Saturday, September 30, 2006

Cinema Owner Closes Over `Jackass 2'

'The movies are so bad and I don't need the money ... I just didn't think I should use my high-quality facilities to show people vomiting on screen,' said Boardman, whose theaters boast a high-tech, eight- channel digital sound system.

Kudos to this guy - and no this is not censorship - this guy owns his theater, he has the right to show what ever he pleases. Anyone that cannot get that fact is a mere crybaby and probably a socialist as well.

Just think for a moment about all the bathroom humor, stupid people pranks and generally low-brow junk included in almost every movie that comes out. I am not talking about morally reprehensible stuff, I am merely referring to movies that show characters with absolutely no home training. Is this what we are as a society and a culture? Call me prude but my mama taught me that there are simply some things that decent people do not do or discuss in public.

Blogged at HolyCoast

Re: Down By The River (or up the creek)

This reminds me of a piece I read the other day and forgot to bookmark. The author of the piece in question made the argument that the GOP is filled with as many perverts, criminals, and general no-goods as the Democratic party. The real difference, the thing that makes the failings of the GOP so much worse is that it is these people that claim the title of conservatives. It is the GOP that claims to stand for traditional values, family values. A criminal is reprehensible, a hypocritical criminal in unconscionable.

The GOP expects, and gets, the unquestioned support of millions of "Christians" across the land. You just have to ask yourself when you look around and see the wars, greed, lies and perversion that goes on under Republican control and leadership just who are these "Christians", what do they really hold dear and what is the difference between the party they vote for and the one they vote against.

I say one difference is the level of hypocrisy. It is really time for a new solution, neither party offers a solution.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Liberty Cried its Last Breath

"Give me Liberty or give me death," Was the rally cry,
The meaning it implied united a people,
A people who arose,
A people who suceeded,
On the day of 1776, Liberty was born
For many years the name of Liberty thrived,

Then one day on a horrible act Liberty was wounded.
When an act of pure evil struck the nation's heart.

There are always those who prey on disaster.
While Liberty was wounded afraid of those Bastards
The evil men snuck up and stabbed it in the back.
"To protect the people, Liberty must be sent away"
"We like our Liberty, why must it go?" many shouted in fear.
"It's the terrorists fault vote for us some more"
Meekly they did, yet nothing was done.
The evil men were happy, money was to be won.

Soon some will demand "Why can't you see reason?"
The evil men will reply "You are speaking Treason!"
"Away you shall go and away you shall stay."
"Have fun living in Guantanamo Bay!"
In the end there was silence, no one spoke up.
And in the silence... Liberty cried on its last breath...

Poem by this guy (a gamer no less it seems)

House passes warrantless domestic spying measure

The House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would provide congressional authorization for President George W. Bush's warrantless domestic spying program but subject it to new rules....

Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, charged: "Hidden in the fine print are provisions which grant the administration authority to maintain permanent records on innocent U.S. citizens, granting the administration new authority to demand personal records without court review, and terminating any and all legal challenges to unlawful wiretapping."

It matters not if you are a Republican or Democrat - it took lackeys and criminals from both parties to make this a reality - you have a lot to be proud of. This is criminal and treasonous behavior and an utterly despicable piece of legislation.

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin, 1759

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain

What is Left? What is Right?

Dr. Clyde Wilson
The terms "liberal" and "conservative" were usable signs in a society in which the state was governed by politics. They are of little use in the 21st-century United States because "politics" no longer plays any significant role in governance.

In a dynamic and free republican society, citizens of similar ideas, values, and interests, and even inherited allegiances and inclinations, come together to seek representation, forming political parties as their vehicle in the contest with citizens of opposing tendencies. (In addition, in the United States, political representation has been geographically based rather than strictly a matter of parties.) Citizenship - participation in politics - assumes mental and material independence and a social identity pre-existing the state apparatus. None of these preconditions for politics any longer characterize the American regime. Read More....
Dr. Wilson (a professor of History in my home state of SC) hits the nail on the head in relation to the demise of our political system. Ours is but a shell of what was intended. Aaron Russo echoes this point in this video clip - he discusses in one section of this interview the fact that although a guy like Michael Moore had some of the truth in Fahrenheit 9/11 he completely missed the boat by following a failed Republican vs. Democrat approach.

There is really but little difference in the two major parties - the difference is superficial - where does one party want to tax and spend our money, what law does one want passed to interfere in our life versus the law the other party wants. Bottom line, both major parties are for taking your money, expanding government and making laws that tell you what to do. They differ only in what areas they think are important, they completely agree on the fundamentals.

Without choice and options a real representative politcal system does not exist.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Antifederalists Were Right - Mises Institute

Gary Galles:
September 27 marks the anniversary of the publication of the first of the Antifederalist Papers in 1789. The Antifederalists were opponents of ratifying the US Constitution. They feared that it would create an overbearing central government, while the Constitution's proponents promised that this would not happen. As the losers in that debate, they are largely overlooked today. But that does not mean they were wrong or that we are not indebted to them.
Much maligned and forever misunderstood the “antifederalist” were indeed the real federalists and the “federalists” it seems were only just nationalists in disguise. The Federalist Papers were undoubtedly the best piece of political propaganda ever written. They were well put together, appealed to men of learning and knowledge but were within the grasp of the ordinary man.

Read this piece it is good.

Here is a blogger dedicated to antifederalism.

The Capitol

Our glorious capitol...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Textbook Definition of Cowardice

Keith Olbermann is a fellow I have never paid much attention to. This is the second video commentary I have posted recently - both are must-sees.

I am not so certain Clinton really tried anything of importance but he and Olbermann have it right that Bush was blind and stupid before and after 9/11.

This is a must-see simply for two reasons: 1) The left has some of the truth about the failures of the right; 2) This clearly shows how the left still has it completely wrong in most other areas. All this "left/right" nonsense and partisanship serves only to cloud the real problem, that being we have no real leaders of worth.

BTW - hate the Lincoln quote.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Coming to the Truth

La Shawn Barber
It saddens me to say this, but my support for the war in Iraq has waned since I realized the Bush Administration has no intention of enforcing immigration law. I'm not a pacifist. I believe that war is a necessary evil, and freedom is worth dying for. But the so-called war on terror is undermined by our failure to secure our borders. I have problems with Americans dying abroad for the cause, while Islamofascists are using our lax enforcement and bone-headed PC
tentativeness against us at home.

La Shawn is a good girl from South Carolina. I am from SC and think of myself as a good boy. It seems that maybe she is coming around to my worldview (not a result of any influence of mine).

The Pot and the Kettle

Has anyone else found this entire espisode humorous? It was good to see ol' Slick Willie get flustered. See the video here if you missed it.

Of course Condi and crowd could not resist the mudslinging.


Sunday, September 24, 2006


I generally do not do movie reviews, this is not a movie review per se. The fact is one of the few benefits, if you can call it that, of being stationed in Korea is that I get free admission to movies. My wife and I generally make a date of it each weekend; we see whatever they show (good, bad or ugly).

This weekend we saw Idiocracy - it was bad and ugly. However the concept behind the not so humorous comedy is relevant. The setting is a world far into the future; a world where the population consists of the best breeders as opposed to the fittest. In this world ordinary language has been replaced by an amalgamation of street, thug and hillbilly-speak. The popular culture is best described as a mesh of the worst from professional wrestling, NASCAR, MTV and fast food. In the movie a very ordinary Joe, transported to this world by accident, finds it difficult to even communicate – his ordinary words seem pretentious and ancient.

The idea of a future full of idiots is long overdue, and Judge’s film explains the dumbing down of our culture through both hilarious narration and accompanying visual gags. Given the idiotic course that modern culture seems to be taking and the fact that we’ve evolved beyond natural selection, Judge suggests that it’s only a matter of time before such conventions as proper grammar, reading and writing are derided for being “faggy” and the meek-brained inherit the earth. - Cracked Review

In March of 2005 I came across a study that compared global IQ in 1950 to projected levels out to 2050. In 1950 the global mean IQ was 91.64; by 2005 this had fallen to 88.88. Why? It is simple, the world population is increasing but it is not the most intelligent of our species making most of the babies. I wrote a piece in May theorizing why this is the case.

In fact, unfortunately for mankind, most highly intelligent people have few children, some none at all. Our only predator is other men; every thing we require is easily obtained, this is relatively true even in the poorest conditions. Life is seldom brutish, nasty and short in industrialized nations and even in poor underdeveloped nations survival is not unobtainable. In fact, the populations of some of the poorest nations have exploded.

Consider the welfare mom - society enables the survival of her and her brood. We actually provide more benefits for producing more children. (do not comment that I hate all welfare recipients, it is possible some are in that condition because of no fault of their own).

Here is the real deal, if the lowest among us continue to breed like proverbial rabbits, if we continue to accept trash and garbage passed off as art and entertainment, if we continue to allow our language to degenerate in to single syllable utterances we will find ourselves in a world very similar to the Idiocracy described in the ignorant movie I saw this weekend.

Don’t see the movie!!! Spend the 120 minutes reading a book or talking to someone about something important – better yet, if you are not stupid, make love to your wife or husband, make more smart babies and raise them to be cultured, educated people.

; ; ; ;

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Chicken in Every Pot and a Gun in Every Home

Boise, Idaho News:
Greenleaf -- All Americans have the right to bear arms. Some towns have even gone as far as to require each household to have a gun. Now a small Idaho town is contemplating a similar idea-- it's called the Civil Emergencies Ordinance. And although gun ownership is just one piece of this ordinance, it's the part that's getting the most attention.

Personally I connot imagine why every responsible American does not own a firearm, but I suppose that is a personal preference and I can understand why some folks would not. This seems like a good ordinance for a small country town faced with the threat of urban sprawl.

The proposed ordinance is modeled after a similar plan that went into place in 1982 in Kennesaw, Ga. In that instance there was a dramatic decrease in criminal activity. Although crime isn't a huge problem for residents of Greenleaf, the growth in neighboring counties leads them to believe they too are in for some changes.

Yes Horace, guns really do deter crime! My idea of gun control has always been hitting exactly what you aim at. My idea of gun safety is always knowing where your round is (in the chamber, in the magazine or in the target).


Friday, September 22, 2006

News Round-up

BOSTON (Reuters)

Graduate business students in the United States and Canada are more likely to cheat on their work than their counterparts in other academic fields, the author of a research paper said on Wednesday.
Just "good" ol' yankee mercantilism gone too far in our culture of greed and avarice.

NEW DELHI (Reuters)

India does not want waif-like young women sashaying down the catwalk and acting as role models for thousands of girls who are starving themselves to get svelte figures, the Indian health minister said.
First Spain, now India - healthy chicks of the world unite, the day of the waif has passed.


The Bush administration emptied its CIA prisons and transferred top terrorism suspects to Guantanamo Bay partly because CIA officers refused to carry out interrogations, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.
This is certainly news of the most interesting sort. Nobody has ever accused or expected spys ot have more scruples than military folks but apparently they do.


President George W. Bush said on Wednesday if he had firm intelligence that Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan, he would issue the order to go into that country after the al Qaeda leader.
So here we have it - Pakistan went out on a limb and supported the US invasion of Afghanistan (risking social chaos, civil war and possible jihad). Since the invasion Pakistan has made a good faith effort to find Taliban within its borders. All of that seems not good enough. Now GW threatens to violate the sovereignty of this nation that has only acted the part of the ally. It is not good to be friends with the neoconservatives.

The White House and dissenting GOP senators settled a disagreement Thursday on a bill setting out procedures for interrogating terror suspects and trying them in front of military tribunals.

From Ken Grandlund concerning the above

So much of what we’ve seen goes against all that America has historically stood for. So I must ask those who support this president and his policies, in the wake of condoning and, in some cases, embracing the practice of torture, Where Will The Line Be Drawn?

; ; ;


Here is a video showing kids worshiping before a cardboard cutout of Dub-yuh. Modern church liturgy is drenched in idolatry. While this is certainly a bit far fetched for most services in general (except on perhaps July 4, the most holy day of America-worshipers) I believe it is idolatry to even have a flag in the sanctuary, let alone tailor ones service to "America this" and "America that." This is frighting.

Yes, the anchor interviews a pinko-commie feminist which preserves the lie that one either belongs to group A or to group B when in reality, both groups are built on opposite ends of the same neo-Marxist statist ideology. The church has become politicized to the point that it's only power as a change agent will lie in coercion through the political sphere, not through the Gospel of Christ.

I am not disagreeing that abortion should be outlawed nor am I condoning sodomite couplings. However, the only solutions that the church offers are political through more government regulation when government intervention is part of the problem. What most fail to recognize is that sodomite couplings didn't arive overnight - the problem is not as simplistic as some make it out to be (i.e. simplistic inasmuch as a law prohibiting sodomite couplings will solve the problem). The time for self determination is now...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tariffs Are Bad

Update 12 November - Did I actually write the post below? Tariffs are not always bad, I have to post a piece on this, in summary if a tariff protects traditional culture (not bad or outdated practices) then the tariff is good

UT Diary

We pay our military to fight Islamofacism, and we pay the Middle East to fund terrorism. How we can stop terrorism and dictatorships: stop buying oil.

This is in response to an Op/Ed by Thomas Friedman. He makes a good argument that libertarians understand - tariffs are a BAD thing. Mankiw seems to agree.

From the Op/Ed

Thanks to pressure from Midwest farmers and agribusinesses, who want to protect the U.S. corn ethanol industry from competition from Brazilian sugar ethanol, we have imposed a stiff tariff to keep it out. We do this even though Brazilian sugar ethanol provides eight times the energy of the fossil fuel used to make it, while American corn ethanol provides only 1.3 times the energy of the fossil fuel used to make it. We do this even though sugar ethanol reduces greenhouses gases more than corn ethanol. And we do this even though sugar cane ethanol can easily be grown in poor tropical countries in Africa or the Caribbean, and could actually help alleviate their poverty.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI

Justin Raimondo thinks maybe the Pope is right on: "Benedict XVI is blunter and more assertive than his predecessor, and if I were a practicing Catholic - which I am not - I would be glad of it. In an era dominated by relativism and political correctness, where all religions are supposedly equal and truth is a matter of opinion (usually someone else's), it is refreshing to see someone uphold what they believe and defend it against all comers. "

I too find something interesting in this Pope.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cultural Relativism and Cultural War

All this talk of Cultural War on the blogsphere and elsewhere reminds me of the specific reasons I dislike Friedrich Nietzsche. He would have us believe that there are no universal truths, that great thinkers of the past are merely representatives of thought at their time and their place. Folks that adhere to this view are strict cultural relativist and believe that morality simply cannot be attached to the acts and beliefs of another while looking through the glasses of one’s own time and culture.

I do not particularly like Nietzsche and I am not a strict relativist but I do not completely disagree with him or the concept. I believe that ultimate and universal truths do exist; I believe good and evil exist. However, these truths are broad and general and applied in different flavors throughout history and across cultures.

There are a few major problems with the notion of a cultural war of good versus evil. First there is the very blatant omission of the failings and evils of one’s own culture. Second there is the carte blanche application of one’s own coloring of universal truths onto the interpretation of another culture.

It is simple, some things are just wrong and all men ought to know it. Other things are less absolute and subject to interpretation. The current dialogue in the US concerning this supposed cultural war with the East also missed another key point; Culture in the US is not homogeneous, no matter what melting pot propaganda the government schools try to preach.

John Dolan wrote piece on the entire issue of cultural relativism as it applies to the current world situation. He gets it right in several places; he also gets it wrong in numerous points (his commenters do a fair job of correcting the stray logic).

Speaking of Pilgrims without God (I wrote in the past of the legacy of the New England Unitarians and their transformation from theological tyrants into capitalist/socialist tyrants and that influence on American history and development) Dolon says:

Indeed, the evangelical mullahs' position is actually more intellectually rigorous, if you grant its starting point of divine sanction. The godless Protestant progressives of places like Berkeley lack any such foundation; theirs is an ideology rooted in a few seedy cafes near the Fine Arts building. It's no wonder that Kansas prefers the evangelicals' simple, consistent bigotry to this sub-Unitarian muddle. If we actually apply a cultural-relativist perspective to the conflict between "liberal" academics and "conservative" Christian militarists in America, it's easy to see that we're simply watching a replay of the old quarrel between the two most aggressive groups in Anglophone America: the Scots-Irish Presbyterians who settled the South, and the New Englanders whose Protestantism was always veering off into semisecular intellectual quibbles. Both are missionary groups extremely popular with themselves and willing to bring the rest of the world to heel by military force. Neither has even a taint of cultural relativism. It's just that their blood rage is stimulated by slightly different triggers, the Scots-Irish by the very existence of heathens and the New Englanders by offenses against what they imagine to be a
universal moral code.

As repulsive as his statement above might be there is truth there. The neoconservatives whose ideological base rests firmly in the halls of academia and the “reformed” liberals of progressive conservatism not only need but must have the simple, fiery, militant support of the Scots-Irish, it is from this group that the subgroup of modern evangelicals springs (the core of GOP support). Of course not all of us are neoconservative dupes!

The very base of the problem with any argument that our way of life, our culture and our morality is superior to and therefore worth fighting for is that it ignores our own faults. The leadership of this crusade are ideological descendants of the very worst ideas America has produced. The foot soldiers are the most dedicated of sorts, always willing to fight at the drop of a hat for perceived wrongs. This is a dangerous concoction and a formula for disaster.

I say simply this and I will leave the subject alone for a while. We need new leadership if we are going to engage in a cultural war, leadership that will first examine what we are fighting for, if it is for the right to have a Wal-Mart on every corner and mega-corporations in charge of almost everything then this is not a just fight. This is not even what most ordinary folks that vote GOP want. Most are simple men with simple dreams and passionate desires for ordinary things. If we are to fight a cultural war it ought to begin at home and it ought to be waged against what people really want in their communities.

More on the Cultural/Religious War

The Pope Takes on the Prophet:

"Even for non-Muslims it might be interesting to speculate what could be the 'true meaning' of the Pope's statement. If the Pope's remarks were intended as an invitation to interfaith dialogue, he could have addressed the issue of 'jihadism' critically and diplomatically by characterizing it -- as President Bush has repeatedly done -- as a perverted reading of Islam. He could even have noted that Christianity, too, had its dark times when it was used to justify the slaughter of the crusades, the atrocities of the inquisition, and the brutality of pogroms.

However, the fact that the Pope chose to quote an obscure 14th-century Byzantine emperor complaining about Islam's 'evils' -- 'such as his [Muhammad's] command to spread by the sword the faith he preached' -- seems to send a clear message primarily intended for a non-Muslim audience: jihadism was a problem already 600 years ago, it hasn't gone away, and it's not the policies of the West or America, and its (maybe) not even the 'occupation'.

Interestingly enough, the quote starts with the inquiry 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new', which could be interpreted as a challenge to the Islamic world to reform. However, it is more likely that the Pope intended to influence the debate about the European Constitution and issues like European identity, the problems of multicultural coexistence, and last, but by no means least, the question of Turkey's admission as a member of the European Union. "

Take this piece in stride and consider the source. Certainly the IsraelInsider is of the opinion that the troubles in the Middle East are completely unrelated to the Occupied Territories.

I am not a Catholic but I like this Pope and the one previous, they have spoken the truth more times than not on important issues. As political figures I like these men because their political views generally mesh well with my political and theological views.

Ah but here we have the current Pope throwing gasoline on the embers of the Cultural/Religious war the neoconservatives would have us fight.

This entire thing is beginning to look more and more like a family feud in the Appalachian Mountains circa 1900. I may think my cousin is an idiot but he keeps picking fights that I must eventually support because he is family. If the neoconservatives continue to use religious propaganda to build a case for the justness of their endeavors, if folks like the Pope continue to excite long-standing animosities, and if the regular man continues to stand by and give tacit support we will indeed find ourselves in a cultural/religious war.

When and if that actually becomes an undeniable fact and an unavoidable eventuality good men will be forced to state with regret, "it is us or them". God help us all if we have learned nothing at all from history.

Update: I think real Christians ought to speak out against false religions, to include false Christians. Therefore, if the Pope is a Christian (I cannot judge that) then he is doing the right thing by pointing out in plain terms that Islam is a false religion.

As a man that has many Muslim friends I find it difficult to understand how simply telling a man that he is wrong in his beliefs will help convert him. Then again I must admit that after many theological and historical debates with Muslims I have failed to convert even one of them. So I suppose my method really does not work either and I should not berate the Pope for asking a simple question. After all, he is right; the Middle East has regressed since the introduction of Islam.

Update II: Full text of the speech

Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.

This was a quote by Benedict of the words of Manuel II Paleologus and is possible the thing everyone is hinging on at present.

God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death....

Here is the portion everyone excludes, this is thphilosophyhy of my Muslim friends, it is mphilosophyhy. If the spirit of God is to move a man by our actions it is word and example that work, not force.

The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the program with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. “Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature of God”, said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.

This is the conclusion of the speech, between this and the opening we see nothing more than a discussion of the Hellenisation of Christianity and the influence of The Enlightenment of modern Christian thought. Essentially the Pope is only suggesting perhapserhps it is appropriate to look back to the core similarities between ideologies (East/West) before concentrating on modern gaps.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Video Roundup

Two videos for your enlightenment:

Rumsfeld called on the Carpet.

Darn good commentary (by that I mean spot on and a must see).

Although it was not the central or even a key part of this entirely on target opinion piece, I particularly liked the inclusion of Curtis LeMay in the pantheon of minor demons, I mean men, that have done much to destroy the fabric of what America was intended to be.

I wrote a piece back in 2004 that was not well received or understood in which I discussed the despicable influence of men like LeMay and the legacy that lives on in the Air Force and how that legacy is both flawed and immoral.

The short version is that men like LeMay expanded upon and continued the idea of total war using more effective technology. If Sherman is today burning in Hell (I am sure of it), then LeMay is right beside him. The notion of fighting a war from 20,000 feet, dropping bombs on civilian populations (firebombing in Europe and Japan) was perfectly acceptable to men like LeMay. Soldiers and Marines (and yes Senior Chief swabbies too it seems, here is to you SC Kern!!) fight and they die. That is part of the job. Armies ought to operate by a code, warfare is brutal and cannot be made less so but we simply do not kill civilians unless it absolutely cannot be helped. From its very birth the Air Force was ok with killing civilians. That is their legacy. The fact that the Air Force (a uniformed rather than military service – there is a difference) has any influence in military decision making is a large reason why the US is so ineffective in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

BTW - LeMay's obsession with strategic bombing was a key factor in the US' inability to field a robust tactical bombing capability during the start of the Vietnam War. It is simply unknown the cost in US lives can be attributed to his mass murdering proclivities and love with bombing from high altitude.

Figures Don't Lie But Liars Figure

U.S. excluded car, suicide bombs from Iraq murder tollThe U.S. military did not count people killed by bombs, mortars, rockets or other mass attacks when it reported a dramatic drop in the number of murders in the Baghdad area last month, the U.S. command said Monday.
This is akin to another little known math trick used by the DOD. Say a soldier is wounded and placed on a plane headed to a hospital in Germany (Landstuhl to be exact). If the soldier dies in the air or at hospital is he counted in the casualty rate for Iraq? Not so, he died in the air or in Germany, isn't that obvious. Why should he be counted in the casualty totals for the war? To do otherwise would unfairly paint the war in Iraq as a failure.

Anyone that had trouble with that math problem really needs to get with the program and learn Newspeak.

Show Me the Proof

La Shawn Barber:
I appeal to militants, liberals, libertarians, independents, conservatives, and whoever else is out there. Mostly conservatives read this blog, so I ask you to forward this post to your non-conservative family and friends. I need serious answers to the following questions...
These questions fit well with the anti-egalitarian sub-theme of our blog here.

War of Civilizations

Kissinger warns of possible "war of civilizations"
"A common Atlantic policy backed by moderate Arab states must become a top priority, no matter how pessimistic previous experience with such projects leaves one," Kissinger wrote. "The debate sparked by the Iraq war over American rashness vs. European escapism is dwarfed by what the world now faces.

"Both sides of the Atlantic should put their best minds together on how to deal with the common danger of a wider war merging into a war of civilizations against the background of a nuclear-armed Middle East."

Kissinger wrote that the big threat lay in the erosion of nation states and the emergence of transnational groups. Iran was at the centre of the challenge, he said, with its support for Hezbollah, radical Shiite groups in Iraq and its nuclear program.
I will not simply accept that we are engaged in a Cultural War in the terms that Neoconservatives describe it. They accept the Cultural War as a fact but fail to provide the reasons for the fact. I want to see someone apply a solid, logical argument supporting this fact using deductive reasoning. Break it down; show me what events lead to this circumstance if you want others to accept this as a fact.

I would rather apply inductive reasoning to this situation. We can observe (objectively) certain events from history and the circumstances of those events. We can correlate those events to similar events and even extrapolate conclusions from the similarities. Perhaps this is where the modern mind produced by instant gratification information and shallow education is at its weakest. Unlike the general population of America of the 1700's, it is not possible to make minor allusions to past events or writing and expect the majority of the population to understand. Want to know what I mean? Just read the Federalist Papers (the most successful work of propaganda ever written). The authors made broad and wide use of allusion to otherwise obscure works of classical literature and history - and people got it and understood.

My analysis of the world just does not tell me that the only way to deal with the Middle-East is via engagement. I do not accept that a cultural war with these people is a foregone conclusion. (They are not a worthy foe.) I do not believe that anyone has or can apply deductive reasoning to adequately demonstrate that the reasons for the Cultural War that the Neoconservatives adhere to as a fact actually exists - without solving for the variables on the left side of the equation it is impossible to state that the solution is correct.

It is possible to state that there is an equation, numerous variables on the left certainly do equate to a solution on the right - but what solution?

Here are some of the variables on the left hand side of the equation that the Neoconservatives ignore:

-Cultural demise at home
-Domestic political corruption
-Abandonment of core principles
-Meddling in the affairs of others
-Colonialism in the form of unbridled corporatism

So you say these things have nothing at all to do with the actions of others; I say they do because they make us weak. The US was attacked precisely because it had a weakness (no, not because we did not spy on citizens before 9/11, but precisely because Bin Laden and company were perceptive enough to detect internal weakness). Europe is being assimilated because it has a weakness. Kissinger would have us believe that the weakness is only the fact that Europe and the US will not stand together and get tough enough with the Muslim world. Try that if you like but it is nothing more than Rome's attempt to fight the Huns while ignoring internal problems; the result will undoubtedly be no different.

Americans have but one real chance to win the cultural war and that is to fight the war at home, in their own neighborhoods. To be a great power a people must be great and I am not so sure we are still a great people.

Around the blogosphere...

Outside the Beltway: "There's a minor problem, though, with the argument: It is simply inconceivable that the Islamists will defeat us militarily, let alone impose their culture on us. As scary as Bin Laden and company are, they are not going to amass an arsenal of nuclear weapons capable of annihilating the planet many times over."

Cato Unbound: "The United States is unlikely to be toppled by dramatic acts of terrorist destruction, even extreme ones. As it happens, officials estimated for a while last year that Hurricane Katrina had inflicted 10,000 deaths–the tolerance level set by General Myers. Although this, of course, was not a terrorist act, there were no indications whatever that, while catastrophic for the hurricane victims themselves, the way of life of the rest of the nation would be notably done away with by such a disaster. It is also easy to imagine scenarios in which 10,000 would have been killed on September 11–if the planes had hit the World Trade Center later in the day when more people were at work for example–and indeed, early estimates at the time were much higher than 3000. Any death is tragic, but it is hardly likely that a substantially higher loss on 9/11 would have necessarily have triggered societal suicide."

Jihad Watch: "Both sides of the Atlantic should put their best minds together on how to deal with the common danger of a wider war merging into a war of civilizations against the background of a nuclear-armed Middle East." How can they do that, Henry, when the best minds are one side of the Atlantic are doing their best to make that clash of civilizations a reality?

Folks I generally agree with but disagree on this issue:

Free Constitution: "Kissinger is not just talking about Iran, he speaks of Islamic fascism, penetrating virtually every geographic region at an increasing rate. That is the fact. What doesn't have to become fact is a nuclear Iran. The combination of the two is unconscionable." (El Cid note: I do not mean we ought to be soft, only that we should be right at home and then strong abroad toward any real threat.)

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Skinny TV

I currently live in Korea and have but few viable television options. I am not much of a TV person anyway but occasionally my interest is spiked by Fashion TV (yes the wife laughs at me while I channel surf through the lingerie segments). There is one real problem; would someone please feed these girls!!! I like healthy women, in shape but shapely. Maybe someone else agrees:
The world's first ban on overly thin models at a top-level fashion show in Madrid has caused outrage among modeling agencies and raised the prospect of restrictions at other catwalk pageants.

Speaking of television it seems that finally a big name has come to terms with a way to sell a service many of us enjoy for free (yep, I do have a friend with knowledge and a connection that has hooked me up with dozens of channels right on my laptop – if only I were really a TV person):
AT&T Inc. is launching an Internet TV service where subscribers can watch live cable channels such as Fox News on any computer with a broadband connection for $20 per month.
You can bet I will not be watching a lot of Fox News but it is an interesting concept all the same.

And what about the ancient technology of analogue television frequencies? It seems that many enterprising companies have their eyes on those abandoned frequencies for future use. I would like to see some of that bandwidth reserved for the amateur radio operators of the world. Those guys are amazing; unique and strange, but amazing: "The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday set a roadmap for making airwaves between television channels available for other services by early 2009, when broadcasters are due to switch to digital signals." Of course I am not certain the Constitution even authorizes the FCC so there is that to consider.

Dr. Walter Williams asks what must be a rhetorical question:
Here are my questions to you: Has our Constitution been amended to authorize federal spending on 'objects of benevolence'? Or, is it plain and simple constitutional contempt by Congress, the president, the courts and, worst of all, the American people? Or, am I being overly pessimistic and it's simply a matter of constitutional ignorance?
As usual he is right on the mark in this essay.

Darrell Dow hits on the Iraq/al-Qaida issue (sorry had to sneak one of those in):
On Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report scrutinizing Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to radical Islamic terrorists before the March 2003 invasion. "What was the gist of the report, Darrell? Boil it down," you say. Well, OK, the administration claims linking Iraq and al-Qaida were complete balderdash. "Postwar findings indicate that Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al-Qaida to provide material or operational support."

Here is a pretty in-depth take on the same issue from a much more liberal fellow.

Finally, Johnny points out a link to an essay that answers the mail on the issues I raised in my last post, i.e. disconnect. This is pretty darn close to the armed neutrality theory of foreign policy so dear to most of us Paleoconservatives. It is simple: lock down the border to folks that are not coming here to benefit us, run any ruffians out, stay out of the affairs of other people and kick the stuffing out of anyone that actually presents the capability and intention to do us harm. (Not the imagined intent or made up capability but real capacity.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


At the risk of driving the Iraq issue into the ground -- if it is even possible to over-analyze a circumstance of such great import –- I feel compelled to say a few words more before I let this issue sit for a while.

I heard a snippet of a speech by Bush today that contained a slight element of truth. He mentioned that no matter the causes or circumstances surrounding the invasion of Iraq the reality is that the US cannot afford to lose now. Before I dissect the partial truth of that paraphrased statement let's take a gander at some of the opinions of others relating to this war.

Some view this as nothing short of a clash of cultures. La Shawn Barber is certainly not alone when she states "As wild as it may seem to Americans, especially heathens, the war against terror is a religious war. Whether the enemy chooses to conquer us by force with bombs and flaming airplanes, or by our own suicidal and weak-willed acceptance of their demands to change our way of life (swimming pools today; the legal system tomorrow) to adhere to their religious laws, he will attempt to conquer us by any means necessary." The term Islamofascism is the favored term used to describe this nefarious enemy bent on cultural annihilation and assimilation of the West.

Without debating semantics too much it is simply impossible to call the most radicals in the Muslim world fascist. Fascism is a western phenomenon exclusively. It connotes a combination of corporatism, nationalism and militarism. The term fascist cannot be properly applied to the Islamic faction in this conflict.

Primitive, totalitarian and evil, those are indeed characteristics of the Islamic radicals that engage in this fight; however their system predates the notion of fascism.

Of course a debate over the meaning of words is not really productive. The point that La Shawn and many others adhere to is that this is a battle between cultures, and the enemy of our culture is attacking us by overt and subvert means.

On this point, history and empirical evidence combine to show that if the neoconservatives are right and we are in a culture war, then it is simply not a fair fight or even one we should concern ourselves with. (Not fair as in their culture has no chance against a moral, free and just culture - if we are really that we have nothing to fear. If we are not that then we are fighting an unjust war for it is unjust to fight and kill for something not worthy of fighting and killing for.)

"What," you say? Just look at Europe, or France specifically; Muslims have accomplished in the last 40 years what could not be done in centuries of religious warfare – conquest of Western Europe. I say true, France lost a culture war it did not know it was fighting. (I will not make the joke that France is beaten in every war it fights unless it is commanded by a non-Frenchman.)

Perhaps France lost the cultural war and is well on the way to assimilation because its culture was inadequate to prevail. There are only two ways one culture can, historically speaking, supplant another. One is via military conquest and occupation. The other is by simply having a "better" culture. Better in that sense does not mean more desirable but rather more adaptive, prolific and extendable. It is essentially the survival of the fittest.

If the US is engaged in a cultural/religious war with Islamofascists, as many would propose, then who exactly are we fighting and are they really worthy of a fight? Consider for instance that in the period prior to 630AD the Middle East surpassed the West in numerous categories including mathematics, science, commerce and medicine. Numerous empires of enormous scale rose and fell and rose again over the centuries proceeding the introduction of Islam; since around 630AD, nothing, NOTHING at all of significant consequence. (I am not knocking Islam per se, just stating a fact.)

So Bush says we simply cannot afford to lose the battle in Iraq and implies and sometimes specifically states that the fate of our culture is at stake. The evidence simply does not support this view. We cannot afford to lose by "staying the course", a failed and flawed course. In that sense Bush spoke the truth.

Folks say that paleoconservatives are quick to point out what is wrong but short on answers. Here is an answer for you to consider – leave Iraq to the Iraqis, clean up our "culture" in the US (i.e. eliminate decadence, greed, egalitarianism and the welfare mentality), and stay out of the business of other people. It is just too easy to maintain a culture that will prevail against all others.

Ronald Reagan spoke about a "City on a Hill". He had it right in that regard. Good culture is one that others want to emulate; not just the latest pop-culture, rump shaking music video but real culture and real institutions that create inspiration.

If you want an answer to the problems created by globe-trotting foreign policy, corporate greed, social decadence and moral apathy -- that is our enemy, not crazy Muslim radicals -- then look no further than the very principles upon which many of our institutions were founded. Get that right and all else falls in line.

By the way, La Shawn is partially correct as well - losing a cultural war by being too weak willed to respect your own culture is foolishness.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Free Markets and Estonia

Ever wonder if it is possible for a politically repressed and economically underdeveloped (theoretically and Infrastructurally) small nation to use free-market economics to radically change its very structure and nature and do so in a manner that is utterly successful? Look no further than Estonia.
[Estonia] transformed itself from an isolated, impoverished part of the Soviet Union thanks to a former prime minister, Mart Laar, a history teacher who took office not long after Estonia was liberated. He was 32 years old and had read just one book on economics: “Free to Choose,” by Milton Friedman, which he liked especially because he knew Friedman was despised by the Soviets.

Blogged at Cafe Hayek, and Greg Mankiw

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Pressures And Demands On ABC To Fix Or Nix "The Path To 911" Mount

"ABC faced growing pressure Friday about its planned miniseries on the buildup to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Former Clinton administration officials, historians and a Democratic petition with nearly 200,000 signatures urged the network to scrap the five-hour drama." - Moderate Voice

Seems the blogosphere left, right and center is in a bit of an uproar over this issue.

I am absolutely no fan of the neoconservatives and their agenda. Their saber rattling and obsession over aggressive containment of China prior to September 2001 and their insistence in engaging in battle somewhere and fast after September 2001 bespeaks of the numerous flaws in their fundamental understanding of the world.

However, Bill Clinton and gang do not get a free ride here. To be certain, from a historical perspective Clinton did not "do much real harm". He was essentially ineffective and an embarrassment. To the man that much is given much is expected. You cannot live in the house, ride in the plane and wear the garb of leader and not be held to answer for your failures.

Now it seems Clinton (and his tax dollar supported staff) spend their days defending the legacy of the man and his time in our White House.

From Hot Air: "Let's spare a thought, though, for our friends on the left, whose justifiable paranoia about being seen as weak on terrorism has led them to ask not only that the offending scene be edited, but that the whole damned miniseries be shelved. Never mind that the executive producer's given money to Clinton, or that, according to Jamie Poniewozik of Time, it's much more damning of Bush than Clinton. There's a legacy at stake here."

Of course this all misses the point entirely. If Clinton had the opportunity (four of them it seems) to have Bin Laden killed would that really alter the course of events. I am a student of the Great Man Theory of history (as out of style as that is) but not dogmatically so. Some events and organizations develop an inertia of their own. Remove the leader and the inertia prevails. The reasons for the 9/11 attacks are deeper than one man and his convictions.

The point is that if ABC or anyone else is going to attempt to tell the story of 9/11 all the ugly facts have to be told. Any political whitewashing of the events, conspiracies, failures and causes is a waste of time.

Speaking of that, seems that the Senate released a report confirming what most of us already know; there was no connection between Bin Laden's group and Iraq before we invaded Iraq.

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Friday, September 08, 2006


The following is offered for your consideration and entertainment.

First a caveat, I am a southern boy, I often intentionally use a slower more deliberate speech pattern when I want to make a point. I also make liberal use of colloquialism at times to pepper my conversations. These are effective tools I have found. Many ignorant people simply assume that they are in some way smarter than a person that remains true to the dialect of his home; particularly if that home is in the south. This method often provides a tactical advantage in debate. Plus, and more importantly, this is who and I and where I come from and I shall not hide it.

I have no grief with George Bush’s use of a particular dialect or way of speaking. I do have a problem with what he says and the image he attempts to portray. There is a tremendous disconnect between the man Bush portrays himself to be and the man his words display him to be.

"I've reminded the prime minister-the American people, Mr. Prime Minister, over the past months that it was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., June 29, 2006
ed note- indeed The United States (aka Federal Government) and America (the States and the People) have not and do not always have a close relationship. Mr. Bush spoke more truth here than he is possibly capable of knowing.

"People don't need to worry about security. This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America." --George W. Bush, on the deal to hand over U.S. port security to a company operated by the United Arab Emirates, Washington, D.C., Feb. 23, 2006
ed note- no and most of the actions of the Federal Government over the last 20 odd years would not have occured either if there was real concern for security.

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." --George W. Bush, Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005 (Listen to audio)
ed note- how Orwellian ( here is a translation of a Bush newspeak speech).

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table." --George W. Bush, Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005
ed note- more double-talk newspeak.

"I hope you leave here and walk out and say, 'What did he say?'" --George W. Bush, Beaverton, Oregon, Aug. 13, 2004
ed note- this is often my reaction when Bush speaks.

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2000 (Listen to audio clip)
ed note- seems the ole boy has done a little more than just dream big dreams in this regard.

"I will have a foreign-handed foreign policy." --George W. Bush, Redwood, Calif., Sept. 27, 2000
ed note- reference the point above concerning wondering what the heck he just said.

"We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans." --George W. Bush, Scranton, Pa., Sept. 6, 2000
ed note- this was obvious without Bush actually telling us his views.