Wolf Pangloss's Fish Taco Stand

"But, reverend father," said Candide, "there is horrible evil in this world."

"What signifies it," said the Dervish, "whether there be evil or good? When his highness sends a ship to Egypt, does he trouble his head whether the mice on board are at their ease or not?"

"What, then, must we do?" said Pangloss.

"Hold your tongue," answered the Dervish.

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31 July 2007

If cowardly sadistic imbecile Che Guevara could become famous, there is hope for all of us

Humberto Fontova talks about the real Che Guevara:

The whole thing starts with the cachet, the coolness surrounding the Cuban revolution. At the time, the United States was the biggest fuddy-duddy, Leave-it-to-Beaver country in the world. Then, all of a sudden, you had these long-haired revolutionaries down in Cuba - they were the first hippies, the first beatniks. Look at Che Guevara in those years. Take off the beard and you've got Jim Morrison. Raul Castro used to carry his shoulder-length blond hair in a ponytail. Camilo Cienfuegos looked like another Jerry Garcia. There was that coolness cachet, plus all the misconceptions about what Cuba was like prior to these guys. [...]

Che Guevara's diaries. Those are the same diaries that he kept as a young man when he was traveling in South America. They were published in Havana. It's very interesting because Robert Redford chose to omit many fascinating items. For instance, in those diaries - the original ones - Che Guevara has a passage where he says, "crazy with fury, I will murder any enemy that falls into my hands. My nostrils dilate while savoring the sweet odor of blood and gunpowder." Naturally, for some reason, that was left out of Redford's heart-warming movie.

All you have to do is take Che Guevara's writing and put it alongside that of [Seung-hui] Cho, the Virginia Tech killer, and you can't tell the difference. Cho comes across as healthy compared to Che Guevara. Yet I haven't seen too many Cho t-shirts around, while there are lots of Che t-shirts. [...]

It has dawned on me that what I have written is actually an inspirational book and that what I give are inspirational talks. Because if Che Guevara - a coward, a sadist, an imbecile - can see his picture become the most widely reproduced picture of the century, then folks, there's hope for all of us. It is astounding that a man who was so completely worthless should become so idolized. And that only happened because he hooked up with Fidel Castro, the most effective propagandist in modern history, and he's still at it.

Fontova has a lot more to say about Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, the first Stalinist hippies of the sixties, in two parts: Part 1; Part 2.

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Yesterday, Power Line noted:
Chief Justice John Roberts, in my view the most extravagantly qualified Supreme Court nominee in my lifetime, had a "benign idiopathic seizure" today. He's fine, but might be placed on anti-seizure medication since he also had one in 1993. This is how the prominent liberal web site Wonkette covered the news:

Chief Justice John Roberts has died in his summer home in Maine. No, not really, but we know you have your fingers crossed.

A lot of them did, too.

The day before, Power Line noted:
Gonzales testified that he had visited John Ashcroft in the hospital to try to resolve a legal dispute that had developed over an intelligence program, but that the program in question was not the "terrorist surveillance program" that had been confirmed by President Bush, i.e., the interception of international communications where one participant is associated with al Qaeda. About that program, Gonzales said there had been no serious legal question.

This testimony was met with incredulity by the Senators. "Do you expect us to believe that?" Arlen Spector asked. Committee members Schumer and Leahy flatly accused Gonzales of lying, and called for a special prosecutor to carry out a perjury investigation. One thing I could never understand was why anyone cares: what difference would it make if Gonzales's hospital visit related to the "terrorist surveillance program," or to some other intelligence activity? And what reason would Gonzales have to lie about that fact?

Today the Times confirms that Gonzales told the truth. The legal dispute that broke out in 2004 was about the NSA's "data mining" project, in which databases of telephone records were reviewed for patterns suggestive of terrorist cells

It gets better.
What's comical about the Times' reporting is that the paper can't bring itself to acknowledge that this means Gonzales has been vindicated:

If the dispute chiefly involved data mining, rather than eavesdropping, Mr. Gonzales’ defenders may maintain that his narrowly crafted answers, while legalistic, were technically correct.

First, this paragraph of "analysis" is contradicted by the reporting contained in the same article, which doesn't say that the dispute was "chiefly" about data mining. It says it was about data mining, period. Further, there is nothing "narrowly crafted," "legalistic" or "technically correct" about Gonzales's testimony. It was truthful and fully accurate. He said that the legal controversy did not involve the program that was confirmed by President Bush, in which international communications where one party was associated with al Qaeda were intercepted. That is exactly what the Times reported today. The controversy involved a completely different program, which has been rumored but which the administration has never publicly confirmed. Yet the Times cannot bring itself to admit that Gonzales has been vindicated, and the Senators who called for a perjury investigation have been made to look foolish.

The Senators who accused Gonzales of perjury are proved to be grandstanding fools who need to reign in their hubris and apologize. So too does the New York Times.

It all leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Politics has always been a contact sport. When did the rough-and-tumble lead newspapers to lie and mislead in blatant disregard for the truth, pundits to cross their fingers that those who disagreed with them would die suddenly, and Senators to throw baseless accusations and cries for unconstitutional special prosecutors for criminal behavior around like confetti at a welcome back hero parade?

And why don't we ever see any of those? Do the left, who rule bureaucratic New York City and the other big cities, really support the troops when they return from theatre?

You know the answer. They don't. They are haters.

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30 July 2007

Undercover Ambassador: First Meeting

Undercover Ambassador: First Meeting
by "Joe O'Hair"

"This coffee tastes like crap!" I said, and scowled. I wrote down MEETING on the top of the page in my notebook. Then I wrote BAD COFFEE underneath.

"Florida does the best she can, Joe," Princess Valiant said. "She comes from a deprived background."


"Kept down by the man," I empathized. "Fight the power."

"Fight the power!" she murmured. "Poor downtrodden minority."

"Downtrodden like gravel under the man's boot", I agreed. I sipped the bad coffee again. "Still tastes like... Hey guys, I'm glad you're here."

The door swung shut and two desk spooks sat down at the conference table. They glared at me with inscrutable expressions. One was her boss. He looked like a low level spook boss. The other was just another desk spook. Neither one had as good hair as mine.

Her boss said, "So you're Valiant's husband."

"Yeah, I'm a lucky man, maaaaan," I replied suavely.

She gave me one of those dreamy looks that convinced me to marry her in the first place. She's such a foxalicious fox of the foxy tribe of foxes. She added, "and an ex-ambassador with experience in Niger."

"I guess you know what we need. Right, Joe?" he asked.

"We need to find out if Saddam bought any Uranium in Niger." I responded. "I heard Darth and Der Fuhrer are trying to lay a frame-job on him."

"Yeah those dillweeds," he said. "They think we aren't doing our jobs, and we have to cover our asses or we'll have to go back into covert work. And I like coming to work at Langley everyday."

"Me too," agreed the other spook.

I wrote DILLWEEDS in my notebook.

"Me three," said Princess Valiant.

"Me four," said the boss spook. He snorted with laughter.

I laughed. And they laughed. We all laughed. Man we laughed, slapping our knees, bumping foreheads on the table, crying tears of bemused amusement. I laughed, leaning back in my chair until I lost balance and fell backwards on the floor.

"Hoooo haw, tee hee hee hee," I snurfled. The howling in the room was probably loud enough to wake the dead or even a working class person sitting down the hall and doing whatever the little people do all day when they're at their jobs.

The deprived lower-class wage-slave secretary opened the door. "Suh, ah y'all all right?" She purred. "Do y'all need your Lithium Suh?"

"No thanks, Florida," the boss spook blurted. The he started laughing again. She closed the door and tiptoed away.

We exploded in new gales of guffaws, hurricanes of hilarity, cyclones of silliness, until the tittering grew tiresome.

I wrote ME FOUR in my notebook. I put a smiley face next to it.

"It shouldn't be too hard, Ambassador," boss spook said. "There are only two exports from Niger. One is yellowcake Uranium. The other is goat urine. All you have to do is find out if Saddam's guys were looking. And we don't care about goat urine."

"No goat urine." I replied. "No goat urine." I wrote NO GOAT URINE in my notebook.

He raised an eyebrow. "Keep it under your hat, Ambassador," he said. "I hope your wife is right about you, O'Hair.

"I ran my fingers through my hair, then shook my head to let it settle down into luxuriously hirsute perfection. "I'll do right by you and The Company," I mimed quotation marks with my fingers when I said The Company.

He stared at me.

"What kind of gun do I get?" I asked. "Do I get a code number like James Bond?"

He stared.

I winked and nodded. "Never mind. Joking." Like I thought, the conference room was bugged. The gun was going to be in the diplomatic packet. Probably a nickle-plated Beretta M1 9mm. That's what all the spies use when they go out into the field against the international forces of the corrupt capitalist empire. No blood for oil!

"I'm doing this because I trust Valiant," he said. "Do right by her."

"10-4 Roger Wilco," I grinned.

He stood up and walked out the door without so much as a by-your-leave. Spook junior followed him nervously.

Valiant grimaced and wiped her brow with the back of her hand. "Whew! I'm glad that's over."

"What a dillweed," I smirked. I stood and smoothed my hair as I looked at my reflection in a painting on the wall. "You knocked it out of the park, you handsome devil! How does my hair look, Valiant?"

"Even better than John Edwards," she cooed. Then she turned me around and pressed against me like a long drink of cool blonde water.

I'm a lucky man.

Editorial Note: "Joe O'Hair" and "Princess Valiant" are pseudonyms. The author has requested the use of a pseudonym to avoid repercussions and recriminations from the Nazi Chimp Rethuglicans who stole the Amerikkkan elections in 2000 and 2004.

For more satire making fun of the three-ring Scott Thomas Beauchamp "Shock Troops"/New Republic/Franklin Foer circus, check out the comments at Villainous Company.

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28 July 2007

How bad judges cost us all

Robert Woo, an oral surgeon in Washington state implanted fake boar tusks in his assistant Tina Alberts' mouth during the midst of implant surgery in which she was given general anesthesia. He took photos of her with boar tusks, even propping her eyelids open for some photos. Then he finished the surgery, putting the correct implants in. He didn't give her copies of the photos, but copies circulated in the office. Then, at her office birthday party, her coworkers gave the Ms. Alberts copies of the photos. Humiliated, she quit and sued. Fireman's Fund, his insurance company, refused to cover him as the boar tusks and photos were not a covered procedure. She got $250 thousand in an out-of-court settlement. Then Woo sued his insurance company and won the amount of the settlement plus penalties of $750 thousand for a total of a million simoleons. Insurance company appealed and prevailed in the state Court of Appeals. He appealed the appeal and prevailed in the state Supreme Court. (see here, here and here)

And that's where it stands now.

This sadistic clown played a cruel practical joke on a patient who was also an employee and got sued. This amounted to intentional malpractice, and probably harassment as well. His insurance company didn't cover him, because quite rightly intentional malpractice is not the kind of thing that insurance companies cover. If he shot her with a gun or murdered her with an overdose of anesthetic would the insurance company cover him in a lawsuit?

Now the Washington State Supreme Court has rewarded him with a million dollars for committing intentional malpractice and getting sued for it. Who pays for his million dollar payout for committing intentional malpractice? Who pays for the court costs in three separate trials? Who pays when the Judiciary gets it so obviously wrong?

You already know who pays. We all do.

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Why Would State Build an Embassy in HizbAllah Territory?

From ABC's Blotter:
The dispute between the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and the State Department in Washington has been simmering since late last year.

At one point, the U.S. Embassy refused to allow a State Department official from Washington, James Golden, managing director of the Emergency Projects Coordinating Office, permission to enter the country for the embassy project by denying normally standard "country clearance."

What's the reason for this dispute?

It seems that the US State Department bought a site for $22 million a couple of years ago and wants to build a new embassy there. If you think back to 1983, while Reagan was in his first term, the civil war in Lebanon was hot. Iran-allied HizbAllah had a cottage industry of kidnapping Americans for ransom. In 1983, a HizbAllah assassin bombed the US Marines barracks in Beirut, murdering 241 US Marines and leading Reagan to withdraw US forces from the peacekeeping mission there. Also in 1983 and 1984, the old embassy had been hit by HizbAllah in two separate bombing attacks that killed 87 people including eight CIA employees.

I understand why State would want to replace the old embassy. The old embassy was susceptible to bombings as proved multiple times. And it had been bombed, which tends to cause structural damage. Best to get a new embassy building. That's the sensible thing to do. But sensible people don't choose to build embassies a few hundred yards from the headquarters of a proven enemy and gang of assassins like Iranian catspaw HizbAllah.
"It boggles the mind," says former State Department security official Tony Diebler. "Any reasonable person that looks at that site, does their homework and sees who controls the area would determine that it's a foolish, dangerous idea to build the embassy there," Diebler said.

State seems to be the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Leaks, failures of diplomacy, incompetent choices of allies in Islamic countries, and now plans to build a henhouse in the foxes' neighborhood.

The good news at the end of this is that the plans are on hold.
plans for a controversial new U.S. Embassy in Beirut have been put on hold indefinitely, and effectively killed

Cross your fingers that it remains a dead plan.

It makes you wonder though if there was an overarching plan behind this. Was this kerfuffle planned all along? The notoriously conspiracy minded HizbAllah assassins are likely to think so. This development will probably drive them crazy wondering what the real US plan is.

H/T: Dissecting Leftism, Atlas Shrugs

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Attempts to Islamise the west cannot be denied

The Eurabia project is well underway. Mark Steyn predicts that Europe will be under the jackboot of Islamic law by the end of the 21st century we are now in. That means the Mona Lisa will be destroyed or painted over with a burka. The Vatican will be besieged and overrun. The great churches will be burned down or converted into mosques, their altars desecrated and the stained glass bricked up, the pews hacked up and converted into firewood, the stone floors carpeted over. Exhortations to Jihad and the killing of Infidels will blare from every mosque. The Christians and Jews of Europe will live in fear. The atheists, homosexuals, decadent artists and intellectuals of Europe will convert to Jihadist Islam like Cat Stevens or be killed like Theo Van Gogh.

Dymphna of Gates of Vienna describes the latest development in the Vatican's understanding of the situation:
Given the Muslim outrage the last time the Pontiff said something substantive about the history of Islam and the West, it has fallen to his secretary to make public observations about what is going on:
Pope Benedict XVI’s private secretary warned of the Islamisation of Europe and stressed the need for the continent’s Christian roots not to be ignored.

“Attempts to Islamise the west cannot be denied,” Monsignor Georg Gaenswein was quoted as saying in the weekly Sueddeutsche Magazin to be published Friday.

“The danger for the identity of Europe that is connected with it should not be ignored out of a wrongly understood respectfulness,” the magazine quoted him as saying.
As Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in the Nun's Priest's Tale:
Mordre wol out, that se we day by day.
--The Nun's Priest's Tale, l. 232
While the murder of the West in Europe is not complete, it is planned. And it is obvious, and day by day becoming more so even to those who squeeze their eyes shut. If we watch we will see the knives plunge into its breast pinning Jihadist threats again and again, every day. If we refuse easy, shallow pacifism and take action, we may yet be able to save the West, even Europe.

It is good to know that the Vatican is awake. It is still the soul of Europe, and can still be its salvation.

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Blogspotting: A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver

This blog is a remarkably clear-eyed, gracious, and courageous look at the very end of ordinary human lives from the viewpoint of the men who come to pick up the pieces.

When I read an extract from this blog on The Belmont Club, my eyes grew misty and I thought intellectually about the end of life and what it means. When I clicked through and read the whole entry I teared up, then wept, then sobbed. And then I laughed, but not in relief. It didn't let up. The cycle continued. What I did may be cliched, but it is not false. That is what amazingly talented storytellers and writers do with their words when they tell the right story. The characters in these autobiographical short-short-stories have first names, or they have titles like Pardner, Part-Time Temporary Partner, Trooper, and the girl with the prom dress. But they are no less real, no less true, for that. The writer, who calls himself Ambulance Driver, is so technically proficient, his style so natural and unaffected, and he is so sure of his subject matter that the reader is immediately drawn into the stories, even the short ones. He is ready to be widely published in hardback and I expect his books to be best-sellers.

Read the comments. The Ambulance Driver's stories are so good, so powerful, that the comments draw personal stories out of readers of his site of the ends of other lives, their relatives, friends, some strangers. Some of the comments are as powerful and affecting as the stories they respond to.

I added him to my blogroll under Moral Clarity. I expect many others will add him to theirs as well.

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27 July 2007

US Government: Three Branches, Four Stooges

What Would John Wayne Do notes:
According to retired Justice Sandra Day O'Conner, the growing ignorance of the up coming generations on how our government operates will cause the problems with government to escalate in the future.

She added in her 12-minute speech that surveys have shown fewer teenagers can identify the three branches of government than can name the Three Stooges.

If more kids know the names of the Three Stooges (Larry, Curly, Moe, and Shemp) than the three branches of government then I have no problem with them calling the branches Larry, Curly, Shemp and Moe.

"How does that work, Wolf?" you ask.

Moe is the Executive because he's the leader. And he's the biggest jerk in the room whom the others are scared of.

Larry is the Judiciary because he's the one with the crazy Sandra Day O'Conner hair and the crazy Marty Feldman eyes who has secret stuff going on inside that you don't want to know. You don't want to know how the Judiciary comes up with their crazy eye-deas either.

Curly and Shemp are the Legislature because it's bicameral and there are two of them. One frightening and insane like a sinister clown (Curly, House) and one merely frightening and slow, or should I say "special" (Shemp, Senate).

Three Branches, Four Stooges. It tells you most of what you need to know about how the US government works. With the bonus being that if you start by believing that 3=4 then you can also understand how the government comes up with its budget.

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Dr Fadl, Founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, recants theological basis for Jihad

From Ian Black for the not-very-trustworthy (but I shall give it a shot, being optimistic by nature) Guardian:
In a prison cell south of Cairo a repentant Egyptian terrorist leader is putting the finishing touches to a remarkable recantation that undermines the Muslim theological basis for violent jihad and is set to generate furious controversy among former comrades still fighting with al-Qaida.

Sayid Imam al-Sharif, 57, [aka "Dr Fadl] was the founder and first emir (commander) of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organisation, whose supporters assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and later teamed up with Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan in the war against the Soviet occupation.

Sharif, a surgeon who is still known by his underground name of "Dr Fadl", is famous as the author of the Salafi jihadists' "bible" - Foundations of Preparation for Holy War. He worked with Ayman al-Zawahiri, another Egyptian doctor and now Bin Laden's deputy, before being kidnapped in Yemen after 9/11, interrogated by the CIA and extradited to Egypt where has been serving a life sentence since 2004.

Sharif recently gave an electrifying foretaste of his conversion by condemning killings on the basis of nationality and colour of skin and the targeting of women and children, citing the Qur'anic injunction: "Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress the limits; for God loveth not transgressors." Armed operations were wrong, counterproductive and must cease, he declared sternly.

Zawahiri, evidently rattled, rounded sarcastically on him in a video message broadcast after Sharif's statement - faxed from Torah prison to an Arabic newspaper - announced not only his change of heart but a book-length repudiation endorsed by hundreds of other former militants, and which is due to be published soon.

"Do they now have fax machines in Egyptian jail cells?" Zawahiri asked. "I wonder if they're connected to the same line as the electric-shock machines [used to torture prisoners]," dismissing the exercise as propaganda warfare by Hosni Mubarak's security services.

But Egyptian and western experts, government officials and former jihadis agree that Sharif's shift is both genuine and highly significant. "People will say things to stop being tortured, but this is the result of a long process of reflection and debate," insists Muntasir al-Zayyat, a lawyer jailed for Islamic Jihad membership in the 1980s. "When the book comes out there will be a furious reaction from Zawahiri and the global jihadi movement. It is clear that Sayid Imam will call a halt to killing operations in Egypt and abroad."

Diaa Rashwan, of the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, says: "I have no doubt that this is genuine. It will be a real shock and cause a lot of confusion. Jihadis will see hundreds of their former brothers criticising their most fundamental ideas. That's why Zawahiri is so bothered by it."

No one is predicting that the book will stop suicide bombings in Iraq or Afghanistan, but interest is so intense that several Arabic newspapers are competing to buy the 100-page work, entitled: Advice Regarding the Conduct of Jihadist Action in Egypt and the World.

Sharif's recantation has emerged from an Egyptian government counter-radicalisation programme which has successfully "converted" and rehabilitated members of the Gama'a Islamiyya (Islamic Group), once the largest jihadist organisation in the Arab world, and which mounted countless armed attacks starting in the 1980s until calling a ceasefire after massacring 62 foreign tourists at Luxor in 1997.

Its top ideologues, mostly now freed, have written 25 volumes of revisions in a series called Tashih al-Mafahim (Corrections of Concepts). These tackle key doctrinal issues such as the concept of "takfir" - declaring a Muslim an apostate and therefore permissible to kill; attacks on civilians and foreign tourists; and waging jihad against a Muslim ruler who does not apply sharia law.

"If you want to rob these people of their cover you have to take away their legitimacy," says Ashraf Mohsin, an Egyptian diplomat dealing with counter-terrorism. "The way to deprive them of their ability to recruit is to attack the message. If you take Islam out of the message all that is left is criminality."

Like the Gama'a before them, Sharif and other Jihad prisoners have been allowed by the interior ministry and state security to meet and consult each other in prison and have held religious dialogues with clerics from al-Azhar, the fount of mainstream jurisprudence in the Sunni world. "Of course the Egyptian government is benefiting from this," Zayyat agrees. "But it's not done for their benefit, or for the Americans."

Past "revisions" have included apologies to the victims of terror attacks, recognition of them as "martyrs", and the annulment of fatwas as misguided. But these are not an Islamist version of The God That Failed - the 1949 anthology written by disillusioned communists - but rather a reasoned rejection of theological misinterpretations. Their authors are neither secular nor liberal: their self-criticism includes observations that the wrong path to jihad benefits only the Jews, the US and Egypt's Christian minority. "The Egyptian state is holding all this out as a huge triumph," says a foreign diplomat. "But the views these people preach are still pretty sinister. The state has to some extent accommodated itself to the Islamists."

Global phenomenon Yet for Rashwan, Egypt's de-radicalisation work has helped keep violence at bay: the proof, he suggests, is that there has not been a jihadi incident in the Nile Valley since Luxor.

"Now this is a global phenomenon," says Rashwan, suggesting that an effort that emerged from Egypt's own security needs could provide lessons for others waging the battle for Muslim hearts and minds - as relevant in Luton and Lyon as in Casablanca and Kabul.

"Security measures alone cannot defeat terrorism," argues Fouad Allam, a former state security general - the guards outside his Cairo home testimony to decades spent hunting down armed Islamists. "Terrorism has to be fought with a broader strategy in which the political issues that fuel extremism are dealt with so that these sort of 'revisions' will have some effect."

On a tangent, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, also known as Tanzim, has been sponsored by the government of Sudan. I don't think there is much chance that this recantation will have much effect there. I also don't quite understand why Egypt hasn't gone to war with Sudan, for that matter. Hmmm.

Back to the matter at hand. Judging from Dr. Fadl's background (here) he first led EIJ into the Takfiri theology that allows Muslims to excommunicate other Muslims for any petty offense against Sharia and lawfully kill them in Jihad, but thought in 1990 that Dr. Zawahiri was rushing to take up arms against the Egyptian state before the ground was ready. So even in the midst of his involvement with EIJ he was seen as less bloodthirsty than Zawahiri and the other hotheads. I'm skeptical that he plans to call for an end to Jihad. More likely he is calling for a retrenchment and further preparation for Jihad, until demographic conquest can have more time to work.

We shall wait and see.
Patient as the river.

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One cannot define an Ideology by Intentions of True Believers

Over at Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin wrote a book review that turned into an exploration of the socialist basis of Hitler's Nazi party (Nazi=abbreviation for National Socialist German Worker's Party). The article is great enough, but it's the comments that really shine, with reasoned debate between socialists who deny Somin's conclusions and non-socialists who support Somin's conclusions. I wrote a comment that I think is worth reprinting here.
ATRGeek wrote at 7.24.2007 10:14am
But I would also suggest that as a general principle, it is usually best to let the proponents of an ideology define that ideology. So, for example, I think it is important that the socialist's definition of "socialism" typically emphasizes the collective ownership of the means of production, because I would suggest that we should defer to the socialist's own definition of their ideology.
I strongly disagree. We do not have to let the proponents of an ideology define it. Let's try to disprove the negative of your hypothesis with an example. There is a group of serial killers who wear pink and claim that their ideology consists of wearing pink, and that's it. They claim that serial killing is only incidental to their way of life.

Would we take their explanation seriously? The negative of your hypothesis is that we do not believe their explanation. I don't believe it. Nobody sane would. Serial killing is of much greater social weight than wardrobe choice. Negative confirmed. Therefore your proposition is proved false.

There is an old saying, perhaps you have heard it.
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Matthew 7:15-16"

We must judge ideas by their results, not by their intentions. There's another saying you may know.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The intentions of true believers are not an accurate way to describe any ideology. Only results are. And results must be measured by factual information, not by prejudice or invective.

Results testing is the nature of conservatism, to use what has been proved to work and abandon those things that don't. That's why people tend to become conservative when they reach a point in their life where they do things that are existentially meaningful, such as getting married and having children.

Results testing on socialism and its cousins communism, Maoism, and Nazism, has proved that it doesn't work, that it produces misery on a heroic scale, and in fact is the closest thing to human evil that is allowed by atheist atheology. I think that judging from the results, it's high time that socialist ideologues dropped the socialist ideology and picked one with a better track record.

Will you? How long will it take?

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26 July 2007

Blogspotting: Dissecting Leftism

John Jay Ray is a brilliant thinker and clear writer with a lot of free time on his hands, an ex-leftist sage who writes at Dissecting Leftism and a passel of other sites. Don't miss his omnibus article on The Motivations of Political Leftists. Leftists will hate him because he has their number.

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31 Great Questions and a few more

Radly Balko has a whole bunch of great questions to ask presidential candidates.
  1. A recent study found that over half the country now derives part or all of its income from the federal government. Three of the richest counties in the country are in the D.C. suburbs, a telling indicator of just how bloated with taxpayer dollars Washington has become. The federal government is today pervasive in our day-to-day lives, from cradle to grave, from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. Do you think these trends are healthy? Looking at the premise of this question, would you agree or agree federal government is getting too large, too influential, and too pervasive?
  2. The government is made up of people. Flawed people, just as the private sector is. But when private people make mistakes, the consequences are limited to them, and perhaps a few people around them. When a government official makes a mistake, it can affect millions. Isn't it better to let the American people make as many as their own decisions as possible? What makes a government bureaucrat more qualified to make decisions about the average Americans life than the average American?
  3. In the same vein, can you name five government agencies that are either superfluous, anachronistic, ineffective, or otherwise no longer necessary, and that you would eliminate? To make things interesting, let's take everything under the Department of Defense off the table, with the acknowledgment that there's plenty of cutting to be done there, too.
  4. Do you think it's appropriate for drug cops to be making medical policy?
  5. What is your philosophical approach to federalism? What issues do you feel are best decided at the national level? What issues should be left to the states? Is there any underlying principle you use in separating one from the other, or would you make such decisions ad hoc?
  6. Do you believe the U.S. military should be deployed for humanitarian missions?
  7. Do you think an atheist could be president? Do you think an atheist should be? Assuming you generally agreed with an atheist on more issues than the alternatives in a given election, would you vote for one?
  8. Name five things you think are none of the federal government's business.
  9. What is your view of the pardon power and executive clemency? Should it be used frequently? Should it be use to show mercy and forgiveness or to correct injustices that slip through the cracks? Neither? Both?
  10. Do you think the criminal justice system is adequate in its present form? Do our criminal courts achieve the just outcome in an acceptable percentage of cases?
  11. When the two are in conflict, do you believe a politician is obligated to vote for his own principles and values, or for the will of the people?
  12. Is there any type of speech you believe should be criminalized?
  13. Do you promise not to claim for yourself any of the executive powers you've criticized the Bush administration for claiming?
  14. Do you think it's appropriate that the minority party in the senate can filibuster the majority? Would your position change if your party was in the minority?
  15. What is your position on Kelo vs. New London? Under what circumstances would it be appropriate for a government to seize land from one private party and give it to another?
  16. If elected, will you fire all of the U.S. attorneys appointed by President Bush?
  17. What federal crimes will you instruct the Justice Department to make a priority during your administration?
  18. Do you think a journalist should ever be tried for treason for making public classified information?
  19. Are there any currently private industries that you believe are "too important" to be left to the private sector? Oil and gas? Health care? Google?
  20. America by far and away has the highest prison population in the world. Does this concern you? Are there any federal crimes you feel should be repealed from the books, or devolved to the states?
  21. Should violations of regulatory law be criminalized? That is, should people go to jail for violating EPA, OSHA, or other regulations? Or should they merely be fined?
  22. Would capturing Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri be a priority for your administration? How would you go about doing it?
  23. Do you believe we're winning the war on terror? Are we doing all we can be doing? Are we overreacting? What would you do differently?
  24. What's your philosophical approach to risk assessment and the precautionary principle? Do you think government should ban products, treatments, and procedures until they're proven safe, or permit them until they show signs of being unsafe?
  25. Do you think it's a legitimate function of government to protect people from making bad decisions or prevent them from developing bad habits? Even if those habit or decisions don't directly affect anyone else? How far should the government in preventing bad habits and bad decisions? In other words, should the government's role be merely advisory, or should it criminalize things like gambling, pornography, drug use, or trans fats?
  26. At what point a child's rights supercede a parent's rights? Should a Christian Science parent be allowed to deny his child basic medical treatment? Should parents be allowed to teach their children to be racist? If parents believe some vaccinations are too risky, should they be permitted to decline them for their children?
  27. Should members of Congress be required to follow all of the laws that they pass?
  28. Should members be required to read each bill before voting on it?
  29. Would you support a requirement that each law be limited in scope and subject, so members wouldn't be required to cast a single yes-or-no vote on bills that have multiple amendments covering a variety of issues?
  30. Would you support a sunset provision requiring Congress to revisit and re-pass each law after five years?
  31. Do think presidents should be term limited? What about members of Congress? If you didn't give the same answer to each question, what's the difference?

And a few more.

  1. As the purpose of PBS in the United States was to broadcast artistic and cultural programs of lasting quality that wouldn't appeal to a large enough audience to justify them for the main three networks, as most Americans now have 30, or 100, or 500 television channels to choose from with far more quality programming than is offered by PBS, and as the majority of programming on PBS is now anti-capitalist, anti-conservative commentary and repeats of BBC programs, is PBS worth keeping? If it is worth keeping, how do you propose to fix it so it isn't so egregiously biased?
  2. Public Radio features NPR, which isn't quite as leftist as Air America or MSNBC, but it also features leftist, America-bashing news features from BBC International and the Canadian CBC, and leftist entertainment such as Le Show, This American Life, and All Things Considered. As the aggregated programming of Public Radio is biased far to the left of the country's populace what would you do to remedy the situation with this network that is paid for by taxpayers?
  3. Do you believe in content monitoring or censorship on the Internet? In Magazines or Newspapers? In Books? If the answers are different, why?
  4. What concrete steps would you take to restore civility, manners, and shared Judeo-Christian moral principles to politics and public life in America? What would you do first in order to get the ball rolling?
  5. Would you support a national mission to identify and repeal bad federal, state and local laws? What criteria would you use to evaluate them for goodness or badness? A measurement of happiness and misery, enforcement costs, compliance costs, perverse side-effects? If you would not support the repeal of bad laws, why not?
  6. Do you think it is healthy for our country that the vast majority of Senators and Congressmen are lawyers who have never served in the military or any form of national service?
  7. Do you think it is healthy for our country to encourage immigrants to settle in homogeneous communities, keeping their own languages and customs and even their own family laws, and getting their news from satellite television from the countries they fled to come to America? Does this produce immigrant tribes, for want of a better word, that see their society in opposition to their country, leading inevitably to tensions, criminal activity, and civil disturbance? Does ethnicity and religion matter? What would you change about the immigration and naturalization system?
  8. When government programs were founded in order to remedy or fix a social problem, and have not succeeded or have made the problem worse, how long should they be allowed to continue before they are canceled?
  9. How do you propose to prepare Social Security to stay solvent thirty years from now, when more than a third of all Americans will be 65 or older? Will every working American be supporting one retiree on his or her own? Will you allow ordinary Americans to invest their Social Security in the same higher-yield market instruments that members of Congress and other federal employees invest their Social Security in?
  10. Is there a danger to the nation in falling fertility rates and depopulation? If women in other countries are reproducing at much higher rates, creating an expansive population pressure that must expand somewhere, won't this when coupled with falling fertility rates in America produce a flood of immigrants to America that will overwhelm our ability to assimilate them, or even to perform reasonably prudent security checks on them?
  11. Why are Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Anna Nicole Smith and other celebrity train wrecks on the news all the time? Is there something to be learned from the wall-to-wall coverage? Is there anything to be done, and if there is, what would you do?

I'm done for now. Your turn.

Update: I found more great questions at the Andrew Jacksonian Blog, Dumb Looks Still Free.

1) As President what is your Foreign Policy Goals and Objectives? Not your *programs*. Your Goals and Objectives for the Nation in Foreign Policy.

2) As President what is the role the UN will play, if any, in your view of the National Foreign Policy Objectives of the United States?

3) As President do you support the diplomatic concept of Jus ad bellum in protecting the United States?

4) As President would you use the concept known as Casus Belli to actually name activities and organizations, State based and non-State based, so as to let the world know what the interests of the United States actually are when they are put in danger?

5) As President would you ask Congress for the full and complete exercising of their War Powers so as to involve the American People in their traditional role of war making that is not via conscription?

6) As President would you please define the use and utility of Social Security that had as its main goal is to remove older workers from active working life to combat the 1930's Depression?

7) As President would you explain why it is important that drug companies make 16% or higher profits off of the US taxpayer when Federal Limits for research and development for Federal contracts places a maximum of 12% on same?

8) As President would you favor the complete withdrawal from the quagmire policy due to medical payments that threatens to eat a larger portion of the Federal Budget second only to Social Security?

9) As President would you please cite the reasoning for having the Dept. of Education when reading and cognition statistics have not changed from 1958, when Johnny couldn't read?

10) As President what is your attitude towards the Congressional infringement of the Constitutional Powers of the President in the areas of War Execution and Foreign Policy?

11) As President would you enforce all the Laws of the Land set forth by Congress and ask them to budget for such so that all Laws may be enforced?

12) As President what would be your attitude to towns, cities, counties and States that break with the Constitution in all Six Articles via their giving sanction and immunity to those breaking the Laws of the Land to come to the United States?

13) As President how would you describe illegal labor, exploited at a price set below market price with background threats to keep such labor docile?

14) As President what are your Industrial Policy Goals and Objectives?

15) As President what are your Energy Policy Goals and Objectives?

16) As President how would you describe US Federal Armed Forces put at risk via open attacks from 'neutral' countries and what the response of the United States should *be* to such attacks without reservation of *which* Nation attacks the United States?

17) As President how would you counter the moves of Hezbollah to set up in South America to recruit locals that are ethnically Hispanic or Native Americans, but aligned to Hezbollah?

18) As President what are your Taxation Policy Goals and Objectives?

19) As President what are your Armed Forces Goals and Objectives for Force size, equipment, capability, pay, and outlook?

20) As President would you view illegitimate Acts of War as merely criminal circumstances or as destructive Acts of War upon the United States?

21) As President what is your view upon the legality of the House of Representatives setting its own size in 1911?

22) As President would you favor a 'Sunset Law' for all Federal Laws, Regulations, and Programs so that each would need separate addressing for renewal after a 10 year period? 15 year period? 20 year period?

23) As President would you favor that ALL Branches of the Federal Government be put under the Freedom of Information Act?

24) As President will you sign Bills into Law in which Congress has categorically exempted themselves from such Laws?

25) As President do you favor a Dept. of Agriculture that spends most of its money on subsidies to go to farmers who cannot work crops economically or at market cost?

26) As President do you favor subsidies to large industry, large agriculture or big business? All of these being organizations that employ above the minimal set Federal Standard for a small business.

27) As President what are your Business Policy Goals and Objectives?

28) As President you will need to address Armed Forces attacking from the South. Will you allow NORTHCOM to address such attacks so as to end them?

29) As President how do you view the Congressional expansion of Powers in the areas of interstate trade and commerce?

30) As the War on Drugs has been going on since the 1970's and has been continually escalated with minimal Congressional Oversight, as President would you be willing to declare the Nation defeated in this War?

31) As President would you offer legislation to bring all Patents and Copyrights back to the original terms set by the First Congress?

32) As President would you move the State Department to a pure merit pay, merit promotion and one year review of all Personnel in the Civil Service?

33) As President and witnessing any 20 year period of NASA against the general aviation industry, what would be your Space Policy for the Union?

34) As President would you favor opening the non-discriminatory Federal Employee Health System and Thrift Savings Plan System to the General Public?

35) As President what is your general policy for Tariffs?

36) As President what is your view on the concept of Free Trade as it is applied to Nations that have acted in a hostile manner towards the United States?

37) As President what is your Free Trade policy that will ensure that such trade does not empower State based and non-State based terrorist activities?

38) As President what is you Monetary Policy Goals and Objectives?

39) As President would you support 'The Monroe Doctrine'?

40) As President would you allow the spending of Federal Funds that have *not* been put on your desk for signatory approval for spending via the budget?

41) As President how would you address the long-term disaster needs of the United States for infrastructure and survival given such things as: Yellowstone Caldera events, Mid-Continental Earthquakes along the Mississippi basin, Atlantic tsunami threats from the Canary Islands or other volcanic islands, Cascadia large scale and magnitude earthquake and tsunami running from Northern California to Southern Alaska, large magnitude earthquakes in the Los Angeles to San Francisco regions.

42) As President would you support moving the Combat Air Support mission back to the Army and give the Air Force capability for construction of manned, permanent space based systems for continuous C4I?

43) As President would you support pushing new, modular ships so that the Navy may quickly refit such ships for ever changing roles in the future?

44) As President, if Congress does *not* give money for the full and complete enforcement of all the Laws that they have passed and Presidents have signed, would you then ask for the Congressional ordering of which Laws should be enforced?

45) As President you will find a backlog of letters and documents in the State Department from various organizations that have Declared War upon the United States, and other Departments may also have similar. Given 9/11 are you prepared to accept that these may no longer be idle threats?

46) As President what are your Goals and Objectives for the Intelligence Communities across the entire Federal Government?

47) As President you are to defend the Union against attacks which also includes that of infectious diseases. Would you support moving that role to the Department of Defense?

48) As President do you support the slow increase of the US Federal Armed Forces so as to address Nations that have hostile designs against the United States?

49) As President do you support the drafting of War Powers from Congress so as to involve the Citizenry via Warrants and Commissions to carry out missions to halt all commerce with enemies of the United States and give reprisals unto them?

50) As President would you be willing to read the Constitution out to the Public once per year so that it may be heard and the People reminded of it?

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25 July 2007

Text of George W. Bush Speech 7/24/2007

From Pajamas Media

Nearly six years after the 9/11 attacks, America remains a nation at war. The terrorist network that attacked us that day is determined to strike our country again, and we must do everything in our power to stop them. A key lesson of September the 11th is that the best way to protect America is to go on the offense, to fight the terrorists overseas so we don’t have to face them here at home. And that is exactly what our men and women in uniform are doing across the world.

The key theater in this global war is Iraq. Our troops are serving bravely in that country. They’re opposing ruthless enemies, and no enemy is more ruthless in Iraq than al Qaeda. They send suicide bombers into crowded markets; they behead innocent captives and they murder American troops. They want to bring down Iraq’s democracy so they can use that nation as a terrorist safe haven for attacks against our country. So our troops are standing strong with nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for a future of peace, and they so for the security of Iraq and the safety of American citizens.

There’s a debate in Washington about Iraq, and nothing wrong with a healthy debate. There’s also a debate about al Qaeda’s role in Iraq. Some say that Iraq is not part of the broader war on terror. They complain when I say that the al Qaeda terrorists we face in Iraq are part of the same enemy that attacked us on September the 11th, 2001. They claim that the organization called al Qaeda in Iraq is an Iraqi phenomenon, that it’s independent of Osama bin Laden and that it’s not interested in attacking America.

That would be news to Osama bin Laden. He’s proclaimed that the “third world war is raging in Iraq.” Osama bin Laden says, “The war is for you or for us to win. If we win it, it means your defeat and disgrace forever.” I say that there will be a big defeat in Iraq and it will be the defeat of al Qaeda.

Today I will consider the arguments of those who say that al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq are separate entities. I will explain why they are both part of the same terrorist network — and why they are dangerous to our country.

A good place to start is with some basic facts: Al Qaeda in Iraq was founded by a Jordanian terrorist, not an Iraqi. His name was Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Before 9/11, he ran a terrorist camp in Afghanistan. He was not yet a member of al Qaida, but our intelligence community reports that he had longstanding relations with senior al Qaida leaders, that he had met with Osama bin Laden and his chief deputy, Zawahiri.

In 2001, coalition forces destroyed Zarqawi’s Afghan training camp, and he fled the country and he went to Iraq, where he set up operations with terrorist associates long before the arrival of coalition forces. In the violence and instability following Saddam’s fall, Zarqawi was able to expand dramatically the size, scope, and lethality of his operation. In 2004, Zarqawi and his terrorist group formally joined al Qaida, pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden, and he promised to “follow his orders in jihad.”

Soon after, bin Laden publicly declared that Zarqawi was the “Prince of Al Qaida in Iraq” — and instructed terrorists in Iraq to “listen to him and obey him.” It’s hard to argue that al Qaida in Iraq is separate from bin Laden’s al Qaida, when the leader of al Qaida in Iraq took an oath of allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

According to our intelligence community, the Zarqawi-bin Laden merger gave al Qaida in Iraq — quote — “prestige among potential recruits and financiers.” The merger also gave al Qaida’s senior leadership — quote — “a foothold in Iraq to extend its geographic presence … to plot external operations … and to tout the centrality of the jihad in Iraq to solicit direct monetary support elsewhere.” The merger between al Qaida and its Iraqi affiliate is an alliance of killers — and that is why the finest military in the world is on their trail.

Zarqawi was killed by U.S. forces in June 2006. He was replaced by another foreigner — an Egyptian named Abu Ayyub al-Masri. His ties to the al Qaida senior leadership are deep and longstanding. He has collaborated with Zawahiri for more than two decades. And before 9/11, he spent time with al Qaida in Afghanistan where he taught classes indoctrinating others in al Qaida’s radical ideology.

After Abu Ayyub took over al Qaida’s Iraqi operations last year, Osama bin Laden sent a terrorist leader named Abd al-Hadi al Iraqi to help him. According to our intelligence community, this man was a senior advisor to bin Laden, who served as his top commander in Afghanistan. Abd al-Hadi never made it to Iraq. He was captured, and was recently transferred to the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. The fact that bin Laden risked sending one of his most valued commanders to Iraq shows the importance he places on success of al Qaida’s Iraqi operations.

According to our intelligence community, many of al Qaida in Iraq’s other senior leaders are also foreign terrorists. They include a Syrian who is al Qaida in Iraq’s emir in Baghdad, a Saudi who is al Qaida in Iraq’s top spiritual and legal advisor, an Egyptian who fought in Afghanistan in the 1990s and who has met with Osama bin Laden, a Tunisian who we believe plays a key role in managing foreign fighters. Last month in Iraq, we killed a senior al Qaida facilitator named Mehmet Yilmaz, a Turkish national who fought with al Qaida in Afghanistan, and met with September the 11th mastermind Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, and other senior al Qaida leaders.

A few weeks ago, we captured a senior al Qaida in Iraq leader named Mashadani. Now, this terrorist is an Iraqi. In fact, he was the highest ranking Iraqi in the organization. Here’s what he said, here’s what he told us: The foreign leaders of Al Qaida in Iraq went to extraordinary lengths to promote the fiction that al Qaida in Iraq is an Iraqi-led operation. He says al Qaida even created a figurehead whom they named Omar al-Baghdadi. The purpose was to make Iraqi fighters believe they were following the orders of an Iraqi instead of a foreigner. Yet once in custody, Mashadani revealed that al-Baghdadi is only an actor. He confirmed our intelligence that foreigners are at the top echelons of al Qaida in Iraq — they are the leaders — and that foreign leaders make most of the operational decisions, not Iraqis.

Foreign terrorists also account for most of the suicide bombings in Iraq. Our military estimates that between 80 and 90 percent of suicide attacks in Iraq are carried out by foreign-born al Qaida terrorists. It’s true that today most of al Qaida in Iraq’s rank and file fighters and some of its leadership are Iraqi. But to focus exclusively on this single fact is to ignore the larger truth: Al Qaida in Iraq is a group founded by foreign terrorists, led largely by foreign terrorists, and loyal to a foreign terrorist leader — Osama bin Laden. They know they’re al Qaida. The Iraqi people know they are al Qaida. People across the Muslim world know they are al Qaida. And there’s a good reason they are called al Qaida in Iraq: They are al Qaida … in … Iraq.

Some also assert that al Qaida in Iraq is a separate organization because al Qaida’s central command lacks full operational control over it. This argument reveals a lack of understanding. Here is how al Qaida’s global terrorist network actually operates. Al Qaida and its affiliate organizations are a loose network of terrorist groups that are united by a common ideology and shared objectives, and have differing levels of collaboration with the al Qaida senior leadership. In some cases, these groups have formally merged into al Qaida and take what is called a “bayaat” — a pledge of loyalty to Osama bin Laden. In other cases, organizations are not formally merged with al Qaida, but collaborate closely with al Qaida leaders to plot attacks and advance their shared ideology. In still other cases, there are small cells of terrorists that are not part of al Qaida or any other broader terrorist group, but maintain contact with al Qaida leaders and are inspired by its ideology to conduct attacks.

Our intelligence community assesses that al Qaida in Iraq falls into the first of these categories. They are a full member of the al Qaida terrorist network. The al Qaida leadership provides strategic guidance to their Iraqi operatives. Even so, there have been disagreements — important disagreements — between the leaders, Osama bin Laden and their Iraqi counterparts, including Zawahiri’s criticism of Zarqawi’s relentless attacks on the Shia. But our intelligence community reports that al Qaida’s senior leaders generally defer to their Iraqi-based commanders when it comes to internal operations, because distance and security concerns preclude day-to-day command authority.

Our intelligence community concludes that — quote — “Al Qaida and its regional node in Iraq are united in their overarching strategy.” And they say that al Qaida senior leaders and their operatives in Iraq — quote — “see al Qaida in Iraq as part of al Qaida’s decentralized chain of command, not as a separate group.”

Here’s the bottom line: Al Qaida in Iraq is run by foreign leaders loyal to Osama bin Laden. Like bin Laden, they are cold-blooded killers who murder the innocent to achieve al Qaida’s political objectives. Yet despite all the evidence, some will tell you that al Qaida in Iraq is not really al Qaida — and not really a threat to America. Well, that’s like watching a man walk into a bank with a mask and a gun, and saying he’s probably just there to cash a check.

You might wonder why some in Washington insist on making this distinction about the enemy in Iraq. It’s because they know that if they can convince America we’re not fighting bin Laden’s al Qaida there, they can paint the battle in Iraq as a distraction from the real war on terror. If we’re not fighting bin Laden’s al Qaida, they can argue that our nation can pull out of Iraq and not undermine our efforts in the war on terror. The problem they have is with the facts. We are fighting bin Laden’s al Qaida in Iraq; Iraq is central to the war on terror; and against this enemy, America can accept nothing less than complete victory.

There are others who accept that al Qaida is operating in Iraq, but say its role is overstated. Al Qaida is one of the several Sunni jihadist groups in Iraq. But our intelligence community believes that al Qaida is the most dangerous of these Sunni jihadist groups for several reasons: First, more than any other group, al Qaida is behind most of the spectacular, high-casualty attacks that you see on your TV screens.

Second, these al Qaida attacks are designed to accelerate sectarian violence, by attacking Shia in hopes of sparking reprisal attacks that inspire Sunnis to join al Qaida’s cause.

Third, al Qaida is the only jihadist group in Iraq with stated ambitions to make the country a base for attacks outside Iraq. For example, al Qaida in Iraq dispatched terrorists who bombed a wedding reception in Jordan. In another case, they sent operatives to Jordan where they attempted to launch a rocket attack on U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea.

And most important for the people who wonder if the fight in Iraq is worth it, al Qaida in Iraq shares Osama bin Laden’s goal of making Iraq a base for its radical Islamic empire, and using it as a safe haven for attacks on America. That is why our intelligence community reports — and I quote — “compared with [other leading Sunni jihadist groups], al Qaida in Iraq stands out for its extremism, unmatched operational strength, foreign leadership, and determination to take the jihad beyond Iraq’s borders.”

Our top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, has said that al Qaida is “public enemy number one” in Iraq. Fellow citizens, these people have sworn allegiance to the man who ordered the death of nearly 3,000 people on our soil. Al Qaida is public enemy number one for the Iraqi people; al Qaida is public enemy number one for the American people. And that is why, for the security of our country, we will stay on the hunt, we’ll deny them safe haven, and we will defeat them where they have made their stand.

Some note that al Qaida in Iraq did not exist until the U.S. invasion — and argue that it is a problem of our own making. The argument follows the flawed logic that terrorism is caused by American actions. Iraq is not the reason that the terrorists are at war with us. We were not in Iraq when the terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. We were not in Iraq when they attacked our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. We were not in Iraq when they attacked the USS Cole in 2000. And we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001.

Our action to remove Saddam Hussein did not start the terrorist violence — and America withdrawal from Iraq would not end it. The al Qaida terrorists now blowing themselves up in Iraq are dedicated extremists who have made killing the innocent the calling of their lives. They are part of a network that has murdered men, women, and children in London and Madrid; slaughtered fellow Muslims in Istanbul and Casablanca, Riyadh, Jakarta, and elsewhere around the world. If we were not fighting these al Qaida extremists and terrorists in Iraq, they would not be leading productive lives of service and charity. Most would be trying to kill Americans and other civilians elsewhere — in Afghanistan, or other foreign capitals, or on the streets of our own cities.

Al Qaida is in Iraq — and they’re there for a reason. And surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaida would be a disaster for our country. We know their intentions. Hear the words of al Qaida’s top commander in Iraq when he issued an audio statement in which he said he will not rest until he has attacked our nation’s capital. If we were to cede Iraq to men like this, we would leave them free to operate from a safe haven which they could use to launch new attacks on our country. And al Qaida would gain prestige amongst the extremists across the Muslim world as the terrorist network that faced down America and forced us into retreat.

If we were to allow this to happen, sectarian violence in Iraq could increase dramatically, raising the prospect of mass casualties. Fighting could engulf the entire region in chaos, and we would soon face a Middle East dominated by Islamic extremists who would pursue nuclear weapons, and use their control of oil for economic blackmail or to fund new attacks on our nation.

We’ve already seen how al Qaida used a failed state thousands of miles from our shores to bring death and destruction to the streets of our cities — and we must not allow them to do so again. So, however difficult the fight is in Iraq, we must win it. And we can win it.

Less than a year ago, Anbar Province was al Qaida’s base in Iraq and was written off by many as lost. Since then, U.S. and Iraqi forces have teamed with Sunni sheiks who have turned against al Qaida. Hundreds have been killed or captured. Terrorists have been driven from most of the population centers. Our troops are now working to replicate the success in Anbar in other parts of the country. Our brave men and women are taking risks, and they’re showing courage, and we’re making progress.

For the security of our citizens, and the peace of the world, we must give General Petraeus and his troops the time and resources they need, so they can defeat al Qaida in Iraq.

Thanks for letting me come by today. I’ve explained the connection between al Qaida and its Iraqi affiliate. I presented intelligence that clearly establishes this connection. The facts are that al Qaida terrorists killed Americans on 9/11, they’re fighting us in Iraq and across the world, and they are plotting to kill Americans here at home again. Those who justify withdrawing our troops from Iraq by denying the threat of al Qaida in Iraq and its ties to Osama bin Laden ignore the clear consequences of such a retreat. If we were to follow their advice, it would be dangerous for the world — and disastrous for America. We will defeat al Qaida in Iraq.

In this effort, we’re counting on the brave men and women represented in this room. Every man and woman who serves at this base and around the world is playing a vital role in this war on terror. With your selfless spirit and devotion to duty, we will confront this mortal threat to our country — and we’re going to prevail.

I have confidence in our country, and I have faith in our cause, because I know the character of the men and women gathered before me. I thank you for your patriotism; I thank you for your courage. You’re living up to your motto: “one family, one mission, one fight.” Thank you for all you do. God bless your families. God bless America.

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23 July 2007

Don't Call it a Comeback!

I have been posting primarily at WordPress for a while for various reasons. And now ScribeFire finally is good enough at what it does to allow me to easily post to both Blogger and WordPress platforms without doing any extra work. Read one or the other or both! Read them all twice!

Comments are still only at WordPress.

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Word Up!

Myron Magnet writes an article for the ages, a classic, a must read on the dysfunctional, welfare-dependent urban culture of America's self-selecting permanent black underclass at the City Journal.
Wynton Marsalis’s scathing critique of rap understands how hip-hop relates to the larger problem. Leaving aside the lyrics, rap is musically “ignorant,” Marsalis says. “Rhythms have to have a meaning. If the rhythm is corrupt, the music is corrupt and the people become corrupt.” (And, one might add, rap also subverts music’s aim of creating a realm of harmony and beauty.) As for the lyrics, Marsalis says, “I call it ‘ghetto minstrelsy.’ Old-school minstrels used to say they were ‘real darkies from the real plantation.’ Hip-hop substitutes the streets for the plantation.” In its conception of black authenticity, rap perfectly embodies the cultural tragedy of the ghetto underclass. As Marsalis puts it in the title of a 2006 song, when you look at the underclass, it seems that all the progress blacks have made is to go “from the plantation to the penitentiary” and to be, as the song puts it, “in the heart of freedom . . . in chains.”

Those chains are not only the chains that bind prisoners but also what the poet William Blake called “mind forg’d manacles”—beliefs, attitudes, and habits of feeling that imprison you even when you are outwardly free. For the underclass, those manacles are the beliefs that they’re victims, that they’re entitled to be angry and resentful, that the law is an oppression, that the larger community owes them a living, that education is useless, that sex is without responsibility or even emotion, that they’re not responsible for supporting and nurturing their children, and that because they’re victims they never need to be ashamed of anything they do.

The most positive development I know came when Bill Cosby addressed the NAACP on the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision and spoke the truth that people like Jesse Jackson, glaring at him from the next chair, try to suppress and stigmatize as racist. “The lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal,” Cosby said. “In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on. . . . People in jail, and women having children by five, six different men. . . . We’ve got to take the neighborhood back. . . . It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing . . . . All of these people . . . they’ve got to be wondering what the hell happened. Brown v. Board of Education—these people who marched and were hit in the face with rocks and punched in the face to get an education, and we got these knuckleheads walking around who don’t want to learn English. . . . Well, Brown v. Board of Education, where are we today? . . . What did we do with it? . . . . Fifty percent drop out—rest of them in prison. . . . You have the pileup of these sweet beautiful things born by nature—raised by no one.”

Blacks need to heed this message, and whites need to stop telling them anything different.

Read it all!

H/T: Real Clear Politics

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Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.

                Matthew 7:15-16