Monday, January 31, 2005

Passive-Aggressive Behavior in Response to Iraq Elections

From a psychological perspective it is very interesting to observe the responses to the Iraq election success yesterday [the psychologically perceptive among you will recognize by that initial statement that I like to "intellectualize" to deal with my anger--but that is another psychological defense mechansim we can discuss at a later time].

Passive-aggressive behaviors are those in which negative emotions -- often anger and resentment -- are expressed indirectly through negative attitudes and behavior that are often at odds with overtly stated motives. For instance, someone who is resentful of another person's accomplishments may be late or even "forget" to show up at a ceremony that lauds the other's success. There are many examples of this kind of behavior and it is fairly common, especially when a person feels powerless to assert their desires directly. There is one thing that all such behavior has in common:a certain way that passive-aggressive people say “Yes” that makes you crazy. Because you know they don’t mean “yes". In fact you feel they mean the opposite-- but how can you argue with somebody who agrees with you?

So, what can we observe in the behavior of several influential Democrats and media outlets? We have some classic examples "passive-aggressive" behavior. You see, it is hard to imagine that anyone could possibly be upset by the Iraqi's success (except the terrorists, of course), but in reality there are, as John Podhoretz puts it, "literally millions of Americans who are unhappy today because millions of Iraqis went to the polls yesterday. And why? Because this isn't just a success for Bush. It's a huge win. It's a colossal vindication." So, how can they acknowledge what happened yesterday without having to give Bush any credit at all and without seeming to be out of touch with reality?

Several bloggers have noted this dissonance between what is actually said and what is just as obviously meant. The Diplomad calls it "the attack of the Comma-ists" and describes it thusly:

Well, we said at the outset just about everybody is on board. There is one group of singularly anti-American types who just have had the hardest time imaginable praising the events of January 30. Who are these foul anti-Americans? Has The Diplomad taught you nothing? Why the leaders of the Democratic Party of the USA, of course! The party that has become the party of the Comma-ists. You know what we mean: the types who must always insert a comma after a ritual throw-away phrase. For example: “Of course the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were horrible [Here it comes! Listen for it!] [COMMA] but US policy in the Middle East . . ." “Of course the Iraqi elections were a good thing [COMMA] but they will not resolve the serous issue of severe income inequality in East St. Louis, or the growing gender disparity in the granting of scholarships to welding schools . . .”

Lileks was able to proactively appreciate the Damning But (DB) position (a variant of the "yes, but..." technique so favored among passive aggressives). I sit here the day after, listening to Democrat after Democrat on FoxNews cheerfully using all of the above techniques. But you can palpably feel the anger and rage just below the surface. They aren't happy that this "vindicates" Bush and his policies. Nothing will ever "vindicate" him, in their opinion. But they can't say that. They just lost the last election, and they have the mid-terms and the big 2008 one looming. They must contain their disappointment and hope no one notices.

All along these same pundits and politicians had explicitly denounced the coming elections and predicted unmitigated failure and disaster in the weeks leading up to them. In fact, one might say that they gave aid and comfort to those whose primary focus in life was to destroy the Iraqi's hopes for a democracy.

So why are they now qualifying their opinions? Well, one of the main causes of passive aggressive behavior is a fear of conflict. The more someone perceives the object of their anger or resentment as a formidable opponent, the more they’ll tend to take what feels to them like the cautious approach – the passive aggressive approach. It is much safer that way, because then they can be seen as actually supporting what is going on (the political thing to do) and at the same time they have found a way to express their hostility and resentment in the disguised format of quasi-reasonableness and civilized conciliation. What a hoot! They know how they really feel; and the truth is that YOU are perfectly aware of how they really feel and they know it. BUT YOU CAN'T DO OR SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT WITHOUT BEING UNCIVILIZED!

Except expose them for the frauds and hypocrites they really are. Sometimes I just hate being civilized.


Here's an interesting comparison for you:

Number of Iraqis killed by "insurgents" during their election = 35

Number of Americans on average killed daily by drunk drivers = 47

Logically, therefore, one must conclude that Zarqawi and his suicide minions are somewhat less effective than people whose brains are pickled in alcohol.

Makes you wonder what terrorists' brains are pickled in?

(hat tip: Instapundit)

A Man of Constant Soros

George Soros, moonbat billionaire, is still whining about the election:

Billionaire investor George Soros, the biggest financial contributor to the failed effort to defeat President George W. Bush in November's election, said Democratic challenger John Kerry was a flawed candidate.
Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC, spent $26 million in last year's campaign that he said was undermined by the candidate he supported.
``Kerry did not, actually, offer a credible and coherent alternative,'' Soros, 74, said yesterday in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. ``That had a lot to do with Bush being re-elected.''
The comments by the Hungarian-born Soros marked his sharpest criticism of Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran who later spoke against the war and focused his campaign against Bush on the war in Iraq. Republicans gained four seats in the Senate, including the defeat of the Senate's highest-ranking Democrat, Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Republicans have 55 seats in the 100-seat chamber.
The Kerry campaign ``tried to emphasize his role as a Vietnam War hero and downplay his role as an anti-Vietnam War hero, which he was,'' said Soros. ``Had he admitted, owned up to it, I think actually the outcome could have been different.''

This is the same Soros who said during the campaign, "The number of flipflops and missteps committed by the Bush administration in Iraq far exceeds anything John Kerry can be accused of. "

But he's just another example of someone on the Left who would rather blame the messenger and not the message. In fact, they will blame almost anything EXCEPT the message. Kerry wasn't a good messenger, to be sure. He wanted to be able to be on both sides of every issue and hedge his bets. But it was what the Democrats were trying to say through Kerry that was rejected by the voters on November 2.

Pour as much money as you like into those political organizations, Georgie. Find a smoother, more articulate candidate to present your message. But I predict it won't do you any good, because you are on the wrong side of hisory and your message is one of doom and defeat. But even worse, it ignores reality.

I suspect you are going to be sad for a long, long time.

Winning the War on Polio

A terrific science writer and a good friend, Cooky Oberg, has reviewed a new book Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio By Jeffrey Kluger. For those of you too young to remember the fear of polio that was prevalent even in the 50's, this book is an exciting and wondrous read. I was a small child then and vividly remember the anxiety and panic that polio could still generate. I recall seeing a picture of an "Iron Lung" with a local kid inside and thinking it must be a horrible torture devised for bad kids. Today Polio's terror has completely evaporated due to medical pioneer, Jonas Salk. Here is Cooky's review:

None of us will ever know the rock-in-the-stomach terror of seeing a black public-health car turning onto our street. But public-health officials had the routine down pat back in 1916: A doctor, a social worker and a driver would roll to a stop in front of the suspect house. The doctor would examine the sick child inside to determine the nature of the illness. If the child showed certain specific symptoms, the doctor would sweep the child up and take it away while the social worker consoled the distraught parents. If the parents kicked and screamed excessively, the driver — or a policeman — would be summoned to take the child to the quarantine hospital by force. Signs would then be posted warning everyone to stay clear of the infected house or the infected street: "INFANTILE PARALYSIS: POLIOMYELITIS."

It's appropriate that Jeffrey Kluger's new book Splendid Solution opens with that feeling — and goes on to grip the reader in the panicked efforts to find a cure. This fast-paced scientific adventure story has all the elements of good drama: a determined hero, an invisible and deadly enemy, an unlikely assortment of supporting actors, a clash of titans, unexpected plot twists and a life-or-death deadline. Kluger, who co-wrote Apollo 13 some years ago, reminds us that real life and real people can often be far more interesting and exciting than fiction.

Although the polio virus had been around since ancient times, it was, ironically, the improved sanitation of the late 19th century that brought on the epidemic polio outbreaks in the 20th century. In earlier times infants and young children had a continuous background exposure to the virus through bad sanitation and therefore experienced polio as a mild flulike infection, gaining lifetime immunity afterward. But when cities and homes became well-plumbed and children well-scrubbed, the slow background exposure to the virus disappeared, and the strong, wild strain of polio hit full force. If someone drank contaminated water or neglected to wash hands after using a bathroom, he or she could be dead or paralyzed in days.

In 1916 there were 27,000 cases of polio in the United States, 6,000 of them fatal. Every summer the disease appeared, struck and left with the cold weather of autumn. In August 1921 Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted polio and was crippled for life.
By 1952 60,000 U.S. cases were reported, with 3,000 deaths.

The book is a gripping medical drama that details Salk's incredible work. By 1991 polio was eliminated completely in the western hemisphere and in Europe. This was an important chapter in medical history, and Salk's vaccine was a miracle. He never won the Nobel prize for this work, although he richly deserved it. I highly recommend the book to you. Click on the link to read the rest of the review!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Multiple Choice Question

Posted by Hello The above picture represents:

A. The fickle finger of fate
B. Ted Rall working on his new hate-filled cartoon
C. Gangrene spreading from John Kerry's brain to his finger
D. The sad, end-stage result of Ted Kennedy's lifelong habit of sucking on himself
E. A powerful symbol of Freedom and the pride of a courageous people

Remember, you will be held responsible for your choice.


Let me be the first mental health professional to describe what I'm sure will be a new psychiatric disorder:

Post Iraqi Election Success Trauma by Unhappy, Pathetic, Inconsequential Democrats or


The symptoms of this disorder are
  • unhappiness progressing to profound depression at the success of the Iraqi elections
  • Anger and resentment that George W. Bush may have been correct about Freedom--or anything, for that matter;
  • Denial that the Iraqi election means anything at all;
  • Inability to accept reality and an almost psychotic refusal to consider revising their premises--instead their shrillness will only intensify;
  • Immediately refocusing on something else that they believe will prove their belief in the failure of the US Iraq policy is justified (e.g., Guantanamo treatment of prisoners, Sunni "exclusion", etc.)
  • Continued public posturing on their discredited perspective (i.e., comparing Iraq after elections to Vietnam quagmire; rooting for the underdog Iraqi "insurgents", etc.)
  • A deep-seated hatred of America and all its values that is disguised as sympathy for the downtrodden, poverty-stricken huddled masses of their imagination. They will ignore any downtrodden masses that don't fit their ideology.
The first public sufferer of this disorder is none other than John F. Kerry, failed presidential candidate, flip-flopper extraordianaire, and pitiful human being. On Meet the Press today, he is noted as saying: “No one in the United States should try to over-hype this election.”
What noone should try to over-hype is this man's intelligence; nor should they minimize the degree of self-delusion necessary to keep an individual from appreciating the historic importance of this day in world history.

I expect over the next few days we shall be innundated with examples of this sad disorder all around the country. Pundits and political personages; lowly members of ANSWER and other anti-war, anti-American, anti-democratic, pro-terrorism groups; angry anti-Bush personages everywhere --all will begin to exhibit the symptoms of this disease.

There is no known cure for the syndrome--except possibly a modicum of psychological insight and self-reflection; or a willingness to look at one's own motives, behaviors and feelings. But, sadly, facing reality is not a hallmark of those vulnerable to the syndrome. Instead persons with the disorder will defiantly declare their support for people like John Kerry and Barbara Boxer for President in 2008, thus cementing their descent into madness.

And because of that last, I will truly enjoy their suffering.

UPDATE: The Watcher has kindly made a list of others suffering for this horrible disease.


Says it all, doesn't it? (hat tip: LGF). Posted by Hello

UPDATE: And read this from Mohammed and Omar.

Weekly Insanity Update

Time for this week's compilation of the insane, the ridiculous, and the downright bizarre. Thanks to those of you who sent in referrals!

1. The HORROR!

2. Ugly is banned. For a look at their unrepentant ugliness, check here.

3. The jeans from hell. And I thought just the tight ones were!

4. There's just no pleasing some people.

5. No, it's not in Washington D.C. or Congress.

6. A rather unusual way to dig out of the snow. But my husband would like the beer part.

7. Kofi Annan is definitely disturbed. A couple million more and he might do something?

8. VW is suing because of this?? I think its rather cute. I guess they can't take a joke.

9. Jayson, they left the solar system some time ago; they are now far out in deep space....

10. Arrested development. I guess this link is sexist.

Of course, the most insane developement of the week is not even listed. It includes all the Americans and those in the international media who are desperately hoping that Iraq's first real election fails miserably. You know--people like Teddy Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, and many news outlets. The only passion these nay-sayers feel is passionate hatred. While I certainly wouldn't want to impugn their integrity, perhaps they should ask themselves if their mission to destroy Bush and regain power might have overwhelmed their respect for the truth--just a teensy eentsy bit?

Let us see what they have to say on Monday.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Fair And Balanced Coverage?

On the eve of the Iraqi elections, here are a sample of headlines in the mainstream media from Memorandum(January 29):

Survey Finds Deep Divisions in Iraq (Zogby International News)

Skeptics Question Worth of Iraq Election (

Three in four Sunnis 'won't vote' (

Iraqi Leaders Urge Voting As Bomb Kills 8 (

Flashback to the 60's: A Sinking Sensation of Parallels Between Iraq and Vietnam (

Eight more Iraqis killed on election eve (

Shiite Faction Ready to Shun Sunday's Election in Iraq (

By contrast, there were two articles that took a positive slant:

A Day of Iraqi Hope (WaPo)
By Steve Hadley who is the Bush Administration's new National Security Advisor, replacing Condoleeza Rice


For Iraqi Expatriates in the U.S., a Chance to Savor the Vote (NYT)

I guess we know which side most people in the media are on, don't we? I just can't wait to see what they have to say tomorrow, but I think we can count on a negative spin, no matter what the reality will be. Of course, if things were to go well, an awful lot of reporters would be bitterly disappointed, but I'm sure they would likely find something to fit the negative script-- Saddam says election 'illegal'--or something like that. Or they'll say there weren't enough people who voted; or if there are--there won't be enough Sunnis; or if there are--some Iraqis will be unhappy; or if they're completely happy--Teddy Kennedy will denounce the results, etc. etc. etc.

As for me, I will watch election coverage here, with a link to CSPAN. But no matter what happens tomorrow, the post prior to this one expresses my feelings and hopes for the people of Iraq, who have an historic opportunity to take back their country from tyranny and build a future with Freedom. Congratulations to all those brave Iraqis who will vote tomorrow.

UPDATE: Well it's 2 hours after the above post, and here are 2 more headlines that have appeared at Memeorandum:

Iraq to Vote Shadowed by Threat of Bloodbath (Reuters)

Iraqis Prepare To Go to Polls Amid Threats Of Violence (WaPo)

UPDATE II: Scrappleface cuts to the heart of the issue, as usual!

Free At Last

...And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,
"Free at last, free at last.
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last." - Martin Luther King Posted by Hello

UPDATE: I guess I'm not the only one to see the connection!

A Heartfelt Message of Thanks!

Thanks to the many bright stars of Hollywood, who through their untiring efforts, helped re-elect George W. Bush! (hat tip: LGF) Posted by Hello

Friday, January 28, 2005

Another Example of Lunacy on the Left

Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, admirer of Fidel Castro's Cuba and avowed anti-globalist is a certified idiot. Not in the least humbled that he has led his own country to economic and social disaster, his sense of himself appears to know no bounds. For example:

“The government of President Chavez has demonstrated during the past few years a great lack of respect towards women. The worst repression against the marches centered on women; military officers used gestures and obscene language against the women who didn’t share their political ideas; and President Chavez himself, on Valentine’s day, sent his wife through television a vulgar sexual message. Today, during the event organized against “foreign intervention”, [President Chavez] sent several messages to Dr. Condoleeza Rice, insinuating that “Condolence’s” problem with him was sexual frustration. Furthermore, he consulted with the ‘his people’, to decide if by marrying her he would resolve it. When people screamed “No”, Chavez finished his joke saying, ‘Poor Condolence, she doesn’t know what she’s missing!’”

He is a perfect example of how bullies and thugs do NOT suffer from low self-esteem, as is commonly thought among social intellectuals (see here). Meanwhile, I will patiently wait for the U.S. Feminist movement to utterly and completely denounce this chauvinist pig.


"Religion of Peace" Update

The Counterterrorism Blog links to a report on Saudi hate propaganda in AMERICAN mosques.

Here are key findings from a press release about the report:

· Various Saudi government publications gathered for this study, most of which are in Arabic, assert that it is a religious obligation for Muslims to hate Christians and Jews and warn against imitating, befriending, or helping them in any way, or taking part in their festivities and celebrations;
· The documents promote contempt for the United States because it is ruled by legislated civil law rather than by totalitarian Wahhabi-style Islamic law. They condemn democracy as un-Islamic;
· The documents stress that when Muslims are in the lands of the unbelievers, they must behave as if on a mission behind enemy lines. Either they are there to acquire new knowledge and make money to be later employed in the jihad against the infidels, or they are there to proselytize the infidels until at least some convert to Islam. Any other reason for lingering among the unbelievers in their lands is illegitimate, and unless a Muslim leaves as quickly as possible, he or she is not a true Muslim and so too must be condemned. For example, a document in the collection for the “Immigrant Muslim” bears the words “Greetings from the Cultural Attache in Washington, D.C.” of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, and is published by the government of Saudi Arabia. In an authoritative religious voice, it gives detailed instructions on how to “hate” the Christian and Jew: Never greet them first. Never congratulate the infidel on his holiday. Never imitate the infidel. Do not become a naturalized citizen of the United States. Do not wear a graduation gown because this imitates the infidel;
· One insidious aspect of the Saudi propaganda examined is its aim to replace traditional and moderate interpretations of Islam with extremist Wahhabism, the officially-established religion of Saudi Arabia. In these documents, other Muslims, especially those who advocate tolerance, are condemned as infidels. The opening fatwa in one Saudi embassy-distributed book, published by the Saudi Air Force, responds to a question about a Muslim preacher in a European mosque who taught that it is not right to condemn Jews and Christians as infidels. The Saudi state cleric’s reply rebukes the Muslim cleric: “He who casts doubts about their infidelity leaves no doubt about his.” Since, under Saudi law, “apostates” from Islam can be sentenced to death, this is an implied death threat against the tolerant Muslim imam, as well as an incitement to vigilante violence;
· Sufi and Shiite Muslims are viciously condemned;
· For a Muslim who fails to uphold the Saudi Wahhabi sect’s sexual mores (i.e. through homosexual activity or heterosexual activity outside of marriage), the edicts published by the Saudi government’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, and found in American mosques advise, “it would be lawful for Muslims to spill his blood and to take his money;”
· Regarding those who convert out of Islam, the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs explicitly asserts, they “should be killed;”
· Saudi textbooks and other publications in the collection, propagate a Nazi-like hatred for Jews, treat the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion as historical fact, and avow that the Muslim’s duty is to eliminate the state of Israel;
· Regarding women, the Saudi publications instruct that they should be veiled, segregated from men and barred from certain employment and roles

And these are publication that are in American mosques--not in Saudi Arabia. Now you know why there don't seem to be many "moderates" in the Muslim community speaking out against the insanity going on in the world. Except that the insanity is not "out there"--it has already arrived here.

The Council Has Spoken !

This week's Watcher's Council has voted and the result are:


1. A Childlike Fantasy at Wallo World

2. The Christians Are Coming! The Christians Are Coming! at The Sundries Shack


1. Zarqawi's War On Democracy Cavalier's Guardian WatchBlog

2. Heart of Redness Iowahawk

Check out all the winners at the Watcher of Weasels ! Lots of great reading!

Poems From Space


From this lonely outpost,
I see a blue-green haze
Floating through a raging blaze,
Stirring my soul's ghost.

The color of your eyes
Staring past the vacuum sea,
Looking wistfully at me.
Burning in the sun's passion, hope dies.

I shiver in the cold.
My hands reach out to touch--
I didn't want to feel this much.
You disappear to nothing I can hold.

My frozen planet suits me well.
I long for Earth and wait till when
You pass across the sun again,
And I escape this icy hell.


Can spacemen fall in love in space?
Can they kiss? Can they embrace?
Will love last long at speeds of light?
Can it survive an endless night?

Will poets ever walk on Mars,
And write to Earth from dying stars?
Will life be better, or be worse
As spacemen rhyme the universe?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Great UN Pretender

For the purposes of this post, we'll refer to the UN as the "Great Pretender " since they are so willing to take credit for what others are doing:

Again, the dishonesty is breathtaking.When it's convenient, Egeland rolls in work done by non-UN actors and makes it seem like the UN has done it, e.g., USAID "cash-for-work" programs have cleared the rubble away and made school re-openings possible -- the UN didn't do that!Yet when talking about pledges, he mentions only money pledged or given the UN! He attempts to minimize the role of the USA -- by far the biggest contributor to the relief effort. He praises Japan for being in a class by itself. Why? The Japanese have given the UN $229 million. The US is giving only a relatively small portion of its tsunami relief moneys to the UN, so it doesn't count -- quite aside from the fact that even prior to the tsunami the USA was providing about 40% of the WFP and UNHCR budgets. Notice how he can not bring himself to mention AIRCRAFT carriers; they presumably get covered under "and so forth." To mention aircraft carriers would be to acknowledge that the USA is in a class by itself. Once again, we see the nonsense about the logistics operation and the overcoming of bottlenecks; the UN didn't do that. He makes absolutely NO mention of the superb work done by the Australians or the Kiwis. Why? Because they did it on their own or in coordination with the US.

You have to read the entire post by the Diplomad to fully appreciate the dishonesty and complete audacity of the UN--claiming to be at the center of the relief effort. UNbelievable!
The following song is dedicated [and adapted] just for them:

The Great Pretender
(apologies to Buck Ram who wrote the real lyrics and music!)

The UN's a great pretender
Pretending that it is in charge
Their need is such they pretend too much
The egos of these guys are large....

The UN's a great pretender
Adrift in a world of their own
From Oil-for-Food, to UNbearably rude
Just ignore how their fortunes have grown...

Too real is this feeling of UNbelief
Too real when you feel they've the heart of a thief

The UN's a great pretender
Just smirking and snide like some jerk
They seem to be what they're not, you see
By claiming to do all the work
Pretending they deserve every perk....

Too real is this feeling of UNbelief
Too real when you feel they've the heart of a thief...

Oh, the UN's a great pretender
Just smirking and snide like some jerk
They seem to be what they're not, you see
By claiming to do all the work--
Pretending they deserve every perk
Yes, pretending they deserve every perk

Rice Phobia

I think Roger Simon has figured out the intense Democratic animosity directed at Condoleeza Rice:

The Dems are afraid of her as a presidential candidate in '08 and wanted to take her down a peg as soon as possible. After all, according to Forbes anyway, she is the most powerful woman in the world -- and that was before she was Sec'y of State....

I think he may be right on target. This also explains why Hilary voted for her--in order to deflect any possible criticism that she was trying to take down a future political opponent. Fortunately, I don't think these tactics will have any impact. The only thing that will matter is how Dr. Rice performs the difficult job she has been assigned over the next few years, and whether she decides she wants to run for president or not.

The venomous opinions of Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy can have no significant effect on anyone with any intelligence.

Self-Esteem Is Not Necessarily Good For You

How about that? Thinking you're hot stuff isn't the promised cure-all. Most psychiatrists could have told you that in the first place. Here's the lowdown:

A generation — and many millions of dollars — later, it turns out we may have been mistaken. Five years ago, the American Psychological Society commissioned me and several other experts to wade with an open mind through the enormous amount of published research on the subject and to assess the benefits of high self-esteem.

Here are some of our disappointing findings. High self- esteem in schoolchildren does not produce better grades. (Actually, kids with high self-esteem do have slightly better grades in most studies, but that's because getting good grades leads to higher self-esteem, not the other way around.) In fact, according to a study by Donald Forsyth at Virginia Commonwealth University, college students with mediocre grades who got regular self-esteem strokes from their professors ended up doing worse on final exams than students who were told to suck it up and try harder.Self-esteem doesn't make adults perform better at their jobs either. Sure, people with high self-esteem rate their own performance better — even declaring themselves smarter and more attractive than their low self-esteem peers — but neither objective tests nor impartial raters can detect any difference in the quality of work.

Likewise, people with high self-esteem think they make better impressions, have stronger friendships and have better romantic lives than other people, but the data don't support their self-flattering views. If anything, people who love themselves too much sometimes annoy other people by their defensive or know-it-all attitudes. Self-esteem doesn't predict who will make a good leader, and some work (including that of psychologist Robert Hogan writing in the Harvard Business Review) has found humility rather than self-esteem to be a key trait of successful leaders.

It was widely believed that low self-esteem could be a cause of violence, but in reality violent individuals, groups and nations think very well of themselves. They turn violent toward others who fail to give them the inflated respect they think they deserve. Nor does high self-esteem deter people from becoming bullies, according to most of the studies that have been done; it is simply untrue that beneath the surface of every obnoxious bully is an unhappy, self-hating child in need of sympathy and praise.

High self-esteem doesn't prevent youngsters from cheating or stealing or experimenting with drugs and sex. (If anything, kids with high self-esteem may be more willing to try these things at a young age.)There were a few areas where higher self-esteem seemed to bring some benefits. For instance, people with high self- esteem are generally happier and less depressed than others, though we can't quite prove that high self-esteem prevents depression or causes happiness. Young women with high self- esteem seem less susceptible to eating disorders. In some studies (though not all), people with high self-esteem bounce back from misfortune and trauma faster than others.

High self-esteem also promotes initiative. People who have it are more likely to speak up in a group, persist in the face of failure, resist other people's advice or pressure and strike up conversations with strangers. Of course, initiative can cut both ways: One study on bullying found that self-esteem was high among the bullies and among the people who intervened to resist them. Low self-esteem marked the victims of bullying

.In short, despite the enthusiastic embrace of self-esteem, we found that it conferred only two benefits. It feels good and it supports initiative.

Most people confuse "self-esteem" with what I will refer to as a "sense of self". It is the latter--not the former, that is so often screwed up in the angry, violent, grandiose, and generally narcissistic people in the world. If you have a healthy "Self", you are likely to have a healthy self-esteem--which is not the same at all as a high self-esteem.

The psychological defect that leads to so many problems is a defective or distorted sense of one's SELF. The excessive self-esteem you see in a bully comes from a distortion of reality that person has with regard to their self. "It was widely believed that low self-esteem could be a cause of violence, but in reality violent individuals, groups and nations think very well of themselves". Do you really suppose that people like Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden suffer from poor self-esteem? On the contrary. Exaggerated self-esteem is one of the hallmarks of a pathological narcissist or psychopath.

The pop-psychology that promulgated the widespread belief that if you nurture kid's self-esteem neglected to mention that if the sense of self was already damaged, all you managed to do was to create a narcissistic was a waste of time and money--as this article reports. If the 19th century was the age of hysteria (and basically, Freud was responding to the excessive sexual repression present in that century); then the 20th was the age of narcissism. In this new century, that narcissism seems to be morphing into an even more malignant sociopathy that pervades society and impacts almost all our social, political, and educational institutions.

Our cultural focus on enhancing "self-esteem" has resulted in the near-worship of emotions and feelings at the expense of reason and thought; on emphasizing "root causes" and victimhood, instead of demanding that behavior be civilized and that individuals exert self-discipline and self-control--no matter what they are "feeling".

It is time the myth of the importance of self-esteem is exposed. Read the entire article!

Challenger - A Flight Surgeon Remembers

On January 28, 1986, I was at Cape Canaveral in Florida. As a NASA Flight Surgeon, I had been assigned as the Crew Surgeon for Mission 51-L (noone really wanted the job since many disapproved of having a civilian--the teacher in space--fly on a space mission). The crew had trained together for over a year, and I had come to know them all very well in the course of the training and medical preparation. I had been at the Cape for over a week and the launch had been scrubbed several times for a variety of reasons. I had been staying in a cheap motel in Cocoa Beach as we waited for weather to permit the launch attempt.

One of the memories of have of that time is a CBS Evening News broadcast with Dan Rather on January 27th, who in a snide voice wondered if NASA would ever be able to launch a space mission on time? He then proceeded to go down a long list of Shuttle missions that had been delayed. I remember being annoyed at the time because of the unspoken expectation by Mr. Rather that launching a complex space vehicle like the Shuttle was a simple thing.

We had scrubbed several times at the last minute, but everyone was fairly certain that we would get a "go for launch" on January 28th, since that was President Reagan's State of the Union address, and he intended to mention the teacher-in-space, Christa McAuliffe. The Agency would not want to disappoint the President.

When I woke up the morning of the 28th, it took me only a few minutes to begin thinking that the launch would again be postponed. It was 19 degrees outside. This was unusually cold for Cocoa Beach, even in January, and I had not even brought a sweater with me. In the 15+ minute drive to Launch Control, I continually shivered from the cold, because there was no heat in the car I had rented either. I wore just a cotton pantsuit with a very light jacket.

In Launch Control, there was a great deal of buzz about the temperature. The countdown was proceeding, but there had been ice spotted on the external tank, and crews were sent out to check it out. All of us there (I was at the Surgeon's console, which monitored crew health, and directed emergency medical operations in the case of a catastrophic event on the launchpad, or for an RTLS (return to launch site) abort. We joked and talked among ourselves, commenting on the crew talking (we were one of the few consoles that monitored the crew chitchat in the Shuttle before launch).

Much to all of our surprise, after a delay, the countdown was resumed. It had been decided that it was safe to proceed. I remember that we were surprised because no Shuttle had launched in such cold weather before, but we all assumed that had been thoroughly discussed at a higher level. We were privy only to the comments that were in the LCC (Launch Control Center). The Management Team had met outside the LCC. The countdown proceeded and Challenger was launched. As soon as it lifted off the pad, control of the mission was transferred to the MCC in Houston. It was at this point that most of the LCC team could relax and turn around to watch the Shuttle ascend. There were large windows in the roof which gave us a prime view of the entire ascent, from about 3 miles away. I watched with my usual awe, that humans had been able to contain such energy and put it to use in escaping the planet.

My awe was short-lived as we noticed an anomoly. Something seemed to have gone wrong with the SRBs (solid rocket boosters) and they detached from the ET (external tank) too soon. There seemed to be a big explosion, but none of us were certain what might have happened. I swung into action, because it seemed that we must be in an RTLS situation. I made a few commands to my emergency team, who were outside in ambulances, as I continued to watch the growing cloud of the explosion, waiting for the Challenger to appear from behind it heading back to the landing site, not far away. I waited and waited. The orbiter did not appear. I felt a momentary confusion, and then I think all the blood must have rushed out of my head as I realized what it meant. I knew they must have been killed. All of them. I had to hold onto the console for support. All I could think of was oh my God, oh my God.

The Launch Director cooly called for a lockdown. Noone was to leave the room until all information on at all consoles was safely secured. It was then that I was able to gather myself together again, as I realized that if the crew was gone, my responsibility was to take care of their families. I went to the Launch Director and asked to be allowed to leave, because the families were in Crew Quarters, about a mile or so away down the road. After some discussion, the doors were unlocked and I was permitted out. I ran to my car and started down the road, but everyone on the highway had stopped and the road was blocked. People were milling around, still not accepting what they had just seen with their own eyes.

I was desperate to get to the families and do something useful. I wasn't sure what, but I felt they might need me there. I drove my car on the center divider and the grass between the lanes, and made my way through the crowds who had stopped to watch the launch. It took me some 20 minutes to get to Crew Quarters.

The next 12 hours were something of a blur. I had read about mass hysteria in textbooks, but that description was far too mild for what I found when I reached the place the crew called home prior to a launch. All the members of the immediate and extended family were there. Women were screaming; babies crying. People thronged around me, wanting to know if the crew had parachuted to safety. I was stunned that they had not yet grasped what had happened. One family member was certain that a rescue plane would find the crew in the ocean somewhere. Several people fainted. I needed help to medically manage the 30 or more family members who were there, but George Abbey, the dictatorial head of Flight Crew Ops would not permit me to call in any other doctor. He was in full damage control mode, and wouldn't permit any TVs or radios to be turned on either. Certainly, no phone calls. I needed to hospitalize one person, who had become disoriented and confused. Abbey said no. I said that I couldn't accept that, and did it anyway (that moment, I realized much later, ended my chances of becoming an astronaut myself--a dream I'd had most of my life). Abbey didn't want anyone to leave and head back to Houston (where everyone lived; and where their entire support was) until after Vice President Bush arrived. The Vice President arrived at about 8:00pm that night. By then I was exhausted and could hardly stand up. I barely remember being introduced to Bush and shaking his hand. The closest I came to crying was when I heard the wife of the Shuttle Commander (Dick Scobee) say in a quavering voice to Bush that her husband would not have wanted space exploration to be halted because of what had happened that day. I realized that beyond the grieving was a fear that we all had at the time that this would hurt NASA.

After Bush left, most of the families were hustled onto NASA planes to go back to Houston. I had to remain, however, because person I had hospitalized at the nearby Air Force hospital would not be able to fly back until the next day, and I was to go with that family. By then, reinforcements had arrived as other astronauts had flown to the Cape. When the families left, I gratefully collapsed into bed at Crew Quarters. I flew home the next day with my patient and their family. On the afternoon of the 29th, I finally made it home where my husband--who was waiting for me-- handed me about 100 phone messages from just about everyone I knew. When he took me in his arms, I finally started to cry and didn't stop for several hours.

For the next 5 years, I was unable to talk about what happened that day without becoming completely choked up and a blubbering idiot. I still get tears in my eyes as I remember it and the memorial service where I met President Reagan and his wife.

I watched NASA cope with this disaster using a combination of denial and intellectualization/rationalization. In the months that followed, I began to realize that the Agency I had idealized for so long as being one of the best and most competent, was actually corrupt and primarily concerned with covering its own mistakes. They were an Agency caught up in hubris, who believed in their own press far too much. Instead of making the changes in the culture that had led to this catastrophe, they were only concerned with making sure everyone thought they had made the changes. The appearance was more important than the reality. I had been a general flight surgeon before, and now, for the first time, I began to look at NASA with a psychiatrist's eyes. And what I saw disturbed me greatly. Especially in the way they handled the fact that the crew had NOT died immediately in the explosion as we all had thought, but were alive for some time as they fell into the ocean. I watched as they tried to hide that fact from the public and the families. I also watched as they carried out the motions of changing, but from the inside I saw no changes in attitude or behavior.

It has been 19 years since that cold morning changed me forever. When Columbia disintegrated on reentry, killing all the crew in 2003, many of my old friends called me to tell me that I had predicted that NASA would have another preventable tragedy. I would like to think that we learned something from the space missions we have lost--Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia -- but I fear that NASA has learned little. I refer you to Jim Oberg, an MSNBC space analyst and close friend, who has this to say today about all three disasters:

Spaceflight has its own inherent hazards, and if not respected, any of many factors can kill people. Recognizing this, engineers install backup hardware and escape systems and build in allowances for uncertainties -- all in an attempt to keep such external hazards at bay.
The debris from the disasters remained safely hidden away, comfortably out of sight and -- as experience would show -- tragically out of mind.
But the internal hazards -- what investigation boards have called the "flawed safety culture" -- have proven much more insidious. This is the realm of convenient assumptions, of complacency, of willfulness, of use of statistical superstitions, of a false familiarity with an unblinking foe. It is a culture made possible by an all-too-human aversion to facing unpleasantness.
It has become easy to look away from these horrible space disasters -- and I never call them "accidents," a term that relieves the people involved on the ground of ultimate responsibility.
NASA prefers to literally bury the wreckage in underground concrete crypts, to shove the investigation reports onto another bookshelf, and to allocate one day per year to honoring the dead while ignoring what killed them the other 364 days. (
read the entire piece).

I remember the Challenger and her crew frequently and with love. They are a part of me now. All of them represent the best within the American spirit, and always will. Since that day in 1986, I have come to see NASA as one of the greatest impediments to the Dream of space exploration; but I have never given up the Dream itself. Nor have I forgotten any of the pioneers who have died in the service of that Dream. Some day we humans will leave this small planet and joyfully play in all the corners of the cosmos.

I eagerly look forward to it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Zarqawi Fund-Raising Letter

Interestingly, just as Boxer sent out her fund-raising letter, the following letter was discovered on an jihadist internet site:

Dear Friend of Tyranny,

The Americans were expecting their Senate to confirm Dr. Rice with little debate and questioning from the Foreign Relations Committee.

They didn't count on a woman in Congress to promote our anti-democracy agenda, praise Allah! What the Americans don't realize is, no matter who is in charge in the White House, the role of the Democratic Party and their mouthpieces like Boxer has always been to weaken the will of the American public and undermining the efforts of the Americans to bring freedom--may Allah condemn such blasphemy!-- to the world. Allah be praised! All who study the divine word know that democracy is for the infidel. In our system, this infidel Boxer would not even be allowed to speak, since women are nothing and should be silent and covered. But we are not opposed to using this dimwit to prove our point about how useless women are generally.

That's why I took a stand last week in my audiotape and voiced my concerns about the woman Rice. Her nomination to such a position is an insult to holy warriors everywhere, and typical of the decadent posturing of the west. I will continue to make my voice heard if Allah wills it, in Senate Foreign Relations committee through the voice of the woman Boxer, because we must, my brothers, put the brakes on four more years of pushing for democracy in the land that Allah holds dear. With Allah's help, we can work with this dhimmi to elect more Democrats to the Senate during the 2006 midterm elections in order to put the brakes on the Bush Administration's reckless policies that threaten to counter the developement of our Islamic Caliphate. Click here to contribute to our fund today.

After Rice is confirmed, the American Senate will face many more crucial decisions in the coming months: by opposing everything the wicked American president proposes we can pave the way not only for chaos to continue in Iraq, but also to bring chaos to Bush's entire social, economic and international agenda. The Democrats have no alternatives to offer, and are just pleased to be able to impede any progress in any area, Allah be praised! We have a chance during the American midterm elections to make sure the Republicans don't have four years to do continue their war on our holy mission.

It is clear that our best strategy for success is to fund the Democratic Party in America. The DSCC is working every day to recruit the strongest dhimmi candidates in every Senate race across the country. These useful tools can not know that they follow the will of Allah and are thus the instruments of his future triumph through our mujahadeen. We are fighting hard, but Boxer is only an unpure woman and needs your ongoing support today. Click here to contribute to her political party today. Your donation will strike a blow to the American ideal of freedom and destroy the morale of the soldiers, whose blood will fill the streets of the world, Allah willing.

So while I must resort to using a woman on the American Senate floor to forward our holy agenda in the U.S. (These, as you know, are the most cowardly of God’s creatures), I hope you will join us on the jihad trail and support us by sending even more Democrats opposed to protecting America to the Senate.

Peace and the mercy and blessings of God be upon you,

Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi

The Accidental Suicide Murderer

If this doesn't convince people how impossible it is to protect against people consciously intent on taking their own life and/or killing someone else, then not much will (see this post). Apparently the cause of this death and mayhem was a suicidal individual who placed his car on a railroad track with the intent of killing himself; but then changed his mind at the last minute and exited the car before the train hit it. Unfortunately, the car remained on the track and caused 10 deaths and at least 100 injuries in the subsequent derailment. The accidental suicide murderer is now in custody and will be charged with murder.

Condolences to all who were impacted by this person's behavior.

Zarqawi, The Visionary

From Scrappleface:

Abu Musab Zarqawi In a dramatic address reportedly crafted by a 'neoliberal' speechwriter within his administration, Mr. Zarqawi urged the Iraqi people to "throw off the oppressive mantle of self-determination."
"We are led," said Mr. Zarqawi, "by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of Islamic rule in our land increasingly depends on the success of Islamic rule in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the destruction of democracy in all the world. Freedom, after all, is just another word for 'nothing left to lose.'"
U.S. Senator John F. Kerry, D-MA, said the Zarqawi speech reinforced his own repeated calls to withdraw American troops from Iraq as quickly as possible, "to avoid imposing our culture-bound values on its people."

"Zarqawi offers a powerful alternative to Bush's provincial rhetorical hubris," Mr. Kerry said. "Even though Mr. Zarqawi is Jordanian, he has won the hearts, and often the heads, of the Iraqi people."

Brilliant, Scott! Go read all the news that's fit for satire here.


Even as the Democrats nip at her ankles, Condoleeza Rice should --by every tangible measure--be celebrated as one of the most influential and intelligent American women in history. Brendan Miniter reminds us in his WSJ Opinion piece:

With 24 new women elected to the House and five to the Senate, 1992 was called the "year of the woman." But how much did Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray or Carol Moseley Braun really change the world? Now, though, a woman is on the rise who has already helped reshape geopolitics. Today Condoleezza Rice will face another round of hearings as she prepares to be confirmed as secretary of state--a position Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe used as a springboard into the presidency. If Ms. Rice were a Democrat, the media would have dubbed 2005 the "year of Condi."

Ms. Rice has already exerted tremendous influence on world affairs. As President Bush's national security adviser, she was instrumental in developing the administration's response to 9/11 into a policy that involved more than raiding terrorist camps throughout the world. Ms. Rice, who well understands the larger global political forces at work since the end of the Cold War, was one of a handful of powerbrokers who came to realize the best defense against terrorism was to spread freedom and democracy in the world.

For this she is mocked; her integrity impugned by the likes of a Barbara Boxer; and she is subjected to the demagoguery of people whose vision does not extend beyond their noses.

Dr. Rice does not need me to defend her--she has shown herself superbly capable of doing that herself. I am simply appalled at the unbelievable attitude of dismissal and loathing directed toward her from the Left. If she were one of them, she would be their darling. But because she thinks for herself and does not bow in deference to their failed policies, they refuse to recognize her incredible accomplishments. If they believed even half of the Democratic Party propaganda they crank out, then the Democrats --above any other group--should be in 7th Heaven celebrating the life and achievements of Condoleeza Rice. But when push comes to shove, the only thing that matters to them is Party loyalty.

I've waited my entire life to find a woman on the national political stage that I could admire unreservedly--one who did not get there on her husband's coattails; and one whose intellect, vision, capabilities and judgement are second to none.

Woman of the year? Hell, she's one-of-a-kind--a woman of a lifetime. CONDI 2008

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Shortsighted and Foolish Among Us

This is a report that was 30 years too early (hat tip: Dagney):

Nearly three decades before the Sept. 11 attacks, a high-level government panel developed plans to protect the nation against terrorist acts ranging from radiological ''dirty bombs'' to airline missile attacks, according to declassified documents obtained by the Associated Press.
''Unless governments take basic precautions, we will continue to stand at the edge of an awful abyss,'' Robert Kupperman, chief scientist for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, wrote in a 1977 report that summarized nearly five years of work by the Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism.
The group was formed in September 1972 by President Nixon after Palestinian commandos slaughtered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games. The committee involved people as diverse as Henry Kissinger to a young Rudolph Giuliani, the once-secret documents show.
The Task force met once. ''It is vital that we take every possible action ourselves and in concert with other nations designed to assure against acts of terrorism,'' Nixon wrote in asking his secretary of state, William Rogers, to oversee the task force.
''It is equally important that we be prepared to act quickly and effectively in the event that, despite all efforts at prevention, an act of terrorism occurs involving the United States, either at home or abroad,'' the president said.
The full committee met only once, in October 1972, to organize, but its experts did get together twice a month over nearly five years to identify threats and debate solutions, the memos show.
Eventually, the group's influence waned as competing priorities, a change of presidents ushered in by Watergate, bureaucratic turf battles and a lack of spectacular domestic attacks took their toll.
But before that happened, the panel identified many of the same threats that would confront President Bush in the 21st century.
Committee members identified commercial jets as a particular vulnerability, but raised concerns that airlines would not pay for security improvements such as tighter screening procedures and routine baggage inspections.

I guess what this tells us is that defending our country is a choice we make, or a choice we put off as we pursue other priorities. The panel that evaluated this threat in the 70's seems to have done a particularly good job of predicting what was to come, yet we were preoccupied with the day to day realities of the Cold War, and had a difficult time imagining the reality of a war on terror. It was brought to our attention only by the isolated incidents (like the 1st WTC bombing or the USS Cole); and by then we were distracted by the potential opportunities for peace after the Cold War.

But we were shortsighted and foolish, weren't we? We did not take seriously the gathering threat to our nation. And we ignored the multiple warnings that we had over a 30 year period. We needed to cultivate the capacity to analyze national and international trends; rate them for their potential to impact our national interests at home and abroad, and propose a course of action to effectively deal with them. In other words, we needed to become proactive and not just reactive.

In a country whose elected officials are incapable of thinking beyond the next election and only seek to score points on the opposition, thinking and planning ahead is considered a waste of time and resources, since assigning blame after a tragedy always gets you more points. If you prevent something from happening, how would you prove it, and who would give you credit?

No, far better to oppose every action or reform; denounce any new idea; and impugn the integrity of anyone who has the courage to act; and then you are in a perfect position to play the blame game! Some of us are still extremely shortsighted and foolish.

And that is the kindest and gentlest way I can describe certain bubble-headed, intellectually-deficient morons, who for reasons that are beyond human understanding, are currently members of Congress. I wouldn't want to victimize the poor little dears, since I know how sensitive and fragile they are. So I won't say anymore.

Freedom Fanatics

Jonah Goldberg over at The Corner observes:

You know, it dawned on me the other day that Bush's inaugural address and it's emphasis on the unique power of freedom undermines -- or should undermine -- the popular conception that Bush is a "theocon." According to those who were horrified when Bush cited Jesus Christ as his favorite political philosopher, our president is a Christian "crusader." How many times have we read that?
Well in his speech, he said:
There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and
resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the
decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.

Now, I understand that Christians and particularly evangelicals have a theologically and morally serious understanding of free will, liberty etc. But, according to the caricature of Bush, he should have said that the only historical force which can do all of those wonderful things is acceptance of Jesus Christ or, at minimum, acceptance of God or "faith."
He didn't say that. Indeed, the notion that political freedom is the only proven weapon against tyrants and tyranny which can "reward the hopes" of decent people would be something akin to heresy if Bush were anything like the religious fanatic so many people tell us he is.

Now I can't tell you the number of my friends who were dismayed that I supported Bush precisely because of the "Christian Crusader" aspect that Jonah mentions. I found it interesting that this bias against Christianity has become a focal point for many people's dislike of Bush. To be honest, that aspect of his personality never seemed to me to be much different from any other politician on the national scene. Except that it seemed more sincere.

There have been numerous articles about the invocation of God in speeches--every President since Washington has done it. Lincoln mentioned God numerous times in his Gettysburg Address and many of his other speeches. FDR refers to the Deity over and over again in his speeches during WWII. So what is the big deal with President Bush doing the same?

As far as I can determine, the one thing that most people have said--and they say it in some disbelief--is that Bush means it! Instead of giving God lipservice, we find in President Bush a person who is sincere and means what he says. Why, he even admits to (shudder) praying. The obvious question is what kind of fanatic actually believes what he says and admits that he has faith in God?

Now, I am an unredeemed sinner myself, but some of my best friends are religious and even I find it a fairly normal thing to be around them. As long as noone trys to convert me to their particular way of thinking about God and matters ecclesiastical, I am content to let them be who they are.

I find the most obnoxiously religious people to be people on the Left, whose evangelical zeal in trying to make everyone believe what they do to be unsurpassed by most traditional religious types. And the fervor with which they believe in Marx and Chomsky and other similarly Leftist theologians is indistinguishable from those in the throes of religious ecstasy.

What is especially annoying about some religions and some people who practice them--whether Christian, Isamic, or Leftist, or a combo thereof-- is their predeliction for trying to pass laws to make me think and/or behave as they do. And for this, I am willing condemn all religious zealots who want their beliefs imposed on everyone, no matter their specific religious orientation.

But for the record, I don't think President Bush qualifies in the religious fanatic category. Maybe he's a Freedom Fanatic--but then, so am I.

A Brief Moment of Sanity?

Hollywood has issued its Oscar nomination list...and guess who is not on it? Anywhere! BooHoo. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was left out across the board. One can only wonder if Hollywood was siezed by a brief moment of sanity?

Stranger things have happened. I suppose.

Worst Headline of the Week

He only has one? That explains a lot.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Oil-For-Food Money Funded Suicide Bombers

From The Counterterrorism Blog comes this reminder:

...the House International Relations Committee last November 17, Rep. Henry Hyde, committee chairman, stated that "Saddam paid $25,000 rewards to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers through the Iraqi ambassador to Jordan out of accounts in the Rafidain Bank in Amman which held kickback money Saddam demanded from suppliers to his regime."

Andrew Cochrane, the editor of the site also posts a very nice diagram used by the Committee to show the flow of money. Check it out. By the way, it appears to be a very interesting blog, with losts of good information.

Do They Mean It?

An important Sheikh has denounced terrorism in an Eid sermon in Mecca:

The warning came, amid a surge in militant attacks in Muslim countries and beyond, from Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, while addressing Haj pilgrims in a customary Eid sermon. The imam also advised Islamic scholars to preach moderation to confront this “rotten” phenomenon.
“Islam is the religion of moderation. There is no room for extremism in Islam,” he said.
He called on Muslims to “protect non-Muslims in the Kingdom and not to attack them in the country or anywhere. Islam is a religion of peace that abhors attack on innocents.” Militants were using misguided interpretations of Islam to justify violence, he added.

Are the moderate Muslims beginning to stand up against this monster that has arisen in their midst? Do they really mean it? I hope so.

The problem is that there is ample evidence in the Koran that the terrorist-minded can point to justify their sick behavior. The problem is....well, the problem is Islam itself. If ever there was a religion in need of reform it is Islam. If ever a religion needed to be dragged out of the Middle Ages--it is Islam. If ever a religion needed to come to grips with its misogyny and suppression of women--it is Islam as it is practiced in most of the world. If ever a religion needed to face the psychological denial and projection it uses to cope with the realities of the 21st century--it is Islam. Wanting Islam to be a religion of peace, does not make it so.

In psychiatry we say that the first step in getting well is recognizing you have a problem. Taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and behavior is absolutely necessary if you want to take the next step and be able to change them.

Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, has at least recognized there is a problem (but not necessarily Islam's problem, unfortunately) and his way of dealing with it is to say that those who embrace terror are not "true" muslims. One thing we can count on is that somewhere there is yet another Sheikh saying the opposite--i.e., that the only true muslim is one who embraces the jihad and kills the non-believer. If the imam had said "Islam is not yet a religion of peace, but our goal is to understand why terrorism has found its home in our beliefs and fix the problem" --I might feel a bit more hopeful.

If Sheikh Al-Sudais means what he says, I want to know what his religion is going to do about this "phenomenon" within Islam? Talk is cheap. Take the first step and admit responsibility.


The Diplomad has run across a new government program: LARK (Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers) that has been set up for Guantanamo detainees! Read all about it here. LOL

Cynicism and Delusion

That's what the Dems are peddling, according to Mark Steyn:

There's a big lesson for the Democrats there that goes way beyond the merits of abortion or gay marriage. On Sept. 11, the world came unspun: There's no shame in acknowledging, as Condi Rice did last week, that previous policy -- Republican and Democrat -- toward the Middle East is wrong. But there's something silly and immature about a party that, from Kerry to Boxer to Byrd, can't get beyond spin, grandstanding and debater's points: Joyce Smith sees through it, even if David von Drehle thinks it's ingenious. If the president's speech yoked idealism and realism, that doesn't leave much for dissenting Dems except their own peculiar combination of cynicism and delusion.

Read how he got to this conclusion--there's noone like Steyn who can be as humorous and deadly serious at the same time. Let me just add that the Dems come to this "combination of cynicism and delusion" by way of denial. They have yet to accept the fact of 9/11, preferring to remain in the Clinton era of "perfection", where they imagined they were loved and respected by the world and that everything was good. In a way, they are like the little hobbits of Tolkien, living innocently in their idyllic, protected land--unaware of the wider world and the evil that lurks just outside the borders of their consciousness. Unfortunately for them, the evil will penetrate their landscape whether they appreciate its reality or not.

Denial and delusion are, after all, primitive psychological defenses and neither work well for very long; nor bode well for psychological health.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Troops' Perspective

Here are a series of pictures taken by our troops in Iraq. They give a good perspective of what life is like there. Take a look! (hat tip: Rantingprofs). Or, you might try here, to get some news the Mainstream media doesn't bother to report.

And here is a firsthand report from a soldier on the frontlines of the tsunami relief effort. (hat tip: Michelle Malkin). It dovetails nicely with the diplomatic perspective from the Diplomad (here, and here, for example).

THIS is Freedom!

YOU MUST WATCH THIS! (hat tip: the fourth rail)

Weekly Insanity Update

It's time for the weekly roundup of the insane, the ridiculous, the obnoxious, and the completely unbelievable! Overall, despite bright spots, it has been a fruitful week for those of us in the mental health field. Moonbats were joyfully at play, mindless of the delusional quality of their thoughts. Pretetentions abounded and there was plenty of tinfoil to go around. And that was just a summary of the insane items! Here's the list:

1. Make love, not war

2. Now this is the kind of scandal I could get behind!

3. Other important national secrets entrusted to "Say-no-more" Hersh.

4. What a complete jackass Kerry is. (IMHO, of course)

5. These Ayatollahs are pathetic. Note the rant about "Western and Zionist capitalists", and you will understand why the Left can relate to these thugs.

6. Clearly she hasn't been straight with the American public. Perhaps her loyalty to the mission she was given, overwhelmed her respect for the truth?

7. He voted FOR Condi Rice, before he voted AGAINST her?

8. Really? Really? Oh, Geez! But then it turns out that the NYTimes may have been exaggerating....I'm just shocked. (hat tip: Glenn Reynolds)

9. An example of political pragmatism? Or, "I'll do ANYTHING to get elected!"?

10. Flip - Flop - Putin style!

11. "He did a terrible thing, but it wasn't murder." What do YOU call stabbing someone to death during a bank robbery, I wonder? (hat tip: Frank)

12. You just can't disagree with some people without them wanting to kill you.

13. Somebody better tell the Texas Longhorns!

14. The question is --has anyone discovered a terrorist with one?

And, an Extraspecialbonus insanity:

15. Any really brave ANSWER people out there? You're needed again! (via Rantingprofs)

Saturday, January 22, 2005

They Couldn't Care Less About Freedom

With just over a week until the Iraq elections, Amir Taheri in the Arab News notes what is at stake:
Never have so many people pinned so much hope on a single day of voting, Jan. 30, 2005, that is to give Iraq its first freely elected Parliament plus provincial and regional councils.
The election will not only set the course for the 25 million Iraqis but could also determine a new balance of power in the Middle East. Beyond Iraq, the election will confirm or challenge the United States’ status as a “superpower” capable of reshaping the regional status quo. President George W. Bush has vowed to bring the Middle East into “the global democratic mainstream”, with Iraq as the starting point. Success could boost his prestige and encourage local democratic forces. Failure would mark the beginning of a decline in American influence, and revitalize forces determined to keep Muslim nations out of the modern world.

You begin to see why so many on the Left yearn for a resounding defeat of democratic ideals--they are desperately hoping for a "decline in American influence". The same hope abounded about Afghanistan before its elections, and now that that country has transitioned to democracy, the Left couldn't care less. Now that women are not under the hateful oppression of the Taliban, the Women's Movement couldn't care less. Now that the Afghanis and the Iraqis have a chance--for the first time in history--to determine their own fate--International ANSWER couldn't care less.

Since Bush was successful in Afghanistan, the Democrats couldn't care less about Afghanistan. They now hang their pathetic hopes on Bush's failure in Iraq. They couldn't care less about Freedom.

What they actually care about is Power, and in that, they share motivation with the likes of OBL, Zarqawi and every totalitarian scumbag from Washington to Baghdad and beyond.

Ah, come on! you might say--50% of the U.S. population doesn't like the war in Iraq. You can't say that they are all scumbags! Well, that is true. Some of them are just idiots. But about 25% of them have sold their soul (if they ever had one to begin with) to the ideologues whose main goal is the destruction of everything this country stands for--and to prevent the spread of Freedom and Democracy. If being liberal EVER stood for something, it stood for those two things. If being "progressive" EVER meant anything, it meant the joyful celebration of freedom and looking forward, not backward.

The line in the sand has been drawn. Iraqis will choose which side they are on in a week. The Afghanis have already chosen. Let us not forget who it was that gave them the chance to choose. It won't be smooth-going; it might not be pretty; it could continue to be violent and contentious. But like the formation of a brilliant star from the cataclysmic reactions in its core--it will be wonderful to behold. I sincerely wish the Iraqi people the all the strength, courage, and wisdom they require to reclaim their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

The Left and the Democrats must also choose. Will they come down on the side of Freedom? Will they have the courage to stand up and say "YES" to democracy in Iraq? To Freedom in the Middle East? To Liberty for All? Or will they whine and whimper and sulk and pout, shouting NO, NO, NO to the wave of Freedom sweeping the world? Either way, the future is coming, and it has Liberty written all over it.

The Iraqis understand what is at stake for them--to read their thoughts, go here, here, and a summation here.

NEWSFLASH! UN to End Poverty in the Galaxy!

From the Diplomad:

What's your UN up to? It's going to end world poverty! Having ended the poverty of UNocrats, your UN will now spread the wealth. How will do it this magical thing? It has a report! And no ordinary report -- as they say, "Not Available in Stores" -- this one is extra special. The report, "A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals" is 3,000, yes, three thousand pages long! The Diplomad is sure all of you will go to the link right now and download three thousand pages of UN prose. Fill up your hard drives! Burn out your printers!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen that is approximately 1,200,000 words (I counted the words on several representative pages and multiplied). By contrast, President Bush expended a little less than 2000 words and 20 minutes on his Inaugural address which outlined a rather simple plan (I thought) to end tyranny. If Kofi Annan recited this report to end poverty it would take an astonishing 12,000 minutes, or 200 solid hours to complete it!

The UN report begins with "the [great] ideas of [our dear leader] Mr. Annan." (words in parentheses are mine, actually), and basically proposes that the rich countries like the US give more money to the poor countries! What an innovative idea! What a marvelous achievement of soaring intellect!

You might want to read the Diplomad's entire post. You might want to skip the entire UN report. My take: if you want to end poverty, then end tyranny and embrace Freedom and its economic partner, Capitalism. End of Report.


Well, it's really lovely out. The trees are loaded with snow and the view around my neighborhood is breathtaking. Snow is still falling, and we have about 5 inches so far on the ground. It is unnaturally quiet, because noone is venturing out in their cars. So far this has been about the best winter we've had in Ann Arbor.

There is something infinitely beautiful about snow....something startingly peaceful and contemplative. Snow falling is the poetry of winter. Most people regard it as a pain in the ass, but if you don't have to go anywhere in it, and can just watch and enjoy, it can be very restful. We'll worry about digging out later--for now, let it snow!

Here's my favorite poem about snow:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost

A Prediction

I thought of this, but a reader at The Corner beat me to actually saying it:

my prediction...the student lead revolution that will take place in Iran over the next 4 years will look back on Jan. 20, 2005 as the day George Bush told them that the United States of American was ready to aid them in their cause of bringing freedom to their nation, and that this speech will be the catalyst for their action

That's exactly the kind of speech it was. Bush has once more lifted the "lamp beside the golden door" and lit the shining beacon that could inspire many who live under oppression and totalitarianism to take action and shrug off their chains. I believe that George W. Bush could well become one of the greatest U.S. presidents in history (and wouldn't that be a kicker to the Bush-bashers of today! ) I guess we shall see if his inspiration is powerful enough to mobilize the nascent freedom movements around the world.

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door" -from "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus (on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty)

Friday, January 21, 2005

A Few Links

This is pretty funny (OK, I have a weird sense of humor). This is not. [hat tips: The Corner]

Three great posts from Wretchard-- here, here, and here.

A really funny post from Iowahawk.

And, mothers don't let your children grow up to be moonbats!

Media Negativity Quantified

Arthur Chrenkoff who pens a weekly "Good News From Iraq" roundup (here's the most recent), has tallied up the number of negative stories in the mainstream about Iraq in just one day. The results will astound you.

How can it possible be so different from what troops are saying on the ground there? (see here, here for example) And from what Iraqis are saying? (see here and here).

Of course, you must choose for yourself which perspective is the more accurate--or rather, whose agenda you are buying into. Just remember what Bush said yesterday:

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time.

Those words represent one agenda. The one that I buy into. And this is clearly the other.

You choose.


The Council has spoken!
Not to refine too much on it, but Dr. Sanity has chalked up another win in the weekly Best Council Post at Watcher of Weasels! And believe me, the competition is fierce!

Here are the top winners this week:


1. Welcome Neighbor! at Varifrank

And coming in at #2- a great essay from a soldier in Iraq: Aiding and Abetting the Enemy at Blackfive


1. WMD and Death By Chocolate Cake by the ever so humble Dr. Sanity

and #2- a little insight into Ted Kennedy's intentions for your money:
Ted Kennedy’s Contract on Your Paycheck at The Sundries Shack

Check out all the fine Winners over at the Watcher's site! It makes for some great reading.