Saturday, January 21, 2006

Regarding Jill Carroll

The Christian Science Monitor reporter, Jill Carrol has become a victim of her liberal philosophy. She has entered the cage of wild animals armed with the faith that if she demonstrates good faith and tries to be fair to them, they won't eat her. This is the great Liberal/Pacifist fallacy, the belief that madmen bent on seizing power are only motivated by fear of the West, and if we show them they have nothing to fear, they will drop their weapons and open their arms and the world will have peace. Applied to dangerous wild beasts, this has been called the Disneyfication of nature. It might today also be called the Greening of the wild, as the advocates of restoring grizzly bears and wolves to their former ranges portray them "noble" animals, who care for their young and aren't really a threat to humans as long as we respect them. People whose pets have been killed by coyotes and cougars get scolded for encroaching on the habitats of these animals.

Perhaps, that's how people like Jill Carroll should be viewed, as intruders into the habitat of terrorists without taking proper precautions. But the peacenik delusion was not her only one. She was also a "journalist" which I put in quotes to distinguish it from reporters who see their job as telling their readers what's going on fairly, completely and objectively as they can. "Journalists" have their own philosophy which too often leads them to view their rule as somehow superior, even antithetical, to government.

They tend to view their personal political views as revealed knowledge and taking an evangelistic approach to them. Ms. Carroll, by all accounts, is a sweet, kind person and certainly doesn't deserve the peril into which she has fallen. This is not George Bush's fault, or Dick Cheney's or Don Rumsfeld's. She believed that she couldn't be an honest reporter without going into enemy territory without protection.

Bad, sad move. We can only pray for her rescue or release.

I don't admire or respect such people, because they start from the idea that whatever our side shows you is somehow tainted, and that only "journalists" can tell you the truth. That doesn't leave much room for us readers to apply our own intelligence to the facts. Those who believe we have to be fed only strained carrots and pabulum may have all the good intentions in the world, but they aren't giving their readers the credit they deserve for being able to interpret the world from their own experience and perspective. All of us have to be able to distinguish between what we perceive as reality at the moment and what reality might really be. It's a tricky thing to master, and having others who can't or won't acknowledge that they have the same problem telling us what to believe doesn't make it any easier.

You can talk all you want about the unfairness of life and the results of poverty and third-world conditions, but at some point, you should also consider that the terrorists may not be real victims, but dupes, or even worse, evil people. Either way, they are killers and you treat them otherwise at your own peril.

America has always been magnanimous in victory. The surest way to get vast sums of foreign aid is to be defeated by the U.S.A. But first you have to put down your weapons and agree to work things out in a civilized way.

Their feces don't smell

I'm kind of surprised at the attention the closing of comments on the Washington Post bog has gotten. They didn't know their left-wing readers have turned into foul-mouthed moonbats? That the Democrats are so touchy these days you can't talk to them?

And they're accusing conservatives of hate speech. I never saw the more profane comments. The cache at Yahoo! had been cleaned up when I saw it. Most of the posts were just angry that anyone would accuse the Democrats of being tainted by receiving money from Abramoff's clients. Yeah, they're only the piano players!

The fact is that the whole lobbying industry is a scandal and a shame, and that both parties are responsible for it. Legislators don't need lobbyists to inform them. That's why they have hearings, to let interested parties provide information. That's what policy making is all about. The Republicans may be the ones on the hot seat at the moment, but every legislature in the country is corrupted to some extent by lobbying and their blandishments and by the practices of pork barrel spending and logrolling. When the Pork Busters project started, I was not sanguine about its chances, but it has been more successful than I expected, and that's good. The main trigger has been the conjunction of this initiative, the indictments of Tom Delay (even though he's probably not guilty of anything the Democrats haven't been doing), and the prosecution of Jack Abramoff for defrauding his clients. The angry commenters who caused the Washington Post to close it's blog comments are either blind or self-deceived if they think that Abramoff didn't send some money the Democrats' way, but what we all need to recognize is that he's not being charged with lobbying and benefiting politicians with his clients' largesse. He's charged with misleading his clients, Indian Tribes who paid him to keep Congress from hurting their gambling casinos, about what their money would be used for.

I may be cynical, but it always seemed to me that if the people really cared about all this slimey behavior, it wouldn't be happening. Politicians use earmarking because it helps them raise money and the money helps them get re-elected. I received a mailer from our Congressman, Jim Matheson, boasting about having brought $13,000,000 of federal spending to our district. When this kind of stuff costs a politician instead of earning him support, it will end, but not until. It might just be an inevitable result of democracy, people being what they are, but I hope we'll see some candidates who make an issue of it.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The question is . . .

do we wait for the French to handle this problem, which, from recent indications could end up in a nuclear war. If not, what's our alternative?

Federalism gets a vote of confidence

I'm down with this. Oregonians may be fools, but I don't think that stretching the commerce clause, whether for conservative or liberla causes, is a good idea.

It's supposed to be a democracy. If the people make unwise choices they should be free to suffer the consequences.

Building Iraq, faster than the terrorists can tear it down.

Ralph Peters pointedly rebukes and debunks Jack Murtha:
All that nonsense about a "broken Army"? What I heard was the conviction that we're not only doing the right thing in Iraq, but doing it far better than the media tell the American people.

Along with those combat engineers, the audience consisted of infantry, military police and chemical corps leaders — veterans all. Not one was discouraged by the political tempests blowing in Washington (where the hot air is a prime cause of global warming). The best word for what our soldiers displayed is zeal.

I only wish my fellow citizens were given an honest view of our troops, their morale and their accomplishments — along with a fuller sense of our military's complexity. Yes, the infantry leads the way, along with the other combat arms. But who hears about the combat engineers? Even though they often lead the infantry?

Well, here's to the heroes who clear the minefields, defuse the improvised explosive devices (IEDs), blow open the doors, dig the trenches, build the defensive barriers, renovate the schools and clinics, plunge into the tangle of wires that passes for an electrical grid — and fight as infantrymen when the need arises.

When you see those dramatic photographs of infantry teams taking down an urban target, the soldiers up front are often combat engineers, opening a path for the grunts to go in.
I'll drink to that! My admiration for our military was restored when I saw the clips coming back from the embeds three years ago, and it swells whenever I see stories like this. Too bad Murtha's still mired in Vietnam.


This story hasn't been getting the attention it deserves, because it deals with environmentalists, whom the media tend to view as "activists," not terrorists.
Eleven people were indicted in a series of arsons, claimed by the radical groups Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, in five Western states, the Justice Department said Friday.

The 65-count indictment said the suspects are responsible for 17 incidents in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, including sabotaging a high-tension power line, in a conspiracy that dates back to 1996. The indictment was returned Thursday by a federal grand jury in Eugene, Ore., and unsealed Friday.

Why the NSA Wiretaps issue is a loser for the left.

Mort Kondracke is the most worthy journalist of the title "centrist" I know of. His quote from Michael Chertoff, a former Appeals Court justice and head of the Department of Homeland Security, brings the whole debate over the NSA wiretaps into its propert focus:
I think it's important to point out," . . . Chertoff told me in an interview, "that there's no evidence that this is a program designed to achieve political ends or do something nefarious."
That's the nub of the issue and what makes it the Un-watergate, contrary to the reflex of the Democrats and the MSM to equate this use of the President's national security powers with Nixon's abuse of them for political ends.
He was talking about the National Security Agency's warrantless "domestic spying" program, and I couldn't agree with him more. Despite the alarms sounded by the American Civil Liberties Union, former Vice President Al Gore and various Members of Congress, "there hasn't even been a hint" that the program is targeted at domestic dissidents or innocent bystanders, Chertoff said. It's designed to find and stop terrorists.

"If you go back to the post-Sept. 11 analyses and the 9/11 commission, the whole message was that we were inadequately sensitive to the need to identify the dots and connect them," he said.

"Now, what we're trying to do is gather as many dots as we can, figure out which are the ones that have to be connected and we're getting them connected," he said.

While refusing to discuss how the highly classified program works, Chertoff made it pretty clear that it involves "data mining" -collecting vast amounts of international communications data, running it through computers to spot key words and honing in on potential terrorists.

A former prosecutor, federal judge and head of the Justice Department's criminal division, he convincingly defended the program's legal basis and intelligence value.
Read the whole thing.

Meanwhile, CNN gives Howard Dean a whole segment to repeat the charge that Bush broke the law. Talk about overplaying your hand.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Vicious panic

Charlie Cook laments the viciousness that has come into political rhetoric:
More and more Republicans don’t just disagree with Democrats, they despise them—and vice versa. People don’t just challenge someone’s views—they challenge the other person’s integrity. Enjoyable, informative, and civil discussions between people with different points of view are becoming rare.

The most recent episode to deeply offend me occurred after Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito’s wife left the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in tears. An Alito opponent soon asked on a popular liberal Web site, “Do we want a judge who would marry such a weak-willed bitch?”
Note that he has to go back 14 years to find an example to support his charge abainst Republicans and even then, it's a fringe phenomenon.

He's certainly right about the Angry Left which seems to include most of the leading Democrat officials and bloggers and many in the MSM. However, to reach back to the Clinton administration and cite the far right fringe who made Bill Clinton an obsession is not a fair comparison.

Bill Clinton was and is unburdened by any core convictions except playing other liberals for chumps. He drove everybody nuts, not just conservatives. But his replacement, couldn't be more different. He's disciplined, religious, honest, and feels strongly his duty to protect the nation and our government. But the vitriol being hurled at him and conservatives in general is so bitter, angry and just plain nasty, it goes beyond anything I've ever seen.

There were people calling Clinton a murderer, to be sure, but they were hardly the base of the party. The problem was that Clinton's actions and frat boy personality embarrassed the whole nation. And the Democrats, seeing him as their ticket to power, could not admit the glaring truth. Their cognitive dissonance resulted in a need to deny that Clinton was the sleasy embarrassment that he was and a more powerful need to believe that the Republicans are just as bad if not worse. Add to that the closeness of the 2000 election, and the "we was robbed" feeling and the failure of their attempts to "fix" the results in Florida by recounting the ballots until they came out the way they wanted, and you have the formula for madness.

The problem with the current lefty rhetoric is that so many mainstream Democrat voters have bought into it. Michael Moore,, George Soros, DemocratUnderground, and uncounted liberal commentators have lost all sense of proportion. It's as if they don't care about the future of their party or their point of view.

There have always been such people on both ends of the political spectrum, but when they take over the party, they lose the swing voters who prefer that their leaders be rational. They have made to mistake of believing their own press which has been rendered nearly homogenous by the J-school system, but doesn't speak for the broad mainstream of the nation any longer. If they did, Rush Limbaugh would have remained obscure and Fox News Channel could never have outdone CBS News, let alone CNN.

There were a lot of knocks on Clinton from the right, and there were some moonbats who saw him as the Antichrist, but most Republicans just thought of him as something to be endured, like Jimmy Carter. It wasn't really their fondest hope to impeach him, but his dishonesty and dishonor of his office were so public, and the arguments made in his defense so offensive to logic and their beliefs about America, that they felt obligated to press the case, just as they had felt morally bound to abandon Nixon after Watergate. That's just the way conservatism is. Republicans aren't all conservatives, but without the conservative vote, no Republican candidate can get past the primaries.

While there is still plenty of nasty rhetoric on the right toward Democrats, it does not occupy the mainstream the way similar Anti-Republican wrath does on the left and it especially doesn't include the amount of obscenity and the over-the-top accusations that seem to have become the conventional wisdom for the left.

Yes, the rhetoric has become more vicious and more irrational, but it is obvious that the right is arguing from facts and ideas, while the left more and more only has epithets. When was the last time you saw a reasoned argument for increasing taxes and more welfare. The best they can do is to appeal to platitudes about fairness and caring for the unfortunate, even as they denounce the role of religious values in matters such as abortion. Without religion, what is the basis for the view that life should be fair, or that the weak should be helped by the strong? Socialism has been tried here and in Europe and it is becoming more and more clear that top-down social planning and liberalism in general is a disaster. It is leading to the depopulation of Europe, unless you count immigrants from the Third World, and a concommitant financial crisis as the number of people paying into government safety-net programs declines relative to those drawing on them.

I think that the slogan "All viciousness, all the time," is misleading because it assumes that only the left is the victim of "hate speech" while it is innocent of making scurrilous accusations toward the right. The cure is objectivity, but I'm not holding my breath for that to return soon to the likes of The Daily Kos, and MSM. The left has built its winning coalitions by appealing to blocs like Big Labor, New Deal largesse and appeals to victimology among minority groups. But those interests are becoming more and more disparate. Jews are seeing the liberal reflexive support for the underdog result in support for Palestinians and the idea that Suicide Bombers are more to be pitied than blamed and that Israel is the neighorhood bully. Those who remember vividly the sight of airliners flying into the Twin Towers and the chilling realization that those bits of debris were human beings, find it hard to feel sorry for Saddam Hussein and Islamist terrorism.

I thought, after 9/11, that liberalism and the rationalizations for terrorism were dead. I was wrong. The need for power has driven the left to the edge of insanity, and I don't see it coming to itself anytime soon. Any rational political advisor would have cautioned the Democrats against trying to cozen a man as smart as Alito into announcing how he would rule on issues he will be called to rule on and trying to blacken the name of such a boyscout. I'd have told them to play down the confirmation hearings and reserve their shots for the floor debate. When the subject is right in front of you along with his wife and children, trying to hang fangs and claws on him can't help you and you will lose a lot of trust, especially when your supporters go even further, calling his wife "a weak-willed bitch."

Another one I missed

Michael Ledeen, ten days ago:
[A]ccording to Iranians I trust, Osama bin Laden finally departed this world in mid-December. The al Qaeda leader died of kidney failure and was buried in Iran, where he had spent most of his time since the destruction of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Iranians who reported this note that this year's message in conjunction with the Muslim Haj came from his number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, for the first time.
Today's message from OBL is thought to have been made during December.

I don't see much point in trying to determine whether this is true or not, but it fits with the fact that there was a "summit" of al Qaeda leaders recently and the CIA's hellfire missile strike took out four high level terrorists, but not Zawahiri. It might also help explain why bin Laden's messages for the past few years have been audio only.

How did I miss this?

Pond scum could help cure brain disease, say Swiss scientists. What would we do without Swiss scientists?

Hillary's dirty secrets

Expect to hear a lot more about the Culture of Corruption from the Democrats. It will be divert attention from the Barrett Report:
David Barrett's 11-year, $23 million probe, which will be released tomorrow, states in stinging terms that this Clinton coverup succeeded.

Cisneros was forced to admit in 1999 that he had made secret payments to a mistress before serving as Clinton's secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Barrett investigated tax fraud charges stemming from those under-the-table payments.

Then-IRS Commissioner Peggy Richardson, a close friend of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), was involved in efforts to quash the probe, a source close to the case alleged.

But Richardson's role was cut from Barrett's report, which went through 26 drafts, because Democratic law firm Williams & Connolly successfully pressured Barrett to remove a section of the report naming her, a source said.

The law firm represents Cisneros, former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.
One wonders why they called attention to this report by trying to suppress it.

"He gave River City the liberry building, but he gave all the books to her!"

Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell:
I've heard from lots of angry readers about the remark in my column Sunday that lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to both parties. A better way to have said it would be that Abramoff "directed" contributions to both parties.
What angry readers? Is there any real doubt that he funneled money to politicians in both parties?

Apparently so. People are fried, because it was Indian tribes who gave the money, not Jack Abramoff. Talk about a distinction without a difference.

Actually, a quick review of Memeorandum makes me think that the leftosphere is becoming too toxic to bother with. I don't mind reading stuff I don't agree with, but I don't see why I should have to wade through obscenities and viciousness to do so.

The Meaning of Diversity

Apparently to some people it means letting dead people vote;
more evidence for Hugh Hewitt's thesis

Heh, indeed!

I wonder what David Gregory will be like when he gets out of high school. Don't these guys ever look at themselves? The White House press corps are the biggest bunch of whiners I know of. It's no wonder why journalists poll lower than Congress.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Speedy Gonzales

Dope me up and send me into that good night. The Supremes give it the nod. I think that it's not a moral choice to make, but if that's what the people in Oregon want, who am I to bemoan the loss of a few liberals?

This isn't forcing anybody to take his own life. If they really want to do it, they'll figure out a way. What strikes me as odd is the sight of the winning Plaintiff's grinning as if they've been suddenly cured of terminal cancer instead of getting the permission of SCOTUS their quietus to make. I wonder when they'll realize that with or without this decision, they'll still be dead.

If we get to the point when doctors are prescribing suicide, as opposed to drugs which make it painless, I'd be opposed, but insulin is not that hard to get hold of and neither are most sleeping pills and tranquilizers. So what's the fuss all about?

I have a nightmare.

Al, Hillary and Ray Nagin seem to have celebrated the MLK holiday by promoting racial divisiveness and passing out the race card. The radio talk shows have been playing the same clips all day.

Why choose King's birthday to do imitations of Jesse Jackson rhetoric? Apparently, because black people enjoy being pandered to, or at least that what has worked in the past, and they'll keep flogging that horse until its bones have been picked clean and bleached in the sun. You'd think they'd be tired of it, the promises that can't be kept, the elected officials who play the race card and then don't deliver, the being taken for granted and ignored when it comes time to deliver. Will it take another hundred years before they figure out that equal rights can only take you so far, before you have to take over and do something with the opportunities you have? Will they ever figure out that, even when you aren't being held down because of your race, it's still a struggle to make it, unless you're an heir to somebody else who had to struggle to make it? All those reparations yammerers should note how much character being an heir has developed in Ted Kennedy. Is that what they want for their children? Maybe so, but if so, they are still thinking the way the segregationists wanted them to, and Martin Luther King didn't.

Ray Nagin should be the most hated man in New Orleans after he did more harm than good to his city following Katrina, but as long as the media is preoccupied with blaming Bush for everything, he needn't worry. He seems to have learned more from The Reverands Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton with his talk of a "chocolate" city, which he later explained means something other than what everybody took it to mean. Smooth as milk chocolate, baby. I wonder where the miniature marshmallows come in.

Monday, January 16, 2006

How did you celebrate Martin Luther King day?

I spent mine in sackcloth and ashes and introspection on my own guilt for the crime of slavery.

Brite work

Dana Milbank is to journalism what Joe Biden is to confirmation hearings. His report on the Alito confirmation hearing sounds like he slept through it. He should have given the by-line to the one who really did the work on the piece, "Adrian Holovaty, who holds the position of boy genius/computer wiz at," and who did the word count on the transcript. Milbank's tone suggests that he sees himself as the new Dave Barry, but he doesn't have the chops.

The notes at the top of the article brand this as analysis is like calling a thesaurus a novel.

Why liberals are so annoying.

I just heard Gore Vidal, who for all I can tell, is best known for being well known, intone that the war against terror is like "a war against dandruff," "a metphor." He was supposed to be talking about Lincoln for The History Channel, but like most liberals he can't pass up any opportunity to take a dig at Bush. Of course, one senses that Vidal would have been as anti-Lincoln, had he lived during the Civil War, as he is anti-Bush today. He prides himself on his intellect, but it's more pride than intellect.

Whos afraid of Big Brother?

While I think that it is hyperbole to claim that this story from 1999 is an endorsement of ECHELON, the NSA's monitoring system that has got Democrats and some Republicans so upset, it does illustrate that the Clinton administration made the same arguments in support of this surveillance as the Bush administration is making today:
Last week, the House Committee on Intelligence requested that the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency provide a detailed report to Congress explaining what legal standards they use to monitor the conversations, transmissions and activities of American citizens.. . .

The report, entitled "Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information", was published on May 10 and provides a detailed account of Echelon and other intelligence monitoring systems.. . .

The stations collectively monitor millions of voice and data messages each day. These messages are then scanned and checked against certain key criteria held in a computer system called the "Dictionary." In the case of voice communications, the criteria could include a suspected criminal's telephone number; with respect to data communications, the messages might be scanned for certain keywords, like "bomb" or "drugs." The report also alleges that Echelon is capable of monitoring terrestrial Internet traffic through interception nodes placed on deep-sea communications cables.. . .

While few dispute the necessity of a system like Echelon to apprehend foreign spies, drug traffickers and terrorists, many are concerned that the system could be abused to collect economic and political information.. . .
What interests me about the story is that it documents that Congress was informed about the program, and that it basically acquiesced. Bob Barr, who most liberals would classify as a right wing radical, was concerned about the programs potential for spying on Americans. It thus appears that Republicans were among the first to express concern about this issue.

Ultimately, we have to accept the fact that such surveillance is warranted, and trust those we elect to protect us. The hysterical reaction is to compare it to Orwell's 1984, but I have to think that being scanned by a computer program is hardly the same thing as being monitored by people. Some items may be actually reviewed by human beings, but to portray these as jackbooted thugs dedicated to the destruction of democracy is way, way off. It's a product of the overheated rhetoric from radicals on both sides of the poltical spectrum. There may be some dark characters around who would abuse such power, but I have a hard time believing that such a sinister operation could exist in this time of rampant linking, as the current kerfuffle demonstrates.