Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Economy, Stupid

The economy is FANTASTIC.

Doesn't feel that way, does it?

As Dr. Sanity points out, the little voices of the defeatist media who want all good things to happen only under democrats have been whispering doom and gloom.

And yet the objective fact is, the initial reading for third quarter GDP was +3.8%, when only +3.6% was expected, and either one is a really good number.

That also means we've expanded at over 3% for 10 quarters in a row -- a new record!

In fact, BizzyBlog points out:
So when was the last time the economy expanded faster than 3% for 10 straight quarters?

It didn’t happen during the 1990s (the longest streak was eight).

It last happened during the 13 quarters from 1Q 1983 through 1Q 1986. Not coincidentally, a president [Reagan] who believed in lowering taxes to stimulate economic growth was in charge the last time it happened.

So despite being at war, despite devastating storms, and despite legislative and regulatory drags on the economy like Sarbanes-Oxley, this has been most consistently growing economy in almost 20 years.

Not only that, the US economy has NEVER had a streak of more than 7 quarters of 3.0% or greater annualized growth at any other time in the 58 years that quarterly GDP statistics have been kept!
The cause, of course, is the Bush tax cuts, along with technologically-driven productivity gains.

Unemployment is low, as is inflation.

S&P500 operating earnings have also expanded by double digits, quarter over quarter, for the last 14 quarters!

And in fact, trailing 4-quarter earnings are at RECORD HIGHS.

That's right, the broad market is making record earnings, well above those of the "go go" years of the late 90s.

Yet the market index itself is far below its highs.


That's the effect of media-induced malaise, as interest rates are still low.

The market peaked around 1500 in 1Q2000, when earnings had reached a then-record $54 per share. That was too high.

At a Price to Earnings ratio of 20, it should have been around 1100.

Now they have rocketed to $74 per share, but the index is at 1200. That's too low.

At a Price to Earnings ratio of 20, the S&P500 should be about 1500, getting back to its old highs!

So the S&P could go up by 25% tomorrow to new highs, and it would be fairly valued.

Note: I don't want to hear about "long term average PE ratios" being 16 or something like that -- that's irrelevant, as interest rates have fluctuated and the "fair value" PE depends on the interest rate. On an interest-rate adjusted basis, the average historical PE ratio is more like 20.

Yet More Dating Horror

As I've written about before, I am a (not very successful) user of online dating sites, particularly one that caters to graduates of Ivy-like institutions.

The palpable fear and loathing of religion that many of these well-educated women express is just phenomenal. (My background is moderate Roman Catholic, and though neither an atheist nor even an agnostic, I do not attend church.)

They seem to think Christians are going to burn them at the stake or something.

If only we could get them to see the far more realistic threat they face from islam.

If only...

The hostility expressed is just incredible and widespread.

The new trendiness these days seems to be Buddhism.

I never used to see much of that, but now there are all these anglo-type women professing to be Buddhists, which always makes me howl with laughter.

(UPDATE: no one has complained, but I want to explain why I think that's funny. I'm not complaining about Buddhism per se, but I simply find it amusing that these women feel they can call themselves Buddhists with a straight face when culturally they are surely nothing at all like real Buddhists. Did they formally convert? How does one do that? What do they even mean by the term? You see how silly the designation is?)

I guess they got tired of the old "spiritual but not religious" category.

I just noticed one listing that specified,
seeking atheist (unless Buddhist).
Isn't that funny? And another one is seeking
a compassionate man who does not believe in God, or who maintains a cordial but distant relationship with Him/him/it.
Isn't that just a scream? Their neuroses are so transparent.

I've lost all patience with them and their demands for non-conservative men. One prospect, in her section on political views, stated:
I am pretty far to the left--not super crunchy but solidly pro-choice. I believe legislation and public policy should be based on sound evidence.
I thought that was just too delicious to pass up.

So maybe it was beneath me, but I decided to needle her by sending a bubbly e-mail but slipping in there the statement:
I also find it interesting that you desire, you know, "evidence" for public policy! One usually associates pure emotion and the self-contradictory absurdities of political correctness to be the basis of policy for the left...What a refreshing exception you are! :-)
I mean, her profile also said she liked to "argue about politics", so I figured I'd oblige her.

That actually got her to reply! She responded with:
I am trying to decide whether to take offense about your characterization of the left :) In fact I think a very strong argument can be made that policies on the left are much more likely to be based on science (and that is certainly true with this administration that seems unable to even entertain the idea of basing social policy like sex education on years of research and experience). I take it you may have voted for George Bush?
Oh, that's rich!

Leftist policies based on science? Uh, Marxism, hello!

And notice the voting-record litmus test! Rather odd thing to ask about, one would think, at such an early get-to-know-yout stage. But not in this polarized day and age.

I responded (for my profile lists me as an Independent, which is true):
Gosh, it used to be you'd expect prospective daters to maybe run down your sexual history, maybe do a credit it's come to checking voting history! :)

If I did, would that be a deal-breaker? I'm actually seeing lots of profiles (not saying you're doing this) these days that begin, "If you voted for W, read no further; other than that, I'm rather open-minded." Or, "Seeking a nice, intelligent, non-Republican man." The irony of the intolerance is quite amusing. It rolls so easily off the tongue: "Other than you being an evil baby-eating troglodyte, of course, I'm very open-minded!"
Well she wouldn't let me side-step the question.

Her Inquisition continued, as she replied:
Re George Bush and would it be a deal breaker, well my sister voted for him and I have not disowned her, but I would have to say it raises serious issues for me. I do research on women's reproductive health in the US and internationally and as you can imagine, much of what George Bush stands for offends me and makes my work a hell of a lot harder. So, out with it--did you vote for him? If yes I would certainly be curious why.
"Out with it"?

Can't you just feel her horror at the prospect of speaking to a Bush voter?

So, I told her that yes, I did vote for him, at least in 04 (but not in 00).

And since she asked why, I also explained it to her in the following way, as she had sweetly set herself up, by referring her ultimately to Wretchard's Three Conjectures:
Even if W packs the Supreme Court with Constitutional Constructionists -- which I actually hope he will, which is one reason I voted for him -- and even if they overturn Roe v. Wade, that won't have as much impact as some imagine: it won't oulaw abortion, it will just make it a matter for the States to decide, which perhaps is where they ought to. I can hardly believe that more than a handful of States would enact restrictions worse than the situation today.

The "right" way to protect women's reproduction rights is to have a national debate and get an Amendment passed, then this whole unstable situation about worrying about the opinions of 5 judicial overlords will go away. That's no way to live! Imagine if women achieved voting rights by judicial fiat, they'd always worry those rights could be taken away. Instead, they got an Amendment passed, and the issue was DONE for good!

The danger of the Christian Right I believe is vastly overstated. No matter how sympathetic to them any official may be, they can never, ever get past the First Amendment. Never.

More important to me, in 04 (unlike 00), was the grave threat to civilization of nuclear-armed Islamic radicals, whose modern jihad against us began at least in 1979, but goes back in some sense to 1683 or earlier. The consequences are so terrible, that I had to choose the course of action that would lead down a decision tree with the smallest chance of jihadists achieving their atomic aspirations. See for example the "3 conjectures" described in this famous blogosphere essay, from which I will quote:


Conjecture 1: Terrorism has lowered the nuclear threshold
These obstacles to terrorist capability are the sole reason that the War on Terror has not yet crossed the nuclear theshold, the point at which enemies fight each other with weapons of mass destruction. The terrorist intent to destroy the United States, at whatever cost to themselves, has been a given since September 11. Only their capability is in doubt. This is an inversion of the Cold War situation when the capability of the Soviet Union to destroy America was given but their intent to do so, in the face of certain retaliation, was doubtful.
Conjecture 2: Attaining WMDs will destroy Islam
Because capability is the sole variable of interest in the war against terrorism, the greater the Islamic strike capability becomes, the stronger the response will be.
Due to the fixity of intent, attacks would continue for as long as capability remained. Under these circumstances, any American government would eventually be compelled by public desperation to finish the exchange: total retaliatory extermination.
Conjecture 3: The War on Terror is the 'Golden Hour' -- the final chance
It is supremely ironic that the survival of the Islamic world should hinge on an American victory in the War on Terror, the last chance to prevent that terrible day in which all the decisions will have already been made for us.

W is not my ideal war president by any means, but Kerry was far, far worse. His Willy Loman approach to international relations -- the desire to be well-liked -- would be disastrous as Iran races ahead to build its nuclear bombs. Libya would not have given up its secret nuclear program either had not Hussein been dragged out of a hole: Italian PM Berlusconi reported that right after that, Qadaffi called him and said he saw what happened, and was afraid, and wanted to come clean. This also unraveled the A.Q. Khan nuclear black market out of Pakistan. Iraq will also be a much greater success than the picture painted by the evening news.

Even if our "allies" were cooing nicer sounds in our ears due to a Kerry presidency, they would be no more effective in combatting jihad or deterring Iran as they are today.

Instead, we'd declare victory, come home, and everything would appear rosy until the mushroom cloud appeared.

This can still happen under W, but at least we have more of a chance, in my well-informed opinion...and based on the tangible progress made thusfar, with millions liberated.

This being such a divisive topic, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you ran screaming from such a warmonger as myself; but it is motivated by a desire to save the Islamic world from the total extermination we'd have to subject it to if it became clear they could attack us with atomic bombs in a sustained fashion -- or, we'd just have to surrender to Sharia law unconditionally, and women's rights would suffer far more than you'd even want to imagine.

In fact, as a women's rights advocate yourself, I'd think you'd be supporting W's program of bringing secular democracy to the barbaric world of honor-killing and genital mutilation in the traditional Arab world.

I might even turn the tables, and say a vote for a relativist like Kerry raises serious issues with me! :-) But I wouldn't attribute such a vote to malice, as many seem to imagine a vote for W entails.
That wasn't nice of me, I know.

But it sure felt good!

I haven't heard from her since.

What a surprise.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Peace of Islam

Oh look, the islamists have yet another spokesthing!
The Prince of Wales will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11.

The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America's "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam's strengths.
The ever-more unuseful Princeling
has done more than any other member of the Royal Family in history to understand Islam. He said in 1994 that when he became Supreme Governor of the Church of England, he would rather be "defender of faiths" than "defender of the faith".
Odd thing to say for someone who is supposed to be, oh, I don't know, the Head of the Church of England and the very embodiment of Britain personified?
A year earlier Prince Charles made a speech, acclaimed throughout the Arab world, on relations between Islam and the West. He urged the West to overcome its "unthinkable prejudices" about Islam and its customs and laws.
Sory, my prejudices are well thought-out. Islam's customs and laws are an abomination.

Care to disagree, chuck?
He spoke warmly of the West's debt to the culture of Islam and distanced moderate Muslims from misguided militants. "Extremism is no more the monopoly of Islam than it is the monopoly of other religions, including Christianity," he said.
Oooo, deep.


That statement is FALSE.

Documentary proof is being kept at the site, The Religion of Peace.

Look at the list of islam-motivated murders they just found in the media, perpetrated against ordinary people in non-combat operations by muslims, for reasons of their ideology.

Around the globe.

Around the clock.

For example, on September 12th, the jihadists gathered sacrifices for their demongod in Bangladesh, Chechnya, India, Pakistan, Iraq, and Thailand. The next day they struck in Afghanistan, Russia, India, and Algeria. The day after that it was back to Pakistan, Iraq, Chechnya, and Afghanistan.

And so on and so on and so on.

Today in Indonesia,
Three Christian 16-year-old girls on their way to school are attacked and beheaded by six Muslim gentlemen, who leave the headless bodies in the street and carry the heads to a different location.
Gosh, well if only Indonesia's policies in the Middle East didn't favor Israel...oh, wait...

Well if only Indonesia hadn't invaded Iraq...oh, wait...

Well if only those girls hadn't been infidels...yeah, that's it.

How much more evidence is needed to prove the problem is with islam?

And it's worse than that. The site explains,
We usually don't include action that occurs in combat situations, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, unless it involves particularly heinous terrorist tactics. Unprovoked sniper, drive-by or roadside bombing attacks on military personnel serving normal police duties are sometimes included depending on the circumstances.

Unfortunately, this list of Muslim terrorist attacks barely scratches the surface of atrocities committed in the name of Islam that occur world-wide each day. For that reason, we don't tally up the dead and dismembered.
Now for the coup de grace, the site destroys Prince Chucky's comment about all religions being the same with respect to monopolies on violence -- never minding the fact that it is islam alone that explicity preaches the opposite of the Golden Rule -- with the following observations:
More people are killed by Islamists each year than in all 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition combined.

Islamic terrorists murder more people every day than the Ku Klux Klan has in the last 50 years.

More civilians were killed by Muslim extremists in two hours on September 11th than in the 36 years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.

19 Muslim hijackers killed more innocents in two hours on September 11th than the number of American criminals put to death in the last 65 years.
Sources are linked at the site.

And if that long, long list of murders in the last 12 months isn't enough, they have archives for 2002, 2003, and 2004.

Of course, this exercise could be carried back for the last 1400 years, without pause.

The site asks,
Are you burning with the Peace of Islam?

Random Outrage

There are so many to choose from.

Here's one from Australia:
POLICE are being advised to treat Muslim domestic violence cases differently out of respect for Islamic traditions and habits.

Officers are also being urged to work with Muslim leaders, who will try to keep the families together.
Police are told: "In incidents such as domestic violence, police need to have an understanding of the traditions, ways of life and habits of Muslims."

They are told it would be appreciated in cases of domestic violence if police consult the local Muslim religious leader who will work against "fragmenting the family unit".
This helpful bit of indoctrination comes from the Australasian Police Multicultural Advisory Bureau.

Do they even listen to what they're saying?

But wait -- it gets better!
The guide also advises officers not to hold interviews with Aboriginal suspects or set court hearings during Aboriginal ceremonies involving "initiation, birth, death, burials, mourning periods, women's meetings and cultural ceremonies in general".

They are told to interview Baha'i suspects only after sunset in the fasting month.

And they are cautioned that when a Sikh is reading the Sikh Holy Script -- a process that normally takes 50 hours -- "he should not be disturbed".

The 50,000 handbooks instruct police to take shoes off before entering Buddhist and Hindu houses and mosques, and remove hats before entering or searching churches.

They are warned that taking photos or samples from Aboriginal suspects could raise fears they could be used for sorcery and spiritual mischief.
A good first effort, perhaps, but it's not yet complete:
Mr Daniells said the next edition would include Maori spiritual beliefs and practices.
I can't wait.

Can you?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Understanding Leftists

Many of us have wondered in puzzlement why it is so hard for the left-wingers to think logically and see the real threats we face.

What is the strange appeal of their irrationality?

Interestingly, I have found an explanation in the self-help literature!

And perhaps we will learn some insights on how to more effectively take on their delusions.

The local paper recently carried a piece on how to be successful in self-help programs, such as weightloss or quitting smoking. The article quoted gurus such as Dean Ornish and James Mapes on the keys to being successful in making long-term change.

And what they say in this regard speaks directly to why it is so hard to get the left to change its incorrect world-view, and why little changed even after 9/11.
For example, the article discusses the nature of change, pointing out that
Study after study has shown that 90% of heart bypass patiens can't change their lifestyles, even at the risk of dying.
Hmmm, seem familiar?

The first myth is that change is motivated by fear. Simply not true...most people will simply resist the change or go into denial when confronted with what terrible things may happen if change doesn't take place.
It seems the "right" on this issue is composed of those few who were able to comprehend Wretchard's Three Conjectures without going into denial.
Another myth is that crisis creates permanent change...but [it] will never sustain change long-term.
So that's why we're letting 10,000 Saudi radicals students into the country again, that being the entity which is the very source of Wahabbist fascism, the spider at the center of the web.

The third myth is that baby steps of gradual change will do the trick...Most people believe others will change their behavior if presented with enough solid facts and data...Another myth. Facts do not create change because if they do not fit into our belief system, we dismiss them as stupid, foolish or irrelevant.
So that's why our well-reasoned arguments do not resonate.

But how does the left gain converts to its ridiculous theories? They bring people into the fold by using the techniques of Dean Ornish to essentially trick them! It's essentially cult-like:
Neuroscience tells us that the mind relies on frames and it is through our unique frame that we see the world. A frame acts as a kind of filter. Facts that do not match this wiring of our brain are filtered out. Change the frame -- change the reality.
Ever been over to Democratic Underground? Talk about filtering!

How do the commies achieve this?
Change a person's frame requires a vision a story that is "simple, easy to identify with, emotionally resonant, inspiring and evocative of positive experiences."
Well isn't that just the whole left-wing program? With its utopian vision of a radically-altered egalitarian society? With its victimization politics that aligns with the apparent underdog, right or wrong? All based purely on appeals to emotion?

This works because
"Joy is a more powerful motivator than fear."
But that's not all! Ornish also claims that
large, radical sweeping changes were easier for the people than small, incremental ones...Big changes often create immediate, positive results.
Thus the appeal of Revolution.

It gets more insidious; the last component is to provide "on-going support", which is the Political Correctness enforced by fellow travelers of the MSM, academia, and the entertainment industry.

If we are to win, we must take a page from their playbook. We should strive to follow these keys to success:
Know that presenting the facts as to 'why' people should change is a very small piece of the puzzle.

Create a clear powerful, emotionally-charged, positive vision of the future...

Make large, radical changes.
Let's get this memo to Bush!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Keeping Track

Very good terrorist scorecard.

It provides a wealth of information about who's who, and who's where.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Read and Learn

One Cosmos is on fire with a series of fantastic posts.

The man is a genius!

His most recent half-dozen or so postings are required reading. A snippet:
But most importantly, radical secularism fails as a religion because it has no God, only demons: George Bush, Christian fundamentalists, Israel, tax cuts for the rich, stolen election, Halliburton, Fox News, Abu Ghraib, Karl Rove, corporate profits, disparities in wealth, strict constructionists, parental notification, talk radio, guns, and so many more. On the other hand, the sort of classical liberalism to which I ascribe--now embodied in the modern American conservative movement--recognizes that politics must aim at something that is not politics, something higher, not lower.
There is nothing quite so intoxicating and bracing as the lifting of the superego's usual sanctions against violence, so that primitive sadism may be expressed in an entirely unencumbered, guilt-free way. And there is no one so alluring and infectious as the demagogue who puts our conscience to sleep with the vital lie.

People never feel quite so alive as when the conscience has given them a green light to engage in sacrificial violence. Just ask the nazis. Ask the inquisitors. Ask the Islamists. And ask the crusading liberal media, who take so much moral satisfaction in instructing the grazing multitude on whom they may joyously burn at the stake.

This is why truth is the most important societal value.
Emphasis mine. This reminds me of an odd episode I experienced as a student at Princeton. One day I was approached by a trio of fellow students with a camcorder, apparently doing some kind of project. They fired the question at me, "Which is more important: Love, Truth, or Justice?"

I immediately answered, "Truth!"

I had in the back of my mind a scene from Boorman's Excalibur, in which Arthur asks Merlin what is the greatest knightly quality. At first he attempts to sidestep the question, saying they are all important, like the metals used to alloy a strong swordblade.

But Arthur presses him for a firm answer, and annoyed, Merlin scolds back, to the best of my memory, a reply to the effect of:
Truth! Yes, that's it; you should know that!
The students, with the camera on me, then asked me to justify my answer.

It had just seemed self-evident to me.

So at a moment's notice, I couldn't really explain why; it was intuitive.

When I said I couldn't explain why, they unconsciously ironically replied, "well at least you're honest."

After a few minutes of reflection I had a good answer, but they had already gone off somewhere.

Clearly, Love and Justice are both desireable, but they both require as a necessary precondition the existence of Truth, which is the bedrock on which they lie. It's more fundamental.

And that's why I always intuitively despised, without knowing exactly why, the "deconstructionists" who rejected notions of Truth, for without that pillar everything in Civilization crumbles.

One wonders what it is these people really want.

Their infantile narcissistic demands will destroy us all.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Why Is It So?

One of the early influences that led me to become a Physicist was seeing a program on Public Television on mornings in the 1970s when I happened to be staying home sick from elementary school.

This program was called "Science Demonstrations" or "Demonstrations in Physics" or something like that, and featured Prof. Julius Sumner Miller in a one-man show. In his 15 minute programs, this shock-haired nearly mad New England scientist would perform entrancing demonstrations from a lab table covered in curious apparatus. Sometimes he would dart to a paper pad on an easel to scribble some words and diagrams.

He was more exciting than Mr. Wizard, and far more of a real scientist than showman Bill Nye, having studied with Einstein at the Institute for Advanced Study.

I recall those programs, which apparently were filmed starting in 1967, as being in color, and he had no guests. Some of the tapes can still be leased or bought, it seems, for educational purposes.

But I also just found out that from 1963 to at least 1966, he also had produced a precursor to that show in Australia, called "Why Is It So?". It was in black and white, and featured an assistant at times as well as 2 youths to observe the action with him.

And luckily, 4-minute clips of some of those Australian episodes are available for viewing on the web! Some of the earlier episodes are apparently entitled with the more declarative "Why It Is So" rather than the later interrogatory "Why Is It So".

See Professor Julius Sumner Miller in action here!

I particularly recommend episodes 6, 7 and 11.

It's great nostalgia to re-experience his trademark voice and exclamations of "Watch it! Watch it now!"

Another important influence was the chalkboard scene in The Day the Earth Stood Still that I saw on the Saturday afternoon sci-fi movie during the 70s as well.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Quagmire Photos

See here.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Funny Headline

Oh, this is funny!

The headline is Iranians Await Ahmadinejad's Reforms

Take that whopper in for a moment!
Mr. Ahmadinejad promised Iran's legions of poor that he would put the nation's oil income "onto people's tables." But more than 100 days after the vote, Mrs. Vatanha - along with Iranians who gave the Islamist ideologue a surprise 61 percent mandate - are waiting for change.
And are going to keep on waiting.

Note also the implicit assumption in the reporting that the voting was real.

What a charade!
Unable to find jobs as house painters, her sons left home three weeks ago in search of work. She tugs her chador more tightly around her face. "I am having a nervous breakdown. I just read the Koran, and ask God to help [my sons.]."

Such uncertainty is manifest across the Islamic Republic, as Iranians begin taking measure of their choice: a man who is filling top positions with Revolutionary Guard cadres, and insists that he will build a pure Islamic government.
Because the current government is so secular. Oh, that's going to unleash human potential and economic success, surely!
Iranians who have seen internal reports on cabinet-level proceedings say that "social justice" - leveling inequalities in wealth, and creating more opportunities for the poor - tops the agenda.
I oppose that notion of "social justice." It's just code for stealing by collective coercion.

Yes, impoverishing the wealthy (who have disposable income to invest in growth ventures, unlike everyone else who can only consume) and handing money to people has always been the way to prosperity.

Just ask the commies.


Some are wondering about the strong howls of rage from some on the Right concering the Miers SCOTUS nomination.

I think the cause is easy to understand.

For years now, we've seen everyone from our so-called allies to the MSM pound away at America and it spolicies.

The drumbeat of bad news is relentlessly unfair, designed to sap our will.

I can imagine that some on the Right were looking forward to that most desireable of all things in life.

Namely, to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women.

It would be enormously satisfying to get a real victory over these punks.

Being able to force an obviously unacceptable (to the Left) candidate down their miserable humiliated throats, for all the world to see, would have been sweet, sweet revenge.

And would have clearly shown who really had the power.

Now, it may very well be that Miers will provide the real political victories that matter in the future, namely in a long history of helping good constructionist opinions win. But in the short term, since that's not obviously clearly the case, that long-anticipated public defeat of the Rights worst enemies -- who so richly deserve a comeuppance -- has been taken away from them.

And that makes them howlingly frustrated.

Worse, some Democrats even support her!

What kind of political steamrolling is that???

I'm just explaining what I think is the psychology, not supporting it. It's really not Miers per se, but the loss of the immediately-anticipated humiliation of the Left that rankles.

But for all we know, as a close correspondent has suggested to me, maybe Bush knows she's just going to back Roberts on everything, and in effect we get TWO of Roberts!

Who knows?

Or as others have speculated, rumors are some key Republican Senators, looking at the polls, refused to fight for a constructionist nominee, and so in a brilliant move of political jiu-jitsu, Bush now has the Right loudly begging him to nominate someone more judicially narrow than Scalia!

But again, who knows?

As usual, we have to be like adults and wait and see.

No street demonstrations and big puppets for us!

That would be unseemly, anyway.

Euro Opinion

In this opinion piece masquerading as news, we find the depths to which the Euros really, really despise us as part of their worldview.

This is necessary, in order for them to draw attention away from their failing social systems and reassure themselves that their clearly disastrous path is the right one:
One will surely ask, Katrina and German politics? Most Americans fail to grasp how deep anti-Americanism now runs in Europe and how the slow response to Katrina - and the poverty it exposed - could trigger almost fanatical anti-American sentiment in Europe.

In Britain, an opinion columnist in The Guardian encouraged his readers to withhold hurricane aid: "America needs [political] change not charity." In Germany, it was worse. Columnist Philipp Mausshardt of the German Tageszeitung felt "joy" that Katrina "hit the richest country in the world" and "would be even happier to know that it destroyed the homes of Bush supporters and members of the military." Andreas Renner, a German state minister (of the conservative party, typically more sympathetic to the Bush administration), claimed that "Bush should be shot" for his delayed response to Katrina victims. German Environmental Minister Jürgin Trittin suggested that Katrina was America's due retribution for not signing Kyoto.

Enter Gerhard Schröder on a bid to win reelection. Mr. Schröder was faced with the dual task of diverting attention away from his already painful economic and social reforms and justifying the still malfunctioning German economy (0.6 percent growth, 11.8 percent unemployment). Not one to shy away from emptying his anti-American quiver, Schröder apparently felt that Katrina was the perfect distraction.
Really pathetic stuff.
What was most striking was not simply the unsympathetic coverage of Katrina. It was the fact that a purely American domestic issue - a natural catastrophe, no less - provoked such a political display of schadenfreude, anger, and German pride. For decades, anti-American political rhetoric in Europe had been the stuff of wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It was triggered by the neutron bomb and deployment of Pershing missiles to Europe. In short, US foreign policy, not American domestic matters, was the fodder.
They didn't mind those Russian nuclear SS-21s pointed at them, apparently, that were the cause of the counter-deployment.

What miserable useless ingrates.
Schröder's bid to make American domestic politics an issue in his election - far beyond his previous comparison of American investors to locusts - marks a watershed. In light of the recently failed European Constitution also deemed too neoliberal,
Here, "neoliberal" means "American Capitalism" -- oh, that's rich!
the German case is only symptomatic of a broader trend in Europe. Since 2001, most Europeans had become convinced that US foreign policy was the greatest hazard to their welfare. This year, American-style capitalism is being taken on as an equally formidable adversary.
Are they demented?

At least what should be clear is that no amount of appeasement will ever make them like us, unless we destroy ourselves.

Then we might have, at best, their pity.

I'd rather have their envy and hate.

I enjoy getting up every morning and thinking, "George W. Bush... Still President!"

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Real War

This year-old item I came across describes what it would be like of the GWOT -- wait, Bush actually changed the name to War on Islamic Radicalism, finally! -- were being waged more like a real war than the sitzkrieg we've got going at least on the home-front of perception:
This is a failure of probity and imagination comparable to the deepest sleep that England slept in the decade of the 1930s, when its blinkered governments measured the sufficiency of their military preparations not against the threat that was gathering but by what they thought the people wanted, and the people wanted only what they thought the government had wisely specified. We are now entrapped in the same dynamic. Neither the party in power nor the opposition has awakened to what must be done or what may happen if it is not. Neither party, nor the Left, nor the Right, nor the civilian defense establishment, nor the highest ranking military, nor the Congress, nor the people themselves, has been willing, in a war not of our own making, adequately to prepare for war, to declare war, rigorously to define the enemy, to decide upon disciplined and intelligent war aims, to subjugate the economy to the common defense, or even to endorse the most elemental responsibilities of government, such as controlling the borders of and entry to our sovereign territory.

As if all of this has been done, the Left is in high dudgeon, and for fear of higher dudgeon still, the Right dares not even propose it. The result is a paralysis that the terrorists probably did not hope for in their most optimistic projections, an arbitrary and gratuitous failure of will that carries within it nonetheless a great promise, which is that because it has no reasonable basis or compelling rationale, it may quickly be dispelled. And once it is, the weight of our experience, genius, and resources can be brought to bear.
At least we can see some progress was made in defining the enemy.
In the Second World War, we spent as much as 38.5% of GNP (in 1945), and at the peak had twelve million soldiers under arms, almost 10% of the population. This is a far cry from the situation now. Were we to replicate the same levels of effort, we would be spending not $400 billion but $4.235 trillion. We would not have 2.7 million in uniform (including reserves), but 30 million. I am not advocating any such thing. As pressing as our needs may be, we are not engaged in war against a major power, and the intensity of engagement in World War II is far and above what is necessary. I point it out to show what we can do, and what actually we have done, if we concert our will, especially because during World War II it was much more difficult to apportion 29% of the nation's output to defense (the average for the period 1942-1946) than it would be now, because we have so much more wealth per capita than we did then, coming out of the Depression. To relinquish almost a full third of income is much harder for a nation with barely enough to get by than it is for one that lives in an age of material excess.

What is it worth to be properly prepared for a smallpox epidemic that might kill scores of millions of Americans, or perhaps 100 million? To prevent a nuclear detonation in Midtown Manhattan or on Michigan Avenue? To stop deliberate, coordinated massacres like those of September 11? And to preserve as a principle and in actuality both American security and independence? Merely as a matter of honor, with all calculation aside, it is worth any material expense to remove terrorist hands from the control of American destiny.
The following iron fist strategy is proposed, that meshes with my calls for Punitive Expeditions:
The invocation of anarchy is anyway and in most cases a bluff. These regimes live to hold power, and one and all they have seized and maintained it by violence. They are quite capable of eliminating the terrorist infrastructures within their territories and will jump to do so rather than face their own destruction. And if they refuse to cooperate, or they go down trying, then the regime that replaces them can be offered the same choice.

To coerce and punish governments that support terrorism, until they eradicate it wherever they exercise authority. To open for operations any territory in which the terrorist enemy functions. To build and sustain the appropriate forces and then some as a margin of safety, so as to accomplish the foregoing and to deter the continuing development of terrorism. To mount on the same scale as the military effort, and with the same probity, the necessary civil defense. To reject the temptation to configure the defensive capabilities of the United States solely to the War on Terrorism, as this will simultaneously stimulate China's military development and insure that we are unprepared for it. These should be our aims in this war.
And for handling Iran,
But were the open and bleeding flank in Iraq closed, the center safely held, and the American military properly supplied, rebuilt, and rejuvenated, the sure way to strip Iran of its nuclear potential would be clear: issuance of an ultimatum stating that we will not allow a terrorist state, the legislature of which chants like a robot for our demise, to possess nuclear weapons; clearing the Gulf of Iranian naval and coastal defense forces; cutting corridors across Iran free of effective anti-aircraft capability; surging carriers to the Gulf and expeditionary air forces to Saudi Arabia; readying long-range heavy bombers in this country and Guam; setting up an unparalleled search and rescue capability. If then our conditions were unmet, we could destroy every nuclear, ballistic-missile, military research, and military technical facility in Iran, with the promise that were the prohibited activities to resume and/or relocate we would destroy completely the economic infrastructure of the country, something we could do in a matter of days and refresh indefinitely, with nary a boot on the ground. That is the large-scale option, necessary only if for some reason the destruction of Iran's nuclear facilities could not, as is likely, be accomplished by stealth bombers and cruise missiles. The almost complete paralysis of its economy, should it be called for, could be achieved with the same instruments plus naval gunfire and blockade.

Like the strategy of using ground forces as an equivalent "fleet-in-being" coiled and ready to strike from within the heart of the center of gravity of the Middle East, this strategy for air and naval power would have a high probability of achieving its aims via coercion rather than actual combat, and, were going to war necessary, it would require neither the careless dissolution of (relatively) small forces among large populations, as in Iraq, nor their exposure to insurgency, nor their endless deployment in hostile areas. The paradigm would shift from conquer, occupy, fail, and withdraw—to strike, return, and re-energize, one of the many advantages of which would be that the U.S. military would remain intact and capable of dispatching to areas now dangerously neglected, such as East Asia.
The "you break it you bought it" Powell doctrine is a calculated prescription for avoiding action.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Fascinating Blog: One Cosmos

This new blog, One Cosmos, is off to a terrific start. The author (known as Gagdad Bob at LGF) writes things I wish I had, and in fewer words.

Which is perhaps no surprise, for not only being a Clinical Psychologist, he's also an author with a published book. The reviews there, as well as here, are well worth reading!

One paragraph begins with the arresting observation:
A casual survey of history reveals that human beings are a deeply troubled species.
Or consider this jab:
For such individuals, there will always be a nostalgic longing for what they missed, this infantile utopia in which frustration does not exist and desire is instantly converted to satisfaction. A few of these individuals will be lucky enough to obtain lifetime tenure at a major university, but the rest must deal with an unyielding world that does not mirror their unresolved infantile needs.
Or see this profound observation:
I am reminded that one of the pivotal differences between Islam and the Judeo-Christian tradition is that in the latter case, God is thought to have created the world just once "in the beginning," in accord with fully rational principles that may be comprehended by human beings. Allah, on the other hand, rules by whim, creating the world moment by moment, so that it is futile--not to say blasphemous and grandiose--to try to fathom his ways. Allah's radical freedom results in tyranny, obscurantism and fatalism on the ground.
On Political Correctness, he writes:
Political correctness is a specifically western perversion of Christianity, since Christianity is the religion that elevates the ultimate victim to the status of Godhood: God is the innocent victim and the innocent victim is God.

Therefore, improperly understood, this Christian cognitive template puts in place a sort of cultural "race to the bottom" in competition for who is more oppressed, and therefore, more godlike.
I've often tried to make the following point, but he does so in this posting very effectively:
The default religion of human beings is the practice of human sacrifice. This is a pathological virus planted deep in the heart of the human species, which has been given insufficient attention. Virtually all primitive cultures and ancient civilizations engaged in it. For reasons I try to explain in my book, there is something spontaneously "holy" or "sacred" in the taking of innocent human life.

Obviously, the foundation stone of Judaism is the injunction against human sacrifice, when God tells Abraham not to kill him a son out on highway 61. Superficially, Christianity may be seen as a resuscitation of the sacrificial motif, with the murder of the innocent Jesus, but in reality, this is clearly intended to convey the idea that when we murder innocence, we murder God. The crucifixion of Jesus is meant to be the last human sacrifice, with Jesus standing in for our own murdered innocence (and our own murderous selves).

Unfortunately, Islam seems to involve a reversion to the sacrificial impulse, and a return to "mere" religion. If one reads the Koran, one is struck by how frequently Allah instructs his followers to murder in his name. While Christians have obviously behaved badly in the past, there is nothing in the actual Christian message that justifies it.
This big-picture view of Judeo-Christianity and its importance in the elevation of human civilization is often overlooked, to our detriment.

Life Imitating Satire

A close correspondent sent the following juxtaposing links:

From The Onion, February, 2004. WARNING: some raw language.

From Reality, September, 2005.

The world is stranger than we can imagine.


Given the location of the horrendous earthquake in Pakistan, one can't help but wonder if OBL or any of his friends were swallowed up by the Earth.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Political Test

This has been going around the blogosphere so I thought I'd try it.

You are a

Social Moderate
(50% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(75% permissive)

You are best described as a:


You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.

Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

I presume "Economic Fairness" is the opposite of so-called "Social Justice."

Works for me!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Trial of the Century

Saddam Hussein will soon be on trial.
IRAQ'S Special Tribunal officially announced overnight that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein would go on trial on October 19 for a Shiite massacre, confirming a date announced by the government a month ago.
Wouldn't it just be hilarious if, being a deluded narcissist, Hussein openly admits to having had hidden WMD programs and/or was involved in the 1993 WTC bombing?

His motivation would be much like that of the BTK serial killer confession, to prove how much smarter he was than everyone else by succeeding in the deception -- which we'd be unaware of if he didn't let us in on it.

Given that he believes he will be back in power in a year due to the damaging information he claims he will reveal on the stand about the US, forcing us to cut a deal, according to reports, anything can happen.

Gen. Petraeus on Iraq

General Petraeus gave an interesting overivew of progress in Iraq recently at Princeton University, as described by blogger Tigerhawk:
The central theme of his talk, which was supported by lots of data and supporting anecdotes, was that there are a lot of myths about Iraq that need to be dispelled. One such myth is the claim that NATO has not been involved -- General Petraeus forcefully argued that it had been, particularly in the establishment of the military academy and training facilities, but that NATO's participation had been substantially ignored by the press. Another myth is that "the Iraqi forces have no armor." Coalition members from the former Communist bloc have contributed lots of armor compatible with legacy Iraqi experience, including 77 T-70 tanks from Hungary ("which are better than anything the Iraqis had under Saddam"). Iraqi tanks have been organized into an armored brigade which is responsible for securing the airport road ("Route Irish has been free of violence since the Iraqi armored brigade took it over").
This is interesting, as it's still reported as an article of faith that the Airport Road still has not been secured. It's just one of those myths that's repeated over and over.

Did you know for example that electricity generation now exceeds pre-war levels?

And now electricity and water service is being extended to regions in the country that never had it before.
Notwithstanding the huge size of Saddam's military, even experienced Iraqi officers did not know how to train. For example, they did not train with live ammunition because of shortages, and expressed wonder at American methods for teaching marksmanship. Historically, “the inshallah school of shooting” prevailed. Iraqi soldiers in combat would hold the weapon over their head, shoot wildly until the magazine was empty, and “inshallah -- meaning if God wills it -- you will hit something.”
The most impressive thing about the Iraqi units is how tenacious they have become, notwithstanding early reports that they would cut and run. According to General Patraeus, since the January elections, from which the Iraqi security forces “took an enormous lift that still persists,” the Iraqi forces "have not run from a fight, they have not backed down." This strikes me, by the way, as enormously hopeful for the future of Iraq, the persistence of the counterinsurgency, and the power of democracy to motivate the fight against the war on terror.

More highlights from the Transition Command's work:

Under NATO's auspices, the Iraqi military academy is open with entirely Iraqi instructors. It might have been opened much earlier with foreign instructors, but the Coalition felt that it was important to make it an Iraqi endeavor. General Patraeus noted later that he was very unhappy that this achievement got essentially no coverage in the media given its importance to success in Iraq.
Way to go, MSM.

Lots of details follow in the report. To summarize,
The progress since the summer of 2004, when General Patraeus assumed command, has been considerable. Fifteen months ago, only six battalions of Iraqi army (less than 2,000 men) were in training, and none were "in the fight." Now, 14 battalions are in training, and 74 are operational and in the fight.

A year ago, there were no special police units. Now there are 27 battalions in the fight, and five more serving as border patrol and emergency response. These are all top-down units, none that have failed “like the homegrown Fallujah brigade.”
So, over 115 Army and special police battalions are in the fight, the majority of which are “fighting alongside.”
Then there were questions:
The other interesting question involved the "public relations" war. "Are we losing the PR war to the enemy? What are you doing on the marketing PR front?"

General Patraeus said that they have given the media an enormous amount of information, including countless important metrics for measuring progress, but that it is largely ignored. He observed that the enemy “On many days it is impossible to break through the steady drumbeat of sensational attacks occurring in Baghdad throughout the country. The opening of the new military academy got no coverage at all, even though it was a big event with the whole Iraqi government in attendance."

Patraeus is obviously extremely unhappy with the monomaniacal press coverage.
It's seditious.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


From Jihadwatch, via Dr. Sanity,
Two New York mosque leaders charged with conspiring to support terrorists. Amazing how they could have risen to the leadership of a Muslim religious center while so thoroughly misunderstanding Islam.

Funny thing: the same thing happened in Lodi, California.

And all over the world, as we document here every day, we see Islamic clerics -- people who have dedicated their lives to studying and living out the religion -- at the forefront of terrorist movements.

And yet so many people refuse to see what is right in front of their faces: maybe they aren't misunderstanding Islam at all.
Dr. Sanity elaborates, and concludes,
These facts demonstrate that Islam is:

(a) Schizophrenic
(b) Paranoid
(c) a religion that promotes pathological lying
(d) All of the above
Are we there yet?

Bend Over For Mohammed, Slaves

Shameful cowards:
Muslims win toy pigs ban

NOVELTY pig calendars and toys have been banned from a council office — in case they offend Muslim staff.

Workers in the benefits department at Dudley Council, West Midlands, were told to remove or cover up all pig-related items, including toys, porcelain figures, calendars and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.

Bosses acted after a Muslim complained about pig-shaped stress relievers delivered to the council in the run-up to the Islamic festival of Ramadan.

Muslims are barred from eating pork in the Koran and consider pigs unclean.

Councillor Mahbubur Rahman, a practising Muslim, backed the ban. He said: “It’s a tolerance of people’s beliefs.”
Muslims offend my beliefs; can I get them removed? No?

Bet you surrender monkeys would die while apologizing for getting blood on your overlords.