May 02

Southern California Name Contest

Please submit your witty name conflating the current mess in California with Middle-Eastern themes. I am disgusted every time I see millions of people marching in America. Next thing you know, we’ll be rending our garments and ululating over spilt milk, but only when the cameras are on.

Kick-off:

The Calistinian Authority.
Cordobistan.
Hassan Diego.
Iranaheim.
Iraquez.

And so on.

A winner will be selected by my subjective standards, unless I am shouted down by a massive reader outcry. Who says that Snivelry is dead?

AND if anybody think this is racist, ethnist, or any of the rest of that, consider who claims Everything For The Race. Hint: Race is pronounced “Raza” in that motto.

I see very real parallels between on the one hand, the Arab states which prolong the suffering of “Palestinians” and on the other hand, the Mexican Government and its race-baiting American enablers who quite profitably prolong the misery of “Aztlanos”, Mexican workers in America.

[UPDATE] 11MAY2006 Massive Reader Outcry narrowly averted.

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May 01

A Day Without Illegal Immigrants–GREAT!

Today was a great day! My hourly wage TRIPLED, my Federal Taxes were SLASHED, I didn’t have to wait at the health clinic today, and when I got out of there, the bill was a LOT less than what I’m used to paying! To top it all off, my daughter’s reading level went up by a WHOLE GRADE overnight, because her class had not been held back for years by children in families who refuse to assimilate but stumble along with Spanglish instead. Can I please have EVERYDAY without illegal immigrants?

Sincerely,

The American Worker

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May 01

Communist May Day Celebrated by Millions in American Cities

Never mind the actual issue most Americans are considering; illegal immigration. Put that aside for a moment and look instead at something in the background of Today’s events. Real Power.

The demonstrations, scheduled for the first day of May, are a show of force by the still very healthy international Communists. Through groups like International A.N.S.W.E.R., the global Communist movement captures the energy of any center-to-left political faction and perverts it for the purposes of the Communists.

Why on earth would a protest about illegal immigration from Mexico be held on May first, when the fifth of May is so close? May fifth in Spanish is Cinco de Mayo, which is Mexican Independence Day. It would make much more sense for millions of people from Mexico to take the fifth as a holiday. Why would they march on the first instead?

May first is the biggest holiday of the Communist faith. It is Christmas and Hanukkah combined, and in Communist countries, there is a month-long Ramadan of feverish factory activity which consumes most of April, in preparation for “May Day”, the holiday dedicated to Workers of the World. April is marked by much exhortation of the proletariat to ever-greater production, in order to have something to celebrate on May Day. Hallelujah, Comrade.

This scheduling detail regarding the first vice the fifth of May is a show of force by the Communists who run the “incubators” of supposedly grassroots movements. The very name “Common Cause” admits the co-optive nature of that organization. The “answer” in “International A.N.S.W.E.R” stands for “Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. This is a clear example of casting a wide net in order to claim a common cause.

In what I could call Phase I of the (New, Post-Soviet) COMINTERN American Operation, these incubators contact other movements and provide training and financial support. Somebody dispute me on this. The smaller movements are invited to join massive marches to show Solidarity, demonstrate Common Cause, and enjoy the publicity benefits which smaller events will not bring.

But notice that whenever a massive protest is held in America, there always seems to be an uninvited guest: Communism. Of course, the Commies are welcome at any table set by the American Left, but when was the last time you saw Communism or its financial underpinning Socialism mentioned in the publicity for any of these events? Gold Star Mothers for Peace and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat–and the Destruction of Israel. A Day Without Immigrants, or Jews for that matter, you Zio-Capitalist Pigs.

A year ago, I would have confidently surmised that we would never see Communist or Socialist sentiment expressed openly in the publicity surrounding a demonstration or other sort of mass event. Rally, even. Now however, I am grateful I said no such thing, for I feel quite certain that we will see the International Communist movement switch smoothly into Phase II of the American Operation–manifestly Communist demonstrations, and I give it one year from the date of this blog post.

We are winning the battle in Iraq, and we are losing the war at home.

Today’s marches in various cities are a show of force. This is a demonstration that leadership of these organizations large and small are either populated or controlled by Communists to such a degree that they can move millions of Mexicans to stay away from work on May Day, but work straight through Cinco de Mayo.

That is real power.

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Apr 30

Remember Rolling Blackouts? Iran Does.

Here’s a letter I wrote to the stalwart stock at POWERLINEBLOG:

Sir,

I have not seen mentioned *anywhere* the logical connection between California’s electricity woes of a few years ago, and our current oil price misery.

The problem in California was that after the *insufficient* deregulation of the power industry, power providers wound up with a cap on prices, while consumers had (therefore) no cap on consumption. The supply side, which can do basic math, stopped investing and reduced operations to perfunctory, mandated, caretaker tasks, while the demand side chugged an ever-larger draught until the taps were dry, barback unseen and not coming soon.

If this Republican administration and Republican Congress deal with oil in the same pandering, bite-the-hand-which-feeds way that California “dealt with” electricity years ago, the results will be much the same, with the added specter of Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s replacement all rubbing their hands with glee as they carve up the remnants of our crippled economy.

This treatment is precisely what I see coming when I hear opportunistic House Reps and Bush Admin. types begin to take up the cudgel of wanking against an American industry whose profits, as a percentage, are lower than the average for all American industries. Some facts would help.

Thank you,

Haakon B. Dahl
LT USNR

Yokohama, Japan

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Apr 20

Howard Dean tips the Liberal Hand–First Amendment be Damned

In a surprise move, the DNC has begun its attack on the First Amendment before it has finished destroying the Second. This is, of course a grave strategic mistake. Adherents of the “anti-tyranny” reading of the Second Amendment could hardly have been given a greater gift than Howard Dean’s attack on the First Amendment. Read on to gain the full “chilling effect”!

On April 20th, 2006, at the Christian Science Monitor’s Monitor Breakfast, Howard Dean said “The religious community has to decide whether they want to be tax exempt or involved in politics.” Here is part of the description of that Breakfast, from the Christian Science Monitor’s website: “The Monitor Breakfast is a simple concept: bring journalists and public officials together over bacon and eggs for an in-depth, spirited discussion of the latest issues.”

Howard Dean is wrong about the religious community and its rights and obligations under our Constitution, and he is more wrong about this than he usually is about most things, which is noteworthy. Is there any way to interpret his statement other than as a threat? “If you are involved in politics, we are going to pull your tax-exempt status; your choice.” Briefly, he could properly have said: “The religious community has to decide whether they want to be tax exempt or involved in earning a profit,” or he could have said “The religious community has to decide whether they want to be involved in politics or in earning a profit.”

This is a shamelessly transparent threat to the religious side of the right, from the irreligious side of the left. Obviously, it is in the Democrat Party’s interest if church-going, God-fearing people stay home on election day, and keep quiet until then. The problem is that he is trying to use a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists to trump the United States Constitution. What’s more, he doesn’t understand the letter in the first place.

Here is the relevant passage from Jefferson’s famed 1802 Letter to the Danbury Baptists:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State”

Notice that this recitation of the two church/state clauses refers only to State actions impact upon churches. Would not a threat to revoke tax-exempt status in retaliation for political activity directly conflict with the second of the church/state clauses? Does it not prohibit the free exercise thereof?

Here is the “wall” phrase used by Jefferson once more, in a similar letter, to “the Virginia Baptists”. This 1808 example is less well-known:

“Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.
“We have solved … the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.”

No wonder this example is less well-known. It develops in greater depth the anti-government-meddling thrust of the separation, and since it is Democrats who triumphantly wave the Danbury letter around as if it were tickets to a Whoopi Goldberg filth concert, we can fairly expect them to leave this clearer version by the wayside. It clarifies that the threat is of government preventing the free exercise of speech and especially, religion or the lack thereof, through the establisment of a church/State entity. Again, the threat latent in church/state entanglement is that the government establishes, “supports”, or “forces [the] views [of]” a church on persons of other faiths, or on persons of no faith.

At no time is the Constitution or Thomas Jefferson fearful that the political actions of church-going people will cause the destruction of the Union. The converse is the threat; that religious actions of the State will cause the destruction of the people.

As the Chairman of the Democrat Party, Howard Dean could be expected, between jam and biscuits, to attempt to discourage the religious right from going to the polls or from speaking up about right and wrong in politics. Yet even if his quite anti-Constitutional threat had been veiled, would it not constitute a “chilling effect” against the exercise of free speech, which is quite clearly protected, and especially against free religious speech, which is specifically and explicitly protected not once but twice? He is actually threatening to use the power of government to curtail the political activity of conservatives. This not only clarifies the preference of the Democrat Party for cherry-picking laws, judges, and amendments, as well as sources to govern all of the above, it also demonstrates a breath-taking advance of their anti-Constitutional agenda. Truly, I seek a better term to describe it, but there it is. And yet the threat is not veiled! “You shut those churches up or we’ll hit you in the pocketbook!”

How much simpler is it to understand that the framers of the Constitution believed that individual rights were sovereign in Man, and that the greatest threat to that self-determination was government tyranny, than to accept the penumbrae, the aurae, the emanations of legal decisions designed to protect the “rights” of groups at the expense of individuals? There are no groups mentioned in the Bill of Rights. Every enumerated or implied right resides in an individual. The liberal left has never “understood” this when that misunderstanding afforded them an opportunity to chip away at rights they do not like, such as that guaranteed by the Second Amendment. And in issuing threats which restrict the Free Exercise of religion, they have come now for the First Amendment. Welcome to the foreshadow of Government Tyranny.

Perhaps Mister Dean could be persuaded to put down his croissant long enough to step to the window. He would see the real face of America, armed by the Second Amendment to preserve the First. That’s why we have a Second Amendment.

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Apr 18

Bedrock Principles

No philosophy makes any sense without reference to basic principles. Here are mine:

Individual Rights are the only rights which exist.
The very idea of collective or group rights is in conflict with the idea of individual rights. The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain enumerated rights to Americans without prejudicing unmentioned rights.

The Constitution is the source document for all law in America.
No law contrary to the Constitution is a law. No other document (or worse, undocumented idea) is equal in stature to the Constitution. Rights do not flow from the Constitution, but pass through it to us from a higher source. The higher source is unassailable by any law.

Islam is manifestly incompatible with democracy and is therefore hostile to the United States. This does not make individual Muslims guilty of supporting terrorism.

Personal responsibility is the preferred means to address societal ills.
Market principles should govern wherever possible. Free-Market operations should be regulated by government only to prevent long-lasting and otherwise unstoppable abuses. Other lesser abuses will be taken care of by market forces.
The Death penalty increases the value of life through market principles. It sets a high price on murder, which addresses the problem from a standpoint of personal responsibility.

Other points…

Military Officers, Government Officials, and corporate “whistle-blowers” should be willing to resign or face termination for speaking up. Otherwise, one can hardly be said to have taken a stand. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have no credibility because they assume no personal risk–Martin Luther King jr garnered enormous credibility by accepting jail time and putting himself at great personal risk.

Iraq was a threat of many types, and more valid reasons existed to invade than could possbily be listed on an evening news show. The invasion was right.

The war on terrorism will last a long time.

People like Donna Brazile and NM Gov Bill Richardson are saying that the US can no longer “outsource the negotiations” with Iran to the UN and the IAEA, and that we need to “engage” the Iranians directly. This is madness. First, I’ll explain what they are talking about. They are talking about allowing Iran to win by bringing the US into fruitless talks which make the problem appear as a tiff between a hegemonist US and the poor, oppressed Iranians.
No, the US is doing exactly the right thing. Let the hot-air flow freely from its masters at the UN and the frankly complicit IAEA. This talk of sanctions and other ineffective measures is the good cop, while the US plays bad cop. Deal with the UN, or get slapped down by the US.

building a wall on the southern border is not “sealing the border” or any of the rest of that. It just requires people to come through our welcoming doors and sign the guest book, not crash through the damned walls and pour in the windows.

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Apr 11

Global Warming is Hot Air

This is the lead paragraph of a calmly-written, scientific-toned opinion piece by Bob Carter of the Daily Telegraph:

For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

This is a great read, and the sort of cautious but backed-up-by-facts discourse I expect in scientific reading. Contrast this with the death shrieks which usually accompany public statements on the fiction of Global Warming.

The article is long on facts and short on the eyes, so it won’t take you too long to come away with a consistent set of arguments for or against your own position. Of course, the whole popint of a scientific point of view is to change your mind when confronted with overwhelming evidence. Let’s see what the so-called scientists in the Global Warming industry do with this information.

Here are two more paragraphs from close to the end of the article which touch on something I said about a year ago. The paragraphs:

The British Government urgently needs to recast the sources from which it draws its climate advice. The shrill alarmism of its public advisers, and the often eco-fundamentalist policy initiatives that bubble up from the depths of the Civil Service, have all long since been detached from science reality. Intern-ationally, the IPCC is a deeply flawed organisation, as acknowledged in a recent House of Lords report, and the Kyoto Protocol has proved a costly flop. Clearly, the wrong horses have been backed.

As mooted recently by Tony Blair, perhaps the time has come for Britain to join instead the new Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6), whose six member countries are committed to the development of new technologies to improve environmental outcomes. There, at least, some real solutions are likely to emerge for improving energy efficiency and reducing pollution.

Er, I’m still looking through my e-mail for a dimly remembered post about Kyoto and CO2 vs the AP6 and the real contributions made by mankind to any heating of the climate. Meanwhile, here’s what I said in a comment at the no oil for pacifists blog:

I agree with you that most of the global warming bunk we hear is the product of an almost religious belief system. The only scientific cycle proven so far is the positive feedback loop between global warming research funds and results which call for funding further global warming research.

If you check the link to my article there, you will see that I tried to convince the “natural cycles” author of the original post that he had misinterpreted data to support the “our” side of the argument. Even when forced to argue against my own point, I will stand up to say that one has misinterpreted (or worse, cherry-picked) data to make a point with which I agree.

My exasperated sister once took me to task for something I said by telling me, “Next thing we know, you’ll be talking about the “so-called global warming!” Well, at the time, I let it go, because she is after all, my sister. But she was right about my point of view. Global Warming should always be underlined and capitalized, for it is the title of a work of fiction.

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Apr 10

Death, Part II–a rough draft

VERY ROUGH DRAFT:
Comments welcome.

In my Defense of the Death Penalty, one of the key points is that the value of life is set in a market, not as an absloute. It may be an absolute to you that every life is precious, and frankly, I appreciate your upward contribution to the aggregate value, but there are people who do not hold so refreshing a view as yours. To some, the value of your life is to be measured against, say, the value of that wristwatch of yours, as modified by your ability to deny its possession. In this way, perhaps the Buddhists are correct, in that the value of your worldly wealth is subtracted from the value of your life (this is a gross simplification, and I hope any Buddhist reader would offer a beter phrasing).

This marketplace for the value of life has many implications, and we turn now from the microeconomics of mugging and self-defense to the macroeconomics of war and collective defense. Of course there is a middle ground which is approached from the micro- side through the effecvt of laws such as capital punishment and its upward contribution to the value of each individual life through by modifying downward the potential value of any goods gained through taking that life–the threat of payment in kind. This sort of middle ground, the interplay between large and small scale effects in questions of life and death of individuals and groups, can also be approached from the macroeconomic side by looking at war, rules of war, and conduct of individuals in wartime. An esential feture of markets is that they offer differing products, so we will let the valuse of lives adjust to local market conditions and prevailing sector values–think of a black man’s life in Mississippi in 1820, a Baptist minister’s in Saudi Arabia today, or an outspoken student journalist in Tiananmen Square, China in 1989. Some factors are global, some are local, some are categorical, and some are due to individual action. It is not racist, classist, or anything-else-ist for us to point out thse functions of a market.

Suicide atacks are generally frowned upon, and typically seen to be less effective than conventional attacks, except in rare circumstances. This is the key to understanding how war has changed, and why the Long War will be, well, long, and why it won’t look liie any progress is being made, when in fact your continued existence should be taken as proof positive that we are winning–that is what it means to be playing defense–get used to it.

What has changed is that the sxtenuatuing circumstances whoch would justify suicie attacks were hostorically lilmited to short-term situations. Japan near the end of World War II was hopelessly overmatched, yet for complex reasons would not syurrender. Part of it was simple stubborn/honor-based notions of the meaning of surrender, some of it was realist fear of retribtib not rom the victor, bt from the victor’s associstes (China, Korea, the rest of Aisa–one could argue the America’s presence in Japan over the last 60 years jas been as much to protectr japan from asian retributuon as much as to support operations against COmmunism. I just may argue that later), and some of it was due to the agonizing sloth of bureaucrqatic politics the likes of which are rarely seen in the West.

This put Japan in the position of fighting a conventional war that they could not win, and they could not stop fighting. This desperation led to eserate tactics, the real result of which was to increase the cost of each attack the Japanese attempted. There were successful aspects of the widespread adoption of the tactic, functioning as a portable minefield–it won’t wipe out the American attacker (since Japan was by this time now on the defense), but it would make the advance so painful and dangerous that the Americans were foced to slow down and consolidate before each step forward, and hunker down while consolidating.

But the increased cost of each suicide attack, whereby it used to take a bomb for each attack and the risk of a pilot and plane, but now it takes a pilot and plane, and don’t even count the cost of the bomb, meant that the suicide attack, as a tactic employed by a state fighting a conventioal war was limited in time–it was only an end-game tactic, to somehow have an upward influence on the potential outcome–perhaps the Americans can be persuaded not to invade–perhaps they can be sued for peace (incongruous with the refusal to surrender, but not unthinkable given rapidly changing circumstances)–perhaps we can hurt them eough that they back off and we ratake the offensive. Whatever the hoped-for effect, it was a temporary tactic. As a nation, japan expected Victory or Death, and was guaranteed one or the other if they refused to surrender.

There as been much talk recently about the effectiveness of suicide tactics, and te motivation of people at an individual level. I will be quick to point tout that any fghting man, or any threatened mother, for that matter, can be persuaded to engage in a suicide attack. In the market of human lives, sometime’s even one’s own highest price is met by the bidder–be it an enemy soldier with a grenade in your tent, or a bear menacing wither you or your children. So for the rest of this discussion, I will not address suicide attacks as a pathology of the individual, but as a rational choice made by individuals. The pathology comes in when suicide attacks are embraced as a society, or a force.

In April 2006, three bombs went off at a crowded Mosque in Najaf. Two, and perhaps all three were attached to suicide atackers. The tactics were impressive. This particular mosque was heavily guarded, so the first bomb was blown close to but well outside of the compound. In the ensuing panic, the protion of the corwd closest to the mosque ran into the compund and into the mosque, and thw more suicide bombers infiltrated by simply mixing with that crowd.

The bombers did not need to overwhelm mosque security–they let the panicked crowd do that for them. Cost, one suicide bomber, and don’t worry about the cost of the bomb. It would likely have cost more attacking lives to overwhelm the security forces in a conventional fight, say a gun battle, than the suicide attack did. The difference is that the single suicide attacker was guaranteed to die, whereas each individual in a squad has only a risk of dying. No matter how hopeless the attack, each given attacker could potentially survive a conventional attack. This is of course not the case when you blow your own vest.

The rest is fairly straightforward; the remaining attackers rushed in and blew their vests at different locations. The attackers took down an entire mosque, killed 79 innocents and wounded presumably twice that number, and all on the third aniversary of the fall of the famous statue of Saddam. You know, that one.

In cost/benefit terms, this operation was a success. For that matter, so have most of these suicide attacks. One reason is that they are targeting soft targets. Another is that their opponent has not yet begin fighting as if this were a war of survival. America is still fighting this war as a side job.

If suicide attacks are so sucessful, why are they not used more often? The attacks are successful on the microeconomic scale, ut on the macro- scale, something else happens. The average value of all lives on the suicide bomber’s side goes down. If Americans manning checkpoints feel ever more threatened by jihadi bombers, then the Americans have ever less resistance to shooting suspect pedestrians and speeding cars when too close to the checkpoint. Again, in this arena with a lowered value on the life of people behaving oddly near checkpoints, an individual lowers the value of his wn life considr=erably by speeding toward a checkpoint, or by walking across the road several times on the approach.

There is a restoring function, however. When the value of lives is lowered, people are by definition exposed to more risk. On a macro-scale, people will tend to resist this, but only if the market is allowed to functiuon. If oqdinary Iraqi begin to fear the Americans in their neighborhoods because thy know the jihadis, who are indistinguishable from ordinary Iraqis unitl it is potentially too late, are making the AMericns nervous, then the ordinary Iraqis do not want the jihadis around. The actual mechanism here is arguable however–perhaps the ordinary Iraqis can more easily persuade the Americans to leave than persuade the jihadis to stop. Tye key to this one, then, is community syupport. If the jihadis have no community suport, then they will be easier to convice to stop or leave, but uif they are supported, it is easier to get the Americans to leave. Likewise American support. This is what is meant by “hearts and minds”. Americans distributing chocolate is not short-sighted appeasement any more than restoring the power grid, or on that metter overthrowing Saddam was. Everything is designed to show the raqi people that tey are better off with American influence and friendship than without it–that we, and the welcoming community of nations have more to offer than the dead hand of jihad.

One reason the market has functioned less well thatn we would like is that we have hobnbled the restoring function, and for two reasons–one good and one bad. The good reason for hobbling the restoring function is that it depends upon ordinary Iraqis being afrad iof the consequences of AMericans feeling threatened in the neighborhoods of Iraq. This means allowing American forces’ own fear to dictate that they shoot first and ask questions later, wiping out Iraqis as they see fit. Clearly, this is wrong, and we’re not going to do it. It is therefore a good reason not to allow the market to run free.

On the other hand, if Americans were more serious about this war, we would be standing up in other arenas where we are currently, well, lying down. Abdul Rahman. Danish Cartoons. CAIR. Border security. These are all literlally life-and-0death issues where the official, and popular American position has been a big shrug. If we fought in these areas as if our lives depended upon it, we would see fewer suicide bombings, including those like the 9/11, 3/11 and 7/7 attacks, in the long run. Unfortunately, in the Long War, the long run is a hard sell in the short term, and it is the here and now where the jihdis are winning the battles for the long term.

America does not yet feel threatened enough to behave in a market-dictated fashion. It is as if the cost of raw materials started to soar, but one manufacturer stubbornly refused to adjust prices or output. It won’t matter how much market share he captures if all he can do with it is sell at a loss–it looks like a short term winner, but it is death in the long term.

There is an argument that America is responsible for creating the suicide bombers. Technicallym this is correct, but not in the way “people” like disgraced former professor Ward Churchill think.

The Japanese kamikaze atacks were our creation as well. We were winning that war so undeniably, so completely, that they gave up on the conventional war–that is, after all, the only way to get people to kill themselves for a goal–leave them no other hope. As several observers on both sides of the war said before it even began, American production, as brought to the Pacific by the heroism of the American military, overwhelmed Japan so staggeringly that for the first time in two thousand years, they wondered in a very real and short-term sense if their nation would survive. That does things to people. The individual perception of self-worth in the long term goes to zero if the short-term is a disaster, and this person is now willing to die for an ideal. Note that this statement also applies to the grenade in the tent scenario, the bear between you and your children scenarion, and it also applies to people living in a society which offers as little to its own as political Islam does.

The world of Islam is a billion people who during the twentieth century slid into eligibility for “martyrdom operations”. The West went from horses to Segways, and from kites to Lunar landings in the same period of time that political Islam went from camels to camels, except where oil and the money of the West was involved. That billion people have accomplished absolutely nothing in the last hundred years, except in their sole area of success, where they have been sucessfully prostituted by their own ruling class to people who don’t even pray five times a day, and this is *still* not how America has created the suicide bombers–this is just the precondition.

Duruing the same hundred years, America and the West have developd more and more sophisticated methods of warfare, enabling on the micro- scale, one person to kill many more than before. When stated this way, it sounds like insanity. But on a macroeconomic scale, this causes fewer casualties total, because killing people was never the point; control is the point, and if a small force can sucessfully threaten a larger one, then they need not be killed if they can be controlled. Tis is crucial–the increase in the lethality of modern weapons in the twentieht century has resulted in fewer and fewer deathcs and cansualties.

The problem is that the West and the Communist bloc and all of their client states were playing the same game–conventioanl war, sometimes with the strategic deterrents to conventional war thrown in. The big problme now is that the forces of jihad are not state-based, cannot fight a conventioal war, and cannot even move from their hut to a car outside without being seen by airborn thermal imaging. Tey can only aproack by blending into crowds, and they can only attack by suicide. If America were fighting this war with the weapons of World War II, the jihadis would be figthing in armies, because it would pffer some hope of at least affecting our position. Perhpas they would never win a war by squads, but they could accomplsh their goals of influencing our policy. Against the awesome technology we now employ, there is no hope of even getting our attention without blowing themselves up to do it, and there are a limited number of ways that this will change.

One is the Iranian bomb. [discuss]

One is America fighting this as if it mattered. [discuss]

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Apr 06

My conversation with Tom Head, Civil Liberties Guide at ABOUT.COM

[See UPDATES below]

This is a conversation I had with one of the “Guides” at about.com. I don’t use about very often; I used to and then they seemed to get taken over by sponsored posts; perhaps I just noticed it as I became more discerning or less patient with interfudge. So now when I want to know how stuff works, well, I got to howstuffworks.com. But I came across this article doing research for a LGF post.
I took exception to the race-baiting American-Communistic-Liberals-Union Kumbayah-singing tone of his article, and he countered my jackbooted oppressive baby-killing arguments. It was great!

In the first numbered comment, I complain soundly about inaccuracies in the article:
1. Your article is a BREATHTAKING snow job, from the headline to the last line. Don’t you owe people who even bother to look at your site the honesty of telling the truth? How can you begin to claim that you care about Civil Liberties when what you post in place of factual explanations is fatuous puff-pieces, heavy with the burden of egregious exaggerations and outright falsehoods?
She was not accosted for a hairstyle, except in National-Enquirer-Headline-Writer-land. Refusal to identify herself to the very people whose sole employment is to protect her does not constitute “civil disobedience”. The one constant thread connecting every definition of Civil Disobedience which I have ever read or heard of is that the practitioner intend to get caught and accepts whatever punishment may result. She obviously fails this test, and in the very first sentence your article fails an honesty check.
Moving on to the second sentence, you conflate the lapel pin with a nametag. Most members of Congress don’t wear their nametags but they do wear their lapel pins. You finally let the other shoe drop on this halfway through the second paragraph; far enough that the connection is hard to see, and the truth effectively obscured. To say that you are lying requires only a trivial amount of interpretation, whereas to say that you are telling the truth requires a fantastic suspension of critical faculty.
You continue on this manner throughout the article, even finishing on an apallingly dishonest note: Rep. Cynthia McKinney was never “vindicated” of accusing President Bush of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks, and she only “reclaimed her seat” when it was vacated by the incumbent for a failed candidacy elsewhere.
I challenge you to respond to even the first of my arguments; I challenge you to back up your claim that her nametag and lapel pin lawlessness constitutes Civil Disobedience. And I expect you to do so fully versed in the finer points of Civil Liberties, rather than DNC talking points.

Haakon Dahl
revwatch.blogspot.com

Comment by Haakon Dahl — April 4, 2006 @ 4:21 am
2. Nice try. You wouldn’t know the truth if it jumped up and bit you on the ass
Comment by Chip D. — April 4, 2006 @ 10:00 am
3. Haakon Dahl writes:

Your article is a BREATHTAKING snow job, from the headline to the last line. Don’t you owe people who even bother to look at your site the honesty of telling the truth? How can you begin to claim that you care about Civil Liberties when what you post in place of factual explanations is fatuous puff-pieces, heavy with the burden of egregious exaggerations and outright falsehoods?

Good morning to you, too!

The one constant thread connecting every definition of Civil Disobedience which I have ever read or heard of is that the practitioner intend to get caught and accepts whatever punishment may result.

If they’re forced to, yes. If they’re not forced to, no.
McKinney has been detained on five different occasions for refusing to wear a lapel pin. That indicates to me that this is a case of civil disobedience, not forgetfulness.

Moving on to the second sentence, you conflate the lapel pin with a nametag.

You know, you’re right about this part; my wording is unclear. I’ll correct the article to reflect this.

To say that you are lying requires only a trivial amount of interpretation, whereas to say that you are telling the truth requires a fantastic suspension of critical faculty.

I’ve read that sentence twice, and I still can’t tell whether it’s a criticism or a compliment.

You continue on this manner throughout the article, even finishing on an apallingly dishonest note: Rep. Cynthia McKinney was never “vindicated” of accusing President Bush of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks, and she only “reclaimed her seat” when it was vacated by the incumbent for a failed candidacy elsewhere.

So let me get this straight: You think she won her seat back in a majority-white Georgia district without being vindicated? Come on, chief, we both know that’s not how it works. If she said what she had been accused of saying, her political career would have been over in Georgia. Finished. Done.

I challenge you to respond to even the first of my arguments; I challenge you to back up your claim that her nametag and lapel pin lawlessness constitutes Civil Disobedience. And I expect you to do so fully versed in the finer points of Civil Liberties, rather than DNC talking points.

I’m not very well versed in DNC talking points, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to rely on you to tell me how much I do or don’t conform to them. But I make no apologies for being serious about the very real problem of racial profiling in this country.

Cheers,

TH

Comment by civilliberty — April 4, 2006 @ 2:23 pm
4. Good Morning to you as well! Let’s get right to it:

If they’re forced to, yes. If they’re not forced to, no.

This makes no sense. You cannot claim any willingness when you are forced to do something. Willingniess to get caught and accept consequences is a hallmark of Civil Disobedience. If you disagree with this, then you are talking about something else and calling it Civil Disobedience. If you must be forced to do something, then you cannot say that you had any willingness. What you are talking about does not therefore meet the test for Civil Disobedience. It is merely a lawlessness of convenience, with a flimsy excuse tacked on after the fact.

McKinney has been detained on five different occasions for refusing to wear a lapel pin. That indicates to me that this is a case of civil disobedience, not forgetfulness.

So what? Many people have been arrested multiple times for repeat crimes. They are in JAIL. They are called repeat offenders. I never said she was forgetful. I said she was breaking the law.

I’ll correct the article to reflect this.

Fair enough!

…criticism or a compliment…

Most people consider lying less-than-praiseworthy.

If she said what she had been accused of saying…

Here is a selection from Rep. McKinney’s remarks on September 14, 2002, at the reception for the Congressional Black Caucus. If you can see the difference between Martin Luther King’s Civil Disobedience and the actions of, say, a guy who speeds through “opressive” red lights, then I submit that you can see the difference between actual questions and accusations couched as questions:

Cynthia McKinney: Goodbye to All That
“And after I’ve asked the tough questions, here’s what we now know:
* That President Bush was warned … [moonbat quote snipped; includes stock market, crawford, Ashcroft conspiracies] …the attacks.”

So on at least one instance, she really did “say what she had been accused of saying.”
I thank you for your response, and look forward to continuing this conversation. I’ll post it at my blog as well, but when I have more time. I would like you to consider this, however: If you are truly serious about the problem of racal profiling in ths country, you will not allow the issue to be kidnapped by the likes of Rep. Cynthia McKinney, to function as a weak sister for responsibility. She was wrong not to show ID, she was wrong to slug the cop, and she was wrong to desecrate the memories of those who have suffered and even died for non-violent resistance in order to, essentially, try to beat a ticket.
You Civil Liberties types should be throwing your shoes at the TV in disgust for what this miserable hate-monger is doing to you.
Comment by Haakon Dahl — April 4, 2006 @ 8:14 pm
5. Haakon Dahl writes:

This makes no sense. You cannot claim any willingness when you are forced to do something. Willingness to get caught and accept consequences is a hallmark of Civil Disobedience.

Willingness to get caught is part of it, but fighting the laws after you’re caught, petitioning for jury nullification, and so forth doesn’t alter the original act of civil disobedience. If it did, the history of the civil rights movement would look a lot different.
Civil disobedience is at its core a challenge: “Are you really going to do this?” If the answer is “no,” then the establishment blinked and the strategy worked.

So on at least one instance, she really did “say what she had been accused of saying.”

At no point did she say that the Bush administration ordered, or was complicit in, the 9/11 attacks. She was making a forceful case for further investigation, which did in fact eventually happen.

She was wrong not to show ID, she was wrong to slug the cop,

Actually, my understanding is that she swatted his most likely kevlar-protected chest with the back of the same hand she was carrying her cell phone in. Unless she’s a third-degree black belt, that really comes across as more of a reflexive act than a violent one.

and she was wrong to desecrate the memories of those who have suffered and even died for non-violent resistance in order to, essentially, try to beat a ticket.

The same could be said, and frequently is said, of virtually anyone who stands up to the police in similar cases. I can only admire the courage of people who are willing to face criminal charges to prove a point.
McKinney isn’t an idiot. She could have worn her lapel pin at any time if she wanted to. This was a calculated expose of racial profiling by the Capitol Police, and it did the job beautifully.

Cheers,

TH

Comment by civilliberty — April 5, 2006 @ 12:28 am
6. Well, MR. H., we probably won’t see eye to eye, but thank you for responding; I appreciate you taking the time to argue with the rabble. Of course, you can’t argue the same post forever, so I will close with just one point:
If it is true that as you say, “This was a calculated expose of racial profiling…”, then why was the following quote her first statement, posted on her own website?

“I know that Capitol Hill Police are securing our safety, and I appreciate the work that they do. I have demonstrated my support for them in the past and I continue to support them now…”

These are not the words of a champion of civil liberties embarking upon the next phase of a campaign of Civil Disobedience. She was not challenging anything–she was trying to wriggle off the hook until smarter people suggested offense as the best defense.

Take Care,

Haakon B. Dahl

The Civil Disobedience angle is an ex post facto rationalization of lawlessness.*

Comment by Haakon Dahl — April 5, 2006 @ 8:40 am
7. Was that a terrorist suicide vest the officer thought she was wearing, or is she gaining weight from christian leader donations?
Another mislead spoiled child taught that it is okay to misbehave because you are black.
Thank you rainbow coalition for the advertising that you so kindly twisted the arm of corporate America to support a minority group of black “religious” leaders that purport to represent a vast majority of well educated, well behaved black people who have willingly, lovingly, patriotically, spiritually, immersed themselves into the american society that cares not what their color is. I can only dislike the racist individuals of all colors that whine, whine, whine, they are uneducated, ineffectual intellectual wanabees.

Comment by dpete — April 5, 2006 @ 9:34 am
8.Haakon,
Thanks for challenging me on this. I think you’ve just demonstrated a significant benefit of the Comments feature: It holds Guides accountable for their writing. In this case, I believe I’m right–but it’s nice to know I’ll need to be ready to make my case.
I suspect McKinney’s quote was her way of skirting the problem of attacking the Capitol Police as a whole, who for the most part do an amazing and largely thankless job. To highlight racial profiling is not to say that police officers, even the specific police officers who are guilty of the practice, are monsters. Racial profiling is easy to do. I’d go so far as to say that everyone, inevitably, ends up doing it in some way, at some time. But it still needs to be highlighted, and the only real way it can be is for well-known black folks to specifically make themselves vulnerable to it. That shocks the system. I’m not sure that many people realy care about racial profiling in the abstract, but when it affects the life of a known person, it opens a lot of eyes.

Cheers,

TH

Comment by civilliberty — April 5, 2006 @ 12:58 pm


And that was the conversation.

I can’t describe how pleasant it is to have a civil conversation with somebody online who is from the other side. I left in the comments from other folks att #2 and #7, which were in a way aligned for and against as well.
Anyway, as Mr. Head himself says, it is good for all concerned if readers write in to the online authors who post something disagreeable to those readers. It helps keep the authors honest, and it refines the opinions of both persons in the argument.
Your mind is the only tool which becomes sharper with heavy use.

[UPDATE] 07APR2006: Now that Rep. Cynthia McKinney has pretended to apologize, I really want to go follow up on this conversation. Can’t find the article anymore! Ugh.

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