Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Left Shows Whose Side It's On

If hanging Saddam Hussein isn't justice, what would be? This is about the simplest test issue there is, because once you say that nobody can ever deserve death, you're just not a serious thinker. Likewise turning this into another crude whine about President Bush. Can you get any more puerile?

The reflexive opponents of this war are mostly like that. They don't believe that anyone's life should be taken, even to prevent him from killing even more of his countrymen. Not only that, they oppose violence of any sort. On what basis? Certainly not any religious faith. I could make a better argument against the war based on the Book of Mormon than that.

Do they think he could be captured without anyone being killed? Was it more justified that his sons were killed resisting arrest? To say that you just want to end the killing is not a realistic answer; it's a copout, a denial of the basic truths of existence. They don't seem to have any qualms about leaving the Iraqis to the tender mercies of another murderous Sunni regime that murders women as punishment for being raped. When one questions their convictions about women's rights, they'll offer demonstrations and seminars. Yeah, that'll work. George Bush has done more to advance the rights of women in the most misogynist societies on earth than any of the bien pensants of the left. And that must really rankle.

In fact, I'm not sure that this griping is anything more than sour grapes. They just don't like the fact that the Iraqis have done something that nearly everyone thinks is a good thing. Why the next thing you know they might start suppressing sectarian violence, then where would we be?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Another Case Against J-Schools

It's not our job?
"It's not a reporter's job to participate in the prosecution of her own sources," said Sarah Olson, an Oakland freelance journalist and radio producer. "When you force a journalist to participate, you run the risk of turning the journalist into an investigative tool of the state."
Or (gasp) a good citizen!

What good does it do to publish a report of a crime, when you're not willing to help put an end to it? In fact, you may be obstructing justice. Next time, call the anonymous tip line, and skip the "crusading journalist" pose.

The Ex-Saddam

If I had more energy I'd probaby write a parody of "Poor Judd is Dead" from Oklahoma to commemorate the hanging of The Butcher of Baghdad. "Sic semper tyrannis."
That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!

The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.

He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.

The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.

Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.

Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?

Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

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!

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the amost High.

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

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;

That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?

Dumbest Idea for an Essay

As much as I admire Joseph Ellis, penning an essay titled "How Would Washington Have Handled Iraq?" is a fools errand. Washington was not a man of our time. He was president of a weak country in a time when Britain and France were world powers and didn't want to get involved in offending either by making alliances with the other. To say what he would do with our modern military after 9/11 facing the Axis of Evil is impossible. You can't even talk about what his personality would have been like because he didn't grow up in modern times. If he had, he might not have gone into the military. He might have become the equivalent of Donald Trump, or a sports star. Who knows?

Now, how about how George Bush would have lead the Revolutionary War?

Then there's Ellen Goodman asking "Ready For President Who Isn't a White Male?" Huh? Is that really the definitive question about the presidential choice? Who cares if the best candidate is black, white, brown, or one sex or another? Anybody who makes that the basis of his/her vote shouldn't be voting.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I'll trade this interview for all the Columnists at Times Direct and the WaPo

Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, commanding general of Camp Pendleton's I Marine Expeditionary Force and commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command. What it makes plain is that there IS progress in Iraq and that events are turning against Al Qaeda. The tribes in Western Iraq, Anbar Province, are supporting the Iraqi government.

Nobody wants to hear this, least of all the Democrats and the media, but we should keep doing what we're doing and quit jonesing for this to be over. President Bush needs to stand strong and his party together with patriotic Democrats, needs to back him and back away from pork. Somebody needs to take the offensive against our weak-kneed media and start giving our military some credit.

Basically the truth is that we've already won this war and we're mopping up. There are outsiders here trying to capitalize on the power vacuum left when Saddam's regime crumbled. But this "common knowledge" I keep hearing, about how we've made a lot of mistakes and went in without a plan just seems to be a myth built by Bush's critics, many of whom don't know any more than I do about fighting wars.

I remember the riots that took place after Martin Luther King was murdered, as well as those after the first trial of the cops caught on video beating up Rodney King. Our media are showing us Iraq through a soda straw. They don't show us what typical areas look like because they're peaceful. It's only the sites of violence that get reported on. The press should know this and include a caveat with their reports, but they don't seem to understand it themselves anymore. When we see news reports about violence in our own cities, we don't leap to the conclusion that the entire nation is in chaos, because we know better. What we need to remember is that the violence, as bloody and vicious as it is, really sporadic.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


The death toll of troops in Iraq has overtaken the number of civilians murdered on 9/11. Why that matters is beyond me. Is there some law of war that says we can only lose the same number of lives lost in the initial enemy attack? We must be in BIG trouble for extending World War II beyond the limit.

Why does this seem to gratify the left? Why do the nations rage, and the media imagine a vain thing?

"Islamist Forces in Somalia Are In Retreat"

That's the headline of this piece. Of course, the NYTimes can say this because the Ethiopian military is on the other side. If it was the U.S., we'd be bogged down in the Somalian quagmire.

No wonder he got driven out!

Larry Summers writes that world markets are disagreeing quite sharply with the commentariat.

Way to go, Rago!

After hearing Joseph Rago on Hugh Hewitt this afternoon, defending his screed against blogging, I noted this post at Power Line, particularly the point that bloggers were posting about Murtha's history of corruption months ago. Note that the Washington Post took six months to publish a report about it after the Washington Times editorial. The press hasn't really done its job when stories like this are studiously ignored by the rest of the media. Stories these days need to generate buzz to penetrate the public consciousness. While blogs don't have the reach of CBS, NBC or ABC, or the Leno/Letterman/Kimmel/Stewart axis, they're a big move toward a true free press where real, open debate occurs.

If Rago thinks that dismissing blogs is the way to bring about better news media, he's not just an elitist; he's a naive elitist. There will always be a market for good writing and persuasive analysis. He needdn't worry about the future of his craft, just the future of the complacent arrogance that passes for journalism these days.

Speaking of that, I'd like to drop the use of the terms "journalism" and "journalist," and go back to the more honest and clear "reporting" and "reporter." J-Schools have persuaded too many scribblers that their calling is to analyze rather than to tell us what happened. If they spent more time digging out the facts that others aren't telling and less recycling each others' opinions they wouldn't be in crisis.

Blog on!

Monday, December 25, 2006

"One of the most disturbing claims"

The Senate Intelligence Committee has found that the story that military analysts had identified Mohammed Atta and "U.S. national security officials ignored startling intelligence available in early 2001 that might have helped to prevent the attacks." Well, that's a relief.

I'd have thought that the reports that the Bush Administration was behind the whole thing were more alarming than that, in fact, second only to the alarm caused by seeing those towers collapse over and over and over on TV. We can all sleep sounder tonight knowing that our military intelligence didn't know about the terrorists' plans in time to prevent them, can't we?

Merry Kaus-mas

Mickey Kaus is especially good lately.

Time's Idea of a "stronger point of view."

Doesn't "leaner" mean thinner? If you're selling advertising in your magazine, that can't be good. But the new management doesn't see it that way:
The magazine is cutting its rate base -- the weekly circulation guaranteed to advertisers -- from 4 million to 3.25 million, and raising the newsstand price by a buck, to $4.95.

Maybe they're bowing to the inevitable, but this worries me:
Time has already beefed up its Web site by importing such prominent bloggers as Andrew Sullivan and Ana Marie Cox, the former Wonkette.
Or, I should say, it would worry me if I cared about Time magazine. That train left long ago.

To cap that all off, Time's choice of Person of the Year ignores everything else going on and focuses on people posting to YouTube, most of whom seem to be posting copyrighted material from television. You'd think somebody besides Mark Steyn would be concerned about civilization's lack of a future, but, hey, what do I know?

Shocking Revelation

The NYTimes reports that our troops in Iraq have captured two senior Iranian military officials, since released, and a number of other Iranians suspected of fighting in Iraq. Good for the Times! Who would have suspected such a development?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Unless, that is, you're one of those who thinks that religion does more harm than good. In that case, please accept the disclaimer.

Putting it simply

Mark Steyn explains the demographic crisis:
Japanese and European societies are trying to secure the future on upside-down family trees in which four grandparents have one grandchild. No matter how frantically you "adjust," that's unsustainable.
And nobody but he is talking about it.

It was only a few years ago that I heard for the first time that UN demographers were concerned not about overpopulation, but declining birthrates that could have enormous social consequences. That was in a local report on KBYU, but you didn't hear it on any PBS program I've seen. Westerners, it seems, aren't only hostile to illegal immigrants but to families large enough to keep our population steady without immigration.

Jonathan Chait and the LATimes deserve each other.

For blathering on about Neo-cons and Bush.

Silent Night exceot for the cry of a newborn baby

Mark Steyn finds a celebration of the birth of a baby to be a good time to recall the biggest story of the century--the self-extinction of western society.

The Real Culture of Corruption

Why wasn't this reported before the elections?
In 1994, House operations were essentially designed to launder funds to support incumbents. Most member services, including printing, mailing and the photography studio, were hidden in large revolving accounts. There was no way to tell who was spending what. Those fees that were traceable were usually mere shadows of the true costs to taxpayers.

At the time, personal services to members and staff — beauty parlors, barbershops, shoeshine stands and gift shops — were all losing money. Members could buy office furniture for their personal use, paying one dollar for a leather chair or $1.75 for a mahogany executive desk. Incompetent managers permitted sordid abuses of patronage, including sinecures for mistresses and relatives.

None of this was revealed because accounting practices for the House’s nearly $1 billion annual budget were surreal. Most of the House’s expenditures could not even be documented. Figures were compiled on antiquated handwritten ledgers and were riddled with errors. District office leases were negotiated over the telephone with little or no paperwork.

Go Ethiopia! Go USA!

Ethiopia has sent warplanes in an attack "on Somalia's powerful Islamic movement" "openly escalating its conflict with Islamist fighters into a dreaded regional war."

Oh no! Not the dreaded regional war!

The buried lede is this:
Ethiopia has the most powerful military in the region, trained by American advisors and funded by American aid. American officials have acknowledged that they tacitly supported Ethiopia’s decision to send troops to Somalia because they felt it was the best way to check the growing power of the Islamists, whom American officials have accused of sheltering Al Qaeda terrorists.
Ya gotta love our Imperial Grunts!

Does Ethiopia have an exit strategy? Did its government lie to its people in order to take them into an ill-advised war? Is this going to be another quagmire?

I tend to agree with Captain Ed's take,

And this proves . . .?

A California man "used flammable liquid to light himself on fire, apparently to protest a San Joaquin Valley school district's decision to change the names of winter and spring breaks to Christmas and Easter vacation."

It suggests a new ghoulish Christmas song, along the lines of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." Phrases like "Chestnuts roasting by an open fire" and "Yule Log" come to mind.

Seriously, though, what is it about people having faith in a redeemer, who taught us to be kinder, more responsible, and generally better people, that would drive someone to pull a stunt like this in protest? Isn't this carrying the "tyranny of the majority thing" way beyond common sense.

Once again, here's the basic rule about demonstrations: They only mean something if they're done in defiance of some unjust and immoral law, showing by the response of the police how wrong the law is. But this kind of thing lacks any connection to the rule, decision or law it is protesting. What is each demonstrating? The former, the fact that a law such as the segregation laws in the Southern States, are unconscionable. The latter, that this many is very upset by a decision he doesn't like, but which strikes others as no big deal, and that he is insane and needs to get a life.