Saturday, December 28, 2002

Another superb Bill Whittle essay is up on his blog, this time on the subject of American Imperialism.

To be Imperial is to possess, or hope to possess, an empire, and these slanders have been made for about a century now. The Cambridge International Dictionary of English defines “empire” as “a group of countries ruled by a single person, government or country.” Oxford paperback dictionary calls it “a large group of states under single authority.” Cambridge goes on to define “imperialism” as “a system in which a country rules other countries, sometimes having used force to obtain power over them.”

ANY rational person can see that the United States does not meet these qualifications by any stretch of the imagination. What nations do we rule? Whose legislative bodies can we overturn with a wave of the hand? Where on this planet do people live under an American flag who do not wish to? And as Jonah Goldberg correctly points out, where are our governors and our tax collectors so that we can siphon off the meager wages of our Imperial Slaves? What kind of empire does not have these imperial mechanisms?

At the end of World War II, America stood astride the world as the unchallenged military and economic power. The terrible might of Germany and Japan lay crushed in smoldering ruin. Great Britain, bled white by the near-total loss of two successive generations of their best and brightest, was in barely better shape. China was a collection of pre-industrial peasants fighting a bitter civil war, and nowhere in the rest of Asia, Africa and South America did there exist anything more than local defense militias.

Only the Soviets remained as a potent military force – and that force was essentially tactical, not strategic, in nature. While strong in tanks, artillery and men, it had no navy to speak of, and an air force consisting mostly of close support ground-attack aircraft such as the Il-2 Sturmovik. While effective against ground targets, the Red Army in 1945 had nothing resembling US heavy bombers such as the B-17, the B-24, or the magnificent B-29.

On the other hand, the United States not only had what was far and away the world’s preeminent Navy; we also had large numbers of long-range strategic bombers and swarms of highly-seasoned fighter escorts. We had a Marine Corps flush with victories: battle-hardened men who had invented through blood and horror the means to go ashore on enemy beaches and stay there. We had an Army whose courage and skill in battle was unsurpassed, and whose critical supply and ordinance staffs were, by far, the best in the world.

And, of course, we had the atomic bomb, and the will to use it.

History has never, and will never, record a time when such power existed in the hands of a nation, nor of a time when opposing forces were so weak and in such a state of disarray and abject surrender.

And these feared and ruthless Americans, a people who had incinerated cities in Europe and Japan and whose ferocity and tenacity on island jungles and French beaches had brought fanatical warrior cultures to their knees – what did these new conquerors of the world do?

They went home is what they did. They did pause for a few years to rebuild the nations sworn to their destruction and the murder of their people. They carbon-copied their own system of government and enforced it on their most bitterly hated enemy, a people who have since given so much back to the world as a result of this generosity. They left troops in and sent huge sums of money to Europe to rebuild what they all knew would eventually become trading partners, but also determined competitors. Then they sent huge steel blades through their hard-earned fleets of ships and airplanes and came home to get on with their lives in peace and quiet.

Follow the link and read the whole thing.
And as further evidence that soon everything will be sold on Ebay, a California town on 82 acres has just sold on Ebay for $1.8MM.
Aaah! Capitalism, providing solutions for problems you couldn't possibly imagine existed. A Dutch company is making sex toys for pigs to insure the sows enjoy being artificially inseminated and a German women is making edible chocolate bras.

Friday, December 27, 2002

Another thing that struck me as I viewed the movie (I read the books over 25 years ago) is how almost everything is named. Either after it's first owner or place of origin or for some other obscure reason: The Sword of Glamdring, The Shards of Narsil, The Ring Nenya. It seems to me this can become tedious very quickly: I used my Paring Knife of Henkels to slice my Banana of Chiquita into my oat cereal of Kelloggs of Battle Creek. I sprinkled it with Sugar of Domino and added some Milk of Carnation. You get the point.
You can also check out this site of how alternative author's versions of LOTR would have looked like.
We re-watched the DVD of "Fellowship of the Ring" last night in preparation for going to see "Two Towers" on Monday. Next year we will get the "Two Towers" DVD and watch both before going to see "Return of the King". For other Tolkien fans here are some interesting pieces about the trilogy by: David Brin, W.H. Auden (be sure to read the other reviews listed in 'Related Articles'), Janet Adam Smith, Andrew O'Hehir, Chris Mooney, Charles Mosley's & Richard Jenkyns' reviews of Tom Shippey's book about Tolkien
and this piece in National Geographic about the cultural, historical and mythological sources of LOTR.
Sam Tanenhaus has an interesting piece in the WSJ today on George Bush and the 'Imperial Presidency'.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

A little reason about trees for the eco-fools.
Saudi Arabia proves once again that they are not our friends and their thoughts are permentantly mired in hatred for us and Israel.
Scrappleface uncovers the true segregationist plan of the Republicans:

(2002-12-24) -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-TN, said today that the Republican Party really believes in racial segregation, and has a plan to implement it.

"First we're going to treat African Americans differently in college admissions," said Sen. Frist. "Then we're going to award government contracts to black-owned companies because of their race, not their abilities."

The Senator said the new plan also calls for training children of poor African Americans to depend on the government for money, food and health care.

"The more we classify them as weaker, less intelligent and incapable of competing in a capitalist society, the more effective our segregation plan will be," he said.
Counterrevolutionary says we should remove our troops from South Korea (and Germany) after their President-elect ran and won a tight race by riding on anti-American sentiment. According to an old curse, 'be careful what you wish for you may get it', I think all the folks who blame America for all the worlds ill's should get a chance to live in a world without American influence. Let's remove our troops from everywhere and bring them back and post them on our borders and see how long it takes for the world to descend into a supersized Balkan chaos.
What would've happened if Clarence the angel made the US never exist? Read "It's a Wonderful Country" by Roger Clegg at NRO.

Cat's Christmas...(disclaimer-no cat was harmed in the making of this picture).

Tubing it on the day after...
And speaking of Chutzpah, there is this item from England (via Samizdata) where it is apparently called 'Taking-the-Piss': Tony Martin, the farmer who was convicted with manslaughter sentenced to eight years for killing one burgler and injuring another who broke into his house, is now being sued by the surviving burgler.
While Bill Clinton and other top Dems are giving Chutzpah new meaning with their new strategy to paint the Republicans as a party of unreconstructed racists, Thomas Oliver has a little quiz in the AJC (via ColdFury):

20th Century U.S. History final:

1) The Dixiecrat party was made up of Southern

a) Democrats
b) Republicans

2) Jim Crow laws were passed by legislatures controlled by:

a) Democrats
b) Republicans

3) When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights efforts in the South, the governing powers that opposed him were of which party?

a) Democrat
b) Republican

4) In Arkansas, the governor who stood in the door of a schoolhouse to block integration was a:

a) Democrat
b) Republican

5) The president who ordered in the National Guard to dislodge the above-mentioned governor from the above-mentioned door was a:

a) Democrat
b) Republican

6) George Wallace was a:

a) Democrat
b) Republican

7) Lester Maddox was a:

a) Democrat
b) Republican

8) Although Republican Bo Callaway won a plurality of the vote, the Georgia Legislature installed Lester Maddox as governor. The Legislature was ruled by an overwhelming majority of:

a) Democrats
b) Republicans

9) As a bonus worth 50 points, which is the only one of questions above answered correctly with "b"?

This is of course a short list meant to illustrative and not complete, so some obvious ones are missing such as which party voted in higher percentages for the 1964 civil rights act (Republicans 80% House/82% Senate vs Dems 63% House/69% Senate), what was the party of the ex-Klansman who lead the filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act (the 'conscience of the Senate' Robert Byrd, Democrat) and what was the party of the Senator who rounded up votes to invoke cloture to end the filibuster (Everett Dirksen, Republican). The real 'Southern Strategy' has been Democratic race pandering over the last 40 years to get the black vote after they were no longer able to suppress it in the south by painting the Republicans (party of Lincoln) as a racist party.
Another Christmas present: Mark Steyn has a new website.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

I've added some new blogs to the blogroll and all look quite promising but be especially sure to check out Eject! Eject! Eject! and read his two superb essays on Freedom and Honor
Check out the LOTR secret diaries. (via Spleenville)
Merry Christmas Everyone

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

The Zimbabwe disease spreads to South Africa. More white farmers are killed and Africa will continue to starve but at increasing levels. Who wants to invest in these hellholes.
Radical Islam spreads to Kashmir and women bear the brunt of the barbarism..
Bloggers Night Before Christmas
(with my respects to Henry Livingstone)

'Twas the night before Christmas, when in each bloggers house
Not a blogger was stirring, not even Mickey Kaus
Earlier that day blogs written with care
Were posted and published with loads of good cheer.

The computers were silent, their LED's blinked green
While yulelog screensavers roared on their screen
And Lileks in Jasperwood and Glenn in Tennessee
Had just settled down with warm cups of tea.

When out in the blogosphere there arose such a din
I hurriedly typed Drudges URL in
In 25pt type at the top of the page
Was a story whose veracity I attempted to gauge

The Air Force was on high alert it appeared
A UFO was spotted driven by a fat man with beard
He was first spotted by an Alaskan radar station
The sighting verified by an F16 formation

Other bloggers picked up the story and found dozens of links
To previous sightings reported (usually after several drinks)
Chomsky and Vidal said it all was a scheme
By the Bush clan to take over and reign supreme

Now, Rachel now, Volokh! now, Bigwig! and Hoy!
On, Galt!, on Yourish! on, Weevil! and Sullivan!
Read through their statements and check on their facts
Now Fisk them and prove that they're paranoid hacks

This UFO spotted is no fake government plot
To tie the populace into a totalitarian knot
The description as given by the lead pilot himself
Was a sleigh led by reindeer and flown by an elf

The elf seemed a jolly, old, fat sort of gent
He passed into our airspace and began his descent
The F16's requested orders and were told to stand down
The old elf, it seemed, had a bit of renown

The planes followed the sled as long as they were able
To learn what they could of what they thought was a fable
But there was some marvelous technology in that little old sleigh
It was too fast by far for the Air Force array

Bloggers reported sightings from far and from near
Descriptions of the elf were soon everywhere
He was chubby and plump, and all dressed in red
With a large bag of presents in the back of his sled

Blog discussions ensued, and theories were reported
On whether he came down the chimney or just teleported
Some thought him a saint but others disagreed
Some said he was a rich guy atoning for past greed

To each of the blog entries, comments were added
Some thoughtful and reasoned and others just stupid
Scrappleface wrote a satirical piece comparing Santa to Gore
While Democratic Underground called for class war

As the hour grew late, bloggers signed off and opened a beer
With wishes of good tidings and lots of good cheer
The jolly old elf was heard to shout, as he flew out of sight
Leave it to the Japanese to design a spherical PC:

Imagine how well one that looks like the Death Star will sell?
Clifford D. May also has a good WSJ op-ed on Sean Penn and other 'useful idiots'.

Lenin, father of the Soviet Union, had a name for people like Mr. Penn: "useful idiots." Lenin's successor, Stalin, was even able to dupe Walter Duranty, the New York Times correspondent in Moscow whose Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting helped convince the world that no government-orchestrated famine was occurring in the Ukraine.

Similarly, during World War II, the Nazis took representatives of the Red Cross to the model concentration camp at Thereisenstadt, where they established to the Red Cross's satisfaction that those nasty rumors about Hitler's mistreatment of the Jews were unfounded and really quite outrageous.

How can Sean Penn be so naive as to believe he would see the reality of Iraq touring around Baghdad by limo and dining on kabobs with Saddam's deputies? Does he really believe that average Iraqi citizens were going to invite him into their living rooms and share their feelings with him? Did he expect Saddam to open his dungeons to show him the political prisoners whose tongues have been sliced and whose eyes have been gouged? Did he think he'd have more luck finding caches of biological and chemical weapons than has Hans Blix?
If Mr. Penn & Co. were serious about grasping Iraqi reality, they would meet with those who have fled Saddam's oppression to London and Washington and, yes, probably to Los Angeles. They would visit the Kurdish areas in northern Iraq, protected from Saddam troops by U.S. and British air power. They would learn about the 182,000 Kurds who were slaughtered by Saddam, about the villages wiped out by poison gas, women and children lying in the gutter in a final embrace.
Francis Fukuyama has an excellent op-ed in the WSJ today on the differences between American 'conservatives' and the more traditional European 'conservatives'. The co-opting of the term 'Liberal' by the US left has always been one of my pet peeves.

There are almost no European-style conservatives in the United States, people who want to defend a status quo based on hierarchy, tradition and a pessimistic view of human nature. Those we label "conservatives" in this country are called "liberals" in Europe, because they are in favor of free markets, individual initiative and a democratic polity based on individual, not collective, rights. In the U.S., conservatives represented by the Republican Party just won majorities in both houses of Congress as well as occupying the presidency. Its closest counterpart in Germany is the Free Democratic Party, which won just a bit over 7% of the vote in Germany's election last September.

If one definition of a conservative is a defender of the status quo, then it is safe to say that American conservatives (a k a classical liberals) have never been this type of creature. This is true both in economics and in politics. Free-market competition is, in Schumpeter's words, a process of "creative destruction." Market competition means the relentless promotion of technological innovation and entrepreneurship, which brings in its train turmoil and social change. Globalization is intensely threatening to vested interests because it destroys jobs and livelihoods even as it creates new wealth and opportunity. Those who want to slow down or reverse globalization in the name of protecting the environment or defending the rights of workers are in fact taking a conservative position of opposing potentially progressive change--even though we think of antiglobalization activists as being on the left.
The political agenda of American conservatives is no less revolutionary. From the beginning, Americans regarded their values and institutions as embodying universal aspirations that would one day have a significance far beyond the shores of the United States. The Great Seal on the back of the dollar bill bears the inscription novus ordo seclorum--"new order of the ages"--that expresses a very unconservative sentiment with potentially revolutionary consequences. In this view, democracy, constitutional government and the individual rights on which they rest are good not just for North Americans by virtue of their peculiar habits and traditions, but for all people around the world. Hence the United States in its foreign policy has been anything but a status quo power.

Monday, December 23, 2002

From ScrappleFace:

Below is a list of "intelligence helpers" the Bush administration has provided to the U.N. inspectors:

1. You won't find anything where it used to be in 1994.

2. Any door that an Iraqi opens for you leads to a room with nothing in it.

3. As long as you're breathing, you're not near any weapons sites.

4. Anyone you're allowed to interview doesn't know anything.

5. Sarin, VX, Anthrax and Plutonium are not stored in containers labeled "Sarin", "VX", "Anthrax" or "Plutonium."

6. Any "scientist" you take out of the country to interview will need asylum, and won't need to make any international phone calls...nobody's home.

7. Get a clue!
It's amazing how stupid people are:

One elderly woman was reportedly surprised when Seattle security screeners wouldn't let her bring a chain saw on board.

"She had put it in a carry-on bag, fully fueled up," said Nick Zambito, a Transportation Security Administration screening manager at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. "Sometimes I just don't know what people are thinking."
Check out this article on the Matrix in Newsweek.
Mark Steyn has a fine piece on Christmas confusion.

You may recall Hillary Clinton's claim that Christmas celebrates "the birth of a homeless child" (he was homeless only because his dad had to schlep halfway across the country to pay his taxes in the town of his birth, which sounds like the kind of cockamamie bureaucratic nightmare only Big Government Lefties would cook up).

Now comes a Congregational Church minister who says that, if Jesus were around today, he would respect "a woman's right to choose" - ie, abortion.

Whether you're pro- or anti-abortion is up to you, but you can hardly conscript Christ into the argument. In Mary's day, if a betrothed woman became pregnant by a man other than her intended, she was guilty of adultery.
Nat Hentoff asks where are the protests by women's groups, civil libertarians and human rights activists when is comes to Zimbabwe's record of rape, starvation and murder. Zimbabwe sits on the UN Human Rights Commission. Unbelievable.
Check out the new Whorehouse Barbie!

Note: Okay so actually she is being marketed as "Lingerie Barbie" but come on, she has stilleto's on. And no, this is NOT a hoax.
Bob Herbert has another stupid Op-Ed today calling the GOP a party of racists. And guess what stunning piece of evidence he brings forward to prove his point? George Allen, Senator from Virginia, had a Confederate flag nailed to his wall in his living room! You would think that in a column titled "The Other Trent Lotts" he would have several damning pieces of evidence. The Confederates should have freed the slaves and then fired on Fort Sumter.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Story connecting the PA with the Al Aksa brigade.
Is it just me or does it sound like Maureen Dowd has a crush on Bill Frist?