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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

When to declare victory?

It was Senator George Aiken who said that American strategy in Vietnam should be to “declare victory and go home.”

A quick Google search reveals that this advice is being repeatedly given regarding Iraq and has been for years. However, the general point of both Aiken and his modern day imitators is that the declaration would be disingenuous but useful. It's just an excuse to get the hell out.

But there is a problem here. At some point it really does make sense to sincerely declare victory and go home (unless one genuinely thinks the best thing to do is stick around 50 years as we did in Germany and Japan.) One does not have to kill every single insurgent or terrorist before a victory declaration is real.

I wonder if we are closing in on that point. For instance, we are getting fairly close to the point where Iraq can be fairly said to no longer have an insurgency problem. Instead, it has a terrorism problem. After the conclusion of the current campaign to clear and hold all of the insurgent held towns in Anbar province, all, or very nearly all, of Iraq will be in control of the elected Iraqi government. If the insurgency can no longer hold territory but just blow up people, perhaps that is no longer an insurgency but simply “an acceptable level of violence” (see P.J. O'Rourke's Give War a Chance) akin to the situation in Northern Ireland for a long time. I'm not sure we need to stick around long for that.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

There have been many little victories already... the day Saddam was captured, and the first election. The December 15 election will be the final victory. After that we should start to draw down troops. We should maintain a smaller presence there for some time to keep influence on the Iraq military so that it cannot participate in a coup.

11:23 PM, November 30, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Yes there have been many small victories, and many large too. Come on, a successful election was small? Steamrolling the whole country in weeks was small? Keeping casualties to a tiny fraction, (theirs and ours) was small? You guys read the history of any other wars, like WWII for instance? War is about killing people and breaking things and for the first time in modern history we have been able to be successful with little of either.
Thirty percent is a normal battle casualty figure, seen any of that in this war? So now we quit half way because the completion of the project is tough? I have friends over there right now who think it is worth the candle to finish the job. One reserve Major is on his third deployment because he thinks he is doing good things over there and his wife and kids agree. So we quit on him? Boy, great bunch of patriot conservatives we are. Why don't you Email him at mlars40@yahoo.com and let him know you are quiting? Tell him to turn his weapon on his officers (oh wait, he is one), well just say he and his guys are wasting their time and to give it up.

10:42 AM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa, there Air Marshall! I, for one, was not advocating leaving before the job was finished or that we have not acheived big victories. I was simply making the point that at some point, one has achieved a victory and it is time to come home and that may be soon. I am definitely not arguing that that time is now, even if the boots on the ground like your friend disagree and that we should pull them out against their wishes and better judgement. As Bush said yesterday, these judgements have to be made with a huge amount of input from the military. They have better information than we do. But all this doesn't contradict my point: There will come a time when a truthful declaration of victory can be made. At that point, and not before, we should consider being prepared to leave, and there is nothing wrong with speculating that that point might be nearing.

1:13 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Try again to post his Email link.


1:24 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Harsh pencil, I applaud your stance and have no problem with pointing out that victory has been achieved when that is the fact. However, victory is not "declared", that is lib talk. Victory is "achieved" as is peace. Peace is achieved when evil is defeated and admits it, not before. There was no "peace" in Indochina after it had been declared by Nixon because it had never been achieved. There will be no peace in Iraq or the Middle East as a whole untill it is achieved through much hard work, sacrifice, intelligent planing, and unifed effort by all people who really want to have peace in that area and the world as a whole. That means people of good will, not evil.

1:38 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Victory is truthfully declared only when it has actually been achieved. So I think we agree.

2:17 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

We agree, but I object to the use of the word 'declared" in this context. SCC has pointed out (often) that words have meaning and must be used in the proper context to give that meaning substance. It is Libs who misuse words and corrupt the meaning and substance of them. "Declaring" victory is typical of Lib talk, form over substance. As SCC says, we must regain control of the language if we are to win the argument and regain control of society.

9:59 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Ooops, the above should say SSC, not SCC. SCC sounds like some government alphabet soup. My apologies to Grand Poobah the sixteenth.

10:58 PM, December 03, 2005  

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ahmadinejad the Chosen One

Ahmadinejad's days are numbered. This astounding article, via Winds of Change.net, has to be making the Ayatollahs nervous that they have chosen an insane idiot as their new President. I am not sure why the Ayatollahs bother to have a president anyways.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

S'saurus writes: I am not sure why the Ayatollahs bother to have a president anyways.

Answer: Because they're clever. It's actually a very clever way to run a dictatorship. Have real elections, but severely limit who can run, severely limit the jurisdiction of elected officials, and give final veto power over everything to the dictators. That way, you get all the power of being a dictator, but it still looks to the outside world like you are a democracy. I mean, you have elections with actual races and everything, right?

9:58 AM, November 30, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Yes, that is true. Mao had a president too.

Nevertheless, this guy has to be yanking their chain - he is politically inept.

10:13 AM, November 30, 2005  

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More Weddings, Oh My!

The marked lack of interest in the changing speed of light noted, I join the riffraff to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of George Michael (Yes, Pencil, I regretfully do know some of his songs) to his long-time partner, somebody or other.

Also in the news,
Elton John, Partner Plan Dec. 21 Civil Union
George Michael Slams Elton John

Apparently, Mr. John was seen trying on a dress just a bit too similar to Mr. Michael's for comfort.

Without an entry ready on Planck's constant (h) to balance the exposure to this populist drivel, I feel a cavity coming on. Off to brush my teeth.

(If anyone needs a quick antidote, go here for the lowdown on the uncertainty principle, or as Niels Bohr liked to call it, the Heisenberg indeterminacy principle.)

Monday, November 28, 2005

All the Oil

A lot of people talk about how much oil we use and how we are running out. Others point out strange occurances such as an ever increasing supply.

Most people tend to underestimate the size of the earth when talking about oil and how much we use. Consider this exercise:

From 1970 - 2005 the demand for oil in the United States went from 15 - 20 million per day or about an increase of 1% per year. If you extrapolate this from 2005 - 2105, we will use a total of 1.26 trillion barrels of oil over the next 100 years. A barrel of oil is 5.6 cubic feet, therefore, we will use 7.08 trillion cubic feet of oil over the next 100 years.

It sounds like a lot.

However, consider that a cubic mile = 147 billion cubic feet. Thus, all the oil that America will use in the next 100 years would fit in a space of only 48 cubic miles. It seems like a lot, but when you consider we are drilling down 6 miles for oil (the Earths crust is roughly 40 miles deep), the city of St. Paul would comprise over 300 cubic feet (52 sq miles x 6).

When you consider the entire surface of the earth (we also get oil from the ocean) you have 196,940,400 million square miles x 6 or 1.2 billion cubic miles. Of this amount, 48 square miles comprises less than .0000041% of the space in the earth that could hold oil.

Maybe this is all oversimplification, but .0000041% is a very small number. Have we really located all the oil?

If the volume of the Earth's atmosphere is more than 10 billion cubic miles, would burning 48 cubic miles of oil into it have any noticable effect?

UPDATE: Lake Superior holds 2900 Cubic miles of water. So all the oil we need for the next 100 years would take up 1.7% of Lake Superior ....

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Additionally, there is evidence that Mother Earth is actually producing more oil, that it's not a finite resource.

At any rate, we ARE finding and inventing new energy sources. This simply is not a crisis.

7:34 AM, November 29, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

I comend to you all the book "The next two hundred Years". Don't remember the authors but they were part of some big think tank back in the seventies during the "last" big "energy crisis". They state emphaticaly that there is more oil remaining to be discovered and developed than man has found since he began looking back in the mid nineteenth centruy. They point out that Australia, both on shore and off, sits on the same formation that gives the oil to Indonesia and Burma/Indochina. They predict that it holds more oil than the entire Middle East combined. As I recall they also point out that current methodes of recovery only get about seventeen percent of the avialable oil and that more efficent means are available but need to developed and deployed. Need drives inovation and all that is required is the need.
This is consistent with my experience in the Oil Patch. Much more can be done in recovery (about double, so like starting over again on the same wells) but it is cheaper to recover the easy stuff first. Maybe later the new techniques will be more cost effective. What is not a likely problem is simply running out. Also, we are at the begining of computer control of engines not the end, and their efficency will go up. Most estimates are in the area of fifty percent. That is a lot of extra gas. Much more can be done with coal as well, and we have a huge amount of that.

So, let us all wring our wrists untill they are raw! All together now, WRING!

11:15 AM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

By the way, Scribbler, the Earth is not your Mother!

11:17 AM, December 01, 2005  

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Wedding Bliss

In case you missed the news. Christina Aguilera got married this past week:

The 24-year-old pop singer tied the knot with music executive Jordan Bratman last evening in a ceremony at Staglin Family Vineyard in northern California's Napa Valley, Us Weekly reported on its Web site. ....Bratman, 28, proposed to Aguilera in February while on vacation in Carmel, Calif. Their hotel room was filled with rose petals, balloons and gift boxes.

How does this happen?

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

S'saurus: Do you actually know who this woman is? Would you recognize any of her songs or be able to pick her out of a lineup? (I wouldn't. I guess I'm just not a populist.)

6:37 AM, November 28, 2005  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

What, you want that Wave Energy column right now?

6:56 AM, November 28, 2005  

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Cindy's Bad Day

Via Drudge, apparently Cindy had a bad day for her book signing in Crawford. We should have planned a road trip.

Fireside Chats

Senator John Warner today suggested that President Bush use Fireside Chats to help explain the Iraq war to the American people:

"It would bring him closer to the people, dispel some of this concern that understandably our people have, about the loss of life and limb, the enormous cost of this war to the American public," he said.

While I think it would be a good idea for the Administration to explain the war more often, the use of Fireside chats needs to be put into context. World War II cost over 400,000 lives, or an average of 300 per day from 12/7/41 - 9/1/45. In some months (June - Dec 1944 this tally was double or triple. Also, the army in World War II was largely a draftee army - more than 2/3s were drafted and more than 30,000 fled outside the United States to avoid the draft. Also remember that in 1945, the population of the United States was 135 million, less than 1/2 the population today.

Further, consider that World War II cost nearly 150% GDP or the equivalent of $18 trillion today. World War II set progress back ten years in the United States.

In contrast Iraq has cost $300 billion or less than 3% of GDP and 2,100 lives. Furthermore, the army is a professional army made up of volunteers. This makes a huge difference.

Yes.... Fireside chats were needed in World War II because even positive media spin was not enough to keep the cost of the war from drifting into the populace. Iraq is the opposite problem. The negative media spin makes Iraq seem much more costly than it really is to the general public. Certainly it is costly to those who lose family members, but to the country in general, most people do not feel the war in the same way they did World War II.

For example, during World War II a soldier from the twin cities area, on average, was killed every single day. The rate for Iraq is less than one per month.

People questioned World War II as well..... Why were we fighting Germany when they never attacked us? Why did 80,000 Americans die to free France in 1944 from Germany when 80,000 died in 1918 to free France from Germany the first time. Why the second chance?

If it wasn't for the Holocaust, World War II would be very controversial today. The Holocaust put to rest any lingering doubts that we had moral justification to wage the war.

Fireside chats could be overkill. What Bush needs to do is counter the media lies with positive news reports, so that people have a fair and balanced view about the war and what the stakes are. If it takes the equivalent of a fireside chat to accomplish this, then I am all for it.

As a side note: in 1939, the Wehrmacht numbered some 3.1 million men. By 1945, it had grown to more than 9 million and included old men and children. It goes to show that our attacking Germany angered them enough to increase the size of their army. This alone should have been a good enough reason not to go to war with Germany in the first place (it was our fault they had to use old men and children)... Our war against the Nazi's only led to the creation of more Nazis. How unfortunate.

Friday, November 25, 2005

It’s the End of Light Speed As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)

Physicist Michio Kaku reports speculation via Discover Magazine that c (the speed of light), as well as h (Planck's constant), and G (Newton’s Constant), could change with time due to universe expansion.

To clarify, I believe he refers to the notion that as the universe expands, the source of the light removes itself in one direction as the light wave proceeds in the opposite. (Hubble's Law, or red shift proportional to distance.) But I could be wrong. My physics education is light years removed from me as well, and also traveling in an opposite direction.

The alternate viewpoint is that light is in actuality slowing down, causing a perception of expansion where there is none, or where the expansion of the universe is slowing.

Before pandemonium ensues, the change in c, if any, would be an nth degree of imperceptible in our lifetime (though last night’s reading of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein could encourage fantasies of immortality in a less grounded person).

More importantly, as much as I admire the sincere attempt at populism below, I felt it necessary to cleanse the blog’s palate, much as strong and bitter coffee is essential following over-sugared confections (or Twinkies for our populist friends).

Next Week: Wave Energy

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

How Sad

According to an US magazine exclusive (via Drudge), Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey have announced their separation.

I have a question. Who the hell are Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey?

I'm serious. They seem to be on the supermarket tabloids whenever I'm checking out, but I really have no idea how they got there. Neither one seems particularly attractive.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Isn't one of them a cartoon character? A pacifier-sucking rabbit, or something of the sort. Happy to be of assistance.

7:13 PM, November 24, 2005  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I've been thinking, and that this is even a topic for my thoughts is sad, but who *announces* their separation?

3:12 PM, November 28, 2005  

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Monday, November 21, 2005

How They'll Go After Alito

It seems that the Supreme Court issue that concerns Liberals most - keeping abortions legal, easy, and funded by taxpayers - is not one on which they feel they can win elections, nor one on which they believe they can defeat Alito. It makes sense - the vast majority of Americans have a position to the right of elected Democrats on abortion, and half or more are completely opposed to abortion. So what will their strategery be? I believe there is a chapter in the Democratic Party's political strategy handbook called "When All Else Fails, Try Racism."

Joe Biden may have been floating a Democratic trial balloon yesterday when he said the following: "The part that jeopardizes it (Alito's nomination) more is his quotes in there saying that he had strong disagreement with the Warren Court particularly on reapportionment, one man, one vote...The fact that he questioned abortion and the idea of quotas is one thing. The fact that he questioned the idea of the legitimacy of the reapportionment decisions of the Warren Court is even something well beyond that...If he really believes that reapportionment is a questionable decision that is, the idea of Baker v. Carr, one man, one vote, then clearly, clearly, you'll find a lot of people, including me, willing to do whatever they can to keep him off the court. ... That would include a filibuster, if need be..."

My impression is that Alito's disagreement likely had to do with the issue of federal control over state or local matters, but surely that won't stop the Democrats. Instead, I suspect they're trying to determine if they can claim Alito is opposed to "one man, one vote" and use this to rekindle some of the disenfranchisement (whatever that is) hysteria they generated following their failed 2000 and 2004 election efforts when they claimed the Republicans were preventing minorities (blacks) from voting. I mean, who could be opposed to one man, one vote? You'd have to be a racist right? Well surely Republicans were when they stole the election in 2000; they showed it again when they prevented blacks in Ohio from voting in 2004, and now they want to appoint Alito to the Supreme Court to further ensure their ability to disenfranchise black voters for years to come.

Maybe they won't get any traction, but you can believe that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and a whole lot of Dems are out there right now waiting for marching orders, practicing the pronunciationion of the word "reapportionment" and looking for an opportunity to throw a white sheet over the Alito nomination.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Disenfranchisement. I believe this refers to the practice of not allowing blacks to own McDonald's, particularly in Florida, I'm fairly certain.

9:19 AM, November 22, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

The market still puts Alito being confirmed at 86% probability. (A security which pays one dollar if he is confirmed is selling for 86 cents.) This price has moved very little in the last two weeks.

3:37 PM, November 22, 2005  

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Misery of Gophers Fans Nothing Compared to Cubs Fans

Strib ran a sports column on Friday about Gophers football fans and their 38 year drought for a Big Ten Championship. The article mentioned and compared the situation of the Gophers' football fans to that of the Cubs' fans.

Excuse me.

38 years (Gophers' Big 10 Co-Champs in 1967) is not 97 years (Cubs' World Series Champs in 1908). 1967 is not 1908.

The Gophers' fans are not victims like the Cubs' fans. Cubs' fans are victims of poor management because the Cubs are a major market team that has not won in nearly 100 years. Gopher fans are not victims -- their management has done as well as can be expected considering Minnesota is not the football recruiting ground that Ohio, Michigan and Illinois are.

It was an absurd comparison. Now, maybe if 50 more years pass without the Gophers winning a Big Ten Title, then . . .

Blogger The Strongman said...

I agree, there is no comparison.

The Strib running this article is based on the fraudulent, I think, premise that the Gophers had a realistic chance of winning the Big Ten. It seems that each year for the past several, the college football season has opened with Gopher staff, Gopher friendly media, and some fans stating things to the effect of; This is the strongest team in years, this team should win the Big Ten, go to the Rose Bowl, etc.

After three games against the likes of Tulsa, Florida Atlantic, and other barely Division I schools, those making the predictions of success feel validated - "We're 3-0, and did you see how good we looked on Saturday? 58-7! Sure it was against the Sisters of the Poor, but Maroney ran for 897 yards!"

Then, each year, the Big 10 season starts, the Gophers win about half their games, lose about half, go through a whole bunch of what ifs and if onlys (what if we hadn't let Michigan come back and beat us again, if only Wisconsin hadn't blocked that punt), they finish somehwere between 5th and 8th place, and ultimately are disappointed when the invitation comes to go play a bowl game in El Paso or Nashville or Detroit.

While I'm sure the disappointment is real, the expectations were not. This is in contrast to the Cubs, who occasionally after six months and a 162 game season, nearly make or even do make the playoffs, truly coming close to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series, before falling short and heaping more misery on their unfortunate fans.

As I stated earlier, I agree with the SSC's sentiment, there is no comparison.

11:14 AM, November 21, 2005  

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House Republicans Embrace War Issue!

The House Republicans forced a debate on a non-binding resolution on withdrawing from Iraq -- basically taking Congressman Murtha at his word. This debate in the House was long overdue as Democrats had long criticized the war without taking a stand on immediate withdrawal. When the vote was taken, the vote was overwhelming against immediate withdrawal.

This single parliamentary maneuver by the House Republicans has shifted the debate to where it should be -- what do we do now?

This is a great turn of events for the country. The debate is turning from distractions about the war to the current conduct of the war. First principles are being debated -- there is great opportunity here.

I believe the GOP has the better answers to the war issues than the Dem Party. That's why we will now start winning this debate.

On these big questions, the fundamentals -- including common sense -- are the key to effective communications and politics. You can't address the fundamentals if you're allowing distractions to overwhelm your message.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I agree. But the next step should be to introduce a positive resolution. That is, the tactic last night was to introduce a resolution calling for an immediate withdrawal (and having it lose 400 something to 3). Now the House Republicans should introduce a resolutiion signaling our determination to stay until the job is done.

8:44 AM, November 19, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

The whole "Bush lied" path is just another means by Democrats to oppose the war. It's a dishonest means. Why is no explanation provided by Democrats as to why Bush would lie? Michael Moore argues that it was for oil and for Bush and Cheney to enrich their Texas buddies. Maybe Democrats believe Michael Moore.....

9:26 PM, November 19, 2005  

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Democrats Go Down

The move in the house this evening to bring Congressman Murtha's resolution to a vote was a brilliant political move. The vote failed 400+ to 3.

The movement to pull out of Iraq has been diffused for the time being. Democrats will have to go back to the Libby case.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bush fighting Back

Powerline provides great commentary on the President finally starting to fight back against his fraudulent critics. I agree with Powerline that Bush should start attacking these critics every few days at the very least. However, I would go further. There are numerous comments made by Democrats over the last few years that are "unbecoming" an American, which were ignored by the MSM. Bush needs to start bringing these up as well. Some great examples are the trips to Iraq taken by McDermot prior to the war and the statements by Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin.

I don't know if waiting to respond to false attacks was a strategy by Bush. If it was it seems misguided. However, if Bush plans to withdraw troops in 2006, then the strategy makes more sense. Bush wants to be on the upswing when annoucing such decisions. Withraw from strength, not weakness.

Blogger Federal Farmer said...

Rumsfeld is joining the attack also. They certainly are right to attack the Democrats, who established the policy that is currently in place (who can forget Mad Madeline asking what is the military good for if it's not in use). However, they are prudently avoiding the criticism of the authentic Right, which criticized both administrations for their foreign policies of putting Islamists in political power, whether in Bosnia, Kosovo, or Basra. In fact, one Presidential candidate in 2000 was particularly eloquent in his argument against "nation-building," which always came at the American taxpayers expense. Now, according to the Israelis, we have committed a strategic blunder, in addition to engaging in hyper-nation building. I suggest looking to The American Conservative magazine if you want to read what has consistently been the most credible source of information on foreign policy.

12:28 PM, November 15, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Does Conservative magazine offer policy suggestions on how to deal with nuclear proliferation. I would like to hear them.

2:07 PM, November 15, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

A policy suggestion on what to do about a real problem? You must be joking.

9:34 PM, November 15, 2005  
Blogger Federal Farmer said...

Perhaps the commentators are suggesting that Israel should be in our sights now, as they are now criticizing our policies as having made the mideast more dangerous (see the complete post below, in "How Goeth the Empire Project."
From the American Conservative:
Leon Hadar, a former Israeli Defense Force Officer, now at the Cato Institute, writes, in an article entitled: Bad For You Too? How the Iraq War Disappointed Israel, the following.
"Even more intriguing has been the way Israeli officials and pundits have scoffed at the Wilsonian fantasies of the neocons—fantasies of using the invasion of Iraq as the first stage of “democratizing” the Middle East. Not only have most Israeli experts suggested that such a scheme is impractical, they have also argued that the collapse of authoritarian regimes in places like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan is bound to bring to power anti-Israeli and anti-American forces. As Israeli leaders see it, the Jewish state would have a hard time adjusting to a democratic Arab world in which public opinion, rather than centralized rulers, determined policy. Yehezkel Dror, a political science professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, recently related the Israeli establishment’s view: “We’re all for democracy, but let us imagine democracy in Egypt or Jordan. Will it strengthen their peace with Israel?” Dror and his colleagues have concluded that the answer to this question is a clear “No!” That explains why Newsweek characterized the reputation of Natan Sharansky—George W. Bush’s favorite author and the prophet of Middle Eastern democracy—in Israel as that of a “scorned idealist.”
An aide to Ariel Sharon (presumably not anti-semitic) recently voiced the same thought, that the urban renewal project in Iraq has made it more dangerous for Israel, than it was before. Certainly the Iranians have benefited far beyond their wildest dreams, and China's People's Liberation Army's General Command looks at events in the mideast like the U.S. General Command looked at events in Afghanistan in the early 1980's.
Sorry to repeat this post, but it had been quickly buried under the inane chatter and obsolete talking points of the neocons.

8:12 AM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I think that article sums up the Paleocon idea for middle-east democracy. That arabs cannot function in a democracy.

In my opinion, this view reveals a general misunderstanding of humanity - the view that people of different creeds and races behave differently in their basic psychology is the fundamental flaw in paleocon thinking.

As I have said before, if this is your view, then of course, the whole Iraq policy is a mistake.

Go read some Thucydides or ancient Chinese history and you will learn that people generally behave in the same way and always will (which is why you will always have stock market bubbles too!)

9:10 AM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I certainly agree that the Mideast has become more dangerous. The US armed forces are killing scores of jihadists weekly. It is much more dangerous for them than it use to be.

(Oh. And still waiting for a positive policy recommendation. Cricket chirp. Cricket chirp. Cricket chirp.)

9:39 AM, November 16, 2005  

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Five Questions

Dennis Prager in the LA times has an op-ed asking law-abiding Muslims five questions:

(1) Why are you so quiet?

(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian? [Many Palestians are indeed Christian.]

(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?

(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?

(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

Read the whole thing.

Al Qaeda threatens the Queen

Al Qaeda has lost its marbles. It now sees the Queen of England as one if its greatest enemies. Perhaps they are using 18th century encylopedias for their source materials:

AL-QAEDA has threatened the Queen by naming her as “one of the severest enemies of Islam” in a video message to justify the July bombings in London... In the video, Ayman al- Zawahiri, second-in-command to Osama Bin Laden, targets the Queen as ultimately responsible for Britain’s “crusader laws” and denounces her as an enemy of Muslims.

How is the Queen of England able to do anything about Al Qaeda. When was the queen able to pass laws or influence anyone other than tabloid news. I wonder who is in charge of Al Qaeda these days? This moranic comment about the queen shows a zero understanding about the world.

Perhaps Al Aaeda was mistaken and meant to say King Richard.

There is more and more proof every day that Al Qaeda is now being led by third string.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

And isn't her eldest son closer to being a Muslim than an Anglican? In all seriousness, he has mentioned he wants one of his titles to be "defender of faiths" instead of "defender of the faith" if and when he becomes king, and in his recent trip to the U.S., lectured President Bush that we must not be unduly harsh with the religion of peace.

10:33 PM, November 13, 2005  

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Woman terrorist confesses on Jordan TV

Accrding to the AP:

An Iraqi woman confessed on Jordanian state television Sunday that she tried to blow herself up along with her husband during a hotel wedding reception last week, saying that the explosives concealed under her denim dress failed to detonate. Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, 35, made her statement hours after being arrested by authorities...Al-Rishawi's brother was once the right-hand man to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, said deputy premier Marwan Muasher. He said the brother, Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, was killed in the former terrorist stronghold of Fallujah, Iraq.

The more I think about this story the more astounding it seems. The public confession is a media bombshell and could have more influence over the Arab world's opinion about Al Qaeda than any other event. What you have here is a woman admitting publicly that she purposely tried to blow herself up in the middle of a muslim marriage ceremony. It's not just any woman, but one who is connected to the Al Qaeda leadership. Prior to these the arab spinners have been able to claim Al Qaeda's victims were infidels or collateral damage who perished in a noble cause. No rationalization is possible for this event. The victims of the ceremony were not collateral damage, they were the targets....

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

It's also kind of hard to argue she's a jew, or somehow the Mossad is behind this.

9:59 PM, November 13, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Yes, I also forgot to add that the Jordanian authorites only started looking forher after Al Qaeda released a statement stating that two of the bombers was a husband and wife team. At the time of the release, Al Qaeda did not realize that one of the bombs failed to detonate:

"...Jordanian security was tipped off to her presence by al-Qaida in Iraq's claim of a female bomber, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists. The group apparently assumed she was killed in the blasts...."

Al Qaeda claimed responsibility too soon..it will now be hard for Al Qaeda to claim that it is all lies.

10:40 PM, November 13, 2005  

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How goeth the Empire Project

Now that the Imperial Project has sufficiently advanced that this august body will debate the topic: "Conservatives Should Embrace Empire," perhaps an assessment of current progress on the project is appropriate. In an article more to the question of whether the GOP is at risk of losing this country, which can be seen here, is something of an assessment of how well the Imperialist project is going. Here is an excerpt:

Thus, in March 2003, Bush, in perhaps the greatest strategic blunder in U.S. history,invaded an Arab nation that had not attacked us, did not want war with us and did not threaten us—to strip it of weapons we now know it did not have. Result: Shia and Kurds have been liberated from Saddam, but Iran has a new ally in southern Iraq, Osama has a new base camp in the Sunni Triangle, the Arab and Islamic world has been radicalized against the United States, and copy-cat killers of Al Qaida have been targeting our remaining allies in Europe and the Middle East: Spain, Britain,Egypt and Jordan. And, lest we forget, 2,055 Americans are dead and Walter Reed is filling up. True to the neoconservative creed, Bush has launched a global crusade for democracy that is now bringing ever closer to power Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria, and Shia fundamentalists in Baghdad and Basra.

The panglossians amongst us will disagree, of course, refusing any information which may conflict with their utopian schemes and dreams. In fact, the more agressive neos of the neocons may scream antisemitism, resorting to racebaiting to silence opposition, as they have previously and as is traditional on the left.

However, considering the consequences of the policies they successfully advocated, it may be time to consider whether the neocons themselves aren't anti-semitics, or maybe even plants by the Iranian intelligence services (while allowing for the possibility that the vast majority are merely useful idiots, as Lenin described those with misguided "good" intentions), as the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency claims the neocon's darling Chalabi is.

Again from The America Conservative (don't be too quick here with the anti-semitism charge), Leon Hadar, a former Israeli Defense Force Officer, now at the Cate Institute, writes, (see complete article here) in an article entitled: Bad For You Too? How the Iraq War Disappointed Israel, the following.

Even more intriguing has been the way Israeli officials and pundits have scoffed at the Wilsonian fantasies of the neocons—fantasies of using the invasion of Iraq as the first stage of “democratizing” the Middle East. Not only have most Israeli experts suggested that such a scheme is impractical, they have also argued that the collapse of authoritarian regimes in places like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan is bound to bring to power anti-Israeli and anti-American forces. As Israeli leaders see it, the Jewish state would have a hard time adjusting to a democratic Arab world in which public opinion, rather than centralized rulers, determined policy. Yehezkel Dror, a political science professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, recently related the Israeli establishment’s view: “We’re all for democracy, but let us imagine democracy in Egypt or Jordan. Will it strengthen their peace with Israel?” Dror and his colleagues have concluded that the answer to this question is a clear “No!” That explains why Newsweek characterized the reputation of Natan Sharansky—George W. Bush’s favorite author and the prophet of Middle Eastern democracy—in Israel as that of a “scorned idealist.”

An aide to Ariel Sharon (presumably not anti-semitic) recently voiced the same thought, that the urban renewal project in Iraq has made it more dangerous for Israel, than it was before. Certainly the Iranians have benefited far beyond their wildest dreams, and China's People's Liberation Army's General Command looks at events in the mideast like the U.S. General Command looked at events in Afghanistan in the early 1980's.

But why would conservatives, not neoconservatives nor "compassionate" conservatives, but conservatives, have ever though differently? I grew up as an anticommunist, and my conservatism was always in opposition to the ideals of communism. Then, along comes leftists out of the Social Democrats USA party, (http://www.socialdemocrats.org/, anti-Stalinist, not anti-Marxist, founded by a Trotskyite) self-described as "neo" conservatives to distinguish themselves from the American Conservative movement, arguing for "Empire," albeit "democratic." To achieve this, Trotsky's dream of "permanent revolution" must take place.

That dream failed in the 1920's when the lunacy of the idea was apparent, even to Bolsheviks, and it will certainly fail, with huge economic and strategic consequences, to any country idiotic to attempt it today.

Recently, a neoconservative intellectual, and JAS member, posted on this website a debate between (George?) Galloway and Christopher Hitchens. That was like judging the merits of Vladimir Lenin's arguments or Leon Trotsky's arguments in a debate. Hitchens was presented as a valiant defender of western civilization. Our befuddled blogger, and neocon, didn't understand that the motive for Hitchen's support was in seeing the U.S. as the best hope for achieving the Marxian dream, and why so many Iraqi exiles who called on the U.S. to liberate their country were Iraqi Trotskyites.

Here is an excerprt from an article about my neocon friend's ideological mentor. After reading this, contemplate why the American Right must turn to the British Trotskyite Left for
guidance on becoming an "Empire."

So where does this lover of Trotsky and hater of God, this despiser of religion and tradition and devotee of "permanent revolution," this anti-Catholic bigot and reviler of Reagan and John Paul, now find an ideological home? Among the neoconservatives, naturally. As Hitchens told Johann Hari in the same interview where he said "I don’t regret anything," he admires Paul Wolfowitz, whom he described as a "real bleeding heart." According to Hari, Hitchens sees neoconservatism as a "distinctively new strain of thought, preached by ex-leftists, who believed in using US power to spread democracy." Hari also wrote that Hitchens believes that if neoconservatism "can become dominant within the Republican Party, it can turn US power into a revolutionary force." Barry Didcock came to a similar conclusion in the June 5, 2005 Sunday Herald after interviewing Hitchens: "The way Hitchens tells it, he began to realize, as the 1990s wore on, that US force could and should be used to fight what he saw as the forces of fascism." Hitchens still wants world revolution; the only difference is that now he sees us Americans as perfectly placed to do the fighting and the dying needed to achieve his Trotskyist dream.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Farmer has it wrong about Hitchens. Just because you agree with someone on one issue doesn't mean you agree with someone on all issues.

Paleocons have yet to come up with an idea for what to do about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It's easy to bash Bush's so-called "wilsonian" dream about spreading democracy, but it is an idea with a historical track record. Where is the paleocon idea?

They have none, that is why they are paleocons. The classic paleocon is the one who refuses put iron plates on the side of his 74 gun double decker - that would be uncivilized.

9:35 PM, November 13, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

The only answer paleocons ever give to the question, "what should we do about ...?" is, "Well, I wouldn't do this (something Bush has done), and I wouldn't do that ..." or perhaps a "well, we wouldn't have this problem in the first place if it weren't for ...".

10:05 PM, November 13, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

True I suppose. If it wasn't for the Communist Roosevelt, we wouldn't have nuclear weapons.........

10:25 PM, November 13, 2005  
Blogger Federal Farmer said...

Sloanosaurus and Harsh Pencil seem to be extremely harsh on the Republican Party that existed prior to 2001, don't they? In fact, as many of the neo-cons did (See Johua Muravchik campaigning for Bill Clinton). they probably voted for Bill Clinton in 1992.

8:21 AM, November 14, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Huh? I vigorously supported Gulf War I and Reagan's covert campaign against the reds in central America. I assume Paleocons opposed these efforts also.

8:52 AM, November 14, 2005  
Blogger Federal Farmer said...

First, what Sloanosaurus derogagatorily calls paleo-cons is all of those mainstream conservatives who never felt the need to distinguish themselves as something different from traditional conservatives, in line that includes Russell Kirk going back to Burke.
It is the new line of "conservatives" the neos, the ideological children of Trotsky in the first generation, that could not call themselves "conservative" without attaching a modifier.
However, with their psychological need for perpetual revolution, they will always burnout quickly in whatever country this type appears, whether in the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, or the National Socialist Revolution. Their cause may subtly change, depending on topical circumstances, but they always retain, and demand, the right to remake the rest of humanity.
It's no accident that the Clintons do not disagree with the neoconservatives and could always rely on support from them (see the War to put Islamic Fundamentalists in power in Bosnia and Kosovo, and a Marxist in power in Haiti), not is it an accident that Hilary Clinton had Michael Ledeen's (co-conspirator on everything that has gone wrong) essay advocating "creative destruction" on her website.

10:16 AM, November 14, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Are you saying that "neocons" such as bill Crystal or Bill Bennett are no differnet than the Nazis or Reds, or Robespierre?

12:22 PM, November 14, 2005  

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Debate Nov 16: Conservatives Should Embrace Empire

The John Adams Society

Todd E Pierce, Chairman
Christopher Phelan, Secretary
Marianne S Beck, Chief Whip
Meriwether Robert Engberg, Chancellor

November 16, 2005

"Is America a weakling, to shrink from the work of the great world powers? No! The young giant of the West stands on a continent and clasps the crest of an ocean in either hand. Our nation, glorious in youth and strength, looks into the future with eager eyes and rejoices as a strong man to run a race." - Theodore Roosevelt.

THE WORLD HAS SHRUNK. The vast oceans protecting us from barbarian hordes have become small puddles. Thus the cesspools beyond our borders are no longer beyond our concerns. For our own sake, the world needs to be civilized and we are the only ones who can do it.

And we will do both good and well in such an endeavor. Good, because the American ideals of freedom and capitalism are universal and have done more the common man than any ideas for organizing society that preceding them. Well, because a developed world can offer us trade and friendship rather than dependence and conflict.

ON THE OTHER HAND, overextension has been the death of many a great civilization. We can not and should not police the world. We are simply too few. We can wish our friends well and punish those who directly attack us, but beyond that, we have limited options. A world where we can bring freedom, happiness, and inexpensive cheeseburgers would be nice, but is, unfortunately, not the one we live in.

THE CHAIRMAN, no stranger to Napoleonic methods himself, has called for a debate to settle the question:


The Debate will be held on Wednesday November 16, 2005 at the Pool & Yacht Club, 1600 Lilydale Road, Lilydale MN. (Click Here for an interactive map to the location.). The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o'clock p.m. The debate will begin at half past seven. While there is no dress code for attendance, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies should adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen who arrive tieless yet wish to speak, fret not: the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand at least one of his quite remarkable ties for just such an eventuality. Questions about debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (952) 937-7630 or the Secretary at (612) 204-5615.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Conservatives Should Embrace Empire!

The next John Adams Society debate could not be better timed next Wednesday in St. Paul. Resolved: Conservatives Should Embrace Empire. I can't wait. More information can be obtained at johnadamssociety.org.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Thanks for the heads up ssc.

I will post the whip sheet now.

8:27 AM, November 12, 2005  

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

France and Race and Islam

I have posted previously that the riots in france are caused by economic failure of the French state. Many in the liberal media, however, are arguing that it all has to do with race. Consider this quote from David Ignatius:

I lived for several years in France, returning to America a year ago, and I was always astonished by the French inability to reckon with racial divisions. You just didn't see black or brown faces in prominent positions -- not in the National Assembly, not on French television, not among business leaders, not in the media. French analysts have been warning for decades about the dangers of warehousing African and Arab immigrants in the suburbs, but the French have refused to adopt aggressive affirmative-action programs that might change the situation.

I am not so sure that race is spurring on the riots. African Americans were slaves in America who were brought over against their will and have lived here for 500 years. In America you don't often experience the feeling of whites hoping that black Americans will "go home." In contrast, North Africans have been living in France, a country that is 500+ years old, for less than 50 years - most of them coming over voluntarily to work. To expect that North Africans should suddenly be in high places of power is a stretch. Nevertheless, I also admit that I do not have direct knowledge of what life is like in France.

Ignatious goes on:

Americans of my generation remember the riots in Watts and Newark, and the explosion of rage in Washington after Martin Luther King Jr.'s death. It was a trial by fire, and it changed America. Racist politicians such as George Wallace tried to sow more hatred, but a consensus emerged that America needed to provide real opportunities for the enraged young blacks who were throwing the molotov cocktails.

This line of thinking is where the manistream punditry fails to acknowledge the differences of riots in America to the riots in France. The difference is ISLAM.

In America, black Americans rioted for the usual things, they hated the police, wanted better jobs, less poverty, all the usual social ills. Their leaders demanded change. However, I do not recall any riot where the rioters demanded that they be given their own autonomous region in America where they could be separated from American society. Yet, this is what the Islamists are demanding in France, they want Francistan and Land of Mohammed inside the French state.... which is why instituing affirmative action programs, as Ignatious suggests, will solve nothing.

There is no solution to this demand. No state should voluntarily give up its land to squatters without a long and bloody war. Perhaps this is the beginning of that war.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

As I said. Read the Koran.

11:03 AM, November 11, 2005  

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Who Lied in Iraq

Anyone who hasn't read Norman Podhoretz article in Commentary on who lied in Iraq should read it now, it is an excellent summation of the facts.

Powerline links to post by Kevin Drum who tries to refute Podhoretz's assesment:

Fair enough. Lots of people did believe that Iraq had WMD before the war. The problem Podhoretz doesn't bother wrestling with, however, is that after the war concluded we discovered that there were also a fair number of people who had been skeptical about Iraqi WMD. INR, for example, thought the African uranium was bogus. DIA thought our prime witness for Iraqi-al-Qaeda WMD collaboration was lying. The Air Force found the evidence on drones to be laughable. DOE didn't believe in the aluminum tubes. None of these dissents was acknowledged by the Bush administration.

I find Drum's rationalization weak. There is always a dissenter and dissenting information. The point is not whether you have dissent, its whether the dissent carries enough weight to overwhelm the risk of doing nothing. The fact that the whole world thought that Saddam had WMD, and one agency did not is not grounds to do nothing. Imagine if the opposite happened: Bush decided not to go war ignoring most intelligence agencies stating that saddam had WMD, and instead relying on the State Department who said Saddam "may not" have WMD. A year later Saddam sells Sarin gas to terrorists which is used to kill 10,000 in the NYC subway... Do you think liberals would be saying that Bush used prudent judgment?

UPDATE: Real Clear Politics also works on Drum.

Ninth Circuit Split

Apparently, language to split up the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was slipped into the latest budget reconciliation bill.

Wouldn't it be nice.....

UPDATE: Senator Feinstein is really pissed!

More on the split up here.

Blogger ssc said...

Great idea! The bill proposes that the opinions from the liberal judges of California be limited to one other state Hawaii. The other states would be free to go their own way. Here is the breakdown:

The new Ninth Circuit would include California, Hawaii, Guam, and the North Marianas Islands, while the new Twelfth Circuit would cover Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska.

5:21 PM, November 10, 2005  

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Republicans Strike Back

Finally! Republicans are fighting back against corrupt Democrats.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Jean-Marie Le Pen?

I just read this article about Jean-Marie Le Pen at:


Has anyone done any researh on this right winger? I am simply not up to date on my French politics -- but now am interested because of the riots.

Today's world

I think that we are making a mistake in trying to understand the events of today without knowledge of the basic tenets of Islam. It is only necessary to read one text to obtain that knowledge and that is the Koran. Get a good translation, (the one I read is titled "The meaning of the Glorious Koran", I don't remember the translators name) and study it from cover to cover. The translator of the above text was quick to point out that this was not "the Koran" as the miracle of the Koran can only exist in the original archaic "bazaar" Arabic in which it was written. However, as the title implies the meaning was quite clear.
I believe that once you have studied the Koran not only will you have a better understanding of Islam, but you will never be able to view the events of today's world in the same light. It will be a life changing experience in that sense. If you do not study the Koran, you are placing yourself in the position of trying to deal with an unknown enemy inside a dark room.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Is there dissimulation going on here?

10:57 AM, November 09, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...


I read it years ago and have never forgoten the experience! As I said, if you have not read it, you are trying to deal with an unknown enemy inside a dark room.
No amount of other reading on Islam will have the same impact as reading the Koran itself will. I can only say you will have trouble believing that you are reading what you are reading.

11:59 PM, November 09, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I am always amazed at the tendency to view Air Marshall's statements as anything but sincere. I just don't get it. Haven't we learned our lesson on this, from, oh, a few debates ago?

7:34 AM, November 10, 2005  

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What are Democrats Up to?

I thought by this time we would be going full bore defending against attacks by Democrats on the nomination of Judge Alito. Instead Democrats are stuck on the ususal attacks of accusing Bush for lying about Weapons of Mass Destruction. Granted, the press loves this attack, because they also hate Bush and the war. However, attacking Bush on WMD is going to get very old very quickly because it is all assertion and conjecture and all a repackaging of prior complaints. By January, it will forgotten.

If I were a liberal (and if I were a smart liberal) I would be fighting the nomination of Judge Alito. Unlike the short term grandstanding Democrats can get from criticising Bush on Valarie Plame, Judge Alito will affect Democrats and the liberal agenda for the next quarter century.

Why then are the Democrats concentrating on WMD and avoiding Alito? I think it is because the Democratic leadership is scared S*#tless of the left special interest groups who control the purse strings of the Democrat party. Democrats are going to lose big time on Alito - he will be confirmed - the writing is already on the wall. Thus, instead of being seen as surrendering, Democrats are attacking Bush on WMD! The left loves it and it distracts people from the real threat to liberalism, which is Judge Alito.

The Rise of Intolerant Europe

Any fair reading of European history leads to the conclusion that Europe is actually a very intolerant place - much more intolerant than the U.S. Many pundits seem to believe that the latest uprisings will lead to the "enclaving" of Europe or the beginning of the end of Western Civilization. The problem with this argument is that it has no historical basis. A scenario that does have historical relevance is the "liquidation" scenario that has been played out numerous times in Europe; i.e. by Ferdinand and Isabella, by Louis XIV, and recently by Adolf Hitler.

Liquidation does not necessarily mean mass killings, it also means mass deportation, or mass forced conversion. Elites may tend to think such a scenario is not possible in the modern world. However, I believe this scenario is far more likely than the creation of enclaves or surrender. People tend to underestimate the pressure of democracy once the train has left the station. These same democracies can easily lead to the rise of a 21st century tyrant, whose first order of business will be to solve the immgration problem (before taking on traditional tyrant type activities).

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I agree. When societies are faced with the choice of extinction or doing something considered morally abhorrent, they usually choose to survive.

That's what I don't understand about the Islamists middle east strategy. Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons. It is by choice each day that they do not wipe out large portions of the Islamic world. Do the Islamists believe Israel will go down without using them?

8:44 AM, November 09, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

These islamic fanatics probably think that losing half the arab world to Nukes is well worth destroying Israel - this is why they are so dangerous.

8:52 AM, November 09, 2005  

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Watts or West Bank?

Wretchard at The Belmont Club asks an interesting question on the current troubles in France. Is this a French intifada or French Watts? Are we seeing the beginning of an Islamic fundamentalist movement intent on eventually turning France into part of the caliphate or basically a non-religious based violent expression of discontent by an ethnic minority.

I don't know. But I'm also not sure it matters. What matters is what the French do. I would propose,

1) Make it easier for anyone to get a job by relaxing labor regulations (like once you hire someone you can't fire them).

2) Make it harder not to get a job by cutting welfare to the able bodied.

3) Enforce laws equally in all parts of France, especially laws regarding mistreating females through intimidation, forced marriages, and pulling girls out of school too early. Do not allow separate societies within the country.

It seems regardless of whether this is Islamic based or not, the people in those suburbs, or at least a critical mass of them, must be integrated into French society. Nothing breeds resentment more than not being able to advance in life and then receiving a handout so you can sit there and steam.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

The problem with France, is that real change is virtually impossible without revolution. How can the people of France expect to change a government where all of the legislators went to the same University?

It may turn out that the latest intifada is what France needs.

10:09 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Harsh pencil's post about France would make good advice for Canada too.

11:54 PM, November 08, 2005  

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Air Marshall Makes a Point

Air Marshall makes another brief and profound point in his comment on "Why I Know I am a Populist." Of course, populists do not make the "elitist" grade -- nor should they want to.

But, there are other tests for elitism. For example, one could guage their populism by their response to populist lyrics. Earlier, I posted the lyrics of the "Red Neck Yacht Club." Here are the lyrics of the best seller "Boondocks."

Artist: CountrySong: Little Big Town - Boondocks
Album: Top Country Songs
[Buy "Top Country Songs" CD]

I feel no shame
I'm proud of where I came from
I was born and raised in the boondocks

One thing I know
No matter where I go
I keep my heart and soul in the boondocks
And I can feel
That muddy water running through my veins
And I can hear that lullaby of a midnight train
It sings to me and it sounds familiar


And I can taste
That honeysuckle and it's still so sweet
When it grows wild
On the banks down at old camp creek
Yeah, and it calls to me like a warm wind blowing


It's where I learned about living
It's where I learned about love
It's where I learned about working hard
And having a little was just enough
It's where I learned about Jesus
And knowing where I stand
You can take it or leave it, this is me
This is who I am
Give me a tin roof
A front porch and a gravel road
And that's home to me
It feels like home to me


I keep my heart and soul in the boondocks
You get a line, I'll get a pole
We'll go fishing in the crawfish hole
Five-card poker on a Saturday night
Church on Sunday morning{2x}

You get a line, I'll get a pole
We'll go fishing in the crawfish hole
(Down in the boondocks)
Five-card poker on a Saturday night
Church on Sunday morning
Say a little prayer for me

Of course, there are many ways to discern one's affiliation with the common man -- this is one of them.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

What constitutes populist lyrics to test our reaction to them? The number one download on iTunes is "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas. These lyrics include

What you gon’ do with all that junk?
All that junk inside that trunk?
I’ma get, get, get, get you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
What you gon’ do with all that ass?
All that ass inside them jeans?
I’ma make, make, make, make you scream
Make you scream, make you scream.
What you gon do with all that junk?
All that junk inside that trunk?
I’ma get, get, get, get you drunk,
Get you love drunk off this hump.
What you gon’ do wit all that breast?
All that breast inside that shirt?
I’ma make, make, make, make you work
Make you work, work, make you work.

This reflects the tastes of the "common man" as much as country music.

9:10 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

One other way to mark your affiliation with the common man, is to be a member of the "elite" and niether act like it, nor claim any affilliation with it, nor wish to be affiliated with it. Rick Nelson was such a man and through two years of working with him I never had any reason to suspect anything else. The lyrics of the songs he wrote also sustained this view of him, without their being of the "junk" variety. He was quiet simply, a common man, doing somewhat uncommon things.

11:17 PM, November 08, 2005  

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Why I Know I Am A Populist

I am now freed of the exclusivity requirements for my submitted, but unpublished commentary. So, I now publish it for the first time here:

Why I Know I am a Populist

We live in an environment saturated with elitism. In these modern times, it is more and more difficult to acquire habits to reject this foul air that we breathe. So, it is with great joy that I report the following true story about myself.

I usually have a cup of black coffee in the morning -- occasionaly from Starbucks. About two weeks ago, I noticed that Starbucks was putting on my paper coffee cup provocative political statements under the title, "The Way I See It." Predictably, many of these statements were liberal. I was annoyed that the coffee I drank was littered with pro-tax, pro-government and pro-gay polemics. I even considered boycotting Starbucks -- but I thought the matter was too trivial to go that far. That was until I saw the elitist polemics of Jonah Goldberg, Editor-at-Large of National Review Online, on my Starbucks coffee cup -- I was infuriated. I threw down my cup. I resolved that I will never buy from Starbucks again.

Mr. Goldberg stated on my coffee cup:

Everywhere, unthinking mobs of “independent thinkers” wield tired cliches like cudgels, pummeling those who dare question "enlightened" dogma. If “violence never solved anything,” cops wouldn't have guns and slaves may never have been freed. If it's better that 10 guilty men go free to spare one innocent, why not free 100 or 1,000,000?

Cliches begin arguments they don't settle them.Mr. Goldberg's statement is 100 percent elitist cow manure. First, Mr. Goldberg erroneously suggests that only "unthinking mobs" believe in dogmas. G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “There are only two kinds of people, those who accept dogmas and know it, and those who accept dogmas and don't know it.” Apparently, Mr. Goldberg is one of those who has accepted a dogma at National Review, but doesn’t know it.

Second, “unthinking mobs” are not the cause of, but rather the check on "enlightened dogma." It is the people through popular elections who cool the heels of hot-headed, “enlightened” reformers. The people reflexively respond to these pie-in-the-sky politicians, “Why reform? Things are bad enough already.”

Third, cliches don't begin or settle arguments -- they prevent them. Normal people are apolitical. They understand that most political questions are not worth debating. Cliches are handy in that way. A well-placed cliche ends political debate or ends a conversation that may lead to a political debate. Why argue pointlessly? Particularly, when you can use a cliché to get out of the situation gracefully.

I am appalled at Goldberg’s venom towards the “unthinking mobs” and “cliches.” I took action on the issue immediately – so should you.

This morning, my two youngest girls and I were the first to rise from bed. I told them the "early bird catches the worm." But, I also added these words of advice, "Don't let anyone tell you that the phrase 'the early bird catches the worm' is a worthless cliché produced by an 'enlightened' dogma." It isn't. It's just common sense -- which is apparently uncommon at National Review Online.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Why I know I am a populist.

I know I am a populist because I can't make the grade as an elitist.

5:09 PM, November 08, 2005  

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Conservatives, Liberals, People and Dogs

The Costco parking lot is always strewn with cars with the usual Wellstone!, Kerry, and so forth bumber stickers. I believe that one shows one's commitment to the cause by just how much real estate at the back of the car one is willing to cover. Yesterday I saw amid the usual stickers

Liberals treat dogs like people, conservatives treat people like dogs.
This confirms my favorite saying (which Charles Krauthammer calls a fundamental law of American politics)

Conservatives think liberals are stupid.
Liberals think conservatives are evil.

Oh what a cozy world it must be where everything is so clear and all disagreements are caused by the bad motives of those who pretend to disagree with you.

Blogger ssc said...

I think the labels conservative and liberal are reductionist and have very little value. On the bumper sticker, I would think more of a person who treated a dog like a person than a person who treated another person like a dog.

4:11 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Dogs (and other animals) ARE persons (man I hate that word). They just have fur and more legs than human persons (man I hate that word) do. I would think very highly of myself indeed if I treated human persons (man I hate that word) as well as I treat feline persons (HATE that word!).

4:57 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...


1) I would hope we ALL would think more of people (oops, persons) who treat dogs like people rather than people like dogs. The point was that the car owner automatically thought that those that disagreed with her (for some reason I assume the owner is female) were bad people.

2) Regarding "I think the labels conservative and liberal are reductionist and have very little value": This from a founder of "Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society? Are we having a Barry Goldwater in his old age problem here?

5:18 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger ssc said...

Insults aside, there is a difference between a label which anyone can wear and a philosophy which must be (l)earned.

6:35 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Insults? You wound me! A gentleman is one who never accidently offends and I did not mean to offend, so you imply I am not a gentleman.

But the John Adams Society actually is "Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society." That is a fact. That is what is on our webpage http://johnadamssociety.org. Are you saying that has no meaning? Should we change this to Minnesota's Debating Society, or Minnesota's Populist Debating Society?

7:30 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger ssc said...

You seem to be beating a dead horse here. It doesn't matter what label the Society has. What matters is whether the membership is conservative. I believe the membership is conservative -- so the label is accurate. If the membership were not conservative, the label would be inaccurate and I hope the Society would change the label.

This of course brings me to my original point, labels on bumper stickers are reductionists -- we don't know what the owner of the car means. However, on the point of dogs as people and vice versa, everyone seems to agree the car owner has a point.

That point and our apparent consensus is more important than the one you brought up. But, we can agree to disagree on that one.

9:01 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Can't let this one pass by. Is the JAS Minnesota's CONSERVATIVE debating society (we will leave the "debating" part of this question for another time)? I have noticed an unmistakable drift toward the left or "mushy middle" in the speaches of many members over the last two years (roughly). Compared to what our speeches used to be like, it seems to me we have become afraid of being labled "sexist", or "racist", or "war mongering", or simply "angry white men". This is not the sort of thing I expect from the members of this society. We used to speak out with courage and manliness, and a desire to make people sit up and take notice. Fear of what other people might "think" was not a consideration. I believe we have become infected with the "correctness" of the surounding society. Since when does a "conservative" care what a liberal or "moderate" guest may think? Or a visiting office holder? Or another more "moderate" member? Sad to see and hear.

11:40 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger ssc said...

Air Marshall, why must my friends on the right breed contempt of the people in their pursuit of prestige and power? Is this not the greatest political sin? Ought we not convert all the population to our values with respect, persuasion and advocacy?

In my opinion, elitist contempt of the people is an obstacle in starting a total takeover.

I am proud to shout out my conservativism. B

ut, I demand that we rally all the people -- the whole mob -- to our common cause.

It is entirely possible that JAS will be the populist catalyst for a series of events that will lead to a great conversion of the world.

We can only hope that that conversion will come soon.

I dare not consider the ugly alternative for fear of despair.

9:10 PM, November 09, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Can't see how speaking the whole truth plainly and openly is in any way elitist or contemptous of the people. How can being plain spoken be a non populist thing?
And since when is our interest the pursuit of power and prestige? Those are the pursuits of the left, not the conservative right.

12:11 AM, November 10, 2005  
Blogger ssc said...

Recently, a French administration official called the people rioting "scum." Is this the type of plain spokenness to which you refer? Hate the sin; love the sinner.

1:45 PM, November 10, 2005  

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South American Free Trade

This is a good read for the anti-free trade paleocons in JAS.

[Vicente] Fox should know. Mexico's GDP has nearly doubled and its exports to the U.S. have tripled since the 1994 passage of NAFTA, expanding Mexico's economy to just a hair's breadth below that of Brazil, a country with almost twice Mexico's population.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Iraq Policy is Served by Latest Anti-Bush Craze

The latest redux of the argument from the mainstream press and Democrats that Bush "lied" about intellgence prior to the invasion of Iraq reminds me about similar stories such as the one about FDR knowing in advance that Pearl Harbor would be attacked or that Lincoln never wanted to free the slaves.

Like FDR and Lincoln, the conspiracy theories and controversy will remain forever. However, also like FDR and Lincoln, Bush will be regarded based on the eventual resolution of the Iraq policy rather than the anti/pro Bush debate.

Bush supporters and supporters of the war in Iraq should actually take comfort in the new line of attacks by the press and Democrats - mostly because the latest anti-Bush rhetoric is not actually anti-war. In all of the latest arguments, the one about ending the war now or withdrawing has fallen off the radar. The "Bush Lied" attack therefore does not endanger the ultimate policy goal of defeating the terrorists in Iraq.

Some Democrats now argue for impeachment. Who knows, maybe Democrats and the mainstream media will succeed at getting Bush. In the meantime, however, the Iraq policy will succeed and human history will change forever.

Just imagine the stain on our nation if Bush were to get impeached for spreading freedom to the middle east. Other historical mistakes such as the poisoning of Socrates come to mind....

Riots are caused by Economic Failure

Pat Buchanan argues that the riots in France are the beginning of the end for Western Civilization. He reflects a common theme, that Muslim immigrants in France were never assimilated:

The rioters are of Arab and African descent, and Muslim. While almost all are French citizens, they are not part of the French people. For never have they been assimilated into French culture or society. And some wish to remain who and what they are. They live in France but are not French.

That the cultural differences of the Muslim immigrant society in France is the source of the problem seems to be cited by everyone these days. Buchanan, however, also points out the economic deficit in France:

Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy, a candidate to succeed President Chirac, is said to have infuriated and inflamed the rioters. Before the rampage began, he promised “war without mercy” on crime in the teeming suburbs where unemployment runs at 20% and income is 40% below the national average.

Could it be that the rioting in France has little to do with religion and culture and everything to do with economics. After all, America has had its fair share of segregated ethnic groups; from the competing Italian and Irish ghettos in New York, to Eastern Europeans to the Chinese... Our culture abounds with stories and legends of ethnic divisions. However, these areas and groups cease to become associated with their past ethnic flavor as the children and grand children of immigrants move on to acheive the American Dream. Who knew that it was culturally taboo 100 years ago in Minneapolis for a Swede to marry a Norwegian.

In a country that posts 3%+ GDP year in and year out, making it for yourself is possible. Today's unemployment rate for hispanics its 5%. Everyone gets along when everyone is getting rich.

In a country like France where GDP grows at 1% (less than the government deficit) and unemployment reaches over 20% for French Africans, rioting is inevitable.

The problem with France is not its failure assimilate, it's the failure of the welfare state.

UPDATE: This Wall Street Journal opinion piece does a better job explaining my point....

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Yes, they are so economicaly deprived that they have to co-ordinate their rioting with flip phones instead of two way radios. Could it be that there is a certain cause and effect relationship between failure to want to assimilate, and failure to participate in Western style competitive econimics?

10:42 PM, November 07, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Your argument is as good as mine. However, you could say that the will to assimilate stems from the opportunities one has to make a decent living. Why assimilate if you get nothing from it.

1:14 AM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Why compete if it causes you to abandon the basic tenents of your culture? One could go on forever on this route. Still, I do think that blaming everything on economic oportunity is shakey. When America was at her poorest she was also at her most moral. Black Americans had a higher rate of marriage and church attendance than whites at the very time their economic oportunities were restricted. Our cities were more peaceful before the civil rights act than after.

9:55 AM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Say, Sloanasaurus, aren't you the one who said "The war has begun"? Something about multiculturalism?

11:20 AM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:38 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I think the multiculturalism is a major problem too. Both multriculturalism and the welfare state spring from the egalitarian fantasy of Leftist ideology.

Or perhaps Islam cannot assimilate with the west.

1:40 PM, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Perhaps all of the above. Wasn't there something about the intolerance of Europeans too? How this would result in a real crackdown on this kind of behavior?
So far no go.

12:02 AM, November 09, 2005  

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Tim Russert Technically Knocks Out Ted Kennedy

On Meet the Press on Sunday, interviewer Tim Russert accomplished the journalistic equivalent of a technical knockout of Senator Ted Kennedy. Russert quoted without attribution a pre-Iraq War, pro-Iraq War statement stating that Saddam Hussein was dangerous because of Iraq's arsenal. Kennedy responded not knowing that the person who made the statement was Massachusetts' own Senator John Kerry. Here is the excerpt from the transcript:

MR. RUSSERT: You talked about Iraq. There's a big debate now about whether or not the data, the intelligence data, was misleading and manipulated in order to encourage public opinion support for the war. Let me give you a statement that was talked about during the war. "We know [Iraq is] developing unmanned vehicles capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents...all U.S. intelligence experts agree they are seek nuclear weapons. There's little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop them. ... In the wake of September 11th, who among us can say with any certainty to anybody that those weapons might not be used against our troops, against allies in the region? Who can say that this master of miscalculation will not develop a weapon of mass destruction even greater--a nuclear weapon. ..."
Are those the statements that you're concerned about?
SEN. KENNEDY: Well, I am concerned about it, and that's why I believe that the actions that were taken by Harry Reid in the Senate last week when effectively he said that we are going to get to the bottom of this investigation, this had been kicked along by the Intelligence Committee, by Pat Roberts for over two years. And Harry Reid did more in two hours than that Intelligence Committee has done in two years. And the American people are going get this information.
And it's important that they get this information about how intelligence was misused because of the current situation. It's important to know where we've been, but it's important to know where we are today, because we're facing serious challenges over in Iran. We're facing serious challenges in North Korea. And we cannot have a government which is going to manipulate intelligence information. We've got to get to the bottom of it, and that is what the Democrats stood for on the floor of the United States Senate last week. That was a bold stroke, one that has the overwhelming support of the American people. It's about time they get the facts on it. They haven't got the facts to date. They deserve them, and they'll get them.
MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, what the Democrats stood for on the floor of the Senate in 2002--let me show you who said what I just read: John Kerry, your candidate for president. He was talking about a nuclear threat from Saddam Hussein. Hillary Clinton voted for the war. John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry. Democrats said the same things about Saddam Hussein. You, yourself, said, "Saddam is dangerous. He's got dangerous weapons." It wasn't just the Bush White House.
SEN. KENNEDY: The fact is--and I voted against the war, because every military--I'm in the Armed Services Committee, and every military leader highly decorated, military leader, said that it was foolish to have a military intervention at that. General Hoar, with the Marines--General Hoar, who has more Silver Stars than you could possibly count said if we go into Baghdad, it'll look like the last five minutes of "Private Ryan," so we know we had enough information to vote against it, I believe.
But the point about this is, we have the 9/11 that talked about the intelligence agencies. The failure of the FBI to talk to the CIA and the rest of it, but they also recommended that we find out how intelligence was manipulated. Now, we are--we had that committee set up under Pat Roberts. It has done virtually nothing. It has done--it's been dismissive. But Harry Reid is going to get them to tell the truth, and the American people will understand it. And then hopefully when we get a clean house in the White House and we get individuals that are going to help this president lead for an openness in government, we can avoid any kind of activity like that in the future.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Argentina's Luck Index

At a past John Adams Society debate, an astute speaker suggested that the U.S. economy risked becoming like Argentina's because of the mountain of debt the government was assuming. A prominent Federal Reserve economist, and JAS member, immediately contradicted the speaker and stated how strong the Argentine economy was, taking the aforementioned speaker to task. Here is an interesting article giving some investment information for those of you looking for those Argentine financial opportunities. Perhaps a "new economy" investment advisor would start a mutual fund which will track the "luck index."

Good vs. Bad ID

One thing I like about the Catholic Church is that it is not afraid of science. Both John Paul II and Pope Benedict (in his earlier job as Cardinal Ratzinger) have written on the relationship between faith and reason and both have affirmed that Darwinism is "more than merely a hypothesis." So I am generally appalled at the current trend of American Catholics to fight Darwinism, to side with the advocates of "Intelligent Design" in biology. Anti-Darwinian ID's are anti-scientific and just, well, blind. The evidence in favor of Darwinism is overwhelming and as we get further and further into unraveling DNA, more and more confirmation keeps coming in. My best guess is that they simply find it insulting that God would have the temerity to create them in such a way that they have a common ancestor with a monkey (and a slug, as well, just farther back). The obvious question is "who are you to tell God how to create you?"

On the other hand, I'm not sure all ID'ers are anti-science. I'm referring in particular to the kind that simply point out that a lot of physical givens seem to just happen to coincidentally be what they very nearly had to be in order for a complex universe and us to come to be. I'm arguing that these ID types aren't anti-science simply because there is no consensus science on these givens because science takes them as, well, given. I'm no expert, but I'm not sure that we can ever have a scientific theory of every ratio of this force to that force, or the mass of this particle relative to that particle. And I don't think these types of ID'ers are running around dumping water on consensus physics or chemistry. In fact, some of these types make it a point to dump water on the anti-Darwin types. Physicist Stephen Barr has a nice article in First Things doing this.

I also don't think this "good type" of ID'er is trying to get their stuff taught in science classes. (I hope not. This pointing out of coincidences is basically metaphysics, not physics.)

Now I have no idea how compelling this "good type" of ID'er actually is. I've just received Barr's book from Amazon. (And I ordered it using the ad on this blog, so a rebate goes to the JAS.) But they do seem to be in a separate class than the anti-Darwinians.

One writer I have been emailing on this suggests that "Intelligent Design" with capital initials, denote the very specific modern movement run by the Discovery Institute out of Seattle and "intelligent design" imply that there is some overall plan for the universe that most people, including most scientists, believe in.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

It seems to me that the idea of teaching Intelligent Design is overblown by the left who are looking for a straw man... why not relive the monkey trial! It's the crazy Christian fundamentalists trying to argue that the earth was created only 5000 years ago... blah blah blah. The left can't come up with anything new, so they attempt to recycle these already tried "victories."

Intelligent Design should remain where it always has... in the back of the minds of everyone learning about evolution.

1:45 AM, November 06, 2005  

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Friday, November 04, 2005

The War has Begun

Paris is burning. Muslims March in Denmark protesting satirical cartoons of the prophet.

The war has begun. Europe has a history of intolerance. We will soon learn that Europe has not changed.

Multiculturalism finally gets its test.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

One hates to say "We told you so" but it is awfully tempting. How long have we been seeing this coming, that they can not or will not see? It is hard to feel sorry for them. What did they think? Peaceful co-existance? Of course it is Bush's fault (and America's).

10:33 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Federal Farmer said...

Speaking as an American and a disciple of President Bush, I would hope you would have enough shame not to say I told you so. It was President Bush who, after September 11, 2001, hectored the Europeans for not taking in more Muslim immigrants. In the President's defense, his motive may have been to take the Islamist's side to reassure the Islamists that the U.S. is on their side, even at the expense of Europe, in order to buy the good will of Islamists. That has been the policy of the U.S. since we broke the Bosnian arms embargo to provide arms to the Bosnian Islamists, alongside the Iranians. Then, to be sure they knew how much we supported them, we lent the Kosovo Liberation Army the U.S. Air Force so that the Islamists could get even more European territory. It is true this has been the E.U. policy also, throw a non-Islamist party overboard to appease the Islamists. But we can hardly say "we told you so."

5:31 PM, November 05, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

What? The US and Bush have sent conflicting signals? How could this be? But, I am not speaking as a disciple of Bush, (because I am not one) nor as an American (though I am one) but was using a kind of rhetorical "we" meaning good conservative, savy, war advocates like me, or simply other JAS members who are aware of what we face long term on the Jihadist front.

9:20 PM, November 07, 2005  

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My Little Lobbyist

I've heard things like this before, but this is my first personal experience with something of this kind. Yesterday, my son brought home a flyer from kindergarten proclaiming the following:

Things to do on Tuesday, November 8th

1. Get out and Vote "YES" for Wayzata Public Schools.

2. Come to the XXXXXXX PTA meeting at 9:30 a.m.

Be involved! Be informed! Be there!

Now, I am not positive that anything having to do with this flyer was at taxpayer expense, but I certainly have strong suspicions about it. Even if it wasn't printed at taxpayer expense, I'd like to know who stuffed it in the folder. If it was a volunteer, who called to get that volunteer and on whose time? And if none of the above was on the taxpayer's dime, I'd like to know what right they have to distribute lobbying material with other school material? Can I go over and distribute a notice about the next JAS debate and get the kids to deliver it to the parents? What about a flyer pushing certain school board candidates? Where does this stop?

I have to wonder if the notice about the PTA meeting places a veil of legitimacy on this piece and therefore allows it to be printed and distributed by the school system.

I have three big problems with this flyer:
  1. Assuming that some portion of the printing and distribution was paid for by the school, this kind of expense should be illegal.
  2. I do not approve of my child being a distribution medium for tax-raising propaganda.
  3. Distribution of this flyer may lead to additional votes and passage of this new tax.
At this point, I'm still deciding what to do about this. I suspect that at least two of my fellow bloggers will use this opportunity to once again lobby me to move my children to private school, but I'd be interested in thoughts from the rest of you.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Contact the Taxpayer's League. I'm not sure if they still have the Education arm, but they may be interested. www.taxpayersleague.org

8:17 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I would talk to both the teacher and the principal. Public school teachers are in such a bubble, never actually talking to anyone who disagrees with them, that the teacher might have actually thought there was nothing at all controversial. Just bringing this up to her might cause her to see this. (Kindergarten teachers tend to have hearts of pure gold, but generally aren't reading astrophysics journals in their spare time.)

9:35 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Oh, and move your kid to a private school. The one my son attends is VERY reasonably priced, but over here in the Excelsior area.

But this is just a band-aid to hide the ugly truth. You will still have to pay the increased property taxes voted in on your behalf by the lemmings who do send their kids to the public school.

These property tax referendums should only be offered in ON-year elections, in my less-than-humble opinion.

Hell, I'll take it further and say that public school is in violation of just about all of the First Amendment if you work hard enough at it. Separation of School and State!

10:46 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger festivus said...

The Taxpayer's League is on the case. I'll post an update when I hear more.

3:04 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Fear no more, good citizens. Hurrah! The beast shall be slain!

3:09 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

A JAS member wanted me to post this:

Here is a link to a great form letter for situations like this, developed by the Calif. taxpayers league, although it is citing California law.


As suggested above the MN Taxpayers League may be able to identify the specific MN law being violated

8:30 AM, November 07, 2005  

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Girlcott of Ambercrombie & Fitch!

The "cutting edge" styles of Ambercrombie & Fitch have offended once again the sensibilities of ladies who want to preserve some dignity for the fairer sex. See articel at http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-chifitch1103,0,2875928,print.story?coll=ny-hsports-allstars-features

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

A&F has been boycotted at least once a year for a while now. I think it is the mainstay of their PR campaign. The media and now the internet have given them the best free advertising money can't buy.

Not one to shop there anyways, I just choose to ignore them.

7:18 AM, November 04, 2005  

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

MSM at it again

This MSNBC story cites an "Italian Politican" saying that the U.S. "knew" that Saddam did not try to buy Uranium:
ROME - Italian secret services warned the United States months before it invaded Iraq that a dossier about a purported Saddam Hussein effort to buy uranium in Africa was fake, a lawmaker said Thursday after a briefing by the nation’s intelligence chief. “At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they (Italy’s SISMI secret services) said that the dossier doesn’t correspond to the truth,” Sen. Massimo Brutti told journalists after the parliamentary commission was briefed.

The article then goes on to state who Brutti is:

Brutti, a leading opposition senator, said SISMI analyzed the documents between October 2002 and January 2003.

Hmmm. He is a "opposition Senator." I wounder what that really means.... If you Search Brutti, you will find this:

A so-named "First Report on the Intelligence and Security System" drawn up by left-wing senator Massimo Brutti, who belongs to the PDS (ex-communist) party, presents the Italian services in a very sorry light.

..A former Communist? How hard is it for the press to find some European Communist to denouce the Bush Administration. Not very hard. How is this news.... How pathetic is the journalist who wrote this story.

Ramstad votes against bloggers

One of our 'fine Republican' Minnesota Congressmen, Jim Ramstad, has voted against the internet and bloggers by recording a 'NAY' for HR 1606, the 'Online Freedom of Speech Act'.
The House voted 225-182 for a bill that would have excluded blogs, e-mails and other Internet communications from regulation by the Federal Election Commission. That was 47 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed under a procedure that limited debate time and allowed no amendments. Yahoo News

I intend to contact his office this morning to register my disgust over this vote, and I urge readers to do the same. His local office can be reached at
Congressman Jim Ramstad
1809 Plymouth Road South #300
Minnetonka, MN 55305
Phone: (952) 738-8200
Fax: (952) 738-9362

We all should shudder at this continued attempt to stifle free and open political speech. I doubt seriously that the Founders had pornography in mind when they crafted the free speech clause of the 1st amendment - it was clearly political speech that was being addressed, and our government continues to move to repress our rightful expression of our views.

Elected representatives who vote for laws that are in clear violation of the Constitution that the swore to uphold and protect should be run out of town. Ramstad should be ashamed.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

November 7, 2006

Bloggers vote against Ramstad.

6:32 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

How did we ever let this RINO into office in the first place? Answer: at the time (1990, I believe) the GOP was a sad, weak little party and the 3rd district was even more pathetic.

Unfortunately, he'll never leave that seat and there's no one to elect in his stead. And 99% of the 3rd district are ill-informed and just don't care.

Lesson: It doesn't pay to nominate a moderate in hopes he can get elected, cuz he just might.

11:51 AM, November 04, 2005  

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Lamenting the Gang of 14

The Associated Press laments about the "fracturing" of the Gang of 14 and says it will hurt Democrats.

The 14 centrists who averted a Senate breakdown over judicial nominees last spring are showing signs of splintering on President Bush's latest nominee for the Supreme Court. That is weakening the hand of Democrats opposed to conservative judge Samuel Alito and enhancing his prospects for confirmation.

The AP implies that the break-up is because Mike Dewine and Lindsey graham already say they will go "nuclear" if a filibuster is waged.

The AP, like many Americans do not understand what the original deal was all about. Remember...only two republicans have to decide that a nominee is not an "extraordinary circumstance." Because the term "extraordinary circumstance" has such a plain meaning, it becomes almost politically impossible to apply it to any nominee.

There will be no filibuster.

This deal was really designed to save face for the Democrat party - particularly the moderates in the party who rightly fear Democratic special interest groups. As we all know, the Democratic special interest groups are far more powerful in terms of funds and support than Republican special interest groups. This deal allows moderate democrats (and moderate republicans) to both vote for and against a Supreme Court nominee. The moderate democrats can vote to end the filibuster on principal, while still voting against the nominee (even though the nominee will pass). The moderate Republicans can say they are willing to go nuclear, without ever having to actually vote that way..... It's simple politics, and it worked. The seven Democrats were hailed as heroes by the press and liberals, even though the deal ended the filibuster.

My prediction: Alito passes the Senate 57-43

He loses Republicans: Snowe, Collins, Chafee.
He gains Democrats Byrd, Nelson, two guys from Dakotas, and Landrieu.

Apparently, Black is not Black

From The Washington Times [Emphasis and link added]

Black Democratic leaders in Maryland say that racially tinged attacks against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in his bid for the U.S. Senate are fair because he is a conservative Republican.

Such attacks against the first black man to win a statewide election in Maryland include pelting him with Oreo cookies during a campaign appearance, calling him an "Uncle Tom" and depicting him as a black-faced minstrel on a liberal Web log.

This is a link to a new picture rather than the 'black faced minstrel' that was originally there. The artist claims it was over objections from the photo copyright holder. You be the judge. If I find a link to the original, I'll update this post.

Classy. Real classy.

To me, this kind of activity is just as sick and twisted as those bigoted whites who referred to some white politicians of a past era as N*****-Lovers.

It's apparently ok to be a black politician as long as you are in lockstep with the NAACP. Step out of that box and the attacks begin. The hypocracy and the general behavior disgusts me.

UPDATE: Taranto imitates Festivus

Festivus: To me, this kind of activity is just as sick and twisted as those bigoted whites who referred to some white politicians of a past era as N*****-Lovers.

Taranto: This is the equivalent of racist white politicians in the pre-civil-rights South denouncing a white liberal as a "nigger lover."

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

This behavior is not surprising. The roots of the Democrat party is the intolerant racist south.

In America there has always been two parties: a party for freedom and a party for something else. Today's Democrat party is the party for something else.

9:12 PM, November 02, 2005  

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If we had only known....

In reading this story, I ran across the following quote from the Senate Minority Leader Reid:

"If the administration had all the information that they have now back then, they wouldn't even have brought it to the Congress for a vote," Reid said of the Senate's 2002 consent to launch a war against Iraq.

Based on this new standard of prescient thinking, I decided to do some research. Here are some more quotes from Senator Reid.

If we had only known that the O-Rings wouldn't perform well in cold weather, we wouldn't have flown that Challenger mission on that day.

If I had known that Global Crossing was cooking the books, I would have sold earlier. [one that I can relate to - Ed.]

If President Clinton had known that Monica would keep that blue dress, I'm sure he would have been a bit more careful.

If President George H. W. Bush had known that David Soutter was a leftist anti-originalist, he wouldn't have even brought his name up for consideration for the Supreme Court.

If Lincoln had known that he was going to be shot in the head, he wouldn't have gone to the theater that evening.

When I start worrying about Republican chances in 2006, I know I can always get out of that mood by thinking of Mr. Reid and his absurb comment. With leadership like this from the Democrats, I've got to think that we're in good shape no matter what we do.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I found this one by Harry Reid in an alternative reality:

If we had only known back then that Saddam would use his oil money to build nukes rather than help his people after the sanctions ended, we would have taken him out when we had the chance....

12:46 AM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Re. Festivus's post: Unfortunately we did know the "O" rings wouldn't perform well in cold weather. Several engineers both in NASA and the manufacturer warned against the flight before the launch.
As for invading Iraq, there were several reasons, all good. WMD were only one.

8:36 AM, November 03, 2005  

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Lots of stuff here on how much of a crack-pot Joe Wilson is.

I still can't believe he gets respect - maybe the UofM will offer him tenure.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Mr. Wilson notes that "in France it is known that people get into politics for money, power and sex, and in most of the world it is the same"...

I rest my case!!!

9:03 AM, November 02, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Not the UofM. Carleton.

9:09 AM, November 02, 2005  

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Pizza Man

Don't forget to tip the pizza man.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Leave the money on the doorstep and hope he leaves the pizza. Now you know why I left Southern California.

9:28 AM, November 02, 2005  

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Tentative Conclusion: Alito is a Populist

After consultation with my populist friends, we have come to a tentative conclusion that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito is a populist. Here are 10 indicators that show that Alito deserves our support:

(1) Alito seems to be a normal man.
(2) Alito seems to be a good family man: husband, father and son.
(3) Alito's mother seems to be a traditional Italian American mother based her non-scripted comment that he's obviously pro-life. You can know a son by the mother.
(4) Alito's free speech jurisprudence favors the common man
(5) Alito's free exercise jurisprudence understands the common man -- personally, I've always enjoyed a Santa Claus or Christmas bunny at the edge of my Nativity Scene (reminding me of what is important and what is not)
(6) Alito is personally popular with court personnel reflecting a well adjusted personality.
(7) Alito's writing style is accessible to the common man -- not unduly opaque as with much legal reasoning.
(8) Alito may be willing to return abortion regulations to the state by overturning Roe -- this would be a healthy development.
(9) Alito appears to have a commitment to Christian orthordoxy -- a healthy addiction.
(10) Alito appears to have the moral courage -- after serving on a liberal 3rd Circuit bench for 15 years -- to maintain his conservativism among the liberal persecution that most of us face on a day-to-day basis.

For these reasons (and not that he graduated from Princeton and Yale), populists should support the President's choice for Associate Justice.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

If he were non Roman Catholic, non Italian, from Harvard and Chicago Law School, could the populist-theocrats support him? Would he not then be an elitist?

8:53 AM, November 02, 2005  

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More Gang of 14

S'saurus is right. On May 24 he wrote
I think the initial reaction by conservatives to this deal is totally wrong. First, people are overreacting to the language "extraordinary circumstances" and are assuming that it is a hollow term. We should remember, however, that this term was agreed to by centrist Democrats and Republicans, not by Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer. The term will be much more meaningful to this group than a leftist Senator who cares nothing for tradition.

Second, I think the deal ends democratic filibusters for good. The deal is well crafted because it looks like the Democrats got something, when in reality it is almost a total defeat for the filibuster strategy (its not a total defeat because two previously nominated judges were casualties of the deal).

To claim "extreme circumstances" you need at least 6 of the 7 republicans in the coalition to agree that it is extreme (to avoid the constitutional option).

I think as time goes by, Republicans will realize that this was a good deal and almost a total loss for Democrats....that is if Bush doesn't become a wimp in his nominations.
If there is no filibuster for Alito, or it is broken because Republican members of the Gang of 14 vote for the nuclear/constitutional option, S'saurus looks like quite the prognosticator.

Blogger The Strongman said...

Yes, and now, everyone is happy.

Did anyone pick up on why nearly everyone was unhappy with the Miers nomination? It seems to me, that more than anything else, the Conservatives were unhappy, not because they were uncertain about Miers, but because they wanted the fight with the liberals. A big, bloody, knock-down, drag out fight that they knew they (we) would win in the end. While Miers may have proved to be planty conservative, that didn't matter, as she wouldn't have sparked the fight everyone was looking for.

The Liberals were unhappy with Miers too. Why? They also wanted the fight. They needed it for fundraising, membership drives, petition signings, and all of the activities that make them feel like they're accomplishing something, even while losing. Miers didn't make enough of them unhappy enough for them to be happy. Alito makes them so unhappy that they're finally happy.

So what next, now that everyone is happy? Any sort of compromise? No way, we're all too happy for that, and the only way we stay happy is with a showdown on the judcial filibusters/Senate rules chages. The best part about this is that while we're only truly happy in victory, the Liberals will be happy to be happy about being unhappy in defeat once Alito is confirmed.

12:11 AM, November 02, 2005  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I'm not so sure if liberals are happy. They enjoyed Bush being down. Now Bush is up. They are unhappy.

Although I get your point about liberals feeling satisfied as long as they have a good rally to attend.

12:43 AM, November 02, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I, for one, was not unhappy with Miers because of the lack of a fight. I was unhappy because she was unqualified, a yes-woman, on most points had no discernible philosophy, and on those few points where a philosophy could be discerned, it was completely incoherent. When her speeches weren't contradictory, they consisted of bromides and pablum. I didn't want her to be the example of what conservatives have to offer.

I do not want a fight for a fight's sake. If the democrats all vote for Alito, I will be quite happy.

8:39 AM, November 02, 2005  
Blogger Courier A said...

This fight about Miers ought not be characterized as a triumph of populists over elitists, although I'm not bothered by populism rooted in the Constitution. It matters far less to me where Miers received her education than what she has done in her professional life.
Put simply, this was about merit and earning respect. Someone who could author such vacuous writing and embrace the hack job of state lottery commissioner never deserved the title of United States Supreme Court Justice.

2:49 PM, November 03, 2005  

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