religion has always been an integral part of American life, it is just odd - and unhistorical - to pretend that having people of faith involved in public life is either threatening or unusual. As Mr. Phillips writes:
Evangelicals are concerned about the frequently advanced and historically untenable secularists' view of the intent of our non-establishment/free exercise of religion clause: that everything that has its origin in religion must be swept out of federal, and even civil, domains. That view, if militantly enforced, constitutes what seems dangerous to most evangelicals: the strict and entire separation of God from state. This construct, so desired by some, is radically out of sync with much in American history that shows a true regard for the non-establishment of religion while giving space in nearly all contexts to wide and free expressions of faith.

The fact is that our founders did not give us a nation frightened by the apparition of the Deity lurking about in our most central places. On Sept. 25, 1789, the text of what was later adopted as the First Amendment was passed by both houses of Congress, and subsequently sent to the states for ratification. On that same day , the gentlemen in the House who had acted to give us that invaluable text took another action: They passed a resolution asking President George Washington to declare a national day of thanksgiving to no less a perceived eminence than almighty God.

That's president, that's national, that's official and, alas, my doubting hearties, it's God - all wrapped up in a federal action by those who knew what they meant by the non-establishment clause and saw their request as standing at not the slightest variance from it. It's a pity our phalanx of columnists cannot crawl into a time machine to go back and reinstruct them.
Of course, the Left always responds with some silliness like, "Well, what about the uproar over the Janet Jackson Superbowl deal? Doesn’t that prove that the theocrats are trying to control what we can watch? Huh? Doesn’t it? Huh?"

Well, no, it doesn't. All it proves is that a lot of people don't particularly think having Janet Jackson flash their children on nationwide TV during a general interest sports event is appropriate. You don't have to be ridiculously uptight to object to having your children exposed to gratuitous nudity. Maybe you just want to preserve your children's innocence, a hard enough task as it is, without having to worry about aging pop stars exposing themselves during a Sunday afternoon on National TV.

As a practical matter, theocracy would be impossible to impose in the US anyway. Divisions in faith matters are so deep, even among various Christian sects, that no one sect would be able to hold enough of a majority to enforce it. It's just pure stupidity to fear it.

Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi believes so, too, and sees an odd double-standard in the way the issue is treated:
When the liberal radio network Air America airs a "comedy skit" that threatens the president with assassination, it's all in good fun.

But when Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson, a man with millions of peaceful followers, flexes his political muscle, he's the "anti-Christ," hijacking Christianity, a religious nut, a crusader for the new theocratic state.

How dare he speak?

When three "progressive" political activists are, quite properly, thrown out of President Bush's Social Security rally (too many "progressives" confuse the nasty act of throwing things at speakers and shouting malicious slogans as genuine debate) they're heralded as martyrs of The Good Cause.

Yet, when religious conservatives congregate to complain about unconstitutional and unheralded filibusters, they are portrayed as a bunch of retrogrades who want to turn the Capitol into a cathedral.
See a pattern there? Now, no one come out and says it outright-well, few do anyway—-but the implication is clear. People of strong religious faith should just stay out of public life. People like Bill Pryor, who can't be allowed to be a Federal judge because, as Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says, he has strong personal beliefs, i.e. he actually believes in the teachings of his faith, which, apparently, disqualify him for the judiciary.

But somehow, it's the Religious Right that wants to apply a religious test for public office, not Sen. Schumer.

Maybe We Could Mount It

CIA Agents told to deliver Bin Laden's head on ice.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA officer who led the first American unit into Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks said on Wednesday that his orders included an unusual assignment: bring back Osama bin Laden's head on ice.

Gary Schroen and his six-member CIA team arrived in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley two weeks after bin Laden's al Qaeda network orchestrated the attacks on Washington and New York that killed 3,000 people, prompting the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

Karl!

Those Loveable Lefties

Just keep killing more Republicans! Because it's the democratic way. And Bush is subverting democracy.

Oh, and he's divisive.

Feeding the Crocodile

"As the old saying goes: You can rent peace through appeasement, but you can't buy it. And, if that's not an old saying, it should be." -- Rich Galen

The frequency of terrorist attacks have been dramatically reduced during the last few weeks. Now they've suddenly picked up again, out of the blue.

Could it be because of the handsome sum of blood money the Spanish gave them relatively recently to free a hostage? Yes, the decision was hard, but now they can finance an entirely new line of suicide belts and bombs, killing multitudes more and encouraging more beheadings and attacks.

The 'Religious Right'

James Taranto has written a column today on the so called 'Religious right'. Now, I've always wondered, what exactly does that term mean, anyway? Can anyone define it? Can anyone point out the religious leaders? Is it simply being religious? Well, what of the religious left, then? Al Sharpton? Reverend Jackson?

It's just an empty catch all term that means whatever the audience wants it to mean.
Curiously, while secular liberals underestimate the intellectual seriousness of the religious right, they also overestimate its uniformity and ambition. The hysterical talk about an incipient "theocracy"--as if that is what America was before 1963, when the Supreme Court banned prayer in public schools--is either utterly cynical or staggeringly naive.

Last week an article in The Nation, a left-wing weekly, described the motley collection of religious figures who gathered for Justice Sunday. A black minister stood next to a preacher with a six-degrees-of-separation connection to the Ku Klux Klan. A Catholic shared the stage with a Baptist theologian who had described Roman Catholicism as "a false church."

These folks may not be your cup of tea, but this was a highly ecumenical group, united on some issues of morality and politics but deeply divided on matters of faith. The thought that they could ever agree enough to impose a theocracy is laughable.

And the religious right includes not only Christians of various stripes but also Orthodox Jews and even conservative Muslims. Far from the sectarian movement its foes portray, it is in truth a manifestation of the religious pluralism that makes America great. Therein lies its strength.
No, he's got it completely wrong! Ever since Bush was re-elected the Constitution was replaced by the Bible, stormtroopers spontaneously burst into the room to make sure you're praying, women can't go outdoors without men, and the clergy run the government! We had a chance, but now it's too late! Too laaaaaaaaaaate!

Zarqawi Almost Captured, Again!

Via WaPo. This isn't the first time. He's been on the run for a while now, and there have been times throughout this last month and previous month, many times, where he just barely eluded capture by the skin of his teeth.
The U.S. military is examining reports that insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi was present last week at a hospital in Anbar province and the possibility that he may be ill or wounded, officials said Wednesday.

U.S. officials gave no details as to why they believe Zarqawi may be sick or injured. But U.S. military authorities were quoted this month as saying that Zarqawi had left medical information about himself on a laptop computer that was seized Feb. 20 in his closest known call with American pursuers. When his car was pulled over at a checkpoint outside Ramadi, Zarqawi fled on foot, leaving behind the laptop, photos of himself and contacts, officials said.

It was not clear whether suspicions about his health were linked to the seizure of the computer or grew directly out of Zarqawi's reported presence last week at a hospital in Ramadi, the capital of restive Anbar province. Zarqawi's group asserted in a written statement posted at two mosques, one of them in Ramadi, that the Jordanian-born militant was at the hospital last Thursday during a raid by U.S. forces but that the Americans missed him.

A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, confirmed Wednesday that officials had "received a tip that there were terrorists in and around the hospital in Ramadi."

U.S. and Iraqi forces "did go to the hospital to act upon the information," Boylan said. He did not confirm that Zarqawi was the target of the raid. The forces left without detaining anyone but were reviewing information from the operation, Boylan said.

Abortive Liberalism

"The first woman charged in Wyoming for allegedly using methamphetamine while she was pregnant is back in jail for an alleged drug violation," the Associated Press reports from Riverton, Wyo.:
Michelle Ann Foust, 31, was jailed last Wednesday when a urine sample allegedly showed the presence of methamphetamine, which would violate the terms of her bond agreement.

Just five days earlier, Foust was in court for a preliminary hearing on a charge of child endangerment. She was arrested last October shortly after she gave birth to a son after blood tests allegedly showed both Foust and the infant had meth in their bloodstreams. . . .

The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized Fremont County Attorney Ed Newell for bringing the case. Foust's attorney, Gordon Ellis, said the law shouldn't apply to Foust because a fetus is not a child.
A fetus is not a child. This story encapsulates how pro-abortion absolutism has warped American liberalism. Perhaps liberalism's greatest virtue is its professed concern for the most helpless and vulnerable members of society. But here we have the ACLU, the premier liberal organization, taking the position that we have to tolerate what amounts to (alleged) child abuse in the name of dehumanizing the "fetus."

Liberalism also claims to respect science. But what scientific basis can there be for the claim that "a fetus is not a child"? It's a defensible distinction if the question is whether abortion is permissible early in pregnancy, but as a biological matter, at some point a "fetus" becomes capable of surviving on his own and thus indistinguishable from a child by any criterion except location.

To say "a fetus is not a child" is to say that the act of birth somehow instantly transforms a mere clump of cells into a human being. If that is true, then birth really is a miracle--and Gordon Ellis is a creationist.

Bill Maher: Walking Anti Humor

According to Bill Maher, it's okay to molest a kid as long as the kid doesn't reciprocate.

Why does he still have a show?

Tax Revenues Increase

This news story, which has surprised some economists and will put some liberals in a funk, is a big yawn as I've been expecting it for a while now:
After three years of rising federal budget deficits, a surge of April tax receipts brought unexpected good news to fiscal policymakers -- the tide of government red ink appears to be receding.

The Treasury Department this week reported there would be a $54 billion swing from projected deficit to surplus in the April-to-June quarter, after an unanticipated gush of tax payments poured into the Treasury before the April 15 deadline. That prompted private forecasters to lower their deficit projections for the fiscal year that ends in September.
When you cut tax rates, there's more activity, which means there's more activity to tax - and thus, real higher revenues even with a lower tax rate. This is what supply-siders have been going on about since the 80's.

In Deference to Tradition

Professor Bainbridge writes an excellent post about tradition and why we ought to respect it.

To put it simply, it's a rather spectacular claim that you, as one person, have more wisdom and experience than the combined, collective wisdom of trial and error insight gleaned by society and it's trials. Traditions that are bad tend to die out as they harm society, and traditions that last therefore have something good in them, even if that is not readily apparent. And so we should best be cautious in any modifications we make to them, for these institutions became the way they are for a reason, and the consequences of changing them are unknown and could be much worse than the perceived ills we seek to cure.

But Bainbridge's post elaborates much more nicely on it.

Insurgent Leader Caught, Related to Saddam

I always knew that Saddam used all forms of torture and other ghastly practices to keep his people in line. But I never knew that Saddam and his Baathists always used beheadings to intimidate prisoners and terrorize the population into submission, much like the terrorists are now.

Now, with that in mind, we learn the excellent news that one of the leaders of the insurgency was captured, and that he is a relative of Saddam Hussein.
Iraqi security forces captured a son of one of Saddam Hussein's half brothers, who allegedly financed the insurgency, in a raid on suspected militants near the ousted dictator's hometown, the government said Wednesday....

Ayman Sabawi is the son of Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, a half brother of Saddam's, who served as a presidential adviser before the U.S.-led invasion. Al-Hassan was captured Feb. 26 this year.

Ayman Sabawi "played a particularly active role in sustaining the terrorism by providing financial support, weapons and explosives to terrorist groups," the statement said.
The 'insurgency' is not made up of Iraqis fighting against an America they see as an imperialist oppressor. The terrorists beheading civilians in Iraq are mainly the leftovers of Saddam's regime, thugs and murderers, combined with foreign support from nations like Syria and Iran.

A Photo Essay

Arthur Chenkroff has made a photo essay "on the disadvantages of pissing off America."

Rob Smith makes a similar observation, without the photos:
I am amused when Osama Bin Laden is referred to as a "mastermind." BWHAHAHAHAAA!!!! He masterminded his entire organization right into the shitter when he finally managed to piss off the United States badly enough to fight back. He never thought we'd do it. He was mistaken.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Guardian Bites the Bullet, Pigs Take Wing

It's not agreeable in all it's parts, but I hope you're sitting down, because today the Guardian's Max Hastings dares to voice the left's ultimate heresy: Perhaps the neocons got it right in the Middle East.
The greatest danger for those of us who dislike George Bush is that our instincts may tip over into a desire to see his foreign policy objectives fail. No reasonable person can oppose the president's commitment to Islamic democracy. Most western Bushophobes are motivated not by dissent about objectives, but by a belief that the Washington neocons' methods are crass, and more likely to escalate a confrontation between the west and Islam than to defuse it.

Such scepticism, however, should not prevent us from stepping back to reassess the progress of the Bush project, and satisfy ourselves that mere prejudice is not blinding us to the possibility that western liberals are wrong; that the Republicans' grand strategy is getting somewhere.

It may sound perverse to suggest that we should not measure progress in Iraq solely, or even chiefly, by counting corpses. Yet most insurgent activity is the work of Sunnis, chronically alienated by dispossession from power, or jihadists committed simply to frustrate any project sponsored by the US.
Like Afghanistan, we will measure progress in Iraq as inversely related to the media coverage it gets. As stories about Iraq reduce in frequency, it means things are getting a lot better.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Historians Aren't Pleased with the Movie, Kingdom of Heaven

Everything seems to have been made politically correct:
"It's not like a stupid Hollywood movie," said French actress Eva Green about the English director Sir Ridley Scott’s Crusades flick, Kingdom of Heaven.

That's true. It's, like, a stupid English movie.

The Crusades are hot, and Ridley Scott (director of Alien) is about to make them hotter. "Muslims," gushed the New York Times after an advance showing of the new blockbuster, "are portrayed as bent on coexistence until Christian extremists ruin everything. And even when the Christians are defeated, the Muslims give them safe conduct to return to Europe." Sir Ridley, according to the Times, "said he hoped to demonstrate that Christians, Muslims and Jews could live together in harmony - if only fanaticism were kept at bay." Or, as Green put it, the movie is intended to move people "to be more tolerant, more open towards the Arab people."

Bent on coexistence, eh? That's right: the Kingdom of Heaven script invents a group called the "Brotherhood of Muslims, Jews and Christians." A publicist for the film elaborated: "They were working together. It was a strong bond until the Knights Templar cause friction between them." Ah yes, everything was all right until those "Christian extremists" spoiled everything.

Kingdom of Heaven is designed to be a dream movie for those guilt-ridden creatures who believe that all the trouble between the Islamic world and the West has been caused by Western imperialism, racism, and colonialism, and that the glorious paradigm of Islamic tolerance, which was once a beacon to the world, could be reestablished if only the nasty white men of America and Europe would back off. A dream movie for the PC establishment, except for one little detail: it isn't true.
You can find a review of the movie here, here, and here.

Joke of the Day

From US News and World Report:
With Republicans scrounging around for an able successor to President Bush in the 2008 election, Washington's focus is fast turning to an escalating battle on the Democratic side between front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and 2004 nominee Sen. John Kerry . Whispers learns that Kerry is not just testing the waters: He's running. "His family wants him to run again," says one pal. Proof he's in: Kerry has added names to his E-mail list of 3 million, kept johnkerry.com alive and kicking, raised boatloads of cash for friendly Democrats, and moved to seize control of hot-button issues like kids' healthcare, the environment, and support for military families. The Kerry clan is also pushing the Clinton electability issue. "Donors and organized labor love Bill Clinton, " says one Kerry friend. "But they're telling everyone they're terrified that she'd get stomped."

Friends of Hillary, meanwhile, are touting her front-runner status and joining in the chorus of Democrats who think Kerry should crawl under a rock and go away. "He had his chance," mutters a Clinton ally. "It's over."

Democracy in Iraq

Iraq's first democratic government was sworn in today...

Looking at their Constitution, there seems to be much of in way of similarities between ours.
All Iraqis are equal in their rights without regard to gender, sect, opinion, belief, nationality, religion, or origin, and they are equal before the law. Discrimination against an Iraqi citizen on the basis of his gender, nationality, religion, or origin is prohibited.
I wonder how this will be enforced, and in what manner.

Open Display of Liberal Media Bias

This has basically everything wrong with the media's liberal bias in one story.

Terry Neal uncritically takes the word of a liberal advocacy group that Orin Hatch previously supported filibusters.

Which would be fine, except that what he actually said is the complete opposite. Those pesky facts again:
I personally do not want to filibuster Federal judges. [President Clinton] won the election. He ought to have the right to appoint the judges he wants to.
If you had liberal professors in college, or have ever had a biased teacher, you know this for a fact: Yes, you could argue with them when it comes to exam time. And if you present a perfectly logical, fact driven essay without any holes or gaps whatsoever, you might even get a pretty good grade.

But they'll be reading your essay with a much, much more critical eye, and any slip-ups or errors are going to cost you.

On the other hand, if you turn around and hand in an essay filled with nothing but the gobbledegook the professor has been spouting at you all semester, then you will very likely get an A, with minimal and shoddy effort.

And so it goes with the liberal press corps. If a conservative group had given Terry Neal a "quote" allegedly from Chuck Schumer displaying hypocrisy on the issue, you could bet that they'd rake over it with a fine tooth and comb, check over and over to make sure it was correct and that it wasn't misrepresenting him.

But when the target is Orin Hatch - well, then, Terry Neal just giggles with delight and, without any critical questioning or even a three second Google search to find what I found, writes "Great job!" and prints it in the Washington Post as his own "story."

Brain Damaged Firefighter Regains Memory And Ability to Speak... After Ten Years

Suddenly just regained most of the former functioning of his brain.

Said "I want to talk to my wife," and then spoke nonstop for nearly 14 hours.

I won't make the obvious point. Oh, wait, yes I will.

Michael Schiavo just announced that he is withdrawing his marriage to the fireman. "He's just not the man I fell in love with," he was quoted as saying. "He used to be so different. So sweet-natured, so unconscious, so... inert."

Jobs Americans Won't Do

Thomas Sowell:
"In addition to those with these liberal attitudes, there are some conservatives who think that we need workers from Mexico to do work that Americans will not do.

Virtually every job in the country is work that Americans will not do, if the pay is below a certain level. And the pay will not rise to that level so long as illegal immigrants -- "undocumented workers" -- are available to work for less.

Even those who write editorials about how we need Mexicans to do work that Americans will not do would not be willing to write editorials for a fraction of what they are being paid. If Mexican editorial writers were coming across the border illegally and taking their jobs, maybe the issue would become clearer."
Just make them prove they got here legally, then hire them. Shouldn't be too much to ask.

Tax Dollars at Work

In the name of fighting the Drug War, a public high school is teaching kids how to cook meth.

Breaking: CNN Publishes Good News

The "insurgency" is falling apart: US military: Letter to al-Zarqawi complains of low morale.
The letter - which never refers to al-Zarqawi by name - is written to Sheik Abu Ahmad, a name not known to be used by al-Zarqawi or his followers. But followers do often call al-Zarqawi the Sheik or Sheik Abu Musab in letters and on Web sites.

"While the letter advocates Jihad and praises 'the Sheik' for being 'a thorn in the mouth of the Americans,' the main purpose of the letter is to address low morale, weakening support for the Jihad, and the incompetence of many of the Mujahideen leaders," the military news release said.

The letter is dated April 27, the military said.

The author of the letter also "admonishes 'the Sheik' for abandoning his followers" after the Falluja siege late last year.

U.S. forces led an assault last fall on the Sunni Triangle city’s terrorist network that is believed to be run by al-Zarqawi.

Because of the "continuous pressure by Iraqi and coalition forces," the statement said, al-Zarqawi has relied on his cell leaders to conduct operations while he is forced to evade being killed or captured.

Polls - Social Security

Listening to the most of the media, you’d think Bush’s proposed personal accounts option for social security contributors is DOA. That is until you look at this recent Fox News poll. Among the findings:
  • 79 percent of the public think people under age 55 should have the right to choose between keeping all of their Social Security contributions in the current system and investing a portion of their funds. That support goes up to 84 percent among respondents under age 55.
  • When Social Security is not mentioned, most Americans say they trust themselves (77 percent) over the government (15 percent) when it comes to making retirement investment decisions.
  • Only 57 percent of Americans understand the accounts would be voluntary. (For now...)

Monday, May 02, 2005

"What is He, Dracula?"

A member of Iraq's Ansar Al-Sunna terrorist gang confesses to an astoundingly vile crime, on Al-Iraqiya television courtesy of MEMRI TV.
'Adnan Elias: They told us to take him to the house of Habib ‘Izzat Hamu. We took him out there. We said to him: "Why did you do this and that... Why are you after us?" He answered: “It’s out of our hands. We get orders.” Then we were told to bring a knife.

Interviewer: You slaughtered him?

'Adnan Elias: Yes, sir. Habib 'Izzat Hamu got the knife. He slaughtered him, and when he was dead, he opened his shirt buttons and cut open his stomach.

Interviewer: Who opened him up?

'Adnan Elias: Muhsin, sir.

Interviewer: When a doctor performs an operation he wears a surgeon's mask over his nose and mouth.

'Adnan Elias: No sir, he didn't wear one.

Interviewer: He didn't wear one?

'Adnan Elias: No sir, he didn't wear one. He cut open his stomach and took stuff out.

Interviewer: What did he take out?

‘'Adnan Elias: I don't know, his guts.

Interviewer: Weren't you nauseous? Didn't you vomit?

'Adnan Elias: You mean Muhsin?

Interviewer: No, you.

'Adnan Elias: I was standing a little bit aside.

Interviewer: And he didn't vomit or get nauseous?

'Adnan Elias: No, sir.

Interviewer: What is he, Dracula?

'Adnan Elias: Huh?

Interviewer: Go on.

'Adnan Elias: Yes, sir. He opened him up, took stuff out, and put TNT and explosives inside. Then he sewed up his stomach with thick thread.

Interviewer: With thread?

'Adnan Elias: Yes. And a needle. He put the buttons back in place...

Interviewer: He buttoned him up.

'Adnan Elias: Yes, he buttoned him up. We were told to take him in the car near the square in Tel A'far. We threw him there and placed his head back on his shoulders.

Interviewer: My God!

'Adnan Elias: 15 to 30 minutes later they told his family to come and get their son. His father came with two policemen. They picked up the body and made no more than two steps – we were standing far away – Ahmad Sinjar pressed the button.

Interviewer: By remote control.

'Adnan Elias: The body exploded on them, and they died.

Interviewer: So his father and the two policemen died.

'Adnan Elias: Yes sir, and we took off.

What's Worse?

The US military having recruiting problems, or al-Qaeda having the recruitment problem?
Task Force Baghdad soldiers this morning rescued a man apparently blackmailed into a suicide-bombing mission by terrorist master Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The man exploded his red Kia sedan roughly 15 feet from a barrier to a coalition base in east Baghdad, Iraq. The car bomb failed to detonate properly and the vehicle caught on fire. Soldiers manning the gate reacted quickly and saved the driver, coalition officials said in a release.

An initial investigation revealed that terrorists had kidnapped the driver's family and that he was forced to carry out this suicide-bombing mission to protect his wife and children, coalition officials said.

No soldiers were injured in the attack. The driver is being treated at a military hospital and is cooperating with authorities.

"This is another case where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has to extort men to carry out his indiscriminate slaughtering," said Army Col. Joe DiSalvo, commander of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. "He can't recruit volunteers. (So) he is resorting to forcing Iraqi civilians to carry out these mission by threatening harm to kidnapped family members."
So now Zarqawi has been reduced to capturing women and children, and then telling their husbands and fathers that if they don't go strapping a bomb to their chest to blow up a few infidels, then he's going to chop off their heads?

Interesting recruiting tactic. Michael Moore's Minutemen, indeed.

"Scientific Consensus"?

Telegraph | News: Leading scientific journals 'are censoring debate on global warming'.
Dr Peiser is not the only academic to have had work turned down which criticises the findings of Dr Oreskes's study. Prof Dennis Bray, of the GKSS National Research Centre in Geesthacht, Germany, submitted results from an international study showing that fewer than one in 10 climate scientists believed that climate change is principally caused by human activity.
The whole thing is one giant rebuttal to the doomsday environmentalists. I'm surprised any scientists are willing to buck the "consensus", because anyone that does is routinely accused of being a neo-con shill for Big Oil.
"Dr Peiser said the stifling of dissent and preoccupation with doomsday scenarios is bringing climate research into disrepute. "There is a fear that any doubt will be used by politicians to avoid action," he said. "But if political considerations dictate what gets published, it's all over for science."
In part it was over for un-politicized, non-sensationalistic science as soon as scientists realized that they could get billions of dollars and new supercomputer centers just by bleating "We're all gonna die, and more research is needed!"

Good News from Afghanistan

These reports never get any exposure. And there's so much of it.

Quite a quagmire, really.

Do Nothing Democrats

George Stephanopoulos caught Nancy Pelosi in lie yesterday on ABC's "This Week":
STEPHANOPOULOS: "If you compare it to doing nothing, the benefits under - if you do nothing - are actually lower than under the President's plan and so far the Democrats have not offered anything."

REP. PELOSI "It's not a question of doing nothing. Democrats are - have a vision to save Social Security first."

STEPHANOPOULOS: "But nobody has seen it."
That's because there isn't one.

Stop Making Sense

A few days ago, a once-prominent American politician weighed in on the questions of judicial appointees, the filibuster and religion in politics, and he made a lot of sense. Here's what he said:
We began as a nation with a clear formulation of the basic relationship between God, our rights as individuals, the government we created to secure those rights, and the prerequisites for any power exercised by our government.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident," our founders declared. "That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. . . ."

But while our rights come from God, as our founders added, "governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed."

So, unlike our inalienable rights, our laws are human creations that derive their moral authority from our consent to their enactment--informed consent given freely within our deliberative processes of self-government.

Any who seek to wield the powers of government without the consent of the people, act unjustly.
Excellent points, sir! America was founded with "a clear formulation of the basic relationship" between God and government--a rebuke to those who today would disfranchise religious believers. Laws "derive their moral authority from our consent." Take that, activist judges! And "any who seek to wield the powers of government without the consent of the people, act unjustly." Reactionary Democrats are wrong to subvert majority rule via the filibuster.

What's odd about this is that the speaker was Al Gore, and he doesn't actually believe any of this. Even so, it's nice of him to say it.

30 Years Later

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Vik Rubenfeld Tears Apart the LA Times

Vik Rubenfeld has an excellent critique of an L.A. Times sub-headline that reads:
Thirty years after the fall of Saigon, the firmly Communist nation has a flourishing economy, social freedom and deep ties with the U.S.
Vik shows how the article itself shows that Vietnam's economy is anything but communistic. As Vik notes:
The subhead could just as well have been: "Capitalism Brings Vietnam Out of a Communist Dark Age."
An excellent post. Read it all.

(Content via Oh, THAT Liberal Media!)

UN Peacekeepers Sexually Abused Liberian Girls

The left is seething mad about the appointment of John Bolton as the US ambassador to the United Nations. They're worried that the dictators, cronies, and bag men of the UN may not like us if our ambassador tells the truth.

But if you need any more evidence that a tough, unrelenting, blunt-talking sheriff is needed to make a start at cleaning up that astonishingly corrupt organization, take a gander at this: UN peacekeepers sexually abused Liberia women, girls.
UN peacekeepers sexually abused and exploited local women and girls in Liberia and more accusations are expected, a UN spokesman said Friday.

Stephane Dujarric said a preliminary investigation by the UN mission in Liberia indicated that some allegations against its personnel could be substantiated, while others could not.

"The allegations range from the exchange of goods, money or services for sex to the sexual exploitation of minors. The peacekeeping department here in New York as well as the mission on the ground are taking appropriate follow-up action," he said.

A UN official speaking on condition of anonymity said the number of allegations could eventually total 20.

The head of the mission in Liberia, Jacques Paul Klein, is to step down when his contract expires at the end of the month, a UN spokesman announced Thursday. His deputy Abou Moussa will temporarily take over.

The allegations of sex abuse in Liberia are just the latest to be leveled against UN peacekeepers who have been accused of exploiting the very people they were sent to protect in missions from Bosnia and Kosovo to Cambodia, East Timor and Congo.
The less power this organization has, the better.