Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Greyhawk posts a very touching letter from the father of an American Soldier recently killed in Iraq.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Iraq Elections III (Part II)
From Iraq the Model, who has a boatload of great pictures.
This guy looks great for 105.
Muhaisin Bidairy Abdullah who was born in 1900 and I think he is the oldest amongst the voters came leaning on his grandsons and could hardly breathe with tears visible in his eyes... maybe because he won't be able to attend the next elections.
It's difficult for me to understand how and why so many Democrats are choosing this moment to start pronouncing defeat..... It sure doesn't make political sense and it is hard to see any morality in abandoning the Iraqi people to those that indiscriminately murder civilians, especially after they have come so far. Turnout was high, probably over 70% and more importantly the Sunnis came to the realization that ballots, not murder, is the way to achieve government representation. Though difficult times are still ahead, there is a long road behind.
Predictably the Kossacks trivialize democracy taking root where it never has before and ask
But do we know yet what this is going to get them?
Can all the purple fingers in Iraq solve the question of Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish integration? Given the level of distrust, violence, and hatred we've seen thus far, I'd say not yet.
Well, there are lots of things it gets them, for one it's yet another step towards a representative government and claiming their rights as individuals and self-determination. For the last 30 years, Iraqi citizens were slaves to a mad man, not even allowed ownership of their own personality. By any historical standard, the progress made in Iraq over the last 3 years is astounding. Is that not worth something?
History is on the move, and thanks to the magic of blogs, I spent most of yesterday watching it happen almost live, through eyes slightly blurred by tears.... it is that inspiring, and also humbling. Yet others see those same images and it evokes nothing but cynicism. I'm not sure what that says about them, but it's not flattering. Such is the state of today's 'progressives.'
As I was telling a friend the other day, I've pretty much given up on reasoning with those that refuse to see this struggle beyond the context of George W. Bush, WMDs, and party politics. In some ways, I feel bad about it, like I'm caving. Then again, maybe it's best to simply let them revel in their own ignorance, let their shrieks get so loud, glib, and shrill until they eventually knock themselves out... again. Given that the extremists (on either side) haven't been able to win any elections, I'm content to ignore them. Events and truth will eventually run them over. For now, let them choke on their own cynicism. Or as a 77 year old female Iraqi voter so eloquently put it:
"Anybody who doesn't appreciate what America has done, and President Bush, let them go to hell!"
Amen. Freedom Marches On.
Another great round-up of pictures here.
UPDATE: Did I say choking on cynicism? Top Ten Kos Kidz Reactions to the Elections
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Iraqi Elections III
I'll probably have more thoughts later, but the brothers from Iraq the Model, with the help of some stringers, are covering the elections from different points of Iraq, with photos too. It's a pretty neat experiment and probably gives a glimpse as to the future of citizen journalist/original reporting via blog.
Start here, they will be posting updates throughout the day.
UPDATE: Austin Bay writes:
With Iraq's latest trip to the polls, the great revolt continues.
It's not a revolt led by generals with tanks or by millenarian terrorists, but a democratic revolution led by Iraqi men and women braving terrorist threats and bombs to vote.
Democratic politics, emerging in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, are providing an alternative to the afflictions of war, terror and tyranny. That evil trio has dominated Central Asia and the Middle East, spilling blood, sapping economic progress and destroying hope.
Afghanistan, with its October 2004 presidential election, can lay claim to the War on Terror's first democratic electoral success. The nation, wracked by three decades of war, a Russian invasion and Taliban theo-fascism, has made astounding progress.
Last week, an ABC News survey of Afghanistan touched on several of that nation's extensive developmental problems. Six out of 10 households lack electricity. Fifty percent of Afghan households make less than 500 dollars a year. Afghanis think cultivating opium poppies is justifiable if farmers lack economic alternatives.
The political opinion half of the poll suggests Afghanis foresee brighter prospects, however. ABC reported "77 percent of Afghans say their country is headed in the right direction -- compared with 30 percent in the vastly better-off United States. Ninety-one percent prefer the current Afghan government to the Taliban regime, and 87 percent call the U.S.-led overthrow of the Taliban good for their country. Osama bin Laden, for his part, is as unpopular as the Taliban; nine in 10 view him unfavorably."
Remember the voices of defeatism and pessimism in the fall of 2001? They swore that Afghanistan would be a "quagmire," a "Himalayan Vietnam." Bin Laden was a hero offering jihadist utopia, and his anti-Western message would sweep the Muslim world. Utter blarney and balderdash. Military victory in Afghanistan paved the way for political and economic reformation.
Read the rest.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
The Freak Show
Forgive me for posting on this, but does anyone know the names of these people? Jesse Jackson does not. I didn't either, and what's worse is that (thanks to the Hollywood Freakshow) I know all to well who Tookie Williams is....er was. If I felt it was possible for Jesse Jackson to feel shame I would wonder how, of all the people to hitch one's anti-death penalty cart to, he could choose Tookie Williams - a man who made a career of ravaging black communities. But to ask those questions would be to presume Jesse Jackson and the other useful fools possess heart and a conscience, I am not prepared to make that leap. Although I am not a particularly strong proponent of the death penalty, I can say, from the deepest part of my soul, I am glad the fucker is dead. He has shown no remorse, he won't even admit his guilt, he was simply trying to game the system. Did I mention that I'm glad the fucker is dead?
Some reaction from the blogosphere:
Wretchard says we have betrayed:
But when you think about it, every alternative to the Death Penalty is premised on the assumption that jail provides an better way of removing dangerous persons from society. Once the impermeability of jail can no longer be guaranteed -- because holes in the cell walls are being poked by 'activists' -- then it makes sense to execute perps while you can. Of course, there's something nigglingly wrong with this. After some thought I realized what I thought it was. Issues of guilt and innocence; crime and punishment have been distorted by the political process. How else do you have Ramsey Clark defending Saddam and European investigators refusing to provide cooperation because it might lead to the Death Penalty? Crime stops being about criminals and their deeds and becomes yet another battleground in the culture wars. It becomes less about human beings and more about political agendas.
And as usual, a great discussion ensues in the comments.
Atlas is angry:
Ridiculous. This is the national dialog today. Sick.
Cold blooded slaughterer (laughing after the murders), brutal founder of gangs that murder culture, community family, unmerciful, sick, should have been executed 25 years ago when he was sentenced (his victims didn't get that extra 25 years). I usually don't post on such utter nonsense but the hullabaloo made me sick. Syria, Iran's proxy, killed another freedom fighter in Lebanon today, and I have heard virtually nothing on it in the MSM. More on the death of MP and journalist Jubran Tweini's [Final Words: "...Lebanon Never Was and Never Will Be Part of Syria..."] here. We are on the brink of a nuclear holocaust and this is what the geniuses on the left (coast) have cooked up for our daily injection of leftard poison. Nobel prize nominee my ass.
This is the man that mouthed to the jurors "I am going to get you motherfuckers" after his verdict was read (according to court transcripts). And if that weren't enough the victim's families are terrified. They live in fear of their lives, will not release their addresses, have moved to a different state and shun the press. His crime never ends.
Can you just see the pallor over Hollywood? A black day indeed on the left coast. They all must be weeping at Sarandon's house. I can see it. And for those who say it's not a deterrent, I say who gives a shit? He killed innocent people in cold blood, he deserves to die, whether it deters someone else form killing is irrelevant. An added bonus. This is not a thirst for blood, it's a thirst for justice.
But lets hear from some people that have actually had to live through this reign of terror.
Leaving aside those who oppose the death penalty for moral/religious reasons, few of you have seemed motivated to move into my South Central LA neighborhood to see what "Tookie" and his Crip co-founder Raymond Lee Washington (who’s burning in Hell right now) have wrought for the last thirty-odd years. And I know that you won’t be choosing to live here anytime soon. That’s understandable; however, don’t tell me that we should coddle these TERRORISTS like "Tookie" and those he created if you don’t have to put up with them. (Okay, you can tell me, but you can expect a barely polite response and that's if I'm feeling generous.)
Secondly—and this is especially for people like Jeremy: black people are thinking, functioning humans who, when adult and without some actual mental deficiency that they can’t control, are just as responsible for their actions as are members of any other race of people. We're not murderers by nature (that is, any more than any other set of humans are). Therefore, we don't need a separate, lower standard of behavior in any area, whether it's education, employment or criminal justice.
When black people do well, they deserve recognition; when they do wrong, they deserve the consequences—no more or no less than any other.
DC Thornton offers some first hand accounts of what it was like growing up with Tookie and his ilk:
* In the Spring of 1981, I was walking home from John Muir Junior High School in South Central Los Angeles. A crowd of older boys in mostly blue garb walked up behind me as I crossed Vermont Avenue and 67th Street. They engaged in light conversation, and then, for no reason at all, they began throwing punches and kicking me. As I took off running for my life, I can remember the malt liquor bottle zooming inches past my head in an attempt to deliver a life-threatening blow.
I was jumped by a group of boys who were being initiated into the Rolling 60s Crips gang.
* Later that year, I came home to the two-story house on West 70th Street between Normandie and Vermont where I lived as a kid. I was privileged to have a small bedroom to myself. That evening I felt a draft, but the French windows were closed. I noticed a small hole in the heavy glass, then I noticed a bullet lodged in the wall across from the window.
I was lucky that night. There was a shooting, possibly related to a fight from either the Rolling 60s or the Eight-Treys. Both are Crip gangs that bordered my old neighborhood.
* In the Spring of 1988, I learned that a childhood friend who I grew up with (his foster parent used to babysit me while my parents worked during the day) was gunned down by the Inglewood Crips in a drive-by shooting. Prior to his death, he had been approached by gang recruiters who wanted him to join up. Having just married and seeking to be a responsible father to his newborn child, he said no to them. They didn't like his answer.
* Ten years ago, my cousin, an ordained minister, was visiting friends. He and his wife had just returned from their honeymoon. As he left, he was approached by a teen who shouted out to him, "What set you from?" My cousin replied that he wasn't with a gang set. The next moment, he was on the ground, wounded from being shot in the left shoulder at close range.
Read the whole post, and this one too from David A, excerpt:
I grew up in SouthCentral Los Angeles. I had my ass kicked when I was 13 years old by a group of about 20 Crips for having the audacity to step on one of their leaders' shoes, ruining his "biscuit shine." I also went to High School at the Capital of the Crip Empire, "Washington High," where playing football, was the only thing that kept me from getting my ass kicked on a regular basis. You see, Crips were football fans, and we won a lot... They liked that. God knows what would have happened had we lost.
I saw first hand what gangs did to my city and to my people, and I would agree with Baldilocks that the Crips were and are a terrorist organization.
I have a small spot on the back of my head where hair will not grow. That spot is from a gash I got when I was hit by a baseball bat wielded by one of Tookie's "homeboys," over 30 years ago.
I will never forget my years living in fear of people like Tookie Williams. These were people who could beat you down just for looking at them wrong. I will never forget not being able to wear certain colors, because they were the "wrong," color for my neighborhood.
I will never forget the days I went hungry as an elementary school student, because the gangsters would take our lunch money. So do I feel sorry for Tookie... No I don't. I think he did some good stuff in the final years of his life. Perhaps God will take that into consideration. I can not. So I wont say if he deserved to die, I will only say I will not be one of the one's lamenting his death...
I hope I never think of Tookie Williams again, except maybe as an illustrative example of the waywardness of the Hollywood left, who no doubt live in high-walled compounds with guards and alarms to protect them from men like Tookie. Oh and maybe I'll think of him once more as I pray tonight that cancer does in fact exist in hell and he has himself a rotten nasty case of it.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Best. Comment. Ever.
Wretchard has posted an 'open thread' on the Kyoto Climate negotiations. In the comments he writes:
Many of President Bush's policies are not particularly brilliant. Many of them are obvious responses that any ordinary person could come up with. The real mystery is not 'why is President Bush so clever' but rather why are apparently clever and well educated people, like the 'Win Without War' and the 'Kyoto Protocol' people so dumb? When you observe President Bush you see what you expect: a normal man muddling along. But when you see the other set you are confronted by the almost an unaccountable spectacle of dumbing down.
To which Tigerhawk (his blog is here) responds:
Wretchard - re your comment (the strange dumbing down of the anti-Bush left):
The affluence of the last thirty-five years (roughly), has created a new phenomenon in the world: a class of highly educated people who do not aspire in their careers or in business, but in their activism. Cities like New York and Washington (especially Washington) are filled with people doing menial jobs to support themselves sufficiently so that they can do the non-remunerative activity that most interests them. A lot of these people are "social change" advocates. The result is that they are smart enough to be aware of the broader world in a detailed way, but utterly unschooled in everyday things that any ambitious accountant learns on the job, such as how organizations make decisions or react to stimuli.
Ann Coulter, who is a very witty woman whether you agree with her or not, was once asked why "talk radio" was so conservative. "Because people listened to it when driving to their jobs. The activists are so "dumb" because they are not ordinary people. They have structured their lives in a very unordinary way.
And don't forget the role of resentment. Many of these activists might have gone on to become lawyers or doctors or successful "symbolic analysts" of one sort or another, but affirmatively chose to save the world instead. This gives them an almost fatal sense of superiority. It is reflected both in their contempt for the common man (hence their lack of interest in economic growth and their hatred of mass consumer culture) and their hatred of the very ordinary George W. Bush.
How very insightful. The success and wealth of our liberal democratic society has created such insulation, such a false sense of the End of History, that many forget that there are still wolves out there. The "Win Without War" crowd is the hallmark of this, as articulated by Lee Harris' forgetfulness.
Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe....
They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish....
They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the enemy. That, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn't done enough for yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part--something that we could correct....
Our first task is therefore to try to grasp what the concept of the enemy really means. The enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the enemy always hates us for a reason, it is his reason, and not ours.
(From the preface of his book Civilization and Its Enemies)
UPDATE: A reader emails:
And these social activist while dumb in reality of business and growth are smart in media use; the media is either 1) so blinded by their own bias or 2) so lazy that their reports heavily rely upon what the social activist are protesting.
Unfortunately, very true.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Too Funny Not to Link
True, it wasn't meant to be funny, but Mickey Kaus pointed this out last Friday and I was still chuckling about it over the weekend.
The New York Times runs this headline for an article on the improving economy, Upbeat Signs Hold Cautions for the Future:
Gasoline is cheaper than it was before Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans. Consumer confidence jumped last month and new- home sales hit a record. The stock market has been rising. Even the nation's beleaguered factories seem headed for a happy holiday season.
By most measures, the economy appears to be doing fine. No, scratch that, it appears to be booming.
But as always with the United States economy, it is not quite that simple.
For every encouraging sign, there is an explanation. Consumer confidence is bouncing back from what were arguably some of its worst readings in years. Gasoline prices - the national average is now $2.15, according to the Energy Information Administration - have fallen because higher prices held down demand and Gulf Coast supplies have been slowly restored.
Got that? Don't get too excited about falling prices. The only reason that gasoline prices have fallen is because high prices held down demand, and supplies were increased. In other words, market forces worked. Shocking, I know. Apparently it is news to the yokels at the New York Times that the free market does actually operate as advertised.
Whodathunkit? (Besides Adam Smith back in 1776)
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Joseph Lieberman Goes to Baghdad
Other than pure bias, I cannot think of why a pseudo-hawk like John Murtha gets significantly more attention from the media than an honorable politician like Joseph Lieberman. Although I disagree with Lieberman on many of his (mostly domestic) positions, he at least possesses the integrity to put the interest of his country above that of his party. Significant segments of both parties would do well to follow his lead. A few key grafs:
I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.
...It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority.
...The leaders of Iraq's duly elected government understand this, and they asked me for reassurance about America's commitment. The question is whether the American people and enough of their representatives in Congress from both parties understand this. I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and by Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November's elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead.
Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.
I am so thankful that we have men like Joe Liberman in our government, men who refuse to cheer for their political party as though it were a sports team.
Read the whole thing.