September 30, 2005
Book Review: "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy"
Byron York is one of the most (hardy/ventursome) journalists around. Officially the White House Correspondent for National Review, he also spends much of his time reporting on what the left is up to. He seemingly visits every Moveon.org rally, every ANSWER protest, listens to every Air America broadcast, and has interviewed just about everyone worth interviewing on the New New Left today.
His latest work is The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President - and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time. The subtitle just about says it all.
Over the past five years we have seen a sea change in liberal groups and the people who fund them. While the old groups such as NOW and the People for the American Way are still with us and going strong, new groups and leaders have emerged. And although they failed to unseat George W Bush in 2004 because of their own misperception of who their audience was, they may well rethink their tactics and be a serious force to be reconed with in the years to come.
One of the most famous of the new groups is MoveOn.org. Founded in 1998 by the husband-and-wife team Wes Boyd and Joan Blades, York relates how they got the idea for their organization while at dinner one night at a Chinese restaurant in their hometown, which is just north of Berkeley California. They started discussing the imminent impeachment of President Clinton, apparently loudly, for before long everyone in the restaurant was agreeing with them. They saw this as the genesis of a mass movement and decided to found MoveOn PAC, which eventually became MoveOn.org
The organization floundered until Sept 11, when the terrorist attack gave it an issue. The way they responded is illuminating, to say the least.
Joan Blades wrote a petition called "Justice, not Terror" (interestingly, it has been removed from their website) York, however, saw or has the petition, and quoted it in an article posted on NRO. It read, in full
"Our leaders are under tremendous pressure to act in the aftermath of the terrible events of Sept. 11th. We the undersigned support justice, not escalating violence, which would only play into the terrorists' hands."
In other words, they did not want us even to go into Afghanistan. MoveOn.org has tried to deny this, but York has the goods on them.
In addition to organizations such as MoveOn.org, York profiles several individuals, such as Michael Moore and George Soros.
Moore has been around for some time, but it has been his Fahrenheit 9/11 that launched him into national politics.
Moore and others on the left were convinced that this movie would convince millions of "fence sitters" that George W Bush was a liar and would convince them to vote Democratic in 2004. Apparently many big-name Democrats thought so too. At the film's Washington Premier on June 24 of 2004, York lists many that were in attendance: Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, Iowa Senator Max Tom Harkin, Montana Senator Max Baucus, South Carolina Senator Ernest Hollings, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Florida Senator Bill Nelson, New York Congressman Charles Rangel, Washington State Congressman Jim McDermott, DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, Paul Begala, People for the American Way chief Ralph Neas, and others.
The national media played along, giving the film much attention. However, York takes a look at the actual numbers and concludes that it's impact was far less than it's sponsors supposed. For example, in terms of opening receipts, movies that beat Fahrenheit 9/11 include Barbershop 2, Mean Girls, Scooby-Doo 2, Alien vs. Predator, and Starsky and Hutch . The movie was simply preaching to the choir. It converted few people, and appealed only to the extreme left, who hated President Bush anyway.
George Soros is also the attention of a chapter, and deservedly so, since he is a major funder of left-wing causes. He is also a decidely weird figure. York relates a speech by Soros he attended in June 2004 at a Take Back American conference. Soros could barely complete a coherent sentence. He stammered, rambled, and often and paused for uncomfortably long periods, one time going as long as 20 seconds without saying a thing. When he did finally get going, "his point was difficult to decipher", other than that he hated George W Bush. The audience replied with tepid applause, but tolerated this weirdness because they knew he would fund their causes.
York concludes that these new left groups and individuals failed in their task because for all their effort, all they ended up doing is preach to those who were already on their side. They believed their own propaganda about how much influence they were having on the national scene. York points out that a website, for example, can generate a huge number of hits, yet still not be viewed by any but a relatively small number of people.
Further, they were vastly overconfident. Many of them were not only convinced that they would win in November, but that it would be a landslide. They refused to believe polls that showed that the election would be close. To a degree this is understandable, York says. When one experiences exponential growth in a new medium, or organization, it is easy to believe that you are reaching a vast audience. But in a nation of 280 million, even speaking to 20 or 30 million means little, especially since they are likely to be those who are already believers in your cause.
This said, York posts several warnings for conservatives. That they failed last time, he says, is no reason to believe that they will do so again. These are some very smart people, after all, who are quite capable of learning from their mistakes. They have much money at their disposal, and their organizations are already in place. In addition, they will still run against George W Bush, despite that he will not be on the ticket in 2008.
Conservatives should read this book, and take heed.
September 28, 2005
How often do we hear that when two nations, or peoples, are at odds with one another that it is a problem of perceptions? Too often, I'd say. And while this is mainly an issue with the left, and their insistance on endless negotiations and student exchanges, others have picked up on this too.
Take this tidbit from today's Washington Times:
Karen Hughes, the Bush administration's top public diplomacy official, came to Saudi Arabia in a bid to improve the U.S. image, but her hosts turned the tables yesterday and asked her to help create better perceptions of Saudi Arabia in the United States. ... She sought an opportunity to explain unpopular U.S. policies that cause anger and resentment in the region.
Instead, she received an earful of complaints that the American people have wrong ideas about the Saudis and little is being done to correct those misperceptions.
And what, in particular, upsets the Saudis?
Earlier yesterday, students and professors from Dar al-Hekma College decried the way Saudi women are portrayed in the United States.
During a town-hall meeting with Mrs. Hughes at the all-women's college, one student noted "a very negative picture of Muslim women that is created by the American media and supported by the U.S. government."
How oh how might that picture have been developed? Maybe by the fact that women are at best second-class citizens in Muslim-ruled countries? Grrrr.
But wait, there's more. Sent to my by a friend in the UK who follows the Saudis closely:
From The Guardian:
If Downing Street bows to today's reported Saudi demands for concessions in the hope of a Eurofighter sale worth up to £40bn, it will face dissent from the Foreign Office, the Serious Fraud Office, and British Airways. There will also be anger from such expatriate victims of Saudi behaviour as Ron Jones, who is trying to sue the regime for falsely imprisoning and torturing him.
Whitehall sources point to the two Powell brothers, who they claim are enthusiasts for the deal. Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's chief of staff, is said to be pro-Saudi. His brother Charles, now Lord Powell, also has access to Downing Street. He was Margaret Thatcher's foreign affairs adviser, and is now on BAE's payroll as a consultant, according to the current register of Lords' interests. BAE stands to make massive sums from a deal to sell the Eurofighter Typhoon to Riyadh.
I've written about Ron Jones before. He was among several Britons and others imprisoned by the Saudis in 2001 for allegedly planting bombs in their country. He and the others were working there as many westerners were when they were suddenly arrested and held incommunicado for several months. They were brutally tortured and forced to make false confessions on Saudi TV.
Unfortunately, they did not receive much if any help from their governments, who seemed more interested in maintaining good relationships with the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) than the welfare of their own citizens.
More on "our good friends" in the KSA, this time from the BBC (story again courtesy of my friend in the UK):
The Saudi Arabian authorities are refusing to reveal what action was taken against a diplomat suspected of sexually assaulting a child in London.
The man was arrested at the end of July last year but was released after claiming diplomatic immunity.
The Saudis say he will not be able to return to the UK, but have offered no information as to his fate.
The Foreign Office has refused to hand over papers on the case, despite a BBC freedom of information request.
The alleged assault against the 11-year-old girl generated anger in the newspapers when the Saudis refused a request by the British to waive the man's diplomatic immunity.
This left police unable to even question the man about the allegations.
The Saudis have steadfastly refused to comment on the case.
It was understood that the man would be dealt with by the Saudi justice system on his return. But the outcome of the Saudis' investigations remains unknown.
Still want more? Think that the Saudis are fighing against terrorism? If so, they're being mightly selective about it. Check out this latest from MEMRI:
Saudi Government Official on Iqra TV: All Muslims Must Support Jihad – Send Money to the Saudi Committee for Support of the Al-Quds Intifada, Account No. 98
An August 29, 2005 program on Saudi Iqra TV was devoted to supporting Jihad in Palestine. The program host began by telling all Saudis that they must donate and explained how to do so.
A caption then appeared on the screen: "Saudi Committee for Support of the Al-Quds Intifada, Account No. 98, a joint account at all Saudi banks." A moderator stated that "Jihad is the pinnacle of Islam" and explained that the funds would go directly to those waging Jihad, where it would "help them carry out this mission."
The program included the secretary-general of the Saudi government's Muslim World League Koran Memorization Commission, Sheikh Abdallah Basfar, who explained why it was an "obligation" for all Muslims to support Jihad. He also promised that "all of the funds sent via the known charities and organizations" would reach "your Muslim brothers." TO VIEW THIS CLIP VISIT: http://memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=843.
All all these are stories that have appeared in the press just recently. I didn't have to do any digging.
There are no "misperceptions", folks. We understand perfectly well what the government of the KSA represents.
September 25, 2005
Photos and Report from the Protests in Washington DC
You want photos? I've got photos. I hope you have broadband.
As promised, I attended the protests in Washington DC on Saturday, September 24
The short version; it was a freakshow.
But it was also an awful lot of fun, in a weird sort of way, and I advise anyone with such events taking place near then to do likewise and attend them. Heck, we had people on our side fly in from all around the country just to attend our counter-demonstration.
Although I've lived near Washington DC for over thirty-five years, I've never gone uptown for a protest or rally before. It's not that I'm any more political than I was, I think it's just the idea of being able to do a report and post photos on the Internet that makes it all more exciting and worthwhile. Because going without food, water, a bathroom, and trucking around on the DC metro all day surrounded by moonbats is not normally my idea of an exciting day. And C-Span does an excellent job of covering these events. But now of course the Internet has changed everything, so here goes.
I was with the counter-protesters all day, of course. From 10 - 1 we held a rally in front of the Navy Memorial. We had a little ceremony, a US Navy color guard came out and raised the flag, we did the pledge of allegiance (nowadays everyone shouts the "under god" part), and sang the Star Spangled Banner. Funny, but I rather doubt the lefties did those things during their opening ceremony.
Here are some of the signs we had ready for the lefties. I especially like the one on the right. It about says it all.
The first Batch of Protesters
As we were holding forth, several bunches of anti-war protesters came up from the Navy Memorial Subway stop. We were ready for them with our own signs:
Among, them, however, was an infiltrator: a protest warrior:
He explained to me that their tactics were to march alongside or even with the anti-war protesters with signs of the sort you see above. If you don't read it carefully you might think he was one of them. I asked him if they ever caught on. "The hippies never get it" he said with a smile. He then marched off right with them. Now that's gutsie.
We had maybe 150 or so people come to our rally and counter-demonstration, as I think I got a count from one of the folks at FreeRepublic.com I'll check their site later for their post
Then we walked a block to the FBI building, where we also had a permit for the day. We had maybe a 100 yards or of space on the sidwalk beside the street, with maybe 50 feet or so between the street and the building. About 10 feet in from the street the city had erected a short fence as a barrier There was then a line of cops between the barrier and the street, where the leftie protesters marched by. The police were decked out in riot gear, just in case, and I swear all looked like NFL linebackers. Nobody was going to cross that line. After it was all over I made a point of walking up to each group and thanking them, which they seemed to appreciate.
The protest march got to us at about 2:30 or so and lasted until after 5.
Just to be sure the protesters knew that they were going to face people with an opposing opinion, we had a little greeting for them:
The reference, of course, is to one of the organizers of the march, International ANSWER, or Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. ANSWER is a front group for the outright communist Workers World Party, and if you don't believe me just take a look at their web page. Brian Becker, a member of both ANSWER and the WWP, is profiled on David Horowitz' DiscoverTheNetwork.org In addition to the sign, one of our people was stationed up front by these signs asking the protesters if they knew who organized their march, and explaining it in pretty clear terms just to be sure they got the picture.
Here's a better shot of the orange MOAB (Mother Of All Banners, which is what we tend to all call of these large ones) when we had it up over by the Navy Memorial. The moonbats were not pleased when they saw it. It 's pretty in-your-face, but they needed it. And as you can tell, I liked giving it to them.
Here we are, getting ready. I was standing about half-way down our section.
I forget where these two flew in from, but I really liked their signs.
Here I am, flag and sign in hand. I didn't carry the sign most of the day, but handed it off to someone else.
Well, we thought these guys were moonbats. Turned out, this first group were the ProtestWarriors.
Now here come the moonbats!
This was probably the strangest group to come by all day. They did a little dance for our benefit, and chanted something I couldn't understand.
The first of many Che Guevara and Socialist/Communist signs that I saw
The first of many Palestinian flags that I saw
This is about as thick as they got. They obviously had several thousands there, but nowhere near 100,000 people came by us.
This next one, of which I saw plenty also, is apparently the flag of Iraq. It's the old flag of Saddam, and as I recall the new government tied to come out with a new one but there were so many objections they went back to the old one. The embassy here in DC shows the old one (I think) on their site. Here in a day or so I'll do more research, but in the meantime if someone can enlighten me I'd be indebted.
After seeing the same old stuff for awhile, it was easy to look bored, as the one guy does in the foreground of this photo. But notice the bullhorn a few people down
This is where the fun began.
The moonbats would shout at us, and we'd shout at them. They never seemed to understand that you can't outshout a bullhorn. I have to say that bringing them was genuis, probably born of experience.
We taunted them several ways; whenever they held up the "V" peace sign with their fingers, we'd do the same and all shout "Victory in Iraq! Victory in Iraq!", of course using the bullhorns to amplify the message. The protesters did not like this coopting their symbol and usually put their hands down.
Of course we saw a lot of "impeach Bush" signs. Whenever we did, we'd say something like "Here comes another President Cheney supporter!" or some such. They really did not like this also.
We also liked to say that we worked for Halliburton, or owned Halliburton stock and it went up today, or some such similar thing.
Other things we'd should is "Saddam thanks you!" or "Al Jazeera thanks you!"
One thing they'd say is "did you serve?" "or "So will you sign up to fight?" We did have many veterans among us, so you can imagine what they said. As for me, who has never served, I responded by asking if they would then support the war if I did. When they answered no, I said "well then it doesn't really matter, does it?" To which they usually had no response.
(for any of you who actually think the "chickenhawk" argument is anything but completely specious, here's one of the best responses)
I know, I know, you can say it's all somewhat juvenile. But who cares, it was fun and they deserved it.
And speaking of cheerleaders with a bullhorn, this guy was #1 on our side:
He's got on a "Commies aren't Cool" T-shirt. He was a riot, and happy as can be. One of his taunts was "gee, I thought you guys were all about peace, love, and understanding, but you look so angry!" And they did. Me? I laughed throughout most of the whole thing. It was just impossible to take these moonbats seriously (more on all that later)
Most of their signs were so stupid and predictable that you couldn't take them seriously. This one, however, kind of got on my nerves. Who the hell did these people think were were doing in Iraq? We do what we do just so the Iraqis can have their country back from a genocidal maniac. Oh, but they think we're there to steal their oil. Have they checked gas prices recently? Grrrrr
The Ride Home
I took the metrorail, and as you may suspect was pretty out numbered most of the time. Many people, of course, were just going about their daily business, probably wondering what in the world was going on. We had several tourists come by during the day, and asked us what it was all about. "Now you're got a real Washington DC story to take home with you!" I'd say after explaining what was going on.
On the subway it was pretty obvious that I was in town to take part in the counter-demonstration, as virtually none of the lefties had American flags, and there I was, carrying a 6 foot flag, a "Freedom isn't Free" and "Keep the Promise to Iraq" button on my shirt. But altough I got some mean looks almost no one said anything.
Except for one guy.
I was on the escallator going down at one of the stations where you change lines, and there was a 20 something guy in front of me who had long hair and let's just say didn't exactly look like your stereotypical conservative.
"Were you at the protest?" he asked.
"Sort of" I cautiously answered, not volunteering more. I had made a decision that I was not going to get into a debate or discussion with any of the anti-war protesters.
"You were at the counter-protest?" he continued.
"Good!" he said, and put out his hand to shake mine. "I'm glad. And you know, there are a lot more of us on your side than you think." (I paraphrase from memory)
That'll teach me not to stereotype.
And I should know better by now. I've had enough experience with this in life that I've encountered people many times who are exactly the opposite of the stereotype of how someone "should" look. On our side at the Saturday rally, and in fact with us every Friday night outside of Walter Reed, are guys with long hair, beards, etc.
In my defense I can say that I was very much "on guard", and all that. Nevertheless, it was an important reminder
While the lefties were marching by, a newspaper reporter from the Afro American Newspapers asked me if I'd speak with him. I said sure, and he asked very straight questions so I obliged him for about 5-10 minutes. I'll tell you what I told him.
No I do not think that the leftie moonbat marchers, or the organizers, represent the majority of Americans who oppose this war (At least, I hope they don't, but the Democrats are drifting more and more leftward, but that's another post).
A reasonable case could be made for opposing the war in Iraq. A reasonable case can be made the the Bush Administration et all has screwed up some of the occupation. I disagree with them, but that's not the point here. The people in this march, and their organizers, are the kook fringe, and need to be exposed as such. Newspapers such as the Washington Post almost never mention the true politics of ANSWER or Code Pink. So someone has to do it, and bloggers like me are going to shame the msm into reporting it.
He asked me about WMD, and I told him look, almost everyone thought there was WMD in Iraq. The debate before the war was not over whether there was WMD, but what to do about it. To say that "Bush Lied!" puts you on the kook fringe.
There you have it, at least the brief version. You can read my complete thoughts on the matter here, if you care.
I added a photo, so go back up and find "Thank You For Protesting My Freedom". It about says it all, I think.
The Political Teen has video of Cindy Sheehan's speech earlier that day. Watch for two things; who is standing beside her desperately trying to stay relevant, and listen to the crowd's reaction after she says what other countries should not do.
Global Cop has some good photos of the protest march and the pro-America rally where I was at.
Instapundit has more links. But you knew that already.
Do the Organizers Matter?
I actually saw a few people marching who had half-reasonable signs. One guy in particular I remember, he had a very wordy sign that said in effect "I am a moderate, I don't oppose all wars, just this one". I called to him and got his attention.
I asked, "you seem like a reasonable guy. Why are you marching with this crowd? Do you know who organized this march?"
He indicated that yes, he knew who the organizers were. I forget his exact words, but they were to the effect that it did not matter to him who sponsored it. He went on his way.
While his intentions may have been good, he is morally confused on this issue. It does matter who organizes and sponsors events. If you don't believe me, consider this; if you learned that the organizers of a "pro-troops" (or similar) rally were secretly members of the KKK, would you attend?
I didn't think so.
United for Peace and Justice was one of the sponsors of the "anti-war March. UPJ is an umbrella group made up of many organizations. If you go to the Members section of their web page here are some of the groups that they have listed and/or have links to:
Communist Party - Maryland (MD) Communist Party - New York (NY) Communist Party- Central Indiana (IN) Communist Party USA
Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition-CT Chapter (CT ("Right of return" is a call for the destruction of Israel)
Young Communist League, USA (NY)
Communist Party of Vietnam (Vietnam)
Just so we're clear on who these people are who organize these "anti-war" protests.
September 18, 2005
Race and Katrina
I think we've all seen the various statements made by liberals and assorted Democrats claiming that the delayed action by the Bush Administration during and immediatly after the Hurricane was due to racism, so I'm not going to republish them here. There are many news sites and various blogs and such which have posted them, so knock yourself out if you're in the mood for self-torture.
You know who we are talking about; people like Howard Dean, Jesse Jackson, Randall Robinson, Rep Elijah Cummings (head of the Congressional Black Caucus, no less), Rep. Diane Watson, Rep Cynthia McKinney, on and on. Others such as rapper Kayne West count also, since there are people who do listen to and believe rock stars and other entertainers.
Also, to me it is self-evident that the charge is absurd, so you won't find a "no Bush is not a racist" argument here.
Rather, I want to look at why we had such charges in the first place.
Yes, there is racism in America. But most of it is not white racism. It is black racism. It pains me greatly to type this, but there it is. Certainly most of the hate speech that I see on matter of race comes from the left in general, and liberal black leaders in particular. Former NAACP head Kwazi Mfume comes to mind in this regard.
The simple fact is that significant(hint; key word there) white racism is a thing of the past. If you don't believe me, look at how the left defines racism today; they claim it is "institutional" or "unconscious". In other words, we can't find any individual cases, in fact we can't prove anything at all, but we're going to claim it anyway.
It gets worse. It is bad enough that Al Sharpton is feted by mainstream Democrats, who have forgotten all about Freddies Fashion Mart, let along the Tawana Brawley affair. With the last election cycle we have seen that the Democrat party is so in bed with extremist groups like Moveon.org and America Coming Together, and individuals such as Michael Moore and George Soros, that they are utterly unable to sound reasonable on most issues at all (More on this when I review Byron York's latest book)
Back to the Hurricane.
What we saw in New Orleans, and the race-baiting that followed, is the result of forty years of liberal social programs.
It is absurd beyond reason to say that this country has not worked it's collective butt off to make life better for it's underclass from at least 1933 on. And it defied comprehension how anyone could say that we have not tried beyond trying to make the lives of black people in particular better since the mid-fifties, with the trend accelerating greating from 1964 on. Trillions of dollars, program after program, quota after quota(excuse me, "diversity").
So at this point we are entitled to ask a question:
If white racism is as big a problem as the left says it is, and they allege it runs all the way up to the president, then what does that say about all the liberal social programs to alleviate all this that we've followed?
I'll spare you the typing and answer the question myself; your policies have failed. The liberal welfare state, and the modern "diversity" and "multiculturalism" that have been forced on us, have not worked. Not nearly as much as their sponsors claim, at any rate.
The black citizens of New Orleans who were so impoverished that they didn't own cars, or have the money to get out, were not victims of racism. They were victims of the failed liberal welfare state.
And why do so many buy into the notion that federal government failures were the result of racism? I'll spare you the typing on this one too; because liberal leaders have done nothing but preach the gospel of victimhood to them.
We will no doubt hear that "both sides need to come together", that conservatives need to "reach out", blah blah blah. Sorry, but after listening to the insanities coming from the left on the issue of race after Katrina, I'm not in much mood for "coming together" with the likes of Al Sharpton, Howard Dean, most members of the Congressional Black Caucus, or, while we're at it, the NAACP. I have had it up to here with them.
Compassion? You bet. But it's going to be on the individual level, which for me means targeted donations and church mission/work trips. But these "leaders" have got to go.
P.S. I hated writing this post. This entire affair pains me greatly, and so wish things weren't as they were. But some things have to be said.
Thank you to the Watchers of Weasels blog for considering this post worthy of inclusion in their weekly contest. I did not win, but that's ok. I urge everyone to visit their site and read the posts that were submitted, as they are all very good.
September 17, 2005
I thought everone might enjoy some new photo's of our Friday night face-offs with Code Pink, the left-wing outfit notorious for giving some $600,000 to the terrorists (er, "citizens") of Fallujah.
As I discussed a few posts ago, last spring Code Pink decided to hold Friday night anti-war protests outside the main entrance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. Their signs included such beauties as "Maimed for a Lie". The probable reason they chose Friday evenings is because on that night the hospital sends a busload of the recovering troops to a restaurant in the city. The bus re-enters the hospital grounds at this very entrance between 9 and 9:30. The troops were unable to miss the Code Pink people on the corner right beside the entrance.
Word got out about this, and the people who manage FreeRepublic.com, known as "Freepers", decided that this was intolerable. They organized their own "support the troops" demonstrations on the opposite streetcorners, and have done so every Friday night since. This way the troops on the bus would have have a pro-troops rally to bolster them instead of having to look at a bunch of neo-Marxists. The whole thing was under the media radar until an August 30 CNSnews story attracted national attention.
Yours truely has been there to help counter the Pinkos a total of three times now, with last night being the latest episode. I published my first account a few weeks ago, and below are photos of Sept 9 and Sept 16.
This is the corner where we maintained our largest presence, where the Freepers put our "MOAB", or Mother Of All Banners". All "pro-troops" signs and banners are on this corner too.
Here is our other corner, on which all anti-Pinko signs and banners are placed. As you can see, the massive banner here is only slightly smaller than the MOB. Both of our corners are across the street from the main entrance.
(I took both of the above photos from one of Code Pink's corners after they had left)
Here are the Pinkos, on the corner where they maintain their largest presence. Their permit gives them two corners (the ones right beside the entrance), and ours does the same for us. As you can see, their largest sign is, ahem, somewhat smaller than either of ours. All of which is somewhat amusing that they can't manage anthing better.
Here is their secondary corner.
Here I am, letting passing motorists know who the people across the street are. This sign, like many of the others, were made by the Freepers. They had an abundance of them for anyone on our side to hold.
The guy in the purple shirt is who I call the "angry bicyclist". He stopped by our corner Sept 9 and wanted to argue with everyone. He kept shouting that he'd done a lot of reading and knew the facts, and who here would debate him, all that. He wanted to get into Security Council resolution 1441 and everything. He was so irate the last thing any of us were going to do is engage him in any type of serious conversation. After a few minutes of back-and-forth we ignored him and he went over to the Pinko's corner.
Here is what it is all about, the troops, returning from the restaurant. In the past few weeks the Pinkos have packed up and gone home promptly at 9pm before the busload of troops arrives. It is my belief that they do this so as to maintain the falsehood that there's is a "vigil", in support of the troops. As I said at the earlier, when they stated this several months ago they had no problem in showing the busload of troops their protest signs.
You can find a lot more at the FreeRepublic.com website.
In this post, the Freepers show a copy of a Code Pink flyer that they say was being handed out to neighborhood residents just last week. The flyer urges residents to call the police on "counter protesters who have been appearing to yell at us Friday nights."
The Pinkos claim is that far from being against the troops, they are fighting for the troops. They say that they are simply holding a "vigil" in support of the troops who are in the hospital. One of their signs says "quite zone", despite the fact that each night they play one or more guitars and sing leftie anti-war songs. Other signs say things like "Full Finding for VA Benefits". Essentially, they are running from who they really are. They are trying to present the image of a benign group that simply does not think our troops should be in Iraq. In reality, they are a dangerous bunch of anti-American fanatics who have given aid and comfort to the enemy.
Here are the FreeRepublic posts with many good pictures and even video and audio files from Sept 2 and Sept 9. Make sure you go to these posts, because in addition to the great photos, you'll want to read about the "drive by fruiting" of Sept 9!
Next weekend is either "Support the Troops" or "Protest the War (and the IMF, the World Bank, and support Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea)" depending on whose side you're on. The lefties plan on being out in force, and the Freepers, Protest Warriors, and others on the right will be in D.C. also so that hopefully the left does not get all the media attention. I plan on being downtown that Saturday, and will do a post on the goings-on shortly thereafter. Stay tuned.
September 14, 2005
The Roberts Hearings
I haven't watched any of the hearings but have listened to them on the radio, and followed the various blogs over at National Review. My job allows me to listen to the radio much of the day, so I've got a fair idea as to what is going on. I could watch them on C-Span at night, but haven't the time or patience.
But for all of the time and energy that will be spent both in committee and on the floor of the Senate, the central issue is really quite simple. The Democrats, or liberals, I should say, are absolutely petrified that they are on the verge of loosing control of the Supreme Court.
Democrats have had the presidency for only 15 of the past 40 years. They control neither the house nor the senate. They may well capture one or all three in coming years, but even this misses the point.
And that is so because for all the importance of controlling the presidency or congress, it is through the courts that liberals try to accomplish their goals. From gun control, to smoking, to quotas(er, "diversity"), to gay marriage, and now even to the Pledge of Allegiance, liberals have decided that getting judges to enact their agenda is better than trying to elect legislators.
And you can see why they would think so. Convincing the public that you are right is so time consuming and expensive. Legislators and governors who enact unpopular laws can be voted out. No, far better to circumvent representative government with a coterie of philosopher-kings. Socrates would have been proud.
Do I exagerate? I think not. Consider gun control. Liberals have just about given up on persuading legislatures, whether they be state or congress, from enacting serious gun control legislation. In fact, the trend across the country is in the other direction. State after state has been passing "right to carry" laws, which relieve the citizen of having to go before a temperamental judge who may or may not grant a license depending on personal whim. Congress let provisions of the Brady Bill die (which reminds me that I need to get a flash suppressor for my AR-15. They had been banned by that stupid law). Bill Clinton himself gave credit to the NRA for Democrat losses in the congress during his term in office.
Enraged, liberals changed tactics. The new game is to sue gun manufacturers, usually under "product liability" statutes. Fortunately, most attempts have been squashed either by the courts themselves, or by legislatures passing laws absolving manufactures of "abusive lawsuits".
We see a similar tactic with tobacco products. We see lawsuit after lawsuit for more and more money, all under the guise of "product liability" or some such similar claim.
In both cases, liberals pursue their agenda through the wrong forum. The correct thing to do would be to simply come out and say "we think smoking/guns/fill-in-the-blank ought to be legal/illegal, and we're introducing legislation to make it so. " But rarely is this the case.
So it was the unusual news story that told us that the California legislature had passed a bill to make "gay marriage" legal. Most Democrat politicians in the country are caught between a rock and a hard place with this issue. On the one hand, they've got their gay consituency telling them that gay marriage is their number 1 issue. On the other, they've got their much larger black and labor union constituency telling them "no way." The courts provide the perfect answer. They simply put liberal judges in place, and hope they pass gay marriage laws (excuse me, "reinterpret the constitution"). The politicians can then say to the blacks and union members "hey, don't look at me", while it's wink wink to the gays.
Back to the Senate
So for three days in a row John Roberts has been questioned by various senators. Interestingly enough, before about 1955 nominees to the court didn't even apear before the senate. In fact, they refused to go, considering it beneath their dignity to subject themselves to questioning to a bunch of political hacks. And from what I've seen (or rather, heard), they had a point.
For all their pontificating, and attempts by some (Shumer, Biden) to show us that they too know the law ("really, we do!"), it all comes down to one issue. There is only one thing they want to know, because it is at the heart of modern liberalism.
How will he vote on abortion?
I swear I think Roberts could say that he'd order puppies executed and old ladies thrown into the street from their nursing homes and the Democrats wouldn't care.
"Just please, oh please, don't touch Roe v Wade"
Roberts, of course, has adopted what has become known as "the Ginsburg standard". Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Clinton's 1993 nominee, told senators that
“I cannot say one word on that subject that would not violate what I said had to be my rule about no hints, no forecasts, no previews.”
How inconvenient her words are to some now. I listened today as Roberts refused to answer questions about how he might rule, with Democrat senators such as Shumer growing more and more frustrated.
Biden demanded that Roberts tell him his opinion on specific issues, saying that because senatorial candidates must tell the public their opinion on various issues, judicial candidates should do likewise. Roberts instructed Biden that judges aren't up for reelection, so no, the analogy does not work.
Kennedy said that he was - hold your breath - "somewhat disappointed" in Roberts.
Feinstein, displaying the worst in tribalist thinking, asked a series of "woman questions": Prefacing a few questions with "As a woman..." and "As a man, Judge Roberts, how do you feel..."
Shumer tried to trip him up on the "Ginsburg standard". Biden interupted him repeatedly, at several points causing Chairman Arlen Specter to intervene on Roberts' behalf. But they failed.
The Meaning of "Qualified"
John Roberts is a qualified, in the academic sense, as anyone ever has been. By all historical precident, he should be confirmed.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg was confirmed in 1993 by a vote of 96-3. Scalia and Renquist were confirmed by overwhelming margins, Thomas famously less so.
Ginsberg specifically told everyone that she believed in a womans "right" to an abortion. Yet had Republicans voted against her they would have accused of all sorts of things, from setting a "litmus test" to being "anti-woman."
Roberts will be confirmed, although probably with only 10-20 Democrat votes in the full senate. The committee vote will be straight party line, 10-8.
If this confirmation looks difficult, folks, get ready for the next one. It's going to be bloody. The Democrats are losing their last branch of government, and won't go down without a fight.
The Islamic Threat, Part III
At War with an Enemy of an Unspoken Name
The Washington Times has excerpted parts of editorial page editor Tony Blankley's new book The West's Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations? This is the last of three parts.
In today's installment, Blankley says that we need to accurately name our enemy, and issue a formal declaration of war against them. The enemy, of course, is radical Islam.
There are many advantages to this, Blankley says. One, we would be telling the world that we see and understand the split in Islam between Muslims who are "peaceful and democratic" and "those Muslims who believe in car bombs, terrorism and murder.
Second, "we are a nation of laws", and the president needs wartime powers if we are to effectively fight this war. One of those laws are the sedition laws.
Muslim extremists on the Internet and in mosques openly call for jihad against the United States and Europe. In May, Muslim organizations gathered in front of the American Embassy in London to protest against the United States and Britain.
They burned British and American flags and threatened violence, including another September 11 attack. They chanted, "USA, watch your back, Osama is coming back" and "Kill, kill USA, kill, kill George Bush" and "Bomb, bomb New York" and "George Bush, you will pay, with your blood, with your head."
If this protest, with its threats of violence and assassination, had been conducted within our own borders, the protesters would have been ripe subjects for sedition prosecutions -- and rightly so. Sedition laws do not outlaw dissent; they outlaw advocating the violent overthrow of our government and violent opposition to our war effort.
Such prosecution would certrainly drive extremist civil rights types into fits of apoplexy. But we need to understand that they will oppose even the mildest of actions, so there it little point in trying to win their favor.
However, as Blankley points out, a declaration of war would actually work in favor of civil liberties. All we would have to do is put a "sunset clause" in the declaration of war whereby it would need to be renewed every two years or so.
The only place where I disagree with Blankley is his call for a national identification card. I'm still not convinced that this would have significant advantages of state-issued identification.
In part I Blankely explained the danger to Europe posed by it's burgeoning Muslim population. Today he returns to this theme, explaining that "the best strategy to fend off and reverse the Islamist threat is to strengthen the alliance between the United States and Europe". Well...yes, I would say that would help, but it's not a complete answer. Perhaps Blankley expands on this in the book. Newspaper excerpts are by their nature brief and exclusive of detail.
In closing, he reminds us that it would be unwise to write off Europe, as some of us in the states are at times tempted to do:
But a defense of the West without the birthplace of the West -- Europe -- is almost unthinkable. If Europe becomes Eurabia, it would mean the loss of our cultural and historic first cousins, our closest economic and military allies, and the source of our own civilization. This is a condition Americans should dread and should move mountains to avoid.
It bears repeating: An Islamified Europe would be as great a threat to the United States today as a Nazified Europe would have been in the 1940s.
Even before Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt understood that a Nazi-dominated Europe would be more than a fearsome military and industrial threat. It would be a civilizational threat.
Now we face another such threat in insurgent Islam.
Indeed we do.
September 13, 2005
The Islamic Threat, Part II
Needed: Old War Spirit in a New War
Today's excerpt from Tony Blankley's new book >The West's Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations Blankley is the editorial-page editor of the Washington Times, which is running a three-part series on his new book.
In today's excerpt Blankley describes how, during World War II, we took strong action on the home front against suspected Nazi and Japanese subversion. What is most interesting is that those people at the forefront of the battle were are considered liberal icons today. He then compares their actions to our current War on Terror and concludes that there are important lessons to be drawn from that era. Unfortunately, liberals today draw the wrong lessons.
Take, for example, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, a liberal icon of the era.
A Liberal Icon
A decent man makes different judgments in different circumstances.
Members of the Jehovah's Witnesses were prosecuted during World War II for refusing to let their children recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, a liberal, wrote the majority opinion in the case. He upheld the school expulsions and parental prosecutions for violating compulsory attendance laws.
Justice Frankfurter observed that "the mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities."
This is particularly applicable to the situation we face today. Radical Islamists are demanding to be covered by Shariah -- laws compiled over a thousand years of Muslim jurisprudence, based on the Koran and its commentaries -- rather than by the laws of the United States, Britain, Germany or the other non-Muslim nations in which the radical Islamists live.
Yet many in the West cannot seem to understand this basic fact. We hear time and time again that "the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists", as if that is what mattered. What the liberals today ignore (deliberately?) is the fact that the majority are in sympathy with the terrorist's goals.
A recent poll taken in the UK showed that barely half of British Muslims described themselves as loyal to their country.
This is not even the worst of it. Tony Blair seems dedicted to pursuing his goal of "engagement" with radical Muslims despite their obvious Jew-hatred and conspiracy minded thinking.
Michelle Malkin was beaten up by the liberal elite for her daring book "In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling during World War II and the War on Terror", which I reviewed a few months ago. While I'm not entirely sure I agree that internment was the right policy, I do certainly understand and sympathize with those who made the decision to do so. Those who claim that the entire affair was based on racism are completely wrong.
Today we have a similar situation. Any attempt to challenge Muslims on sympathy for terrorism is met by crys of "racism", as if that were the issue. But the Muslims have learned well. They know that many on the right, politicians especially, cower before such a charge, and liberals eat it up. This is why, for example, groups with ties to terrorism, like CAIR, are listened to in mainstream society (Regarding CAIR, see here, and here).
Frankfurter demanded that all schoolchildren cite the Pledge of Allegiance. He rejected claims by the Jehovah's Witnesses that they had a religious right to keep their children from participating. Considering the situation today, Blankley concludes that
Today, schoolchildren, senators and elite journalists would giggle at the idea of applying Justice Frankfurter's lofty words to the defense of the modest little Pledge of Allegiance.
But back then, as now, we were a nation of newly arrived immigrants, threatened from abroad and bombarded with destructive ideologies.
Then, it was communism and fascism. Today, it is multiculturalism, political correctness and, among the Muslim population, radical Islam.
Tomorrow: Part III
September 12, 2005
Islam and Europe
Just in case you think Tony Blankley has overstated his case about the Islamic threat to Europe in his new book (excerpted below), consider two stories that recently appeared in the British press.
You're not going to believe this stuff, folks. Or maybe you will.
The first story is from the London newspaper The Telegraph(hat tip Andrew Stuttaford of NRO). In it we're told that a "a Muslim barrister" Prime Minister Tony Blair thinks that Jews and Freemasons are secretly in control of the war in Iraq. Blair, you see, came under their "sinister" influence and just couldn't help himself.
Ahmad Thomson, from the Association of Muslim Lawyers, said Mr Blair was the latest in a long line of politicians to have been influenced by the group which saw the attack on Saddam Hussein as a way to control the Middle East.
A Government spokesman confirmed last night that ministers and officials consulted Mr Thomson on issues concerning Muslims but refused to be drawn on his views. "We talk to a lot of people, including many whose views we do not necessarily agree with," she said.
This includes, apparently, complete whackos.
And, big surprise, Thomson thinks that the Holocaust is "a big lie".
The second story is from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1775068,00.html, also a British newspaper:
Advisors appointed by Tony Blair after the London bombings are proposing to scrap the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day because it is regarded as offensive to Muslims.
They want to replace it with a Genocide Day that would recognise the mass murder of Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and Bosnia as well as people of other faiths.
Tony Blair needs new advisors pronto.
And just why is the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day so "offensive" to Muslims?
>A member of one of the committees, made up of Muslims, said it gave the impression that “western lives have more value than non-western lives”. That perception needed to be changed. “One way of doing that is if the government were to sponsor a national Genocide Memorial Day.
“The very name Holocaust Memorial Day sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims. It sends out the wrong signals: that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others. It’s a grievance that extremists are able to exploit.”
If you believe this I've got a bridge to sell you.
Let's just call it as it is: The Muslims hate the Jews, and take one of two positions regarding the Holocaust; they either deny that it occured, or believe that it did and was a good thing. The idea of the Holocaust as a day of sorrow is utterly beyond their comprehension.
Which is one reason why the UN can never agree on a definition of terrorism; because the Muslims want a definition that they can use to pin on Israel and the U.S. http://theredhunter.com/mt/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&blog_id=1&id=482&saved_changes=1#
It's really about that simple.
But while the committees are at it, they have another recomendation for the Prime Minister. Hey, when you're on a roll, go for it all.
The committees are also set to clash with Blair on his proposal to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, the radical Islamic group. Government sources say they will argue that a ban is unjustified because the group, which is proscribed in much of the Middle East, neither advocates nor perpetrates violence in the UK.
Reread that last phrase, "because the group...neither advocates nor perpetrates violence in the UK".
In other words, Blair is hoping that the crocodile eats him last.
Andrew McCarthy spares us the task of researching who this Hizb ut-Tahrir group is. He found a 2003 Heritage Foundation paper about the group. It's conclusion is that
Hizb ut-Tahrir represents a growing medium- and long-term threat to geopolitical stability and the secular regimes of Central Asia and ultimately poses a potential threat to other regions of the world. The party is transnational, secretive, and extremist in its anti-Americanism. It seeks to overthrow and destroy existing regimes and establish a Shari'a-based Caliphate.
Hizb may launch terrorist attacks against U.S. targets and allies, operating either alone or in cooperation with other global terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. A Hizb takeover of any Central Asian state could provide the global radical Islamist movement with a geographic base and access to the expertise and technology to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. and its allies must do everything possible to avoid such an outcome.
The paper also estimates the group's strength at about "5,000-10,000 hard-core members, and many more supporters" throughout south-west asia.
Nope, folks, Tony Blankley wasn't exaggerating one bit. The government of Tony Blair is a willing participant in the suicide of Great Britain.
The Islamic Threat, Part I
Tony Blankley is the editorial-page editor of the Washington Times, has a new book out called The West's Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations.
Today's Washington Times has the first of a three-part series in which they've excerpted sections of the book. Here are a few tidbits:
The threat of the radical Islamists taking over Europe is every bit as great to the United States as was the threat of the Nazis taking over Europe in the 1940s.
It is beginning to dawn on Europeans that the combination of a shrinking ethnic-European population and an expanding, culturally assertive Muslim population might lead to the fall of Western civilization in Europe within a century.
This phenomenon, called Eurabia, is viewed with growing fatalism both in Europe and in America.
But that survival instinct is threatened by the multiculturalism and political correctness advocated in media and academe -- and institutionalized in national and European Union laws and regulations for half a century.
Europe's effort at cultural tolerance since World War II slowly morphed into a surprisingly deep self-loathing of Western culture that denied the instinct for cultural and national self-defense.
If Europe doesn't rise to the challenge, Eurabia will come to pass. Then Europe will cease to be an American ally and instead become a base of operations (as she already is to a small degree) against us.
Read the whole thing.
This is a book I'm going to have to buy. And soon.
Michael Kinsley says hindsight is always 20/20:
Recriminations are all the rage today. But really, does anyone ever pay attention to the prophets of doom until it's too late?"
"As a good American, you no doubt have been worried sick for years about the levees around New Orleans. Or you've been worried at least since you read that official report in August 2001 -- the one that ranked a biblical flood of the Big Easy as one of our top three potential national emergencies. No? You didn't read that report in 2001? You just read about it in the newspapers this last week?" Mr. Kinsley said.
"Well, how about that prescient New Orleans Times-Picayune series in 2002 that laid out the whole likely catastrophe? Everybody read that one. Or at least it sure seems that way now. I was not aware that the Times-Picayune had such a large readership in places like Washington, D.C., and California. And surely you have been badgering public officials at every level of government to spend whatever it takes to reinforce those levees -- and to raise your taxes if necessary to pay for it."
Yes, I know what you're going to say; "but the people in charge should have read these reports. Well....yes. And no. People in these positions get a hundred warnings of this and that. Which one will come true?
Meanwhile, Fred Barnes agrees with me that the Democrats have overplayed their hand:
"In trashing President Bush, Democrats have overplayed their hand as never before," the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes writes, referring to Hurricane Katrina.
"Their criticism of Bush began soon after the levees broke in New Orleans and picked up steam once it became clear that thousands of people were stranded in New Orleans without food, medicine, or imminent prospects of being rescued. And the media, more hostile to Bush than ever, adopted the Democratic line that the slowness of rescue and recovery efforts was the fault of Bush and [Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael D.] Brown," Mr. Barnes said.
"Now, after politicizing Katrina and dividing the country, Democrats insist, disingenuously, that Bush depoliticize the issue and unify the country. He should go about this, Democrats argue, by choosing a 'unity' nominee for the second Supreme Court vacancy. Unity in this case means a candidate Democrats like. And he should jettison his domestic agenda, especially tax cuts. If Bush falls for this, he deserves to have his job rating drop (I suspect he won't).
I suspect he won't either.
September 10, 2005
Support the Troops Weekend
Mark your calendars:
September 23, 24, and 26 is Support the Troops weekend.
Rallies are being held in Washington DC area throughout that weekend, so if you live here or can get here please attend one or more.
From the Support the Troops website:
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 - 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. - SUPPORT THE TROOPS RALLY OUTSIDE WALTER REED ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, 7200 GEORGIA AVENUE, N.W., WASHINGTON, D.C. ACROSS FROM THE MAIN GATE, ELDER ST. AND GEORGIA AVE. Every Friday night for the past five months, members of FreeRepublic.com have held a patriotic gathering in support of our men and women recuperating at Walter Reed. While they believe that ordinarily, demonstrations are out of place at a hospital, they have done so because an antiwar group named Code Pink has been holding antiwar demonstrations at the main gate to Walter Reed on Friday evenings. We believe Code Pink is trying to hurt the morale of our soldiers and their families, so we will be joining the members of FreeRepublic.com in their show of support for our troops and their loved ones.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - SUPPORT THE TROOPS AND THEIR MISSION RALLY BY DEFENDTHEWHITEHOUSE.ORG, RIGHTMARCH AND PROTEST WARRIOR, IN RESPONSE TO ANTIWAR RALLY ON THE ELLIPSE (LOCATION TBA).
This rally will place participants in close proximity to the antiwar protesters so that the antiwar rallies will not go unanswered by patriotic Americans. Plans for this day are still being formed. You may sign up for a mailing list for information updates on Saturday's events.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 - 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. - PATRIOTIC COUNTER-DEMONSTRATION BY DEFENDTHEWHITEHOUSE.ORG, FREEREPUBLIC.COM AND PROTEST WARRIOR ALONG ANTIWAR PARADE ROUTE THROUGH FEDERAL TRIANGLE (EXACT LOCATION TBA.)
After the dueling rallies, we will be lining sections of the antiwar march route to show support for America, our troops and their mission fighting the war on terrorism. There will be police lines separating the two groups to ensure the peace.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 - Noon to 3 p.m. - OUR MAIN EVENT: RALLY TO HONOR MILITARY FAMILIES ON THE MALL AT 4TH STREET NW (NEAR THE AIR & SPACE MUSEUM) SPONSORED BY MOVE AMERICA FORWARD, RIGHTMARCH.COM, FREEREPUBLIC.COM, PROTEST WARRIOR AND MILITARY FAMILIES VOICE OF VICTORY
This rally is being held to honor military families, their loved ones serving in our armed forces and their mission fighting the war on terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. Military family members and those who support them are encouraged to attend to show the nation and the world that they stand firm in their resolve to win the war on terrorism. Speakers will include Gold Star parents, family members of service men and women, veterans and Iraqi citizens as well an appearance by the musical duo The Right Brothers. Current and former Members of Congress are also being invited to speak. The program for the rally will be regularly updated.
I'll be at the Friday night and Saturday events. If you will be able to make it let me know at redhunter43-at-yahoo-dot-com.
Last night I was at Walter Reed with the other freepers. Once again, we outnumbered the Pinkos by maybe two to one, and had much larger and better signs. I don't have a post up about last night, and I don't think Free Republic has theirs up either, but you can read about previous nights outside Walter reed on their website here and here, and on my other blog here (warning; each of these links is pretty graphics intensive, so you'll need a broadband connection).
What the Left is Up To
These patriotic 'counter-protests' are being held because a coalition of far-left groups is descending on Washington DC that weekend. Protesting the War in Iraq is their central gripe, but as usual they are all upset over a variety of things.
They will also being protesting the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, who are holding meetings that weekend.
International A.N.S.W.E.R says that one of their demands is that the U.S. "Stop the Threats Against Venezuela, Cuba, Iran & North Korea". They also list "U.S. out of the Philippines" and "U.S. out of Puerto Rico" as demands. They're completely nuts.
I wouldn't doubt it if the "Free Mumia" people even showed up.
The new Queen of the left, Cindy Sheehan, will conclude her "non-political" 25 state bus tour at the protests that weekend.
It is very important that the left not get all the media coverage. The only way for us to be heard is to show up. Obviously, if you do not live in the Washington DC area I don't expect you to fly in, but if you do have friends or relatives here please let them know about this.
The Other Side
If you want to read what the other side is up to, and can stomach their websites, here are their various "action alerts" and information sites for the Sept 23-24 weekend:
September 7, 2005
Our Shared Western Values
In my last post I took some people to task for having fuzzy ideas as to Western Values. What follows are some of the things that we in the West do, or should, have in common. They are what make us what we are, and make us different, and yes, better, than others around the world.
A Judo-Christian heritage. I'm not so much talking about going to church on Sundays, or even really being religious. The simple fact is that the Old and New Testaments have had enormous influence on our development whether some people like it or not.
A Democratic, or Representative form of Government. One can trace our democratic heritage from Athens, to the Magna Carta, to the Declaration of Independence.
A Free Market Economy, with Regulations. We are the envy of the world. We have figured out how to bring the most economic well being to the most people. Am amazing achievement, really, given human history.
Tolerance of Differences. A proper definition of "tolerance" is a societal agreement not to legally persecute people who are different in some way, or to openly "hassle" them in everyday life. Unfortunately, the term been misused of late. Gay-rights activists now tell us that "tolerance" really means approval of their lifestyle. This is incorrect. One may tolerate something one disapproves of.
Individual Rights. This as opposed to "community rights", sometimes espoused by advocates of "Asian Values". Further, rights are not "culturally specific". These rights, such as the ones in the American Bill of Rights, "are endowed to us by our creator', and thus apply to everyone on the planet, whether their governments are currently respecting them or not.
We see ourselves as Individuals. This as opposed to seeing ourselves as members of a group. Sadly, some in the West today are trying to reverse this trend. Paradoxically, it is the "multiculturalists" who are pushing this.
We look Forward Instead of Backward. Tradition is important, but it is the emphasis that counts. This idea of looking forward is stongest in the United States, but I believe that in is a value that most in the West hold.
Feel free to disagree, or to suggest additions.
The Question of Political Identity and Values
in The War On Terror
David Frum asks "Who Are We?" in the most September 12 print edition of National Review (digital subscription required to view it online).
The questions references the age-old political question of Identity: "Who am I as a political creature?" In the Middle Ages this question might have been answered with reference to nobility, clergy, whether one was a merchant or serf, Christian or Muslim. In the early years of our nation one might have said "Virginian" first, "American" second. In the past few hundred years, we in the West we have come to see ourselves in terms of nationhood. Seeing ourselves as citizens of a particular nation is stronger in the United States or Australia, weaker in western Europe, so it varies by locale. Either way, Westerners see themselves as members of a political entitiy, as opposed to most Muslims, for example, who see themselves more in terms of their religion.
Frum is interested in the question the question of nationhood poses,and puts it in terms of "common values". Political scientists distinguish between a "state", which is political entity, and a "nation". Wikopedia has as good a definition as any, and tells us that the members of a nation
...are distinguished by a common identity, and almost always by a common origin, in the sense of ancestry, parentage or descent. The national identity refers both to the distinguishing features of the group, and to the individual’s sense of belonging to it.
The key in this is "identity". One way individuals may be said to have a common identity is to hold certain values in common.
And it is just this that worries David Frum.
The Enemy Within
The War on Terror (a poor term, but let that pass) has more in common with the Cold War than any other that we have fought, in that if we are to win then a critical mass of our citizens must not only believe that the war is worth fighting and winning, but must understand that it is in part (even primarily) a war of values, and that our values are superior.
During the Cold War we had a fifth column within the west that fortunately never reached this critical mass. But, contrary to the claims of some revisionist liberals today, it was a near-run thing. Perhaps the critical juncture was in the early '80s when we determined to meet the Soviet SS-20 threat with GLCMs and Pershing IIs. If the anti-nuclear left had prevented their installation, the Cold War might still be in progress.
Frum worries that we face the same problem today. The situation in America is no small matter, but it's Tony Blair and the UK that really worries him.
At the Labour party’s national conference nine days after the first London bombing, British prime minister Tony Blair offered a powerful and memorable answer: “The spirit of our age is one in which the prejudices of the past are put behind us, where our diversity is our strength. It is this which is under attack. Moderates are not moderate through weakness but through strength. Now is the time to show it in defense of our common values.”
Sounds good, right? But as Frum demonstrates, when you dig beneath the surface of those fine words, you find...nothing.
A Nearly Extinct Species
In the US, as in Europe, you used to be able to find a species known as the "liberal hawk". Leaders such as Harry Truman, LBJ, and Henry "Scoop" Jackson, were once common. Ditto for Europe. Frum describes Blair's thinking:
Tony Blair was the original liberal hawk, albeit one endowed with rather more staying power than most of the breed. Still, you can catch a continuing echo of the Old Labour way of thinking in his July 16 speech to the Labour-party conference: They believe in the global caliphate; we believe in . . . diversity, which is to say, in everything, which is again to say, in nothing. That’s why Blair refers to “our common values” without dropping any hint as to what those values might be. To name them would be to exclude others, and to exclude things is to acknowledge limits to our diversity.
Ah, "diversity", that new god to whom the left prays, and the rest of us are force to acknowledge, lest our HR department find out our true opinions.
The Paradox of "Diversity"
To believe in "diversity", and it's twin "multiculturalism", is to believe that all cultures are worthy of respect. Fine if you're dealing with Episcopalians vs Catholics vs Jews vs aethists, but what happens when you throw radical Islam into the mix?
Chaos, thats what.
As Frum relates, Britons today face an insane situation whereby in the name of "diversity"
...imported brutalities have begun to occur under the jurisdiction of Western police and Western courts: “honor killings,” forced marriages, and the below-the-horizon pressure for the tacit legal recognition of polygamy. Britain’s Inland Revenue acknowledged in December 2004 that it was considering legal changes that would permit a husband to divide his estate tax-free among more than one wife. In at least one U.K. case (A-M v. A-M, 2001), British courts have held that polygamous marriages contracted outside Britain could be recognized as valid by British authorities. Although it remains a crime in Britain to enter into a second marriage before the first is dissolved, senior Muslim officials estimate that up to 4,000 British Muslim men have multiple wives. And one British Muslim group plans to launch a challenge to British marriage laws before the European Court of Human Rights.
What's a good multiculturalist to do? On the one hand, multiculturalism dicates "...that immigrants, and others, should preserve their cultures with the different cultures interacting peacefully within one nation." (Wikopedia) On the other, Islamic culture is in many instances directly contradicts western values.
Lets take a minute to define matters. "Tolerance", if one means by it a societal agreement not to persecute others because of their race, sex, religion, excetera, then I'm all for it. Tolerance is then one of the hallmarks of western civilization. But that's not what we're talking about here.
We are talking about whether we have the desire to defend ourselves. Do we have what it takes to say to Muslim immigrants "sorry, but that's not acceptable here. Change or move back to where you came from."
Do We have What it Takes?
George W Bush does. Most Americans do, too. Many Democrats get it, although those on the left certainy don't
And unfortunately, Tony Blair probably doesn't either. As John O'Sullivan observes in the Aug 29 edition of NR (digital subscription only), "One senses that Blair, underneath his public mask of self-confident leadership, is baffled by the scope and nature of the problems of domestic and imported radical Islamism facing him."
Blair understands WMD, and the necessity of a strong relationship with the US, I'll give him that. But he can't understand how anyone cannot but fail to love his new "multicultural" UK.
Frum tells of what happens when we refuse to defend ourselves:
The Islamic extremists accuse the West of lacking any sexual morality. Indeed, the alleged immorality of the West — the indecent liberty of women, the lewd explicitness of entertainment — is one of the principal grievances of Islamic radicals in the West. (One of the perpetrators of the second London bombing, Somali-born Yasin Hassan Omar, was also offended that alcohol was sold in Western cities in violation of Islamic law.) They think: The West believes in nothing but personal whim. Anything goes! And those Westerners who draw comparisons between Islamic extremists and defenders of traditional marriage — don’t they think just the same thing? Yes! We believe in nothing but personal — well, not whim, that sounds . . . whimsical — but choice. Anything goes!
Far too many in the west simply have not recognized that there is a significant number of Muslim immigrants who see "diversity" as a sin. While only a small number become terrorists, it is the number who turn their eyes from the radicals, or who even shield them, that should be our concern.
Frum summarizes the situation in Europe:
National survival in the age of terror is not just a matter of intelligence operations and security measures. It’s not just a job for armies and police. National survival depends on the willingness and ability of the targets of terrorism to assert and defend a national identity: an identity that is more than a catalogue of self-doubts and self-criticisms, an identity that is more than a statement of disagreements and diversities — an identity that can say, in English, in French, in German, on behalf of the nations of the Atlantic community on both sides of the ocean, This is who we are — and we are prepared to fight for it.
NEXT: Our Shared Western Values
September 5, 2005
Thoughts on Katrina
I've categorized this post under "politics", which even as I type seems odd. It should, of course, go under something like "natural disasters", or simply "tragedy".
I also haven't written much about it, partially due to lack of time, but mostly because I don't like to do instant analysis on somthing this complicated. It will take time before all of the facts become known, and much of we think to be true now will doubtless be shattered.
And indeed if the hurricane and it's devastating aftermath were simply a technical matter, I probably wouldn't be writing anything at all.
But the speed and ferocity with which the left has used the hurricane to attack President Bush is breathtaking. It is also completely inexcuseable and disgusting.
No doubt that any diasater of this magnitude will become a political issue sooner or later. Blame, or credit, will be assigned to various political leaders. This is fine. Elected leaders, who are expected to take primary role in planning for and executing disaster plans, should expect to face scrutiny.
Indeed, with so many people suffering so badly, it is only to be expected that they, at least, will lash out at political leaders. This is fine. No problem.
And, let's be blunt, the Bush Administration made mistakes, perhaps many. Republicans are supposed to be the "can do" party, and this image has been tarnished. So no, I'm not excusing George Bush or everyone in his administration for everything that has happened.
Raw Political Opportunism
Let's call is what it is; raw political opportunism. I've surveyed enough of the blogosphere, listened to enough news broadcasts, to see that these people have absolutely no shame.
David Frum puts it well:
Is there not something bizarre about their willingness to fire off accusation after accusation, each contradicting the last? The disaster was caused by the Bush administration's failure to protect the environment from global warming .... no, no, it was caused by the administration's refusal to manipulate the environment by funding more levees to control the Mississippi River .... it's Iraq, no it's budget cuts, no it's wetlands, and on and on and on.
Good God, what is wrong with these people? Will they ever learn to see somebody else's misfortune as something more than their political opportunity?
"Worst Example Yet of Media Bias"
Of the many news stories that I could have selected, consider just this one from the BBC, posted just this morning:
As President Bush scurries back to the Gulf Coast, it is clear that this is the greatest challenge to politics-as-usual in America since the fall of Richard Nixon in the 1970s.
Then as now, good reporting lies at the heart of what is changing.
But unlike Watergate, "Katrinagate" was public service journalism ruthlessly exposing the truth on a live and continuous basis.
Instead of secretive "Deep Throat" meetings in car-parks, cameras captured the immediate reality of what was happening at the New Orleans Convention Center, making a mockery of the stalling and excuses being put forward by those in power.
Amidst the horror, American broadcast journalism just might have grown its spine back, thanks to Katrina.
Such reporting is at the level of self-parody, and only those who are completely lost in the fever swamps of hate-Bush leftism cannot but fail to see the bias. I had to check twice to make sure I wasn't on the website of theonion.com, or National Lampoon.
Powerline tells it like it is:
The mainstream media's handling of Hurricane Katrina and the disasters in New Orleans is a disgrace, possibly the worst instance yet of media bias. Insane claims by left-wing nuts that President Bush botched the recovery effort on purpose so as to kill black people are repeated by the MSM in a chin-stroking mode, as if to say, "It's an interesting question--they might be on to something." Meanwhile, no one points out that it was President Bush who implored Governor Blanco to issue a first-ever mandatory evacuation order for the city, an action by the President that probably saved tens of thousands of lives.
Similarly, the media yammmer on and on about the allegedly slow federal response to the hurricane, without noting that the Governor of Louisiana has the power to call out the National Guard. Accusations that lawlessness and looting in New Orleans are somehow the federal government's fault are repeated endlessly; hardly anyone bothers to criticize the looters and other criminals themselves. And where is the outrage that should be directed toward the New Orleans Police Department? They were the authorities on the scene, and they, under the direction of the city's Mayor--who had an emergency plan in place, but apparently made no attempt to implement it--had the responsibility to maintain law and order. Yet some policemen reportedly joined in the looting, while a great many others turned tail and abandoned their responsibilities.
Timing is Everything
If liberals had waited until the next election cycle, or at least a few months, before launching their attacks, then I would not be writing this. I may disagree with the substance of their attacks, but could fault them then for bringing the issue to the forefront.
But no, they just couldn't wait. They hate the President so much that in their zeal they launched attacks virtually unprecedented in their ferocity. Some immediate criticism is only to be expected, especially in the blogosphere. But this has gone way, way, too far, way too fast.
Look Who isn't Talking
Just as with 9/11, the one person who isn't criticizing the President is Bill Clinton.
Indeed, he came to Bush's defense at a press conference last week. The President had recruited both his father and Bill Clinton to aid in soliticing disaster relief funds, just as he did during the tsunami earlier this year. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, however, decided to play politics:
MALVEAUX: Let me ask you this: There are some people at the New Orleans Convention Center who say that they have been living like animals -- no food, no water, no power. And they are the ones who are saying: Where are the buses? Where are the planes? Why did it take three days to see a real federal response here? Mr. Bush, you, whether it's fair or not, had gone through some administration criticism about your handling of Hurricane Andrew.
G.H.W. BUSH: I sure did.
MALVEAUX: Do you believe that this is legitimate?
G.H.W. BUSH: Yes, I do. What happened? We all sighed with -- not legitimate. I believe that they ought not to be as upset, but I can understand why they are. We thought, a lot of people thought, that when the hurricane went to the right a little bit, New Orleans was going to be spared. And it was only the next day that, you know, there were these horrible problems with the levee. But, look, if I were sitting there with no shower, no ability to use bathroom facilities, worried about my family, not knowing where they were, I'd blame anybody and so you have to expect that.
MALVEAUX: But do you think this administration responded quickly enough?
G.H.W. BUSH: Of course I do.
CLINTON: Let me answer this. The people in the Superdome are in a special position. And let me say, I've been going to New Orleans for over 50 years. There's no place on earth I love more. They went into the Superdome, not because of the flooding, but because we thought the hurricane was going to hit New Orleans smack dab and they'd be safe in there if they didn't leave town.
What happened was, when the levee broke and the town flooded, what did it do? It knocked out the electricity and it knocked out the sewage. They're living in hellacious conditions. They would be better off under a tree than being stuck there. You can't even breathe in that place now.
So I understand why they're so anxiety-ridden. But they have to understand, by the time it became obvious that they were in the fix they were in, there were a lot of other problems, too. There were people -- they were worried about people drowning that had to be taken off roofs.
MALVEAUX: So you two believe that the federal response was fast enough?
CLINTON: All I'm saying is what I know the facts are today. There are hundreds of buses now engaged in the act of taking people from New Orleans to the Astrodome in Houston. And you and I are not in a position to make any judgment because we weren't there.
All I'm saying is the way they got stuck there, I see why they feel the way they do. But the people that put them there did it because they thought they were saving their lives. And then when the problems showed up, they had a lot of other people to save. Now they've got hundreds of buses. We just need to get them out. I think they'll all be out by tomorrow. Didn't they say they would all be out by tomorrow morning?
G.H.W. BUSH: Yes.
MALVEAUX: OK. Well, thank you very much. I'm sorry. We've run out of time. Thank you.
G.H.W. BUSH: Let me -- I just to want finish. I believe the administration is doing the right thing, and I believe they have acted in a timely fashion. And I understand people being critical. That happens all the time. And I understand some people wanted to make, you know, a little difficulty by criticizing the president and the team. But I don't want to sit here and not defend the administration which, in my view, has taken all the right steps. And they're facing problems that nobody could foresee: breaking of the levees and the whole dome thing over in New Orleans coming apart. People couldn't foresee that.
CLINTON: Yes, I think that's important to point out. Because when you say that they should have done this, that or the other thing first, you can look at that problem in isolation, and you can say that.
But look at all the other things they had to deal with. I'm telling you, nobody thought this was going to happen like this. But what happened here is they escaped -- New Orleans escaped Katrina. But it brought all the water up the Mississippi River and all in the Pontchartrain, and then when it started running and that levee broke, they had problems they never could have foreseen.
And so I just think that we need to recognize right now there's a confident effort under way. People are doing the best they can. And I just don't think it's the time to worry about that. We need to keep people alive and get them back to life -- normal life.
(transcript courtesy of Captain's Quarters)
Bill Clinton knows perfectly well that had this occured under his watch his administration would have responded much as President Bush's did. He also knows that in his eight years he didn't get the levees in New Orleans fixed, either. One thing that amazes me about the left is how they forget who was president before George W Bush. Are we to believe that the idea that a category 5 hurricane might hit New Orleans is a recent one?
Either Way He gets Criticized
If Bush doesn't go to the disaster area, he is said to be insulated and uncaring. If he does go, then he's only looking for the photo op.
If Bush proposes large funding increases for the military, including guard and reserves, then he's "feeding the imperialist war machine" and starving "badly needed funds" for education or child care. If he doesn't, then he's blamed for not having enough resources on hand to respond to disasters like Katrina.
If he doesn't fire someone, then he doesn't recognize that federal relief efforts have failed. If he does, then it's an "ah ha!" moment for the left; Bush has finally admitted he's a failure as a leader.
This is the worst natural disaster in our nations history, why isn't more being done faster?
Not our Finest Hour
When New Yorkers faced a crisis of unimaginable proportions 4 years ago, they responded with grace and dignity. "Everyone pulled together" became more than a cliche.
The scenes of looting and mayhem in New Orleans will haunt us for some time. One can not fail to be nothing but appalled at how all too many of the residents who stayed behind reacted.
Yes, yes, I know, the situations were different; all of NYC was not affected, many of those who stayed in NO were doubtless criminals anyway who did so precisely because they thought there would be an opportunity to loot, etc. Nevertheless one cannot help but be struck by the vast disparity between the two.
Oh, by the way, do you own a gun? If you don't, I'll bet you're thinking about getting one now. Of course, the Redhunter already has that base well covered.
Overplaying their Hand?
It may well turn out that by coming on so strong, so quickly, the left has overplayed their hand. Arthur Chrenkoff has done an excellent job at compiling extreme statements made by Bush bashers, see here and here. .
Mainstream Democrats may be embarassed by some of these attacks, and will hold their fire for a more opportune moment. But one of the problems they face is that their party has been captured by far left groups such as moveon.org, America Coming Together, by people such as Michael Moore and George Soros. Byron York has documented this well in his 2005 book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. Democrats who should know better have become so dependant on money and publicity from these fringe groups and people that they cannot or will not disavow them. Because of this they may well end up tarnished themselves.
Either way, this is only going get more ugly.
To most of us Labor Day marks the end of summer, back to school for the kids, and a nice day off. This is fine, for of all holidays this one was meant to be a day of rest. And although the idea for a "Labor Day" came from the labor union movement of the 19th century, is is a day meant for all people. As Samuel Gompers, founder and president of the American Federation of Labor put it
"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day...is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."
So although its genesis was with the labor unions, Labor Day is not meant just for union members, bur for for all of us. The Department of Labor website goes on to say that
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
To be sure, you'll find plenty about the holiday on union websites, such as the AFL-CIO. And that is fine. Unions have a important place in American history. You don't have to believe everything Upton Sinclair wrote to think unions were important a hundred, or even fifty, years ago. No doubt most unions have outlived their usefulness. But we'll leave that discussion for another day.
As for today, take a rest.