Saturday, July 30, 2005

Trying to Create a Color-Blind World is to Handicap Yourself

We are so paranoid of being labeled a racist and so sensitivity/tolerance-and-equality-for-all-driven, that our obsession for non-racial discrimination and stereotyping is to the point of stupidity and the throwing out of common sense. What I want to talk about, is the case for racial profiling.

Our country is so obsessed with race and ethnic discrimination, that we've abandoned our reasoning in instances where paying attention to race and being discriminatory is a good thing.

If I'm a police officer and I get in a call to be on the lookout for a black male in his 20's, 5" 11", wearing a blue t-shirt and wearing baggy the fact that it's a black suspect being racist? Yes, in the sense that I am going to pay attention to skin-color, one of the quickest identifiable traits. But no, in the sense that I'm singling out blacks, in this particular instance, without a good reason. It's insane, should the dispatcher not clue me into the racial, ethnic profile of the suspect and I end up doing a broader search because of it, from a larger pool of potential suspects, when I could easily have the field narrowed down. Skin-color is only ONE aspect of a list of things for me to be on the lookout for. To leave out skin complexion would be just as crazy as leaving out the fact that he wears sagging jeans, for fear of offending and being prejudiced against everyone I encounter wearing sagging jeans.

A couple of blog sites I visit, as well as an earlier post of mine, have touched upon the issue of profiling. Recently, we've heard of how police will now be conducting random searches in NY City subways; and of how some of our citizens will protest this "vile infringement on our civil liberties". Anyway, rather than rant my thoughts out, I want to just go the easy way out and reprint for you two articles that I think sums it all up very nicely for me. Really, there's not much more to add to this. These articles say it all which is why I decided to print them and not just link them. Please take the time to read.

First up, from the New York Post:



July 26, 2005 -- SINCE 9/11, U.S. officials have struggled with how to protect the American public without infringing on individuals' rights and sensibilities.

The touchiest issue of all is "profiling" — using various factors, including race or ethnicity, in security checks. So, it wasn't surprising that, when New York announced last week that it would begin screening passengers on the city's subway, officials promised loudly and insistently that the checks would be random and racial profiling would not be used.

Such a policy avoids discrimination against certain ethnic groups — in effect, inconveniencing, embarrassing and perhaps even punishing individuals for crimes they did not commit. This is an important value and a worthy goal. Unfortunately, however, blanket avoidance of profiling undermines the entire point of checking passengers.

Following a spate of terrorist hijackings and other attacks on civilian aircraft and airports in the late 1960s and '70s, Israel developed a security system that utilized sociological profiles of those seeking to harm Israelis, among other factors.

The American system developed at the same time relied primarily on technology like scanning devices, which checked people and baggage uniformly.

Facing a less benign threat, Israelis found this system insufficient: Explosives and other weapons could slip through too easily. Since it wasn't feasible to perform extensive security searches on every passenger, Israel used sociological profiles in addition to screening devices: Each passenger is questioned briefly and then airport security personnel use their judgment to identify suspect would-be passengers, who are then questioned at greater length and their bags searched more thoroughly. It is targeted and far more effective than random searches, which end up being nearly cosmetic.

Screening and random searches would not have averted the tragedy that profiling stopped on April 17, 1986. Anne-Marie Murphy, a pregnant Irish woman, was traveling alone to Israel to meet her fiancé's parents. Her bags went through an X-ray machine without problems, and she and her passport appeared otherwise unremarkable.

But in a perfect example of the complexity of profiling, a pregnant woman traveling alone roused the suspicions of security officials. They inspected her bags more closely and discovered a sheet of Semtex explosives under a false bottom. Unbeknownst to Murphy, her fiancé, Nizar Hindawi, had intended to kill her and their unborn child along with the other passengers on the plane.
Unfortunately, the rise in terrorist assaults on Israeli public transportation, entertainment venues and public spaces necessitated that the airport security model be implemented in those areas as well — for one simple reason: it works better than anything else.

In May 2002, a would-be suicide bomber ran away from the entrance to a mall in Netanya after guards at the entrance grew suspicious. Though he killed three people when he blew himself up on a nearby street, he would have murdered far many more people had he been able to enter the mall.

His ethnicity — along with his demeanor, dress, even his hair — was merely one of many factors security personnel use in profiles. But it was a factor.

The American system's "blindness" cuts off the most important weapon in the war against terrorism: Human capability, judgment and perception. Now that the United States faces a higher threat, it cannot afford to neglect those tools.

Using sociological data as well as constantly updated intelligence information, trained security personnel know who is most likely to be perpetuating an attack, as well as how to identify suspicious individuals through behavior. (Again, it is important to note that ethnicity is only one factor among many used to identify potential terrorists.) Removing intelligence and statistical probability as tools would render this model far less effective.

Israelis understand — and other Westerners need to accept — that no system can ever be 100 percent effective. But this is a system that has stood up remarkably well under a vicious and unrelenting assault of terror.

Is profiling worth the resulting infringement on the democratic values of equality? Yes. After all, protecting human life is also a democratic value, perhaps the supreme one.

Random searches of grandmothers and congressmen may make Americans feel virtuous, but they don't keep Americans safe. The attacks of 9/11 and the attacks on public transport in Madrid and London sadly demonstrate that Americans cannot afford feeling virtuous at the cost of human life.

Today's terror threatens not only individuals' security and lives, but is an assault on open, democratic societies as a whole. Terrorists use our society's openness against us. Free, democratic societies must carefully balance our rights and responsibilities, lest we saw off the branch upon which democratic freedom sits.

Yishai Ha'etzni is executive director of the Shalem Center, the Jerusalem research institute that publishes the journal Azure (

Article Two, from the Los Angeles Times:

July 29, 2005

You object to profiling? Fuhgedaboutit


The new york city police are now prowling subway and train stations for possible terrorists. They say they are stopping travelers "at random," but I'm happy to report that they are (unintentionally) lying. Because they have also said (reports the New York Sun) that they will only stop people with "cumbersome containers or backpacks," or "wearing bulky coats" inappropriate for summer, or seeming "nervous." So they are not checking "at random."

Good for them. The police can't check everyone. Naturally, they identify easily visible characteristics that terrorists are likely to have, then concentrate on people who have them. That is, they work from a profile — which should be as complete as possible. Even if it becomes a dreaded "racial profile."

Terrorists are rare. If you fit the profile, it only means that you are more likely than other people to be a terrorist. But most people who fit are completely innocent. And some who don't fit are guilty: No responsible police force can rely on profiles exclusively. Alert, flexible observers are always the best terrorist detectors. Still, information is the most important anti-terror weapon. Profiles summarize the best current information.

If "looks like a young Muslim" or "looks Middle Eastern" is an easily visible characteristic that terrorists are likely to have, it belongs in the profile.

But that's racial profiling, some people will say. And racial profiling is bad, not to mention illegal. When police stop blacks merely because of their race, the overwhelming majority are innocent of any crime. All Americans, they say, must be treated equally!

But the same holds true for bulky-backpack wearers — the overwhelming majority are innocent of any crime; all are entitled to equal treatment.

Ideally, a profile would list characteristics that identify all criminals and only criminals, but usually there are no such (easily visible) characteristics.

So the real question is this: Are we eager enough to prevent the crime in question to stop people (like bulky-backpack wearers or travelers who appear Middle Eastern) who we know might be guilty but almost certainly aren't? Are we willing to impose this inconvenience on many innocent people who fit the profile just to find a few guilty ones?

If the goal is to preempt "ordinary" crimes (say theft or robbery) that hurt only a few individuals, the coldblooded answer is probably no. If the goal is to preempt a terrorist attack that might hurt the whole nation, the answer ought to be yes.

Once we've decided to use profiles, we should make them complete. A complete profile is as likely to promote fairness as damage it.

If I'm carrying a bulky backpack and you look Middle Eastern, and both items belong in the profile — why should I be stopped and not you? Equality doesn't mean you get a pass or special privileges just because your skin is dark or you appear Middle Eastern.

You might argue that dark-skinned people are a special case, given the way the United States has treated them. I agree — we have treated them so solicitously, and worked so hard to suppress racial prejudice, that dark-skinned people owe their country the benefit of the doubt.

The U.S. doesn't deserve gratitude for not doing wrong. But no nation in history has ever worked harder to correct a fault than the U.S. has to end racial prejudice. We've earned the right to expect everyone who fits a security profile to grin and bear it.

Which doesn't make it any less of a pain to match a profile. As a graduate student traveling alone in early-1980s Europe, I sometimes matched terrorist profiles and got stopped. (In those days, European terrorist groups were bigger problems than Islamic terrorism.)

Today, I look like a bearded, troublemaking professor, and I still get stopped occasionally, in airports.

But the fact remains that profiling is logical in loads of circumstances, from deciding who should get flu shots to choosing whom to chat with when you don't know anyone at a party. Profiling means making smart choices when you have nothing but externals to go by.

Good citizenship — remember that phrase? — requires that we cooperate with the authorities as they work to head off the next terror attack. John F. Kennedy, a Democrat and the nation's first neoconservative president, put it well: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

How to deal with profiling? Take it like a New Yorker, with a shrug.

Take a look at this bit from Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Dutch parliamentarian who was the source for the Theo van Gogh film, resulting in his violent murder out in plain sight of witnesses frozen with inaction. Two quotes: "fear of giving offense leads to injustice and suffering" and "This multiculturalism is a disaster. All one has to do is scream "discrimination" and all doors are open to you! Scream ‘racism’ and your opponents shut up! But multiculturalism is an inconsistent theory"

Finally, if you are still not convinced on the logical, sane, rational, common sense reasoning behind profiling, here are some other articles:

Michelle Malkin:

Racial profiling: A matter of survival

And two reviews of her book (links to more book-related articles there):

by Thomas Sowell

by Peter-Christian Aigner

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Film of Real Marines "Over There"

This is a music video put together by a Marine of the 3rd Battalion, First Marines in Fallujah. Nothing graphic and gory; just our U.S. Marines acting bad ass; correction: being badasses. 23 MBs.

In regards to the new FX TV series, "Over There", here are a couple of milblogs that comment on it:

Argghhh! and Blackfive.

Credit Hugh Hewitt.

Well, those two milblogs have led me to these others:

Reasoned Audacity (live-blogged)
Swanky Conservative (live-blogged)

Target Centermass

the air force pundit

cdr salamandar

Eric's Grumbles Before the Grave

The overwhelming consensus by the military warriors is: it sucked!

It's to be expected that the show would have inaccuracies; I'm sure it took some intentional liberties, for dramatic effect; but much of the mood I'm getting from the milbloggers is that of course the show's getting rave reviews from the leftstream press...not a good sign. Their overall impression seems to be that the show will sway to the left. It is filled with the angst of war, with characters who stereotypically joined having come from poor families, cliched superior officers who are out of touch, and so on.

I'll still probably follow it, for similar reasons that I follow 60 Minutes, Meet the Press, Charlie Rose, CNN, Hardball, the New York Times, the LA Times, and all the rest of the lamestream media shows.

Final note:

No matter how well-written and character-driven this show turns out to be, I think it might fail on a certain level, because it is using the Iraq War as the backdrop to tell its stories. Trying to remain apolitical is a tricky tightrope to walk on, with explosive landmines at every step of the way. It reminds me of some of the 60 Minutes anti-war stories that the liberal newsmagazine show typically airs. Or when Nightline says it wants to televise names and photos of all 1700 + soldiers who have given their lives in service to their country, out of respect and not driven by political motive. If that's true, it's an honorable gesture; but what occurs to me- the dangerous part- is the sapping of the will of many people to see this through; to have the stamina and the fortitude it will take us to win this war and not despair over the honorable sacrifices those in military service have sustained on our behalf. For our country, and for our children, and for our children's children. War is awful business. We get that. But what we need is to recognize that it is also heroic; that there are wars worth fighting and dying for and not to minimize the tremendous sacrifce and courage of those on the frontlines, and their families who sustain them back home. Every soldier who serves today is taking part in a great and important chapter in history. The democratization of Iraq and the pushing back of the tides of terrorism, is clearly one for the history books. I love our U.S. military. And I am deeply proud and honored to be a citizen of their country.

"Over There" Reviewed Over Here

Well, I tuned in and watched the pilot episode. It was rather gritty and intense, but in a Hollywood, Saving Private Ryan-wannabe-kind-of-way. I don't know how I feel about it, though, in relation to current events. I think it might make for interesting drama, but what I hope is that it doesn't get confused, by people, with real life. This series is still a work of fiction. So long as people can detach it from what is really happening in Iraq, I think it might turn out to be a decent drama series.

What I didn't like (and I don't want to completely judge it before seeing more episodes) was how every soldier (the characters of the series we were introduced to) seemed to be presented as someone stuck in his environment; people who had no choice, and did not want to be over there. That doesn't sit well, with me.

Laura Ingraham this morning, bottom of the first hour, mentioned this review, in which several vets from the Iraq war bagged the show. Laura hadn't seen it herself; but she took pleasure in reading soldiers complaining about the unrealistic elements in the tv series. For the most part, what they seemed to be complaining about, is not the stuff I'm concerned about. I'm concerned about any politics and political influence this series might have. What Laura and the reviewers seemed to pick on, is just small potato stuff which I excuse for drama. It happens in all dramatic renditions of the real world. You have to change things (I'd say, even for security reasons, we should not always have to know the exact operational procedures) to make for good drama and good tv, even if it means sacrificing some realism. For instance, the review from the soldiers complain about such details as how roadside bombs aren't marked with little white flags on them; but the point is to give the IED a marker, for the benefit of the viewer who is made to see what is about to occur, before it does.

You have to just accept this for what it is: it's Hollywood.

So what more can we expect, but contrived dialogue, false-to-life realism, etc. ?

Anyway, I plan on tuning in again. I just am skeptical about whether or not any series where the Iraq War is the backdrop, can actually stay uncontaminated, politically.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

President Bush's Latest Outrage!!!

If only the Democrats had uncovered this breaking, scandalous news before the 2004 Election!

Not only is our President accused of being stupid, a moron, a chimp, a puppet, a liar, a deserter, a religious nut, but now the liberal Bush-haters really have his number pegged: President Bush.....*drum roll please*...................EXERCISES TOO MUCH! *Gasp* *Shock* *Horror*

How dare he!

Michael Medved led in with this LA Times article during his first hour on what is it that causes people to hate this President so much. Because it is so sour grapes....I've decided to reprint the article here in it's entirety:

July 22, 2005

by Jonathan Chait:

The (over)exercise of power

A week ago, when President Bush met with Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III to interview him for a potential Supreme Court nomination, the conversation turned to exercise. When asked by the president of the United States how often he exercised, Wilkinson impressively responded that he runs 3 1/2 miles a day. Bush urged him to adopt more cross-training. "He warned me of impending doom," Wilkinson told the New York Times.Am I the only person who finds this disturbing? I don't mean the fact that Bush would vet his selection for the highest court in the land in part on something utterly trivial. That's expected. What I mean is the fact that Bush has an obsession with exercise that borders on the creepy.

Given the importance of his job, it is astonishing how much time Bush has to exercise. His full schedule is not publicly available. The few peeks we get at Bush's daily routine usually come when some sort of disaster prods the White House Press Office to reveal what the president was doing "at the time." Earlier this year, an airplane wandered into restricted Washington air space. Bush, we learned, was bicycling in Maryland. In 2001, a gunman fired shots at the White House. Bush was inside exercising. When planes struck the World Trade Center in 2001, Bush was reading to schoolchildren, but that morning he had gone for a long run with a reporter. Either this is a series of coincidences or Bush spends an enormous amount of time working out.

There's no denying that the results are impressive. Bush can bench press 185 pounds five times, and, before a recent knee injury, he ran three miles at a 6-minute, 45-second pace. That's better than I could manage when I played two sports in high school. And I wasn't holding the most powerful office on Earth. Which is sort of my point: Does the leader of the free world need to attain that level of physical achievement?

Bush not only thinks so, he thinks it goes for the rest of us as well. In 2002, he initiated a national fitness campaign. The four-day kickoff festivities included the president leading 400 White House staffers on a three-mile run. As then-Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said: "When it comes to exercise, there are many people who just need that extra little nudge to go out there and do a little bit more exercise."

Sometimes it takes more than a nudge. In 2002, Bush fired Lawrence Lindsey, his overweight economic advisor. Lindsey's main crime was admitting to Congress that the Iraq war might cost $200 billion, at a time when the administration was trying to cut taxes and was insisting that the war would cost nothing. But compounding things was the fact that, as the Washington Post reported, Bush "complained privately about [Lindsey's] failure to exercise."

My guess is that Bush associates exercise with discipline, and associates a lack of discipline with his younger, boozehound days. "The president," said Fleischer, "finds [exercise] very healthy in terms of … keeping in shape. But it's also good for the mind." The notion of a connection between physical and mental potency is, of course, silly. (Consider all the perfectly toned airheads in Hollywood — or, perhaps, the president himself.) But Bush's apparent belief in it explains why he would demand well-conditioned economic advisors and Supreme Court justices.

Bush's insistence that the entire populace follow his example, and that his staff join him on a Long March — er, Long Run — carries about it the faint whiff of a cult of personality. It also shows how out of touch he is. It's nice for Bush that he can take an hour or two out of every day to run, bike or pump iron. Unfortunately, most of us have more demanding jobs than he does.

Apparently President Bush is very disciplined. He gets up at 5 am and is very punctual at arriving at the White House by 7 am. Contrast that to the habits of former President Clinton and his Administration staffers, whose lack of discipline and unprofessionalism have been likened to that of college kids. I think it's great that President Bush devotes time to staying in such excellent shape. Honestly, what is the big deal here? Thank you for that article, Mr. Chait. You give me ever more reason to love this President. God bless George W. Bush for his religious-like devotion to physical health & fitness.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Breeding or Bleeding More Terrorists?

This is a follow up to one of my earlier entries, regarding whether or not the London bombings would have occurred had it not been for Britain's involvement in Iraq. But London has long been a ripe breeding ground for radical Islamists, who enjoy the freedom and liberties offered them by a free society to preach their venom and hatred for the West. The Washington Times reports today, that the dead and captured insurgents in Iraq might amount to 50,000. But are we stirring up a hornet's nest, creating ever more and more terrorists? If we did not "invade" Iraq and forcefully remove Saddam from power...if we had not even overthrown the Taliban, but continued to hunt for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda operatives responsible for orchestrating 9/11, as if it were a law-enforcement issue....would we be better off today? Would the entire world be any safer?

My answer is quite simply "no". Terrorism is a cancer upon the world. If we went on treating it like we did throughout the 90's, it would metasticize further in peaceful allowance, bubbling beneath the surface. We have forced the war out into the open; but the war was always being waged. It was always there. Before 9/11, we just refused to acknowledge it. But Osama bin Laden had declared war on us back in 1998. And it took a spectacular event like 9/11 to shake us from our malaise. It is he, who deemed America to be a "paper tiger" due to our weak response to previous attacks on embassies overseas, the bombing of the USS Cole, the 1st WTC bombing, our exit from Somalia, who has underestimated America and this current Administration. It is
al-Qaeda who has stirred the hornet's nest, and now 2/3rds of their leadership is killed or captured, because of THEIR actions against us. Not the other way around. This war is costly, but it is costing the Islamic terrorists far more.

After the London city bombings, I asked how long it would take before the navel-gazers and hand-wringers would start blaming ourselves for the attack; and how long before they'd start pointing fingers at President Bush and Prime Minister Blair and our presence in Iraq? Well, the answer was, not long.

We were not even in Iraq nor Afghanistan when the events of 9/11 occurred. Furthermore, it would appear that America
wasn't the only country that was to be targeted on 9/11. Russia was opposed to the Iraq War, yet suffered the Beslan school massacre; Spain appeared to cave as the pro-war party was voted out of office in the wake of the Madrid bombings; yet they still were threatened with further terrorist attacks. A show of weakness only emboldens more victimization at the hands of such killers.

Oliver Roy points out in the New York Times,

In justifying its terrorist attacks by referring to Iraq, Al Qaeda is looking for popularity or at least legitimacy among Muslims. But many of the terrorist group's statements, actions and non-actions indicate that this is largely propaganda, and that Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are hardly the motivating factors behind its global jihad.

Victor Davis Hanson offers even more erudite observations:

Thousands of innocent civilians such as van Gogh have been murdered by Islamic extremists — in Darfur, Gaza, India, Israel, Lebanon, London, Madrid, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States. The carnage gives credence to the adage that while the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists, the vast majority of global terrorists most certainly are Muslims.

The killers always allege particular gripes — Australian troops in Iraq, Christian proselytizing, Hindu intolerance, occupation of the West Bank, theft of Arab petroleum, the Jews, attacks on the Taliban, the 15th-century reconquest of Spain, and, of course, the Crusades.

But in most cases — from Mohamed Atta, who crashed into the World Trade Center, to Ahmed Sheik, the former London School of Economics student who planned the beheading of Daniel Pearl, to Magdy Mahmoud Mustafa el-Nashar, the suspected American-educated bomb-maker in London — the common bond is not poverty, a lack of education or legitimate grievance. Instead it is blind hatred instilled by militant Islam.

As Christopher Hitchens put it on MSNBC in an exchange with Ron Reagan, the root cause of terrorism, is not in fighting terrorism. And Hugh Hewitt clarifies this:

Hitchens's point, which must be made again and again, is Blair's point: The killers are killers because they want to kill, not because the coalition invaded Iraq, or Afghanistan, or because there are bases in Saudi Arabia, or because Israel will not retreat to the 1967 borders.
Until and unless the left gets this point, and abandons the idea that "breeding" of terrorists is something the West triggers, they cannot be trusted with the conduct of the war.

Hugh Hewitt's changed his weblog layout, so many of the permalinks I had may not work; but the following was reported on July 21st:

"Can I remind you?"

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, responding to a twit reporter's question of whether the invasion of Iraq has made London a target for terrorists:

"The first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it has given the game away, to use the venacular, and no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen. Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq? And can I remind you that the 11th of September occured before the operation in Iraq? Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor? Are people by implication suggesting that we shouldn't have done that? When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan? When
Sergio Demillo was murdered in Iraq, a brave man, a distinguished international diplmat, immensely respected for his work in the United Nations, when al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that DeMillo had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations adminsitrator in East Timor. Now I don't know the minds of the terrorist. By definition you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts. And the objective facts are as I have cited. The objective fact is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq and indeed all the evidence as distinct from the suppositions suggest to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of the principles of a great world religion, that at its root preaches peace and cooperation, and I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder."

Those who follow the radical, perverse teachings of Islam don't wish to practice the teachings of a peaceful religion; they wish to make the entire world bend to the religion of submission. And any violence on their part isn't because of our presence in Iraq, where the insurgency is responsible for more daily killings of innocent Muslims than we are; it's not because of our liberating Afghanistan from the Taliban; it's not because of the Israeli-Palestine conflict; it wasn't our presence in Saudi Arabia; it's our presence in the world period! The Islamic terrrorists hate everything about us from our freedoms to our social liberalisms. It's not our foreign policy, where we removed the biggest mass murdererer of Muslims in the form of Saddam Hussein; where we intervened to help save Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, and Kuwait; where our foreign aid to Egypt of $50 billion is no more than the foreign aid Israel receives from us. If it weren't for all these other excuses, we'd be blamed by the "evil-doers" because of what happened centuries ago during the Crusades....the Crusades which was a response to Muslim aggression as the Moors overan a third of the Christian World, putting Christians to the sword.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Culture Watch: New military drama to begin this Wednesday

Sunday night, I put the TV on The History Channel, and let the Battle of Iwo Jima play itself out in the background as I did some work on the computer. During a commercial break, FX advertised a new series beginning Wednesdays at 10pm (I'm on the West Coast, if it matters) by Steven Boschco. "Over There", is a contemporary military drama; and supposedly will be non-partisan. I have my skepticism, but can only hope.... Stories will focus not only on the military men and women characters serving over in Iraq, but also on the lives of their families back home.

Perhaps it will be a good drama series; but I don't want to see just a drama about the heartaches and war horrors, and conflicts soldiers and their families are living through. I would really like to see Hollywood, for once, come up with a product that can also stir patriotism and love and respect for our military and our country. I mean, it's cool to see Michael Moore as a suicide bomber get blown up in Team America....and it's great to see South Park rip into liberal political correctness....or Jack Bauer going after terrorists....but South Park is an equal-opportunity offender and 24 seems to fall shy of being unapologetically anti-militant Islamic terror by making token pro-Muslim statements and caving in to the follies of the political correctness police. Just for once, I'd like to see an unabashedly ideologically conservative-driven program. The imbalance is just so flagrantly one-sided, that we are saturated with liberal thoughts from Sesame Street to PBS to the nightly news, to sit-coms, to programs like The's a total cultural indoctrination.

This morning on Laura Ingraham, Bridget Johnson spoke with Laura on the lack of Hollywood projects that push for the hot topic of radical, militant, Islamo-fascist terror. I suppose you can't completely blame those in Hollywood who do see a potential money-market for it; yet fear for the safety of themselves and their family. After all, it cost Theo van Gogh his life. Many peaceful Muslims themselves appear to bite their tongues or protest only ever so softly in denouncement of their radical brethren, for fear of becoming targets themselves of Islamic extremists. Yet, perhaps that is the problem....too many in this world who cower and don't want to confront the violent side of Islam; to speak out and draw attention to themselves and possibly face the wrath of religious perverts. Terrorism feeds off of such weakness. For terrorism to be starved of its power and strength, it must be confronted head-on. Not appeased....not understood...not tolerated....not negotiated with....not kowtowed to.

I often see that amusing, naive bumpersticker while driving through this vast Blue State I live in: "War is not the Answer". That's right...war didn't solve anything: it only helped to end slavery, fascism, nazism, and communism.

I'm still waiting for someone to market my counter bumpersticker: "Terrorism is not the Answer." Well, perhaps I will have to market that one myself?

Friday, July 22, 2005

UNder Construction, UNcompetently...

I was at work, and snuck in a quick radio listen to Hugh Hewitt. Apparently he aired this clip of Donald Trump speaking as an expert witness, I think televised on CSPAN yesterday. The clip comes to us courtesy of Radioblogger. It's about 20 minutes, and worth the listen to; I'd reprint the transcript here, but it's long and you should just go read it yourself at Radio Blogger as you listen. It is absolutely rich; and illustrates perfectly, the gross incompetence and mismanagement of the United Nations. Donald Trump's testimony regarding a proposed $1.5 billion refurbishing project of the UN building in NY, should be played and replayed everywhere; and for all those who still believe in the United Nations, it should be one more nail in the coffin of that brand of naivete. Before I really got into politics, I had this vague, Star Trek-style, United Federation of Planets utopian idealistic notion of the UN. After I got politically active, all the liberal kool-aid I've been drinking all these many years has left a sour aftertaste and a sobering reality. You should not even have to read a Claudia Rossett piece or Jed Babbin's book to recognize the utter corruption, moral wasteland, and laughable ineptitude that is the United Nations.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The following article is so rich, it deserves reprinting in its entirety:

July 16, 2005
Our Wars Over the War
"The fault is not in our stars."
by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

Ever since September 11, there has been an alternative narrative about this war embraced by the Left. In this mythology, the attack on September 11 had in some vague way something to do with American culpability.

Either we were unfairly tilting toward Israel, or had been unkind to Muslims. Perhaps, as Sen. Patty Murray intoned, we needed to match the good works of bin Laden to capture the hearts and minds of Muslim peoples.

The fable continues that the United States itself was united after the attack even during its preparations to retaliate in Afghanistan. But then George Bush took his eye off the ball. He let bin Laden escape, and worst of all, unilaterally and preemptively, went into secular Iraq — an unnecessary war for oil, hegemony, Israel, or Halliburton, something in Ted Kennedy’s words "cooked up in Texas."

In any case, there was no connection between al Qaeda and Saddam, and thus terrorists only arrived in Iraq after we did.

That tale goes on. The Iraqi fiasco is now a hopeless quagmire. The terrorists are paying us back for it in places like London and Madrid.

Still worse, here at home we have lost many of our civil liberties to the Patriot Act and forsaken our values at Guantanamo Bay under the pretext of war. Nancy Pelosi could not understand the continued detentions in Guantanamo since the war in Afghanistan is in her eyes completely finished.

In this fable, we are not safer as a nation. George Bush’s policies have increased the terror threat as we saw recently in the London bombing. We have now been at war longer than World War II. We still have no plan to defeat our enemies, and thus must set a timetable to withdraw from Iraq.

Islamic terrorism cannot be defeated militarily nor can democracy be "implanted by force." So it is time to return to seeing the terrorist killing as a criminal justice matter — a tolerable nuisance addressed by writs and indictments, while we give more money to the Middle East and begin paying attention to the "root causes" of terror.

That is the dominant narrative of the Western Left and at times it finds its way into mainstream Democratic-party thinking. Yet every element of it is false.

Prior to 9/11, the United States had given an aggregate of over $50 billion to Egypt, and had allotted about the same amount of aid to Israel as to its frontline enemies. We had helped to save Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, and received little if any thanks for bombing Christian Europeans to finish in a matter of weeks what all the crack-pot jihadists had not done by flocking to the Balkans in a decade.

Long before Afghanistan and Iraq, bin Laden declared war on America in 1998, citing the U.N. embargo of Iraq and troops in Saudi Arabia; when those were no longer issues, he did not cease, but continued his murdering. He harbored a deep-seated contempt for Western values, even though he was eaten within by uncontrolled envy and felt empowered by years of appeasement after a series of attacks on our embassies, bases, ships, and buildings, both here and abroad.

Iraqi intelligence was involved with the first World Trade Center bombing, and its operatives met on occasion with those who were involved in al Qaeda operations. Every terrorist from Abu Abbas and Abu Nidal to Abdul Yasin and Abu al-Zarqawi found Baghdad the most hospitable place in the Middle East, which explains why a plan to assassinate George Bush Sr. was hatched from such a miasma.

Neither bin Laden nor his lieutenants are poor, but like the Hamas suicide bombers, Mohammed Atta, or the murderer of Daniel Pearl they are usually middle class and educated — and are more likely to hate the West, it seems, the more they wanted to be part of it. The profile of the London bombers, when known, will prove the same.

The poor in South America or Africa are not murdering civilians in North America or Europe. The jihadists are not bombing Chinese for either their godless secularism or suppression of Muslim minorities. Indeed, bin Laden harbored more hatred for an America that stopped the Balkan holocaust of Muslims than for Slobodan Milosevic who started it.

There was only unity in this country between September 11 and October 6, when a large minority of Americans felt our victim status gave us for a golden moment the high ground. We forget now the furor over hitting back in Afghanistan — a quagmire in the words of New York Times columnists R. W. Apple and Maureen Dowd; a "terrorist campaign" against Muslims according to Representative Cynthia McKinney; "a silent genocide" in Noam Chomsky’s ranting.

Two thirds of al Qaeda’s command is now captured or dead; bases in Afghanistan are lost. Saddam’s intelligence will not be lending expertise to anyone and the Baghdad government won’t welcome in terrorist masterminds.

In fact, thousands of brave Iraqi Muslims are now in a shooting war with wahhabi jihadists who, despite their carnage, are dying in droves as they flock to Iraq.

A constitution is in place in Iraq; reform is spreading to Lebanon, the Gulf, and Egypt; and autocracies in Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Pakistan are apprehensive over a strange new American democratic zeal. Petroleum was returned to control of the Iraqi people, and the price has skyrocketed to the chagrin of American corporations.

There has been no repeat of September 11 so far. Killing jihadists abroad while arresting their sympathizers here at home has made it hard to replicate another 9/11-like attack.

The Patriot Act was far less intrusive than what Abraham Lincoln (suspension of habeas corpus), Woodrow Wilson (cf. the Espionage and Sedition Acts), or Franklin Roosevelt (forced internment) resorted to during past wars. So far America has suffered in Iraq 0.6 percent of the combat dead it lost in World War II, while not facing a conventional enemy against which it might turn its traditional technological and logistical advantages.

Unlike Gulf War I and the decade-long Iraqi cold war of embargos, stand-off bombing, and no-fly-zones, the United States has a comprehensive strategy both in the war against terror and to end a decade and a half of Iraqi strife: Kill terrorists abroad, depose theocratic and autocratic regimes that have either warred with the United States or harbored terrorists, and promote democracy to take away grievances that can be manipulated and turned against us.

Why does this false narrative, then, persist — other than that it had a certain political utility in the 2002 and 2004 elections?

In a word, this version of events brings spiritual calm for millions of troubled though affluent and blessed Westerners. There are three sacraments to their postmodern thinking, besides the primordial fear that so often leads to appeasement.

Our first hindrance is moral equivalence. For the hard Left there is no absolute right and wrong since amorality is defined arbitrarily and only by those in power.

Taking back Fallujah from beheaders and terrorists is no different from bombing the London subway since civilians may die in either case. The deliberate rather than accidental targeting of noncombatants makes little difference, especially since the underdog in Fallujah is not to be judged by the same standard as the overdogs in London and New York. A half-dozen roughed up prisoners in Guantanamo are the same as the Nazi death camps or the Gulag.

Our second shackle is utopian pacifism — ‘war never solved anything’ and ‘violence only begets violence.’ Thus it makes no sense to resort to violence, since reason and conflict resolution can convince even a bin Laden to come to the table. That most evil has ended tragically and most good has resumed through armed struggle — whether in Germany, Japan, and Italy or Panama, Belgrade, and Kabul — is irrelevant. Apparently on some past day, sophisticated Westerners, in their infinite wisdom and morality, transcended age-old human nature, and as a reward were given a pass from the smelly, dirty old world of the past six millennia.

The third restraint is multiculturalism, or the idea that all social practices are of equal merit. Who are we to generalize that the regimes and fundamentalist sects of the Middle East result in economic backwardness, intolerance of religious and ethnic minorities, gender apartheid, racism, homophobia, and patriarchy? Being different from the West is never being worse.

These tenets in various forms are not merely found in the womb of the universities, but filter down into our popular culture, grade schools, and national political discourse — and make it hard to fight a war against stealthy enemies who proclaim constant and shifting grievances. If at times these doctrines are proven bankrupt by the evidence it matters little, because such beliefs are near religious in nature — a secular creed that will brook no empirical challenge.

These articles of faith apparently fill a deep psychological need for millions of Westerners, guilty over their privilege, free to do anything without constraints or repercussions, and convinced that their own culture has made them spectacularly rich and leisured only at the expense of others.

So it is not true to say that Western civilization is at war against Dark Age Islamism. Properly speaking, only about half of the West is involved, the shrinking segment that still sees human nature as unchanging and history as therefore replete with a rich heritage of tragic lessons.

This is nothing new.

The spectacular inroads of the Ottomans in the 16th century to the gates of Vienna and the shores of the Adriatic were not explainable according to Istanbul’s vibrant economy, impressive universities, or widespread scientific dynamism and literacy, or even a technologically superior and richly equipped military. Instead, a beleaguered Europe was trisected by squabbling Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians — as a wealthy northwest, with Atlantic seaports, ignored the besieged Mediterranean and Balkans and turned its attention to getting rich in the New World.

So too we are divided over two antithetical views of the evolving West — Europe at odds with America, red and blue states in intellectual and spiritual divergence, the tragic view resisting the creeping therapeutic mindset.

These interior splits largely explain why creepy killers from the Dark Ages, parasitic on the West from their weapons to communications, are still plaguing us four years after their initial surprise attack.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Radioblogger also has Hugh Hewitt's interview of Victor Davis Hanson. Hewitt finds this to be the key quote in the interview:

"I really think that most people in their gut understand that if Al Gore had been president in 2000, or John Kerry in 2004, we would have followed the EU model, and we would have seen things like Madrid and London to come, because that model doesn' not workable. The idea that you're not going to address the two root problems that we have, one is terrorism, and the lack of democracy in the Middle East. And for all the caricatures of George Bush's policy, he has an agenda and a goal to democratize, and to kill the killers, and then to be vigilant at home. And that three-pronged strategy is the only thing that will work. It's not perfect, but it's the only solution."

Monday, July 18, 2005

Some random thoughts....

I wanted to follow up with a couple of my last posts, but that will have to wait. For now, I'll make a quick post. Found this on a message board I frequent:

Originally Posted by Army Times article
During a routine patrol in Baghdad June 2, Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, a medic, was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper, hiding in a van just 75 yards away. The incident was filmed by the insurgents.Tschiderer, with E Troop, 101st “Saber” Cavalry Division, attached to 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was knocked to the ground from the impact, but he popped right back up, took cover and located the enemy’s position.After tracking down the now-wounded sniper with a team from B Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, Tschiderer secured the terrorist with a pair of handcuffs and gave medical aid to the terrorist who’d tried to kill him just minutes before.

Check out this video footage of the attack


Read the account of the incident from the 256th Brigade Combat Team

Who is Fighting Who, Exactly?

Richard Miniter on Dennis Prager about a week ago, citing Paul Bremer, said that over 80% of the insurgency in Iraq is committed by well-paid foreign fighters [I no longer believe this to be true]. Fighting the Americans and Coalition is expensive business: according to Miniter, weeks after the liberation of Bagdhad and the end to major combat operations, attacks were worth $50; now attacks against American and Coalition forces, be it roadside IEDs, homicide bombings, worth $1600! The fact that so much of the violence is directed at Iraqi civilians themselves, I think, weakens the native support and "moral authority" of the "insurgency". You see examples of how fed up the Iraqis are of the insurgency in articles like this. A free and democratic Iraq offers the Iraqi people a hopeful future; the Insurgents have nothing to offer the Iraqi people as an alternative. Whether you were for or against the war, whether we should have gone in or should not have gone in, the fact of the matter is that we are there now. And all supporters of freedom and democracy should want us to succeed in Iraq; failure means more than just a black eye and humiliation for America; that's the least of the worries; to fail in Iraq would be disastrous for the world.

In light of recent violence in Iraq, here are some
good news to digest. Also, great compilation from Chrenkoff at Opinion Journal.

Gotta love the Sunday shows...

I watched 60 Minutes sunday, and why should I not be surprised that 2 of their repeat segments were basically, in essence, anti-Bush/anti-war and anti-gun stories? I think the first segment is now a bit obsolete.

60 Minutes the previous Sunday was a repeat airing of
Slaughter and 'Submission', a piece dealing with the Theo van Gogh murder. Mohammed Bouyeri is absolutely unapologetic for his brutally violent slaying of the Dutch liberal filmmaker. And he says he'd do it again, in the name of Allah. What is it about Islam that creates so many murderous nutjobs? I mean, contrast that to how Christians in their outrage respond to such things as the Virgin Mary stained in elephant dung and Jesus' Crucifixion soaking in the artist's urine. Gee, no fatawa declared here by the Christian leadership calling for murdering the offending parties. No, this we call art. Theo van Gogh dared to offend everyone and anyone; yet it's when he offends Muslims by criticizing in a 12 minute film one aspect of Islamic culture that he loses his life. And yet we still want to be PC...we still want to tell ourselves that Islam means "peace" (I understand it to mean "submission"). No doubt that the majority of Muslims are peaceful; yet you have to be blind if you can't see that there is something fundamentally wrong at the heart of Islam's teachings. It's like some of it's practioners are living in the 14th century. I know every religion has its share of fanatics, but the religion of Islam needs some serious makeovers by those who practice it and claim it as a religion of peace.

Going back to the PC theme and relating it directly to the Theo van Gogh murder, Bouyeri was given a life sentence without possiblity of parole (no capital punishment in the ultra-liberal Dutch society). But do you know what they were debating in Dutch court? Whether or not Theo van Gogh's murderer.....a religious fanatic who shot him 15 times while Theo pleaded "can't we just talk this over?", stabbed him and tried to saw his head off as he slit the throat (seems he was trying to behead the body, as is customary), and who stuck a five page rant thrilling (ie, "quivering") into the body with the knife.....whether or not he should retain his voting rights in the Nederlands. This is why I detest the "compassion for the criminal" mentality of the liberal PC crowd. I mean, c'mon....if I hear next, they'll be debating whether Bouyeri should be given a choice of rice pilaf or sticky rice, I'm seriously going to throw up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


July 10, 2005 Civil libertarians argue that the Patriot Act curtails American freedoms. Fans of the act say those fears are overblown. By the numbers, since inception of the Patriot Act through 2004:

Civil rights complaints to the Justice Department's inspector general:


Number of those deemed related to the Patriot Act:


"Sneak and peek" warrants, allowing searches without telling a subject:


Roving wiretaps:


Personal records seizures under Section 215 of the act:


Source: Justice Department inspector general

This article is as good as any in regards to the importance of The Patriot Act. And this.

Really....there is such scare-mongering and misunderstanding over The Patriot Act.

Personally, I have no problem with profiling. I believe the Israelis profile, to great success. Profiling doesn't mean you automatically believe someone is an enemy/criminal/terrorist. But it's ridiculous to be so racially/ethnically sensitive, that you ignore obvious characteristics....and confuse prejudice and racism for common sense and the paying attention of, red flags and patterns of behavior that an individual exhibits. The PC crap may get us killed. To hell with that. If it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, if it looks like a duck...well guess what, Sherlock? Bloody 'ell, I'll be damned if it ain't a flappin' duck!!!

I relate it in this manner:

I used to do security work for a retail company; and part of my job was keeping my eyes open for shoplifters. To borrow the special forces color coding system, for a moment, as an instore detective, you should always maintain a status of yellow alert. This should be your level of scrutiny in how you treat everyone who enters the store.

Now, let's say you have 2 customers enter your store and one of them is wearing a 2 piece bikini and the other is dressed in baggy clothes. Who are you going to pay attention to more? ( male pigs...forget that it's a 2-piece bikini, but a dude in speedos). Logic, not racial or cultural/class discrimination, demands that the customer in the sagging pants raise your level of alertness initially to orange alert.....until you've had some adequate time to observe the customer in sagging jeans to profile his pattern of behavior. Shoplifters often exhibit behavioral shopping patterns that are different from regular shoppers. If he shops like a normal person, he's clear. You've lowered your alertness level from orange back down to yellow (never white alert.....even innocent ol' granny could be a professional shoplifter!). In the case of the customer in speedo and the customer in baggy clothing, what you are distinguishing in your initial assessment, is the fact that the person with loose clothing has greater opportunity for theft; not that you actually believe he has come into the store to steal (to the extent that as a security person, you have to assume that everyone who enters the store could be a potential shoplifter).

Another analogy: if I see someone walking down the street and he's wearing an expensive name-brand suit and tie, Rolex watch, and I hear him talking in an Italian accent with someone over a cell-phone, it's safe to assume this guy has money and possible influence and is foreign...probably Italian. I just profiled him, within seconds, without knowing him. It was automatic. By the same token, if I see someone wearing a Bruce Springsteen concert T-shirt, I might assume he is probably a fan of Bruce Springsteen. I could be completey wrong, but, logically, am I really far out of the ballpark in making this wild hunch? Based on that, I might even assume he might be liberal; the chances of this are less likely, based on this initial assessment. But again, I have some ample reason to think that if he likes Bruce's music, enough so as to wear his concert t-shirt, perhaps he might share Bruce's political views, as well. It's worth further investigation, of course. (For the record, I love Bruce Springsteen's music on a pretty consistent basis; but as you can tell from this blog, I share little in common with him, politically).

If someone dresses and speaks in a manner that is reflective of hip-hop culture, is it really so outrageous for me to "stereotype" this person's tastes and assume he likes hip-hop? Again, I could be wrong, but still, it is a logical conclusion that I've drawn.

Our brains classify and stereotype all the time, naturally. It is a way to process and organize information. It is not being racist, in the negative connotation of the word. If a person is black, you're going to assume he has black parents, even though it might not be the case.

I'll give one more example: my ethnic makeup is Southeast Asian. I am, however, adopted (born in Phoenix, Arizona) from birth. My father is white caucasian, so I have a European last name.

Let's say I'm making a store purchase and upon handing my credit card to the cashier, who reads the name on the card and the signature on the back, she asks to see my driver's license. Should I automatically feel indignant and put upon, because I feel that she is probably singling me out? That she is being racially insensitive to my feelings by assuming that I'd have an Asian last name, because I look Asian? Isn't this stereotyping, by assuming that everyone has parents who are biologically their own, and hence familial last names that reflect one's ancestral heritage? Well....d'uh! Yes of course, it is! And SO WHAT?!?! The cashier made a logical presumption. And quite frankly, shouldn't I be happy that, even if she hadn't asked the other customers in line who came before me (although, for true security, everyone should have been asked), it shows a level of wherewithal that she at least had enough sense to doublecheck that I am in fact the owner of the credit card I handed her?

The chances of someone's last name not being reflective of their ethnicity, unless you are a female of marrying age, are slim enough, that it is ok for orange flags to go off, that maybe the credit card I am handing the store clerk might, in fact, belong to someone else.

This is my long-winded, 2 in the AM, roundabout way of saying, I really don't give a flamin' care about racial profiling if it saves us from another 9/11. Given the 5oo million pouring across our borders every year, I'd say, "go ahead and encroach upon my civil liberties by examining my library checkouts." Seriously, The Patriot Act, if anything, doesn't go far enough. I'm sick of the irrational scare-mongering over this. Even though I've not read her book, I've read enough about it to say I'm in complete alignment to Michelle Malkin's take on these matters.


Friday, July 08, 2005

If the War on Terrorism is Breeding More Terrorists...What is the War against Western Civilization Breeding in Return?

"Debra do you miss the unity?"
"No, I miss the anger"

-Debra Burlingame (sister of Flight 77 pilot, Charles Burlingame) in response to a friend's question in regards to liberals and conservatives, right after 9/11.

Some on the Left, I guarantee, are laying the blame of the London bombings at the feet of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. (Just as there are some, within moments after 9/11, who felt we brought it upon ourselves). That if we hadn't invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, these killers would have left us alone. Well, we hadn't invaded anyone in 2001, and 9/11 still happened, as well as other attacks of a lesser scale throughout the 90's. Of course the self-blame game will then have you play at believing we brought it upon ourselves because they hate our foreign policy, we put Saddam in power (insert :rolleyes: emoticon here), we are in Saudi Arabia, we support Israel, yadda, yadda, yadda and et cetera.

Blaming us for taking the war to the terrorists is misguided. That's like police detectives going after the mafia...or gang units putting gangbangers away behind bars; then, as a result, the mafia and gang goes after the police or their family to terrorize them and make future police officers think twice about taking them down. Are those law enforcement officers responsible for bringing criminal retribution down upon themselves? I'm reminded of a quote from Jeff Cooper, which I can only paraphrase:

The felon fears neither the police, judge nor jury;
therefore, what he must be taught to fear,
is his own victim!

So if we don't have the courage to stand up to evil, who will? Who will you pass on the responsibility of protecting civilization onto? While you cower, accepting victimhood, how does that make you safer? The mentality of the victim who says, "if we don't do anything to anger them...that will make me safe." "Don't do anything to antagonize, or draw attention to yourself." Who can truly call himself free, who lives in fear like that? certainly, not the Iraqi people who are determined and tenacious in their resistance to kowtowing to terror.

And certainly not the Brits...the ones who are infused with the spirit of the Blitz. They with their English calm and stiff upper lips, I am confident, are made of sterner stuff than the "al-Muhajiroun" gang of London and al-Qaeda in Europe give them credit for. They will not fold like Spain appeared to do right after the Madrid City bombings, when they voted in a party leader who pledged to withdraw Spanish troops, should his party be elected to office.

For up-to-date analysis and insights, Hugh Hewitt is on top of it all, as usual, with all the primary blogging journalists. You'll often get accurate and reliable news information through his blog significantly sooner than you will through mainstream sources; and of course, his center-right opinions are second to none.

The following is taken from Little Green Footballs:

From April last year:

Attacks on London "Inevitable"

When the next terror attack hits Europe, no one will be able to say it was a surprise, or a secret—as al-Muhajiroun leader Omar Bakri Muhammad openly threatens attacks on London:

One “very well organized” group in London calling itself al Qaeda Europe “has a great appeal for young Muslims,” he said. “I know that they are ready to launch a big operation.” ... “We don’t make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever has no value. It has no sanctity.”

See also:

“As far as I’m concerned, when they bomb London, the bigger the better,” says Abdul Haq, the social worker. “I know it’s going to happen because Sheikh bin Laden said so. Like Bali, like Turkey, like Madrid - I pray for it, I look forward to the day.”

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Live8's Heart is in the Right Place...but it's Head....

Recently, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair met to draw up a policy (prayers out to the Londoners, this morning), forgiving African debt and pledging $674 million in emergency humanitarian aid. The US already donates a quarter of all foreign assistance to Africa. There have been several Marshall Plans over the past 40 years, amounting to what? The end to poverty? No. Just money squandered to corrupt regimes. And how can we forget all the private donations of charity over the years, and past events like "We are the World"? 1985 Live Aid raised close to $150 million for famine relief; yet the majority of that went to a corrupt Ethiopian government and the propping up of yet another brutal dictator, Mengistu. Good intentions with bad results. Do we ever learn?

Here's a nice opinion piece from Mark Steyn, regarding the "generosity" of those celebrity rockers and their misguided notions of redistributing your money. And this from the Heritage Foundation is worth reprinting:

Free-Market Foreign Aid? Remittances and Regulation

07/05/05 08:15 AM

What’s the biggest source of foreign aid for the developing world? For many poor countries, it is not government-to-government grants. Instead, it is remittances – money sent back home by third-world migrants working in the U.S. and other first-world nations. This form of assistance was the subject of a conference held last week in Washington at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Remittances also received some attention in a USA Today op-ed appropriately titled "A way to feed the world."

The numbers involved are staggering. A recent IDB report found that the flow of remittances from the U.S. to Latin American and Caribbean countries reached $45 billion dollars last year. For some countries, remittances are one of the largest components of GDP. Relative to traditional foreign aid, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Avoiding the top-down bureaucracy of traditional aid programs--and all that comes with third-world bureaucracy--remittances reach the poor directly. As the USA Today op-ed put it, remittances "let the world's poor decide for themselves how best to improve their lives."

This is a market-driven system that’s working, and it's working well. Competition in the international money transfer business has increased in recent years, decreasing the cost of remittances. Some, however, have called for increased regulation of this market, and bills are already pending in Congress to control how remittances are handled. So far, these bills call only for greater disclosure of fees, but there have also been scattered calls to regulate prices directly. This could muck up the system, hurting the poor most of all. Instead, politicians should be reducing regulation and thereby lowering costs for those who send and receive remittances. Allowing credit unions to offer remittance services would be a good step.

Once again, I look at it as noble liberal intentions to make you feel good about yourself, without ever looking beyond stage one thinking and examining what in fact actually happens as a result of one's desire to feed the homeless and to help the poor. Often, our liberal good will and intentions only make matters worse....not better.


Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day Thoughts....

I've been a bit hard-pressed to write this weekend. So much news information to read and digest, let alone write down my own thoughts and feelings; plus catching up from having been away on my trip.

Anyway, it is Independence I'd like to bring to your attention, this book:
A Patriot's History of the United States : From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror by Larry Schweikart and Michael Patrick Allen.

It's been strange to see so much revisionist history romanticize Native-Americans and Chicano ancestors as environmentalistic, peaceful "noble savages" who never warred upon their neighbors; while at the same time reviling Christopher Columbus as the evil white devil and bringer of death and pestilence.

Our Founding Fathers have been similarly rejected and denigrated as nothing more than slave-owners and "terrorists" in their own right.

This is the kind of junk that is polluting our country.....this self-loathing and qaugmire of guilt.

Sure our nation was founded at the expense of Native-American Indians and built, in part, upon the backs of slaves; but what country is not guilty of their share of atrocities? What people and tribe has not, at some point in history, been the aggressor, raping, murdering, and pillaging? And they, in turn, not been repressed and subjugated? Yet moved on rather than seek reparations? America has not committed the worst of the worst. And you can't convince me that the America that we have become is not a force for good in so many different ways, in the world.

I am neither Christian nor white....yet I reject notions like political correctness, multi-culturalism, and diversity. Certain aspects of those concepts, I can agree with; but what they represent for me, is mostly negative results, to the extent and spirit in which these notions are often executed upon our society. I don't want to get too in-depth with what I perceive as the benefits and diseases of multiculturalism, diversity, and political correctness, at this moment. Just know that I think these liberal notions have done more harm than good, in my opinion. They are uprooting the very fabric of our nation, and replanting what was known as American culture and the idea of a melting pot, with foreign culture that does not integrate itself into the current, established culture; they are pushing revisionist history that blames white Europeans and Judeo-Christian traditions with all the world's evils and seek to eradicate those Judeo-Christian principles of 2oo years upon which our modern nation was founded upon; and this is supposed to make others feel more welcomed. I don't remember the concept of immigration to mean you are free to set up your own mini-country within the US; I thought it meant you wished to become an American; I thought immigrating here meant you want to learn the language, culture, and history, without replacing those things with your own. Assimiliation, not segregation. That is one reason why illegal immigration undermines legal immigration. I love the beauty of all cultures and how they can enrich our own; but I don't want to end up living in Mexifornia. That isn't integration. We already have to press "1" on the telephone if we want to hear the rest of the message in English....pretty soon to make everyone feel welcomed and accomodated, we'll have to listen to options for Japanese, Farsi, Arabic, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, and other groups who feel disenfranchised and slighted. Where does it end?

Waving the Mexican flag and showing more allegiance to it (going beyond mere pride in one's ancestral culture and heritage) than to the US flag, isn't being patriotic.

And yes, I am using "Mexican-Americans" as the example to state my case. What of it? Do I really have to defend myself against accusations of racism, here? It's not like Lithuanians are pouring over the borders by the millions.

And I am generalizing. I realize that the majority of Chicanos in this country are patriotic Americans, with quite a number of them also several generations in deep. I would think any of the legal immigrants who are first generation Americans would be furious over our weakness in handling the illegal immigration problem. It is like having people cut in line, in front of you.

In the liberal belief system, it often seems like tolerance means tolerance for all, except where white Christian culture is concerned; diversity means all cultures welcomed, except for "white" culture, which is not "ethnic" enough; it is this "white culture" that is guilty of imperialism and slave-holding at one time; but it is also this very same culture that was principled enough to defend other nations against aggressors and be among the first in the world to abolish slavery.

We are, at heart, a deeply moral nation. Yet there are those on the Left who seem saddled with moral relativism who cannot recognize evil and have no will to fight it. They can only preach about tolerance and understanding for evil, while showing intolerance for those who have the clarity to call a spade a spade and who have the intestinal fortitude to fight evil. And all the while, they are filled with guilt and self-blame, for wrongs real and imagined; they wring their hands and fret over what the rest of the world thinks of us. Go read a book or article by
Jean Francois Revel, the French intellectual, who will confirm that America is in fact, a force for good in the world and that the America-bashers are the ones who are misguided and have it all wrong.

The following is from Amazon's editorial book review, for
A Patriot's History:

For at least thirty years, high school and college students have been taught to be embarrassed by American history. Required readings have become skewed toward a relentless focus on our country’s darkest moments, from slavery to McCarthyism. As a result, many history books devote more space to Harriet Tubman than to Abraham Lincoln; more to My Lai than to the American Revolution; more to the internment of Japanese Americans than to the liberation of Europe in World War II.

Now, finally, there is an antidote to this biased approach to our history. Two veteran history professors have written a sweeping, well-researched book that puts the spotlight back on America’s role as a beacon of liberty to the rest of the world.

Schweikart and Allen are careful to tell their story straight, from Columbus’s voyage to the capture of Saddam Hussein. They do not ignore America’s mistakes through the years, but they put them back in their proper perspective. And they conclude that America’s place as a world leader derived largely from the virtues of our own leaders— the men and women who cleared the wilderness, abolished slavery, and rid the world of fascism and communism.

The authors write in a clear and enjoyable style that makes history a pleasure, not just for students but also for adults who want to learn what their teachers skipped over.

About the Authors:

Larry Schweikart is a history professor at the University of Dayton.

Michael Allen is a professor of history and American studies at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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