Wednesday, February 28, 2007
The right attitude
Within an institutional framework that preserves tolerance and protects order we can celebrate and enjoy diversity in food, in music, in religion, in language and culture. But we could not do that without the framework which guarantees the freedom to enjoy diversity.Now replace every occurrance of Australia with The United States, and it is just as true as before.
But I realized that this confused mushy misguided multiculturalism completely underestimated the audience. People who have moved to another country, people who want to take out citizenship do it because they have positive reasons to do so. They consciously decide to embrace a different country and what it stands for. They want to be part of it. They are conscious that this is not a trivial event. It is a big decision. Becoming a citizen of another country changes their identity.
To be an Australian citizen one pledges loyalty first:- loyalty to Australia. One pledges to share certain beliefs:- democratic beliefs; to respect the rights and liberty of others; and to respect the rule of law.
There is a lot of sense in this pledge. Unless we have a consensus of support about how we will form our legislatures and an agreement to abide by its laws – none of us will be able to enjoy our rights and liberties without being threatened by others.
The refusal to acknowledge the rule of law as laid down by democratic institutions also stabs at the heart of the Australian compact. The radical Muslim Cleric Ben Brika was asked in an interview on the 7.30 Report in August last year:-
“But don't you think Australian Muslims – Muslims living in Australia – also have a responsibility to adhere to Australian law?”
To which he answered:-
“This is a big problem. There are two laws – there is an Australian law and there is an Islamic law.”
No this is not a big problem. There is one law we are all expected to abide by. It is the law enacted by the Parliament under the Australian Constitution. If you can't accept that then you don't accept the fundamentals of what Australia is and what it stands for.
We are asking all our citizens to subscribe to a framework that can protect the rights and liberties of all. These are Australian values. We must be very clear on this point. They are not optional. We expect all those who call themselves Australians to subscribe to them. Loyalty, democracy, tolerance, the rule of law:- values worth promoting, values worth defending. The values of Australia and its citizens.
As promised here is a compilation of exerpts, it makes a very coherent statement:
Muslims who want to live under Islamic Shari law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.To restate the obvious--it applies here as much as there.
A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his Ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown. Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by parliament "If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Shari law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you", he said on National Television.
"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia: one the Australian law and another Islamic law that is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Shari law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option", Costello said
Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country. Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should "clear off. Basically people who don't want to be Australians, and who don't want, to live by Australian values and understand them, well then, they can basically clear off", he said.
Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques.
Quote: "IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians."
"However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the 'politically correct' crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia." "However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand." "This idea of Australia being a multi-cultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. And as Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle."
"This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom"
"We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society .. Learn the language!"
"Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture."
"We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us."
"If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don't like "A Fair Go", then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. By all means, keep your culture, but do not force it on others.
"This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom,
'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'."
"If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here So accept the country YOU accepted."
Friday, February 23, 2007
Once again I am struck by the simple-mindedness of the paragraph in our weekly prayer for the church, the world, and all of God's people. I am using the phrase simple-minded in its most pejorative sense--diminished reasoning ability. We are to approach God as children, but not as idiots. A prayer for peace without a corresponding prayer for the destruction of evil is to wear blinders at the least or to willfully misread reality at the worst.
I would be satisfied with a prayer for help in recognizing evil that we might more effectively fight it. But there is not even that. True, what I really want is the explicit naming of Jihadism as evil from the pulpit, but that would run counter to the rabid ecumentalism that infests the leadership of Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches.
Christianity as practiced in this country has become concerned more with the feel-good side of being forgiven and less with the moral standards that have been the mainstay of Western civilization. In its attempts to be inclusive it has shed its standards, and yet can be arbitrarily exclusive. It can include homosexuals and no longer condemn couples "living in sin", but exclude other denominations from assisting with projects because they might evangelize.
It brings the plight of the Palestinians to everyone's attention, yet never discusses why it is that way. They condemn Israel for building a wall, yet never condemn Palestinian terrorists for bombing innocent civilians, or the entire Middle East for refusing to deal with Palestinians and helping them. In effect, they support the Muslim desire to destroy Israel so the Palestinians can go back to where they say they belong and rape and pillage everything Israeli.
There is no discussion of what peace should look like or what is preventing it. Simply a blanket request for peace so the troops can come home. In effect, it is politics disguised as religion and deniably so. I have often referred to Jesus' cleansing the temple as a non-passive expression of his religious beliefs. Closer to our time and definitely connected to my denomination, Lutheran, is the example of Dietrich Bonhoffer. He is considered a great Lutheran theologian, and was executed for his participation in a plot to assassinate Hitler. His example says that if one knows someone or something to be evil, one should do all that is necessary to irradicate it.
Perhaps the problem is in our refusal to state anything is evil. President Bush had the courage to name an Axis of Evil. All it did was lead to a firestorm of criticism. Now there is a refusal to name militant Islam as evil, for fear that it will be construed as a blanket condemnation of Islam. This is ignorance. The fact is, that literal interpretation of the Quran does lead to evil. It is explicit in the verses--kill anyone that does not belief in Islam, conquer the world, and force all to be either believers, dead, or dhimmi.
It is as if our churches have lost the sense that God helps those who help themselves. They have become towards God as the secularists have become towards the government. Present oneself as a victim and be provided for. Our prayers don't ask for help to accomplish good in the world, they simply ask for comfort. They ask for wisdom from world leaders, but not skill and guidance that our military may be effective. In fact, prayers for the military are lumped in with the segment on prayers for the sick and dying--keep them safe, bring them home, but don't help them do their job better.
One of my favorite hymns as a child was "Onward Christian Soldiers". It is never sung anymore, and in fact I'm not sure it is even in the new hymnals. [They were just published. I will be very interested to see the overall flavor.] It is as if the concept of a Christian soldier is now considered an oxy-moron. Well, our church leadership will be the first to go if Islam wins. At that point they will find out just how important Christian soldiers are.
The payoff of environmentalism
Cuba's known for cigars now, but oil could change thatGo read the rest, and thank an environmentalist for giving Cuba a major advantage in the quest for oil.
Updated 2/22/2007 9:03 AM ET
By David J. Lynch, USA TODAY
One day soon — possibly before the end of this year — an oil rig will maneuver into position in waters less than 100 miles from the coast of Florida. A drill will plunge into the inky sea and begin chewing its way into the ocean floor, hunting for oil.
But the drilling rig won't belong to an American company, and any petroleum it discovers won't do a thing to curb the USA's addiction to foreign oil. Instead, any new sub-sea gusher will belong to Cuba.
That's right: Cuba. The island nation long has been known for its aromatic cigars and sweet rums. But after years of limited oil production on lands around Havana and in neighboring Matanzas province, Cuba is poised for a significant expansion of its oil program into the waters that separate it from the United States. And thanks to U.S. law, Cuba's drilling partners will be working closer to Florida beaches than any American company ever could. [emphasis mine, bk]
An inconvenient reality
Global Warming: Fact, Fiction and Political Endgame
Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Albert Arnold Gore, will be the toast of Hollywood at this weekend’s self-congratulatory soiree known as the Academy Awards.
Gore, whose failure to carry his “home” state of Tennessee cost him the 2000 presidential election, has recast himself as the populist pope of eco-theology and the titular head of the green movement’s developmentally arrested legions.
The doughy darling of Leftcoast glitterati has received two Oscar nominations for a junk-science production called “An Inconvenient Truth,” a pseudo-documentary born of the wildly improbable pop film “The Day After Tomorrow.” Gore’s “Truth,” however, is even stranger than the Hollywood fiction that inspired it.
The celebration of Gore’s film coincides, not coincidentally, with the much-ballyhooed release of a media summary of a report on global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These two events will serve as a fine backdrop for the coming cavalcade of dire ecological predictions by Gore and his ilk. Their goal will be to saturate the all-too-sympathetic media outlets with apocalyptic hysterics about a man-made global disaster. Perhaps, too, if all goes according to plan, we’ll see another Gore presidential run.
All the “Live Earth” road-show talking points will play up an alarming assertion from Bill Clinton’s former veep: “Never before has all of civilization been threatened. We have everything we need to save it, with the possible exception of political will. But political will is a renewable resource.”
To be sure, there is “no controlling legal authority” for this, the biggest political and economic power grab ever attempted. The Left’s desire to hamstring the U.S. economy and force worldwide Kyoto Treaty compliance will, according to one United Nations estimate, cost the world economy $553 trillion this century.
Al Gore may be a comical dupe when it comes to climatology (in college, he collected a C+ and a D in his two natural-sciences courses), but the global-warming debate and the consequences of that debate are serious. To participate meaningfully, one must distinguish between fact and fiction - in addition to understanding the underlying political agendas.
In the inimitable words of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” To that end, Al Gore’s “facts” are deserving of rigorous scrutiny.
Separating fact from fiction
First, let’s be clear that the current debate about climate focuses on “global warming,” which is not synonymous with the debate about the environmental consequences of the “greenhouse effect.” The latter issue concerns what, if any, relationship exists between man-made CO2 in the atmosphere and global temperatures.
For the record, most reputable scientists agree that we are in a period of gradual global warming (about 0.7 degrees Celsius in the last century), and that the greenhouse effect prevents our climate from becoming a deep freeze. Most also agree that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased in the last century, and there is a growing consensus that global warming is due, in part, to the greenhouse effect.
However, there is no scientifically established correlation between global-warming trends and acceleration of the greenhouse effect due to human production of CO2—only broad speculation. Although many politicians and their media shills insist that the primary cause of global warming is the burning of hydrocarbons here in the United States, that government regulation of man-made CO2 will curb this global warming, that our failure to limit CO2 output will have dire consequences, and that the costs of enacting these limitations far outweigh the potential consequences, there is no evidence supporting any of these assertions.
Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, notes, “When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works.”
In fact, there remains substantial doubt that the production of CO2 by human enterprise, which contributes only about three percent of CO2 to the natural carbon cycle (the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged between the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere of the Earth) has any real impact on global temperature, and if it does, that such impact is, necessarily, negative.
Atmospheric CO2 levels have increased from about 315 parts per million five decades ago, to about 380 ppm today, which is to say, there are major factors influencing the amount of CO2 levels in the atmosphere besides our burning of hydrocarbons.
Case in point: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has maintained the world’s longest continuous worldwide record of atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels—those cited by global-warming alarmists. In 2002 and 2003, NOAA recorded increases in atmospheric CO2 of 2.43 and 2.30 ppm respectively—a 55 percent increase over the annual average of 1.5 ppm for previous years. In 2004, however, this increase fell back to 1.5 ppm per year.
Did human industrial output somehow increase 55 percent during those two years, and then decline by that amount in 2004? Of course not. For the record, NOAA concluded that the fluctuation was caused by the natural processes that contribute and remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
Al Gore would be hard-pressed to explain NOAA’s findings within the context of his apocalyptic thesis, and he would be hard-pressed to convince any serious scientists that his Orwellian solutions could correct such fluctuations. This is because his thesis is based largely on convenient half-truths.
For instance, Gore insists that the increased incidence of hurricanes, tornadoes, drought and other weather phenomena is the direct result of global warming.
Renowned meteorologist Dr. William Gray takes exception: “The degree to which you believe global warming is causing major hurricanes,” he says, “is inversely proportional to your knowledge about these storms.”
In a recent issue of Discover Magazine, Gray, described by Discover’s editors as one of “the world’s most famous hurricane experts,” wrote, “This human-induced global-warming thing... is grossly exaggerated... I’m not disputing there has been global warming. There was a lot of global warming in the 1930s and ‘40s, and then there was global cooling in the middle ‘40s to the early ‘70s. Nearly all of my colleagues who have been around 40 or 50 years are skeptical... about this global-warming thing. But no one asks us.”
Gore preaches about the two percent of Antarctica that is warming without noting that temperature readings over the rest of Antarctica indicate the continent has cooled over the previous 35 years, or that the UN’s climate panel estimates net snow mass increases in Antarctica this century. Gore notes the increasing temperatures and shrinking ice caps in the Northern Hemisphere but does not note the decreasing temperatures and increased sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere.
Richard S. Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, writes, “A general characteristic of Mr. Gore’s approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse.”
Perhaps worse still is Gore’s intellectual cowardice. During his visit to Europe in January, Gore agreed to an interview with Denmark’s largest national newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. Then, when he learned that Bjorn Lomborg, one of the world’s leading critics of eco-theological dogma, was also going to be interviewed, Gore abruptly canceled.
Lomborg, a statistician, has delved deep into the data to expose the environmental movement’s selective and oft-misleading use of evidence. His book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist” was hailed by Washington Post Book World as “a magnificent achievement” and “the most significant work on the environment since the appearance of its polar opposite, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, in 1962.” Perhaps a thoughtful debate is what scares Al Gore most of all.
Dr. Roy Spencer, former senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, has some additional “Questions for Al Gore” based on what he calls “Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.” We are still awaiting Gore’s reply...
Alternative causes for global warming
Beyond the natural carbon cycle and greenhouse warming, there are some other serious causal explanations for global warming.
Among the suspects are, of all things, the sun and its fellow stars. A venerable scientific journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society, published recent research done at the Danish National Space Center indicating that the impact of cosmic rays on the climate could be much greater than scientists estimated. The researchers put forth evidence that cosmic rays have a lot to do with cloud formation in the atmosphere, which in turn has a lot to do with shielding us from the sun’s warmth. Combining this discovery with evidence that our local star is experiencing historically high levels of solar activity, the researchers suggest that our sun is batting away cosmic rays from elsewhere in the galaxy and thus reducing our planet’s cloud cover. Imagine that: The sun is affecting our planet’s temperature.
Nigel Calder provides another angle on this thesis: “After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago. Climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar hypothesis.”
Research concerning cosmic radiation as a factor in global warming builds on earlier comprehensive research done a decade ago by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine’s Arthur Robinson, whose research soundly refutes Gore’s thesis that global warming is human-induced, noting the relationship between the solar magnetic cycle and global temperatures over the last 250 years.
In 1997, Dr. Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences, invited colleagues to sign a petition based on Robinson’s work, which received more than 20,000 signers, most of whom hold advanced degrees in relevant fields of study. That petition stated, in part: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
Some other global-warming factors being seriously considered scientifically include ocean currents, changing jet-stream patterns and the Earth’s mantle activities affecting ocean temperatures.
The Political Endgame
During the second term of the Clinton/Gore administration, the U.S. faced international pressure to become a signatory to the Kyoto Treaty. The Senate, however, passed a resolution rejecting approval of that treaty in an eye-popping show of bipartisanship. The vote was 95-0, and 56 of those senators are still in Congress.
That 1997 Byrd-Hagel Senate resolution objected to the lack of any “specific scheduled commitments” in regard to the CO2 output of 129 “developing” countries, most notably, China and India, the second and fourth most powerful economies in the world.
China, home to 1.3 billion people, will have the largest economy on earth in little more than a decade. Currently, the country accounts for 33 percent of the world’s steel production and 50 percent of all concrete. China burns 2,500 tons of coal and 210,000 gallons of crude per minute. It consumes 24,000,000 watts of energy each minute, most of it produced by coal-fueled generating plants. Every ten days, China fires up a new coal generator, with plans for 2,200 additional plants by 2030. At current growth rates of consumption, China alone will devour all the earth’s resources in three decades and generate a whole lot of CO2 in the process.
Yet European industrial nations and developing nations on other continents would like to see the U.S. economy restrained by the Kyoto Treaty.
Clearly, some U.S. politicians understand the implications of Gore’s folly. Don’t expect that to stop Democrats from milking every last drop of political capital from this debate. Talk of carbon credits and other nonsense is really all about campaign coffers—holding out the threat of regulation as a means of financing campaigns and perpetuating office tenures.
University of Colorado climate scientist Roger Pielke fantasizes about a Gore victory in ‘08 based on swing states with lower-than-average CO2 output: “[I]n 2004 the per-state carbon-dioxide emissions in states that voted for George Bush were about twice as large on a per-capita basis than those in states that voted for John Kerry. If climate change is a major issue in 2008 then there is a decided advantage in [important swing] states to the Democrats. Colorado and Nevada are below the national average for carbon-dioxide emissions, and Ohio and Iowa stand to benefit immensely from an ethanol bidding war.”
However, Gore’s political and economic agenda runs deeper than environmental concerns. In his recent book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism, Christopher Horner, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, aptly describes Gore and his ilk as “green on the outside, red to the core,” noting that they are motivated by an anti-capitalist agenda.
Regarding the prevailing winds of contemporary science, my colleague Thomas Sowell reminds us, “Back in the 1970s, the hysteria was about global cooling and the prospect of a new ice age.” I published a collection of those dire predictions in an essay entitled, “The Day After Tomorrow.”
Al Gore’s current hysterics should be received with much more skepticism than the last round of climate soothsayers. A lethal dose of his eco-elixir is precisely the wrong prescription, as it is full of the Left’s archetypal defeatist, retreatist statism but void of regard for real-world economic consequences.
Gore’s flawed analysis notwithstanding, however, sea level has risen, by best estimates, between four and eight inches in the last 150 years.
The annual rate of rise has remained relatively stable since the “big thaw” ended some 6,000 years ago. However, if current temperature trends continue, an increased rate of rise could pose significant challenges to nations around the world as millions of people now live only a few feet higher than current tides.
Although Gore, et al., would insist otherwise, we mere mortals are no match for the age-old forces that heat and cool our planet. Yet, in the face of enormous odds, we Americans have a history of perseverance and success. We can improvise, adapt and overcome—just as we have for hundreds of years in response to catastrophe. Unbridled innovation and ingenuity have served us well throughout our history, and these tools will take us, and the rest of the world, far into the future—unless shackled by a subterfuge like the Kyoto Protocol.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Pay attention, this guy has the goods
If we are smart.....
...we will recognize Tiawan as an independent country.
We aren't that foresighted. [To quote an old expression: "gag me with a ...]
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
We will get what we deserve
Follow the money
The league's concern for its "perception" reaches south of the border to Mexico, where it is represented by NFL Mexico, "... established in 1997 to oversee the local media, sponsorship, consumer products, fan/player development, public relations and special events needs of the NFL in Mexico," according the league's Web site.The NFL said,
The NFL reportedly continues to consider a foreign franchise in the next 10 years, with Mexico City a strong contender.
"We love Mexico," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "We have a great fan base there. It's growing every day. We are very interested in going back. And we hope to be dealing with the various officials in Mexico to try to get that done for the 2008 season."
"We were uncomfortable with the copy, which talked about terrorists and their weapons and undocumented aliens and drug smuggling, and for the Super Bowl and our Super Bowl guests, we thought that was a little much."Right, you might offend someone in Mexico City and queer your little future dream. Of course when an A-bomb is smuggled in from Mexico and destroys part of a major city, hence an NFL franchise, you won't connect any dots. What? What?
Thanks to Fox News for the link.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
One more time, with more discussion
The opening paragraph quotes a child whose mother has been arrested in the raids and may be deported. One can assume the child is a US citizen by virtue of being born in the USA. The entire article is an exposition of the plight of the children.
Some quotes are in order:
...Families are fractured, some illegal immigrants have left town or gone underground, and there's renewed debate about immigration laws.To be fair, the article quotes the townspeople as well:
Tom Vilsack, then Iowa's governor, said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that the raid "created undue hardship … and led to resentment and further mistrust of government."
"People were in an absolute panic," says Woodbury Elementary School Principal Tom Renze. "I got many calls that day just wanting assurances that the enforcement agents were not coming to school." In the next few days, Renze and his staff went to immigrants' homes to tell them it was safe to send their children to school. Some parents wouldn't answer their doors.
..."A lot of people in my family hate Mexicans."We need to step back from the emotion and look at what underlies the situation. First we have a lack of enforcement of current law from years ago. Then there was the first amnesty. Which gave the message that hang around long enough and you can skip the formalities and jump to the head of the line. Then there is the multicultural crusade that impedes the joining of American society, and in fact all but prevents it. Couple this with a tremendous pressure from outside to gain entrance to the US with a huge demand for unskilled labor that is not being filled by our citizens. [This is probably a whole blog topic or two of its own, but boils down to elitism from the left and center that our kids are too good to work hard, coupled with minimum wage laws.] It is a recipe for exactly what we have.
Deb Williams, 46, a tax preparer, says many people in town have no sympathy for illegals. "The people that were mad before are kind of glad they got busted," she says.
After the raid, he [the police chief] says, "I got call after call from people saying: 'About time. Good job.' "
I have said this before, but I will say it again.
1) Increase the quotas for Hispanics and others that want to get into this country.
2) Beef up our immigration service so that they can actually handle the influx.
3) Insist on English as the ONLY official language
4) Seal the borders
5) Start finding the illegals and throwing them out. They will be replaced by legals if we increase the quotas.
6) Get rid of automatic citizenship for children of alien parents. The child gets the citizenship of the parent.
7) If you deport the parents, deport the children. The parent knew the risks up front. They will cope with the children; they are the parents responsibility.
8) Insist on requiring an effort to become a citizen. Yes the fees are high, so put them on a time payment plan. The IRS does it with taxes.
I am in favor of immigration. I have posted on my observations of immigrants that are doing it right. Someday, whites will be in a minority everywhere. That is not a problem, as long as the essence of what makes the United States what it is, remains. Which brings me to my last point:
START TEACHING HISTORY AND GOVERNMENT PROPERLY IN THE SCHOOLS. This politically correct bullshit that emphasizes minority contributions at the expense of the main themes is wrong. I went to grade school over fifty years ago, and I knew of the important minority figures in our history, Pocahontas, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, etc. It is not complementary to reduce standards to provide spurious inclusion, it is patronizing. Those minority people who had an impact on the same scale as the traditional heroes and villains should be mentioned and discussed. We also need to balance the accomplishments of our society against the things we did wrong, not just focus on our misdeeds.
I was raised on the idea of a melting pot, not a tossed salad. A melting pot produces an alloy that has properties greater than any of its constituents. A salad can be easily separated and is only good for appearance and a bit of taste.
Even the generals are nuanced
He may be literally correct, but he just undercut his own forces and Commander in Chief. If Congress wanted to go slow on Iran this certainly will give them talking points after spinning it.
The article is from Fox News.
Monday, February 12, 2007
The Pantheon I belong to
The Gnostic Pantheon is the one for you
Take Which Pantheon is Best for you? today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
Thanks to the Maximum Leader for the link.
(I love the last line of the description.)
PETA can take a jump off a pier and hope a dolphin will find them
Sunday, February 11, 2007
The play is the thing: Casting
I do my casting by looking through the church directory, making a list of the people I would like to see in various roles, usually with one or two alternates, and then asking them directly. The first time around, I received a lot of no’s, and no thank you’s. Many people didn’t want to do any kind of acting at all. I now have a pool of people who will do some roles and other people who will do any role. I am blessed or cursed with a surfeit of talent at this point. My concern now is more of someone’s having their feelings hurt for not being asked. Part of this is because no one is required to memorize their part, and therefore they are far more comfortable. Fear of memorization is a big barrier to some people. When I ask someone, one of the first things I tell them is they will be reading their part.
Before I do my casting, I read and understand the play thoroughly and have a clear idea of the types of people the characters are. Then it becomes easy to visualize members of the congregation in those roles. It is important to help the cast be comfortable in their role. To this end you may not get the exact physical appearance you want in the character, but you should definitely go for the personality type. Some people are understated no matter what they are doing. Some are natural comedians. Some want a bit part now to get started with the idea that later they might take on a bigger role. Some are natural actors or even trained actors.
One of the hardest parts in my last production was a young widow implied to be in her thirties or earlier, who had to make the transition from confused to vengeful. The woman that played the role was in her late forties or early fifties, but loved to act and could carry it off well. She moved like a much younger woman from her former dancing. One of the young lieutenants in the play was played by a man in his early forties that looked and sounded much younger. He was one of my surprises. The part called for a brooding, Wagnerian type, and he played it like a naïve young man. Actually it came off as one of the more sympathetic parts in the play, and was quite successful.
One important part to keep in mind about casting is that the cast have other lives. They are not professionals that will rearrange their lives to suit the play. You may not get the person you want for the role simply because of scheduling issues. They may even want the part, but will turn you down. Sometimes this works out for the better. I had three large holes in my cast after the first rehearsal for the last play, and so I move people from minor roles to major roles they seemed qualified for, and then went recruiting for the resultant minor roles. Actually the final cast ended up stronger than the original.
I have learned from experience—DON’T CAST YOURSELF. Though movie directors seem to be able to star in their own movies, I see no way a stage director can do so. When I tried to read lines, I was totally unable to shape the action on the stage. With a stage play there is too much going on. The entire set is visible all the time, even though the focus is on a small part of the set. Everything has to be seen and worked with.
When I am casting a play, I will ask for volunteers. I usually get two to five regulars that will play almost any part. I will cast them and then start recruiting the remaining roles. When casting I get the phone numbers and email addresses and any schedule conflicts right away, because the conflicts effect the rehearsal schedule. Make sure each member of the cast and the remaining staff has this information for everyone involved in the play.
Some things I look for in prospective cast members: do they speak clearly, are they outgoing, can they show a range of emotion, what is the predominant characteristic of their personality. Will they take on a challenge role or would they be more comfortable as someone similar to themselves. As much as possible I try to cast people as someone similar to themselves. When casting bad guys that are truly evil, I ask the person if they are willing to play the role. I also ask people who are considered the most upright in my cast for such roles. There is always a risk that someone will consider the role as revealing some part of the person. In close communities like schools or churches that is not a good thing. My truly evil person for my last play was one of the nicest guys in the church. He also gets into his roles. When he first walked on stage on performance night he was slimey and in the close of his last scene he was so evil, even I had goosebumps. Because he was who he was, none of that rubbed off later.
A successful effort at casting makes a huge difference in the work of directing. When people start as being comfortable in their roles, they are able to take direction and guidance to bring the whole thing together.
Like I said, the back-pedaling is beginning
Thanks to Drudge for the link.
UPDATE: From Drudge as well, comes another article on the same theme, this time pointing to cosmic ray fluctuations as a cause of global warming and cooling.
My point is made for me
From another angle
The venue of this vision will become a blog spot for me, and if I think it worthwhile, I will enter it on my blogroll.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Among the bloggers I read, Gerard is certainly the most expressive and his vision of a nuclear device exploding in San Diego is a chiller. I have commented there and in this blog on the possible consequences. I have also had much to say recently about my thoughts on the capability of this country to wage a winning war in Iraq. But today as I was showering, my thoughts in contemplating the current world were bleak indeed.
It has now become obvious that the Western world will not take the necessary measures to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. In fact, I think that Iran will build many nuclear weapons. I do not mean so-called dirty bombs, but true fission devices with large kiloton yields. The thinking is just like al-Qaida, create a large, intimidating effect. A dirty bomb would not do that. The physical destruction would be minimal and the radioactivity would disrupt, but would be cleaned up or dissipate fairly rapidly. It would be disruptive but not terrifying with a large number of fatalities.
Iran has as its goal the destruction of Israel and the United States. They are our publically declared enemy whether we wish to deal with or not. So far we are doing next to nothing to deal with it, and by the time we do decide to deal with it, it will be too late.
Here is my vision of the future:
Regardless of what we do about Iraq, we will do nothing about Iran. The MSM has created an atmosphere of disregard and the overall tenor is to withdraw from the world. It will make no difference who is the President, we will continue to do nothing about Iran. In the meantime, Iran will create and test a single atomic bomb with the help of North Korea and the backing of Chavez, and covertly Russia and China. Once that occurs, there will be the building of at least 10 weapons. As far as delivery is concerned, that is an easily solved problem from their standpoint. Smuggle 2 or 3 of the weapons to Palestine and give them to Hezbollah to mount on short-to-medium range missiles. Those will be used to hit Tel Aviv and any other sites in Israel except Jerusalem. (Remember Jerusalem is holy to Muslims as well as Jews and Christians.) The remaining weapons will be smuggled into the US via Canada or Mexico. They will need no delivery system, a van will do the job.
In the US the targets will be New York, Washington, D.C., the Pentagon, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, and either Los Angelos or San Diego. I am thinking in terms of two ideas, symbols and decapitation. The fuedal thought processes of jihadists think that if the leaders are killed, then the followers are helpless. If they remove our leadership, Washington and the Pentagon, then we will be helpless. New York is a symbol and is also our financial capital. Chicago and New Orleans are the two biggest shipping and transport centers in the middle of the US. San Francisco is symbolic, and San Diego or Los Angelos are the two main Pacific centers for shipping.
It is important to realize that they are patient. They think of this as a continuation of a war started hundreds of years ago—witness the statements of al-Qaida that Andalusia is to be returned to Islam. The Moors were thrown out of Spain almost a thousand years ago. If it takes five, ten, or fifteen years to acquire the necessary materials to make that many bombs they will take the time. I don’t think it will take that long. They will obtain nuclear material both from their own production and on what will develop as a black market of oil for uranium or plutonium. It will take about 80 lbs of material per bomb, 45 lbs is the minimum but that would require ideal fabrication. Unlike the bomb in Tom Clancey’s “Sum of All Fears” the bombs will not be sophisticated fusion-enhanced devices, but simple fission devices. The alternative is that they manage to purchase existing weapons on the black market. Those would be more effective still.
A van with a simple 40 Kton yield will wipe out anything within a couple of miles and severely damage far beyond that, with corresponding huge amounts of fallout since they would be ground blasts. The entire southern end of Manhattan, almost all of Washington, D.C., the entire Pentagon, all of New Orleans, the entire downtown of Chicago and the train yards, all of downtown San Francisco, the shipyards of either Los Angelos or San Diego would be destroyed. If Congress is in session, we will lose our entire Presidential succession, the President, the Supreme Court, and the entire Cabinet. We will lose our stock markets and much of our investment banking. Everything North and East of the sites will be contaminated with fallout. The destruction elsewhere will cause massive disruptions in services and shipping. It will be a massively destructive blow.
What will happen then? We will have no national civilian leadership, and our highest level of military command structure will be eliminated. I believe we will recover, but it will be a nasty and brutal process. We will lose most of our freedoms for a while if not permanently. Tolerance will be at an all-time low.
Our military will take over the leadership in the vacuum that occurs. It is dispersed, and for the last couple of decades the emphasis has been on decision-making at the lowest levels possible. We have a military that is capable of responding in the event of no leadership. There will be rioting, and vigilantes will destroy every identifiable Islamic structure in the country. Anyone looking the least like a Muslim, brown skin, head scarf, turban, will be attacked. There will be a horrible rage across the country, and God help anyone preaching political correctness. Demagogs will rouse people to horrible acts of vengeance. Food will become scarce in areas. Finally the governors will call in the military to establish order. The greatest risk will be if the military is given enough latitude, or takes it, to, in effect, stage a coup. Tradition will be our greatest protection there; our country has always had the military subject to the civilian government, and all the top military men whose writings I have read, agree with that principle.
There will also be the inevitable political jockeying. I expect the governors to immediately try to rebuild some sort of national order, but the methods will be highly variable and in some cases definitely suspect. They will all try to do it in a manner to gain power for themselves. Without a central government we will most likely revert to something functionally akin to the Articles of Confederation or the early Federal Republic. Having finally gotten back their power the governors will be slow to relinquish it.
There will be several months of confusion as things are sorted out. Of necessity there will have to be a national level of government. Representatives will be elected, appointed, and created by back room deals. Senators will be created the same way. The fundamentals of the Constitution will be re-established. I suspect that in order to get a President and vice-President as soon as possible, with all the legally determined succession dead, the governors will simply announce two of themselves to those offices after a lot of wheeling and dealing. Under the circumstances I think it will be as effective as any other process and won’t be too bad a choice, since they would have been elected at least once already and have executive experience. The government will convene in a new location, more likely someplace like St Louis or Kansas City, or perhaps the Colorado Springs NORAD facility. A new cabinet will be appointed, and within a few months the US will be represented to the world as a funcitioning entity. Unlike the Tom Clancey fairy tale for adults, “Executive Orders”, it will be messy and much of the old politics will still obtain. However, a couple of issues will definitely be solved—the borders will be sealed, and multiculturalism will be dead. The general populace will stand for nothing else.
In the meantime, the military command structure that is left will launch retaliatory strikes. I don’t expect them to be conventional weapons either. I doubt if we will worry about proving who did it. There will be a wholesale nuclear bombing of Iran, possibly North Korea for helping them, and conventional strikes on any other suspected allies. If enough of Israel is left, they will target most of the Middle East. When it is done, Islam as a religion will be gone, as well as all state sponsorship of it. Mecca and Medina will be glass, and much of Iran. Justice will not be the issue, nor will retribution, it will be vengeance, pure and simple. Americans are the most generous people in the world, but given the provocation we have the capacity to be the most brutal.
China may use the confusion to launch an attack on Taiwan. It may succeed in subjugating the Republic of China. We won’t be in a position to respond in time. Once it is done, we won’t be able to undo it. We wasted the possibility of preventing it years ago. Europe will either, wake up and finally do something about their Islamic invasion or else, give up completely. The recovery of our financial institutions will take a bit longer. Fortunately most of them now have duplicate centers, and there will be relative few losses of information. It may be more a moratorium on transactions for a few days than a disruption of services.
Iran’s expectation will be that by destroying the head of the dragon, the dragon will die. They are entirely unable to conceive of the regrowth of the head. Instead of our destruction they will have obtained their own and their allies destruction. They will also have remade the world in a new and more brutal image. Having finally seen what isolationism will do to us, the US will transform itself internationally into a bully. We will still be the strongest force on the planet, and we will determine to remain that way. We will approach allies with a whole new suspicion, and there better be plenty of reciprocation for our cooperation. We will also react much more strongly to smaller events, having finally learned that letting things go to be nice doesn’t pay. We will also take our own self-interest more seriously.
At home we will find out that we don’t need a central nanny after all, and the governors will be very jealous of their new-found power. Radioactivity will prevent the call to rebuild what was destroyed, and the energy will be invested into new building, not the recreation of the past. There will be a major change in reliance on foreign sources for critical items, such a military ammunition, oil, minerals. We will see that we are in a hostile world and can depend only on ourselves. Our so-called allies will have their hands full with their own Islamic uprisings, and will not provide any help or assistance. There will also be an element of schadenfreude on their part, to see the mighty brought low.
We are currently asleep and dreaming. We will one day wake up to a nightmare.
The humanity of truth
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Going to Extremes
The quest for power is the most obvious one and is the most often cited, e.g., “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Those who want power gravitate mostly to government, but also positions of power in corporate structures. There are some checks on the abuse of power in corporations, financial results, personnel leaving, etc., but in government there are few or no checks on power. The founding fathers were aware of this and tried with the tripart government structure to create checks and balances. But because government has the use of power as its purpose, the desire to use it will find and has found ways around those checks and balances.
The desire for power has nothing to do with intelligence. In fact smart people after power are more dangerous than less intelligent people. The less intelligent people become bullies, the smarter ones become much more subtle. They are able to rationalize what they are doing better and are more capable of executing complex strategies to accomplish their ends. They can recruit supporters who are either lesser version of themselves, or are dupes that think their own ends will be met by those of the power-hungry.
The desire for power also is not particularly interested in wealth or money, except as a means to an end. They may appropriate the wealth of others and use it for themselves or to extend their power, but that is an expression of power not a quest for wealth. In fact the more wealth of others they can appropriate, the more they feel in power. To earn or create wealth is a concept foreign to their thinking. In their minds there is only so much wealth to go around, and they want as much of it as they can get.
Those who desire power have no concern for individuals. They love masses of people. Look at today’s political scene and the commentaries on it. How often is the discussion about the blacks, the latinoes, the whites, the poor, the middle-class, the rich, and how often are individuals either in abstract or specifically mentioned? Individuals are a threat to power. Individuals may or may not be coerced. Groups of people can be manipulated.
The end result is that the power-hungry do not care about progress or individual rights. They only care about being in control. They would rather be in control of a medieval society than part of wealthy republic. It does not matter to them that in the latter they would be more physically comfortable, or even more wealthy. It is not the absolute but the relative that counts. As long as they are more powerful and have more wealth than the people around them, they are satisfied. If they destroy others and in the process destroy society, they do not care. Often those in power believe they can command the production of wealth. The underlying paradox of this was the theme of Atlas Shrugged. Unfortunately this is almost true in that those who quest for knowledge at any price will provide them with the appearance of progress, though it may not be in the directions that free men would take.
Money is the second-most quoted source of evil—“The love of money is the root of all evil.” First of all note the quote, it is the LOVE of money not money that is the root of evil. It is the pursuit of money for itself, to acquire it by any method, that is the root of evil. There are many versions of this in literature. The classic is Scrooge, who, though he is redeemed by seeing the consequences, drove himself and his employee to the extreme. He spent almost nothing on himself and kept Bob Cratchet at the smallest wage possible. Albert Finney’s portrayal was brilliant in the television production. A modern version would be any of the recent corporate debacles, e.g., EXXON, MCI, TYCO, etc.
A more subtle form of the excessive love of money is the willingness to take subsidies from the government. This is not earned money or created wealth. It is the receipt of extorted money. The government acquires money only through the direct or indirect use of its power to arrest. Once it is given permission to levy taxes, the enforcement of the levy is by the use of jail, or forceful acquistion from bank accounts, or the threat thereof. That the money received back from the government is only a portion of that taken in taxes does not excuse that it is the receipt of ill-gotten gains, because the payment of that subsidy is used to justify further rape and pillage of the populace via taxes.
A relative of the above is the willingness to allow regulation of business. Any business that allows without protest regulation of its activities is looking for an advantage over its competition without doing anything to achieve it. This includes the businesses that suddenly ascribe to popular causes, such as a Carbon Market. They think that by voluntarily accepting regulations that they will become exempt or be grandfathered out of the the more draconian measures that will follow. They are hoping to accept a little bit of regulation to prevent a lot. Sorry, but that is like being a little bit pregnant. Eventually the end result occurs. But what is at fault here is the desire to be profitable at any cost. There is no consideration for the long term, or any consideration of principles, but only for the short term.
At the individual level the examples become legion, murder, embezzlement, fraud, theft, extortion. Much of the penal code is devoted to crimes involving money.
Knowledge is where the evil is often less obvious and more debatable. However, the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake with no consideration of any other issue has led to some of the most horrible atrocities that have occurred in mankind’s history. The source of the problem is the nature of knowledge itself—it is amoral. There is no inherent good or evil in facts. It is the use that is made of them and the means by which they are obtained that create moral issues. An additional problem with knowledge is that those who acquire it then become wedded to the facts themselves and will do anything to keep them from being refuted. Once an answer is obtained, the believers want it to be the only answer for the future.
Historically the atomic bomb is a good example of knowledge that was subjected to both good and evil use. I do not want to engage here in a debate over the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those were political-military decisions that are in the realm of pragmatism, and necessarily so. However, in the abstract, the use of nuclear energy for weapons can be seen as evil. But the use for medical treatments and the generation of non-polluting power are definitely good. (For all the trolls out there who consider nuclear power evil, the generation of nuclear power is non-polluting in the usual sense, and the waste nucleides are non-polluting as long as they are contained. Any debate over the risks is outside this discussion.)
A more modern example of the desire for knowledge leading to evil is the notorious Nazi human-experimentation. Not only were people tortured and killed to obtain the results, but the results ended up being useless. They were not properly obtained by scientific protocol standards. Now we are in a debate over cloning and stem-cell research. These debates arise from the pursuit of biological knowledge for its own sake. To the point that it does not touch human lives the question of good and evil do not arise, unless there is an obvious desire to create misery. But once it touches the concept of human life, there is a whole new set of concerns. The difficulty being that public (government tax) money is involved, creating a major debate, over the rightness or wrongness of the research and the source of the money, based on a view of what constitutes human life. When we look at the arguments a bit more deeply, one finds that the proponents of the research often try to present the potential benefits as a justification, a pragmatism vs deontology moral debate, but the real motivation, sometimes stated, is that they want to know and shouldn’t be stopped. There is no concern for moral issues—the quest for knowledge outweighs all other concerns in their minds.
How could caring for others lead to evil? Is it not what we are commanded to do in the Bible? Is it not what is expressed in our social programs? Do we not desire to help our fellow humans? When that desire outweighs any other consideration, it leads to evil just as the above excesses do. “I only meant to help,” “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” and the Law of Unintended Consequences are outcomes of caring for others carried to the extreme. Generally the evil occurs when the caring is divorced from thought of the proper methods and outcomes, particularly when it is motivated by the pain of sympathy for those to be cared for.
This particular desire to help others and care for them leads also to some horrific results, though they are often not properly attributed. This desire is also the most easily co-opted for the purposes of those who pursue power. Milder forms are parents that over-protect their children and make them emotional or psychic cripples in life, unable to make decisions, apply themselves productively for extended periods, or to forstall momentary pleasure for long-term gain. On a larger scale there is the do-gooder that wants to throw money to alleviate the symptoms of a social problem without looking at the causes—the person that gives the dollar to the beggar. Then there are the do-gooders that think their perception of misery allows them to dictate that others provide the solution. From that springs all the problems of our current welfare programs. And always any debate over means is interpreted as not caring or being unconcerned with the victim. Finally there is the person who is so desparate to do good that they work to create or maintain victims. Examples are those who swoop in without being asked to sympathize and “help” when the object is doing fine getting themselves back up. Please note that the underlying motivations may be anything but doing good, but it is the expression itself that is causing the harm.
The opposite extreme is just as harmful for all of these. To refuse to use power responsibly is to allow evil to rule by might makes right. From my own view the US is rapidly heading in that direction internationally. At the personal level, the parent that refuses to discipline a child when it is needed is creating a monster. To refuse to pursue money in any form may lead to personal deprivation which is a choice, but to inflict it along with the resultant ill-health and misery on ones off-spring is evil. Attendant with this is often a condemnation of anyone who has wealth, nevermind that the use of wealth to create more wealth is the secret of the success of western society, which has the longest life-spans and where even poor people are rich by early history standards. The opposite of the quest for knowledge is ignorance and the results of that are obvious—to such a degree that we are inclined to see the extreme of knowledge acquisition as favorable despite its potential for evil. Finally, we are all too familiar with the complete self-centeredness of the egotist, and particularly the sociopath, who cares nothing for other people, only for what he/she can acquire for her/himself.
The point to be taken is Aristotilean in nature, that it is a moderation of these desires that makes them virtues. A desire for power, wealth, and knowledge and a caring for others are all necessary to some degree for successful living. They are the drivers of our civilization and all its accomplishments. But when pursued to becoming ends in themselves, instead of motivators for ends they lead to evil.
UPDATE 2/9/2007: This article in the WSJ Opinion Journal supports my thesis on business accepting government regulation.
Mr. Scott has already tried to appease these critics, retaining a bevy of Beltway and former Clinton Administration PR operatives. One of their bright ideas was to have Mr. Scott endorse a minimum wage increase, which wouldn't hurt Wal-Mart but would hurt its smaller, less-profitable competitors who can't afford to pay more. And the company made a media splash out of inviting Al Gore to Arkansas to inspect its "green" initiatives--most of which save Wal-Mart money in any case. We haven't noticed any reduction in anti-Wal-Mart union animus as a result.
And on that score the political and intellectual divide is very wide. Mr. Stern [Service workers union chief] knows what he wants, which is a steady march toward a government-run system. The alternative is to move, via tax and regulatory reform, to a more consumer-friendly individual marketplace.
More than a few American businesses are tempted to go the government route because it would allow them to toss their liabilities on the taxpayer. The Big Three car makers were among HillaryCare's most vocal supporters in 1993 for precisely this reason. And some CEOs are toying with similar notions now on grounds that it would improve their global "competitiveness." [emphasis mine, bk]
But any money government spends on health care has to come from somewhere (read: taxpayers). Health care is a big reason that the overall tax burden is as high as it is in most of Europe. According to the OECD, the "tax wedge" as a share of all labor costs was only 29.11% in the U.S. in 2005. It was above 40% in most of Europe, and above 50% in France and Germany. These countries spend little on defense, so "national health care" and other social services explain the high tax burden. We haven't noticed these economies being especially "competitive" of late.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
An excellent quiz for a rail fan
You're the Empire Builder!
An admirer of Lewis & Clark, you have a firm belief in
Manifest Destiny. Your destiny has manifested itself in a northern and at
times desolate existence, but you don't mind life on the mountainside with
snow and goats. Though your glory days are well past you, many still come
to visit you to talk about the old times and get a taste for what you were
like back in your prime. If you were a dish soap, it would be
Take the Trains and Railroads Quiz
at RMI Miniature Railroads.
One of my favorites.
Thanks to the Maximum Leader for the link.
Although he is far from alone, the central Iraqi leader enabling the Iranian takeover is Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. Hakim, who heads the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) spent the 20 years preceding the US-led invasion of Iraq in Iran. SCIRI's militia — the Badr force — has overt ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Indeed, both the Badr militia and SCIRI were created in Iran in 1982 by the Revolutionary Guards.There is more. It would do well to read the whole thing.
SCIRI is the largest faction in the Iraqi parliament today, and Hakim is considered key to ensuring stability in Iraq. To this end, he was brought to Washington last December to meet with President George W. Bush.
But since Hakim is controlled by Iran, by attempting to appease him, the US is effectively attempting to collaborate with Iran in a manner that facilitates the Iranian takeover of Iraq. This move is opposed by US military commanders in the country who are tired of allowing the Iranians to kill US forces at will. Yet while they are reportedly demanding that the authority kill Iranian operatives in Iraq, their moves are being blocked by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her associates at the State Department and the CIA.
THIS CRITICAL dispute currently revolves around the issue of whether or not the White House will publicly reveal evidence of Iran's deep involvement in the war in Iraq generally, and attacks against US forces specifically. Rice and her colleagues argue for suppressing the information. Revealing the depth of Iranian operations against the US, they argue, will force the US to actually fight back.
That is, apparently, Rice and her associates would rather see Iran take control of Iraq, and so bring about the most humiliating defeat of US forces since the Vietnam War, than acknowledge that Iran is fighting the US and its allies.
The future writ small
1. Whether we like it or not, the 9/11 acts of terrorism and the constant threat of further terrorism has changed the way we look at our world. Before 9/11 no one would have made any kind of issue about the advertising displays, and if there were a response it would have been laughed at as a good joke on the responder. Not any more. Time Warner apologizes, the perpetrators could spend years in jail, and the city of Boston is looking for someone to pony up $750,000 to pay for the over-reaction.
2. Politics has nothing to do with what happened. The very liberal city of Seattle had the same thing all over the place and thought nothing of it. The very liberal city of Boston experienced a major disruption. It almost harkens back to the founding of the two cities, Seattle by explorers and those seeking freedom from social oppression and Boston the seat of Congregationalism and the likes of Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards. The first saw it for what it was and the second saw it as a threat (after all it had to do with fun and it was different).
3. Our systems of reaction to threat are only as good as the perception. Apparently there are still people with judgment and thought in Seattle. They looked at the displays and realized they were cartoons and harmless. In Boston, after they had been in place all over the city for some days, a worker perceived them as a threat, and without further evaluation, the police went into emergency overdrive. As best as I can tell, they didn't even check it out with a local patrolman first. There may be a lot of self-righteous justification going on now, but it was handled poorly.
4. In order to keep from looking stupid, the legal system will prosecute the producers of the devices as if they really were as bad as the reaction. It is as if by pretending the problem was bad everyone will believe it was.
5. Why did it take several days before they were reported, and then when it happened the response was as if a bomb were to explode an second?
6. It certainly adds some substance to my comments on public surveillance.
7. The response by the police was really off the wall in its totality. According to the report in USA Today, "...police and bomb squad officers raced to remove the plexiglass light boards from bridges and other high profile areas. In all they found 38 blinking images..." After the first one they still didn't have a clue, much less after 38? If the rest of Massachusetts is like Boston, it's no wonder Teddy Kennedy got away with murder. The police can't tell crime from nonsense.
8. My take is that
a. Boston is protected by the Keystone Cops and the city hires idiots to work the subways.
b. We really are fools to think the government will really protect us from terrorist acts. They will--but only the obvious ones--too late.
Boston as a city is one of the furthest along in the implementation of liberal agenda items. We can now see the result. As time goes on and liberalism takes a greater and greater hold on our society, we will see spontaneity become forbidden and persecuted. Note that licentiousness which is tolerated or even encouraged by liberalism is not the same as spontaneity. Spontaneity is fun and original. It makes people think by changing the way we look at things or changes the things we look at (in this case.) As such it is dangerous to the dogmas of liberalism (or conservatism too where it becomes dogmatic). It also can make fools of people, as it did here of a subway worker and the Boston Police. That is unforgivable by liberals, to make them seem foolish or laughable. They take themselves, soooo seriously.
We have seen the future in this event and it makes it look pretty unappetizing.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Too true to be funny
As I said, the retractions are starting
Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn't exist. And I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen, despite the fact that I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology and I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition.“Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg.” . For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is why.It is important to read the whole thing.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Big Brother is watching
Very simply--EVIL IS IN THE MIND OF THE BEHOLDER, and PEOPLE ALWAYS FIND WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR.
Or to put it another way, from a monitoring perspective, you are guilty until proven innocent. If a person has a job to watch a monitor and report anything that is wrong in order to prevent a crime, then they will interpret everything the least bit out of the ordinary as a possible crime, just to be sure, thinking it is better safe than sorry. Also, imagine the publicity if a crime occurs and the perpetration was recorded and nothing done about it. If hindsight is perfect, then foresight will be paranoid.
However, if it leads to a false arrest or at least detainment, then what? There is very little recourse for false arrest or detainment, unless it is really egregious in its impact. Notice that if there is a false arrest and it is publicized, the retraction is never as powerful as the original publicity. Steve is quite right to be concerned. Lives will be ruined over this, and it is hard to say how much crime will be prevented.
What is more significant is that it is a reversal of the ruling philosophy in our jurisprudence, that it is better that the guilty go free than the innocent be falsely found guilty. With public monitoring we are saying it is better for the innocent to be falsely accused than for the guilty to go free.
A second problem that will occur if one tries to solve the previous one by only making an arrest when the crime is committed is that then the purported purpose is defeated, that of prevention. However, in preventing a crime what would the arrest be for? If there is no arrest, then this is purely and simply spying on innocent people.
Traffic cameras are the first step, this is the second, and the third will be continuous observation everywhere in public. Big Brother (or worse, Big Nanny) is watching.