September 30, 2004

Sloth

Stefan Beck quotes from Evelyn Waugh's contribution to an anthology on the seven deadly sins on sloth, and attributes that deadly sin to Kerry and his party:

"Sloth, he says, is not mere laziness — 'lying too long in the bath or postponing our letters of congratulation or condolence' — but rather 'sadness in the face of spiritual good.' It is knowing what will lead one to success, joy, or salvation, but remaining inert because 'the whole apparatus of salvation fills [one] with tedium and disgust.'"

The analysis of sloth itself is interesting, and the essay effectively pins it on Kerry and his party.

My conscience pins it on me, but that's (sigh!) another story.

Kerry's Rickety Coalition


Peter Beinart
analyzes Kerry's dithering on Iraq as a function of the disunity on the issue among the Democrats:

"But if Iraq is the biggest single issue, then Kerry has by far the harder task. And that's because the same question that has bedeviled Kerry for two years haunts him still: What's his position on Iraq? And while it's true that Kerry himself is a natural bloviator who would never say in 10 crisp words what he could say in a soggy 100, there's a logic to his wind-sockery on the Iraq question. That is, he has three different constituencies in the Democratic Party that he needs to please, and the best way to please them, he figures, is to unspool yards of yarn every time he talks about Iraq.

"The first group within his coalition are the outright hawks, such as Sen. Joe Lieberman. By now, the Connecticut Democrat is mostly a closet Republican, but because of his national standing, any criticism he might utter of Kerry would be wounding indeed. And so Kerry must keep him and like-minded Democratic neoconservatives on the reservation.

"The second group in the Kerry Kamp are the doves, who include such prominent figures as Sen. Teddy Kennedy and former Vice President Al Gore. These folks, who see Iraq as another Vietnam, represent the base of the Democratic Party.

"The third group are those in between, who support the war but insist at the same time that Bush has mishandled it. This group includes Sen. Joe Biden and most senior Democrats in Congress, as well as, oftentimes, Kerry himself. Many in this group express deep doubts about Iraq - but only privately. "

A leader at least must seem to cut through diverse views. Kerry has a problem, but he sure hasn't solved it.

September 29, 2004

Mexican North America?

The US has its own problem with potential cultural transformation, as Victor Davis Hanson warns, joined by Samuel P. Huntington, with whom I once studied "government," Columbia University's appropriately named version of "political science," each argues in his own way.

We seem unwilling to grasp the immigration nettle, which would require (a) fortifying and militarizing the frontier, (b) actually incarcerating unauthorized border-crossers until they are deported, (c) deporting thousands of people from communities away from the frontier; and (d) doing menial work with our own hands or those of our legally present neighbors.

Neither the "multiculturalist" left nor the corporate welfare right is likely to grasp this nettle. We can only hope that acculturation occurs fast enough to avoid the Mexicanization of large parts of the country and the resultant Belgian/Quêbequois conflicts.

Japan, of course, has its own problems. Population growth has fallen below replacement levels, and the culture is very resistant to immigrants, even to the absorption of Koreans who speak Japanese natively and are in the third and fourth generations.

The absence of immigration contributes to a different set of problems.

"Multiply and replenish the earth" is the first commandment in the Bible, and carries with it implications about family and sexual life that an increasingly secular industrialized world ignores. A Christianity of lesbian priestesses and sexual latitudinarianism contributes unwittingly to its own demise, in the industrial world at least.

Perhaps "revival," originating in Africa or elsewhere in the Third World, is still in prospect, and will upset all mechanistic projections.

Islamic Europe?

The reknowned scholar of Islam, Bernard Lewis, matter-of-factly predicts an Islamic Europe:

"SELDOM HAS THE COURSE of European history been changed by a non-politician's throwaway remark in a German-language newspaper on a Wednesday in the dead of the summer doldrums. But on July 28, Princeton historian Bernard Lewis told the conservative Hamburg-based daily Die Welt that Europe would be Islamic by the end of this century 'at the very latest," and continental politics has not been the same since."

Now, predictions based solely on today's birthrates ignore the likelihood of a reduction in these rates over time, if women are educated and empowered, infant mortality remains low, and welfare-state pensions remain in effect. But continued immigration from the Maghreb is likely, especially if conflict and instability persist, and the Arab world remains economically paralyzed. And with the decline of Christianity, Europe has little inherent cultural strength with which to resist its dhimmification.

Amazing and scary stuff. The End of History? I don't think so.

September 28, 2004

Priceless?


Oompa Kerry
Originally uploaded by octopod.

Yes. Priceless. Sen.Nuance auditions for the starring rôle in a remake of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory..

I know. I know. This is serious business. But how serious would it be if we elected this pampered cipher as Commander-In-Chief?


Oompa Loompa


Oompa Loompa
Originally uploaded by octopod.
Kerry turned up orange Sunday night.

Rush mocks him and Blogs of War supplies the lyric.

Hat tip to Hugh Hewitt.

Funny, but shows how ersatz he is.

For Shame! Indeed

Christopher Hitchens comments on the "vile spectacle" of Kerryite defeatism, in particular, Teresa Heinz Kerry's fatuous remark implying that Osama Bin Laden has been stashed somewhere to turn up as an "October Surprise":
"What will it take to convince these people that this is not a year, or a time, to be dicking around? Americans are patrolling a front line in Afghanistan, where it would be impossible with 10 times the troop strength to protect all potential voters on Oct. 9 from Taliban/al-Qaida murder and sabotage. We are invited to believe that these hard-pressed soldiers of ours take time off to keep Osama Bin Laden in a secret cave, ready to uncork him when they get a call from Karl Rove? For shame."

Let's hope these idiots remain in their current free fall.

September 25, 2004

Irony

This is hysterical. Well, mightily amusing to those who follow this stuff:
Heard Dick Morris on the radio the other day, and he was promoting something he worked on called Fahrenhype 911, a documentary put together to rebut Moore and his movie. One of the things that he said was that Moore gets some mileage about Saudi investment in Harken Energy, the company that a lot of poeple got exercised about regarding a stock sale that Bush made while a director, claiming there was some crime there. There wasn't, of course, but it was certainly good fortune (literally) for Bush, because the proceeds of that sale went to his investment in the Texas Rangers, which did make him wealthy on his own.

But Morris says that the biggest investor in Harken Energy was George Soros - and sure enough, he's right.

Soros is the money behind all of those 527's and who pays Oliver Willis' blog salary, for example. So, the Wikipedia entry says "Ironically, Soros's Harken Energy bailed out Bush in 1986 by buying his ailing oil venture, Spectrum 7."

Or maybe not so ironic. Because all that 527 action is falling flat - and it is causing Kerry to lose.

Hat tip to Allah.

Scary Stuff

Michael Novak's report on a speech by Spain's former Prime Minister will stand your hair on end:
Former Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar, spoke at breakfast Friday morning at AEI and predicted three spectacular terrorist events in the near future. First, a major destructive action in the United States before election day on November 2, possibly during the last 72 hours, for massive effect in causing confusion and commotion. Second, a dramatic escalation of action in Iraq leading up to November 2, and again in late December and early January to head off the Iraqi election at the end of January. Third, a spectacular attack in the United Kingdom next May to disrupt the re-election campaign of PM Tony Blair.
.

Hat tip to the redoubtable Hugh Hewitt.

Mark Steyn Sticks It To Kerry

In a piece entitled "Kerry's looking for American failure -- and he's it", the highly productive (and incisive) Mark Steyn says:
"But, because this pampered cipher has floundered for 18 months to find any rationale for his candidacy other than his indestructible belief in his own indispensability, Kerry finds himself a month before the election with no platform to run on other than American defeat. He has decided to co-opt the jihadist death-cult, the Baathist dead-enders, the suicide bombers and other misfits and run as the candidate of American failure. This would be shameful if he weren't so laughably inept at it."

Pampered cipher? He's guilty as charged, Your Honor.

September 24, 2004

A Different Analogy

Is Vietnam the correct analogy for the war in Iraq? This article persuasively suggests it's Guadalcanal:
"In one of our first counteroffensives against the Japanese, U.S. troops landed on the island of Guadalcanal in order to capture a key airfield. We surprised the Japanese with our speed and audacity, and with very little fighting seized the airfield. But the Japanese recovered from our initial success, and began a long, brutal campaign to force us off Guadalcanal and recapture it. The Japanese were very clever and absolutely committed to sacrificing everything for their beliefs. (Only three Japanese surrendered after six months of combat--a statistic that should put today's Islamic radicals to shame.) The United States suffered 6,000 casualties during the six-month Guadalcanal campaign; Japan, 24,000. It was a very expensive airfield. "

Iraq is like Vietnam in that a strong domestic opposition to the war exists. Fifth Column?

September 23, 2004

Looking Backward


Sgt. Gell
Originally uploaded by octopod.

Before I go into this, a confession is in order. I was one of those who didn't go (legally), but opposed the war in Vietnam.

In retrospect, I was wrong on both counts. Cambodia alone proves that. This is a season for reflection and repentance, and a time for that thought.

In any event, this blog entry epitomizes the disdain so many veterans and families of veterans have for Senator Nuance.

The picture shows Sgt. Gell, who was killed in Vietnam, the last time he was with his family. His daughter writes:
I don't blame Kerry for my father's death, and I don't much care if he shamelessly chased after medals. But I do care that when he returned from Vietnam he gave aid and comfort to the enemy while our soldiers were still dying. I care that he smeared my father and a generation of our armed forces with false charges of war crimes while posing himself as a hero. I care that Kerry's false charges encouraged our enemy who was pressuring our POWs in inhumane ways to confess to imaginary war crimes. I care that he went to Paris to meet with the Viet Cong in 1970 while still an officer in the Navy Reserve, returning to publicly advocate for their position and against America's position.

This isn't about politics. It's about honor and betrayal and protecting our country. And for me it is deeply personal, as it is for countless vets. Thirty-nine years later, my mother still cries on Nov 14. Thirty-nine years later, we miss my father every day. Thirty-nine years later, Kerry poses as a hero. As children of Vietnam veterans, many of us feel an unwelcome emotional strain as the arguments about what really happened in Vietnam are tugged back and forth, often by people who were not there. We deeply resent the suggestion that our fathers were war criminals as that theme inevitably seeps into the argument.

We are educated and grown. We have children of our own, some in the service. We know in our heart and soul the scars of war that will never go away. But we are not weak, and we will not be silent. I will stand with the Vietnam veterans who speak out, and the voice of my father will be heard through me.

As long as I have breath and Kerry seeks the office of president, I will speak out against him. Others like me are too many to count.

This is gut-wrenching, and too strong to discount entirely. You can't make policy just with emotion, but you can't discount it, either. In focusing his campaign on his four months in Vietnam, Kerry stepped on a land mine.

And the pundits who dismiss the Swift Boat Veterans as just a Karl Rove smear must consider the feelings this piece expresses so well

September 22, 2004

A Decent Journalist Joins the Fever Swamp


Nick Kristof
Originally uploaded by octopod.

A decent journalist who has covered China and the Sudan well, Nick Kristof goes off the deep end today, attacking the Swift Boat Veterans (still news?) and wringing his hands over "mudslinging," but doesn't even mention Rathergate, notwithstanding the involvement of Max Cleland and Joe Lockhart in the forged-documents mess.

The MSM (main stream media) do not understand the raw hatred we "conservative wing nuts" feel for them.

In a time when beheaders abound, we have scant patience for their cant and their mantras.

But it's a shame a good man has charged into the fever swamp.


September 21, 2004

A Familiar Complaint, But True Enough

Fred Reed whines about the ignorance of today's college students. A familiar complaint of the old and the traditional, but as Jay Leno proves with his street interviews, probably true. There were problems with the prescribed curriculum, but replacing it with -- nothing -- probably contributed to the degradation.

"It is hardly necessary to recite the endless polls showing that even the graduates of what once were universities cannot give the dates of the Civil War, do not know who fought in WWI, have never read Shakespeare, cannot name the first five books of the Old Testament, believe that Martin Luther had something to do with civil rights in Mississippi, and cannot write a coherent paragraph in their own language.

"They are pathetic without knowing it. Being innocent of history, they live in temporal isolation. Knowing nothing of painting, literature, or music, they are aesthetically crippled. Never having acquired a taste for reading, they are incorrigible. This is remarkable. The society has managed in a generation to overcome everything that civilization has strived for, replacing it with—nothing."

Having two very bright daughters who will be in college soon enough, I've been mulling over where to send them.

Any ideas?

Sad Denouement

USATODAY's account of a collapsing Bill Burkett is a sad depiction of nemesis:
"Burkett's emotions varied widely in the interviews. One session ended when Burkett suffered a violent seizure and collapsed in his chair. Earlier, he said he was coming forward now to explain what he had done and why to try to salvage his reputation. In the past week, Burkett was named by many news reports as the probable source of the documents.

"'It's time,' Burkett said. 'I'm tired of me being the bad guy. I'm tired of losing everything we've got,' a reference to his financial and health struggles since he left the Guard. Turning to his wife, Nicki, he said: 'We've lost it all, baby. We've lost everything.'"

McAuliffe Unwound

This quote is up there with "I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it:
"'Now that we know what's not true, let's focus on the facts,' Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe said in a statement regarding CBS's News' apology for broadcasting a Sept. 8 story about Bush's military service based on documents of dubious merit."

Meanwhile, when you read this apparently true but completely whacked out stuff from Allah, Bill Burkett turns out to be a complete nutball. If you want to hear something badly enough, apparently, you'll believe anything.

But remember, although this is funny, fascinating and sad, we are at war, the Islamofascists are beheading our people, we have an Administration that's surely vulnerable to serious criticism, and yet -- the best the opposition can do is come up with is a stiff like Kerry and this freak show. It's a sorry spectacle.

September 20, 2004

An Exercise in Futlity and a Threat to Free Speech

The latest court decision on campaign finance reform:
"A federal judge has ordered the Federal Election Commission to enact tougher restrictions on how millions of dollars are spent on campaigns, saying that its rules have undermined the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

The decision affects 15 highly technical regulations governing campaign activity that, though not widely known outside the world of political operatives, serve as important guideposts for how to finance campaigns legally.

For example, one set of regulations restricts how candidates and political parties, which are subject to contribution limits, coordinate with independent advocacy groups like so-called '527'' committees, which can raise unlimited donations."

This whole puritanical effort has unpredictable results and simply redirects the money to less connected and more artificial groups -- the Moveon.com's of the world.

No restrictions and full disclosure is the best we can do in this area.

A Witty Fellow

Lileks expounds upon the "the documents were fake but the story is true" argument:
"As the days begin to blur for Josh Howard, he embraces the same logic: 'So much of this debate has focused on the documents, and no one has really challenged the story. It's been frustrating to us to see all this reduced to a debate over little 'th's.'

"He’s not alone; many others have wondered why so much time is being spent on the “forgeries,” instead of the hypotheses they would prove, if they were true. So let me take another run at this. Imagine a CBS producer saying this in the Washington Post:

'We understand that there has been some controversy over the newly discovered Michelangelo painting featured in “60 Minutes” expose of curatorial malfeasance at the Metropolitan Museum. Some outside experts note that close analysis of the wood frame reveals the presense of modern staples, and while we agree this is curious – as are the words ‘Abiline Frame Shop’ engraved into the wood – it is hardly conclusive. Others have questioned the use of acrylic instead of oil paints, and the presence of nylon fibers embedded in the brushstrokes have led some to question whether the painting is indeed 500 years old. These are issues worth pursuing, and we will redouble our efforts. But it’s a little bit frustrating to see all this reduced to a debate over slivers and threads, instead of the real question, namely, how did Michelangelo’s “Madonna of of the Dealership” include a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air rendered with such astonishing detail, half a millennium before the car was designed? That’s the issue we think should be the focus of our attention.'"

QED?

Curioser and Curiouser

The Kerry Spot quotes USA Today:
"CBS arranged for a confidential source to talk with Joe Lockhart, a top aide to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, after the source provided the network with the now-disputed documents about President Bush's service in the Texas National Guard.

"Lockhart, the former press secretary to President Clinton, said a female producer talked to him about the 60 Minutes program a few days before it aired on Sept. 8. She gave Lockhart a telephone number and asked him to call Bill Burkett, a former Texas National Guard officer who gave CBS the documents. Lockhart couldn't recall the producer's name. But CBS said Monday night that it would examine the role of producer Mary Mapes in passing the name to Lockhart."

It just keeps unraveling. And the skein gets longer and longer!

Too Little, Too Late

The WaPo says CBS will retract its story on the documents :

"CBS News plans to issue a statement, perhaps as early as today, saying that it was misled on the purported National Guard memos the network used to charge that President Bush received favored treatment 30 years ago.

"The statement would represent a huge embarrassment for the network, which insisted for days that the documents reported by Dan Rather on '60 Minutes' are authentic. But the statement could help defuse a crisis that has torn at the network's credibility."

Remember Tylenol. Johnson & Johnson's prompt response is no a think of B-school case studies. Take the hit, tell the truth, get out in front.

Now CBS has behaved like Nixon. Stonewall. Stonewall. Stonewall. If they have any sense now, Rather and Heyward will be gone by the end of the week. It's not as if he was a draw -- they're third in the ratings.

Pat Caddell has said if the documents are proven false, it's curtains for Kerry. I'm not sure he's right, unless it gets tied to the Kerry campaign. Isn't this still inside baseball? Though Rather is well-known enough for this to get some play.

Hat tip to Allahpundit for the tip.

September 19, 2004

Eye of Saruman?


Eye of Saruman
Originally uploaded by octopod.
Couldn't resist this one. Hugh Hewitt's post.

Ross Pee-row Returns?

This send-up of Document Dan is worth a read. An excerpt:

"Bout them documents bein’ genuine; well, hells-bells, Danny Boy, Grannie’s glasses are so thick, when she looks at a bare wall she see’s folks wavin’ at her, an’ even she can tell them memos are bout as phony as hips on a rattlesnake. We’re startin’ to think your brain done got harder than a woodpecker’s lips if you can’t see that. As far as that story bout George an’ his National Guard duty, looks to us like you’re tryin’ to put wheels on a cow an’ call it a dairy truck. Then you go pokin’ up her butt hopin’ you’re gonna find ice cream. Besides, ever time you durn fools put that picture of young George in his flyboy outfit on the TeeVee, ol’ Jane Fonda loses another herd of her Vagina Voters. Hell, Charlene says that sweet boy’s purtier than my new tangerine metalflake bass boat."


Thanks to The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler for the tip.

September 18, 2004

Wisdom from P.J. O'Rourke

P.J. O'Rourke's take on foreign policy, with his usual wit:
"Americans hate foreign policy. Americans hate foreign policy because Americans hate foreigners. Americans hate foreigners because Americans are foreigners. We all come from foreign lands, even if we came 10,000 years ago on a land bridge across the Bering Strait.

"America is not 'globally conscious' or 'multi-cultural.' Americans didn't come to America to be Limey Poofters, Frog-Eaters, Bucket Heads, Micks, Spicks, Sheenies or Wogs. If we'd wanted foreign entanglements, we would have stayed home."

In addition to acting as a "bad boy," he has quite a bit of insight into things like Bill Clinton's unwisdom. Worth a read.

September 17, 2004

Or Is Sophia a Tiny Agent Provocateur?

There's a discussion here of the strange history of Sophia's father. Was this a put-up job? ¿Quién Sabe?

Rather than liberal arrogance, this could be conservative dirty tricks. Remember Donald Segretti?

Poster child?


Sophia's sign
Originally uploaded by octopod.
Some painter's union goon tore up little Sophia's Bush sign when she and her dad were quietly holding them at the back of a Kerry rally.

Mean and stupid. Of course, it's the natural consequence of liberals being convinced of their own moral superiority.

Staying the Course and the Danger of Not Doing So

Discussed here by the inimitable and indispensable Victor Davis Hanson.

September 15, 2004

The Mountain Hath Labored and Brought Forth a Mouse

CBS's statement:

"'We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that's what we are doing.'"

They're digging the hole deeper, and they can't spell.

Thanks to The Kerry Spot on National Review Online.

September 13, 2004

WAPO Catches Up With The Blogosphere

In this story, the Washington Post pretty much concludes the 60 Minutes documents are forgeries.

Retro vs. Metro?

Joel Kotkin takes the "Retro v. Metro" concept to task, and points out:

"These core Kerry constituencies, the technical and professional intelligentsia, increasingly show signs of seeing themselves as a new social elite, what urban guru Richard Florida has anointed as the nation' s 'creative class.' Most make their homes in the peculiarly elitist economies of post-industrial metropolises such as greater Boston, Manhattan, San Francisco and the west side of Los Angeles, where the definition of middle class often comes with a million-dollar-plus mortgage, a PhD and, often enough, more than a few pence handed down from the parents."

There is a divide, and Kotkin has started to pinpoint it. It's between the "paragraph" vs. the "spreadsheet" people, or "poets vs. counters," as we used to called in the UCLA Anthropology Department.

Liberalism tend to be supported by people who are paid by government, or who have their milieu as their "reference group." There's a lot more to this, and one day we'll address it.

September 12, 2004

September 11, 2004

Starting the Climbdown

The AP's report as of Saturday evening shows CBS beginning to back down:

"WASHINGTON — CBS News acknowledged memos it received about President Bush's service in the Air National Guard (search) were difficult to definitively authenticate, but said they came from 'solid sources."

Translation: "Difficult to authenticate" = "Oops, we ran with the story without fully checking it. Who thought anyone would notice?"

Of course, Bush probably did use pull to get into the Guard, and probably did slack off at the end (when the war was winding down). We knew this. What this clarifies is what biased hacks the MSM are.

Taking Flip-Flops Seriously

Kagan and Kristol catalog Kerry's inconsistent stances on Iraq.

They argue:

Kerry voted to authorize war in Iraq in the fall of 2002 because he was afraid a vote against the resolution would ruin his chances to become president. He voted against the $87 billion to support the forces in Iraq and Afghanistan in the fall of 2003--when Howard Dean was riding high-- because he was afraid that he couldn't win over Democratic primary voters if he seemed to be supporting the war. After the capture of Saddam Hussein, Kerry briefly returned to a hawkish stance and criticized Dean when it seemed that distinguishing himself from Dean's excessive dovishness would be politically beneficial. Now, after a dip in the polls against President Bush, Kerry has come out against the war and against the money spent on the war, because he is afraid that he cannot win running as a quasi-hawk. We understand that many people don't like President Bush. But can there be anyone out there, Democrat or Republican, who does not honestly worry: If this is how John Kerry behaves during the campaign, how would he react to the real pressures of being president and commander in chief?

I've Used a Selectric Composer, and Dan, This Wasn't Done on a Selectric Composer

It occurs to me that in the early '70s I actually used a Selectric Composer. We put out a newsletter. We had to travel to the office where we were allowed to borrow the machine, which was prohibitively expensive.

There is no chance that a National Guard officer, typing soi-disant "CYA" memos would have access to one, or, if he did, would bother to fire it up for this purpose. This is all the more true, because, if for some chance he were playing with one, he'd do something more interesting and elaborate than the memos we see.

September 10, 2004

Lileks Has a Nice Analysis . . .

Lileks says it clearly:

In retrospect, TV looks like a big smothering quilt: it killed the afternoon papers, forced the survivors to consolidate; it reshaped the news cycle to fit its needs, shifted the emphasis to the visual. It fed off the Times and the Post and other surviving papers, which had institutionalized the Watergate and Vietnam templates as the means by which we understand events. The old-line media, like its Boomer components, got old, and like the Boomers, it preferred self-congratulation to self-reflection. And so the Internet had it for lunch, because the Internet does not have to schedule 17 meetings to develop a strategy for impactfully maximizing brand leverage in emerging markets; the Internet does not have to worry about how a decision will affect one’s management trajectory; the Internet smells blood and leaps, and that has turned the game around, for better or worse. So we’re back to where we were in 1904 – except that the guys on the corner shouting WUXTRY, WUXTRY aren’t grimy urchins selling the paper – they’re the people who wrote the damn thing, too.

The Chilean Pudding Contains the Proof

Val Dorta has a piece, "The Allende Myth", that puts paid to the legend that a CIA-engineered coup put an end to a popular democracy in Chile.

Dorta, relying on sources from all parts of the political specttrum, shows the indecision and incompetence of Allende made the coup inevitable

Notwithstanding the excesses of the Pinochet regime, Chile has more prosperity, democracy, and yes, equality, than any other Latin American country.

The experiment shows conclusively that market capitalism is more effective at developing a relatively poor country than authoritarian communism (North Korea) or semi-socialism. We '60s and '70s academic socialists were wrong.

On Both Their Houses

Mark Helprin dissects the policies of the Bushies and of Kerry:

"Three years on, that is where we stand: our strategy shiftless, reactive, irrelevantly grandiose; our war aims undefined; our preparations insufficient; our civil defense neglected; our polity divided into support for either a hapless and incompetent administration that in a parliamentary system would have been turned out long ago, or an opposition so used to appeasement of America's rivals, critics, and enemies that they cannot even do a credible job of pretending to be resolute."

Well said, but in this election it's either W or Sen. Nuance. Whatever W's limitations, an easy choice.

Kerry and his sorry party have made it so.

And we must fight on.

A Scary Scenario

This scenario, although probably exaggerated, is very scary, and not entirely implausible.

What It's All About

Victor Hanson, with his usual clarity, explains what the war (and the Presidential election) are all about.

September 9, 2004

Red Faces at CBS

This story shows CBS's claim to have submitted the documents to an expert was probably false:
"CBS News released a statement yesterday standing by its reporting, saying that each of the documents 'was thoroughly vetted by independent experts and we are convinced of their authenticity.' The statement added that CBS reporters had verified the documents by talking to unidentified individuals who saw them 'at the time they were written.'

* * * *

A senior CBS official, who asked not to be named because CBS managers did not want to go beyond their official statement, named one of the network's sources as retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, the immediate superior of the documents' alleged author, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He said that a CBS reporter read the documents to Hodges over the phone, and that Hodges replied that 'these are the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time.'



A total retreat. Consulting a source is not the same as consulting an expert, now, is it, Dan?

Gales of hysterical laughter.

Demise of the Mainstream Media

Here's a way into the enormous blogger activity all going to show that 60 Minutes's supposed scoop on Bush's National Guard days was based on crudely faked documents.

The mainstream media lose credibility daily (how do you say, "Jayson Blair"?). Bloggers rule!

Kerry's Biggest Crock Yet

Mickey Kaus, a Democrat, rants, justifiably, about Kerry's proposal for a "Department of Wellness."

"Department of Wellness'! Spirit-crushing foolishness from my candidate, John Kerry. The nation is trying to figure out how to fight global terrorism and he's talking about having 'not just a Department of Health and Human Services, but a Department of Wellness.' How about a Department of F***ing Perspective? If Bush is smart he'll be ridiculing Kerry about this for the rest of the month."

Kerry's out-Nadering Nader. Talk about the "Nanny State"! I don't think this one plays well in Peoria.

September 8, 2004

A True Hero

Yanis Kanidis was -- is a true hero.

"Greater love hath no man . . . "

September 7, 2004

A Chilling But Very Important Discussion

Belmont Club a year ago wrote this thoughtful but chilling piece on the consequences of Islamist terrorists obtaining nukes.

Conclusion: through the application of rigorous logic, this would lead to the destruction of the Islamic world.

A Psalm for Russia

The 137th, which ends like this:


Fair Babylon, you predator,
a blessing on him who repays you in kind what you have inflicted on us;
a blessing on him who seizes your babies
and dashes them against the rocks.

We might not want to take it literally, but one can understand the sentiment.

Archie & Girls


Archie & Girls
Originally uploaded by octopod.

Tom Schaller, apparently a Kerry supporter, proposes a strategy for Kerry.

It might could work, except (a) it's too late to go this way; and (b) it's too un-Kerry.

Schaller talks about high-school analogies. Problem is, Bush may be Reggie, but he comes on like Archie. Kerry IS Reggie, and Teresa is some weird Luso-African version of Veronica.

In America, Archie and Betty are popular; Reggie and Veronica aren't.


Not So Dumb As Some Think

Victor Hanson analyzes the "George Bush is a dummy" superior dance.

I'm not as sanguine about W. as Hanson, but he's got a point.

Look It In The Eye

David Brooks reminds us that euphemism and avoidance are misleading:

"Three years after Sept. 11, too many people have become experts at averting their eyes. If you look at the editorials and public pronouncements made in response to Beslan, you see that they glide over the perpetrators of this act and search for more conventional, more easily comprehensible targets for their rage.

"The Boston Globe editorial, which was typical of the American journalistic response, made two quick references to the barbarity of the terrorists, but then quickly veered off with long passages condemning Putin and various Russian policy errors.

"The Dutch foreign minister, Bernard Bot, speaking on behalf of the European Union, declared: 'All countries in the world need to work together to prevent tragedies like this. But we also would like to know from the Russian authorities how this tragedy could have happened.'

"It wasn't a tragedy. It was a carefully planned mass murder operation. And it wasn't Russian authorities who stuffed basketball nets with explosives and shot children in the back as they tried to run away."

Evil is a reality.

It would be a new day if Brooks's own paper referred to the killers as something other than 'insurgents.'

September 6, 2004

Bloggers' Advice for Kerry

Various bloggers join Bill Clinton in offering advice for Kerry on how to save his campaign.

Naming Names

Mark Steyn writes:

"I remember a couple of days after September 11 writing in some column or other that weepy candlelight vigils were a cop-out: the issue wasn't whether you were sad about the dead people but whether you wanted to do something about it. Three years on, that's still the difference. We can all get upset about dead children, but unless you're giving honest thought to what was responsible for the slaughter your tasteful elegies are no use. Nor are the hyper-rationalist theories about 'asymmetrical warfare'."

And a few paragraphs later, goes on:

"So the particular character of this 'insurgency' does not derive from the requirements of 'asymmetrical warfare' but from . . . well, let's see, what was the word missing from those three analyses of the Beslan massacre? Here's a clue: half the dead 'Chechen separatists' were not Chechens at all, but Arabs. And yet, tastefully tiptoeing round the subject, The New York Times couldn't bring itself to use the words Muslim or Islamist, for fear presumably of offending multicultural sensibilities."

He's incisive, as usual, and even nuanced, in the rest of the piece.

Liberal Blather Deconstructed

Lileks takes to task Wallace Shawn and Art Spiegelman for their idiotic comments on Bush and terrorism. (Tip of the hat to the indispensable Hugh Hewitt for the link).

Shawn may be remembered as one of the writers and actors in the worst movie of all time. Spiegelman is a graphic artist who wrote a graphic novel about the mass-murder of Europe's Jews.

Here's Lileks, who could be speaking for me on why this blog is so single-minded and nudnik-like:

You will, I hope, note that this site spends very little time on taxes, regulation, stem cell research, abortion, the death penalty, gay marriage, environmentalism, school vouchers, mass transit, clog dancing, circumcision, Central Standard Time, Coke V. Pepsi, or any other major issue of the day. Now and again I’ll bring one of them up. But not often. I do bring up the war more than any other issue, because I happen to believe we’re in one, and it should be won. I have no problem debating strategies and objectives, but there are some arguments that bore me right away. I am not intolerant of these ideas. I’m just tired of them. They come from some Happy-clappy parallel universe where Islamic terrorists do not bayonet little kids in the gut when they ask for water. I do not live there.

Amen, brother!

Sometime I'll have to riff on why so many, including some beloved members of my own family, are so emotional in the style of Wally and Art.


September 5, 2004

While Kerry and Bush Arm-Wrestle, Will Europe Burn?

Will Hutton writes about the mounting problems of Germany and France:

"With all eyes fixed on the American presidential elections, the scale of the looming crisis in France and Germany has gone largely unremarked. But it may so change the political geography of Europe that British arguments for and against the EU will be made redundant. A pervasive sense of decline in both countries, only partially justified but none the less virulent, is destabilising not just the structures of the EU - but the political systems of France and Germany."

It remains to be seen whether a free-enterprise liberalism (what we now call libertarianism), or a new, superficially right-wing version of social democratic statism will rise to power in the wake of the collapse of Schroeder and Chirac.

And Hutton does not discuss the ominous decline in fertility all over Europe (and in Japan), in Europe leading to immigration from North Africa and elsewhere.

As population declines in the wake of de-Christianization, will a more fecund and more faithful Islam rise to turn Europe's current population into dhimmis or worse?

Even if Pat Buchanan said it first, it's worth thinking about.

How Kerry Screwed Up

Joe Klein, author of "Primary Colors" and a smart pro-Democrat writer, analyzes the Kerry campaign's missteps:

"The Kerry strategy is to present an 'optimistic' candidate with a 'positive plan for the future.' The Kerry consultants, who actually believe this claptrap and have zero sense of political theater, sound like a bunch of low-budget Ginzu-knife salesmen when they represent their candidate on television: We're offering you a $4,000 college-tuition tax credit and—for no extra charge—a $1,000 reduction in your health-care costs! They also seem to believe this election isn't about the most important decision Bush has made: to go to war in Iraq. Kerry's adherence to that strategy—including the robotic repetition of the words strong and values—has made him seem weak, transparent, a focus-group marionette with neon strings."

Klein is very critical of the Bushies, too, but on substance, not on campaign effectiveness.

Worth a read.

September 4, 2004

"Yeah, right!" Department

Crocodile tears shed by a puppet.

Ugly Political Correctness

Michelle Malkin notes the strange prudishness of the New York Times:
"Take a look at how this front-page New York Times article describes the perpetrators of the siege in Beslan. Notice anything? The killers are called 'guerrillas' and 'fighters' and 'armed captors' but not 'terrorists.' At one point the article grudgingly refers to these savage murderers as 'people that Mr. Putin calls terrorists.' In more than 1,750 words, the article includes not one reference to the religion of the Muslim perpetrators. Not one."

No comment is really necessary.

If They Won't Denounce It

Ralph Peters points out:

"If Muslim religious leaders around the world will not publicly condemn the taking of children as hostages and their subsequent slaughter — if those "men of faith" will not issue a condemnation without reservations or caveats — then no one need pretend any longer that all religions are equally sound and moral.

And this, too:

"A final thought: Did any of those protesters who came to Manhattan to denounce our liberation of 50 million Muslims stay an extra day to protest the massacre in Russia? Of course not.

"The protesters no more care for dead Russian children than they care for dead Kurds or for the hundreds of thousands of Arabs that Saddam Hussein executed. Or for the ongoing Arab-Muslim slaughter of blacks in Sudan. Nothing's a crime to those protesters unless the deed was committed by America."

He's right. We may not want to, but we need to hear the answer.

September 3, 2004

These People are Swine

This is the face of evil. Today's slave-traders, KGB, SS.

You sophisticates! Reagan and Bush used the word "evil." They were right. So is Ralph Peters.

Comforting a Rescued Russian Child


Soldier Comforts Rescued Child
Originally uploaded by octopod.

This event is not turning out well, as often happens in Russia.

This has shocked and angered me more than anything since 9/11.

We must turn our anger into relentless logic and grim determination, and pursue these swine into their caves and ratholes and palaces, wherever the search leads.

We arre in for a protracted and ugly stuggle. So be it. There is no other honorable choice. And pace John Kerry, we can't wait for them to attack us.


A Sad Denouement

The Russian school hostage-taking had tragic consequences.

Sadly, our police and other safety personnel need to be trained for this kind of thing.

VDH Tells It Like It Is

Victor Hanson's latest piece ends this way:

"We are not at the end of history, but rather at its new beginning. All the old truths — conventional warfare, the Atlantic alliance, petroleum-based affluence, conventional political debate, etiquette, principled disagreement, and the old populist Democratic party are coming under question. And the only thing that is clear from what will follow is that it will all be loud, messy, full of surprises — and occasionally quite scary."

The entire piece is worth reading. We may be at a historical turning point, and very likely we are condemned to live in "interesting times."

Give Them No Quarter


Russian Hostage Rescue
Originally uploaded by octopod.

Terror incidents are an almost daily occurrence, but this one makes my blood boil.

The Russians stormed the school. They had little choice. I hope that they saved all the hostages.

Russia's record with the Chechens has been horrible, but that doesn't excuse this, in my mind. Let the rebels attack troops or police stations, if they want. That's war. I'd say this is savagery, but savages usually don't behave like this.

We can't compromise, negotiate or temporize with these people and their like. We have to destroy them.


September 1, 2004

Good Question

Spoons asks a question:

I think what we really need to ask ourselves is, what did those Russian children do to make the terrorists hate them?

Another Outrage


Aftermath of Beersheva Bus Bombing


Originally uploaded by octopod.
Aftermath of Beersheva Bus Bombing

Again I ask:why should we have any mercy on those who do these things?

Why Should We Show Any Mercy To These People?


Fleeing Russian School
Originally uploaded by octopod.
This picture and the next one have me enraged.

We've come to accept this constant murder of women and children. Enough is enough. Yes, they've exhausted my compassion.

Tomorrow, I'll think calmly again. Not today.

A Very Smart Political Operative Dissects Arnold (and His Speech)

Arnold Steinberg did polling for me in Santa Monica 20 years ago. He's one of the smartest political guys I know. His observations on Schwarzenegger's speech are food for thought.