Sunday, August 31, 2008

the apes, they is a-flingin'

update 2: Kristallnacht? Nein! Zement-Tag.

The news would still be in continuous coverage if this had happened at the DNC in Denver. RNC - not so much...

update 1: Obama is distancing himself from that mess (publicly at least).

The leftist hivemind screams "rules for thee, but not for me":
You knew it was coming. Less than two days after the pick, blog and article comment threads, forums and anywhere else discussing the story you can think of have been flooded with Obama's 16-year-old keyboard kommandos with every piece of conspiratorial b***s*** they can manage to fling.

Jeff Goldstein has an astonishing roundup of the frothing letwingnut hysteria, rumor-generation, smears, lies and assorted other garbage from fetid swamps of Kos, DU and assorted sectors of Nutrootopia. Much of it is aimed at her pregnancies, her family and her children, her ability to raise children and do her job, etc. It is really a despicable sight to behold.

But hey - HOPE and CHANGE and NEW POLITICS and all that.

Bottom line: This VP pick has energized many a conservative, and they know it. That was the last thing the nuitroots wanted - they thought they were going to have an "old/rich/racist/sexist/homophobic/WASP/McSame/BlahBlahBlah Republican male ticket," which didn't happen.

It's hilarious watching them pull their hair out trying to keep their misogynist(*) instincts suppressed. Amazing what one (attractive) non-Marxist, pro-woman executive can do to a nutosphere full of Marxist ideologues. They agitate for women to climb the ladder, and when one gets there, they're given an ideological purity test to see if they're the "right type (leftist)" of woman.

(to them,) Palin failed the Marxist litmus test, and therefore "doesn't count." Just like Clarence Thomas "didn't count." Just like Condi Rice and Colin Powell "didn't count." Only candidates with little or no experience to lead the party's presidential ticket are acceptable, because they kiss the feet of Marx.
* a.k.a. shameful, a.k.a. ignorant, a.k.a. hateful, a.k.a. hypocritical, a.k.a. disgusting, a.k.a. un-American, a.k.a. vile...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"worth its weight in gold"

here's an interesting article on monetary density, yet none of the items listed can buy happiness...

to leftists, re: diversity

People who have real lives don't need "lifestyles".

to Obama, on openness

When your party and its media lackeys yammer perpetually about anything remotely secretive surrounding any Republican, it appears highly hypocritical when you are secretive yourself.

update & bump: another link on the topic at WSJ via Viewpoint.

to: McCain, re: Palin

She seems like a good choice to me.

update & bump: She seems like a good choice to The Local Malcontent also:
  • It contrasts the oh-so-empty promise of "Hope and Change" spewed by Obambi for real change in Washington, and Zerobama's choice of real insider J. Biden.
  • Executive experience, which trumps Obambo's community organizer experience.
  • Sarah Palin supplants Hillary, in the most important period of presidential campaigning.
  • Instead of promises of reckless changes, McCain/Palin can brag about accomplishments.
  • Mrs. Palin's influence will temper McCain's left-wing tendencies toward the right, in matters most important to our nation's security.
  • She is a life-long member of the NRA, like me and so many other conservatives.
  • Her spouse works as a commercial fisherman, and seems to be proud of America.
  • She can open up ANWR and the Arctic to American oil exploration, with experienced knowledge of the matter, instead of Democratic scare stories.
  • She is Pro Life.
...and in my book, his last reason is the best.

to Obama, re: poverty

IBD: "Our destiny of peace and freedom through strength was not achieved by a transnationalist fantasy of buying the world a Coke and singing "Kumbaya.""
"...if the Global Poverty Act (S. 2433) he has sponsored becomes law, which is almost certain if he wins in November, we're also going to be taxpayers of the world.

Speaking in Berlin, Obama said: "While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history."

What the 20th century really showed was a series of totalitarian threats — from fascism to Nazism to communism — defeated by the U.S. military. Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy, Tojo's Japan and the Soviet Union offered destinies we did not share... Obama's Global Poverty Act offers us (yet another) global socialist destiny we do not want...

...eliminating extreme poverty and ensuring every child has food, shelter and clean drinking water... are worthy goals, but note there's no mention of spreading democracy, expanding free trade, promoting entrepreneurial capitalism or ridding the world of despots who rule and ravage countries such as Zimbabwe and Sudan. Obama would give them all a fish without teaching them how to fish...

It's a mantra of liberals that the U.S. is only a small portion of the world's population yet consumes an unseemly portion of the planet's supposedly finite resources. Never mentioned is the fact that America's population, just 5% of the world's total, also produces a stunning 27% of the world's GDP — to the enormous benefit of other countries. Nonetheless, their solution is to siphon off the product of our free democracy and distribute it."
read the rest

Thursday, August 28, 2008

To Obama, on reality

VDH fisks Obama's "i am a jelly donut" ;) speech:
What disturbed me about Barack Obama's Berlin speech were some reoccurring utopian assumptions about cause and effect — namely, that bad things happen almost as if by accident, and are to be addressed by faceless, universal forces of good will.

Unlike Obama, I would not speak to anyone as “a fellow citizen of the world,” but only as an ordinary American who wishes to do his best for the world, but with a much-appreciated American identity, and rather less with a commonality indistinguishable from those poor souls trapped in the Sudan, North Korea, Cuba, or Iran. Take away all particular national identity and we are empty shells mouthing mere platitudes, who believe in little and commit to even less. In this regard, postmodern, post-national Europe is not quite the ideal, but a warning of how good intentions can run amuck. Ask the dead of Srebrenica, or the ostracized Danish cartoonists, or the archbishop of Canterbury with his supposed concern for transcendent universal human rights.

With all due respect, I also don't believe the world did anything to save Berlin, just as it did nothing to save the Rwandans or the Iraqis under Saddam — or will do anything for those of Darfur; it was only the U.S. Air Force that risked war to feed the helpless of Berlin as it saved the Muslims of the Balkans. And I don't think we have much to do in America with creating a world in which “famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.” Bad, often evil, autocratic governments abroad cause hunger, often despite rich natural landscapes; and nature, in tragic fashion, not “the carbon we send into atmosphere,” causes “terrible storms,” just as it has and will for millennia.

Perhaps conflict-resolution theory posits there are no villains, only misunderstandings; but I think military history suggests that culpability exists — and is not merely hopelessly relative or just in the eye of the beholder. So despite Obama’s soaring moral rhetoric, I am troubled by his historical revisionism that, “The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love.”

I would beg to differ again, and suggest instead that a mass-murdering Soviet tyranny came close to destroying the European continent (as it had, in fact, wiped out millions of its own people) and much beyond as well — and was checked only by an often lone and caricatured US superpower and its nuclear deterrence. When the Soviet Union collapsed, there was no danger to the world from American nuclear weapons “destroying all we have built” — while the inverse would not have been true, had nuclear and totalitarian communism prevailed. We sleep too lightly tonight not because democratic Israel has obtained nuclear weapons, but because a frightening Iran just might.

When Obama shouts,
Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?
it is the world, not the U.S., that needs to listen most. In this regard I would have preferred Sen. Obama of mixed ancestry to have begun with “In the recent tradition of African-American Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice,” rather than the less factual, “I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city.”

I want also to shout back that the United States does stand for the rule of law, as even the killers of Guantanamo realize with their present redress of grievances, access to complex jurisprudence, and humane treatment — all in a measure beyond what such terrorists would receive anywhere else. It is the United States that takes in more immigrants than does any country in the world, and thus is the prime destination of those who flee the miseries of this often wretched globe.

American immigration policies are humane, not only in easy comparison to the savagery shown the “other” in Africa or the Middle East, but fair and compassionate in comparison to what we see presently accorded aliens in Mexico, France, and, yes, Germany. Again, in all this fuzziness — this sermonizing in condescending fashion reminiscent at times of the Pennsylvania remonstration — there is the whiff of American culpability, but certainly not much of a nod to American exceptionalism. Politicians characteristically say to applauding audiences abroad what they wish to hear. True statesmen often do not.

In terms of foreign affairs, I think Americans will finally come to vote for a candidate, who with goodwill, a lot of humility, and a little grace, can persuade the world that universal moral progress, freedom, and material prosperity best advance under the aegis of free markets, constitutional government, and individual freedom, rather than for someone who seems to think, in na├»ve fashion, that these are necessarily shared and natural human practices, or are presently in force outside the West — or will arise due to dialogue or international good intentions.
(emphases mine)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

re: new world order

despite the "illuminati non carborundum" tagline on this blog, i do not believe in any particular conspiratorial configuration of the new world order.

i do, however, know how those ideas will turn out in the end.

update & bump: on the same week that i read this article about rfid tags for people, i heard that my niece in kindergarden was given a code number at her (relatively low-tech rural) school to make it easier to buy lunch.

i predict the mark of the beast won't have to be forced on people; the people will line up & sign up for it just for convenience sake. "just think, no money to be stolen, no credit rating to be swiped, etc..."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Racism in America

By Slate contributor Jacob Weisberg's logic, the only reason the democrats didn't confirm Clarence Thomas is because of the color of his skin.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Things to Do in Denver When You're Democrat

Will this week's Democratic convention have eerie parallels to Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead?

The plot synopsis from imdb
Jimmy the Saint's business is videotaping the terminally-ill, so that they will be around to give 'Afterlife Advice' to their survivors. He hasn't been doing too well lately and has had to turn to loan-sharks to accomodate his failing business, as well as his expensive personal tastes. When an evil gangster-overlord buys up his note and demands a favor of Jimmy, in exchange for the interest that he can't afford, Jimmy capitulates. Jimmy is to scare someone for the gangster-overlord - really rough them up. Without giving too much away (spoiler), the scene goes down badly and Jimmy and his crew all end up with contracts on their heads for their trouble.
One possible scenario:

Obama "the Saint's" business is lying to the terminally-stupid, so that they will vote (D) in all upcoming elections - both now and in the afterlife. He hasn't been doing too well lately and has had to turn to the Clintons to accomodate his failing business, as well as his anti-Americanism. When Hillary demands a favor of Obama, to be the vice-presidential pick, Obama turns to a different leftist shill. Without giving too much away (spoiler), the scene goes down badly and Obama and his crew all end up with multiple self-inflicted gunshots to the back of the head in a park somewhere.

i vote berlin

you won't learn much from time's lessons of the beijing olympics, but the article elicits one good question near the end: was it more like tokyo '68 or berlin '36?
Perhaps, looking back on Beijing 2008, we will judge the Games as the moment that China assumed the role of future superpower. Tokyo '68 was like that, heralding the emergence of what was to become the world's second-largest economy. Or, maybe, like Berlin '36, the Olympics will shine a light on a repressive, closed political system.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

to the DNC, on disenfranchisement

Molten Thought says:
It's time to end a real injustice in American politics: the Democrats' successful effort to disenfranchise U.S. servicemen and women serving overseas.

The unreported scandal of the 2008 election is Democrat efforts underway to enfranchise American expatriates while throwing away the ballots of our military personnel.

The notion that those risking life and limb for this country are LESS entitled to vote for their civilian leaders than those who are convicted felons or who have elected to live in another country is pernicious, wrong, and unpatriotic.

pc quote

a great quote about political correctness from an article about personal computers:
...In the time of global political correctness, the word "orthodox" is often used to call a person who can clearly formulate his or her opinion on a given question. It's not "fashionable" to have a personal opinion, its lack is often called "open-mindedness". But, speaking of me, I don't like people with restless eyes...

beijing 2008 olympics closing ceremony

thus ends another olympics, which are a great example of what can happen when the whole world unites for a common goal:



via nathblog, who has other variations on the theme.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rare Earth Hypothesis

There may be more proof on the side of the "Rare Earth Hypothesis" - from the Oort Cloud:
The Oort Cloud is a spherical cloud of comets believed to lie roughly 50,000 AU, or nearly a light-year, from the Sun which places the cloud at nearly a quarter of the distance to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun. The Kuiper belt and scattered disc, the other two known reservoirs of trans-Neptunian objects, are less than one thousandth the Oort cloud's distance. The outer extent of the Oort cloud defines the boundary of our Solar System.

Objects in the Oort cloud are largely composed of ices such as water, ammonia and methane. Astronomers believe that the matter comprising the Oort cloud formed closer to the Sun, and was scattered far out into space by the gravitational effects of the giant planets early in the Solar System's evolution.

The cometary membrane of the Oort Cloud and Kupier Belt actively feeds water to the interior planets, with some 20 to 40 ton water-ice comets hitting the earth's atmosphere 5 to 30 times per minute. Simulations show that Kuiper belt comets simply don't fall directly toward Earth's neighborhood but plod their way toward the inner solar system in stairstep fashion. It turns out that the massive outer planets are almost exactly spaced so that they "hand-off" comets from one to the other. At each step the powerful gravitational field of Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter might either eject the comet from the solar system or pass it onto the next planet inside their orbit.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

To leftists, on Georgia

Varifrank:
"Where are the Human Shields? Where is Sean Penn? Where is Medea Benjamin? Where is Katrina VandenHeuvel?" Where are the protests of Russian Embassys world wide? Where are the throngs of peace loving protest crowds around the world?

Well, certainly not in Georgia where they can get hurt or possibly even killed in the process...


But if the left is anything, it's consistent. It's consistently wrong, consistently insane and consistently on the side of tyranny and this time its no different. Its always quick to condemn the so called "American War Machine", and all too quick to excuse the Imperial Russian Empire as it marches over the lives of free people...

You can be sure that each of those countries know what language His Imperial Majesty "Czar Putin I" is speaking. It's Russian, spoken with a bohemian German accent. It's the sound made by a jackboot holding a man supine against the ground, by his throat, his words of protest caught under in the desire of an empire to increase its ambitions for what is not theirs. Europeans know the sound of this language all too well, for it has been spoken for years on their continent before the peace that was brought by the Americans.

Now, here in the new century, this language seems to be making a comeback. I can't help but notice that war in Europe has broken out, just as Americans were in the act of leaving it. There might be a connection in there to take note of, if there are any of us left to make the connection after this is all over. History says that despite our hopes, this conflict will get wider and uglier before it is all over. I hope that history is wrong, but I'm a skeptic in that area.

It's interesting to me to note how the safest place for a civilian seems to be either in front of or in the care of the American Armed Services while the most dangerous place in the world for a civilian is to simply live on the border with Russia. There's a lesson in there somewhere about where the real moral high ground in the world exists.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

To Obama, on supporters

Your motives are suspect when those who are against America are for you.

To Obama, on symbols

Not only is your two-handed salute a rip-off of Star Trek, the episode you ripped it off from has uncanny parallels to your campaign:
  • TV: An insane doctor and his fanatical followers attempt to hijack the Enterprise, trying to find a paradise which they do not realize is deadly.
  • RL: An insane senator and his fanatical followers attempt to hijack America, trying to find a paradise which they do not realize is deadly.

To McCain, on support

Perhaps you could "energize the Republican base" (a typically conservative group) by being an actual conservative.

To Obama (and McCain), on values

"Values voters" vote according to actual values, not mere words proclaiming varying values in varying circumstances.

To Obama, on America

Americans do not want their President to be a whiny pessimist.

To Obama, on leadership

American voters still don't want a Waffle House in Washington, no matter who's managing it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

To Obama, on criticism

We all know your skin color doesn't matter (nor does the size of your ears)

To Obama, on economics

Put down that moldy old copy of 'Das Kapital' and look at the real world:
Take those megarich he (Obama) vilifies — the top hundredth of a percent. According to a recent Treasury study, three-fourths of them in 1996 fell out of the group by 2005.

Meanwhile, more than half of those in the bottom income group in 1996 moved to a higher income group by 2005, with more than 5% leapfrogging to the richest quintile.

(It's no fluke: The same high degree of income mobility is seen in prior comparable periods, as well.)

Some poor moved up through personal effort, while many rode an expanding economy. Real median incomes of all taxpayers rose 24%, but the poor registered the biggest gains of all.(emphasis mine)

President Kennedy understood that a growing economy is like a rising tide that "lifts all boats." Obama, on the other hand, thinks some are lifted and others lowered, as if the economy were a system of locks operated by a cabal of evil capitalists.
Granted, Obama might not be that ignorant; he may just be playing to ignorant people's fear and greed to get elected...

losing his religion

Dr. David Evans is no longer a member of Algore's cult of global warming:
Since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

There has not been a public debate about the causes of global warming and most of the public and our decision makers are not aware of the most basic salient facts:

1. The greenhouse signature is missing... The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades... They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.

2. There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None...

3. The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the "urban heat island" effect... Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979...

4. The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect.

None of these points are controversial. The alarmist scientists agree with them, though they would dispute their relevance.

The last point was known and past dispute by 2003, yet Al Gore made his movie in 2005 and presented the ice cores as the sole reason for believing that carbon emissions cause global warming. In any other political context our cynical and experienced press corps would surely have called this dishonest and widely questioned the politician's assertion.

So far (the global warming) debate has just consisted of a simple sleight of hand: show evidence of global warming, and while the audience is stunned at the implications, simply assert that it is due to carbon emissions. In the minds of the audience, the evidence that global warming has occurred becomes conflated with the alleged cause, and the audience hasn't noticed that the cause was merely asserted, not proved.
(emphases mine)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

he's not dead, jim!

before i had a chance to try to convice him not to quit, local malcontent has decided not to give up blogging after all.

...and there was much rejoicing.

:)

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Beijing Olympics have begun

Wow, the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing China are such an uplifting and memorable spectacle celebrating the human spirit...

almost as memorable as that one guy:

Breaking News: Almighty Supremebeing Allah Arrested on Drug Charges

Since the pedophilia and domestic abuse charges didn't stick to the prophet (spit), maybe they can lock up the fakir's boss on drug charges:
South Windsor, CT (WTNH) -- A man who legally changed his name to Almighty Allah is facing a narcotics charge in South Windsor.

According to police, members of the East Central Narcotics Task Force were tipped off to a drug transaction in the town.

Police found the suspect and his car on John Fitch Blvd. The driver didn't stop right away when police tried to pull him over, but he eventually was stopped and arrested.

He was identified as Almighty Supremebeing Allah, age 35, who lives on Elmhurst St. in West Hartford.

"The arrestee in the narcotics case had apparently legally changed his name to 'Almighty Allah', and has convictions under this new name," Scott Custer from the South Windsor police department said.

Allah was held on $260,000.00 bond on charges including cocaine possession, attempt to sell cocaine, and traffic charges.

He was expected to be in Manchester Superior Court.
...and P.B.U.H. could change to mean "Prison Bars Until H-E-double-toothpicks".

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

why evil exists

This is the best - and most logical - explanation I've read of "the problem of evil". It begins:
The first step in answering the problem of evil is this: We've got to get clear on what this thing "evil" actually is. It does seem to follow that if God created all things, and evil is a thing, then God created evil. This is a valid syllogism. If the premises are true, then the conclusion would be true as well.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that the second premise is not true. Evil is not a thing... evil has no ontological status in itself.

The word ontology deals with the nature of existence. When I say that evil has no ontological status, I mean that evil, as a thing in itself, does not exist.

Let me give you an illustration to make this more clear. We talk about things being cold or warm. But coldness is not a thing that exists in itself; it has no ontological status. Coldness is the absence of heat. When we remove heat energy from a system, we say it gets colder.

"Cold" isn't a thing. It's a way of describing the reduction of molecular activity resulting in the sensation of heat. So the more heat we pull out of a system, the colder it gets. Cold itself isn't being "created." Cold is a description of a circumstance in which heat is missing. Heat is energy which can be measured. When you remove heat, the temperature goes down. We call that condition "cold," but there is no cold "stuff" that causes that condition.

Here's another way of looking at it. Did you ever eat a donut hole? I don't mean those little round sugar-coated lumps you buy at the donut shop. I mean the hole itself. Donut holes are actually what's left when the middle is cut out of a donut. There's a space called a hole, a "nothing," the condition that exists when something is taken away. Same thing with a shadow. Shadows don't exist as things in themselves; they're just the absence of light.

Evil is like that. Evil isn't like some black, gooey stuff floating around the universe that gloms onto people and causes them to do awful things. Evil is the absence of good, a privation of good, not a thing in itself.

When God created the universe, he created everything good. He made a universe that was perfectly good. Everything was as it should be. After God was completely done with creating everything, something happened that reduced the good in the world. That loss of good is called evil.

That's why in Genesis 1 we read "it was good" many times. From the record we know that God didn't create evil. But something did happen in which evil - the loss of good - took place, and as a result a lot of other grotesque things came about.

So donut holes don't exist; they're just the absence of donut. Shadows don't exist; they're just the absence of light. And evil doesn't exist; it's just the absence of good.
and continues:
Now the real question at this point is, "Was it worth it? Good can come out of evil, but was it worth it in the long run, the measure of good that comes out of the measure of evil in the world?" And my response is that the only One who could ever know that is God. You and I couldn't know that because our perspective is too limited. Only God is in a position to accurately answer that question.

Apparently God thinks that, on balance, the good is going to outweigh the evil that caused the good, or else He wouldn't have allowed it to happen. Christ paid a tremendous price, an example of the tremendous love God had for us. God would not be able to show His sacrificial love unless there was something to sacrifice for.

Here's the problem, and this is why we don't think that, on balance, it's really a fair trade. We think that life is about giving us pleasure and making us happy... God's purpose for creating us was to develop us into certain types of people who were fit to spend eternity with Him. He does that by conforming us to His image by helping us grow through the process of living in a fallen world...

In God's mind, the goal of the process - being conformed to the image of His Son - is a much greater good than the bad of the evil that we have to put up with on this earth. The balance is definitely on the side of good.
I would expand on that argument by pointing out that this greater good of living in eternity with Him would by definition infinitely outweigh our temporary temporal suffering.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Story of Truth and Hope In An Age of Extremism

Seems there's yet another hit piece on the bookshelves against President Bush:
In his new book, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth And Hope In An Age of Extremism, author Ron Suskind alleges that the Bush administration knew Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and eventually fabricated intelligence assets to support its case for war. Both the White House and the CIA deny his claims.

Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, tells Steve Inskeep that a secret mission was conducted, in which a British intelligence agent met with the head of Iraqi intelligence in a secret location in Jordan, and that the Iraqi conveyed that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
So, was President Clinton LYING or DELUDED when he UNILATERALLY ATTACKED IRAQ?

(copied in its entirety to safeguard against the 'memory hole'. emphases mine.):
Transcript: President Clinton explains Iraq strike

CLINTON: Good evening.

Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.

I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish.

Six weeks ago, Saddam Hussein announced that he would no longer cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors called UNSCOM. They are highly professional experts from dozens of countries. Their job is to oversee the elimination of Iraq's capability to retain, create and use weapons of mass destruction, and to verify that Iraq does not attempt to rebuild that capability.

The inspectors undertook this mission first 7.5 years ago at the end of the Gulf War when Iraq agreed to declare and destroy its arsenal as a condition of the ceasefire.

The international community had good reason to set this requirement. Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.

The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.

The United States has patiently worked to preserve UNSCOM as Iraq has sought to avoid its obligation to cooperate with the inspectors. On occasion, we've had to threaten military force, and Saddam has backed down.

Faced with Saddam's latest act of defiance in late October, we built intensive diplomatic pressure on Iraq backed by overwhelming military force in the region. The UN Security Council voted 15 to zero to condemn Saddam's actions and to demand that he immediately come into compliance.

Eight Arab nations -- Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman -- warned that Iraq alone would bear responsibility for the consequences of defying the UN.

When Saddam still failed to comply, we prepared to act militarily. It was only then at the last possible moment that Iraq backed down. It pledged to the UN that it had made, and I quote, a clear and unconditional decision to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors.

I decided then to call off the attack with our airplanes already in the air because Saddam had given in to our demands. I concluded then that the right thing to do was to use restraint and give Saddam one last chance to prove his willingness to cooperate.

I made it very clear at that time what unconditional cooperation meant, based on existing UN resolutions and Iraq's own commitments. And along with Prime Minister Blair of Great Britain, I made it equally clear that if Saddam failed to cooperate fully, we would be prepared to act without delay, diplomacy or warning.

Now over the past three weeks, the UN weapons inspectors have carried out their plan for testing Iraq's cooperation. The testing period ended this weekend, and last night, UNSCOM's chairman, Richard Butler, reported the results to UN Secretary-General Annan.

The conclusions are stark, sobering and profoundly disturbing.

In four out of the five categories set forth, Iraq has failed to cooperate. Indeed, it actually has placed new restrictions on the inspectors. Here are some of the particulars.

Iraq repeatedly blocked UNSCOM from inspecting suspect sites. For example, it shut off access to the headquarters of its ruling party and said it will deny access to the party's other offices, even though UN resolutions make no exception for them and UNSCOM has inspected them in the past.

Iraq repeatedly restricted UNSCOM's ability to obtain necessary evidence. For example, Iraq obstructed UNSCOM's effort to photograph bombs related to its chemical weapons program.

It tried to stop an UNSCOM biological weapons team from videotaping a site and photocopying documents and prevented Iraqi personnel from answering UNSCOM's questions.

Prior to the inspection of another site, Iraq actually emptied out the building, removing not just documents but even the furniture and the equipment.

Iraq has failed to turn over virtually all the documents requested by the inspectors. Indeed, we know that Iraq ordered the destruction of weapons-related documents in anticipation of an UNSCOM inspection.

So Iraq has abused its final chance.

As the UNSCOM reports concludes, and again I quote, "Iraq's conduct ensured that no progress was able to be made in the fields of disarmament.

"In light of this experience, and in the absence of full cooperation by Iraq, it must regrettably be recorded again that the commission is not able to conduct the work mandated to it by the Security Council with respect to Iraq's prohibited weapons program."

In short, the inspectors are saying that even if they could stay in Iraq, their work would be a sham.

Saddam's deception has defeated their effectiveness. Instead of the inspectors disarming Saddam, Saddam has disarmed the inspectors.

This situation presents a clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere. The international community gave Saddam one last chance to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors. Saddam has failed to seize the chance.

And so we had to act and act now.

Let me explain why.

First, without a strong inspection system, Iraq would be free to retain and begin to rebuild its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in months, not years.

Second, if Saddam can crippled the weapons inspection system and get away with it, he would conclude that the international community -- led by the United States -- has simply lost its will. He will surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction, and someday -- make no mistake -- he will use it again as he has in the past.

Third, in halting our air strikes in November, I gave Saddam a chance, not a license. If we turn our backs on his defiance, the credibility of U.S. power as a check against Saddam will be destroyed. We will not only have allowed Saddam to shatter the inspection system that controls his weapons of mass destruction program; we also will have fatally undercut the fear of force that stops Saddam from acting to gain domination in the region.

That is why, on the unanimous recommendation of my national security team -- including the vice president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the secretary of state and the national security adviser -- I have ordered a strong, sustained series of air strikes against Iraq.

They are designed to degrade Saddam's capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction, and to degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors.

At the same time, we are delivering a powerful message to Saddam. If you act recklessly, you will pay a heavy price. We acted today because, in the judgment of my military advisers, a swift response would provide the most surprise and the least opportunity for Saddam to prepare.

If we had delayed for even a matter of days from Chairman Butler's report, we would have given Saddam more time to disperse his forces and protect his weapons.

Also, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins this weekend. For us to initiate military action during Ramadan would be profoundly offensive to the Muslim world and, therefore, would damage our relations with Arab countries and the progress we have made in the Middle East.

That is something we wanted very much to avoid without giving Iraq's a month's head start to prepare for potential action against it.

Finally, our allies, including Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, concurred that now is the time to strike. I hope Saddam will come into cooperation with the inspection system now and comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. But we have to be prepared that he will not, and we must deal with the very real danger he poses.

So we will pursue a long-term strategy to contain Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction and work toward the day when Iraq has a government worthy of its people.

First, we must be prepared to use force again if Saddam takes threatening actions, such as trying to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction or their delivery systems, threatening his neighbors, challenging allied aircraft over Iraq or moving against his own Kurdish citizens.

The credible threat to use force, and when necessary, the actual use of force, is the surest way to contain Saddam's weapons of mass destruction program, curtail his aggression and prevent another Gulf War.

Second, so long as Iraq remains out of compliance, we will work with the international community to maintain and enforce economic sanctions. Sanctions have cost Saddam more than $120 billion -- resources that would have been used to rebuild his military. The sanctions system allows Iraq to sell oil for food, for medicine, for other humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people.

We have no quarrel with them. But without the sanctions, we would see the oil-for-food program become oil-for-tanks, resulting in a greater threat to Iraq's neighbors and less food for its people.

The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world.

The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort. We will strengthen our engagement with the full range of Iraqi opposition forces and work with them effectively and prudently.

The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm's way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq's military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties.

Indeed, in the past, Saddam has intentionally placed Iraqi civilians in harm's way in a cynical bid to sway international opinion.

We must be prepared for these realities. At the same time, Saddam should have absolutely no doubt if he lashes out at his neighbors, we will respond forcefully.

Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.

And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.

Because we're acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future.

Let me close by addressing one other issue. Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace may have thought that the serious debate currently before the House of Representatives would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face him down.

But once more, the United States has proven that although we are never eager to use force, when we must act in America's vital interests, we will do so.

In the century we're leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community, fear and hope. Now, in the new century, we'll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past, but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.

Tonight, the United States is doing just that. May God bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may God bless America.
Now please tell us again, Mr. Suskind, who lied to whom and when? Or is it the case that you are lying now in order to simply sell books and gain fame with a sympathetic media machine?

p.s. I found this similar piece at NRO after writing this post.

energy density

or, a lot of hot air?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Solzhenitsyn

CNN reports:
Russian novelist and historian Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whose works detailed the horrors of Stalin's Soviet labor camps, has died at 89, Russian news agencies reported Monday...

Awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970 for "The First Circle," Alexander Solzhenitsyn was considered a moral voice for Russia. His works centered on issues of good and evil, materialism and salvation.

His three-volume "Gulag Archipelago" unveiled the horrors of the Soviet labor camps, where he himself was imprisoned for eight years... He was arrested in February 1945 for writing letters critical of Stalin and was sentenced to eight years at labor camps, which would provide the context of his future writings.
Lileks learned, as many others did,
much about the Soviet Union and the era of Stalin. After that I could never quite understand the people who viewed the US and the USSR as moral equals, or regarded our history as not only indelibly stained but uniquely so. Reading Solzhenitsyn makes it difficult to take seriously the people in this culture who insist that Dissent has been squelched. Brother, you have no idea.
During the funeral of Ronald Reagan, much was said (and rightly so) about the work he did to bring down the evil Soviet empire. But let us not forget that many others, famous and unknown, laid the groundwork for that monumental task, and that the voice of Alexander Solzhenitsyn awakened many of them.

Friday, August 01, 2008

overheard

(updated - read the last postscript below)

three different quotes from three different places:

"they are working away feverishly - at the speed of government!"

"one main problem with child protective services is that they are incapable of distinguishing between abuse and discipline."

"the moral of the story is to not buy a car battery at 2am."

p.s. i wonder if these would be improved if they were said by someone else...

p.p.s. one more: "it's funny when the news puts a question mark in the title of a story. that's like saying "we have no idea what's really going on, but we're reporting it anyway"."

p.p.p.s. they're definitely not improved when spoken by orcs:

"they are workin' away feverishlee - at da speed o' guv'ment!"

"wun main problum wif sprog protectiv servicz izzat they are incapabul o' distinguishin' betweun abuse an discipline. Oww, da bigg wurdz make mi 'ed 'urt!"

"da morul o' da stoary iz ter nub buy a car baddury at 2be."

"s'funny wen da news puts a qweztun mark in da title o' a stoary. datz loike sayin' "weeb ab no idea woss rilly goin' on, but weez reportin' it anyway"."

...at least they don't mail me anything

the rnc made it sad, but imao makes it funny again:
Frank received a letter from the RNC yesterday...

Wednesday Morning

Hey, that's *today's* date (well, it was this morning)! Seriously, what kind of date is "Wednesday Morning"? We get those roughly fifty-two times a year. I'm starting to think they recycle these letters. Dear Mr. J, blah blah blah, ah.

I don't want to believe you've abandoned the Republican Party

I don't want to believe the Republican Party's abandoned me either, but I also didn't want to believe that they killed off Captain America or that Buffy broke up with Spike. Lousy do-gooder.

but I have to ask... Have you given up?

Um, duh? Has any conservative not given up?

Our records show we have not yet received your Republican National Committee membership renewal for the critical 2008 presidential election year.

Presumptive much? Your records should also show you have not yet received our Republican National Committee membership renewal since about 2004, when the Republicans started acting like they didn't win that election and started being like Democrats with the spending and the hating conservatives.

As the Treasurer of the RNC, I know our Party's success depends directly on grassroots leaders like you.

What? The Treasurer wrote this letter? Why don't you just get the RNC Historian to write to us so we know just how important we are?

So I am surprised and concerned especially because I know how generously you supported President Bush and the RNC in the past.

And after that generous support, imagine our surprise when President Bush and the RNC started screwing us every chance they got! (Except lately, with the oil thing, but he should have done that ages ago.)

You helped to advance our vision for America and elect Republicans at all levels of government.

Hey, we accept no credit/blame for anyone but the conservative one. Or two. There are two, right? Please tell me there are two.

Mr. J, I know other things come up, and perhaps you've just been delayed in renewing your membership. If that's the case, I understand.

I hope you also understand that we hate you and would moon you from the back seat if we passed you on the highway.

But we've not heard from you this year -- and I hope you haven't deserted our Party.

Party with a capital P. They're important.

Your generous financial assistance and active involvement are more important than ever as we work to elect a new Republican president and Congress.

But we asked for a conservative president and Congress, not Republican ones. Sorry to nitpick.

There is so much at stake. The Democrats are determined to put a liberal like Barack Obama in the White House,

The Republicans are determined to put a liberal like John McCain in the White House, so your argument would have gone better if you'd called Obama a socialist.

expand their narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, and push our country to the Left [again with the capitals?] with their agenda of high taxes, big government and weakened national security.

Big government and weakened national security. That reminds me of this one time when the president passed every bill the big government Democrats put in front of him and this other time when John McCain decided that sovereign borders have nothing to do with national security. Good times.

Big Labor [dude, relax with the ShifT KEy], radical liberal protest groups and Hollywood elites are planning to spend more than $500 million to defeat Republicans and aid the Democrat power grab.

Oh no! Not the protesters and the actors! The unions do scare me a little, so I won't scoff at them.

Mr. J, the RNC relies on the voluntary support of Republican activists like you.

Frank's an activist? Anyway, you can rely on our voluntary support when you stop being voluntary tools. Begging for money, turn the letter over (it's a two-pager!)... Blah blah blah...

The RNC is also the ONLY Republican organization permitted by federal law to directly support our presidential nominee.

You're proud of this, yes? Proud of the fact that there are laws in place that say who can support nominees and how much they can spend? Oh yes. Your candidate is into that.

If we fail to hold the White House and make gains in Congress, the Democrats have made clear they will overturn every reform you helped President Bush achieve.

If you fail to hold the White House against a breezy empty suit and fail to make gains in a Congress that has a 13% approval rating, then you have only yourselves to blame. And Ron Paul. It's fun to blame him for stuff, because he's crazy. Say, do you think the Democrats will also overturn McCain-Feingold, even though I didn't help President Bush achieve that one?

Democrat presidential candidates and the Reid/Pelosi-run-Congress

Ok, see... you're reminding me how you failed so HARD in 2006 that these two are in charge of the legislature.

have promised to blah blah blah... We cannot allow them to succeed!

Cannot? Or must not/should not? Because I'm pretty sure you can. I believe in you.

That's why your renewed commitment is so important.

You first, dude.

So if you have delayed in renewing your membership because you feel the RNC has let you down, or no longer needs you, please let me know. I want to hear from you.

You do NOT want to hear from me. I promise.

Just include your comments and suggestions with the enclosed Membership Confirmation

LOL. Really? Is the postage prepaid, because the envelope could get pretty heavy.

and return them with your 2008 membership renewal check.

Darnit. Blah blah blah, thank you, signed Mr. Treasurer of the Party.
p.s. while you're at imao, read this one too.