Thursday, June 30, 2005

False Consciousness

Roger Simon discusses the "false consciousness" of the Democrats:

I was reminded of this last night while watching one of the Dems best and brightest, David Corn, on the Neil Cavuto Show. The subject was Iraq and the media. Corn, clearly a smart guy and an excellent writer, had nothing of interest to say. He seemed like a sad sack trapped in a hole of someone else's making. What a position for a "liberal" to be in - hoping to be vindicated by the failure of democracy in Iraq (and the consequent success of psychotic religious misogynists and homophobes!). Corn denied this, of course, but where else is he and the Democratic Party? They made a fatal mistake by gainsaying the war in Iraq and putting themselves on the wrong side of history. A serious course correction would be their only salvation but they seem unable to make it for psychological, quasi-intellectual and, alas, economic (Soros) reasons. They are mired in what in my Marxist days we would have called "false consciousness."

As mentioned in a previous post here, the Dems will likely just adapt their flexible morality to fit the occasion. After all, Bill Clinton is their ideal and role model.

California Dreamin' - Update!

Well, here's a restaurant I don't think I'll be eating in soon--and not because it's in Taiwan!(hat tip: CookyO)

Fortunately, there are a host of wonderful restaurants here in Morro Bay, where my extended family and mine happen to be vacationing. Having a great time! Wish you all could be here. Tomorrow, we're off to Fresno, in the central valley, where my brother lives. So far, I've read four books; managed to post twice a day (with only a dial-up service!); visited Hearst Castle; Mission San Luis Obispo; Morro Rock;celebrated the birth of a baby girl to my nephew and his wife (who live in SLO); and just relaxed on the beautiful beach! Next week there will be baseball games; swimming in the pool; 4th of July fireworks; and more books and blogging.

I can't believe a whole week has passed by already!

Ransom and Terror

The relationship between civilian deaths in Iraq from terrorism and the paying of ransom is nicely documented here.(hat tip: Michelle Malkin)

Where did those who paid enormous sums of ransom money to terrorists think their ransom money was going, I wonder?

Conscious Self-Deception

A brilliant observation from Wretchard about the evasion of responsibility rampant in our world: (and you really must read his entire post)

Yet acquiescence to this cynical game of political correctness represents the greatest debasement of all. Not only is it cowardly and irresponsible, it allows polite society to evade, for however long it wishes, substantive debate on moral choices which should concern us all. A society which wants to wage war without seeming to shed blood is one which has no intention of confronting the ethical issues. Then we are blind in heart as we are in sight. Nothing to see here, just Move On.

Uncounscious self-deception is usually referred to as "psychological denial". It is a psychological mechanism of great power, and allows its practitioner to avoid psychological conflicts that threaten to tear apart his sense of Self. What about when such a mechanism is deliberate and conscious? I guess we would call it plausible deniability. And it is done for precisely the reasons that Wretchart mentions: to avoid moral choices.

"It's not me!" has become the rallying cry of the moral adolescents among us, who know what needs to be done, but are so frightened of public opinion (as it is manipulated by the press) that they feel it necessary to pander to everyone, lest they lose popularity--or worse, lose votes.

Wretchard mentions several examples. Let me just point to one more (from Powerline):

Mark Levin at NRO's Corner points to the following language, contained in an October 2002 Senate resolution authorizing the president to go to war, for which Senators Reid, Clinton, Schumer, Dodd, Kerry, Edwards, and Biden all voted:

"Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;
"Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terroist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of United States citizens;

"Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations ... "

Yet the Democrats now claim that it is unconscionable for President Bush to link our military action in Iraq to 9/11 and the war on terrorism. What the Democrats really mean is that it is unconscionable for Bush to keep mentioning an issue that has cost them back-to-back elections because they can't convince the public they are sufficiently serious about it.

How expedient is it to "forget" things like this. Or that international intelligence before the Iraq war unanimously concluded that Saddam had WMDs? How convenient to "forget" that 9/11 even happened and be "outraged" that the President would remind us of this fact--especially since we are at war with those who perpetrated it.

This is not simple psychological denial (although there is plenty of that to go around, too). This is the deliberate attempt to manipulate the facts in order to conform with prevailing public opinion.

You want to talk about "fixing" the intelligence (a la the so-called Downing Street Memo-which made such a fuss over nothing)? What the Democrats are doing is "fixing" their morality to conform to the the latest trends and polls.

When their polls go down, they will scramble frantically to adjust their morality accordingly.

Of course, it will never occur to them that their wishy-washy, namby-pamby, "nuanced" approach to doing what is GOOD, RIGHT, AND NECESSARY might be responsible for their declining poll numbers.

That's because they're also in psychological denial.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Acquired Narcissism

Why are politicians so full of themselves? This is why:

People who aspire to stardom tend to be more narcissistic than others, but they don't develop a true narcissistic personality disorder until they begin to achieve success: the first platinum album, the first appearance in Vanity Fair's ''Young Hollywood'' issue, the first public fling with Winona Ryder.

Because the onset occurs well after childhood, celebrity narcissism isn't covered by the textbook definition of the condition. ''Psychoanalytic literature is filled with jargon about how narcissism happens really early,'' says Millman, ''but I realized that given the right situation, it could happen much later.'' That's the Acquisition.

The Situation is fame, money and, even more, the pheromone-like power of fame and money. ''When a billionaire or a celebrity walks into a room,'' says Millman, ''everyone looks at him. He's a prince. He has the power to change your life, and everyone is very conscious of that. So they're drawn to this person. What happens is that he gets so used to everyone looking at him that he stops looking back at them.''

Before the celebrity knows it, he's having grandiose fantasies, he can't feel empathy, he's full of rage, she's starring in ''Glitter.'' The celebrity has begun to share all the symptoms of severe narcissists.

But there are a few important differences. Both groups suffer from a distorted view of their place in the world, but the tension in the early-developing narcissist is more self-contained. In the acquired situational narcissist, it is also fed by people who surround him. Even worse, the view of the world the acquired situational narcissist is getting is, when you think about it, quite reasonable. ''They are different,'' says Millman. ''They're not normal. And why would they feel normal when every person in the world who deals with them treats them as if they're not?''

This includes the celebrity's usual planetary system of assistants, publicists, agents, lawyers and groupies. But it also includes us, the public. We're all complicit in acquired situational narcissism. ''We've created it,'' says Millman. ''They're just responding to us.''

In the case of politicians particularly, it is even worse because they are treated like little gods as they make regular pronouncements on how the world will run. Within their own circle, their power as a senator or congressman precludes hearing anything but the most positive of reactions to their every declarative sentence. For them the gap between what they imagine is their status in the world and what it really is widens appreciably while in office.

What is wrong with them? Noonan askes. Like any other two-bit narcissistic personality disorder, they have come to believe that they are at the center of everyone's world. That is why they find it hard to focus on the really important issues. It is also why they are so obsessed with polls, polls, and more polls.

They will do anything to maintain their popularity and their god-like status--even if it means they have to abandon their principles.

But of course, they had very few to begin with.

Just Read It

I am talking about this piece of impeccable logic in a world gone crazy (hat tip: Gates of Vienna).

Here are several excerpts:

It's the agonizingly slow pace of this genocide! The displaced Arabs started out with 400,000; they screamed genocide and became four million. This is what happens when you leave genocide up to Jews.
I have faith, though, that the world is committed to the Holocaust "never again" happening to the Jews. (I suppose not leaving any Jews for it to happen to again is one way to go about it.) To stay true to the promise, though, something will have to be done about the anti-Jewish climate at our universities. It's time to introduce courses on tolerating people, and perhaps a course on tolerating Jews. For starters, they can explain why Jews getting preferential admission into Israel is "racism," but blacks getting preferential admission to universities is "affirmative action."
am now also open to the possibility that Palestinians aren't responsible for exploding Jews at all. Just look at the disparity between these two Reuters headlines: "Israel Kills Three Militants" vs. "Bus Blows Up in Central Jerusalem." In other words, the Jews are suffering too, but apparently what they suffer from is spontaneous combustion.
Once you understand this, the world becomes so much less overwhelming, and you can deal with just about anything. You'll even know the first thing to ascertain should aliens descend on the earth and start eating people: What did Israel do now?

There are so many good parts to this essay and it is so incredibly on-target, just go and read it!

Saddam's Links to Terror

Here is a site you can point out to people who don't seem to be convinced that Saddam Hussein had any connections to terrorists (hat tip: Betsy's Page)

It makes for some very interesting reading.

UPDATE: BTW, it is all about 9/11, whether the Left likes it or not.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Perils of Not Thinking

The Arab News has an interesting article today: (hat tip: Solomon)

Newspapers recently carried the story of a famous religious scholar — a sheikh — who gave a lecture in a mosque. During the lecture, he was interrupted by a group of young men who shouted at him and expressed their contemptuous rejection of his opinion. Though in a mosque, one of the young men angrily waved a small knife at the sheikh who was forced to stop his lecture. He was then escorted by security from the mosque in order to avoid a worsening of the situation. The reason for the young men’s inexcusable reaction was, as far as most people are concerned, inconsequential. The sheikh was speaking about his belief that drums are not forbidden. To say such a thing to people who have always been told — and have always been taught — that music is completely haram (not allowed) was a genuine shock.

The story tells us a number of things. First, there is only one opinion in Saudi Arabia and no such thing as a difference of opinion can exist. Second, to reject an opposing opinion in a violent way is becoming a trend. Third and last: the intolerance we have taught and propagated has now developed and seeks to dominate.

Should we be surprised that those young men reacted in so mistaken a way? Should we be surprised that those young men reacted in a way totally outside Islam’s spirit of tolerance? Should we condemn them as fanatics?

It may already be too late for the culture spawned by Islam--where thinking has been punished for some time by religious leaders who demand obedience, not thought from their followers. However, it is a good sign that someone still possesses enough rational thought to be concerned at the direction the societies of Islam are headed.

Humans cannot survive without rational thought. A culture, religon, or a person who abandons thinking is at an enormously high risk for eventual extinction--but unfortunately not before they wreak a considerable amount of death and destruction on the rest of humanity.

Maybe She Stayed At A Holiday Inn Express?

Good grief. Check this out at Polipundit. This is the sort of high quality person we have in Congress (on the Democrat side, I might add). She's watched Law and Order for 10 years??? I'd include this in the Carnival of the Insanities, but it's too priceless to wait until then!

You can't make this stuff up!

Shall We Dance?

Image hosted by The Cotillion, a blog that highlights conservative women bloggers (of which yours truly is a member), sponsors the Cotillion Ball, which is a round-up of posts from various members.

Check it out! This week's dance can be found at NotADesperateHousewife,
Rightwingsparkle, MaxedOutMama, and Knowledge is Power


Monday, June 27, 2005

Ask Your Imam

The latest in Dr. Sanity's neverending quest to be musical and offensive at the same time!

Ask Your Imam (Sung to the tune of "Stand By Your Man")

Sometimes it's hard to be a Muslim
'Specially when you're reading the Koran
It first says one thing, then another
And you're too dumb to understand

So if you have some questions, ask him
And he will try to lend a hand
There's nothing he can't answer
'Cause after all he's your Imam

Ask your Imam
Don't ever use your own mind
For he interprets Allah
on your behalf

Ask your Imam
He'll give you rules to die by
And help your jihad if he can
Ask your Imam

To truly live and die well, just kill the infidel
Words of advice from your Imam

Ask your Imam
Don't ever use your own mind
For he interprets Allah
on your behalf

Ask your Imam
Or else he'll issue fatwas
And you will soon be on the lam...
Ask your Imam!

What A Surprise

Is anyone surprised by this:

Who's funding the insurgents in Iraq? The list of suspects is long: ex-Baathists, foreign jihadists, and angry Sunnis, to name a few. Now add to that roster hard-core Euroleftists.

Turns out that far-left groups in western Europe are carrying on a campaign dubbed Ten Euros for the Resistance, offering aid and comfort to the car bombers, kidnappers, and snipers trying to destabilize the fledgling Iraq government.

In the words of one Italian website, Iraq Libero (Free Iraq), the funds are meant for those fighting the occupanti imperialisti. The groups are an odd collection, made up largely of Marxists and Maoists, sprinkled with an array of Arab emigres and aging, old-school fascists, according to Lorenzo Vidino, an analyst on European terrorism based at The Investigative Project in Washington, D.C. "It's the old anticapitalist, anti-U.S., anti-Israel crowd," says Vidino, who has been to their gatherings, where he saw activists from Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Italy. "The glue that binds them together is anti-Americanism." The groups are working on an October conference to further support "the Iraqi Resistance."

A key goal is to expand backing for the insurgents from the fringe left to the broader antiwar and antiglobalization movements.

Is anyone even the least bit surprised that the remnants of 20th Century totalitarianism are supporting the 21st Century totalitarian Islamofascists?

Bin Laden and Zarqawi and their ilk are their natural heirs of these failed ideologies.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Who Do We Have To Be?

A rather long, but thought-provoking piece by Michael Ignatieff that asks, "Who Are Americans to Think That Freedom Is Theirs to Spread?" An excerpt:

The problem here is that while no one wants imperialism to win, no one in his right mind can want liberty to fail either. If the American project of encouraging freedom fails, there may be no one else available with the resourcefulness and energy, even the self-deception, necessary for the task. Very few countries can achieve and maintain freedom without outside help. Big imperial allies are often necessary to the establishment of liberty. As the Harvard ethicist Arthur Applbaum likes to put it, ''All foundings are forced.'' Just remember how much America itself needed the assistance of France to free itself of the British. Who else is available to sponsor liberty in the Middle East but America? Certainly the Europeans themselves have not done a very distinguished job defending freedom close to home.
During the cold war, while most Western Europeans tacitly accepted the division of their continent, American presidents stood up and called for the walls to come tumbling down. When an anonymous graffiti artist in Berlin sprayed the wall with a message -- ''This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality'' -- it was President Reagan, not a European politician, who seized on those words and declared that the wall ''cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.''
This is why much of the European support for Bush in Iraq came from the people who had grown up behind that wall. It wasn't just the promise of bases and money and strategic partnerships that tipped Poles, Romanians, Czechs and Hungarians into sending troops; it was the memory that when the chips were down, in the dying years of Soviet tyranny, American presidents were there, and Western European politicians looked the other way.
It is true that Western Europe has had a democracy-promotion project of its own since the wall came down: bringing the fledgling regimes of Eastern Europe into the brave new world of the European Union. This very real achievement has now been delayed by the ''no'' votes in France and the Netherlands. Sponsoring the promotion of democracy in the East and preparing an Islamic giant, Turkey, for a later entry is precisely what the referendum votes want to stop. So who will be there to prevent Islamic fundamentalism or military authoritarianism breaking through in Turkey now that the Europeans have told the Turks to remain in the waiting room forever? If democracy within requires patrons without, the only patron left is the United States.

Of course, the answer to that question is, "who do we have to be to think Freedom is ours to spread?" If we have to be absolutely perfect, as Ignatieff sort of suggests in this paragraph:

It's impossible to untangle the contradictions of American freedom without thinking about Jefferson and the spiritual abyss that separates his pronouncement that ''all men are created equal'' from the reality of the human beings he owned, slept with and never imagined as fellow citizens. American freedom aspires to be universal, but it has always been exceptional because America is the only modern democratic experiment that began in slavery. From the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it took a century for the promise of American freedom to even begin to be kept.

...then no person or country in human history has the perogative to promote Liberty, simply because no person or country in human history has ever been perfect.

But the Jeffersonian ideal has never been a utopian ideal. Far from it, in fact. Freedom is messy. Freedom is irritating. People who are free make mistakes all the time. Freedom encourages individualism. Individuals are not perfect. Individuals make mistakes. In other words, the very concept of Freedom has a virtual built-in non-perfection clause.

By promoting Liberty, America is encouraging that which is the best within each individual human being on this planet. Just because people are free does not mean that they somehow, magically have become "perfect"-- and have escapes that "spiritual abyss" which often lies between their desires and their behaviors. Unlike totalitarian ideologies which want to reshape humans into a preconceived "perfect" state, Freedom actually celebrates our humanity and our free will.

No, Liberty is our birthright, whether we are perfect or not.

Carnival of the Insanities

Image hosted by 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. This week we have a record number of insanities thanks to all the submissions and the way the world turns. SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!


1. 10 ways to cheer up Saddam Hussein. If you want to, that is!

2. I predict that a lot of perfumes will begin to have this ingrediaent in the near future.

3. Aslan has returned!

4. Conyer's turkeys found! At GM's Corner.

5. Someone is very upset at this AP NewsFlash.

6. Well, she went up a bit in my estimation, but her voice still grates on me when I listen to her speak.

7. The Vagina Monoblogs? They're not kidding!

8. Really? I thought everything was etched in the genes. Even the tendency to believe ridiculous conclusions from single research studies.

9. Deep, Dark Secrets of His and Her Brains ? hat tip: The Skwib)

10. Star Trek: K'Pinky and the Brain. Slightly ridiculous.

11. Look at it this way. I'm not making fun of the dead, I'm making fun of the idiots who wrote the obituary. They need to be treated for PEST, STAT.

12. Al Gore is such a great guy ! And the NY Times is such a great newspaper!

13. Birds do it, Bees do it--even monkeys in the trees do it.

14. Wacko - Go Crack-o? Definitely.

15. This time Tom Cruise has gone too far! Call the Jedi Council!

16. No one ever heard of elephantholes either, for that matter....

Saturday, June 25, 2005


For the next two weeks I will be traveling to California for two family reunions. The first in beautiful Morro Bay, then on to Fresno! I'm bringing my laptop, but don't know how much blogging I'll be able to do, so blogging will be intermittant--but should be of very high quality!!

Scroll down, and Stay tuned! I'll be back when I find a wi-fi place.

Beautiful Indifference - Redux

Here is another instance of media indifference that is unbelievable. The American Public is subjected to 24/7 obsessive news about the Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson Trials, but the most significant trial of terrorists since 9/11 is going on right now, and we can barely find a paragraph on what's going on!

It has been called “the most significant terrorism trial” since 9-11: the first time alleged leaders of Islamic Jihad, self-confessed killers of more than 100 Israelis and two Americans, are being tried in an American court; the first time the controversial Patriot Act has lassoed jihadists of this magnitude; and the first time that Arab professors in an American university who have claimed “academic freedom” for their pro-Palestinians views have been indicted for using their university offices to direct and finance terrorist activity.

Yet most New Yorkers are oblivious to this case because The New York Times, let alone most other northern newspapers, has decided not to cover the extraordinary testimony being heard now in a Tampa, Fla., courtroom.

Charged with racketeering, conspiracy, materially aiding terrorists and running the American office of Palestinian Islamic Jihad are Kuwaiti-born Palestinian Sami Al-Arian, former professor at the University of South Florida; Sameeh Hammoudeh, a former instructor at the university; and two Islamic activists, Hatim Fariz and Ghassan Ballut.

Also mentioned in the indictment is Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, who was an adjunct professor of Middle Eastern studies at USF before returning to Syria when he was appointed leader of Islamic Jihad in 1995. Shallah came to the United States on a visa sponsored by Al-Arian.

Government prosecutor Walter Furr declared to the jury that Al-Arian at one point from his Tampa office was the most powerful man in all of Islamic Jihad.

There have been other remarkable trials this month. The Times ran Michael Jackson’s acquittal in a multi-column banner across the front page, and provided daily coverage to the trial of Edgar Ray Killen, the former Klansman convicted of manslaughter in the deaths of three civil rights workers in Mississippi 41 years ago.

Clearly the Mississippi trial warranted that coverage, but one can make the case that Islamic Jihad is to the 21st century what the Klan was to the 20th and that the trial of Al-Arian is every bit analogous to Killen’s.

The Times, however, after three stories covering the opening of the Al-Arian trial has decided to take it off the daily beat.

Eric Lichtblau, the Times reporter on the case, wrote in an e-mail to The Jewish Week, “It’s uncertain when I’ll be back in Tampa, but we’ll be monitoring the trial and probably doing occasional stories along the way on key witnesses, the start of the defense, closings and the verdict. That’s the norm for a case of interest like this one. There are very few trials that we or other national media cover on a day-to-day or even weekly basis, and the slow start for the prosecution in Al-Arian didn’t suggest there would be enough to warrant frequent coverage. But if you hear of something interesting on it, let me know.”

It’s hard to agree that the prosecution is off to a slow start. The lawyer for Hammoudeh, Stephen Crawford, a USF graduate who was born on the West Bank, told The New York Sun that he expected “shock and awe” from the prosecution.

Newsday (June 16), picking up a story by The Associated Press, reported the testimony of Kesari Ruza, who in 1995 was riding on a bus in Gaza alongside her friend Alisa Flatow, 20, a college student from West Orange, N.J., when a suicide bomber plowed his van filled with explosives into the bus. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

Ruza was napping when the van hit. She told the court, “As soon as I woke up, Alisa’s head kind of fell toward me. ... Her eyes were rolled back in her head and her hands were sort of curled in.”

A 10-minute video taken at the scene and introduced to the court showed the carnage and a close-up of Flatow lying on her back outside the bus. She died the next day. The photos shown in the court are available on Yahoo! by searching for “Alisa Flatow” in the news category.

“There was blood everywhere,” Ruza testified. “There was blood on us, blood on our bags.”

Michael Fechter, reporting in the Tampa Tribune (June 16-17), described “the blood, noise and chaos that follows a terrorist attack” displayed to jurors. He described how “blood soaked the steps” of the Egged bus, with what sounded like crashing rocks giving way to the sound of cries as people were hurled to the ground “obviously in pain.”

Newsday reported Stephen Flatow’s account of how he flew to Israel and found his daughter in a hospital “with bandages on her head and her long, dark hair shaved off.” Flatow told how he took his daughter’s hand and talked to her, hoping she might respond.

But, he said, “When I let go of Alisa’s hand, it just fell limp by the side of the bed.”

Fechter in the Tampa Tribune (June 16) wrote: “Flatow, wearing a yarmulke, had difficulty maintaining composure as he identified pictures of his daughter as a young school girl … He repeatedly sighed heavily and paused at times to fight back tears. Flatow said he wanted to tell her, ‘Daddy’s here. Everything’s going to be OK,’ but what Al-Arian wrought was beyond a daddy’s capacity to repair.”

Media critics who scolded The Sun and Bill O’Reilly for having “an agenda” in their relentless coverage of radical Middle Eastern professors — O’Reilly on his Fox News show in September 2001 challenged Al-Arian on his support of terrorism and a video in which he called for “death to the Jews” — are now silent about the Times’ “agenda” of minimal coverage.

It’s not that the Times was always reticent about Al-Arian. Three years ago (Jan. 27, 2002) he was the centerpiece of an editorial charging that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the University of South Florida “dishonor ideals of public universities by trying to fire Palestinian professor Sami Al-Arian … whose anti-Israel statements have produced threats to campus and a decline in contributions.” Now there are no Times editorials.

Al-Arian was the focus as well of two Times columns by Nicholas Kristof. On March 1, 2002, he wrote that Al-Arian “denounces terrorism” and “promotes interfaith services with Jews,” and warned that “a university, even a country, becomes sterile when people are too intimidated to say things out of the mainstream. … Three exhaustive studies of his conduct have found no evidence of wrongdoing.”

Now that evidence is being presented and Kristof is silent.

A columnist in the Tampa Trib, Daniel Ruth (June 8), wrote: “It’s merely a guess, but when you’ve been captured on videotape in the company of Omar Abdel-Rahman, the thug who was one of the masterminds of the first World Trade Center bombing, and when you’ve been caught on film saying, `Jihad is our path … Death to Israel,’ it is sort of hard to later argue you were just kidding around.

Ruth went on to say, “Nobody has denied his right to free speech. … Words didn’t kill Alisa Flatow. Shrapnel that prosecutors say Sami Al-Arian paid for did. And the fact that [one of Al-Arian’s defenders] doesn’t seem to understand the difference between free speech and sitting shivah could suggest this trial might not take as long as some people think.”

The most thorough daily coverage of the trial, with considerable background information, can be found on the Tampa Tribune Web site, (Note: I have excerpted the entire article, something I don't usually do because I feel strongly this needs to be publicized- PS)

"Keep 'em stupid and preoccupied with trash" appears to be the motto of the media when it comes to covering the war on terror. Unless you happen to live in Tampa, this information is clearly not interesting....

Once again the totalitarian media giants have kept news of essential events that might help people develop a rational perspective about what is going on in the world out of the public eye.

La belle indifference.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Toxic Nutrients

Atlas Shrugs has a video clip of a Palestinian children's TV program that hammers home the message that a child should be willing and anxious to fight and die in order to destroy Israel: Abused children become bloody murderers

Meanwhile, ShrinkWrapped has an excellent post on the The Suicide Bomber, Narcissism, and the Ego Ideal:

In my first post in a series on Narcissism, Malignant Narcissism, and Paranoia: Part I, I explained that part of what supports a person's self esteem is how closely he is able to approximate his "ego ideal".

The ego ideal is the collection of abilities, traits, strengths and weaknesses, that make up the person who the child wishes he could be. This will include identifications with various important people in the child's world (including fantasies of people, but that takes us farther afield) and can include famous people as well. Many adolescents and pre-adolescents long to be like their favorite athlete or movie star (though what they want to be like is their fantasy of the person based on the celebrity's carefully crafted persona. Despite the celebrity culture in this country, most people give up their longing to be someone else well before they reach adulthood.)


In the healthy person, by adulthood, the ego ideal has been tempered by reality and includes a realistic assessment of one's abilities and attributes. (Many a "great" third grade athlete recognizes, by high school, that his two left feet render him a better bet for college than for pro sports, and is able to negotiate the metamorphosis, without too much emotional pain, of his ego ideal to more closely approximate reality.) The healthy person sees himself as lovable, likable, able to like and love others, able to do good and useful work, and adding some benefit to the community.

Clearly, al Biss comes from a culture in which celebrity-hood is bestowed upon those who are killed, or kill themselves, fighting the hated, larger than life, Jew. People who pay attention to such things (MEMRI, for example) have been pointing out for years that the Palestinian authority has glorified suicide bombers as great and holy martyrs deserving of love and admiration. Unfortunately, politicians, diplomats, media people, blinded by their own need to fight for the imagined Palestinian victim, have had to close their eyes to the menace (especially to the Palestinian culture and their children) of constantly nurturing their impressionable young on such toxic nutrients.
I have also touched on this issue (here and here). The key to dealing with this sick situation with the children is liberating the women of Islam.

Women subjected to institutionalized, societal abuse (such as what we saw under the Taliban; and what we see to a greater or lesser extent in almost all Islamic countries--where physical abuse is sanctioned; where women are sexually demonized; where they are deprived of education, as well as physical, social, economic and political freedom) are hardly in a psychological position to be able to provide effective "nurturing" to children.

Women whose own aggressive impulses have been savagely constrained by society and who have few options to sublimate those impulses, are at grave risk of encouraging aggressive and violent "acting out" on the part of their children on their behalf-- especially the male child who must be seriously conflicted about his love for and identification with a lowly-regarded woman.In other words, such women will hardly prevent inappropriate aggression in their offspring, when such aggression vicariously meets their own needs. And the male children will have to assert their separation and distance from the debased female that is their mother, as aggressively and violently as possible.

If you dobut the importance of the women/mothers in this situation, read this article. Or this one.

Oh, and did I mention that the men require liberation, too?

UPDATE: ShrinkWrapped has Part II of his post up.

Liberal Propaganda

Victor Davis Hanson:

Two factors explain the current growing hysteria over Iraq, and they transcend the complex nature of the war and even the depressing media reports from the battlefield. First is the strange doctrine of multiculturalism that has become one of our most dominant boutique ideologies of the last few decades, as the United States experienced unleveled prosperity, leisure — and guilt.

All cultures are of equal merit; failure and poverty abroad are never due to indigenous pathology but rather Western colonialism, racism, Christianity, and gender bias. The Other is never to be judged by our own "biased" standards of jurisprudence and "constructed" bourgeois notions of humanity; those poorer, darker, non-Christian, and non-English-speaking are to be collectively grouped as victims, deserving condescension, moral latitude, and some sort of reparations or downright cash grants. Senator Patti Murray gave us the soccer-mom version of this pathology when she once talked of the need to rival bin Laden's supposed humanitarian projects in Afghanistan, while Senator Durbin assures us from a private e-mail that poor suspects in Cuba (no longer terrorists who plot to butcher more thousands) suffer the similar fate of Hitler's victims.

As September 11 faded in our collective memory, Muslim extremists were insidiously but systematically reinvented in our elite presentations as near underprivileged victims, and themselves often adept critics of purported rapacious Western consumerism, oil profiteering, heavy-handed militarism, and spiritual desolation.

Extremists who would otherwise be properly seen in the fascistic mold were instead given a weird pass for their quite public and abhorrent hatred of non-believers and homosexuals, and their Neanderthal views of women. Beheadings, the murder of Christians, suicide bombings carried out by children, systematic torture — all this and more paled in comparison to hot and cold temperatures in American jails on Cuba. Suddenly despite our enemies' long record of murder and carnage, we were in a war not with fascism of the old stamp, but with those who were historical victims of the United States. Thus problems arose of marshalling American public opinion against the supposedly weaker that posited legitimate grievances against Western hegemons. It was no surprise that Sen. Durbin's infantile rantings would be showcased on al-Jazeera.

What the Left wants more than anything is a return to (in Hanson's words) the "Golden Age of Victimhood", where every other culture --other than American, that is--is conceptualized as the victims of American colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. They are even willing to repackage the Islamofascist enemy to be the poor, helpless victim of America.

Multiculturalism--which I believe started out as a sincere attempt to open everyone's eyes to the beautiful diversity (and I hesitate to even use that word because of its distortion by the ideologues) in our own country and in the world-- has become a virulent dogma that does not allow the exercise of critical judgement or rational thought. All must bow before it and obey.

Anyone challenging its omnipotent power is labeled as "racist", "sexist" and any number of other multipurpose derogatory terms bandied around liberally by the Left.

As a rational human being, I ask you to read the remarks of Senator Durbin; and then to read Karl Rove's observations on the behavior of the Left after 9/11.. Tell me, which do you think grotesquely distorts the truth, and inflames the discourse? Which one is unmitigated hysteria, and which one is genuine puzzlement at documented behavior? Which can be realistically classified as propaganda?

The Council Has Spoken--AND DR. SANITY WINS !

Image hosted by
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. Beautiful Indifference Dr. Sanity

2. If Only Gates of Vienna

And, another of my favorites this week: Sins of the Fathers.. . from e-Claire


1. Kos Says U.S. Torture 'Equal' To that of Saddam Hussein (A Comparison) The Jawa Report

2. I’ve Got a Bad feeling About This Varifrank

Check out all the winners at the Watcher of Weasel's site!


And, Viagra or Cialis might also help....and I mean that in the most therapeutic way possible (not just to be mean or insensitive).

[Day By Day hat tip: OBloodyHell]

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Guilty As Charged

These words uttered by Karl Rove have generated a firestorm in the Democratic Party:

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Citing calls by progressive groups to respond carefully to the attacks, Mr. Rove said to the applause of several hundred audience members, "I don't know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt when I watched the twin towers crumble to the ground, a side of the Pentagon destroyed, and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble."

I say if the shoe fits, wear it. As Rove referred only to "liberals" and not specifically to "Democrats", you have to wonder why the Dems felt so earnestly compelled to respond? And so angrily, too.

Could it be the observation hit a little too close to home? Could it be that they feel...guilty?

UPDATE: Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the RNC has issued an extremely good response to the Democrat's rage, complete with documentation of Rove's statement (which in my opinion was rather mild, compared to the reality). I suspect the Democrats are going to deeply regret their behavior (in 2006, perhaps?), including their passive approval of the Durbin hysterics, just a week ago.

Tag, I'm It !

Well, ljmcinnis of R Cubed has tagged me with the "How Many Books" game that asks what people are reading and what books have been important to them. This has been going around the blogosphere for a while, and I've read with interest what others have written. I don't mind answering, because a big part of my life is books and I'm always reading two or three at a time. So, here goes!

What is the total number of books you have ever owned?
Well I can aswer this by telling you that my husband has threatened divorce many times if I were to buy any more books. His attitude has developed as my books have overflowed the library (our converted living room) into every other room of the house. I would say at a conservative estimate that I currently possess about 6,000 books and recently I have given away 2-3000 (just to clear space for new ones). In my entire lifetime,I have probably owned about10,000 or so (I started collecting when I was 12 years old).

What is the last book you have purchased?
Well, today I purchased The Time Traveler's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) , The Romanov Prophecy (Steven Berry); Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson), and In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (Alexander McCall) since I'm going on vacation next week. I also purchased in the non-fiction category--Bruce Hoffman's Inside Terrorism.

What is the last book you have read?
I just finished Natan Sharansky's The Case For Democracy and Steven Berry's The Third Secret.

What are 5 books that mean a lot to you?
Narrowing it down to 5 is hard, but here are the ones that have had the most impact on me:
- The Rick Brant Science/Adventure Series , John Blaine (sort of like the Nancy Drew, but science mysteries where the 16 yr old hero flies his own plane and has a 17 yo friend who is an ex-Marine!)
- Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand (changed my life forever when I read it at age 13)
- Capitalism the Unknown Ideal also by Ayn Rand (stimulated me to study economics in college)
- The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkein (taught me about courage, standing up for what is right and against tyranny; and the price of freedom)
- The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense, Anna Freud (steered me toward psychiatry when I was in medical school)


From Cox and Forkum

From the WSJ:
The most astonishing aspect of Friday's presidential vote in Iran is not that the elections will go into a second round but that Tehran managed to convince so many in the West that this is a real demonstration of democracy.

All power is held by Supreme Leader Ali Khameni, his Council of Guardians and the small clique of military officers and businessmen around him. The Council disqualified more than 1,000 candidates before the election, vetting only contestants who support the regime's ideological lines. The example of outgoing "reformist" President Mohammad Khatami, who presided over eight years of economic decline and worsening repression, has proven that the President cannot change anything against the Council's will.

The one number worth parsing in Friday's election is that of voter participation. Many Iranians had called for a boycott as the only way of showing resistance. Knowing this, the mullahs seem to have taken their usual election manipulations to another level. Intimidation by the Revolutionary Guards and the fact that proof of voting is needed for certain jobs and welfare payments have always pushed up turnout. Still, voter participation has steadily declined in the past few years to barely 50%.

But this time turnout was 62.7%, exactly the level Supreme Leader Khameni had predicted. "Something is fishy here," Patrick Clawson, who follows Iran for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told us. Contradicting all reports about the mood in the country ahead of the vote, hard-line candidates received unprecedented support, while the main reformist candidate, Mustafa Moin, came in fifth. Mr. Moin also suggested the elections were rigged, but since the regime allows no neutral observers the real extent of fraud or Iranian discontent can't be known.

Iran's Sham Election on U.S. Soil from the Washington Times:

In recent days, President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and numerous members of Congress have denounced as invalid Iran's presidential election, in particular the fact that Tehran arbitrarily disqualified more than 1,000 of the 1,014 candidates who attempted to run. Unfortunately, thus far, Congress and the administration seem unaware of the fact that the regime has conducted the election in the United States, possibly in violation of U.S. law.
The United States has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since the 1979 hostage crisis. As a result, Iranian officials cannot travel more than 25 miles from Washington (where Iran has an interests section in the Pakistani Embassy) or 12 miles from New York (where Iran's U.N. delegation is based). On the other hand, Iranian law requires that voting be overseen by election officials representing the government -- people who would appear to have no lawful right to be present at any of the polling places that were held last week in mosques, hotels and other buildings across the United States. Last week, the Iranian government did not publicize the location of the polling places until right before the voting began in order to lessen the likelihood of protests by Iranian dissidents. That appears to be the case with tomorrow's presidential runoff.

Calls for Protest by the SCCDI (hat tip: Free Thoughts):
As you know, the made-up results of this sham election have led to the so-called tie between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad. In reality, Ahmadinejad’s presence is only to create fear among the population and polish the image of Rafsanjani, the real mastermind of the Islamic regime. Such fraudulent and sham "elections" have been covered in the media as most of the western world is acknowledging that the Islamic Republic’s "elections" are a joke.

Millions of enchained Iranians have already declared their firm intention to boycott such new masquerade and have shown their deep rejection of the theocratic regime. Despite all dangers, Iranians have sized many occasions, such as, the last soccer game, played between Iran and Bahrain, in order to riot against dictatorship and tyranny, and to send a clear message that "they don't want an Islamic republic !".

Therefore, we urge all freedom fighters to once again show your stand against terrorists and your right for real democracy and freedom in Iran by protesting the "run-off" elections of June 24, 2005.

Also, check out Regime Change Iran for an open letter to the International Media.

President Bush:

"America believes in the right of the Iranian people to make their own decisions and determine their own future. America believes that freedom is the birthright and deep desire of every human soul. And to the Iranian people, I say: As you stand for your own liberty, the people of America stand with you."


Pooh-poohing Polls

First of all, I don't believe polls.
Second of all, I don't care about polls.
Third of all, there is only one type of poll that really matters, and the last one occurred in November, 2004; the next important one is in 2006 and again in 2008.

Having stated that up front, let me make a few comments about the recent polls

  • As mentioned, the poll that has most sway with me is the one that was completed in November, 2004. President Bush was elected by a significant majority. HIS PROPOSED POLICIES HAVE BEEN GIVEN A SANCTION BY THE AMERICAN PUBLIC JUST A FEW SHORT MONTHS AGO. I say let's give these policies a fair shake until the next election. If the American public doesn't approve of them, they can vote the Republicans out of office. Until then, I would really like to see the doom and gloom people either come up with a better plan to win the war on terror or SHUT UP AND LET US GET ON WITH IT,. There will continue to be challenges and problems to be solved--so what?

  • I think that it is understandable that the American Public is fed up with the Iraq War, and weary of hearing how badly it is going. The media paint an unrelentingly negative picture and rarely report anything positive. I will go further and say (as others have), that if the day to day casualties and miscalculations of WWII had been trumpeted the way they are being done today, you might have obtained the same data if polls had been done. In fact, for most of WWII, the Allies were being clobbered by Germany and Japan who dealt stunning defeats and massive casualties to American and British troops for the first 3 years of the war--unlike Iraq, where it is simply not possible for the terrorists to win on the battlefield. and where the casualties have been amazingly low from an historical perspective.

  • While the American Public may be tired of the Iraq war, Not one of these polls offer them an alternative where they might say exactly what the President should be doing. This is discussed nicely in this Townhall column by Bill Murchison , which I highly recommend.

Polls can be fun and amusing; but simultaneously behaving obsessively and hysterically over their results is a helluva fickle way to get anything important done in the world. This is REAL LIFE, not a high school popularity contest. I daresay that Abraham Lincoln's policies were not partcularly popular in his own time either. But he did what he had to do to end slavery and keep the Union together.

I am reminded of Calvin and Hobbes:

"Bad news Dad. Your polls are way down."
"My polls?"
"You rate especialy low among tigers and six year old white males."

The bad news is that the President's polls are down. The good news is that the President seems to be the kind of man who will do what needs to be done, regardless. That's why we elected him, so let's let him do his job.

    Why Iraq?

    Tigerhawk looks at the Downing Street memo, and notices what isn't there, as well as something that is and begins a fascinating discussion of Bush's reasons for going to war in Iraq. It makes a lot of sense to me. Go and read it.

    And, while you're reading, check out everything you wanted to know about Gitmo in a piece by James Lileks.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2005

    Paranoia Without Bounds - Part II

    This person has been watching far far too much James Bond . Or maybe just reading too much paranoid propaganda from the Middle East WAIT!!! Maybe the Planetary Society Handbook is really a copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion!! Maybe we're all going to die! Maybe....No. Nevermind.

    Meanwhile, in the real world....

    That Way Lies Madness

    Did you know that the Left only has one "enemy"? Rick Moran notices.

    There’s something pathetically childlike about the Bush-hating, anti-war left these days. It’s not just Dick Durbin’s big mouth or John Conyers’ grandstanding about the Downing Street Minutes. The left has been galvanized by poll numbers showing the American people exhibiting war weariness. They’ve been positively giddy about the continued success of the terrorists in killing scores of Iraqis and dozens of our soldiers. Even the autopsy report on Terri Schiavo gave them cause to dance a jig in celebration, gloating over the fact that the poor woman was indeed in a persistent vegetative state, thus allowing them to stick it the “fundies” who they hate almost as much as Bush.
    The word “enemy” has been removed from their lexicon – except as it relates to the President and their political foes on the right. Our enemies are called “insurgents.” They’re called “rebels.” They’re referred to as “the opposition.” Some on the far left have gone so far as to call them “freedom fighters.” Even al Qaeda fighters in our custody are called “detainees.” But to call them “the enemy” opens an intellectual chasm beneath their feet that the left simply cannot look into without blanching in horror.

    If the left were to acknowledge that we’re actually fighting an enemy, their entire rationale for opposing the war would disappear. As long as they don’t acknowledge there’s an enemy, the war is “unnecessary.” But if they were to concede that there are people who want to kill our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, they would have to allow that there’s a possibility that a military presence in those countries is essential. After all, the whole point of having a military in the first place is to protect us from, and wherever possible kill our enemies.

    This observation (and you should read the entire essay) demonstrates the extreme psychological measures necessary to engage in denial. The Left's intense need not to see what is going on has made them even alter the language used to discuss the war on terror.

    Many others have noticed this. The inability to use the word "terrorist" represents yet another retreat into fuzzy language in order to deny the reality. As Moran suggests, this denial is unconsciously necessary for the continued existence of the Left. If they were to accept the reality by using the words "enemy" or "terrorist", then the enormity of their betrayal of the good; the incalculability of their intellectual bankrupcy; and the vastness of their irrelevancy would swallow them up.

    Their preoccupation with the popularity of the U.S. in the world, like the adolescent mindset it betrays, is really obvious in their desire to make "friends" with our enemies; to appease the terrorists; and to not rock the boat of the international status quo.

    Far from being a popularity contest, this war on terror is an inevitable clash of civilizations, whose result will determine the future of the world for generations. The fact that the Left refuses to acknowledge this fact, will not make it go away.

    Soon they will have to go to even further extremes to keep their cherished ideology from facing reality. Do you think they have exhaused the ridiculously obscene rhetoric? Or the impassioned idiotic metaphors? No. Sadly, their denial will recede further and further from that thing we call reality until they come to dwell fully in the perfect land of their imagination, where President Bush and all he represents is expunged, and where they imagine they are the heroes and saviors of the oppressed.

    In the vernacular, this state is usually referred to as "madness."

    Another Weary War Blogger

    I have to agree with Glenn in his latest column:

    I confess that I don't blame people for being tired of the war. I was tired of the war before we invaded Iraq. (In fact, one of my early posts here at MSNBC -- now lost to this site's former archiving system, alas -- was entitled "Confessions of a Weary War-Blogger"). But people are usually tired of wars long before they're over. The phrase is "war is Hell," not "war is amusing."

    But it's not just a question of tiredness. As Brendan Miniter notes in the Wall Street Journal, the latest calls for "timetables" have more to do with politics than with strategy:

    The last thing we need in Iraq is a timeline for withdrawal. Victory sets its own schedule, and it's not contingent on the U.S. election calendar. Arbitrarily forcing a timetable on the battlefield will only aid the enemy. Yet a growing number of politicians are now calling for just that--or, at least, a better (read more negative) official accounting of what's happening in Iraq. With polls showing less support for the war and pols parroting that public opinion, we're in danger of losing sight of how to defeat the enemy.

    Sen. Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat, joined the parade over the weekend while also bluntly saying he's looking at a presidential bid in 2008--although he was careful to add that he thinks the next presidential election will turn on national security. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., normally a somewhat sensible Tennessee Democrat, has also joined the procession and hopes his call for a timeline will help win him the Senate seat Bill Frist is vacating. And it's not just Democrats.

    Like too many people, these folks see the war as less important than their own immediate political objectives. Better to be President after losing a war than to suffer as a Senator in a nation that's winning, apparently.

    Well, that's politics. We had the same thing from the Copperheads in the Civil War.

    I know that I am certainly weary of the incessant gloom and doom that greets us every day about Iraq. It seems that people in the media cannot get through a single day without quoting someome from somewhere about how hopeless it is; how useless it it; or how evil it is--depending on whether they want to make us think (a) we'll never win against a determined "insurgency"; (b) even if we win, democracy will never catch on in the Middle East; and (c) even if we are winning, we shouldn't win because we're no better--in fact we're worse than the people we're fighting.

    The news cycle seems to rotate among the three spins. The three spins are, in fact, being spun for a very simple reason, and Glenn gets to it at the end:

    You'd think that the strategy of overthrowing dictators and encouraging democracy as a way of defeating terrorism would draw support from the left, since it's consistent with the "root causes" talk we heard right after 9/11. But you'd be wrong, and for one simple reason: Bush is doing it.

    I'm just another weary war blogger. September 11th is what galvanized me. I have not lost sight of the purpose of winning in Afghanistan or Iraq; and I doubt that I will-but I am exhausted by the coverage of the war on terror. I am exhausted at the continued cluelessness of the Left, which is making winning all that much harder (and costing the lives of many people, I might add, as they continually give encouragement and hope to our enemies). But there are two things that console me.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri and Zarqawi every one of them-- would have attacked us on American soil if there was any way they could have. By taking the war to them, we have bought some time here. I think our homeland security has improved significantly (considering that we've had to fight tooth and nail to get anything accomplished in the area), but I am realistic enough to know that not even the highest level of security can stop terrorism and fanaticism. And our enemies have both in ample amounts. But President Bush has changed the dynamics of the fight. We are not on the defensive, passively responding to the enemy; we have taken a proactive stance that offers us the long-term hope that we will prevail.

    Second, I don't believe I have ever felt as proud of my country as I do now, watching the wave of freedom and democracy that is spreading all over the world. Emboldened by Bush's words and actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, people of many countries have hope for the first time that they will live to see freedom established in their own homelands. My heart swells with a never-before sense of wonder at the resiliency of the human spirit as it cries out for liberation from oppression.

    Once more America is a beacon of freedom in the world. The fog-makers and emissaries of the dark in our own country are trying to dim that light; some even are trying to put it out--but they can't, because its bright, clear signal can still pierce their fog and reach the souls in the world who still have the eyes to see it.

    So I will keep on blogging. Despite the Durbins and Boxers and Kennedys. In spite of the NY Times and CNN and CBS. In spite of Kos and Atrios and the DU. In spite of Krugman and Dowd and Moore and Penn etc. etc. and so on.

    Because Bush is doing it.

    Soccer Mom and Daughter

    It has been one of those days. I feel like I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off (this is not another beheading theme, I promise). I have been playing Soccer Mom and driving The Boo all around southeast Michigan for soccer club tryouts. We just found out that she made one of the Michigan Hawks U14 teams. The Hawks (for the Soccer illiterates) are the #1 club in Michigan and #6 in the U.S. She's a goalkeeper. And I'm very very proud of her.

    While watching her play in the various tryouts over the last week, I was thinking back to when I was serendipitously introduced to the sport of soccer. I was in college and this was prior to Title IX, so there were no women's sports at the college level. My sport was actually baseball anyway, and I remember contemplating an athletic career. Unfortunately, at the time there were few team sports that women could compete in. In high school I had trained in track events--I was good at jumping and short distances. Long distances were an ordeal. But I hated track and field events. I wanted to play on a team sport. I also didn't have the necessary determination to practice on my own in the individual track events. I stuck with it for a year, then quit.

    One day I was jogging at a local park and saw some women teams playing soccer. This was unusual to say the least, so I stopped to watch. After a while, this middle-aged man came over and introduced himself to me as the coach of the team in red (the Cardinals). He had played pro soccer for a while and in retirement had set up the team to play in a newly formed league in California. We talked for a while and he suggested that I come out and train with the team. I told him I knew nothing about soccer, but he explained that none of the girls on the team had either 6 months ago. Well, I ended up going to the practice just to see what it was all about and discovered it was exactly what I had been looking for.

    That was the beginning of my soccer career as a "semi-pro" athlete. It turned out I had some modest skill as a keeper, and I began to train four days a week, in the evening for 3 hours. After a month, I played in my first game.

    I was kicked and trampled; muddied and bruised--but god help me, I loved it. I played with the team for two years until I went away to medical school in Los Angeles.

    I wonder if my having been a keeper is what made the Boo interested in that position? Probably. She started playing when she was 6 years old and was intrigued that I knew about being a goalkeeper. She also liked getting to wear a special jersey. As she got a bit older, fewer and fewer girls wanted to play the goalie position. Not many girls her age enjoy being a goalie--it's intermittantly nerve-wracking and then boring; and far too easy to make a mistake and bear the burden of a loss.

    But she's naturally bossy like I am, and telling people what to do seems to come easily to her--one quality of a good goalkeeper, who while a defensive player is also the player who initiates many offensive plays. And, if I'm honest, I will admit that she's a far better player at age 13, then I ever was as an adult. Her agility and speed surpassed my own meager skill a few years past.

    She tells me she wants to be a professional soccer player. Her dedication and determination makes me feel a little awe, and not a little envious.

    You know, I think she could make it.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2005

    The Cotillion Ball: TIME TO DANCE!

    Image hosted by Dr. Sanity is a debutante! (Hey, I've waited 50 + years for this day!) I am now a member of The Cotillion, a group of conservative women bloggers. Every week, they have a Cotillion Ball, which is a round-up of posts from various members.

    Check it out! This week's theme is the importance of manners.



    This represents the deliberate dumbing down of America through the use of political correctness and the amorphous concept of "social justice":(hat tip: Common Sense & Wonder)

    It seems our math educators no longer believe in the beauty and power of the principles of mathematics. They are continually in search of a fix that will make it easy, relevant, fun, and even politically relevant. In the early 1990s, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics issued standards that disparaged basic skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, since all of these could be easily performed on a calculator. The council preferred real life problem solving, using everyday situations. Attempts to solve problems without basic skills caused some critics, especially professional mathematicians, to deride the "new, new math" as "rainforest algebra."

    In a comparison of a 1973 algebra textbook and a 1998 "contemporary mathematics" textbook, Williamson Evers and Paul Clopton found a dramatic change in topics. In the 1973 book, for example, the index for the letter "F" included "factors, factoring, fallacies, finite decimal, finite set, formulas, fractions, and functions." In the 1998 book, the index listed "families (in poverty data), fast food nutrition data, fat in fast food, feasibility study, feeding tours, ferris wheel, fish, fishing, flags, flight, floor plan, flower beds, food, football, Ford Mustang, franchises, and fund-raising carnival."

    Those were the days of innocent dumbing-down. Now mathematics is being nudged into a specifically political direction by educators who call themselves "critical theorists." They advocate using mathematics as a tool to advance social justice. Social justice math relies on political and cultural relevance to guide math instruction. One of its precepts is "ethnomathematics," that is, the belief that different cultures have evolved different ways of using mathematics, and that students will learn best if taught in the ways that relate to their ancestral culture. From this perspective, traditional mathematics -- the mathematics taught in universities around the world -- is the property of Western Civilization and is inexorably linked with the values of the oppressors and conquerors. The culturally attuned teacher will learn about the counting system of the ancient Mayans, ancient Africans, Papua New Guineans, and other "non-mainstream" cultures.

    Partisans of social justice mathematics advocate an explicitly political agenda in the classroom. A new textbook, "Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers," shows how problem solving, ethnomathematics and political action can be merged. Among its topics are: "Sweatshop Accounting," with units on poverty, globalization, and the unequal distribution of wealth. Another topic, drawn directly from ethnomathematics, is "Chicanos Have Math in Their Blood." Others include "The Transnational Capital Auction," "Multicultural Math," and "Home Buying While Brown or Black." Units of study include racial profiling, the war in Iraq, corporate control of the media, and environmental racism. The theory behind the book is that "teaching math in a neutral manner is not possible." Teachers are supposed to vary the teaching of mathematics in relation to their students' race, gender, ethnicity, and community.

    This fusion of political correctness and relevance may be the next big thing to rock mathematics education, appealing as it does to political activists and to ethnic chauvinists.

    It seems terribly old-fashioned to point out that the countries that regularly beat our students in international tests of mathematics do not use the subject to steer students into political action. They teach them instead that mathematics is a universal language that is as relevant and meaningful in Tokyo as it is in Paris, Nairobi and Chicago. The students who learn this universal language well will be the builders and shapers of technology in the 21st century. The students in American classes who fall prey to the political designs of their teachers and professors will not.

    The ideology of Socialism, the scourge of the 20th century, has failed utterly in the real world. This apparently does not stop the remnants of socialist gangs from trying to force-feed the ideology onto young minds in our schools and universities. PC Math is nothing but the tired, old slogans of Socialism tacked onto science.

    You can hear these same politically correct people caterwauling against the creationists and intelligent design people for imposing their religious ideologies on science education. How utter, despicably ironic. They aren't against the imposition of ideology--they just want it to be their ideology.

    If there is any social justice in the world, then the people who encourage and implement such idiocy will be forced to calculate the value of pi to infinity in the last circle of Hell. Now that would be social justice.

    Monday, June 20, 2005

    The Cult of Motherhood

    Considering the recent spate of inappropriate and deplorable comparisons made by both the Right and the Left to Hitler and Nazis, one might be reluctant to ever use the Nazi metaphor in any situation. There is a certain amount of fatigue that sets in with such constant usage, of course, yet sometimes the comparison may be so apt and inescapable that it cries out to be used. A case in point is the promotion of the cult of motherhood by the Nazi fascists and its counterpart promotion in Islamic Jihad--specifically the propaganda of the Palestinian Authority.

    Image hosted by This is the MutterKreuz ("Mother's Cross") that was given to mothers in Germany under Hitler. Here is a description of the award:

    Many social programs were implemented by Hitler to encourage the growth of a strong German Nazi Volk. One such program was to advocate the virtues of motherhood. This program included a gigantic Nazi propaganda campaign to urge women to increase the size of their families. Cash incentives were paid for each child born. On the 16th of December 1938 Hitler instituted a new award to honor German Nazi motherhood, especially the large family. The cross of Honor of the German Mother (Ehrenkreuz der deutschen Mutter) was created in three classes with the criteria as follows:
    Bronze 3rd Class Mother's Nazi Cross - A bronze Christian Cross normally worn about the neck suspended by a 10mm blue ribbon with two white stripes at each edge. A round shield was affixed to the cross, bearing the inscription 'Der Deutschen Mutter' encircling a black enamel Nazi swastika on a white enamel field. Behind the shield and between the arms of the cross was a projection of rays. The arms of the cross were blue enamel with white enamel edges. The reverse was plain save for the date '16 Dezember 1938' followed by a facsimile of Hitler's signature. From 16th December 1938, when the decoration was first instituted, to mid 1939, Nazi mother's crosses bore the inscription 'Das Kind adelt die Mutter' (The child ennobles the mother). Why this change on the reverse of the cross was brought about is not known. The manufactures logo was sometimes found on the back as well. This award was normally presented in a blue envelope bearing the title of the award on the front. The award was also accompanied by a large certificate bearing a facsimile of Hitler's signature.

    Silver 2nd Class Mother's Nazi Cross - similar to the 3rd class Mother's Nazi Cross except that the metal parts were finished in silver. It was presented for bearing 6 to 7 children.

    Gold 1st Class Mother's Nazi Cross - again similar to the 3rd class except all the metal parts were finished in Gold and also it was presented in a hard presentation case that consisted of a hinged and compartmentalized box. The exterior was a very dark blue simulated leather with a facsimile of the award embossed in gold. The interior of the lid was a white satin and the base was an off white velvet. It was presented for bearing eight or more children.

    When the award was first instituted approximately 3 million women qualified for one of these awards. Only families of German origin qualified. Females from Danzig, Austria and the Sudetenland were eligible when these teritories were absorbed into the Greater German Reich. Awards were rendered only on 'Mothering Sunday' (Mothers Day) the second Sunday in May. The first awards were rendered on the 21st May 1939, and the last awards were presented in 1944.

    As you can see, the Nazi's took motherhood very seriously. Now, from MEMRI TV (hat tip: LGF):

    Dr. Attiyya: The Palestinian woman’s womb is a factory for the conflict; it produces fighting children. After this fighting child is produced, he is taught: “This is your land, this is your country, you will fight for it, stand on it, and die for it.” Therefore, a very important connection exists between motherhood, land, and blood.
    The indoctrination of children to seek death for Allah by the Palestinian Authority is a thoroughly revolting and extremely disturbing component of the underlying fascism of the Palestinian Authority.

    Fascists are a brand of totalitarian who believe that the individual exists only for the purposes of furthering the state. That the Palestinians exhort motherhood and the subsequent grooming of children for death is a disgrace and should make any normal parent violently sick.

    But the indoctrination of the children begins with the indoctrination of the mothers and Dr. Attiyya mouths policies for the Islamofascists that eerily echo the Third Reich. The doctor is Syrian, and supposedly an historian. It appears that she would like history to repeat itself.

    Corsi to Run Against Kerry ?

    Dr. Jerome Corsi plans to challenge John Kerry for his US Senate seat in the 2008 election.

    "I’m planning to actually establish residence in Massachusetts. I want to run against John Kerry in 2008 for the Senate. I’ve just formed an exploratory committee...."

    Audio of the interview here.

    Jerome Corsi co-authored the book Unfit for Command with John E. O'Neill which played an important role in the election year attack on the war record of Democratic Presidential hopeful John Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

    Corsi writes a weekly column for WorldNetDaily, and has a Ph.D. from Harvard University in political science (1972).

    (hat tip: American Daughter)

    This should be verrrrrry interesting!

    Saddam, The Junk Food Junkie

    I hear that Saddam Hussein still believes he is the president of Iraq, and that he will return to rule someday. Apparently, he is afraid of germs and washes his hands frequently. He is also addicted to Cheetohs, Doritos and likes Raisin Bran Crunch.

    Fruit Loops are torture, though. We should be hearing from Amnesty International shortly.

    Ledeen on the Iranian Election Comedy

    Michael Ledeen on the Iranian elections:

    One of the reasons I have been so concerned about Iran for such a long time is that I fear the mullahs’ cleverness, ruthlessness, and ability to mount brilliant deceptions. Moreover, while there have long been basic fault lines within the mullahcracy, I have long believed they would find ways to pull together at moments of crisis.

    The electoral fiasco of June 17 has shaken both of these convictions. They couldn’t even stage a phony election without appearing inept and thuggish, which is certainly not the image they wanted to send to the world. And the spectacle of intense internal conflict among leading figures in the Islamic republic makes me wonder if the revolution is beginning to devour its own fathers and sons.

    First, the numbers. The regime had made it clear that the size of the turnout would indicate its legitimacy with the public, so they had to come up with big numbers. After hours of hilarious confusion, during which the "official" numbers oscillated wildly and different vote totals were announced by the interior ministry and the Council of Guardians, the regime finally decided to claim that something like 65 percent of eligible Iranians had voted. But most clear-eyed observers with the freedom to move around the country and actually go to polling places, found very few voters. The Mujahedin Khalq, the longtime allies of Saddam Hussein who have long been a source of information on things Iranian, estimated that the real figure was about 10 percent. If you read The Scotsman, for example, you hear things like this: a polling station affluent suburb of northern Tehran, only 150 voters had arrived by mid-afternoon. "We have been given 1,000 ballot papers, so it seems the turn-out has been a lot lower than expected," said Mohsen Jannati, the school’s headmaster, who supervised the voting.

    Ledeen has made it his business to be knowledgable about Iranian matters and has written a great length about the thugracy in Iran (see here and here, for example). Read, as they say, the whole thing.

    Batman, Star Wars, and The Path to Evil

    I finally got around to seeing the movie Batman Begins yesterday with my husband and daughter. It was an absolutely fantastic movie--far superior to any of the previous Batman movies, and in my opinion, the best movie of the "comic-book" genre. I am not going to review the movie, as there are plenty of opinions out there for you to read if you are so inclined. Just go see it.

    What struck me so forcefully, though, was the similarity of the "defining moments" for both Batman Begins and for Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. In this defining moment, the main characters of each movie are ordered to behead someone. In Star Wars, Anakin is told by Palpatine to take off Dooku's head; and in Batman, Bruce is ordered to execute by beheading a common criminal to demonstrate his committment to the League of Shadows.

    Anakin follows Palpatine's orders, and thus commits himself to the Dark Side. Bruce rebels against his master, and remains on the side of Light.

    The symbolic meaning of the beheading in both cases seems clear to me. Both protagonists are symbolically being asked to cut off their own minds and submit to the will of the "Master"--to essentially behead themselves. By suspending their own independent judgement, reason, and compassion, Anakkin and Bruce would submit themselves to the desires of the higher authority and lose their individuality and free will. Unable to control his anger, Anakin follows Palpatine's order--and Palpatine forever becomes his Master as he completes his journey to Evil. Bruce courageouslly refuses Ra's Al-Ghul and Ducard--and therefore remains on the side of Good.

    In each instance, the "beheading challenge" (reminiscent of Gawain and the Green Knight)is issued and depending on the choice--to submit and obey the Master, or to retain one's individuality--the hero's fate is determined.

    One of my favorite quotes (which can be found in the sidebar, and which is generally attributed to Edmund Burke) is, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

    Abandon thought. Abandon reason. Abandon judgement. And you will inevitably find yourself on the path to Evil.

    Paranoia Without Bounds

    There doesn't seem to be any limit to the self-delusion that is rampant in the Middle East

    "All Evidence Proves that Al-Zarqawi Works for America"

    "All the evidence proves that Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi is working for America, because his victims are Iraqis and not [members of] the coalition forces under the command of the American occupation forces in Iraq. Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi's official title is 'leader of Al-Qa'ida's faction in Iraq.' Osama bin Laden is the commander of the Al-Qa'ida organization, and this proves that [Al-Zarqawi's commander,] bin Laden, has [also] been an American agent ever since he operated against the USSR forces in Afghanistan in favor of the Americans!

    "Let's read the statement issued two days ago on behalf of Al-Zarqawi in Iraq after he killed and wounded dozens of people from among the Interior Ministry and Iraqi army forces, by means of booby-trapped cars in a number of cities in Iraq!

    "Raising a few questions is unavoidable in order to clarify the situation and [to understand] who this Al-Zarqawi with Jordanian nationality is.

    "One of the questions is: which of the two should Al-Zarqawi oppose – the American occupation army and the foreign coalition forces, or the Iraqi military and police forces?! The statement issued by Al-Zarqawi and his organization says that they struck and killed dozens of [members of] the Interior Ministry and Iraqi army forces, whereas there was no mention of Al-Zarqawi targeting the American occupation forces and the coalition forces of the various nationalities. [In fact,] the statement did not even mention the occupation army in Iraq!"

    The Massacre of the Iraqi People is Aimed at Strengthening the U.S. Occupation in a Region Vital to American Interests

    "Another question [to be raised] is whether the world is so naive as to believe the American statements, which claim that Washington has allocated $25 million for Al-Zarqawi's arrest or for information leading to his arrest. [After all,] why arrest Al-Zarqawi and allocate all these millions while he is working for America?

    "In addition, why is Al-Zarqawi massacring innocent Iraqi citizens and [members of] the Iraqi National Guard, the Iraqi army and the Iraqi Interior Ministry? Al-Zarqawi undeniably aims to harm the Iraqi people and members of the Iraqi forces, who undergo training to protect [their] homeland in the future. This massacre of the Iraqi forces and the Iraqi people is meant to strengthen the American occupation of the region [that is known to be] the main route to Central Asia, formerly under USSR control, [and that is] rich in oil wells, and surrounds Iran and the Caspian Sea..."

    Psychologically, it is very difficult to abandon a delusion, particularly when that delusion serves the purpose of accounting for an unacceptable status quo. For too long the so-called leaders in the Middle East have --in a manner similar to Jim Jones--been quenching the thirst of their people with poisoned Kool Aid. They have made it easy to believe that all their problems and troubles are caused by the infidel Americans or Jews. The delusion is crucial to their identity as individuals and as nations--otherwise it would be necessary to look inside their own hearts and souls for the underlying causes of their political, economic and spiritual stagnation.

    This is the nature of projection and paranoia. The unacceptable thoughts or feelings are denied ("not owned") by the person experiencing them, and instead are projected onto another individual or--as in this case--a group (racism, anti-semitism etc. are all projections). Thus, the person who originally had the offensive thought or feeling becomes the helpless victim of the evil "other" and they do not have to cope with the fact that the evil lies within themselves.

    Projection as a psychological defense mechanism can eventually lead to full-blown paranoia, where--even to the most casual of observers--the delusion (or projection) is completely out of touch with reality.

    Many of the Muslims and nations of the Middle East (and elsewhere) have completely lost touch with reality.

    Sunday, June 19, 2005

    Quote of the Day

    America doesn't have a lack of empathy; they just don't know the issues as well. Actually, today I had to defend the Bush Administration in France again. They refuse to accept, because of their political ideology, that he has actually done more than any American President for Africa. But it's empirically so. -Bob Geldof, in Time Magazine

    NOTE: In 1985 Geldof gave birth to Live aid, the groundbreaking rock- concert series that raised $200 million for African famine relief.

    Undermining the Will to Win

    You would think that the Left would be deleriously happy that the Iraqi military is now picking up its share of the fighting in Iraq. This was, after all, one of the key factors touted by Kerry in his failed Presidential bid. We weren't training them fast enough, or well enough or enough of them, etc. etc.

    Well, you would be wrong.

    The Belmont Club looks at the recent claims by Daily Kos and other sites --who in their usual disparaging manner portray American forces in an evil light; and view Iraqi forces trying to rid their country of terrorists as "fresh meat". These Lefty blogs also have made various calculations that suggest (to them, at least) that the "insurgents" are winning the battle.

    Wretchard comments:

    The rate of Jihadi reinforcement into Iraq has been disappointing in comparison to that other benchmark, the Spanish Civil War. There are said to be 2,500 Saudis in Iraq: compare this to 30,000 International Brigaders who fought against Franco. And Saudi Arabia is next door. Things look bad for the insurgents across the board, because the Iraqi government can generate ten times a many soldiers in a few months. But the real uncertainty is American will. There's already a Congressional resolution calling for a timed withdrawal. The Press is referring to Guantanamo as Auswitchcz as if that were established fact. Little by little, note by note, the Mighty Wurlitzer is cranking out the Party Line.

    What strikes me most is the way the Left is persistant in its attempts to capitalize on anything to justify their claim that the war is going badly for the U.S. Neo-neocon, for example discusses this issue in the continued use of words like "rebel" and "insurgent" to describe the" freedom-fighting "terrorists. She also comments on the use of the "rising toll" and "escalating violence" --which, notably, have been used to describe the situation for several years now, so if they are to be believed, we are now at incredibly high levels of death and violence. This is completely misleading (the rates have not increased substantially-but even if they had, the context of these increases is never mentioned), but you wouldn't know it if the only news you received about the war was from the mainstream media.

    I am not claiming that there aren't challenges--especially in the asymetrical type of war we are fighting--but the truth is that there is no way we can lose this war on the actual battlefield.

    This has been said over an over again by those who know and understand military operations. The question is do we have the will to win it? And that question brings me to what the Left does best. Chipping away at America's will to win.

    It has been easy to do this. We have just had a week of unmitigated, calculated, and irresponsible belittlement of America's motives, behavior, and morality. Our military has been compared to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. Our "loyal" opposition wants to get even for the Clinton years and stages a mock impeachment of the President during a war. Some members of Congress are calling for a resolution that would ask the President to come up with a specific timetable for withdrawal from Iraq--without a thought to the impact such a timetable would have improving the morale of the "insurgents" they seem to dearly love; while once again making soldiers in the field believe that there is little or no support for their valiant efforts.

    I've just about had it with this kind of adolescent, irresponsible, and frankly psychotic behavior on the part of the Democratic party. They have lost all perspective and don't seem to care that they bear considerable responsibility for ripping the fabric of this society by their incessant, whining and power-hungry grabs for power.

    No, it is clearly not enough that the number of American troops have decreased and will continue to decrease. It isn't enough that the Iraqis have now reached a point where they can fight for their own freedom with help from our soldiers. It isn't enough that the Iraqi people overwhelmingly came out to vote for freedom and have a say in the democratic process. It isn't enough that in the overwhelming majority of the country the news is good. It isn't enough that American casualties would have to go on for several decades at the rate it is now to even approach the loss of life that occurred in Vietnam.

    None of this matters, because nothing the U.S. does is considered good. "Abu Ghraib!" "Guantanamo!" they yell like children who can't distinguish a mountain from a molehill because they themselves are so small and insignificant.

    Take a look now at the sarcasm and disdain displayed by this editorial cartoon from Emad Hajjaj, at Al-Ghad Newspaper in Amman, Jordan.

    Image hosted by

    You can see how closely the ranks of the Left parallel the ranks of who seek to portray America and the US Military as evil cowards, hiding behind the Iraqi people and Iraqi forces (gleefully so, according to the cartoon). Completely ignoring who it is that is responsible for targeting Iraqi civilians and fellow Muslims.

    Anyone who remains in the Democratic Party today must face the reality that the party has aligned itself firmly with those who would love to destroy the U.S.; and each person must take responsibility for that.

    It is not too late for someone--practically anyone--in the ranks of the Democrats to step forward and offer some constructive criticism of the War on Terror (all rational people would welcome that as a change of pace, if for no other reason).

    But, until someone does, the frantic and hysterical undermining of our military and the will of the American people makes the Democrats stand squarely in the camps of the enemy.

    UPDATE: Mark Steyn has some words to say about Senator Durbin's slandering of his own country. (hat tip: LGF)

    Throughout the last campaign season, senior Democrats had a standard line in their speeches, usually delivered with righteous anger, about how "nobody has a right to question my patriotism!" Given that nobody was questioning their patriotism, it seemed an odd thing to harp on about. But, aware of their touchiness on the subject, I hasten to add that in what follows I am not questioning Dick Durbin's patriotism, at least not for the first couple of paragraphs. Instead, I'll begin by questioning his sanity.

    Last Tuesday, Senator Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, quoted a report of U.S. "atrocities" at Guantanamo and then added:

    "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."

    Er, well, your average low-wattage senator might. But I wouldn't. The "atrocities" he enumerated -- "Not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room" -- are not characteristic of the Nazis, the Soviets or Pol Pot, and, at the end, the body count in Gitmo was a lot lower. That's to say, it was zero, which would have been counted a poor day's work in Auschwitz or Siberia or the killing fields of Cambodia.

    Check it out.