Friday, December 31, 2004

Miscellanea - Special Drudgalanche Edition

Q: What's more powerful than an Instalanche? A: A Drudgalanche. Cheese and Crackers has put up some amazing video of the tsunami, and after a link from Matt Drudge, has seen its hit numbers EXPLODE (hat tip to Michelle Malkin)...

Another question, this time for Michael Moore. If Bush's seven minutes in Florida could have made a difference, how about Kofi Annan's three day ski vacation?...

The Diplomad has more good thoughts on the UN, its response, and the criticism of US 'stinginess'...

Donald Sensing links to a report that suggests the death count may yet triple, or worse. Let's pray the report is wrong. There are many things to be thankful for as we end this year; one is that we are, simply, alive. Just one more reminder to look at that big box to the right, and ring in the New Year in the best possible way, by giving of your generosity.

Thanks to everyone who's been here in my brief time blogging. I hope to see you many times in 2005. Be safe, have fun, and go Longhorns! Beat Michigan!...

Miscellanea - Goodbye 2004 Edition

DJ Drummond at PoliPundit takes a fun look back at the year that was...

Is it possible for a blantantly partisan site to criticize the Mainstream Media's liberal bias with credibility? deacon at Power Line thinks so, and I do, too. The difference - I trumpet my conservative bias to the heavens, I'm proud of it, and would NEVER deny it. This blog is opinionated, snarky, and hopefully a little fun - hey, wait a minute, I'm using the Jon Stewart defense...

Here's with the Top Ten Media Stories of 2004...

On the heels of the criticism of our mere '$35 million' aid package that never was that small, and rants from Eric Alterman that President Bush cares only about killing people, we have this latest complaint: the U.S. is distributing aid outside the auspices of the UN. Given the track record our favorite America-hating international organization has managing funds, I think that is the prudent choice...hmm, maybe we could route some aid through Saddam, if the prison allows it, and he could issue aid vouchers to his friends and family! Or maybe not...

Happy New Year from My Beagle

Hey, everyone, I'm a little nervous about tonight because I don't like fireworks...anyway, have a safe and Happy New Year, and thanks for visiting my daddy's blog! Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Congrats to My Red Raiders

Final score at the Holiday Bowl: Number 21 Texas Tech 45, Number 4 Cal 31. Kudos to Coach Leach and the whole squad...

Hate Speech: Right vs. Left

American politics contains two types of hate speech: the unbelievably barbaric rhetoric of the Radical Left, and the Right's observation that 'Progressives' are amazingly full of hate. Here's the way it works: pretend you are a Democrat (unlikely as that may be if you don't live in Los Angeles or New York City) besides Joe Lieberman, and I'll pretend I'm, say, Hugh Hewitt or George Will. Here's a fictional, but highly realistic, example:

You: I wish that moron W. and his poodle Tony Blair would just drop dead, but only after being slowly tortured by an Iraqi freedom fighter.

Me: [You, the unidentified but oh-so-typical 'Progressive'] said today that the President and Prime Minister should be tortured and killed.

You: You're a fascist. I hope you get cancer or, better, AIDS, you homophobic bastard.

That's the way the game is played, folks, and it's no exaggeration. Jeff Jacoby provides the proof every year with a column on the most outrageous liberal hate speech of the year. This year's edition includes death wishes on the President and Secretary of Defense, numerous comparisons of Republicans with Nazis, ridiculing of Condoleezza Rice because she is a black Republican of great accomplishment, and much, much, more, so go read it now! He doesn't even mention the maniacs of the Democratic Underground, who seem unable to express themselves without unending vulgarities.

But what about the right, you hypocrite, my two Democratic readers are asking...well, what about it? Every time you hear a 'Progressive' decry the hatefulness of the right while taking a break from printing 'Jesusland' t-shirts, you can bet you're gonna hear about Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter...and then their quiver lies empty. Limbaugh and Coulter have occasionally said some outrageous things, but compare the WORST example from these two with, say, the garbage Eric Alterman routinely spews out on Here's a prime example of very recent vintage:
Is this president interested only in killing people, but can�t be bothered when given the chance to help save them? His morally callous parsimony in the face of this, the greatest natural disaster in modern history, seems determined to give the rest of that world exactly that impression. George W. Bush shames our nation with large talk and small deeds; with his want of character and smallness of spirit.
Yeah, Eric, George W. Bush is only interested in killing people...and Dan Rather is a competent journalist. I mean, COME ON, this guy is considered a great pundit!

The other trick the Left employs to show the Right's 'hatefulness' is epitomized by, to use a sad example, the Matthew Shepherd killing. Shepherd was horribly murdered by some ignorant homophobes in Wyoming, but the larger blame was placed on the 'culture of hate' supposedly spread by conservatism. Here are some observations to clear things up for our 'progressive' buddies:
  1. The fact that there are ignorant homophobes in Wyoming is not surprising...there are ignorant homophobes in every city, county, and state in the Union.
  2. No conservative has EVER, to my knowledge (and I challenge anyone to provide evidence to the contrary), applauded this horrible crime or the hatred that motivated it.
  3. To be killed because one is a homosexual is tragedy. It is also a tragedy to be killed because you are black, or because you just happen to be in a convenience store when it is robbed, or because you happened to work in the World Trade Center. Murder is always deplorable.
  4. You can oppose gay marriage on religious, social, or political grounds and feel immense pain and sorrow about what happened to Shepherd. There is no contradiction...opposition to a political stance does not necessarily, or even usually, imply hatred.
Lest I be accused of pointing out the speck in my neighbor's eye while ignoring the log in my own, let me point out that I say some provocative things on this blog...for example, I have pointed out that Michael Moore is a fat propagandist. Who would deny his girth? Or is it the propagandist part that you object to? I, too, need to lose a lot of weight. Call me a fat propagandist also if you like. I also, every week, single out some poor soul as a 'jackass'. I don't really have a justification for this, I just happen to think it's funny. I'm not perfect: for example, I am easily amused, as you can see. But I don't wish for Michael Moore's death...I just want him to come to his senses. There's a big, fat, wide difference.

Academic Polemics, or I Went to College and All I Got Was This Lousy Progressivism

Jayson at PoliPundit strikes gold by linking to this post by a UCLA (i.e., taxpayer-supported) associate professor in the Information Sciences department, Philip Agre. If anyone should wonder why the vast majority of Americans reject the liberal elite, he should be forced to read this drivel through to the end. Let's go fisking, shall we? (In case you get confused, Agre will be in bold; he's pretty subtle, so I want to make sure you know who's who).
Q: What is conservatism?
A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.

Q: What is wrong with conservatism?
A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.

Well, thank God this is going to be a rational, well-reasoned article and not some 'Progressive' rant, huh? Do me a favor: read that again, slowly, and wait until the laughter subsides before you continue.

From the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to the self-regarding thugs of ancient Rome to the glorified warlords of medieval and absolutist Europe, in nearly every urbanized society throughout human history, there have been people who have tried to constitute themselves as an aristocracy. These people and their allies are the conservatives.

The tactics of conservatism vary widely by place and time. But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are.

Wow, is that an ugly piece of writing, and I don't just mean the sentiment behind it. '....the self-regarding thugs of ancient Rome'!!!! Let me suggest another paragraph written in the same style:

'From the time of the cavemen to the era of Al Gore's Internet, there have been jackasses who assume that everyone who disagrees with them is, by definition, a delusional pawn. Most such people are insufferably arrogant. I am one such person.'

See? Flows much better, no?

I don't know of many, if any, conservatives who have any use for an 'aristocracy'. One of the defining principles of conservatism is the meritocracy of the individual.

...many of the aspiring aristocrats of the United States are appointing their children to positions in government and in the archipelago of think tanks that promote conservative theories.

The archipelago of conservative think tanks is indeed surrounded by the ocean of liberal academics and members of the fourth estate. The line about aristocrats appointing their children to positions in government is so baffling that one wonders if Agre has any concept of America. Things look different from the ivory tower, indeed...

The opposite of conservatism is democracy, and contempt for democracy is a constant thread in the history of conservative argument. Instead, conservatism has argued that society ought to be organized in a hierarchy of orders and classes and controlled by its uppermost hierarchical stratum, the aristocracy. Many of these arguments against egalitarianism are ancient, and most of them are routinely heard on the radio. One tends to hear the arguments in bits and pieces, for example the emphatic if vague claim that people are different. Of course, most of these arguments, if considered rationally, actually argue for meritocracy rather than for aristocracy. Meritocracy is a democratic principle. George Bush, however, was apparently scarred for life by having been one of the last students admitted to Yale under its old aristocratic admissions system, and having to attend classes with students admitted under the meritocratic system who considered themselves to be smarter than him. Although he has lately claimed to oppose the system of legacy admissions from which he benefitted, that is a tactic, part of a package deal to eliminate affirmative action, thereby allowing conservative social hierarchies to be reaffirmed in other ways.

Agre 'argues' the opposition of conservatism and democracy (say, was I just imagining all the lefties who have been unable to accept the result of the last TWO elections without resorting to conspiracy theories?), then gives away the game by admitting that conservative arguments actually favor meritocracy. To cover for this wholly unexpected admission, he digresses into some garbage about George Bush, ignoring the fact that he earned an MBA, our first president to hold that distinction.

Conservatism promotes (and so does liberalism, misguidedly) the idea that liberalism is about activist government where conservatism is not. This is absurd. It is unrelated to the history of conservative government. Conservatism promotes activist government that acts in the interests of the aristocracy. This has been true for thousands of years. What is distinctive about liberalism is not that it promotes activist government but that it promotes government that acts in the interests of the majority.

Liberalism doesn't promote activist government, but instead government that acts in the interests of the majority? Can I have 'gay marriage' for a thousand, Alex? Anyone hear of 'Roe v. Wade' and the 'implied' right to privacy?

Another example of conservative twisting of the language of conscience is the argument, in the context of the attacks of 9/11 and the war in Iraq, that holding our side to things like the Geneva Convention implies an equivalence between ourselves and our enemies. This is a logical fallacy. The fallacy is something like: they kill so they are bad, but we are good so it is okay for us to kill. The argument that everything we do is okay so long as it is not as bad as the most extreme evil in the world is a rejection of nearly all of civilization.

No, 'Professor', flying jet airliners into skyscrapers is a rejection of ABSOLUTELY all of civilization. We kill in order to protect freedom; they kill in the name of terror, knowing that their cause cannot stand the scrutiny of rational debate. No political document, not the Geneva Convention, not the Charter of the United Nations, could ever imply an equivalence between the United States of America, the very beacon of freedom in the modern world, and the cowardly murderers of al-Queda. When the choice is between pacifism and freedom through the use of the military, I choose the latter 100% of the time.

The flamboyant nastiness of rhetors such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter represents the destruction of conscience as a type of liberation. They are like cultists, continually egging on their audiences to destroy their own minds by punching through one layer after another of their consciences.

Two words: Michael Moore.

Projection was an important part of the Florida election controversy, for example when Republicans tried to get illegal ballots counted and prevent legal ballots from being counted, while claiming that Democrats were trying to steal the election.

Here is the classic example of projection attempting to define itself. Pathetic.

It is often claimed in the media that snooty elitists on the coasts refer to states in the middle of the country as "flyover country". Yet I, who have lived in liberal areas of the coasts for most of my life, have never once heard this usage.

Agre is 100% correct on this matter. The states in the middle of the country are not known as 'flyover country'. As everyone knows, the correct phrase is 'Jesusland'.

It is difficult to identify a single pundit in the media who consistently explicates liberal ideology.

True, if by media you mean ancient stone tablets found in caves in the Middle East.

George Soros is an excellent citizen., cough....

Alright, enough already! I could go on, and on, and on, and on like, say, Agre, but I respect your intelligence far, far more than he does. Agre reveals the liberal's view of the Red States: you are suffering from a disease. Look out, Agre, based on Election 2004, I'd say it's contagious.

Miscellanea: Et Tu, New York Times? Edition

The New York Times joins the chorus of those who apparently think our total contribution to the disaster relief will be $35 million (they even trot out the comparison to the Inauguration budget, hinting that at least part of their editorial board takes their talking points from our 2004 Jackass of the Year). Bush has pledged that's only the tip of the iceberg, and that figure ignores the literally tens of millions given by Americans privately...

Pejmanesque is having a problem with trolls and their idiotic comments. I can sympathize...

For the Democrats, the third rail isn't Social Security, it's abortion (Cal Thomas via Jayson at PoliPundit)...

Finally, best of luck to my alma mater, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, as they take on Cal in the sold-out Holiday Bowl tonight at 7:00 pm central. Get your guns up, Tech fans!...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Miscellanea: Give, Give, Give Edition

The scale of the East Asian tragedy is beyond belief. Here is a link to a CNN page listing organizations accepting donations. I also direct you, again, to the big box to my right. Amazon says that 100% of the money goes directly to relief aid for the victims. No preaching or pleading, just a straightforward request that you give if you are willing and able...

Here's a great site with all kinds of resources on the disaster (hat tip to Hindrocket at Power Line)...

Even more ways to help at the Command Post (hat tip to Pejmanesque)...

Of course, what would a disaster be without criticism of President Bush? WizBang has a series of Radical Left responses to the tragedy that are beyond parody (tip of the hat to My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy)...

Oil-For-Food, Part Eight: The Fox Guards the Henhouse

The oh-so-ever-resourceful Claudia Rosett does her best to keep the heat on the UN in OpinionJournal today. Best passage:
...with a degree of patience the Secretariat has not displayed toward its critics, Mr. Annan seems to be waiting for the U.N.-authorized inquiry, funded at his behest with $30 million in residual Oil for Food money (meant to aid Iraqi citizens, not U.N. investigations), and led by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, to inform the secretary-general, privately, and at stately speed, sometime next year, what his own role actually was. At that stage, Mr. Annan will decide what information he deems appropriate to share with the public.

To this scene in recent months we may add the reports of rape and child molestation committed by U.N. peacekeepers in Africa, allegations of sexual harassment involving the heads of both the U.N. refugee agency and the internal audit division, a revolt against "senior management" by the U.N. staff union, the findings of an internal U.N. integrity survey that a lot of U.N. employees fear retaliation if they speak out, and the statements of a few brave whistle-blowers, fighting for their jobs, to precisely that effect. Plus, if you like, there's the expanding saga of how the secretary-general until confronted by the press allegedly failed to notice that his son had allegedly been doing lucrative business deals with a major U.N. contractor under the Oil for Food program. All of which has been subject to the marvelously circular argument that the press should shut up until the U.N., in between firing off hush letters to its contractors and employing Mr. Annan's U.S.-taxpayer-funded staff to lambaste the U.N.'s critics, can carry out allegedly full and independent investigations of all these troublesome matters.

Do you see the problem here? The UN is diverting even MORE Oil-For-Food money from its intended purpose, to investigate the billions already stolen, and the investigation funded by that money reports to the Secretary-General himself. This is akin to having Ken Lay investigate the trading practices of Enron.

I happen to believe that Kofi Annan is basically a good man at heart, despite my frequent criticism of him in this space. A good man does not necessarily a good executive make, however, and the criticisms of Annan go way beyond OilyGate. Like a lot of decent people who have let events get out of hand, he is looking for a way to salvage his reputation and that of his organization.

Because I do believe in the essential goodness of the Secretary General, I have one suggestion for his New Year's Resolution: release the Volcker report in full, provide all requested documentation to the congressional investigators, and let the chips fall where they may. Transparency in great abundance is the only way forward if the UN is to retain the credibility Annan so desperately seeks.

The 2004 Jackass of the Year - Michael Moore

As we end this momentous year, I am taking the opportunity to reflect on the months gone by. Who, during 2004, was the most idiotic, the most outrageous, the most just plain wrong about almost every issue? Not Dan Rather, though he was a close second. Instead, the first annual Jackass of the Year award goes to (who else could it be?)...Michael Moore.

Now, it takes more than just mere stupidity to be the Yearly Jackass. No, if that was the criteria, we could have chosen Linda Rondstadt, say, or Ben Affleck. What makes Moore particularly outrageous is his blantant falsehoods that HE KNOWS are falsehoods, all while maintaining the guise of a 'whistle-blower'. Meanwhile, the populist slob sits on his fat butt eating double cheeseburgers while the millions roll in from the gullible 'Progressives'.

Lest you think I exaggerate the willfulness of Moore's falsehoods, consider this very recent headline on his webpage: $40 million for Inauguration, $35 million for Tsunami. It takes a special kind of liar to pretend that he thinks that $35 million will be the grand total we spend on the disaster relief. Very little research is required to learn that the $35 million is an initial allotment that existed in a special fund, and that George W. Bush is even as I type this forming a coalition to provide further, massive aid to the victims. Moore is many things: a propagandist, a rabid Bush-hater, a false 'man of the people', but stupid he is not. He KNOWS this is false, but he could care less.

Nothing epitomizes the selfish foolishness of Moore better than his flip-flopping over his masterpiece of dementia, Fahrenheit 9/11. Moore's outlandish film was so full of distortion that entire websites have been devoted to debunking it, but it was clearly meant to damage Bush in every way, including the timing of its theatrical and DVD releases. To quote ABC's 'The Note':

USA Today's Kasindorf and Keen give "Fahrenheit 9/11" USA Today's "Cover Story" treatment, questioning whether the movie will change voters' minds before the elections.

The duo report that Michael Moore told them part of his goal is to persuade Naderites to vote for Kerry...

Now, this interview relates how Moore peddled the falsehood that Disney was censoring the movie because they felt it could affect the outcome of the election:
Moore said he drew audiences to showings of his movie without telling them in advance that they would be seeing the new film. He said that the reactions from those screening were overwhelmingly positive and reported news of the ovations to the studio and then Disney had an exec take a look at the movie. Disney then decided that it was too hot to handle, concluding that it might affect the outcome of the election and telling Miramax that it could not release the picture. "I had an early sense that this would resonate with an audience," Moore explained.
Doesn't that sound like Moore was deluded enough to think he could bring down a president to you? The election didn't turn out as planned, though, and Moore couldn't just admit defeat. Here he is in a more recent interview:
For the moment, Mr. Moore continues to be involved in "Fahrenheit 9/11." In an earlier conversation, he said he was "still in the thick of making sure as many people see this film as possible." Describing the movie as "about the Iraq war and the war on terrorism and the use of fear to manipulate the public," he added, "I started it before there was Bush versus Kerry."
Sure, Michael, that's why you included the scenes about Bush 'stealing' the 2000 election; that's why your corpulent visage was so prominent during the conventions; that's why you published (and continue to publish) rant after rant on your website - now that his dream has gone south, Moore hopes he can peddle the myth that it was never about "Bush versus Kerry" (while it may not have been about Kerry as a specific candidate, it was ALWAYS about defeating Bush). The new storyline is that Kerry was a bad candidate (Moore sang his praises to the rafters before he lost) and that it was people like brave, heroic Michael Moore who kept the election as close as it was.

As infuriating as Moore is, though, I hope he keeps making his movies, keeps popping off in public, and keeps posting outrageous screeds on the web - there can be no better example to the world of what a raging 'Progressive' is like when cornered. With friends like Moore, the Democrats will never need enemies - picture Tom Daschle shaking Moore's hand after a screening of 'Farenfat 9/11' and grinning like a hyena and I'm sure you'll agree.

Michael Moore, enjoy the crown, you wear it so well...

Please Take a Look at That Big Box to the Right! is collecting donations for the victims of the huge natural disaster. Please, if you have it to spare, consider making a donation to help out some folks who desperately need it. 100% of your donation, that's every penny, goes to the disaster relief efforts. Many thanks for your generosity.

No Wictory Wednesday Today...

...but PoliPundit says enjoy the holidays. Check out the blogroll near the right bottom...

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Miscellanea: Even More Good Stuff Edition

A horrifying visit to the nightmarish future that could have been ours (hat tip to Michelle Malkin) - don't blame me if you can't sleep after seeing this one...

LiberalOasis cautions its readers not to go ballistic over the suggestion that abortion might not be the most wonderful thing on God's green earth. No worries, 'Progressives': to the Radical Left, abortion remains the most fundamental human right...

To counter the terrifying possibility of a conservative presence on our college campuses, the Campus Progress Network, funded by the Center for American Progress, has mobilized to save the day for the 98% liberal majority (remember, kids, you can't spell 'Progressive' without progress). The following will give you a taste of their bold ideas:

Beyond promoting the progressive message on campuses, the CPN hopes to do something else the right has done so well: develop future leaders. "This is about identifying, cultivating, and elevating these progressives into positions that will help generate bold and innovative progressive ideas for years to come," says Halperin. While students may dabble with progressive ideas in their college years, Halperin explains, many become more conservative with age. The CPN hopes to instill progressive values that will last for life: "Often Democratic leanings are not so deep. Progressives may do a good job of bringing students to their side for a few years, but not in a sustained way, as conservatives do," he says. "We might teach them slogans, but to really show them why progressivism has made the country a great country is something we can do a lot better at."

As Hubbard says, "Today's young voters could be the core of a progressive majority in the not-so-distant future."

That's seven mentions of 'progressive' in as many sentences. My, but those liberals sure are 'progressive'. Hey, you don't think I'm saying 'progressive' too much, do you? Sheesh...

Speaking of the Center for American Progress, Ruy Texeira is one of their Fellows, so you know these guys mean business. For those who don't recognize the name, Texeira is the author of 'The Emerging Democratic Majority,' a book whose entire premise has been torn asunder by Election 2004. Texeira twisted every possible bit of campaign news into a loud advertisement for the Kerry Campaign to no avail, but it's good to see he can still find gainful employement...

Mickey Kaus is just sure
that Michael Barone is mistaken in his characterization of the Left as the new reactionaries; he just can't put his finger on why he's mistaken...

Miscellanea: Let's Not Speak Ill of the Dead Edition

Many, many interesting items of note today - I can only scratch the surface. I'll lead with the death of Susan Sontag. I'm not a big fan of piling on someone the very day they die, so I'll just say that I think her post-9/11 comments were symptoms of a bitterness that I see all too often among the Left towards their country (and it appears they served as talking points for future Weekly Jackass Bill Maher). I hope her family and friends find solace and may she rest in peace. We'll examine her comments in more depth someday - but today is not that day...

Meanwhile, Bob Felton at Civil Commotion detects that oh-so-subtle media bias creeping in while comparing the coverage of Sontag's death with that of Reggie White (hat tip to Michelle Malkin)...

David Horowitz and his support of academic diversity are the subject of this CNN article. It's fairly interesting - consider this quote in light of the simply overwhelming liberal bias in academia:
"It's often phrased in the language of academic freedom. That's what's so strange about it," said Ellen Schrecker, a Yeshiva University historian who has written about academic freedom during the McCarthy area. "What they're saying is, 'We want people to reflect our point of view.' "
That would be an accurate statement about the academic Left, but she's talking about the conservatives!....

RealClearPolitics has a slew of good links on the events in the Ukraine...

Miscellanea - New Day Rising Edition

"He understood free markets, had a firm faith in God and knew what the right path for the country should be." George W. Bush? No, Viktor Yushchenko, as described by his wife (hat tip to Jayson at PoliPundit)...

A good post at Power Line on Duke University's hosting of a troubling conference...

Tongues are wagging over Rumsfeld's comments about Flight 93. Apparently among the many nutso conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 is the belief that the US military shot the flight down over Pennsylvania. I agree with Professor Bainbridge that this was a slip of the tongue, but even if we DID shoot down the plane, it was justified, given the events of the day, so I'm not sure what the conspiracists' point is (then again, since when do they need a point?)....

A hilarious 'Best of 2004' list from Jeff Goldstein

Monday, December 27, 2004

On the Regressiveness of 'Progressivism'

We owe a lot to the American Left. As Michael Barone notes in this simply superb piece (hat tip to deacon at Power Line), it was largely the liberal segment of society that brought forth much-needed change when racism was rampant and openly practiced, when the safety of workers was of minor import, and when a world-wide depression had forced millions into the depths of poverty and despair. It is a noble legacy, but one that is fading fast.

The 'change agents' of the 20th century have become the entrenched interests of the 21st. On almost every meaningful policy level, the 'Progressives' are seeking to impede progress. The dream of a colorblind society has given way to a permanent industry of victimhood. The formerly mighty voices of feminism lay dormant when one of their own took sexual advantage of an intern barely out of her teens in the White House itself, and the only cause that still fires up the feminist ranks is the absolute right to terminate the life of an unborn child. The fight to ensure that workers are able to work in a dignified, safe environment has mutated into a blind hatred of the large corporation. We have a President with the nerve to touch the 'third rail' and seek a long-term solution to Social Security, while the Left denies the very crisis it warned of for so long. Most importantly, President Bush is making a genuine, long-term effort to bring peace and democracy to that most troublesome of regions, the Middle East, and the liberal intelligentsia pretends to think we are engaging in 'imperialism'.

The future of the Democratic Party in America is very much in doubt, if this path remains the preferred route of the Left. We know what they are against: any use of America' s military that is not blessed by the French, fundamentalists or people of moderate faith, anyone who doesn't live in Hollywood or New York, and a President who believes in American exceptionalism (as does the whole word, though often loath to admit it). What are they for, exactly? A party that defines itself in opposition to another is fated to remain forever in the minority. To compete on a national level, the Left must present a vision of the future to Americans - and more importantly, one that is not dependent on the goodwill of the United Nations.

Miscellanea - Is Kofi Off the Hook? Edition

Has Kofi Annan survived Oil-For-Food, given the official support of the U.S. and the baffling standing ovation he recently received? Robert Novak doesn't think so (just wait until the Iraqi elections are over, Kofi!) (hat tip to Jayson at PoliPundit)...

Captain Ed notes that Viktor Yanukovych is having a hard time accepting defeat in the Ukranian election (hey, Viktor, come to America - you'll feel right at home in the Democratic party!)...

Ed Driscoll's wife is blogging now, and she has a post on a tie between Michael Moore and personal injury lawyers. Some day soon look for a lengthy post here on the intimate connection between trial lawyers and the American Left....

Pompous blowhard Dan Rather is this year's winner of the Joseph Goebbels Award, care of Thomas Sowell...

Sunday, December 26, 2004

A Seeming Victory for Democracy

You never say never, and we have seen firsthand the danger of putting too much faith in exit polls, but it would appear that democracy has prevailed in the Ukraine with the almost certain election of Viktor Yushchenko. In the midst of massive fraud allegations concerning the initial balloting, this was the most heavily monitored election in history.

It goes without saying that the pro-West Yushchenko was blasted as a tool of the United States and opposed by the 'Progressives' who are so, so deeply concerned about counting every vote when a candidate they oppose is elected. The first Ukrainian election was full of genuine fraud, not the fantasy Democratic Underground kind, but the American Left were too busy fighting over Ohio in a futile attempt to avoid facing the fact that John Kerry was a complete flop outside of Hollywood and New York to get too involved. Besides, didn't Putin oppose the evil Bush's Iraqi folly? And since the unabridged right to have an abortion anyplace, anywhere, anytime was not an issue, really, what was all the fuss?

Of course, we all know the Republicans are the cynics, and the 'Progressives' are just full of kindness and tolerance, so I expect to hear their shouts of delight with the triumph of the democratic process that has just taken place...umm, guys? Daily Kos? Talking Points Memo? Democratic Underground? Atrios, um, Eschaton, um, whatever the hell you're calling yourself now? anybody there? Must be a bad connection...

Miscellanea - Post-Christmas Blues Edition

Hindrocket at Power Line deconstructs Thomas Friedman in a tour de force...

JustOneMinute reveals the new, error-free New York Times post-Daniel Okrent...

Reggie White, according to his wife, died of respiratory problems related to his sleep apnea (nothing political or snarky to add here, just sorry to hear it, both because he died much too young, and for the more selfish reason that I was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea just a few months ago, after going to the doctor and complaining of always being tired)...

The great Patrick Ruffini takes Scott Turow to the woodshed (hat tip to Lorie Byrd at PoliPundit...)

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas From My Beagle

Hey, everyone, we had a white Christmas - I got some chew toys and a brush and some Christmas dog biscuits - hope your Christmas was a good as mine! Posted by Hello

Friday, December 24, 2004

A Christmas Wish

I'll be leaving shortly to visit my family for Christmas. I hope to post some over the next few days, but it won't be my usual three or four posts a day, I'm sure. I'll get back to normal blogging on Monday.

I've really enjoyed putting this blog out and I thank all of you who have visited me, whether you like my work or hate it. My sincere wish for each of you is that your Christmas is safe, fun, full of presents and the presence of those who love. And don't forget, Santa's watching, so be good for goodness sake! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Am I a Fascist? A Conservative Responds...

Thanks to the magic of Trackback, I discovered this piece by Joust the Facts. He's all over the Michael Lind article like Garfield on lasagna, so please take a look...

Speaking of the Lind article, my post got a most curious response from Not a Fan (no kidding? I wouldn't have guessed it...). I quote in full:
People like you are a big reason that this country is on a downslide. You aren't wise. You aren't funny. You preach a political system that differs from facism only in name. You will wish you could retract your hate when the REAL American patriots return to power.
Now, I took another look at my post, and I couldn't find anything remotely hateful in it. That's fine, though, I've got a thick skin and anyone is welcome to comment, good or bad, as long as the language is kept relatively clean - but I'm getting a bit fed up with this fascist charge that gets so casually throw around. Look at my post - what is even REMOTELY fascist about it?

This isn't about me, though - it's time to stand up against this willful ignorance. The liberal branding of people on the right side of the political spectrum as fascist comes from the old canard that the extreme left is communism and the extreme right is fascist. As discussed eloquently in this article by Joseph Farah, the distinction is quite irrelevant, as fascism and communism end up in precisely the same place: the subordination of the individual to the greater good of the state or collective.

Anyone who takes a look around here or any conservative website with an open mind will realize at once that the modern conservative agenda is the complete opposite of fascism. It is the individual we seek to strengthen, and the state we wish to weaken. This doesn't mean we want a 'weak' America - we strongly support defense as a natural and welcome function of government, and we won't settle for anything less than the best. It's the control of the state over individual decisions that is our target.

Here are three examples from President Bush's domestic agenda:
  1. Social Security Reform - partial privatization is a classic issue for modern conservatives in that it perfectly encapsulates our mission - it's all about who makes the choices, who has the control.
  2. Tax cuts - as should be blindingly obvious to any but the most rabid Chomskyite, there are two reasons conservatives are for tax cuts - one, to put more money in the hands of the taxpayer where it belongs, and two, to starve the state from its natural state of agressive growth.
  3. Health Savings Accounts with Deductible Premiums - taxpayers who take advantage of this proposal would save money on their taxes that would go directly towards reducing their out-of-pocket expenses and lowering insurance premiums. Again, more individual control means less control by the state.
It's not complicated, and its not a conspiracy. It's right there in the open. As I've said before, to equate support of Israel and a few anti-terror measures enacted in the wake of this century's Pearl Harbor with the crimes of Mussolini and Hitler is beyond contempt. Ironically, by crying wolf as often they do, the 'Progressives' are slowly devaluing the meaning of the word, and that's a shame, because true fascism is the enemy of all of us, right or left.

Last Minute Gift Ideas

For that bratty kid that belongs to some cousin you see once a year, some cheap toys from the Onion...

For the family 'Progressive', Cooper For President has politically correct gifts form Neiman Marxist...

All good conservatives will love this US out of UN Christmas ornament...

Finally (this one is real), in the spirit on the season, I've got ten GMail invitations for anyone who's interested (email me at - first come, first served). Merry Christmas!...

Good (and Bad) Advice for Democrats

deacon at Power Line linked today to an article in the American Prospect by Michael Lind under the heading 'One Leftist Gets It." There is much to like in the piece - read deacon's post (and the original, of course) for several highlights. Here are some more of the good bits:
According to the authors of The Great Divide: "If our analysis is correct, demographics will slowly bring the current Republican ascendancy to an end, even in retro America." This deserves to go down in history in a collection of famous last words. The truth is that the demographic prospects for blue-state Democrats are grim.
Phillip Longman of the New America Foundation has pointed out that in terms of fertility rates the red states had a 12-point advantage over the blue states in 2004. This partly reflects the higher fertility of Latino immigrants in red states like Texas, but among white Americans fertility differences reflect a gulf between the religious and the secular...

My typical middle-class suburb included middle-class blacks and Latinos, whites and Asians, Protestants and Jews and Catholics and Hindus, Democrats and Republicans. It had a dense civil society, revolving around common institutions like the public schools, sports teams and backyard barbecues along with the sectarian communities based on churches and synagogues. I only encountered real anomie and social isolation when I lived for four years in Manhattan, where neighbours never spoke to one another in apartment buildings or stores...

Even the most appealing economic programme cannot save American liberalism if it is associated with values that most Americans reject...

Unlike fundamentalists, a majority of Americans support gay rights and civil unions for gays and lesbians. At the same time, a majority of Americans oppose redefining marriage to include gay couples - but so do a majority of Europeans, to judge from the fact that only a few European countries have redefined marriage in this way...
That's all good stuff, but even an enlightened liberal like Lind still harbors some of the same ol' blue-state prejudices he so nobly warns against. He compliments Bush for adopting a religious tone of 'Enlightenment deism' while suggesting that his invocation of Jesus as his favorite political philosopher was a mistake. On the contrary, Bush's debate answer was the most frank moment in the history of those sorry, every-word-coached-and-rehearsed affairs. No one could have anticipated that answer, and none could doubt its sincerity.

Lind also accuses the Republicans of gay-baiting during the campaign. How? By being honest about their opposition to gay marriage, along with the majority of the public? In fact, it was the Kerry campaign that seemingly couldn't get through one discussion of homosexuality without mentioning Mary Cheney. Why? Once, maybe...but why again? Of what possible relevance to national policy is the sexuality of Dick Cheney's daughter? Kerry's gratiutious reference was the opposite of Bush's, and his rushed delivery gave him away. It was obvious from his awkwardness that this was a coached reply.

Still, it is encouraging to see that not all elements of the Left think that Bush won because we're all a bunch of fanatical idiots. Lind's article, despite its occasional missteps, is a success because he gets the fundamental point exactly right. You can't win the votes of someone you look upon with undisguised disdain.

Miscellanea - No Crisis? Who Cares? Edition

The Fly Bottle makes the excellent point that Social Security reform is a great idea even without a crisis (but there is one!) (courtesy of Reihan, guest-blogging for Andrew Sullivan)...

Arthur Chrenkoff goes around the world in 80 blogs...

In an astonishing display of stamina, Tim Blair posts the quotes of 2004, seperated by date - please check it out...

Forget Halliburton, why isn't someone investigating Maxine Waters?...

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Weekly Jackass Number Four - Gore Vidal

I wanted to do something special for the holiday edition of Weekly Jackass. I thought of doing a Google search for somebody saying something outrageous about Christmas, but that's too easy. This week's Jackass would look at someone complaining about Christmas as a novice, in light of his impressive record of outrageous statements. He's a man of some talent, a great deal of paranoia, and a blinding hatred of anyone who loves America that rivals that of the great Chomsky. I give you - Gore Vidal.

The great thing about the Radical Left is they not only give you enough rope to hang them, but they throw the noose over the tree and tie the knot for you. Observe the twaddle that issues from our honoree's lips:

[The government] plays off [Americans'] relative innocence, or ignorance to be more precise. This is probably why geography has not really been taught since World War II -- to keep people in the dark as to where we are blowing things up. Because Enron wants to blow them up...

The Afghans had nothing to do with what happened to our country on September 11. But Saudi Arabia did. It seems like Osama is involved, but we don't really know...

We went to Afghanistan partly because the Taliban -- whom we had installed at the time of the Russian occupation -- were getting too flaky and because Unocal, the California corporation, had made a deal with the Taliban for a pipeline to get the Caspian-area oil, which is the richest oil reserve on Earth. They wanted to get that oil by pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan to Karachi and from there to ship it off to China, which would be enormously profitable. Whichever big company could cash in would make a fortune. And you'll see that all these companies go back to Bush or Cheney or to Rumsfeld or someone else on the Gas and Oil Junta, which, along with the Pentagon, governs the United States. We had planned to occupy Afghanistan in October, and Osama, or whoever it was who hit us in September, launched a pre-emptory strike. They knew we were coming. And this was a warning to throw us off guard...

I sometimes feel like I am the last defender of the republic...

The right wing are the bad guys, but they know what they want -- everybody else's money. And they know they don't like blacks and they don't like minorities. And they like to screw everyone along the way.

--- from an Interview with Vidal by Marc Cooper of the L.A. Weekly, 07/03/02

The entire world is horrified by what we do. He [Bush] goes into an innocent country called Afghanistan, knocks it down. One of his cabinet members knocks it down. Then he gives contracts to rebuild it to his vice president with Halliburton. Then he knocks down another country which has done nothing to us. Why don't you hit Denmark?...

Bush is about as evil as you can get, in the way of an American president...

There is no representative government. Congress doesn't represent anybody. And the Supreme Court, I must say, why some of them are not in jail, I don't know. ..

...democracy was something that the founding fathers hated. This is not generally known because it shouldn't be known, but it is...

This is the nation of torture...

---from an Interview with Vidal by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, 06/04/04

And that's just two interviews I've excerpted! I could go on and on and on and on (in fact, we'll have to do this again soon - do I smell the first repeat Weekly Jackass?), but this post is long enough as it is. As a parting shot, here's a link to some comments Vidal made to Liz Smith about Tony Blair and George Bush being dangerous 'Jesus-Lovers'.
I can say without reservation that Vidal is truly deserving of the honor of being our fourth Weekly Jackass.

Miscellanea - Boy, Was I Stupid Edition

I have already admitted to stupidity on the subject of presidential pardons; today, the Instapundit has led me to a source that reveals my ignorance in all its glory...

No Wictory Wednesday post yet from PoliPundit - but check out the blogroll to the right all the same; it's fun to check out new blogs now and then...

UPDATE 12/23 10:45 a.m. Central: Here's a Wictory Wednesday update at LeftCoastConservative...

Kerry Spot reports on some more CBS trickiness to watch for (hat tip to Hindrocket at Power Line)...

Find out what kind of dog you are here (it's fun and free, like Decision '08 - um, whatever...). I'm an Irish Water Spaniel (hat tip to bebere) ...

The New York Times Gets Religion

Sort of, anyway. Nicholas Kristof gets into the spirit of the season with some kind words for the Christian Right (hat tip to RealClearPolitics). He praises conservatives for leading the way on several issues that the Left should surely support, were it not for hatred of the Bushies. Included among them are Darfur, increased funding for the fight against AIDS in Africa, sex trafficking, and North Korea.

Kristoff is quite right that not every issue is a case of Left vs. Right. Surely there are some basic issues that all sides can agree on, and perhaps the way to that 'healing' that so many claim to want can be found through cooperation on, say, the genocide in Darfur. As Kristof concludes:
That would be a much better use of the next four years than sulking.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Oil-For-Food, Part Seven: A Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy?

The Left, it seems, needs constant reminders that denial ain't just a river in Egypt (ouch!). A reader of this blog (see comments to this post) opines:

This whole O.F.F. 'scandal' is a joke: it's based on a list of people 'found' by an Iraqi general lying about the Ministry of Oil 2-3 weeks after Americans were 'protecting' the office, and given to a CIA-propped news organization!

Got that? A federal grand jury investigation, a UN-sponsered investigation led by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, five congressional investigations - my, this is the broadest conspiracy since Oliver Stone's JFK theory!

Elsewhere on the, ahem, 'Progressive' front, Michael Pan at the Center for American Progress (there's that word again) lists 'Ten Things 'Progressives' (my scare quotes) Should Know About Oil-For-Food'. I highly recommend it, it's much funnier than any Ben Stiller movie. Especially hilarious is point number one - the program was badly managed. You can say that again, Michael! $21 billion down the toilet, I think that qualifies. Even Pan admits that there was massive fraud, though, and that action must be taken if the Volcker investigation shows wrongdoing. It bears repeating that Oil-For-Food is about the diversion of humanitarion aid in the BILLIONS to a tyrant who had three thousand palaces, give or take a dozen.

The 'Progressives' conveniently ignore the fact that the Bush administration is supporting Anan for now (what a sneaky conspiracy!). The proof of the ridiculous nature of the 'right-wing conspiracy' charge, though, comes from the man himself. This is Kofi Annan speaking:
Annan also rebuffed his 31-year-old son, Kojo, under investigation for having not revealing his full relationship with a firm that ran U.N. goods inspections in Iraq. The younger Annan, who had worked in West Africa for the Swiss company, Cotecna, has called the allegations "a witch hunt" and part of a broader Republican agenda. "I don't agree with that," Annan said.

Oh no, Kofi, they got to you, too! Sorry, lefties, it doesn't wash - checkmate. Please play again sometime....

Miscellanea - I Beg Your Pardon Edition

CNN has an article on Bush and his sparing use of the Presidential pardon. I very stupidly asked if it was time to get rid of the pardon in an earlier post, not having known or remembered that it's in the Constitution (d'oh!). For the record, W. is up to 31 (Clinton issued over 450, including you-know-who)...

The 3rd Annual Twenty Most Annoying Liberals in the United States (number 20 is Linda Ronstadt, so you can imagine how bad the first 19 are) - hat tip to deacon at Power Line...

The Daily Kos isn't happy about losing to a guy with a less than 50% approval rating: best line - The Democrats need to offer an alternative agenda over the next four years. It won't be enacted, so they can shoot for the moon. The hell with good policy, make proposals that sound great. It's a good thing the 'Progressives' aren't sore losers, isn't it? (hat tip to JustOneMinute)...

Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post (hat tip to No Left Turns):

...Islamic extremism is losing. The movement, in all of its variations, has been unable to garner mass support in any Muslim country. While people in many countries still despise their governments -- and that of the United States -- this has not translated into support for Osama bin Laden's ideas. It doesn't mean the end of terrorism by a long shot. Small groups of people can do great harm in today's world. But it does mean that the political engine producing this religious radicalism is not gaining steam.

As I've said before, we can't get rid of every terrorist, but we can and will win the War on Terror...

Hope Where There Is None

David Brooks has an excellent article in today's New York Times regarding the series of 'mistakes' Bush and Sharon have made that have us closer to peace in that region than any other moment in my lifetime. The critics of Bush and Sharon have been adamant in their conviction that we are targeting Islam and the Arab people rather than the terrorist elements among them. At every step, we have been assured that disaster is waiting in the wings.

We were told by such opportunists as Richard Clarke that the Iraq War is only worsening the War on Terror, and numerous 'experts' have warned that there can be no democracy in Iraq. Yet a vast majority of Iraqis are quite anxious to begin their democratic experiment, and the elections are only about six weeks away.

At, Mike Whitney opined:

It's doubtful that either Bush or his friends in the media will be able to keep Afghanistan out of the headlines much longer. This mess bears the
American imprimatur, and sooner or later those chickens will becoming home to roost.

Wow, Mike, when you're right, you're right! Bush couldn't keep Afghanistan out of the headlines - now anyone who isn't blinded by ideological bias knows that Afghanistan just had democratic elections, the Afghan women have been freed from the tyranny of the Taliban, and the terrorist training camps disbanded - and yes, Mike, we proudly admit that this bears the American imprimatur.

Writing at Alexander Cockburn's ultra-left CounterPoint, Michael Labah had the following pearl of wisdom regarding Sharon's 'wall':

As with its other actions since 1967, Israel is again attempting to change the facts on the ground to influence the outcome of future negotiations
and continue its efforts to make life ever more miserable for the Palestinian population with the hope that they may simply give up and leave.

Michael, you're half right - of course Sharon is trying to change the tragic situation on the ground! Is the status quo what you're defending? I would suggest, though, that the Palestinian population has been made miserable by the failed leadership of the Arafat years, and Mahmoud Abbas is signalling that perhaps the time has come to forgoe violence.

I'm not naive - I know that Israel is still not secure, the Palestinians are still miserable, the drug trade and the War on Drugs are devestating Afghanistan in equal measure, and there are still way too many Iraqis and Americans dying in Iraq. My point is this: Bush and Sharon each have had the courage to say things are not acceptable as is, there must be a change, and we intend to move forward despite the inevitable harping from the Left. In this season of peace, let's say a prayer that their endeavors continue to bear fruit.

The Most-Blogged Blog

Intelliseek has a year-end study that names BoingBoing as the blog most often referred to in other blogs (this marks its first appearance here...not sure if that has any significance). The self-styled 'Directory of Wonderful Things' is apparently over 1 million monthly visitors - just a tad higher than I get here at Decision '08 (if by a tad you mean massively more many times over).

The most blogged story was Jon Stewart's pathetic grandstanding on Crossfire (though most didn't see it that way). Second place was much more meritorious, however - Christopher Hitchens' simply grand slamming of Michael Moore.

Monday, December 20, 2004

In Praise Of Mark Steyn

It's certainly good to see a Mark Steyn column of recent vintage. His website has had a message about a hiatus of sorts for some time that had me and others concerned. If you don't know his work, you should take some time to browse around the site. Few writers on Election '04 filled me with anticipation the way Steyn did. Here's Steyn from November 5th:

If you had to pick a picture that summed up what went wrong for Kerry, it would be the shot of [Michael] Moore and Jimmy Carter in the presidential box at the Democratic national convention. All you needed was P.Diddy, aka Puff Daddy (or vice-versa), of the Vote or Die mythical youth movement and it would have been the Democrats' equivalent of those Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin wartime summits. That picture is the Dems in a nutshell: yesterday's politicians, today's show-biz colossi.

Steyn is a former DJ and author of a book about musicals, among other things; he columns appear more places than I care to name (those interested can find out on his web site). I prefer to pay tribute with a few more choice excerpts.

On the election campaign: "I've been covering politics for 53 years, and that's just since John Kerry's convention speech. "

On the subject of Bush-hating: "In Britain and Europe, there seem to be two principal strains of Bush-loathing. First, the guys who say, if you disagree with me, you must be an idiot - as in the Mirror headline "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?" Second, the guys who say, if you disagree with me, you must be a Nazi - as in Oliver James, who told The Guardian: "I was too depressed to even speak this morning. I thought of my late mother, who read Mein Kampf when it came out in the 1930s [sic] and thought, 'Why doesn't anyone see where this is leading?'"

On the Democratic field pre-nomination: "It's odd that when something big happens, as on Sunday, the Democratic candidates seem irrelevant to the story, like asking a lacrosse expert what he thinks of the Super Bowl. They get interviewed and they trot out their lame clich�s, about the need to "internationalize" Iraq, by which they mean not Tony Blair, John Howard, the Poles and Italians, but Kofi Annan, The Hague, the French, the Guinean foreign minister, all the folks who proved unwilling and unable to deal with Iraq before the liberation and who have given no indication of being likely to do any better after. "

Finally, Steyn on Oil-For-Food: "Oil-for-Fraud is everything the Left said the war was: it was all about oil - for Benon Sevan, the UN, France, Russia and the others who had every incentive to maintain Saddam in power. Every Halliburton invoice to the Pentagon is audited to the last penny, but Saddam can use Kofi Annan's office as a front for a multi-billion dollar global kickback scheme and, until it was brought to public attention by the tireless Claudia Rosett of The Wall Street Journal and a few other persistent types, the Secretary-General apparently never noticed."

Often funny, always caustic, but nearly always right on the issues: that's Mark Steyn in a nutshell.

Miscellanea - It Wasn't About the Election Edition

Tim Blair has a piece on Michael Moore's shifting motivations...

Writing in today's OpinionJournal, Kenneth L. Cain says Kofi Annan must go - but not for Oil-For-Food (and JustOneMinute says it's about to happen again)....

Merle Haggard a poet? He sure is, says the Big Trunk at Power Line (I couldn't agree more)...

Don't miss the Media Research Center's Seventeenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting (hat tip to Commonwealth Conservative)...

Required Reading

I highly recommend this article by Victor Davis Hanson in National Review on the credibility of the left. He has four recommendations:
  1. Don't use the 'Islamophobia' excuse to avoid condemning terrorism and hatred.
  2. Get over the use of 'imperialism' where it does not apply.
  3. Wise up to the scandalous behavior of the UN.
  4. Find some new heroes.

The whole thing is great, but here's my favorite excerpt:

Whether we call such notions �political correctness� or�progressivism,� the practice of privileging race, class, and gender over basic ethical
considerations has earned the moralists of the Left not merely hypocrisy, but virtual incoherence.
Democratic leaders are never going to be trusted in matters of foreign policy unless they can convince Americans that they once more believe in American exceptionalism and are the proper co-custodians of values
such as freedom and individual liberty.

In the words of the InstaPundit, indeed...

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Miscellanea - Saddam Abandons Democracy Edition

Arthur Chrenkoff wonders if the Republican theft of the last two US elections influenced Saddam to abandon his precious democratic principles...

More on the trials and tribulations of the UN in the Kofi Annan era at Capitalism Magazine...

Mark Noonan on Mark Warner:
Mark Warner, to put it in a nutshell, is the perfect Democratic candidate for 2008 - he's intelligent, telegenic, well-spoken, energetic and takes a common-sense approach to political issues. In short, he's everything a Democrat cannot be and gain his Party's nomination.

George Soros, Saddam Hussein, and Human Rights

Clive Stafford Smith, a British human rights lawyer, is campaigning to ensure Saddam Hussein gets a fair trial, unlike his tens of thousands of victims. Smith's previous gig was to ensure that human rights were being observed at Guantanamo, courtesy of a grant from the George Soros Foundation (hat tip to little green footballs by way of Power Line). For those who don't know or don't remember, Soros is the genius who equated Abu Ghraib with 9/11. Let's see, posing and dressing a few people in a humiliating fashion versus mass murder on a gigantic scale - yep, seems about right. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for human rights, but as I've said before, the most basic human right is to live. I don't lose too much sleep over the treatment of murderers.

To get some idea of the mindset of Soros and the 'Progressives' who worship him, take a look at the opening of this profile in the New Statesman:

George Soros is angry. In common with 90 per cent of the world's population, the Man Who Broke the Bank of England has had enough of President Bush and his foreign policy. In a recent article in the Financial Times, Soros condemned the Bush administration's policies on Iraq as "fundamentally wrong" - based as they were on a "false ideology that US might gave it the right to impose its will on the world". Wow! Has one of the world's richest men - the archetypal amoral capitalist who made billions out of the Far Eastern currency crash of 1997 and who last year was fined $2m for insider trading by a court in France - seen the light in his old age? (He is 72.) Should we pop the champagne corks and toast his conversion?

After reading that, I don't know whether to hold Soros or his profiler Neil Clark in more contempt.

Where is the outrage from Soros and other human rights advocates towards the atrocities committed by our enemies? What could be more outrageous than the beheadings of hostages? Where is the outrage over the Islamic fundamentalists' treatment of women? Where is the outrage over suicide bombers killing people who were going to the supermarket, to work, or out for an evening of fun?

The United States is not perfect, but Soros knows better: there are literally dozens of countries that violate civil and human rights in the most egregious manner. The 'campaigns' for Saddam Hussein and the detainees are not about human rights; they are about publicity for a tired old rich man who spent $27 million of his own money to defeat George Bush, money that could have gone a long way towards really improving human rights in the areas that need it most.

Candidate Profile Six - Mark Sanford

Mark Sanford doesn't have the name recognition of a Powell, Rice, or Clinton, but the conservative governor of South Carolina has some other compensating qualities: he's relatively young, his conservative politics fit in well with the national mood at the moment, and there is a precedent for Southern governors winning nationally. A correspondent suggested I look at Sanford, and here's what I found.

Marshall Clement Sanford, Jr. - Official Biography

Unofficial 'Draft Sanford' site

Resume: South Carolina's 115th governor; former U.S. Congressman for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District; current Air Force Reservist

There's a lot to like about Sanford:

Do I agree with every position of his? Of course not. He voted in 1998 against abolishing race-based preferences in college admissions - I much prefer preferences based on economic factors. Does he have a shot? Alexander McClure at the excellent (hat tip to Country Fried) had this to say:

Very popular with mavericks and conservatives, Sanford comes from one of the reddest of red states, but he represents the New South. With his warm personality, Sanford could be just the candidate the GOP needs in 2008 to defeat the Democratic nominee, whom if past history is correct, will be extremely unlikable.

On the flip side, the great Ken Mehlman didn't mention Sanford when he recently tossed out eight possible GOP candidates in 2008.

Sanford will probably give it a shot, if the money and interest are there. How far he would take it if, say, McCain or Guiliani are running, is anybody's guess. He's young enough, smart enough, and conservative enough to be around for a while.


UPDATE 01/10/05 7:39 pm central: Sanford's getting some good buzz. I'm upping him a notch.


UPDATE 04/07/05 10:56 am central: Downgrade after Sanford 'rules out' '08 run.


UPDATE 07/24/2005 10:56 p.m.:

see here...

Left vs. Radical Left: Comparison by Example

I often use the phrase Radical Left in an effort to avoid demonizing every person who doesn't share my views. Is that just a copout? I think not - allow me to demonstrate:

Left: Newsweek.......................Radical Left: Rolling Stone

Left: Peter Jennings.................Radical Left: Dan Rather

Left: The New Republic...............Radical Left: The Nation

Left: Al Gore pre-2000...............Radical Left: Al Gore post-2000

Left: Joe Lieberman..................Radical Left: Howard Dean

Left: George Stephanopoulos..........Radical Left: Bill Moyers

Left: Bruce Springsteen..............Radical Left: Barbra Streisand

Left: 99% of professors/academics....Radical Left: 98% of professors/academics

Left: Mahmoud Abbas..................Radical Left: Yasser Arafat

Left: The British....................Radical Left: The French

Left: Christopher Hitchens pre-9/11..Radical Left: Noam Chomsky post-1776

Left: John Kenneth Galbraith.........Radical Left: Karl Marx

Left: Mickey Kaus....................Radical Left: Paul Krugman

Left: Thomas Friedman................Radical Left: Maureen Dowd

I think you get the drift. Feel free to add your own - it's fun and free!

A Quick Note of Congratulations... Power Line on being named Time's Blog of the Year. Some blogs you check out once in a great while, others every day - for me, Power Line is in the latter category. Pay them a visit if you haven't already...

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Miscellanea - Aziz is Naming Names!

In HUGE Oil-For-Food news, former Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz is spilling his guts, with the potential to blow OilyGate wide open. I quote:
U.S. officials say Aziz already has implicated the French and others, claiming payoffs were made with the understanding that recipients would support Iraq on key matters before the U.N. "He pointed to specific individuals in Russia and France, in the United States � that received favorable treatment," says David Kay. Now, sources tell NBC News that Aziz has indicated he's finally ready to talk about alleged bribes to U.N. officials. U.N. investigators refuse to comment.

That's worth repeating: "...payoffs were made with the understanding that recipients would support Iraq on key matters before the U.N." Of course, the whole scandal is just a right-wing obsession, right? (hat tip to Pejmanesque)...

In other UN news (under their new format - all scandals, all of the time), the always insightful Belmont Club says getting rid of Kofi Annan isn't the end of the story...

Even more on Bill Moyers from Deacon at Power Line...

I join Patio Pundit in sending best wishes to Mark Steyn in his absence (he very quickly became one of my favorites this past year)...

My Beagle with a Guest Movie Review

Once in a great while, you are privileged to see true artistry at work. Such is the case with 'Where in the White House is Miss Beazley?', the latest masterwork from First Dog Barney Bush. With a stellar cast that includes the President and Mrs. Bush, Andy Card, Karl Rove, and other noted thespians, Barney takes a cold, hard look at what happens when you misplace a puppy in cynical, calculating Washington. There can be no more timely reminder that dogs are man's best friend, but at what price? I highly recommend this movie, and all the other films in the acclaimed BarneyCam series - you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss seven minutes goodbye. Posted by Hello

Bill Moyers, Sugar Daddy of the Radical Left

I hesitated to post again (at least, outside of awarding him a Weekly Jackass award) on Bill Moyers, who I have viewed as an inconsequential quack whose exit from TV 'journalism' will have precisely zero impact on our culture. I put the scare quotes around journalism because Moyers is, plain and simple, a polemicist. (I'm not being hypocritical - blogging of the sort I do is polemical in nature, and I freely admit it. I have never claimed the honorific 'journalist'.) Consider the following opening of a Moyers speech on December 1st, upon receiving the Global Environmental Citizen Award from the Harvard University Center for Health and the Global Environment:

One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.

By this, I suppose Moyers is criticizing Bush's principled stand against terrorism and his belief that religious organizations ought not to be completely excluded from our civic discourse. It's hard to take seriously his criticism of ideology - Bush says 'no litmus test' on Roe v. Wade, for example, while for Democrats the right to an abortion is the highest principle, a belief not to be violated under penalty of explusion from polite society. Moyers employs the tactics of the propagandist here and elsewhere, labeling his opponents as 'delusional' and hinting at broad conspiracies among the rich and powerful.

In other words, Moyers is a typical 'Progressive' voice, railing against an America that is at odds with his vision of a world of secular moral relativism. What you may not know is that Moyers puts his money where his mouth is - a LOT of money, millions and millions of dollars. Moyers is the President of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, a foundation with a $90 million endowment that doles out dollars to leftist causes, tax-exempt. Here are a few of the 'fair and balanced' organizations supported by Schumann Center grants administered by the same Bill Moyers who so sanctimoniously condemns the Bush administration for its ideological bent: the Washington Monthly, The Nation, Mother Jones, In These Times, the American Prospect, Sojourners,, and the Sierra Club. The kicker: the organization headed by the anti-capitalist, neo-Marxist Moyers derives the majority of its income from stocks in oil companies. For a discussion of this and other Moyers escapades, see this informative article by Lowell Ponte.

Given his continuing role in funding the Radical Left, I think we need to continue to keep an eye on our good friend Moyers. I have a sneaking suspicion we haven't heard the last of him...

Update 12/18/04 5:32 central: Benjamin at Diary of an Anti-Chomskyite has published a far deeper and more lucid critique of Moyers than mine - I suggest you read it...

Friday, December 17, 2004

Miscellanea - I Didn't Inhale Edition

The great Christopher Hitchens joins the merely adequate Bill Clinton in claiming abstinence from Mary Jane in his review of 'Hippie'. Best line:
There was always a slight embarrassment to be experienced when these would-be Amish [the hippies] came sidling back to town, to resume work in brokerages and banks and universities. To this day, that especially vile reminder of the epoch -- the graying and greasy ponytail trailing off the balding pate -- is their living memorial.

Ah, to write like the Hitch...

The inspired and inspiring ScrappleFace reports that Kofi Annan is taking a page from the Dan Rather playbook...

I've been linking a lot to JustOneMinute lately, but the posts have warranted it. Here's a good one that ridicules Paul Krugman, solves the riddle of what to give him for Christmas, and knocks down one of the arguments against Social Security reform - a trifecta...

The Daily Kos joins the LOOOOONG list of 'Progressives' crying facism (they've never understood they couldn't do that in a facist state, have they?) while in deep denial of Bush's popularity, notes the incomparable Tim Blair...

Update 10:05 pm central: Speaking of crying facism, bebere has a timely link to a sickening display by good ol' Fidel (say, did this guy find the fountain of youth or something? He's what, 150 years old now????)...

Oil-For-Food, Part Six: What's a Little Corruption Between Friends?

Michael Crowley published a piece at Slate today on Oil-For-Food and predictably equates the uproar with right-wing fanatics who want to undermine the UN's authority (when, of course, we all know that undermining the UN's authority is properly the job of the UN itself). While acknowledging that billions of dollars in humanitarian aid were diverted, Crowley concludes:

...what was the ultimate damage? [Former UN Ambassador] Negroponte has told the Senate that the program largely met its goal of "creating a system to address the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi civilian population, while maintaining strict sanctions enforcement of items that Saddam Hussein could use to rearm or reconstitute his WMD program." The program did save lives: Average daily calorie intake nearly doubled in Iraq from 1996 to 2002. And Saddam never reconstituted the nuclear weapons program that was the ostensible reason for last year's invasion. The greatest tragedy of the oil-for-food program may be that, for all its Byzantine corruption, we never realized just how effective it was.

What a load of rubbish! What was the ultimate damage???!!! Would Crowley have us believe that the billions of diverted dollars are of no consequence? That money comes from taxpayers in the U.S. and elsewhere, so (1) billions of dollars were stolen from you and me. (I could use a little extra Christmas cash, how about you?) (2) Those billions of dollars were intended to benefit the Iraqi people, not buy Saddam golden toilets. The ultimate damage was every single Iraqi citizen who suffered needlessly because billions of dollars in aid were diverted. How effective it was, Mr. Crowley? You assure us that average daily calorie intake doubled, and that's a good thing, no doubt. How were the hospitals? Did they have the most modern life-saving technology? Can you think of some better uses of those billions of dollars than lining the pockets of Saddam and his cronies?

Again, we see the tiresome pattern of inexcusible behavior being shrugged off because Americans are upset about it, as if our interests are always illegitimate. I don't see this as a conservative or 'progressive' issue, and anyone who doesn't think the UN is actively anti-American and anti-Israel just hasn't been paying attention or is engaging in intellectual dishonesty. Mr. Crowley's defense of the UN is frankly a regurgitation of the UN apologists' talking points.

Tellingly, that creaky ol' liberal relic Mother Jones asks:

Can we really believe a scandal that seems to live on only on the pages of FOX, the [Wall Street] Journal op-ed pages, and various right-wing blogs?

I can't imagine a more effective condemnation of the liberal media's silence...