The Grim Milestone of Blogs "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational" - Prince Charles "Nuts" - Gen McAuliffe America: Saving idiots from themselves since WWI
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
This topic has always fascinated me, as the title of my blog should suggest.
Perhaps the greatest philosophical rule ever written is the Golden Rule. The rule can be summarized, "Treat others only in ways that you're willing to be treated in the same exact situation." Thinking like a lawyer, the obvious flaw in this rule is dishonesty in determining how you are willing to be treated. Once this premise has been perverted, back to doing whatever you wish to do.
Perhaps the greatest bit of 'religious' philosophy dealing with this problem comes from Shakespeare, to thine own self be true. As the first comment suggests, "sounds like a bunch of platitudes".
Maybe platitudes are the best we humans can do. If you are waiting for the divine hand to come down and force you to do the right thing, seek professional help. Other options include becoming one who deludes one's self, a socialist, totalitarian, statist, Communist, fascist, or theocrat.
Until then, it's all guess work. Freedom of thought and action are not ends to themselves. Freedom of thought and action merely allow us to make the effort to better ourselves, or the opposite.
Friday, September 17, 2004
"Many of us in this room have worked for many, many years in different situations and in different countries," said Brigalia Bam, one of the observers who also chairs South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission at a press conference at the National Press Club Thursday. "It is that experience that has brought us to the United States." She said all elections should be assessed by the degree to which they are "responsive, transparent, and fair."
Other observers, with similar qualifications, hail from Argentina, Australia, England, Canada, Chile, Ghana, India, Ireland, Mexico, Nicaragua, Philippines, Thailand, Wales and Zambia."
From a strict legal constructionist's point of view this is more offensive than it likely is in reality. A strict constructionist set on the integrity of the nation-state, unwilling to cede any authority, should not like the symbolism, or the reality, of having foreigners influencing a national election. But the symbolic nature of an event does not mean there has been any dramatic change in the electoral process.
There are several reasons why this proposal cannot do irreparable harm in the short term. It's not a binding panel, participation in any report or findings is voluntary. The U.S. Constitution and applicable statutes are still in effect. The panel is not dictatorship-loaded. It could be a lot worse. The criteria or three principles match nicely with our electoral laws.
The left wing of the Democratic Party, seemingly all of it sometimes, wants to appeal to the internationalist-Kerry base which believes "Bush was select... He lied! Peopl..." You know the rest.
That the United Nations is dirty from the oil-for-food scandal is charitible to the organization. However, many people, especially citizens of the world not the United States, still think the UN provides real legitimacy. In the case of this panel there is some truth to that. None of the nations are the biggest players in UN corruption.
From a practical political standpoint, the observers will provide some controversy for the Democrats and the media. In addition, the observers might be called as witnesses should there be (when there is) litigation. The electoral system has many flaws, but should withstand any international scrutiny from these nations unless their most hostile representatives are sent, many or all the state elections are very close, or the system breaks down in a number of unusual ways in many places. After the Carter Center suggested the Venezuelan elections were fair, I'd think we have some leeway.
Dream panel: China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Cuba, Venezuala, East Timor, Tibet, Egypt, and Zimbabwe. Bad dream panel.
There were some discrepancies 2000 election which I would like to see addressed. John R. Lott, Jr. in National Review:
Earlier this year I published an article in the Journal of Legal Studies analyzing the USA Today data, and it shows that African-American Republicans who voted were 54 to 66 times more likely than the average African American to cast a non-voted ballot (either by not marking that race or voting for too many candidates). To put it another way: For every two additional black Republicans in the average precinct, there was one additional non-voted ballot. By comparison, it took an additional 125 African Americans (of any party affiliation) in the average precinct to produce the same result.
Some readers may be surprised that black Republicans even exist in Florida, but, in fact, there are 22,270 such registered voters — or about one for every 20 registered black Democrats. This is a large number when you consider that the election in the state was decided by fewer than 1,000 votes. Since these Republicans were more than 50 times more likely to suffer non-voted ballots than other African Americans, the reasonable conclusion is that George W. Bush was penalized more by the losses of African-American votes than Al Gore.
A voter might vote for too many candidates, or someone might write in a candidate later. When there are many people handling ballots over a long period of time, it is not impossible to imagine someone adding a write-in to spoil the ballot or to create a controversy over the ballot in the event of a hand recount.
"But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the "chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu."
Emboldened by President Clinton's law enforcement approach to terrorism, Osama issued the 1998 fatwa with little fear of repercussions. The following quote is based in part on Sura 9.5 which I cite in an earlier post. This is an overt declaration of war. The WTC towers came down three years later.
"On that basis, and in compliance with God's order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies--civilians and military--is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God."
Notice that the call goes out to "all Muslims." There is no nation-state involved. This is asymmetric warfare. But the disadvantage falls on the nation-state trying to fight against the Islamists. The western model is not structured to deal with threats coming from a 'religion'.
This is Osama's terror manual. Please read lesson eighteen. If any terrorist is caught, the first step is to claim torture. This is repeated several times in the lesson. As we have seen, the mainstream media is more than willing to embrace these allegations without a shred of proof other than statements by the terrorists themselves.
In the western media, these three essential bits of information have been mostly ignored. To fight the enemy, you must first know the enemy.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
[see photo below: the real explanation for the power of the blogosphere]
"I think the public, even decent people who may be well-disposed toward President Bush, understand that powerful and extremely well-financed forces are concentrating on questions about the documents because they can’t deny the fundamental truth of the story," he said.
Monday, September 13, 2004
"If it turns out that the Killian memos are indeed forgeries, the Internet will have played an invaluable role in exposing the fraud much faster than the 18 months Mr. Camacho had to twist in the wind. Free Republic, a Web bulletin board, raised early warning signals about the memos within hours of last Wednesday's "60 Minutes" broadcast. Powerlineblog.com, a site run by three lawyers, reposted those comments, which were amplified by indcjournal.com. Then design expert Charles Johnson, who blogs at littlegreenfootballs.com, retyped one of the memos using Microsoft Word and showed them to be a perfect typographic match."
Pat Buchanan favors Iranian theocracy over American democracy. But don't take my word for it:
"If conservatives reject the “equality” preached by Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, NARAL and the National Organization for Women, why seek to impose it on the Islamic world? Why not stand beside Islam, and against Hollywood and Hillary?
In June 2002 at West Point, President Bush said, “Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time and in every place.”
But even John Kerry does not agree with George Bush on the morality of homosexual unions and stem cell research. On such issues, conservative Americans have more in common with devout Muslims than with liberal Democrats.
The president notwithstanding, Americans no longer agree on what is moral truth. For as someone said a few years back, there is a cultural war going on in this country, a religious war. It is about who we are, what we believe and what we stand for as a people.
What some of us view as the moral descent of a great and Godly republic into imperial decadence, neocons see as their big chance to rule the world. In Georgia recently, the president declared to great applause: “I can’t tell you how proud I am of our commitment to values. ... That commitment to values is going to be an integral part of our foreign policy as we move forward. These aren’t American values, these are universal values. Values that speak universal truths.”
But what universal values is he talking about? If he intends to impose the values of MTV America on the Muslim world in the name of a “world democratic revolution,” he will provoke and incite a war of civilizations America cannot win because Americans do not want to fight it. This may be the neocons’ war. It is not our war.
When Bush speaks of freedom as God’s gift to humanity, does he mean the First Amendment freedom of Larry Flynt to produce pornography and of Salman Rushdie to publish The Satanic Verses, a book considered blasphemous to the Islamic faith? If the Islamic world rejects this notion of freedom, why is it our duty to change their thinking? Why are they wrong? When the president speaks of freedom, does he mean the First Amendment prohibition against our children reading the Bible and being taught the Ten Commandments in school?
If the president wishes to fight a moral crusade, he should know the enemy is inside the gates. The great moral and cultural threats to our civilization come not from outside America, but from within. We have met the enemy, and he is us. The war for the soul of America is not going to be lost or won in Fallujah. Unfortunately, Pagan America of 2004 has far less to offer the world in cultural fare than did Christian America of 1954. Many of the movies, books, magazines, TV shows, videos and much of the music we export to the world are as poisonous as the narcotics the Royal Navy forced on the Chinese people in the Opium Wars."
"A U.S. military helicopter fired into a crowd of civilians who had surrounded a burning Army armored vehicle in the capital, killing 13 people, said Saad Amili, spokesman for the Health Ministry. Among those killed was a Palestinian journalist reporting from the scene for the Arab satellite network al-Arabiya."
"At least 37 people were killed in Baghdad alone. Many of them died when a U.S. helicopter fired on a disabled U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle as Iraqis swarmed around it, cheering, throwing stones and waving the black and yellow sunburst banner of Iraq's most-feared terror organization.
The dead from the helicopter strike included Arab television reporter Mazen al-Tumeizi. An Iraqi cameraman working for the Reuters news agency and an Iraqi freelance photographer for Getty Images were wounded."
[ed - that the terrorists' flag was placed in the barrel of the Bradley's main gun has been removed from this story since yesterday]
Saturday, September 11, 2004
What if Hitler approved all journalists and news stories in WWII? Could we have won the war? Remember: a 'free press' is only free to criticize the United States and other free nations. Mainstream reporters will sell their souls to "get the story" (relay approved propaganda). I'm positive the 'persuasive' techniques used in Najaf were MORE than enough to cow the already reflexively anti-American media. Abu Ghraib continues to get non-stop coverage in the mainstream media, while the torture and murder victims of Najaf have already been forgotten.
The canard that fighting back creates terrorism is mostly untrue. All wars are wars of attrition. So long as we have more bullets than they have terrorists, fighting back is the best option. Did Bill Clinton's law enforcement approach shut down the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan? Did not going after Osama bin Laden stop 9/11? Of course, no to both.
But the media coverage biased in favor of terror-supporting Islamists cannot be underestimated. That creates terrorists.
Najaf's police chief, Maj. Gen. Ghalib al-Jazaari, said Wednesday only two of the dead were identified before burial and they were policemen, one of whom had his eyes gouged out. The other bodies included a woman and a child, and many showed signs of torture, he said. On Friday, about 1,000 protesters marched through Najaf's old quarter Friday to demand that the Iraqi government investigate the court and punish those in charge of it. They also demanded that al-Sadr leave Najaf.
Chanting, "Muqtada, the trash, is a leader of looters," the demonstrators walked past buildings hit by three weeks of fighting and insisted that al-Sadr's office be shut down. Iraqi soldiers kept the protesters from marching to al-Sadr's office.
Sheik Ali Smeisim, an aide to al-Sadr, said the demonstration was an attempt to create tension. "We were expecting such things," he said. "Whenever there is a chance for peaceful solutions, some people hold protests to escalate the situation."
In its heyday, the court issued accreditation to foreign journalists. Women swathed in black squatted in a narrow alley outside the two-story, dust-covered tan building to ask about detained relatives.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Feminism and radical Shiite Islam, two peas in a pod.
What can you say when a secular feminist refers to things as "holy" over and over? In my case, not much. What we have here is a partisan, self-defeating, hypocrite.
When a woman can't see the advantages to George W. Bush over Iranian-backed Sadr, we're DOOMED! DOOMED, I tell you!
This includes the three major translations of a key verse (9.5):
YUSUFALI: But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
PICKTHAL: Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
SHAKIR: So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
The "poor-rate" is what's known as jizya - a tax on non-Muslims living under Muslim control.
Arab News Columnist Beats USA Today and (Award-Winning) Fifth Grade Teacher in Logic, Evidence, and Anti-Terror Stance
But in the world of Islamic extremism, they take a more realistic approach.
The first article is written by an American, about an American fifth grade teacher. The second comes from the major English language daily in the Middle East, written by a Muslim. Of course I agree with the Arab News when it comes to terror analysis?!
Root causes explanations for terror are absurd and scientifically unfounded. I posted two articles on this earlier. No scientific study links poverty to terrorism. Most of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attackers were from privileged families. Osama Bin Laden is a very wealthy man. What you will find among terrorists is a belief in Salafi (Wahhabi) Islam, or another radical school.
Salafi (Wahhabi) Islam: http://www.al-manhaj.com/index.cfm
Jihad in the UK -- not a poor nation, last I checked:
Home schooling, here we come.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
During the Cold War the United States had an ally in the Shah of Iran. His efforts to westernize Iran and his military cooperation with the United States did not go unpunished. Many leftists, like President Jimmy Carter, considered Communism to be misunderstood, and considered the Shah to be nothing but a strongman.
Carter is noted for his comments on Communism, which have ranged from lauding the Communist stand on 'human rights' before the end of the Cold War, to his modern whitewash of the corrupt 'election' of Chavez in Venezuela. To my knowledge, Jimmy Carter has never had a bad word to say for Communists or Islamists.
Soon after the Shiite radicals overthrew the Shah of Iran they destroyed valuable United States listening posts. Listening posts were essential during the Cold War to gain information behind the Iron Curtain. Unlike the Soviets, the United States could not send tourists or diplomats into the Soviet Union to gain intelligence information. Soviet surveillance of foreign visitors was legendary in its thoroughness.
Not long after the destruction of the listening posts, President Carter sent a communique to the Ayatollah Khomeni lauding him as a "man of God". Soon after that Iranian 'students' seized the United States Embassy in Teheran, beginning what many consider the defining event in Jimmy Carter's presidency.
In hindsight, the media coverage of the Iranian hostage crisis highlighted the inability of the western media to come to grips with fanatical religious movements. The reporters' frame of reference, the 1960's, caused many of them to view the seizure of the embassy as another student protest, which many of them participated in or covered favorably. The 'students' were educated in radical Islamic thought which some leftist radicals saw as an ally in the struggle to overthrow global capitalism. Islam being the polar opposite of liberalism did not quell leftist enthusiasm for its ability to strike a blow at the United States. This is one early example of the cooperation between socialists, Communists, and radical Islam. I consider it to be the most important example because the Iranian takeover is viewed by Islamists as their first major triumph in modern times. The Islamists seized control of a powerful nation state and humiliated the United States. They viewed America and Carter as powerless to stop them, which has encouraged recruits into radical Islam since 1979.
The hostage crisis dragged on for 444 days. The Iranian government showed its 'gratitude' for Jimmy Carter's kind words by releasing the hostages as Ronald Reagan was being sworn into office. This, along with the botched and bloody rescue attempt of the embassy staff, was one final disgrace in Carter's disgraced presidency. Ronald Reagan, of course, took a much harder stand on Communism and the Soviet Union. But the inability to deal with radical Islam continued, best exemplified by the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon which was followed by Reagan pulling the remaining troops out.
Though that bombing was linked to Iranian-supported terror groups, Reagan did nothing in response. This was one early example of the nation-states' inability to fight asymmetrical warfare against groups not wearing uniforms or declaring war in the traditional sense. The United States was not alone, nor was this the first or last time a large powerful nation has been unable to deal with terrorism.
To understand terrorism one must understand Islam. In Islam it is assumed that war will be waged against the 'infidel' at least once a year by every Muslim. This is the doctrine of jihad. Jihad need not be declared, as it is explicitly called for in the Koran. The Treaty of Westphalia, considered an early foundation for limiting wars to nation-states, the basis for modern western thought on the nature of war, postdates Islamic thinking on war by nine hundred years.
The ayatollahs, mullahs, and imams who seized control over Iran, subjecting the citizens of Iran to brutal theocratic rule, did not consider western niceties like treaties, the rules of war, or declarations of war to be necessary. The Koran supplies all the wisdom they consider necessary in all political, social, legal, military, or religious affairs. The western view of religion, after centuries of struggle, mainly keeps religous, military, social, and political matters seperate.
Iran being a theocracy with no freedom of expression, it is safe to say that the 'protesters' in Iran speak for the government, just as the 'students' did when they captured the United States Embassy under the Carter Administration. To sum up, when the Iranians say "Death to France" that is the only declaration of war France will get. But if a small nuclear device detonates under the Eiffel Tower, don't rule the Iranians out.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Part One: The False Isolation of Issues Versus False Causation
Paradox and irony being two governing principles of my universe, I will try to show how politicians and their 'strategists' diametrically abuse logic. It is generally accepted that jobs, economics, and terrorism are distinct issues. Politicians will change the subject from terrorist to the economy as if they are discrete. How often have you heard a talking head suggest that President Bush discusses terrorism to avoid discussing the economy? In my case, every day it seems.
Consider the direct links between terrorism and the economy:
1. After September 11, 2001, when the NYSE reopened, the stock market took a series of dramatic drops. Despite the calls for 'patriotic stock buying' panic overwhelmed the markets.
2. Consider the pipelines in Iraq. Whenever there is a terrorist strike on an oil pipeline, the resulting increase in the price of oil has caused a dip in the stock market.
3. Terrorism in Saudi Arabia. To the extent terrorism suggests instability in the House of Saud oil prices rise, again resulting a dip in the stock market.
I could show this graphically, but I'd suggest you spend a week watching CNBC. This is discussed in detail on financial channels. Politics being interjected causes a logical disconnect.
4. Jobs were lost as a result of the 9/11/01 attacks. Not just jobs in the World Trade Center, but a million jobs were suddenly lost in the entire nation.
5. Consumer confidence is directly related to terrorism. Even the recent threats to financial centers not involving actual attacks hurt consumer confidence, sent shivers through the stock market, and required a huge investment in additional security.
6. Security costs have gone up. The Transportation Safety Authority was created suddenly to deal with just one aspect of the additional security needed to attempt to come to grips with the increased threat of terrorism. The overall effect is much greater than the creation of one (abeit enormous) federal bureaucracy. Private firms, citizens, power plants, water plants, police, and fire have all had to invest additional resources in fighting terrorism.
This stimulates some industries of course. Security jobs have been created.
The opposite is also true. Tell me how President Bush caused jobs to be lost? Tell me how President Clinton caused jobs to be gained? Let's face it, Clinton took credit for the dot.com bubble. Bush inherited a recession.
The economy is cyclical, stupid.
What you'll find, if you study economics, is that the president has very little effect on job creation. Terrorism has a much greater effect on both job destruction, and job creation.