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Monday, January 30, 2006

Clarity of Thought 

Debra Burlingame, whose brother was a pilot on American Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, puts into perspective the arguments over renewal of the Patriot Act and the NSA phone monitoring kerfuffle. You can't read this piece with an open mind and not believe that we as a society are overlawyered.

My amazement never ceases at the readiness of the loony left to give the likes of bin Laden, Zawahiri and Zarqawi, not to mention Amahdinijad, the benefit of the doubt while simultaneously ascribing the worst motives to their own government. It's a pity they can't live a few months in, say, Iran or Cuba and experience the absence of freedom that they are always blaming on the US government.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Murdercide 

Now, that's a word that conveys real meaning a lot better than that lame "homicide bomber" that Fox News Channel uses. I got it from the "Skeptic" column in the January 2006 edition of Scientific American, written by Michael Shermer. Shermer derived it from the notion of "suicide by cop," reasoning that people who blow themselves and others up on purpose are committing "suicide by murder." Sounds right to me. Maybe I'll start using it.

There's a lot of good information in the piece, which can be found here. It's not long--go read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Yet Another Reason Not To Read the LA Times 

By now probably half the blogosphere (the right half) has linked to this column by Joel Stein in the LA Times as an example of the depths to which the Left in this country will go to disparage the war against Islamonazism and those fighting it.

My very first reaction when I read it this afternoon: "PIG!"

Thankfully, I'm not familiar with Mr. Stein's work. I read somewhere that Mr. Stein is a humor writer. If that's an example of his humor, I hope for his sake that he has a real job somewhere. I have to give him credit, though, for being honest about his feelings. None of this "I support the troops, I just don't support the war" crap that most lefties spout all the time will do for Mr. Stein. Nope, he's laying it out straight: "I don't support the troops" is the first phrase of his essay.

I just saw at Little Green Footballs an excerpt from a Reuters ("al-Reuters") piece about how Mr. Stein says he's been "bombarded by hate mail" generated by his piece. Well, when you write your own hate mail in a major (but less so than it used to be) American metropolitan daily, I'd say it's not unpredictable that you'd get some in return. Mr. Stein will probably be lucky if all he gets is hate mail. I wonder if his contract with the LA Times has a bodyguard provision in it. If I were in the habit of writing stuff like that, I'd sure want one.

As Glenn Reynolds noted, it's probably OK to question Mr. Stein's patriotism. Maybe his work would be more appreciated in, say, Cuba. They certainly wouldn't have parades for the troops there, and I understand they don't have traffic problems, either.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Teddy Kennedy: Celebrity! 

Well, it looks as though Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Hypocrisy) has finally achieved celebrity status, just like those Hollywood folk who support him so loyally.

According to the National Enquirer in a story picked up by the Boston Herald, the Senator has a love child, who apparently has just recently celebrated his 21st birthday. Go read it if you want the gory details.

Ahh, Teddy! How the media will miss you when you go.

Credit Wizbang for the pointer.

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DemoWOT Understanding 

Dafydd at Big Lizards does a great job of explaining why the Democrats think the way they do about the GWOT, or as I prefer to call it, the Islamonazi War.

Here's the nut:
On a nutshell, the DemoWOT understanding is that:
  • We were attacked on 9/11 by a criminal organization named al-Qaeda;
  • Al-Qaeda consists of a handful of people: bin Laden, Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, and just a few other associates;
  • Our primary duty is to round up the masterminds of al-Qaeda, arrest them, and put them on trial;
  • Because they're international "criminals," they must be tried by an international body: the International Court of Justice (World Court) at the Hague, Belgium's War Crimes Law, or the International Criminal Court (also at the Hague but distinct from the World Court);
  • If found guilty, the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks should be imprisoned, perhaps for life, but not given the death penalty -- because that would "make us no better than they are;"
  • Once they have been brought to justice, we can all go home, because the war on terrorism will be over.

We can party like it's (still) 1999!

The crowd that shares this understanding of the GWOT today encompasses virtually every Democrat in a leadership position in either house of Congress, all Democratic presidential aspirants (except Joe Lieberman), and swirls around Chairman Howard Dean and the big supporters (and drivers) of the party, such as Michael Moore, MoveOn.org, George Soros, the Hollywood crowd, and the New York intelligensia; it's about as universal as it's possible to be in a modern political party, rivaling the unity of understanding among the top members of the GOP that lower taxes are good.

There are many other astute observations in the piece. As the saying goes, read the whole thing.

I have long believed something similar about why the antiwar folks--not limited to the Democrats--don't take the Islamonazi threat seriously. While not wishing to lift a finger to go after the bad guys, and in fact going out of their way to defend them, the antiwar types like Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan and the Kos Kids are at the same time supremely confident that the West, and in particular the United States, will prevail in the end. Nothing else explains why they would support people who, if successful, would purge gays from society by40th floor defenestration, would force all women into burkhas and would sentence to death young women who defend themselves against rapists. May the Lord help us if they ever control the levers of power in our government.

Credit Michelle Malkin for the pointer.


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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sen. Schumer and the Alito Hearings 

For a long time now, every time I see Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on TV I'm reminded of Snoopy in the "Peanuts" strip sitting on top of his doghouse and fantasizing about being a vulture. I think it must be the Senator's posture--he seems always to have his shoulders hunched and his face thrust forward, as he peers over his glasses apparently looking for some carrion to devour.

I haven't been glued to the TV during the Alito confirmation hearings; I've tuned in and gotten snippets of Teddy Kennedy, Arlen Specter, Schumer, Dick Durbin, John Cornyn and Pat Leahy doing their thing. By some stroke of luck I haven't tuned in while Sen. Biden was holding forth. Anyway, my impression of Sen. Schumer as a caricature of a buzzard has been strengthened by his demeanor during the hearings. He's been acting like a vulture suddenly required by circumstances to actually go out and kill something, and it hasn't been pretty. Like Peggy Noonan, I am left wondering how Judge Alito is able to sit through it all without either breaking into hysterical laughter or responding to the Senators' questions with all the snarkiness they deserve.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sen. Teddy Kennedy 

The hypocrisy is almost visible as it oozes from every pore of that morbidly obese, alcohol-soaked body.

Of all the people in Massachusetts that could have been elected Senator, the folks there elected Teddy Kennedy and John Kerry--more than once! Must be something in the water.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness 

A friend of mine sent me the text of an editorial by Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the large German publishing firm Axel Springer, published on 20 November 2004 in Die Welt, a well-known German periodical. I checked out its authenticity at snopes.com, and you can too, here.

The editorial is reproduced in full below (including a couple of sentences that weren't in the original German, according to snopes).

A few days ago Henry Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe — your family name is appeasement." It's a phrase you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly true.

Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements.

Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union, then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe where for decades, inhuman, suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities.

Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and, even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe yet again, and do our work for us.

Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.

Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, has the gall to issue bad grades to George Bush... Even as it is uncovered that the loudest critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions, no, TENS of billions, in the corrupt U. N. Oil-for-Food program.

And now we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement. How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere? By suggesting that we really should have a "Muslim Holiday" in Germany.

I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of our (German) Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German people, actually believe that creating an Official State "Muslim Holiday" will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists.

One cannot help but recall Britain's Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable treaty signed by Adolph Hitler, and declaring European "Peace in our time".

What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction.

It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation" but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.

Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush.

His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.

In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society's values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China.

On the contrary, we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those "arrogant Americans", as the World Champions of "tolerance", which even Otto Schily justifiably criticizes.

Why?

Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic, so devoid of a moral compass.

For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy, because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake — literally everything.

While we criticize the "capitalistic robber barons" of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We'd rather discuss reducing our 35-hour workweek or our dental coverage, or our 4 weeks of paid vacation, or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to "Reach out to terrorists, to understand and forgive".

These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor's house.

Appeasement? Europe, thy name is Cowardice.

Compare with Mark Steyn's article linked in the previous post. Herr Doepfner obviously "gets it."

I had not seen this before, notwithstanding that it's almost 14 months old at this writing, and notwithstanding that the excellent blog Davids Medienkritik posted about it here. My bad, I guess.

So typical of the US lamestream media not to give this any visibility, yes?

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Quo Vadimus? 

The new Thought posted at the top of the left sidebar is from a must-read essay that may be found in the January issue of the New Criterion and here.

Mark Steyn has a talent for writing about societally fundamental subjects in a very readable, almost breezy, style. In this essay, he discusses the hard fact that, with the exception of the United States, the fertility rates in the nations that we call "The West" are far below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman, while the fertility rates among Muslims and in Muslim nations are far above that figure. Specifically:
And the hard data on babies around the Western world is that they're running out a lot faster than the oil is. "Replacement" fertility rate--i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller--is 2.1 babies per woman. Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?

Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you'll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada's fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That's to say, Spain's population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy's population will have fallen by 22%, Bulgaria's by 36%, Estonia's by 52%. In America, demographic trends suggest that the blue states ought to apply for honorary membership of the EU: In the 2004 election, John Kerry won the 16 with the lowest birthrates; George W. Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest. By 2050, there will be 100 million fewer Europeans, 100 million more Americans--and mostly red-state Americans.

The inexorable result in all of this: not only is the world is becoming more Muslim, but the West is in a demographic death spiral. Couple these facts with Western society's unwillingness to think about their ramifications, and the odds of the whole world looking like Afghanistan under the Taliban or present-day Iran, Saudi Arabia or Egypt by the end of the 21st century become uncomfortably high. Uncomfortable, that is, if you favor classical liberal democratic society, as I do.

One of the many things I took away from Steyn's piece is that a majority of the Muslim world is absolutely convinced to the marrow that the Sharia model of the future is the correct one--yea, it is even divinely ordained, while a vocal minority of Western society (viz. Howard the Hapless Haranguer) are equally convinced that the classical liberal democratic model is the wrong one, and maybe 30% to 40% of the rest of Western society isn't sure, but in any case we should be tolerant of the Muslims viewpoint.

If you care about the kind of world your grandchildren will be living in, you'd be well advised to read Steyn's essay, and think very long and hard about the implications of what he says.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Blacks and the Democrats 

Jeff Goldstein posts a comment on a WSJ op-ed piece by Los Angeles homeless advocate Ted Hayes that appeared 2 Jan 06. Jeff's point is the hypocrisy of the "progressive left," which preaches "tolerance," but woe be unto the black, hispanic, woman or other member of an identified "victim" group who dares to stray from the party line.

To me, it's just another reminder of how the Democrats take the black vote for granted because black "leadership" of the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton seem to be able to convince most black Americans that the social welfare/dependency programs they promote are good for the black community.

I say, "horseshit!" Those guys (Jackson, Sharpton) want blacks to keep suckin' at the government teat because they want to control them, thereby making the Jacksons and Sharptons of the world more politically potent. In my opinion, what the black community needs is to make individual blacks more politically potent, and that means they have to put their votes in play. They won't ever achieve their political goals by consistently voting for one party.

As things stand now, the Democratic party takes the black vote for granted and doesn't champion programs that could lead to real progress such as school vouchers, and the Republicans write the black vote off because it has been demonstrated that no matter what the Republicans do, blacks still vote Democratic. To achieve their goals, I think blacks need to put the Democrats on notice that they can't rely on a monolithic black vote unless they do more than pay lip service and offer cosmetic solutions to the community's problems, and they need to let Republicans know that blacks will support Republican candidates who promise to work for real solutions, and then deliver when elected.

It seems to me that there are more and more people like Ted Hayes standing up and speaking out, and that's good. The world will be a brighter place when the tipping point is reached and black people start voting their real interests instead of what demagogues tell them their interests should be.

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