Saturday, July 31, 2004

6 Reasons Why The Dems Will Lose in November

Michael Novack from National Review Online has some very interesting observations:

"In 2004, I see six reasons why the Democratic goose is cooked:
1. No one — neither his colleagues nor his wife nor his supporters nor he himself — has anything good to say about John Kerry except that he served bravely in Vietnam. The nearly 30 years since then have generated few boasts on his part, few commendations from others, few successes anyone can seem to remember.
2. The Democratic elite sitting in convention cannot present themselves as they are to the American people, but must stifle their deepest feelings, be silent about their most passionate aims, and hide their turbulent loathing of George Bush Republicans (lest it frighten independents with its ferocity). The Democratic elite is saying as little as possible about same-sex marriage. And guns. And very little about abortion. And not a word about total withdrawal of American troops from Iraq — quite the opposite. Democratic elites do not want the people to know what they really think. On that ground, they fear they will lose.
3. Democrats must hide from the public what they truly think about evangelicals, fundamentalists, and Catholics. They express these thoughts mostly among themselves.
4. John Kerry looks sillier in the pale blue NASA rabbit suit than Michael Dukakis did in a tank. 5. The months of April, May, and June were so heavy with bad news for George Bush — the huge Sorosian expenditures on anti-Bush ads came at him in torrents — and still he held even with Kerry in the polls. It is hard not to believe that there will be at least a slight change in the roaring winds. When it comes (and the change is already underway), it is bound to push Bush's sails steadily ahead as the weeks roll on.
6. The worst lies told by the Democrats about Bush — those of Joe Wilson, Michael Moore, and others, saying that Bush lied about Iraq — have already been proven wrong by the 9/11 Commission (which was supposed to blow Bush out of the water just before the election, but ended up destroying his worst calumniators). These lies were also proven wrong by the British inquiry. Even the Kerry Convention in Boston ended up taking the Bush strategic line in Iraq, except for one thing: Kerry is wistful about the probability of persuading France and Germany to bear some burden on behalf of liberty in Iraq. Good luck! God knows, Bush and Colin Powell tried."
Read the entire editorial. It has some great comments about the "political delusion" the Democrats have been indulging in for the last year or more.

Yet More Fallout From Bunnygate

I think Hilary just saw the NASA photo of John Kerry in the bunny suit.

O.J. Bin Laden?

Doesn't this just give you the shivers? Can you imagine say, Johnnie Cochran and other big-celebrity lawyers making their case while Al "Tawana Brawley" Sharpton grandstands and leads demonstrations proclaiming the innocence of Bin Laden (everyone know's that Bush brought down the towers--its in Jadakiss's song). Meanwhile, Michael Moore can belittle everyone, and all the 24-hour news programs can have a field day (it can be as entertaining--maybe more--as the more recent Scott Peterson or Kobe Bryant trials!).  As they used to say in the valley-"Gag me with a spoon." 

Some Fun Reading Recommendations

This weekend I'm a little sick of politics (after a week of boring speeches and empty words at the Democratic Convention), so I'd like to change gears and shift to "fun reading".  I recently completed the 4th book in an absolutely fabulous series that is endlessly creative:  the Thursday Next Novels by Jasper Fforde

I can't remember when I've had so much fun reading a mystery.  Fforde has been described as a writer with"head-spinning narrative agility". The books are unashamedly escapist, and incredibly compulsive for those of us who basically love books.  If you think our world is hopelessly crazy, just wait until you visit Thursday's (Thursday Next is the name of the heroine, and I'd vote for her for any political office!) Here are the books thus far in the series (and the last was just published this month) :

1.  The Eyre Affair
2.  Lost in a Good Book
3.  The Well of Lost Plots
4.  Something Rotten

Get thee to Amazon.Com and check them out!

Friday, July 30, 2004

Embracing the Past in the Present as the Future

It must be a wonderful feeling for the Left to be at one with  such luminaries as Fidel Castro and  Hezbollah.    The former is a pathetic leftover of a failed ideology that caused the enslavement and death of millions of people all over the world in the 20th century.  The latter is  representative of a malignant ideology that is basically attempting to do the same in this century.   Who knew that when Clinton talked about a "bridge to the 21st Century", he and the Democrats meant a return to 20th century totalitarianism or 17th century barbarism?  Fortunately, there is still some perspective available. In Cuba, unnamed dissidents noted the following:

"Cuban dissidents who saw "Fahrenheit 9/11" praised the United States for its freedom of expression and lamented that such criticism of a president was not allowed in Cuba where the one-party state controls the media."

And in Poland, whose escape from the political shackles of communism is relatively recent (and therefore they probably know what they are talking about when it comes to propaganda) :

"Gazeta Wyborcza reviewer Jacek Szczerba called the film a "foul pamphlet".
He said it was too biased to be called a documentary and was similar to work by Nazi propaganda director Leni Riefenstahl.

Someday, the reasonable people in the Democratic Party will awaken and be stunned to discover who they are in bed with, but by then the deed will have been done.

Moral Uncertainty

From Roger Simon, quoting from the Esquire article:

"The people who dislike George W. Bush have convinced themselves that opposition to his presidency is the most compelling moral issue of the day. Well, it's not. The most compelling moral issue of the day is exactly what he says it is, when he's not saying it's gay marriage. The reason he will be difficult to unseat in November - no matter what his approval ratings are in the summer - is that his opponents operate out of the moral certainty that he is the bad guy and needs to be replaced, while he operates out of the moral certainty that terrorists are the bad guys and need to be defeated. The first will always sound merely convenient when compared with the second. Worse, the gulf between the two kinds of certainty lends credence to the conservative notion that liberals have settled for the conviction that Bush is distasteful as a substitute for conviction - because it's easier than conviction."
This point keeps being made over and over again.  I'm thinking of writing a play and giving it the title "Democrats in Denial" (or maybe a musical?). If it weren't so breathtakingly serious, it could almost be a comedy.  Why are there so many people on the Left with this attitude about Bush.  I don't want to belabor this issue, but it is very interesting to me as a psychiatrist. I have talked about the defense mechanisms involved (denial and displacement).  What this tells me is that the trauma that these people are suffering from is quite intense (see my previous post on Bush Hatred).  9/11 was probably just the most recent of the traumas that the Left have had to deal with over the last 5-10 years. 

First came the collapse of communism and the re-emergent prestige of the previous title-holder of "most evil president who decreased our international respect and brought us to the brink of armageddon" (i.e., Ronald Reagan); then came the realization that the man the Left had put all their bets on (Clinton) was an empty vessel; and then the 2000"stolen" election (which, as it turns out wasn't, but facts aren't important here--it's what you feel, right?).  9/11 was just the icing on the cake of disillusionment.  The tough reality-check that these people needed to do---and that included re-evaluating their basic premises and starting to think, instead of just feeling (much like a 6 year old--or, perhaps that is too mature an age?)--was just too frightening.  The thought of giving up any of those closely-identified-with beliefs in the face of reality was too painful to contemplate. 

Now they have arrived at the ridiculous conclusion that, if only they could get rid of Bush, all this bad stuff would go away and the world will right itself (or left itself?) according to their discredited, but still cherished beliefs. 

There is plenty of room in this country to disagree on how best to fight an evil that threatens our entire civilization.  But, they aren't even at the stage where they accept what the real evil is, let alone being capable of discussing a reasonable alternative to Bush's strategy.

Thanks, Captain!

I'd like to thank Captain's Quarters for the great honor of judging the weekly Caption Contest! All of you who are visiting my site from the Captain's referral are very welcome to browse and I would value your comments!  Just remember that I'm new to this and be gentle (if you can't be gentle, then at least don't be brutal!  My fragile ego just won't be able to handle it.... NOT)

Let There Be No Mistake

To me, this was the highlight of Kerry's speech last night--and it confirmed all my worse fears:

"Let there be no mistake.  I will never hesitate to use force when required.  Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response."
So, let's all just wait around for the next attack, and then we'll presumably see what Mr. Kerry's "swift and certain" response is going to be.  A formal complaint to the U.N.?  Finger-waving at the evil-doers?  What, precisely?  Does he plan to bore them to death with long speeches and a recap of his brilliant tour of duty (3 months) in Vietnam? (Oh wait--that last response isn't particularly "swift").

Really, does the man think we are all morons? Look at his 15 year history in the senate.  He has always hesitated to use force. For him it is never required.   He has had ample opportunity to prove to the American people that he is a decisive, strong leader--and he has only shown behavior that is the opposite of what anyone could possibly consider strong and decisive.  Let there be no mistake indeed.  There is a very clear choice involved in this year's election.  As I said in my previous post, the choice is between someone who is doing everything he can to protect and defend this country (no matter what the polls say); and someone who just talks about doing something.

UPDATEHere is the complete transcript of Kerry's acceptance speech for anyone who cares to read it.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Never Forget...

A slideshow from LGF to keep things in perspective. Never forget....

Role Models

Who would you want your children to grow up like?  This person, whose claim to fame is dubious and who has been the king of exploiting race for his own personal advantage? Or this person? and maybe this person?  I know which two people I would like my daughter to emulate.  Wake up, Black voters.

Suck It Up, Buttercup

Via Captain's Quarters, who writes today about an article where Muslim-Americans are complaining about their feelings being hurt by most American's attitude toward their religion:

You want our respect? Suck it up, buttercup, and quit whining when people dislike you. Idiots existed before 9/11, and they'll be around after we beat the Islamofascists, too. You're alive and overwhelmingly unharmed, which is more than I can say for 3,000 people in New York who made the mistake of going to work on 9/11.
The survey actually demonstrates how remarkably level-headed Americans have been in separating Islamofascist lunatics and their activities from the Muslims who live amongst us, despite the fact that some of the lunatics hid rather successfully within those communities prior to the attacks. That, however, does not qualify as news to the Washington Post or the University of Michigan, who conducted the study, and it doesn't fit within the "Americans are closed off loners" meme that the press has pushed during this electoral cycle, hoping that voters conclude that John Kerry is the cure for the disease.

Since 9/11 I have read the Koran (in a vain attempt to understand this religion--just go and read it and you'll see how incredibly unintelligible it is for Westerners--perhaps the translations aren't any good, but I think its more than that); I have read numerous books about the history of Islam and the West (Bernard Lewis's works are highly recommended) and I have read the book by Irshad Manji, called The Trouble with Islam.  I have read numerous editorials and analyses and I have come to the conclusion that the religion of Islam is in serious trouble.  Not just because of the Islamic extremists (sometimes referred to as the Islamofascists on this site). The source of the religion (the Koran) has very serious contradictions in it.  It does call for peace; but it also calls on faithful Muslims to kill infidels.  It once inspired individuals to be creative and develop one of the most dynamic cultures in the world (Mathematics is much indebted to them; as is the history of poetry, architecture and culture); but now, where Islam is practiced, there is only the crushing of individual creativity and women's rights.  (Did you know that once, Islam was a religion where women had more rights than they did in Christianity?  That the subjegation of women is actually a modern manifestation of the religion).  Islam has not been able to bring itself out of the 17th century.  Part of its problem is that any punk can become an Iman or "holy man" and all develop their own following and interpretation of the Koran (and the Koran is open to many, many interpretations).  There is no centralization or concensus on what the essence of the religion is.  Some claim "jihad" is an internal and individual struggle; others--well, you know how others interpret it.   And, the most distressing thing to me is that American Muslims (and Canadian, and European etc.), who live in a free country and could begin to question and debate these issues don't.  There is the quality of playing the sheep that is encouraged in this religion.  Dissent is not tolerated.  Instead of beginning to question the extremists of their religion, American Muslims appear to spend most of their time worrying about how their countrymen view their religion.   Instead of condemning the violent actions of these extremists, American Muslims invite them to speak in their mosques.  Instead of taking responsibility for their religion and what it is doing in the world, American Muslims are well on their way to parleying their status into "victimhood" and are demanding that they not be subjected to having their feelings hurt.  Well, as Captain Ed says so eloquently above, "Suck it up, buttercup."  I'm ready to live and let live --but only when I know that your religion stands on the side of civilization, freedom and individual rights (including women's rights).  You will be the equal of Christianity and Judaism (and any other religion) when you have condemned the evil within your ranks and expunged it from your religious tracts and schools.  Until then, don't expect much respect from me. 

What We Haven't Heard at the DNC

Polipundit summarizes what we haven't heard at the DNC in the last few days and it is something that concerns me greatly.  Simultaneously with all the talk about how "strong" and "decisive" Mr. Kerry is supposed to be regarding our national security if he becomes president, there is extremely little mention of 1) Al Quaeda; 2) Osama Bin Laden; 3) Terrorism; 4) Iraq; 5) Iran; 6) etc.  So, what are we supposed to make of this?  Teddy Kennedy stated explicitly, "the only thing we have to fear is four more years of George Bush!"  Does this mean that the basis of Kerry's national security policy is winning the election?  This disparity in what the Democrats are saying and what they intend to do is  is quite pronounced and is scary. Are there really people out there who believe that the only thing we have to fear is George Bush? (see my previous posts here and here about the psychological underpinnings of such a belief--. denial and projection).  How can we take the Democratic Party seriously when they can't even seem to understand the most serious issue of our time?  How can we take Kerry as a candidate seriously, when his entire career has been one of appeasement and delayed action.  Mr. Kerry talks a good game, but when the time comes to act, he has always dithered. Watch the video about Kerry and Iraq, if you have any doubts about this.

Somehow, some part of the Democratic psyche must know that we are in danger from someone. Otherwise, why the extreme security at the convention?  Otherwise, why talk about implementing  the 9/11 Commission recommendations (as Kerry did yesterday)?  It is, of course, typical that Kerry plans to implement the recommendations within 18 months.  Bush is already working to implement some of the recommendations immediately.   When it comes right down to it, ask yourself who you really trust to protect the American people, and who you can trust only to talk about protecting the American people.    Now, don't get me wrong. While I think we are much safer now than we were in 2001; I have no illusions about the persistance and ingenuity of our enemy.  I fear that there is no doubt that there will be another attack on this country (the odds seem to me to be on a nuclear attack of some kind). I fervently hope I am seriously incorrect.  But I think I am not.  Because the truth is that no matter what you do, there will always be some way for a dedicated evil-doer to make something bad happen.  Just take a look at Israel, who has had years of terrorism to deal with. Noone doubts their security and I wish them well with the "Wall" (which has significantly reduced the terror attacks on their people). Yet, the attacks do continue and innocents are killed, no matter what they do.  We must not doubt the intensity and conviction of our enemies, and we must be vigilant in our homeland. And even more than that, we must take the battle to them and keep them so occupied with their own survival that they don't have the time to plan the "big attack" on us.  As the current administration reminds us: "The terrorists only have to be right once; we have to be right 100 % of the time."  Democratic dithering is not what our country needs to be safe.  Putting our destiny in the hands of the impotent, sidekic- of-evil U.N. is not what our country needs to be safe.  Getting the approval of decadent European countries like France is not what our country needs to be safe; and electing someone who can't decide what he believes until the polls come in is most certainly not what our country needs to be safe. Having said this, I am interested to hear what John Kerry has to say tonight when he accepts his party's nomination.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

And We Have a Diagnosis...

If you weren't clear before about the sociopathy of Mr. Michael Moore, then this article might give more credence to the diagnosis.  Part of the psychiatric work I do now involves seeing patients accused of all sorts of crimes in a jail clinic.  Few feel as unconstrained as Moore to broadcast their angry, hate-filled agendas.  What Moore is doing is called "projection".  Projection is a primitive type of paranoia. The process involves taking one's own unacceptable feelings/thoughts and projecting them onto others (e.g., Republicans in this case; other common populations to project your own (unacceptable) feelings onto are Jews, Blacks, Homosexuals etc.).

"The right wing is not where America is at," Moore said. "Most Americans, in their heart, are liberal and progressive. It's just a small minority of people who hate. They hate. They exist in the politics of hate."
"They're not patriots," Moore said. "They're hate-triots, and they believe in the politics of hate-triotism. Hate-triotism is where they stand, and patriotism is where real Americans stand."
Moore, who predicted victory for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry — "It's all over but the voting," he said — warned that the Republican Party will do almost anything to keep its hold on power. "They're not going to go without a fight," he said, "and believe me, they are better fighters than we are."
"I mean, they are up at six in the morning trying to figure out which minority group they're going to screw today," Moore continued. "The hate, they eat for breakfast. They are going to fight and they are going to smear, and they are going to lie, and they are going to hate."
Moore conceded that there are "good Republicans." Those Republicans, he said, will vote for Kerry in November."

Can you guess what emotion Moore has inside himself that he projects onto Republicans? That people like Moore are at the forefront and idolized by the Democratic Party is truly frightening.  My professional advice to him is "Get into therapy, quickly."

In Kerry's Own Words

This is an absolutely devastating documentary (brief) on John Kerry and Iraq.  After watching it could anyone with a straight face claim that this man has any integrity? The word that comes to mind is "opportunist".

More Shocking News

And in another shocking development, Europeans are stunned to discover that the UN will not be able to muster the votes to condemn anti-semitism.  Don't they realize that the only thing the General Assembly seems to be able to do with any enthusiasm is to condemn Israeli behavior? Why, what purpose would the international organization possibly serve, if they were actually interesting in justice and truth?

Speaking of justice and truth, I couldn't help myself when I heard Bill Clinton's comments about strength and wisdom.  I wonder how much of those two characteristics Clinton displayed as President? He was, as you all remember, the posterboy of strength and wisdom.  Did he show strength in defending America against the terrorist threat? And, where was the wisdom hiding in his dealings with Monica?  Or, how about Jimmy Carter's invocation for real leadership in the Presidency?  I remember his leadership very well. In fact, you could almost say that it was during his tenure that the Islamic radical threat began to rise up when confronted with American foreign policy weakness.   And, if we were to consider justice and truth, then noone would ever, under any circumstances, listen to anything that Ted Kennedy had to say (can you say "Chappaquidick"?).

Finally Finding Some Courage

Spain and the Philipines have the guts to stand up to....Australia.  You see, the  Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, had the nerve to suggest that giving in to terrorist demands wasn't a good idea and may have actually encouraged the little darlings to engage in more terrorism (shocking! Who would have expected that?).

NASA's Secret, Devious, Evil Plot

Well, now we know that it was all a secret plot and "dirty tricks" from NASA! Drudge has the transcript of the interview Fox News' Brit Hume did with Kerry's campaign manager. We have it from an unimpeached source that the disturbing photo of Kerry in a NASA bunny suit was "leaked" obviously to damage him (Michael Moore has not cornered the market in paranoid delusion, I guess).  The truth is that Kerry himself probably imagined he looked cute in the baby-blue suit.  I especially like the one where he posed with former astronaut and senator John Glenn, and former astronaut and congressman Bill Nelson. What is remarkable to me is to imagine NASA being capable of developing a plot of such subtle, machiavellian deviousness!  This, in an agency that practically foams at the mouth to ingratiate itself with anybody from Washington who has some political power. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Kerry in Space

Wouldn't it be really funny if this (hat tip: Cooky) was the photo that dragged the Kerry campaign down?  One can only hope! 

UPDATE:  I'm told that he looks like an oompha-lumpha from the old Willie Wonka movie, but I think he looks more like Woody Allen dressed as a sperm.

The Dog that Did Not Bark

From Hindrocket at Powerline comes some astonishing information (that definitely won't be in the mainstream news):

"Report Clears Army of Prisoner Abuse
The Army has released the findings of its report on all confirmed or alleged cases of prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the war on terror in general. The "shock" headline (for the mathematically challenged) is "U.S. Reports 94 Cases of Prisoner Abuse"
But in fact, the report is stunning as an example of the dog that *did not* bark -- and it's another vindication for Bush and Rumsfeld.
First of all, headline aside, the body of the AP story makes clear that the number ninety-four refers not just to confirmed cases but to all allegations of abuse as well: if a prisoner says "I was beaten," it's counted as part of those ninety-four, even if there is no corroboration whatsoever for it, or even if it's disputed by a dozen eye witnesses.
Second, and bearing the above in mind, the real shocker is at the bottom of the article:
The Army inspector general report found that since the fall of 2001, overall the United States had held more than 50,000 prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq, a number never before made public.
I blinked in surprise at this: out of 50,000 arrests and detentions during a
 war, a grand total of only ninety-four allegations of abuse were made? That's astonishingly low -- and it's a wonderful testament to the professionalism and calm devotion to duty among our soldiers, led by Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush."
Read the entire article.

As If Our Lives Depended On it

Two great pieces I read today, both on the same topic --the choice we face in November. The first is from Victor Davis Hanson and the second from Wretchard at Belmont Club. Both clearly delineate the differences between the two parties in their approach to foreign policy.  Wretchard concludes: 

"This post is not the place to argue in favor of one or the other: but to maintain that the choices are distinct. That is why many Democrats want George Bush out with an almost religious fervor and why many conservatives are fighting for his re-election as if their lives depended on it, because they think it does. Current polls show the candidates nearly level, which means that when the choice is finally made in November, the nation will decide by the slimmest of margins which point of view will grip the wheel. The final count will not so much end the series as send it into overtime. At stake are the lives our children -- whose fates will be determined by what we do or refuse to do -- after Boston and New York."
I have to admit that this quote captures exactly how I feel.  I have never become involved in a political campaign prior to this year--but I am actively campaigning for President Bush.  I have been more enthusiastic about candidates in the past than I am about George Bush (I especially have disliked his social policy on issues like Gay Marriage and his increased government spending on programs such as Medicare).  But I feel as if this election is a matter of life and death.  I am afraid for my daughter's future if the Islamofascist malignant threat is not totally crushed and eradicated from the world.  I don't want to wait for that threat to manifest itself again--ever again--on our shores. Every other issue for me is secondary.

No Space Policy from Kerry

John Kerry paid a visit to Kennedy Space Center before the Democratic convention, and I think it is noteworthy that while there, among space enthusiasts, he had nothing to say about the future of the US Space Program.  Apparently the Democratic Party Platform also says nothing about space or space exploration.

Now, I am not the most enthusiastic NASA supporter anymore, but I do believe in space exploration, especially by the private sector. Either way, there is a lot that a coherent and thoughtful national space policy might do to advance human exploration of space and the technology that will keep the US at the forefront of the future.  This is yet another example of how the Democrats, and the Left in general, tend to ignore the future and concentrate on the past.  Past achievements are no guarantee of future glory. 

Monday, July 26, 2004

Psychological Analysis of Bush Hatred

Virginia Postrel has some interesting thoughts about the psychological origins of Bush Hatred:

"When I was in New York a few weeks ago, a friend in the magazine business told me he thinks the ferocious Bush hating that he sees in New York is a way of calming the haters' fears of terrorism. It's not rational, but it's psychologically plausible--blame the cause you can control, at least indirectly through elections, rather than the threats you have no control over.
I thought of that insight today when I glanced at Maureen Dowd's
column and read this sentence, "Maybe it's because George Bush is relaxing at his ranch down there (again) while Osama is planning a big attack up here (again)."
That is the voice of a petulant child, angry that she has a tummy ache while Daddy is at work or Mommy is visiting a friend, or the voice of a grouchy wife angry that she has a migraine while her husband is out coaching the kids' baseball team. You're upset that you're in pain (we've all been there), so you get mad at someone whose presence wouldn't make the pain any better.
No mature student of politics believes the president of the United States goofs off on vacation. It's not the kind of job you escape. George Bush may be completely insane to voluntarily. spend July in Texas--as opposed to Bill Clinton's favored coastal retreats--but Osama bin Laden is no more or less a threat than in Bush were in Washington. But if blaming Bush makes people feel better, safer, or at least able to focus their anger on someone they can hurt, they'll blame Bush. "

This psychological process is called "displacement" and is a very real defensive mechanism.  One of the ways you can usually tell that an individual is using displacement is that the emotion being displaced (e.g., anger) is all out of proportion to the reality of the situation.  A very good example that comes to mind is an old movie called "The Seven Percent Solution" about Sherlock Holmes' intense obsession with Moriarity.   In Holmes' mind (distorted somewhat by the use of cocaine) Moriarity is the master criminal who must be stopped at all costs.  He is evil incarnate, and the source of all the diabolical events of the world (sound familiar?).  Not until the end of the movie, under hypnosis by Sigmund Freud, do we discover that in truth, Mr. Moriarity was Sherlock's hopelessly mundane math teacher, who happened to be having an affair with Holmes' mother and escaped when Holmes' father murdered her (with the young Sherlock looking on).  This event in his youth apparently traumatized Holmes to such an extent, he was eventually driven to using drugs to eradicate it from his memory. 

I submit to you that this is exactly the same process going on now in the minds of the Bush Haters.  They, too, want desperately to forget something that was traumatic to them and the most traumatic event in US history, where some 3000 men, women and children were viciously murdered before their eyes.  But rather than blame the actual murderer(s), their fear is transformed to anger and displaced on Mr. Bush. If everything is his fault, then the reality of what happened does not have to be faced (this also explains the intense psychological denial that these same individuals tend to have about 9/11). Bush becomes the "criminal mastermind", so devious, so evil, that everything he says is a "lie", everything he does is part of a vast right-wing consipiracy.  His family has intimate ties to Bin Laden and the Saudis (via Michael Moore); He is trying to avenge the insult to his father by getting rid of Saddam ---I could go on an on, but you get the point.  What is most funny, is that they simultaneously think of Bush as this criminal mastermind, a genius of evil; and also as a complete moron who isn't capable of uttering a sentence without making a hash of it.  The cognitive dissonance required to have all these contradictory beliefs swirling around in one's brain is astonishing.  But besides the primary function it serves to erase what happened, it is serving a secondary purpose--it makes them feel in control of what might come.  If the US were to be the victim of another mass murder attack by the Islamofascists, they have a ready-made explanation at hand:  It will be Bush's fault.

How to Elevate the Quality of Public Discourse

From Polipundit, click on their video link to watch how Teresa Heinz Kerry put into immediate action her plan to elevate public discourse.  The ultimate irony, since she just finished giving a talk on how un-American (yes, she actually used those words) it was not to be civil to one another. She actually went back to a reporter who had asked her to clarify her "un-American" comment. Good Grief!  Is there anyone on the Left who has any psychological insight at all?


I have been surprised by how many of my friends have no idea what the UN-oil-for-food Scandal(also referred to as UNSCAM) is all about.  Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised--after all, I live in Ann Arbor, which has been described as "20 square miles, surrounded by reality".  But what really bothers me is the incredible lack of information in the newspapers about this incredible scandal.  For those of you who haven't a clue about what I'm talking about, it is this:  The program set up in the mid-90's by the UN to supposedly help the Iraqi people get food by permitting Saddam Hussein to sell oil was riddled with special deals, kickbacks to UN officials, and allowed Saddam to enrich his own pockets and those of his friends, while actually doing very little to feed Iraq.  The current estimates of how much money was "diverted" is over $10 billion.  It should come as no surprise to anyone, that the countries primarily implicated in this scandal are France and Russia, who vehemently opposed the Iraq War and clearly stood to lose the most money if this UN gravy-train was interrupted.  If you would like to find out more about this Scandal --and there are new details and new names being revealed every day (in fact, this makes the Enron Scandal look almost financially anemic), but you can search forever in the mainstream media to find out about it (For some reason they seem to feel (like John Kerry) that the U.N. is sacrosanct and incapable of evil) then go to this website, called the "Friends of Saddam".   Some of the original articles are here, here, and here.


A Holiday from Reality

Mark Steyn over at the Chicago Tribune, makes some good points about the backwards -looking Democratic Party.  I think it is important to consider some of the issues Steyn brings up in his column as the Dems begin their National Convention this week in Boston.

"What matters is where we're headed, not where we were. And, in that respect, John Kerry is still looking through the rear window. Not so much because of his remarkably poor choice of advisers -- Joe Wilson (the Politics Of Truth fraud), Max Cleland (with his schoolyard cries of "Liar, liar!") and Sandy Berger (with his pants on fire) -- but because Kerry's prescriptions (the U.N., the French) are so Sept. 10. A holiday from history is one thing. The Democrats are now embarked on a holiday from reality."                         

Attention Defiicit Media Disorder?

A good description of this malady can be found here.  The truth is now out about the New York Times liberal bias. Daniel Okrent of the NYT takes a surprisingly objective look at his paper's perspective. Good reading over at Rantingprofs.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

The Most Important Finding of the 9/11 Commission Report

It takes a while to go through the 9/11 Commission Report, but it is worth reading. There are many important points that can be taken away from it (including my earlier post on what really might have prevented the 9/11 attacks).   I personally think the only blame that should be assigned is directly to the terrorists and their masters who perpetrated the attacks, but that doesn't mean that actions (or, more importantly, lack of action) on the part of certain Clinton Administration officials was in the national interest.  The take-away point though, is the following,  From the 9/11 Commission Report:

"As we mentioned in chapter 2, Usama Bin Ladin and other Islamist terrorist leaders draw on a long tradition of extreme intolerance within one stream of Islam (a minority tradition), from at least Ibn Taimiyyah, through the founders of Wahhabism, through the Muslim Brotherhood, to Sayyid Qutb. That stream is motivated by religion and does not distinguish politics from religion, thus distorting both. It is further fed by grievances stressed by Bin Ladin and widely felt throughout the Muslim world—against the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, policies perceived as anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, and support of Israel. Bin Ladin and Islamist terrorists mean exactly what they say: to them America is the font of all evil, the “head of the snake,” and it must be converted or destroyed.
It is not a position with which Americans can bargain or negotiate. With it there is no common ground—not even respect for life—on which to begin a dialogue. It can only be destroyed or utterly isolated. "

As the Democratic National Convention begins its deliberations next week, let's see if anybody in the Democratic Party (let alone John Kerry or John Edwards) has any kind of inkling about what this implications of this conclusion are.  I have serious doubts.

UPDATEHere's a searchable 9/11 Report!

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Bin Laden's Fatwa

By the way, bin Laden's declaration of war on February 23, 1998 can be found here.  It is pretty clear that in his warped judgement, America was responsible for all the ills of the Moslem world.  If you are seeking a connection between bin Laden and Iraq, you don't have to go any further than this document either, since one of the lines of this fatwa clearly addresses the issue of Iraq as one of the reasons to pursue jihad against the US:

     "The best proof of this is the Americans' continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, still they are helpless. "
I think it is important to remind everyone that we have been at war since 1998, but we only realized it on September 11, 2001.  We cannot and must not forget it now.

What Really Might Have Prevented 9/11

From the New York Sun:

“In his meeting with Tenet, Berger focused most, however, on the question of what was to be done with Bin Ladin if he were actually captured. He worried that the hard evidence against Bin Ladin was still skimpy and that there was a danger of snatching him and bringing him to the United States only to see him acquitted,” the report says, citing a May 1, 1998, Central Intelligence Agency memo summarizing the weekly meeting between Messrs. Berger and Tenet.
In June of 1999, another plan for action against Mr. bin Laden was on the table. The potential target was a Qaeda terrorist camp in Afghanistan known as Tarnak Farms. The commission report released yesterday cites Mr. Berger’s “handwritten notes on the meeting paper” referring to “the presence of 7 to 11 families in the Tarnak Farms facility, which could mean 60-65 casualties.”According to the Berger notes, “if he responds, we’re blamed.”
On December 4, 1999, the National Security Council’s counterterrorism coordinator, Richard Clarke, sent Mr. Berger a memo suggesting a strike in the last week of 1999 against Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. Reports the commission: “In the margin next to Clarke’s suggestion to attack Al Qaeda facilities in the week before January 1, 2000, Berger wrote, ‘no.’ ”
In August of 2000, Mr. Berger was presented with another possible plan for attacking Mr. bin Laden.This time, the plan would be based on aerial surveillance from a “Predator” drone. Reports the commission: “In the memo’s margin,Berger wrote that before considering action, ‘I will want more than verified location: we will need, at least, data on pattern of movements to provide some assurance he will remain in place.’ ”
In other words, according to the commission report, Mr. Berger was presented with plans to take action against the threat of Al Qaeda four separate times — Spring 1998, June 1999, December 1999, and August 2000. Each time, Mr. Berger was an obstacle to action. Had he been a little less reluctant to act, a little more open to taking pre-emptive action, maybe the 2,973 killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks would be alive today.
It really doesn’t matter now what was in the documents from the National Archives that Mr. Berger says he inadvertently misplaced. The evidence in the commission’s report yesterday is more than enough to embarrass him thoroughly."

Now, noone is going to say it, but I will.  If anything could have been done to prevent 9/11 and the deaths of 3000 Americans, then it would have been acting on one of those instances when we had bin Laden in our military sights.   President Clinton's National Security Advisor, Mr. Berger,  has a lot to answer for because of his poor judgement over the years of his tenure.  Removing classified documents (possibly those that detail his repeated refusal to get bin Laden when we had an opportunity) is just one more example of his poor judgement in an administration that had other priorities.  Of all the 20/20 hindsight in the 9/11  Commission Report, nothing can get around the simple fact that if we had killed bin Laden--who had declared war on us in 1998--it is likely that his plotting would have come to naught.  One of the major reasons 9/11 ocurred was the indecisive, politically correct,  pussy-footing around of a bunch of "girlie-men" who were supposed to be acting to protect the American people.  They had numerous chances to act and just couldn't bring themselves to do it.  Do you think John Kerry will be able to, if he becomes President?  After all, Sandy Berger was his national security advisor until this latest embarassment. 

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Traverse City

Mr. Dr. Sanity and I, along with the Boo are headed up to Traverse City for a few days of mischief.  Back to blogging when I return!  (Note: not that anyone cares!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

35th Anniversary of Apollo 11

Apollo 11 changed my life.  I remember very vividly those 8 days from July 16-24 in 1969.  I was 19 years old and considered myself a space aficionado.  I sat transfixed in front of three television sets (one on the coverage on NBC, one on CBS and one on ABC) with a close friend. We lived in front of those TV's for the next 8 days, eating and sleeping there.  Every moment of the mission was indelibly etched into the circuits of my brain.  I was overwhelmed.  As much of a space fan as I was, I never dreamed that in my lifetime that humans would walk on the moon. I cried in delerious happiness and excitement when Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the lunar surface.  I vowed then and there that I would change my lifeplan and work toward the human exploration of space.  And I did.  I studied medicine, always with the thought that I would work for NASA.  I learned to fly planes; I studied biochemistry and biomedical engineering. Eventually I became a flight surgeon at the Johnson Space Center.  I still care about human space exploration and have considerable expertise in space psychology and psychiatry. I even wrote a book on my research over the 10 years I was at NASA (it's called Choosing the Right Stuff: The Psychological Selection of Astronauts and Cosmonauts and it is still for sale here ) Some years have passed since I worked for NASA. Challenger occurred on my watch; Columbia after I left.  I now strongly believe that NASA and its bureaucracy is the biggest impediment to space exploration; and I support the efforts of private enterprise to take humans into space.  My enthusiasm has waned considerably since those years of the Apollo Program. When I remember that wild sense of joy my teenage self felt when Apollo 11 landed on the moon, I can't help but believe that that this incredible achievement will remain unsurpassed for many generations. I hope not, but there is no longer any vision or glory in the government's risk-averse, mundane space program.  The most exciting thing to happen in the last 20 years has been the launch of SpaceShipOne.

When Apollo 8 (the first lunar mission) launched in December, 1968, I wrote the following poem:

Blue against black universe,
Suspended in mathematical currents,
And held by lines of luminous force;
Round in a shapeless mass of energy,
And breathtaking in a lifeless, empty reality.
Like a woman you seem, and I have known you.
Remember me? The child you nurtured?
Who dreamed within your womb so long?
Now I am born.

And, when Apollo 11 returned to Earth on July 24, 1969, I wrote another:

             AFTER THIS   (in honor of Apollo 11)
Alone in space, how does the world seem?
What standards would apply to judge this dream?
Lesser men could not imagine it--none so high exist.
What beauty, after this?
Alone, gazing wher no other men could see,
He saw the world in serenity.
The undiluted universe was there to drink--
The cup within his hands.
After this, what else should man think,
But that the universe is his?

Those lines were penned in youthful exuberance, but even now I can still feel the thrill of the dream.  May the next generation of explorers continue to "go where noone has gone before!"  And on this 35th Anniversary of Mankind's Greatest Achievement, may we continue to think that the universe is ours.

The Weakest Links

Anyone in the behavioral sciences will tell you that intermittent reinforcement is by far the strongest type of reinforcement for behavior.  If there is even the slightest chance that the behavior will result in what the person wants, then it will be continued.  A good example of this is Bart's behavior towards Homer in the TV series, The Simpsons.  In one such interchange, both Bart and Lisa ask their father if they can go somewhere. Homer replies, "No." They repeat, "Can we go, Dad?" to which he again replies, "No." This cycle goes on for maybe 20 times, until Homer finally replies, "Yes."  Bart and Lisa have experience with Dad (the weakest link in the family) and know if they persist, he will give in eventually. So they never take no for an answer.

The Terrorists know that if they persist, eventually someone will give in.  With consistent, albeit convoluted logic, they pick the "weakest link" countries to try to intimidate.  They have been intermittantly reinforced for their kidnapping and beheading of hostages, and for their murderous impulses in general (e.g., Spain and now the Philipines).  So we can expect them to keep at it.  Even though the U.S. has consistently refused to submit to the Terrorist demands, as long as any country is submissive and caves in, they put everyone at risk. 

"A militant group, meanwhile, said it had taken two Kenyans, three Indians and an Egyptian hostage and would behead them if their countries did not announce their intention to withdraw their troops from Iraq immediately.
However, none of those countries were part of the 160,000 member coalition force in Iraq.  In a statement given to The Associated Press, the group, calling itself ''The Holders of the Black Banners,'' said they had taken the six truckers hostage and would behead one of them every 72 hours if their nations did not pull out of Iraq and the company they work for did not close its branch here. The deadline starts from 8 p.m. (noon EDT) Wednesday, it said."

This is what happens when one gives into blackmail.  Even countries not involved in Iraq can become targets of these madmen.  The only way to deal with these sociopaths is not to reinforce this type of behavior.  I have a modest suggestion.  Usually the options in such cases are relatively clear-cut. Either you give into the Terrorist demands or someone is murdered.  A point that Belmont Club made a few days ago is that, even if you give in, you have allowed the Terrorists to have the ultimate power because you have no way of knowing if they will release their hostage unharmed (after all, can one really trust their word?).   Here is my suggestion.  Lie, cheat, mislead, and say whatever needs to be said to get the hostage released. Go through the motions of responding to their demands (surely there is nothing wrong with deceit under these circumstances.--in fact, deceiving the Terrorists would be a moral perogative). Pretend to take your troops out of the country.  Give them counterfeit money. Whatever.  Then when (hopefully) the hostage is released and you know your ploy has worked, spit in their faces and go "Nyah, Nyah, Nyah."  Treating their demands honorably is the last thing anyone should do.  If I were the Philipino president, I would rejoice at the release of my countryman, then immediately double the presence in the country.   I would increase the number of activities my country was involved in, and I would make it clear that any future attacks on the citizens of my country will result in a further  increase in my country's presence and involvement.  I would stop payment on the check for $6 million or make sure that any money I had given them could be traced or (like in Mission Impossible episodes) would self-destruct. This is referred to as Negative Reinforcement.  It tends to extinguish a particular behavior, rather than reinforce it.

Nuclear Weapons found in Iraq?

If this UPI article in the Washington Times turns out to be true, will the people that claim now that Saddam didn't have WMD be satisfied?  Probably not.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Aimed at the Sheep

 First, let me say that I like Fox News.  I really, really like Fox News.  I can see that some of the people there have a definitie point of view, and I like that they are upfront that this point of view is very pro-American.  I believe that a journalist can remain "objective" and not be neutral about the topic he/she reports on.  (Can you imagine reporters during WWII reporting on the Nazi point of view? Or, embedding themselves in the ranks of the Gestapo in order to be "fair" in their reporting of the war to Americans?).  I only came to Fox News in the aftermath of the 2000 election.  I found it OUTRAGEOUS that the other news networks, especially CNN had a definite and clear bias about the result of the election, but tried to pretend it didn't.  For, whatever its faults, Fox does present both sides of most issues and makes a reasonable attempt to get people who disagree to debate (sometimes just to shout at each other) various controversial topics.  I find this much fairer than on CNN, or PBS, where you hear one viewpoint most of the time and it is invariably on the left side.

Steven Zeitchik, writing in the Wall Street Journal about the new "documentary" Outfoxed, makes some very good points about the whole recent genre of leftist propaganda masquerading as truth-seeking documentary:
Of course, the documentary form doesn't always function this way. At its best--e.g., Frederick Wiseman's films on high schools and hospitals, the weird constellations of "Crumb" and "Capturing the Friedmans," the Vietnam-centered "Hearts and Minds"--it is propelled by a sense of discovery. Neither filmmaker nor viewer knows what he is getting into until he really starts busying himself with it.

Movies like "Outfoxed," "Control Room" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" work differently. They begin by knowing their thesis--and their audience--and operate backward. In the process, artists keen to point up the propagandistic efforts of others show themselves all too willing to take part in such efforts themselves.

Yet to call these films propaganda is also to misunderstand them. They don't seek to convince the unconvinced or herd the untamed. They aim directly at the sheep….Call them flockumentaries, movies people attend en masse, to nestle together in easy confirmation of their most cherished beliefs--to learn, really, what they already know.
I like the way he says that:  "they aim directly at the sheep".  Now, you might say that is also the reason I like Fox News (e.g., perhaps I'm a sheep on the other side of that fence)....but, I beg to disagee.  In fact I can think of several instances where hearing the other side of the argument (which Fox programs do to an astonishing degree) has actually made me rethink several issues.  Gay marriage, for example.  And, Fox has the absolute best prime time news program--Brit Hume's Special Report.

Rock, Paper, Saddam

If you need some laughs today, then go here !

Monday, July 19, 2004

This Land Was Made For You and Me!

Check this out--It's very funny!


There is a really ridiculous op-ed piece (linked by Instapundit)in the New York Times today by Ilias Yocaris,  a professor of literary theory and French Literature at the University Institute of Teacher Training in Nice, France.  This piece should be labeled with a warning that what you are about to read is simple, mind-numbing Marxist drivel.  What is the topic of this hogwash?  Harry Potter—or, as the title of the piece puts it: “Harry Potter, Market Wiz”.
The point of this so-called “literary theory” is that the world of J.K.Rowling in its presentation in the Harry Potter series is “a capitalist world” and that this is a very bad thing.
“The psychological conditioning of the apprentice sorcerers is clearly based on a culture of confrontation: competition among students to be prefect; competition among Hogwarts “houses” to win points; competition among sorcery schools to win the Goblet of Fire; and ultimately, the bloody competition between the forces of Good and Evil.
This permanent state of war ends up redefining the role of institutions: faced with ever-more violent conflicts they are no longer able to protect individuals against the menaces that they face everywhere. The minister of magic fails pitifully in his combat against Evil, and the regulatory constraints of school life hinder Harry and his friends in defending themselves against the attacks and provocations that they constantly encounter. The apprentice sorcerers are thus alone in their struggle to survive in a hostile milieu, and the weakest, like Harry’s schoolmate Cedric Diggory, are inexorably eliminated. “
All this points to the fact that:
“In other words, in the cultural universe of Harry Potter, social sciences are as useless and obsolete as state regulation.
Harry Potter, probably unintentionally, thus appears as a summary of the social and educational aims of neoliberal capitalism. Like Orwellian totalitarianism, this capitalism tries to fashion not only the real world, but also the imagination of consumer-citizens”
You would think that with the discrediting of socialist and communist systems the entire world over; with the untold millions of people who were executed and gulagized in these so-called paradises; and with the incredible prosperity and liberty afforded to the citizens of market—that is Capitalist---economies, that at the beginning of the 21st century we would not have to endure this kind of claptrap analysis. Instead, people all over the world with the same murderous ideology as the totalitarian dictators of the 20th century are STILL AT IT!  How dare this intellectual moron compare Capitalism (even neoliberal capitalism—whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean) with Orwellian totalitarianism! 
But let us look for a moment at one area in which Yocaris is accidentally correct in his analysis, but not in the way he intends, fortunately.  In the world of Harry Potter, the government, as personified by Cornelius Fudge the head of the Ministry of Magic, is in complete DENIAL about the nature of the evil that their world faces. In fact, in spite of  overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Fudge insists that Voldemort (the main bad guy) has not really returned to enslave the magical society; and that Harry Potter is completely insane (as in mentally ill) because he claims the opposite.  This aspect of the Harry Potter Books is undeniable close to the reality of our world today.  Some pundits have claimed, and I would agree, that the world is now divided into September 10 people –i.e., people who are still living in a pre-9/11 world, denying the obvious fact that a war of enormous proportions and portent has been brought to our shores and that we must unite to defeat the threat that faces the entire civilized world; and the September 12 people, who are already attempting to confront that threat (like the Order of the Phoenix in Harry Potter), but must contend with the coalition of hear-no-evil, see-no-evil nitwits in the anti-war’s LaLa Universe.
If Harry Potter does unwittingly convey capitalist values to the young of today, I say Hooray! Hooray!  If the books convey a competitiveness and a belief in the individual ability and desire to eliminate evil, then I hope J.K. Rowling doesn’t end the series after Harry defeats Voldemort.  Because Harry  will, you know.  Evil will be defeated.  The cost may be high, and the suffering intense, but Good will triumph eventually. As it did in WWII; and in the Cold War; as it will in the War on Islamofascism.  Go, Harry!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

The Fat Police are Coming

I was one of the few physicians way back when Big Tobacco was being vilified to point out to my collegues that smoking was a choice made by individuals and that teaching those individuals that they were simply the victims of evil businessmen who wanted them to get lung cancer would be non-productive.  It also opened the door to such absurdities as government telling us what to eat and that we have to exercise.  Of course, I advocate for individuals to be responsible in their personal choices -- but I never forget that it is their choice, not mine.  The underlying problem, it seems to me, is that as we as a society have pushed government to take over health care insurance (e.g., medicare, medicaid, etc.) we have opened the door to justifications to intrude on our everyday personal choices--like what to eat.  This is by far a greater threat to our individual rights than anything written in the Patriot Act, but there is nary a word spoken against this obscene violation of our personal freedom.
Ed Hudgens, the executive director of the Objectivist Center has written an excellent essay on this topic, reproduced below.
In the mid-1990s I used to argue against the war on tobacco as follows: Supposedly 400,000 individuals die each year because of smoking. (It's closer to 200,000; the government fakes the numbers, but that's another story.) Since governments pick up many of the health-care costs of people who are sick from smoking, governments claim the right to wage a war on tobacco. But nearly as many individuals allegedly die from bad diets and lack of exercise. By this logic, it will only be a matter of time before you're limited to two Big Macs per month, potato chips are kept behind the counter and not sold to anyone under 18, and there's a five-day waiting period to buy Twinkies so government bureaucrats can check your medical records.My reductio ad absurbum is one step closer to surrealist reality, thanks to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson who has now defined obesity under Medicare as a "disease." Thompson is on a jihad against extra pounds and expanding waistlines in this country. This change in the Medicare rules undermines freedom on four fronts.First, lots of Americans have unhealthy eating habits. But obesity is not a "disease"; it is the result of poor choices and habits over which individuals have control. Yes, some might be more prone to binge on chips, chocolate or other tasty treats, but the difference between we humans and dumb animals is that we can control our appetites; we can develop the good habits and practices necessary to live healthy lives. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that we are not in control of ourselves and are not responsible for our actions and thus undeserving of freedom.Second, by classifying obesity as a disease, Thompson has created a new, multi-billion-dollar government entitlement, without congressional approval, that will bloat an already monstrously obese Medicare program. Let's remember that when Medicare was created in 1965 the federal government estimated that it would cost $9 billion per year by 1990; instead it cost more than $66 billion that year. Today it costs about $275 billion with another $160 billion going to Medicaid to provide health care for the poor. And let's remember that in 2003, when the Bush administration proposed its new Medicare prescription drug benefit, it estimated the cost over the first decade at $400 billion. The ink of the president's signature on the legislation was barely dry when the administration announced that, oops, it had miscalculated; the cost would actually be $534 billion.Third, this new entitlement removes a principal and powerful incentive for individuals to treat their bodies in a responsible manner. If individuals believe the government - read, their fellow taxpayers -- will pick up the tab for their poor dietary choices, paying for their Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, their stomach-stapling surgery or clogged artery treatments, they will be less likely to take their health into their own hands.Fourth, aggressive government diet controls cannot be far behind. With government paying the bill comes government control. As Medicare costs rose in past decades, the feds tried to save money by creating and forcing people into Health Maintenance Organizations that provide poor service, thus harming health. They also fine and even jail doctors for paperwork mistakes in Medicare filings, which are impossible to avoid because of the thousands of pages of incomprehensible Medicare regulations, thus driving many doctors, sick of being persecuted for curing patients, into early retirement.We now can expect the food fascists in this country -- those who want to restrict or ban foods of which they don't approve -- to join with the government - the guys with the guns - to make sure you only eat what they want you to eat.Obesity and poor health habits are certainly problems in this country. But the solution lies in true personal responsibility, a sense that one's life is so important and of such value that one would commit moral treason to one's self by allowing one's body to fall into disrepair.A greater threat to the health of our country is the obese size of government, with Medicare the overweight poster child that illustrates the danger to the heart of our liberties. Our biggest problem is not with fat in our waistlines but, rather, in the heads of politicians who want to micromanage our lives. The lesson of HHS's classification of obesity as a "disease" is that the government should go on a diet, shedding hundreds of billions in needless spending, starting with the entire Medicare program.
Amen, brother.
UPDATE:  Here are some more thoughts on the matter.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

No Room in Lake Wobegon for Republicans

I used to really like Garrison Keillor when I was in college and medical school. He was genuinely funny, and Lake Wobegon seemed almost like a real place with its perfectly funny and unique people.  Apparently, though, none of those people could possibly be a Republican.  According to Keillor's new book Homegrown Democrat: a Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America., Republicans are:
...hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, see-through fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, hobby cops, misanthropic frat boys, lizardskin cigar monkeys, jerktown romeos, ninja dittoheads, the shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, cheese merchants, cat stranglers, taxi dancers, grab-ass executives, gun fetishists, genteel pornographers, pill pushers, chronic nappers, nihilists in golf pants, backed-up Baptists, Crips and Bloods of the boardroom...
How clever.  The women may be strong, and the men good-looking, but obviously neither spend any time thinking. Let's hope the above average children are a little more diverse in their intellectual functioning.

There's a Difference Between "Consequences" and "Censorship"

Yet another celebrity whines about so-called "censorship" in America:
Elton John has said stars are scared to speak out against war in Iraq because of "bullying tactics" used by the US government to hinder free speech.
There is a difference between having "consequences" that result from speaking one's mind,  and
"censorship".  Celebrities keep making the mistake of thinking that they have the right to say anything thing they want, in any way--no matter how vile and malignant (a la Whoopi Goldberg)--and not have to deal with the consequences of their behavior!  They are in the entertainment business, for heaven's sake!  They of all people should realize that people may have negative reactions to what they say.  That what they say may result in people not wanting to buy their product or go to their movies or listen to their songs.  Freedom of speech only protects you to say what you want.  Other people's freedom of speech permits them not to listen, and if by not listening that means they won't go to your next comedy routine; or buy your next song; or stop you from representing their business; or watch you in your next movie--well, that's the price you must be willing to pay.  Many of these celebrities apparently think that if their business suffers (e.g., Slim Fast fires them as a spokesman) then there must be some government plot behind it.  If the government did indeed, try to get them fired that would be real censorship.  But, of course they have no proof of any such involvement on the part of the U.S. Government (in the case of Slim Fast, the company is known to contribute substantially to the Democatic Party--not the Republicans).  My advice is for Elton John and the other celebrity big mouths is to grow up and behave like adults.

What Will History's Verdict Be?

With all the daily second-guessing going on in Iraq,  it's nice to read a sensible article like this by the always sober and reflective Victor Davis Hanson. He rightly points out the mistakes by generals in both strategy and tactics during WWII, which resulted in enormous American casualties (ones that make Iraq seem like a week on the streets of Detroit).  I agree with him and think that history is going to more than justify the sacrifices made by our military men and women.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Problem with Preemption is Being Successful!

My area of research when I worked at NASA was on the psychological aspects of space flight. I was involved in astronaut selection and in identifying the psychological stressors of space and developing countermeasures against them for operational use. One of the issues connected to this research used to bother me a lot and it was this: preventing something from happening is a good thing (e.g., you obviously don't want astronauts manning a space station or on a 2+ year trip to Mars to become suicidally depressed and become a risk for the mission), but by the very act of preventing such a thing from occurring you can never then prove that it might have occurred in the first place. Critics can then claim that the countermeasure/preventive action was not really necessary to begin with. The same is true of selection techniques--or in fact, of almost any preventive measure in any area. If you are successful, the event you fear will not happen. So, were you wrong to try to prevent it?

John Podhoretz today in the NY Post regarding the Bush doctrine of pre-emption:
An unambiguous case for preemption can never be made once the doctrine is invoked and a preemptive war is fought.

Everybody probably agrees that, theoretically, we should have gone to war against al Qaeda before 9/11 to prevent it from happening.

But if we had done so, we never would have known we had succeeded in saving the lives of 3,000 people. The World Trade Center towers would still be standing, their destruction as unimaginable as it was in the minutes before that destruction occurred.

Instead, there would doubtless be arguments about the "mess" we had made of Afghanistan, and about how there was little or no evidence except for cellphone chatter that al Qaeda really had the capacity to inflict major wounds on the American mainland.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

With Apologies to the Simpsons

A list of "Best Quotes" from the Simpsons is posted over at Right Wing News. The one below is from the episode "The Springfield Files" (aired in 97) in which Leonard Nimoy plays himself and the host of a documentary TV show about alien encounters. I am just making one tiny little change to bring it up to date as an analysis of a more recent movie documentary.

"Good evening, I'm Leonard Nimoy. The following tale of Bush presidential conspiracies is true. And by true I mean false. It's all lies. But they're entertaining lies, so in the end, isn't that the truth? The answer is 'no.'" -- Leonard Nimoy

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

WMD in Iraq

Cori Dauber at Rantingprofs has some important observations about the WMD already found in Iraq.
And, here's the link to an article on sarin and mustard gas shells being found and the possibility of Iraq WMD in Syria being used against Jordan.

URL correction

I just noticed that the link to John Podhoretz's column isn't working, so try this.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Read This!

There is no way I could write as clearly and brilliantly as John Podhoretz (author of BUSH COUNTRY)and he has a great column up on the same topic as my last one. Go read it!


The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines "lie" in the following way: "to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive; to create a false or misleading impression". The word "lie" has many synonyms, including prevaricate, equivocate, palter, and fib, but "lie" is the bluntest, imputing the highest degree of dishonesty.

One after another, the so-called "lies" of George W. Bush have either proven to be true statements or are statements that still await verification. But, in spite of the fact that some of the so-called "lies" might not have complete evidence supporting them, they were uttered not with the ”intent to deceive", or to create a "false or misleading impression". In fact, every single statement that the Left has gleefully proclaimed as a lie, was made in the attempt to do what is right for America. Civil people can disagree with what is the right thing to do for our country, but they do not generally call their opponents liars and compare them to Hitler. The Media have devoted many headlines and space on the front pages to spread the “lie” stories. What we have not seen is equal space provided when the “Bush Lied” mantra has been shown to be merely a political prevarication, equivocation, falter or fib—dare we say, lie? Right now, let's look at the various attempts to demonstrate that Bush lied to the American people.

1. Bush's 16 words in the State of the Union speech in January 2003 ( "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.")
This rather well-known accusation made front page news shortly after Bush's State of the Union speech. Mostly because of the Ambassador Joe Wilson flap. Ambassador Wilson has made quite a reputation for himself in his anti-Bush rhetoric. He told an adoring Left that he had definitely found evidence that Bush's 16 words in the State of the Union were completely false, since he had been the person sent to Niger to check it out. He even published a book called The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir. Well, the. Ambassador was not quite telling the truth (perhaps he was only prevaricating for politics, rather than, you know, lying?). One of the more stunning revelations in the recently released by the Senate Intelligence Committee in June, 2004 was that, contrary to what he had said publicly, Ambassador Wilson had told the CIA exactly the opposite--that, Niger officials had admitted that Iraq and Iran had sought uranium. In fact, the CIA used Wilson's report to further support its information from British intelligence that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium in the world market for nefarious purposes. The politics of truth, indeed. To this day, British Intelligence has not revoked its original statement.

Question: Who was lying?

2. Bush supposedly claimed that Saddam Hussein and Iraq posed an "imminent" threat to the United States and suggested that Hussein and Iraq were somehow involved in 9/11.
Actually, President Bush said in addressing this issue in June, 2002: "…if we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long. " He was, of course addressing one of the lessons to be learned from the 9/11 terror attacks, which was to become a central component of the "Bush Doctrine" of pre-emptive military action in cases where other methods would not work due to the unique aspects of terror organizations. He never said that Iraq posed an "imminent" threat. (Although, if you consider the fact that Hussein had tried to assassinate the elder President Bush in , and that our military was already being shot at on a daily basis in the "no fly" zones in Iraq by Hussein's military forces; a reasonable person might conclude that Iraq's threat was more than "imminent"--it was already an actuality.

In contrast, consider these words spoken by Senator John Edwards on February 24, 2002 to CNN's Larry King on about the relative threats to the U.S. of North Korea, Iran and Iraq: "…and I think Iraq and Saddam Hussein present the most serious and most imminent threat."

As far as the connection of Iraq and Hussein to 9/11, President Bush and all his administration were in actuality very careful NOT to accuse Hussein even if they suspected a connection. Newsweek Magazine in an interview with Bush in 2001 asked him pointblank if he thought Iraq was involved in the September 11 attacks. Bush replied bluntly, "I cannot make that claim." Dick Cheney, on September 16, 2001 on Meet the Press said, "I want to be very careful about how I say this, I'm not here today to make a specific allegation that Iraq was somehow responsible for 9/11. I can't say that." And, of course in Michael Moore's artfully deceitful movie Fahrenheit 911, Condoleeza Rice is reported as saying "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11." However, the entire quote (which Moore omitted--see definition of "lie" at the beginning of this article) is as follows: "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It's not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11, but, if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that lead people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York."

One final comment: Is it really too absurd to think that one of the most significant mass murderer's in history might have had some input into 9/11. I consider myself a reasonable person, and I have speculated about it. I know there may never be any evidence found to prove it, but the connection is not, I believe, an unreasonable or particularly paranoid one to consider.

Question: Who are the liars in this case?

3. Bush (and others in his administration) said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.
I won't go into this one in great detail. On 5/17/04 the Iraq Survey Group, charged with looking for WMD in Iraq, confirmed that artillery shells with sarin and mustard gas had been found in Iraq and are thought to be part of the missing projectiles that Saddam failed to account for. This article was buried in the few newspapers that published it. And the few commentators who did see it immediately stated that a "few old shells" aren't enough to qualify for WMD. Never mind that reams of evidence have recently been found that such programs existed. I predict that as more actual weapons are found, the bar will rise even higher, and that no number of banned shells, gas or nerve agent discovered will convince some individuals that Saddam had WMD. Photographic evidence just before the war shows a massive dismantling of a large facility in Iraq--why? Rumors suggest that Syria may have opened its arms to receive Iraq's banned weapons. It is also very likely that at some future date we may find out in a very unfortunate and tragic manner where those WMD went to. Because the question is not whether Saddam had them; it is what did he do with them before the war? As Thomas Sowell pointed out on July 8, 2004 on, "Who said Saddam Hussein had WMD? The Russians said so. The British said so. Bill Clinton said so. Leaders of both parties said so. George W. Bush was one of the last to say so. Yet he alone is accused of lying."

Senator Ted Kennedy said in September, 2002: "We have known for years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

Senator John Kerry said on October 9, 2002: "And while the administration has failed to provide any direct link between Iraq and the events of September 11, can we afford to ignore the possibility that Saddam Hussein might accidentally as well as purposely, allow those weapons of mass destruction to slide off to one group or another in a region were weapons are the currency of trade?"

Question: Why are so many so eager to dismiss what everyone knew before the Iraq war? If Saddam's WMD are products of intelligence "groupthink"(as suggested by the Senate Intelligence Committee Report of June, 2004), then the group doing the thinking is an extremely large and multinational one. And, why aren't all of the members of this multinational entity called "liars"? Why aren't Ted Kennedy and John Kerry also liars?

4. Bush said there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda
OK. This one has been gone over with a fine toothcomb by the media, the 9/11 commission and by every political pundit of every persuasion. The facts are these: the intelligence community of the U.S. and several other countries believed that there was a connection that dated back a number of years between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Carl Levin on June 16, 2003 said on TheNewsHour with Jim Lehrer that "we were told by the intelligence community that there was a very strong link between al Qaeda and Iraq. (He later changed his mind and said to John Gibson of Fox News in February, 2004 that "the intelligence didn't say there is a direct connection between al Qaeda and Iraq). Despite his recent flip-flop, there is annoyingly significant evidence of a connection. To start with, Zarqawi was present in Iraq prior to the U.S. led invasion and is now the focal point of outside resistance to Iraq becoming self-governing. The terrorist group Ansar al-Islam was present in Iraq and had significant to al Qaeda. Also, more recently, Iraqi intelligence was found that documented Iraq's discussions with al Qaeda on a possible collaboration in Saudi Arabia. According to these documents, Osama bin Laden "requested joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. Thom Shanker in the NY Times reported on June 25, 2004 that "Iraqi Intelligence officials sought to maintain this relationship, stating that "cooperation between the two organizations should be allowed to develop freely through discussion and agreement."

Question: Why is this so difficult to believe? It is hard not to notice that the same people who flock to Michael Moore's conspiracy-laden propaganda movie have no difficulty whatsoever believing that Bush is in a deep conspiracy with the Saudi royal family; and the Taliban; and that some mythical pipeline is the real connection between the U.S. and Afghanistan. But, Saddam and al Qaeda? That possible collaboration is deemed "ridiculous", while the "collaboration " hinted at in Fahrenheit 911 is considered likely (I won't bother to go into debunking the claims made by Moore’s movie. Numerous others have already done a beautiful job). As a psychiatrist, I will simply point out that when a conspiracy theory enhances or confirms your particular world view (in the case of the Bush Lied Crowd, the world view is simple: America is Evil and Everything America does --especially under an Evil Republican President --is Evil) no evidence is necessary to believe it. Unquestionably, the conspiracy theory that Iraq and al-Qaeda might have had a relationship --even a collaborative one-- also confirms a world view. I prefer that one. At least is isn’t founded on denial and delusion.

The final point is that many people believed, based on the intelligence information known at the time that there was some connection, and possibly collaboration, between Iraq and al Qaeda. Carl Levin believed. Was he lying to PBS in 2003? Why was Bush lying when he acting on reasonable intelligence that has since received more evidence to support it.

5. Bush's Administration pressured the intelligence community to shape their findings to fit predetermined policy goals.

The Senate Intelligence Committee Report of June, 2004 stated: "The Committee found no evidence that the Intelligence community's mischaracterization or exaggeration of weapons of mass destruction capabilities was the result of political pressure." This was the conclusion based on over 200 interviews with intelligence officials. If the Intelligence community felt pressure, then it was the kind of pressure they should feel--and that is that their information holds the key to life and death for Americans around the world, especially now in the post-9/11 world.

Lack of evidence for this advertised “dishonesty” must be very disconcerting to Democrats and the Left in general. Unfortunately, they will likely continue to believe their version in spite of the Report’s findings.

6. Bush said that the Iraq war is an important front in fighting the war on Terror.

On this, the President is entirely correct in relying on the many Middle East analysts who have studied the region for decades. Of course, not everyone agrees with their assessment of what will happen if Iraq becomes a democracy in a region most noted for its lack of freedom generally and where half the population for all practical purposes except for reproduction does not exist. . No reasonable person can conclude that this analysis is a “lie”. Some of the dissident analysts stated at the beginning of the Iraq war that the U.S. actions would cause the region to explode (it didn’t); that Iraq would break out in a civil war (it didn’t) and that Iraqi’s were not capable of making a democracy work (that remains to be seen, but all the current evidence is that with time, they will do just fine).

Finally, one more point on setting the record straight. I certainly am not the first or only person to discuss many of these points. I post this essay primarily because we have been let down badly by the Media, who should be disseminating this information and many other facts to the people of America, so that they could weigh and balance opposing information and come up with their own conclusions. But even in (or should I say especially in?) Ann Arbor, the local newspaper isn’t much interested in publishing facts. It thinks nothing of publishing on the front page in the headline area opinion pieces about Bush, the War, the Economy, and the Presidential Election. Just to make sure that you and I know what all right-thinking individuals should be thinking. Needless to say, I have yet to see one of these “analyses” support the President’s position on any matter. When I contacted the editor to express my indignation at having a headline on the front page that is an opinion, his only comment was, “well, the NY Times does it.” Of course that makes it right because the NY Times is the Oracle, and has no history of publishing “lies”.

Great Site

Blogs for Bush is a great site which brings together all those bloggers in the blogsphere who support President Bush. Visit and see what they're all about.

Who is Really Fair and Balanced?

Here is a wonderful article, articulate and factual, that actually defends Fox News and its pro-America (but objective and balanced)reporting. Check it out!

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Mental Status Exam -- The Republicans

Yesterday I posted a MSE on the Democratic Party. In order to be fair and balanced (eat your heart out Fox News!) I will now proceed to a MSE on the Republicans:

APPEARANCE - Impressive multicultural/multiracial cabinet; balding (Cheney); and have not been accused of being "sexy".
BEHAVIOR - a little too defensive about their policies
SPEECH - NOT ENOUGH speech! They should be working day and night to get out the truth in their daily public interactions, and countering the media blitz about their supposed "lies". Why they haven't is somewhat mysterious....
MOOD - upbeat generally; perhaps a bit too smug
AFFECT - generally appropriate
THOUGHTS - not paranoid enough publically; seem to have a good handle on the status of things in the world. Willing to admit mistakes (e.g., Rumsfeld); appropriately aware of the priorities in protecting this country and not afraid to use every possible means to do so (except for possibly holding back a bit on military might) No current suicidal ideation or intent (unlike their Democratic counterparts).
ORIENTATION - September 11, 2001
MEMORY - have not forgotten the 3000 Americans killed on 9/11. Long-term and short-term memory appears intact generally
CONCENTRATION - able to multi-task within the resources they have at their command.
INSIGHT - able to put current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan in appropriate context and aware that the War on Terror/Islamofascism may require some time--even (gasp!) years to conclude. Unwilling however to ask for sacrifices from the average American, however and trying to pretend that we should go on with "business as usual" in spite of involvement in two wars and running up a significant deficit.
JUDGEMENT - Overall strategy is sound, but have mad many tactical errors; fortunately people at the lower levels seems resilient and able to adjust and correct some of the more egregious tactical mistakes. As noted in "SPEECH" they have not spent nearly enough time explaining the logic and strategy behind what they are doing and tend to be too defensive all the time.

AXIS I - Adjustment Disorder with mixed emotional features (watch for signs of depression or paranoia)
AXIS II - some evidence of anxious personality traits; contrary to media hyping about "pathological lying" they appear to genuinely believe in what they are doing.