Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Left's Pervasive Tyranny

Paul Jacob at Townhall.com has a very interesting piece on NPR and its bias. Here is the part that interested me the most:

That some folks or most folks or nearly everyone fails to see a bias in public TV and radio matters not at all to me. Part of my day job is dealing with the media and that requires some consideration of where media outlets and personalities are coming from. I've been interviewed countless times by people at PBS or NPR. There is no slant more socialistic, and more consistently so.

This has never surprised me. Publicly funded media is socialistic, so it doesn't seem odd at all that those working for such entities might have a stronger belief in socialism than even the very liberal folks at privately owned big media outlets.

There is bias in news reporting and there always will be. That's hardly the problem. The problem is forcing people to pay for the bias and propaganda with which they disagree. As Jefferson once wrote, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical."

This sort of tyranny has become a fixation on the left. Leftist artists cannot seem to enjoy their craft without the controversy that comes from forcing people who are offended by it to pay the bill.
Leftists also want public financing of political campaigns, so that Americans are forced to pay to promote political views they oppose. Of course, this could just be a pragmatic decision based on the realization that they cannot raise funds voluntarily.

And too, the liberals who predominate at PBS and NPR are likely much happier pretending that they work in a commercial-free sector where they can escape having to do programming based on what customers with their filthy money might desire. This is a charade, of course, since ads from big corporations make up a huge chunk of PBS's support. But still, they do pretend. (Emphasis mine)

This insight identifies, I believe, the underlying cancer that has eaten away at civil discourse in this country. It describes almost all the the intensely emotional conflicts in the social arena-- from abortion to Gay rights to almost all instances of public financing of art and culture. This is the reason that no resolution or compromise can ever be made between opposing viewpoints.

One side --primarly the Left (I will note the one exception I can think of in just a minute) is much more comfortable imposing its will on anyone who disagrees. They discovered several decades ago that what they cannot make happen via democratic voting can be ever so easily accomplished by judicial fiat (on a national or state level) or by adminstrative fiat in the non-governmental area (e.g., academia).

As Jefferson noted and Jacobs notes, this really adds insult to injury, because the people who disagree with you are now forced to pay (either through their taxes or their tuition)for your point of view.

The one instance where the Right is guilty of the same offense is in the K-12 educational arena, where they are trying to impose (at least in this country)some of their religious beliefs (e.g., the evolution/intelligent design controversy). I suppose it was just a matter of time to where the religious Right would say, "well, if the Left can do it, we should be able to to also!" Although I totally disapprove of these efforts, they generally remain on a local level; in local schoolboards and are not part of a an attempt to legislate or judiciate opinions that the majority would not approve.

Though it could be argued that they might do such a thing if they needed to, I suppose, the point is that the Left is already doing it--it is not a theoretical for them.

I certainly don't applaud this foray into tyrannical methodology by the religious Right.

But the Left has made it their primary modus operandi to use the force of the government to give clout to their cultural, social, political and moral and quasi-religious beliefs in all areas. Of course, they do it because they understand that they are much more knowledgable than you or I are about what is right.

It is the pervasive tyranny of the elitist.


Image hosted by Photobucket.comWelcome to Grand Rounds XXXVI ! This week we will hold our Rounds while touring an exhibit of drawings by the incomparable Leonardo Da Vinci born in 1452. Leonardo's Self Portrait is to the left. Da Vinci was not only an artist, but an anatomist, a philosopher, an inventor, and engineer.

This month marks the 486th year since Leonardo's death in 1519 at age 67. His beautifully detailed anatomical drawings with their copious notes and close attention to detail were undoubtedly the result of Leonardo's own dissections of animals and human beings. He was the quintessential Rennaisance Man. Sigmund Freud once said, "Leonardo da Vinci was like a man who awoke too early in the darkness, while the others were all still asleep."

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWe begin our art tour with Vetruvian Man, one of Leonardo's most reproduced and popular sketches, in which he draws the "measure of man" to demonstrate that "man is the measure of all things."

Grand Rounds XXXVI begins with several posts that deal with one measure of medicine, the Pharmaceutical Industry. In this category we have three blogs which discuss issues regarding the relationships between Pharmaceutical Companies and Medicine. California Medicine Man talks about the major "non-event" that occurs when a drug company repackages the same basic drug and simply renames it. Blogs for Industry takes a capitalist approach and exposes the myth that universities are major contributors in the drug development pipeline, and wonders why those universities think that the law of supply and demand doesn't apply to them? Meanwhile, DrugInjury.com argues for more FDA drug safety oversight in the wake of the Vioxx debacle.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comA Drawing of Concave Mirrors and Reflections allows us a to pause for moment or two to reflect on multiple ethical, legal, and philosophical and entrepreneurial issues in Medicine. InsureBlog's post on "It's All in the Genes" tackles the debate about genetic testing and the impact of several legislative attempts to constrain the ability of insurance companies to use genetic information against the insured. The Rest of the Story explains a procedure called SCNT (Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer) which may be a way to sidestep the embryonic stem cell controversy. Overlawyered takes a look at the demands of disabled doctors who want hospitals--and patients--to accommodate their disabilities. So Many Lawyers, So Little Time gives some medical advice to a lawyer--but not the advice he really wants to give. Kevin, M.D. asks two compelling questions about patients' and doctors' use of time and theorizes a "spectrum of waiting". Interested Participant discusses a recent conference where German physicians state that "unemployment makes people sick"--and have recommended that the unemployed be exempt from paying for doctor's visits. Far From Perfect: The Life of A Paramedic argues that Emergency Medical Services should no longer be the stepchild of the Fire Services, but its own separate Public Service. Health Business Blog finds that it isn't as easy as you might think to give away $50 Million. And, Sense of Soot stares socialized medicine in the eye, and finds that he doesn't like it much. Much to reflect on.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWe stop to examine Leonardo's View of a Skull and use it as the inspiration for several blogging mental health professionals and some psychological issues. First, ShrinkWrapped talks about the doctor's dilemma in dealing with drug company representatives. Shrinkette discovers that the hits on her blog have suddenly increased dramatically because she once wrote about pro-Anorexia websites and now anorexic teens are directed there by Google. Horsefeathers (hat tip: Dymphna) explores the power of delusion and its connection to Saddam's underpants. And, along similar lines, Dr. Sanity ponders on the phenomenon of psychological insight and murderous impulses.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com In The Study of An Old Man, Leonardo has captured our essential humanity, and so it becomes the backdrop for four great posts. Neo-neocon, another mental health professional, takes the patient's point of view when she presents for her annual physical exam as an "aging boomer." Another patient perspective can be found at Diabetes Mine, as Amy reports what she learned at a diabetes symposium for those who suffer from the disorder. Over at Oasis of Sanity, Joan reflects that if you are a hammer, then everything looks like a nail to you. And likewise medical specialists tend to believe their specialty's treatments are the only treatments. Finally, before we move on to the next part of the exhibit, The Examining Room of Dr. Charles has a Memorial Day tribute to "those who died in the defense of our better nature, our freedoms, and our best achievements."

Image hosted by Photobucket.com The Study of Lungs brings us to Gill Blog's excellent discussion of managing SARS in Canada; and then to Dr Emer's post at Parallel Universes about how laughing may excacerbate asthma. The good doctor points out that noone should live without laughing and discusses a treatment to help.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Drawing of the Heart and Blood Vessels brings us to Medpundit , as she looks at the "miracle" of St. Statin and the latest study showing that statins not only reduce heart disease risk, but also reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comLeonardo's Study of a Womb seems appropriate for Red State Moron as he writes about his "calling" to medicine and gynecology. A very personal memoir.

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The good-natured and curious Kidney Notes deals with an unusual case in his nephrology practice, as we continue to move through the exhibit to Principal Organs, Vascular and Urino-genital Systems of a Woman, completed in 1507. This detailed anatomical drawing is perfect for including medically related posts in a variety of disciplines. Aggravated DocSurg notes that the British Journal of Surgery is advocating raising the minimum age for purchasing sharp pointy objects and wonders if this will save the modern world from the evils of kitchen knives. What would Crocodile Dundee think? Dr. Andy summarizes two studies that show that allergic disease is on the rise and notes that it is a good time to be an allergist.

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Image hosted by Photobucket.com A Study of Arms and Hands along with Study of A Leg will frame and highlight several posts in our Grand Rounds. Gruntdoc tells the story of his experience with one of the built-in hazards of medicine: a needlestick injury with a 'dirty' needle; while Zap*Germs details the UK media frenzy over a Marine's death by MRSA-PVL Infection. Orac at Respectful Insolence takes on the anti-vaccination folks posting at the Huffington blog.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com We move on through the exhibit, and Dr. Tony presents a case history of an autistic boy who lives on an "edge" only he can see, until he finally and tragically goes over it. As The Cheerful Oncologist reflects on some of the positive aspects of working on the graveyard shift; and Maria at Intueri contemplates her ICU nightmares; we contemplate Da Vinci's Sketch of a Dragon Costume, where the dragon seems conjured from a child's nightmare.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAs we come to the end of our Da Vinci exhibit, and the end to Grand Rounds, viewing Leonardo's concept for A Flying Machine, reminds me to tell you that next week's Grand Rounds XXXVII will be hosted over at medGadget, so be sure to visit! It has been my pleasure to host Grand Rounds. Have a great week!
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Monday, May 30, 2005

They're in Stable Condition

Is Hugo Chavez dead? (hat tip: Instapundit). Maybe he's just at a meeting with King Fahd? Something wierd is going on--and its seems to be happening on several continents at once.... (now Pat, don't get paranoid!)

All I know is that when spokesmen from countries with dictators (like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia) keep saying things are "stable", it usually means quite the opposite. Remember Baghdad Bob?


Freedom is the last, best hope of earth. - Abraham Lincoln

Image hosted by Photobucket.comTo All Who Have Fought For and Defended Freedom Here and Abroad;

To All Who Have Died or Suffered To Keep America Free;

To All Who Are Fighting For Our Freedom Today:




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From: Cox and Forkum

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Another Holy Document Flushed - Part II

The French have voted a big NO on the EU constitution. Glenn Reynolds has the wrap-up, but I think they will be discussing this for a long time.

Unfortunately, I think one of my commenters, Unodostres, got it right on my previous post:
The EU is a disaster. The problem isn't that people will reject the EU constitution, it is that they want socialism above freedom. They may hate Chirac, because they have less than what they had before (which was incidently far less than what Americans take for granted), but they yearn for a stronger hand as well as more handouts--not less.

This resounding vote, as an Instapundit reader notes, means that a lot of the people who voted "no" actually want France to become MORE socialist--not less; and are afraid that the EU will be too capitalistic (i.e., competitive). Their economies continue to sink; unemployment is rampant;Islamism is on the rise along with Anti-semitism (well, they have to blame someone for all their problems--God forbid they should take a long hard look at themselves and see where their socialist policies have already brought them); their welfare state is crumbling to dust before their eyes, and their status as a world power is zilch--yet they want more socialism??

How much longer can the people of Fracnce remain so willfully ignorant and blind about what is going on in the world? Don't answer; it's a rhetorical question.


Regime Change Iran has a weekly roundup of what's going on in Iran. Many links there to peruse.

Also, rumors are that Zarqawi is seeking medical attention in Iran.

If the rumor is true, this sounds a lot like Iran is "harboring a terrorist" to me. Of course, the Mullahs terrorize their own people quite regularly (hat tip: LGF)

American Daughter has the story of 10 Iranian women hanged by the Mullahs.

Also, check out the following sites:

Democracy for Iran


Free Thoughts (has many posts on Iranian freedom, as well as on Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan)

Another Holy Document Flushed ?

Today the French vote on the EU constitution. Surprisingly, there is a strong possibility that they may vote "NO". Whether because they are sick and tired of Chirac (I'm not even French, but I know I am); or because the economies of Europe are sinking into the toilet (forgive the Koran reference).

Apparently, the EU Constitution may also be both literally and figuratively flushed down a few toilets (see here and here for example).

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Well, we shall see. As Glenn Reynolds would say: "Heh."

Carnival of the Insanities

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Time for the weekly insanity udate, where the insane, the bizarre, the ridiculous, and the completely absurd are highlighted for all to see! This has been a week of rare idiocy (as always!). Calling all bloggers! Be sure to send in your entries to the Carnival, which will be posted every Sunday. Entries need to be in by 8 pm on Saturday to make their way into the list that week. SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!

1. Holy Hypocrisy.

2. I have it on good authority that some Democrats leave a bad taste in the mouth. (Very tacky, Pat)

3. Freud had nothing to do with this slip. Or, did he?

4. How compassionate. And stupid.

5. If Newsweek isn't dead, it's at least dead meat.

6. The Parade of Unfortunate Star Wars Costumes. How appropriate!

7. This area of the brain is very much alive and well in the blogsphere! I'm not so sure about this blogger, though! Maybe you have to be in Asia to appreciate it! Sarcasm or insanity--you decide.

8. The Jihad that refreshes! And don't forget Pepsi!

9. These things haven't stopped him before.

10. Monty Python could have a field day with this. Sort of like the Knights who say nee!

11. Each Star Trek series a metaphor for the era they were made in? You know, I think he's right.

12. Moonbats with matches. What a scary thought!

13. Archeology exhibit that definitely stimulates discussion. Or at least shopping.

14. All is lost. C'est la vie.

15. 18 Things you can't say about Muslims in Italy.

16. I wonder if you can say this in Italy? Where's PETA when you need them?

17. Another example of idiocy in the judicial system. Some judges seem to think they are gods.

18. A little assassination humor. Ha Ha. And here, they don't want him dead--just sodomized. I think I see. The student just has to hone his humor skills and he can be a "talented" artist someday.

19. Genocidal, mass-murdering scumbags are people too! Have a little compassion! (very very little)



Image hosted by Photobucket.com Don't forget! On Tuesday, Dr. Sanity is pleased and honored to host Grand Rounds XXXVI. I will be looking for submission on any medical topic from any bloggers.

Please send in your submissions before Monday the 30th, 6:00pm, Eastern Time, to "patsanty"at"aol.com" with the subject "Grand Rounds." You may contribute one of your own posts or recommend one you've seen. The Guidelines for submissions will be observed, except as noted above. Future Hosts are still being sought- so contact Nick at Blogborygmi.

This week's Grand Rounds can be found here

Saturday, May 28, 2005

John Kerry - The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I stole the phrase above from neo-neocon,who used it in a comment on this blog; but it was so appropriate for me as a blogger, I couldn't resist! As long as John Kerry continues on his narcissistic, lying path to glory, I will never lack for something to write about.

It is extremely hard to even consider the remotest possibility that John Kerry intends to release all his military--including his medical--records. Polipundit has the latest, and I urge you to read what it says there.

Meanwhile, John O'Neill, from the Swiftboat Vets has released all of his own records just to show how easily it can be done, and you can see his Form 180 here. Note that he authorizes the records' release to "anyone who requests them." Compare and contrast that to Senator Kerry.

In his usual disingenuous (i.e., lying) fashion, Kerry states that he actually DID sign the Form 180 (probably before he didn't sign it) and that his staff is "reviewing" it. In other words, ladies and gents, Kerry Strikes Again. HE HASN'T SENT THE FORM IN YET!! Or, if he HAS sent it to the military, he HASN'T released the records.

Here are the following FACTS:

1. John Kerry has never released all his military records.
2. John Kerry has promised to release all those records multiple times, the most recent of which was back several months ago.
3. John Kerry states he has signed the Form, but is "reviewing it".

The obvious questions:

What is he or his staff "reviewing" it for? What needs to be "reviewed"? What is Kerry hiding? And, if he is not hiding anything, why all the fuss about releasing the records? Why didn't he release them during the 2004 campaign?

The obvious answer:

John Kerry is hiding something he believes will seriously damage him in the public's eyes if it is released. Something that would put an end to his presidential ambitions in a way that resoundingly losing the 2004 preseidential election apparently hasn't done (but should have).

Release the records, Mr. Kerry, and prove me (and many others) completely wrong.

It's A Beautiful Morning

...I think I'll go outside for a while! (And just smile...)

I Love Hate Mail

Recently I was asked to host the wonderful weekly Grand Rounds--a carnival of medical posts from a variety of bloggers. Since I had participated in a number of previous Grand Rounds, I was delighted and honored to do so.

That's when the hate mail started to arrive. Here's an example that was posted on the blog of Iatremia (it is gone now because Michael determined that it was inappropriate):

Pat Santy is an arrogant bigot. I can't believe Grand Rounds will be hosted alongside her racist tripe. This doctor, for one, will never visit Grand Rounds again. Santy embarrasses the profession.

Posted by: blackjesus at May 26, 2005 12:58 AM

The same poster left a few gems at my blog, also. Fortunately he said he wouldn't dignify my blog with another visit (hurray! one less troll!)

The there were the email:

You are the sickest person on the internet. They shouldn't allow doctors like you to practice.

Grand Rounds used to be a decent effort. By including you in it they have picked up the scum at the bottom.

(Note: I won't be posting Grand Rounds until Tuesday morning--but I am still taking submissions until Monday evening, May 31st!).

Well, there were more, but they were generally along the lines of the samples above (except more profane).

One way to look at so many loving comments by the Leftist Progressive People of Love is that I must be doing something right to have annoyed them so much. While understanding perfectly that they consider such intellectually erudite comments examples of civil discourse; on some level it amuses me to contemplate how much people like these writers reveal about themselves and the causes they support.

Rather than make any argument against what I say on the blog, they become filled with rage and make ad hominem attacks on me personally. If that's the best they can do, their ideology must be in deep deep trouble.

I have to honestly admit to the "arrogant" accusations. That particular quality-- and rebelliousness against authority (any authority)-- are probably my greatest failings.

But if my detractors--who would rather focus on me, rather than my arguments--only see bigotry, sickness and scum, I'm afraid they must look within themselves for its source.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Council Has Spoken !

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This week's winners in the Watcher's Council are now posted at the Watcher's site. Every week the Council nominates posts from the blogs of the Council members, and posts from around the blogsphere. The Council then votes to select the "Best" of all these posts.


1. MSM — MIA or AWOL? Gates of Vienna

2. Neither First Nor Last


1. Blood and Justice The Indepundit

2. The Left Isn't Liberal No Oil for Pacifists

Be sure to head over to the Watcher of Weasels to check out all the winners!

"Me Not Happy"

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOver and over again we seem to be required to watch the spectacle of the wealthiest, most privileged, and yet seemingly most miserable people in the world, go on in tiresome detail how evil everything is that made their wealth and privilege possible. Many of these elites from across the globe have no problem using the same technology they hate to spread their ideological messages of anti-capitalism, anti-technology, anti-progress, and, of course, anti-Americanism (the symbol of all the previous).

These global luddites, medievalists, and jihadis have one thing in common. They are all deeply resentful of the modern era because despite all the things available to make life easier and more enjoyable, they aren't happy!

NEWSFLASH! - Happiness is not related to the number of things one possesses. It has more to do with the power and energy that actually creates the wealth and technology--the free expression of that creative impulse that lies within every human. It has to do with taking responsibility for your own individual life and striving for the best that is within yourself.

Many of these global elites mistakenly believe power over others is what will make them happy and so they attempt to control and shackle that creative power--the best that is within others.

NEWSFLASH 2 - Happiness is not related to power over others; rather it is intimately connected to learning to have power over one's self in order to harness the capabilities within and become the best person you can be.

Victor Davis Hanson takes up the theme of unhappy global elites in his Friday essay:

The anti-Americanism that we frequently see and hear, then, is often a plaything of the international elite — a corporate grandee, a leisured athlete, or a refined novelist who flies in and out of the West, counts on its globalizing appendages for wealth, and then mocks those who make it all possible — but never to the point that their own actions would logically follow their rhetoric and thus cost them so dearly.

We might expect that a chagrined Ms. Nooyi would resign from Pepsi since it is the glossy fingernail of the American middle finger that apparently so bothers her. We pray that Mr. Khan will stay among the mobs and rioters of the madrassas and mosques he stirred up. Perhaps novelist Roy can write in an indigenous Indian language, peddle her books at home, and thereby disinvest from this hegemonic system that drives her to fury.

Then there is the director of anti-American films from Denmark, Lars von Trier, who whined, “Mr. Bush is an a**hole. So much in Denmark is American. . . America fills about 60 per cent of my brain. So, in fact, I am American. But I can't go there to vote and I can't change anything, because I am from a small country. So that is why I make films about America.”

Memo to poor head-pounding Mr. von Trier: There is no compelling reason to have anything American in your country — except in the past to expel German invaders you either could not or would not keep out. Simply stop buying American. Don’t watch American movies. Admonish not us, but your own leaders to get out of NATO, pronto — the faster the better. Deny entry to all American troops — and tourists. Embrace the EU. It’s bigger and more populous than the U.S. Create an all-EU defense force. Go for it all!

Above all, be sure that your films are not marketed through any global organization that is either American-financed, directed, or substantiates a Westernized hegemony in the promulgation of intellectual property. Perhaps there are plenty of Danes who would see your films about Denmark at home — and that might cleanse your brain of what you hate, if make you a little less money.

In Michael Crichton's book, State of Fear, one of the more psychologically satisfying moments occurs when the bloviating, superior and wealthy environmentalist/entertainer--who has been exhorting everyone on the virtue of returning to the primitive life--gets eaten by a tribe of cannibals.

It's easy to fantasize the sword of [poetic] justice efficiently dealing likewise with the "me not happy", spoiled elites of today.

Too Busy To Be Bothered

If American feminists want to help the women of Afghanistan, then here is the kind of thing that is innovative and productive (and underreported):

I spent several hours this past Sunday with "U.S. involvement" in the person of an interesting group called the Business Council for Peace. The council is a group of professional American women--consultants, bankers, lawyers and the like--who have organized to help women in post-Taliban Afghanistan. Indeed it turns out that there is a loose network mostly of professional women in the U.S. working hard on behalf of Afghan women. If Afghanistan doesn't fail, if it rises above the downer coverage it must carry on its back, it will be in no small part because of these U.S. women.
Gathered that Sunday morning in a conference room on the 29th floor of the Empire State Building were about 10 women from the Business Council for Peace and 13 women from Afghanistan, who arrived the previous evening. Standing at the window, with New York spread to the horizon, one Afghan woman announced that it looked "very new." The woman next to her captured it with a camcorder. The tourists, however, were standing outside on the sidewalk; these Afghan women were here on business.

The council, with support from more than 40 U.S. companies, had brought them here to spend three weeks learning how to run a small business and how to adapt traditional Afghan skills--embroidery, crocheting, silk work--to make products saleable in the U.S. market. Each woman had attended, or graduated from, college--mostly while living as refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan. All had formed small businesses back home, often employing Afghanistan's many widows. On a visit to Afghanistan, the council had identified these 13 women as "fast runners," women with natural entrepreneurial instincts. A council CD-ROM, in which the women describe their lives, affirmed that these Afghans are indeed life's "fast runners."

Between now and June 10, they will receive instruction at the Fashion Institute of Technology and elsewhere in New York. When they go home, each woman will have a three-year mentor from the Business Council.

I'd like to see the so-called "feminists"--who hang around colleges and universities, attempting to indoctrinate young women into the next generation of Whiny Victims of the Male Conspiracy in America Club--do something useful, productive, and caring like the above. Too bad they are lost in a Marxist-Leninist (i.e., anticapitalistic) fog, and haven't been able to see clearly for several decades. Their silence (except for the sniping) on Afghanistan is deafening.

And besides, they are far too busy honing their hatred of President Bush to be bothered.


Back when the USSR was a world power, it was well-known that its leaders used psychiatry as an instrument of the Communist Regime to control dissidents; defining mental illness so that it conformed with Marxist-Leninist thinking and what was called the "Soviet Reality." "Sluggish Schizophrenia" was a term used by psychiatric thugs to diagnose anyone who expressed any sort of individualistic thought, or who argued against Communist philosophy. Many completely normal people were incarcerated "for their own good" into Soviet mental hospitals, and officials patted themselves on the back for protecting their society from such "deviants".

As an example of this attempt to incorporate Communist propaganda into psychiatry, I mention in my book Choosing the Right Stuff, how Soviet scientists, after illegally appropriating the MMPI (a proprietary psychological test) redefined several of its scales. In particular, the scale that assessed for psychotic thinking (Schizophrenia) was renamed "Individuality", and the Male/Female scale was renamed Courage/Weakness.

Eventually the World Psychiatric Association got around to condemning the widespread Soviet abuse of psychiatry, and expelled them from the organization in the 1970's. It was a number of years before the abuses stopped.

Now we have the same kind of behavior and institutional, ideological abuse of psychiatry beginning to be reported in the Islamic world (hat tip: Free Thoughts). Here is an article that describes how a Christian is being held in a mental hospital in Cairo until he recants his faith and converts back to Islam:

Doctors in a Cairo mental hospital are holding an Egyptian Christian against his will, telling the man he'll be a permanent resident there until he recants his faith and returns to Islam, reports a leading monitor of Christian persecution.

Reminiscent of the tactics of Communists in the USSR who put dissidents in mental hospitals, the forced stay, according to Voice of the Martyrs, has been in effect since January. At that time, the adoptive parents of Gaser Mohammed Mahmoud, 30, committed him to the El-Khanka Hospital after learning he had converted from Islam to Christianity two years earlier.

There is no question that society often asks psychiatry and psychiatrists to perform a "social control" function. In particular, we psychiatrists are often asked to determine if an individual is imminently suicidal or homicidal; and if so, then we have the power to involuntarily hospitalize that person for a brief amount of time. Laws vary by state, but in every case, the individual is entitled to a court hearing and legal representation.

As a Libertarian at heart, having such a power often disturbs me for several reasons. First, psychiatrists are probably only marginally better (if at all) at determining whether a person really is suicidal or homicidal. People lie to us all the time. Sometimes we think we can tell if they are speaking truthfully, but even the most experienced of us can be very mistaken.

The second reason is a fundamental truth that we don't want to face: if a person really wants and intends to kill themselves--or someone else--ultimately, there is nothing we can do about it from a medical/psychiatric perspective.

Yet, I have come to appreciate that my intervention, reluctant as it might be, has resulted in some people changing their minds and losing the desire to harm themselves or others. So, my discomfort is bearable.

At any rate, this "social control" function given to psychiatrists must be--in a free society anyway--as limited and tightly monitored as possible. For exactly the reasons that caused the WPA to condemn the Soviet abuses.

I don't know all the circumstances in the case above, but converting from Islam to any other religion or to no religion at all would seem to be a relatively sane move in most circumstances and places--except perhaps in the Middle East, where it can get you killed or, as in this case, locked up on a mental ward.

The question is, who are the real deviants?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I Know It's Just A Rumor...

...but, Will Collier at Vodkapundit is reporting that Zarqawi is dead:

I'm hearing quite a bit of chatter through the USAF contractor grapevine that Zarqawi is dead. The only reason I mention it here is, the rumor is apparently rampant at Hurlburt AFB Field, home of the Air Force Special Ops guys, some of whom would be in a position to know such things.

Wouldn't it be loverly? It might be true now that the terrorists have named a replacement....

On A Roll

Scott Ott at Scrappleface is on a roll!





News that's unbalanced and unafraid !

The Freedom Unfolding Under Mr. Bush's Eyes

Faoud Adjami says that Bush has unleased a tsunami on the Middle East:

To venture into the Arab world, as I did recently over four weeks in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, is to travel into Bush Country. I was to encounter people from practically all Arab lands, to listen in on a great debate about the possibility of freedom and liberty. I met Lebanese giddy with the Cedar Revolution that liberated their country from the Syrian prison that had seemed an unalterable curse. They were under no illusions about the change that had come their way. They knew that this new history was the gift of an American president who had put the Syrian rulers on notice. The speed with which Syria quit Lebanon was astonishing, a race to the border to forestall an American strike that the regime could not discount. I met Syrians in the know who admitted that the fear of American power, and the example of American forces flushing Saddam Hussein out of his spider hole, now drive Syrian policy. They hang on George Bush's words in Damascus, I was told: the rulers wondering if Iraq was a crystal ball in which they could glimpse their future.
The weight of American power, historically on the side of the dominant order, now drives this new quest among the Arabs. For decades, the intellectual classes in the Arab world bemoaned the indifference of American power to the cause of their liberty. Now a conservative American president had come bearing the gift of Wilsonian redemption. For a quarter century the Pax Americana had sustained the autocracy of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak: He had posed as America's man on the Nile, a bulwark against the Islamists. He was sly and cunning, running afoul of our purposes in Iraq and over Israeli-Palestinian matters. He had nurtured a culture of antimodernism and anti-Americanism, and had gotten away with it. Now the wind from Washington brought tidings: America had wearied of Mr. Mubarak, and was willing to bet on an open political process, with all its attendant risks and possibilities. The brave oppositional movement in Cairo that stepped forth under the banner of Kifaya ("Enough!") wanted the end of his reign: It had had enough of his mediocrity, enough of the despotism of an aging officer who had risen out of the military bureaucracy to entertain dynastic dreams of succession for his son. Egyptians challenging the quiescence of an old land may have had no kind words to say about America in the past. But they were sure that the play between them and the regime was unfolding under Mr. Bush's eyes.

I meant to post this a few days ago, but got sidetracked! It is still worth a read, though if you haven't seen it before.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Thinking is Sinful in Islam

Believe it or not, a "debate" of sorts is going on in Saudi Arabia about the question of allowing women to drive cars in the Magic Kingdom. A good deal of Islamic religious law there appears to have as its purpose keeping women from those oh-so-natural evil impulses that women have been known to have since the beginning of time (or at least since Eve in the Garden). From the Arab News:

The battle, as reported by Arab News, has already moved to the Internet with the moderates asking that the fatwa issued by the Supreme Ulema Council (a group of religious scholars) in 1990 that “women driving cars is sinful in Islam” be reviewed. Many of the moderates say that Islam is suitable for all times and that Islamic fiqh can be changed according to circumstances. Their argument is that the issue of a woman driving on her own is itself not a sin, since there is nothing in the Qur’an or the Hadith (the Prophet’s sayings) that says so. They also argue that times have changed and that women are now working, contributing food on the table as well as to the development of society. Currently due to a large part of society’s opposition to the idea — backed by the 1990 fatwa — the only option for women is to rely on drivers — either family members or someone employed to drive them. Many argue that that itself is not permissible. According to a Hadith, a woman who is alone with a male who is not a family member is joined by the devil. In that case can we allow foreign drivers to drive our daughters, wives and mothers?

The conservatives, on the other hand, say that allowing women to drive will open doors to corruption. It will also endanger women themselves as many reckless and sick-minded men will harass them when they drive alone — not to mention of taking advantage of them should the vehicle have a flat tire and the driver need help. They argue that women who are alone in their cars with their drivers are already being harassed in the streets by men and they wonder what chaos would follow if the women drove themselves. On that basis, they say, the fatwa was issued to protect women themselves from the dangers they would face in the streets if they were allowed to drive alone.

Many conservatives have also said that since the fatwa has already been issued, it is not suitable for anyone to raise the topic, whether Shoura Council member or not. Just yesterday, Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan, a member of the Supreme Ulema Council, wrote a letter to a Saudi newspaper condemning what Dr. Al-Zulfa had written in Al-Watan newspaper. He accused Dr. Al-Zulfa of “straying from the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah” (the Prophet’s traditions).

Topics concerning women always cause a storm in Saudi Arabia whenever they are discussed. There has always been a tug of war between conservatives and the moderates. Conservatives claim they want to protect women and their honor while moderates say that conservatives are preventing women from making progress and moving forward.

Not long ago, for example, when the government stated that in three years all women would be issued identity cards with photographs, the announcement created an outcry on Internet discussion sites. Conservatives said that for no reason should a woman have her face uncovered, even if uncovering so was for her own protection and for purposes of identification.

The article praises the man who is courageous enough to bring up the issues and who has faced constant harassment and threats since--Dr. Muhammad Al-Zulfa. I have nothing but admiration for him.

At the rate things are going in Islam, soon thinking will be considered sinful for women. Most of the men there apparently abandoned such a practice long ago, so it is not an issue for them.


ShrinkWrapped has an excellent post up that speculates that the elusive "moderate" Muslim is in the same position that the "moderate" German was during the rise of the National Socialists:

I liken the Islamic world to the state of the German nation in the 1930's. The Nazis were a minority party with a small following at first, in the early years of the decade. The percentage of people willing and eager to join in the party's thuggery was quite small. A far larger number sympathized with the Nazi program of externalizing all blame for Germany's straits with special emphasis on anti-Semitism, an even larger number were quietly alarmed or indifferent but the number willing to stand against the Nazis was minuscule, and hampered by the fact that they were typically not thugs themselves. By the late thirties, Hitler had been legally elected by a minority of voters and once in power he unleashed a growing band of bullies and thugs who were the spiritual ancestors to Zarqawi and his ilk. By the time the danger of Nazism was noticed by the population, opposition became deadly dangerous. It is one thing to risk your life to protect yourself and your family, it is something else altogether to risk your life to defend an outsider, like the Jew. As it was by the late 1930's and increasingly into the 1940's, to be an anti-Nazi German was to risk a horrible, lonely death; today, in "1930's Islam", to be a moderate Muslim is to risk death.

We cannot expect any help from Moderate Muslims in saving their own hides.

I think this is true; and the reason why so few moderates showed up--even in the U.S.--at an anti-terrorism rally recently. The invisibility of the moderate Muslim, as ShrinkWrapped wryly comments, is indeed "troubling", but their very invisibility, it seems to me, is the strongest argument for our defining the "enemy" in the war on terror as Islam itself.

We have been pussyfooting around this for some time now. We seem to have entered Harry Potter's world where fear is so great that even the good side refers to Lord Voldemort as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named". But, naming a thing gives one power over it. This is true both in the magical world, and the real world.

The only reason to hold back in giving a name to the enemy is if we expect to get some assistance from those not committed to all-out jihad. We won't. And by giving a real name to the so-called "war on terror", we are forcing moderates, undecideds, and deniers of all political stripes (but particularly the Left) to take sides in a war of civilizations.

For too long now, Islam has hidden behind the moderates in its midst even as the extremists have controlled those moderates with death threats and religious persecution. I say we take off the cloak of invisibility that is hiding our enemy and see which side those under it scramble toward.

A Crime Against Humanity

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Prayer For Zarqawi

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord your soul to keep;
And if He keeps it very well,
It's sure to find its way to hell.

I pray you get what you deserve,
I pray you get what I desire;
And with God's grace you'll keep your nerve
As you approach eternal fire.

But if you don't, it's no surprise--
A coward never lives his lies.
You've sent so many to the Lord,
It's only fair you face His sword.

And as I close my eyes tonight,
To contemplate eternal night;
I'd pray for you, I really would,
If only I could see some good.

May God have mercy on your soul;
And may all who suffered at your hand
Be waiting there to greet you
When you reach the Promised Land

May they show you mercy,
Of the type that you have shown;
And with caring and compassion
May you reap what you have sown.

Now I face the setting sun,
And dry-eyed, lay me down to sleep;
I know that when you're dead and gone
Some will cheer-- but none shall weep.

(Reuters article here)

The Mullahs Should Be Very Afraid

Because of this:

Secretary of State Rice yesterday warned Iran's "unelected leaders" that the day will come when their people will demand the same rights and liberties recently sought by Iraqis and Lebanese.

Speaking at the annual policy conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Ms. Rice said to thunderous applause, "Ladies and gentlemen, the Middle East is changing and even the unelected leaders in Tehran must recognize this fact. They must know that the energy of reform that is building all around them will one day inspire Iran's citizens to demand their liberty and their rights. The United States stands with the people of Iran."

You go girl. That's telling them.

Academic Dementia

Roger Simon has an excellent post on hardening of the arteries in Academia:

What we are dealing with at Brooklyn - and so many other colleges and universities today - is an ideological hardening of the arteries so rigid it threatens the ability to think. This naturally creates a "trickle down" into our high schools and junior highs, only made worse by the National Association for Teacher Accreditation. Here's history professor K. C. Johnson on how this works:

The program at my own institution, Brooklyn College, exemplifies how application of NCATE's new approach can easily be used to screen out potential public school teachers who hold undesirable political beliefs. Brooklyn's education faculty, which assumes as fact that "an education centered on social justice prepares the highest quality of future teachers," recently launched a pilot initiative to assess all education students on whether they are "knowledgeable about, sensitive to and responsive to issues of diversity and social justice as these influence curriculum and pedagogy, school culture, relationships with colleagues and members of the school community, and candidates' analysis of student work and behavior."

At the undergraduate level, these high-sounding principles have been translated into practice through a required class called "Language and Literacy Development in Secondary Education." According to numerous students, the course's instructor demanded that they recognize "white English" as the "oppressors' language." Without explanation, the class spent its session before Election Day screening Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. When several students complained to the professor about the course's politicized content, they were informed that their previous education had left them "brainwashed" on matters relating to race and social justice.

Please read it all. What is going on in our universities and colleges is a real travesty that will have implications for generations if something is not done now.

Hiding behind the concept of "academic freedom", the purveyors of thought oppression have gained control of education in this country. The first step in dealing with this situation is to reconsider the notion of tenure as Victor Davis Hanson suggests and put an end to the lack of real-world consequences for the academic endeavors. Once upon a time, tenure may have encouraged new ideas and stimulated vigorous, and even unconventional debate, but now the tenured professoriate all march in intellectual lock-step and make sure that noone with a different opinion ever gets into their elite club or rocks their club boat.

Next, the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of those overly-prized qualities of "diversity" and "multiculturalism" must be thoroughly and painstakingly exposed for what they are: the politically correct posturings of incompetent social engineers who wish to impose their own mediocrity on all aspects of society. They champion a new kind of oppression (the oppression of the competent) under the benign guise of "political correctness". If your ideas merely hurt their feelings, you can be sent to their gulags.

It is time to begin the painful task of treating this "hardening of the arteries"; this academic dementia; that has robbed the intellect from our once-flourishing scholarly institutions. What was once a brilliant flame that lit up all corners in the mind, has become a barely flickering candlelight casting dark shadows with only intermittant illumination. Like end-stage Alzheimer's, soon they will no longer be able to even understand or respond to the real world.


Image hosted by Photobucket.com This weeks Grand Rounds is up at Iatremia: The Chaplin.News. Definitely go and check it out.

Next week, Dr. Sanity is pleased and honored to host Grand Rounds XXXVI. I will be looking for submission on any medical topic from any bloggers.

Please send in your submissions before Monday the 30th, 6:00pm, Eastern Time, to "patsanty"at"aol.com" with the subject "Grand Rounds." You may contribute one of your own posts or recommend one you've seen. The Guidelines for submissions will be observed, except as noted above. Future Hosts are still being sought- so contact Nick at Blogborygmi. If you want to look at previous Grand Rounds, you can go here for a listing.


Make 'em Laugh, Make 'em Laugh

Tim Blair: Baghdad giggles.

You know that advice that is given to nervous speakers to try to calm them down? "Just imagine the members of the audience in their underwear!" Well, maybe this is the key to helping oppressed people everywhere....Just get them to imagine their local despotic ruler in their underwear. The Mullahs! Saudi Princes! Kim Jung Il! Castro!

How can you take them seriously again, after you've seen them in baggy underwear?? It's a psychological impossibility.

Calanders anyone?

Monday, May 23, 2005

"What the hell are you doing?"

For the record, here is what President Hamad Karzai had to say about Newsweek and the Koran issue and the abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on the treatment of the prisoners, Mr. President, you know, anti-American feeling is running high in the Muslim world. We've seen it in Afghanistan after the alleged disintegration of the Koran in Guantanamo.

After meeting with the president, how do you assure the Muslim world and Afghan people, that they've seen death as a result of the article, that this incident in Bagram and other treatment of prisoners isolated incident and it's not systemic?


KARZAI: Ma'am, yes, we discussed those questions.

On the demonstrations, or the so-called demonstrations in part of the -- parts of Afghanistan, you saw that government buildings were burned and private property was damaged, broken. Those demonstrations were in reality not related to the Newsweek story. They were more against the elections in Afghanistan.

KARZAI: They were more against the elections in Afghanistan. They were more against the progress in Afghanistan. They were more against the strategic partnership with the United States.

We know who did it. We know the guys. We know the people behind those demonstrations. And unfortunately you don't, here, follow the Afghan press. But if you listen to the Voice of America, the Radio Liberty and the BBC, the Afghan population condemned those acts of arson in Afghanistan.

Of course, we are, as Muslims, very much unhappy with Newsweek bringing a matter so serious in the gossip column. It's really something that one shouldn't do, that responsible journalism shouldn't do at all.

KARZAI: But Newsweek story is not America's story. That's what we understand in Afghanistan.

America has over 1,000 mosques. I have gone and prayed in mosques here in America. I've prayed in Virginia. I've gone and prayed in Maryland. I've been to a mosque in Washington.

And thousands of Afghans have been to mosques and, as a matter of fact, hundreds of thousands of Muslims are going, on a daily basis, to mosques in America and praying.

And this is what was also reflected in Afghanistan. People spoke in the mosques, the clergy, and said, "What the hell are you doing?"

There's a respect, there's this freedom in America for religion, and there are Muslims, on a daily basis, praying in mosques in America. And there are Korans, holy Korans, all over America -- in homes and mosques.

So it was a political act against Afghanistan's stability, which we have condemned, which the Afghan people have condemned.

On the issue of prisoners, I spoke earlier. It does not reflect at all on American people. On the contrary, it's an individual act, just like that bad Afghan kidnapped an Italian lady and is not the work of the Afghan people. In the same way, we treat this case.

I think the "What the hell are you doing?" could rightly be directed at the MSM, who seem to be fanatically (one could almost say, religiously) determined to portray both the Koran flushing (which didn't even happen) and the prisoner abuse stories as foolproof evidence of the decline and fall of the United States (don't they just wish).

IMHO, in this case--as in so many others-- the MSM are completely out of touch with reality.

The Mirror of Insight

I once had a very successful female patient named Susan, who was in her late 30's and was rising rapidly in her career; but who felt dissatisfied and fairly unhappy, not only in her career, but also in her personal life. In spite of her demonstrable capabilites, she felt inadequate and like she didn't deserve her wealth or status. Sometimes she felt like she didn't even deserve to live. Susan came to see me because she couldn't understand why she felt the way she did, and --unlike most of my patients--she didn't want medication. "Why can't I just be happy?" she wanted to know; so we proceeded to talk about her life to see if we could discover what might be going on.

Some weeks later, in a casual comment, Susan mentioned that she had never liked her younger brother when she was growing up. I looked up from my notes, surprised, because she had never mentioned her brother before.

"I didn't know you had a brother," I said. "Oh," she commented lightly, "he died. That's why I don't bring him up much."

Obviously she wanted to drop the subject, but I persisted. The brother who died was two younger than she was, and had died when he was 16.

"How sad for you and your family! That must have been terrible for you."

Susan shrugged. "It was a long time ago now," she said.

I considered whether I should pursue this further, since she clearly didn't want to talk about it. I asked her if it bothered her to talk about it.

"Not really."

"Could you tell me what happened to him?"

What followed was a dispassionate account of a family trip with the two parents in one car; and the patient and her brother in the other on their way to the family cabin in the mountains. The brother became tired, and went to the back seat to sleep. Susan, who was new to driving, misjudged a curve and went into it far too fast, causing her to lose control. The car slid off the road, and rolled over twice. My patient was uninjured because she had been wearing a seat belt. But her younger brother, sleeping in the back had been thrown from the car and died instantly.

I was stunned. This was serious stuff, and I knew it could be and probably was the origins of Susan's disabling guilt about her life. Yet the patient had never mentioned it in the weeks before as we had talked about her life, and seemed completely unaware that it could be linked to the very situation for which she had consulted me. Even now, while telling me the story, she sounded like a disinterested observer, rather than an intimate player in the drama she described.

"That must have been so awful for you," I said gently.

She smiled brightly at me. "Well, I guess I only did what every big sister really wants to do to an obnoxious brother!" Her laugh was rather forced.

"I suppose its natural for an older sister to feel very upset and angry with a rather trying younger brother--I have two of them, so I certainly know about that.... But I don't believe for a moment that you would truly want him dead or that you would deliberately kill him....it was just a horrible accident, wasn't it?"

She stared at me for a moment, then burst into tears, with great gulping sobs that went on for more than 15 minutes, as I tried to console her the best I could. Yes, the accident was her fault. She had made a mistake and it resulted in her brother's death. But she hadn't wanted him to die; and she hadn't deliberately gone off the road in order to make her childish and angry feelings toward him come true.

For years she had carried around the terrible burden of guilt about her brother's death, telling herself that she had killed him, feeling that her anger toward him made it deliberate. Her parents, grieving themselves, had never thought to absolve her of the accident.

As you might expect, her unhappiness with her life and her overwhelming feeling that she didn't have a right to live was tied to this traumatic incident in her life. What followed in the weeks after her revelation and sudden insight into her unresolved guilt and grief was the beginning of a cure for the inexplicable unhappiness she suffered in her life.

Her belief that she didn't deserve to live was tied up with her childish --and normal--sibling feelings about her brother. But what had sealed her fate was magical thinking--a belief that just because she had some negative feelings about him, those negative feelings had been responsible for the car accident. It was difficult for her to come to the realization that even if she had had uniformly positive and loving feelings toward her younger brother, the accident in which he was killed because she was an inexperienced driver would have still taken place.

With time, she moved from this dramatic insight, to accepting that, while she might have been a poor driver, she wasn't a murderer. And that also, if her brother had made other choices (e.g., used his seatbelt; waited for another hour to go to sleep; etc.)he too might have survived the accident. Some guilt was appropriate for her to deal with. But the life-destroying guilt she was experiencing was far more than she deserved.

Her insight actually gave her back her brother. Since the accident many years before, she had avoided thinking about him, and had psychologically banished all thoughts--both good and bad--about him from her life. For the first time in many years she could remember happy times with him, and finally appropriately mourn him.

Insight is a wonderful thing. The power or act of seeing into a situation and apprehending the inner nature or motivation of one's self--especially the why--can be extremely liberating, as it was for Susan. Only by being aware of these kind of hidden truths and inner motivations can a person gain control over them and correct the behavior that they generate.

But insight can also sometimes be devastating. Susan's insight freed her from a life of unhappiness and made her guilt over her brother's death much more bearable. But there are situations where achieving insight and understanding the motives behind one's behavior (as well as what one can and cannot control) can generate deserved guilt and shame. That is when such emotions can be productive and initiate a change in behavior for the good. While it is painful to acknowledge horrible truths--but truths nonetheless-- such understanding of one's self is essential for personal growth and normal personality development.

Interestingly, I thought of Susan when I was reflecting on the photos of Saddam Hussein in his underwear that were recently in the news; as well as his rage about it and his intent to file a lawsuit. At no time since he has been in custody, has Saddam expressed one iota of remorse or shame for all the murders and tortures he bears responsibility for; and I doubt that he has suffered a significant amount of guilt or shame because of them. When he looks in the mirror, he sees only a brave, heroic Muslim warrior, and not the pathetic human being he truly is.

Because of her insight and willingness to face her own inner truth, Susan demonstrated more integrity, honesty, courage and human decency than the former dictator of Iraq will ever be capable of.

Soon, Saddam will have his day in court. He will have lawyers arguing passionately for his lack of responsibility for the brutal deaths of literally thousands upon thousands of his own people. He will undoubtedly demonstrate the same arrogance and pride that beggared his people while making him a wealthy and powerful despot. Any suffering he is now experiencing; any shame or humiliation will not be due to the heinous crimes he has committed over the years, but only to the superficial wounds against his outward vanity and pride.

Saddam will never achieve anywhere near the personal growth and development that my young patient Susan was able to; because he is incapable of any real psychological insight into his own evil, malignant behavior. Nor is he capable of the inner courage required to look at yourself in the mirror and truly know the person looking back.

But then, that is what defines true evil, isn't it? The inability to acknowledge any degree of responsibility for their behavior; or to see clearly into their own souls. And that is the ultimate purpose of, and necessity for, Justice -- to impose insight; force awareness; and to reflect reality for those who refuse to look in the mirror.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Read It You Must !

Image hosted by Photobucket.comA wonderful collection of hilariously negative Star Wars reviews can be found at Beautiful Atrocities! My favorite comes from the New Yorker:

"A distinct improvement on the last 2 episodes, in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion."

Read it all, you must. (I promise not to say anything more about the movie after this!)

Long-Range Planning

This is interesting. Especially if you look at a map of India and realize that it has a rather long border with China (and Pakistan for that matter). See here and here for some relevant analysis. Also, China's unwillingness to assist the US in reigning in North Korean nuclear ambitions is also to the point.

It's nice to see some long-range planning on the part of our leaders.

Carnival of the Insanities

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Time for the weekly insanity udate, where the insane, the bizarre, the ridiculous, and the completely absurd are highlighted for all to see! This has been a week of rare idiocy (as always!). Calling all bloggers! Be sure to send in your entries to the Carnival, which will be posted every Sunday. Entries need to be in by 8 pm on Saturday to make their way into the list that week. SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!

1. The ability to pick good fruit is almost magical!

2. Glenn Reynolds recommends this book to Newsweek editors. I concur. (I don't think the Instapundit needs my link, but here it is!)

3. Tom Lehrer said in one of his songs, "...and everybody hates the Jews." Seems he was correct.
4. I didn't know everyone hated these guys too! How perfectly satisfying.

5. They are definitely out of touch with reality if they imagine that anyone would pay for this.

6. This is good for a laugh. Personally I think they should spend it on education, but that's sooooooo 20th century.

7. According to this useful idiot, all reasonable people can see that the Gannon affair is FAR more evil than the little Newsweek factual error! The latter only caused the death of 17 people; but the former is the end of civilization as we know it. (Typical example of the priorities of the mainstream media!)

8. And this really signals the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it! Or, maybe not.

9. A real timewaster...and don't ask me the solution. I wasted several hours on it already this week! (courtesy of The Corner)

10. Feminism causes alcoholism? For some feminists, it causes insanity--but that's just my opinion.

11. Maybe this is reading a little too much into it, don't you think?

12. Some "dispiriting lunatic paranoia " --according to Ace. His diagnosis is correct.

13. How tragic! It should have been put out of our misery much sooner.

14. I really really really like the idea of a calendar with pictures of dictators in their underwear. Thanks, Athena, I'll treasure that image! (BTW, pictures here and here). I think it would be an excellent blogsphere project!

15. HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa. Maybe before his sentence is pronounced, the Kurds (and many others) should obtain similar legal relief?

16. Pajamas Media has definitely hit the big time in foot fashion!

17. AMEN.

18. The mullahs of Kansas.

A Little Perspective Goes A Long Way

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Headline We'll Never See

Here's a headline from the NY Times (I don't really care about the story, the thoroughly obnoxious headline says it all for me):

"Guantánamo Comes to Define U.S. to Muslims"

Here is a headline I would like to see:

"Beheadings and Insanely Violent Behavior Define Islam to Americans"

Do you think we will ever see that? No, I don't either.

I am so incredibly sick and tired of the completely worthless mainstream media. It hardly seems worth the effort to critique them much anymore. Like Jonathan Pryce at the end of the movie Brazil, they are so into locked into this fantasy world they have created, they can no longer identify real evil--even when it is trying to kill them--let alone stand up against it. I used to think this was simply because they were ignorant and blind.

Now I realize that much of it is deliberate, with only a modest attempt to disguise their deep-seated hatred of western civilization and its values--America in particular (check out this letter from a Marine, especially the part about his interview with NBC-- if you have any doubts about what I am saying). And yes, they remain ignorant and blind.

May there be a special place in hell with 72 Jihadis waiting to behead [I mean...greet] them someday.

UPDATE: American Daughter has some really disturbing photos of beheadings smuggled out of Iran. If you want to know what kind of evil we are dealing with in the war on terror, you may want to look at them. CAUTION: THESE PHOTOS ARE VERY GRAPHIC. They show what the Mullahs do to their own people. But somehow, the media think we need to worry about America's image with Muslims.

Freedom! Freedom!

This speaks for itself:

In what organizers called an unprecedented event, dissidents from groups opposed to Fidel Castro's communist regime gathered publicly Friday and chanted "Down with Fidel."

"Freedom! Freedom!" the group of more than 100 delegates cheered in the yard of Felix Bonne, a veteran dissident, in a working-class section of Havana. Castro's regime would not allow the use of a theater or hotel for the assembly.

Participants included members of dissident groups that are sometimes at odds but share the goal of driving Castro from power.

"We think this is the first democratic assembly that has ever been held in Cuba," said organizer and former political prisoner Marta Beatriz Roque of the rare public display of opposition.

Fidel is losing his grip on power at last. I'm glad.

And over in Syria, the same sort of thing is happening....

UPDATE: Stefania at Free Thoughts has lots of pictures from the Cuban protest; and a transcript of Bush's letter to the Cubans. Keep scrolling down!

The Sith Hits The Fans

I have just a few words to say about Revenge of the Sith, which I saw last night:

1) Re: the phrase "only the Sith deal in absolutes"

I was under the impression that there was a "Light" side of the Force and a "Dark" side. No one has mentioned before that there was a "Gray" side. Bummer.

2) The dialog was uniformly lousy. I read the book and it was MUCH better than the movie in appreciating the characters' motivation (such as it was). For example, in the book, Anakin becomes jealously obsessed about Padme and Obi-Wan. This is barely in the movie at all, but it explains (for me) why Anakin becomes so enraged with Obi-Wan at the end. Also, I still can't believe that Anakin's abrupt and complete shift to the Dark side, even after 3 movies. The guy's an idiot.

3) I thought the flow of the movie was too jerky. He's had a number of years to get this right and I was disappointed.

4) The light saber duel between Obi-Wan and Vader was absolutely fabulous. It was the one part of the movie I truly enjoyed. My admiration for Obi-Wan went up a few notches.

5) Let me explain that I cry very very very easily at movies. Just the slightest hint of intense and honest human emotion makes my eyes well up involuntarily. Just ask my daughter, who regularly gets embarassed by my emotionality.

I didn't cry at all in this movie, despite the fact that I had a strong intellectual appreciation that it was a tragedy. Emotionally, it didn't connect to me at all. Except I was glad that Obi-Wan cut off his legs in the duel. He never had a leg to stand on anyway.

6) Finally, the Boo absolutely adored it, stated conclusively that it was one of the "greatest moments of her life" (of course, she said that about the Smallville episode this Wednesday, too) and intends to see it hundreds of times.

The Council Has Spoken !

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This week's winners in the Watcher's Council are now posted at the Watcher's site. Every week the Council nominates posts from the blogs of the Council members, and posts from around the blogsphere. The Council then votes to select the "Best" of all these posts.


First Place
Please Don't Run, Newt Right Wing Nut House

Second Place
Intellectual Property and the Trade Deficit The Glittering Eye


First Place
I Got Your Desecration Right Here Pal Varifrank

Second Place
UPDATED: The Press’ Abu Ghraib: Newsweek Apologizes, After 15 People Are Dead Austin Bay Blog

Be sure to check out all the winners at the Watcher of Weasels site!

Friday, May 20, 2005

VDH - Not Soft Enough

Yet another thoughtful essay by Victor Davis Hanson. Take a look at it and see what you think.

I'll be back in form sometime tomorrow afternnon after our neighborhood garage sale!

A Mental Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

From Cox and Forkum !

The Real Enemy

I completely agree with Jeff Jacoby in yesterday's Boston Globe:

IT WAS front-page news this week when Newsweek retracted a report claiming that a US interrogator in Guantanamo had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet. Everywhere it was noted that Newsweek's story had sparked widespread Muslim rioting, in which at least 17 people were killed. But there was no mention of deadly protests triggered in recent years by comparable acts of desecration against other religions.

No one recalled, for example, that American Catholics lashed out in violent rampages in 1989, after photographer Andres Serrano's ''Piss Christ" -- a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine -- was included in an exhibition subsidized by the National Endowment for the Arts. Or that they rioted in 1992 when singer Sinead O'Connor, appearing on ''Saturday Night Live," ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II.

There was no reminder that Jewish communities erupted in lethal violence in 2000, after Arabs demolished Joseph's Tomb, torching the ancient shrine and murdering a young rabbi who tried to save a Torah. And nobody noted that Buddhists went on a killing spree in 2001 in response to the destruction of two priceless, 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Of course, there was a good reason all these bloody protests went unremembered in the coverage of the Newsweek affair: They never occurred.

Christians, Jews, and Buddhists don't lash out in homicidal rage when their religion is insulted. They don't call for holy war and riot in the streets. It would be unthinkable for a mainstream priest, rabbi, or lama to demand that a blasphemer be slain. But when Reuters reported what Mohammad Hanif, the imam of a Muslim seminary in Pakistan, said about the alleged Koran-flushers -- ''They should be hung. They should be killed in public so that no one can dare to insult Islam and its sacred symbols" -- was any reader surprised?

The Muslim riots should have been met by outrage and condemnation. From every part of the civilized world should have come denunciations of those who would react to the supposed destruction of a book with brutal threats and the slaughter of 17 innocent people. But the chorus of condemnation was directed not at the killers and the fanatics who incited them, but at Newsweek.

As I've said before, in a variety of ways, Newsweek (and the rest of the mainstream media for that matter) are a waste of time to worry about. They will eventually be driven out of business by their own incompetence and idiocy. They are enablers and co-dependents of the terrorists.

Instead, we must begin to focus on reigning in a religion where the most sick and twisted aspects have been taken up by immoral,depraved, and death-obsessed individuals whose fundamental primitivism is bizarrely countered by highly complex technology they hope to use to destroy us all. They are the real threat, and until they are dealt with decisively, Western Civilization and the institutions that support it --individuality, capitalism, freedom and democracy-- are in jeopardy.

Sith Happens

All day today, I was attending an intensive conference on dealing with the suicidal patient. I am scheduled to be there all day tomorrow, too. I will be posting a few things here and there, but after I finish at the conference tomorrow, I have to rush home to take the Boo to Star Wars: ROTS.

I'll be back to regular posting on Saturday!

The Dawn of Hope on A Clear Bright Morning

There are two posts up today, both of which you should read in their entirety, that seem to suggest that the Left is on its last legs (one can only hope). The first is Wretchard at Belmont Club:

What characterizes much of the Left today as exemplified by behavior from George Galloway to Paul Martin is the increasing necessity to maintain their position By Any Means Necessary. While that is dangerous and infuriating, it is a reliable indicator that they have lost control of the system. Things just aren't working the way they used to. And that, despite everything, is cause for hope.

And the second is New Sisyphus, reporting on the recent summit of national victimhood in Venezuela:

But for sheer idiocy and victimology at its best, nothing beats the summit’s closing declaration. The entire text can be accessed and read here, but we offer a sample as follows for two reasons. First, there just isn’t enough humor on this blog. Second, because, from time to time in the dead of night, usually after we’ve read the day’s collection of leftist hate mail (keep those cards and letters coming, kids!) we sit up straight in bed and wonder: are we on the right track? Is Conservatism really an intellectually defensible stance in today’s world? Perhaps we’re missing something in the leftist critique? Perhaps there is something to be gleaned, to be learned from their positions? Maybe, just maybe, we are wrong about the basics and, therefore, wrong about the particulars as a matter of course?

And then we read declarations of professional victims like these and it’s as if clear bright morning has dawned. Don’t believe us? Read for yourself! The parties to the declaration:

Express deep concern with regard to unilateral sanctions imposed on Syria by the government of the United States of America and consider that the so-called Syria Accountability Act violates principles of International Law and constitutes a transgression against the objectives and principles of the United Nations thereby establishing a serious precedent as regards dealing with independent states.

There’s that old “International Law” again, which apparently becomes law if a group of anti-Americans decide they really, really don’t like a sovereign decision we’ve made about who we will trade with and why. By the way, where is the parliament that drafts this stuff? Can we vote? Petition? Testify? Protest?

Yes, the Leftists all over the world are getting desperate. No one on that side of the political spectrum can pretend anymore that they stand for anything but the enabling of tyranny and terror. What is totally amazing is that--abandoning whatever principles they may once have actually believed they had--they now firmly stand on the wrong side of almost every major issue today.

-Do they believe in Freedom. No. Freedom is only justified when they deem it so.
-Do they believe in and end to tyranny. No. Tyranny and oppression must be good if the US stands firmly against it.
-Is genocide evil. Not when its one of your own doing it!
-Do they condemn suicide bombings. No. targeting innocents is perfectly appropriate behavior, while going after military targets is pure evil. Nothing the Palestinians do could possibly be wrong. And everything that Israel does, is.
-Isn't chopping off the head of a captive a bit more depraved than causing them humiliation? Of course not. Hurting someone's feelings or religious sensibilities is a much more vicious act.
-Isn't "fake but accurate" a ridiculous statement? No. If we believe it, it must be true.
-Doesn't the Oil-for-Food scandal give you some pause about the moral authority of the UN? Not at all, it is the moral authority of the US that is at question here.

And so on and on and on. Wretchard mentions Martin of Canada's Left and Galloway of Britain's as perfect examples of the bluster and braggadocio that is all the Left has to offer. When someone like the paranoid nutcase Hugo Chavez becomes a not only a spokesman, but also a venerated hero and leader of the international Left-- then you can be sure they must be incredibly desperate indeed.

The jig is up. The cat is out of the bag. Hope is dawning in the world. It is a clear, bright morning and the dark ideologies and fanaticism of a Marx, Lenin, Hitler, Osama or Zarqawi cannot survive for long in a world where freedom and democracy thrive.