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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

A quick nod to propriety.

In this thread on Jay Reding's site, I had my usual ad hominem-dodging political debate regarding the use of MoveOn.org's controversial ads which essentially equated President Bush with Hitler, which I covered myself here. In the process of wielding my Cluebat, I managed to endorse the idea of the Republican party machinery in general, and the Bush campaign in particular, throwing some support to Ralph Nader's campaign in Oregon. Well, what do I see today but this article on Newsmax. Now, before someone decries me as a mouth-breathing hypocrite who smells bad and is mean to small animals let me make one thing perfectly clear: I have no problem with Bush's campaign or any other Packs trying to boost Nader's stock price through legally and otherwise ethically acceptable means. However, if any of these people committed any legal or ethical transgressions in the course of their activities, they should be punished to the extent called for under law and any other applicable guidlines. That sort of behavior simply cannot be tolerated or otherwise condoned. To analogize, just because I don't criticize driving in general dosen't mean I'd countenance someone stealing a car and taking it out for a joyride while blindfolded, drunk, and unlicensed.

Let this serve as a SCOSU* for barking moonbats, and a friendly FYI for all others.

* Steaming cup of shut up.


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

A silly body presents some seriously good news.

Perhaps only in our current social social climate could a report that US and allied operations have crippled al-Qaeda's abilities and throttled its resources be at once be painfully obvious, absent from mainstream media coverage, and still be disappointing on account of the source conveying it. That's because these conclusions are stated in Staff Statement No. 15 of the September 11 Commission, as per the Newsmax.com article cited above. And it's no mistake that, while this story showed up at Newsmax, I've not seen or heard it being covered elsewhere; it lacks that mainstream media appeal.

One of my buddies at work pointed this out to me and Bronson Yake to get our opinion on it. As I stated above, I'm in no way surprised at the findings in the statement. We've all read, viewed, and listened to disparate news stories about terrorists killed in military actions, and terrorist finances under scrutiny and attack by the US and allied nations. Sometimes the mainstream media slip and actually report a piece of good news coming out of the Terror War, but they've not really reported these developments as a coherent whole, since it dosen't reflect badly on the current US administration in general, and President Bush in particular. It dosen't fit with the media-accepted (and conflicting) storylines of America (and Bush) as ruthless oil-drunk conquistador, and as clueless and hamfisted foreign-policy bungler.

Every terrorist killed by US and allied forces is an asset lost to al-Qaeda and its fellow travelers, and fear of being captured or killed has driven many of the terrorists left to expend energies on hiding and evasion which could otherwise have been spent on planning and executing terroristic acts. Our financial efforts have made it much harder for terrorists to fund their operations than before. Fleeing or impoverished terrorists are weakened and distracted terrorists, and nothing beats the drop in effectiveness experienced by terrorists after they've been killed. All of this is good news.

It should also come as no great shock that, coming in a statement from the September 11 Commission, such good news is strangely disappointing. The assortment of political has-beens sitting on the Commission, in grandstanding to boost their egos, cover Bill Clinton's backside, or counterattack the Clinton bottom-coverers, probably fated the Commission to be, in the words of William Shakespeare, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" from the outset.

I don't doubt Commission Staff Statement No. 15, but I think it's a sober, reasoned statement issued from a generally ridiculous body, and doomed to fall on the deaf ears and blind eyes of the mainstream media. Still, it is a bit of good news all the same, providing a bit of balance to the daily onslaught of unbalanced gloom and doom, so I'll just take it as it is and be grateful for it.

UPDATE: Bronson Yake's comment on the same issue is here. Bronson also reiterated to me that this is a Commission staff report, not a report prepared by the the Commissioners themselves. True enough, but it has the imprimatur of the Commission all the same, which gives the otherwise sparkling news in it a tarnish of disappointment.


Sunday, June 27, 2004

From new WMD finds in Iraq to the news media, Eric Hoffer explains it all for you.

Via Donald Sensing comes this collection of links and commentary regarding new finds of chemical weapons shells in Iraq. From the Washington Times article Donald cites, we have this tidbit:
On the chemical munitions, Mr. Deulfer, who replaced David Kay as the head of the Iraq Survey Group earlier this year, said that the group has uncovered 10 to 12 bombs filled with blistering mustard gas or the nerve agent sarin.
"We're not sure how many more are out there that haven't been found, but we've found 10 or 12 sarin and mustard rounds," he said. "I'm reluctant to judge what that means at this point, but there's other aspects of the program which we still have to flush out."

In an earlier post here I wrote this in reference to the sarin-shell IED which was found in Iraq about a month ago:
To paraphrase what I mentioned on this Daily Pundit thread, this shell was probably not a limited edition lovingly handmade by skilled arab craftsmen. Artillery shells, like other military ammo, generally get turned out on automated production lines - in fairly large amounts. I'd say Ockham's razor suggests that this sarin shell has an extended family lying hidden somewhere in Iraq.

Ockham's Razor has provided yet another clean shave. It will come as no surprise to readers of The Arkham Review that more chemical weapons shells have been found in Iraq. Neither will they be surprised that this has gotten almost no coverage in the mainstream media. The media in this country are overwhelmingly to the left of the general populace, and as I mentioned in this post from yesterday:
When basic scientific fact becomes just another relative truth, to be used, falsified, or denied as needed in a debate, you realize that those who do so are not debating in the traditional sense; they are evangelizing. Those on the left tend to evangelize the secular religion of Postmodernism in debates, and one of the tenets of Postmodernism is logical relativism, where truth differs from person to person, from culture to culture, and is just another tool to use and modify as needed to achieve desired goals.

In another context, Fran Porretto left this comment at the Bill Quick's site:
We're into "True Believer" territory now, Bill. On the left, the fringe has begun to absorb the liberal mainstream. Thus, ideology is being given primacy over facts and logic, as facts and logic will not deliver the conclusions the leftists insist on.

Eric Hoffer's little book has never been more relevant to the tenor of American politics. I wish everyone in America with three functioning brain cells cound be induced to read (or reread) it right now.

The original context of this quote was class warfare rhetoric from the left, but it is every bit as applicable to coverage of WMD finds in Iraq by the mainstream media. I replied to Fran's comment thusly:
Spot on, Fran. I first read "The True Believer" a few years ago on the recommendation of a friend at work. I couldn't find anything significant to disagree with in Hoffer's assertions. It brought my view of the world into much sharper focus by bringing together so much cogent social analysis so efficiently. The class warfare schtick practiced by so many on the left looks like it was copied verbatim from the book.

Eric Hoffer's book, The True Believer, is perhaps the premier work on the etiology of groups bound together by fervent, unquestioning belief. The Islamofascistic threat the free world faces in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, and the coverage and analysis of the manifestations of that threat provided by leftists in our own and foreign news media, are probably explained no better or more succinctly than in The True Believer. After reading this little book, you will understand the full scope of the Terror War infinitely better than you did before. You will understand that a vital aspect of this war is the battle for control of information, and perhaps the largest front in that battle is right here in the USA.


Saturday, June 26, 2004

Compare and contrast - it's so much better than winning elections.

How many of you remember the infamous MoveOn.org video which had George Bush compared to Adolf Hitler? This article from the AP via Fox News should rekindle old memories. I'll quote this first three paragraphs of the article:
WASHINGTON — Adolf Hitler's (search) image has surfaced again in the White House race. President Bush's campaign contains online video, removed from a liberal group's Web site months ago and disavowed, that features the Nazi dictator.

The Bush Internet video, which was sent electronically to 6 million supporters, intersperses clips of speeches by Democrats John Kerry (search), Al Gore and Howard Dean with the footage of Hitler.

Democrats want the video pulled from the site. Campaign aides said it would remain.

It's almost like George Soros consulted the three witches from Macbeth, and asked them "Tell me, what type of ad should MoveOn.org sponsor so as to influence the 2004 Presidential campaign?" Soros and his MoveOn.org fellow travelers certainly got what they asked for.

Now, in fairness, MoveOn.org pulled the ad from their site, but only after they had accepted it as a submission in a contest looking for anti-Bush ads. Fairness dosen't help them much, does it? When an organization such as MoveOn.org accepts an ad like that and removes it only after publicly aired opprobrium from without, it makes a statement about its beliefs. Under those circumstances, later disavowal of such an ad looks like nothing more than a tactical measure.

The article quotes a Bush campaign staffer who provides the reasoning their behind the use of the MoveOn.org anti-Bush ad:
"We're using the video from MoveOn.org to show our supporters the type of vitriolic rhetoric being used by the president's opponents and John Kerry's surrogates," said Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

Given Al Gore's latest ravings, the remarks of Judge Guido Calabresi comparing the election of George Bush to the Presidency to the installation of Hitler in Nazi Germany (thanks to Bronson Yake for the link), and the people who showed up for the Washington, DC premiere of Fahrenheit 9/11, including DNC Chairman Terry MacAuliffe and Democratic Senators Tom Daschle and Bob Graham, I don't think this level of lunatic vitriol can properly be dismissed as the rantings of a few fringe elements in Kerry's support base.
Anyone who wants a lesson in how irrational hatred in politics can redound to the benefit of its objects would do well to read the information I linked to. Whether such advantage holds through the 2004 elections remains to be seen, but I'm betting against the hatred.


O Trevor, where art thou?

So where have I been? Well, I've been right here in lovely Silver Spring, Maryland, AKA Suburban Maryland to people who put together telephone directories. But that's not the point here; rather, why did this little corner of the blogosphere go dark for the past month?

Well, I had a variety of experiences last month which came together in such a way as to thwart my budding career as a highly unpaid after-hours writer.

One of them was my in-house course at work, which took up a fair amount of my spare time. Another was refurnishing my apartment (more on that later). And, finally was my overwhelming disgust and ennui over current events reporting in the major media. As an example, day after day of reading that "John Kerry attacks Bush over blah-blah-blah" becomes both unpleasant and uninteresting very quickly.

Now, to my apartment. I had two friends pay me a visit about a month ago, a mother and daughter. I knew that my apartment was sparsely furnished, but I thought that I had enough furniture to maintain a decent level of comfort for any potential guests. I thought that I'd cleaned my apartment up to a fair level of respectability. I thought wrong.

When the mom ended up sitting on a folded quilt - because I didn't have enough chairs - to eat at a foldable pasteboard card table (I'm not making this up, folks) - because I didn't have a proper dining table - it hit me in waves of horror that I was providing my guests with shabby hospitality because I was living like as fine an example of twenty-first century Homo erectus as you're likely to find. Not good.

They started cleaning my apartment under my nose. I was dying of shame.

They counseled me on little things like getting a vacuum cleaner - because my carpet sweeper - when I got around to using it - simply wasn't getting the job done - getting rid of some of my old furniture, and getting some new furniture - like a couch, a real dining table, and some real chairs. They gave me more advice, like getting rid of my bar soap and replacing it with liquid hand soap and "body wash" to rid myself of the scourge of soap scum, which I had thought of chiefly as do-it-yourself geological formations.

Uncharacteristically, I took their advice. I got all of those things they suggested, and then some. I think I've finally joined the family of Man.

But what got me started blogging again was, of all things, Dick Cheney telling Pat Leahy to go eff himself (link via Drudge). I laughed when I first heard about it on the radio. I laughed when I read about it later. I laughed when I read that Cheney is unapologetic about it, referring to it as "long overdue". I laughed about it, period. It reminded me of the incident where a microphone he didn't know was still on captured George Bush referring to reporter Adam Clymer of the New York Times as a "major league a-hole", with Dick Cheney assenting, "Oh, yeah. Big time." No apologies from Bush - or Cheney - about that one either. Heh. I was reminded of Paul Wolfowitz saying "eff you" to Al Franken. I don't remember Wolfowitz being apologetic, either. Heh again. Cheney, Bush, and Wolfowitz said what many of us on the right have wanted to say for a long time - to some of the very people we've wanted to say such to. Okay, it isn't civil, well-reasoned discourse, but we aren't getting much of that from the left, either - see Al Gore's latest excursion into mental illness (thanks be to Drudge, again), for example - and it gets tiresome and frustrating after a while.
For another example of this, check out this thread and this thread on Bill Quick's site, where I deal with a guy who goes by the handle of "Young Goodman Brown", who dismisses cyclosarin (among other things) and elemental chlorine as "roach killer" and "bleach", respectively, and then claims that he really does know the difference between bleach and elemental chlorine (which is so nasty it was used by itself as a war gas by the Germans in World War I). Why anyone who knows that elemental chlorine isn't bleach would try to dismiss it as such in an argument is beyond me; Ockham's Razor suggests that YGB was lying about knowing the difference between the two before it was pointed out to him, and I won't argure with William of Ockham. YGB wasn't being particularly civil in the debates on those threads (I got rather testy, myself). Worse, though, he made arguments predicated on errors in objective scientific facts, and then asserted that he knew what he was discussing all along - even though his factual errors invalidated his stated thesis. When basic scientific fact becomes just another relative truth, to be used, falsified, or denied as needed in a debate, you realize that those who do so are not debating in the traditional sense; they are evangelizing. Those on the left tend to evangelize the secular religion of Postmodernism in debates, and one of the tenets of Postmodernism is logical relativism, where truth differs from person to person, from culture to culture, and is just another tool to use and modify as needed to achieve desired goals.

But I digress.

Anyway, I feel back in full blogging form. I'll post more commentary today if I find more material which piques my interest, and I'll post more in future in any event.