Friday, September 30, 2005

A Funny Thing

In light of this news article and this one, shouldn't we begin to conclude that the real Islam can be discerned by listening to what its leaders are saying?

Jihad Watch comments:

Two New York mosque leaders charged with conspiring to support terrorists. Amazing how they could have risen to the leadership of a Muslim religious center while so thoroughly misunderstanding Islam. Funny thing: the same thing happened in Lodi, California. And all over the world, as we document here every day, we see Islamic clerics -- people who have dedicated their lives to studying and living out the religion -- at the forefront of terrorist movements. And yet so many people refuse to see what is right in front of their faces: maybe they aren't misunderstanding Islam at all.

It is indeed a "funny thing" that we are supposed to believe that all these clerics, the shepherds of their people, are ignorant of the true nature of Islam.

As for the muslim chaplain who prefers to believe in a conspiracy theory that the US or the Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks (in spite of his fellow Muslims taking credit for the attacks)--well that simply demonstrates that Islamic leaders want to have their cake and eat it too.

On the one hand Islamic clerics openly promote violent jihad against infidels as part and parcel of their religion; on the other they pretend to be the victims of a vast worldwide conspiracy to make Muslims look bad and insist that "Islam is a religion of peace".

These facts demonstrate that Islam is:

(a) Schizophrenic
(b) Paranoid
(c) a religion that promotes pathological lying
(d) All of the above

What if Saddam Were Still in Power?

VDH lays out the scenario:

On the domestic scene both conservative and liberal spokesmen voiced disappointment with President Bush’s apparent vacillation and willingness to let Saddam violate the sanctions and U.N. inspections. A group of three Democratic senators — Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry — reminded the president that the Senate had voted overwhelmingly over three years ago to authorize the military removal of Saddam Hussein, and suggested that the old “Jim Baker/Frank Carlucci realpolitik” was at work again, or as Sen. Clinton put it, “Just pump that oil and it’s O.K. with us that he does pretty much what he wants to his people.”

Sen. Clinton went on to hammer the president, “We need leadership, not more of the same old, same old that we see with North Korea and Iran. Could I remind the president that three years ago we cited 23 reasons to remove Saddam Hussein and approved them all by a 77 vote, and that the House got nearly 300 votes in their similar resolution? And all this follows the 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act passed by the Senate and signed by my husband.”

Sen. John Kerry recalled for President Bush that over three years ago he had been on record to remove Saddam, and recited his earlier statement in the Senate issued in 2002: "I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."

That's just a snippet. Go read it all.

Oddly Enough

Dafydd ab Hugh has an excellent post debunking the myth that military recruitment is in dire straits.
If the factor dragging down recruiting were the toll of the war in Iraq, why would those soldiers most affected by that war -- the ones who actually fought in it -- be re-enlisting in such huge numbers, easily exceeding retention goals?

But wait. So far, we've only talked about the Army. Before we fly with those scarelines in the Associated Press release, what about the other services? What about the Marines, the Navy, and the Air Force? The Marines, at least, have seen even heavier ground-war fighting during this last year than has the Army. If the war is turning people off of the military, then surely the Marines would suffer at least as badly as the Army, or even more so.

Oddly enough, the Department of Defense actually keeps a record of these sorts of figures. In fact, they make that record publicly available. Now, they haven't released the final figures of FY2005 (which would include the month of September), but they have released the year-to-date figures for October 2004 through August 2005, eleven months out of the twelve. You can find them here.

Go take a look at how "dismal" these figures are and you will find that almost exactly the reverse of what is asserted in the AP MSM story is true. Read the entire article linked to above and see what the real facts of the situation are.

How do they get away with this time after time? When will the gullible American public begin to understand that our news media has betrayed our country and is actively putting out propaganda [PROPAGANDA - n. The spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person; ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect] and not news.

Can you guess what cause they are furthering and whose cause they are deliberately and willfully damaging?


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


First Place
Witches’ Brew at the UN Gates of Vienna

Second Place
Being Normal New World Man


First Place
You Say You Want a Revolution? Villainous Company

Second Place
Recent Operations in Iraq: Decisive, Effective, and Unheralded The Word Unheard

You know, I really love being on the Council --it's a great opportunity to read some fabulous blogs.Be sure to check out all the winners at the Watcher's site!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Democrat Entitlement

Nowhere is the Democrat's sense of entitlement more obvious than in the delusion, adopted because they are the minority party, that President Bush should appoint someone to the Supreme Court to keep it "ideologically balanced".

They seem to believe that since Sandra Day O'Connor has been a swing voter on the court, that it is their right to demand someone similar from the President's next appointment.

When did the Supreme Court of the United States become yet another entitlement program for the Democrats?

Where is it written that the Supreme Court must be "ideologically balanced"? Who has ever claimed that the minority party has any rights (except the usual "advise and consent role")to determine who is selected by the elected President of the US?

And, since it is clear that no matter who the President nominates; no matter how qualified the individual may be; whether a minority or not--the Democrats (with some major assistance from their loudmouthed lunatic fringe) will fanatically oppose that person and will subject the American public to the usual hysteria claiming that, if approved, the nominee will cause the end of civilization as we know it.

As I watch the swearing in of Chief Justice Roberts, I hope for the sake of my country that President Bush will offer up another person of both capability and character to the highest court of the land. For me, those are the qualifications that the American public are entitled to, whether they call themselves Republicans or Democrats. No more and certainly no less.

Sipping Coffee on the Euphrates

A virtual chat between two Iraqi brothers, by Dr. Walid Phares. I'm sure it will not be linked to or discussed by any of the leftist sites in the Blogsphere.

That would be too anxiety-provoking for them.

As would this latest post by Michael Yon, which happens to show American soldiers doing some real good in the world.

It's just not part of the Leftist worldview, so it's better they ignore it. We wouldn't want them to suffer the agony of cognitive dissonance, would we?


Dymphna discusses the "gilded cage" over at the Gates of Vienna.

It is too true that many Islamic women happily defend their suppression. Like Dymphna, I have witnessed the same phenomenon in battered women who defend the men who abuse them. I talk about this in a previous post about International Women's Day in Iran.

The only response to women who enable their own oppression is that, how they live and under what conditions, is clearly their own choice. But as long as there are other women in their society who do not choose to live that way; who are forced to wear certain clothing; prevented from driving or acting independently and freely of their own choosing---then the protestations of happiness and contentment have no validity whatsoever and cannot possibly be binding on anyone else.

They are only exhibiting the same symptoms of "identification with the oppressor", denial, and reaction formation that almost all battered women display --even toward those who would help them.

When women (and men for that matter) are free to choose or not to choose Islam; free to discard the restrictive clothing; free to move about independently and without fear of reprisals for their choice; free to achieve their own individual dreams and aspirations--then it will not be any of my concern that some women appear to enjoy subjugation and humiliation.

But, sorry. You will never convince me that this is what all women in Saudi Arabia; or under the Taliban; or even in an Islamic gilded cage-- truly desire.

Even if there is only one single woman anywhere under Islam's tyranny who desires to be free to live her life as she chooses, then I am completely, totally, and irrevocably on her side.

Pacifists and the Triumph of Evil

Neo-neocon has started a fascinating series of posts on pacifism. In this first one, she discusses Gandhi's response to the holocaust:

When I read this passage of Gandhi's, I experience a profound weariness. I have long felt that religions focusing on the transient nature of life on earth and emphasizing instead the glory of the world to come, although giving much comfort and joy to their adherents, run the risk of exhibiting just this sort of thing: a callous disregard of suffering in the here and now (not that they inevitably fall into that trap, of course).

Here Gandhi, with what I believe were the best intentions, does just that. He is casually suggesting the Jews use his method of satyagraha (which he developed and honed against the far milder British) against the Nazis, an example of an attitude that can at best be called naive, and at worst, fatally flawed.

I, too, feel a profound weariness at the rationalizations of Gandhi--and all others whose rigidity on this subject make them aid and abet tyranny and human misery. They think they hold to their principle of pacifism because they are compassionate and caring human beings. But the results of pacifism say something different.

Ralph Peters, in commenting about our recent crop of pseudopacifists (I say "pseudo" because I don't believe for a moment that they are against war--only against the U.S. waging war to defend its interests) has this to say:

A popular theme last weekend was, "War, what is it good for?" Well, the answer is that war's good for plenty of things. It freed and forged our nation. War liberated millions of black Americans from bondage. War stopped Hitler, if too late for many millions of his victims (peace at any price tends to have a very high price, indeed).

And our troops liberated 50 million human beings in Afghanistan and Iraq — who are far more grateful than the protesters or our media will accept.

In this infernally troubled world, war is sometimes the only effective response to greater evils. And there is evil on this earth. It would also be easier to sympathize with the anti-war protesters if they occasionally criticized the terrorists who bomb the innocent.

But the protesters don't really care about Iraqi suffering, or terror, or the Taliban's legacy. They're a forlorn mix of Bush-haters who reject election results that they don't like and drifting souls yearning for a cause to lend their failed lives meaning.

As for the pathetic Ms. Sheehan, since she insists on speaking in the name of our troops, let me suggest that she does not even speak for her own son, a man who joined our military of his own volition and who died for a cause far greater than any represented on the National Mall last weekend.

I must return to the quote I keep on my sidebar that is attributed to Edmund Burke: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Gandhi was a good man, but when it came to the holocaust, he proposed that nothing should have been done. If we had followed his lead, how many millions more people would have died? How many today would live under the boot of the Nazi philosophy?

War is a terrible choice. No reasonable person could believe that it is benign or intrinsically "good" to wage war. Yet, it is sometimes a choice that reasonable people need to make simply because there is evil in the world and it cannot go unchecked--not if you truly care about other human beings.

Pacifists cannot deal with this simple truth, or having accepted it, believe that the triumph of evil is unimportant compared to keeping faith with their own peculiar fantasy of the world.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Today is my birthday, and I will be taking the rest of the day off to have some fun!It's all about MEEEEEEEE!

I'll be back tomorrow!

Feel free to scroll down; and/or read some of the articles ;or click links on the sidebar.

Also feel free also to leave a tip! (It is my birthday, after all!)


Dennis Prager discusses the Left and Hysteria:

If you want to understand the Left, the best place to start is with an understanding of hysteria. Leading leftists either use hysteria as a political tactic or are actually hysterics.

Take almost any subject the Left discusses and you will find hysteria.
He goes on to use the Patriot Act; the War in Iraq; Risks to Health; the Environment; Animal Rights; Racism; and Christianity as examples of his point. Read it all!

He forgot to add: anything done or not done by President Bush; Social Security Reform; Abortion; Women's Issues; the Supreme Court; Gay Rights; Katrina; and Rita.

In fact, I can't think of a single important issue today that you can enter into a reasonable discussion about with most Democrats or Leftists. Try it sometime. You will soon find the conversation degenerating into emotional rage with "BUSH DIDN'T WIN THE ELECTION!", "BUSHITLER LIED!" "REPUBLICANS ARE EVIL!", "CHRISTIANS WANT TO TAKE OVER THE GOVERNMENT!", " QUAGMIRE!" "BUSH HATES BLACKS", etc., etc. , etc.

I agree with Prager that the Right is not always free from hysteria when discussing their pet issues; but they are consistently and loudly drowned out by their emotional counterparts on the Left.

I wrote about this in a post titled, "A Classic Case of Hysteria" .

Barbara, I submit to you, is a perfect metaphor for the Democratic Party of the 21st Century. Like Barbara, they have had a rude psychological shock, stumbled, and become blind to the serious events happening in the world around them. They feel they have been deceived and lied to --betrayed even--and have chosen to direct their rage against President Bush, the symbol of all the evil in the world. By doing so, they don't have to focus on the real evil --the horrific attacks of 9/11. They appear to be sublimely indifferent to the reality around them and choose to focus on events and incidents that are trivial in comparison. Like Barbara, their world is falling apart, but all they can do is close their eyes to it and focus ("displace") their anger onto a convenient target whose election was a blow to their narcissism.
The use of overblown emotionalism and hyperbole about every issue of national importance is hardly the hallmark of a party that claims to be "intellectually superior" or "reality based".

On the contrary, Prager notes--- and I agree completely-- it's hysterical.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Fake But Accurate Strikes Again !

I hope most people are able to appreciate the pathetic irony of this man's perspective,; especially as we are confronted by this revelation.

Does anyone remember "fake but accurate"?

If Katrina was journalism's finest hour, then the situation in the MSM is far worse than even I could have possibly imagined.

"It's All About ME!"

The protesters highlighted in the news recently, along with all the photos of their slogans and antics could very well be described by the motto, "It's All About Me!"

Here is a great op-ed piece by Ralph Peters that examnes the sad little lives of the professional left: (hat tip: The Anchoress)
Set aside the get-Bush-at-any-cost political hustlers, the earnest college students not yet seasoned by reality, the Jew-baiting free-Palestine detachments and the very few who have thought seriously about the war and found it lacking.

You're left with the legions of Cindy Sheehan wannabes — meandering souls who, were they only capable of honesty, would be wearing t-shirts that read, "It's not about the war, it's about me!"

Were we able to psychologically profile the demonstrators, we'd find that most of them have a great deal in common: Disappointing lives, failed relationships and the desperate need for a cause of any kind. If we weren't at war, they'd be marching to save pinworms from drug-company aggression.

Of course, opposing a war involving American troops is the best cause of all. Our country has disappointed the protesters intimately — failing to hand them, free and clear, the lives to which they feel themselves entitled. So forget that our troops are re-enlisting at record rates and willingly risking their lives in a war they believe in. The self-satisfying cry of the demonstrators is "Bring Our Troops Home Now!"

It would be far easier to be sympathetic if a single spokesperson for the media-amplified anti-war movement laid out a convincing model of what would happen in Iraq or Afghanistan if our troops just came home.

It all reminds me of the patient I was seeing on September 11th, 2001; who, when I asked her how she felt about the attack on the WTC, said: "What do I care about a bunch of people in New York? What about ME??? Look at you! You don't care what's going on with me now. All you care about is that some plane flew into a building."

Normally, I don't feel like strangling my patients. Even though she was absolutely correct in what she said (I wasn't thinking about her particular problems at that moment in history), I still wanted to strangle her.

One of the frequent lefty commenters on this site has said repeatedly in his angry comments about Bush and the Iraq War that he "doesn't give a sh** about Iraqis."

Just like my patient didn't give a damn about those people in the WTC in New York.

Why should they? In their sad little minds, the world should be all about them. All eyes and attention should be on them all the time. Of course it isn't, but that fact only further stimulates the rage and acting out behavior.

Peters describes their acting out behavior as "Protest Therapy", but participating in these protest circuses is far from "therapeutic". Unfortunately, the attention the participants receive--from the media and from other unhappy little souls of the left--only reinforces their underlying narcissism and encourages exhibitionistic and childish behavior that contributes little or nothing of substance to their own or to other people's lives.

The goal of any effective therapy would be exactly the opposite.


Victor Davis Hanson takes on a university system, "obsessed with a racial, ideological, and sexual spoils system called 'diversity'"--and finds it in serious trouble: (hat tip: Larwyn)

More importantly, we have lost sight of what university presidents are supposed to be. Their first allegiance ought to be to honesty and truth, not campus orthodoxy masquerading as intellectual bravery amid a supposedly reactionary society. In a world of intellectual integrity, Robert Birgeneau would ask, "Why are Asians excelling, and what can Berkeley do to encourage emulation of their success by other ethnic groups?" Denice Denton might wonder whether open hiring, monitored by affirmative action officers, applies to university staff or only those who are not associates of the president. President Hoffman would decry Ward Churchill's crass behavior and order a complete review of affirmative action and the politicized nature of hiring, retention, and tenure practices at Colorado. And Larry Summers? In the old world of the campus, he would defend free inquiry and expression, and remind faculty that all questions are up for discussion at Harvard. And if self-appointed censors wished to fire him for that, then he would dare them to go ahead and try.

The signs of erosion on our campuses are undeniable, whether we examine declining test scores, spiraling costs, or college graduates' ignorance of basic facts and ideas.

I posted on this same issue just yesterday. It is a subject near and dear to my own heart, snce I have been associated with academia most of my professional career. I have written on this topic in the following posts:

All The Professors Are Above Average

Life in Academia: Who Are We To Judge Saddam Hussein

The Bizarro World of Academia

Academic "Professionals"?

ShrinkWrapped has an excellent series titled PC and Defects in Reality Testing that is well worth your time.

What else can be said? I see evidence of the illness of our academic institutions on a daily basis. It is very troubling to me, particularly since we as a society put such stock in education and the minds of our young. There is no doubt that this obsession with "diversity" and "multiculturalism", which began in earnest about 15 years ago, is destroying the committment to and pursuit of Truth, Knowledge and Scholarship that ought to be the primary focus of the University.

Like VDH, I find the behavior of the leaders of our academic institutions increasingly perverse and textbook examples of intellection cowardice and dishonesty.

Our nation cannot afford to lose the minds of the future to academentia.

Back Later

I'm going to be very busy at work most of today, so let me just recommend some reading to keep you occupied until I have a few free moments to post.

Christopher Hitchens is on a roll in his analysis of the protests of the "antiwar" movement. "Antiwar, My Foot" is a great read from a [somewhat] reformed Leftist.

Iowahawk has a hilarious piece up "This War Sucks" with guest commentary by Abu Musab al Zarqawi.

Special Forces Kill Number Two Terrorist in Iraq (no wonder Zarqawi is feeling peckish.)

Also check out some of the links on my sidebars.

Back later.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Media Narcissists and their Adoring Public

The Anchoress perfectly describes what has come to be known as "Acquired Narcissism" -

I can’t think of anything that seems to destroy people’s mental health faster than a few weeks or months of uncritical, gushing media hype. Think about the people you see in the news, day after day, gathering unconditional praise and coverage from the press. They lose themselves, lose their minds, and they are rarely ever the same after the adulation stops. In fact, I can only think of one person who got caught up in the destructive swirl of relentless positive press reportage and managed to find his way back to sanity, and that would be Sen. Joe Lieberman, and perhaps - I am only saying PERHAPS - his faith has something to do with his re-bound.

The rest of them, once courted, feted, promoted, celebrated, hyped and carried by the press have a very difficult time of it.

Some of them, of course, get their narcissism the old-fashioned way and don't need the media to fan the flames of self-promotion and grandiosity; and some already are fairly narcissistic when they come to the media's attention. Particularly in the latter case, it doesn't make their view of themselves or the world any more realistic.

Too many people get sucked up into the grandiosity of the media-hyped narcissist. People who become obsessed with media figures; and who over-idealize and worship them (if they are not impressionable adolescents where such behavior is normal) frequently also have serious problems with their sense of self.

These obsessed fans and lovers are desperate to find someone to idealize. This is perfect for the media narcissist, who desperately wants someone to worship them. Both end up seriously disappointed --the fan,when confronted with the ordinary humaness of their object; and the narcissist who has to deal with the fickleness of the fan, who can never respond to them as they would a real, live human being.

In our society, the media narcissists never seem lack an adoring public -- no matter how rude, crude, bizarre, or pathetic their behavior.

They truly deserve each other. But unhappily, the relationship doesn't last.

UPDATE: I guess she wasn't getting enough attention compared to Rita. That's why she's smiling in the pictures.

Reclaiming the Liberal Tradition in Academia

James Pierson in the Weekly Standard discusses the transformation of the Liberal University to the Left University:

In many important ways, the left university reversed or modified the assumptions and practices of the liberal university. The architects of the liberal university were optimistic about the prospects for the nation, and looked ahead to the progressive advancement of democracy and liberty, but the leaders of the left university are dour and pessimistic and view our history as a tale of oppression. The liberal academics believed in progress through the application of reason and knowledge, but the academic left asserted that reason and knowledge were masks for corporate or conservative interests. Yet, while the old liberals carved out a role in politics for experts and expert knowledge, the left disdained expertise and embraced the doctrine of diversity, which is based on the naked assertion of group interests. The liberals believed in academic freedom for all, but the academic leftists support academic freedom only for themselves, not for conservative or moderate faculty, not for speakers who disagree with them, and not for students who wish to learn from a nonideological standpoint. The liberals of a century ago took over the university with an intellectual vision grounded in 19th-century philosophy, while the radicals of our time seized control through politics and political pressure by organizing demonstrations and protests and by shrewdly leveraging assistance from governmental regulatory bodies.

This is one of the best articles I have read that evaluates the factors in the last 60 years or so that have transformed the intellectual pursuits of academic centers in this country into centers of politically correctness and oppression of free thought.

As Pierson correctly notes, events have transpired in the world of reality that these so-called "intellectuals" have not been able to accept or even understand. In their minds, the collapse of the Soviet Union and communism was an unforseen disaster that they still ae unable to comprehend or accept. The failure of socialism and the welfare state and the continued erosion of life in those nations that embrace it; as well as the rise and resiliance of the U.S. and the market economy to world-wide dominance was not predicted by their ideologies (remember "we will bury you"?). That the policies of George W. Bush should unleash a storm of freedom and democracy across the world is the final insult to their intellectual aspirations, and has unleashed their rage as well as their intense anxiety and fear.

On some level they suspect that the jig is up, since all these major events in the last decade are really pretty clear signals that the Leftist takeover of the university will be coming to an end. The shrill and frequently irrational responses to the events in the world today only highlight the fact that they are uable to maintain their carefully crafted illusion of intellectual superiority. At the same time, their so-called dedication to free thought has been fully exposed as a mask under which they freely censor all thought that contradicts their perspective. This they call "political correctness" and "multiculturalism"; and it has become a horrible sickness at the core of the academy.

This is not to say that there is, or should be, a movement to create a "university of the Right" -- that is not the goal of expunging the Left's pervasive and destructive influence; nor would it be a good thing. The cure for the sickness brought into academia by the Left is simply a return to the ideals of pursuing truth and knowledge--which is not held captive by either the "Left" or "Right" -- and a committment to the only kind of diversity that matters--the diversity of ideas and thought.

Read the entire article, and see if you don't think that reclaiming the real liberal intellectual tradition of higher education should be a high priority in a free society. Without treasuring and preserving that tradition, the university becomes not a beacon of free inquiry, but only a safe haven for mediocrity.

Just Another Utopian Nightmare

The Baron at The Gates of Vienna made an expedition into deep space yesterday. Rarely will you find a group whose goals are stated more clearly: The Coalition Against Civilization.

Most organizations with this same agenda are in complete denial about their primitivism and hatred for humanity--often covering it up with religious terms (e.g. "jihad against the infidels") and going on about the paradise they will create on earth, as well as the one in the next life, available after leaving the travails of the real world. But these new utopians are nothing more than the reincarnation of the all the old utopians with the new twist of honesty about their long-term goals. Oh yes, there is one little catch, in their ideal system:

So what do they want? Obviously, the elimination of technological society, the end of all political structures, and a return to a primitive agriculturally-based society. That’s quite an ambitious project.

All power will be ablolished. Women will be freed from their "gender constraints". All minds presumably will be freed from the constraints of....reality. Wilderness will now be the opiate of the masses.

How many people could the earth support under such a neo-Neolithic model? Ten million? A hundred million? Let’s be generous and say a billion. That means that four-fifths of the world’s population would have to disappear.
We know the drill; we’ve seen it so many times before. The Enemies of the People will be marched out of the cities and herded into camps to work for the common good. Those who can’t handle it, who can’t reconcile themselves to the new order will… Well, the y’ll just have to be sacrificed.

They’ll go in single file across the organic soybean fields to the mass graves that have been so thoughtfully prepared for them.

And you can bet that the bulldozer and the pistol will be the last technological artifacts to be given up after the Green Millenium arrives.

The members of this group have managed to create in the splinter of their mind's eye, just another glorious utopian nightmare. After they abolish all power, the only people with power will be themselves.

Funny how it always works like that.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Very Revealing

This is a new low, even for Bush haters. It represents a depth of character pathology that is quite shocking. I will go so far as to say that it is equivalent to the Islamofascist internet sites proudly showing off their beheading videos.

Please watch the video that Michelle links to. I have written about this before here.

This sadistic and insensitive display that I'm sure many consider "witty" demonstrate a hardcore lack of compassion and humanity; a vast emptiness in the souls of those on the Left.

Just make an attempt to be "witty" in this way toward any of them and the moral outrage will be remorseless.

Sorry, this is not funny; and furthermore it reveals far more about their own psychopathology than they probably ever intended.

Good Question

Investor's Business Daily thinks we aren't getting all the information we need about the antiwar protestors and who is behind them:

The media have pushed the idea that the demonstration this weekend at the White House was an "anti-war" gathering. What they didn't say was who was behind it.

No doubt, many fine, sincere people demonstrated this weekend against the U.S. liberation of Iraq. Being Americans, they're certainly entitled to do so.

Maybe they even endorsed the view of those who organized the demonstrations. On Thursday, the organizers ran a two-page ad. On one, they called the Bush administration liars. On the other, they ran the names of all those who have died in Iraq.

But we'd be surprised if those well-meaning folks understood whose banner they were marching under, because the media aren't reporting it. For the record, the lead organizer is ANSWER, which the media routinely refer to as an "antiwar group."

It is nothing of the sort.

In fact, ANSWER is a front group for the Stalinist Workers World Party. And any group that qualifies for that epithet in front of its name deserves special scrutiny, since Josef Stalin was responsible for the murder of as many as 25 million human beings.

Well, you might ask, does it really matter? It sure does.

Imagine for a moment it was a different group that sponsored the demonstration — say, a neo-Nazi group. Think The Washington Post and other media would report that? You bet they would.

After all, Adolf Hitler and his thugs were some of the worst mass murderers of all time. We would expect — no, demand — media to report that a demonstration attended by hundreds of middle class moms, concerned fathers and pacifist students was in fact organized by Brownshirts.

So why do communists — particularly those who march under Stalin's flag — get different treatment? And why do thousands of average people feel comfortable marching arm in arm with them?

That is a very good question.

Let's be honest. These people are not "antiwar". They do not stage protests about the killing of innocent people from Al Qaeda jihad. They do not demonstrate against the 100 million or more people murdered by communism in the last century. They do not express their rage at the mass graves of Saddam.

They are anti-American. They are only protesting because America chooses to defend itself against Islamofascist thugs who want to create a new Islamic caliphate by waging....war.

Let's face the truth. If there are "innocent" and "fine, sincere people" who are participating in these demonstrations, then they have to be the most clueless, vapid, and seriously intellectually challenged individuals in history. They joyfully support the ideologies that stand behind these demonstrations; and that makes them complicit to the most savage and vile behavior that has ever been perpetrated on the human species. It is their "peacefulness" that has led to the slaughter of millions of their fellow human beings. It is their cluelessness that has enabled and supported dictators and oppression throughout history.

They will make wonderful dhimmis in the caliphate; and energetically mindless drones in the worker's paradise. And when they are told to kill for the sake of their ideologies; for the sake of the "common good"--they will do it gladly, secure in the knowledge that they are morally superior and therefore have the moral high ground to justify their behavior.

There is no need for me to wish them to hell. Their minds have already embraced that destination.

NOTE: At least there weren't that many of the clueless -- take a look at these photos of the "multitudes" on the National Mall from LGF.


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. Only one post entry per blogger, please. Thanks for all the submissions. SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!

1. Who knew she had another son? The angels of indignation are on her side.

2. What do you think is more insane? This guy or the national media coverage he has received for his "theories".

3. Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink....

4. No question. The Democratic Party is doomed. Doomed. Doomed. You would have to be stark, raving mad to vote for people like this. But then again....

5. Fulla...something.

6. Finally Homeland Security does something right!

7. I don't make these things up. Really.

8. CorporateAcademic greed?

9. Makes you wonder if you're getting the whole story about what's going on over there when things like this happen.

10. World's highest child mortality rates; 70% of women illiterate...but why bother to change priorities? This is more important. Or this.

11. John Kerry at his worse (if that's possible). Maybe not.

12. Maybe they can be charged with abandoning reason?

13. Ah yes. The legendary Cuban medical system.

14. The Top 9 Obviously Fake Katrina Quotes.

15. Mars Wants Women, too! They're on the same wavelength.

16. Gay cowboys eating pudding. The Duke is turning over in his grave maybe.

17. Yes, indeed, they have gone stark, raving mad. (hat tip: The Anchoress)

Saturday, September 24, 2005


David Adesnik at Oxblog has taken the courageous step of reading the A.N.S.W.E.R. brochure so that you don't have to. You know, A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now To Stop War and End Racism) the coalition of groups doing all the antiwar protesting?

Well, here is their manifesto (with comments by Adesnik in parentheses):

The global anti-war movement must be a movement of international solidarity against the U.S. empire. (Page 2)

The Iraqi people have a fundamental right to determine their own destiny...Since 1958 when a mass uprising overthrew the British-imposed king, Iraq has been a genuinely sovereign country. (Page 2) [I wonder of the sovereign Iraqi government committed any human rights violations after 1958. Unfortunately, the brochure doesn't say!]

The US kidnapping of President Aristide follows more than a century of U.S. intervention in Haiti...Since the election of Aristide to a second term in late 2000, with 92% of the vote, Washington has maintained economic sanctions against the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. (Page 3)[Wow, 92%. I bet ANSWER provided all of the elections monitors!]

From its inception in 1948, Israel has been a colonial state based on "ethnic cleansing"...[Israel] launched devastating wars against Egypt, Syria and Jordan. (Page 4)[That surprise attack on Yom Kippur in 1973 really took a lot of chutzpah!]

[The Cuban] revolution remains strong and is a source of inspiration for people throughout the hemisphere. (Page 6)

Korea has been punished ever since [1953] with economic sanctions and the occupation of the southern half of the country by 37,000 US soldiers. (Page 6) [Fortunately, the anti-US insurgency in South Korea hasn't inflicted too many casualties on our force.]

The [Bush] administration has launched a domestic war at home against the people of the United States that complements its global war for empire. (Page 7)[A war at home? Send the troops abroad now!]

You know, most of my patients with paranoid schizophrenia have a far superior grasp of reality than these folks.

The Stuff of Delusion

Baldilocks thinks that it is doubtful there is a coverup going on regarding Able Danger. She makes some good points.

Her conclusions differ from the Strata-Sphere and other bloggers (including Dr. Sanity) speculating about this issue.

These differences in perspective and opinion are completely normal when dealing with a situation in which all the facts are not known.

When all the facts are not known, the mind naturally will "fill in the gaps" and try to create a coherent picture -- perhaps even when there is no coherence. This process is similar to what happens to paranoid psychotic people. They experience something for which they have no explanation--say, a strange tingling in their head that occurred when an airplane flew over.

What could be the cause of this? Was it connected to the airplane? Maybe the CIA was on the airplane and has a new device they were testing out? Maybe they tested it out on me? Maybe they are controlling my thoughts.... and so on to more and more delusional thinking.

Each step of process seems logical and coherent to the paranoid. And from an internal perspective, it is logical. It is just that he/she started out with an incomplete data set; a incorrects perception or both.

Sherlock Holmes stated in A Study in Scarlet: "It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment."

And that's the problem with Able Danger. We have an incomplete data set. We don't know all the facts; and what "facts" we seem to have conflict with one another. Our perceptions are clouded because of it.

It can easily become the the stuff of delusions.

Baldilocks, as someone previously connected to military intelligence, has thrown a bucket of cold water in everyone's face. We should probably not get too carried away with speculation just because the behavior of the DoD/Pentagon is so delusionogenic (I don't even know if that is a word!).

The explanation may be as simple as "the DoD was and is confused and unsure about how to handle all the rules and regulations in this area; and hence we are confused about the confusing way they handled and are handling it."

If nothing else, let us hope the hearings on October 5th will cure our confusion and not lead us further down a delusional path.

Friday, September 23, 2005


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


First Place
The Wild, Wild, Wild, Wild, and Wacky World of Cindy Sheehan Right Wing Nut House

Second Place
The Lunatic Fringe Dr. Sanity


First Place
A Knife in the Back JunkYardBlog

Second Place - A two-way tie!
Fear and Loathing In Dan Rather's Brain Ace of Spades HQ

Katrina Hatches New Breed of Chickenhawk BlameBush!

Be sure to check out all the winners at the Watcher's site !

Purveyors of National Hysteria

It appears to be psychologically impossible for a member of the press to be anything but hostile to President Bush.

What is the matter with these people? If anyone has been "in the way" during Katrina and Rita, it has been the completely useless and hyperbolic media, determined to transform a natural disaster into a sustained moment of national hysteria.

The Able Danger Conundrum Continues

As usual, AJ Strata of the Strata-Shpere is keeping on top of the Able Danger story. Additionally, there is this commentary by Frank Salvato: (hat tip: Larwyn)

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld issued a statement saying that the Pentagon offered to hold a classified briefing on Able Danger to accommodate the Senate Judiciary Committee's inquiries but refused to entertain the idea of participating in an "open hearing on a classified matter."

Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, responded by saying, "That looks to me like it may be obstruction of the committee's activities, something we will have to determine."

Considering the sensitive nature of the information involved and the secret nature of the vehicle used to acquire the information, it is remarkable that a congressional committee would make such a poor choice of a venue for their inquiry.

The choice of an open hearing effectively mandated redacted testimony, so much so that instead of hearing testimony into what may have very likely been serious intelligence communications mismanagement, the committee was met with a "wall of silence."

I understand the cautionary tone with which the Pentagon is approaching this matter. It would be criminal to compromise what little clandestine intelligence we have in place considering the destruction our intelligence community underwent in the 1990s. While transparency in government is preferred, safeguarding the things that keep us safe makes a great deal of sense. Perhaps that's why many in Washington and the mainstream media have a hard time grasping the notion.

The fact that such data existed before the attacks of September 11th and that nothing was done to thwart Atta's actions is disturbing. So too is the fact that the September 11th Commission was more of a dog and pony show used to protect political legacies than to identify weaknesses in our intelligence system, a system meant to safeguard the American public from terrorist generated slaughter.

The next hearings on this are scheduled for October 5th. I'm not sure what could change by then to make open hearings a useful option for getting to the bottom of the Able Danger conundrum. I would like to attribute positive motives to the current stonewalling by the Bush Adminstration/DoD -- as I did when I wrote about the first day of the hearings;and as AJ does today in his post linked above-- but as long as Specter insists on open hearings, it makes me wonder why he isn't convinced that closed hearings are the way to go to protect current national security interests.

To be continued.

UPDATE: Captain's Quarters is now saying that the Pentagon has reversed itself and will permit the five Able Danger members to testify in open hearings on October 5th.

We can surmise a couple of items from this reversal, especially given the hostility that Shaffer showed towards the Pentagon as a result of the initial cancellation. First, the gag order had little to do with ongoing operational security. It would take much more time than 72 hours to secure personnel and intelligence, and if the Pentagon still had those assets in operation, the witnesses would remain gagged. That means the Pentagon pulled the witnesses for some other reason.

Anyone want to guess what that reason might be? Whatever the reason, they have made clear that the Pentagon fears the truth coming out about Able Danger. Many have speculated that the program showed connections between the Clinton Administration and China, and that caused the Pentagon to hush up Able Danger. Perhaps, but that cannot explain the actions this week in pulling the witnesses off the stand at the last moment. The Clinton Administration has come and gone, and even a possible Hillary administration would come no sooner than almost four years from now.

The reason, therefore, has to involve people at the Pentagon right now. It seems to me that the Pentagon has the most to lose if speculation that it deliberately withheld cooperation from the FBI when it could have stopped 9/11 is true, and that it has to answer for the destruction of the materials if the witnesses testify as expected. Those decisions could involve high-ranking brass, such as Hugh Shelton (ret.) and Pete Schoomaker, and perhaps even Donald Rumsfeld. Or perhaps they just involve second-tier leadership - which is why the Pentagon decided to reverse itself after seeing the public reaction to the aborted hearing Wednesday. (5:30 pm 9/23)

Can't wait.

Spare Me The Hysteria

The following are two typical examples of the way the Democrats like to frame the issues. They are not content with stating that they happen to disagree with the Republican point of view. No...instead we get the following headlines:

WASTE, FRAUD, AND KILLING POOR PEOPLE which discusses the "crazy, heartless people" who are suggesting making cuts in the federal budget.

Then there's this one:

GOP TO AUDIT THE POOR, which summarizes the proposed cuts as: At least you know where some of these House Republicans stand. Which is: We should raise taxes on the poor.

Or, how about this one:

THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON THE POOR; which goes on to say about the proposed cuts: a huge part of it is nothing more than the usual attacks on the poor, including a total (by my count) of $477 billion in Medicare/Medicaid cuts.

So, there you have it. The rational Democratic position of "damned if you do and damned if you don't." Listen carefully and you will hear coming out the other side of the Democrat's mouth the contempt and outrage at even the idea of President Bush daring to think of raising that federal deficit (that appears to be the perogative of liberals alone).

One of the themes of their blubbering is the mindless chant that Republicans are trying to "DESTROY" this country by raising the deficit and spending money on ridiculous things like the Iraq War/War on Terror; or making stupid promises to rebuild New Orleans. The second, competing theme is the hysteria about Republicans "killing" poor people; "raping" women; and waging a "war" on the poor so that the rich and wealthy can get richer and wealthier.

Aren't you sick of the relentless class warfare practiced by the Democratic Party? Aren't you disgusted by the continual subliminal (and not so subtle) references to Marxism and the Communist class struggle. Aren't the Democrats aware that Marx and Communism LOST THE COLD WAR and that Freedom, Democracy, and the U.S. won? That it was the same worthless social policies in the Soviet Union and elsewhere that led to the deaths of millions of people? That the poverty and misery caused by the application of these oh so compassionate theories was incalculable?

60 years of FDR's "New Deal" and we have the poverty and misery we witnessed in New Orleans. TRILLIONS and TRILLIONS spent to "help" the poor using the Democrat's wonderful social programs--and we have created only multiple generations of poverty; perpetual victimhood and hopelessness that extend into the forseeable future.

When is someone going to point out that the Democrats have NO REAL INTEREST IN ACTUALLY HELPING POOR PEOPLE ESCAPE POVERTY? Because if all those poor people did escape poverty and begin to pursue their own happiness, then the Democrats could no longer blame poverty on Republicans. Notice how every minority person who has escaped poverty and who begins to think that maybe the Democratic social programs do much more harm than good is immediately labeled a "traitor" to their race, or class, or gender? Notice how all "concerned and compassionate and caring" people are only allowed to think one way--the Democratic Party way?

This is why we cannot have even the most simple debate in this country about spending priorities; about long-term solutions to social problems; about what it means to be an American. At the slightest mention of pursuing any social strategy that does not involve pouring endless amounts of taxpayer monies down the black holes of worthless social program; then the Democrats resort to the pathetic cult of victimhood, better known as the Marxist dialectic ("you are either OPPRESSED, or you are an OPPRESSOR").

There is no greater sin in the Democratic Party's bible than to fail to give lip service to caring about the poor and helpless--even if your behavior and programs actually facilitate the poverty and encourage the helplessness. Appearance is all that matters. (For the absolute proof of this, all you need to do is listen to the sound and fury of both Clintons, who in reality stand for nothing and signify nothing).

What if poverty and hopelessness and all social problems for that matter, could be solved by shifting the paradigm from the Marxist dialectic to one of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness? To one of personal empowerment and responsibility instead of perpetual victimhood? What if we unleash the human spirit and allow people to pursue their happiness; instead of having a vested interest in keeping the poor and helpless...poor and helpless?

What if we actually developed a plan that encouraged the best within people--their benevolence, their kindness, their love of their fellow man; instead of stoking the fires of envy, racism, greed and irresponsibility?

Maybe the Republican alternatives don't "kill" poor people? Maybe they might even help poor people stop being poor? Maybe there isn't a dastardly Republican plot to "audit" or engage in open "warfare" against poor people. Maybe President Bush doesn't "hate" black people at all? Maybe non-Christians aren't going to be taken out and summarily executed by this adminsitration? Maybe women will not be forced into wearing burkhas or hijabs by the "medieval" policies of Republicans but by the "progressive" and politically correct policies of the Democrats instead?

Maybe....just maybe, the holy, sacred, perpetual black hole Democratic programs designed to end poverty and create social justice etc. etc. etc. --do exactly the opposite? Maybe they actually don't work as advertised?

Isn't New Orleans the perfect example of how these social programs have done worse than nothing to end the cycle of poverty and dependence that is epidemic there? Maybe we could stop the mindless, reflex Marxism parlor trick of framing every debate so that the Democrats become the "champions of the oppressed" and the Republicans become the "oppressors"? Is that too much to ask for in a free society?

Spare me the usual hysterics at such a concept.

Related posts:
Political Mass Hysteria and the Marxist Drama
Capitalism is Good for the Soul
Federally Funded Seafood Dishes
Poverty Has A Cure

UPDATE: If you have any doubts about the pervasive influence of Marxist thought on our academic institutions; our media; and the politicians of the Left, it might be worthwhile to pay attention to the actual people who exemplify the so-called "antiwar" effort in this country and who get a free pass from the media as to their origins and purposes. See here, here, here, and here for example.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Here is a perfect example of how capitalism could work to solve a rather vexing social problem we have in the U.S. Austin Bay writes about the potential for over a trillion barrels of oil to be available right here in the United States, rather than from foreign governments.

And what is required to access this bounty?

Most people don’t realize that there are a whole host of alternative energy technologies that become instantly viable when oil gets above a certain price. Of course, the price needs to be sustained in order for the needed investment to flow into these technology areas. In the long run, however, the rise in oil prices may be very good for the U.S. economy by spurring innovation and investment much like PCs and software in the 80’s and 90’s.

For over two decades or more, Americans and their elected officials have been whining on and on about the need to become less dependent on foreign oil. Simultaneously though, Americans have basically refused to diminish their gasoline consumption; have continued to purchase gas-guzzling cars; and seem to believe that the basic purpose of the government is to keep gas prices low so that their addiction can continue despite the consequences of their dependence.

OTOH, their elected officials aid an abet this irresponsibility; put pressure on the President to "do something" if gas prices go up; and are willing to do anything, just anything in order to decrease our dependence on foreign oil--except of course, to let the free market do its magic to solve the problem.

In this case, the magic of the market is nothing more than those famous "Laws of Supply and Demand."

First, when the price of gasoline goes up -- as it has recently; and as it will as a consequence of Katrina and Rita; it has the immediate effect of discourage the use of motor vehicles--particularly the inefficient gas guzzlers. This result happens with no big government intervention; no new rules or regulations; and no pleas to the people to conserve. No law needs to be passed to encourage people to decrease their driving when the price goes up. It happens automatically--almost magically-- because the market is completely consistent with human nature.

Simply put, the higher the price, the lower the demand and the lower the price, the higher the demand. This is known as "The Law of Demand" and it works automatically and holds true universally. Only when well-meaning (or not) idiots artificially muck around with the market do strange things happen to this universal law. For example, keeping the price low, when demand is scarce results in severe shortages.

You know what? People will adjust to the increased prices by driving less. People who absolutely positively cannot live without using a lot of gas--will either pay through the nose, or find an alternative. Believe me when I say that they will find an alternative.

Secondly, as the quote above points out, if the price of gas stays high long enough, it will spur the development of new technologies, innovation and investment.

The Law of Supply states that the quantity supplied is directly proportional to price. Consumers want to pay as little as they can, and they will buy more as the price drops. But at the same time, sellers want to be able to charge as much as they can. They will be willing to make more and sell more as the price goes up. This way they can maximize profits.

When the price of gasoline goes up, suddenly profits become possible with Shale oil. Investment will increase; and the technology will begin to push the envelope. The ultimate result will be that our dependence on foreign oil will be altered forever.

Of course, there will be wailing and whining and the gnashing of teeth from both sides of the political spectrum. Count on it. Particularly from the side that claims they desperately want us to be free form dependence on oil and who scream "No War for Oil!". Well, here is a perfectly non-violent, peaceful way to alter our relationship to the world's oil supplies. Not unexpectedly, they hate capitalism, too. Reason is not one of their strong suits.

I also expect the usual cries of outrage about how this will impact the poor most of all... That it is racist, sexist, or some other such nonsense. Or that we'll just be making the eeeeevil oil companies rich (not for long, if they aren't the ones who do the investing and innovation); etc. etc. I'm sure I will get emails describing how such insensitive behavior will result in harming little children and puppies disproportionately and without compassion.

Nevertheless, the end result of letting the Market achieve its own equilibrium will be a stronger US economy as we detox from our horrible addiction to energy sources controlled by despots and tyrants in the Middle East and elsewhere. I rather think that children and puppies will be relatively unfazed.

Oh, and by the way. When I speak of the "magic" of the free market--what I am really talking about is your basic, fundamental, hard-wired human psychology and biology.

Policymakers ignore it at their own peril.

[A related post from Dr. Sanity: Biological Fantasies ]

The Real American Quagmire

(from Cox and Forkum)

First, check out this Flash Presentation on operations on the Syrian Border in Iraq at the Fourth Rail.

Next, consider this post over at Little Green Footballs about the media comparison of the Vietnam War with Iraq because Cindy Sheehan and 30 protestors staged a demonstration in D.C. (NOTE: more people attended my daughter's birthday party).

Then, go to Chester, who has an analysis of the news reporting on Iraq.

Wretchard has further insights.

You begin to appreciate how appropriate the phrase "stuck on stupid" is when applied to the MSM.

Federally Funded Seafood Dishes

Rich Lowry discusses Katrina and the welfare state:

The most controversial parts of the Bush aid package for New Orleans are the ones that attempt to free the poor from the tentacles of government bureaucracy. He wants to give the unemployed personal accounts to assist in their job search and create a $500 million program to fund school vouchers for displaced children to attend private schools. The current political climate is premised on the notion that no one should say ''no'' to any Katrina-related program, but Democrats will attempt to veto these proposals.
The objection to these Bush proposals isn't fiscal, but philosophical. They serve to undermine the principle of government dependency that underpins the contemporary welfare state, and to which liberals are utterly devoted. In a reversal of the old parable, liberals don't want to teach people how to fish if they can just give them federally funded seafood dishes instead.

I thought this was a very clever way to highlight the essential differences in philosophy between the Left and the Right.

Those on the Left are fond of always saying that Republicans "hate" the poor; and are determined to increase poverty. This is part of their reflex negativism toward all capitalistic solutions to social problems. The Left wallows in its "sensitivity" to the poor, but all the social programs they have foisted on the public over the years have done next to nothing to actually improve the lot of poor blacks and other minorities. Now they are so wedded to social programs that perpetuate poverty rather than eliminate it; that they have the vapors if anyone suggests that there might be more effective programs to help, screaming hysterically about the racist, bigoted assault on those "less fortunate".

Frankly, it is the social programs that reinforce dependence; lack of initiative; and victimhood that keep people's fortunes forever depressed.

As I have pointed out before, poverty has a cure. And that cure is not federally funded seafood dishes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Blogger.Com Conspiracy

[paranoia] Why is everything on my account suddenly in Spanish? When I want to create posts, I am sent to a page that says "creacion de entradas". It askes me either "guardar como borrador" or "oublicar entrada". When I go to the help page, I discover that everything is in Spanish, too!

What is going on? Am I losing my mind? Is this an evil plot by Rove to make me believe I am living in Madrid? Am I hallucinating?

And Blogger Help is ignoring me. Probably because I asked my question in English.... [/paranoia]

Somebody help me!!!


I spent several hours following the hearings today and will attempt to summarize some of the more interesting aspects. Here are my rough notes:

Curt Weldon's opening comments:

- Able Danger existed in 1999. It amassed a tremendous amount of data on Al Qaeda up until 2001, when it was disbanded.
- 5 individuals who worked on Able Danger have voluntarily agreed to testify and are risking their careers to do so.
- DoD is actively preventing them from testifying and 2 days ago completely revoked Lt. Col Shaffer's security clearance (up till then it had been suspended).
- DoD is engaged currently in "denial, deception, threats, character assassinations, and now silence" trying to prevent this information from being discussed
- DoD never conducted an official, formal investigation about the Able Danger allegations
-per Weldon: AD was never "one photo or one chart" but a massive compilation of data that amounted to one quarter of the amount of data in the Library of Congress(several terrabytes).
- when the Able Danger documents and data were destroyed in March, 2000, it was done without the knowledge of the customer of the data (General Lambert) who was not informed of the destruction until after the fact and was furious.
- Weldon attempted to get all the information on Able Danger that he had to the 9/11 Commisssion and provided them with all the material; even including questions that he would like them to ask witnesses. None of the material he provided to the Commission was used; none of his questions were asked.
- Weldon states that it was a 9/11 Commission member (unnamed) who encouraged him (Weldon) to pursue the AD story, and claimed that the Commission was never briefed on any of the information Weldon turned over to staff.
- Weldon was at a loss to explain why there would be a cover-up. The Army was under pressure to shut down AD because of concerns that it had overstepped its bounds/authority and that the names of US citizens were being used inappropriately. However, Weldon notes that EVERYTHING that AD ccame up with was information within the public domain. The Democrats and Republicans both use similar data about American citizens--e.g., "votesmart" for voter ID purposes--so why can't such info be used to track terrorists? How did the concerns justify destroying all the data?
-he wondered, in fact, what information was kept; since information from AD was used in a briefing in January, 2001.
- Why is the DoD so focused on this information not coming forward?
- Why did the 9/11 Commission not get briefed?
- Is someone trying to protect the Clinton Administration? the Bush Administration? or was this just normal Washington D.C. CYA operations?
- The photo of Atta used by AD was pruchased from a contractor in California and was a source separate from the US government. Hence, the 9/11 Commission's point that they couldn't possibly have a photo of Atta in 99-2000 is incorrect.
- 2 weeks after 9/11 Weldon took a reproduction of the chart (with Atta) from AD to Deputy NSA Hadley, who said, " I've got to show this to the man" --referring to POTUS.
-The charts of AD were charts of the world-wide AQ organization and cells with link analysis. They included the organization and activity of all known AQ operatives. They had identified 5 key cells world-wide, including a cell in Brooklyn from info garnered from 1st WTC attack; Sheik Rahman; other terrorist attacks/activities, including the USS Cole bombing.
- The charts were prepared by Orion Corporation and also included many charts on Chinese proliferation; drug cartels; operations in Russia--as well as the AQ information.

MARK ZAID next testified. He is a lawyer and surrogate speaker for several of the witnesses who had been scheduled to appear but were being prevented from testifying by the DoD.

- summarized again the AD timeline and emphasized that they searched and compiled public data.
- emphasized that AD did not identify Atta as "present in the US" or specifically identify the WTC plot
- In 2003 Lt. Col. Shaffer met with 9/11 Commission staff in Afghanistan and briefed them on AD. He assumed he would talk to them again. However, the DoD did not support Shaffer's information and the 9/11 Commission staff never talked to Shaffer again. Unknown to Dod was the fact that Shaffer had, in 2004, some of the charts that they had thought were destroyed.
-Shaffer's security clearance was suspended when he brought up Ad earlier; but it was revoked 2 days prior to these hearings
- Zaid wondered what the current locations of the other terrorists on the chart with Atta were

****SPECULATION**** This point leapt out at me as the possible explanation of why the DoD is currently so aggressively trying to shut down exposure of Able Danger. What if we are actively tracking and/or following other people who were on that chart, and that any revelations about that information would be a tip-off and interfere with ongoing intelligence operations? ***END SPECULATION****

The next person to testify was ERIK KLEINSMITH a former Army Major; now an employee for Lockheed-Martin. In March 99 - Feb 2001 he was in Army Intel.

- worked with all the members of the AD team and feel they are credible
- AD collected an immense amount of data on AQ but in April, 2000 quite abruptly there was "constricted" support for AD activities and it was shut down.
- he was ordered to destroy all analytic data and charts not already turned over to other agencies
- he deleted the data himself; classified and unclassified; charts produced by AD and Orion; soft and hard copies
-Everything was deleted - summary: all info on the worldwide perspective of AQ, including operations in the US
- this was done in May/June 2000 and ordered by Tony Gentry at INSCOM (?) per Army Regulation 381-10 relating to Army intelligence oversight regulations on no more than 90 day retention of data of American citizens.
- Kleinsmith was told he would delete this data or go to jail
- Kleinsmith believed he was following Army regulations and DoD regulations -knew nothing or heard nothing about Posse Comitatus
- He thinks that all the legal memos that existed regarding retention of data on American citizens should be examined. Discussion about how the Army provided information that assisted the FBI in Waco; and how the Army was severely criticized for this action. Some of the questioners wondered if the Army Regulations were now being TOO zealously applied.
- Bottom-line is that Kleinsmith believes that if AD had not been shut down, there might have been more of a warning about 9/11 --perhaps not prevented, but more of a warning beforehand.
- Lt. Col Shaffer had separate files at the DIA with AD data that were not destroyed by Kleinsmith. But, in 2004, when Able Danger surfaced again and Schaeffer's security clearance was suspended, DIA destroyed those files. WHY?
- bottom-line: unbleievable prohibitions on information sharing

ZAID then made some comments about another individual who was not permitted to testify himself (Mr. Smith, who used to work for Orion):

- In March, 2000 or thereabouts; armed federal agents came to Orion Corporation to confiscate all data from Able Danger. Smith had some of the data in the trunk of his car (since it was unclassified) and that is the only reason it was preserved (presumably some of the charts, etc.)
- Smith had one of the charts on his wall with the picture of Atta purchased from the CA contractor, which he would point out to many after 9/11. That chart was inadvertantly destroyed when it was taken off the wall where it had been taped for 3 years.

From my perspective, listening to this testimony, it seemed that someone or some group went to a considerable effort to destroy all evidence of Able Danger in mid-2000. When it resurfaced again in 2004; similar attempts to suppress and destroy informtion were immediately implemented.

Folks, this is serious stuff. What is it about the information collected by Able Danger that is so dangerous that such extreme steps were and are being taken to supress the information they collected?

I watched these hearings on a Webcast from a US government site. They were not on TV that I could find.

UPDATE: I have been digesting this information for a few hours now, and here are some of my conclusions.

First, the initial attempt to destroy ABLE DANGER DOCUMENTS occurred in mid-2000, long before the 9/11 attacks. So the destruction of this data was not based on an attempt to "cover-up" malfeasance related to 9/11. It seems to me that there are two possible reasons for the aggressive shutdown of this program:
--- The April, 1993 Waco, Texas incident between the Branch Dividians and the FBI is interestingly mentioned by one of the witnesses. This event led to severe criticism of the Army and its sharing of information with the FBI. This in turn may have led to a hardening of "The Wall" that was being set up between intelligence services and the resultant severe prohibitions on information sharing. It is possible that the destruction of the Able Danger data was a result of this overly aggressive oversight and prosecution of rules and memos related to sharing of information.

---A second plausable reason for the termination of Able Danger is that it was in the NON-AL QAEDA data mining that they unearthed something sensitive that was of such a compromising nature (presumably to someone in the Clinton Administration)) that all of Able Danger was shut down to destroy this information. Possibilities include material relating to China, Russia or International Drug Cartels--or other areas. In this scenario, there would have been a "CYA" motivation.

Now, the second attempt to suppress information related to Able Danger occurred in mid to late 2004 and continues through today. Possible reasons are:

---First, one cannot help but think that the existence of the "Wall" preventing intelligences sharing was a key ingredient in preventing connecting the dots of 9/11. That the main architect of the Wall in both the DoD when she was there; and in the Department of Justice later, on was 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick is pertinent. Was there an attempt on the part of 9/11 Commission members and/or staff to protect one of its members? Were there attempts on the part of members of the Clinton Administration to cover-up this important information (Berger's activities in the National Archives to name one).

---Even if the above were true, it doesn't even begin to explain the actions of the DoD toward Lt. Col Shaffer and other members of Able Danger. It seems clear that they have thrown everything in the way of letting this information out and into the public arena. Why? I refer back to my speculation alert in the body of the post. If those charts contained as much information as Weldon and the others contend, then the other names on that list must (or should) be under active investigation. Leakage of the names in the charts and links could compromise those investigations. This would be a significant enough item to aggressively pursue what would otherwise appear to be a suicidal course by the DoD and the Bush Administration regarding this information. But, if that is the case, why not a quiet word spoken in the ear of a few key people to back off? I don't know, and I can't answer that. But, if there are lives on the line, then I would imagine that the DoD would try everything in its power to keep this information quiet.

The above is a positive explanation for the bizarre behavior of the DoD with regard to Able Danger, Shaffer, Smith and the others.

---The negative explanation is that there are people in the DoD from either or both the previous administration and the current one-- who do not want this information to be released for reasons unknown, but presumably because those reasons will reflect badly on them (in other words a CYA maneuver).

---Finally,and more benignly, it could just be the passive,knee-jerk resistance of an incompetent, bureaucratic and large government agency when preseed for any information by anyone. But, it seems excessive for this explanation to be correct.

So there may be two completely separate reasons why Able Danger and its data was terminated in 2000; and why now the information which survived the 2000 purge is still being suppressed.

I'd welcome other's thoughts on this. ( 1:44 pm 9/21/05)

UPDATE II: Welcome Michelle Malkin Readers! Here are two previous and related posts on Able Danger:

A Motive For Berger's Bizarre Behavior

Berger and Able Danger Speculation, Part II

Also check out AJ Strata and Captain Ed for regular updates.

UPDATE III: Full transcripts are posted here of all the testimony. Just One Minute speculates on the Pentagon's behavior. Also, when there is secrecy like this, it can lead to all sorts of speculation--for example, this post discusses some of the theories connecting Oklahoma City; Tim McVeigh and connections to Iraq. Make of it what you will.

UPDATE IV: According to Fox News' Catherine Herrige, Secretary Rumsfeld offered to give the Committee a closed briefing but his option was declined by Committee Chair Specter. Not sure what to make of this, but it suggests that there are national security reasons not to have all of Able Danger public. This may go along with my earlier speculation alert.

UPDATE V: Andy McCarthy at The Corner has some interesting thoughts about today's hearings.

Truthfully, Who Needs To Read Them?

The Anchoress brilliantly summarizes the op-ed writers at the NY Times:

Maureen Dowd: Bush is the feckless boy king, Rove is in charge, Rummy is a violent fool. Hate, hate, hate that Bush!

Krugman: Bush is a feckless liar and a loser, Rove is in charge, Al Gore won Florida, the economy is going to tank…! No….Now!…The economy is going to tank…NOW, dammit, NOW! Grrrowl, sputter, spit, spit, hate, hate, hate that Bush!

Frank Rich: Bush is a feckless moron, Rove is in charge, I am the intellectual superior of everyone at this paper, and sooooo culturally aware, hate, hate, hate that Bush!

Bob Herbert: Bush is a feckless racisthomophobehe-manwomanhater, Rove is in charge, I am the intellectual superior of everyone at this paper, hate, hate, hate that Bush!

Truthfully, who needs to read them?

Apparently, more and more people are coming to the same conclusion.

For decades, I read multiple newspapers daily--including the NY Times. I was--still am--a "news junkie" who is somewhat obsessed by what is going on in the world.

I can't pinpoint exactly when I started to notice that all of a sudden, my news sources began to let me down. It was a gradual process that began sometime during the Clinton years. I began to have a vague unease because all of a sudden all my "sources" were saying identical things. I was no longer getting multiple viewpoints/perspectives about events in the world. Specifically, this began on the op-ed pages; but slowly it trickled into the news stories also.

I remember when I first noted a story on the front page of the Sunday NY Times that was clearly an editorial opinion. At first I thought they had just mislabeled it as a news story. But then it started happening regularly. At the same time, there began to be more and more "lifestyle" and "news-lite" pieces on the front pages of my sources. On one memorable occasion, I remember snorting when I saw some pathetic story about how things were so tough for drug addicts as the lead story. It reminded me of Gail Wynand's Banner newspaper in the novel The Fountainhead. .

Today, even the movie reviews and food sections cannot be counted on to forgo political commentary and often gratuitously insert anti-Bush rhetoric in-between the recipes and theater schedules.

Enough is enough. The rise of the internet and the realization that journalists are no more objective than anyone else--stated professional ethics and values notwithstanding--are combining to turn people like me away from sources that are no longer trustworthy; and whose agendas have become blatantly obvious.

So, I remain a news junkie. Now I surf the web and read all sorts of opinions and news sources. Like before, I sample many; and then come to my own conclusions.

With all the firsthand information available on the internet from more diverse and more expert sources; truthfully, who needs to read the MSM anymore?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Getting to "NO"

I completely agree with the conclusions to James Robbin's article about North Korea. Two key quotes:

"Haven't we been here before?"

Yes. Let's not do another "Clinton" and get sucked into KJI's manipulations.

With democracy on the march around the world, this is not the time to get to "yes" with one of the most repressive totalitarian regimes on earth."

Exactly. Now is the time for getting to "NO".

Afghan Elections

The voting has ended. The terrorists who promised violence did not make much of a showing; and Al Qaeda's #2 terrorist in his rage and frustration, tried to ridicule the process he was impotent to stop. Democracy and Freedom are moving forward in Afghanistan.

Poor, pathetic Zawahiri. History is passing him by. Soom he will be remembered only as the Joseph Mengele of Al Qaeda--just another quack physician dedicated to death and killing.

The medical profession has always attracted its share of sadistic psychopaths.


Byron York at The Corner:

I recently asked Gallup to send me a chart of every presidential job approval it had ever taken -- they go back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. What it shows is that every president in the last 40 years has had a low point in which his job approval ratings went into the 40s or 30s, and sometimes lower.

Bill Clinton hit 39 percent job approval in August and September 1994. George H.W. Bush hit 29 percent in July 1992, and 33 percent in October of that year. Ronald Reagan hit 35 percent in January 1983. Jimmy Carter hit 28 percent in June 1979. Gerald Ford hit 37 percent in March 1975. Richard Nixon spent most of 1974 in the 20s, hitting 24 percent just before his resignation. And Lyndon Johnson hit 35 percent in August 1968.

Clinton dipped to 38% job approval in August and September 1994? I certainly don't remember any significant brouhaha being made about it at the time.... But, obviously, considering the enormous faith that the MSM and the Left have in polls, we must conclude that their beloved Clinton was a failed president--even worse than W --using their own standards of evaluation!

One of my lefty commentors described Clinton in the thread to this post discussing Clinton's "legacy" as, "A president the American people loved even when the other guys were impeaching him."

My response at the time was raucous laughter (still is). People who live by the polls, die by the polls.

As my teen would say, BOOYAH!

Poverty Has A Cure

This paper by Nick Schultz at TCS discusses the connection between poverty and governance:

The Clinton Global Initiative wrapped up in New York over the weekend. The three-day confab, created by the 42nd president, brought together political and corporate leaders, Hollywood stars and philanthropists for a kind of American Davos. The attendees were directed to address four important global issues -- climate, governance, poverty and religion.
But a fundamental problem existed at the heart of the conference: treating "poverty" and "governance" as divisible, distinct issues. A growing body of academic research is showing us that the two are both sides of one coin.

Indeed, the empirical link between poor governance and poverty received a boost the same week of the conference when economist William Easterly released an important new working paper for the Center for Global Development.

Easterly has spent his career inside foreign aid circles. Within those circles, it has been widely believed that impoverished nations suffer from a self-perpetuating "poverty trap." This poverty trap is almost impossible to escape without a big push from wealthy countries -- hence the logic of foreign aid.

This view, while not entirely new, has been most recently championed by the economist Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute at Columbia University -- whom the New York Times just editorialized is an "A-list economics geek." The only problem with this storyline, according to Easterly, is that "evidence to support the narrative is scarce."

Easterly found that, "Over 1970-94, there is good data on public investment for 22 African countries. These countries' governments spent $342 billion on public investment. The donors gave these same countries' governments $187 billion in aid over this period. Unfortunately, the corresponding …increase in productivity… was zero."

If half a trillion dollars of investment and aid can't raise economic output, then what can? "The paper instead finds support for democratic institutions and economic freedom as determinants of growth that explain the occasions under which poor countries grow more slowly than rich countries." In other words, poverty -- and its alleviation -- are directly linked to governance.

Along these lines, the Cato Institute has recently published its own report on the links between economic freedom; prosperity, and peace.

Economic freedom is almost 50 times more effective than democracy in restraining nations from going to war. In new research published in this year’s report, Erik Gartzke, a political scientist from Columbia University, compares the impact of economic freedom on peace to that of democracy. When measures of both economic freedom and democracy are included in a statistical study, economic freedom is about 50 times more effective than democracy in diminishing violent conflict. The impact of economic freedom on whether states fight or have a military dispute is highly significant while democracy is not a statistically significant predictor of conflict.

This year’s report notes that economic freedom remains on the rise. The average economic freedom score rose from 5.2 (out of 10) in 1985 to 6.4 in the most recent year for which data are available. In this year’s index, Hong Kong retains the highest rating for economic freedom, 8.7 of 10, closely followed by Singapore at 8.5. New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States tied for third with ratings of 8.2. The United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland ranked 6th, 7th, and 8th, respectively. Australia, Estonia, Luxembourg, and the United Arab Emirates tied for 9th.

Policymakers whose goal is fighting poverty need to pay attention to the link between economic freedom and prosperity. The freest economies have a per-capita income of $29,219, more than twice that of the "mostly free" at $12,839, and more than four times that of the "mostly unfree." Put simply, misery has a cure and its name is economic freedom.

It is ECONOMIC FREEDOM that is the true cure for poverty. Not taxes. Not regulation. Not government control of the economy and redistribution of wealth; but CAPITALISM. And, it is important to note that Economic Freedom is unachievable without Political Freedom. That is the link between poverty and governance.

For those on the Left who pay lip service to fighting poverty and achieving social justice; but who reflexly denounce capitalism, free trade, and globalization--I strongly recommend that you shut up, and let those evil, greedy capitalistic bastards pursuing their own selfish, profit-making agendas, effortlessly bring about both.