Friday, July 28, 2006

Devastated Beirut?

This graphic from Front Page wonderfully illuminates the problems of "news" photography. Truth is made less obvious by careful use of angle and lens, something Soviet propaganda filmmakers discovered eighty years ago, and never more obvious than in the "coverage" of the air war in Lebanon.

Click here to see "devastated" Beirut, that 1% of the city targeted by Israel.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Civilian Casualties, Part V

Actually, we're just going to spend a brief moment today on a variant of "innocent civilian casualties." We're talking about the multi-day brouhaha concerning the deaths of 4 UN observers that the always prescient and learned Kofi Annan regards a deliberate murder by the Israelis. But were the Israelis aiming at these "innocent peacekeeper casualties"? Belmont Club's Wretchard is not so sure, citing the UN press release making the accusation:
The one question unanswered by the UNIFIL press release is what the Israelis were firing at. There is no indication that the Hezbollah were firing from Kiyam in the press release. Alma ash Shab, Tibnin, Brashit, and At Tiri, but no Kiyam.
Yup, but Hezbollah were firing, firing very, very close to the UN outpost, inviting the Israelis to come get them, and, arguably, setting the UN "human shields" up for destruction. Just the way they use women, babies, and old people to draw fire, killing the innocents while preserving their own "brave warriors." The MSM, of course, implacably hostile to Israel (which they have to be since Bush supports them), simply buys the Hezbollah propaganda. The ruse is transparent, but only if you're not blinded by ideology.

The Iranians, meanwhile, have been meeting with the Syrians and Hezbollah bigwigs in Damascus (where else?). Of course, they're not involved in the fighting. Right.

It's abundantly clear to any sentient being that the mullahs of Iran and their Hitler -like puppet front man, launched this conflict to deflect (successfully) attention away from the nearly successful US effort to lay on some sanctions. Meanwhile, Iran is using "civilian casualties" to prepare whatever the hell it is preparing, before its "response" on August 22. Wonker has often wondered why the hell they are obsessed with this date, and will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, be able to stall until that date, given the abysmal and hopeless ignorance of their diplomatic antagonists at the UN. What's with the date? Perhaps a bit of pre-scheduled Armageddon, according to Robert Spencer. Read it and get nervous.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Not So Misunderestimated After All

The 'big bang,' as invading Iraq has sometimes been called, was meant to reorder the nature of politics in the region. This has been accomplished in a fundamental way. The idea of dividing an enemy force into its constituent parts and then dealing with it piecemeal is at least as old as Caesar's actions in Gaul. It applies no less to US strategy in the Middle East. Every faction there has been made to reconsider its relationship with every other. Rather than there being a monolithic clash of civilizations, thus far the US is dealing with the area in pieces -- in whatever way it sees fit to do so -- whether making it tacitly clear to Syria that what happened in Iraq could more easily happen to it, or threatening Iran on behalf of the region and world, or seeking cooperation with the Saudis in hunting down al Qaeda....,Shaken And Stirred, Josh Manchester, TCS Daily, 7/25/2006

Manchester's slant is so different from the usual BAF/MSM's it's as if he were reporting from another planet. Wait! It is another planet; it's called Earth!

This article on TCS Daily looks at the Israel/Hezbollah(Iran) war in the context of a growing awareness in Arab capitals that, with Saddam gone, Israel and America may be all that's protecting them (and their oil) from Iran.

The leading Arab League states, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt, call Hezbollah's actions "inappropriate and irresponsible." This lessens the urgency of calls from the international community, whether the G8, UN, or EU, for a ceasefire....Shaken And Stirred, Manchester, continued, TCS Daily

Why? If Israel knocks down Hezbollah, Iran's client terrorist organization, Arabs will be safer too. A big if, but...

But let there be no mistake: this moment would not have been possible without the invasion of Iraq, and the destruction of Hezbollah is very much in the interest of the United States and that of any other nation that abhors terrorism....Shaken And Stirred, Manchester...

An advantage that Manchester doesn't mention but bears repeating is easy to note: the invasion of Iraq has exposed the Democrat Party's dominant left wing as a political Hezbollah, willing to uphold its claims with any lie, cheat, or slander. It's nice to know who your friends are!


America Bankrupt or Economic Global Warming?

Yesterday's post regarding Laurence J. Kotlikoff's disturbing article in the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review was meant to get your neurons working, as are most posts here. However, there are problems. Maybe looking at these will get more neurons working.

Generational accounting, which Prof. Kotlikoff co-developed in the late 1990s, like global warming, is based on what's charitably described as spreadsheet knowledge. The only facts in such projections are what we already know; the rest, no matter how hard the numbers look, is speculation. With global warming, as anyone who has studied chaotic systems knows (and has known for forty years), the claim that any scientist, or any consensus (sic) of scientists, can project a century of detailed weather behavior is a political fiction; it has no basis in math or science. Could this also be true with generational accounting?

Kotlikoff's depiction of the near future has some problems.

1) There is a good chance that the need for labor in the production of goods will follow decades-long trends in the US, Europe and Japan and sharply decline. Numerous manufacturing plants in the world already operate without human workers. The dramatic uptick in Chinese factory employment, like that in Mexico and in India, may only be a temporary change. As has already happened throughout the developed world, Chinese, Mexican, and Indian factory operators may find it cost-efficient to rationalize the human element out of their manufacturing plants altogether. Try forecasting spending patterns, tax receipts and the problem of unfunded liabilities with fewer, maybe a lot fewer, workers. The current trend has favored cheap labor outside of Japan, Europe, and the United States. The advantages of low cost labor have been hugely amplified because there are far too many workers for manufacturing positions current or planned. If laborers are no longer required in the newly developed world because of the application of technological changes already in operation elsewhere, the real problem won't be paying for government-guaranteed liabilities to the retired, but how to distribute wealth not generated by human beings to sustain a rapidly growing population of the unemployed.

2) Kotlikoff's future, as so many economists's futures, does not include in the American savings rate the enormous funds held in private retirement acounts, including IRA's, TIAA-CREF, and similar, widespread programs. In mutual funds alone, these amounted to nearly two trillion dollars nine years ago, according to the report Fundamentals, prepared by The Investment Company Institute, and nearly ten trillion dollars altogether. These funds, as their enabling legislation for several decades, are a clear market signal that individuals have serious doubts about the ability of government-guaranteed benefits to uphold their standard of living. Further, his tax picture, which suggests that the retired population is essentially tax-free, is wildly inaccurate. As retirees spend down these funds, which have nearly doubled since 1997, they will pay federal, state, local and sales taxes on those distributions, taxes initially avoided by investing in the retirement plans. At an average, overall tax rate of 35% (for all taxes), that could be seven trillion (at the value of today's retirement accounts) to the various government treasuries. Social Security distributions are also taxed. Funding government liabilities to the retired, in fact, is substantially subsidized by taxes on retiree income from retirement accounts and Social Security. Even for retirees, there will be no free lunch!

3) Kotlikoff's projection regarding Medicare and Medicaid liabilities doesn't include market pressure on wages and benefits in the health care industry. In New York State alone, the difference between wages and benefits in New York and California makes Medicaid three times as expensive per average patient in the Empire State as in Arnold Schwarzenegger's state. These differences are upheld by New York State taxpayers, already hard-pressed. Politics is a part of market pressure. If the taxpayers can't afford to pay any more and then apply pressure to legislators, then the expectations of health care workers will be heavily impacted. We might see a resulting, dramatic shift in the use of office automation in the health care industry (much of which still operates as if we lived in the 1950s). If that shift occurred, and visits to hospitals (which this has author has made a lot of) suggest that it has already started, medical costs, at least those pertaining to administration, may flatten, and might sharply decline. Note also that a major direction in medicine for the past decade, accelerating year by year, and heavily influenced by insurance industry pressure, is to dispense with hospital stays, and to substitute new drugs for older, more expensive treatments. As this develops, and as new drug investment is amortized, procedural costs might flatten, and even decline. Another trend is increasing institutional unwillingness to support unlimited medical demand, which has emerged in sharply higher insurance costs. Market pressure from medical care consumers is likely to impact demand, with a potentially huge, downward impact on costs.

The point? Oftentimes, and economists are leaders in this, we take a picture of the present and cast it onto a future timeline as if every constituent of the present will carry forward for the next century. We should know from history that such an assumption is almost always wrong. For one, there's an odd thing about forecasting: assumptions, while stretching the present into the future, seem to be applying a political bias as a means of getting certain results. This is almost certainly the case with global warming, where, despite the best efforts of MSM and other institutions to suppress embarrassing, factual knowledge, we know that reports, including some very expensive ones from the UN, have been deliberately altered to make conclusions politically correct.

This is not to knock the brilliant work of generational accountants, who have applied knowledge far greater than this writer has to try to shape saner fiscal policy than the one that's obtained in Washington and in many other capitals for far too long. The old saw about spending within one's means is still utterly lost on politicians (and their economists). But, as in all things, one must proceed far more on the known than on the guesstimated.


Civilian Casualties, Part IV

From the U.N., no less, a little bit of reality on the current situation:
BEIRUT, Lebanon - The U.N. humanitarian chief accused Hezbollah on Monday of "cowardly blending" in among Lebanese civilians and causing the deaths of hundreds during two weeks of cross-border violence with

The militant group has built bunkers and tunnels near the Israeli border to shelter weapons and fighters, and its members easily blend in among civilians.
The official, Jan Egeland, of course, first had to bash the Israelis for disproportionate response. When diplomats do this, you never know whether they "mean it" or are just trying to seem fair and balanced, although it's usually the former. At any rate, Egeland then goes on to make the following startling—for a U.N. official—observations:
"Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending ... among women and children," he said. "I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men."
Yup. And this is another way the "innocent civilian" game is played. We've emphasized one iteration of this nonsense, where the un-uniformed Hezbollah murderers claim that the deaths of their own monsters are "civilian casualties." But this report emphasizes the real "innocent civilian" casualties that are caused by, as Egeland puts it, their "cowardly blending" with the general, innocent (or relatively innocent) populace. The jihadists don't care of course, because this preserves "their fighters," and besides, the civilians who are murdered, as they serve as human shields for these cowards, get to go straight to heaven anyway and presumably will find their 72 virgins. (Although one wonders what solace this will be to a young woman who's just been accidentally offed by the Israelis so that a brave jihadist can live to murder another day.)

The supposedly ignorant George Bush figured this stuff out instantly on 9/11. It is encouraging to see that at least a few of the world's dimwitted socialist elites are starting to get it as well.

Monday, July 24, 2006

America Going Bust -- Prof. Kotlikoff

"Partial equilibrium analysis strongly suggests that the US government is, indeed, bankrupt, insofar as it will be unable to pay its creditors, who, in this context, are current and future generations to whom it has explicitly or implicitly promised future net payments of various kinds." , Is The United States Bankrupt? Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, July/August, 2006

Before you back out of what you're guessing is a crank's opinion, Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff was President Reagan's Senior Economist for two years before he went on to advising Fortune 500 companies, the World Bank, and many other institutions. The analysis he offers shouldn't be shocking. Democrats and Republicans alike have been acting as though accounting is just another political issue for decades. But generational accounting is real. And, as this article, in its accountant's prose to be certain, makes clear, we're facing a nightmare, one that's the basis for attempts at three principal changes in federal policy:

A) the flat tax (or national sales tax) as a direct, complete substitute for federal taxes
B) augmenting Social Security with a mandatory savings account
C) replacing Medicare, Medicaid with a universal health care voucher system

If these sound familiar, they're issues raised by serious Republicans, i.e., those not acting like Lyndon Johnson era Democrats, issues raised again and again and most spectacularly (and disastrously) by the President after the 2004 election.

Check out the complete text of Kotlikoff's article. It's dry (it wasn't written for People magazine). It requires a little math. Kotlikoff's big point is that it's better to fix fiscal problems with policy before the markets correct them for us. Argentina chose the latter path, as did Britain in the 1950s, both to catastrophes Argentina has yet to recover from, and which took eleven years of internicine fighting to recover from in Britain.

One of his most startling conclusions from analysis is that "cheap" immigrants only make things worse, because -- here's the big surprise for Democrats and corporate executives alike -- immigrants are expensive. Another is that investment capital from China may be the only salvation for Europe and the United States.


On "Innocent Civilians": Part III

Ralph Kinney Bennett, writing at TCS Daily today, must've been reading HazZzMat last week. His following observations certainly ring true with regard to our own point of view; wherein we advise U. S. citizens who are bombarded daily with footage of the horrendous deaths of "innocent" Lebanese "civilians" at the hands of the Israeli Army (with very little corresponding footage of the equally horrendous deaths caused by Hezbollah in Israel) to be careful what they're being tempted to believe.
Maybe, as this terrible business in Lebanon unfolds, we'll finally get it:

Guerrillas like to hide behind civilians.

Muslim guerrillas take it a step further: "Civilians" are a weapon to them -- as much a part of the fight as the AK-47 or RPG they carry.

Those who have visited any Hezbollah installation in Lebanon over the years always remark on the fact that there are families, women and children, in and around the place. "Secret" bases are usually hidden in plain site. Houses or apartment buildings become weapons storage or even operations centers. An innocent shed or garage may contain a Toyota or a missile launcher. Seldom, if ever, has a guerrilla movement been able to so openly and exquisitely weave itself into the fabric of a society as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon.
Indeed, this is true, as we opined last week. Bennett's conclusion, however, is quite poetic and coldly effective:
So what if a beautiful city, Beirut, is destroyed? So what if thousands of the hapless, the ignorant, the innocent die? The Islamofanatic "vision" of submission or extermination is worth any cost. To the Hezbollah leaders, high on the furious anti-Semitic hatred of centuries, this is total war with implications and opportunities for them far beyond any geographical boundaries, and the very term "civilian" -- except for its temporary value in gulling the West -- does not apply.

John Kerry: Patriot, Statesman

All of us, of course, are aware that Al Gore invented the Internet. (He probably fed the idea to ARPA, now DARPA, in the late 1960s when he was in college, right?) But today we discover that another heartily unappreciated Democrat, John, the FlipMeister Kerry, could actually have stopped the current Mideast war from breaking out:
U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D- Mass., who was in town [Detroit] Sunday to help Gov. Jennifer Granholm campaign for her re-election bid, took time to take a jab at the Bush administration for its lack of leadership in the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.

"If I was president, this wouldn't have happened," said Kerry during a noon stop at Honest John's bar and grill in Detroit's Cass Corridor.
Who knew? I wonder if I can go back and reverse my vote for Chimpy BushMcHitler. (Read the rest here.)

The limitless hubris and arrogance of Democrats continues to be beyond the pale. These clowns (and that fine Democrat, Lyndon Johnson) are why Vietnam ended up a debacle. And today, along with their friends in the MSM and al-Jazeera, they're looking for their Last Hurrah, a repeat of their Vietnam folly, which weakened the United States and damaged the country's morale for a generation.

A party whose current visible leadership consists of Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry is absolutely not a party that deserves the mid-term victory the MSM has been shilling for over the past two years. Hopefully, that will occur to the average American before he or she pulls the lever this Novemeber.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Michael Dyson: Why Bill Cosby Is an Idiot. A Fisking.

We promised you two pieces from the Post today. Our previous post discussed a writer who seemed merely clueless. This one addresses the absolute inability of the intelligentsia to take a black man seriously when he strays from Marxist class-struggle orthodoxy. The piece, by a University of Pennsylvania Nutty Professor named Michael Dyson, uses Bill Cosby's latest anti-poverty crusade as canon fodder to promote the prof's own book, "Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?"—a tome whose insulting title is a two-sentence abstract of its insulting and slanderous contents. (And which book, of course, copped the 2006 NAACP Image Award, an honor, we're sure, no conservative book has ever won.)

Dyson takes umbrage at Bill Cosby's long-running crusade to get black communities to face up to their own responsibilities in a new century where the "blame whitey" argument has begun to wear awfully thin. But right from the outset, Dyson smears Cosby before the comedian-educator can get out of his corner:
Ever since he battered poor blacks two years ago in his infamous remarks on the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education , Bill Cosby has been taking to the road to spread his bitter gospel to all who will listen. In rigged town-hall meetings, Cosby assembles community folk and experts who agree with his take on black poverty: that it's the fault of the poor themselves.
Note in this opening the classic tactic of a Stalinist in writing or in speech. Smear your opponent with allegations of evildoing and negative code words be fore your opponent can get out of the corner, diminishing your opponent to the point where no one could possibly take what he or she says seriously. Note all the negative and disparaging phrases above, a classic example of this pugilistic, class-struggle approach. These people never deviate their script, as it's worked for them in most venues for nearly a century. (BTW, we've italicized these phrases for your convenience, and will continue to do so throughout this piece.)

Now that Dyson has cold-cocked his opponent with this classic, showtrial tactic, he condescendingly describes the objects of Cosby's crusade, some of whom are actually dumb enough to agree with Cos and disagree with "intellectuals" like Dyson:
It's often difficult to point out just how harmful that sentiment is, because most black folk do believe strongly in taking their destiny into their own hands. They believe in hard work and moral decency. They affirm the need for education and personal discipline. When they hear Cosby say that poor black folk should go to work, stay out of jail, raise their children properly and make sure they go to school, they nod their heads in agreement.
First of all, Dyson states uniquivocally, without a shred of proof, that Cosby's "sentiment" is "harmful." Really? Where's the proof? And if "most black folk" agree with Cosby, hey, what's wrong with them? Surely they must be deluded. If so, Dyson will set them right:
But it's one thing to say that personal responsibility is crucial to our survival. It's another to pretend that it's the only thing that matters. The confusion between the two positions is what makes Cosby's blame-the-poor tour so destructive.
Interesting. We've read plenty of Cosby's remarks, and we've never seen him "pretend" that personal responsibility is "the only thing that matters." This is a construct of Dyson's imagination. And since he's a lefty, hey, he must be telling the truth, right? So I guess we'll simply have to believe his unsubstantiated characterization of Cosby's stump-speech, and also agree with his slanderous conclusion that the "blame-the-poor tour" is "so destructive." (Aside: Conservatives really have it tough in this world. They actually have to back up everything they say.)

Oh, and speaking of Conservatives, well, you know what's coming next:
By convincing poor blacks that their lot in life is purely of their own making, Cosby draws on harsh conservative ideas that overlook the big social factors that continue to reinforce poverty: dramatic shifts in the economy, low wages, chronic underemployment, job and capital flight, downsizing and outsourcing, and crumbling inner-city schools.
Cat's really out of Dyson's bag, now. Cosby has embraced, gag!, "harsh conservative ideas." Such ideas are, of course, de facto, stupid, since they "overlook the big social factors" that reinforce poverty. let's count 'em: "dramatic shifts in the economy" whatever they are; low wages (as opposed to the high wages paid to Mexicans in Laredo and West Virginians in the rural mountains); downsizing and outsourcing (which don't affect white autoworkers at GM or Delco in Michigan); and crumbling inner city schools (which would be irrelevant if people like Dyson stopped hauling Conservatives into court every time they try to sent impoverished blacks to good schools by providing tuition vouchers). Yep, these are harsh, all right. Dyson is really onto something here.

Having firmly linked Cosby to the Satanic Conservative movement, now it's time to bring in the "noted authority" argument to demolish Cos further. Referencing the above laundry list, he opines that:
None of these can be overcome by the good behavior of poor blacks. As historian Robin D.G. Kelley argues, "All the self-help in the world will not eliminate poverty or create the number of good jobs needed to employ the African American community."
Note the use of the absolute "None." This was the answer you almost never chose in a multiple choice test, because it was usually wrong, since there are so often exceptions to rules. But since a lefty is always right, Dyson feels no need to qualify himself here.

And ah, yes, the esteemed D.G. Kelley, whoever in Hades he is. The citation of a noted authority that nobody knows. Now here is a bogus quote if there ever was one, because, on the face of it, it's absolutely correct. All the self-help, etc. certainly will not eliminate poverty or create the number of good jobs needed. Right you are, Professor Kelley. BUT SELF HELP WILL CERTAINLY IMPROVE THINGS SIGNIFICANTLY, won't it? Cosby's solutions are hyped a bit in his stump speech, but they are not offered as a panacea. Again, via citation of alleged authority, Dyson mischharacterizes Cosby's arguments so as not to have to take them seriously.

Ah, but there's something even worse about Cosby:
Cosby's insistence that race has little to do with the circumstances of the black poor pleases right-wing pundits who believe his denial is a sign of mature black leadership.
Aha! Now we know. Cos has gone over to the Dark Side (no pun intended). Now, for sure, we can't take him seriously. Note how ideologues and scholar-pretenders like Dyson always insert the religious code words of the left, which then provide them with the cover to masquerade unsubtantiated opinion as proven fact.

Dyson bores in further:
For most of his career, Cosby has avoided the subject of race.
Indeed he has. Let me tell you a story. Wonker grew up in a white suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, although he did attend a private HS in the inner city. When Wonk was growing up, casual racism was the order of the day, and one neighbor even threatened one time to sell his house to blacks if our town put in ugly light poles on our street. The threat scared 'em off, too.

Meanwhile, back in our childhood, Wonker and all of Wonker's white-only friends, discovered the funniest guy in the world. His name was Bill Cosby. We would eagerly buy each new comedy routine recording (on 33RPM vinyl) that Cos put out, laugh our asses off, and site there by the record player for hours, memorizing every single line of every single recording so that we could recite them to each other, ad nauseam, whenver the spirit moved us. Those who know Cosby today only as the actor who presided over a long-running, highly successful sitcom can probably not imagine how wildly popular he was in his earlier incarnation as a stand-up comic.

His routines were immortal. Many of us still remember snippets, what, 40 years later. The Lord speaks to Noah: "Noah!" "Right!" "I want you to build me an ark! "Right!" The Lord gives Noah the ark's precise measurements in cubits. "Right! What's a cubit." We learned of Fat Albert and Weird Harold, and of Cosby's little brother who freaked out when Cos threatened to put "turtleheads" in his bed, and of how scared you could get listening to radio horror shows when the lights were out and the parents were out.

We had no clue that all this was happening in a downtrodden Philly neighborhood. We thought Cosby was the greatest. We would have died of happiness if he were our neighbor. (The hell with what our parents thought.) And we might even have put up with Fat Albert and Weird Harold. After all, they were Bill's friends, too.

Which was our point and Cosby's point. We never thought of Cos as some black guy our parents might not want in the 'hood. We thought of him as a person, a fun guy, a human being we'd really like to know. Cosby was actually way ahead of his time. In the overheated racial atmosphere of the 1960s, Cosby was quietly proving that black people had friends and parents and hopes and dreams and good and bad times just like us. Cosby's humor eliminated race as an issue, and substituted the absurdity of existing as a human being. And we loved him for it. It was a simple but powerful argument that no one seems to understand, up to this day. For this reason, it was hardly surprising that Cos became the first black megastar ever on TV. He has had no equal ever since in this arena. No one could resist Cosby. He was Everyman, and everyone invited him into their homes. And when he came back in his esteemed sitcom years later, it happened all over again. Even his recent bout with infidelity has failed to knock him off his pedestal.

Polarized, government-money-addicted, Marxist black intellectuals and extortionist parasites like Jesse Jackson have never forgiven Cosby for this. He has always been their greatest threat. Cosby trumps race and shows people a way out of this self-perpetuating dilemma. But were black people to escape from their enslavement to Democratic leftists and to the charlatans and frauds of their own race, this would destroy the entire race industry upon which careers like Dyson's are built.

And that's what we're really seeing here. A threat to the perks, to the pre-ordained lefty route to black "success." Cosby became wealthy beyond imagination by becoming all of us, whatever race, color, creed, or national origin. Dyson's hit piece is part of an ongoing campaign to discredit Cosby's crusade and preserve the perks of the race industry. But should they succeed, all they will accomplish is the perpetuation of the same, failed, victim-pattern, dooming yet more generations of disadvantaged black kids to lives of grinding poverty. Cosby is showing people a way out of this morass, this endless loop. Responsibility is the first step, he says, so TAKE IT. Dyson simply want more handouts from the government. And continuing class warfare would also help.

Dyson's piece gets increasingly shrill and even more obviously ideological and irrational in its last few one-sided grafs. So at this point, there's no reason to fisk the rest, particularly. (But if you want to read it, check the link which may require registration.) Yet the encouraging thing about all this is the reason why Dyson was torqued off enough to write a slanderous book in the first-place: Cosby still continues to attract substantial crowds from all races to his crusade. Cosby is a real threat to the dysfunctional inner-city world order that keeps lefty race-baiters in business. That's what's really going on in hit pieces like this.

But folks finally are starting not to buy the bogus arguments of intellectual frauds like Dyson. Should Cosby gain some success in his crusade, perhaps leftists and redistributionists such as he will start waking up in the morning to discover turtleheads in their beds rather than basking in the expected accolades from the usual suspects and glorying free columns for disseminating their casual and ill-reasoned bile in the morning papers.

MSM Can Keep a Secret--For Whom?

The Washington Post has a couple of interesting columns this morning that you can almost take seriously. Until you start reading them. The first is the most subtle. Penned by Michael J. Berlin, it's entitled "A Secret the Media Kept." (Registraton generally required to read Post links.) In it we discover that it was journalists, not Canadian Embassy officials, who saved a few Americans from the crazed Revolutionary Guards at the outset of the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979. Who knew?

For those of you who don't remember, six Americans were outside the American Embassy Compound when radical "students" (read, "terrorist thugs") committed the most violent incident of hooliganism against an embassy in recent history. The Canadians hid them out in their own embassy and eventually got them out of the country unscathed in spite of the "students" attempts to find them.

Well, now we find out that the only reason this story wasn't outed before it came to its happy conclusion was that the media, who knew what was going on, kept their mouths shut until the Yanks, and their Canadian counterparts, were out of the Mullahcracy of Persia. Damn, gives you a whole new respect for these journos, doesn't it? Berlin sure thinks so. It even leads him to make this startling statement:
The Canada-hostage story proves that reporters and news organizations can be trusted, en masse, to make the right call on security information they uncover. And neither Iranian officials nor Iranian news media got wind of it.
Wow, what a bunch of heroes, those journos, unlike those Canadian bit players! (Who were working, BTW, for a rare, conservative Canadian PM at the time.) Of course, it was also easy for journalists to be patriotic in 1979, since a Democrat was in the White House, and Carter's White House of Cards had only just begun to tumble toward the rescue attempt disgrace and the hyperinflation that brought that idiot, Ronald Reagan, to the White House. If the Prez had been George W. Bush, Bush Derangement Syndrome would have immediately sealed the doom of those lucky 6 Americans, because it would have made Bush look even worse. But we'll let this pass, because Berlin is obviously not aware that things have changed a little in the MSM since 1979. Or maybe he is:
Do I think that a thousand reporters could be trusted today to make the same call that we did in 1979? I wonder. Even back then, there was the fear that some rogue reporter would ignore the pleas and go with the story. In today's journalism world, I fear that some blogger or counterculture ideologue using journalism as a political tool rather than as a mechanism for dispensing straight information, would make the wrong call. I hope I'm wrong about that.
Gosh, Mr. Berlin, I sure hope you're wrong, too. You can never trust those damned counterculture ideologues, can you. (Note the implied reference to right-wingers here, which is kind of funny, since the counterculture used to belong to the left, didn't it?) Thank God, those patriotic professional journalists in the MSM, like Dan-I'd-Rather-Kerry-Were-President always check their facts impeccably, make sure they're reporting the truth, and only run with the story when they're sure it won't harm anyone.

George Harleigh, Would You Please Call the Editor?

A fascinating story is popping up on several blogs this morning, concerning quotes from the now apparently bogus persona of a professor named George Harleigh. "Harleigh" is purported to be a poli-sci prof who allegedly worked for the Nixon and Reagan administrations. And for some reason, the MSM has trotted him out regularly to provide quotes that always trash President Bush in some way, shape, or form.

According to Classical Values:
Philadelphia journalist Steve Silver ... is also asking questions about George Harleigh:

Calls by the blogger to SIU, and searches of Lexus-Nexis for published material by him, find no mention of Harleigh, and he's not mentioned on Google anywhere other than in providing quotes to blogs. Anyone ever heard of this guy, and have any evidence that exists or did exist? I'm figuring either he's real and everyone's wrong, or someone just made him up and his same few quotes have been recycled again and again for years, or there's some guy out there claiming to be a disgruntled former Nixon/Reagan aide.
Classical Values, in its long post, charts the gestation and use of this apparent long-running hoax. To me, a newspaper writer for nearly 20 years, this can only mean one of two things: the MSM is in collusion to use even fictitious characters to smear Bush; or the MSM, whose fact-checking is virtually non-existent when it comes to supplies of quotes that trash Bush and Republicans, is even lazier, sloppier, and more casual about digging out the truth than I thought, particularly when it offends their Marxist ideology.

Frankly, I prefer choice 2 above. I regard the MSM as too lazy and stupid to put together a conspiracy of this magnitude.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Israeli Stats--CNN Doublespeak

An interesting observation from CNN online:
The Israeli military estimates that its air assault on Lebanon has destroyed
about half of Hezbollah's military strength. It is using ground forces to target
Hezbollah's remaining artillery, believed hidden in caves, tunnels and
CNN cannot independently confirm Israel's estimation of Hezbollah's military strength.

We find that last sentence kind of interesting. Whenever Hezbollah, the PLO, Hamas, or any other terrorist organization estimates things like numbers killed, targets destroyed, etc., CNN takes their numbers (usually blatant lies) and runs them without comment or vetting.

But the Israeli numbers here, undoubtedly fairly reliable, given the nature of war, are undercut by CNN's alleged inability to "independetnly confirm" Israeli estimates. Kind of quaint, don't you think. Is CNN's ideology showing?

Once again, a subtle, innocent little statement speaks volumes and, by its presence, turns this piece into an editorial rather than a news story.

Civilian Casualties, Part II

... unlike conventional armies, Hezbollah doesn't keep its weapons in armories. It hides them in the homes of supporters, in remote valleys and caves, and in small factories and industrial workshops scattered across Lebanon, according to Israeli and Lebanese military experts and the group itself. Ardent members willing to die for the movement are assigned to protect these sites, many of which are said to be booby-trapped.

--from the Wall Street Journal, via Belmont Club
Just a postscript to yesterday's post, following up on the "civilian casualty" meme a bit more. Once again, if "civilians" like Hezbollah routinely use innocent "human shields" (which they do) and hide their weapons, onesy-twosy, in mom's and dad's house, of COURSE there will be "civilian casualties" when the Israelis go to take out the weapons. The snippet above describes just such a scenario. It is always important to keep things like this in mind when we are showed babies killed by the Israelis. Yes, the baby was killed, and this is a terrible thing. But what was big brother storing in the basement?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thoughts on "Civilian Casualties"

CNN's Karl Penhaul reported seeing many civilian casualties at the main hospital in Tyre, Lebanon, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the Israeli border.

--From a CNN online news report today

The above snippet involves the use of language as propaganda, the exposure of which is one of our chief missions here at HazZzMat. The sentence we've just cited is typical of this kind of reportage, whether from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere (except Israel, whose casualties, for some reason, are never characterized as "civilian").

Work with me here. A "civilian" casualty could be a grandmother. Or an innocent young boy. Or a tiny baby. But a "civilian" casualty could also be a Taliban or a Hezbollah terrorist. The Taliban, in particular, as have their counterparts in the Pakistani tribal regions, are particularly swift to label casualties in a recently-bombed rural village as "civilians." But are they, in the sense that we understand the word, which usually implies "innocent" civilians?

Many times, this term is used in misleading if not absolutely false ways. For, while a Taliban or Hezbollah terrorist regards himself as a warrior-soldier, he is not a warrior-soldier in the sense of the Geneva Convention. That is, he is not a warrior-soldier employed by any recognized government. Hence, while just as deadly as any legitimate warrior-soldier, the terrorist is, in a Western legal sense, a "civilian."

Thus, one must learn to suspect highly sentences like the one we cited above. The reporter could indeed be talking about women and children. But he could also be talking about a substantial number of long-bearded men in civilian garb who were blasted in the act of attempting to murder Israelis, directly or indirectly.

We see this intentional misuse at its most egregious in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where every village that's hit harbored only innocent "civilians." We later find out that most of the houses were expropriated by the terrorists and used by them to accumulate weaponry and hatch murderous plots. But in some ways, as we've just suggested, they could with some legitimacy, call themselves "civilians." In so doing, of course, should it be the Americans or the Israelis who kill these "citizens," it becomes easy and convenient, and definitely good propaganda, to accuse Americans and Israelis of murdering "innocent civilians."

Bottom line, you need to take this claim with a grain of salt. Nine times out of ten in the Middle East, "innocent civilian" casualties contain a large percentage of "civilian" terrorists. Their claim of innocence is bogus and misleading. And when accepted at face value by MSM leftie reporters, it becomes yet another tool in the terrorist arsenal, as these cynical murderers happily employ the useful idiots in the media to spread their malicious lies.

Always, ALWAYS be suspicious when the term "civilian" is used to describe casualties in the Middle East. Don't accept its use without demanding proof that the civilians are real civilians, not terrorists posing as "civilians."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Penalty Box for the Global Warming Hockey Stick

Here's a couple of interesting snippets from the Wall Street Journal editorial page on one of our favorite moonbat topics, "global warming."
The [current] claim [of global warming] originates from a 1999 paper by paleoclimatologist Michael Mann. Prior to Mr. Mann's work, the accepted view, as embodied in the U.N.'s 1990 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was that the world had undergone a warming period in the Middle Ages, followed by a mid-millennium cold spell and a subsequent warming period -- the current one. That consensus, as shown in the first of the two IPCC-provided graphs nearby, held that the Medieval warm period was considerably warmer than the present day.

Mr. Mann's 1999 paper eliminated the Medieval warm period from the history books, with the result being the bottom graph you see here. It's a man-made global-warming evangelist's dream, with a nice, steady temperature oscillation that persists for centuries followed by a dramatic climb over the past century. In 2001, the IPCC replaced the first graph with the second in its third report on climate change, and since then it has cropped up all over the place. Al Gore uses it in his movie.

We've been over this before with "global warming" true believers who refute us every time—effectively they think—by endlessly documenting their claims with even more bogus claims. All nicely footnoted, too, and even from "respectable" scientific publications. Unfortunately, these "peer-reviewed journals" have been compromised by the bandwagon effect the editorial will describe below.

This academic slight-of-hand is yet another example of the typical selective sampling so favored by the left. It is further undercut by the fact that increasing numbers of "peer-reviewed" journals in all fields have been co-opted by leftist activists who have moved on from their destruction of the humanities to a full-scale attack on scientific credibility. Add to this the incessant propaganda by MSM organs like the Washington Post (which has lately added bogus global warming tics to articles that have nothing to do with the topic) you have an apparent groundswell of support for a theory that has no proof.

Why is this? The WSJ has a notion:
In 2003, two Canadians, Ross McKitrick and Steven McIntyre, published an article in a peer-reviewed journal showing that Mr. Mann's methodology could produce hockey sticks from even random, trendless data.

The report commissioned by the House Energy Committee, due to be released today, backs up and reinforces that conclusion. The three researchers -- Edward J. Wegman of George Mason University, David W. Scott of Rice University and Yasmin H. Said of Johns Hopkins University -- are not climatologists; they're statisticians. Their task was to look at Mr. Mann's methods from a statistical perspective and assess their validity. Their conclusion is that Mr. Mann's papers are plagued by basic statistical errors that call his conclusions into doubt. Further, Professor Wegman's report upholds the finding of Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick that Mr. Mann's methodology is biased toward producing "hockey stick" shaped graphs.

And it's this really alarming graph (check out the link for a snapshot of the hockey stick graph and the real, fully contextrual one) that the "global warming" propagandists have been using as exhibit A. Fortunately, the researchers seem to have been able to publish in a "peer-reviewed" journal that has yet to be taken over by the Marxists and turned to political ends.

Let's pause here. We here at HazZzMat never attempt to pose as experts on all things. Rather, the primary purpose of our blog is to call into question and expose the 24/7 efforts of the hard left, aided and abetted by the MSM, to tear down our culture, our legal system, and now, even the validity of the legendarily effective scientific method that has brought countless miracles of health and technology to contemporary society. But the "global warming" nonsense is just the latest round in a continuing propaganda battle whereby leftist combatants in many fields, particularly the humanities, manipulate statistics—about which they know precious little— to support their own cockamamie theories, which are then published in compliant "peer-reviewed" journals that have subordinated scientific study to Marxist politics.

The most egregious offenders in this regard, historically, have been the gender feminists. (Perhaps you'll remember the bogus stats they bandied about a number of years ago, claiming that some 3/4 of all American husbands abuse their wives during the Super Bowl.) The investigations cited in the editorial above, conducted by true, profesionnal statisticians, should give Americans at least a pause before they buy into such nonsense, but we're not sure that's the case.

In any event, the statisticians themselves have an eminently plausible theory about what's been going on here:
Mr. Wegman goes a step further in his report, attempting to answer why Mr. Mann's mistakes were not exposed by his fellow climatologists. Instead, it fell to two outsiders, Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick, to uncover the errors.

Mr. Wegman brings to bear a technique called social-network analysis to examine the community of climate researchers. His conclusion is that the coterie of most frequently published climatologists is so insular and close-knit that no effective independent review of the work of Mr. Mann is likely. "As analyzed in our social network," Mr. Wegman writes, "there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis." He continues: "However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility."

In other words, climate research often more closely resembles a mutual-admiration society than a competitive and open-minded search for scientific knowledge. And Mr. Wegman's social-network graphs suggest that Mr. Mann himself -- and his hockey stick -- is at the center of that network.

Yep. The editorial concludes:

Mr. Wegman's report was initially requested by the House Energy Committee because some lawmakers were concerned that major decisions about our economy could be made on the basis of the dubious research embodied in the hockey stick. Some of the more partisan scientists and journalists howled that this was an attempt at intimidation. But as Mr. Wegman's paper shows, Congress was right to worry; his conclusions make "consensus" look more like group-think. And the dismissive reaction of the climate-research establishment to the McIntyre-McKitrick critique of the hockey stick confirms that impression.

This is a key point. The real reason behind the "global warming" brouhaha is political. It's a case of anti-U.S. scientists trying to force this country to adopt the discredited and one-sided Kyoto protocols which would have the effect of severely weakening the U.S. industrial base while allowing, for example, Communist China to continue polluting away since it's a "third world" (i.e., friendly socialist) economy. Yes, the key point of the "global warming" hokum is, once again, to employ the Gramscian tactic of weakening our society to the point where it can no longer function.

Fortunately, saner heads have been holding the wingnuts at bay. But it will take a concerted effort to keep them there. It's tough to fight off seasoned zealots who work 24/7 trying to tear down the American Dream.

Hat tip to the House Committee on Energy and Congress for providing the link and the graphs.

Monday, July 17, 2006

New York Sun Now Available Without $$$?

Power Line notes that apparently, the New York Sun, that lonely and generally well-written conservative presence in bluer-than-blue New York City has now, apparently, dropped its paid subscription wall and has become available to the general public. If so, we'll soon add them to our friends list to the left of this column. (The physical left, mind you, not the moonbat left.) The Sun is highly recommended as a place where, like the Washington Times, you can get actual news as opposed to anti-Bush propaganda.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A U.S. Marine View of Israeli Warriors

An amazing and extraordinarily telling missive from a U.S. Marine in Iraq. For those who, at this point, don't "get it," this Marine does. Hat tip to the blog, "Atlas Shrugs," where you can find the rest of the commentary here.
Dear Atlas,

I am the Marine that wrote to you about the News Media betraying us.

I just wanted to tell you that we, Marines, SUPPORT Israel in their war against Hamas and Hizbullah. I cannot express to you how many Marines I have talked to or have heard say how proud of Israel they are. I cannot tell you how happy I am that Israel is destroying Hamas and Hizullah. We all CHEER when we watch Lebanon being bombed on TV in the Chow Hall. I hope Israel annihilates Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria. Because the way we see it, that is less Jihadists for us to fight. I can't speak for all Marines, but the Marines that I know and talk to stand by Israel 100%. And I am in the infantry, we are front line Marines. Warriors. We support Israel because we have fought the same people they are fighting, Jihadists. This is a world war. It has been a world war since 11 September 2001. Hopefully now people are realizing the true scale of this conflagration. And Israel is fighting the same enemy in Gaza and Lebanon as America is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, just on another front in the same war. And we see the Israeli Soldiers as brothers in arms against a common enemy. Myself and the Marines in my unit, Veterans of 2 tours in Iraq, support Israel all the way to victory. And I THANK the State of Israel for their determination, fortitude and vigilance in the destruction of Evil.

God Bless America.

God Bless Israel.

And God Bless all freedom loving people worldwide.

- US Marine and Veteran of the current world war.

PS: Pay attention to Somalia. We are currently losing Somalia to the Jihadists and we are doing nothing about it. Someday we will have to go back Somalia and it will be a bloody mess.
Wonker again. Semper Fi! Note particularly this Marine's PS, which tracks with our general observations. Although I would add that the U.S. military is already stretched thin and is paying more attention to possible deployment in or near Lebanon, Iraq, and North Korea at the moment. Which is why, Rumsfeld critics, we have been so "thin" on the ground in Iraq in the first place. If you take the time to imagine where in the world the U.S. and its interests could come under attack these days, you might tread a little more softly when you criticize this Administration for keeping a lot of military power in reserve.

Friday, July 14, 2006

NEA vs. the Children

Tired of all the latest war coverage, including our comments? Here's an interesting snippet via RedState:
"The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization," says their website, "is committed to advancing the cause of public education."

And so it was a little shocking when USA Today reported earlier this week that the NEA has dished out over $8 million -- which is still a lot of money to us -- to various left-wing groups to fight the No Child Left Behind Act. This law of course pushes concepts like accountability and other notions considered heresy by the NEA. According to this study by Education Sector, among the groups benefiting from the NEA's largess were the left-leaning Americans for Democratic Action and an NEA front group called Communities for Quality Education.

At a per pupil spending rate in the US of roughly $8000, figure the NEA just flushed enough money down the rathole to educate a thousand kids. Sure is a funny way to advance the cause of public education.
Probably one of the most sinister organizations in the US next to the ACLU, the NEA is not much of a union anymore, but primarily serves as a fund-raising organization for left-wing extremists and the Democratic Party. NEA is not about education but careerism and the promotion of leftist propaganda to innocent schoolchildren, the better to raise lifelong cadres of Democrat-voting socialists and redistributionists. Hence, its fierce response to the very real threat posed by the No Child Left Behind Act as well as the voucher movement, the latter of which could break forever the monopoly these theives have over the vast amount of taxpayer money wasted each year on escalating per-pupil costs that produce educational results in inverse proportion to the actual expenditures made.

Anything that threatens this union's hegemony over America's so-called educational system and its ability to freely raise funds for leftist causes provokes a fierce and wrathful response, making them probably the most feared socialist organization in the US, again just behind ACLU, which in and of itself is probably just behind the AARP. It is astounding to us that the union movement, having once been coopted by Communists in the 1930s and 1940s—and which ousted these vile influences in the 1950s, by and large—should have allowed themselves to become so infested with these types again.

NEA is not about education. It is about indoctrination. And it is about fund-raising for Democrats. One wonders what it will take for the populace to finally figure this out. Significantly, the folks who figured this out long ago are the impoverished inner city blacks who typically trample each other every year to get educational vouchers for their kids in the few areas of the country where the NEA and ACLU, working in concert, have not been able to drive them out. Sadly, even these people, who understand the wretchedness of the NEA-dominated public school system better than most, cannot be motivated to make the connection and do the obvious: vote for the Republicans, who alone have fought valiantly for the school choice they so crave. And so the charade goes on.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Time to Whack Iran?

The New York Sun comments today that the War with Iran has already begun, noting an interesting confluence of events:
Years from now, the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit will be regarded like the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Against the backdrop of Kassam rocket fire on Israelis living within range of the Gaza Strip, it was the fate of Corporal Shalit that triggered the Israeli return to Gaza, which in turn brought the Hezbollah forces into the game.
The Sun also notes that:
Ephraim Sneh, a former general and Labor Party leader who is the Israeli longest drawing attention to the approaching conflict with Iran, is saying that the current moment reminds him of the Spanish Civil War. The broader global forces are aligned; local actors are committed. It is a bloody test, a macabre dress rehearsal, for what lies over the horizon.
But the paper duly notes that all the violent players are being funded by Iran, which is intent on creating enough murderous mischief in the region to distract the West from its pursuit of the "peaceful" Iranian nuclear program. (And any lefty clowns who are still buying this line are invited to engage with Wonker offline to discuss the purchase of a famous bridge in NYC.) Read the restof David Twesky's observations in the Sun here. Kinda scary, but not implausible. The MSM, in its incessant onslaughts on US activities in the region fails to point out that the real Bush strategery all along has been to isolate the great purveyors of terrorism in the world, the Iranian mullahs. Not coincidentally, the mullahs seek nuclear weapons precisely to cement their hold on the World of Jihad, even though it's widely believed to be Sunni turf. But we mustn't forget that Islamofascists come in all flavors, and Iran has generally numbered itself among the most ruthless of the bunch.

As events in the Middle East heat up, and along with them, oil and commodity prices, we need to retain sight of the fact that these crazed fanatics have learned their lesson well. As the U.S. under Reagan defeated the Soviets economically rather than militarily, so, too, are the mad mullahs and their ilk out to replicate this feat upon the West.

The lefties are right about one thing: it IS all about oil. But, indulging in their fantasy of BushEnron-Cheney-Halliburton bashing, they fail to follow this observation to its not-so-surprising conclusion. It's the Chinese and Russians, through their support and "friendship" for Iran, who are waging the war that's all about oil. That they might get burnt by the Islamofascists is not yet something that shows up on their collective radar screens.

This intensely complicated conflict is going to require some quick and decisive thinking. We hope the same Bush that whacked the Taliban in Afghanistan within weeks in response to 9/11 responds soon in like kind to the latest provocations. Otherwise, to borrow a Korean term, we're all going to be in pretty deep kimchee pretty soon.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The New York Times Commits Treason Again!

The latest predictive from a breathless James Lileks:
Feb. 14, 2007: Times Editor Keller approves the publication of the Pentagon’s plans for a Feb 15th strike on Iran, asserting that “there has been far too little debate about whether the sustained assault by cruise missiles and stealth bombers will provide a cover for the infiltration of several SpecOps teams from the Iraqi and Afghan bases, or whether these groups, code named ‘Red Six’ and ‘Blue Fourteen’ respectively, might suffer friendly fire. One error in timing, such as the barrage scheduled for the 3 AM on night of the 24th, could expose our troops to great harm. If this leads to a debate about whether the Tomahawk missile can be sent slightly off course by a concentrated microwave burst, as classified documents seem to suggest, it’s a debate we need to have.”
Okay, so it's not a real story yet. Let's just call it "fake, but accurate."

But wait, there's more:
Oct. 31, 2007: Rumors in the Times newsroom indicate that Editor Keller has become a believer in the “Hidden Editor” sect of journalism. This sect believes that if newspapers create enough chaos in the world, the hidden, or Twelfth, editor will appear. This will institute a reign of peace, justice, rising circulation rates, an eternal lock on the classifieds market, and a general agreement that Walter Duranty was correct: Ukrainians really did starve themselves to death out of patriotic fervor.
(Those unfamiliar with the NYTimes' Pulitzer Prize winning Benedict Arnold of the 1930s should check here. Sloppy fact checking at the paper didn't start yesterday. The NYT has a long, sordid record of unreliable reporting.)

Lileks' observations are funny because they're not at all implausible. But you could tell this to Keller and crew until they were blue in the face and it wouldn't faze them.

Wisdom from Iraqis

Here's a link to a surprising entry that appeared in a July 8 entry on the invaluable Iraqi blog, "Iraq the Model." It consists mostly of entries from exiled Iraqis as well as Iraqis still living in Iraq, and the entries are completely shocking in a pleasant sort of way. The respondents are discussing the recent events in Gaza, and the majority of opinions are not what you might think. Here's a short sample:
"I wonder how much time and blood it will take until Arabs and Muslims realize that the world is not the property of their ancestors and that God is not a trademark of their minds and that terror is a dead-end that leads only to more destruction.
Israel is a civilized country defending herself from barbaric savages whose minds are made of stone…minds that do not want to believe they are living in the 21st century.

What's happening to the Palestinians despite its cruelty is going to be a good lesson for them to learn they must clear their community off the hateful fundamentalist terror mentality…[Quranic verse] "God will not change people until they change what's within themselves"…but, will you change?!!"

Abu Ayoub al-Iraqi
Amazed? Check the link above and read the rest. You'll discover that about 98% of them are in a similar vein. (There are a few predictable rebuttals from non-Iraqi Arabs as well, but you have to take them in context.) The sympathy shown for the Israelis by these Iraqi Arab writers is intriguing enough. More impressive, however, is the already rapid internalization of the concepts of democracy and peace and how democracy is the only way to derail generations of useless Arab-on-Arab violence. Egged on by Islamofascists in the 21st century, this mindless violence is the real impediment to Arab freedom, prosperity, and happiness. That these writers have grasped this concept with such speed and clarity is as astounding as it is impressive. Although neither we nor the Iraqis are out of the woods yet with regard to the current violence in that country, statements like this stand as a powerful testament to a radical new idea that is taking hold in a once savagely repressed Arab country.

Once a Commie Symp...

This little nugget from a former Democratic Presidential candidate, via Belmont Club:
McGovern Praises Canada on Vietnam Draft Dodgers
Sat Jul 8, 2006 7:23pm ET

By Allan Dowd

CASTLEGAR, British Columbia (Reuters) - George McGovern, who ran for the U.S. presidency on an anti-Vietnam War platform, said on Saturday history will show Canada was right to have sheltered that era's war resisters.

McGovern, who was in Canada to speak to a reunion of Vietnam War draft dodgers, said the Iraq war was also "needless and mistaken," but he said it would be presumptuous of him to say Canada should again provide haven for U.S. deserters.

Hey, just another Democrat "supporting our troops." Like Kos and others on the hard, Marxist left, the despicable McGovern—who once supported his running mate Tom Eagleton "1000 per cent" (or was that 2000?) before cutting him loose from the ticket for being treated once for mental illness (how liberal was that?)—McGovern is still, no doubt a "patriot" and a "progressive." Just remember that the term "patriot" is pointed in the direction of Moscow (or whatever its equivalent is today, Pyongyang perhaps), and "progressive" is a synonym for "Marxist" which is primarily used to avoid connecting serial offenders like McGovern with the oldstyle Communism they still embrace.

To borrow a famous leftie lyrical query: "When will they ever learn?" But you know the answer to that already.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July!!

A happy 4th to all our fellow patriots. We'll resume regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow morning unless this morning's reading of the Washington Post at the breakfast table inspires and inspiring rant. We're exempting Cindy Sheehan, whose "patriotism" generally points in the direction of Pyonyang. (Ever notice how the left, which blathers on about it's own "patriotism" never actually glues that word to the United States? Another clever bit of wordplay that's worked for them since the McCarthy Era.)

In any event, I gotta go now and hang out the flag, which will fly all day and which will not be burned. Enjoy!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Moral Relativism and the Episcopal Church

The Washington Post runs this morning with a lavish puff piece this morning on Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schiori. This reportorial wet kiss starts out innocently enough:
On June 18, the Episcopal Church's General Convention elected Jefferts Schori to a nine-year term as the denomination's presiding bishop, making her the first woman to head any branch of the Anglican Communion, the worldwide family of churches descended from the Church of England.
However, we next get the "but" sentence, first perfected by the Wall Street Journal, upon which the controversy in this article turns.
Although she will not take up her new role until November, six U.S. dioceses already have rejected her authority, and that number is rising.
Schiori (we won't go with the double last name which is, 90% of the time, a badge of proclamation, denoting that the female is a leftie), it turns out, is a former Catholic, who apparently woke up one day and discovered that the situation-ethics theologians who long ago took over the Episcopal church in this country were much more lovable than stodgy Catholic neanderthals who stubbornly refuse to cut their dogmatic cloth to fit today's fashions. She is obviously brilliant, of course, as all lefties are, particularly when they're academics—which ain't tough as no conservative can be hired today to teach college.
Trained as a scientist as well as a theologian, she entered the priesthood relatively late in life, 12 years ago, after an initial career as an oceanographer specializing in octopuses and squids. Her husband is a retired professor of theoretical mathematics, and they have a daughter serving in the Air Force.
Clever daughter. She saw it coming and got out early. But back to the towering intellect:
The Rev. Ian T. Douglas, a professor at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., said Jefferts Schori edged out six other candidates for presiding bishop because she is not only "whip smart" but also "very methodical, clear and measured" in her thinking.
Apparently, "methodical, clear and measured" thinking is Professor Douglas' euphemism for heresy. As regards the Bishop's commitment to Christian theology, check out the following if you doubt our word:
To those who accuse her of heresy for referring to a female Jesus, she responds with a typically learned disquisition on medieval mystics and saints who used similar language, including Julian of Norwich and St. Teresa of Avila. "I was trying to say that the work of the cross was in some ways like giving birth to a new creation," she said. "That is straight-down-the-middle orthodox theology."
Right. Declaring Jesus is a female is "straight-down-the-middle orthodox theology." Ask the Pope. Better yet, ask the Archbishop of Canterbury. Is this sort of like trying to discover what the definition of "is" is?
Yet she acknowledged that she likes to shake people up a bit.
Oh, okay. But maybe she likes to do more than shake things up. Maybe we'd have more converts to Episcopalianism today if the American church made explicit its implicit support for moral relativism:"All language is metaphorical, and if we insist that particular words have only one meaning and the way we understand those words is the only possible interpretation, we have elevated that text to an idol," she said in a telephone interview. "I'm encouraging people to look beyond their favorite understandings."So let's see. As a Roman Catholic, I believe that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin May, suffered, died and was buried and arose on the third day according to the scriptures. (I trust that my snippet of the Nicene Creed is mostly correct here.) So what I just stated, is this my "favorite understanding?" Or is it part of the bedrock of the Catholic Church? One assumes that when one recites one's creed that that creed is, in fact, the position of his or her religion and therefore the position of faith, correct? But are we now to understand that this is merely our "favorite understanding?" Maybe I should change my understanding and worship the Jesus that we see on "South Park." Maybe that would be a little more hip, do you think? The old Jesus was kind of boring anyway.

That seems to be what the Bishop is saying. For it is only in wrapping the Bible and the language of faith into a relativistic document that could possibly allow us to imagine that Jesus was a girl. But say, shouldn't we be broad minded enough (no pun intended) to imagine that? After all, maybe our belief that Jesus was a guy is also merely another of our "favorite understandings." And, perhaps worse, maybe now that "favorite understanding" has "elevated that text to an idol." And we know what good Jews and Christians do to idols, don't we?

The "idol" comment deserves at least a sentence or two as well, as it's a clever adaptation of the classic Stalinist tactic of implied (or explicit) slander and name-calling in order to discredit the opposition.

One of the worst things you can kid a fundamentalist Christian about is the notion of "idols" or idolatry which is one of the reasons why a great many Protestant sects broke with the Catholic church centuries ago. These early fundamentalists regarded the increasingly elaborate church structures, statues, and stained glass windows as verging on idolatry, and detested what they saw as a clearly secular tendency. Thus, by citing this important concept, the Bishop appears to side with the fundamentalists. But this itself is a false idol. For by employing this fighting word, she is doing what lefty politicoes always do to conservatives when cornered by their own illogic. They call their opponents "racists" and "imperialists" which therefore makes them so and terminates further argument since it now transforms your antagonist into the topic of the discussion rather than your own false Marxist dogma, thus getting you off the hook. The Bishop here effectively declares traditional church dogma as an "idol" thus transforming all who believe in it into idolators. When, in fact, it is she who clearly worships the false idol of Marxism, having anointed herself with the Sacrament of Moral Relativism. A nice trick but we spotted it here, Bish.

Fortunately, not all of the Episcopal faith are subscribing to the same kind of moral relativism that drove the majority of the church's bishops to carry through the dispicable act of electing as New Hampshire bishop a gay man who'd divorced his wife after generating a family and living a lie for years. Gayness aside, this is some qualification for being a bishop, eh? Schori's phony theology is just another version of the same flavor. This is all about politics. It has nothing to do with religion, except for the fact that, by subverting and eviscerating religion, the leftists who control the Episcopal Church are closely observing the tenets of Marxism as preached by Antonio Gramsci, who instructed the left to subvert and destroy, one by one, all the religious, political, and cultural structures that supported capitalism. It is clearly this particular article of faith that is most important to Schori and others of her ilk.

In any event, here's a succinct rebuttal from a real Episcopal clergyman which doesn't really need much elaboration:
Jefferts Schori's "all language is metaphorical" approach is a giant red flag to traditionalists at home and abroad who believe that the Episcopal Church is heading toward schism because it has departed from the plain words of the Bible.

"The incoming presiding bishop has made her positions very clear -- that she is committed to the new agenda, committed to same-sex blessings, committed to having same-sex partners in the leadership in the church -- which means she is also not committed to the faith as delivered to the saints," said Bishop Robert W. Duncan of Pittsburgh.
Read the rest of the article here.

The Post gives a smug Schiori the last word, and it's telling:
The message of her election, she said, is not that Episcopalians don't care what other Anglicans think, but "that we're more interested in feeding hungry people and relieving suffering than we are in arguing about what gender someone is or what sexual orientation someone has."
Translation: "We don't care what those fuddy-duddies in the real Anglican Church confess and believe. We'll do what we please because we're leftists and smarter than a whip. Let's feed the hungry and relieve suffering so we can proclaim our lefty sainthood on earth. And to hell with the religion we're supposed to be preaching. Who needs it when all the articles of that faith as well as its foundational documents are metaphors?" Schori here is enthusiastically playing the Pharisee to us Republicans, I guess.

We at HazZzMat could write quite a lot on the Bishop's fallacious theological reasoning here, but the blogosphere doesn't like long pieces and this one is already stretching it. But it's clear that this increasing habit in the Episcopal Church hierarchy of putting church assets in service to Marxist ideology, where organized religion is regarded as bad and where everything else is relative, has effectively eviscerated that Church in this country. We are witnessing here something that is almost beyond comprehension: a true schism that is being led not by a small band of disaffected wackos but by the hierarchy of an organized religion. In this case, it is precisely those disgruntled followers who are standing at one with their religion, even as the majority of its leaders in this country have abandoned it in favor of cynical, feel-good politics.

Those professing the true faith, who desire communion and unity with their fellow Anglican throughout the world, will continue to effectively secede from the established Episcopal Church which is even now arguably the most swiftly shrinking of all Christian denominations in the US. Perhaps that's because the majority of the American Episcopal hierarchy has abandoned their longstanding faith only to replace it with a flabby secular humanism that embodies not tradition and dogma based on a belief in Christ the King (not Queen), but merely the "favorite understandings" of Karl Marx.

Christian Theology According to Kos

"Radical Faith," one of the contributing gasbaggers on the hard left site of hard left fulminator Kos, poses as a clergyperson and weighs in on contemporary theology, with predictably profound results:
Today I walked out of church about a third of the way through the service. A soloist was performing "God Bless the USA." I have always found that song to be especially cloying, but when I noticed it listed in the bulletin I decided to attempt to tolerate it. And I might have managed to do just that had not one or two individuals prompted the entire congregation to stand.

At that moment I felt as though I'd been punched in the gut. And it was a double whammy - not only was I offended politically, I was deeply offended spiritually. I would never under any circumstance stand in tribute to a performance of that particular song. As far as I'm concerned asking me to stand in a sanctuary bordered on blasphemy. How could I in good conscience stand to embrace the lyrics "I'm proud to be an American" in the very same week we learned U.S. soldiers raped an Iraqi woman then murdered her and her family to cover up the crime? What spiritually unwise person planned this nonsense?
Let's parse this hate-spew out. First of all, we get to believe that a Marxist (which everyone on Kos appears to be) actually indulges in the opiate of the people by attending church. That logical glitch aside, let's adopt the willing suspense of dibelief, shall we, and pretend that this intellectual giant actually dropped in to hear the word of God. And, amazingly, attempt to be "tolerant" enough to endure a hymn he/she didn't like. Ok, so far, so good.

But wait! One or two people actually decided to stand, prompting a lemming-like patriotic response from the crowd. Disgusting! "Radical" now feels "punched in the gut," which is probably logical if you hate this country and anyone who happens to like it. And even more disgusting, these folks actually had the timerity to DISAGREE with our "tolerant" friend. God (if there is a God) forbid!

So now we segueway directly into an anti-US soldier rant on the latest MSM riff on our evil soldiers in Iraq. Mind you, this is still just a story, not a guilty verdict or perhaps not even the truth. But our "tolerant" friend immediately convicts our soldiers of rape and murder. Now, we're sure "Radical" would be equally disgusted if someone on a conservative blog would rush to declare, let's say, one of the mass murderers in Guantanamo "guilty" of rape and murder without giving them the due process that is not actually due to them.

So we're just wondering, "Rad," if you're so religious and tolerant, why the intolerance toward practicing Christians who actually love our country and toward GI's who haven't been convicted of any crime.

This is the problem with the left. There is no logic to what passes for thought in that quarter. And the "thought" itself is nothing more than the same Marxist message we've been getting since the era of Stalin. Stay on message. Hate the USA. And the only "truth" is what the Party says it is.

Back in Limited Action

He's ba-a-ack!

Wonker, reporting for duty.

Last Tuesday I went into the hospital for outpatient surgery to arthroscopically repair two torn right rotator cuff tendons. When I awoke later that afternoon, I discovered that while the surgery had started out arthtroscopically, it ended up with three separate incisions as damage, included some bone issues, proved a bit more than arthroscopic could get at easily. I've spent the last few days with my right (typing-writing) arm in a sling, but can now slip it out to type a bit without much discomfort. Meanwhile, stitches come out on Wed, and rehad will begin shortly thereafter, delayed by a bit of titanium that will now become part of my person and perhaps make my next trip through the airport metal detector interesting.

Just figured I'd bring you up to date. Blogging will now re-commence from this quarter, but my own material will probably be a little shorter than the usual well-considered rants, due in part to wanting to take care that things heal correctly as well as the fact that the right arm tends to fatigue fairly quickly.

Meanwhile, much has been going on and I'll try to start catching up.