June 29, 2004

August 30, 2005

  • A TALE OF TWO VIDEOS from Documentary blog's Lights Camera Protest

    Dorothy Spanos, of The Coffee Station, Crawford, Texas, doesn't mind the protesters at Camp Casey: "What makes America beautiful is that you have your freedom to speak your mind."

    Dennis Kind, Camp Casey organizer, speaks his mind: "Honestly, this [country] is Adolf Hitler's dream."

  • UNDERCOVER @ CAMP CASEY from The Buzz : So the cliche of the "hate America" crowd is indeed true. It is as if the protesters were intellectually bulimic, and having ingested all of the hate America bile, they looked forward to regurgitating it as a show of their steadfastness to their cause of peace and love.

    Cindy Sheehan spent most of her time huddled with VIPS in and air-conditioned trailer. When she ventured out it was for a scripted and often televised moment. She was always trailed by her media people, and they were quick to keep her on point. During one conversation I had with her I tried to ask her a pointed question about how much time she would actually be on the bus tour to Washington (I had discovered she would only be on the tour for two days, and would be away giving speeches during the rest of the trip ... and I wondered if she were being paid for these speeches) Her media person grabbed her arm and led her back to the trailer, and away from me. The message was protected. I was left standing there... alone, and feeling a little less secure about my status at Camp Casey.

    But just a few minutes later, she emerged from the trailer, smiling, and performing for the cameras. Like the chicken at the local carnival that plays tic tac toe, she eagerly performs for any microphone. She is relentless, and professional, well financed and on message. And the message is "All things bad are America's fault".

  • SALON'S PETER DAOU ATTEMPTS TO RECONCILE Left and Right with The Ethics of Iraq: Moral Strength vs. Material Strength, but he gets the premise wrong in the first sentence: "The unbridgeable divide between the left and right’s approach to Iraq and the WoT is, among other things, a disagreement over the value of moral and material strength, with the left placing a premium on the former and the right on the latter."

    Really? I haven't noticed the Left/Liberal side of the political equation holding the moral high ground in this debate. I'll grant you it is a position repeatedly asserted by the Left, but just saying it over and over doesn't make it so anymore than "Bush lied. People died." gives the lie to George Bush.

    The emptiness and vacuity of this false assertion of morality is on display daily at the Cindy Sheehan show in Crawford. The songs, the slogans, the agitprop that we've seen for nearly 40 years are there along with a false piety so tangible it rolls off of Cindy Sheehan faster than her crocodile tears. The whole dreary shebang is coming soon to a 60's Revival Tent show near you with the inevitable announcement of the dour bus tour. This is a good thing since it will allow a lot of Americans, if they care too, to expose themselves to this sorry spectacle.

    At the zenith of the hippie era in the late 60s early 70s there was a rock-n-roll bus tour ("Medicine Ball Caravan," if I recall correctly), that toured the country with the lead bus sporting a sign that said "We Have Come for Your Daughters." About right for that era. Since then we've seen the proliferation of bus tours of all kinds, lately for political purposes outside of an election year. The coming Sheehan bus tour will be the ne plus ultra of these traveling medicine shows, only this time the slogan will read "We have come for your country" since this is the avowed wish of this current devolved species of pacifist carping about a specious morality.

    Orwell, who had a lot of experience in the realm of the bizarre morality that aligns pacifists with fascists, said it best: "Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’." Like others who think of themselves as "reasonable and responsible" members of the Left, Daou simply cannot see, or will not see that to be anti-war is to be pro-totalitarianism. It's admirable to set out to "look at life from both sides now," as if we were still in the sylvan summer of The Long Peace, but it begs the question. And that question is, in the argot of my long-lost comrades of the 60s, "What side are you on?"

    Daou is far too quick to hand the Left the moral high ground and lumber the Right with 'Material Strength.' It is more and more evident that the classic split of Left vs. Right no longer holds water. It is actually a split between, with no political overtones implied, a question of right and wrong. And in this instance, the Left/Liberal grouping in America is becoming more wrong and hence more marginalized by the day. They thought they had a winning hand with Howard Dean. Went bust. Then they thought they could bluff their way in with John Kerry. Went bust. Now they think they have a winning hand with Cindy Sheehan's Morbid Mommy Review, but like all tapped-out card sharks they're just bluffing. When you get right down to it, hole cards of Joan Baez and Al Sharpton won't take you past the flop. Still, like every poker pigeon before them, I'm betting they'll go all in.

  • IN OTHER NEWS, MORE THAN HALF OF ALL AMERICANS support The Patriot Act. AP's weasel headline, Poll: Info Shrinks Patriot Act Support might make your think The Patriot Act's in some kind of deep trouble, but the story tells a slightly differnt story : "Fewer than half of those polled, 42 percent, are able to correctly identify the law's main purpose of enhancing surveillance procedures for federal law enforcement agencies, according to the poll conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut. Almost two-thirds of all Americans, 64 percent, said they support the Patriot Act. But support dropped to 57 percent among those who could accurately identify the intent of the legislation."

    As is usual with these stock ham-handed bits of news "analysis," the last sentence tells you there's "a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points," which widens or narrows the range or both. The point seems to be that when respondents were fed details of the legislation, support dropped 8 percent, plus or minus 3.5 percent. Well, may the Baby Jesus open your mind and shut your mouth if you don't think knowing selected details of any omnibus item of Federal legislation doesn't shrink support every time whether its the Patriot Act or a new series of regulations for sexing chicken eggs. What's really interesting here isn't in the slant of the story, but in the numbers. Even knowing all the "bad mojo" of the Patriot Act still gives much more approval from the American people than you need to win the Presidency. Even with a "sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points."

  • MANY SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT THE BIBLE. Most scientific papers are probably wrong : "Most published scientific research papers are wrong, according to a new analysis. Assuming that the new paper is itself correct, problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true."

  • VILLAGE MOURNS. Judy Garland's Ruby Slippers Stolen From Museum : "The most recognizable pair of shoes in movie history – the sequined ruby slippers Dorothy wore in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ – was reported stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota on Sunday, August 28. " If these turn up on "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl," Hell will seem only semi-tropical

  • CAL ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE TOILET.American Flag-in-Toilet Art Yanked from Exhibit in Department of Justice building in Sacramento. Attorney General Bill Lockyer puts it in his own office" Yes, you read that correctly. The chief law enforcement official in California now decorates his office with a painting of an American flag in a toilet. Lockyer had better hope Justice is blind along with everyone else who visits his office.

    Lockyear, elected in 2002, is naturally a Democrat and former teacher. When not contemplating the American flag in a toilet, he spends his time keeping voter initiatives off the ballot, and suing snack food manufacturers trying to get warning labels printed on bags of potato chips and french fries. What a man.

  • THE BOMBINGS WILL CONTINUE until tolerance improves! : "Indonesia’s president warned on Monday of possible terrorist attacks in the coming two months, and said he would also take steps to show the country was still a tolerant Muslim nation. "

  • BLAMING THE VICTIM. SOP AT THE NEW YORK TIMES. Nature's Revenge : "The damage caused by a hurricane like Katrina is almost always called a natural disaster. But it is also unnatural, in the sense that much of it is self-inflicted. New Orleans is no exception, and while the city has been spared a direct hit from the storm, its politicians and planners must rethink the bad policies that contributed to the city's vulnerability." Don't build the levees or the skyscrapers too tall, right?

  • SCHUMER UNCLEAR ON "STRATEGIC" Democrat urges use of oil stockpile in hurricane : "Schumer said... 'If there was ever a time for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be tapped, it would be now.'" Chuck, the reason it's called "the Strategic Petroleum Reserve" is because it is to be withheld until the Nation's critical transportation and energy systems are at high risk. You know, like in the wake of an exchange of nuclear weapons between ________ and the United States. You don't just toss it out there because we think gas is too expensive. Not everything the Government can gets its hands on gets to be doled out like cheap necklaces at a New Orleans Mardi Gras.

    Posted by Vanderleun at June 29, 2004 11:54 PM
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  • Comments:


    "It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

    Regarding the "film clip" of from Crawford: what kind of ship is she on? It looks like a destroyer from the frequency of the roll. :)

    Posted by: StephenB at August 31, 2005 8:34 AM

    That list has brought my brain to a screeching and complete halt.

    *drools quietly on shirt*

    Posted by: Claire at August 31, 2005 9:57 AM

    Your comments on the relationship between pacifism and totalitarinism misses the mark.

    One of the main reasons pacifists (i.e., those who for religious or conscientious reasons decline to participate in war in any form) oppose war is that war is incompatable with democracy. Every war has increased the power of the state, eroded the liberty of the people, and numbed the conscience of the public. On each side.

    Even so-called just wars, defensive wars have this effect -- witness the internment of law-abiding Japanese citizens in the US in WWII and the spying and covert spying on and disruption of law-abiding anti-war groups during Vietnam. Wars of aggression -- such as the war on Iraq -- require an even more tightly controlled society to be successfully waged.

    Not every war results in totalitarinism, and not every civil liberty abridged during war is permanently denied. But the requirements of war making, especially by mega-states, absolutely demand greater and greater control by the centralized war-making authority.

    Yes, a pacifist during the 1930s and '40s may be viewed as having "objectively" aided the spread of fascism by not having resisted by force of arms. But the war didn't "end" fascism or totalitarinism; it only temporarily diverted from some countries to others.

    Ultimately, the only solution to the twin problems of both war and totalitarianism is peace, which requires a radical spiritual transformation of humanity. The same God who gave the German Mennonite and Quaker pacifists the courage to endure imprisonment and death in Hitler's prisons and concentration camps, and the American civil rights workers in the 1960s, is the only one who can accomplish this kind of spiritual transformation. And He has never done so by force of arms.

    Posted by: Paul L at August 31, 2005 1:35 PM

    If your history were accurate, your argument might be compelling.

    In short, wars tend to be good for human freedom and liberty if they are won by the forces of human freedom and liberty.

    To cite just 3 examples of wars being beneficial to human liberty and freedom:

    1) The Revolutionary War in the United States. Result, the United States, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, among millions of others.

    2) The Civil War. Slavery in the United States, kaput. Nuf said.

    3) The 2nd World War. Has it escaped your notice that the greatest expansion of social and personal liberty and freedom ever known has taken place since 1945?

    Posted by: Gerard Van Der Leun at August 31, 2005 3:31 PM

    I agree that humanity is in need of a radical spiritual transformation, but here's the headline "It Ain't Gonna Happen Anytime Soon." So, while waiting for Utopia to spontaneously arise, we should probably keep knocking off totalitarian regimes and religions as soon as they constitute a threat to freedom and liberty. By any means necessary.

    Posted by: Gerard Van Der Leun at August 31, 2005 3:33 PM

    War is incompatible with Democracy? That would be news to Leonidas and the Spartans. What grills me about he militant pacifists, (pacifism at all costs), is their insistance at imposing their viewpoint on all others. I don't think it is a choice which one person can make for another, as the person choosing pacifism may be choosing death for themselves. Jesus only said, "Follow me," and did not insist the Disciples follow Him to Golgotha. Ridding the just, (that would be us, The USA, aka, the good guys) of our military forces will not, through some immediate magic, bring about the Second Coming in all hearts. Recall the scene from Ben Hur. Following the great words of Balthazar, the Arab says to Judah Ben-Hur, "Balthazar is a good man. Until all men are like him, we must keep our swords bright." If you wish to put away your sword, fine. I'll be applying polish to mine.

    Posted by: Kerry at August 31, 2005 4:38 PM