Thursday, July 31, 2003

Muslims angered by US display of Uday and Qusay

All the Aniti-Americanists, Leftists, Bush Hater, etc. where jumping up and down last week about how Muslims were upset (well at least the one interviewed by the BBC, NY Times, etc.) by televised images of the dead Hussein boys. Well few things... One, that they are where upset is quite a lie. Two many were quoted saying it was against Islam. Now they are technically right but the part of Islam that it was breaching is the part that says infidels (USA) have no rights to do anything to any Muslim (Uday and Qusay) for any reason whatsoever.

Now if you are Muslim and you really believe that crap... then tough.

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The Media Vietnamization of Iraq continues

John O'Sullivan has a good take on what I spoke of earlier and has been pointed out by others. About how the US/EU media is distorting and or lying in their reporting of events in an effort to make America think it's 1969 all over again. It's to the point that I have problems trusting anything in the main stream news regarding world affairs.

Iraq is not a quagmire. We aren't loosing to the Ba'athists and terrorists. The majority of Iraqis want us to stay until the work is done and everyday things are getting better. The Reconstruction of the South took 10 years. Germany and Japan took over 5 years each. We where in Vietnam for 10 years. Only one of those four is considered a "quagmire" and yet every news report you get is claiming just that in Iraq after 3 months. 3 months. Now if in 2 years thing are identical to now, there has been no progress and the death toll is pushing 400 then you can get a little worried. Calling the liberalization and democartization of Iraq a quagmire now is like lightly pressing on the brakes for a split second while driving at 110mph and then declaring that you've obviously had catastrophic brake failure since your car didn't instantly stop.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

3 Things on Cuba

#1) US policy is based more on helping the old Cuban mobsters that all move to Miami after the revolution than it is a trying to bring liberty and freedom to the people of Cuba.

#2) US policy won't change until after Castro dies

#3) The "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy that allows asylum seekers that make it to land stay in the US while those caught at sea are shipped back should have been ignored with the 12 guys in the 1951 Chevy Truck. That is just a wonderful story. They should have been followed and only sent back it the Truck sunk. If the truck had made it they could have stayed and the truck could have gone into the Smithsonian. But no. Now they are all back in Cuba to face who knows what repercussions and the Truck is at the bottom of the sea.

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Monday, July 28, 2003

Lance wants to get 6

Not to diminish Lance Armstrong's amazing story to fight cancer and and go on to win five Tour o'France's in a row but may American's like to think it bothers the French that an American, a Texan no less, keeps winning their race. Now Lance has confirmed he wants to try for 6. Go Lance Go!

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Friday, July 25, 2003

America to answer the call in Liberia

Well is seems that Bush is serious about defending liberty and is ignoring the counsel of the isolationists in this country to send a force into Liberia to and stabilize things. As for our troops being spread too thin? We have 37,000 soldiers in South Korea sitting on their asses polishing brass.

America taking the time to warn the locals it very dangerous to go near the emabassy. Yet another example of careless blood thirsty evil America

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VDH debunks myths, Jonah debunks Berkeley

Victor Davis Hanson's debunking of 5 falsehoods on the War in Iraq. As always good stuff.

Jonah Goldberg debunks Berkeley's insane "study" on the devpraved mind of the conservative.

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Grandpa’s not the problem. Great-Grandpa is.

With a tragedy like what occurred in Santa Monica when Russ Weller drove through a street market striking over 50 pedestrians and killing 10 there is bound to be many knee-jerk and poorly thought ideas on how to “solve” the problem or more likely what is perceived to be the problem. What is needed to try and come up with a plan that addresses concerns raised by such tragedies, if anything can be done, is thoughtful and reasoned observations of the events. What doesn’t help are reverse knee-jerk arguments. In a recent commentary on these events Mr. Eli Lehrer slips into this by pointing fingers everywhere from mechanical failure to other drivers in an attempt to mitigate either Russ Weller’s fault, or relative impact, in the accident. While I agree in part with Mr. Lehrer’s final conclusion I have to say he has errored on every point he makes on the way.

In his opening paragraph Mr. Lehrer makes reference to possible mechanical and to the vast majority of people this seems quite plausible. Everyone wants to think that it could be a failure of the car at that would make is all such a tidy situation and those affected gat the bonus of suing GM for $37 trillion dollars. Sadly no, all that suggestion does is feed into the myth of Sudden Acceleration. Mr. Weller’s 1992 LeSaber was a good car and it did exactly what it was told. Why it wasn’t the car’s fault needs to be explained in detail to show why it was none other than poor driving. The main thing to understand is it that for mechanical failure to be the culprit you will need failures in the Engine Management Computer (ECU), throttle assembly, brakes, steering, transmission and ignition systems all at the same time.

The ECU failures are quite rare. The ECU is a solid state computer that controls fuel to the engine. While it goes by many names, Jentronic in my old Saab for example, they all modern cars have one and they fill the same basic function. The ECU in Mr Weller’s Buick needs to fail in a manner that results in it feeding to much fuel to the engine. Operating properly the computer monitors airflow and sends in more fuel as the volume of air, controlled by the gas pedal, increases. Now these computers do fail, but when they do the cars simply stops running or at best runs in a sluggish limp-home mode. For this “Sudden Acceleration” theory to fly the ECU needs to begin overloading fuel. This is a tall order for a solid state appliance that typically works or is dead but I’m no electrical engineer so while I have never heard or read of this happening I will allow it as “possible”. So now that fuel is rushing to get into the engine is the car out of control? Absolutely not. Letting off the gas pedal will shut the throttle valve closing off the air supply, causing the engine to at first run rich, bog down and then stall – no tragedy. Steering the car out of the way and through the market – no tragedy. Grab the keys and turn the car off – no tragedy. Putting the car into neutral and allowing it to coast to a stop – no tragedy. Finally you can apply the brakes and stop the car – no tragedy. I could take a few thousands words going through every possible combination of failures and state what could be done to avert disaster but the point I’m want to make is that unless everything goes is just the right manner all at the simeltaneouly – a statistical impossibility – there are safe easy and quick ways a good and aware driver can bring a car under control.

Mr. Weller may have had one thing go wrong on his car but the question is whether or not he was still a safe driver and a person who freezes in a situation causing risk to others as opposed to calmly keeping their car under control is not what I would consider a safe driver. The most likely scenario of when happened is Mr. Weller mistakenly had his foot on the gas thinking it was the brake and as the car moved into the crowd he pressed what he thought was the brake harder making the Buick push deeper and deeper into the market. This “Sudden Acceleration” where people are pressing the wrong pedal happens to all ages, through is more common among the elderly who may be more easily confused by rapidly changing situations.

Mr. Lehrer makes his greatest error with an apples and oranges age group comparison. His commentary is on an accident caused by an 86 year-old driver and in it he also mentions an incident from 1999 involving a 96 year-old driver. Then he goes on to explain how the older drivers should be left alone since the 18-25 year old group is actually more dangerous than the 55-70 year old group. I would like to ask Mr. Lehrer to please explain what the comparison of the 18-25 and 55-70 groups has to do with a discussion on those 85 and older? He never quite explains why he is rushing to the defense of the 55-70 year olds by bashing the youngest drivers when the 55-70 year old group isn’t part of the discussion.

Mr. Lehrer spends the bulk of his story making a moral equivalence argument that young drivers are more dangerous than the older drivers as a justification for allowing old drivers on the road forever and adding that it’s the young drivers that need state intervention. Crap. First the problem with young drivers is their lack of experience to handle a car properly. In the current system restricting their driving will only drag out the time it takes them to gain that experience. Make people wait until they are 35 to get a license and you will have a bunch of dangerous inexperienced 35 year olds on the roads. Where as the problem with old drivers – talking 70+ as 55 year olds being old only using AARP logic - is that they have lost the skill they once had, and once lost continued driving is not resulting in a reacquiring these skills but merely increasing the chance of an accident.

Let’s look at the numbers. Mr. Lehrer takes 18-25 year olds vs. 55-70. I have no idea where he is getting statistics for 18-25 year olds as he provides no reference and NHTSA breaks the ages into 16-20 and 21-34. The numbers for the 16-20 are just awful but I have been complaining about how bad our drivers training is for years so I am happy to conede that. The corner stone to Mr. Lehrer’s equivalence is comparing the death rate. The death rate is a simple calculation based upon the number of dead vs. the over all population. So 16-20 has the highest at 30 followed by 70+ at around 23 and 21-34 a close second at 22. That means for 2001 (the most recent year NHTSA has stats for on the web) 30, 23 and 22 people from the respective age group perished in wrecks per 100,000 in each group. Based solely on that it would seem the 70+ and 21-35 group are about equal in safety but this couldn’t be further from the truth because the real number to conceder is deaths per miles driven. For example if I tell you I had one accident last year while Bob had two, who would you feel safer with? Now what if I tell you I’m 82 years old and drove a total of 3,500 miles last year never venturing off the same roads from my house to the church, store and senior center, while last year Bob, a 22 year-old college student, racked up over 30,000 miles between spring break, heading out of town for concerts and his job as a pizza delivery guy, then who would you feel safer with? I can find no data that breaks down the miles driven by the different age groups but there is no way anyone can convince me that the 70+ crowd as a group drive more than a small fraction of the kids out exploring the world.

So with the young drivers, who’s inexperience, immaturity and feeling of invincibility all impact their poor driving are still only dying at a slightly higher rate than the 70+ even though they driving many more miles and at higher rates of speed. If one was able to find the date breakdown on miles driven it would no doubt reflect that each time behind the wheel it is the 70+ group most likely to crash and not 21-34. But even if my supposition is completely false it doesn’t make the, “but they do it too” defense sufficient to allow older drivers carte blanch on the highways.

As for Mr. Lehrer’s asscertion that younger drivers are more dangerous because the for profit rental industry shies away from them all I can say is, come on man! While I will give you that accident rates play a factor in rental cars being denied to younger drivers there is a lot more involved. Again younger drives drive more. A young renter is likely to want to drive all over town to “get their money’s worth” where the 70+ driver is going where they need to go and no further. Younger drivers are more likely to damage the car outside of accidents spilling a Supersize soda on the back seat, cigarette burns, etc. but the big one is financial liability. The kids screw up your car what are you going to do? Great-gramps on the other hand has all those hard earned assets laying around you can take if he screws your car up. Rental companies blackball younger drivers because - they can’t make an easy profit from them – the reasons for which poor driving is only one.

When Mr. Lehrer concludes,

“No regulation will ever make it perfectly safe for anybody to drive a two-ton hunk of steel at 65-miles-per-hour. Some older motorists, particularly those with health and vision problems, do warrant extra attention from the government, but driving records and diagnosed medical conditions, not age alone, should help policymakers decide who should get off the road. A handful of tragic deaths, in other words, do not justify revoking the driving privileges that millions of seniors depend on. ”

…it comes across to me as saying there is nothing we can do outside of taking freedom away from an entire segment of society, a that freedom is worth more than a few lives. Now I do agree that freedom is expensive but there is something we can do about it, not only for the elderly drivers but for the young drivers as well. Simulators. Simulators are used to teach airline pilots, tank commanders a whole host of things where if you screwed up in the real world people die. Well that’s what’s going on with our highways. Kids drive poor due to lack of experience and the elderly due to lose of both physical and mental reflexes. Now imagine a setup where you didn’t get a full license until you had logged so many incident free miles on the simulator or one were older drivers where faced with different fast changing situations and had to react accordingly? Custom tailoring the simulations would be easy. Give the kids a bunch of slow drivers they have to learn to deal and the older drivers cars zipping that they need to react to or no license. Younger drivers would for the first time have real incentive to learn good driving habits. Older drivers would have real incentive to do what they can to maintain their reflexes. And everyone in the middle can breath a little easier. Win, win, win.

Mr. Lehrer says that there is no problem with older drivers by trying to distract you with mechanical gremlins and poor teenage drivers but even so there’s nothing we can do about it short of squashing freedoms. Mt Lehrer is wrong, there is a problem and a solution. The real question is whether we as Americans are willing to pay the money to increase road safety while maintaining our individual freedoms? I think we should but most likely Mr. Lehrer’s fears of knee-jerk legislation that does nothing buy blindly label an entire age group unsafe is what will come to pass.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Muslim refusal to give an inch

Fatimah over at Secular Islam has a good take on yet another example of how Islam demands that the world bend to it's ways without giving an inch back. Good Muslims force non-Muslims to accept Islam. Or at least so seems to be the case here on Earth today.

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Friday, July 18, 2003

France still pissed English rules the world

The French Culture Ministry's General Commission is at it again. The General Commission is the body that determines what words of English have creeped into their country, create new made up words that have the same meaning and then ban the use of the English version. The latest threat to French culture? the word "E-mail". Poor poor scared Pierre. (thx MAW)

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A very Smart idea.

I really angered and made this otherwise very intelligent British girl irrationally defensive when I told her that the Smart city car couldn't be sold in the US due to safety issues. She took that to mean me saying EU standards are less than the US and as an insult. After bickering we agreed that it was moot as not enough people in the US would be into a 50hp car the size of a golf cart to make importing viable. For most Americans a car is not just how you get around town, it's also how you get across country. Compared to Europe there is no intercity public transportation in the US so if I want to get from Columbus to Cleveland for the Liz Phair show I can drop $500 to fly up one day and back on next plus hotel charges or I can make the 280mi round trip all in the same day for $15 in gas. Even if you over taxed the gas like in Europe it would be around $45, still a fraction of the cost of airfare and hotels. The point is as Americans all we have is the car and if you've ever driven across Kansas into a headwind you'll understand why the Smart city car wouldn't do well here.

Enter the For4.

Smart's new sedan which will be coming to the US is excepting to go on sale either '05 or '06. I can't find any stats on the car but I would except it to have reasonable performance. No doubt with a larger more powerful engine than other markets. Based on the picture you can see it is has a more traditional "car" look to it and while it might never take off in Flint I'm sure they can sell enough to be worth the time in the cities and along the coasts. So we will be getting a Smart we probably won't get the new Roadster and Coupe.

The Smart Roadster and Coupe are very light weight aggressive sports cars. The main problem is power and price. For $17,000 dollars you get a .7l L3/61hp engine. Yes, that's point seven liter 3 cyl. That's smaller than the 3 popper in the Geo Metro. It's just not a viable power plant. For $17,000 I can get a used BMW Z3, Saab 9-3, Ford Mustang, Chevy Camero SS and so on. These are 200 to 300 hp rides and they are only a fraction of the ragtops available on the used market. Add into the mix the reality that Pontiac is going to be rolling out the tiny Solstice roadster with a sub $20k price tag and a supercharged L4 with over 200hp in a few years and it's easy to see the Smarts collecting a lot of dust.

But what if it had a better engine?

Take 2 of those .7l turbo 3cyl and mate them into a 1.4l turbo V6 with 170hp and now you have a viable car. The base curb weight is a mere 1,746lbs. The larger engine wouldn't add more than a few pounds. This car could be a real machine eating larger more power cars for lunch. This is what Smart has done. At $25,000 range they could sell these. Not tons but I think enough to make it worth while as its number would be very good with only around 10.5lbs per pony. 0-60 would be in the mid 5 second range.

I'd look into getting one.

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VDH on Corrections

Yet another wonderful piece from our favorite Classics scholar Victor Davis Hanson

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Thursday, July 17, 2003

Jonah for Senate

Sometimes I agree with Jonah Goldberg from over at National Review Online. Sometimes I don't. Jonah has nuts. Mounds don't. Anyhow I always read Jonah because he has sass and sass is a rare commodity among most opinion folk in these times of diversity sensitivity. There are times though when Jonah nails something down so well I just want to give him a big ol'bear hug and his ripping of scum-monger Jerry Springer is one of those times. Jonah has no idea how correct he is when he claims,

...if you think it's only worth voting if Springer's on the ballot it's not because you like his ideas. It's because you like the man. You like what he represents. Or, you're just bored and think it's all a big joke to send the human incarnation of a burning bag of dog droppings to the U.S. Senate.

Here in Columbus all of those I know who vote and pay at least partial attention to what's going on outside of the last Friend's episode is quite honestly, embarrassed by Springer running for Senate. Where as those I know who couldn't care less about such boring things as zoning ordinances, land rights and budgetary issues are all chanting "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!". They think it'll be a hoot to have Springer as our Senator. Those that care fear Springer will give Ohio a bad name. Those who don't think he will give us recognition. Also there seems to be an odd correlation between those that don't like Ohio State football and those that are pro Springer. Might have something to do with feeling disenfranchised in their own community but much smarter folk than I would need to root that one out.

As for Springer running against Jonah? Jonah's got himself one write-in on the Ohio ballot coming from me.

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BBC runs a great racket

Jonathan Miller is refusing to pay the BBC TV license fee. For him I say bravo!

TV License Fee.

I'm not 100% against the idea. I would rather it not exists but a small nominal charge could be lived with, however the $238.50 per TV that our friends in England are charged is indefensible. There are 5 TV's in my house. That would be $1,192.50 a year for the privilege to own a TV and that's not including the 2 computers with TV cards or that we have broadband internet access. Christ, that's more than I paid for my 4 Saabs combined. The BBC gets $4.77 billion dollars a year in revenue. What do the viewers get for their $4.77 billion? Shows with hollywood quality CGI prehistoric beasties and some of the most biased journalism in the West.

Let's see... England's GDP was $1.2 trillion which means that the BBC sucks in .4% of the GDP. Does public TV need that much? That would be the equivalent of PBS getting $40 billion dollars here. .4% of the GDP and the are not accountable to anyone but themselves. Well done.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2003

The Vietnamization of Iraq.

David Adesnik on the OxBlog has a great look at what he calls the "Vietnam Mindset". I couldn't be in more agreement and a quick run over to the NY Times finds an article reporting a, "rash of attacks". Just looking at this article you can see the reporter trying to create a feeling of hopelessness. My issues with this Times article are numerable;

"a rash of attacks". Since when do a few attacks, one of which it is questionable to include as the attack was not against America/Collation personal but rather Iraqis, in a nation the size of Iraq constitute a "rash"?

"Thirty-four American soldiers have have been killed by insurgents". What kind of world do you live in where you feel you can label Ba'athists, thugs and radical Islamists as insurgents? What's next, are the Al Quada and Taliban terrorists at GITMO going to be labeled as dissidents? Guerilla Mystic is right.

Body counting. Trying to show how awful things are going for us by constantly repeating death tolls. In this article there four death tolls mentione; (1) 34 dead by attack (2) 49 dead in attack and accident (3) 300 wounded in combat (4) 315 wounded in non combat all since "President Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq on May 1". 34 dead? That seems like an awful lot. The average American probably doesn't know a single person that has died since 5/1/2003 so 34 seems awful high, that is until you provide perspective. Over the course of the Vietnam, American journalism's favorite war, we lost 5 people a day. May 1st to July 16 is 77 days. By the standard set in Vietnam we should be around 385 deaths. The death toll in Iraq is less than 7% of Vietnam but the media won't ever give you that perspective. Want more? In the last 77 days in the US (based on the most resent data), days during which we lost 34 valiant soldiers in Iraq, we lost around 8,800 Americans in fatal car accidents. Newspapers, TV, Radio are full of the death and lose of American blood in Iraq and completely quiet on highway deaths even though we spilt 260 times the blood on our roads than we have in Iraq. They won't ever make this comparison for you lest you come to the conclusion that if we can fix the middle east a little for a tiny fraction of the blood we lose driving to work then it's worth the effort.

Disgruntled Soldier Quotes. You are a reporter with all the power and resources of the NY Times at you disposal and you only quote one soldier? One. What are you tying to get across with your sample of one? I question as to whether or not Spc. Carlos McKenzie even exists.

There are 4 points where in just this one article where you can see the Vietnamization taking effect. (1) Small unrelated and inconsequential attacks are made out to seem like a organized assault. Regardless of the media accounts we won the Tet Offensive. (2) Canonization of the enemy. Thugs, murders and Islamist terrorist are merely, "insurgents" and soon to be freedom fighters while our soldiers are relabeled baby killers. (3) Body count mantras. Repeating the body count over and over and over for no reason other that making is out to be the only thing that matters. Report on progress in Iraq? No. Body count went from 34 to 35? Stop the $##&@ presses! and (4) Making is seem like even our own soldiers don't want to be there by only interviewing the disgruntled.

The media warned us the Gulf War, then Kosovo and recently Afghanastan would all be "another Vietnam". Maybe they miss Vietnam so much they are just going to pretend this is 1969 all over again and angle their reports to make it look as such, truth be dammed.

UPDATE: I have been provided with information that Spc. Carlos McKenzie is a real person and with that knowledge I'd like to say I greatly appreciate Spc. McKenzie's sacrifice for what I believe is the betterment of a world even if he doesn't see it. This doesn't alter the fact that the Times only quoting one soldier, who conveniently is disgruntled, comes across as trying to manipulate the feelings of the reader into thinking no one wants to be there.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2003

America's rose colored glasses

I am a big opponent to multicultural relativism. I despise it. It white washes evil, vilifies good and trys to magically bring everyone to the same level field. One of the ways in that multicultural relativism is bad is the perverse effect that it cuases in people tired of the multicultural relativistic crap when they begin to see any broadening of horizons as creeping multicultural relativism and shun it. However, when they do so they are missing the greatest tool we can have for understand the actions of others on this planet and that it to understand the "world view" of others. Unlike multicultural relativism, learning others world views does not had right and worng. One can understand the world view of the Serbians and still launch missiles to stop genocide in Kosovo.

We, as Americans, have a wondrously optimistic world view. We have by far the most optimistic on earth. It makes sense too as we are mighty, powerful, never been defeated, never been crushed, always reaching higher and higher heights, comprised (mostly) of people that came to the US with the belief that if they worked hard good things would happen. We believe that if our kids don't have it better than we did then we, as a society, have collectively dropped the ball. Bill Whittle talks alot about how important our optimism is to our current and continued success and it is this American Optimism that is going to bring democracy to Iraq. It won't be done by the leftists that think an illiberal despot is superior to liberal democracy to begin with and spent all the pre-war time defending Saddam. It won't be done by the "paleo-conservatives" that think since the Iraqis aren't just like us they "don't get it" and are incapable of achieving such lofty reaches. The salt and earth of the center of America - the optimistic center - however knows that we can in fact not only make Iraq democratic but also a successful prosperous country. The only question is how much work it will take. And this American world view is amplified by our gross lack of history.

Envy and Naiveté.

Envy. Many in the world feel and envy of the United States but what is it that creates this envy? Is it just a good economy? Just good wages? Just a strong military? Is it envy of what we have? I don't think so. I say it's envy of what we can do. We can finish the Panama Canal. Can can defend other nations. We can go to the moon, on a time table. We can, with the flick of a wrist, go around the world and overthrow rouge governments. We can do anything and they can't. It is that they are envious of but here's the rub... they can't because they think they can't. They have a world view that keeps them in their place. Keeps them from trying. They have 1001 reasons why it can't be done and wax on till the cows come home about how it will fail, all the while we are busy doing it. First it was all about how the Taliban are hardened fighters after years warfare. That Afghanistan was going to be another Vietnam. Then how well the Taliban will defend the cities. Then how they will fight on forever in the hills. Then how you'll never get the warlords together. And while they keep telling us this we quickly dispatch the Taliban to the cheers of the vast majority of Afghanistan and have begun the long road of nation building. Then we hear about how mighty Saddam's army is. How this will be another Vietnam. How much the Iraqis love Saddam. Then once the fighting started it suddenly was another Vietnam. You could hear the joy in reports from around the world that somebody was finaly showing the Yanks what's what even if those armed forces are defending one of the worst dictators of the 20th century. Just one thing after another all the while we are crushing the Baathists and bringing real liberty and stability to the people of Iraq. They wish nothing more than to see us, "learn our lesson". What lesson is that, I wonder. Perhaps it's the lesson France learned. The lesson that turned them into the greatest hypocrites in the EU and made them legend with their acts of perfidy. IS that the lesson the world wants us to learn? No thanks.

Naiveté is simply a different facet of the same brilliant gem that is American Optimism. Remember from the last paragraph. They really don't think these things can be done. You can't go to the moon. You'll never build a canal in that swamp. The middle east cannot be fixed. Now if your world view makes you think these things can't be done then of course you are going to think that dope in the corner saying he can is an idiot. Thus the belief that it is we who are naive for trying.

Right now the big fight going on between our optimism and their pessimism - our differint world views - are predictions over the future of Iraq. We say we are going to bring them democracy. They say it can't be done. We say just needs hard work. They say you can't bring democracy to a people raised in a brutal dictatorship with no history of majority rule. We say, "Been to Germany or Japan lately?" They say the circumstances are different... ad infinitum. Them forever moving the goal posts in response to us saying, "ya, we can kick the ball that far."

The world will always be happy to tell us what can't be done so let's keep our rose colored glasses on and get to work.

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Monday, July 14, 2003

Slightly disturbing display of French military

So at first I was laughing but then a sobering thought came to mind, who else does military parades?

Okay, so France wants to be a player again and they feel the way to do that is to fill the void left by the Soviet Union and become a "counterweight" to the United States. They want to turn all of the EU into this counterweight and use the EU's budget to fund a larger military that they will have leadership over. Not ever really thought it was more than saber rattling but not now. Not with parades like this. Who else has parades displaying military might? The Soviet Union did. Vietnam. Nazi Germany. Fascist Italy. North Korea still does. So does Communist China. Saddam Husien loved these parades. So did Ide Amin. In fact the list of nations with parades like this is almost a who's who of bellicose illiberal dictatorships. This is the direction France in moving towards and this is a cause for concern.


It looks like German generals are once again parading down the Champs Elysees in Paris.

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Cambodia joins list of "Auto producing" nations.

I'm not sure if this thing would meet US or even EU saftey standards but I must give a toast to the Cambodians. From the Khemer Rouge to producing their own cars in what? 20 years? Not bad considering what hell the KR visited upon that nation.

Welcome to the club.

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Friday, July 11, 2003

Too good to be true?

Seems that back in June the The Tennessean reported that links were found between Saddam and Bin Laden. (thx. LGF & Instapundit) If this is true why has BIG media news not picked up the story at all? Oh yes! I forgot, they are too busy following the Leftists and Anti-Bushites lead and trying to invent a scandel over Bush lying about Saddam buying enriched uranium from Niger... Only Bush never ever said that he did.


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What PETA teaches us about Islam

PETA and the Islamic movement are really the same thing. They are people that are out to force the world to live by their standards. Totalitarianism. Fascism. Religious zealotry. Call it what you will it all comes out to the same thing, people that do not think like them must be forced - by any means necessary - to live they way they think you should live. For PETA it's a world where animal rights trump human rights while for Islamists it's a world living according to their interpretation of the Koran.

"Make it rare and we'll have a bottle of the '98 Plumpjack."

I want a world where I am free to worship or not worship Mohammed's Allah. I want a world where I am free to choose a car with a cloth or leather interior. I want a world where my wife is an equal and not a slave. I want a world where I can have steak and wine or tofu and water for dinner. I want a world where David and the Sistine chapel are not vandalized as an affront to Allah. I want a world where lazy Saturday afternoons are filled with grilled meats, cold beer and minimal clothing allowing the skin to warm under a waning sun. I want a world where I can sweep a girl off her feet not one where she is forced to kiss my feet.

That is why I fight.

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Thursday, July 10, 2003

Sharp Dresser Watch

Ol' Mohamer Kadhafi seems to be awful proud of only paying 2 EP(32¢ US) for his stylish day wear. I wonder if him and Mandela shop at the same stores?

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More articulate reasoned Anti-Americanism

I'm glad to see that the great theological minds of South Africa have finally put to bed the debate, raging since the first Nicean council, on God's nationality not being that of an American. But really, just what in the hell is that sign supposed to mean? I just stare, scratch my head and keep on moving cuase you can't debate with crazy people.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2003

More sound reasoning for helping Liberia

Roger Carstens pro-intervention piece has all the reasons anyone could need including the big one on links with terror groups. Those opponents of intervention only have one argument and that is the argument of the Isolationists.

What? Who? Liberia? Where's that? How much do we trade with Liberia? Really? That little? You want to send troops in? Absolutely not! Liberia is not in our vital interests.

Now most of the opponents have much more eloquent ways of articulating their stance, like Buckley, but they are all chanting the same mantra. Liberia is not in our "vital" interests. Ah, but what is "vital"? What exactly is a "vital" interest? This is just a debating trick. Throw a variable qualifier into the mix and you win because you can adjust the definition of the qualifier as you please. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to make a rational claim that supporting stability and peace in west Africa is not in the interests of the US. But is it vital to US interests? Now the isolationists can begin to chip away at any plan to help.

It may seem clichè to some but we need to come to terms with the fact that everything is interconnected on this planet. One of the lessons we can learn from 9/11 is that leaving instability to fester in forgotten corners of the world is a very dangerous thing. No one is to blame for not seeing that letting Afghanistan rot away would have had the results they have but at the same time who would bet the WTC would still be standing if we had intervened in '96 to stop the Taliban.

Look at this picture...

Kids with guns. That's what Liberia is right now. The Liberians are begging us to help. If we don't what will Liberia become in 10 or 20 years? Do we send in 2,000 peace keepers now or the entire 3rd and 4th Infantry Divisions later?

Too all you isolationists out there poo pooing intervention let me say this. Liberty Doctrine. It is in the vital interests of the United States of America to actively pursue and champion the cause of freedom and liberty in every corner of the world. We can't do it all at once but we can easily help Liberia now.

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BBC turns into a Python skit

Barbara Amiel has some good observations and ideas on what to do with the BBC. I have no idea how to fix them but I do have a take on what's happening.

Back in 1998 before my first trip to England I started reading the BBC news. I quite enjoyed reading about world events from a European/British view. The BBC always claimed to be unbiased but as an American that doesn't live in the Ivory Towers of elitism I know this cannot be true. None the less I was still interested in their angle on things, even if they where too deluded to think they had an angle. The BBC was such a part of my daily life that when 5 Live picked up a story on some hooha Ohio State University was pulling with the girls rugby team I managed to get on the show and give the story from ground zero. Those where the salad days.

My relationship with the BBC began to sour on Sept. 12th, 2001. From the very first while they reported on European sympathy with us their analysis had a hint of "Sure sure it's awful what happened but Bin Laden has legitimate grievances". At the time I simply dismissed this, "It's your fault" vibe I was picking up as me being hypersensitive to the subject. Then came the Taliban.

I was not pleased with the BBC's analysis of the fight in Afghanistan. On one side you have peace loving liberal democracies and on the other ruthless murdering religious zealots aiding a world wide terrorist network. I'll give you 3 guess as to who the BBC put on trail in their OP/ED work. Three guesses to figure out who the BBC made out to be a big brutal bully, calloused, uncaring and war mongering. So I simply stopped reading their analysis of the situation as their world view was simply off the deep end but I continued to go to the page for reporting. Then things got strange. If a US plane or chopper got shot down I swear the BBC had it up on the web site in seconds but great US advances like the fall of Mozul took hours and hours to find there way to the page and then only as another story not as "breaking news". I hung on hoping they would get better but by the middle of '02 I had stopped visiting.

I did start going back to the site in the lead up to Iraq this year. But not for news, for humor. Here you have the BBC thinking they are doing serious journalism but all they are doing is giving The Onion a run for their money. I just went for laughs. To see the BBC report every inane obvious lie form Baghdad Bob's mouth as anointed fact while distrusting everything the US said. I can sum up all BBC Iraqi reporting into one line: "Iraq's valiant army, by the will of Allah, is bogging the US forces down while at CENTCOM the Pentagon is claiming they are on the outskirts of Baghdad and moving about freely." There, you just got BBC's entire Iraqi War report.

Now we have the BBC trying to manufacture a scandal over WMD against Tony Blair just as the Dems here are trying with Bush. Only unlike the Dems the BBC is the media outlet. They have a source, one source, that makes an outrageous claim that Prime Minister Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell falsified evidence to lead England into war. they make this reports based on one - one - uncorroborated, anonymous intelligence source. Now this has Tony furious, as he is right to be (Europe needs a little more righteous indignation) and facts are starting to come out. Very damming facts... for the BBC.

So we have a blatantly leftist biased news source caught lying and making very poor journalism choices. Now does the BBC hold their heads up and take it like a man as the New York Times did? No, because leftists Anti-Americanism in Europe is a religion. Facts are meaningless to them as they are guided by their faith that America is the source of all evil. Here is Tony Blair supporting the demonic Americans so anything that makes it harder for Tony is good. We can lie and if caught lying simply say, "prove it!". We will continue to reports a story that we have zero evidence is true unless you can provide evidence that we are lying. Journalistic integrity is nothing, what is important is that Tony is bad for supporting the Americans and we will punish him for that support. This is a hard concept to get a grip on but the facts, I think, spell it out.

Any day now I am expecting the BBC to claim Tony Blair turned them into newts.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Quick mentions of big reads

Larry Diamond's informative piece on how far Democracy has actually come. It is something to think that dictators in Africa feel the need to appear democratic to the rest of the world. My how far the Athenian mind has gone.

James W. Caeser's has a great short take on the history of Anti-Americanism. Once you begin to understand that Anti-Americanism is a centuries old religion that has little to do with facts in the here and now you can begin to see why the claims of the Anti-America crowd are often so irrational.
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The power of Art

Donna M. Hughes a professor & Carlson Endowed Chair in Women's Studies at the University of Rhode Island has written a article on the impact of the movie Lilya-4-Ever is having in awakening people to the Sex Slave Trade. She draws comparison between the impact Uncle Tom's Cabin had on the Abolitionist movement and what she hopes will become a new abolition movement to eradicate the Sex Slave Trade. She talks about how the movie gets a reaction form the viewers without any good insight into why. More importantly there is a detached feel when describing the movie as if perhaps she herself has not watched.

If she hasn't, I don't blame her.

I went up to the Cleveland International Film Festival this spring and ended up settling on Lilya-4-Ever with my date. The film we had wanted to see for the night cap was sold out and she was intrigued by the slavery side of the film while I was just hoping to see some nice Saabs in the Swedish half of the flick. After spending the day watching silly documentaries, empowering biographies and light humor we where ill prepared for the emotional tax that Lilya-4-Ever charges. After the show was over we had nothing to say to each other for the next few hours while we decompressed from the experience.

The film is so mind numbingly powerful it changed my long held - life long held - view of suicide. I have always had zero pity for those who took their own life's and in some case I felt pure contempt for those who committed suicide. So of a "good riddance" view. Now that's changed. I have now seen a case where I understand. The film drags you from what turns out to be the high point of Lilya's life right to the end and when it comes it is a release. A release not just for her but those viewing the film as well. The emotional brutality of the film doesn't need her to come to an end. The message that creates the impact for the Sex Slave Trade happens well before Lilya ends her life. In frugal view of the movie it's questionable to whether the end is at all needed for the story. The film could have ended 10 minutes early with a fade out of Lilya's dazed lost expression and been just as shocking. I think the director does it to release the audience. Let us know that Lilya can not be hurt anymore and allow us to sleep.

If you get the chance to see Lilya-4-Ever I recommend it with 2 qualifiers: First, don't bring a date. You do not want someone you are interested in associating this film with you. Second, it's an emotional buzz saw. If you aren't feeling like seeing something serious then run away.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Troops for Africa?

It's only been 10 years since the mess in Solmalia, are we ready to go back into another African hellhole on a mercy mission trying to restore peace. Perhaps, perhaps not, either way we should go and the Bush administration has the chance to quiet some critics of the US only going after oil, etc. There are no big money resources in Liberia but we have the chance to mine a lot of credibility in the process. If we are serious about speading peace then lets be serious, especially when the locals are begging us for help.

UPDATE: Here is James S. Robbins on why Liberia is an opportunity. It just adds fuel to the fire.

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Are Arab tryrants losing their grip?

Amir Taheri thinks so. I would say I agree but the question is how many will they take with them as they fall and how many times will Islamists fill the void?

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