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January 2005
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March 2005

Plain and Simple

Michael Graham:

When a construction worker gives you an envelope with $1,000 in $20s and $50s raised by passing the hat around his job site in a single day, that's not duty. It's not abstract patriotism. It's love, plain and simple.

Love for the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.

Sowell is Rightly Vexed

Thomas Sowell:

The combination of tenure and academic self-governance is unique — and explains much of the atmosphere of self-indulgence and irresponsibility on campus, of which Professor Ward Churchill is just one extreme example. Re-thinking confused notions of "academic freedom" is far more important than firing Professor Churchill and thereby turning a jackass into a martyr.


Rise of Islamism

Sophie Masson:

Westerners should not think, as so many do, that the rejection of tradition means the adoption of Western thinking on democracy or even modernity. In Java, as in many parts of the Muslim world, increasingly, modernisation and democratisation are equated not with secularism, but with Islam. Strict Islam is not incompatible with modernity in the sense of science and technology, democracy (of a kind) and business. What strict Islam is most incompatible with is human diversity; of localised expressions of faith, of artistic explorations of the numinous, and of the ambiguity of human nature. And thus it cannot, in its zealous, messianic form, coexist peacefully with other ways of being Muslim, let alone with “infidels”.

There are were many places like Albania, Africa, Afghanistan, Iran, and the above mentioned Indonesia where relatively peaceful Islam flourished. The Wahabbi influence has changed all that. Before the increasing attacks on the West in the 1990s, the Islamists were destroying benign Islam all over the world. The very first victims of Islamism were...Muslims. Unfortunately, many of these victimized Muslims couldn't fight back because the Quran, and the most money and guns belonged to the Islamists.

Today, the US and the Allies have thankfully reversed the momentum.

The Dark Knight

I wanted to watch a movie in a theatre tonight but the bone chilling cold and freezing rain discouraged me. I was surfing thru and found Batman playing on Showcase Action. Good movie; Basinger looks stunning. Pet peeve: Batman is supposed to blend in the night... so what's with the yellow bat insignia on his outfit.

Anyway, I am looking forward to Batman Begins this summer. The combination of Nolan and Bale should be dynamite.

Crazy Brits

Jamie Kenny on Nucular Kim:

... This is the monumental complete load of absolute fucking nonsense known as the Juche ideal. Supposedly a theory of autarky, in practice it’s a kind of monstrous memetic feedback loop ...

JohnnyB on making dinner. No comment.

So that's why Leftists are all in favor of Islamism.

Don't let perfection be the enemy of the good:

I'm not sure what ladies on The Good Read ideally expect to happen in Afghanistan (perhaps Anne Summers parties?) but they could at least recognise that women are now able to see doctors, have jobs, and girls are now allowed to be educated.

You'll find all the above links and more from Tim Worstall's BritBlog roundup.


Wes Pruden:

Americans make lousy imperialists. We don't do Nuremberg rallies. Americans make pretty good soldiers, as a lot of men in Valhalla could tell you, but when the shooting stops the American GI only wants to come home, marry the girl next door, pop the top on a cool one and watch the Patriots clock the Eagles. It's what makes him distinctively American.

Right on. Read the fine article for the context.

Islamism in Europe

From Andrew Stuttaford at the Corner:

... more grim news from Holland, it has been disclosed that controversial Dutch MP Geert Wilders – his stance on multiculturalism and immigration has earned him a steady stream of death threats from real or purported Islamist groups - is being housed in a prison for his own security.

Does Holland have enough room in it's prisons for her entire non-Islamist population? It's a rhetorical question. I'm not impressed with the Dutch government since it has done very little. Most of the Dutch public erupted after the murder of Theo but the national government only talked about peace and love. There are, of course, courageous MPs who take a tough stance but many of them are branded racists and xenophobes and it's left at that. Let's hope that that changes.

Hayden Returns

The best opener of the era is back in form. Hayden top scored for Australia, in the first match of the series, with a well paced 71. Pity that only Ponting and Symonds provided a decent build up. The young star, MJ Clarke, went out for a duck! McGrath earned his MoM award with exceptional figures (9.4 overs; 16 (!) runs and 4 wickets). McGrath didn't give away a single extra. Damn.

The rest of the series is going to be torture for New Zealand. I feel sorry for them because Hayden is going to carve them up real nice and McGrath is going to add to his long and fruitful record.

Canadian Islamists

To date, the American-led invasion of Iraq has resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 Iraqis and thousands of Americans.
[Emphasis mine]

I wonder where they got that bogus number from.

Aggressive U.S. policy against Iran and its plan to attack it, with or without Israel's help, will further erode hopes for world peace.

Yes, of course, let's allow the Iranian government to get nukes. Ignore the fact that members of the Iranian government have vowed to completely destroy Israel with nukes. It's the US thats eroding world peace by standing between Israel and another holocaust.

The U.S. must offer Iraqis a definite withdrawal timetable and bring young Americans home before the best years of another generation (as during the Vietnam conflict) are lost. The pretense of protecting Iraqis from possible civil war (i.e. from themselves) is weak and unsubstantiated; American forces have shown they are helpless in protecting their own ground troops.
[Emphasis mine]

Weak and unsubstantiated? I am sure that Zarqawi will be surprised to hear that. The Iraqi terrorists are primarily Sunni. Their goal for months has been to start a civil war. They failed miserably and credit should be given to the Allies. Instead the entire civil war issue is brushed away.

American troops are not helpless. When you have a kill ratio of more than 15-to-1, the word helpless doesn't come to mind.

Aggressive American policies in the Middle East are fueling radicalism and extremism, thereby sabotaging the cause of peace with justice.

You must be talking about the peace that reigned in the Middle East during the 80s and 90s. For example the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam gassing the Kurds, Iraq invading Kuwait, Iraq targeting Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Israel with scud missiles in 1991, bombing of the Khobar towers in 1995, boming of the USS Cole in 2000. By the way, there's also the stoning of women in Iran, the slaughter of Iraqis by Saddam after the Gulf War was over, the repression of Shia in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the repression of non-Muslims all over the Middle East, the beheading of alcohol smugglers and cutting off of limbs for stealing in Saudi Arabia.

If only the US had not implemented her aggressive policies after 9/11, the Middle East would have been like so unradical and super peaceful. Again:

Political, social and economic reform movements in all Middle East countries are grinding to a halt because of the disruption caused by U.S. involvement in their national affairs.
[Emphasis mine]

The US has only disrupted the national affairs of one country in the Middle East. How that stopped the, nonexistant, reform movements all over the Middle East is not explained. Their entire statement is a load of juvenile, ignorant, antisemitic, Islamist crap. Sadly, they're, for now, in agreement with the Canadian P.M.

Link via LFG.

Another Storm Gathers


To be trapped in an intellectual desert with a faked lodestone and Al Sharpton for company -- if that were not bad enough -- there is the world phenomenon of Jihadi terrorism. Curiously absent from Peretz's essay is the long shadow cast by radical Islam on Liberalism itself. Islamism has already displaced Marxist Nasserism as the primary ideology of the Middle East and if demographic trends continue will displace the Left in Europe too.

I don't think that Islamists will 'displace' the Left. It'll be more like the destruction of the Left in Europe. Right now, the Islamists view the Leftists as useful infidels but when Islamism is dominant in Europe, the Leftists will serve little purpose. The Left will, then, find out the real meaning of Jihad in a brutal fashion.


I'm not claiming that my pajamas have magic in them...

If I had a nickel for every time I have heard that. Moving on.

One caller who was a woman from Saudi Arabia said that the Iraqi elections were a joke, an American theatrical action and all this kind of crap like "no democracy under occupation"…blah blah blah.

Oh, this is delicious. A Saudi woman who has less rights than a camel* is commenting on the Iraqi democracy! A Saudi woman who is not allowed to travel by herself** is pontificating about the Iraqi elections! A Saudi woman who can't get a simple driver's license*** is giving her asinine opinion on Iraqi freedom!

A sad Saudi woman who, in the end, cannot comment on Saudi elections because none have ever occured. Please, don't count the sham municipal elections that recently took place in Saudi Arabia because the victors were simply chosen and women were not allowed to vote.

* Camels don't have to cover themselves from head to toe in scorching heat.
** Women must have permission from their guardian and a male companion when they travel. If you're single, the guardian is your father or uncle. If you're married, the guardian is your husband.
*** Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. Ergo, driver's licenses for females are not issued.


What a coincidence. Recently, a friend of mine said that he had inadvertantly bought one case of caffeine-free Coke when he wanted to get diet caffeine-free Coke. He was surprised because he picked up 3 or 4 cases of diet Coke from the same spot in the supermarket. He realized the error after having a drink. It is tough to tell the difference between the two. Bad design, indeed.

Osama's Wet Dream

Washington Post:

At a conference on the future of al Qaeda sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory last month, I posed a dark question to 60 or so nuclear weapons scientists and specialists on terrorism and radical Islam: How many of them believed that the probability of a nuclear fission bomb attack on U.S. soil during the next several decades was negligible -- say, less than 5 percent?

At issue was the Big One -- a Hiroshima-or-larger explosion that could claim hundreds of thousands of American lives, as opposed to an easier-to-mount but less lethal radiological attack. Amid somber silence, three or four meek, iconoclastic hands went up.

That's a scary article because it goes on to make a good case for deterence not having any effect on Al Qaeda inspired terrorists. They're quite willing to die to meet their 72 virgins. The US should arrange the meeting whenever they find terrorists like that.

Beware of Blog

Know Thy Enemy:

* If you see a geeky looking male or a slutty looking female in front of a laptop, he or she could be a blogger. Don't make eye contact or say anything in front of them or they will destroy you.

Don't worry, I won't destroy you. Maybe just break a few bones, that's all.

* On September 11th, bloggers spread rumors about some sort of terrorist attack leading to a war with Iraq so bloggers could get more oil - a raw material essential for blogging.

The war was all about OILLL!!!


This is rich:

I was reading an op-ed piece by Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post, and he began by quoting Jon Stewart, the comedian, who said, "We did it! We had the election. And now we can say to Iraq, 'Goodbye!'"

The words "We did it!" brought me up short. I thought, "What do you mean, we?"

It will be just like the Cold War, I think. George W. Bush and his allies will make progress in the Middle East, and then, with selective amnesia, those who fought Bush & Co. tooth and nail will say, "We, we, we." We liberalized Afghanistan, we liberalized Iraq, blah, blah, blah.

If it had been up to Jon Stewart and his ilk, that election in Iraq would never have taken place.

Indeed. I remember practically every night Stewart would bring an update from MESSopotamia. The soldiers would be shown as goofs and the military commanders as idiots. Abu Ghraib was shown as managed torture. President Bush and the Republicans were portrayed as lying war mongers. One of the most important battles of WWIV was opposed from the start by Stewart and most liberals. Yet, now that democracy has taken it's first step, no thanks to them, they quickly include themselves in the credits.

It's sad that people in my age group choose to get their political news from the Daily Show. Stewart represents hip liberalism to many students at my university here in Canada. Sigh.

Update: Glenn gets an email which states that Jon Stewart admitted to Fareed Zakaria that he opposed the war from the start but just doesn't know how to respond to joyous Iraqis. My suggestion: Jon Stewart should admit that he was consistently wrong for two long years and give the military and the C-in-C a little respect especially when the next battle starts.

By the way, the point about "We did it" still stands. Stop using the "we" because it's disingenuous. Glenn is right as to why they're using the "we".

Economics Nincompoopery

John Tamny takes apart Podesta's tax reform plan:

The plan’s authors first off want to “simplify” the tax code by raising the top rate on incomes above $120,000 to 39.6 percent, while dropping the rate on incomes below $120,000 and $25,000 to 25 percent and 15 percent respectively. Unsurprisingly, the thinking of the authors is “that the most successful among us should contribute a greater share to support the collective services we all enjoy,” especially since “the tax share has shifted away [with the enactment of the Bush tax cuts] from those who can best afford to pay.” This might surprise those in the top 1 percent of taxpayers who presently account for a record 34 percent of all federal revenues. Then again, much of what’s in the plan is pretty shocking.
[Emphasis mine]

Tamny doesn't say, but the top 1 percent make about 15 percent of all the income in the US. Hence, they're overtaxed. So, in the name of Holy Fairness, shouldn't the rich get more tax cuts?

The Utopian Myth

Recommended reading: Impressive article by Robert Conquest on the distortion of reality by many Sovietologists, and other scholars.

It reminded me of an old economics professor. He wanted us to write research papers on reforming economies. Eastern Europe, Russia, and China were the main areas to look at. I remember him talking about the USSR. He said that we shouldn't be judgmental and think that reforms were inherently good. He, then, went on to say that according to so-and-so, had the Soviet Union fully reformed to capitalism (the model being the US), her economic output would have gone up by a mere 4%. Ergo, reforms didn't amount to much.

I felt sick. Here was, supposedly, an educated man who, believed the official numbers and, effortlessly brushed away the suffering and death of tens of millions of innocent humans. I avoided his courses in the future.

Images from Afghanistan

Major Curt Decker sends some pictures from Afghanistan to Power Line. The stylish image of the Afghani, on the right, in this pic is just priceless.

The jingle trucks are quite popular in Pakistan as well. The intricate design mixed with references to popular sayings of poets or verses of the Quran or references to God and Muhammed are the norm. For example, in the mentioned picture, I can see the word Allah in Arabic three times on the windshield. The entire human form is usually avoided in the designs (you're never going to see a painting of a supermodel). However, one can find a few paintings of Ahnuld and Stallone* since they're tough and muscular action stars. The most popular images, that I remember, are of tigers and eagles.

* Most Westerners will be surprised to know that there is a lot of love for Rambo in Pakistan or at least there was the last time I was there.

Unholy Livingstone

Melanie Phillips:

... the left, of which he [Livingstone] is such a shining ornament, has got into bed with radical Islamism and, subscribing to its twisted narrative of 'oppression', routinely libels the Jews of Israel as 'the new Nazis' has breathed life into Muslim Jew-hatred (which itself borrows deeply from Nazi propaganda), and prompted a terrifying increase in anti-Jewish feeling ranging from muttered social prejudice through public accusations of the 'global Jewish conspiracy' to rising physical attacks on Jews, synagogues and cemeteries.

Once again there's an alliance between the Left and the anti-Jewish evil of the age. P.M. Tony Blair should throw Livingstone out of the Party for good.

Hatred Evolves

Daniel Pipes writes a depressing article on the evolution of antisemitism:

The golden age of American Jewry, therefore, is ending. American Jews have had the relative luxury of worrying about such matters as intermarriage, coreligionists around the world, school prayer, and abortion; if current trends continue, they increasingly will find themselves worrying about personal security, marginalization, and the other symptoms already evident in Europe.

Link via Daimnation!

What the

Tony Woodley:

Both banks and oil companies are monopolies or near-monopolies, routinely abusing their economic power to the consumer's disadvantage.

Tim Worstall points out that there are around 400 banks in the city. Let me make a guess: the government takes more money off a gallon of oil than the oil companies make as profit. A more accurate statement would be: the government has a monopoly on force, and routinely abuses this power, to soak capitalists, to the consumer's and taxpayer's disadvantage.

Economics: leave it to the pros.

Chief Appeasement Officer

Walter Williams:

Ford Motor Co. CEO William Ford Jr., in an effort to befriend environmentalists, publicly supported a 50-cent-per-gallon gas tax.

What the hell?

British Petroleum's CEO John Browne devised a $100 million-a-year public relations campaign that characterizes oil as a "necessary evil" and in the process deceitfully started changing its corporate identity from "British Petroleum" to "Beyond Petroleum."

This is like something out of a Simpsons episode. The capitalists are scared to death and appease the idiotarians by supporting economically dubious policies. These CEOs/CAOs have got to stand up to these anti-capitalist buffoons and expose their shoddy agenda. Otherwise, in the long run, there won't be much free market capitalism.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Emily's worst date ever:

So. He's an actor. Great. I listen to him talk about the struggles of getting into character for the laser surgery center commercial. I patiently give ear as he repeatedly tells me that "as an actor, I can really understand this" and "as an actor, I think I'm more aware of that than others" blah blah blah. He carried on with this type of bragging so often, I half expected him to say "as an actor, I can effortlessly leap tall buildings in a single bound and breathe life back into suffocated babies with a mere whisper from a hundred yards away."

Update: This is NOT a joke.

Appeasing Dictators Again

Vaclav Havel wrote this last month:

One of the strongest and most powerful democratic institutions in the world -- the European Union -- has no qualms in making a public promise to the Cuban dictatorship that it will re-institute diplomatic Apartheid. The EU's embassies in Havana will now craft their guest lists in accordance with the Cuban government's wishes. The shortsightedness of socialist Prime Minister José Zapatero of Spain has prevailed.

The ghost of Chamberlain is still alive in Europe.

Where will it end? The release of Milosevic? Denying a visa to Russian human-rights activist Sergey Kovalyov? An apology to Saddam Hussein? The opening of peace talks with al Qaeda?

I don't think that Vaclav is going to be comforted by my answers to those questions.

The Two Satans

A world without Israel by Josef Joffe:

Let us finally assume, through a thought experiment, that Israel goes “poof”   today. How would this development affect the political pathologies of the Middle   East? Only those who think the Palestinian issue is at the core of the Middle   East conflict would lightly predict a happy career for this most dysfunctional   region once Israel vanishes. For there is no such thing as “the”   conflict. A quick count reveals five ways in which the region’s fortunes   would remain stunted—or worse ...

A very good read. Those who think that Israel is the problem are sorely mistaken.

Take the Cairo Declaration against “U.S. hegemony,” endorsed by   400 delegates from across the Middle East and the West in December 2002. The   lengthy indictment mentions Palestine only peripherally. The central condemnation,   uttered in profuse variation, targets the United States for monopolizing power   “within the framework of capitalist globalization,” for reinstating   “colonialism,” and for blocking the “emergence of forces that   would shift the balance of power toward multi-polarity.” In short, Global   America is responsible for all the afflictions of the Arab world, with Israel   coming in a distant second.

Yes, of course. America is responsible for chopping hands off for stealing, death for drinking booze, beating women for showing their ankles, lashings for rape victims, stonings for adulterers, and for teaching hatred of anything non-Islamic to the new generation.

The very first sign of progress in the Middle East will be when the Arabs accept the mediocrity of their system and plan to change it for the better. It is hard to believe but most Arabs see their dysfunctional culture as superior to the West. So, the logic goes: why should we, the proud Arabs, change our system to something crass like the Western society? This is what the US and the Allies are up against.

The Cost of Behaving Badly

Linda Chavez:

... Steven E. Rhoads, author of "Taking Sex Differences Seriously" notes, "Men often prize promiscuous sex in the short term, but they want faithful wives. . . . If a man finds a woman hard to get, he will sense that she is more likely to be faithful after marriage." Plenty of men and boys will buy the "Girls Gone Wild" videos, but they're not likely to invite the amateur strippers home to meet Mom.

So very true.

Hatred for US

Jay Nordlinger:

What kind of people would chant such a thing — "Death to America"? Can you imagine a Western crowd, a democratic crowd, chanting, "Death to Iran"? To be specific, can you imagine Israelis doing so? Americans doing so? I can't.

Once more: What kind of people would chant such a thing? You may abhor a country's government — I abhor Iran's — but can you imagine yourself yelling, "Death to [Country X]"?

Every now and then, it is well to pause over the sickness that has infected so many minds and hearts. If ever a region needed healing . . .

I have lived among America haters for so long that I sometimes forget the sheer outrageousness of saying such a horrible thing.