Saturday, June 08, 2002

Watched Ronald Kessler on CSpan2 discussing his new book. He sounds very perceptive and makes an excellent case that the current problems with the FBI have more to do with Louis Frieh and little to do with Bob Mueller. I have to agree. No way an agency like this could get this screwed up without having been neglected and mismanaged for years. One thing that really bugs me after hearing this, is why it took so long to get Mueller confirmed and sworn in. Kessler says Mueller started cleaning up Frieh's mess before then. The biggest of which apparently is Frieh's aversion to technology. The FBI has been unable to use modern computer software for internet and data analysis because it hasn't had any up to day computers.

The FBI building should be renamed. Hoover shouldn't have any more honor in this country than Benedict Arnold.

Today's NYTimes Editorial page:

Them: "Congress must enact urgently needed legislation to provide federal help in insuring against catastrophic terrorist attacks in the future."

Me: Even better, how about tort reform?

Them: Global Warming Follies "President Bush continues to stumble on the issue of global warming."

Me: Better to stumble, than goosestep for the Sierra Club and the U.N.

Them: Deceptive Tans and Health Risks "Although the bronzed look on models and celebrities comes more from makeup than the sun, young readers get the wrong message."

Me: (YAWN!) Yeah, computer porn must be protected, but we must do something to protect the nation's children from sun tans.

Them: Off to the Races "This afternoon, millions of people who never pay any attention to horse racing will be likely to flip on their television sets to watch the Belmont Stakes."

Me: I'm glad I don't bet.


"Department of Homeland Insecurity By FRANK RICH"

Me: "By Frank Rich"--Need I say more?

The Beltway Boys on Fox News Channel today features an interview with Ambassador L, Paul Bremer, Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism. He says the same thing I wrote earlier, that "the FBI really cannot be an effective domestic intelligence agency"and counter-terrorism." He adds, "In effect, we need a separate independent domestic intellgence agency, much as the British have."

I don't know enough about the British MI5 to know if it is an appropriate model, but it seems that Bremer, whose commission predicted in 2000 that we were in for terrorist attacks and said we were woefully unprepared, is a man who should be listened to. He is most concerned about a coordinated series of suicide bombings in suburban malls. I think that if American Muslims are feeling sorry for themselves now, they had better get busy to head off this kind of thing. Americans have actually been quite restrained in their reaction to Muslims, but they won't be if we start seeing Palestinian type suicide bombings in this country.

Bremer also declines to call for the resignation of Mueller and Tennant. However, he notes that "Congress has been part of the problem" and that they have fallen back into bad habits during the past 6 months of passing legislation without any attention to a coherent strategy. He says they need to cut down the 88 separate committees and subcommittees with jurisdiction over various security agencies.

Why isn't Bremer in charge of a new agency already? Why hasn't the White House invited Coleen Rowley to visit the President? Why hasn't Bernard Lewis received greater attention in the news media? Why isn't Lileks on MSN or the Fox News Channel? Why haven't I been given a nationally syndicated column? (I withdraw the last question. No answers, please.)

Friday, June 07, 2002

National Science Foundation: Science Hard

This is why I became a lawyer instead of an engineer. It's not just science, either. Math is hard, too.

Loan Official: Hijacker Tried to Get Loan says there is no way she or anyone else could have detected Atta was a terrorist.

Gee, I think I might have been suspicious after hearing him say " 'How would America like it if another country destroyed that city (Washington, D.C.) and some of the monuments in it' like the cities in his country had been destroyed?" I might have been put on inquiry by his "mentioning al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden," and "saying bin Laden 'would someday be known as the world's greatest leader.' " Why doesn't this woman have a high position in the FBI?

Go here, and support Lou Dobbs' War on Islamists statement.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

The Democrats, The War Party?

In The Wall Street Journal, Richard Tofel writes about what he wants the Democrats' role to be in the war on terror.

More fundamentally, it would ask why we continue to seem so solicitous of a Saudi regime that expresses no gratitude for our rescue of it from Saddam just 11 years ago, and no real remorse for its citizens' predominant role in the events of Sept. 11 and in the hierarchy of al Qaeda. This is a regime, moreover, that constantly drags its feet in efforts to choke off the financing of terror, upgrade airline security and end the teaching of anti-American and anti-Israeli hatred to children. A War Party critique would then ask why such a regime remains within the defense perimeter of the U.S. The jihadis want Mecca and Medina; we want the uninterrupted flow of oil. Perhaps both objectives can be met, even if the Saudi regime doesn't survive such a division.

Forgive me if this doesn't sound like any Democrat I've seen in my lifetime, except perhaps Scoop Jackson. I was born after WWII, so Pat Buchanan is the only Isolationist Republican I've ever known, as well. The author recognizes this:

Which brings us to the politics of such a policy. Seen in the light of today's events, Democratic leaders view a War Party policy as unthinkable. What of our "allies"? they wonder. What of academia? The Washington press corps? The State Department? The United Nations? Jimmy Carter? Jesse Jackson?

If someone organizes this War Party, I'll register, but I can pretty well guarantee that it won't be headed by Dick Gebhardt or Tom Daschle. And I don't think Colin Powell will be invited to speak at its convention. I want to see guns, and leave the butter to the Old parties.

Jay Ambrose talks sense about environmentalism. It started as a reasonable movement, but has been overtaken by absolutism and radical antidemocracy that would roll back the industrial revolution and all the progress it has made possible. It will not succeed, but it will do a lot of damage to our national interests and our economy before it is through.

Register all foreigners

What's the complaint about the new proposals to photograph and fingerprint certain individuals who are entering our country? When I was a missionary in Germany, we had to register in each new town we moved to and have our passports stamped. If they'd asked for a thumbprint, I'd have given it.

Part of sovereignty is to control one's borders and protect the country. If it makes some people nervous or hurts their feelings, tough. We're tough. We can handle being chilled.

Everybody in a democracy has to be accountable for his actions. Part of that accountability is revealing your identity. If you hide that identity or assume a false identity you deserve to come under scrutiny to make sure that your reasons are innocent.

Personally, I think everyone entering this country should be photographed and fingerprinted and should have to check in occasionally to verify where they are. It wouldn't hurt my feelings if every American had to carry a national ID.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Via Instapundit --Iain Murray attacks "Intelligent Design" as unscientific by definition. Science is not allowed to consider questions like the existence of God because, citing Karl Popper, it is not falsifiable.

OK. You don't have to call it science, if you don't want to, but that won't make it go away. To me the argument against ID is like a kid claiming that cows do not exist because he has only seen milk come from the refrigerator. Of course, that IS science because we can take the kid to a farm and then track the milk through the dairy and the store to the fridge. Because we can't think of an experiment to disprove the existence of an intelligent designer, however, it can't be discussed.

I thought science was supposed to be openminded, not excluding of uncomfortable issues or explanations that its leading lights don't like. I've felt over and over that the main attraction of Darwin's theories was that they allow us to deny intelligent design, although why we want to do so is beyond me. The result of all this is a kind of dishonesty that is obvious in most popular explanations of science. Just listen to any program on Nature or Nova on PBS, or programs on the Discover channels, and you'll notice that "nature" and "evolution" are used in a way that is interchangeable with "the creator." They constantly talk about natural features animal and plant anatomy as having purposes, being designed or engineered. Why? Because the idea of something so elegant and functional is, in all of our experience, incompatible with a goal oriented process.

What is this goal? Survival, say the evolutionists. Why is it that way? Well, that's just the way life is! But why is it that way? What made living things so antithetical to entropy? Pure chance.

So given enough time, anything we can imagine, and a lot we can't, will happen all by itself. Excuse me, but that doesn't make sense. Rocks don't turn into pianos spontaneously. Of course, that statement isn't falsifiable so it isn't scientific.

Today's Burning Issue

Is Jar Jar the most obvious gay character in the Star Wars saga?

Best of the Web says it's C3PO.

I would have nominated Chewbacca before (Who can prove otherwise?), but now I'd say it has to be the Kaminoans. Of course this all assumes that they breed through copulation rather than spawning, and, of course, by cloning, which makes the gay issue moot.

Via Instapundit,The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.

Does this group have any affiliation with Islam?

Another 16 murdered in Israel. What is it that causes the media and intelligentsia to see this kind of tactic as distasteful but understandable, while reserving their condemnation and criticism for the Israelis when they take reasonable steps to find and crush the people responsible? Are we idiots? Are we all essentially terrorists as long as we see ourselves as oppressed? At some point, we must stop excusing this kind of atrocity, and start supporting the efforts of democratic regimes to protect their own people. Arafat is feckless at best, a murderer of innocents most probably. Yet we cling to him like a lifeline.

Mister Bush, tear down this Palestinian Authority! Deliver true reform and democracy to the Palestinian people! Announce that nations, including Saudi Arabia, who provide funding for the groups who perpetuate these attacks, are the enemies of mankind and set about to overthrow them.

Tom Friedman says that Egypt is the best candidate to lead the Muslim world into modernity. What about Turkey?

It seems to me that nobody wants to say what is really obvious, that Muslims are taught from infancy that their religion and its insistence that Muslims are superior to the rest of mankind and are intended by God to rule the world, and that they must give up those ideas or be in continuous conflict (one meaning of "jihad") with the rest of humanity. Friedman says obliquely that this is what Egypt should be campaigning for, but we seem to be loathe to lay it on the line.
Americans, after all, believe in freedom of religion and tolerance, at least for non-Christians and non-conservative Christians. Therefore, we are reluctant to criticize someone else's religion, unless it is Jerry Falwell's or a church in our own neighborhood.

However, there is a limit to tolerance. We don't accept the idea of a state church or a state religion, but the concept of Islam is that religion IS the only legitimate government, and there is only one correct religion, the amorphous absolutist faith announced by Mohammed, which seems to have been hijacked by the most radical "scholars" in the Muslim world. These "clergy" have no real authority under the Quran, but they have assumed the right to lead their fellow religionists and demand that they must all roll back the world 1500 years. That is a non-starter.

If Muslim politicians want to avoid further confrontations and ultimate warfare with the West, it is in their interest, as well as that of their people, to preach in opposition to the radical Islamists. The key word is "preach." Force and repression may be necessary expedients, but the only real solution is going to be through a widespread change in the understanding of Muslims everywhere of their place in the world. So far, there are precious few voices arguing that God could not have intended this for His people.

Being LDS, I believe in God and in His desire and ability to reveal His mind and will to mankind. It seems to me that most, if not all, of the trouble with religion today is that they all, except one, preach that God used to speak through prophets, but stopped thousands of years ago and delivered the future guidance of His people to some group of elites, usually some group of scholars or intellectuals. It is these pretenders to religious authority, claiming that they know better what the will of God is than anyone else, who are the root of the problems. The Catholic bishops who cover the sins of priests against children, the Rabbis, Mullahs, Ayatollahs, etc.

There is only one person who is entitled to tell us how to worship God, God himself, but most religions now have depersonalized Him to the extent that they don't believe He can really be approached by human beings. He is immaterial, without body, parts or passions. How can anybody feel close to a being like that, let alone love or worship it?

Until we reject this kind of religion and its leaders, we will be doomed to continuous conflict as they battle for power and control of the minds of humanity.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002 - Has time run out on Einstein's theory? - June 4, 2002

And I thought science was reliable!