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June 30, 2006

Pluto Does The Tribe

Indians fans will want to read Terry Pluto's midseason take on the disappointing, underperforming Tribe. I've been too disgusted to even blog about them, but I thought Terry's critique was right on the money. I think he lets Wedge off the hook a little too easily, but that's just me. Maybe they just aren't as good as all of us thought they would be.

June 29, 2006

Tongsun Park on Trial

The U.N. has stonewalled investigations, shredded records and denied criminality in the billion dollar Oil-For-Food swindle to this point, but the trial of South Korean businessman Tongsun Park figures to start chipping away at that stone wall. U.S. federal prosecutors have some cooperating witnesses and lots and lots of questions. And of course, Claudia Rosett is on the case.

UPDATE 6/30: Wow. Claudia Rosett has a new blog at NRO in which she will focus on the Park trial and the Oil-For-Food aftermath in general. My day is made.

Baby Please Don't Go

In an interview with the WSJ's Robert Pollock, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari makes some remarkable statements about the current mood of the people in Iraq. With the new government in place, the Iraqis are now in position to formally ask the U.S. military to leave their country, if that is what they feel would be the best course.

What about the war debate here in the U.S., I ask him. Are Iraqis worried that U.S. troops will leave too soon? Does the Iraqi press pay attention when people like Congressman Jack Murtha call for troop withdrawal?

"It does. Yes, it does. This is one of things actually. The freest media in the world I think is in Iraq. Honestly. There is no censorship or restrictions or restraint whatsoever. Now you have about 15 or 16 satellite channels run by Iraqis and I don't know how many hundreds of newspapers." So "people have become more politically conscious and aware. . . . Nobody is for a withdrawal, even a timetable, for the troops."

And as John Hinderaker points out, even the timetable of the Sunni insurgent groups for a U.S. withdrawal isn't as aggressive as the one proposed by John Kerry and the Democrats.

June 26, 2006


A Chinese farmer is beaten until he is paralyzed because he objected to the price he was offered for his land by the government, who appropriated his property for a dam. Spiegel Online reports on the often brutal crackdown on dissidents of all sorts in today's China. It's not like Fu Xiancai is a dangerous radical or anything. He just made the mistake of publicizing his complaint:

Fu traveled to Beijing 15 times to complain. Despite having had only three years of formal education, he wrote 50 written complaints to local authorities, but all were denied. After his efforts failed, on May 19, he voiced his opinion on the €20 billion dam in a story produced by German public television broadcaster ARD. That was when his troubles began.

But the economy is really growing.

UPDATE 6/27: More from OpinionJournal today on the price one pays for speaking out in China.


There's some quality material in Bill Simmons' YouTube Hall of Fame, and his column always cracks me up. For me, nothing beats William Shatner's rendition of "Rocket Man" for sheer unintended hilarity (no, it was not a parody). Understandably, The Sports Guy from Boston includes a couple of 2004 Red Sox-Yankee playoff moments on his list. My sports favorites are the classic highlights from the year the Indians won it all. Oh, wait...they didn't have video back then. I guess you know you're on a cold streak when all of your city's great sports highlights are in black and white. Stills.

And speaking of regional sports rivalries, I loved this classic Onion piece, adaptable for any fan anywhere.

Stones Unturned

On the 10th anniversary of the Khobar Towers bombing, then-FBI Director Louis Freeh tells the story of his futile attempt to bring the bombers and their Iranian sponsors to justice.

The aftermath of the Khobar bombing is just one example of how successive U.S. governments have mishandled Iran. On June 25, 1996, President Clinton declared that "no stone would be left unturned" to find the bombers and bring them to "justice." Within hours, teams of FBI agents, and forensic and technical personnel, were en route to Khobar. The president told the Saudis and the 19 victims' families that I was responsible for the case. This assignment became very personal and solemn for me, as it meant that I was the one who dealt directly with the victims' survivors. These disciplined military families asked only one thing of me and their country: "Please find out who did this to our sons, husbands, brothers and fathers and bring them to justice."

It soon became clear that Mr. Clinton and his national security adviser, Sandy Berger, had no interest in confronting the fact that Iran had blown up the towers. This is astounding, considering that the Saudi Security Service had arrested six of the bombers after the attack. As FBI agents sifted through the remains of Building 131 in 115-degree heat, the bombers admitted they had been trained by the Iranian external security service (IRGC) in Lebanon's Beka Valley and received their passports at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, along with $250,000 cash for the operation from IRGC Gen. Ahmad Sharifi.

We later learned that senior members of the Iranian government, including Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Spiritual Leader's office had selected Khobar as their target and commissioned the Saudi Hezbollah to carry out the operation.

Today it is the Saudis that aren't confronted publicly with the terrorism they sponsor and finance because the administration is too concerned with managing the complicated relationship with their moderate elements. People I know on both sides of our political divide are sick of this two-step.

June 25, 2006

Europe, Immigration, and Islam

There are two very good essays out this weekend on how Europe is dealing with their growing Muslim population, and its radical elements. Christopher Caldwell has a piece titled "After Londonistan" in the New York Times Magazine, which describes the delicate balance necessary in post-7/7 Great Britain between empowering the Muslim community and monitoring it for terror threats.

And from Brussels Journal comes the text of a speech by Roger Scruton given to a meeting of the Belgian conservative political party, Vlaams Belang. Scruton responds to charges of racism and xenophobia which have been leveled at VB for the sin of having raised the issue of the immigration problem:

Someone who is in a state of denial regarding his mortal illness, his wife’s infidelity or his child’s delinquency will turn angrily on the one who refers to the forbidden truth. Likewise, a political culture that is in denial about a serious social problem will condemn those who seek to discuss it, and try its best to silence them. For a long time now the European political class has been in denial about the problems posed by the large-scale immigration of people who do not enter into our European way of life. It has turned angrily on those who have warned against the disruption that might follow, or who have affirmed the right of indigenous communities to refuse admission to people who cannot or will not assimilate. And one of the weapons that the élite has used, in order to ensure that it is never troubled by the truths that it denies, is to accuse those who wish to discuss the problem of ‘racism and xenophobia’. People of my generation have been brought up in fear of this charge, just as the people of Salem were brought up in the fear of being denounced as witches....

....By denying a problem you prevent its discussion, until discussion is too late. Throughout the thirties the European political élite lived in denial over German re-armament. By the time the truth could no longer be hidden, it was impossible to deter Hitler’s seizure of Czechoslovakia. Reflecting on such examples it is surely reasonable to conclude that we have a duty now to brave the charge of ‘racism and xenophobia’, and to discuss every aspect of immigration. We owe this not just to the indigenous people of Europe, but to the immigrants themselves, who have just as great an interest in peaceful coexistence as the rest of us.

Scruton defines his conception of "national loyalty", a community ethic separate from politics, religion, and ethnicity, and he stresses the importance of this pre-political system of reciprocal rights and duties in a society in order for the rule of law and democracy to thrive. The Vlaams Belang party has advocated independence for Flanders, the Dutch-speaking half of Belgium, and Scruton addresses the EU's attempt to eliminate those loyalties:

...the Belgian political class has fixed its sights on Europe, as the collective enterprise that will extinguish all those old national loyalties, and put a cosmopolitan indifference in their place. The European Union has meant a lot to the Belgian élite. It places them at the heart of the continent, transforms Brussels from a provincial town in Flanders to the capital of Europe, and provides a project that will distract attention from the growing disintegration of the country, and from the problems which they are determined in any case to deny. No wonder they are angry, when a popular party calls for the separation of Flanders, and for its re-constitution as a self-governing nation state. Even if there is no ground for the charge of ‘racism and xenophobia’ you can be sure that the plan is to make it stick. Just imagine what would happen to the EU, were Flanders to become a nation state! What a step backwards this would be – a step towards loyalty, accountability, democracy and all the other superannuated things that the EU seeks to extinguish.

It's all good.

June 23, 2006

WMD in Iraq - No Kidding

Yes, the major media is reacting with a great big yawn to the story of the recently declassified document proving that over 500 chemical weapons shells have been found in Iraq since 2003, and that "blackout" is covered nicely here at Hot Air. There may well be much more to the document than the portions that have been declassified, as discussed at Power Line, but the disclosures touted thus far by Sen. Santorum and Rep. Hoekstra are nothing really new. That makes it difficult for me to summon much outrage (this time) at the fact that the media (still) considers it a non-story. Especially when you throw in the factor of Rick Santorum's political desperation of the moment.

True, millions of Americans still haven't heard about the chemical weapons shells, because the media has been too invested in "Bush Lied, People Died" as a slogan to spoil the party with actual facts. And that same media and their Democratic party allies can't be genuinely surprised by this news. I don't think they ever really believed what they were spouting back then. They've been lying all along when they claimed that there were no WMD in Iraq.

I believe there are three broad categories of people who have been saying for over three years that Saddam didn't have any WMD; liars, dolts, and people who cared too little to pay much attention to anyone except network anchors. Among those still in the dark are those unfortunates whose memories don't extend back before 2000, when even the New York Times and the Washington Post editorialized with alarmism about the dangers of Saddam's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. The list of weapons items that Saddam's regime has admitted to possessing may also have slipped their minds.

But then some of those same memory-challenged people can't quite recall Islamic terrorists setting off bombs in the World Trade Center, or bombing U.S. Navy vessels, or murdering hundreds of U.S. soldiers in their barracks before the 2000 election either, so what can you expect?

As sad and deplorable as that politically motivated media irresponsibility has been, I have to agree with Rick Moran that we are beyond the point where proof of the existence of Iraqi WMD changes anything politically for George Bush:

...the WMD argument ended years ago. Despite tantalizing evidence that Saddam moved his stockpiles to Syria and Lebanon prior to our invasion as well as anecdotal evidence of Russian collusion in spiriting WMD out of the country, from the standpoint of making a difference in the minds of the American people, this most recent evidence of Iraqi WMD will hardly be a blip on most people’s radar.

To be sure, the MSM at least gives the appearance that it is taking no chances that this story will change anyone’s mind on the war or on the President. One would think that a Senator reading from a declassified report on the Senate floor that our forces found 500 artillery shells containing deadly chemicals might be considered in some quarters to be news. The New York Times doesn’t even mention it. And even more curiously, the Washington Post buried the story by their national security correspondent Dafna Linzer on Page 10 (I wonder when the last time Linzer had his byline buried that deep in the paper?). And just to feed my conspiratorial nature even further, WaPo no longer links to the story in their on-line edition. I had to retrieve it by going through my “history” this morning.

But even if this was front page news, the political impact would be negligible. The politics of the war have moved beyond WMD and the liberation of Iraq and now center on the ongoing occupation and insurgency. We could find hundreds perhaps even thousands more of these pre-Gulf War chemical munitions and there still would be no impact on the President’s popularity or Republican chances in November.

The right half of the blogosphere has been a bit indignant that this kind of documentation has remained classified for so long, as if to ask "How dare our Republican administration not give us the tools with which to beat out political opponents over the head and rub their noses in the proof of their idiocy!"

I too would like to know why Russian and Saudi and Iranian sensibilities are spared, for example, and Americans who supported the Iraqi liberation kept in the dark about what we have found there? My only consolation is that we have a President who is concerned with weightier matters than fighting those partisan political battles.

As long as the political opposition is busying themselves debating the date by which we should inform the insurgents we'll be gone, so that they may plan accordingly, I will continue to be grateful that George Bush is the Commander in Chief.


In From The Cold
Michelle Malkin
Wizblog - November, 2005

June 20, 2006

Guess Who?

PJM has a mini-roundup of the blogs covering the attempt to open a new "international investigation" into 9/11. The investigation's outcome is fairly predictable in advance, given the backgrounds of the organizers: The attacks were staged, the U.S. government was involved, and we all know who controls the U.S. government... (Hint: it rhymes with "The News")

These people are nuts.

June 19, 2006

Leftist Worldview Demands Defeat

At the risk of beating a dead horse on the subject of Democratic defeatism...(OK, why not?)... I simply could not pass on posting this terrific David Horowitz and Peter Collier piece on the topic. Horowitz and Collier (like Steyn in the previous post) assert that the Democrats don't oppose the liberation of Iraq because they hate George Bush. They hate George Bush because he acted on an idea that they loathe...that of a principled American exceptionalism:

For the first time in American history, a major political party wants America to run from a war we are winning.

We have come to an historic juncture. It is not mere perversity or jockeying for position before the fall elections that makes the Democrats refuse to take yes for an answer on this war to liberate a Muslim people, break the hold of bloodlust and authoritarianism in the most benighted region of the world, and defeat terror on its central front. Nor is the Democrats’ choice of capitulation simply a reflex— like so many other positions they hold—of their pathological hatred of George Bush. In large part, in fact, their insensate hatred of Bush is hatred for what this war embodies: America taking up arms against a sea of troubles as turbulent as any it has faced before; America bringing freedom to the heartland of terror.

That George Bush believes America can act unapologetically, without the quaking guilt his critics are convinced stains its history, is why the Democrats hate Bush....

....For the Bush administration and the coalition troops in Iraq the battles have been for Baghdad, Fallujah, Mosul and Basra, all engagements with the enemy in the field. For the Democrats and their media allies it has been Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Haditha and Niger, all behind-the-lines battles against our troops and their commander-in-chief. For the Bush administration the chief prize has been Zarqawi, the beheader himself. For the Democrats it has been Scooter Libby. The Bush administration barely missed getting Osama bin Laden; the Democrats barely missed getting Karl Rove. The Bush administration’s strategy is to defeat the forces of terror. The Democrats are conducting psychological warfare aimed at American morale – the decisive factor in war.

It is hard not to conclude that the Democrats want America to be defeated in Iraq and that it is not only their electoral opportunism but their worldview that demands it. This shows how different the Democratic Party is from what it was a generation ago when its stalwarts assumed the moral leadership in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. The current Democrats bear no kinship to the John F. Kennedys, Hubert Humphreys and Scoop Jacksons who saw this prior conflict in the same black and white terms as Bush does the present conflict, and whose disheartening moments were far bleaker than the setbacks the U.S. has experienced in Iraq. Such men would be read out of the Democratic Party today and reviled as yahoos for their patriotism.

Read it all.

"Disrobed Defeatism"

Members of the leftist movement that like to refer to themselves as "anti-war" figure they'll be taken more seriously if they take their clothes off and bicycle down the street en masse. In another of several excellent articles this week on the defeatism of the Democrats, Mark Steyn has some fun with that imagery, but when he gets serious, he suggests that the decline of Joe Lieberman's political fortunes over the last six years best demonstrates the degree to which the Democratic Party has fallen back toward McGovernism.

....in today's Democratic Party it's the mainstream that gets marginalized. Forty years ago, George Aiken recommended that in Vietnam America "declare victory and go home." Today, the likes of Jack Murtha, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy have come up with their own ingenious improvement: Declare defeat and go home. Having voted for the war before he voted against it, Sen. Kerry has now effortlessly retwisted his pretzel of a spine: Last week, he voted to lose Iraq even though we're winning it. Even if there's no civil war, even if the insurgents' leader is dead and his network in ruins, even if the Iraqis are making huge progress in self-government, even if by any historical standard everything's going swell, the Defeaticrats refuse to budge: America needs to throw in the towel and hightail it out of there by the end of the year, which is the date Kerry is demanding we surrender by.

It's often said that in our bitter fractious partisan politics much of the Democratic base's anger boils down to sheer loathing of Bush. If he were gone, if it were a Clinton or Gore waging war in Iraq, the Dems would be cool with it. I think not. Their fury with Lieberman suggests a corrosion that goes far deeper than mere Bush Derangement Syndrome. The Democrats may be prepared to go along with some Clintonian pseudo-warmongering -- the desultory lobbing of a few cruise missiles at Slobodan or that Sudanese aspirin factory -- but, when it comes to the projection of hard power in the national interest, the left cannot get past Vietnam. Indeed, the reaction to Peter Beinart's ringing call for a reassertion of "liberal internationalism" -- ringing in the sense that nobody's picking up -- suggests that even his quaintly dated Eurocentric Sept. 10 ineffectually respectable multilateralism has few takers among today's left.

I'm becoming more convinced that Steyn is right; that for today's far left, which includes the 2006 Democratic Party leadership, there is no wrong in the world that can justly be righted by the projection of American military power, regardless of who the President is, and regardless of the suffering and oppression that is alleviated by our action, especially if any U.S. national interest is served in the process.

That said, there are lots of single-minded Bush-haters who have become so invested in the idea of the Iraq war being an unmitigated diaster, that any admission of progress, much less countenancing the prospect of ultimate success, is unthinkable. That of course would reflect positively on George Bush, so they are left with withdrawal (or in their euphemism, redeployment) from the conflict as the only way they can assure Bush's failure. I respect Sen. Clinton for distancing herself from this irresponsible stance. As Hanson says in closing his article (linked above):

Once a democratically elected Iraqi government emerged, and a national army was trained, the only way we could lose this war was to forfeit it at home, through the influence of an adroit, loud minority of critics that for either base or misguided reasons really does wish us to lose. They really do.

But don't question their patriotism.

What is the SCO?

It's the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and some of the increased attention it has been attracting in the U.S. media and the blogosphere is owing to its recent involvement with Iran. Peter Brookes of the New York Post describes what has been called the Club for Dictators. (via Regime Change Iran)

Some see it as a NATO counterweight. Others call it a Club for Dictators - or at least near-dictators. Some consider it an anti-American stalking horse for Chinese and or Russian hegemony, with the potential to become "OPEC with nukes."

Whatever: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) - a so-called "anti-terrorism, anti-separatism, anti-extremism" grouping, including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which holds its fifth annual meeting this week - definitely reeks of trouble for Uncle Sam.

Start with this: The "anti-terrorism" SCO has given observer status to Iran, the world's top state sponsor of terrorism - including an annual convention of just about every terror group on the planet.

Then consider the wider strategic implications. Beijing and Moscow are using the SCO as a tool to eliminate U.S. influence in the Eurasian heartland - the home to half the world's population, a key front in the War on Terror and the location of key world energy supplies.

The SCO formally agreed at last year's summit to reverse America's post-9/11 military presence in Central Asia. Soon after, Uzbekistan closed Karshi Khanabad airbase to U.S. forces. Now the rulers of Extortistan - er, Kyrgyzstan - are trying to raise the price of the U.S. lease on Manas airbase rent from $2 million to $200 million a year.

The United States has asked to participate in some meaningful way in the SCO since 2005, such as observing meetings or military exercises - and been flatly denied.

The SCO has offered observer status to India and Pakistan as well as Iran, and discussed full-membership for all. Iran and Pakistan are keen to join - and may be offered the chance later this year.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may push for membership at this week's session - it would help scuttle U.S. and European Union pressure over Tehran's nuclear program. (He's unlikely to get the green light - just yet.)

In many regards, he'd fit right in: You won't hear any awkward questions about democracy or human rights at the SCO - not a peep about oppressed Uighurs, Tibetans and Chechens, or about last year's crackdown in Andijan, Uzbekistan.

Two other recent pieces on the SCO can be seen at TCS and at Front Page Magazine. The FPM article by Robert T. McLean features this recent quote from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:

It strikes me as passing strange that one would want to bring into an organization that says it’s against terrorism, one of the nations that’s the leading terrorist nation in the world: Iran. On the other hand, there are other organizations that do that. The United Nations has committees … But I just can’t imagine -- here you have Iran that, by everyone’s testimony, is the leading terrorist nation in the world; it’s supporting Hamas, it’s supporting Hezbollah, it has a long record of being engaged in terrorist activities. And to think that they should be brought into an organization with the hope that it would contribute to an anti-terrorist activity strikes me as unusual.

Trafficking In Women

No matter how much attention is drawn to stories like this one, it is not enough.

Both women are educated professionals: Masha is a lawyer; Irina is an engineer and an accountant. Both left Russia for Germany with the promise of employment as either a housekeeper or waitress. Masha was seeking an opportunity to see the world and learn a new language; Irina was in debt and wanted a better paying job.

Their stories are typical trafficking stories: When they arrived in Germany, they were met by members of the Russian mafia; their passports were taken away; and they were informed that the jobs they expected didn’t exist and they would be prostitutes instead. They were told it was futile to resist and that the police would not help them because the pimps worked under police protection.

Irina resisted and was beaten. She was shown photographs of dead, mutilated women who tried to go to the police. The mafia had locations where thugs beat and sometimes killed uncooperative women. Irina fearfully decided to cooperate and earn enough money to pay off the debt the Russian mafia claimed she owed. Masha also decided to be compliant, going so far as to feign disappointment when a man chose another woman for sex, while she waited for an opportunity to escape....

...Irina decided to escape. Another Russian woman, Tatiana, who was being held captive by threat of harm to her two-year-old son back in Russia, helped her by stealing her fake passport from the pimps. Irina fled. She later learned that Tatiana was murdered for helping her escape.

The column ends on a hopeful note, suggesting that the spotlight on Germany brought by the World Cup will draw attention to the sex slavery industry there, where legalized prostitution is an $18 billion industry, and will mark a turning point for the abolitionist movement. Sounds like wishful thinking, but there are people trying to help.

June 18, 2006

Saddam-Taliban Ties Documented

Fox News features a report by Ray Robison, a member of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), documenting meetings and contacts between the Saddam regime and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Seems we're hearing less and less from the administration's critics about "no ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda." They say, when you're in a hole...stop digging.

June 16, 2006


A TCS tribute to Larry Summers on the occasion of his last commencement as President of Harvard. (via RCP)

A very funny interview with Greg Gutfield. (via The Corner)

VDH with "Betting on Defeat", and Jonah with "Winning is Not an Option", are perfectly aligned today.

Amir Taheri in the NY Post on the internal power struggle between Iran's ruling factions.

Read about Al Qaeda's plot to release poisonous gas in the New York subway system, in Time.com

Seth Swirsky - "Why I Left the Left."

June 15, 2006

Marxism With A Nose Job

Another knockout post by Fjordman at the Gates of Vienna blog, the premise of which is that Political Correctness is Marxism repackaged. It's long, and excerpting it will do it no justice, which of course won't stop me from pasting this sample from the first few paragraphs:

The simple fact is that we never won the Cold War as decisively as we should have. Yes, the Berlin Wall fell, and the Soviet Union collapsed. This removed the military threat to the West, and the most hardcore, economic Marxism suffered a blow as a credible alternative. However, one of the really big mistakes we made after the Cold War ended was to declare that Socialism was now dead, and thus no longer anything to worry about. Here we are, nearly a generation later, discovering that Marxist rhetoric and thinking have penetrated every single stratum of our society, from the Universities to the media. Islamic terrorism is explained as caused by “poverty, oppression and marginalization,” a classic, Marxist interpretation.

....we never had a thorough de-Marxification process after the Cold War, similar to the de-Nazification after WW2. ...We never fully confronted the ideology of Marxism, and demonstrated that the suffering it caused for hundreds of millions of people was a direct result of Marxist ideas. We just assumed that Marxism was dead and moved on, allowing many of its ideals to mutate into new forms and many of its champions to continue their work uninterrupted, sometimes filled with a vengeance and a renewed zeal for another assault on the capitalist West.

We are now paying the price for this. Not only has Marxism survived, it is thriving and has in some ways grown stronger. Leftist ideas about Multiculturalism and de-facto open borders have achieved a virtual hegemony in public discourse, their critics vilified and demonized. By hiding their intentions under labels such as “anti-racism” and “tolerance,” Leftists have achieved a degree of censorship of public discourse they could never have dreamt of had they openly stated that their intention was to radically transform Western civilization and destroy its foundations.

Over at One Cosmos, Gagdad Bob likens PC to a virus in his ruminations about the Fjordman essay...

....it is a genuine collective mind parasite in a quite literal way. Just as our bodies can become infected by viruses that hijack the host in order to reproduce themselves, history demonstrates time and again that pathological ideas can sweep through groups and do the same thing. It wouldn’t be so worrisome if PC simply destroyed the mind of the infected person, but the virus spreads and can take over whole institutions, like academia, or most every professional group. It is a cliché in conservative circles that every human enterprise that is not explicitly conservative will eventually become liberal. PC is one of the reasons why. It is why Republicans veer to the left just as soon as they are given power. Most Republicans are not explicitly conservative, like a Ronald Reagan, so it is as if they have no immunity from the PC virus.

My field of psychology is a case in point. It has almost been ruined by political correctness. It is not just unethical but literally illegal for a psychologist to maintain certain elementary truths. If you utter them aloud, you could easily be investigated by the Board of Psychology and have your license yanked. You could never be licensed to begin with if you were to affirm a belief in these truths during the course of your licensing exam.

The assault on the notion of objective truth by the multiculturalists and the political left in general is most glaring to me today in the actions of the most advanced organs of the creed, the U.N. and the European Union. If socialism's murderous track record isn't lesson enough, the arrogance, elitism, corruption, and lack of accountability of the EU and the U.N. should suffice to predict how any world government scheme would necessarily be corrupt and repressive. And you don't need to look far for examples on any given day. To wit:

Claudia Rosett reports on the bleak prospects for meaningful U.N. reform, as that body busies itself appointing rogue states to Human Rights Council seats and singling out free democracies for human rights criticisms in classic Orwellian inversions. And as for today's mind-boggling story of European P.C. madness, how about the government prosecuting an ideologiocally opposed couple for homeschooling their children?

Yesterday my husband Paul Belien, the editor of this website, was summoned to the police station and interrogated. He was told that the Belgian authorities are of the opinion that, as a homeschooler, he has not adequately educated his children and, hence, is neglecting his duty as a parent, which is a criminal offence. The Ministry of Education has asked the judiciary to press charges and the judiciary told the police to investigate and take down his statement.

It appears that the Belgian authorities are again considering prosecution – the second time in barely two months. This time the claim is not that my husband posted allegedly “racist” texts on this website but that he is failing his children...

...The fact that a growing group of children seems to be escaping from the government’s influence clearly bothers the authorities. Three years ago a new school bill was introduced. The new bill refers to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and it obliges homeschooling parents to fill out a questionaire and sign an official “declaration of homeschooling” in which they agree to school their children “respecting the respect [sic] for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others.”

The declaration does not specify what “respecting the respect for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others” means. It states, however, that government inspectors decide about this and adds – and here is the crux of the matter – that if the parents receive two negative reports from the inspectors they will have to send their child to an official government recognized school...

But that's over in Europe...it couldn't happen here...

Last month Michael Farris, the chairman of the American Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), warned that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child could make homeschooling illegal in the U.S., even though the US Senate has never ratified this Convention.

According to some activist judges the UN Convention is “customary international law. [...] The fact that virtually every other nation in the world has adopted it has made it part of customary international law, and it means that it should be considered part of American jurisprudence.”

I suppose Paul Belien wouldn't have to be concerned about compliance with international law in the education of his children were he not nvolved in the nasty business of editing a website critical of the EU, now would he?

"Respect for human rights and cultural values" my ass. It's absolute power doing what it always does.

June 12, 2006

Big Ben Down

We're wishing nothing but the best for Ben Roethlisberger, injured today in a nasty motorcycle-automobile collision. As serious as the accident seems to have been, you still have to say the kid was lucky. No helmet.

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger, the youngest quarterback to lead a team to the Super Bowl championship, broke his jaw and nose in a motorcycle crash Monday in which he was not wearing a helmet.

Roethlisberger remained in serious but stable condition following seven hours surgery that ended at appromixately 9 p.m. ET, according to Dr. Daniel Pituch, Chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Mercy Hospital. His condition is not expected to change throughout the evening, Pituch said at a news conference.

"He was talking to me before he left for the operating room," Jones said before the operation. "He's coherent. He's making sense. He knows what happened. He knows where he is. From that standpoint, he's very stable."

ESPN.com's John Clayton has confirmed that Roethlisberger also suffered a 9-inch laceration to the back of his head, has lost or chipped a number of teeth and has minor injuries to his knees from hitting the pavement. A plastic surgeon has been called in.

June 11, 2006

Iraq After Zarqawi

So much good stuff to read on Iraq. Don't miss this by Reuel Marc Gerecht; Now for the Bad News

The Sunni will to power is deep-rooted and ferociously strong in Iraq. Underestimating this force and failing to confront it head on early in the occupation remains perhaps the single greatest analytical error of the U.S. military, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Coalition Provisional Authority under Ambassador L. Paul Bremer. It distorts and has so far defined the ethics of the Iraqi Sunnis as a community.

Their belief in Sunni supremacy has made mincemeat of those Americans and secularized Iraqis who were certain that Iraqis thought of themselves as Iraqis first, without reference to sectarian loyalties. Sunni hubris has made compromises with the Kurdish and especially the Arab Shiite communities extraordinarily difficult. Whether it be dividing oil wealth, assigning senior positions in government, or striking the balance between purging and tolerating the former Baathists, Iraq's Sunnis could surely have cut a better deal without the Sunni insurgency. More than any other factor, the insurgency has converted Iraq's traditional Shiite clergy from hostility to federalism in Iraq to neutrality or even sympathy. Zarqawi understood the dynamic here and did all that he could to ensure that sectarian sensitivities were inflamed after Saddam's fall.

Rod Norland in Newsweek

Iraq's Shiites have centuries of practice at swallowing their anger. They have been a subject people for most of the past millennium, even though Shiism was born in Iraq. Many Sunnis seem utterly convinced that they were born to rule. Mishan al Jibouri is one of the few Sunni politicians who ignored the boycott calls and won a National Assembly seat. He insists on referring to Baghdad's Shiite majority as "guests" and makes it clear that he regards them as unwelcome ones. "Sunni Arabs were the ones who built Baghdad," he says, "and ever since the Abbassid Dynasty they have been ruling it." He insists that the Americans are plotting to hand the place over to Tehran.

Many of Iraq's Sunnis share that suspicion. "Every day we are approaching the moment of explosion," Jibouri warns. "Since Saddam fell, I've never been as concerned about the possibility of civil war as I am today." The risk of a breakdown is undeniable. But the ayatollahs seem determined to keep it from happening. Iraq's Shiites have kept their patience for 1,000 years and more. For the sake of assuming power at last, they may succeed in holding out a little longer.


Most fascinating of all is the suggestion that Zarqawi was all along receiving help from the mullahs in Iran. He certainly seems to have been able to transit their territory (Herat is on the Iranian border with Afghanistan) and to replenish his forces by the same route. If this suggestive connection is proved, as Weaver suggests it will be, then we have the Shiite fundamentalists in Iran directly sponsoring the murderer of their co-religionists in Iraq. This in turn would mean that the Iranian mullahs stood convicted of the most brutish and cynical irresponsibility, in front of their own people, even as they try to distract attention from their covert nuclear ambitions. That would be worth knowing. And it would become rather difficult to argue that Bush had made them do it, though no doubt the attempt will be made.

By the way, Hitchens links to the text of Colin Powell's famous U.N. speech on Iraqi WMD, and I read it all for the first time. It's well worth taking the time to look at, (pack a lunch) especially for second guessers on the decision to depose Saddam.

William Kristol

It is also the time to revisit the case for the war. Zarqawi is a perfect reminder of why we had to fight in Iraq. Would we be safer if he were living there, under Saddam's protection, securely planning attacks around the world and working on his chemical and biological weapons projects? Zarqawi's life and death remind us that we are engaged in a global struggle. When he died, Palestinian foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar, a leader of Hamas, linked the "resistance" in Iraq to that against Israel, deploring what he termed the "assassination" of Zarqawi. As Saul Singer noted in the Jerusalem Post, we are "witnessing the seamlessness of jihad. Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and al Qaeda come from different sides of the Sunni-Shiite divide, but they agree on the need to wage jihad against the West, particularly Israel and the United States. The death of Zarqawi saddens all of them, just as it causes encouragement for free peoples everywhere."

See also:

Daniel Henninger

The Atlantic - MaryAnne Weaver

June 9, 2006

Time Haditha Story Starts To Smell

Talk about "developing..."

This is some of the first detailed reporting I've seen on the backgrounds of the major players in the afterstory of Haditha, and the Time magazine version of events. Clarice Feldman at The American Thinker sees the case against the Marines unraveling. Shades of Mary Mapes? Shades of Jenin?

I urge you to read the whole Feldman piece if you're interested in the Haditha matter. At the very least, the right questions will now begin to surface for Time magazine and the other purveyors of the story to answer.

We need to hear something from the Marines, in a hurry.

The Sweetness and Light posts that began asking the questions are here, here, here, here and here.

LGF has more. Here's Andrew Walden's piece; "Haditha:Reasonable Doubt"

UPDATE 6/10: Hot Air pokes a few holes in Feldman's account.

Mark in Mexico has a roundup of the coverage. (via PJM)

Probably Nothin'

In the New Zealand Herald:

A Saudi Arabian linked to one of the September 11 hijackers spent four months in New Zealand before being expelled as a national security risk. The United States-qualified pilot, Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali, was admitted to New Zealand in February on a student visa, saying his dream was to become a commercial airline pilot and that he needed an English language qualification to assist...

...The report says Abdullah lived and trained in Phoenix with Hani Hanjour, the Saudi Arabian believed to have piloted Flight 77 into the Pentagon. Abdullah was a leader at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Phoenix where, the FBI says, he "reportedly gave extremist speeches at the mosque".

A website sourced to the 9-11 report says Abdullah attended the same Phoenix flight school as Hanjour and the pair used a flight simulator together on June 23, 2001.

(Jihad Watch via LGF)

No mention in the report on whether or not Abdullah had the word "hijacker" tattooed across his forehead as well, but New Zealand authorities decided to act anyway.

UPDATE 6/9: I should have known Michelle would be all over this.

A Little Levity

(Warning: Insensitive Mockery and Unseemly Triumphalism Alert)

Iowahawk outdoes himself relating Zarqawi's first impressions of the afterlife, in Paradise is Overrated.

When the door close behind me, zwwwwippitch, I guess you could say I was a little surprised, maybe a little disappointed. Turns out paradise is dumpier that you'd expect. A lot dumpier. In fact it's a lot like the Iraq boondocks; sandy, dusty, seemed like 150 degrees in the shade. I always figured paradise would have better climate control, but hey, Allah has the thermostat and He works in mysterious ways. I start looking around, and looking around. No virgins, no figs, no raisins. Now, I'm horny, hungry, and annoyed. Okay, I figure, I guess it's up to Zarkman to cherchez la poontang himself, so I start to walk down this dusty street, and BOOOM!.....

IED's in Paradise.

Yesterday someone (??) dredged up this old 2001 Onion item about the 9/11 hijackers' arrival in Hell, and it makes a nice companion piece to Iowahawk's. Read 'em both for a grin...or a grimace.

Self-Loathing And Denial

Lileks inside the mind of a Leftist

Wait a minute: The "terrorists" were Canadian? You can understand someone blowing up trains in Spain and London. They sent troops to an illegal war cooked up by neocons who want to kill brown people for Exxon and Jesus, or something. You can understand, reluctantly, blowing up teens in an Israeli pizza parlor, because the Jews took the West Bank from the sovereign, ancient nation of Palestine. (How can a liberal socialist country behave so poorly? The world is full of mysteries.) But Canada? Isn't Michael Moore from Canada? You can get medical marijuana from married gay doctors in Canada, and no one has guns. You console yourself: Maybe they were really planning to attack the U.S.

You realize the suspects were all Muslim, and you dread the inevitable pogroms. Haven't been any yet, but any day now. You read that a mosque was vandalized in Toronto after the arrest, and you feel a certain grim relief. Finally, racism! Banners. If you're going to have a march, you'll need banners.....

June 8, 2006


Your best bets for roundups on the Zarqawi story are at Pajamas Media and Michelle Malkin.

Two of the better early commentaries I have read are by Claudia Rosett and Andy McCarthy. Here's a sample from the McCarthy piece:

Of course we must support the long-term goals of the democracy project. But we must be realistic that they are long-term goals. Democracy in the Islamic world is a matter of cultural upheaval over years, not just a few elections. Whether the project can ultimately succeed is debatable. One thing, however, is surely indisputable: Like the U.S. national security it is intended to promote, the democracy project cannot be sustained unless the enemy is first defeated.

It was not democracy that killed Zarqawi. It was the United States military.

We began the war on terror with the clear-eyed understanding that Islamic militants cannot be reasoned with; they have to be eradicated. Winning the war on terror will require the resolve to let our forces do their job—despite occasional vilification from fair-weather allies who bask in the protection of American power while shouldering none of its burdens.

Today reminds us that we have the power to get the job done. The remaining question is whether we have the will.

More in this NRO Symposium.

Lunatic Fringe of Anti-Semitism

A disturbing, if not surprising story of Jew-hatred in France, by Nidra Poller of City Journal.

June 6, 2006

A Democratic Deficit

The blog Gates of Vienna features an essay written by Fjordman sounding the alarm on the EU...."Why the EU Needs to be Destroyed, and Soon" . The piece traces the history of this anti-democratic project back over 50 years, and highlights the role of the Soviets in creating what has come to be called the EUSSR. A few excerpts:

The EU must die, or Europe will die. It’s that simple....

...I have heard the term “neo-Feudalism” being used of the EU. There are definitely certain elite groups in Europe who have never really accepted the loss of power to “the mob,” and think that everything that’s wrong with Europe is because of “populism,” what others call democracy. These are also the people who created Eurabia and “forgot” to consult the public about these plans. The EU should be viewed that way, as a de facto, slow-motion abolition of European democracy, disguised as something else. The real force behind the EU is to cede national sovereignty to a new ruling class of bureaucrats, a new aristocracy and a throwback to the pre-democratic age....

...Vladimir Bukovksy....warns that it looks like we are living in a period of rapid, systematic and very consistent dismantlement of democracy. “Look at this Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill. It makes ministers into legislators who can introduce new laws without bothering to tell Parliament or anyone.” “Today’s situation is really grim. Major political parties have been completely taken in by the new EU project. None of them really opposes it. They have become very corrupt. Who is going to defend our freedoms?” He doesn’t have much faith in institutions such as the elected, but largely powerless European Parliament, to curtail these developments. “The European Parliament is elected on the basis of proportional representation, which is not true representation. And what does it vote on? The percentage of fat in yoghurt, that kind of thing. It is ridiculous.”

...These are examples of the more ridiculous or funny aspects of the EU machinery. But there is also a much more sinister side to it: The promotion of an official, “Eurabian” federal ideology promoting Multiculturalism, denouncing all those wanting to preserve their democracy at the nation state level as “xenophobes” and those wanting to limit Third World immigration as “racists.” A report from the EU’s racism watchdog said Europe must do more to combat racism and “Islamophobia.” New anti-discrimination laws to combat Islamophobia are to be enacted, as they already have been in Norway, where Norwegians need to mount proof of their own innocence if Muslim immigrants accuse them of discrimination in any form, including discriminatory speech. The EU also wants to promote an official lexicon shunning offensive and culturally insensitive terms such as “Islamic terrorism.”

In an article I posted over a year ago, David Pryce-Jones was quoting Vladimir Bukovsky's ominous predictions:

Far-sightedly Bukovsky once predicted the demise of the Soviet Union. Seven of the 24 European commissioners today are former Communist apparatchiks, and in Bukovsky's warning, "it remains to be seen what kind of Gulag the EU will create." But the fate of all utopias is the same, he concludes, and "the EU will collapse very much like its prototype," even though "in doing so it will bury us all under the rubble." Still, he evidently hopes to activate public opinion in order to prevent the worst. Folly repeats itself but cannot crush the dissident spirit.

June 5, 2006

A Common Thread After All

In the matter of the terrorists arrested in Canada this past weekend, Andy McCarthy notes that...

...readers of the New York Times were told that the 17 men arrested “represent the broad strata of our society … Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed.” In point of fact, however, they represent a very narrow stratum of Canadian society: They are Muslims, many of whom attend the same mosque, the Al-Rahman Islamic Centre for Islamic Education in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga.

Not only were all those arrested Muslims. The reported evidence against them fits to a tee the shopworn pattern of Islamic terrorism repeated for much of the last two decades. Young men were radicalized at the local mosque and its companion school by elders preaching from the Koran. They participated in paramilitary training in rural outposts. The training involved firearms and communications equipment. The plotters may have conducted surveillance on specific targets. And they ordered prodigious amounts of explosives components—in this case, tons of fertilizer in preparation for the construction of crude but deadly effective ANFO (ammonium nitrate and fuel oil) bombs.

Nonetheless, the rigorous media practice in Phase One is to suppress any reference to Islam, the single thread that runs through virtually all modern terrorism—from New York, to Virginia, to Bali, the Djerba, to Baghdad, to Mombassa, to Tel Aviv, to Nairobi, to Dar es Salaam, to Ankara, to Paris, to Riyadh, to Amman, to Sharm el-Sheikh, to Aden, to London, to Madrid, and, now, to Toronto.

Be sure to read about Phase Two...


The love affair with Al Gore 2.0 has afflicted one Henry Porter, writing this rambling, borderline fellatial op-ed at The Observer, entitled "Al versus Hillary? No contest".

Porter lapses into incoherence almost immediately by suggesting that had Gore won the election, and then not invaded Iraq, we might not be facing the threat of a nuclear Iran today... "because President Ahmadinejad would not have been given the opportunity to maximise a position only made possible by Saddam's fall."

Got it? Somehow, if Saddam were still in power, Iran would not be ruled by Shiite mullahs at war with Israel and the U.S., and anxious to join the nuclear club.

Operating on the premise that the invasion of Iraq was so self-evidently misguided and wrong that those who favored it are thoroughly discredited and unworthy of serving as our leaders, Porter is able to dismiss Mrs. Clinton out of hand:

I cannot say whether he would be a good President, but he is infinitely more impressive than the leading Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton, who voted for the war, has visited Baghdad twice since 2003 and is allowing Rupert Murdoch to hold a benefit for her in July. That alone must signal that she is already too compromised to be President, but also that she lacks the ability to explain herself and clarify a future, which, because of China, the national debt, oil prices and environmental threats, especially from hurricanes, is bound to be very different for all Americans.

America's future is bleak indeed. Especially from hurricanes. Pass the Kool-Aid.

June 4, 2006


An intense video at YouTube commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. One Chinese blogger defined Tiananmen as the event "which marked the end of student democracy movement in Beijing and nationwide". Absolutely chilling. (via Glenn)

Steyn on Haditha

Mark Steyn:

I don't know any more than you do about the precise nature of events triggered in Haditha by Cpl. Terrazas' death. But assume every dark rumor you've heard is true, that this was the murder of civilians by American service personnel. In the run-up to March 2003, there were respectable cases to be made for and against the Iraq war. Nothing that happened at Haditha alters either argument. And, if you're one of the ever swelling numbers of molting hawks among the media, the political class and the American people for whom Haditha is the final straw, that's not a sign of your belated moral integrity but of your fundamental unseriousness. Anyone who supports the launching of a war should be clear-sighted enough to know that, when the troops go in, a few of them will kill civilians, bomb schools, torture prisoners. It happens in every war in human history, even the good ones. Individual Americans, Britons, Canadians, Australians did bad things in World War II and World War I. These aren't stunning surprises, they're inevitable: It might be a bombed mosque or a gunned-down pregnant woman or a slaughtered wedding party, but it will certainly be something. And, in the scales of history, it makes no difference to the justice of the cause and the need for victory.

June 2, 2006

Sacred Numbers in MLB

Barry Bonds passed Babe Ruth and the world yawned. The home run records don't get the respect they once had. Parks are smaller, muscles are bigger, pitching is thinner. So what records mean something in major league baseball today? ESPN.com lets you rank them.

And then Jayson Stark gives you his Top Ten.

"If we take all home run records out of the argument, what are the 10 best records in baseball?" That's the question.

But by "best," we don't mean: Which ones are the hardest to break?

Look, even Fernando Tatis (two grand slams in one inning) has an unbreakable record. But it's not a record anybody cares about.

What we're looking for are the records people care about most. We're looking for the records that would create the most buzz if someone were closing in on them.

A Necessary Cold Shower?

I've been thinking for a while what Robert Kagan articulates so well in his Post article from Sunday; that there's a case to be made that a Democratic President in '08 would be a good thing, if only so the party is confronted with the responsibility to lead again, and conduct a principled foreign policy in a dangerous world....to remember what that's like. I'm not convinced the benefits outweigh the down side of that result, but it's an interesting argument:

The Democrats need to take ownership of American foreign policy again, for their sake as well as the country's. Long stretches in opposition sometimes drive parties toward defeatism, utopianism, isolationism or permutations of all three. What starts off as legitimate attacks on the inevitable errors of the party in power can veer off into a wholesale rejection of the opposition party's own foreign policy principles...

....Eight years of Bill Clinton brought the Democrats mostly out of their post-Vietnam trauma and revived liberal interventionism. But the George W. Bush years have driven many back. Buffeted between the administration's failures and their party's left-wing critics, the Clintonites either disavowed what they once believed or kept their heads down. Lately they're starting to show signs of life and could still take the reins again if the right Democrat won in 2008. That wouldn't be such a bad thing....

...The case for electing a Democrat is not only to save the party's soul, though that's a worthy task, but to pull the country together to face the difficult times ahead.

Again, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with entrusting the republic to the Democrats for leadership therapy for them to work out whatever issues ail them. But collectively they sure could use a reality sandwich. And how long could it take to get the worldwide apology tour out of the way?

Maybe eventually they would remember that Islamic terrorists struck us repeatedly throughout the Clinton administration, murdering Americans and other innocents by the hundreds at Khobar Towers, on the USS Cole, at the African embassies, and in the first WTC bombing, among many others, and consider the possibility that their feckless responses to those attacks may have encouraged the events of 9/11....maybe even enough to do some things differently this time around. Ya think?

Maybe in the context of the Bush-Iraq experience, rank and file American Democrats would look differently on the way their last White House occupant deposed a genocidal dictator with U.S. military force, without the sanction of a compromised and impotent U.N. Security Council, to help save the lives of innocent Muslims, and realize that it's just what the President of the United States has to do from time to time. I suppose it's possible.

Maybe their party leadership would remember that Clinton called for Saddam Hussein to be deposed long before Bush the Bogeyman came along with his neocon warmongers. That the status quo in Iraq before George Bush, of sanctions, no-fly zones, and periodic bombings, was expensive, dangerous and unsustainable. That the internationalist system so favored by Democrats, which had been set up to keep Saddam from murdering or starving his own people, had devolved into a multi-billion dollar scam in which the U.N. leadership was complicit, and which included Saddam buying the Security Council votes of France and Russia with oil money belonging to the Iraqi people. That President Bush made a difficult choice from a list of all bad options, and succeeded in liberating 50 million mostly Muslim people from brutal tyranny. Maybe having to deal with similar despots in 2009 would jog their memories. It could happen.

Democrats in power would be forced to confront the reality that a tiny percentage of soldiers will commit atrocities regardless of who the Secretary of Defense is, and they might even be more likely to point out that the difference between the United States and our enemies is that we, as citizens and as a military, condemn and punish the murder of innocents instead of celebrating it in the streets, and making heros of its perpetrators. Am I dreamin'?

If a Democrat is elected President, the reality may just sink in that the Islamists won't hate them less because they're Democrats. The Democrats will have to accept, as a political movement, that radical Islamists are not victims with a grievance. They are ideologues with a goal to destroy western freedom and democracy. Oh yes, and to murder every last Jew. And that they are very close to having the wherewithal to commit such a mass murder. I suggest that if they don't sense it already, Democratic leaders will soon learn that the American people will not stand for a government that does not aggressively seek to confront and defeat that ideology.

If a Democrat is elected President, Democratic political leaders will have to admit that we're at war....and that it's a war worth fighting. And that could be healthy for the political life of the country. It could almost be worth it.

Read the whole Kagan thing.


A Robert Kagan flashback

John Leo

Helping Out

Iowahawk is doing his bit to encourage environmental activism with his post, Ten Things You Can Do To Save The Planet. There's certainly nothing I can add.

Web Dashboard

I just discovered popurls.com today, via a Pajamas Media post, and it's destined to be a regular habit for me after one quick review of the site. I'm still a novice del.icio.us user, and I hadn't even heard of some of the many other consensus filters that popurls.com now aggregates for me into one handy meta-filter. Now it's just one stop to see everything that's hot on the Web, for better or for worse.