Saturday, March 08, 2003

Reading the story about Mary McGrory's backsliding after she announced that Colin Powell had persuaded her that war in Iraq was necessary, then the comments here, about novelist Ian McEwan, it occurred to me why it is that so many educated and otherwise seemingly intelligent people back the inane sophistries mounted by the left. It's because their friends do, and they don't want to be embarrassed.

Well, duh! It seems obvious, now, but then I've never been all that socially oriented. I never went to any rock concerts, peace marches (even to pick up girls), or participated in the rites of youth culture that seem so precious to a lot of these people. I like the Grateful Dead's music, but I never got to one of their concerts, never used drugs, never got drunk, or any of those things that so many of my generation look back on fondly.

I always thought you were supposed to think things through and be able to articulate and defend your views logically. If you can't, you admit them as matters of faith. But all these SWINE (Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything), as Al Capp called them, resort to chanting, massing in mobs, removing their clothes, stilts and freakish costumes, and otherwise repeating inanity, in other words, emulate Woodstock, as a means of persuasion, but all they accomplish is adding to their tee-shirt collections and staying in good standing with their tribes.

David Brooks, humorist. Mark Twain and Garrulous Keillor have nothing to worry about yet, though.

Sign up We need reverence in this country. Even if you don't believe in God, you owe reverence to those who established this country and preserved it a nation.
Then conquer we must,
for our cause it is just,

I go back and forth on this, but right now I think that people who burn the American Flag in this nation to flaunt their freedom of speech, should be forced to have their mouths taped shut for a day or two to learn what it is like to lose it. Why isn't burning a flag in front of men who fought and shed blood for it a hate crime? I'm not big on hate crimes, but I am in favor of laws against aggravated nuisances. They're the same thing, but they wouldn't emphasize victimhood. It's that Indepentarian streak of mine.

Didn't I say this? Or at least, imply it?

My letter to the Deseret News:

Every once in awhile, your letters page has a whole bunch of short ones that call out for response. Saturday's issue is particularly inviting.

Wendy Bagley: Mayor Rocky Anderson demonstrates he has a heart, a brain and courage when it comes to expressing his opinions about the United States going to war against Iraq.

Mayor Anderson may have a heart, a brain and courage, but using an elected local office as a platform for setting national foreign policy, especially to oppose the liberation of the Iraqi people, doesn't demonstrate any of the three. What it does demonstrate is ego.

Adrian Arp: We are rapidly losing our freedom on two fronts. The domestic one is the rapidly rising federal police state. The foreign one is our loss of independence to the United Nations.

Mr. Arp, if this were a police state they'd have already been at your door to carry you off, torture you and send you to the gulag without a trial. Your letter wouldn't have been published. And if we were losing our independence to the U.N., the forces of the Coaltiion of the Willing wouldn't be on Saddam's doorstep.

Sidney Smith: The wars of World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War contained lessons for humanity. The populace, and especially the military complex, should have learned that humanity cannot withstand the savagery of modern day warfare and continue to exist.

Where did you learn history? World War II? How about the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union? The failures of Korea, Viet Nam and the Gulf War were due to our failure to press them further and win them. We do that when we give our enemies a safe retreat, and settle for anything less than victory. If we had treated our enemies in those conflicts the way we did Hitler and Tojo, their lands would all be free today, and we wouldn't be hearing about hundreds of thousands of death of their own people at their hands.

Nicholas Norman: It makes my skin crawl to think of clone births.

Really? Have you ever heard of identical twins?

Lincoln Graves: But when you decide you're the only one who is right and you are unwilling to compromise, you become dangerous.

Mr. Graves, sometimes you get to compromises by organizing and making your arguments and being active in civic affairs. I've received a lot of Eagle alerts, and they have never said anything but "Call your legislators and let them know what you think." Maybe if more of us did that, we wouldn't be complaining all the time about those who do.

Manssor Ijaz tells Tony Snow on Fox that bin Laden's son, probably his oldest son, has been captured. The Pakistan government is obfuscating it because of the political importance of such a capture. Most Islamist leaders didn't care about Khalid's capture, because he was a bad Muslim, not living his religion, so it is a technical set back. A bin Laden is different. An anti-war rally set for tomorrow has suddenly grown from about 100,000 to half a million and an explosive problem for Musharref. Ijaz says that this capture would lessen the chances of capturing Usama, because the son has so much information. He thinks that, if Usama believes that the end is near, he'll probably go someplace and kill himself where he'll never be found and we'd never know for sure.

Friday, March 07, 2003

How long, Oh Lord?
(via Best of the Web)
As she stepped up to the Iraqi checkpoint, a military policeman suddenly pulled a knife, slashed open the flimsy plastic containers and splashed petrol all over her.

Then the head of the Iraqi border guard casually walked up to her, pulled a lighter from his pocket and set her ablaze. Soaked in fuel, she began to burn like a torch."

And then this:
[T]wo naturalized Americans and a Canadian--who spent three months in custody before being released by a Pakistani court. One of them, Usman Ali Khawaja, tells the wire service: "They tortured us psychologically, but not physically. We had several sleepless nights, simply being away from home itself is a torture."

Update: Later I heard a report of Israeli tanks moving into Gaza and charges that a Palestinian woman had been similarly burned as a result. The Israelis are trying to put a stop to the firing of crude rockets being fired from this area into Israeli territory. I am disturbed by the suffering of people like this, but I don't know whether I can trust reports like this coming from PLA sources. In any event, there is no comparison with the cruelty of the first story and the injuries caused by attempts to stop attacks. This is the difference between terrorism and conventional warfare conducted in accordance with international codes.

I can hear the sneering of the No War Ever contingent, but I don't take them seriously. They also think that Saddam hasn't hurt anybody and isn't a threat to anyone else. Such people are not to be taken seriously. Americans are compassionate to a fault and will not tolerate things like this. Soldiers found doing things like the Iraqi border ghoul above would be courtmartialed and imprisoned. If an Israeli soldier were found to have deliberately doused a Palestinian in kerosene and set her on fire, I would expect the same.

David Brooks explains what was so significant about last night's press conference. My faith in Bush just keeps getting stronger. I pray for him and I pray for our men over there. Something big is stirring. It reminds me of these lines from Yeats:
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Also this from Isaiah:
For he shall make bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of their God.

One of the first things my oldest son learned to sing was "I'm being followed by a moon shadow." He pronounced it "shallow."


I really miss that little boy, and the times when I could think of Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance. I don't dismiss Islamic teachings, but it's recent history has shown what a mess religion can become when men take it upon themselves to speak for God without asking Him. It's like living in an ark because you think Noah was the last and greatest prophet.

First the U.N. Now Time Magazine has become irrelevant. For a national magazine that aspires to inform us to use a headline like this is inexcusable. Keep telling me how "objective and balanced" the national media are.

Howard Kurtz comments on the fall of columnist Bob Greene:
The story has a tragic ending. Greene's wife died recently. If there's a comeback trail for this once-popular columnist and TV commentator, he hasn't taken a step toward it.

It's hard to feel sorry for Bob Greene, since he behaved abominably and repeatedly used his column to cruise for chicks. But after reading this story, it's hard not to.

I believe in repentence and forgiveness. I notice that when I'm riding high and feeling good, I sometimes do or say things I'm ashamed of later on. It's sometimes secretly satisfying to see somebody get his, but when you've been through shame and sorrow, you start to feel a little less judgmental. Here are some more key points from Kurtz's article, the quotes are from an Esquire article by Bill Zehme:
"Why don't we just say I got what was coming to me and leave it at that," Greene says.

And: "I didn't admire myself."

And: "I've always been pretty good at standing up for other people. I'm no good at standing up for myself. I won't even try. I wouldn't go out on a limb for me."

Once he picked up the phone and it was Matt Lauer, trying to book him. Greene declined.

Here's what's interesting: Oprah Winfrey, who's had Greene on her show, expressed her condolences. Radio's Paul Harvey did the same. NBC's Bob Costas went to his house to watch the World Series over pizza. And George Herbert Walker Bush tried to get his home address (the Trib wouldn't give it out) and finally sent a note praising his handling of the press.

What, no letter from Clinton?

I'm sure Bill will be getting to him shortly, as soon as he sees that comment.

What Greene is going through is part of the process of repentance. I don't know if he has turned to the Lord, but if he feels as badly as it sounds, he needs to. We all do.

I'm not sure whether I qualify as an anti-idiotarian in all respects, but I know I'm an Independentarian. It's like being a libertarian, but not supporting a lot of self-destructive and harmful "rights" and emphasizing independence, as distinguished from liberty and freedom.

The principles, which I learned from writers like Thomas Jefferson, Barry Goldwater and Robert Heinlein, is that citizenship has to be earned, and that independence consists of not allowing yourself to be dependent, self-reliance, hard work, education and obedience to the law. Those who promote all rights, all the time, are willing to allow society to become corrupted in the name of individual rights. I think that societies have to protect themselves from corruption by insisting that their members maintain some standards.

This is a slippery slope argument that they don't like, but freedom is like walking along a ridge with slippery slopes on both sides. If you get off too far on either the government power side or the individual rights side, you'll have a society that you don't want to live in. It's Iraq, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia on one side and Sodom and Gomorrah on the other.

I live here too. And I don't think that I or my family should have to endure a hostile envronment of drugs, obscenity and freakishness everytime we step out of our home. Communities should have standards and be free to enforce them within limits, but stripping them of that power has become the coventional wisdom, and it will lead us the way of Rome and the Greeks and every other great civilizations throughout history.

I also believe in tolerance. Free speech is fine, but obscenity is not. I saw a kid working at the grocery store the other night wearing a teeshirt emblazoned with "Eat Beaver! Save a Tree" If it had been my store, he'd have been told to ditch the shirt while at work or find other employment. I don't think that the Nazis had a right to march through Skokie, Illinois, although I wouldn't have objected to their marching in Grant Park in Chicago. If the KKK wants to burn a cross at a rally, let them. But not on public property or in the yards or neighborhoods of people whose familes and friends have been lynched in the past. People should be able to feel save and to have a place, not just their own property boundaries, where they enjoy living.

My thoughts on all this are evolving, so I will probably continue to post on this. It's not a bright line philosophy. It takes balancing between freedoms of individuals and the reasonable expectations we have from living in society. I think that the pendulum has swung too far, because of groups like the ACLU and a compliant media.

Update: I am against elites of any kind. Some people have the wealth to buy power and influence, and we can't prevent that without violating theirr own fundamental rights, I'm opposed to it whether they're pushing gun rights or gay rights. I don't like the realities of campaign fundraising or campaign finance, but I think that it would be worse than campaign finance reform laws. Everybody has to respect everybody else, including Christians, prudes and bluenoses.

Ann Coulter stomps into the lion's den. It's a hard day for the lions. (link via Power Line) Watching and listening to her is like watching rodeo, and she doesn't spare the spurs.

Despite the hoorahing by libertarians, this will hurt the internet. A lot of families eschew internet access because of the porn. It's not just available, it's in your face. It's shoved in front of the most innocent surfer. Nobody has found an effective way to stop it, because the people who created it and run it think it should be free. I know that it makes a lot of money, and is the basis of a lot of much of the growth of the Web. But I also know families who won't allow it in their homes. The computer companies and isps have saturated the market. Future growth will depend on finding a way to control access to porn.

Chalk up another one for Bernard Lewis.

If you think about it, Muslims are like everybody else. They want peace, freedom and the ability to meet their needs. The problem is that they are led by people who oppress those desires in the name of Islam. Islam means submission to the will of God. I believe in submission to God. The trick is to know what his will is. True prophets care about their people and encourage education, achievement and progress, but in the ways, and within the limits, that God has always set.

The number of Islamic Americans grows because they appreciate opportunity and the fruits of freedom. They may disapprove of the excesses of American society. So do I. But if the leader of my religion were blowing up buildings, killing women and children and causing the stagnation of society as we see in the Middle East, I wouldn't trust them or follow them. I'd find a new mosque. Islam preaches equality, but it has too many radical clergy. The Jewish religion has a few such leaders as well, but they don't take over nations.

The real God chooses his own representatives, and they follow principles of authority and order. It seems too often that the choice of who will become priests, rabbis and mullahs is left up to the ambitions of those who choose those roles, and nobody asks the Lord. That is the mark of apostasy. God will not condemn us for failing to honor such men.

Huh?! Since when did France, Germany and Russia become necessary for a coalition?

Bin Captured? I'll believe it when I see the photo, a la Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. You'll note that when he was captured the photos used went from this to this. When you see one in which bin Laden looks more like Nick Nolte or this one of Yasmine Bleeth, you can take it to the bank.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Maybe they mean Charlie McCarthyism

Best of the Web notes this story and the protests and threats of boycott being sent to MSNBC because of its new Michael Savage Show and asks "why is it OK to boycott a right-wing talk-show host if boycotting a left-wing movie star is 'McCarthyism'?" It's all in who is really doing the talking. Martin Sheen speaks anothers words, like a ventriloquist's dummy. But Savage says what he thinks. What they are really saying is that it's improper to discriminate against wooden puppets, but ok to take shots at real people, like Savage.

Stupid and Overblown Story of the Day:

This one by Deroy Murdock on NRO. It should be called The War on the War on Drugs. I agree that Ashcroft won't do much about bongs, but it should be obvious that parents, especially in the Conservative base, want something done about the tide of drugs in this country. I don't agree with the libertarians and conservatives who think that legalizing drugs will solve anything. Because the dike is leaky is not a reason to abandon the land.

The most important human right is life

Someone tell Amnesty International.

More on the Tee shirt in the Mall case:

I don't think that malls are in the business of alienating customers for the sake of the personal views of the owners. If that's what this mall did, they will punish themselves. If these guys were just sitting there, as has been alleged, and some crackpot complained to the mall, it was stupid to buy all this bad publicity by tossing these guys. If they were attracting a crowd and blocking the flow of foot traffic, accosting strangers and haranguing them, or otherwise hampering the business of the Mall, its management is justified on bouncing them if they refuse to comply with its requests. I don't know what removing a tee-shirt could do to solve behavior problems, but free speech has never been absolute. Nor should it be.

The thing that bothers me about the publicity this is getting, and the way leftist groups make causes out of this kind of thing, is that it creates false beliefs in the minds of people about what the law and the Constitution say, especially ignorant liberals who think that chanting and marching is a quick route to being intellectual. Unfortunately, that doesn't work. You have to think.

Glenn Reynolds dumps on the idea of different colors for money. I liked the German money. This story shows actual bills colored like Monopoly money. It doesn't look or feel that way. Another thing I liked a lot was that different demoninations were different sizes, like our coins. Remember the last two dollar coins? They failed because they didn't feel like the old silver dollars. You're a lot less likely to mistake a five or ten for a one (it happens) for a one, if they are different sizes.

James Earl Schroeder?

The Spam of the Day: LOOK AT THE FREAKS NOW!!! I didn't wait for the download to finish the jpgs.

Stupid and Overblown Story of the Day: The Crossgates Mall story. The mall guards told some guys wearing "Give Peace a chance!" teeshirts to take them off or leave. They didn't so he charged them with trespass. 1. It's stupid to tell them to remove their shirts for a statement like that. 2. It's private property, not public land. If they don't want you there, get off, and don't make a big deal out of it. You have speech rights. They have property rights. The constitution protects both. So get over it! This country has too many people worried about THEIR rightts and nobody else's. Grow up. Get a life. Get on with it.

"Grow up. Get a life. Get on with it." That'd be good on a teeshirt.

Or how about "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with bombing the hell out of Saddam!"?

"Bomb Lake Woebegone!"

"Viet Nam wasn't a quagmire. The U.N. Security Council--Now THAT is a quagmire!"

Or my dad's favorite, ""Eat it! This isn't a short order house!"

Some more of my dad's:



Stop bawling or I'll give you something to bawl about. I wish somebody would say that to France.

I'm in an ornery mood today, I guess.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Saddam will be shocked, shocked! (and awed!)

From the NYTimes News Service:
"If asked to go into conflict in Iraq, what you'd like to do is have it be a short conflict," [Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] told reporters at a breakfast meeting. "The best way to do that would be to have such a shock on the system that the Iraqi regime would have to assume early on the end was inevitable."

Meanwhile on the boob front, I'm listening to Michael Medved's guests, two women from the Raelian movement who will be participating in a nude march against war this weekend for peace. And I thought people wanted privacy!

Others are urging women to withhold sex as a protest against war and asparagirl is dedicating "tonight's hot and heavy boink with my fiance to the Lysistrata chicks.".

Talk about mixed messages! I'm sooo confused. As I keep saying, let's get this over with.

The NYTimes reports on new technology aimed at stopping thefts. My first thought was, "This will violate the 'privacy rights' of shoplifters and other criminals." And, sure enough:
Consumer privacy is also an issue. It would be easy to combine credit card data with information from the retail chips to know who bought what, and when � and, conceivably, to track the product even after it left the store.

"I don't think the average consumer understands the threat to personal privacy that these kinds of technologies can present," warned Alan N. Sutin, a partner specializing in information technology at the law firm Greenberg Traurig.

OK, consumers aren't shoplifters, but the principle ones who will benefit from Sutin's qualms are. There's a big difference between real privacy violations and the kind of thing that most libertarian yuppies worry about. Anybody can drive past your house and look at your kids at play, but they're not all child molesters and when it's the cops, you don't need to think they're building a case against you for abuse.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Dan Rather's big Get: I guess you don't press too hard when you're interviewing Hannibal Lector. Saddam has people killed for asking tough questions.

Nicholas Kristoff offers affirmative action for believing christians. How liberal of him.

Now here's something you won't get from the Sierra Club magazine, "Windmills alter Nature". He's right about the effect on wind speed. The energy isn't free, it is drawn from the wind, and given enough windmills, I think it could alter weather patterns. Who wants to build a computer model?

Ernst G. Knolle works in South San Francisco and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of California. He has a maglev company. He has better credentials than I do on this.

Mr. Lileks, I knew Jimmy Stewart. I grew up watching his movies and seeing hijm on Johnny Carson. And George Clooney is . . . you know the rest.

I don't think there are many in Hollywood today who could polish the shoes of people like Jimmy Steward, Clark Gable, Glenn Miller and others. Tom Hanks comes to mind and, possibly, Steven Spielberg, although I'm having a tough time trusting him after he turned on the Boy Scouts. There's list at this website. It's too short.

Haiklog? Blogku? Spaku? Haikam? Whatever it is, it's fun.

Do you remember the Pueblo? It was a Navy intelligence gathering ship which, on January 23, 1968 was seized by the North Koreans in international waters off the coast of North Korea. Of it's crew of 83, one was killed, the others were taken captive and imprisoned for 11 months. They were beaten and tortured and forced to sign false confessions.

I was a new missionary, not quite 20 years old in Germany, near the border of East Germany in Coburg, Bavaria. We got to know some soldiers stationed at an NSA base in which monitored electronic traffic in the Eastern Zone. 11 months. That was half of my mission, almost. What I remember most was the propaganda photo released by the North Koreans, purporting to show the crew as happy and comfortable. What they didn't realize what that the extension of the middle finger is a symbol most Americans would recognize and know that the North Koreans hadn't broken their spirits. (It sort of reminds me of the story of the Brit's two finger gesture, said to date back to the battle of Agincourt. The English weapon was the long bow, and the French, obnoxious then as now, had boasted that they would cut off the English bow fingers after beating them. When the battle was over, the English bowmen would hold up those two finger to remind the French of their empty boast. If that story isn't true, it ought to be.)

Looking back on it, that was an act of war, but the U.S. was focused on a war with the Soviet Union and Red China through their clients, the North Vietnamese. If you're seeing a pattern here, it's no coincidence.

North Korea seems to like to tweak us when they think we're too preoccupied to respond as we normally would. They're like the toady of the schoolyard bully, who will add a taunt or two, to a fight he's not a party to. Now, with our attention on Iraq and al Qaeda, they're at it again, repudiating their treaties and other agreements, firing up a nuke factory, lobbin missles around, and now playing the same old game. One wonders if their leaders aren't a little malnourished along with everybody else there. They're playing a desperate dangerous game, hoping, perhaps, that China and the South, even Japan, will increase the flow of foreign aid if they bluster and rattle their sabers.

The situation reminds me of a whale shark moving slowly along, surrounded by a cloud of smaller fish feeding off the leftovers and the flow through the plankton. It's movements seem slow and clumsy. But I remember the account of an underwater photographer who got a little too close to the tail of a whale shark and received a wallop without the fish even being aware of him. The power was beyond anything he had imagined, and it left him sore for a week.

Today, the AP reports, " Four armed North Korean fighter jets intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance plane over the Sea of Japan and one of the Korean jets used its radar in a manner that indicated it might attack, U.S. officials said Monday.

"April 1969 when a North Korean plane shot down a U.S. Navy (news - web sites) EC-121 surveillance plane, killing all 31 Americans aboard.

"The most recent crisis involving U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was in April 2001 when a Chinese fighter jet collided with a Navy EP-3 plane, forcing it to make an emergency landing on China's Hainan Island. The fighter pilot was killed and the American crew was detained for 11 days."

I don't know what the outcome of this will be, but North Korea should know that we have lots of weapons the like of which they've never seen, and it doesn't take a nuclear strike to knock out one reactor. Maybe they should wait until they see what happens to Iraq, before they start harrassing U.S.places in international space. You don't need a million soldiers to kill a million soldiers. All you need is the right weapons. I fear that this could get hot, but remember the sweep of the whale shark's tail They might nip its tail, but with one sweep, it could crush them.

I at first thought that this behavior might be intended to distract us from Iraq. But they don't get it. A whale shark can't whip around to bite some creature that irritates it, but it sure makes a surge going past and the sweep of its tail can smash something smaller to jelly. What didn't happen, of course, is a rush to war. Then as now, the U.S. sought diplomatic solutions. What would Jacques Chirac do if a French naval crew were treated like that? Probably what Johnson and Nixon did.
So, once again, i say, Do you remember the 31 members of the plane they shot down in 1969 and the 83 members of the Pueblo crew? So, Messrs. Bush, Cheney, Powell and Rumsfeld, Remember the Pueblo!

Monday, March 03, 2003

Look for the transcript of Brit Hume's interview with Mansoor Ijaz, the Pakistani-American, who "has the best sources in that part of the world of anyone we know." The triumph of the capture of Khalid Sheik Muhammed is the timing. Bin Laden and Saddam have been working together and on the day we commence attacks on Iraq, bin Laden wanted to unleash retaliation around the world. We have disrupted the poison plot in Europe, which as to be part of it, and now we have the key guy, the cornerstone of the operation in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and maybe even in the Far East. It enables us to dismantle the Middle Eastern cells before taking the next step in the war against terror. Iraq, he says, is not a side issue, but the "next most important step" in dismantling the terrorist networks around the world.

The ISI, Pakistani Intelligence, has never in the past used surveillance and tailing people in their operations. In the past, when they got a tip, they just smashed and grabbed. With the aid of the FBI and CIA, they kept track of members of the terrorist organization, who led them to the higher ups. It's nice that a little old lady reported the commings and goings at one of the al Qaeda safehouses, and will get a tidy reward. Ijaz says that this arrest makes it clear that we are systematically unraveling the central nervous system of the al Qaeda framework. This means that we know how they communicate, who their couriers are, and are closing in on other top figures. Funny how Mike Farrell and Janeane Garofolo never cite people like Ijaz, who has real contacts in the Middle East and South Asia. Their sources seem to always be in the U.N., if they have any. Usually they just change the subject to the standard talking points.

Ijaz gently rebuked Senator Biden's claim that we couldn't conduct war in Iraq and go after al Qaeda at the same time, with the comment that he "really doesn't understand what he's saying." Gently, as in ripping off adhesive tape over chest hair.

Update: Here's the transcript.

Machiavelli is not admire, but he knew his subject:

Men ought either to be indulged or utterly destroyed, for if you merely offend them they take vengeance, but if you injure them greatly they are unable to retaliate, so that the injury done to a man ought to be such that vengeance cannot be feared.

Then there are these words of David Mamet, I think, from the lips of Sean Connery in The Untouchables:
You want to know how to get Capone? Here's how you do it. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago Way, and that's how you get Capone.
Substitute "Saddam" for "Capone."

That's the Chicago Way, the Texas Way, and sometimes it's the only way.

They got 'im!

Isaiah 14: 12, 15-16

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

Mike Martinez makes some good points about the politics of race and judicial appointments:
When minority candidates are dissected, qualifications are always secondary to ethnicity, race and gender. Selectors point fingers that a minority is either too minority or not minority enough. There is argument over whether he/she is really qualified; after all, affirmative action might have played a role. And, inevitably, community groups take benefactor sides.

Estrada's credentials aren't discussed because they are impeccable, so subterfuge, filibuster and talk of Hispanicness delay a worthy nominee. Democrats should forward Estrada's nomination and then emulate the party of Lincoln. But they won't because they know what is best for the Latino community, as the condescending mumbo-jumbo goes, regardless of what Latinos want or need, or their qualifications.
His piece is nuanced and accurate. He's a Democrat, so I think he can't just call them racists, but that makes his analysis more worth reading.

Quoted in The Pttsburg Post-Gazette, via Best of the Web:
George Soros: "President Bush is pushing the wrong buttons when he says, 'Those who are not with us, are against us.' This is an imperialist vision in which the U.S. leads and the rest of the world follows."

Funny he isn't condemning all the "Death to Infidels" rhetoric in the Muslim world. Those words are not George Bush's, they are Jesus'. If the terrorists are permitted to quote the Quran to support killing American civilians, why shouldn't Bush be allowed to quote the Bible?

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Did you know that Randy Bachman is a Mormon? And Ed "Big Daddy" Roth was LDS? It sounds like the kind of myth I heard all the time growing up, and is kind of a running gag in a film aimed at Utah Mormons, The Singles Ward. ("Did you know Christina Aquilera is LDS?")

But now I've seen interviews with both of them about their conversions, I'm convinced. Bachman left The Guess Who after he was converted and later formed Bachman Turner Overdrive. I always liked "Taking Care of Business," but I thought it was a guilty pleasure. It's all the more amazing when you consider the kind of changes it requires.

French Fried or Do You Think We Could Give It Back To The Germans?
Here' s a letter from an angry Frenchman in answer to one bashing the French. Not being a history scholar, I'm not qualified to say if he's right or not on the details, but Mssr. Lechifflart demonstrate that the French still lead the world in arrogance and disdain:
No German boot defiled the soil of the capital during WWI. As far as WWII goes, I remind him that Paris was freed in August 1944, thanks to the rebellion of Parisians and the French Free Forces (Leclercq's 2nd Division Blindee), while U.S. and British forces cautiously stayed away.

Probably they hoped the Germans would deal with the French Resistance fighters, which they never trusted because there were communists among them. This would also explain why they did not send weapons to the Vercors Plateau, which was under control of the partisans, making them unable to resist the massacre of 750 children, men and women of all ages (July 1944, after D-Day).

Yes, even the liberation of France by our friends had its dirty sides.

Since Kimball wants to teach us a history lesson, let him consider that the United States has not had to deal with any foreign invasions for nearly two centuries. Unfortunately, our country did not have that blessing: Russians, Prussians, Austrians and Britons in 1814-1815; Prussians again in 1870-1871; Germans in 1914-1918, and again in 1940-1944.

Every time, the population mourned the loss of soldiers, but also had to endure all the "side effects," such as looting, torture, rape and murder of many civilians.

This is precisely why we are reluctant to agree with any idea of supporting the invasion of another country. Even though many Iraqis hate Saddam Hussein, they are a proud, patriotic nation that will never accept any regime installed by a foreign power, the same way French people had a hard time accepting Petain's government (Hitler's puppet), which, by the way, was granted full recognition by the U.S. government.

[L]et me quote that great leader [Georges Clemenceau]: "Americans are the only people who went from prehistory to decadence without passing through civilization"

This from the land that gave us Joseph Pujol, a.k.a. Le Petomane!

Pretty funny.

Utah Politics

I don't think that Utah is the most conservative state in the nation, but it's right up there. We still have one Democrat Representative in Congress. Around 70% of the population are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (called colloquially Mormons). About 40% of those are active, which means they go to church and donate time in callings. About 30% of Salt Lake City is LDS.

Utah tried for 50 years to be admitted to as the Union as a state, but was refused because of the antipathy to the Mormons. State and Church leaders were told that, in order to be acceptable, the territory would have to have a functioning two-party system. At the time, Mormons were nearly all Democrats. Church leaders would go to congregations and tell them that henceforth, everyone one one side would be Republicans. Today, the majority of the state is Republican because the Democrats have continually adopted positions that are repugnant to believing LDS members. Most Democrats here are probably more conservative than most Republicans are nationally. It's interesting to note that many LDS leaders are Democrats and a number of LDS Democrats are in Congress. Harry Reid, the senator from Nevada, is LDS. So, there is nothing about being LDS that requires one to be a Republican. However, most Utah politicians remind me of Orrin Hatch, with whom I generally agree, but of whom I'm not fond.

We have two statewide newspapers, The Deseret News, which is owned by the LDS Church, and the Salt Lake Tribune, which was founded to attack the LDS Church in the early days and has done so ever since. ("Deseret" refers to honey bees. The name is from the Book of Mormon. The state symbol is a beehive, signifying industry in the "hard work" sense.) Soon, the Desert News will begin publishing as a morning paper. It has been an afternoon paper, but losing readership. It was blocked from switching to a.m. publication by a joint operating agreement with the Tribune, which refused its consent. Recently, the Tribune changed management, which has opened the way for a.m. publication for the News.

Where's the ACLU when you need them? If these guys were liberals, they'd be screaming censorship because of the reception they got.

Will Vehrs nails Bush's critics (We're all anti-war and pro-peace. Only some of us are foolish enough to think those things come about by wishing, criticizing, carrying placards in pointless demonstrations and appeasing monsters.):
When the questioning gets tough, �peace� advocates change the subject. Someone else in the world is as bad as Saddam, a war will cost too much, or a war will spawn new terrorist attacks.
I might add, the questioning doesn't even have to get all that tough, then it's "we should rely on deterrence, and the most hypocritical, we should wait until Saddam actually nukes somebody and then nuke him." (along with a few millions of his innocent countrymen)

Swedish environmentalists against recycling. I feel that all my doubts about environmentalist dogma are vindicated. It's an intellectual fad. In twenty years, they'll be saying that oil and coal are the energy of the future. We really don't know anywhere near as much as we think we do. This is the tower of Babel all over again.

Here's a link from someone who was at the Houston rally, via InstaPundit. It wasn't a pro-war rally. It was pro-America to express support for our country, our leaders and our men and women in the armed forces. God bless them all!

Update: This is what most Mormons would recognize as A Title of Liberty.

OK, I have to confess that I have been guilty of the appearance of jingoism. I do think that this war in Iraq is necessary to get at the root of Islamist terrorism, but I am not pro-war. War is awful. It's dangerous. It leaves people dead, and worse, disabled in body and spirit. I think it is a little scary to be found "cheering, chanting and waving flags" in celebration of war.

I wasn't there, so I can't say whether this rally was jingoism or an expression of support for our president and our troops. There is a distinction. We should never celebrate war.

Abraham Lincoln pressed the war to quell the rebellion, but he did not want it. He wrote and signed many letters to widows and mothers of the slain expressing his sorrow for their loss. But that is why he was so frustrated with his first Generals. If we have to go to war, we should go all out and get it over with fast. It's the limited wars like Korea and Vietnam that prolong the death and misery.

The idea that war is never necessary is false and should be obvious. Evil triumphs when good people do nothing. However, beware lest the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. War is expensive in money and lives, that's why it should be avoided when possible. But we cannot shirk our responsibility to the cause of freedom. We have to have the courage of our heritage, but not be jingoistic or adopt the spirit of Manifest Destiny that led us to decimate the American Indians.