Attacking paper tigers

I’ve now watched two episodes of Aaron Sorkin’s new show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Well, to be completely honest, I sort of watched two episodes, sinced I slept through most of the second.

The show has the usual Sorkin trademarks — incredibly rapid-fire dialogue, some of it clever; a camera that likes to spin and zoom; and speeches, lots of speeches. This time, the speeches meld Sorkin’s two primary concerns: studio control over show content and Evangelical Christians.

In Sorkin’s world, the studios are constantly bowing down to the Evangelical Christians and bleaching “cutting edge” content from the brilliant work done by writers and directors. Sorkin is remarkably unconcerned by the fact that the studios are business-making entities and that their obligation to their shareholders isn’t to be cutting edge, but is to appeal to the greatest number of advertisers — which means attracting, not attacking, the largest audience demographic.

In the 24 hour a day cable world, if Sorkin has something burning to say, he can find a venue. As it is, despite his attacks on the studios, NBC seems happily to have assumed the martyr’s roll of hosting a show savaging its own approach to TV (although I’m sure the network bigwigs console themselves with the thought that, since they’re hosting the show, NBC must be considered a network that doesn’t pander in the way Sorkin describes).

In any event, as Sorkin constantly flexes his puny muscles with his brave attacks on Christians, I can’t help but think of my own recent American Thinker article about the Democrats’ horror of being on the receiving end of a verbal challenge to their ideas. You see, that’s what this whole Studio 60 is about: How dare those Evangelical Christians use market power in a capitalist economy to say I’m not brilliant? Further, how dare they challenge my attack against them?

I’d be much more impressed with Sorkin’s freedom of speech positioning if, instead of attacking Evangelical Christians who, for the most part, merely huff and puff about his inanities, he’d throw in a few Mohammed jokes or perhaps have a cutting-edge joke two about burkhas, honor killings, submission, free speech riots, etc.  Attacking paper tigers is scarcely the way to make the point about freedom of speech in a dangerous world.  But, as we well know, because the Kennedys, Trumans and Roosevelts are long gone, the Democrats’ enemies of choice are always the paper tigers who won’t fight back.

Get a first life!

Mr. Bookworm came home from work yesterday quite excited. A friend had introduced him to one of those interactive online worlds, this one called Second Life. Here is how Second Life describes itself:

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by 340,465 people from around the globe. * From the moment you enter the World you’ll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Once you’ve explored a bit, perhaps you’ll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business.

* You’ll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow residents. Because residents retain the rights to their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other residents.

* The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the in-world currency, the Linden dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online currency exchanges.

It is definitely an impressive bit of computer technology. To me, though, it’s also completely pointless. Why in the world would I want the “thrill” of making an avatar dance? And so what if I amass a fortune in fake money?  I have way too much to do in my real life to fuss around aimlessly in a “second life.” However, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an extremely task oriented person. There are a few things that give me immediate pleasure — reading, ice cream, blogging. Everything else I do for a purpose. I like to play computer games, for example, but only if they involve problem solving (which is why I really liked Myst).

Really, the only thing that fascinated me about Second Life was my husband’s rationale for thinking it’s great:  you can be in a community with and meet thousands of people.  To appreciate why this is fascinating, you have to understand that, in our first life, here in reality-world, Mr. Bookworm is not at all a social person.  He finds it exhausting and overwhelming to meet new people.  What this means to me is that Second Life is really a perfect venue for shy people who crave social interaction, but can’t quite achieve that in the real world.

When moonbats converge

Al-Zawahri has emerged has the newest spokesman for the “Bush lied, people died” meme.  Frankly, if I were a major party during a time of war, I’d kind of prefer to distance myself from the enemy’s rhetoric and I’d be deeply disturbed to find that the enemy is echoing mine.  In fact, moonbats are probably proud that they’ve got their “America is losing the war” message across so convincingly, it’s now coming right from the horse’s mouth.

Iraq is not the problem — or, at least, not the only problem

Lovely, lovely writing from Jonah Goldberg [updated link that might actually work]:

Every serious analysis of the Islamic world today describes a genuine tectonic shift in a vast civilization, an upheaval that cuts across social, religious and demographic lines. This phenomenon dwarfs transient issues such as the Iraq war. Are we to believe that once-moderate and relatively secular Morocco is slipping toward extremism because we toppled Baathist Saddam Hussein? Do we believe that those mobs who burned Danish embassies in response to a cartoon wouldn’t have done so if only President Bush had gone for the 18th, 19th or 20th U.N. resolution on Iraq? Millions of young men yearning for meaning and craving outlets for their rage would have become computer programmers and dental hygienists if only Hussein’s statue still towered over central Baghdad? Would the Pope’s comments spark nothing but thoughtful and high-minded debate from the Arab street if only Al Gore or John Kerry were in office?

Iraq is the excuse du jour for jihadists. But the important factor is that these are young men looking for an excuse. If you live your life calculating that it’s a mistake to do anything that might prompt murderers and savages to act like murderers and savages, you’ve basically decided to live under their thumb and surrender your civilization in the process.

Malthus among Muslims

To switch from Malthus to Hobbes, if you want to to be depressed by communities in which life for the average citizen is nasty, short and brutish, read this rundown of late twentieth century death tolls in Muslim nations (sometimes with help from the holier than thou French and Russians).  Sadly, rather than resulting in Muslim nations seeking ways to avoid these grim statistics, it seems to have inured the more radical amongst them to the horrors of violent death.

Jennifer Loven does it again

Jennifer Loven is a lady with a reputation — one that the Power Line team has carefully documented. I’m sure she comes by her biases honestly– her husband, after all, worked for Bill Clinton and advised John Kerry during his run for office. Coming by your biases honestly, though, is a completely different thing from holding yourself out as an objective reporter for an ostensibly unbiased news agency. Of course, the reality is that there is perfect synchronicity when the rabidly anti-Bush Loven works for the equally rabidly anti-American AP.

In any event, Loven’s latest hatchet job is more subtle than her usual pieces of op-ed masquerading as news. This time, she reports on a speech Bush gave today in which he criticized the Democrats’ ability to handle the jihadist war being waged against us.

The article starts off with what actually sounds like news: Bush gave a speech criticizing the Democrats. Loven goes on to the next news point: the Democrats vehemently challenge Bush’s characterization of their ability to handle jihad. She then notes the timing of this rhetorical war: elections are a mere six weeks away. So far, so boring.

Things get interesting when Loven, predictably, drags in NIE stuff:

The war of words continued a nearly weeklong tussle by both parties over the implications of a newly revealed estimate, an analysis of terror trends put together by the nation’s top intelligence analysts in 16 spy agencies.

The document concluded that Iraq has become a “cause celebre” for jihadists worldwide, whom it said have grown in number and geographic reach. The report said the factors, such as the Iraq war, that are fueling the jihadist movement’s growth outweigh its vulnerabilities and that, if the current trend continues, risks to the U.S. interests at home and abroad will grow.

Portions of the five-month-old report were leaked over the weekend, and Bush ordered the key judgments – four of its 30 pages – declassified on Tuesday in hopes that wider availability of most conclusions would quell the criticism.

What was immediately obvious to me, but may not have been so obvious to those less news aware than I, is the fact that Loven restates the early NY Times talking points about the leaked portions of the NIE report, but ignores completely the conclusions that could be drawn from the more substantive material Bush officially released. Indeed, Loven is careful to imply that nothing in the more comprehensive and authorized release actually challenges the NY Times position: “Bush ordered the key judgmments . . . declassified on Tuesday in hopes that wider availability of most conclusions would quell the criticism.” A sentence such as that inevitably leads the reader to believe that these “hopes” were faint and unrealized.

The fact is that the report is neither an indictment nor an accolade. Instead, if one ignores political waffle, it states what it obvious to all: While the global Jihad is spreading, the US is also taking reasonable steps to deal with that spread (and there are further reasonable steps it can take, as well). This is scarcely a surprise to anyone who has been reading newspapers since 1979. The Iranian Revolution was the first salvo in the renewed jihad, and it has been gaining momentum ever since. To engage it in battle in Iraq may have accelerated its growth but, as the preceding 25 years have shown, doing nothing did not prevent its growth.

What I like about the report is the fact that it indicates that fighting Al Qaeda-led jihadism is doing something that our more passive approach never did: it’s damaging Al Qaeda. Thus, the report opens by noting that “United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida and disrupted its operations.” This conclusion is not altered by the fact that the report also acknowledges that Al Qaeda continues to grow and change (something it was doing before the US took it on in battle, and something that it also does in countries that have desperately been showing their bellies).

Significantly, even if one strongly disagrees with the whole concept of fighting back, rather than immediately conceding defeat (as the Democrats would have had us do), the report is pretty clear on one fact: if the Islamists believe they’re losing in Iraq, they’ll become demoralized and go away. The unstated corollary is that, if we slink away, handing them a victory, nothing will stop them.

You should read the report for yourself. Mostly, it seems to say that Al Qaeda will continue to be a problem, but that there are ways to weaken and defuse it. To me, that’s good practical information. For Jennifer Loven to write what purports to be a news article, while leaving out most of the actual news, is just one more in the list of her disgraceful practices under AP’s aegis.

UPDATEHere’s Jonah Goldberg saying what I was trying to say about the slow increase in Muslim violence (which was a pretty strong increase when you consider that this first phase culminated in 9/11), and the acceleration with the Iraq war:

If you’ve ever stood up to a bully, you know how this works. Confrontation tends to increase the chances of violence in the short term but decreases its likelihood in the long term.

As always, you’ll be giving yourself reading pleasure if you read the rest of Goldberg’s article.

Have some fun with words; maybe help win an election

Mike, at Mike’s America, has started a slogan contest for the upcoming elections. Check out what he’s posted, and start adding some comments of your own. As everyone knows, I’m no good at pithy, but I’d love to see what others come up with. This is especially true because I’ve often thought that, at least in my neck of the woods (ultra-liberal), the Democrats have excellent bumperstickers. I may not agree with their ideas, but I like how clever their slogans are.

Olbermann — the gift that just keeps giving


If you don’t get the reference in this great Day by Day cartoon, you have to read Olbermann’s latest defense of Clinton and attack on Bush. Here’s a link to the video and a transcript.

Then, read Iowahawk’s satire. The only problem with the satire is that, when you have such an over the top piece of material to work with, it’s very hard to take it anywhere further. That is, since the original speech itself reads like a satire, what’s left?

Love and marriage go together . . . like a political party

I’d heard that people who had more children were more likely to be conservative. Indeed, I think I read in Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything that this is a logical outgrowth of the fact that Dems are pro-choice, are more likely to limit the number of children they have, and are therefore voluntarily decreasing the Democratic demographic. Two USA Today articles, though, really spell out the difference between conservative value voters (usually Republicans) and liberal lifestyle voters (usually Democratic). The first is an article about how marriage and Republicanism march together:

House districts held by Republicans are full of married people. Democratic districts are stacked with people who have never married. This “marriage gap” could play a role in the Nov. 7 congressional elections. Democrats need a net gain of 15 seats to take control of the House of Representatives.

• Republicans control 49 of the 50 districts with the highest rates of married people.

•Democrats represent all 50 districts that have the highest rates of adults who have never married.

The same issue of USA Today looks at the political fertility gap, too:

Republican House members overwhelmingly come from districts that have high percentages of married people and lots of children, according to a USA TODAY analysis of 2005 Census Bureau data released last month.

GOP Congress members represent 39.2 million children younger than 18, about 7 million more than Democrats. Republicans average 7,000 more children per district.

Many Democrats represent areas that have many single people and relatively few children. Democratic districts that have large numbers of children tend to be predominantly Hispanic or, to a lesser extent, African-American.

There are opinions from experts in both articles explaining these phenomena and their effects on politics. I don’t know how much I need an expert. As I noted in my first paragraph, since abortion is often (not always, but often) a bright line between people who hew Left and those who hew Right, it’s easy to see that people who have more children are less likely to support abortion and correspondingly more likely to support Republicans. Likewise, marriage is still a statement of tradition — and often one connected with having children — so that too ties in with more conservative values. People who have children also tend to look longer down the line, rather than to immediate needs and emotions, and I think that too results in a right-ward lean.

Hat tip: JL. (I don’t know if you want your full name used, JL, but you know who you are, and you have my thanks.)

Will this make a difference?

The reclusive Aga Khan, who is known for his wealth and race horses is, in fact, the spiritual leader of the Ismalis, the world’s second largest Shiite Muslim sect. He spoke to reporters recently. The NPR report is here. I assume there was more than this little bit on NPR, but it is interesting what he had to say.

The Aga Khan began by saying that the West needs to learn more about Islam. To me, that was pap. His two next points were more interesting. First, he said that the answer is pluralism. It was an incredibly vague statement, since he didn’t identify examples of countries in which a lack of pluralism is a problem, nor did he name places where pluralism would be a solution. However, to the extent that, say, America is a pluralist society, and Saudi Arabia is not, I suspect he was tactfully addressing the latter and not the former.

If I’m correct in my understanding, his second comment, which was that Governments need to face political problems, can also be understood to be directed to repressive Arab regimes. I took his vaguely worded statements to mean that, if the Arab nations would extend greater rights to their citizens and create situations that would allow for oil wealth to benefit all citizens, many of the problems we’re now facing would go away.

I think it’s especially likely that the Aga Khan was addressing these prickly dictatorships precisely because his language was so vague. Nobody is ever vague when attacking America and the West. However, if you’ve learned anything from Danish newspapers, and Berlin opera companies, and Papal ruminations, it’s that you use allusion and indirection to speak to the radicals and their regimes, not clarity and forthrightness.

Israel is finally figuring out that the media is part of the problem

Israel, which is that oddity, a free society in the Middle East, is finally figuring out that a free press is one thing, a corrupt, dishonest press another:

The Government Press Office held a meeting with heads of foreign news agencies earlier this month to protest the doctoring of photographs of the recent Lebanon war and the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, and warned them that action could be taken against them if this practice continued, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The director of the Government Press Office, Danny Seaman, told the Post Israel reserved the right to act against any media outlets working out of Israel if they “fail to conduct themselves in a professional manner.”

The foreign journalists’ coverage of the Lebanon war was discussed, with the meeting focused on doctored photographs used by news agencies, Seaman said.

“This was something new to the world, but we’ve seen it before,” he said. “We expect them to take precautions in the future. If they are not taking the necessary measures to maintain professional standards then we reserve the right to take action against their offices in Israel.”

The GPO cannot act directly against foreign press services, but it can make recommendations to the Communications, Foreign and Defense ministries, Seaman said.

The only action taken by the government against the news agencies during the recent war was to send complaints to their main offices.

Although the news agencies, so free with other’s leaks, shut down their representatives entirely from talking about the meeting, an AP spokesman nevertheless freely patted his organization on the back:

Speaking on behalf of AP, international editor John Daniszewski said if one of their photographers was caught doctoring photographs, he would be fired immediately.

“I heard about it in regard to the Reuters stringer,” he said in a phone interview from New York. I think they’re trying to tar everyone with the same brush.

He said both Israelis and Palestinians often criticized the way they were covered, but that the agency had its own “gold standards” of accuracy and fairness to meet.

“It’s such a contentious part of the world and other organizations and parties are going to want to pull coverage into one area or another,” said Daniszewski. “We try to go straight down the middle. If anyone wants to raise issues, we are always willing to talk about it.”

This would be the same AP, of course, that recently saw one of its reporters arrested for terrorist activity, a story it sat on for months.

The rot is showing

I lost huge amounts of any sympathy I might have had for the Palestinian people when they voted overwhelmingly for Hamas. My sympathy continues low when I read polls about their fervent belief that everything would be wonderful if they could just destroy Israel. I’d therefore be lying, if I said I feel sorry for them that they’re having problems with the Hamas government:

Hundreds of Palestinian policemen and security officers blocked all the routes to Gaza City on Thursday with rubbish bins and burning tires to demand their wages, which have been withheld for several months.

The policemen, some of whom were shooting in the air, toppled over several large bins and burned their contents. They also broke concrete blocks and spread the pieces all over the roads.

Most of the protesting police officers were part of the Palestinian Authority Preventive Security Force affiliated to Fatah and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Until now, negotiations between Fatah and Hamas over the establishment of a PA unity government have failed. Hamas is refusing to accept the conditions set by the international community, including the recognition of Israel, and therefore, several donor nations have refused to renew the transfer of funds to the PA, leaving thousands of government workers unpaid.

“The motive for our protest is not political. We are motivated by the hunger of our children,” said one of the protestors.

I do understand that the problem is internecine fighting, and that the protestors are, in fact, not from the Hamas block, but are from Arafat’s Fatah.  It’s only in the perverted world of Palestinian politics, of course, that Fatah actually looks marginally decent, at least when held up against Hamas.  Still, none of the Palestinians seem to have figured out that, if they’d solve the problems in their own “house” and focus on creating a window of peace, their children would not be hungry.

Bitter pill for the body bean counters

The media’s focus consistently has been on the number of American casualties. Since we’re Americans, and every American death is a tragedy, this is relevant and important information. However, since we’re in a war, it’s useful to know what hits the enemy has been taking. Here, the media has been much less helpful, ignoring those numbers or folding them into civilian deaths — which is always going to be a problem with a Non-Governmental Army which fights without a uniform. It must be bitter gall for the anti-War body counters that Al Qaeda itself admits that it has taken huge hits in Iraq:

The new leader of al-Qaida in Iraq said in an audio message posted on a Web site Thursday that more than 4,000 foreign insurgent fighters have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. It was believed to be the first major statement from insurgents in Iraq about their losses.

“The blood has been spilled in Iraq of more than 4,000 foreigners who came to fight,” said the man, who identified himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir – also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri – the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. The voice could not be independently identified.

The Arabic word he used indicated he was speaking about foreigners who joined the insurgency in Iraq, not coalition troops.

These hits aren’t even Al Qaeda regulars — it’s the foreign volunteers.

Say it ain’t so, Horatio!

I’ve always been a big fan of those few (two, actually) Horatio Alger stories I could get my hands on — Ragged Dick and Mark, the Match Boy. They’re incredibly stilted novels, filled with heavy-handed moral messages, but they still have a wonderful innocent charm, a beautiful sense of a time long gone, and a good point about hard work and honesty. What I didn’t know is that, in his own lifetime, Horatio Alger was accused of assaulting two young boys in his town. Because history casts long shadows, those long dormant accusations are now being raised to put a stop to a Horatio Alger festival in Marlborough, Massachusetts, Alger’s home town:

A riches-to-rags story could be unfolding in Horatio Alger’s hometown. As this Boston suburb gets ready for its 11th annual Horatio Alger Street Fair, town leaders are considering dropping Alger’s name from the festival next year because of allegations of pedophilia against the 19th-century children’s author.

In the 1860s, Alger quietly resigned as a Unitarian minister at a church on Cape Cod after he was accused of assaulting two boys — an incident that is old news to literary scholars but came as a surprise to some civic leaders in Marlborough.

“This was an absolute shock to me,” said school board member Joe Delano. “That’s a sad world, goodness gracious.” Delano, the father of three girls, said: “I’m confident the city will change the name next year.”

***

Alger, who grew up in Marlborough, is remembered for more than 100 novels about boys who go from rags to riches by working hard, often under the tutelage of wealthy men. Alger also is credited with helping to improve working conditions for youngsters.

The festival is organized by the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with city. Janet Bruno, chairwoman of the chamber’s fair committee, told The MetroWest Daily News that the panel looked into the allegations nearly a decade ago and found that they were never proved in a court of law.

Alger’s biography on the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Web site describes complaints lodged against him when he was a minister in Brewster in 1866. It said he did not contest them, and left town.

In letters now housed at the Harvard Divinity School, Brewster church officials wrote to church higher-ups in Boston, complaining of Alger’s “abominable and revolting crime of unnatural familiarity with boys,” according to Swarthmore College professor Carol Nackenoff, who has studied Alger. Alger’s father, himself a Unitarian minister, promised that his son would resign and never again work in the church.

“I believe the complaint was not baseless,” Nackenoff said.

Nackenoff said there is no known correspondence from Alger himself regarding the allegations, which were essentially hidden until about 1980 or so, when some Alger biographies came out.

She said Marlborough should not change the name of the fair.

“He was an important literary figure who I think we should celebrate,” Nackenoff said.

Great moments in Democratic rhetoric

A few Harry Truman quotations:

A President cannot always be popular.

A president either is constantly on top of events or, if he hesitates, events will soon be on top of him. I never felt that I could let up for a moment.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

The buck stops here!

A few William Jefferson Clinton quotations:

Now, I will answer all those things on the merits, but first I want to talk about the context in which this arises.

I’m being asked this on the FOX network. ABC just had a right- wing conservative run in their little “Pathway to 9/11,” falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report, with three things asserted against me directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report.

And I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn’t do enough said I did too much — same people.

Or how about this one:

The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify. So that meant I would’ve had to send a few hundred Special Forces in helicopters and refuel at night.

Even the 9/11 Commission didn’t do that. Now, the 9/11 Commission was a political document, too.

And then there’s this one:

CLINTON: But at least I tried. That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried.

So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke, who got demoted.

So you did Fox’s bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me. What I want to know is …

WALLACE: Well, wait a minute, sir.

CLINTON: No, wait. No, no …

WALLACE: I want to ask a question. You don’t think that’s a legitimate question?

CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question, but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of.

Wow! It’s like watching Darwinian regression in action.

Understanding the Pope’s quotation

I’ve always been fascinated by history. It was only because Bezerkley Marxist teaching sucked the life out the subject that I didn’t get a Ph.D. in history. I’ve therefore had a well furnished mental backdrop about Islam’s continuous incursions against the West, including its final conquest of the Byzantine (Christian) Empire in 1453. That kind of bone-deep knowledge, though, has led to my believing that this is common knowledge — even though I know it’s not.

Sadly, because the past is always with us, it’s now very important to understand Islam’s historical relationship with the West. Pope Benedict, by drawing on a 14th Century quotation, put that history firmly on the table. And The People’s Cube has created (and posted on YouTube) a video explaining the historical context. (Just a head’s up — on the map, Islam is represented using green.):

Hat tip: American Thinker

I did not know that (about oil)

I can’t remember where I read it, but a columnist I respect said that we can’t possibly go to war with Iran because Iran’s strategic location on the Persian Gulf means that it could choke off our oil supply.  Ed Lasky, however, thinks that is a 1970s view of oil needs and supplies, and provides us with a more current view about available oil supplies and the need for oil.  If Mr. Lasky is correct, Iran’s threat to cut off oil to the world isn’t the nightmare scenario it would have been 30 years ago.

Those who resist, and those who wait quietly for the slaughter

As part of a much longer article about the Democrat’s foolish faith in the NIE leak, J. Peter Mulhern, writing at American Thinker, offers this nicely phrased analysis about the willing fighters and the potential victims in our society:

When you go to war your enemy will enlist people to fight you. You can’t assess progress in a war by counting the number of people willing to take up arms against you.

Shortly before it surrendered, Japan mobilized its entire population to resist to the death the American invasion. The net result of our comprehensive demolition of the Imperial Navy and Army was to harden the resolve and increase the number of our active Japanese enemies. Our fighting then, as now, mobilized more fighters against us. No doubt that’s why the U.S. Navy is still having trouble with those pesky kamikaze suicide attacks.

America’s leftists and their sympathizers don’t understand the utility of fighting in Iraq because they don’t understand the utility of fighting anywhere.

They have decided that if people want to kill us it must be because of something we have done to give offense. For them, it follows that our grand strategy should be to make ourselves inoffensive. We should pay more deference to kleptocratic international bureaucrats, withdraw all our forces from the Arabian Peninsula and gift wrap six million Israeli Jews for their would-be murderers.

Military action is always offensive to the targets of it and, therefore, always counterproductive, at least on Planet Democrat.

As the meek Jews in the German Reich learned, when your enemy wants to exterminate you, you can never be inoffensive enough.

(A random addition here:  I recently learned from my mother that my father’s family originally came from Romania.  I looked up the family name at Yad Vashem’s Holocaust database and discovered that dozens of Romanians with my surname had died in the camp.  When it’s your own name on that list, it suddenly becomes a sobering reminder of the thin line between civilization and madness.)

Bush isn’t the Devil, actually, but he’s just like the Devil

Now that the uproar over Chavez’s speech has ended, those who were at first a little embarrassed to see someone say at the UN what they’ve been saying everywhere else, have regrouped, and started agreeing with and echoing Chavez. The latest hit piece I read struck me as amusing, because, in a heavily joking fashion, it conceded that Chavez isn’t correct — Bush isn’t really the Devil. But before you think there’s some sanity there, the same article went on to explain that Bush is nevertheless just like the Devil, only he’s the low-rent version. (And wait until you see the terms in which he describes those who vote for Bush.) You can read the whole silly thing here, but the following are a few choice morsels:

Here is Lucifer, a massive, thunderous hero, subtle and intelligent and enormously articulate, full of passion and red-hot anarchy, the ultimate rebel. He is often seen reclining in his cavernous, rocky lair, lying on his side, all muscled godlike beauty and ruined glory and deep seduction and heat. He is just terribly, wonderfully alluring.

See? Right there, already we’re a galaxy away from Dubya. Bush, of course, has no such magnificence. Bush is small and quivery and eats his vanilla pudding with a fork. While Satan orates and philosophizes at great intellectual length, Dubya can’t even sit still during an entire State of the Union address without fidgeting and moving his upper body back and forth like a little metronome, twitching and squirming like a child.

***

In Milton, the glorious angel Lucifer’s incredible act of defiance, his stunning rebellion against God, marks him as not merely proud and insolent but powerfully courageous. After all, Satan chooses to endure unbelievable suffering for the sake of his independence, rather than endure numb cubicle-like servility in heaven. Also, hell has better booze. Cooler dance clubs. Less insufferable harp music. That sort of thing.

And lo, here is Bush. Dubya is, everyone agrees, a bit of an intellectual midget. He is a champion of sameness and mediocrity and unquestioned obedience, a hero to absolutely no one with a functioning soul, the cubicle personified.

***

Are there some similarities? You bet. Like Dubya, the devil desperately wants a grand holy war to settle, once and for all, just who owns the kingdom of heaven. And Satan degenerates horribly in “Paradise Lost,” begins to take the form of many “lowly” animals (a toad, a snake, etc.) as he degrades. Bush, too, has devolved. He started out as a barely tolerable but initially benign political tumor. He has since become dangerous and deadly, a weird strain of Texas mold creeping into the heart of a wary nation.

The devil smells of sulfur and fire. Bush smells of cow pies and stale beer. The devil is wickedly, tremendously deceptive, bending entire armies of lowly demons to his will. Bush cleverly inflamed armies of lemming-like evangelical Christians to vote for him by way of gay bashing and woman bashing and fear, through the snarling machinations of his very own shiny Moloch, Karl Rove. It’s a worthy comparison.

I continue to be amazed by those who view Bush as the most effectively evil leader in this history of mankind (Mao, Hitler, Ghengis Khan? Just pikers), while simultaneously believing him to be moronically stupid. There’s a logical disconnect there that seems to elude those must severely affected with BDS.

Is anyone on the Left listening to those on the battlefront?

Here’s the incredible, thoughtful response from Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s President, to a loaded question from AP operative Jennifer Loven, who is married to a Democratic macher and who wouldn’t know an unbiased story if it bit her in the face:

QUESTION: Thank you, sir.

Even after hearing that one of the major conclusions of the national intelligence estimate in April was that the Iraq war has fueled terror growth around the world, why have you continued to say that the Iraq war has made this country safer?

And to President Karzai, if I might: What do you think of President Musharraf’s comments, that you need to get to know your own country better when you’re talking about where terror threats and the Taliban threat is coming from?

***

KARZAI: Ma’am, before I go to the remarks by my brother, President Musharraf, terrorism was hurting us way before Iraq or September 11. The president mentioned some examples of it.These extremist forces were killing people in Afghanistan and around for years, closing schools, burning mosques, killing children, uprooting vineyards with vine trees, grapes hanging on them, forcing populations to poverty and misery.

They came to America on September 11, but they were attacking you before September 11 in other parts of the world.

We are a witness in Afghanistan as to what they are and how they can hurt. You are a witness in New York.Do you forget people jumping off the 80th floor or 70th floor when the planes hit them? Can you imagine what it will be for a man or a woman to jump off that high?

Who did that? And where are they now? And how do we fight them, how do we get rid of them, other than going after them? Should we wait for them to come and kill us again?

That’s why we need more action around the world, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, to get them defeated. Extremism, their allies, terrorists and the likes of them.

You can see the video here, at Hot Air.

I have a dream, and I hope someone wakes me up

Martin Luther King, 1963:

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

Egyptian Muslim representative Safwat Higaz, 2006:

When I said what I said, I was dreaming a beautiful dream, which I hope will come true, and that we all agree upon it. I dreamt that we are the Arab Islamic States, not just Egypt, Lebanon, and Palestine. I was truly dreaming that we are the Arab Islamic States. Get a map of the Arab homeland, and erase the borders… Or maybe these can be borders between counties or states, like the USA, in which 49 states were united into one country. I had a dream that we were one country, called the Arab Islamic States. The capital of this country is Egypt, and the president of Egypt and its government head this country. This is the dream I dreamt. …

I said that these Israelis… I specified the Israeli Jew, not just any Jew. I said, word for word, that these are American Jews, Dutch Jews, and Jews from all other nationalities – and to them this does not apply. He must be a Jew and an Israeli, and not just any Israeli, because there are Israeli Arabs, there are Muslim Israelis from the 1948 Arabs, there are Christian Israelis… He must be an Israeli Jew, and, in parentheses – a Zionist. This was the first condition to my fatwa. The second condition is that he must be a combatant – in other words, a reserves soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces. …

The third condition was that this action must cause no damage. I even said that it was entirely forbidden for someone to wear an explosives belt and blow himself up, and destroy a car in the street, just in order to kill an Israeli. …

The fourth condition I mentioned was that no innocent person be killed. If we apply these four conditions of the fatwa in order to kill an Israeli, one must make sure that he is a Jew, an Israeli, and that he is between 21 and 54, the age of the reserves, and if she is a woman, she must be between 21 and 34, which is the age of the reserves [for women], and even then, he must make sure that she has no children, because a woman of this age with children is no longer a soldier in the IDF. …

Over to you defenders of the Muslim faith…. And please don’t bore me with the line Hiqazi merely represents the extremists and that real Muslims don’t agree with this type of rhetoric. The reality is that the real Muslims are spectacularly silent in the face of this blood-soaked, discriminatory, violent, hate-filled dream, so I’m beginning to think that the reality is that no real Muslims really exist. Unless these real Muslims start shouting loud enough to wake the uglies up, whether the real Muslims are a dream or a reality will be a purely academic question, because we’ll all be living the Caliphate nightmare.

[UPDATE:  I wrote that late at night, and made some pretty heinous typos, which I've corrected.  I've left the meaning unchanged.]

What passes for entertainment in the San Francisco Bay Area

I get a weekly email that lists shows in the Bay Area. It’s not a comprehensive list. If I had to analogize, I’d say it’s akin to a list of off-Broadway productions in New York. I found amusing these two shows:

World Premiere of The War at Home at NCTC
New Conservatory Theatre Center (San Francisco, CA)
Wednesday, Sep. 27 @ 8:00pm (Preview)
Thursday, Sep. 28 @ 8:00pm (Preview)
and 26 more dates.
Full Price: $22.00 – $34.00 Our Price: $11.00 – $17.00
Brad Erickson’s new play, The War at Home, is the story of a minister’s son who returns to Charleston from New York to mount a local production of his new play championing gay marriage and challenging the Southern Baptist Church. Learn More
3rd Annual George Bush Going Away Party, A Evening of Political Comedy
Herbst Theatre at the San Francisco War Memorial Building (San Francisco, CA)
Saturday, Oct. 14 @ 8:00pm
Full Price: $23.25 Our Price: $12.00
The 3rd Annual George Bush Going Away Party features a variety of political comedians from New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco: Greg Proops (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Bill Santiago (Comedy Central), Alana Devich (Comedy Central’s “Laugh Riots”) and hostess Lisa Geduldig. People who want to cry when they hear about W’s policies, will be tickled by this show. The show will benefit the “Military Out of Our Schools Campaign” Learn More

The first one, especially, struck me as incredibly funny. I can just see some earnest ultra liberal playwright searching for the ingredients that will result in a play that’s not just a play, but is a STATEMENT. The second, of course, merely represents wishful thinking amongst a frustrated community.

I doubt I’ll be seeing either, but please don’t accuse me of boycotting things. As DQ will confirm, I never go out. Besides fatigue, and my husband’s and my varied and overwhelming work schedules, getting a babysitter makes almost any outing more trouble and expense than it’s worth.

Delayed recognition re a Castro photo

In yesterday’s Best of the Web, there is a photoshopped picture of Osama Bin Laden.  It took me a minute to recognize that it was pasted over an August picture of Fidel Castro that the Cuban government released to prove that he’s still alive.  Am I only the who finds it ironic that the longest-lasting Communist leader in the world is wearing an Adidas shirt — a perfect capitalist symbol?