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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, January 31, 2007

The New Dictator

It is official. Hugo Chavez is now dictator of Venezuela. There are a lot of people at JAS and on the left who constantly refer to GWB as a dictator. Well, its time to learn what a true dictator is.


"Long live the sovereign people! Long live President Hugo Chavez! Long live socialism!" said National Assembly President Cilia Flores as she proclaimed the "enabling law" approved by a show of hands. "Fatherland, socialism or death! We will prevail!"

In addition to nationalizing the oil and telecom industries, Chavez can dictate all parts of national life:


The law also allows Chavez to dictate unspecified measures to transform state institutions; reform banking, tax, insurance and financial regulations; decide on security and defense matters such as gun regulations and military organization; and "adapt" legislation to ensure "the equal distribution of wealth" as part of a new "social and economic model."
Anyone who knows history remembers that Hitler gained his dictatorship through a similar measure. Although in Hitlers case, the first vote was tallied and Hitler won 441-84. Chavez was able to get it done with merely a voice vote. How quaint.

The next step for Hitler was to get the army to swear personal loyalty to him. Once Hitler had the army, he had it all. I assume that Chavez has a similar goal. I am not sure if oaths in Latin America mean anything, therefore an oath of personal loyalty may not be the Chavez method. Instead, look for something more third worldish, such as the consolidation of the payroll for the army and all police forces into Chavez executive office, and the abolishment of local police forces. If money equals loyalty in Latin America, then Chavez will get his loyalty eventually.

Once Chavez achieves this the mass exodus will end and Venezuela will be shut. And things will suck.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Sell your stock in Citgo.

12:12 AM, February 01, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Shall we attack and free the Venezualen people?

I never buy Citgo.

I think what they meant to say was, Fatherland, socialism AND death.

6:07 AM, February 01, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

The one benefit to Chavez is that we will have another ongoing reminder of the failures of socialism to point to as a means to dissuade the ignorant not to depart on such an endeavor.

8:40 AM, February 01, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

While I agree with you in principle Saurus, I am always struck by how well it has worked (NOT!) in the past. I mean, they have had Cuba as an example since 1959. You would think, Well DUH!

11:35 AM, February 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yet there will be no fewer people who, even when this latest Socialist utopia crashes in its own excrement, will continue to believe that it only failed because THEY were not in charge of it.

J. Ewing

11:47 AM, February 01, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I'm with A.M. and the masked man. To this day, liberals believe the Soviet Union could have succeeded if not for pressure from the evil west, or if it had been implemented more purely and without corruption, or if the wealth were spread from the U.S.A. to the U.S.S.R as should be done in a properly socialized society, or any of a host of other fantasies.

Why, just today there is a clip of Hillary saying she will confiscate oil company profits to create a fund for something or other. Who needs Hugo when we have hordes of his likeness here?

5:06 PM, February 02, 2007  

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Health Care for Minnesota Families

As I was walking to Jimmi Johns in the Skyway today, my path was slightly delayed by a hoard of people wearing purple shirts which read "Healthcare for Minnesota Families." They were chanting various slogans (I did not see any free Mumia signs) and putting a damper on everyones day.

Then I thought.... why would they be protesting -there is plenty of healthcare in Minnesota for Minnesota families if they are citizens and willing to at least try and pay for it. Then it struck me. What the shirts really said was "FREE healthcare for Minnesota Families."

Now I get it.

Blogger festivus said...

I have a perfect solution to this problem. Buy these people a one way plane ticket to Europe, where they can get all the free healthcare they want, plus a load of other benefits that liberals want. Birds of a feather, doncha know.

Even at first class rates, we're bound to see a tremedous return on our investment in just a few short years.

8:23 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Great idea. There is a home for freeloaders.

Why can't we have our own place, a place where everyone pays their own way for everything and only the most necessary laws exist to protect one from force and fraud? There is no place left in this world for the libertarian.

Where is the next frontier?

8:33 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

How about Greenland? We could revolt against docile Denmark and exercise strict border control. With fortuitous global warming, it will be temperate and fertile.

Yes, I know the Free State Project resides in New Hampshire, but unless they secede from the Union, they're going to have a tough go at being truly free and independent.

8:54 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Greenland?!

Holy Moly. One thing you have to give male homosexuals is that they had the good sense to congregate somewhere nice - San Francisco. (Female homosexuals it seems are not as bright, or perhaps not as wealthy, since they seem to have chosen Minneapolis).

I vote San Diego. It could be a little country of its own between the U.S. and Mexico.

9:02 AM, January 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a much simpler solution. Simply have the legislature pass a law stating that all doctors, hospitals, and drug companies must provide their goods and services at no charge to everyone? Anything else is just a half measure version of that, so why not? :-^

J. Ewing

9:12 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

San Diego is too hot. On the other hand, you could run a booming light bulb industry there as California has proposed a ban on the incandescent light bulb. And as S'aurus suggested off-blog, energy will be in great demand as California is essentially banning the production thereof. I'm just hoping CA falls into the ocean sooner rather than later, so I'm back to either Greenland or NH.

9:23 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Actualy Scrib. San Diego isn't hot, not like here, unless you get considerably inland. On the coast where I lived it was rather chilly most days, Winter and Summer. As for California, don't hope it falls in the water. Let it go back to Mexico where it belongs, they deserve each other. Greenland will work nicely if the global warming cranks are right. It was a lovely place a thousand years ago when it was named and global temps were about 5*F higher than today. They even grew grapes there, and that can lead to nice things.

9:55 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Ah, yes, the highly sought-after Greenland vintage. It would give the Greenish Cup a whole new meaning.

6:09 AM, February 01, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

I can see it now. Aught nine was a very good vintage for Greenland wines.

3:07 PM, February 01, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

It'll take a few years for the vineyard to mature. Ah, now, that's the life for me, a vinemaster. Vinemistress? In Greenland.

7:01 PM, February 01, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

I like the mistress part.

9:56 PM, February 01, 2007  

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I did it

I finally did it. Comcast recently raised my rates and I finally took the step of getting Satellite. Better late than never. Besides, I hear that Cable will be left in the dust for HD programming.

I just thought people at JAS would want to know....

Cable sucks. Long live DISH!

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I tried dish once, but had too many trees in way of the satellite line of sight. I just exercised my other option and cancelled cable entirely. Isn't the free market grand?

9:47 AM, January 31, 2007  

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Happy Milton Friedman Day


Today, January 29, is Milton Friedman Day. (Hat tip to the Taxpayer's League for bringing this to my attention.) Surely Dr. Friedman was at least as important to the American well-being as was MLK. But people don't stop working on Friedman Day. Au contraire: we celebrate by working harder and producing more.

Tonight PBS will be airing The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman, a production of Free To Choose Media. I suggest we all watch it together (in spirit, of course). If you cannot watch at 9 p.m. CST, or have some deep-rooted aversion to television as I do, Free To Choose is streaming the documentary today at www.freetochoosemedia.org.

For additional reflection, the Economist is hosting comments from economists and others on Friedman, his life, and his work.

I trust you all will celebrate as I will, with sincerity and reverence.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Was it on? I could not find it. The jerks at PBS have swindled us. It must have been their so called "fairness doctrine."

8:20 AM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I didn't see it either. Channel 2 is PBS, right? Surely they saturated their programming with MLK on that day. Commies.

Remind me why the GOP insists on funding PBS? On Milton Friedman day this was an excellent example of why the market must be free and entirely extricated from government. The pinkos can pay for their own propaganda, and we should pay for ours.

8:33 AM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

It probably was on one of the HD inbetween channels of PBS that we have been mandated to have by our representitive government. You just need to buy the correct (politically) reciever.

9:05 AM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

It wasn't HD. It just wasn't on. I am with scribbler on this one (despite her support for Ron Paul).

1:22 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Now who is more likely to throw money at the state's Propaganda Broadcast Service, the champion of government-sponsored-and-regulated speech, John McCain, or the free-marketeer, Ron Paul?

2:22 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Sorry Sloanasaurus, you couldn't see the tongue tucked in my cheek. Just wanted to slam the Federal Mandate on HD TV. I support Ron Paul too, is he running for Pres? I support Tancredo too. I am tempted to say I support anyone except MacCain.

5:15 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I saw that jawbreaker in your mouth, A.M. I don't know if R.P. is running for POTUS. I and others wish he would. King Oliver says good things about Tancredo. I may go there in absence of someone better. Maybe. I need to read up on him more. I think a lot is going to change, including positions on the war, in the next year.

5:51 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I should add, I've heard Romney interviewed a couple of times on talk radio, and he is entirely unacceptable. Phpftht!

7:47 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger festivus said...

Tancredo is perfectly qualified except for one minor item - he's a nut. I've heard him speak, and he's quite good on his signature issue of immigration, but all he'd be is a lightning rod. I respect people who speak their mind, but in his case, I'm not sure he has the good sense to keep certain thoughts to himself.

That said, the acceptable field is somewhat sparse right now. Oh to be a Democrat and have such a wide variety of lefty crazies to choose from.

8:17 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Yes, the GOP is [pinching my nasals] too refined to take on illegal immigrants. [Releasing nasals] Nope, that would be too smart for the GOP, despite the fact that the average Joe is becoming more and more irate over "undocumented citizens" perpetrating crimes and taking away work opportunities and quality of life. From union workers to legitimately naturalized citizens, boy, we wouldn't deign to accept those votes. Because we have [pinched nostrils again] principles, you know, dear boys, pedigrees. No, no, a lightening rod just wouldn't be, ahem, fashionable. It's so HAHRD to find good help.

It's hard to find good people in any respect. Deal with it, Jeeves.

8:57 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger festivus said...

Ah, Ms. Stebbing, perhaps you read too much into my comment on Senor Tancredo. Let me put it more succinctly - in his case, it's not the message, it's the messenger.

9:00 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Oh, Festivus, live up to your name and let me have some fun with it. You must admit, I had the Jeeves accent down perfectly. It IS hahrd to find good people these days, for help, as candidates, or as friends (present company excepted).

Admittedly, I don't know enough about Tancredo. If the GOP pushes forth another DoleBushMush candidate via the likes of Romney, they should be prepared to accept a fate similar to that of 2006.

An IQ test should be administered by pollsters, and I hereby call for a minimum IQ requirement at the voting booth. Otherwise, I'm off to the space station I just purchase-optioned (J/K).

9:11 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Rudy is pretty good on the immigration thing and he is a genuine national hero. Not for 9/11, but for showing that conservative policies can work in our biggest city, leaving no excuses for the mayors of other cities.

10:23 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger festivus said...

Yes, Steb, the accent is just diiiivine.

Rudy doesn't bother me as much as he should, and probably for the very reasons that Pencil states. I don't know where he's at on taxes.

I'm thinking that one reason I prefer him to McCain, of the two generally acknowledged frontrunners, is that I have a pretty good idea what Guiliani thinks. I have absolutely no idea what McCain thinks, and what I do know, I don't like, especially the McCain-Feingold bill.

10:44 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Rudy however, carries a harsh prejudice against the idea that a freely armed citizenry is an asset for the country, not a liability.

11:00 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Festivus, come now, you just aren't remembering. Think on it a while, including the 2000 campaign and you will realize you know exactly what MacCain thinks.

11:08 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Festivus, one other thing Tancredo is perfectly qualified to do. A strong showing by him could haul the RP kicking and screaming toward the right. He doesn't have to win for us to win.

11:15 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

What about Newt. He may run too.

12:51 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Newt has a lot of baggage. My only remaining hope is that Guiliani-Romney-McCain split the lefty vote, and we can sneak in a conservative candidate while the kingmakers compete over who can move furthest to the left while still wearing a Republican moniker.

7:22 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger festivus said...

Newt is my choice. Baggage be damned - I know EXACTLY what he thinks, and I like most all of it (most since agreeing with a candidate on all issues is highly unlikely).

8:09 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Festivus, if you know what Newt thinks could you explain to me his change of heart about Hillary and her health care? And about Bill as a man and how he will make a "good" first spouse? And why Newt caved way back in 95 on the Gov. shutdown, just when public opinion was shifting his way? Cause I just don't get any of that.

9:41 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Good point on the lack of spine to shut down the government. Newt is also a hound dog, I happen to know. There simply are no good candidates in the field. From the looks of it, I may have to play in the Libertarian ballpark next election.

9:51 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

FYI, Ron Paul did form an exploratory committee on Jan 11. So, for now, he's my guy.

10:15 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger festivus said...

I didn't say Newt was perfect. You have a better guy in mind who has a chance?

11:37 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Depends on what you mean by "has a chance." The kingmakers like to push forward their candidate, someone without ideas of his own, someone boring and "acceptable," likely not someone who will interest me.

I would like either Ron Paul or Chuck Hagel, a good looking enough guy. Now there are a couple of guys who don't mind thinking for themselves, something the party hates.

2:06 PM, January 31, 2007  
Anonymous Captain Fishsticks said...

Scribbler --

the Libertarian ballpark -- that isn't publicly-funded is it?

4:40 PM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Ho, ho, ho, Fishsticks.

7:43 PM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

No, but they do support public funding for arming those who can not afford to arm themselves.

10:40 PM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

A gun in every pot. Or is that, pot in every pot.

6:11 AM, February 01, 2007  

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bush idealism

As Bush has often stated and as Lincoln and others before him has stated as well is that freedom is a gift and a right granted from God and that every person should have it.

There are some in the JAS who have criticized this notion... I am confused. Are they criticizing it for the ideal itself or in that the United States should not play a part in removing the shackles that prevents such freedom for other peoples. I believe it's the latter, but I wanted to be sure.

Blogger festivus said...

I suspect that those members who have been critical do so for the latter reason Many people, myself include, have some issues (some more than others, of course) of the US being the world's policeman, especially given the level of appreciation it earns us.

Yet, I would be greatly surprised if any member denied that freedom is one of our God given inalienable rights.

8:16 AM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

That is what I thought. Although many people hate Bush so much that it is hard for them to support anything he does or supports. In that respect, I am sure we would find many (even in our own camp) that believe otherwise.

10:46 AM, January 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the correct answer is [channeling John Kerry] considerably more "nuanced" than that. Yes, the US should be seeking and supporting freedom for all nations and peoples. The tactics supporting that are many and widely divergent in cost and effectiveness.

One can simply state that "We think there should be free elections in Venezuela." We can say, "We're pulling our ambassador." We can say "We won't trade with you." or "We WILL trade with you if you reform." Or "we will kill you." Or "we will invade." The lower the cost of freedom, the better, even though the value never changes.

J. Ewing

11:20 AM, January 26, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

It would be nice if we could take a magic wand and bestow freedom on the rest of the world. It's not that simple. Some peoples are perpetually at odds and not amenable to living together peacefully and democratically.

In America, we can appreciate freedom because we came to this land specifically seeking freedom and went so far as to fight our own war of revolution. Perhaps the Sunnis think they are simply playing out the same battle we did 231 years ago.

9:33 AM, January 29, 2007  

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Webb's Response

Read Jim Webb's response. It is one lie after another. I thought it was interesting that he chose the Korean war and the Berlin Airlift as a contrast to the war in Iraq. He said that Eisenhower is a great example because he stopped the Korean war. Except he failed to point out that the war may have stopped, but it did not stop because we retreated. Both of those events were far more risky endeavors at the time than Iraq and have paid substantial dividends. They are also examples of when we stood up to the enemy rather than retreating.

Regarding domestic issues, Webb is like Lou Dobbs. (Maybe some conservatives support Lou Dobbs, I don't know....) Webb thinks CEOs make too much money and opposes free trade. He argued that the middle class is worse off today economically than when he graduated from college in the 1960s. I am not sure where he gets this (I guess thinks like the internet and cell phones, widely owned by the middle class do not count). Maybe the middle class is worse off today relative to CEOs, but relative equality is not always a rational means to judge the success of a society.

He argued that his concerns compare to those of Andrew Jackson. However, he fails to note that many of Jackson's public policy views, which were Jeffersonian in nature (such as not having a national bank), have been repudiated by events and history.

I am not sure what Webb thinks we should do to resolve the issues he sees as problems. He points out that raising the minimum wage is a start. However, I do not believe that anyone in the middle class earns the minimum wage (except for the high school aged children of the middle class).

Read it and comment as you like.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Let's start with cutting off the money

No, not for the troops. For the RNC, the NRSC, the NRCC, the MNGOP and any other co called 'Republican' organization that claim to represent 'our Republican values' on one hand, but whose actions show that they have absolutely no interest in holding our elected officials to those principles. Andy Aplikowski over at Residual Forces references Hugh Hewitt talking about this regarding the war in Iraq.

BUT, there are so many other reasons to cut off the money, since they just can't seem to act like Republicans. I got a call yesterday from the RNC looking for me to renew my membership. The guy was nice. Could speak well, knew his issues and wasn't 100% talking points. Grew up in Brainerd, which makes me wonder if they are purposefully having Minnesotans target Minnesota. Smart if so.

He was persistent, but I stood my ground. I told him that under no circumstances would I be contributing to any organization that spreads the money around. I'm now 100% candidate oriented giving. Here are the talking points if you're interested:
  • "We're the only thing standing between the country and President Hillary Clinton"
  • "Blah Blah Blah NANCY PELOSI blah blah blah SAN FRANCISCO LIBERAL blah blah blah"
  • "Blah blah blah GEORGE SOROS blah blah blah HUGE CONTRIBUTIONS TO DEMOCRATS blah blah blah"
  • "Blah blah blah HARRY REID blah blah blah"

I got the "Hillary" comment maybe 5 times in the course of the conversation. My response was "What about a good solid Conservative Candidate? Don't you think that a good candidate might be more likely to prevent President Hillary from becoming reality?" Of course, I got more "blah, blah, blah LIBERALS". I'm sure I'm not the only one giving them the "Not one more dime" speech, but how many people have to do that before they get the message?

I leave you with a bright spot here in Minnesota, although it doesn't speak well for our Governor/Vice-Presidential Candidate. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/gop/welcome.asp

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Not giving to party organizations and being strictly candidate oriented is a principle I have followed since the debacle of 1996. They fooled me once, they don't get another chance.

12:17 PM, January 23, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I cut off my money and my vote for the 2006 campaign. I seem to recall I was the only one willing to deny Pawlenty the vote, though many of you knew at the time he was no conservative. At least I didn't vote for more spending and more McCain.

Giving to an occasional lonely voice in the wilderness candidate with whom you agree is a good alternative. Nothing to the party and caucuses from me for a while! (And I don't mind them calling so that I may tell them so.)

12:29 PM, January 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am taking a slightly different tack. I am pledging "the amount requested," when they call, and then sending them only a small percentage of it, with a note saying something to the effect that "you will get the rest when you start acting like Republicans again." It's like leaving a dime tip for the waitress, signifying that you didn't forget but are just darned unhappy with the service.

J. Ewing

9:15 AM, January 24, 2007  
Blogger ReTorte said...

Since my uncle ran against Herb Kohl for U.S. Senate and the RNC wouldn't give him a DIME, none of our family has contributed a penny to them since (they used to contribute a sizable check every year, were delegates many times, George(41) and Barbara Bush's picture was placed higher than the family pictures, etc. etc.). My uncle lost in the closest race Kohl has had to losing his seat, outspent 6:2, and the money the RNC had originally committed to him before backing out would have been the difference in those few points.

I also find it more comfortable giving directly to a candidate who runs on conservative principles and will use all of the money as opposed to the RNC who will hire consultants who pride themselves on a "if we can't beat 'em, join 'em" party yes-(wo)man mentality.

10:45 PM, January 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot argue with candidate-based giving as an individual tactic. What I would like to encourage, however, is that we start to recognize how much more leverage we could have with a state and national party ALIGNED with principled conservative candidates, all moving in the same direction. I know we don't have it now, but rather than simply punishing the party, as we believe voters did in the last election, why not "fix" it, and give people something to work, donate and vote
FOR for a change?

J. Ewing

11:25 AM, January 26, 2007  
Blogger Courier A said...

Scribbler, it was a little presumptuous to claim that you were the only JAS conservative willing to deny Pawlenty the vote this past election. Many of us, as is our right, have opted to keep our ballot choices private.

I did mention more than once during the campaign that there was more reason for conservatives to vote for Pawlenty circa 2002 than there was in 2006. We should all acknowledge that the governor's track record for the past couple years and his campaign this past year left conservatives with no confidence that he would actually do anything good if re-elected. Maybe he would stop a few bad things, but in his first term, he only had one significant veto--the bill that would have increased the gas tax. In any case, the result was less enthusiasm for the governor among core conservtive voters--the "turnout intensity" gap that plagued Republicans nationwide. Pawlenty is very lucky that there was no one running to the right of him on the November ballot, and that the Hatch campaign imploded the final two weeks.

If anyone needed any evidence that the Republican party bosses are still wedded to protecting underacheiving public officials, there was the ill-conceived trial balloon launched earlier this month by MN Republican Party Chairman Ron Carey promoting Pawlenty for a THIRD term as governor. The timing couldn't have been more bizarre, since all Pawlenty had done since getting re-elected as a centrist was to promote policy intiatives that were to the left of what he touted on the campaign trail, and the budget proposals hadn't even been unveiled yet.

Bottom line: save your money for for family, or for other people and organizations more deserving.

6:05 PM, January 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is what I don't understand. Bloggers talk all the time about how "influential" they have become, and I believe it. Yet when they have a golden opportunity and NEED to wield that influence-- in this case over a seemingly wayward governor-- they throw up their hands and tell us to wait two years, and then they'll really show us how to sit idly by for two more?

J. Ewing

8:16 AM, January 27, 2007  

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Why are people so sour?

People in general, including fellow JAS members, have been outwardly sour about anything and everything since before the 2006 elections. The sourness has translated to approval ratings for Bush in the low 30s. Everyone is taking their shots at Bush - he is a lame duck afterall. In the future Bush will be appreciated for his toughness, and yes for his conservatism as well. Any action that a future president takes will be compared to Bush...you will hear stuff like "Bush would have bombed them; If Bush were in office he would have attackd.. etc.. etc.. Bush will be seen in history as the Jack Bauer of presidents. Just wait and see. Today few can see through the distorted fog they are in, instead they are running with the easy flow of the liberal media - to oppose everything that Bush proposes.

In my opinion, the sourness is mostly connected to the media victory in opposition to the Iraq war. People have fallen into the trap, they are tired of the dribble of casualties and criticism despite the wealth in their own lives. This is Bush's greatest failure, he failed to see the enemy at home as well as abroad.

Bush is now forced to play nice with the Congress to keep them from cutting off his war funds. He will propose a bunch of domestic legislation that will never pass. Yeah, people will complain about Bush not being conservative enough... but, you have done it to yourself for being not conservative enough yourself.

Heres to hoping that Newt runs for president... at least he might be one we can all agree upon.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Don't know about Newt, don't think I trust him. But I agree with your analysis. The sourness is obvious and destructive. I have felt it for a long time, even before the race to lose the war.

11:08 AM, January 23, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Bring back Goldwater. Once Republicans believed in smaller government. There's nothing in this Party for me anymore.

12:30 PM, January 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newt has his head screwed on absolutely straight. The problem is that he is an idea guy, a thinker, and using him as an administrator and diplomat-- as in the Presidency-- is a waste. He would make a Great VP, running the Senate and creating administration policy, given a suitable head of the ticket. Right now I'm thinking Romney.

J. Ewing

9:18 PM, January 24, 2007  

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The Tenth Commandment

My son is in first grade at a Lutheran school, and they are to memorize a verse each week. They've been going through the Ten Commandments and are on the last this week: "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey . . ." I keep wanting to add "poolboy." Would my son's teacher get the wrong impression?

I suppose the Sixth and Tenth Commandments constitute the Lutheran version of Sex Ed; at least they're not teaching him to put condoms on cucumbers.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

For or against the troop surge

I read and heard it discussed over and over... those "for and against the troop surge." The people who oppose the surge run the gambit from the anti-Iraq war types who oppose every thing about Iraq; to the democrats who just hate Bush; and on to the war supporters and more thoughtful critics such as Paul from Powerline who are just not sure about the surge... The problem with these critics is that they seem to ignore that the surge is part of a new plan that Bush has accepted from the new General he appointed in Iraq. Everyone wanted a change in direction and Bush has done that with a new general and a new plan that requires an additional 20,000 troops. So when people say they oppose the surge, do they mean they oppose the new plan? Because you never hear any thing about the new plan, you only hear about the surge part of it.

It's funny that a new talking point from Democrats and other critics is that Bush is not listening to his generals, George Casey and John Abazaid, both whom have stated in more or less words that they oppose the new plan. This is ironic because Casey and Abazaid are responsible for the current plan in Iraq, which according to the Democrats is a total failure. Why would they want Bush to listen to failed generals? .... (it is so aggrevating at times...).

No one seems to blame the top brass for military failures anymore, yet it is mostly the top brass' fault. In fact John McCain annouced today that he would oppose General Casey as Army Chief of Staff because of Iraq failures, which is a good start. It seems to me that if the current plan is not working you need to ask the generals to come up with a new plan. If they do not or act too slowly, you need to sack them and find a new general, which is essentially what Bush is finally doing now. Sometimes it is politically difficult to sack generals, who tend to be primadonnas, so you need to work around the system to get rid of them. Lincoln's plan for a "new direction" in 1863 was to appoint Grant as commander of all the various armies. It was Grant, in turn, that devised the plan which ultimately led to the South's defeat (and also required a troop surge).

Next time that people annouce they are against the "surge" it would be more truthful for them to announce that they are against the new commander, Lt. General David Patraeus taking command because he is the one who has come up with the new plan, which requires 20,000 more troops.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

I am for one thing only. Successfully completing the things we start. Whatever it takes, however long.

10:34 AM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

The 25 Democratic Senators and now some republicans who voted for the war disagree with you. I guess the polls have changed....

10:52 AM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Maybe that means we have the wrong people in elected office. Maybe we should work to change that.

11:35 AM, January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The next time someone questions the surge, I intend to ask, "Are you for the surge or for defeat?"

1:28 PM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I used to play blackjack. Actually, I used to count cards. There are times to double down, when the deck is "rich," full of face cards. And there are times you sit out. It's not nearly as fun to sit out, but knowing when to do so will let you walk away with chips in your pocket. Until you get banned. Getting banned doesn't work with my analogy.

10:48 PM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

I too was a student of Dr. Edward O. Thorp. I think your analogy stinks.

11:03 PM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Yes, yes, it does work with my analogy. To avoid getting banned you play "blonde," pretend to drink a lot, and, gosh darn, look at my luck. And you chat up the dealer, tricky while running side counts. Am I making sense? Oh, bother, why am I asking you . . .

When I got tired of the charade, I told a fellow counter, the best cover for counting is losing.

(Scribbler is suffering a rare episode of insomnia tonight.)

11:03 PM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Et tu, Air Marshall?

11:06 PM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Long before you were born. Myself and a close friend used to finance our trips to Vegas thanks to the good Dr. Thorp. That was when Frank Sinatra and the Pack were in their heyday there.

11:15 PM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

The game was likely better then too. I would never play more than a 2-deck game, and then would have to see how deep the dealer was cutting. Back to the analogy, it's not a fair game if they keep shuffling the deck while you're playing.

I would have loved to have seen ol' blue eyes. I still spin one of his records occasionally.

11:21 PM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I see where your analogy is going Scribbler. The only problem is that you have no idea whats in the deck. You may believe it lacks sufficient face cards because everyone in the room is in your face telling you so...

12:32 AM, January 23, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

But I am not one to take what I'm told at face value. It seems to be the other way around. The dealer is saying, double-down, double-down, stirring up some excitement, you can only win when you bet big. But in reality the deck is lean and you're dealt a six. That's why it's better to count the cards yourself, know what remains in the deck, and don't rely on the dealer.

6:51 AM, January 23, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

And this is where Kenny Rogers got it wrong: you DO count your money while you're sitting at the table. How else would you know when to leave?

7:38 AM, January 23, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Most Casinos dealt single deck, and shuffled only at the end of the deck. We never saw Frank as the shows were too pricey and hard to get tickets. His son and daughter were playing in the club bars and we saw them both. Also played with Alexander King the author of "Mine Enemy Grows Older".

9:37 AM, January 23, 2007  

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Man made global warming is a farce...

So says this ABC News Weatherman:


I have been in operational meteorology since 1978, and I know dozens and dozens of broadcast meteorologists all over the country. Our big job: look at a large volume of raw data and come up with a public weather forecast for the next seven days. I do not know of a single TV meteorologist who buys into the man-made global warming hype. I know there must be a few out there, but I can’t find them...Billions of dollars of grant money is flowing into the pockets of those on the man-made global warming bandwagon. No man-made global warming, the money dries up.

If you don’t like to listen to me, find another meteorologist with no tie to grant money for research on the subject. I would not listen to anyone that is a politician, a journalist, or someone in science who is generating revenue from this issue.

I heard a rumor that in europe they are considering passing carbon limitation laws, mean each person is limited to a certain expenditure of carbon. And if you want to expend more, you need to pay someone else for theirs... It sounds like socialism to me.

UPDATE: I saw this article about a man who has barricaded himself up with some "supporters" armed and ready to fight the federal government who is coming to collect taxes that he owes.

Taxes is one thing, but if the federal government was coming to keep people from running their lawn mowers or driving their cars, such a scene would be repeated by the tens of thousands across America.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've made this comment elsewhere, but I have a perfect solution for this non-problem. All we have to do is buy all of our cars and SUVs from China. Since China is exempt from the Kyoto treaty, it must be because Chinese vehicles produce no CO2, right? Problem solved! :-^

J. Ewing

9:50 AM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Average temperatures in Angle-Land in the year One Thousand were about 5*F warmer than they are now. I believe that was cow and ox made global warming. Unfortunately there was no grant money available to study it. However, an afternoon on a farm probably provided all the proof necessary. Check out the calendar in the basement of Lord Fletchers. It has the earliest ice out dates for Lake Minnetonka. Earliest one is in the 1880s sometime if I recall correctly.

10:07 AM, January 19, 2007  

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

European Fertility and Muslims

Mark Steyn posted this at the corner. I thought it was pretty funny and pathetic and alarming at the same time.

Take France and its neighbors and rank them in order of healthiest fertility rates (2005 official Eurostat figures):

1) France 2) Netherlands 3) Belgium 4) Switzerland 5) Austria 6) Germany 7) Italy 8) Spain

Now rank them in order of highest proportion of Muslims (no central source, but compiled from national data, European Muslim groups, UN and State Dept figures):

1) France 2) Netherlands 3) Belgium 4) Switzerland 5) Austria 6) Germany 7) Italy 8) Spain


Hmm...

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Here's another reason why I love Steyn. In a later post on The Corner, he writes

If Karl’s Rovebot laboratory had spent years constructing the perfect candidate to run against, it would have looked pretty much like John F Kerry – a vain thin-skinned self-regarding tone-deaf francophile insecure not-quite-blue-blood incoherent anti-war war-hero from a Swiss finishing school with nothing to show for 20 years in the Senate other than getting wrong every foreign policy question of the day and so alien to the habits of his electorate he’s unable to engage in as routine a photo op as eating a hot dog without looking like a Grand Duchess dropping in on the village idiot’s hovel.

That's one sentence.

2:01 PM, January 18, 2007  

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The cost of Gas

Has anyone else noticed how fast the price of gas has dropped since the Democrats seized control of Congress? Pretty fishy. The Neo-Cons who were running Congress have a lot of explaining to do. Looks like they were using high fuel prices to finance their war with Iraq, which they got us into to aid big oil. Now with the defeat of the Neo-Cons the Democrats are able to reduce fuel prices for us because they are not going to continue the war. The Neo-Cons cost us a lot of money just to enrich their oil buddies.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Hmmm, it could be. I wish I was one of those buddies.

I have heard of a similar scam, it goes like this:

The government pays its employees money who use some of the money to form unions and then lobby the government to pay them more money.

It can't be true - it's just too far out.

12:43 AM, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Not far out at all. They are former Marxist Neo-Cons. I wish I was one of them.

8:58 AM, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

No, I think the ones currently involved in government scam are still marxists....

9:34 AM, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

No, now that is REALLY far out.

11:17 AM, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Tsk, tsk. Only a true Marxist would wish to be one of the oil buddies. A good paleocon capitalist would go out there and make it happen.

11:52 PM, January 22, 2007  

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Oil Games

The Saudis who have made no secret their fear of a rising Persian power in the middle east today rejected calls to cut output amid sinking oil prices.

Crude for February delivery was down 40 cents at $50.83 a barrel in electronic trade. On Tuesday, the contract tumbled 3.4% after Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said there is no need for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut production further, rejecting calls from membersVenezuela and Iran.

It is interesting that such calls came from Venezuala and Iran who have both been the subject of recent stories on their declining infrastructure in being able to produce Oil.

They (Iran) need to invest $2.5bn (£1.28bn) a year just to stand still and they're not doing it because it's politically easier to spend the money on social welfare and the army than to wait four to six years for a return on investment... They've been running down the industry like this for 20 years.


The Saudis have a distinct advantage over Iran and Venezuala in being able to massively ramp up their production. Thus, from the Saudi point of view, $20 per barrel of oil is much better than $60 oil in the short term because the Saudis can more than make up for the profit loss in extra production. In contrast, Iran and Venezuala cannot increase their production and their production capacity will continue to decline even further without future investment. Moreover, the less money Iran has, the less they will be able to invest in future production - accelerating the decline in future production. Similarly, the less money Iran and Venezuala have in the future, the less impact they will have on the world stage in terms of military influence - that is good for Saudi Arabia and for us as well. Look for the price of oil to continue to decline over the next year.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

I'll be looking. Sounds rosey.

10:56 AM, January 17, 2007  

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Defeat at Last

Rush this morning Stated that the House Republican leadership reported two thirds of their members see the Democrats as having won the right to govern as they see fit and don't think the Republican caucus should try to stand in their way. They do not plan to imploy legislative manuvers to try and defeat Democrat measures. Only one third favor a strong opposition stance. This comes on top of the new Senate minority leader stating last week that it was not his job to make life tough for Harry Reid. I REST MY CASE!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It used to be that Republicans were good at being in the minority and obstructing Democrat nuttiness. Not only did they lose control, they've apparently lost their spines.

J. Ewing

10:18 PM, January 16, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Shows the difference between an opposition party and a mere minority party. Guess we know where the Republicans fit.

11:44 PM, January 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest re-implementing the "not one dime" campaign of last year. We don't contribute one dime to the RNC until Republicans stand up for Republican principles and values.

J. Ewing

10:11 PM, January 20, 2007  

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Energy Conservation

Does this blog have any physics/engineering types?

I have the following question: We are always being lectured to buy low energy appliances - fluorescent lights vs. incandescent lights and so forth. But what ever happened to conservation of energy, as a rule of physics rather than a pseudo-religious obligation? That is, suppose I use a "wasteful" incandescent bulb. Doesn't this "wasted" energy that isn't turned into light instead turned into heat. Assuming that it's winter, isn't that not waste at all since now I don't need as much energy to heat my house directly? I'm coming to the conclusion that as long as it's winter, it's impossible to "waste" energy by using the wrong appliances or light bulbs. Is there an error in this reasoning?

Blogger Air Marshall said...

Error is a matter of religion, not reasoning.

10:03 PM, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

My college major was Physics Engineering. But that was during my young, irresponsible years. (I was 17, had an apartment off-campus, and was out from under my father’s strict thumb.) So no actual expertise accompanies this explanation. It’s just my logical take.

95% of the energy going through incandescent light bulbs turns into heat. This is not a good thing in the summer, obviously. Nor is it a great idea for outdoor lighting. But even indoors during the winter, electric heat is two to three times more expensive to produce than gas, and the heat generated by the light bulbs is not pushed around via forced air, but hovers near the ceiling, so virtually none of it is actually enjoyed before it seeps out through the windowpane.

In short, use electricity via fluorescent bulbs to produce light, and more efficient gas heat, forced in near the floor where it can then rise, for heat.

7:51 AM, January 16, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Scribbler, you are underestimating the amount of hot air generated by passionate talk about low energy appliances and light sources. This source generates more hot air than any other kind of gas appliance. In fact, in my family it can remove any need for an additional heat source whatsoever.

12:04 PM, January 16, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I concede that Air Marshall knows more about hot air than I do. After all, I hear him dissimulate -- I mean, speak frequently, which is more than can be said about me.

12:24 PM, January 16, 2007  
Blogger festivus said...

I'll back up Scribbler (my education is in Electrical Engineering rather than physics). While it certainly possible to heat your home completely with incandescent bulbs, I wouldn't wanna be around when your wife opens the electric bill. It's a simple matter of using the right tool for the right job.

I guess using an analogy that you might related to better: I could certainly use that Federal paper with Ben Franklin's likeness to wallpaper my house, but traditional wallpaper might be more cost effective and easier to apply. It likely cleans up better too.

You might instead consider the Venezuelan bolivar, but I haven't done the math to figure out the cost effectiveness. No matter -just wait until Chavez nationalizes another industry, and we'll likely find that Venezuelan currency wallpaper is within reach economically.

3:59 PM, January 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to be a lighting engineer, perhaps I can help. Most modern commercial flourescent light fixtures are built to be part of the building's heating and cooling system. Air is ducted through the fixtures and the heat expelled in summer, or circulated in winter. Some computerized "building management systems" will turn on the lights at night rather than the furnace. These fixtures are more efficient in producing light than the compact flourescents you use in your house, but still less than 25% efficient. That means there isn't a lot of difference between incandescents and flourescents as "heaters." There is a huge difference-- between 3 and 5 TIMES the light per watt-- in what you buy the light bulbs to do, which is produce light.

The pseudo-science you should be concerned with is the notion that your motor-driven appliances should be energy efficient, although you have little choice anymore thanks to government regulation. The manufacturing of the additional material to make a small motor (like your washer, dryer, fan) more efficient consumes more energy than you will ever save using the appliance.

J. Ewing

9:25 AM, January 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real "physics" answer of course is that it doesn't matter. All of the heat produced by the light bulb goes into the room, of course, but all of the energy that's turned into light ALSO gets absorbed in the room and turned into heat. The only difference is that with fluorescents, I'm using less total wattage to get the amount of light I need, and thus less total heating.

J. Ewing

9:08 AM, January 18, 2007  

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

The New Cold War in the Middle East

The first mildly convincing argument for being in Iraq I heard tonight. This gentleman argued that, were we not in Iraq, China would swoop in and wrestle for control. If this were the case, would not the Administration have used this as a talking point?

I have seen the argument that we are able to keep Beijing under our thumb by controlling the energy supply, and I suppose we could extrapolate that China may attempt to fill a vacuum in Iraq for the same purpose were we not there, but I see no overt statements online to that effect (quickie google).

Could it be that this police action is little more than a forceful, preemptive signal to Russia and China, a more dramatic statement than the game we played with the USSR in Afghanistan? I thought that was why we have nukes.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Did this gentleman think that China would actually put boots on the ground in the Middle East? Seems unlikely.

4:22 PM, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I must admit, this Iraq prattle was over a tankard of Vanilla Royale (someone must have raided my liquor cabinet: Vanilla Royale was the only thing in there). China would be hard-pressed to scramble the man-power, I would guess, but for a chance to show us up and control the energy source, who knows?

Again, the threat of China comes closer to raising my hairs than does the urgency of enforcing democracy, and rings slightly more true than does an argument that we're luring all the terrorists to Iraq to bloody them there rather than here. Even so, I'm not sold on that argument.

8:56 PM, January 15, 2007  

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Seseme Street It Is...

Reminiscing about the "good ole' days"...

In the Filibuster Household, from the start of the legislative session, Seseme Street and other daytime kids programming (that is benign as opposed to certain shows we just can't stomach) has been preempted by the legislature. At the early age of several months old, little Prose smiled to Sen. LeClair and just as quick as she had once smiled, she screamed her lungs out whenever "Tommy The Commy" spoke. It must have been in-utero learning because from the very first time she saw him, and every time since, this has been her response.

From the start of the legislative session this year, little Prose has frequently had a tear to her eye. Some would call it being 2, but this year, because of the nature of the legislature we determined it was unfit for our little Prose to watch. In passing when we turn it on to find out how much they're spending from our paychecks and hiking taxes this session, at least we can be assured that we have no "Little Albert" in our household, but "Tommy The Commy" still brings on the puckering cry face. I guess the "good ole' days" aren't completely gone..

I had a dream...

....this morning that I was standing in a line to get food shivering in the cold air. Everywere around me it looked like Orwell's 1984 - people milling about in grey clothes with sunken faces. I saw a sudden sparkle; a glint on a faded purple hat worn by the woman in front of me. It didn't take long to realize that the sparkle was my own creation; a longing for yesteryear. Behind me the collapse of a man dead brought no commotion from the crowd used to such events. It was odd because the man appeared to be healthy at least healthy relative to the times. Perhaps he collapased under the weight of his own unhappiness. The dead man along with everyone else looked the same except for the gigantic face smiling on the poster above me. The caption below the face read "Equality and Justice in Obama's America." And so we waited....

Feel free to share your stories of Obama's America....

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I had a similar dream last night. Eerie. But we were all standing in line waiting for health care which had been centralized into the taxpayer-funded stadium. One guy was holding a gangrene foot that had fallen off, and another guy collapsed of a heart attack. And in my dream the poster read, "Welcome to NeoCon America. If you can't beat em, join em." (I think the picture was of Trotsky :-) But the great news is, no one was smoking!

8:58 AM, January 12, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Tsk.. tsk, no fun.

My dream was a direct result of the civil war you are still waging in your dream. We must have been to divided to take on Obama in the end.

9:15 AM, January 12, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Obama is dead. But you're right: I'm no fun. That gangrene image was a bit grotesque.

5:50 PM, January 13, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I imagine you've been scratching your head over that last comment. I tend to get impatient and read too fast, sometimes missing a key element. Don't laugh, but I thought you were talking about Osama. I realized my mistake soon after and am just getting around to this explanation. Okay, now you can laugh at me.

11:48 AM, January 16, 2007  

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

DEFEAT AT LAST

It has been so much fun watching the palpable relief on the part of Republican leaders who are SO glad to be back in the minority where they belong and feel comfortable. Now the press will stop picking on them, they can disclaim responsibility for everything, and simply enjoy being members of the "in crowd". I am sure that what with the delight that they have welcomed the Democrat victory, that we won't have to worry about Republican majorities for a long time. The only thing more amusing is watching "conservatives" gloat over the Republican defeat.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I there dissimulation going on here?

2:06 PM, January 11, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Six of one, half a dozen of the other. I'm becoming carmudgeonly in my old age.

3:30 PM, January 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of conservatives refer to Republicans as "the stupid party" because they don't know how to get political power or what to do with power when they get it. Now we find out the Democrats are ALSO the stupid party, because they DO know how to get power, and then propose really stupid policies. The only thing more stupid is to see Republicans failing to point it out or even agreeing with it.

J. Ewing

4:54 PM, January 11, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Dissimulation? Try disapointment, disgust, distrust, and maybe just dissed. Can't you see and hear it? Watch their eyes, and listen to the tone of voice.

10:30 AM, January 12, 2007  

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Monday, January 08, 2007

The Burden of Proof should be on the Critics

Soon after 9/11, the conventional wisdom was that we would be attacked again and soon and often. After our invasion of Iraq, the critics said that we were only angering the islamic world and that the war in Iraq would not prevent attacks - it would increase them. Bush argued that it was better to fight the terrorists with our tanks and guns in Iraq rather than here in our streets. The critics said that there was no proof that Iraq was linked to the war on terror and there was no proof that a war in Iraq would reduce terrorist atacks.

The media has diverted the attention of the American people regarding the war in Iraq from the larger picture. They are focused on the success of the democracy project there and not the war on terror and the safety of the American people.

So lets step back......Time has marched on and the critics should be called to account. It has been FIVE years since we have been attacked on American soil. Despite warnings and threats.... still no attack. Not even a bus bomb. What about the millions who hate us, what about the millions of more terrorists waiting to strike. Even if they were to strike tomorrow.

The question needs to be asked again. Has the Iraq war made us safer? I say it has. It has because we have liquidated thousands of terrorists in Iraq, many of them trained in Bin Ladin's training camps. These terrorists would be here but for our war in Iraq. Bush was right. It is better to fight the terrorists over there than over here.

The critics argue otherwise, but now the burden of proof is on them. The results are in, and the results are FIVE years without an attack. I ask the critics to prove that the war in Iraq has not added to this FIVE years of peace.

And if they still remain critics, ask them if it is worth it to withdraw from Iraq and take the risk of another 9/11. Something among Bush's terror policies are working... it could be the patriot act, the aggressive profiling, the war in afghanistan and/or the war in Iraq. Should we take the chance of changing our tune when we have had so much success with the current tune?

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

chirp, chirp, chirp.

10:07 PM, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Carp, carp, carp.

1:26 PM, January 11, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Growl, growl, growl

2:07 PM, January 11, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Woof, woo -- I mean, I never asserted being in Iraq was going to bring on domestic terror attacks. I just don't think it's in our interest to be there.

3:35 PM, January 11, 2007  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

That's answering a question that wasn't asked Scribbler. The question asked was (essentially) "If Bush's strategy is such a complete failure, why is it we haven't been attacked in five years?"

3:42 PM, January 11, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

S'aurus asked, "Has the Iraq war made us safer?"

If all snids are quids, are all quids snids? Or are all blids snids, for that matter.

There's no doubt we've averted some potential domestic attacks, but not because of the police action in Iraq. And not necessarily by illegal wiretaps. We're safer because we're alert, because we won't accept flying Imams with seat belt extenders. And some of the domestic policies.

7:08 PM, January 11, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

The fact is Scribbler - you don't really know. No one knows exactly what is working and what contributes nothing because Al Qaeda has not sat down to write their memoirs yet on how their attacks have been thwarted.

It is a perfectly reasonable and logical argument to conclude that because we have killed thousands of terrorists in Iraq, the manpower of Al Qeada has been drastically reduced, which has limited their ability to attack us over here. But we don't have an example of say young Omar, who desires to become a martyr and is summoned to Pakistan by Bin Ladin for a mission to America. Omar turns down the mission because he can be in Iraq killing Americans in 3 hours, while going to America may take years.

12:21 AM, January 12, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

The countries of origin for the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Egypt. Did I miss our attacks on those countries, or are those coming?

8:50 AM, January 12, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Why attack them in their home country when you can lure them to come to Iraq where they have no friends, no family members to look out for them, they don't know the terrain... they only have their fellow jihadists from other countries to die with them.

2:27 PM, January 12, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Hmmm. If we're luring them all into Iraq, where did those guys who were going to bomb the London-to-US flight last year come from? It would be too easy if all the terrorists would simply flock to Iraq. Then we could just nuke the place and be done with it.

5:53 PM, January 13, 2007  

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

"Thinkers" or "Joiners"

The answer, when asked of many of the lefty environmental kooks, is "Joiners" as this very interesting video from Penn and Teller shows. They have someone attend an environmental rally with a petition to ban "di-hydrogen oxide", and collect hundreds of signatures.

This reminds me of a stunt the old "Man Show" ran when they went to a women's rights rally/get-together and had the unsuspecting ladies sign a petition to bad "women's suffrage". Here's a copycat that illustrates the point almost as well.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

This was really funny. I loved her true statements about "Dihydrogen Monoxide."

"It's in our lakes and reservoirs."

"It's on our vegetables and fruits and you can't wash it off."

"It can cause excess sweating and urination."

Funny stuff.

10:52 PM, January 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's all very amusing, until one of these people VOTES.

J. Ewing

3:04 PM, January 05, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

They always vote. How do you think we get the government we've got? I'd support IQ qualifications for voting.

7:25 AM, January 06, 2007  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

J. Ewing.

Of course it's funny. Watch the video! Funny things are usually tinged with the tragic. So what?

If conservatives become as joyless as feminists, conservatism dies.

(How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? THAT"S NOT FUNNY!)

(Actually, the answer is two, but it better be a pretty big lightbulb, and I don't know how they would get inside it, and, oh wait, they can't because they're both women.)

7:35 AM, January 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've watched the video many times. I've even tried laughing at the manifold insanities which make up the modern political left-- their campaigns, their pontifications and their proposals. Humor is an excellent tonic against the woes of liberal governance, and an effective tool for rousing opposition to their most outrageous excesses.

Liberals cannot be taken seriously, but they are as serious as a heart attack when given power, which they achieve at the expense of the woefully (and deliberately) under- or mis-informed masses such as those illustrated here. I have long suggested, somewhat tongue in cheek, that people should be required to prove some level of relevant knowledge before exercising their "right" to vote. That is made difficult, and deliberately so, by liberal politicians' relentless demagoguery. How do you suppose these clueless became so?

J. Ewing

8:42 AM, January 06, 2007  
Blogger Sornie said...

Ignorance of basic knowledge knows no political boundaries. It is funny that people are so easily duped into believing something that, when looked at for a second or two, is obviously pure crap.

11:22 AM, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I dated a woman once in college whom after a conversation regarding an article in the NY Times about terraforming Mars so that it could sustain life, she replied "that it was wrong for us to mess with the environment of another planet."

She was a smart... but left... so not so smart. We broke up soon after.

1:15 PM, January 08, 2007  

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What Ails Duke?

I went to Duke University and maintain some small affection for it. It is in for a rough patch of road these days. Applications for early admission to the undergraduate program are down 20% this year. (For those who don't know, undergraduates are the cash cow of a university. )

The question is why? Obviously the non-rape/lacrosse team incident, but what specifically about it? That is, is the problem

  1. Parents were shocked, shocked to find out that there is a lot of drinking and strippers at Duke parties and don't want their children caught up in this.
  2. Parents or students were upset at the way the administration and faculty gave such little support (or actually anti-support) to the falsely accused students.
  3. The revelation of the extreme "town vs. gown" racial problems in Durham.
Opinions?

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

You know what parents are thinking: they'd like to send their kid to Duke, but picture themselves at cocktail parties, "Yeah, Johnny got into Duke." "Oh, is he a rapist?" Not entirely logical, but enough to scare a certain number of people away.

4:57 PM, January 04, 2007  

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD TO DEFEAT, by Diana West

Once upon a time Americans could discuss the present danger to Israel—tragically, a permanent feature of the state—from a safe, if concerned, distance. The permanent danger to the Jewish nation under permanent siege by its Muslim neighbors was something deeply troubling, dastardly and unconscionable, but physically and metaphysically removed from our own national experience.

Then came 9/11. The attack, and maybe more important, the seemingly permanent threat of attack that has been with us ever since, quite suddenly, if rather improbably, brought our national condition closer to that of Israel’s than ever before.

In most measurable ways, our super powerful state of being does not compare with tiny Israel and its daily experience with Islamic terrorism and war. But we have begun to display some of the same psychic signs of a nation under siege—delusional thinking about the nature of our enemy, and delusional thinking about the nature of ourselves.

Harvard psychiatric instructor Kenneth Levin has given us the template for this kind of thinking in his book The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege. He examines what he characterizes as two delusional experiences: the Israeli experience, in which Israel entered into concessionary negotiations with a so-called “peace partner” openly dedicated to Israel’s destruction and the historical Jewish Diaspora experience, in which Jewish populations identified with their tormentors and even echoed their anti-semitism.

According to Levin, these interactions, engendered by a permanent condition of siege mentality, rely on delusional thinking.

There are two kinds: One is delusional thinking about the intentions of the aggressor (be it Arab Muslim or European Christian); the other is delusional thinking regarding the victim’s ability to change the aggressor’s intentions. Such thinking, he writes, is common to victims of chronic abuse, particularly children. They like to fool themselves into thinking that they, the victims, control the abuser, by, in their own minds, linking the abuse they suffer to their own behavior.

In other words, in their delusional mode of thought, they see their own behavior as the cause of their own abuse. This mind game, Levin says, gives victims a vital sense of control over situations that are expressly beyond their control—an abusive parent, for instance, or neighbors—“peace partners”-- committed to the destruction of one’s state. Thus, they avoid the devastating alternative of helplessness and despair.

At least, that’s the diagnosis from the psychiatrist’s couch. I, for one, welcome it, because it explains my own rather less eloquent hunch that such behaviors are, and have always been, quite nuts.

But then what? Playing mind games to deny the culpability and intent of one’s tormentors or battlefield foes is not playing to win. But rather than change the strategy, the victims continue with this tortured reasoning, and the same game goes on and on.

We continue to respond to Islamic terrorism—and in this case, by “we,” I mean both Israel and the United States, along with most countries identified with the West—with more flights of fancy—seeking a refuge of sorts in our natural abhorrence of terrorism itself. Trapped as we are in Levin’s siege mentality, we have failed to turn this abhorrence into an engine that drives us to confront and destroy Islamic terrorism—which I prefer to think of as the resurgence of age-old jihad. We have instead used our abhorrence to contrive what might be called “coping strategies”—strategies to shape ourselves and our response to the danger of permanent jihad, strategies that emphasize the distinction between ourselves and the jihadists—as though this were an end in itself.

Emphasizing the distinction isn’t difficult. The ideal of justice for all is the fruit of Judeo-Christian civilization, not Islam. But again—emphasizing the distinction is not a winning strategy; in fact, it calls into question whether victory is the goal. Facing off against an enemy that strikes at non-combatants at the heart of civilized society, we take enormous pride—self-satisfaction, even—in our efforts to spare non-combatants at the heart of terrorist society—whether in the Palestinian Authority, Afghanistan or Iraq—no matter the cost to civilized society. To me, this overarching concern for the Other—at the expense of the Self--seems like another terrible manifestation of the delusional behavior of the victim trying to affect or appease his abusers by displaying ever more extreme feats of virtue and blamelessness.

We can see an example of this terrible manifestation in the failed attempt by the Israeli military to destroy the senior leadership of Hamas in 2003. It was then, at an apex of the Palestinian terror war against Israel, that Israeli intelligence discovered that eight of the most senior Hamas leaders--jihadis responsible for killing hundreds of Israelis and also, not incidentally, Americans as well--had gathered in an apartment to plan new terror attacks. Among them were Sheik Ahmed Yassin, who would eventually be assassinated, and Ismail Haniyeh, who would be elected prime minister of the Palestnian Authority.

Writing in the Washington Post earlier this year, Moshe Yaalon, who, at the time of the failed attack, was chief of staff of the IDF, summed up: “We knew a one-ton bomb would destroy the three-story building and kill the Hamas leadership. But we also knew that such a bomb would endanger about 40 families who lived in the vicinity. We decided to use a smaller bomb that would destroy only the top floor of the building. As it turned out, the Hamas leaders were meeting on the ground floor.”

According to our delusional coping strategies, according to our delusional siege mentality, this strike might be seen as a partial success: No terrorists were killed, but then no innocent lives were lost either.

Or were they? As Yaalon reminds us, all of these murderers lived to kill another day. In sparing noncombatants on the enemy side--noncombatants who very, very likely supported the jihadis in their midst--Israelis were condemning some incalculable number of their own to pain and death, noncombatants who abhor and are victimized by jihad terrorism.

How does such a moral calculus work out?

Yaalon, writing during the summer’s war in Lebanon, was using this missed opportunity to defend Israel against world opprobrium by avowing Israel’s adherence to what he said boiled down to the “central principle” of the rules of war: the need to distinguish combatants from non-combatants.

But is that really the central principle of the rules of war? I would prefer to think the central principle concerns saving your people from annihilation, slow or sudden, and protecting your society from the crippling, disfiguring torment of fear. But from the standpoint of the West, there really is something more important at this stage of warfare. And that is what the Israeli general isn’t alone in calling “high moral standards.”

Such standards, Yaalon continued, are expressed in “every effort to avoid harming civilians. We have dropped fliers, sent telephone messages and broadcast radio announcements so that innocents can get out of harm’s way.”

But is warfare targeting buildings and bad guys—which, it’s important to note, has also become the American policy of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan—truly warfare on the high road? I would argue that it is not, because, whatever its intentions, it is also a sure-fire recipe for warfare unending. Without one victorious side—hopefully ours—defeating the other, there can be no peace, no safety, no security—no civilization. There can be only more war--fear, terrorism, blood, broken lives. As Yaalon also notes: In warning of pending Israeli attacks, “we imperil our own citizens since, by losing the element of surprise, we invariably allow some of the enemy to escape with their missiles.”

I fail to see in this mindset—sparing “them” at the expense of “us”— evidence of a more advanced stage of human enlightenment. In fact, I am afraid, it signals the End Stage of human enlightenment. That’s because in fighting to win this morality war, we—the West, and that of course includes Israel--will surely lose the fight to survive.

It is a fact of war through the ages that if a more civilized society is to prevail over a more barbarous one, it will necessarily and tragically be degraded by the experience as a vital cost of victory. Partly, this is because civilized war tactics are apt to fail against barbarous war tactics, thus requiring the civilized society to break the “rules” if it is to survive a true death struggle. Then there is the clash itself—the act of engaging with the barbarous society—which forces civilization to confront, repel and also internalize previously unimagined depredations. This, too, is degrading.

During World War II—arguably the last war fought to a concluding victory--the more civilized world of the Allies was necessarily degraded to some intangible extent by what it took to achieve victory over barbarous Nazism. For example, bombing cities, even rail transportation hubs, lay beyond civilized conventions, but this was one tactic the Allies used to defeat Hitler. However justifiably, civilization crossed a previously unimagined and uncivilized line to save, well, civilization. Then there was Hitler’s Holocaust—an act of genocide on a previously unthinkable scale and horror. Who in the civilized world ever imagined killing 6 million people before Hitler? And who in the civilized world retained the same purity of mind afterward? Civilization itself was forever dimmed.

The question is, did, for example, bombing Dresden to defeat Hitler or, in the Pacific War, dropping two nuclear bombs to force Japan to stop fighting, make the Allies into barbarians?

I think most people would still say, Of course not, and argue that such destructive measures were necessary to save civilization itself—and certainly hundreds of thousands of mainly American and Allied men’s lives. But if this argument continues to carry the day, it’s because we still view that historic period from its own perspective: namely, as one in which Allied lives—our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons--counted for more than Axis lives, even those of women and children.

How quaint. That is, this is not at all how we think any more. If we still valued our own men more than the enemy and the “civilians” he hides among—and now I’m talking about say, Israelis fighting in Jenin, or Americans fighting in Fallujah—our tactics would be totally different, and, not incidentally, infinitelymore successful. We would drop bombs on city blocks, for example, not waste men in dangerous house-to-house searches. We would destroy enemy sanctuaries in Syria and Iran, not disarm “insurgents” at perilous checkpoints in hostile Iraqi strongholds.

In the 21st century, however, there is something that our society values more—more!--than our own lives—and more than the survival of Western civilization itself. That something may be described as the kind of moral superiority that comes from a good wallow in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, or even the confoundingly tortured decision as to whether to obliterate the leadership of Hamas. But this concept of moral superiority—which I would describe as delusional--doesn’t win wars. And it won’t save civilization.

That’s because it masks a massive moral paralysis. The morally superior (read: paralyzed) don’t really take sides, don’t really believe or, at least, act as if one culture is qualitatively better or worse than the other. Many don’t even believe one culture is just plain different from the other. Only in this atmosphere of politically correct and perpetually adolescent non-judgmentalism could anyone believe, for example, that compelling, forcing, or torturing a jihad terrorist to get information to save a city in any way undermines our “values.” It undermines nothing—except the jihad.

Do such coercive tactics diminish our inviolate sanctimony? You bet. But so what? The alternative is to follow our precious rules and hope the barbarians will leave us alone--or, perhaps, not deal with us too harshly. Fond hope. Consider the 21st-century return of (I still can’t quite believe it) beheadings. The first French Republic aside, who on God’s modern green earth ever imagined a head being hacked off the human body before we were confronted with modern manifestations of Islamic jihad? Civilization itself is forever dimmed—again.

And maybe that in itself is the present danger. The danger for all time--for the United States as for Israel—is that we don’t seem to know or want to know what it will take for civilization to shine again.

Diana West gave this talk at the AFSI national conference on December 3rd. She is a nationally syndicated columnist.

Pub Log

The highly anticipated Jake O'Connor's Public House opened in Excelsior a couple weeks ago, and I got my chance to try it out Sunday evening. A friend was meeting me there at 4, delayed due to a poorly timed New Year's Eve snowstorm, while I discovered that not only did the pub open at 5 o'clock, but that power was out. Following a few setbacks, we were eventually able to enter, sample the wares, and ogle the surroundings.

Amazing that this place was previously the Excelsior Hardware Store! The bars (upstairs and down) were constructed in Ireland, and the restrooms . . . the restrooms themselves were works of art. My lakeshore neighbors would have coveted these restrooms for their own homes. (We might assume the owners are trying to make up for these restroom ratings.)

While waiting for my friend, I chatted with the owner, also proprietor of O'Donovans in Minneapolis, both of us lamenting the power outage and peering out the window at SUVs and snowplows slip-sliding along snow-covered Water Street. Dermot was his name, and he came complete with authentic red hair and freckles.

To top off the package, we were told that live Irish music will be arriving sometime early this year, presumably imported from O'Donovans.

Consider this my personal invitation to Excelsior and our new, favorite pub (and its restrooms). Cheers, lass and laddies!

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Do they serve Silky Kisses to cats?

10:21 PM, January 03, 2007  

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