Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Building the Arab Bomb

Building the Arab Bomb

Now that the Muslim world has become convinced that the U.S. will withdraw from Iraq, the Sunni Arab world is preparing for dealing with a nuclear armed Shia Iran. This should have been self evident, but our political and chattering classes are absolutely clueless when it comes to the rest of the world. They think that anyone who does not know English is an idiot, and is unprepared to undertake their own defense. In their racist worldview the Arabs are children, utterly unable to pursue their own interests without American interference.

Of course, this is not the case. If the Persians are capable of operating a nuclear program, then the Arabs are as well. Now, I am not sure if either of them is. But it is clear that the Pakistanis are able to at least expolde a single nuclear test. So why not the Arabs?

It is easy to understand the dynamic at work. The Sunni are used to weilding power in Arab lands, and have seen the Shia as a mostly Persian phenomenon. The Shia Arabs in their midst are seen as mere heretics among them, and more "modern" Arab states have been pretty tolerant about them. Now that the U.S. has interfered with the natural order of things, and created a powerful Shia Arab state in Iran, and then seen, with American withdrawal looming, an Arab/Persian Shiite axis rising in the East. The American interference has had much to do with this axis forming, but, if America does in fact withdraw, expect Washington to take a "Who, us?" position, disclaiming any and all responsibility for helping to creat this morass. But that is exactly what happened.

For more detail on this story, check out this week's Front Page article on this subject, with more links and background.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Plan for Victory in Iraq

A Plan for Victory in Iraq

So now along comes a think tank, The American Enterprise Institute this time, with a plan for Iraq that includes, for the first time, Victory. Imagine that? Actual victory over the enemy. Winning. If only. James Baker and a few other members of Daddy's crowd have just freshly minted a plan for ignominious defeat. Defeat is so loved by the Left, and count about half of the American electorate as being on their side in this, that it appears to have the upper hand. It will take a giant of a man to resist the forces of defeat. I don't know if President Bush has it in him to resist them. We can only hope that he does.

One thing we do know: If the President succeeds in this, and changes course in Iraq, and therefore snatches victory out of the jaws of defeat, the American media will never give him credit for it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Loneliest Man

The Loneliest Man

As Tony Blankley points out on Townhall, President Bush now has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Like Abe Lincoln before him, he has major decisions to make, with the lives (and deaths) of thousands, nay, millions, in the balance, and he has not the faith of many, even in his own administration. Yet he must make them, alone.

He has demonstrated the temerity to act without the support of popular opinion, and the ability to do it right (at least sometimes), but none of this makes it any easier. We can only pray for him, since we can not help him.

If Iraq falls into the abyss, he gets the entire blame. The sufferring, however, gets spread over the lives of many others. But at least it is him, and not a lesser man, like his last few predecessors, who has this cross to bear. I have faith in him. Not a lot of faith, but faith, nonetheless. With no clear or right way out before him, he must make the least wrong choices. I wish him luck.

Friday, November 10, 2006

War? What War?

War? What War?

Bill Clinton thought terrorism was a law enforcement matter. Kerry thought it could be reduced to a "nuisance." Now Pelosi says Iraq is not a war but a "situation." Should we issue car bombers parking tickets?

Gen. Douglas MacArthur once said that in war there is no substitute for victory, but future Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told Fox News' Brit Hume on Wednesday that in Iraq there is no substitute for withdrawal — that Iraq is "not a war to be won but a situation to be solved."

This is music to the ears of al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. As we have written, they have proclaimed Iraq a central front in the terror war, the future heart of a caliphate stretching from Morocco to India. Pelosi does not want us to win that war.

But then, Democrats haven't wanted us to win in any war since World War II, not even the Cold War. This is why for the next two years we need to be afraid, very afraid.

Democrats don't believe America should win its wars or even confront its enemies. Just talk to them, appease them. Over the next two years they'll provide such aid and comfort to our enemies both orally and, if possible, legislatively.

This is old whine in a new bottle. In a nationally televised debate on Jan. 29, 2004, Sen. John Kerry, who doesn't think our troops are the best and the brightest, said he thought the Bush administration had "exaggerated" the terrorist threat and that terrorism was "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation."

This from the man who, along with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, opposes the Patriot Act, NSA surveillance of terrorist communications and the monitoring of terrorist finances. He also wants lawyers for the likes of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammed and would have our troops read jihadists their Miranda rights on the battlefield.

In a 2004 New York Times article, Kerry said that we had "to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance" like other things "we're never going to end," such as prostitution and illegal gambling. But 9/11 was not a bank robbery in Boston, and Kerry reflected the quintessential Democratic Sept. 10 mentality.

The "place we were" before 9/11 was in the terrorists' bull's-eye. In 1993, as if anyone needs reminding, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center for the first time. A truck bomb (sound familiar?) left a crater six stories deep, killing six and injuring 1,000. The perpetrators' hope was that one tower would collapse into the other, killing tens of thousands. That was treated as a law enforcement matter — a situation.

There were other "situations" — the U.S. withdrawal from Somalia after U.S. troops were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, encouraging Osama bin Laden to strike America; the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia; the 1998 attack on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden.

All these were acts of war requiring a military response. But on the Democrats' watch, we did nothing. Pelosi would have us, as in Somalia, withdraw under fire and rally around the flag — a white flag.

Iraq is a central front on the war on terror — the terrorists say so. That is where they want to defeat us. And if they do, car bombs may go off one day on the streets not only of Baghdad, but also Baghdad by the Bay — San Francisco.

Americans are not against the war, only the way they perceive it being waged and our apparent lack of success at curbing the violence duly covered by our anti-war media. It should not go unnoticed that war supporter Joe Lieberman survived Nov. 7, but anti-war Lincoln Chafee did not.

As Gen. George Patton said, Americans love a winner. And that's what we need right now, a Patton — not a Pelosi.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Change is to be Expected

Change is to be Expected

There are many who believe that Algore is a true believer in the Global Warming scenario he is pushing. One wonders if he can be an honest messenger if his film is so thouroughly shot full of lies and exaggerations. Atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and former director of the US Weather Satellite Service, a climate physicist, reveals the truth about this and other things in his weekly column, The Week That Was. Human Events Online has an article summarizing the latest from Singer. A sample:
The basic flaw in the argument for global warming is its assumption that the Earth's surface temperature is a constant, and that, if it threatens to vary in some inconvenient direction, mankind's puny efforts are capable of maintaining it within a degree or two of its present level.

The truth is that the Earth's temperature is always changing to some extent, up or down. Within historic memory, the canals of Venice froze solid during the medieval Little Ice Age, and Greenland was verdant enough, during a warm spell, to earn its (currently) wildly inappropriate name. Over longer geological periods, the Arctic has sported palm trees (no polar bears then!) and the latitude of Connecticut was under a mile-thick layer of ice. Just now, according to Dr. Singer, we are seeing a warming trend of about one-tenth of a degree centigrade per decade, or roughly a degree per century.

There is nothing we can do about this, and no reason why we should try -- let alone spend hundreds of billions of dollars trifling with titanic forces we can't even comprehend.
Read the whole thing. After that, Singer's site has the details. If you want sources to refute Algore's new propaganda film promoting the Global Warming hoax, it is all there.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Inconvenient Truth

Inconvenient Truth

Algore is on a mission - a mission of propaganda and self-aggrandisement. As quoted in Canada Free Press:
Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: "Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention."

But surely Carter is merely part of what most people regard as a tiny cadre of "climate change skeptics" who disagree with the "vast majority of scientists" Gore cites?

No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. "Climate experts" is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore's "majority of scientists" think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.
Carter does not pull his punches about Gore's activism, "The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science."
A lot of good information there, a pithy retread of some reasons to believe that all the answers are not in, and the world might just survive, even without Algore as president.

Bush Upbeat

Bush Upbeat

President Bush just got back from a lightning strike into Baghdad, and he emerged in one of those moments of clarity that he has from time to time. He was quotable and confident. He said:
"If we stand down too soon, it won't enable us to achieve our objectives," the president said.

He said the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition forces would depend on how well the Iraqi people accept al-Maliki's new unity government.

Bush said enough American forces would remain in Iraq "for the government to succeed."

Pulling out too soon "will make the world a more dangerous place. It's bad policy," Bush said.

"My message to the enemy is, don't count on us leaving before we succeed," Bush said.

As to war critics, Bush said, "my message to the critics is, we listen very carefully, and we adjust when needed to adjust."
These moments of eloquence are all too rare from him. Expect his poll numbers to rise.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has more quotes.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Small But Significant Victory

A Small But Significant Victory

Last night the terror leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi was killed by American action, along with his "spiritual leader."

Many observers, including President Bush, downplayed the significance of the action. Yet the importance of the death of this man and much of his staff cannot be underestimated. This was an especially effective leader, and the director of a strategy of quasi-random killing. Without the head, the organization he built will be crippled, at least for a time. Of course, Wretchard at Belmost Club has much more.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy Food

Happy Food

There are many people whose view of reality is so estranged from common sense that they would (at least in their fantasy world) create a society where everyone is healthy, wealthy, and wise. They can only posit such a world if they ignore the fact that such a life is an attainment that is only, and can only, be available to an elite portion of the population. Even if energy could be produced cheaply enough that material wealth was available to everyone, there would be those who would make different choices than your elitist utopian tenured professor.

Such a view has been espoused by University of California at Berkeley journalism professor Michael Pollan, who has argued in the New York Times Sunday Magazine (Note: Link will only work for elite readers, who pay tribute to The New York Times Online) that it would be anathema to the organic foods movement for such victuals to be affordable to the common man, i.e. available from Wal-Mart.

A hilarious sendup of Pollan's essay appears in today's TCS daily, and is available for the price of a click to anyone, us regular people as well as Pollan's beloved BoBos (otherwise known as Granola people with money). If you want a good laugh, and have the time, try the link to Pollan's article, as it will be free for a few more days (and thereafter might just be available through oversight) but for an even better laugh read Joyner's piece in TCS Daily. It's much funnier. Try this:
The perfect should not be allowed to become the enemy of the good. In an ideal world, local farmers would produce delicious foods grown without any harm to the environment at prices we could all afford while simultaneously making an excellent living. The livestock would all live happy lives, singing their little animal songs, dying a natural death and yet remaining tender and tasty. We would then get together and cook them over our campfires which produce no smoke, sing our little campsongs, and eat our meals in perfect harmony.

That world, unfortunately, does not exist.
At least Joyner is trying to be funny. Uncaring elitists like Pollan are not really funny. They are pathetic, and dangerous.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Are They Even Immigrants?

Are They Even Immigrants?

We are a nation of immigrants. A "melting pot." Every one of us, including those who consider themselves and their ancestors indigenous, immigrated here from somewhere else. Anti-immigrant or nativist tendencies are therefore rare. But. There must be a balance between the needs of those who have made their lives here and those who want to come here. We can divide that latter group in two. We will call the first part immigrants. The other part, for lack of a better word, are aliens. What is the difference?

An immigrant is a person who wants to make a better life in a new country. An alien wants a better life, and wants to use our country to do it. It is easy to tell the difference. An immigrant is proud of America, learns the language, follows the rules. An alien flies the flag of a foreign power, sends money back to his homeland, and waits for any opportunity to go back. To visit. For once he gets here, he often wants to stay.

That is the situation as it is today. Immigrants face a draconian set of laws and regulations - obstacles set up precisely because We the People value citizenship so highly, and do not allow it to be given to others lightly. In short, we make immigrants prove themselves worthy, before we bestow all the blessings of liberty upon them.

Most Americans have no idea how difficult a course it is that we have placed in the immigrant's path. Draconian is not too strong a word for it. For the penalty for failing to do something required, or missing a deadline, by even a single day, is expulsion, often forever. For minor infracions, up to a decade. If they intend to become citizens, and most immigrants do, they must learn the language, and our history. A new citizen knows more American history than most native born High School graduates. We place time limits and deadlines upon them, and if they fail to perform up to standards, they are out. Some immigrants become aliens when this happens, but most of them do their utmost to qualify. They are, after all, immigrants, and their fondest wish is to become Americans.

It is an almost uniquely American phenomenon, but an immigrant can become an American. One can not go to France and become French, nor to Italy and become Italian. nor to India, and become Indian. These, and most other countries have so-called second generation immigrants, with nominal citizenship, even voting rights, but significant barriers remaining to what we call naturalization. It takes several generations before an immigrant can become Mexican. But an immigrant to the United States of America can come here, and within ten years can become an American. A citizen with all the rights and responsibilities of any other American. Maybe with an accent, but an American nonetheless.

So we do not just confer upon immigrants a legalistic protection scheme, but we welcome them into our family. We therefore, quite properly, have certain requirements before we do so. We require, for instance, that immigrants not be common criminals in their previous life. We will not allow those with contaigious disease to immigrate. We expel those who violate our laws. Other than the President and the Senate, the vast majority of Americans likes these things the way they are.

If we can agree that the one million or less who are newly arriving immigrants each year are not enough, then, and only then, we should increase the various programs that allow them entry. But aliens? Illegal aliens? First thing, and the consensus exists for this right now, close the border. Next, and this is more tricky, we need to get control of those who come here legally, and overstay their vises. Official estimates puts the number of these at as much as half of our illegal alien problem. Then we must stop the ease with which aliens can get lawful employment. Once we have done these things, the flow of new aliens will slow down, and we can decide what to do with those who have slipped between the cracks. It is entirely reasonable to stop the bleeding before beginning the surgery. Senate S.2611 would attempt to do both. We can not. We must not. Immigrants follow the laws, and pay their taxes. Aliens do neither. We must treat them differently. We need immigrants. Aliens, we do not.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Euston Manifesto

The Euston Manifesto

Norman Geras found me very early in his blogging life, and I had no idea who he was. Yet for some reason I tried to be as helpful to him as I could, and three years ago normblog was launched. After a bit, as he put up some posts and I had a chance to read his bio I realized that, contrary to my earlier apprehension, he turned out to be something of a prominent guy in Britain, and a Socialist at that. But I stuck with him, and he has turned out to be that rare bird: a leftie with his brain plugged in. He is unwilling to side with the fascist imperialists, even if George Bush is leading the opposition. I am sure that this stance has caused him no small measure of grief.

Now he has done something about that, with the Euston Manifesto. This document is, like any self-respecting manifesto, a statement of principles. What is amazing is that there is nothing within it with which a Zero Base Thinker could disagree. All fifteen principles are reasonable, with respect for human rights but with the respect due to power, and an eye toward balancing the two.

I shall refrain from quoting the best bits, but imstead urge you to click on over and read it. It is not too long, and it will not get you mad. I promise.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Gasoline Supply and Demand 101

Gasoline Supply and Demand 101

Now that the Federal Trade Commission has said that an investigation by U.S. antitrust authorities found no evidence that oil companies illegally manipulated gasoline prices or constrained oil refining operations last year, we are seeing calls from democrat lawmakers for yet another investigation into these allegations. It is clear that one of two possible things are happening. One is that politicians are pushing this issue without regard for the truth. Yet clearly that is not the case, since our wonderful leaders would never stoop to crass politics in disregard for the truth just to further their own need to amass and retain power. The only other possibility is that they have a lack of basic economic education. It is clear to me, as well as the FTC, that supply and demand is at play here, but there are still some unusual price moves that bear further inspection. Like, why would a gas station raise its prices for gasoline absent a delivery of gasoline at a higher price? I recently detected such a suspicious price hike at my neighborhood Exxon station, followed by another hike less than a week later. Since I am already acquainted with the owner, and since I spare no effort in my quest for journalistic integrity, yesterday, when I spotted him there as I was filling up my SUV, I walked over to him and started asking questions. How, I asked, could he justify raising the price absent a price hike of his own, especially in these times of FTC investigations into price gouging by men such as he?

The answer, as he related it, was that, while he had indeed received no price increase, nor even a notification of an upcoming price hike, what he had received was a phone call from the distributor who supplies his station with gasoline notifying him that he should not expect his next delivery within the next week, as scheduled. It would be a few days late. Right away, he raised the price ten cents, to $3.29 9/10 per gallon of regular. A few days later, he got another call to schedule that delivery, and it was for a few days later still. He immediately raised his price another dime. That was why my 25 gallons of regular had just cost me eighty five dollars.

His explanation was simple - as a friendly neighborhood gas station, it was imperative to his business model that he always be open. People rely on that. In order to assure himself of a supply, which, as a franchised Exxon dealer he could only get from Exxon, he raised his price, so as to discourage motorists from stopping at his station, or to encourage them to buy less. In other words, since supply was restricted, the price went up. A textbook example of the law of supply and demand. Barbara Boxer, take note. Instead of recognizing the beautiful elegance of the most basic law of economics, Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D) California, said when the FTC chair said she could find no evidence of oil company wrong doing: "That answer shows your true colors in terms of your lack of empathy and understanding with your basic mission."

So, it's not about economics at all, Instead, it's about "empathy and understanding." Who knew? I thought that we elect these people to enact legislation to help us deal with the real world. You know, stuff like punishing criminals, enforcing contracts, and ensuring fairness. But what we get is "empathy and understanding." I think it's time for someone to get ahold of Barbara Boxer and talk truth to power. And not just Boxer. She may be the easiest target, but many other Congresscritters seem bound and determined to pass a law to fight this nonexistent threat. Is it possible that all of them are unaware that legislation that artificially reduces prices will (always) cause shortages? Maybe it's just me (and a few million others) but I am glad that my friendly corner gas station has thoughtfully made it possible to always be able to count on his station having gasoline available. I know where I can go, within ten miles of my house, where I can get gasoline for $3.10. But I like the convenience of the corner station. I gladly pay 20 cents for that convenience. The 55 cents of tax on each gallon, I am maybe a bit less glad to pay. But aren't we experiencing a movement, of which Barbara Boxer is an intrinsic part, to raise those very taxes? And, not incidentally, increase the price we pay for fuel, so that we are encouraged to use less fuel in the first place? It may be too much to expect consistency from those in power, but I wish they would be a little less credulous. And I hope that they refrain from burdening us with any more "empathy and understanding." Maybe they don't need an education in economics. They need, instead, to be a little more honest.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Understanding Climate Change

Understanding Climate Change

The National Center for Policy Analysis has issued a report which takes into account many, if not all, of the sources of scientific information available today on the subject of climate and warming, called Climate Science: Climate Change and Its Impacts. No reader of this page will be surprised by its findings. From the executive summary:
The Earth's climate began a warming trend after the "Little Ice Age" ended in the mid-1800s, long before global industrial development led to substantial increases in greenhouse gases beginning in the middle of the 20th century. About half of the warming during the 20th century occurred prior to the 1940s, and natural variability accounts for all or nearly all of the warming.

To assess future climate trends, climatologists rely upon General Circulation Models (GCMs) that attempt to describe Earth's climate. The many climate models in use vary widely with respect to the variables they include and in the assumptions they make about how those variables interact. Yet some official reports, including the U.S. National Assessment published in 2000, report only the most extreme predictions, ignoring others that project only moderate warming in the 21st century.

Global warming alarmists have attributed increases in hurricanes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, hail storms and heat waves to global warming caused by human activities. However, the evidence does not support their claims. In recent months, for instance:

* The unprecedented destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was blamed on climate change — but experts say recent, more powerful storms are part of a natural cycle, and greater hurricane damage in North America is due to increased coastal populations and development rather than more severe storms.
* Similar claims have been made about other weather phenomena in North America ; but, in fact, there is no evidence of an increase in the frequency or severity of floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, hail storms or other severe weather events.

Some have attempted to link the present warming trend to secondary effects, such as species extinction. However, the relationship between species extinction and climate change is even more tenuous. For example:

* Recent claims that polar bear populations are threatened by global warming ignore the fact that only two polar bear populations are declining, others are increasing in numbers and the majority have stable populations.
* Recent claims that coral reefs are "bleaching" (losing color and dying off) due to warming oceans ignore the evidence that bleaching appears to be a healthy response in which corals expel one symbiotic species of algae for a better-adapted species that allows corals to thrive in warmer waters.

It has also been claimed that low-lying coastal areas are endangered due to rises in sea level as the Arctic pack ice, glaciers and the mile-thick Greenland Ice Sheet melt in a warming climate. However, the evidence does not show this is occurring:

* The fact that parts of the Arctic Ocean are ice-free in the summer is said to be evidence that sea ice and the pack ice along the Arctic coast are disappearing; but changing wind patterns pushing the ice around, not rising temperatures, are responsible for navigable Arctic waters.
* In Alaska, home to many glaciers, several decades of increasingly colder temperatures in the middle of the 20th century preceded a more recent return to the average temperatures of the early 20th century.
* Temperatures at the peak of the Greenland Ice Sheet show it is actually growing colder.
* Sea levels have been rising — in fact, they have been rising since the end of the last ice age 20,000 years ago — but there is no evidence of an accelerating trend.
The report makes interesting reading. If you are getting involved in arguments with mindless Algore followers who are being whipped up into a frenzy by the publicity campaign over the impending release of his "new" magnum opus,the rest of the report has plenty of ammunition for refutation. Read the whole thing.

By the way, if you are driven to wonder why liberals take doom and gloom scenarios so seriously, from global warming to the progress of the war, take some time to read Dennis Prager's new piece titled Harry Reid & The End of Liberal Thought. A sample:
Welcome to the thoughtless world of contemporary liberalism. Beginning in the 1960s, liberalism, once the home of many deep thinkers, began to substitute feeling for thought and descended into superficiality.

One-word put-downs of opponents' ideas and motives were substituted for thoughtful rebuttal. Though liberals regard themselves as intellectual -- their views, after all, are those of nearly all university professors -- liberal thought has almost died. Instead of feeling the need to thoughtfully consider an idea, most liberal minds today work on automatic. One-word reactions to most issues are the liberal norm.

This is easy to demonstrate.

Here is a list of terms liberals apply to virtually every idea or action with which they differ:


And here is the list of one-word descriptions of what liberals are for:

The poor
The disenfranchised
The environment

These two lists serve contemporary liberals in at least three ways.

First, they attack the motives of non-liberals and thereby morally dismiss the non-liberal person.

Second, these words make it easy to be a liberal -- essentially all one needs to do is to memorize this brief list and apply the right term to any idea or policy. That is one reason young people are more likely to be liberal -- they have not had the time or inclination to think issues through, but they know they oppose racism, imperialism and bigotry, and that they are for peace, tolerance and the environment.

Third, they make the liberal feel good about himself -- by opposing conservative ideas and policies, he is automatically opposing racism, bigotry, imperialism, etc.
Priceless, and right on target. Zero Base Thinkers know that liberals feel their politics, rather than thinking things through (or doing the math) but Prager gets the formula just about right. Read the rest.

Sorry for the short post and the overreliance on blockquotes, but I am just getting back into the swing after a long period of sub-optimal functioning. Hopefully all will be fine real soon.

Update: With the public launch of the Euston Manifesto today, it appears that there might just be some hope for the Left. Norm Geras, a longtime friend of Zero Base Thinking, is at the heart of the Euston Manifesto. It is a document that attempts to explain, and perhaps convince, the position of the left on the war, and, while most Zero Base Thinkers are political conservatives, we have always welcomed lefties who bothered to actually think things through. I am preparing a post on this (hopefully) important document, but I can already say, at this time, that I wish it, and Norm, well.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Global Warming Scare Explained

Global Warming Scare Explained

Jonah Goldberg has just put up a very good explanation of the current state of the Global Warming debate. As in
As Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at MIT, recently lamented in the Wall Street Journal: "Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science."
An article not to be missed.

Hat tip to Dean.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Atlantic Threats

Atlantic Threats

One of the great things about blogging about events and politics is that I can justify reading all sorts of crap that normal people can never find the time to read. One such sources of crap is The Atlantic, which, if you don't already know, is sort of a pseudo-intellectual version of Time. It is bearable because they run pieces by P.J. O'Rourke and Christopher Hitchens, two of the great contemporary zero base thinkers. They also can surprise, such as the time they ran one of the most cogent analyses of the global warming science, but that was back in 1998. Mostly, however they run ideologically driven pseudopolitical propaganda in between cutsie interviews that are soooo hip. Very little zero base thinking is in evidence, and its nemesis, common knowledge, is everywhere within its pages. A great example of the latter is in the latest edition in which they got 38 "foreign policy authorities—selected for their breadth of knowledge and first-hand experience in international affairs" to comment on and vote on the question: Q: Which states will pose the greatest overall threats to U.S. security over the next decade, either directly or indirectly?

The answers were scored thus:
1. Iran 18.5
2. North Korea 6
3. Pakistan 5
4. China 4
5. Saudi Arabia 5
6. Iraq 5
7. Russia 0.5

First of all, let us peruse the list of the "authorities" they chose:
Ken Adelman, Madeleine Albright, Graham Allison, Ronald Asmus, Sandy Berger, Daniel Blumenthal, Max Boot, Steven Bosworth, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ivo Daalder, James Dobbins, Lawrence Eagleburger, Leslie Gelb, Marc Grossman, Douglas Feith, John Gaddis, Jay Garner, John Hamre, Gary Hart, Bruce Hoffman, John Hulsman, Robert Hunter, Robert Kagan, David Kay, John Lehman, James Lindsay, Jessica Mathews, William Nash, Joseph Nye, Carlos Pascual, Kenneth Pollack, Thomas Pickering, Joseph Ralston, Wendy Sherman, Ann Marie Slaughter, James Steinberg, Susan Rice, and Anthony Zinni.
Without spending too much time on this, I would estimate that at least two thirds of the names on the list are associated with democrat administrations or leftie positions. Four republicans and three neocons are all I can recognize at first blush. So much for seeking a balanced view. Even so, why is it that my own reading of the scoring on the list of countries is that it is presented in reverse order? How is this possible?

I come to a different conclusion. First, I judge major, hostile powers with thousands of nukes, and fleets of planes and missiles, to be much greater potential threats than tiny countries, run by paranoid madmen, which have only a theoretical nuclear potential. So, I put China first, Russia second. But that is nitpicking next to my biggest complaint, which is, how is it possible that Iran got more than three times as many votes than anyone else? On my list they would be dead last.

Why? First, they have no nuclear weapons (yet). Second, as a result of the last four years of the Bush presidency, we have overwhelming forces poised on both their East and West borders. How much of a threat can they be under any scenario other than that of a bunch of leftie democrats taking over the American government? Even so, Iran's enemies list cannot have us at or near the top. Russia and Iraq are their great present and traditional enemies, with Kurdistan coming to the fore with the possible dissolution of Iraq. I don't even think that Israel is near the top of the list of countries that should worry about Iran. These two countries used to be great allies, and they still share the same enemy, the Arabs. Remember that Iran was recently at war with Iraq, but they never were at war with Israel.

Korea, with actual nukes and missiles to deliver them, must be considered a greater threat. The liklihood that they would launch an attack against us is at least as great as Iran's (zero), but their possesion of actual weapons puts them much higher on the threat list. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia? Under what scenario would they threaten us? Beats me. And Iraq? Now I am really lost. For Iraq to become a threat to us, we would have to completely fail in our mission there. Every responsible observer realizes that failure in Iraq would sow the seeds of global disaster. What, therefore, makes these "authorities" believe that we will fail there?

The answer is, what these results mean is that there is, rather than a foreign threat, there is a complete lack of belief in American willingness to pursue our own interests. This list makes no sense unless Iran gets nukes, we abandon Iraq, and Israel ceases to exist as a focus of Arab enmity. Add in a side order of Russia changing course abruptly and becoming a peaceful democracy, rather than the nuclear armed imperialists that they have become in the last decade. Assuming those predicates, I would be gloomy as well. But, unless we assume total American failure of will, this list is upside down at best, irrelevant at worst. That assumption would not be just pessimistic, it would be paranoid. And defeatist. Leftist.

Monday, March 20, 2006

They Kill Christians, Don't They?

They Kill Christians, Don't They?

In a little covered story, we found out this weekend that Afghanistan is about to execute a man for converting to Christianity. Mind now, this is happening in one of our best allies in the region. The situation compels two quick observations. One is, the "religion of peace" is capable of murder on a scale that the Western mind has a hard time even accepting as real. The other is that our leaders are in denial about this fact.

Why the silence? Bush and his administration obviously want to keep this quiet, but why are the New York Times, Washington Post, and their ilk keeping this story off of their pages as well? The San Jose Mercury news has it, and it contains this:
The defendant, 41-year-old Abdul Rahman, was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian, Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada told the Associated Press in an interview. Rahman was charged with rejecting Islam, and his trial started Thursday.

During the one-day hearing, the defendant confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan, Mawlavezada said.

``We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law,'' the judge said. ``It is an attack on Islam.''

Afghanistan's constitution is based on Shariah law, which is interpreted by many Muslims to require that any Muslim who rejects Islam be sentenced to death, said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Repeated attempts to interview Rahman in detention were barred.

The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said he had offered to drop the charges if Rahman converted back to Islam, but he refused.
Now, as Afghanistan is a country which I know quite well, let me add a bit to the story. First, there are very small quantities of people of other faiths living there. I even visited a synagogue there. Those people are a protected class under Sharia, known by its Arabic name of Dhimmi. They pay a small annual tax, have limited rights, such as not being allowed to vote, but on the whole they are legally permitted their existence and lives, and allowed to practice their religion, as long as they are not too overt about it. The Jews I met there wear turban and Jalwar Kameez, just like everyone else. But their lives are not in danger.

The issue here is conversion. A Muslim may not convert to any other religion. Ever. The sentence is death. The accused are given a chance to renounce their new faith, and restore their Islamism. If they refuse, they die. That simple. Just like Mo put down in the Koran. This is nothing new. After all, Islam means submission, and it really means, submit, or die.

Our nation, nay, our civilization, needs to come to grips with Islam as it is, not as we wish it to be. This story is of signal importance. It needs to be told. The government of Hamid Karzai, our friends, are about to execute a man because he will not renounce Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Evolution vs. Design: Score One for Darwin

Evolution vs. Design: Score One for Darwin

The debate between those who believe that all the living things in the
universe are the result of a chain of purely random events, and those who believe that some things are too complicated for random chance to design them, has just, very quietly, been given a nudge in the direction of order arising out of random chaos. While this Great Question is one that will not, by its very nature, be actually solved to everyone's satisfaction, a little-remarked discovery that will appear in an article in tomorrow's edition of the journal Nature might shine a bit of light on the controversy.

The crux of the argument for Intelligent Design, at least for those who do not believe that the Designer has the other qualities we would attribute to an all-powerful, all-seeing God, is the very complication and organization that would be needed to transform a puddle of chemicals into a living cell. The Darwinists have answered this objection with a melange of theories which postulate some sort of counterintuitive process that establishes order out of chaos, something they call the theory of self-organization,. Sometimes. More usually, they attempt to conflate I.D. with creationism, and then rail against belief in a diety (As the Enlightened Caveman did last year).

This debate has devolved into one in which both sides are dug in, and will defend their side with religious fervor. But for those of us who have not really taken a side in this one, a piece of evidence has emerged that puts some weight into the random chance camp's argument. I wonder if anyone (besides us) will notice.

It seems that an object of galactic size has been discovered that takes the form of a double helix. That is, the very same form as a DNA molecule. Which is the very molecule that is the difference between a puddle of chemicals and a living cell. Moreover, the scientists that made this discovery have a theory that describes how magnetic fields work to create this specific type of order upon this chaotic system. Now, do not expect astronomers to draw connections between the macro world of the Cosmos and the micro world of Biology, but the rest of us are free to allow our imaginations to roam. If a specific magnetic process orders suns as they are being sucked into a black hole into a double helix, then there might be other, similar processes that will order molecules of acids into the very same shape. Not random at all. To this we might add that recent discoveries show that, more than four billion years ago, before the primordial Earth had a breathable atmosphere, it was infested with abundant bacterial life.

That sort of ups the ante, doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What Civil War?

What Civil War?

Ralph Peters is in Baghdad today, and he puts the lie to these near-hysterical ravings about the civil war that left-leaning commentators wish would erupt in Iraq. As Ralph puts it:
THE reporting out of Baghdad continues to be hysterical and dishonest. There is no civil war in the streets. None. Period.

Terrorism, yes. Civil war, no. Clear enough?

Yesterday, I crisscrossed Baghdad, visiting communities on both banks of the Tigris and logging at least 25 miles on the streets. With the weekend curfew lifted, I saw traffic jams, booming business — and everyday life in abundance.
And if that is not enough, he concludes:
Most Iraqis want better government, better lives — and democracy. It is contagious, after all. Come on over. Talk to them. Watch them risk their lives every day to work with us or with their government to build their own future.

Oh, the attacks will continue. They're even predictable, if not always preventable. Driving through Baghdad's Kerada Peninsula District, my humvee passed long gas lines as people waited to fill their tanks in the wake of the curfew. I commented to the officer giving me a lift that the dense lines of cars and packed gas stations offered great targets to the terrorists. An hour later, one was hit with a car bomb.

The bombing made headlines (and a news photographer just happened to be on the scene). Here in Baghdad, it just made the average Iraqis hate the terrorists even more.

You are being lied to. By elements in the media determined that Iraq must fail. Just give 'em the Bronx cheer.
Is it clear enough to you yet?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Policing Porn Is Not Part of Job Description

Policing Porn Is Not Part of Job Description

As about one hundred fifty blogs and national media have it, Homeland Security, that omnipresent Orwellian agency of Big Brother is up to no good on pornography. Certainly our former Attorney General spent far too many resources on the subject of pornography and its sibling, indecency. Power corrupts, and one of the first priorities of a certain mindset is supression of sexuality. Thus it is not surprising that cops of all stripes abuse their power in this way.

What is heartening, however, is that, in the instant case at least, the librarian had the Homeland Security operatives arrested, or at least removed from the premises by the police, and they seem to have had some career reverses as a result of their officious action. In spite of the concerns in some quarters over Howard Stern's flight from free radio in an attempt to be free of the brain police, there seems to be some sort of a balance between the sexually repressed Ashcrofts and the Libertines of the Left.

There will always be those who break the rules in pursuit of their own agenda. Cops will arrest masturbators, and Stern will claim that it is the brain police, and not the five hundred million dollars, that made him begin to charge for his show. But this is the everpresent struggle - to find a balance. In the case of the librarian vs Homeland Security, our right to view adult content won.

Thursday, February 09, 2006



In the New York Times today there is an article about a study of diet in which it was found that low fat diets do nothing to extend human life. This shows one of the primary tenets of Zero Base Thinking, which is that, to a large extent, science is a political enterprise, and scientists are political creatures. Even their excuses echo the excuses of political failure. As in:
Dr. Dean Ornish, a longtime promoter of low-fat diets and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif., said that the women did not reduce their fat to low enough levels or eat enough fruits and vegetables, and that the study, even at eight years, did not give the diets enough time.
That sounds the same as the excuses given by the Left for the failure of communism, i.e. not pure enough, not given a long enough time. Or maybe even that not enough have died. Yet.

It gets really funny when you hear the same quacks who told everyone to forego the best foods now making excuses, or outright denials of this study. In one article, for which "more than 50 specialists in heart disease, cancer and nutrition" were contacted, well, rather than having me characterize their responses, read them for yourself. A small sample:
"Should these results lead to any changes in public health recommendations? Absolutely not. Remember, the dietary goals of this study were not entirely reached, and there is enough reason to continue with research studies that would tighten up the weaknesses and then see the results." — Keith-Thomas Ayoob, nutrition and pediatrics professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
This quack is actually saying that, rather than following the advice one can garner from this "Rolls Royce of studies" we should continue to deny ourselves the finest foods for the rest of our lives, waiting for better information! What a laugh we had over this one at ZBT headquarters this morning!

What this shows is the limitations of science, and the extent to which politics and power considerations color all human activity. This study does not say that eating a healthy diet is not important. It does say that science does not know exactly what constitutes a healthy diet. And it shows clearly that the advice that has been given to us over the last fifty years by the scientific establishment, backed up by our government, will not be altered easily, and not by mere facts. Too much is riding on the continuation of the present regime, and new ideas, like the Atkins-style low carbohydrate approach to weight loss, will be blotted out.

As for me, I never stopped putting butter on my bacon sandwiches, never trimmed the fat off my pastrami. Imagine, all those poor fools who gave up one of the greatest joys of a life well lived, and now we gourmands get the last laugh. Color me as LMAOFOTGRITD. (For those who do not speak technogeek, that means "Laughing My Ass Off, Falling On The Ground, Rolling In The Dirt.")

Link courtesy of Daily Pundit.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Can Government have Any Secrets Anymore?

Can Government have Any Secrets Anymore?

In this age. which has been described as post-historical by Frank Fukuyama, can a nation be allowed to defend itself, when such a defense might require us to keep secrets from the enemy? That is the question before us, and it is taken up, or at least a part of it is, in an article in Commentary magazine that explores whether the New York Times can be allowed to release crucial secrets to the public, or can (and should) government take steps to stop such disclosure. As they state:
Ever since 9/11, U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement authorities have bent every effort to prevent our being taken once again by surprise. An essential component of that effort, the interception of al-Qaeda electronic communications around the world, has been conducted by the NSA, the government arm responsible for signals intelligence. The particular NSA program now under dispute, which the Times itself has characterized as the U.S. government’s “most closely guarded secret,” was set in motion by executive order of the President shortly after the attacks of September 11. Just as the Times has reported, it was designed to track and listen in on a large volume of calls and e-mails without applying for warrants to the Foreign Intelligence Security Act (FISA) courts, whose procedures the administration deemed too cumbersome and slow to be effective in the age of cell phones, calling cards, and other rapidly evolving forms of terrorist telecommunication.
I believe that, in a dangerous world, we must give this power to the government. It is, IMHO, one of the few powers that we must give them, but without granting it the power to defend us, there is no reason to have a government at all. And I must ask, just who is it who wants to take this power away from the government? After all, it can not be a mere coincidence that we have not been attacked since 9/11/01. They have managed to protect us through some means. Anyone who believes that we have been protected by the Transportation Safety Administration, or Homeland Security, has clearly not flown in an airplane in the last four years. Indeed, anyone who believes that, has no need of an airplane in order to fly.

Rational living in a complicated world requires making rational choices. This is not about the government listening into our conversations about sex, drugs, or rock 'n roll. This is not about the books we read. This is about survival itself. Anyone who believes that we are strong enough, and safe enough, to follow a 1960s peace rally line in truly dangerous times, must have left a large part of his brain back there as well. To protect us, the government must keep some secrets from the enemy. That necessitates keeping secrets from us. We have a choice on this. We can grow up, or we can surrender.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Believe In Democracy

Believe In Democracy

The recent election in Israel has many commentators in a tizzy, and politicians wondering what to do next. Even Kofi Annan rejects the idea of a Hamas-led state. But I ask the question: what is so unusual about a democracy electing the wrong leaders?

This has happened many times before. Even Hitler achieved some election success before seizing the Chancellorship. This is democracy at work. Especially in a new democracy, where the people are not used to having real control over their government. The Philistenes are about to learn this the hard way. With a government that will not accept the idea of a peaceful world, they are about to be forced to withstand a serious diminution of international aid. Their government can not survive without this cash.

In today's world, people seem to need instant gratification. Like an infant, public opinion wants everything, and has no patience. But wanting is not the same as having. All the people living in the Palestinian Authority want is prosperity. They elected Hamas because they were tired of the corruption of Fatah. Seen in this light, maybe they had no good choice. But they, and we, will have to suffer the consequences of this election. Things will have to get worse before they can get better.

Democracy is not an event, it is a process. The Philistenes have just had their first free election. The people had no reason to believe that Fatah would give power up to Hamas, and indeed, that has not actually happened yet. But if they do, and Hamas takes control, the world community must restrict the total amount of needed aid to that government, unless and until it renounces terrorism and murder as legitimate state actions. And then, in the fullness of time, there will be another election. When that happens, we have every reason to believe that the electorate, now realizing that their votes count for something, will take the process a little bit more seriously. In the meantime, they will suffer. That is what it will take before those people can believe in democracy. Now, if only we can get the leaders in our own country to believe in it as well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

If Bush Was A Statesman...

If Bush Was A Statesman...

Osama has given the forces of freedom in Iraq a big chance, if only George Bush has what it takes to take it. Short and sweet: Declare that he will call Osamas bluff and, since we all are on the same page now, if Osama will guarantee Iraq peace and the chance to pursue their democracy during the "long term truce" the U.S. will have seen its goals realized, and can begin a withdrawal immediately.

Or does Bush really have a different agenda? We all know that Osama is a liar and a psychopath, and could not deliver on his offer in any case, but there might be quite a bit of hay to be made with this offer. Osama would decline it, since he wants war, not peace. But Bush could declare that our aims are limited, and thus further marginalize our homegrown traitors and leftists, not to mention the Euro-trash that is incessantly whining about American imperialism. But. Could Bush afford the chance that Osama might just take him up on the offer? Just asking....

Friday, January 20, 2006

Abortion Lies Are Revealed

For whatever reason, I, like most Americans not affiliated with the democrat party, have not given abortion much thought. As a younger man, I was single and active in 1972 when Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court. Although, as a resident of New York State abortion was already legal for me and mine, the national ramifications of the decision made for a lot of discussion on the subject. I was aware at the time of a host of abortions, whether they involved my friends, relatives, ar friends of friends. At the time, before the spectre of political correctness permeated the debate, it was clear that the reason for the vast majority of abortions was mere convenience. Financial considerations were rare, as the Great Society welfare programs made any out of wedlock births into a financial windfall, at least insofar as the thinking of the involved people were concerned. Health or other threat to the mother was very rare. If memory serves, maternal convenience was the determining factor in just about all abortions of which I was aware.

Since then, this debate has become politically charged in a way that we could not have forseen at the time. All sorts of automatic politically correct responses to most questions are now common. If we are to trust the common dialogue on the subject, the health of the mother is a paramount concern. Now that new abortion polling data is available, the uncomfortable truth of the debate shows its ugly head. Most Americans, almost two thirds, believe that abortion for convenience should be illegal. Absent a threat to the physical or mental health of the mother of child, the vast majority of the American people would vote to ban abortion as we know it.

Now I understand why the Left is so adamant that this decision be made in the courts. They know full well that theirs is an unpopular stand. It is gratifying that most Americans value human life much greater than the radical lesbian Left would have us believe. This goes hand in hand with their professed desire to make religious belief and observance unpopular. behold, their Godless and anti-human agenda is laid bare, and the people reveal themselves as wanting no part of it. Bravo, Americans! Let Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas review this portion of Leftist coercion on our national debate. Take the courts out of the enforced paradigm of blameless infanticide. Let the people decide. It appears that they are prepared to decide the issue correctly.

Another Incompetent Ruling

Another Incompetent Ruling

In yet another display of judicial incompetence, a judge in Maryland has ruled that a 33-year-old state law against gay marriage violates the Maryland Constitution's guarantee of equal rights. This is so blatantly untrue that we can easily see the ACLUs campaign against freedom at work. Any child can see that no discrimination is present here. No citizen, or even tourist, is prevented from marrying in Maryland. There would be no point to restricting homos, perverts, or criminals from entering into the bond of marriage. That is why no such discrimination exists. But such a truth does not allow for this attack on decency, which is the ACLUs stock in trade. The ACLU was founded in 1920 by a communist whose stated raison d'etre was the dismantling of the United States, and indeed all nations, in favor of international, stateless, communism. But in a world where the Emperor can be said to be wearing non-existent clothes, a law that says that anyone can avail themselves of marriage can be said to discriminate against a craven movement to destroy our nation.

Indeed, any gay person is able to marry, in Maryland or anywhere else. The only thing that these perverts can not have is the right to break the law in pursuit of the chaos that they seek. No one can prevent a gay man from marrying a gay woman. What the law does prevent is a gay man from marrying another gay man. But, since it also prevents a straight man from marrying another straight man, there is no discrimination. As I have posted before, I once would have sought to marry a straight friend of mine, in that case to facilitate his visa requirement to stay in the United States. That was, is, and should remain illegal, and I am thankful that the law prevented me from making that youthfull mistake. But under the ruling of this Maryland judge, there should be nothing to prevent a man from marrying his own son or daughter.

As the ACLU quotes the judge, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Brooke Murdock, in its own press release on their sucess in garnering this ruling,
The Court is not unaware of the dramatic impact of its ruling, but it must not shy away from deciding significant legal issues when fairly presented to it for judicial determination.
So this self-appointed decider of "significant issues" with "dramatic impact" is not shy. Well, neither is the appellate division of the Maryland courts. And if even these worthies balk at doing their duty, I have complete faith in the people of Maryland on this issue.

Why is it so important to these scum to destroy the institution of marriage? well, as the ACLUs co-founder Roger Baldwin candidly stated,
I am for socialism, disarmament, and ultimately, for abolishing the state itself [...]. I seek social ownership of property, the abolition of the properties class, and sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal. [....] I don't regret being part of the communist tactic. I knew what I was doing. I was not an innocent liberal. I wanted what the communists wanted and I traveled the United Front road to get it.
A true and self-appointed iconoclast, Mr. Baldwin's legacy carries forward in its present state today. Communism may have failed, but the State still exists, and is under attack. It would be pathetic if it were not so dangerous. While I am sure that Roger Baldwin's ideological heir Alec does not know the danger he courts, he courts it nonetheless. It is so trendy and fuzzy to want everyone to be equal. What will they say when the first pervert attempts to marry his 12 year old daughter, and have a child together, if they can cite law and stare decisis to gain judicial acknowledgement of their foul deed? Will they be so proud of their progressivism then?

Update For further reading on the communist background and leanings of the early ACLU, Eugene Volokh has put together some great material showing, in their own words, how anti-democratic and yes, even anti-American the founders of the ACLU really were.

Iran: NEXT

Over at Dean's World, Aziz P has a post up that is worthy of grave consideration. It refers to an article from The Atlantic that I have studied over the last year. A bit long perhaps, but well worth your time. It explores the question, "Will Iran Be Next?"

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Visual Illusion

In the interest of the exploration of the human mind, I invite you all to lok at this illusion. If the colors change, or disappear, you realize the humility with which we must approach our place in the universe. Even lefties can play, if not necessarily learn from it.