- Name: on-the-rocks
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geosciblog Continuing Series
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Not Ready for Facebook
Oh, By the Way, Happy New Year
Another Climate Change Rant
Hoplophobia - the New Word for the Day
Tiny Lund, a NASCAR Legend
Recent PostsStill Here...
Not Ready for Facebook
Oh, By the Way, Happy New Year
Another Climate Change Rant
Hoplophobia - the New Word for the Day
Tiny Lund, a NASCAR Legend
GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>
Saturday, July 30, 2005
On Inertia, Gravity, and the Slippery Slope - II
Here in its entirety:
"As the debate on stem cell research goes forward, remember that there are three types of stem cells acquired for research.
(1) Adult Stem Cells
(2) Umbilical Cord Stem Cells
(3) Embryonic Stem Cells
Thus far, only research using the first two types have yielded results. The third type, the cells from living embryos, are the controversial ones. Some people believe these cells to be the equivalent of a human being, other people don't care if anyone is offended by the destruction of these life forms. So, when you hear someone talking of stem cells, make sure that you are given an account of which type is being discussed. If you hear a report which does not differentiate between the types; you are not getting the whole story. "
The MSM and Lib/Leftist pundits frequently hint that embryonic stem cell research is the source of all future medical advances (or something like that). They also suggest, very frequently, that the Bush Administration has a ban on embryonic stem cell research. T'aint so!
I think the Bush Administration recognizes that research is going to go on, right, wrong, or somewhere in between. The ban was on using taxpayer money to fund the research. While the Bush Administration recognizes the importance of medical research, there are a lot of moral and ethical issues and the administration didn't want to imply a de facto endorsement of the practice.
For whatever reason, there seems to be a group that is hellbent on continuing research on human embryos. Yes, there is a "supply" available from legal abortions, therapeutic abortions, and spontaneous abortions. The problem is, if something is found, that is going to increase pressure to use "left-over" frozen embryos, which may lead to human embryos being "grown for spare parts". This is the slippery slope. We don't know when the soul enters the embryo, that may never (and perhaps should never) be within our knowledge.
If we justify growing human embryos for spare parts, what will we justify 10, 20 years down the road? Just because Europe or someone else is further down the road (the slippery slope), that doesn't mean it's right. We didn't get to where we are by following.
We must tread lightly. "Anything goes", in medical research, is a future component of cultural anarchy.
Common Folk Using Common Sense has a pertinent post on this subject, also.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Some Random Thoughts - What Would Teddy Be?
If John F. Kennedy had survived.
If Robert F. Kennedy had survived.
What if they had all survived and gone on to fulfill their apparent political destinies?
What would Teddy have been doing in the meantime? He has variously been called a "professional surviving brother" (by Neal Boortz) and "the runt of the litter" by others. His public life has been pretty illustrative of his character (or decided lack thereof).
While discussing this today with my "pool-cover boss", he suggested that Teddy might have become a Billy Carter-style "first brother".
So let's try to imagine Teddy Kennedy running a fish market on Martha's Vineyard. Walking around barefooted in a pair of overalls, with a can of Narragansett beer or a bottle of Haffenreffer Malt Liquor (aka "Green Death") in hand, dispensing his observations and wit to customers and curious onlookers. Pausing on occasion, he slurps down a raw oyster or perhaps chews some of his own creation - quahog jerky.
Perhaps Narragansett might have put out "Teddy Beer" (a la Billy Beer), causing a minor fad interest for a few months before it finally finished off the old Narragansett brewery in Cranston. For years afterward, people would have been hawking full cans and sixpacks of Teddy Beer on ebay and in newspaper classifieds.
After years of obscurity, Teddy would have appreciated the attention showered on him by the National Inquirer and Mad magazine, even offering to pose nude for a Mad centerfold (thankfully they refused the offer, it is rumored that they even paid him not to pose nude). But the attention finally led to scandal as the National Inquirer revealed that Teddy had been pouring out the contents of the Narragansett cans and Haffenreffer bottles and refilling them with a combination of Scotch and Irish whiskey.
The scandal was compounded when Teddy tried to resurrect his dad's bootlegging business, smuggling liquor through Canada to bypass the normal U. S. Customs process. As he was led away in handcuffs, Teddy was heard to say "we don't need no stinkin' Customs!".
And so it goes.
Hat Tip to Doug.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Summertime Heat Does Not Equal Global Warming
Humans may contribute to climate change by:
- Deforestation for farming, timber, and/or industrial purposes.
- The aggregate effect of the Urban Heat Islands.
- The effects of unburned hydrocarbons in the atmosphere.
- The effects of soot and other particulates, related to human activities.
Here is a column from Today's FrontPageMag.com website with the transcript of a phone conversation with Dr. Fred Singer. He has written much on this subject.
Hay Chewed: Go back and read this post and the links within, for more info.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Sugar: It's Not as Sweet as it Seems
Most of us use it daily and arguably too much, by some accounts. But in a stressful world, sometimes a little sugary sweetness helps offset the stress.
We sometimes hear about subsidies and how they are bad (but necessary), but because both political parties have vested interests in the status quo (maintaining or regaining power), we rarely make progess in rolling back taxpayer-funded subsidies of various industries.
This post was inspired by a July 16th Atlanta Journal Constitution article on the probable closing of the Bob's Candies plant in Albany, Georgia, which has been open since 1919. The immediate cost would be the loss of 200+ jobs in an area that needs jobs. In this case, the decision is being made by the Minnesota-based parent company Farley's and Sathers, which bought Bob's in April. The production will be shifted to the Bob's plant in Reynosa, Mexico plant. Besides lower shipping costs to their Texas distribution center and lower wages in Mexico, the primary cited reason is the lower sugar prices in Mexico. The hard, sweet stripe candy made by Bob's are 100% sugar and their famous candy canes are 60% sugar.
The article cites Brach's as having closed a Chicago plant in favor of Mexico, after Brach's was purchased by a Swiss company.
These moves are good for the parent companies, good for Mexico's economy, and ultimately for American consumers, but again it seems that our manufacturing base continues to die a "death by a thousand cuts". And some of this is because of Federal regulations and tarrifs.
The National Center for Policy Analysis has several linked-articles on the issue of Sugar Subsidies and their collateral damage. This June 18, 2001 article summarizes some of the Federal Budget damage done by the yearly subsidies.
From this article:
"The number of jobs destroyed by sugar quotas exceeds the total number of sugar farmers in the U.S., according to a Commerce Department study.
Sugar farmers collect a subsidy nearly 30 times larger per acre than what wheat farmers get.
So over the years phosphorous used as a fertilizer by sugar growers leached into the water of the Everglades and helped destroy the ecosystem of the entire region."
Source: James Bovard (Future of Freedom Foundation), "Candy Mountain: It's Time to Take Sugar Producers Off Welfare Rolls," Investor's Business Daily, June 18, 2001.
This linked summary of a 1995 Washington Times article provides more info.
In short, as a pragmatist, I am willing to accept the concept of short-term subsidies (3 to 5 years) for individual farmers, as we are talking about food issues here, but the long-term subsidies cause numerous problems, including:
- Propping up favored political contributors. Most of the subsidy money flows to the well-connected, not to the individual, small family farmer.
- The taxpayer-supported, artificially high prices benefit those receiving the subsidies (and price guarantees).
- American consumers pay higher sugar prices than world market prices.
- Tarrifs restrict the import of foreign-produced sugar.
- Permanent subsidies distort the market place and deny third-world farmers access to large markets.
[Some of this information may be dated, but I suspect that not much has changed since this was published.]
To Counter Those That Want to "Cut and Run"...
Past adventures and mistakes notwithstanding, I do not believe that the United States is interested in world domination. Our far-flung military is to try to maintain some sort of stability for the purposes of world commerce. It is in some cases to benefit certain industries and that may lead to problems, but on balance, we do more good than bad.
Though it doesn't benefit all (no policy can), "Pax Americana" is generally good for a large number of people across the world. Despite the human flaws, "democracy" and capitalism provide for a significant measure of stability.
The above-linked column is another explanation as to why a "power vacuum", generated by a rapid withdrawal from Iraq would yield disastrous results.
Continued Thoughts on Africa
Why is Africa in the state it is in? The easy "answer" is to blame European interference and colonialism, but except for recent French "intervention" in Ivory Coast and perhaps elsewhere, the colonial period ended for the most part at least a couple of decades ago.
Dr. Thomas Sowell explains some of the issues in his book "Race and Culture" and they include such things as how Europe benefited by having more navigable rivers, which allowed ship traffic deeper into the continent, bringing goods and cultural exchange from other lands. Another issue is tribalism and cultural fragmentation. We see the long-term effects of tribalism in Eastern Europe, with the Balkan tribes having been fighting for at least the last 600 years. Attempts to cobble together larger nations, e.g., Yugoslavia, from warring tribes eventually collapses.
Landmark events in the long histories of France and Germany included the past unification of small kingdoms or states under a strong king or emperor and the adoption of a more unified national language. China has made efforts at having a unifying language (Mandarin, I believe). A primary reason for the success of the United States is its settlement under a strong English culture and the expectations of assimilation of immigrants. The primary division between different tribes are different languages and Dr. Sowell stated (paraphrasing) that Africa has 10% of the world's people, but 40% of the world's languages.
If memory serves me correctly, Africa has something like 56 nations. With that much disunity (the downside of too much diversity), how do you achieve any sort of unity of purpose? How do you "pick" what would be a dominant, unifying language
Paul Jacobs reminds us of what others have said, that Freedom is the best solution to poverty. Some African nations have persisted and briefly thrived under benevolent dictators, but benevolent is not the usual, long-term behavior of most dictators, it is the exception. In order for freedom to thrive, decentralization of power needs to take place.
Some ignorant folks have claimed in the past that capitalism requires a certain number of poor people to thrive, however that seems illogical to me. It seems that for capitalism to thrive, the more participants (in buying other people's stuff), the better for all the sellers.
When suggesting such tough remedies for Africa, who is going to holler "racism"? It is probably not Africans, but Western Lib/Leftists.
Hay Chewed: Africa's Long Road, Killing Them With Kindness, Some Thoughts on Live 8
Friday, July 22, 2005
The advisory group is headed by William Perry, with assistance from Wesley Clark, Madeleine Albright, and Sandy Berger. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi felt it was necessary jump on the bandwagon in saying that North Korea and Iran pose bigger threats today than before the war on terrorism was launched. With a cast of characters like this, you don't suppose they are biased, do you?
"The administration is fighting a global war on terror but not yet a global war on weapons of mass destruction," the report says."
We suspected that Saddam Hussein had WMDs because he used them before. The likely reasons why we didn't find what we expected was probably that the WMDs were shipped to Syria. As the President has been excoriated and threatened with impeachment over the apparent error in estimates of WMDs, he might appear to be reluctant to keep looking.
Each "Nuclear" nation will require a different strategy and it will take patience. Besides, how could the President prosecute this part of the war with the constant nattering nabobs yapping at him?
If there is another large attack in the U.S., the very people highlighting our mistakes and misjudgements (or their perceptions of such) will be the first to apply the blame to President Bush. The lack of unity shown by the Democrats and others may have made conflict more likely with one or both of these nations.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
On Being Spooked
As this was a several day meeting, I did what others often do when attending multiday conventions, I played hookey for a day, as there were no talks related to my project on that day. I had previously called up some fellow beer can collectors in Colorado Springs and arranged a "dumping trip", to go look for old, discarded beer cans.
While we were at one particular dump, after finding nothing of note, three of us were standing in a circle, about 4 feet in diameter, atop a pile of old, rusty cans. As we discussed our next moves, an angry rattlesnake emerged from the center of the circle, at our feet. After we completed our standing broad jump, we composed ourselves and went on our way. But for the rest of the day, when we would make contact with a dry bush, it's rustling noise would make us jump. When we would step on a stick, which would "pop-up" and hit the back of our leg, we would jump. We went on about our business, though we were "spooked".
At this juncture, you are no doubt wondering "What is the point of this blather?".
The very close encounter with the rattlesnake that day reminded us of the threat. And the rustling bushes and jumping sticks further reminded us of that threat.
At this point, the incident(s) in London appear to be either a failed bombing or an attempt to spook and disrupt Londoners with the threat of a 7/7 repeat. When London's brave mayor Livingstone blamed the UK and the US for the 7/7 bombings, he illustrated division in a time that called for unity. Can you imagine London's mayor during the Battle of Britain blaming the British for the Nazi German air raids?
The British economy is already hobbled by decades of socialistic policies. Their citizens have had their self-protection rights taken away. They have had much of their free speech rights taken away. In order to appear civilized, they tolerate the hateful rants of imams openly advocating the destruction of everything British. They are were we could be with run-amok political correctness. But they are family.
When will the British soccer fans be loosed?
Hay Chewed: Ich bin ein Londoners
Ebonics - The Cultural Rash That Won't Go Away
A common language is one of the most important aspects of cultural unity and prosperity. The deliberate undermining of the American version of the English language is only going to cause the continuation of economic marginalization of those that are "taught it" as a viable dialect.
In other words, if you can't speak "the King's English" well, it is more difficult to get a job, among other things. It doesn't matter if it is Ebonics or some backwoods Appalachian dialect. If you are difficult to understand, people will not spend as much time listening to you as they might otherwise.
This isn't about trying to make anyone "white", it is about wanting them to be successful.
If the Trackback to Pam's article works, thank Brainster's tip. If not, then it was because I was too tired, but I was determined to stay up until I had it "figgered out". If it don work, it be my faut! Will try 'gin 'nother time.
On the Importance of Cultural Literacy - I
This philosophy is right out of the Jean Jacques Rousseau/John Dewey educational school of thought. This philosophy suggests that rote learning (memorizing facts, figures, dates) should be de-emphasized in favor of letting children explore and develop their creativity. In other words, there should be a minimum amount of adult input.
Creativity is, of course, important, but as suggested by Dr. E. D. Hirsch, Jr., in "Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know", children need to "build a database of cultural literacy" while they are young (preferably before the fifth grade). Research suggests that this time of life is the best time for children to learn by rote memory. This rote memory is what makes the creativity possible at an older age. It no doubt includes rules of verbal and written communication, including pronunciations of key words.
It is that rote memory that builds the database that the mind uses to assemble coherent thoughts later. Our brains, even the best of them, cannot store the full text of every heard or read sentence. Our short term memory retains the gist of a spoken or written statement by breaking it down into components, i.e., "boiling it down" to the basics. When it comes time to recall a given conversation or read materials, the brain retrieves the gist to "re-assemble" into your recollection.
A common rote memory database is the basis for cultural literacy. It is what we assume others know when we converse with them. It allows us, for instance, to allude to key words and/or phrases to make a point, without having to explain each word or phrase. Cultural literacy facilitates personal communications and lessens the chances of misunderstandings.
There are broad aspects of cultural literacy that are common to nations of similar language, e.g., the English-speaking nations of the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. In other words, learned people from these nations should recognize the cultural relevance certain phrases or words as characteristic to the English language, even if the exact meaning is not known. People in these nations should recognize the words "Magna Carta" as signifying an important historical document in English history, even if they don't exactly know what it is about. Or they should recognize "The House of Lords" as part of the English government.
On a narrower scale, Americans should recognize the general historical context of names such as "John Brown" or "Molly Pitcher" or "Kitty Hawk". There is little reason for someone from New Zealand to have any knowledge of John Brown's role in the "leadup" to the Civil War.
The ill-advised concentration of "Multiculturalism" serves to "water down" our national cultural literacy, by downplaying American historical figures and events, in favor of learning the same of other cultures. Learning historical figures and events of other cultures is not a bad thing, in and of itself, but we need to learn and understand our history and culture first, then learn others for the sake of comparison and connections. Besides, people of other nations will not respect your ignorance of your own nation and culture.
Children absorb "tidbits" of cultural literacy from a variety of sources; e.g., school, church, educational TV, but especially hearing conversations of culturally-literate adults. When children are in contact with adults lacking in cultural literacy, e.g., from having dropped out of school or if the adults are constantly intoxicated or otherwise pre-occupied, the problem of cultural illiteracy (and its attendant disadvantages) becomes chronic, being passed from one generation to another. This is one reason why "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer". Good schools with good teachers and proactive parents can make an important contribution.
A follow-up post on the resurgence of "Ebonics" will hopefully connect with this subject.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Another Exodus from the Left
I suspect that most of the visitors here are of the Conservative/Libertarian philosophy. This would seem as preaching to the choir. However, as some of us came from similar backgrounds as Mr. Thompson, we might learn some "talking points" to perhaps offer some of our friends that are "wavering", i.e., the ones that are probably conservative, but either don't know it or are afraid to admit it because of past prejudices.
A crossroads event in my journey from the "soft left" was a conversation with a gay Republican from my wife's theatre group. At the time, I considered Jesse Helms to be the illustration of a monolithic Right Wing. He told me that he wasn't thrilled with Jesse Helms, but as a small business owner, he preferred the economic policies of the Republicans. That started me thinking about it (at the same time Rush Limbaugh's words were making inroads). Add to that the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union/Eastern Bloc.
Keith Thompson's previous view of the Right was that it was also of a "conform or die" monolith. After his conversion:
"Conform or die? Don’t make me laugh. Two weeks of electronic replies to my public “goodbye to the Left” surfaced more genuine pluralism among the non-Left than I encountered during my years inside so-called “progressive” America. The one type of diversity that isn’t there permitted — diversity of thought — echoed repeatedly in the messages that welcomed me to new political terrain."
It takes courage to change. People don't like to back down in public for fear of "losing face". When you are having a conversation with a friend that is sensible enough to listen to your Conservative viewpoints, when they bring up an objection, politely remind them "that I used to think that way, too", to illustrate the courage the change. Explain how you did the research or otherwise found the information that changed your mind. If they have an agreeable point, agreeing with that point may disarm them.
This won't work, of course with the Hard Left. They have other issues at play, which are probably beyond your assistance. Temper your remarks so if the Leftist gets hyper, bystanders can see who is the Moonbat and who isn't. Hold the moral high ground.
Is that so hard to figure out?
When you look at the day-to-day eco-vandalism, including firebombings of construction sites, homes under construction, scientific laboratories, restaurants, and other types of domestic mayhem, it is being conducted by Leftists.
Numerous Leftists (a few of which are highlighted by Michelle) regularly call (or wish) for the murder of U.S. citizens and leaders. They call for the destruction of U.S. industries. They give aid and comfort to the Leftist Islamist mentality that ultimately calls for the destruction of the U.S. and the deaths of tens of thousands of its citizens.
Yes, there are a few "Rightist" wackos, Eric Robert Rudolph, of most recent note. But when you compare the damage done on a chronic, long-term basis, Leftists far outnumber the Rightists. And the Rightist wackos are less likely to be getting money from foreign sources, unless they sing the anti-Semitism song loud enough to draw money from Arab sources.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Africa's Long Road
1) Private property rights.
2) The rule of law.
From Reason Online comes this article by Melinda Ammann, which reviews:
The Shackled Continent: Power, Corruption, and African Lives, by Robert Guest, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books, 288 pages, $27.50
This book explains the hows and whys for Africa's problems and offers some suggestions about how to begin turning things around. The article further details why throwing money and free food at the problems, beyond immediate emergencies, have a detrimental effect on the farming community and other local industries.
As for the private property issue, in much of Africa, land ownership is informal. As Ammann states:
"Guest estimates that 90 percent of housing in most African countries is owned informally. In Malawi, a country that is “peaceful, stable, off the beaten track and fearfully poor,” houses are built on “customary” land, which means that “the plot’s previous owners had no formal title to it. The land was simply part of a field their family had cultivated for generations. About two-thirds of the land in Malawi is owned this way.…If there is a dispute about boundaries, the village chief adjudicates.”
The problem with land ownership at the pleasure of the chief (or king or president) is that it cannot provide the title security that supports impersonal markets. As Guest puts it, “no bank will accept [a contract signed by a local chief] as collateral because it is not enforceable in a court of law. Rather, it is an expression of traditional law, which is usually unwritten, unpredictable and dependent on the chief’s whim.” Although “the chief may be a wise, just and consistent fellow,” Guest writes, “the bank does not know this.”"
When people have clear, definite title to a parcel of land, they have a vested interest in its preservation. When there is civil strife, there is more incentive to stay. If the owners have to leave temporarily, the land title gives them incentive to come back and re-establish themselves. This is the basis of stable nations where freedom can blossom.
As we gradually lose our land rights here, will our freedom wither? Unless things change, no doubt it will.
Hay Chewed: Killing Them With Kindness and the links within.
Repealing the Kelo Decision
"Working with" the likes of Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, et al, would only make things worse. This is what you get when your legal foundation is a "living, breathing document".
In the meantime, while we wait for this change to take place, we need to keep talking and writing about this, so we don't slip into a zone of comfort, because we live in a "safe zone".
In a worst-case scenario, for people that live in older homes that could be declared "blighted", their situation is only a few degrees of separation different from that of a white farmer in Zimbabwe.
Monday, July 18, 2005
If We Stop Fighting, They Will Just Go Away
As a follow-up to the last post, going back to the Propeace Community Site, there is a table comparing tools of war versus tools of peace on the Demonstrate for Peace post.
To be fair, they have posted a Winston Churchill quote:
If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.
— Winston Churchill
To be charitable, this quote is probably out-of-context, for we know that Sir Winston was not of the spineless weasel family. For peace to exist there has to be someone powerful protecting and enforcing the peace or there has to be some sort of good-faith agreement between previously warring parties. If not for the terrorists blowing up children and mosques, Iraq would be a relatively peaceful place now.
The call for action in this post includes some of the tired old talking points we have heard before.
"More than two years after the illegal and immoral U.S. invasion of Iraq, the nightmare continues. More than 1600 U.S. soldiers have died, and at least another 15,000 have been wounded. Even the most conservative estimates of Iraqi deaths number in the tens of thousands. Iraq, a once sovereign nation, now lies in ruins under military and corporate occupation by the U.S. Our promises to rebuild have not been kept, and Iraqis still lack food, water, electricity, and other basic needs."
Back in 1998 until perhaps 2002/2003, some prominent Democrats agreed with the President's current position on the present and future threats that Saddam Hussein posed to the world. As for Iraq as a sovereign nation under Saddam, so was Nazi Germany. Your point is? Iraqis that lack food, water, electricity, and other basic needs have been largely denied them by terrorist bombings and other sabotage.
We want to establish a stable, self-governing Iraq that can join the world community of nations and no longer be a willing sponsor of Islamist terror. It won't be easy. It took years to re-establish Germany after WWII. Using this same mentality, the pre-war and wartime Hitlerian Germany was preferable to the rough post-war transition to a more modern, democratic Germany.
Our (Western nations) interest in removing Saddam was based on our previous experiences by our Western nations at the results of the failure at not having removed Adolph Hitler in 1936, when Germany violated the Treaty of Versailles. France by themselves may have been able to do it. If Hitler had been pushed back and humiliated, he might have been overthrown. We don't know what would have followed. We never will.
But we live in a world where sooner or later someone is going to set off one or more nuclear weapons in Western cities. When that happens, how many children and teachers will die as their schools are obliterated by the blasts? How many hospitals full of doctors, nurses, and patients will be flattened? If we had not developed nuclear weapons, who would have? Stalin, Mao Tse Tung? Kruschev? We used two of them almost 60 years ago to end a great war and to prevent future great wars. We know that our strength kept Josef Stalin and Mao at bay. Now these weapons are being scattered to entities that have no sense of self-preservation. They live in order to die and to take as many infidels with them as possible. As China's forced population controls have left 20 million more men than women, they may have to turn to some sort of mischief to keep those unmarried, unmarriable men busy. That is another concern that may hinge on how we handle ourselves now.
Our flawed efforts in Iraq and elsewhere are the ounce of prevention that may prevent events for which there are no "cures". We need more prevention, the spineless weasels want less.
If we cut and run, there will be no healing in Iraq. There will be a bloodbath. Nature abhors a vaccuum. If there are bad people waiting to fill that vaccuum, they will.
Not Quite Moonbats...
I may have accidently clicked on a link at the corner of a website, I am not sure how I arrived at this particular blog. The philosophies of "The Propeace Community Site" are one of those things that sound so good in theory, if we had a perfect, utopian world, but the ugly reality is that evil exists and for good people to survive, we have to have warriors. That is the nature of our flawed, fallen world.
A homepage quote:
The most disadvantageous peace is better than the most just war.
— Desiderius Erasmus
[Update: I read through the Wikipedia piece on Erasmus. His re-examination of some aspects of the Catholic Church may have inspired a contemporary, Martin Luther. But from a cursory reading of the piece, it seems that Erasmus didn't want to take sides or take full credit for his work. It seems that he was the classical humanist Moderate. Perhaps he didn't want his ass to be in a sling should Martin Luther have failed.]
On another page is an editorial letter submitted to the Boston Globe in response to a letter by a member of our military (I will deal with that later).
Here is a quote from that page:
Our main business is not to see what lies dimly in the distance but to do what lies clearly at hand.
— Thomas Carlyle
Using this mentality, attacking Afghanistan would have been perhaps the only response to 9/11. No other preventative actions would have been justified.
The taxpayer money from our parents and grandparents was used after WWII to rebuild Japan and Germany in order to try to prevent future wars. But in order to prevent those future wars, we had to destroy the tyrannies that caused WWII, first.
Those that forget the past...
The Nazi - Islamist Brotherhood
She begins by quoting Sir Winston Churchill's remarks following Neville Chamberlain's Munich Pact with Adolph Hitler.
From Glick's column: "Churchill warned, "You have to consider the character of the Nazi movement and the rule which it implies....There can never be friendship between the British democracy and the Nazi power, that power which spurns Christian ethics, which cheers its onward course by a barbarous paganism, which vaunts the spirit of aggression and conquest, which derives strength and perverted pleasure from persecution, and uses, as we have seen, with pitiless brutality the threat of murderous force. That power can never be a trusted friend of British democracy.""
Substitute Islamist for Nazi and drop the word "paganism" and this pretty well sums up the situation between Western values (of the UK, the US, and others) and the Islamist war on civilization.
Allied success in the European theatre of WWII might not have been possible if the UK had surrendered before the Nazi onslaught. If not for the intestinal fortitude of Winston Churchill and others, we would not have had a staging area for the invasion of Europe (Normandy). We would probably had to have had some sort of standoff with Nazi Germany while we prosecuted the Asian theatre.
A (perhaps unstated) reason for the invasion of Iraq was to establish a staging area for future War on Terror operations (the Islamists know this too). Having a military presence and "terrible resolve" in Iraq and Afghanistan might serve as a deterrent to future large-scale terror plans, but it won't happen overnight.
Iraq was a sponsor of Islamist terror, the evidence is there. WMDs were just a part of the issue. Even is Iraq had no connection with 9/11, specifically, to reuse an analogy, 9/11 was not a "one act play". And President Bush is trying to prevent future large-scale WMD attacks on our soil. They may still happen. If they do, we need to leave the infighting and finger-pointing until after the war. If we are hit again, it may be because our "Disloyal Opposition" made us look more divided that we are.
"On Tuesday The Wall Street Journal published an investigative report into the establishment and growth of the Islamic Center in Munich. As Stefan Meining, a German historian who studies the mosque, told the paper, "If you want to understand the structure of political Islam, you have to look at what happened in Munich."
According to the report, the Munich mosque was founded by Muslim Nazis who had settled in West Germany after the war. These men, who were among more than one million citizens of the Soviet republics who joined the Nazis while they were under German occupation, were transferred by their Nazi commander to the Western front in the closing stages of the war to protect them from the advancing Red Army.
The Journal report explains that the first leader of the mosque was a native of Uzbekistan named Nurredin Nakibhidscha Namangani. Namangani served as an imam in the SS and participated in the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto and the putting down of the Jewish uprising in 1943."
We also know that Germany made use of Muslim Albanian soldiers in its army.
"Ignored by the report is that there was no particular reason, other than perhaps turf warfare, for the Nazis to have had a problem with the Muslim Brotherhood. As German political scientist Matthias Kuentzel chronicled in his work "Islamic anti-Semitism and its Nazi Roots," the Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned the PLO's Fatah as well as al-Qaida, Hamas and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, owes much of its ideological success and pseudo-philosophical roots to Nazism.
In the 1930s, the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin el-Husseini, rigorously courted the Nazis. When, in 1936, he launched his terror war against the Jewish Yishuv in the British controlled Palestine Mandate, he repeatedly asked the Nazis for financial backing, which began arriving in 1937.
From 1936-39 Husseini's terror army murdered 415 Jews. In later years, Husseini noted that were it not for Nazi money, his onslaught would have been defeated in 1937. His movement was imbued with Nazism. His men saluted one another with Nazi salutes and members of his youth movement sported Hitler Youth uniforms.
Husseini was allied with the new Muslim Brotherhood movement that was founded by Ramadan's father-in-law, Hassan al-Banna, in the 1920s. The impact of his terror war on the movement was profound. From a 1936 membership roster of 800, by 1939 the ranks of the Brotherhood had risen to 200,000 official members backed by perhaps an equal number of active sympathizers.
As Kuentzel argues, the notion of a violent holy war or jihad against non-Muslims was not a part of any active Islamic doctrine until the 1930s and, as he notes, "its concurrence with the arrival of a newly virulent anti-Semitism is verified in no uncertain terms." Husseini's gangs in the Palestine Mandate were joyously praised by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which held mass demonstrations with slogans like "Jews get out of Egypt and Palestine," and "Down with the Jews!""
"Husseini, who became an active Nazi agent – fomenting a pro-Nazi coup in Baghdad in 1942 and then fleeing to Germany where he spent the rest of the war training a jihad army of Bosnian Muslims; exhorting the Arab world to rise up against the Allies; participating in the Holocaust and planning an Auschwitz-like death camp to be built in Nablus after the German victory – escaped with French assistance to Cairo after the war. There he was embraced as a war hero.
Hitler's obsession with the Jews as the source of all the evils in the world became so ingrained in both the Arab nationalist and Islamic psyche that it has become second nature.
At the 2002 trial in Germany of Mounir el-Moutassadeq, who was accused of collaborating with the September 11 hijackers, witnesses described the world view of Muhammad Atta who led the attackers. One witness claimed, "Atta's [world view] was based on a National Socialist way of thinking. He was convinced that 'the Jews' are determined to achieve world domination. He considered New York City to be the center of world Jewry, which was, in his opinion, Enemy Number One."
In light of the wealth of historical documentation of the Nazi roots of Islamic fascism, it is absolutely apparent that the collaboration between Nazis and the Muslim Brotherhood in the building and developing of the Islamic Center in Munich was anything but coincidental or unique.
It is also hardly surprising that PA chieftain Mahmoud Abbas, whose predecessor, Yasser Arafat, was Husseini's follower, devoted his doctoral dissertation to a denial of the Holocaust and a justification of Nazism."
I would recommend going back and reading the article. Western civilization is of course not perfect. It had to evolve through some of the worst of human "qualities", but its goals of freedom as expressed in the Founding Documents of the United States and our cultural family have allowed for the freedom of more people than previous cultures. The goals of Islamist world domination are also expressed, though not highlighted, nor constently presented to the world for the sake of reminders.
This War on Terror is a "Crossroads Event" in human history. Will we have the fortitude to prevail?
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Reversing the Flawed Climate Change Paradigm?
Having an understanding of Earth history helps one see that the only thing constant is change.
Friends of Science has produced a video, entitled "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What you are NOT being told about the science of Climate Change!"
Dr. Sallie Baliunas, an astrophysicist, is one of the narrators and suggests:
"Past climate researchers have found out that over much of the world between about 1400, and in some places as late as 1900, there was a period of colder than average temperatures over many regions of the world, called the Little Ice Age."
"Before that, there was a period of unusual warmth, so warming and cooling are the norm. The 20th century is not out of balance compared to the past."
"Much new evidence showing the sun has cycles over centuries [and that] the earth has warmings and coolings that follow in step with the sun. The sun's changes [are] one reason why the earth has climate change."
Another reason the earth has climate change is because the earth's orbit changes from a circular orbit to that of an ellipse, over time, because of differing gravitation effects of larger outlying planets (Jupiter, Saturn) "tugging" on the earth. This causes a gradual distortion of the earth's orbit around the sun, i.e., the earth's distance from the sun changes. These changes are part of what is called the Milankovitch Cycle.
"The Friends of Science video describes water vapor as the "main greenhouse gas in the atmosphere," whose effects on the climate have not been sufficiently investigated.
As for man-made carbon dioxide, enemy number one of "global warming" activists and the focus of the Kyoto Protocol - the international emissions reduction treaty - it has not been shown to affect temperature levels, according to Dr. Tim Patterson, professor of geology and paleo-climatology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.
"We actually had a decline in temperature from the 1940s through about the late 1970s to 1980. All this while, CO2 levels were increasing like crazy, all around the world," he said.
Prof. Ian Clark, from the department of earth sciences at the University of Ottawa, asserts in the Friends of Science video that his research into naturally-occurring CO2, tracked over the earth's history, showed that "CO2 acts as a result of temperature rise and [is] not a cause of temperature rise.""
Fred Gielow's article explains more of the role of Water Vapor in the Greenhouse Effect vs. the role of carbon dioxide. The figures are from the previously-linked article "Water Vapor Rules the Greenhouse". Those figures estimate that 95% of Greenhouse Gases are Water Vapor while Carbon Dioxide accounts for 3.62%.
Bottom line: Carbon Dioxide is a Greenhouse Gas, but there ain't enough to affect change.
Hay Chewed: More info and many links are within the July 4 and June 24 posts, as well as in Hay Chewed II.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
More on Kelo vs. New London Decision and Larger Implications
"Put yourself in the homeowner's shoes. You buy a home for your family. Perhaps it's even handed down from your father, or grandfather. It's a place you can afford, in a neighborhood you like. The children have made friends. You intend to stay, for the rest of your life.
As you plant your garden, landscape the yard, put up a swing set for the kids, and mold your land into a home, unknown to you, certain city officials are meeting around a table with developers. In front of them are maps, plats, and photographs - of your home. They talk of dollars - big dollars. Tax revenues for the city, huge profits for the developer. A shopping center, with all the trimmings, begins to take shape. You're not asked for input, or permission. You're not even notified, until the whole project is finalized, and the only minor detail is to get rid of you."
Before the Kelo Decision, if a developer wanted your property, they would make an offer and the bargaining back and forth would take place, until an agreeable market price was reached. Or if you didn't want to sell, they would just have to find a way to deal with it. That is the way it is supposed to be. Now politically-connected developers don't have to deal with ups and downs of real estate market values.
Rush Limbaugh has stated before that Capitalism will not work without a framework of morality. The legal framework of our Constitution and its Amendments helps support the moral framework. The Kelo Decision represents a significant breakdown in that legal framework, ultimately leaving the sanctity of people's homes largely dependent on the good will of politicians that will say no and developers that are willing to accept that no, without trying an "end run".
"Finally, five black robes named Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Breyer shock the nation, by ruling that officials, who have behaved like Tony Soprano, are in the right, and you have to vacate your property.
These four men and one woman have ruled that the United States Constitution is truly meaningless. Their ruling in the Kelo case declared that Americans own nothing. After declaring that all property is subject to the whim of a government official, it's just a short trip to declaring that government can now confiscate anything we own; anything we create; anything we believe."
"Our Founding Fathers left no doubt in their writings, their deeds, or their governing documents as to where they stood on the vital importance of private property. John Locke, the man whom the Founders followed, as they created this nation, said, "Government has no other end than the preservation of property."
John Adams said,
"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God; and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence."
One would be hard-pressed to find a single word in the writings of the Founding Fathers to support the premise that it's okay to take private property for economic development. To the contrary, they believed that the root of economic prosperity is the protection of private property.
So, how did Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Breyer miss such a rock-solid foundation of American law? Perhaps they didn't. Perhaps they chose to ignore it, in favor of another agenda. Specifically, Agenda 21.
For several years, certain members of the Supreme Court have been discussing the need to review international law and foreign court decisions to determine U.S. Supreme Court rulings. Justice Breyer has been the most outspoken for this policy, saying, "We face an increasing number of domestic legal questions that directly implicate foreign or international law.""
This is what we will get more of if President Bush and Senate Republicans lie down with Democrat dogs on the upcoming and future Supreme Court nominees.
As for Agenda 21, it is a blueprint for the UN's Sustainable Development goals, i.e., planning your future, whether you like it or not.
"Sustainable Development is top-down control, a ruling principle that affects nearly every aspect of our lives, including; the kind of homes we may live in; water policy that dictates the amount each American may use in a day; drastic reductions of energy use; the imposition of public transportation; even the number of inhabitants that may be allowed inside city borders. Most Americans have heard of a small part of this policy, operating under the name Smart Growth. Agenda 21 outlines specific goals, and a tight timetable for implementation. In June, 2005, the U.N. held a major gathering in San Francisco, where the mayors of cities from across the nation, and around the world, gathered to pledge to impose Sustainable polices.
In order to meet such goals, federal, state, and local governments are scrambling to impose strict policies on development and land use. The use of Eminent Domain has become a favorite tool. Sustainable Development calls for partnerships between the public sector (your local government) and private businesses."
The article continues with:
"Those who support Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 needed something big, to put things back on track. The Supreme Court, which has already stated that it must look to international laws and treaties to decide American law, provided the answer. Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Breyer chose Sustainable Development and Agenda 21, over the Constitution of the United States."
Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America explains how these same Supreme Court attitudes may affect our right of self-defense. He also suggests how legislative action may help nullify Supreme Court excesses.
Representative Ron Paul suggests that the Supreme Court should not even have ruled on the Kelo case, as it was a Connecticut state issue:
"If anything, the Supreme Court should have refused to hear the Kelo case, on the grounds that the 5th Amendment does not apply to states. If Constitutional purists hope to maintain credibility, we must reject the phony incorporation doctrine in all cases - not only when it serves our interests. The issue in the Kelo case is the legality of the eminent domain action under Connecticut law, not federal law. Congress can, and should, act to prevent the federal government from seizing private property, but the fight against local eminent domain actions must take place at the local level. The people of New London, Connecticut, could start by removing from office, the local officials who created the problem in the first place."
This is a case where grass-roots action may show more rapid results than waiting for any sort of ideological shift in the Supreme Court. If everyone of the responsible, local officials were recalled, impeached, or defeated in their next elections, it would send a powerful message.
Michael Shaw and Edward Hudgins offer some information about just what Agenda 21 is. A portion of their article states:
"Agenda 21 sees governments as the answer. The Preamble states that,
"sustainable development is primarily the responsibility of governments, and this will require national strategies, plans and policies."
Chapter 4 states that to produce sustainable development, governments should strive to "promote efficient production, and reduce wasteful consumption." The United States submits regular reports to the United Nations, to validate the nation's achievement of the Agenda 21 programs and timetables.
What these statements really mean for most Americans was spelled out by Maurice Strong, the Secretary General of the Rio Earth Summit, and Canadian oil billionaire, who wrote;
"current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class - involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing, are not sustainable."
The lifestyle that Americans worked so hard to earn is the explicit target of Agenda 21. Even more ominous for freedom, were the words of Harvey Ruvin, of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, who is also a Clerk of the Circuit and County Court in Miami-Dade County, Florida. He defined the issue well, when he said "individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective.""
"Individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective." Need they say much more?
"The urban version of Agenda 21, usually under the name "Smart Growth," seeks to concentrate people into more densely crowded city centers with limited transportation options. Put another way, "Smart Growth" is a war against suburbs with single-family houses with large yards, and individuals traveling principally by automobile."
Essentially, they want people to be clustered into urban apartments, forced to use public transportation, where they can be more easily controlled.
"The U.N.'s concept of Sustainable Development is antithetical to individual freedom, and economic liberty. It is, philosophically speaking, unsustainable. Development, in this context, refers to the use of naturally-occurring materials such as land, forests, rivers, water, and the like. The notion of Sustainable Development assumes that if not managed by some collective body, that these materials will be destroyed by individual owners. The United Nations Habitat Conference Report in 1976 stated:
"Private land ownership is also a principle instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth, and therefore, contributes to social injustice... Public control of land use is, therefore, indispensable.""
Frank Maguire reminds us of the 1981 Poletown Neighborhood Council vs. City of Detroit. The Michigan Supreme Court approved the actions by which Detroit seized 465 acres, including 1,400 homes and 100+ businesses, in order to resell the land to General Motors. Though it came a little late to help the residents of Poletown, last year the Michigan Supreme Court reversed itself and declared increased tax revenues do not constitute a proper reason for takings.
Larry Salzman and Alex Epstein further explain the dangers of Iminent Domain abuse. From this article:
"The Supreme Court's decision against the property owners in Kelo is, in the words of Justice Clarence Thomas from his dissenting opinion, a "far-reaching, and dangerous result." As Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, another of the four dissenting justices, wrote:
"All private property is now vulnerable to being taken, and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded - i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public - in the process."
And as Dana Berliner, an attorney for the owners, argued, this means that no one's property or home is truly safe:
"If jobs and taxes can be a justification for taking someone's home or business, then no property in America is safe. Anyone's home can create more jobs, if it is replaced by a business and any small business can generate greater taxes if replaced by a bigger one.""
Candace Oathout wrote of the loss of that most basic of freedoms, the freedom of private property ownership. A portion of this includes:
"We have given up the right to be safe in our houses, without realizing we were doing so. We have supported the centralization of power in the federal government through legislation such as the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. How, you may ask, can the Clean Water Act or the Endangered Species Act affect our right to be secure in our houses? That seems like quite a stretch. But, it really isn't. These two pieces of legislation are examples of how the judiciary has used legislation, to take over many powers, that were not delegated to the federal government. They have been used to exercise ever-increasing control over land uses, often to the detriment of the landowner. Farmers can no longer manage their lands without federal interference concerning how they manage drainage from their land, and how they manage livestock keeping. Many potential homeowners are priced out of the market, because endangered species and their critical habitats lead to increasing costs of housing construction."
Endangered Species regulations have been used for past controls of private land and now Exotic (Invasive) Species laws and regulations promise more federal control of land.
A short excerpt:
"Any regulation of invasive species - never before regulated under the Endangered Species Act - would be a step toward the government telling Americans what they can use for their lawns, what flowers they can have in their flowerbeds, and what vegetables they can plant in their gardens."
Hay Chewed: See the links in Hay Chewed III - Property Tax/Property Rights Issues.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Just a Few Words to Our Muslim Citizens and "Visitors"
My viewpoint is that of someone whose family has been in the United States since 1748, i.e., my ancestors had to make a pledge to King George II of England upon arriving in Philadelphia.
Over at Moonbat Central, there is a post referencing the Coptic Christian viewpoint of the introduction of Muslim teaching materials in California schools. They know what happens when militant Islam prevails in such places as Egypt. They know what happens with diversity and tolerance under Sharia (there ain't none).
I usually try to look at people as individuals, as do many Conservatives, rather than as members of "tribes" or groups. We are willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, if we think that they will do the same.
Our Judeo-Christian culture with its British roots, recognizes the right of Muslims and others to worship as they please, as long as it doesn't harm others. In countries where sharia is the order of the day, this concept does not exist. Muslims were not here for the founding of the United States, yet we welcome immigrants of good faith. Muslims were not around for the foundations of the British culture, though there have been past Arabic contributions to what is now European culture (including our system of numbers). But sharia, as interpreted by Wahhabis, does not nuture freedom. It does not live and let live.
It is now being reported that one of the British bombers was a school teacher. Was he just assimilating long enough to wait his call to be a murderer? Were the parents of some of his students on the bus? Or in the subway? Was he forced to do this or was he a willing participant?
If (or when) there is another attack on the United States, there is going to be a human-nature reaction. It is not because Americans are bad, it is because they are human. If you want your children to enjoy the freedom and bounty possible in this country, you are going to have to choose to stand with us, so that when crunch time comes, we will know who to trust and who not to. We are slow to anger. Our resolve since 9/11 has weakened some, but it is still there, as coals beneath last night's campfire. If others proclaiming your religion throw more gasoline on those coals, that is your problem as well as ours.
There are rules for every human relationship. If you want to be accepted, you have to have the courage to follow those rules or accept the consequences.
The Walls of the Democrat War Room...
Right now, it is Karl Rove. David Limbaugh, among others have explained how there is probably very little to the story. When President Bush nominates one or more Supreme Court candidates, it will be something, probably out of context, dredged up from their backgrounds. A few weeks ago it was Tom DeLay. Other things "flung" against the wall, in no particular order include the 2004 election and glitches in Ohio; the 2000 election and glitches in Florida;...
there are so many things that fatigue is setting in. Hopefully, more and more voters are seeing this as "crying wolf".
Is this anyway to run a country? During a war with an enemy with no rules? With an enemy that will kill himself in order to kill you?
I would imagine that many normal human beings would be getting fatigued at this time, as the President probably is too. We need to pray that he has the "gumption" (named after Forest Gump, dontcha know!), to put his foot down and explain to the nation the importance of his court nominees, as well as other policies.
Nothing good will come from bargaining with the likes of Ted Kennedy or Harry Reid or Charles Schumer, on the issue of judges. In order to negotiate, both parties must be of good faith. Did President Clinton bargain with the Republicans over his two Supreme Court nominees (Ginsberg or Breyer)? Would a President Gore or Kerry bargain with the Republicans (if they constituted a minority in the Senate)? When the Democrats were in power, did they ever talk about bipartisanship? Did they talk about the need for unity?
Rather than re-examining their ownselves following their steady, decade-long slide from power (at the hands of the American voters), the Democrats prefer weakening our national stature. Foreign enemies may not understand our free-speech squabbling as a sign of vitality, they may see it as a divided house. If they perceive that, in the wake of another large attack, Democrats would continue the attacks with threats of impeachment, this may further embolden them.
I am not asking that people follow President Bush blindly. But al Qaida, et al, will kill you regardless of your party affiliation. President Bush, Tony Blair, Paul Howard, and a few others get it, though their responses are not what they should be. Other world leaders probably get it, but they don't have the courage to stand up with us. They don't have the courage to walk through the fire in order to reach the future. We were told on September 20, 2001 that this war might take decades. Forgive the lame analogies, but al Qaida is not a "one-trick pony", nor are they lone wolves. 9/11 was not a one act play. We heard warning shots, but we ignored them.
We are too nice for our own good. The disunity of the Vietnam era cost the lives of tens of thousands of Americans and Vietnamese by dragging out the war for years after 1968. Our flawed approach to the war could have been analyzed after the war. Our somewhat-free republic is at a disadvantage because our people elect their leaders. This causes variations in policies over the decades of "consistency" of tyrannical governments and dictators.
One more consideration, since we entered the Nuclear Age, we have probably been reluctant to codify needed military responses with a Congressional Declaration of War, because of the fear of that war getting out of control, once it is "official". But because it is not "official", it makes it more difficult for us to prosecute people for treason, a la, Jane Fonda, Jimmy Carter, Ramsey Clark, Jr., Walter Cronkite, John Kerry, Jim McDermott, Michael Thompson, David Bonior, etc..
As stated recently (to which Pam at Blogmeister USA agreed), President Roosevelt (and the US) could not have prevailed in WWII with all of the second-guessing and all of the overseas interference. As we analyzed our mistakes years after the war's conclusion, we should do so with this one. The activities of those mentioned above are not for the sake of "Eternal vigilance". Most of it is about getting even for 2004, and 2000, and 1994, and...
And meanwhile, while the President is distracted by the squabbling, what is going on along our southern border? Why are so many OTMs showing up there and why the hell are they being released on their own recognizance?
If leftists want to live in a socialist paradise, there are plenty of places for them to go, e.g., Cuba, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Venezuela,...Delta is ready when they are.
When you have children and you are trying to see decades into the future, you can't just walk away. You can't just let it go.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
13 de Marzo
Humberto Fontova tells more of the story in this FrontPageMag column. A story that seemed to have gotten little airplay, when it happened.
These websites have more info:
41 people, trying to reach freedom, died when the tugboat was repeatedly rammed. Remember this when you see the Oliver Stones, the Danny Glovers, the Jimmy Carters, the Cynthia McKinneys, and the other beautiful people that love to visit and idolize Fidel Castro.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Not That The Moonbats Will Listen...
Rebuttal #1 is about "Bush lying about WMDs".
Rebuttal #2 is about the "100,000 dead Iraqis".
Rebutall #3 is about the Bush Administration saying that Iraq was involved in 9/11.
You are probably familiar with the rest of them.
Could President Roosevelt had prevailed if he had to face the number of contrarians that President Bush deals with?
What it is, as described by GBfan on Spotted Horse is: "Rules: First my version of the Prime directive you can only observe you cannot change anything no changing of the time line. You can interact to a point ie stand in a crowd or talk to people you cannot do anything that will change time."
[A little modification here, you can include the chance to talk to one or more historical icons and drive them around, pointing out aspects of modern life and attempting to explain it in terms they would understand and trying to explain what might seem absurd to them.]
In no particular order of preference, I would time travel to:
1. To follow Jesus's ministry as he traveled throughout Israel.
2. To follow the Apostle Paul, to listen to his teachings and to find out if he ever made it to Spain.
3. Watch the Battle of the Ironclads, at Hampton Roads, Va., during the Civil War.
4. To sit in on the debates leading up to the Declaration of Independence.
5. To sit in on the debates leading up to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
6. To perhaps sit in a tavern and have an ale with Samuel Adams and his contemporaries.
7. To be in the assembled crowd when President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address.
8. To be in the crowd when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I have a dream" speech.
9. To sit in on some of the meetings given by President George Washington.
10. To listen to a few of John Wesley's sermons.
On another day, this list might be somewhat different.
Monday, July 11, 2005
The Doomsday Scenario
There has been a fear, for a while, that al-Qaida nukes already have been smuggled into this country, perhaps by ship, perhaps across our southern border, perhaps across our northern border. Today's WorldNetDaily includes this report on that possibility. This linked article suggests that there are also some old Soviet nukes placed in this country during the Cold War. Only time will tell.
But we need to go ahead and prepare ourselves mentally for this possibility.
[Update: When I originally wrote this, I suggested (as have others) that Medina or Mecca be taken out as payback for a nuclear blast in this country. I was venting at the time. I know that this is not the right thing to suggest, but what is? How do we demonstrate how high the stakes are? How do we get across to Islamists that "they don't want to go there, because... Innocent people will die regardless. Above all else we have to get across to them that they will not win.]
If it happens, we will worry about pointing the finger years after the fact. There is probably plenty of blame to go around, in both parties, as is often the case.
One more concern, would China decide to take advantage of a distracted, weakened U.S. to engage in their own aggression? Russia? North Korea?
Being nice ain't going to head off any of these scenarios. The mindset of the Islamist terrorist does not respect restraint. And if we were to be nuked multiple times by al-Qaida, who would be left behind to defent liberty on a world-wide basis? This War on Terror is a cross-roads event in human history.
Again, this is within the realm of possibility and as such, does our president need to be distracted by all of the partisan infighting?
We are the ones with the disadvantage in this war. We have rules. They don't. We love life. They love death. They will kill themselves in order to kill us.
An Interesting Liberal Column
Ellen's WorldNetDaily column today, makes a few interesting points about the Islamist terror, once you get past a few, inane sentences that miss the point about the immorality of terrorism.
A few of these are:..."All sides of the global terrorism argument can manipulate last week's events to say: "We are right and you are wrong. But terrorism itself isn't about right or wrong as I have come to realize."
[Well no, if terrorism is defined as the deliberate attacks on unarmed citizens, even if it is for the "right reason", it is still morally wrong. We don't carpet bomb anymore, we do not deliberately target unarmed citizens as a matter of routine military operations. To say that bombing buses and subway cars in inexcusable is not manipulation.]
"In all the sound bites and all the print and all the books that have covered the landscape of our world after Sept. 11, 2001, the most insightful thing I have heard about terrorism came from the Saudi Foreign Minister on a BBC panel during the build up to the war on Iraq. He said simply, 'Terrorism [is] the privatization of war.' It's business."
[It is business, perhaps, but it is the business of attacking unarmed citizens rather than the prepared military. Which ultimately is a sign of cowardice and lack of morality at this point in time. Yes, we have done things in the past, which are in retrospect, wrong, and we have attempted to change our ways.]
Because of my funked, rainy Monday attitude and class preparation for late this afternoon, if someone else wants to continue to analyze (and fisk, if necessary) this column, please feel free. I think she raises a few interesting points, but she may be missing the boat on how to deal with these points.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
A Quiet Resolve on the War on Terror
Last night he was decrying the lack of passion from President Bush and PM Tony Blair in the wake of the London bombings. He seemed disappointed that they and other "man on the street" interviewees were not crying for Islamist blood. Perhaps a little of the "lack of passion" may be laid at the feet of the MSM, for not wanting to assist the war effort, but as for Bush and Blair, their measured words are a sign of quiet resolve, in my humble opinion.
What good would it do, at the moment, to go into a rant? They have to measure their words, especially when they both have to deal with a disloyal opposition (George Galloway, Ted Kennedy,...the usual suspects).
I think Savage is right about the President being weak on immigration. That problem didn't happen overnight and it will not be solved overnight. President Bush does need to sit down with President Fox of Mexico and "talk turkey" about the War on Terror. There are signs that Islamists are teaming up with drug lords and anyone else with a grudge against the U.S.. There are some events in the past where the U.S. may have misbehaved in its dealings with Mexico and other Latin American countries, but they need to get over it. Over time, grudges become a burden. One thing that helps keep "national" or cultural grudges alive is when self-serving politicians use them to divert attention from their own problems. Ultimately, the Islamists hate Mexico as much as they hate "us" because we are all infidels. But for the short-term, the Islamists will use old annoyances between different groups of infidels to accomplish their long-term goals.
In the short-term, we need to stop this stupid practice of releasing the "OTM" (Other Than Mexican) illegals and expecting them to show up at hearings. Especially those from Muslim countries and other problem areas. Just expecting them to show up at hearings that may result in their deportation is beyond naive. It is dangerously stupid. In fact, it might be a good idea to go ahead and contact your Representative and Senators to express these thoughts.
We were told on September 20, 2001 that this war was going to last for a while. It may last the rest of our adult lives. The Wahhabi-driven zealots are in it for the long haul. You cannot reason with a culture (or sub-culture) of which adherents are willing to kill themselves in order to kill you. We have to somehow demonstrate to them that they will not succeed in breaking our will. Maybe at some point, some of them will come to the conclusion that "this ain't working", but it will take years. Again, it didn't happen overnight and it won't be solved overnight.
In order to promote a stable world favorable for capitalistic free trade, perhaps we have over-reached ourselves, but the War on Terror makes it difficult to withdraw from some of these areas, when withdrawal, for the sake of efficiency may, instead be seen as a sign of weakness.
For instance if North Korea does have the nuclear weapons it claims, our 34,000 troups there (+/-) would simply be cannon fodder in the case of a North Korean attack. We would be better served if those troups were withdrawn, some of them to Japan, but how would that be perceived? Would it be played as a fear-driven withdrawal?
The dance of diplomacy is difficult, especially again, when you don't have a loyal opposition, i.e., you have to guard your back. It will take years to see results, good or bad. But each time the Disloyal Opposition (including the MSM) downplays the good results and overplays the bad results, it just makes the war longer. Disunity is why Vietnam became "Vietnam".
Rich Lowry reminds us that the enemy has no rules. We are the ones with the disadvantage, because we are basically good people and we don't want to have to fight. We would prefer to live and let live, but ignoring this problem will never make it go away.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Killing Them With Kindness
By way of Catallarchy (and referenced elsewhere), is this link to a Der Spiegel interview with Kenyan economist James Shikwati. Some excerpts are presented here.
Here is the initial part of the interview:
SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa...
Shikwati: ... for God's sake, please just stop.
SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.
Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.
Later in the interview...
SPIEGEL: If the World Food Program didn't do anything, the people would starve.
Shikwati: I don't think so. In such a case, the Kenyans, for a change, would be forced to initiate trade relations with Uganda or Tanzania, and buy their food there. This type of trade is vital for Africa. It would force us to improve our own infrastructure, while making national borders -- drawn by the Europeans by the way -- more permeable. It would also force us to establish laws favoring market economy.
SPIEGEL: Would Africa actually be able to solve these problems on its own?
Shikwati: Of course. Hunger should not be a problem in most of the countries south of the Sahara. In addition, there are vast natural resources: oil, gold, diamonds. Africa is always only portrayed as a continent of suffering, but most figures are vastly exaggerated. In the industrial nations, there's a sense that Africa would go under without development aid. But believe me, Africa existed before you Europeans came along. And we didn't do all that poorly either.
Donated food is putting African farmers out of business and who would consider that even donated clothes has a downside for Africa?
Shikwati: Why do we get these mountains of clothes? No one is freezing here. Instead, our tailors lose their livelihoods. They're in the same position as our farmers. No one in the low-wage world of Africa can be cost-efficient enough to keep pace with donated products. In 1997, 137,000 workers were employed in Nigeria's textile industry. By 2003, the figure had dropped to 57,000. The results are the same in all other areas where overwhelming helpfulness and fragile African markets collide.
Here is the link to a related article in Der Spiegel.
Remember, Live 8 was not a charity event. It was not a grass-roots, people-helping-people sort of thing. It was an "event" to "raise people's conciousness". This statement by Bob Geldof (from Jonah Goldberg's column on Townhall.com) sums up the Lib/Leftist mindset with this statement: "Something must be done, even if it doesn't work." [Huh? Say what?] Photo-ops, egos, and other peoples' money.
Hay Chewed: A Few Thoughts on Live 8
[Update #1 - 7/11: Arnold Kling at Tech Central Station has some additional thoughts on the subject. His column opens with:
"We are the Folk Song Army.
Everyone of us cares.
We all hate poverty, war, and injustice,
Unlike the rest of you squares."-- Tom Lehrer
These words from "The Folk Song Army," by singer-satirist Tom Lehrer, pretty well sum up the "feelgoodism" practiced by today's (and yesterday's) Lib/Leftists. It is all about style versus substance.]
[Update #2 - 7/11 As the G-8 Summit was ending, the participants engaged in further "Please don't hate us, here is some more money!", ...
"With a last-minute pledge from Japan, Blair won a key victory, announcing that aid to Africa would rise from the current $25 billion to $50 billion by 2010."
..."In a direct response to the terrorist attacks on London, world leaders of the G8 nations yesterday doubled their commitment to African relief and offered the Palestinian Authority some $9 billion."
Instead, why don't they hire an army of accountants and lawyers to try to find the billions skimmed by Yassir Arafat!]
I call this "thick reading", similar to that of Dr. Thomas Sowell, in that my simple mind has to stop and absorb the material periodically.
Peter Kirsanow's National Review Online article on Janice Rogers Brown is linked here.
Read up on her, because if she is nominated to fill one of the present or upcoming Supreme Court vacancies, she will be excoriated by the likes of Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy.
A Dry Run - For Shutting Down Talk Radio
The issue is a group against a new gasoline tax. The judge ruled that on-air discussions of this issue amounted to the equivalent of monetary contributions to the anti-tax organization. He ordered a commercial value be assigned to the time spent discussing this issue. And the local, Leftist newspaper Seattle Post-Intelligent seems all in favor of it. Of course, it is probably because of their love of big government and because they expect that they would be exempt from any political sanctions. I guess their form of protected political speech is so much more important than the others.
Imagine the scenario if Rush Limbaugh, et al, spent time criticizing Hillary Clinton (as a presidential candidate). There are some that would like to classify Rush's free speech as a campaign contribution in favor of Hillary's opponent. And thus it would have to be controlled. It is just as likely that your phone call to Rush, criticizing Hillary's candidacy and agenda, might be treated in the same manner.
They are going to do it. They just haven't figured out all of the details yet. This judge's action may be a trial balloon to see what sort of attention they draw.
And if they succeed there, they may try blogs next. Are they going to measure column inches times readership numbers? Can we afford to take a "wait and see" attitude?
Ich bin ein Londoners
There are a number of cultural reasons why, which can be left to later discussions, but the aggregate of English-speaking nations (Great Britain, United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) represent the most broadly successful and most liberal (in the Classical sense) cultures in the last 400 years or so. In the expansion of this English cultural family, some (many) smaller, native cultures have been overcome and lost to history. That is not an issue unique to English culture, it has happened with others (Dr. Thomas Sowell covers some of these issues in Race and Culture and other books). That is just an aspect of human culture and human flaws. As mentioned yesterday, human cultural evolution is not fair and it is not smooth.
Other cultures have experienced temporary successes by emulating the successes of the broader English culture. Sometimes their individual successes surpass "ours", especially when "we" lose our resolve and go adrift.
This isn't an exercise in arrogance, it is simply the recognition of human success. There is something about the broader English culture that seems to pick up on good ideas and expand them. Other cultures (Mediterranean, Northern European, Middle Eastern, Asian, etc.) contributed to the English concept of freedom and Classical Liberalism and then the upstart, rebellious American colonies decided to go off on their own and improve the product. An example of the "English culture" is the Magna Carta (here is another Magna Carta link) and its concept that the King is not above the law. How the Magna Carta influenced American law is linked here. It was largely King George III's failure to observe his own laws, perhaps because of his disease-caused insanity, that led the American colonies to rebel (see the indictments of the King in the Declaration of Independence).
From the second Magna Carta link:
"King John of England agreed, in 1215, to the demands of his barons and authorized that handwritten copies of Magna Carta be prepared on parchment, affixed with his seal, and publicly read throughout the realm. Thus he bound not only himself but his "heirs, for ever" to grant "to all freemen of our kingdom" the rights and liberties the great charter described. With Magna Carta, King John placed himself and England's future sovereigns and magistrates within the rule of law.
When Englishmen left their homeland to establish colonies in the New World, they brought with them charters guaranteeing that they and their heirs would "have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects." Scant generations later, when these American colonists raised arms against their mother country, they were fighting not for new freedoms but to preserve liberties that dated to the 13th century.
When representatives of the young republic of the United States gathered to draft a constitution, they turned to the legal system they knew and admired--English common law as evolved from Magna Carta. The conceptual debt to the great charter is particularly obvious: the American Constitution is "the Supreme Law of the Land," just as the rights granted by Magna Carta were not to be arbitrarily canceled by subsequent English laws.
This heritage is most clearly apparent in our Bill of Rights. The fifth amendment guarantees
No person shall...be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law
and the sixth states
...the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.
Written 575 years earlier, Magna Carta declares
No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned,...or in any other way destroyed...except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to none will we deny or delay, right or justice."
This broader English culture is why in large American cities, you can open a phone book yellow pages and find churches of all types listed. You can't do that in any large Muslim-dominated nations, except perhaps Turkey. It is the broader English culture that is willing for its Judeo-Christian culture to co-exist with other faiths/cultures that separates it from the sharia-driven mindset in most Muslim nations.
The broader English cultured nations generally have the most liberal immigration laws (ultimately to their own detriment). The broader English cultured nations are the most willing to accept and shelter the persecuted of other cultures. But because we have lost some of our resolve, we are no longer demanding a certain level of assimilation. This is also happening in Western European nations, besides Great Britain. With the lack of assimilation comes cultural fragmentation and tribalistic infighting.
We, the broader English culture, in Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand want to get along with everyone. We want to accept the practices of new immigrants within a framework of assimilation. But many of these new immigrants (not just from Muslim nations) are immigrating and enjoying the fruits of "our" relatively free societies, but they are unwilling to assimilate and help sustain "our" culture. It may be that they just don't understand the long road "we" traveled to get to this level of human success. Or it might be that they are determined to short-sightedly "leach" off of "our" culture to improve themselves, with no regard to what happens later.
Yes, we make mistakes, but the primary reason that "they" hate "us" is because we are successful and we are successful because we are relatively free. It is easier to tear us down than to admit their own failings, on a broad scale.