Saturday, June 26, 2004
Most people on the right are aware that Michael Moore is an outright liar, a blame-America-firster, absolutely hates Bush, and represents some of the worst the Left has to offer. I think the ANSWER people and their buddies are worse, but not by much. Anyway, though conservatives know how Moore operates, it's interesting to see liberals disgusted with him as well. I'm sure everybody's heard of Christopher Hitchens' merciless fisking of Moore's latest and if you haven't, go read it now. Also worth reading are self-described "Tom Friedman liberal" Jeff Jarvis' reactions. I disagree with some of his views, but he's certainly in the "more reasonable liberal" camp that seems rather exclusive these days. I don't think even Alan Colmes is a member.
Glenn Reynolds points to Roger L. Simon's account of a high schooler pinning Moore on Hezbollah's endorsement.
On the right side of the fence (I love how conveniently that word works out) check out MooreLies for a flyer to show to the newly brainwashed or those considering purchasing tickets. Also of note is their page about the new book, Michael Moore Is a Big Fat Stupid White Man.
Don't forget MooreWatch.com, your headquarters for tracking his lies. They had some server problems, so they're here for the moment.
Apparently, there's going to be a conservative counter-Moore film fest in Dallas in September. One of its features will be the movie Michael Moore Hates America.
Good old LGF, which I've shamefully neglected to visit most of this week, notes that the distributor of Moore's new film is fine with Hezbollah supporting it.
Sad or Unsurprising?
On my daily perusing of the world of webcomics, Scott Kurtz, the creator of PvP, had an interesting experience while playing City of Heroes. Since his news posts don't have permalinks, I'm going to repost his whole story:
Last night, after the day started to wind down I logged into my favorite virtual world for some escape time. The City of Heroes game has been my online diversion of choice as of late. I really enjoy the game a lot.
I've tried just about every character type and I'm settling on my favorites. Last night, for fun, I decided to make myself a Captain America type hero...you know, go the whole patriotic route.
So I logged onto the Guardian server and created myself a Science origin Tanker with Invulnerability and Super Strength. I dressed him in red, white and blue, adorned him and named him FLAG WAVER.
Once I got to a populated area, other people in the game started reacting to my character, but not in the way I expected.
"Ugh. I hate our country."
"How can you wave a flag of a country that kills other countries for oil we already have."
"Bush is an idiot."
I inquired if these people were from another country that maybe didn't look too kindly on the US. They all stated that they were Americans, but they just didn't really like America.
I have to say that I was flabbergasted. No. I was disgusted. I really didn't know what to say back to these other players. I certainly didn't log into the game to get into a political debate. If anything, I logged in to escape that stuff.
Rather than be daunted, I created a list of handy macros that I could pull out to defuse any potential jerk coming up to me in game to piss on my American pride. Now, if anyone decides to make me feel bad about playing a patriotic hero, I can just pull out any one of these handy responses.
"I hope you're registered to vote."
"You're grandfather called. He's very disappointed in you."
"I wouldn't know about that. I've been cryogenically frozen for the last sixty years."
"Look, are you going to point me towards the wehrmacht or not?"
"The country is only as good as you kids make it."
"I defeated Hitler's reanimated body to defend your freedom to say that."
It's kind of a sad day when playing Captain America starts to offend so many people.
I'm sorry to say I don't find that surprising at all. Heck, if you think the Americans online say nasty things about their own country, try the ones who are living in or visiting other countries... Now this may be attributable to the simple fact that most people you meet playing games online are morons (Penny Arcade says it in a more colorful way), or it could be that the internet trends to the left. Most message boards I read seem to have a disproportionate number of liberals. Not to say that there's not a significant conservative presence online, but my experience in things outside the realm of politics online has been that liberals tend to outnumber conservatives. It may be the nature of the medium, but that's better left for someone's graduate thesis in Poli Sci.
In his next newspost Kurtz makes clear that he's not necessarily happy with the direction America is going (I seem to recall him mentioning a dislike for Bush some time ago, but I'm not sure; if not then this is kind of a nod to the Bush-haters), but makes another excellent point:
That first night,I got a lot of people who weren't being critical or the current administration. I got people just being hateful towards the country that was allowing them to sit at home and blow their evening playing a video game about superheroes. It's kind of like watching someone use their Windows based PC to bitch about how much they hate Microsoft.
There really is a whole sick group in the country that needs to take a good, hard look at just how lucky they are to live in the United States. If half the stuff these America-haters said about their country was true, they wouldn't be able to say it at all.
What We Meant To Say Was...
It should be expected by now that when the New York Times seems to show some evidence of climbing out of the hole that Howell Raines helped dig, the paper manages to slide right back down into the liberal depths. For starters, the Times acknowleged that there were some links between Iraq and Al Qaeda, as Kevin linked to below. This was, of course, as Andrew McCarthy points out in his column today, after it ran a large headline on the front page proclaiming the absence of such ties.
As I was reading the new Times article, I was struck by this admission (as was the Corner): "The new document, which appears to have circulated only since April, was provided to The New York Times several weeks ago, before the commission's report was released." In other words, "We had it and we sat on it." I guarantee you that had this been some revelation about Abu Ghraib, we would have heard of it the second it was obtained. Andrew McCarthy makes the better point that "the Times was well aware of this information at the very time of last week's reporting, during which, on June 17, it declaimed from its editorial perch that the lack of a connection between Saddam Hussein's regime and Osama bin Laden's terror network meant President Bush owed the nation an apology."
The article goes on to state, "Since obtaining the document, The Times has interviewed several military, intelligence and United States government officials in Washington and Baghdad to determine that the government considered it authentic." Translation: "We tried to find any way we could to show that it was false before feeling compelled to report it." They go through this sort of, "It seems true, but, well, maybe..." through the rest of the article. Typical of them, but so blatant. I'd also be curious as to see where in the paper this piece appeared. I have a suspicion it wasn't on the front page, but I'd like to know for sure before declaring that.
McCarthy also says that it was Iraq that approached Bin Laden, and not that other way around. That's a rather interesting tidbit... Read the whole thing.
The other "oops" goes along with the theme of rewriting history. I think most people read the original scathing review of Bill Clinton's book by the Times. Well, apparently, they felt bad, or pressured, or Bill got upset, or Hillary got upset, or something, becasue they commissioned a new review of the book that is astonishingly glowing to the point of slobbering on the man. Jonah Goldberg described it thus, "It reads like the confession at a show trial but with the intent of a mother trying to console a weeping, needy, child." Not only is it pathetically fawning, they posted it online more than a week before it was scheduled to actually be in the paper, just to make sure everyone knew how sorry they were.
How does the New York Times even make any pretense of being an objective news source?
Friday, June 25, 2004
Rewriting history, again
More evidence of the PC militia's successful attempt to rewrite history.
And they admit it!
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Interesting note from the West Wing earlier in the week
There were DEA agents who were kidnapped in Colombia a few episodes ago, so Bartlett sent in Special Forces, and a Blackhawk was shot down. Throughout the show there was the to-be-expected failing drug war dialogue, which continued in a later episode to the Surgeon General coming out in support of decriminalization. I'm sure they are out there somewhere, but I would love to see a piece or an arguement for decriminalization from someone who has never used marijuana, or any drugs or alcohol for that matter.
Anyway, the show ends by reversing US policy and "asking" Colombia to release a drug lord in exchange for the prisoners. I am going to have to agree with conventional wisdom here and say that following the Bartlett administration's lead with our situation in Iraq would be a mistake. Thankfully we, and our allies, are not going to do so.
This is all I could find in the recent archives at nytimes.com about al-Sadr that even mentioned the 1st Armored Division. The difference is amazing between this and what Dave linked.
Good News Out of Iraq
Of course, this is why you won't have heard of it. Glenn Reynolds points to a Washington Times story reporting that the Army's 1st Armored Division has decisively and officially defeated Muqtada-al-Sadr's militia. You remember that militia, the one that was going to spark a civil war across Iraq a couple months ago. Well, our boys took care of that.
Thanks, men and women of 1st Armored, for a job well done and for staying the extra time it took to accomplish this. We hope to welcome you home safely, soon.
Al Jazeera's Role in the Kidnappings
This post is excerpted from a longer article I wrote on the subject back in April.
We were also dealing with a series of brutal hostage-takings and murders then. It actually began with the brutal murder of 4 civilian American contractors, who were dragged from their car, beaten, burned, mutilated, and then hung from a bridge in Fallujah while fanatic terrorists cheered. Then came a wave of kidnappings, the most prominent of which was the capture of 3 Japanese civilians who were threatened with being burned alive unless troops of the Japanese Self-Defense Force were withdrawn from the country. Stoically (and intelligently), the Japanese government refused to give in and fortunately, these people were released, but the kidnappings have continued.
While kidnappings have been tactics of extremists in the past, the pattern that has emerged is noteworthy. Where has this come from? In other words, who’s to blame? Ultimately, the blame lies at the feet of the animals who are carrying out these attacks, trying to ransom people and blackmail nations. I’m certain there are plenty of people out there who would like to blame President Bush for this, since none of these people would even be there if it weren’t for the US-led coalition toppling Saddam Hussein. The merits of this action have been covered well enough, so I’ll simply say that blaming George Bush misses what’s really going on here. What’s really going on is that this tactic was deliberately chosen by the terrorists based on the reactions other actions of theirs have gotten. Further, this action is aided immensely by an actor that has been relatively ignored when playing the blame game up until now. I’m referring to the irresponsible actions and the borderline terrorist accomplices at Al Jazeera TV.
Al Jazeera is unquestionably complicit in these attacks. Popular in the Middle East for focusing on Arab voices and issues, Al Jazeera reaches millions of people all over the Arab world, and especially in Iraq. There’s certainly nothing wrong with Al Jazeera’s being an Arab news outlet, although their anti-American bias is troubling. However, what Al Jazeera has to answer for is its willingness to air images of mutilated American bodies, hostage videos, and all of its exclusive footage of terrorist incidents. Showing what the villains in Fallujah did to those four American contractors and what others have done to American soldiers is disgusting. Now in fairness, the station is also known to air graphic images of dead Iraqis, but frankly I think neither should be broadcast and it’s not something a responsible journalist would do. Further, we're all aware of the coverage that accompanies each set of images. If it's dead Americans, "Look what has happened to the arrogant Americans," but if it's Iraqis, it's, "Look what the awful Americans did now." Well, perhaps I should give Al Jazeera a break here, since I've also just described the coverage of the BBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN.
The heart of the problem, though, is Al Jazeera’s eagerness to air hostage videos sent to them by terrorists. This alone makes the kidnappings worthwhile for the terrorists because they get seen all over the world and can communicate their demands to those they would blackmail. How amazingly irresponsible is this? Without a way to get their demands out quickly to a large number of people, these kidnappings almost certainly would not be going on. Airing footage of masked gunmen screaming at poor hostages, threatening them with knives, and grandstanding with rocket-propelled grenade launchers is purely a service to the enemies of civilization. That’s not news, that’s “aiding and abetting.” Al Jazeera is, in fact, partially responsible for this wave of kidnappings for making them effective. Don’t give me any of that censorship garbage. There is such a thing as media ethics (though much of the media is sorely deficient). For example, take CNN, which deliberately censored itself during the Saddam years in order to get in cozy with the dictator’s regime so they could do their reports from Baghdad. CNN reporters would frequently be given talking points from the Baath party to read on-air and would not report on many of the atrocities they witnessed because it would have threatened their access to people in Saddam’s regime. Al Jazeera goes way beyond this, though, by encouraging these hostage-takings through their willingness to air the demands of these thugs.
More importantly, however, Al Jazeera deserves scrutiny for actions that go far beyond airing kidnappers’ ransom videos. Al Jazeera in particular seems to get a lot of exclusive footage of terrorist actions and attacks in progress and seems to be on a very good basis with the people we are fighting. For all the tapes Osama bin Laden sends them, the statements from people connected with Muqtada al Sadr, and other organizations like Hamas and Hizbollah, Al Jazeera has said nothing about where these things come from and who is delivering them. Of course journalists have a right and a responsibility to protect their sources, but this is not a normal set of circumstances. This isn’t some Washington insider spilling some dirt; this is a real war between the forces of civilization and those who would harm or even destroy it. It is completely irresponsible and even criminal for Al Jazeera, or any of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, Reuters, the AP, or Fox News, to have dealings with these people and then not bring it to the knowledge of the proper authorities. Would they then betray the confidentiality and lose the trust of their sources in the matter? Absolutely. But winning this war is unequivocally worth the price, and for Al Jazeera and the media to pretend that it’s important to be objective between good and evil is monstrously immoral. Again, this is no mere political squabble and those who don’t or refuse to realize this fact are putting themselves and the free world in danger.
Al Jazeera has been attempting to make its own news, and that news is not friendly to Americans. Correspondents have paid people run back and forth in front of American compounds with Saddam Hussein portraits so they can film it and talk about how much the Americans are hated. Even worse, they have paid people to carry weapons into crowds and fire them at American troops in order to provoke a violent response and then record it to show how the Americans are always shooting at civilians. Further, Al Jazeera is frequently at the scenes of bombings and attacks either as or before they occur. This is not simply hearsay; all of it comes directly from reports of American soldiers on the ground. Also telling is the fact that Al Jazeera refused to air footage they were given of one of the Italian hostages being shot. They were more than happy to show Americans being brutalized and Japanese being threatened, but they refused to show an Italian man defying the terrorists. His murderers told him to kneel so they could shoot him in the back of the head, but instead he rose and tried to throw off his hood in a last act of courage and defiance. Al Jazeera’s explanation for not airing this was as not to “offend viewer sensibilities.” Apparently Al Jazeera considers showing the soldiers and contractors in Iraq as the heroes they are instead of their preferred spin of bullies and oppressors upsetting.
There has been a great deal of scrutiny over how the United States is conducting itself in the prosecution of this war. However, there is a disturbing lack of discussion of the actions of those actors claiming to be impartial or disinterested. The actions of Al Jazeera have amounted to tacit support for the terrorists and to continue to view it as a neutral observer would be foolhardy.
Odd & Ends
I just had a few brief comments on some of Brian's posts below. The shuttle's problems certainly aren't because it's cheap. I don't think I've ever heard anyone accuse the shuttle program of being cheap. It cost less to launch Saturn Vs and have all but the command module burned up or discarded.
That said, I want to echo Brian's congratulations to SpaceShipOne. I've been waiting for private spaceflight all my life and I think things will only get better from here. As many serious problems as NASA has, though, I don't think it should be discarded. The successes of the past 45 years shouldn't be overshadowed by the tragedies. The shuttles still have some life left in them, and NASA should lead the way back to the moon and to Mars, but it needs a REAL overhaul of management and serious funding, not just pipe dreams. Bush plans to increase funding to NASA by $1 billion. You could double that by just taking $1 billion from the AIDS package, from Iraq funding, from aid to uncooperative Arab states (coughEgyptcough) or from any number of things the government is doing. However, I've seen very little go well for NASA as far as funding goes, so that's why I'm hopeful that private initiatives can really do it "better, faster, cheaper" without adding "crappier" to the mix.
I'm still torn on the Supreme Court HMO ruling. I hate HMOs, but I also hate large punitive damage awards that encourage trial lawyers to run amok. (See Wal Mart.)
The "drop Cheney" stuff is ridiculous and it's telling that the LA Times seems to be the center of this. I'm way too tired to write something in support of Cheney right now, but suffice it to say he's done a great job, and pulling him would only convince the liberals that they can get to us. It's like throwing bleeding cows into a tank of circling sharks.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Go Home Mr. Blix
With a recent speech by Hans Blix on weapon inspections I have to say I have lost a lot of respect for this man. He wants to inspect and inspect but never force anyone to be held accountable for those inspections. Inspections without consequences are meaningless and it takes armed intervention to handle these situations decisively. The dictators of the world who go out and get nuclear weapons are not truthful people. There is no reason to TRUST them. I don’t see any point to propping up a system that is ineffective. Oh wait that is what the UN does.
Mr. Blix needs to go retire and stay out of current discussions. Weapons inspections have been proven ineffective and it is time for the world to deal with dictators and terrorists in the harshest possible terms. We do not need to negotiate with those who would gas their own people or those who would behead innocent civilians. The mere thought of it is insanity and I hope that the world will come to its senses and avoid detractors like the idiot Michael Moore. In the meantime we have a situation to deal with in Iraq and past guessing of failed weapons inspections will not mean anything. Mr. Blix is not helping the situation and is simply causing divides wherever he goes. His opinion is based on the fact that he believed that there was no reason to invade for weapons. He did not consider the other aspects only the minor part he was told to look for. The war was about more than weapons, more than protecting the US. We liberated a oppressed people and went after a place that was destined to be a supporter of terror. In that we could not have done anything more right.
Enough is Enough
I will keep this short. Let’s knock off this crap and start torturing those who would behead our citizens or the citizens of our allies. There is no longer a reason to show mercy when we receive none.
Economic Systems Part 2 of 3
The information for all there of these posts is based primarily on Comparing Economic Systems in the 21st Century by Gregory and Stuart.
There are three types of models considered in the world today including the Anglo Saxon, European and Asian model. These models each have their own features and in my opinion the Anglo Saxon and Asian models have the best chance of survival in terms of their viability.
The Anglo Saxon model is used by the Untied States and the British and is the basic tenets of capitalism that have been with us since the days of Adam Smith. A hands off approach and free competition are both important in this system and it allows for a pure market to exist. Firms are not regulated unless it is to make them more competitive and increase markets. In this case the markets are mostly stable and follow a standard business cycle and while that can lead to a recession it is not guaranteed to do so. This system will be around until the globalized world simply returns to a state of isolationism as international trade is one of the key features of this system. High rates of growth were common and periods of recession have been relatively rare. Even during economic slumps there is still growth in some sectors and a balance to the economy is essentially found.
The European Model is begging to falter as economic growth and productivity decline. Planning and direct intervention will never be substitutes for markets and the European Model severs as proof for that. France’s idea of indicative planning which is where the plan is not a law but a guiding force has not worked as plans cannot control all econometric variables within an economy. This model has actually started to slow growth in Europe and is weakening it as a pillar of economic power. The European Union if it does not become bogged down in bureaucracy will become powerful but right now it appears to be having more problems than it can cope with. Only time will tell if the European model will shift to another type of economy.
The Asian Model is one that has shown the most growth in recent years especially through the four Asian Tigers. These countries have grown extremely fast and have very viable economies. Using Japan’s model of propping up industry and not planning but allowing the government to supply help to the industry as the market needs it has proven more effective. China and India account for some 40 percent of the world population and if this model is adopted by these countries a new economic powerhouse will develop and the World will have to contend with these new countries.
The Guilty Saudi's
Saudi Arabia has much to answer for over the most recent beheading in their country. It is not a coincidence that the person responsible was killed so quickly while he was “disposing of a body” that has turned out not to exist. Saudi Arabia is proving to be just as much of a threat as Syria and Iran. Its citizens fight the war on terror on the terrorists side and the kingdom funds a great deal of terror. We cannot be fooled by their direct investment in the United States which only gives them greater control over what happens here. I hope that the kingdom can turn its behavior around and become an ally of the good guys. The world must be unified for this fight on terror and the only way to do so is to have the ENTIRE world say terrorism must be stopped. Those who fund it must stop or face the consequences. I hope in the future a harder line will be drawn against Saudi Arabia and that they will face the consequences of their actions.
There is current discussion that Vice President Cheney should not be added to the ticket for the upcoming election according to several of my local papers and the LA Times. While I have not seen anything nationally about this on the major networks it has appeared in several other papers. I think it would be a tremendous loss to the Bush administration should Cheney not return however I do believe that Bush needs a new image and Cheney does not help that image. People are disgusted with the current administration and so many people believe that Cheney is pulling the strings so his leaving may be the best thing in terms of getting bush reelected. The election is going to be a close one and image will be everything. I believe that the VP will be important in this election especially if Cheney is running again because there is a certain distrust attached to him. If I find out more on this story I will post a link.
Monday, June 21, 2004
Mixed Review of the Supreme Court's Second Decision
I will admit this is an issue that I have not fully decided what is the way to go so I will just put out my general thoughts on it. The Supreme Court is not allowing HMO’s to be sued in state court for refusing care. Now the health care system in this country is a mess however HMO’s are a business and must make effective business decisions. If you look at the nationalized health care in other countries yes it does allow everyone to see a doctor but it costs a great deal to run and is inefficient. There are still inefficiencies in the HMO system however they are less than a nationalized health care. The HMO’s that were sued in State court were always much larger settlements in terms of the monetary damages awarded. Federal court will allow them to still be sued but it will be for smaller damages. Some argue that without the penalty of large payments HMO’s will not have enough incentive to keep people in the hospitals longer even on the advice of doctors. I typically side with business on this one however we are talking about people’s lives in some cases and that cannot be overlooked. In the end though I feel that the frivolous lawsuits need to be stopped and this is the first step to curbing that problem. In the end there is no clear cut issue and as I read some of the arguments that I just got on externality costs for HMO’s perhaps I can offer something more substantial later on.
Good Job Supreme Court
The Supreme Court ruled today that a person cannot keep their name from Police officers when the officers request it. The fact that this is even being tried is a shame but we do go to the fullest extent to protect civil rights in the United States. Thankfully this time the correct people realized what was going on and a sane ruling was delivered. People should not be able to withhold their names from police and the assertions that this overrules the 4th and 5th amendment are absurd. People cannot incriminate themselves by giving their name and the police need to know. I am not a terrorist and I am not going to object to giving a police officer my name if he asks me to do so when he is showing me a badge. Frankly anyone who dose not want to give their name to a police officer is probably guilty anyway. This is the kind of protect the criminals leftist thinking that has always occurred and needs to be stopped if we are to make ourselves a safer nation. I am glad to see this ruling and I pass on my congratulations and sincere thanks to the Supreme Court for allowing common sense to prevail.
Today has been a milestone in the history of space exploration as private enterprise has joined the ranks of the United States, Soviet Union and China. The striking part about this is that it was done at a fraction of the cost. Many times government is forced to go with the lowest bidder who does not provide everything and lower bidders are brought in and either things are made cheaply as we have seen with space shuttles or it is so many construction groups that the process becomes more expensive. Private companies will always be able to allocate resources more efficiently and provide a way to bring about the desired outcomes. What can be said about this other than I hope that programs like spaceshipone will continue and that the government will learn something from the private sector. Steve Allen has done a fantastic job in pulling this off very quickly and for a low price with a safe desired result. The idea of making space a vacation may be far fetched at this point but we have seen some historic events occur today.
Economic Systems part 1 of 3
I have recently spent a great deal of time studying various Economic Systems. I will divide this up into three sections. This post will discuss the idea of capitalism as the dominant system. Number 2 will by the various systems as they exist in the world and number 3 will be related to the idea of transition of economies especially through privatization.
Capitalism has clearly defeated Communism around the world. Even the Chinese who claim to be communist are truly practicing command market socialism and are not recognized by most economists as communist. The only two nations that still are declared communist by economic standards are Cuba and North Korea. Those two economies are frankly falling apart and should not be put out as examples of the best economic systems.
The main argument now is between socialism (both command and market) vs capitalism. Command Socialism is really only practiced in China which is state owned enterprises (SOE) run in a market environment. This system is not ideal but China makes it work very well. The thought of China as a market socialist economy is actually very terrifying because they could become a fourth pillar of economic strength. The current official three are Japan, Europe and the United States. Market Socialism is practiced throughout most of Europe and is the way of markets with government intervention in terms of social welfare projects. Full employment, health care, and other safety net ideas are the primary focus.
Pure market capitalism as used by mostly the United States and to a lesser extent by the Asian Tigers and Great Britain. This is the model that has withstood the test of time and in terms of viability is the most successful. It is the form of economics that will last the longest because of its ability to come up with new ways to succeed. The spirit of entrepreneurship termed creative destruction by Schumpter is what will allow this system to survive. It will always reinvent itself to match with the times.
The idea of economic systems is one that has become very prominent recently with the formation of the European Union and the break up of the Soviet Union. More to come on the different models in Asia, Europe, and US in the next post.
Good Job South Korea!
I want to take some time to say good job to the South Koreans. Although one of their own is being held by the barbarians in Iraq they are committing 3,000 troops. It is wonderful to see a country who can stand by their principles unlike the Spanish cowards who run when terrorists threaten their citizens. The only way to win a war on terror is to fight. As I said in an earlier post this is a globalized world and no one can hide. It is being reported that as many as 10 others could have been taken with this South Korean including Americans. I believe it is time to go in and start hunting some terrorists in a pragmatic way. If you stand on the sidelines and do not help fight terror in Iraq than that Iraqi is a terrorist. Those who will not help us need to wake up and realize the fight for a free and independent Iraq begins with an end to terror. Instead we allow them to sit on the sidelines while out soldiers are killed. It is time to begin to take out the terrorists and that means blowing up Mosques that harbor weapons than we blow up those weapon depos. If you hide it in a place that is religious it is your own problem and the US should not be held responsible. However once again before I digress to far it is important to remember that there are nations out there who understand who the bad guys are and what we must do to fight them.
Another Book Review
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is the latest thriller to grip the market. I took the time to read it and it did prove a worthwhile read. The story while a little far fetched was very intriguing and provided for entertainment. It does start one thinking about the Catholic Church and the hold that they have across the world. Another aspect raised was the idea of the church reform based on the hard line conservatives who do not want to see the church reformed and stick to what is in the bible. Needless to say because it is a complex book I do not want to spoil anything and will leave it as a recommend read for anyone who enjoys thriller novels.
Proud to be an American
Well I am happy to be back in the United States after my trip to Europe. It is nice to have service in restaurants again where they actually care enough to value the customer. It is nice to be with people who (for the most part) love their country and are willing to go to great lengths to defend it. The anti bush resentment that existed abroad is more intense than at home and many people over there do seem to like John Kerry for the same reasons people in the US do, he is not Bush. This is a horrible reason to vote. Just because you do not like someone you don’t vote for the other guy who has no qualifications. America is a democracy and we are allowed to vote in our own mistakes. I pray that the American people will not be so foolish as to vote in this one though. I look around and I see the wonderful potential that we have in the world and the good that we can do by defeating terrorism and once again make the world safe for democracy. We live in a globalized world and burying our heads in the sand is not an option as much as we would like it to be at times. My time abroad was important because it provided me with the opportunity to see other viewpoints. Sadly one of these viewpoints is that people’s information on American leaders comes from the best selling political author over their Michael Moore. This is a travesty of the worst kind. This un-American lunatic is the lens through which Europe is seeing the United States. Once again I can hope that wholesome author like Hannity or Michael Savage will make some headway over there and give them another viewpoint.
More Mundane Musings
Lileks' Monday Bleat reminded me of something from today. He covers it more succintly and with better insight than I could, but I wanted to mention it. I've been a fan of Berke Breathed for Bloom County and Outland for some time now, and I was really excited when I saw he was drawing again, bringing back Opus, the large-nosed penguin. I'd known he was a lefty from his previous work. He never liked Reagan, and made no secret about it, but at least he was funny and tasteful, and damn it, he made fun of them in an entertaining way. One strip I'll always remember has his meadow animals blaming James Watt for everything including a relative's gout. He managed to keep it funny without descending into the bitter cynicism of Doonesbury.
But now, it seems that he has sipped form the dreaded Kool Aid. His latest series of strips features the evil NEO-CONS and their attempts to take on... Teenagers? I'm not even sure what his point is, but it really seems beneath his style. He came up with commie ducks, liberals reeling from all the money they made on book deals and Bill the Cat running for president. Evil Neo-cons? Is that even creative? I'm afriad I'm too tired to examine this further. I'll direct you to Mr. Lileks for proper coverage. Make sure you read his whole post.
Meanwhile, Den Beste has added a new item to his Essential Library which is an event (not quite) as rare as a Venusian solar transit. (Almost certainly got the name of the event wrong, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now; you get the idea.) The point is, go read it. If it elicits a "Read the Whole Thing" from Den Beste, it's usually a safe bet it's worth your while.
On a completely unrelated note, it's simply not right that Joey from Full House is a Red Wings fan. I mean come on, why not the Leafs or the Canadiens? Blackhawks would have worked, too, but nooo, the evil Red Wings. Bah.
(Why yes, I am an avid admirer of alliteration...)
More Evil Deeds
Well, I had planned to start with more mundane things, but as often happens the War eclipsed other concerns. I was about to go to bed when I thought I'd check Fox News.com to see what was going on. Sadly, because I don't get Fox News or MSNBC, I'm getting almost all my news from talk radio or blogs, the former being nonexistent on weekends, and the latter slowing considerably. The big splash image on Fox News' site is of yet ANOTHER hostage taken by the evil psychopathic Islamofascists running around Iraq. This time it's an innocent man from South Korea. This is following right on the heels of the murder of an innocent American on Friday, Paul Johnson.
It's the usual demand: "Pull your troops out of Iraq and essentially surrender your sovereignty to us (Hi, Mr. Zapatero! Don't forget we have some 'requests' of you...), or we'll execute this innocent as part of our quest prevent freedom from coming to Iraq and oppress women everywhere."
They've tried this with the US, with Britain, with Italy, with Japan, and now with South Korea. Heck, just for good measure, they even tried it with governments that haven't been actively hostile to them, like Russia and China until it was explained to them that this was counterproductive ("No matter, the Eastern infidels can wait. At least the Red Chinese encourage people to get rid of their daughters before they can become sinners.").
I DEFY Leftists (I'm looking at you, Candidate Jim Goodley) to tell me that this is not outrageous, barbaric behavior, without mentioning the phrases "Abu Ghraib," "neo-con," "war for oil," or "George Bush." Are you people even paying attention? Look at the evil these people are capable of! Not just capable of, they REVEL in this kind of thing. They kill innocents as a matter of policy and no amount of whining about "imperialism" or "collateral damage" equivocates this kind of brutality. They MURDERED 3000 people on September 11th in horrific attacks that no one even imagined 4 years ago. They've continued to murder people since from Bali to Madrid and no amount of talk or self-flaggelation will make them stop. Bush is absolutely right when he says these Islamofascists are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. I absolutely cannot fathom why there is even still debate in this country about whether we are even at war or should be. We've got people popping veins about legal briefs written about the applicability of the Geneva Convention while people are kidnapped and beheaded on a weekly basis. You know, I'd ask if anyone can tell me with a straight face that these people care one whit about the Geneva Convention, among other things, but I can think of a few people I had the displeasure of meeting at Lehigh that could do just that.
This again shows the importance of this year's elections. George Bush GETS it. Donald Rumsfeld GETS it. Dick Cheney GETS it. John Kerry only sort of gets it, when it's politically useful to do so. It seems to me that the only people in the Democratic Party that GET it are Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller. And then there's the people to the left of even Kerry, and they are just absolutely insane... I don't even know what to say anymore. Just look at the headlines and unless you're brain-dead, the course of action should be clear.
It makes me think of a protest chant that I modified (to the great chagrin of the Leftists from whom I pilfered it at the time):
"What do we want?"
"When to we want it?"
(I'm well aware that other people must have come up with this before, so of course, I make no claims on it.)
UPDATE: I sort of got off-track up there. Where I was originally going was the complicity of Al Jazeera in all of this, because it is the main conduit for these murderers' demands and videos. Yes, they're using the internet more, but they still go to Al Jazeera. I think instead of calling up Riyadh for the umpteenth time, Bush should have a chat with Al Jazeera's headquarters. Not sure what kind of threats he could make, but at least let them know that we're not oblivious to their contributions. Tomorrow I'll try to post some excerpts from an article I wrote about the Al Jazeera connection.