Europeans have a terrific system for managing politically-sensitive disputes: They ignore them. And, better still, they ignore the desires of those on one side of the issue entirely.
When it comes to tough political decisions that emotionally animate a sizable minority -- or even majority -- of voters, Europeans have "evolved" a system whereby they simply deem those who are on the "wrong," meaning "right," side of an issue as "politically extreme," "racist," etc.
This system has the great advantage of suppressing all politics on sensitive issues. Those who want to restrict immigration from Muslim countries are "racist;" therefore, there's no need to consider them. Even though such persons constitute a majority in many European countries.
Branding such persons "racist" and "extreme" helps to suppress actual serious advocacy for certain positions. A large number of people might actually support such measures, but if their politicians are too cowed by, say, the BBC's branding of them as "rightwing extremists," they will soft-sell their program and meekly acquiesce in the status quo.
The system works great-- except, of course, for the small problem that it results in an unresponsive politics which ignores the actual wishes of many people. It's a great way to solve the difficulties of democracy, if you don't mind abandoning actua democracy along the way.
As has been frequently noted, the death penalty is actually politically popular in the UK and much of Europe; but European politicians and their support institutions (i.e., the media) have deemed the death penalty beyond the pale.
And thus, we have the odd situation of nominal democracies existing under a regime of laws they actually don't like, and would change, if given the chance. The laws aren't ever changed because, well, because it's just something that's not done, Old Man.
Europeans are continually "shocked" that rightwing parties -- even parties that are, by our lights at least, genuinely racist or extremist, or at least race-ish
-- frequently draw "surprising" levels of support from the people.
At some point, one would think, they'd stop being "surprised" by such frequently-occurring and perfectly predictable results.
Policiticians can ignore the will of the people in favor of the will of a numerically small, but influentially large, left-leaning elite. But only for a time. Periodically the frustration and anger at the unresponsive politicians will result in political support for fringe parties.
The British people might not generally support the BNP. The French might not really support Le Pen. But when the conventional politicians ignore their wishes for long enough, people will ultimately be driven to support somewhat extremist parties.
If only to send a message to the left-leaning elites.
The current European situation mirrors, as usual, American politics of the 1970's. (As we've noted, Europe is always 20-30 years behind America in most categories, including politics.) In the 1970's, most politicians were liberal-- even the Republicans. The American people disagreed strongly with the liberal program, but they found no outlet for their dissent; even Nixon was a liberal.
This resulted in a "surprising" change: Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, and then re-elected by a historic landslide in 1984. And then, in 1994, the liberals' 50 year old strangehold on the House was ended.
Which, of course, was famously summed up by leftist Peter Jennings: The nation had a temper-tantrum today.
This is the perfect encapsulation of the leftist elite's view of politics.
The liberal program does not advance, usually, by actually persuading a majority of the public to consent to its agenda. Certainly liberalism does succeed, on occasion, in drawing actual majority support.
But the more common way liberals advance their cause is not by actually increasing support, but by cowing their opposition with words like "extremist" and "racist." The opposition becomes meek and muttering; liberalism advances by default.
Not because people have actually consented to the liberal program, but because they have been name-called to the point where they simply accept that the liberal program is not to be challenged at all.
This is not "consent of the governed." At best, this is what Chomsky would term a "manufactured consent." Manufactured, but not real. It's an artificial and false consent, obtained by convincing a majority not that one's agenda is correct, but by convincing a majority that to oppose the liberal agenda would constitute "racism" or "political extremism" or "anti-Americanism."
The liberals are returning to this time-tested path to power. They do so every two or four years. But this time around, it's going to be especially nasty.
We recall an old skit on Saturday Night Live. Jimmy Carter's press secretary, Jody Powell, was a special guest.
The skit involved Powell, playing himself, negotiating the terms of an upcoming debate with Ted Kennedy (played by Dan Aykroyd).
Powell announced that the debate could not involve a litany of subjects which would be politically damaging to Carter. The hostages in Iran, the economy, Afghanistan, etc. -- all were forbidden topics for the debate.
"Well," Ted Kennedy objected, "That doesn't seem to leave us with a lot of things to talk about."
"Nonsense," countered Powell. "We can talk about any number of subjects. For example: alcoholism, your father's bootlegging, your wife's problems with prescription pills, and Chappequiddick."
The liberal playbook for 2004 is to take this absurd situation and make it quite real. For they aim to avoid any actual argument about Kerry's stance on the issues, and leave Bush free to discuss only a tiny universe of subjects deemed politically acceptable. Namely, his military service, Halliburton, the jobless recovery, and the ongoing carnage of our American heroes in Iraq.
We got a taste of this last weekend when we saw Howard Wolfson -- a nasty Democratic hack and Hillary Clinton confidante -- on FoxNews. A Republican hack was making the case -- a fair one, and certainly a legitimate one for public debate -- that John Kerry had proposed cutting $1.5 billion from the CIA's budget in 1995, after
the WTC bombing; that John Kerry had supported nuclear freezes in the 1980's; that John Kerry had been a longstanding opponent of numerous important defense systems, like the B-1 and B-2 bombers, and national missile defense, etc.
Wolfson rebutted that even bringing up
such positions constituted an "attack on Kerry's patriotism." Wolfson then went on to attack George W. Bush's patriotism, by questioning his service during the Vietnam era.
Again and again, liberals seek to end all discussion of their actual positions
on the most important issue facing our nation by claiming that even bringing up such subjects constitute an "attack on the patriotism" of the liberal in question. How many times have we heard it insisted that criticizing Max Cleland's vote on Homeland Security was an unconscionable attack on this triple-amputee war-hero's "patriotism"?
Thus, when it comes to foreign policy, Democrats will seek not to debate the actual issues, but to avoid and suppress all debate-- at least as far as their own credentials.
John Kerry is free, naturally, to excoriate George W. Bush's foreign policy positions -- and his mistakes -- the strongest possible partisan terms, but if George W. Bush seeks to criticize Kerry's positions and mistakes, it's a "personal attack" which constitutes the "worst sort of politics of personal destruction" by "attacking his patriotism.
And not only that, of course -- it invites, and justifies, an actual personal attack on Bush that has no direct relationship to the actual issues under discussion.
But it's not just foreign policy that Republicans won't be allowed to talk about in 2004. We also will be forbidden by liberal media scolds from discussing domestic policy
Because for a Republican to do so would be "politically divisive."
The politics of "divisiveness" has a long and storied history in liberal argumentation.
Perhaps the most famous use of the charge is with respect to matters of race. We all know by now that to simply question Affirmative Action constitutes the use of "racial code words." We know this because the media tells us so every other week.
To even question Affirmative Action is to display outright racism. Or, if the liberal media feel the need to avoid the appearance of taking sides on the issue, they deem persons so uncouthe to discuss this subject as "racially insensitive" (which means, in case you're wondering, "racist" -- it's just a more polite way to say it).
Howard Dean is outraged by Republicans playing upon the "fears" of white voters that quotas, both actual and effective, will result in them losing a job or college-spot to a preferred minority candidate.
Is this merely a "fear," in the sense that it is phantasmal and unreal?
Howard Dean thinks so. Or at least that's what he implies. Which is, of course, pure jackassery.
If Affirmative Action -- quotas, set-asides, plus factors -- are actually not
resulting in more minorities receiving certain benefits -- jobs, college admissions, contracts -- than they would without
such quotas, etc., then the system is entirely ineffectual
. One would then question why this system -- which, according to liberals, never results in a minority receiving a benefit he otherwise would not-- should remain in place, since it apparently does not result in any benefit whatsoever to minorities and only angers white voters.
On the other hand, if it is the case that quotas, set-asides, plus factors and the rest do
, indeed, result in minorities receiving benefits that they otherwise would not -- which is, of course, the case -- then it is not unreasonable for whites and other non-preferred races to be less than enthused about such a regime.
Even if one accepts the continuing need for some level
of Affirmative Action efforts -- which is the official position here at Ace of Spades HQ -- it is perfectly legitimate to ask "How much?" and "For how long?"
One can agree that historically-repressed minorities should receive some consideration in the job or college or contract application process while objecting to, say, the University of Michigan's system, wherein a black or Hispanic applicant is given the same amount of points towards college admission as an applicant with a 3.6 grade point average and a perfect score of 1600 on the SAT's.
Some supporters of Affirmative Action claim that given our difficult history with race, minorities should receive the benefit of baseball's rule that the "tie goes to the runner." In other words, given that it has been difficult for minorities to advance in our society in the past, they ought to be given the benefit in close situations. Chris Rock makes this argument, for example.
We agree with that. Wholeheartedly, in fact.
But the runner should not be allowed to take a base if he's beaten to the bag by ten yards, just because his skin tone is darker than pale. No one can claim that, in a contest of a black college applicant with poor-to-mediocre grades and SAT's is in a "close tie" with a white applicant with a 3.6 GPA and a perfect score on the SAT's. That is not a tie, that is a clear and lopsided and unmistakable case of the white applicant being better-qualified than the minority applicant. But proponents of Affirmative Action wish to pretend otherwise.
And they want to brand you a racist for being so impolite to as to point out the facts.
Liberals know they lose politically when the discussion is framed in that manner. They know they cannot, with a completely straight face, claim that Affirmative Action never results in a white applicant being discriminated against; that's the whole point of Affirmative Action.
So they seek to simply shut down all political discussion on the issue by claiming that to question or outright oppose such measures is evidence of "racial insensitivity."
Which, as we noted, is a de facto synonym "racism." There are few voters who say to themselves, "I'm dead-set against racism, but, to be honest, I really don't mind a little harmless racial insensitivity
in a politician. I find a little racial insensitivity
-- just a touch
, you understand -- to be folksy and endearing."
Liberal newsmen who won't even use the term "liberal" for a politician with a 90% "liberal" rating from the ADA (a liberal lobbying group) rush to brand conservatives "racially insensitive" based on the fact that they have the temerity to question the liberal position on race.
There is another favorite play for achieving similar results outside the context of race. And that's to brand one side in a politically-sensitive dispute "divisive."
It's difficult to paint the dispute over gay marriage as "racist." (Although the poor dears just can't help trying -- witness Andrew Sullivan, for example, frequently claiming that opposition to gay marriage is precisely the same as opposition to miscegenation.)
So they paint opposition to their agenda as "divisive."
This is pure nonsense. There are disputes in our society which are inherently
divisive. The debate over gay marriage is not "divisive" because conservatives wish to debate the issue, as the liberals continue to insist. The discussion
is not divisive; rather, the subject itself is.
It divides us. We disagree about it. Some of us want marriage for gays; some of us do not. Some of us are wishy-washy on the issue.
No matter who ultimately wins on the issue -- "winning" defined as getting one's way, more or less, which is not necessarily the same as actually convincing a majority or plurality of the rightness of your cause -- a large number of people are going to lose
There is no way that this simple fact can be fudged. On abortion, there are three broad groups. 40% of us want almost no restrictions at all on abortion, with a guarantee of full abortion rights by the federal judiciary. 30% are against almost all abortions. And there's a mush-middle of 30% who want abortion generally available, subject to numerous restrictions.
One of those positions must prevail in our politics. We cannot "unite" behind some common position, because we are in fundamental disagreement. Either the left, middle, or right is going to win on this issue; and whichever group wins, the other two groups will lose
This isn't because the various political factions are being "divisive." This is because of a thing called reality
. On an issue where there is little room for compromise, we have a binary, or at most trinary, situation in which one group's victory is another's defeat.
A politician may attempt some rhetorical fudging on the issue, but in reality, one group will win, the rest will lose. Clinton tried this in 1992 by guaranteeing that abortion would remain "safe, legal, and rare." His victories in 1992 and 1996 meant that the pro-abortion lobby won; abortions were safe, legal, and fairly commonplace. His rhetoric might have superficially united the moderates and liberals; his actual positions favored the liberals. And the conservatives, of course, lost altogether.
It may be "divisive" to argue about abortion, but that's not because one is engaging in some sort of underhanded "divisive" behavior. It's divisive because people disagree passionately about it, and will continue to do so for at least the next 30 years.
What is patently unfair about the divisive charge is that those making it seek to advance their own agenda while branding their opponents somehow un-American or uncivil or mean-spirited for attempting to advance their own. How can it be that advocating for gay marriage is non-divisive, but that advocating against it is suddenly "divisive"?
That's not the same as simple debating an issue. We respect the right of gay-rights-advocates to champion the cause of gay marriage, even though we strongly disagree with them.
We would appreciate it if they, in turn, respected our right to advocate for our own beliefs, even though they strongly disagree with those. We would like it if we were not branded "divisive" for simply engaging in debate on a political issue.
The sham here is that those who argue against "divisiveness" are arguing for a fraudulent unity. They claim they want to concentrate on what "unites" us rather than what "divides" us. But political disputes are not about what may unite us; what unites us becomes, of course, the non-political, non-politicized consensus.
Politics is innately about what divides us; that's rather the whole point of it.
Those who pretend to stand against "divisive politics" are actually simply engaging in divisive politics by deceptive means, attempting to claim that their opponents should simply cease caring about and fighting for their position, while continuing to advance their own.
Howard Dean attempted to play this card several months ago. He declared that we shouldn't bicker and argue and fuss over "God, gays, guns and abortion." We should, he implied, all come together somehow, under some or other solution that could "unite" us.
Was this a signal by Dean that he was ready to "unite" the country under the conservative position on such issues? Of course not. He was only offering to allow
conserves to give in and acquiesce to his own liberal position on the issues.
It is true that we could all be "united" if we all simply put aside our qualms about gay marriage and abortion and simply acquiesced to the gay-rights or pro-abortion agenda. But it is equally true that we'd all be just as "united" if gay-rights and abortion activists acquiesced to our
Those who brand those who disagree with them "divisive" never quite explain why it is the liberal, rather than conservative, position we must all rally behind in the interests of unity.
As per usual, they arrogantly take that as a given, something so obvious as to not require explanation.
George W. Bush has preferred a somewhat monarchist "reign not rule" style of presidency. He has attempted to avoid "divisiveness" himself; he has attempted to avoid blatant partisanship. He has, in short, attempted to take the politics out of politics.
This strategy no longer seems to be working. If it ever did at all.
Bush and the Republicans must not acquiesce in the liberals' attempts to take entire categories of political issues off the table.
They must frontally challenge the claim that questioning Kerry's foreign policy judgments constitute an illicit character attack on his much-vaunted "patriotism."
They must put the issue of gay marriage plainly and starkly before the American people, and refute the claims of liberals and the media -- a bit of a redundant construction there -- that advancing the conservative position on this and similar issues is "divisive," while liberals are free to advance their position unimpeded and thus win by default.
Politicians are now required to appear in their negative ads and specifically state they endorse them. We suggest this script for such a statement in a 60-second ad against Kerry:
I've endorsed this ad because I believe that the American people are entitled to make a reasoned and informed decision upon the foreign policy judgments of both myself and my opponent. My opponent would like to pretend that questioning his past positions and statements constitutes some sort of insidious assault on his patriotism. That is abject nonsense.
I will heartily concede that Mr. Kerry is a patriot. I'll testify under oath in court to that effect if required to do so.
But there have been many men who were very patriotic but whom the American people decided would not make effective Commander in Chiefs. George McGovern was a war hero in World War II. Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale are serious statesmen, who I readily concede they love their country.
That does not, however, mean that the foreign policy judgments of these men shouldn't be questioned or closely scrutinized.
I don't fear an inquiry into my own decisions, policies, and judgments. I welcome such a discussion. I trust the American people will decide in the end that they trust my policies are best for America.
But apparently Senator Kerry fears such a discussion. If he thinks his record is strong, why does he seek avoid defending it? If he believes the American people agree with his vision for American security, why does he attempt to choke off all discussion of it?
It's a mouthful, obviously. But George W. Bush cannot afford trying to coast to November while conceding a single to Senator Kerry and his bosom pals in the media. And he can't even attempt to persuade on any issue until he can first displace the liberal claim that the mere act of debating at all constitutes anti-American behavior.
Unless George W. Bush challenges this pernicious dynamic early, often, and forcefully, he just might find he's going into the election cycle as Ted Kennedy was in that Saturday Night Live sketch -- only permitted to discuss those issues that his opponent has so graciously allowed him.
Massachussetts House Speaker Will Seek to Delay Gay Marriage Enforcement, At Least Until End of Amendment Process
Makes sense to us.
Think about it: There are two ways to amend the Constitution. One is specifically detailed therein; one, however, is not
, but is simply asserted, by judges, to be an implied power of the same judges.
One amendment process -- the, you know, real
one -- takes two years to execute.
The other amendment process -- you know, the fake
one, the one that consists of four or five liberal judges deciding what new "rights" are contained in the constitution over a game of canasta -- is instantaneously-effective.
So, you see, the actual power of amendment defined in the Constitution is weaker and more limited than the made-up one asserted by liberal judges.
That doesn't... make much sense.
If the judges really do have the power to amend the Constitution at will, surely their power to do so does not exceed the actual power given to the people by the Constitution itself.
The US Supreme Court should enjoin the SJC from attempting to enforce its ruling until the legitimate amendment process works itself out.
UPDATE: The President has issued this statement:
"Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman," he said in the statement. "If activist judges insist on redefining marriage by court order, the only alternative will be the constitutional process. We must do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage."
This will, of course, be deemed "divisive" by the pro-gay-marriage types.
More on this "divisive" issue later.
Carr on Kerry
Really, really good read.
We didn't know one could cram this much derogatory information and innuendo about a man into a brief piece.
Iran: Hardliners Nix Compromise Effort in Ballot Fury; Reformists will Boycott
By the way, this vote, sham or not, is going down February 20.
We don't know if that day will provoke an outright revolt. But we don't know how long the Iranian people will suffer under a "govenment" imposed on them through sham elections.
Our GI's Nab 106 in Iraq
Not a bad day for truth, justice, and the American way.
We need more days like this.
Meanwhile, in allied Pakistan...
Musharraf pardons Islamist Nuclear Johnny Appleseed, AQ Kahn, in transparent Kabuki theater designed to appease both Bush and the millions and millions of Al Qaeda sympathisizers and actual members in Pakistan.
By the way, if anyone's attempting to pin partisan blame for this on Bush, Pakistan developed, finalized, tested, manufactured, and spread its nukes during Clinton's watch.
"Our Close Allies": Update
Suspect in 9-11 attacks acquited by German court:
Prosecutors alleged Mzoudi provided logistical support to the Hamburg al-Qaida cell, helping with financial transactions and arranging housing for members to evade authorities' attention. Mzoudi spent time at a terrorist camp in Afghanistan in 2000.
His lawyers denied the charges, saying that while their client was friends with many of the Sept. 11 principals, he knew nothing of the plot to attack the United States.
And a five-member German court let him go, clearing him of 3000 conspiracy counts.
This is also an object lesson for those on the left who whine about military tribunals and the like.
We are not screwing around here. It's all well and good to burble that "better 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man be imprisoned," but that math doesn't work when one of the guilty men can kill up to 3000 innocent people.
Like We Needed This
Discoshaman (Le Sabot Post-Moderne)
links to a doomsday-scenario story:
Judge Roy Moore is considering running as a spoiler candidate against Bush. Discoshaman figures the Constitution Party might back him.
Gallup: American Support for War at Lowest Ever
Worth It? 49%. Not Worth It? 49%.
Might have something to do with Bush's declining poll numbers.
Alas. No one has ever accused the American voting public of an excess of constancy.
"A shadow and a threat have been growing in my pants."
Boy, have they ever! It's about time someone had the guts to say it.
Can you make strong comedy simply by taking lines from The Lord of the Rings
and substituting the word "pants" for key nouns?
Apparently, you can!
Thanks to Mogget at The Perfect World (Lord of the Rings thread).
Keep yourself safe from The Enemy. And remember: "Not idly do the pants of Lorien fall."
Our Lunch With David Mamet
We recently sent our intrepid field reporter, "Black" to sit down for a lunchtime interview with playwright, screenwriter, and director David Mamet.
Mr. Mamet is famous for his eliptical, even cryptic, writing style, and his frequent use of recursive or downright repetitive dialogue. He's also notorious for his signature brand of profane, intellectualized tough-guy talk. Mr. Mamet's works include Oleander, Heist, The Spanish Prisoner,
and Glengarry Glenn Ross
What follows is a complete and verbatim transcript of Black's conversation with him.
WARNING: Contains genuine, four-letter profanity. Also contains confusing David Mamet discursive tangets.
Thanks for coming. Let's start be talking about --
Are we talking about this? We are not talking about this.
We are discussing this, yes.
We are chewing this over, maybe.
We are chatting this up... perhaps? Perhaps, perhaps yes.
But talking about this?
No, we are not. We're not talking about this.
Don't. Look, don't.
Don't do this.
Look. Look. Look here. Let's be.
Let's be reasonable here.
Let's be reasonable.
Don't tell me what we're--
Don't tell me what we're talking about, or not talking about. I know what of we speak. We speak of--
We speak of, of.
We speak of.
Of which, of the thing of which we were speaking.
Of what? What are you talking about?
DM: (takes off sunglasses in a threatening manner)
They say a man should know his betters. They say that a man should show respect when he knows not of whom he speaks.
A man becomes careless, that man also becomes dangerous.
Now, let me ask you:
Are you a man?
Are you a man?
Are you a man?
Are you a fucking man!?
A man would have punched me in the mouth already.
You fairy. You fucking cunt.
I seem to have offended you somehow...
And... are we ready to order now?
What is this lunch? Think. Think about it.
What is lunch? What do we mean by this?
What could lunch be?
It could be many things. Many things. It could be, say, a strip steak sandwhich. This is good.
This is life's bounty.
It could be a piece of fish.
A nice piece of fish?
That remains to be seen. Who can say. Who can say, before the fish is served.
Not the fish, then.
And what more? What more could lunch be?
It might not be steak, or even fish.
It could also be a salad.
A salad, which is what you fucking cunts--
let me finish--
what you fucking cunts, who were not men, not ever, not from the sweat on the floor of the holding cages at the gladiator games--
you were not men, who eat this salad.
You fairies. You faegulas.
So I will have the new york strip steak sandwich, please. Medium-rare.
And a Diet Pepsi. Slice of lemon.
Uhhhh... popcorn shrimp for me, I guess.
You are not a man!
You are not a man!
You are not a man!
Uh, strike that. I'll just have whatever he's having.
All set then. I'll put in your orders for you.
So, then, Mr. Mamet... who are you voting for?
Anyone except Bush. That fairy!
Further efforts at interviewing Mr. Mamet ended in failure. He demanded we offer a "juicy part" to his wife, actress Rebecca Pidgeon. He didn't seem to understand or care that we had no "parts," juicy or otherwise, since we are not in the movie business.
Well, it didn't go exactly the way we'd planned. Still, it was nice to get out of the office.
Cyanide Discovered in Iraqi Safe House of Al Qaeda Mastermind
The cyanide salt is quite deadly.
But that isn't the most important part of the story.
Which is: that the cynanide was discovered in what is believed to be a safe house used by Zarqawi, owner and operator of Al Qaeda's Baghdad franchise.
Zarqawi, you will remember, was mentioned prominently by the Bush Administration as being the key liaison between Saddam and bin Ladin.
But let us all keep repeating the robotic mantra:
"There is no sanctuary for Al Qaeda provided by Saddam... There is no sanctuary for Al Qaeda provided by Saddam... There is no sanctuary for Al Qaeda provided by Saddam..."
Click on picture for more on this terrorist.
The ABCNews story it links to is amusing. Yes, the article, and the anti-war "analysts" it quotes, admit that Zarqawi ran a poison-training center in Afghanistan and
one in Iraq; and sure, after being injured in the US's war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda he went to Baghdad for medical attention.
But they -- keeping a straight face, mind you -- go on to dispute that he necessarily has a connection to either Saddam or
Al Qaeda. He just happened to be mingling with Taliban and Al Qaeda troops when we attacked them; he just happened to pick Saddam's Ba'athist hospital system, of all hospitals on the face of the earth, as his medical-care-provider of first choice.
He just, like, happened to do all of this coincidentally.
"THE WAY THEY... SURROUND
A STORY" UPDATE:
Check out these hilarious paragraphs from our Fair and Balanced reporter at ABC:
After leaving Iran, Zarqawi showed up in the Iraqi capital in May 2002. Intercepts of telephone calls he made to his family in Jordan show that he received medical treatment in Baghdad, and his bad leg was amputated.
During his two-month stay in Baghdad, Zarqawi set up nearly two dozen operatives to run "people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network," Powell said.
He said these "al Qaeda affiliates" had been operating freely in the Iraqi capital for eight months, and that when a U.S.-aligned government tipped Iraqi officials off about Zarqawi's whereabouts, the Iraqis let him go.
However, Powell provided no evidence of any direct link between Zarqawi's network and Saddam's regime. His assertions of Iraqi involvement are circumstantial, according to terrorism expert Vince Cannistraro, an ABCNEWS consultant. "That's all there is. There isn't anything substantive," he said.
Without hard evidence, U.S. intelligence is working on the assumption that if Zarqawi or his associates were active in Baghdad, Saddam's extensive secret police apparatus would have to know about it, Cannistraro said. "The inference is that there is not a sparrow falls from a tree in Baghdad that Saddam Hussein's people don't know about it."
Cannistraro said U.S. intelligence officials believe Saddam is giving tacit support to Zarqawi and his network. "They're assuming that Saddam is operating on the principle of the enemy of my enemy is my friend," he said.
Anyone notice the repeated template here? Multiple US intelligence sources say one thing; and then, after each of their claims, Cannistraro -- obviously anti-war and skeptical of the Saddam-bin Ladin connection -- gets to knock it down.
Isn't it funny how the piece always gives the liberals the last word?
One might think it would be interesting to read a counter-objection to Cannistraro's objections.
But ABCNews doesn't.
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: Real Marriage Only for Gays; Civil Unions Would be "Unconstitutional"
Who knew that the Massachusetts Constitution, which specifically states that the laws of marriage will be promulgated by its legislature
, also contained such specific directives as to what particular legal form gay unions will take?
It's astounding. The words "gay marriage" don't appear in the Massachusetts Constitution, the Constitution specifically says that the legislature, not the Courts, will have jurisdiction over this area, and there is no mention of homosexuality at all in the document.
And yet -- as it turns out -- 200-plus-years-ago the drafters of Massachusetts Constitution inserted special secret codes into their charter which suddenly made themselves evident by virtue of some sort of parchment time-release mechanism.
But only to liberal judges, who have some sort of cool-ass decoder ring on their (left) ring-finger.
So, now what?
The battle is now unavoidably joined.
We will hear cries that anyone who opposes this is "politicizing" the question.
Hey, jackasses-- this is a democracy
. We decide these issues via political means, despite your preference for a benevolent liberal tyranny.
More and more, it seems, the very act of dissenting with the leftist agenda constitutes, of itself, a violation of political civility.
And maybe we ought to put the SJC in charge of finding Osama bin Ladin. They seem to be past-masters at unexpected discovery.
Ho, Hum-- More Leftist Hypocrisy
Leftist jagoff repeatedly calls Robert Novack a "traitor."
Either questioning a political enemy's patriotism constitutes uncivil discourse or it does not.
Pick a rule, ladies, and stick with it.
Personally, we here at Ace of Spades do
think the charges of treachery, anti-Americanism, and lack of patriotism can be fairly laid at the feet of much of the left.
It's hard to reconcile the left's claim of "loving America" with their constant tirades against America. They say they attack America so frequently, and so viciously
, because they just love
America so darned much.
Yeah. You try that line of reasoning with your spouse. "I'm so critical of you, constantly tearing into you for your weight, looks, manner, intelligence, and morals because I'm just so G-darn in love
At any rate: We don't think it's out-of-bounds to question a dedicated America-hater's fidelity to his nation. So we won't
criticize the jerkoff in question for questioning Novak's.
Except to say: It does seem to be a case of projection. And a bit childish.
But the left can't have it both ways. They can't claim that questioning someone's patriotism is out of bounds, and then question the patriotism of Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft or whichever else Republican is serving as the object of this week's Two Minute Hate.
One. Or. The Other.
One rule. Applied to both friend and foe. What a concept.
We at Ace of Spades are consistent on the point: We think it's okay to question someone's patriotism, and so we aren't going into a tizzy over this d-bag's name-calling.
We are, however, quite annoyed by the fact that the left, as usual, wants one rule for its opponents and another rule -- a much more, er, latitudinarian
one -- for themselves.
How About That? Ricin Attacks Really Might Be Due to "Domestic Extremists" After All
Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
The ricin is apparently quite crude and not particularly dangerous. The Frist and White House ricin has been connected to a South Carolina package containing the same poison. The letter accompanying that package complained about changes in rules for truckers (requiring they get more sleep), and claimed that the package was sent by the owner of a large trucking company.
The FBI notes that it is "keeping an open mind" about the source of the ricin.
Hmmm... It must be a new policy.
Ohio Bans Gay Marriage
But of course That's
merely what the citizens of Ohio decided, by acting through their duly-elected representatives.
Means nothing. Because we all know only left-leaning judges are authorized to make these decisions. That's what "democracy" means, after all: Rule by judges.
You can look it up and everything.
And, of course, we know that fighting terrorism requires letting gays get "married."
Since 9-11, the charge has often been made that proponents of the War on Terrorism too frequently attempt to link that effort to some tenuously-related policy objective. The criticism, thus far, has been reserved for those using terrorism to advance conservative
The Bush Administration, for example, linked terrorism to illicit drug usage and trade. There is
a link there, of course, but one could argue quite plausibly that it's a bit extenuated a connection. And that therefore the Bush Administration is guilty of using the guise of terrorism to advance an unrelated, socially-conservative agenda.
And the Bush Administration could
violate the rule, such as it is, a great deal further. But it has been wise enough to generally refrain from doing so. We did not hear claims that "Tax Cuts fight Terrorism," for example.
And well we didn't. The outrage would have been searing.
But while the social and economic right has more or less refrained from such linkages -- and have been criticized for doing so when they've gone too far -- the econmic left and the social left feel no shame whatsoever about using the War on Terrorism to advance their own domestic policy goals.
For example, liberals and leftists are fond of claiming that the "Wealthy aren't doing their fair share to fight terrorism." By which they mean: They aren't paying enough in taxes. By which they mean: We must raise taxes; the War on Terrorism demands it.
That's an arguable point. But it is inarguable that that claim uses the War on Terrorism to advance the longstanding policy goal of the left: Raise taxes in times of peace; raise them in times of war; raise taxes during periods of prosperity; raise taxes during recessions.
In other words: Raise taxes. In case you missed the nub of their gist.
And of course they all want to ban, or at least punitively tax, the evil terrorist enabling vehicles called "SUV's."
How, precisely, are these linkages perfectly fair whereas Bush is to be castigated for connecting terrorism to illegal drug trade?
It's one or the other, guys. Either linking terrorism to a longstanding, tenuously related domestic policy goal is unfair and cynical or it is not.
It cannot be that it's unfair for your opponents and just fine and dandy for you.
But we're used to such hypocrisy from liberals and leftists. What rankles us especially is that right-leaning libertarians also have no compunctions about using terrorism to advance their socially-left agendas.
There are multiple examples of this. Some libertarians are fond of claiming that drug-busts just prove that that law enforcement has time and money on its hands. They ask: "Can't they be doing something better with their time?"
As Malone in The Untouchables
would reply: "Yes, but I'm not doing it right now.
Are we clear?"
How is this not a cynical use of terrorism to achieve the pet goals of the legalization lobby? Because we have an admittedly very important national objective -- fighting terrorism -- that means we must scrap most anti-drug efforts?
a right-leaning, anti-war libertarian, also recently decided that it was fair to use the WoT to advance the socially-left agenda:
Let's consider for a moment what our federal government is doing to protect us from grave threats. Ricin, a deadly toxin, has been found in the US Senate, forcing the closure of three entire office buildings, and reminding us that danger from unknown terror has not abated. Speaking of terror, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, has admitted to selling atomic secrets to Iran, Libya, and North Korea; indeed, he has implicated two former chiefs of the Pakistani army as his co-conspirators. Speaking of still more terror, Americans are still dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, as Saddamists and Islamists step up their attacks. Finally, a horror of a different kind, the federal budget, is out of control. But not to worry, because Uncle Sam is guarding us against us Janet Jackson's right breast.
Once again: Because we're fighting a War on Terror, of course
we must enact the socially-liberal, laissez-faire libertarian position on public decency. If we continue to fine broadcast stations for displaying nudity, then truly the terrorists will have won.
Drug use, broadcast soft-porn -- Jim Pinkerton would not countenance any argument that the War on Terror requires a more stringent application of social conservatism.
And not just because he disagrees with such arguments; but also because he believes it is "poltiicizing terrorism" to do so, and it violates a fundamental rule of civil political discourse.
But when it comes to their own precious agendas-- well, come on. We've got a war to fight. National security demands we legalize pot and broadcast porn. What are you, anyway? Some kind of subversive?
Perhaps Pinkerton also
has too much time on his hands. What do you call fretting about your next bong-hit, or fining Janet Jackson's right tit, while there's a war on?
We aren't saying that the War on Terrorism requires that the social and sexual left abandon their objectives. Were we to make such a claim, we'd be just as guilty of politicizing terror as Pinkerton.
they should be allowed to continue advocating for their agendas. The War on Terrorism does not require that we each give up politicking for our own idiosyncratic versions of the Just Society.
But if we here at Ace of Spades are willing to make that concession to the social and sexual left, do you imagine they'll be willing to make that concession to us?
So far, the answer has been a resounding "No." They are allowed to link terrorism to their various causes; we are not.
Because they say so. That's why. Shut up, they explained. To question social and sexual libertarianism is to provide aid and comfort to the terrorists.
EDIT: We included Instapundit in our original indictment, right along with Pinkerton.
But since then we've been searching his site to find a quote from him which we think
So far, we've not found it. Which means at this point, we have no evidence for our charge.
So we took out the references to Instapundit. We shouldn't have mentioned him before actually, you know, determining for a fact that he was guilty of the conduct in question. We erred.
We are conducting an in-house ad-hoc fact-finding inquiry to determine how it came to be that our original report was "sexed up." When the report is finished, heads will roll.
Iran: "Supreme Leader" Khamenei Once Again Orders "Review" of Disqualified Candidates
With a threatened boycott of the hardliners' sham elections looming, Khamenei once again partially blinks
in an effort to appear concillatory while actually conceding little.
Meanwhile, student rallies in support of the reformist agenda have been banned.
Note to Paul Krugman: This
is what actual banana-republic sham democracy looks like. "Despotism" isn't in necessarily in effect just because your preferred leftist candidates lose elections, or just because on-line critics disagree with you or challenge your made-up "statistics."
Fox Projects: Edwards Takes SC With 40+%
It's not an actual race yet.
But anything that causes John Kerry to spend more of his wife's money is good news as far as we're concerned.
General Wesley "TimeRanger" Clark May End Campaign
We wish the creepy, conspiracy-mongering nutjob good luck at his next job.
Which, more than likely, will again be as an "objective" analyst for CNN, covering the Republican National Convention.
Perhaps they can make him a special commentator on Bush's alleged "deserter" status.
Senate Ricin Confirmed; Ricin Letter Intercepted En Route to White House
Senate story here; White House story here.
All baiting and kidding aside: Will the FBI finally
admit that these attacks, and the anthrax attacks, are almost certainly the work of Al Qaeda?
Or will we continue getting the typical FBI nonsense about "domestic rightwing extremists"?
The FBI seems to have an institutional bias in favor of theories which make crimes entirely solveable domestically, within its jurisdiction.
The original WTC bombing? Just some America-based Islamist malconents; no substantial overseas terrorist connection.
Anthrax? Probably just some angry rightwing nut. Hell, he probably even lives thirty or forty miles from DC Headquarters. Somewhere in Maryland or suburban Virginia, most likely.
And they sure lost interest in John Doe Number 2 when they found American conspirators matching their favored profile -- "domestic rightwing extremists" -- in the case of the OKC bombing.
Suspicious Powder in Letter Sent to Republican National Committee
Tests aren't back yet; it could be a hoax.
But bear in mind: the whole FBI "domestic rightwing extremist" theory was animated by the fact that anthrax was sent to a liberal Senator (Leahy, of Vermont).
And that's despite the facts that:
1) The anthrax was of such a high quality that it is unlikely it could have been produced by anything other than a state actor
2) The anthrax letters said "Praise Allah"
3) The anthrax letters were sent days after the 9-11 attacks
Will a suspicious substance being sent to the RNC be taken as evidence of a domestic leftwing extremist?
We doubt it.
Everyone knows there are no leftwing extremists. The people marching under the black flag of Anarchistm or the red flag of Communism and smashing store windows and burning cars and rioting aren't "leftwing extremists;" they're "anti-globalism protestors."
The man who killed Pym Fortune isn't a leftwing extremist. He's an "animal rights activist."
Squeaky Frome, Sirhan Sirhan, Lee Harvey Oswald -- none of them were politically left-wing either.
It is, of course, only "rightwing extremists" who commit acts of assassination and terrorism.
It's the Left-Wing Arrogance, Stupid
Australian take on the BBC's Andrew Gilligan, left-wing Suicide Reporter:
The real mystery is why the BBC so vehemently defended his report. It appears to have taken the attitude that any government complaint about its coverage of the Iraq war must be unjustified, and therefore was not worth following up, but should be rejected out of hand. That is, the responsible people right up to the director-general and the board of governors were so sure that anything they said was right that they treated the Prime Minister (and his press office) as dishonest and insincere.
To them Blair was a liar, pure and simple. Moreover, there was no case for the war that could be made by Blair that they would accept.
This stance enjoyed great popularity among the rest of the media, and among the vociferous anti-war propagandists which constituted much of the audience for the BBC and like-thinking organs of journalism. It was followed with dog-like devotion by the ABC and its admirers.
The protests by Blair were treated contemptuously as if any suggestion that the BBC might not be fair, objective, truthful and wholly accurate in its reporting and treatment of stories had to be rejected since it represented attempted political interference by government in the fiercely defended independence of the BBC.
There is a clear answer to the opening question. The BBC, in its overweening institutional arrogance, killed David Kelly.
We should all be grateful that, in America at least, we certainly don't have a media bristling with insufferable arrogance and institutional partisanship!
In America, we have a wonderfully open-minded media, always ready to do to themselves what they demand in others -- engage in searing self-criticism and admissions of error and biases.
Certainly our media do not, like Michael York at the end of Logan's Run, robotically repeat a mantra like "There is no media bias... there is no media bias... there is no media bias..."
"Flashing a nipple to children is okay, so long as it's empowering"
Warning: Contains juvenile synonyms for breast, and hypothetical sexual situations in the service of making a point
Liberals are cogenitally unable to call bad behavior by its proper name. They are in such a perpetual tizzy to demonstrate how broad-minded and tolerant they are that they simply cannot admit the obvious truth, to wit, that an aging and haggard lip-sync artiste shouldn't show her saline-bladders to unsuspecting, and unwarned, children during the dinner hour.
Or to adults, either, for that matter. It's not that nudity is per se bad. In the privacy of one's home, it can be just splendid. On a cable channel you've decided to purchase, with full warnings about the content which will be piped into your home, it's fine.
From movies to the back room of your video store -- we don't mind nudity or sexuality, so long as it is not unbidden. If an adult voluntarily seeks such material out, we could care less.
But we must insist that full nipple nudity, on a broadcast channel, without warnings
, during the dinner hour, and during a television event that families
watch with their children, is outrageous and blameworthy.
It's a question of time, place, and manner. Oh yes -- and of little things called taste and decorum, which are apparently impertinet considerations when dealing with any sexual issues.
isn't quite your stereotypical liberal -- he can be quite critical of the Democrats on a range of issues, including his pet one, welfare reform.
But, as it turns out, he is a jerk-the-knee, pass-the-chablis hot-tub lefty when it comes to sexual mores.
For, in commenting upon Le Affaire Janet, he remarks:
"P.P.S.: The issue isn't nudity but the implicit endorsement of--searching for the right words here--acting out male fantasies of violent and invasive non-consensual sexual behavior. ... "
Oh, of course! Of course the issue wasn't the actual nudity; why, that little milk-nub staring us right in the face was at best a trivial side-issue.
Of course the only problem with the display was the fact that it was demeaning to a liberal woman's sense of sexual autonomy and empowerment!
It's not a question of nudity broadcast without warning to children (and adults, too, who didn't seek this out, or volunteer to be exposed to it). No, the whole problem was that the boob was shown outside of the context of a pro-woman, feminism-affirming liberal social message.
So, Mickey: It's just a question of context, not the nudity itself. Okay.
Let's suppose the unbidden udder in question been displayed in a more thoughtful, respectful manner -- with Janet proudly cupping it, perhaps playfully kneading it, titilatingly teasing out the nipple with her fingers.
No problem so far, right? After all, she's merely empowering herself
by engaging in a bit of light onanism. It's a healthy message for young girls. A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle and all that.
So far, so good.
And now let us further suppose that she voluntarily offers her breast to Young Justin. She does so with full personal consent.
Once again, just a lady making her own sexual decisions. Nothing at all wrong with that!
And suppose further that Justin had responded in a similar fashion, treating the breast with with the respect and dignity it deserves. Perhaps he could nibble on the nipple -- after first asking, of course, "May I suckle upon yonder proffered knocker, Mz. Jackson?"
Again, so long as the breast is being treated with consensual affection, and Ms. Jackson's personal sexual dignity and autonomy is being respected, we don't have a violation of your rule against implicitly "endorsing invasive non-consensual sexual behavior." Which is, you said, the sum and entirety of the issue.
And to top it off, let's say that Maya Angelou rises dramatically up through a trapdoor, to declaim a poem she's written specifically in honor of the event:
Oh, furious funbag
Proud Sweater-Fruit of the Noble Amazon Warrior Queen!
Low-Hanging coconut of my ancestors' lifemilk,
Mocha Mommysac of Mammalian Munificence!
Sweet tit of Destiny, I sing to thee!
Hail this hallowed hooter of humanity,
drink deeply from its dark meat
and then dream, belly warmly filled, of proud Mother Africa!
So, given all that -- care, kindness, and compassion displayed towards the bozo-bag in question; full respect for a woman's sexual choices; Maya Freaking Angelou (you can't get much more "empowering" than that
) -- there would have been nothing objectionable in the display.
Except, of course, you'd have a guy sucking a tit on a nationally-televised broadcast while millions of children are watching. If that sort of thing bothers you.
Or perhaps we're being overly complicated. Let's just suppose that Janet had pulled off Justin's
clothing -- say, his codpiece, revealing his tumescent penis -- that would have been just fine
, because it would have shown a strong woman actively making choices about her own sexuality.
But Justin pulling off her bra? Why that's demeaning to women and it encourages "invasive non-consensual sexual behavior" by men.
As a wise man once observed, "There's a fine line between clever and stupid."
But not in this case. Kaus is stupid all the way home.
One last point: Liberals always fret about obviously choreographed and consensual acts like this -- Justin "violating" Mz. Jackson by ripping off her top. Of course he isn't really violating her; she told him to do so. Which is obvious
In Hollywood, you only violate people lower on the food-chain than you are.
But liberals like Kaus like to fret that less-evolved specimens -- you and us, for example -- will see this and decide, "Gee, I guess what all my buddies say must be true -- women do
like being raped and violated after all. I think I'm going out on the town, wearin' my lucky rapin' shoes."
They can see that
resulting from the display. That's no big leap for them-- men, after all, are pretty much born rapists. Adult
men could easily get the idea that rape is a good thing
from this silly little sexual skit.
But liberals can't, for the lives of them, imagine that any psychic damage, or even discomfort, could possibly result to a child
watching public nudity and sexuality on television.
men will wind up thinking that Thursdays are Rape-Days; children
, on the other hand, will be entirely unaffected
, and, even if they are affected, their parents really should lighten up and just deal with it
This is the only manner in which a liberal can bring himself to even tepidly criticize
publicly-broadcast pornography or exhibitionist behavior-- by wading only waist-deep in the safest shoals of the warm, nuturing ocean that is the progressive womyn's movement.
FCC Fines May Reach $5.5 Million; Jackson and Timberlake May Also Be Fined Individually
Five and a half million per actor is a nice start.
"Several Confirmations" That Suspicious Substance in Senate Office is Biotoxin Ricin
The FBI immediately ruled out any possible foreign terrorist connection and announced their suspicions that the powder was sent to by "domestic extremists."
UPDATE: With the case only six hours old, the sharpies in the FBI have nevertheless identified their main "person of interest" in their "domestic extremist" theory.
No big surprise on this one. It's Richard Jewel.
(It's an old Norm MacDonald joke. So sue us.)
By the way, we're just chomping at the bit to comment on this whole BBC scandal, and we'll do so, the moment we think of something to say.
Bush to Propose Mission to Land on Surface of Sun; Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo Offered Berths as World's First "Celebronauts"
Thanks to Free Republic
for posting it.
Iranian Political Crisis Intensifies
One-third of the Iranian Parliament resigns in protest over ballot crisis.
Thanks to Tarranto's Best of the Web Today
for catching this. We missed it yesterday.
Which wasn't hard to do-- given the fact that it was Super Sunday.
And given the fact the media just doesn't seem interested in the story at all.
The Nipple Ripple
Although we at Ace of Spades are certainly not adverse to seeing the occasional nipple, we prefer our nipple-viewing to take place in a manner and at a time of our own choosing.
We are not enthused about forcible, suprise nipple-exhibitions, especially when children -- ours or anybody's -- are certainly watching.
Had Ms. Jackson exposed her sad little aging nipple on a more appropriate venue -- say, on a pay-per-view cable special, with prior widely-disseminated warnings (or advertisements) that she would be showing off her drooping udder, we would have no problems.
Liberals and leftists are fond of dismissing complaints about the ever-coarsening media by saying "It should be up to parents; parents can decide for their own children; the government shouldn't be involved."
Very well. But you can't retreat to the defense that "Parents should decide" when you conspire to take away that very choice from parents. No parents "decided" to let their kids get an eyeful of Ms. Jackson's surgically-altered knocker, because no parents were told beforehand that such a display would be part of the program.
We hope that massive fines are levied against CBS and MTV. Massive.
But all the hoo-hah over this bland "shocking" behavior obscures another criticism that can be fairly leveled at the idiotic show.
MTV and CBS combined together to once again put on a free public advertisement for liberal politicians. MTV's Choose or Lose campaign is not about exciting all citizens to vote; it is obviously a program designed to excite young left-wing or liberal voters to go to the polls.
Time and time again, MTV's Choose or Lose segments focus exclusively on issues that animate the socially-liberal base or outright left-wing of the country, and always from the liberal or left-wing perspective.
Apparently none of this nation's young people care about the War on Terrorism.
Country is this nation's most popular genre of music; and it is probably even more popular with the Super Bowl audience. And yet there was no Toby Keith at MTV's left-wing fiesta; no Reba, no Shania.
True, there was Kid Rock; but he's merely country-influenced. He's a hard rock and rap act. An act we don't mind, but which cannot be confused with being representative of the country genre.
So we were subject to MTV's typically empty posturing on the need to "choose" before the concert. And then the concert featured music primarily of interest to youngish liberals and lefties.
And then the bizarre and haggard looking Ms. Jackson, looking a bit like a zombie from her pedophile brother's Thriller
video, popped out a tit, an action designed to create favorable buzz among social liberals who think we need further sexual liberation, and also to anger the "prudes" who think that breasts are best displayed in privacy or an appropriately age-restricted venue.
Isn't it funny that in an election year the media conspire together to animate left-wing voting during the most heavily-watched program in the world?
The liberals will counter-charge that previous Super Bowls -- especially since September 11 -- have featured patriotic themes.
Well, that may be true. But there was an obvious reason for that, in case the liberals missed it.
Furthermore, that rejoinder -- "You got your patriotic display earlier!" -- seems to undercut the claims of liberals that they're just as patriotic
as the rest of the nation.
If they are just as patriotic
as the rest of the nation, then those previous displays were no more directed towards conservatives than towards liberals.
If, on the other hand, they're willing to admit that patriotism is primarily a conservative virtue, then we will concede that the patriotically-themed halftime shows were in fact a bit of a political sop to the right.
But we doubt they're willing to make that admission.
They'll continue claiming they're just as wildly patriotic as any other American, all the while spitting on actual displays of love of country.
ADDENDUM: It seems to us that liberals have vastly differing standards concerning "controversial" displays they like versus displays they don't like.
When it comes to nudity, homosexuality, porn, etc., liberals always claim that it's just tough noogies on socially-traditional parents who wish to keep such displays out of the eyes of their children.
If there's nudity on TV, parents shouldn't let their kids watch TV.
If there's an adult bookstore on the way to school, parents should instruct their children to take an alternate route, even if it means walking additional blocks.
If there's a Gay Day at Disneyland, parents should first of all just deal
, and accept that men kissing in public is perfectly suitable behavior for their children to view. If they can't just deal
, well, then: Don't go to Disneyland. Duh.
But when it comes to stuff that liberals don't want to see, suddenly it's a whole different ballgame.
If a kid passes out religious tracts in his capacity as a private citizen at school: Suspend or expel him.
If a cross is displayed on public property: Strike it down.
When it comes to things liberals like, they say that more conservative sorts should simply adapt their routines to avoid seeing such things, or just "deal" with it.
When it comes to things liberals don't like-- well, that's time for the ACLU. No longer does the advice that one should just closely monitor one's children hold; no, suddenly the Constitution mandates that liberals, and their children, ever be subject to having the hated crucifix ever cross their eyelines.
An odd divergence in the choice of rule. If conservatives don't like it-- adapt your behavior and inconvenience yourself to avoid it. If liberals don't like it -- society
must adapt in order to avoid inconveniencing liberals.
Funny that, eh?
UPDATE: The Culpepper Log
is chiefly angry about the calculated, "She loves to shock us" lameness of the stunt. WARNING: Contains a shot of the offending saline-bladder in question.
(How about that? Warning
an audience about questionable content. What a notion.)
He's also peeved, as is everyone else, about the childish "It was an accident" claim now being put forth as the party line by MTV and Justin Timberlake.
That ridiculous claim is perhaps even worse than the typical defenses made by MTV morons when they get caught, for example, exhorting people to kill cops, sell drugs, pimp women, or beat up their wives, mothers, and girlfriends: It was meant to be "ironic"
or I was just "playing a character."
Yeah. Maybe John Rocker was just being "ironic" or "playing a character" when he made his much-criticized comments as well.
Dozens More Injured in Hajj Stampede
But this time, apparently, effective crowd-control helped prevent deaths:
"A stampede occurred this evening (local time) on the stoning bridge which caused a large number of pilgrims to fall to the ground," said Mani.
"But security officers intervened and stopped the flow of people onto the bridge, as they attended to the fallen pilgrims who were unconscious or breathless."
time around, it was "God's will" that there be adequate security forces present.
Over the weekend, God wanted people to die; today, on the heels of that embarassing massacre, He wants government officials to practice more effective crowd-control.
He does seem to have mysterious ways.
Al Gore III Sentenced to Substance Abuse Program Over Pot Bust
Don't expect Vanity Fair
to do a fashion spread featuring a model playing Al Gore III dressed up as a jailbird.
They only do that to politicians' children over serious
offenses, like the then 20-year-old Bush twins committing the heinous crime of ordering a margarita at a restaurant while being less than a year away from the legal drinking age.
And of course the Bush twins' crime spree is obviously far more deserving of public ridicule than Howard Dean's son committing an actual burglary while Dean was on the campaign trail.
Remember: Ordering and actually paying for
liquor while one year underage is an offense worthy of screamer-headline media attention. But simply breaking into a country club and stealing
liquor -- while underage -- is a media snoozer.
At least when the former kids are the daughters of a conservative, and the latter kid is the son of a fire-breathing Vermont liberal.
recently noted the divergence in the way the media plays up, or plays down, the troubles of liberal and conservative politicians' kids.
But there is no media bias at work here. Certainly not!
After all: they keep telling us so. And they're the media
Economic News: Mixed to Strong
Although some are characterizing today's economic news as mixed due to below-expectations numbers for consumer spending, factory activity remains at levels unseen since 1983,
and the data remain consistent with continuing strong growth, possibly in the 6% range.
Despite the strongest quarter for factory growth in 20 years, job creation in this sector continues to disappoint.
Liberal Pressie: Brit Hume too "Ideologically Connected" to Recieve Press Award Earlier Given to Dan Rather and Nina Totenberg
But always remember, there is no liberal, nor even left-wing, bias among the press corps.
Kerry Took Campaign Cash from Chicom Military Intelligence
He'll do whatever it takes to defend America-- so long as no hostile foreign power pays him to do differently. And that's a promise.
Full Newsweek story.
UPDATE: And Mickey Kaus has more:
about meeting Chung to the press and the public!
244 Killed at Muslim "Stone Satan" Ritual
We didn't plan it, but there's a lot of derogatory news about the Religion of Peace out on the wires this weekend.
Don't blame us. You must understand-- we have decades-old grievances, and we feel humiliated by the fact that our stewardress-"soldiers" lost the "Battle" of Flight 11.
Also: We don't like the foreign policy
of much of the Muslim world.
But getting back to the story:
The stampede occurred during the stoning of the devil, an emotional and notoriously perilous hajj ritual. Pilgrims frantically throw rocks, shout insults or hurl their shoes at three stone pillars - acts that are supposed to demonstrate their deep disdain for Satan.
Safety measures were in place at the site - one where fatal stampedes have been frequent - but "caution isn't stronger than fate," said Saudi Hajj Minister Iyad Madani. "All precautions were taken to prevent such an incident, but this is God's will."
With all due respect, guys: This is why it's probably not a good idea to organize your societies under clerical rule. No knock to religion of any sort, but priests and imams and such have no practical, material-world skills. They spend most or all of their time reading thousand-year-old manuscripts, not surveying the latest technical journals.
We're just saying that perhaps people who know nothing except religious studies shouldn't be put in charge of crowd control, economic policy, or, heck, even building codes.
Religion is religion. It is about the soul. It is not about economics, engineering, mathematics, or any other material-world endeavor.
Science is the process of questioning, challenging, and refining. A scientific inquiry into the deaths at the Satan-Stoning ritual would begin by asking the questions, What was done? What wasn't done? What could have been done to avoid the deaths of 244 people?
But questioning is somewhat restricted in the context of religious dogma. Especially in certain parts of the world.
And thus we have the Saudi Minister in charge of the Hajj rendering his deeply-considered judgment that ""All precautions were taken to prevent such an incident, but this is God's will."
Well, if it's God's will, it's God's will. End of issue. Next subject.
And we were going to suggest something silly
, like carefully-placed barricades and masses of crowd-control police to prevent mayhem in the future.
But God's will is God's will.
Fatalism is a bit at odds with progress of any sort, and the cover-your-ass claim that "God wanted me to screw up and let 244 people die" tends to undercut any tendencies towards thoughtful self-examination.
Maybe God actually wanted you to be competent at your job. Anything in your manuscripts about that?
Why We Fight
Extremely graphic video, supplied by the Israeli government, documenting the latest victims of the so-called "Cycle of Violence."
If this is the handiwork of a Religion of Peace, we'd sure hate to see what a Religion of Mayem and Murder might be capable of.
Spotted on Free Republic
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Right-Wing Bias?
is spitting mad that the British Tory paper The Spectator
just isn't right-wing enough.
Certainly it's not the sort of complaint we've grown accustomed to hearing.
We conservatives complain the press is too liberal; which of course it is.
Liberals have lately taken to counter-charging that, in fact, the press is too conservative,
which is the sort of ridiculous "I'm rubber, you're glue!" gainsaying favored by third-graders who read at a first-grade level.
But taking an avowedly right-wing paper to task for failing to actually be right-wing enough?
It's a new one to us.
We like it.
"Heavy-Handed" Anti-Terrorism Policing Driving UK Muslims Towards Al Qaeda
But of course it is, darling.
It's always the White Christian Devils' faults. All these poor dears just want to pursue law-abiding activities, but the evil British police keep manufacturing evidence about them being involved in Al Qaeda.
And then, angered and "humiliated" by being accused of being Al Qaeda, they decide to show the bobbies a lesson and, well, join Al Qaeda
Which is, you know, pretty much what caused 9-11.
A bunch of Saudi and Pakistani students were just trying
to study and attend social mixers and other such Pat Boone activities, but the mean US forced them all to hijack airplanes and slaughter 2800 civilians.
And so the "Cycle of Violence" continues.
We continue to be distressed by these statements constantly being issued by our Muslim friends, which are frequently along the lines of:
"If you continue to patrol us for connections to Al Qaeda, more of us will join Al Qaeda and commit more murder and mayhem."
"If you do not do more to 'relieve poverty' in the Muslim world, more will join Al Qaeda and slit the throats of stewardresses."
These statements are cast as predictions
-- If trend X continues, trend Y will be the result.
But the phrasing of such "predictions" often seems indistinguishable -- to us, at least -- from actual direct threats
But then: We have always been prone to such simplissime
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