October 31, 2003

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XCVIII

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

With more apologies to Danny Elfman, here goes!

What have I done?
What have I done?
How could I be so blind?
All is lost, where was I?
Spoiled all, spoiled all,
Everything's gone all wrong.

What have I done?
What have I done?
Find a deep blog to hide in.
In a million years they'll Google
And find dusty old bits
That read, "Here Lies Poor Old Chuck"

But I never intended all this madness, never!
And nobody really understood, how could they?
That all I ever wanted was to bring them something great.
Why does nothing ever turn out like it should?

Well, what the heck, I went and did my best!
And, by God, I’ve really written something swell.
And for a moment, why, I even touched the sky.
And at least I left some stories they can tell, I did.

And for the first time since I don't remember when,
I felt just like my scourging self again,
And I, Chuck, the Scourging King!
That's right, I am the Scourging King, ha, ha, ha!

And I just can't wait until next Tuesday eve,
'Cause I've got some new ideas that will really make Dick scream.
And, by God I'm really gonna give it all my might.
Uh oh, I hope there's still time to set things right…

Vietnam It Isn't, hmmm…

In 1965 Lyndon Johnson gave a speech at Johns Hopkins University titled "Why Are We in Vietnam?" Two years later, Norman Mailer offered a somewhat different version in his book "Why We Are in Vietnam." Today, this column could be called "Why We Are Not in Vietnam."

Well, that’s quite an admission coming from Mr. Quagmire himself.

That some people think we are is evident from a quick scan of the Nexis database.

A simple scan of this blog would locate numerous instances (here and here and here and here and here and here and here) of Richard Cohen in fact claiming that Iraq is a quagmire just like Vietnam. (Sorry folks, but the old permalinks don’t work too well anymore, but if you hit the old BlogSpot site you can search the archives for Scourge XXVI on 23 May 2003, Scourge XLIII on 25 July 2002, Scourge L on 10 September 2002, and Scourge LXXXIII on 3 April 2003; and the archives of the Spleenville site for Scourge XCIV on 21 October 2003, and Scourge XCVII earlier today. And don’t miss the original BlogSpot spooky vision quagmire in Scourge LXXXVI on 5 June 2003.)

It shows more than 800 links in the past week alone where the words "Iraq" and "Vietnam" appeared together. Some of them are surely my own since in certain limited respects, I, too, have made the comparison.

Some of them? Could a mea culpa be coming on?

Some similarities do exist.


As with the war in Vietnam, the one in Iraq has been plagued by questions of candor.

Especially on the part of those who are seemingly still opposed to the liberation of Iraq.

Vietnam was triggered by the Gulf of Tonkin incident, an attack on two American warships that may never have occurred.

Only if you ignore the fact that President Eisenhower had put advisors into Vietnam five years earlier and that President Kennedy had increased their number substantially.

The war in Iraq was justified by Saddam Hussein's WMD, which turned out to be Weapons of Mass Delusion. In the case of chemical and biological weapons, they may not exist. In the case of nuclear weapons, they certainly don't.

Aaarrrggghhhhh!!!! Do we have to keep hearing all the variants of the imminent threat big lie over and over ad infinitum? Can't we get at least a mention of Saddam's refusal to comply with a seemingly endless number of UN Security Council resolutions?

There are other similarities.

A lot of people who live under the protection of America wanted to see America lose?

Once again the government is whistling in the dark.

Like I said, a lot of people who live under the protection of America wanted to see America lose.

President Bush sees progress in every terrorist attack. "The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers react," he said recently.

This is a fiendishly ignorant interpretation of what President Bush said. Aside from Dick confusing cause and effect from the President’s statement, the simple – and I do mean simple – fact of the matter is that this is a necessary step in the War on Terrorism. Anybody who expected the terrorists to go quietly was fooling themselves just as much as those who thought America would cringe and beg the terrorists to please not attack us again. We are on the offensive! I damn well expect them to fight back. This is life and death for them and they know it. And the harder they fight back, the sooner they will all be dead. That is progress.

In that case, recent events put the United States on the lip of victory.

That’s one big lip. Or perhaps Dick keeps missing every statement by the President and his staff that this is going to be a long war. Iraq is only a battle in that war.

Suicide bombings killed or wounded more than 250 Iraqi civilians, and a Baghdad deputy mayor was assassinated. Another week like this and the enemy will have had it.

As I noted with CBSNews.com editor Dick Meyer earlier this week, sarcasm in the hands of professional Dicks is a sorry site.

But while the similarities to Vietnam are always worth noting, …

Noting, ignoring…

… the differences may be more important.

Oh? They may be more important?

Among them is the nature of the insurgency.

In Vietnam, Big Media were naïve tools. In Iraq, the Big Media are leading the charge.

The Vietnamese independence movement was both long-standing and widespread. (Ho Chi Minh lobbied for independence from France at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.)

(Shhhh… let’s leave Ho's conversion to communism out of the discussion.)

That cannot be said about whoever is behind the Iraq terrorism attacks -- bitter-end Baathists or Islamic zealots taking a short cut to heaven. Neither embodies Iraqi national aspirations.

What? Is that an admission from Richard Cohen that there are, gulp, foreign terrorists engaged in Iraq?

Another difference is that Iraq has no "North" -- as in North Vietnam. In Vietnam, the war on the ground was waged in the South, but supplies and manpower came down the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail from the North.

Au contraire! Iraq has a South (Saudi Arabia), a West (Syria), and an East (Iran and Pakistan) from which supplies and manpower have been pouring in.

Iraq has no triple-canopy jungle to screen a supply line. It's an arid, desert country where a goat can be spotted from the air.

Well, it’s true that there isn’t much jungle, but the Iraqi people of the Tigris and the Euphrates river valleys and the Kurdish people of the mountainous north might find this statement patently ridiculous.

Iraq is not Vietnam.

Well, duh.

In a way, Vietnam was not "Vietnam" either. The communist victory did not precipitate a falling of dominoes all across Asia. In fact, it hardly mattered.

Sometime, I hope Richard Cohen gets an opportunity to ask any of the Vietnamese boat people or their children that are numerous in the Washington, D.C., area if the fall of Saigon and the communist takeover hardly mattered.

Communism all over the world imploded, corroded by its inefficiencies, idiocies and contradictions. Vietnam is communist today -- and who cares?

I care, and so should Richard Cohen. It gets easier to understand how little he cares about the people of Iraq all the time.

To be there is only to feel a profound and sad sense of waste. What did 58,000 Americans die for?

Duty? Honor? Country? I can assure it was for definitely for something more than the opportunity to put another monument on the Mall, even if Richard Cohen can’t quite figure it out.

Iraq in a way is much more important. It is not on the periphery of Asia but dead in the center of the oil-rich Middle East.

Oh God, not another it’s all about oooooiiiiilllll!!!!!

If there is anything to the latter-day domino theory the Bush administration propounded -- a democratic Iraq would be emulated throughout the Middle East -- then its converse must also be true: The failure to establish some sort of civic regime in Iraq would also have consequences throughout the Middle East.

And some people think Richard Cohen can’t reason at a fifth grade level. Shame on you.

What's more, a reversal in Iraq would surely show -- as Somalia did once before -- that the United States lacks the stomach for a fight. It can fight from the air and with precision-guided missiles launched from the sea, but on land it has a glass jaw and cannot take a punch.

At the very least, as Richard Cohen seems to measure the importance of things, Vietnam sure showed that we could take a punch. The problem there seemed to be that we were unwilling to throw enough to win.

I realize that those metaphors disguise loss of life -- 231 American combat deaths, more than half of them since Bush proclaimed the end of the fighting.

No! President Bush proclaimed an end to major combat operations – which it was. President Bush has never proclaimed an end to fighting. Stop making shit up or willfully misquoting the administration. Maureen Dowd has a corner on that market.

And I realize also that in some respects, that is not the significant figure. It's the number of Iraqi dead, which can, if the number grows, become the basis for a wider insurrection.

It’s not an either/or situation. Our dead matter and so do theirs.

As Sept. 11 proved, the world is a lot more dangerous now than it was in the Vietnam era.

If that’s true (an arguable point – at least until North Korea or Iran decide to use a nuclear weapon), then maybe it was because of America’s (and the rest of the Western World’s) self-defense fatigue that we collectively endured after Vietnam until 9/11 shook us from our slumber.

The danger is not just "over there" but right here as well.

Such penetrating insight from Dick.

So it was all the more stunning that the Bush administration went to war with a cockamamie plan for what was to follow, a muddle of wishful thinking that history will judge criminally stupid.

I.e., a Republican is President.

Finally, where Iraq is really different from Vietnam: There can be no premature, chaotic and shameful withdrawal.

Did I just understand Richard Cohen to say that our withdrawal from Vietnam was premature, chaotic and shameful? Maybe there’s hope for him yet. Nah.

In the end, Vietnam didn't matter. Iraq does.

As usual, Dick is half right.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:34 PM | Comments (3)

Cut and Run

With the economy improving and what I expect to be continued progress in Iraq, despite the quagmire fixated naysayers, I wonder when Congressional Democrats will begin to worry about Bush's coattails in the general election 367 days hence and abandon The Nine + Hillary! and start saying things like, "We understand that you believe President Bush deserves to be reelected, but please don't give the Republicans 60 votes in the Senate, so that they can stop our filibuster of judicial nominees and pack the Supreme Court with 8 more Clarence Thomas ideological clones." Or maybe, "Please don't give the Republicans any more votes in the House of Representatives so that they can destroy the environment, unsave the children, let Tom DeLay spray Roundup on the Medicare vine, rob the Social Security Trust Fund, and expand the War on Terrorism to Iran and North Korea." Or maybe, "Hey, we believe that national security is job one too, no matter what Howard Dean (or Wesley Clark or John Kerry) says."

The next general election is on my birthday! Guess what I'm wishing for.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:13 PM | Comments (3)

Or Maybe It's Just the Sun

I'm not sure, but I am beginning to think the great DoS attack of Halloween 2003 has begun.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:37 AM | Comments (3)

The United Nations

Making the world a better place, one capitulation at a time.

Hmmm..., is this a trick or a treat?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:10 AM | Comments (3)

Axis of Weevil


Once upon a time, I lived in Alabama. While residing there a boll weevil ate my brain. Mmmm, brains...

It grew back.

Now that's scary.

And now you know why I don't write fiction, because my attempts are truly frightening.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XCVII

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

There are few who deny at what I do I am the best,
Though my talents aren’t renowned far nor wide.
When it comes to a fisking of a Cohen slight
I excel without ever even trying.
With the slightest little effort of my blog-like charms
I have seen straw men give out a shriek.
With a mere hyperlink and a well-placed pun
I have swept Dick Cohen’s straw men off their feet.

Yet week after week, it's the same routine,
And I grow so weary of illiberal schemes.
And I, Chuck, the Scourging King
Have grown so tired of the same old thing.

Oh, somewhere deep inside of these posts
An emptiness began to grow.
There are blogs out there, far from my home
A readership I've never known.

I rely on the might of conspiracies right
And I'll call Dick right out on his rants.
My esteem of Dick's small, like a paper-trained Rall,
Though he travels throughout England and France.
And since I’m well read, off the top of my head
I’ll insert Shakespearean quotations.
No animal nor man can Scourge like I can
With a flurry of my pop citations.

But who here would ever come to think
That the Scourging King with the hypertext link
Would tire of his crown, if they only understood,
He'd give it all up if he only could.

Oh, there's an empty place in my posts
That calls out for readers unknown.
No fame or praise comes year after year,
There’s nothing for these empty tears.

All right, enough of my terrifying abuse of Danny Elfman’s lyrics, for now. Happy Halloween! Now read on as I get all slappy with the hollow weenie. The thoughtless horseman of Illiberal Hollow is up to his usual tricks as I treat you to a Scourge of Master of Fiction:

Dick Cheney is the most powerful vice president of modern times -- more powerful than the seasoned Gore under the callow Clinton or the experienced Poppa Bush under the inexperienced Reagan.

Reagan was inexperienced? Compared to whom, Clinton? Carter? Gore was seasoned? Compared to whom? Cheney? George H.W. Bush? Maybe Dick is the most powerful vice president of modern times because the War on Terrorism demands a more engaged vice president. But apparently, being well seasoned wasn’t enough to get Al a real job in the White House, despite the lack of adult sophistication on the part of Clinton.

Cheney, in fact, is sometimes referred to as George W. Bush's brain or, to be even more mocking, his ventriloquist.

Mmmm, brains. But wow, throwing your voice from an undisclosed location takes ventriloquism to a whole new level.

It would be fitting, then, for this most powerful of all vice presidents to be the first in American history to be censured.


He has it coming.


It won't happen, of course.

Maybe because there would need to be a reason?

But Cheney ought to be made to account for his repeated exaggerations of the Iraqi threat. I am referring specifically to his dire warning that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was working on a menacing nuclear weapons program and the United States had to do something about it. We know now that such a program did not exist.

I don’t know that it didn’t exist. In fact, I tend to think it did, even if they were thankfully not as far along as we feared. And even so, maybe they were. For the twenty-third time, an absence of evidence is not an evidence of absence.

We know it because it cannot be found.

Wow, I guess the searches are all over then. Or is Dick alluding to some epistemological conundrum concerning the search for weapons of mass destruction that has eluded us all thus far.

We know it because it is impossible to hide such a program because, among other things, traces of it can be detected in the air and in the water.

Traces of programs can be detected in the air and water? Programs?

We know it because the experts -- Americans and others -- have now said so. They have told my Washington Post colleague Barton Gellman that Iraq, in his words, had "no active program to build a weapon, produce its key materials or obtain the technology . . . needed for either."

Ah yes, the always reliable unnamed experts. It must be true since it has been cited by that paragon of objective journalism, Joe Conason.

That, inconveniently, is what U.N. weapons inspectors maintained all along.

As if we can trust the UN to shoot straight on such matters.

But those inspectors were not only dismissed by Cheney as Hussein's useful idiots, they were actually bullied by him.

And rightly so. The stench of hind-sighted historical revisionism is growing very strong here. Maybe it comes from having his head so far up his ass.

Former assistant secretary of state James P. Rubin wrote in Foreign Affairs that when Cheney met with Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, the two most prominent U.N. inspectors, he bluntly told them that if the Bush administration found fault with their judgment, "we will not hesitate to discredit you."

So, is Dick is suggesting that Cheney discredited them in the absence of any faulty judgment?

It now appears that it's Cheney who's been discredited.

You wish. Sorry Dick, this is just another conclusion stated without any argument.

Cheney did not limit his bullying to U.N. inspectors. His growling impatience with dissent pervaded the Bush administration, especially the intelligence agencies.

Ah yes, the early inspiration for John Ashcroft’s jack-booted dissent crushing brigades.

In the New Yorker, Seymour M. Hersh reports that Cheney dismissed intelligence that did not fit his preconceived notions and seized on reports that validated his views.

Saying it doesn’t make it so. Don't forget, Sy’s got a lot invested in the quagmire thesis.

He basically short-circuited the laborious process for vetting intelligence -- one that worked well -- and instead reached down into the CIA and elsewhere to mine the particle of information that suited his purposes.

Uh huh. After all, the procedures used within the intelligence community had worked so well in predicting and preventing terrorist activities up to that point. No reason to change the procedures while you’re sitting in some bunker eighty feet under ground waiting for the next attack to occur.

Cheney, of course, was not alone. He had Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Condoleezza Rice on his side. All three, including on occasion Bush himself, made preposterous statements about Iraq's nuclear potential, Rice once saying, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

What exactly is preposterous about that statement? The problem with the smoking gun, as I have noted before, is that a gun only smokes after it has been fired.

No, and we don't want the national security adviser saying things that are not true, either.

What did Condoleezza Rice say that wasn’t true? What?

But Cheney was in a class of his own.

A bunker of his own, actually.

Not only did he trample traditional intelligence procedures -- helped, incidentally, by the compliant CIA director, George Tenet -- but he repeatedly issued Chicken Little warnings about Iraq's nuclear potential.

Oh yea, those traditional intelligence procedures that had worked so well up to 9/10. How dare he? As for Chicken Little, sorry, but he’s been checked out and choked up by the Angry Left for so long that we wouldn’t know how to use him on the right if we wanted to.

He characteristically put things in absolute terms. "We do know, with absolute certainty, that he [Saddam Hussein] is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon," he said a year ago.

I haven’t seen anything that would contradict this statement.

We knew no such thing -- not with certainty, absolute or otherwise.

Dick is quite epistemologically challenged with all these assertions throughout this column about what is knowable and unknowable.

In fact, intelligence officials had grave doubts about Cheney's assertion. Ultimately, a version of this fiction wound up in the president's State of the Union address.

If I remember correctly, it would up there because CIA Director George Tenet passed it through. Gosh, and I thought Dick was just complaining about not following the vaunted intelligence procedures that were working so well. Spooky.

Cheney was a University of Wisconsin graduate student during the Vietnam era and, by his own admission, took little notice of the antiwar movement on campus.

What in the Hell does Vietnam have to do with this? (Ed. -- Remember this for the next Scourge.)

If he had, he might have discerned that it was animated not just by opposition to the war but by the incessant fudging, lying and misrepresentations of the Johnson administration -- everything from concocted body counts to the discredited domino theory.

The domino theory has been discredited?

Now Cheney has become a key player in yet another dismal effort to mislead the American people.

Of course, I would say the same thing about Richard Cohen.

As with Vietnam itself, issues of candor and judgment are beginning to obscure worthy war aims, such as the elimination of Hussein's murderous regime. It's good that Saddam is gone and Iraq is free. It's not good that the road to Baghdad was paved with deception.

Yea, yea, yea. Bush lied, people died. But it was all in a good cause. If only it had been led by the right guy. Is that it Dick?

It is hard to know whether Cheney's repeated assertions about Iraq's nuclear program were purposeful misrepresentations or the product of a true believer's faith in his own misconceptions.

Or perhaps, the truth.

Either way, the always smug and contemptuous Cheney has much to answer for.

Smug and contemptuous? Dick Cheney?

He has failed as George Bush's brain.

Mmmm, brains. In order to believe that, you had to buy into the whole Krugman-Rall-Dowd-Ivins-DNC-A.N.S.W.E.R position that Bush is a moron, Haliburton is pulling the strings, it’s all about oooooiiiiiilllll, kill the brown people, distract the proles from the sorry economy, and Bush stole the election conspiracies well documented at Democratic Underground and IndyMedia.

Let's hope he is not his conscience, too.

At least Dick has one. Dick Cheney, I mean.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2003

When the Going Gets Tough...

All the Democrats can talk about are the absence of hindsight-enabled utopian plans, quagmires, fraudulent coalitions, turning the mission over to the UN (who, incidentally, have just bugged out -- back to the drawing board, I guess), bodycounts lacking any historical perspective, or just about anything but the long, dirty, bloody business of winning the War on Terrorism, not just one of the battles. The quagmire of Vietnam isn't quite the right analogy to be drawn from current events in Iraq. Since Iraq is only one battle in the long War on Terrorism, Iraq isn't Vietnam, but Tet all over again with the Democrats and Big Media lined up to serve the same roles they played before to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And if the bastards succeed in making Iraq into a failure like they did with Tet, then we could still lose the War on Terrorism like we lost Vietnam -- with much greater consequence.

More than anything else, The Nine + Hillary! remind me of the Monty Python skit about the accountant who wants to be a lion tamer. Remember him? Mild-mannered, dreadfully dull guy who talked real tough and wanted to be the hero adored by the crowds, despite the results of the employment aptitude test that clearly indicated he was best suited to be an accountant. When offered the results of the employment aptitude test, our accountant admitted he was an accountant, but that he was looking for more adventure in his life, to get away from the dreadful dullness of his current profession. After some further questioning, it became painfully obvious that our accountant didn't really comprehend what being a lion tamer really entailed, and when confronted with an actual lion he shrieked and cowered, collapsing into a Rain Man-like state repeating the safe and sure mantras of accounting which made him feel safe and happy in his own little world.

I'd draw more explicit comparisons to actual events in the Democrat's debates, but I haven't watched any of them, and I'm certainly not going to waste any time looking up the transcripts. Presumably, you can draw the other allusions without any further prompting from me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2003

Quagmire Alert!

Howard Fineman writes: Echoes of Vietnam Grow Louder

Maybe Howard should step outside the echo chamber for a while. He might find that his quagmire induced tinnitus would dissipate.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

"I Do Not Approve Of Your Methods!"

"Yeah, well.. You're not from Chicago." Or Tikrit, apparently. That's all I can think of when I read about Col West and the difficulties he's facing for fighting terror the best way he knows how:

Army sources confirmed that Lt Col Allen B West of the Fourth Infantry Division has been charged with aggravated assault and faces either a court martial or being forced to resign early, losing retirement benefits.

The charges have been criticised by soldiers in the field, who pointed to the intense dangers faced in the Sunni triangle near Tikrit, including an assassination plot reportedly aimed at Col West, an artillery officer.

If Big Media, the Democrat presidential aspirants, and the Angry Left really care about our soldiers dying in Iraq, I assume we'll be hearing them all line up behind Col West any moment now.

In an e-mail to the Washington Times newspaper, Col West admitted to participating in the interrogation of an Iraqi policeman, identified by an informer as involved in attacks on US forces.

Determined to pry information from the policeman about an impending sniper attack, Col West said he took personal charge of the interrogation, warning subordinates that "it could get ugly".

In his e-mail, Col West said two of his soldiers did "physically aggress" the policeman. When that failed, he threatened the detained man with his 9mm pistol, and fired it twice.

He wrote: "Once I fired into the weapons clearing barrel outside the facility alone, and the next time I did it while having his head close to the barrel. I stood in between the firing and his person. I admit that what I did was not right, but it was done with the concern of the safety of my soldiers and myself."

If the Army goes forward with a court martial, I can only hope the President Bush has a pardon ready immediately.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

A Darwin Award Candidate

Sorry, but the bizarre just keeps popping up.

Craig M. Petropoulos, 36, apparently was trying to climb into the window - perhaps to burglarize the Franklin Boulevard home - when he got stuck around his chest, police said. His legs dangled over the driveway.

Police say he weighed about 250 pounds and had a large build. He was dead when the homeowner walked into the kitchen at 5 a.m.

Kane County Coroner Chuck West said an autopsy indicated Petropoulos died of positional asphyxia. That occurs when a person's chest is prevented from expanding properly and the person is unable to correct his position. Stress is added to the respiratory muscles, movement of the body's diaphragm is restricted and the rib cage is inhibited from expanding.

If I walked into the kitchen, just having crawled out of bed, and found a man halfway through the kitchen window, it's likely an autopsy would be needed to determine whether is was positional asphyxia that killed him or repeated blows from an iron skillet.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:52 PM | Comments (1)

Meanwhile, In Bizarro World...

Madeleine Albright is ready to start dating again. The Giardian recommends an on-line dating service. And the funny thing is, this is far from the strangest thing in this fawning article. I'm sorry, but I just can't bring myself to excerpt any of it. Read at your own risk.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:47 PM | Comments (2)

So Sophisticated

Some are more equal than others in the EU:

The economic fundamentals that underpin the eurozone looked shaky last night after the European commission warned that its two biggest economies - Germany and France - are on course to flout EU budget deficit limits for four years running.

Looks like a lot of little European countries are going to get another opportunity to keep their mouths shut.

Mr Solbes noted that three countries have broken the rules of the EU's stability and growth pact in the past (Germany, France and Portugal) and warned that the Netherlands, Italy and Greece were looking like they would follow suit.

I think now might be a good time to short the euro (1.167 today).

He said the UK, which is outside the eurozone, was also at risk. The commission estimated that the UK deficit would swell to 2.8% this year from 1.5% in 2002. Although the commission could not fine the UK if it broke the 3% limit it might rebuke it for sloppy handling of public finances.

Ya gotta love the EU approach of, "do as we say, not as we do," when it comes to managing a countries finances. Are these people really going to try and put an army together? At least the UK has some excuse for running a deficit as they are actively fighting a war, but planning for that vote on jettisoning the pound for the euro has got to be getting tougher for Tony Blair right now.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)

Dave "Killer" Carlson, Uh ..., I Mean ..., Trent "Killer" Lott

Trent Lott continues to demonstrate that he is one of the best fundraisers for the DNC:

Lott suggested moving more troops from the relatively stable south closer to the region around Tikrit, where attacks on U.S. forces have been common. He said there was a need for more trained military police, adding that his comments were not a criticism.

“Honestly, it’s a little tougher than I thought it was going to be,” Lott said. In a sign of frustration, he offered an unorthodox military solution: “If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens. You’re dealing with insane suicide bombers who are killing our people, and we need to be very aggressive in taking them out.”

Aggresive? Sure. Heck, I've argued before for changes in the rules of engagement that will protect our troops. But "mow the place down?" Jeez, I wonder if Senator Lott is wearing a T-shirt with "Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out" under his expensive, custom tailored shirt and suit. Given Senator Lott's past proclivities, I'm surprised he didn't just go ahead and quote Stonewall Jackson when he was asked how to put a stop to all the destruction and vandalism cause by the Yankees, "Kill 'em. Kill 'em all."

Thinking back on Senator Lott's time in the leadership of the Senate, I wonder when he picked up this killer instinct that was so lacking then.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)

Adventures in Headline Writing


And up until now I thought it was: FIRE STRIKES IN EARTHQUAKE ZONE

I've got a lot of friends in San Diego. So far, they are all safe. I hope it stays that way for them and as long as I'm in a wishing mode, I wish the radiation hitting the earth from the solar flares can somehow put the fires in Southern California out. The brave men and women fighting the fires can use any help they can get.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

Objective Journalism

Once or twice a year I wonder if I am being too hard on Big Media. Dick Meyer, the Editorial Director of CBSNews.com, helps disabuse me of this concern:

Thanks to some philosophy President Bush shared the other day, I realized that I’ve been looking at this whole Iraq thing bass-ackwards. The sorry truth is, my whole perspective on stuff like current events is pretty gloom-and-doom and entrenchified. I think that’s the word.

Hmm, my "Bush is a moron" detector is starting to tingle.

My big epiphany came after bad guys in Iraq bombed police stations and a Red Cross facility and killed about 40 people. I was very discouraged, but then the president spoke.

And we all know how much CBS respects the pronouncements of the President.

“The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react,” the zen President said. “The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity is available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become, because they can’t stand the thought of a free society.”

"Everything's zen? I don't think so." -- Bush

Ding, ding, ding – of course that’s right.

Hmm..., does he mean these three bells? No, I didn't think so.

Do you realize how bad things would really be if there were no suicide bombings, guerrilla attacks and anti-American violence in Iraq? It would be a sure sign that the enemies of freedom were kickin’ back and getting ready for Ramadan because they knew we weren’t fixing up Iraq right. That’s scary. If we weren’t making such good progress, the lack of violence and slaughter would a sure sign of trouble.

Transparent sarcasm in the hands of a self-important professional is a sorry sight.

The real disaster would come if we found Saddam Hussein. Disaster-city, big time. It’s great that he’s still on the lam because it just shows how impressed the chief evil-doer is with our reconstruction of Iraq. If things were going to the dogs, Saddam would turn himself in, knowing the masses would rescue him and return him to his palaces. Remember this the next time your stuck at the water cooler with a gloom-and-doom guy like I used to be: a free Saddam means freedom in Iraq is becoming entrenchified.

But when said self-important professional's transparent sarcasm just drags on and on, it makes me wonder whether or not he needs an editor. Maybe his target audience needs to hear the same concept six or seven times before the light bulb goes off.

We also better hope we don’t nab Osama. The minute that guy gets plunked into a dungeon in Gitmo, forget about it. That will be proof positive that al Qaeda is so confident that our war on terror is terrible that they’ll let us capture their fearless leader as a taunt and a distraction. You see the logic here? If I were to bump into Osama at Starbucks this afternoon, it would be my duty to buy him a latte and a Halloween mask and send him back into hiding. Same with Mullah Omar. And all those weapons of mass destruction.

Remember, Dick Meyer is the editorial director of CBSNews.com, just in case you normally get your news from this source. No axes to grind here.

This kind of geopolitical theory isn’t just for foreign stuff. Take the California wildfires. Sure, they’re a short-term inconvenience. But in a year everything will be fine even though hundreds of thousands acres were scorched a little bit. It just proves that God wants us to drill for oil in the wilds of Alaska because it’s just not a big deal. In fact, all this smoke and pollution is just a reminder that smoke and pollution are a part of nature and all this EPA stuff is just mumbo-jumbo.

This reads just like a DNC press release. It's almost like the leaders at CBS work together with the Democrat Party. Can't be, can it? Hmm..., is this the same CBS that is making the historically-challenged movie about Ronald Reagan?

Some of the best news lately came from the folks who do the census. Not only did they find the official poverty rate rose from 11.7 percent in 2001 to 12.1 percent in 2002, they discovered that 2.4 million more people didn’t have any health insurance. First of all, this does a pretty good job of explaining why poor people are so full of sour grapes. But the statistics show that the war to make rich people richer is making progress. And when poor people realize that the rich are getting richer, they’ll realize that America is the land of opportunity.

"[T]he war to make the rich richer." And up until now, I thought that Mr. Cohen was the biggest Dick in Big Media.

So long as the economy doesn’t heat up, the president will do just fine in ’04. And bad stuff will be good.

Bad stuff will be good. Say, that's CBS' modus operandi, isn't it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:15 PM | Comments (3)

A Zell of a Guy

This is stunning:

SENATOR ZELL MILLER OF GEORGIA, the nation's most prominent conservative Democrat, said today he will endorse President Bush for re-election in 2004 and campaign for him if Bush wishes him to. Miller said Bush is "the right man at the right time" to govern the country.

The next five years "will determine the kind of world my children and grandchildren will live in," Miller said in an interview. And he wouldn't "trust" any of the nine Democratic presidential candidates with governing during "that crucial period," he said. "This Democrat will vote for President Bush in 2004."

Senator Zell Miller isn't some flake coming apart at the seams to impress the true believers. Remember that the DNC recruited Zell out of retirement to finish the term of Paul Coverdell who died while in office. This endorsement is going to provide a lot of cover for "Reagan Democrats" to provide President George W. Bush with a significant majority next year. Oh, all those bad things I've said before about Democrats? I'll take back a couple of them now. But when one of the graybeards of the Democrat Party literally comes out and says his party's leadership cannot be trusted on national security, that's about as painful as it gets, and why I am far from taking back most of the things I have said about Democrats on this blog. Gee, I might have to watch the next Democrat candidate debate just to see how they might respond to this.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:08 PM | Comments (1)

I'm Too Sexy For Cornfields

Hmm, I wonder how Howards' metrosexuality will play in Iowa?

Dean declared himself a "metrosexual," the buzz phrase for straight men in touch with their feminine sides, as he touted his accomplishments in "equal justice" for gay and lesbian couples... I've heard the term (metrosexual), but I don't know what it means."

Of course, he probably figures that, like him, those rubes in flyover country don't know what it means either. Gee, I can't wait until John Kerry or Dick Gephardt in their desperation come out as agrisexuals in an attempt to appeal to the all important bib overall electorate.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

Bottom Line

Should the actions of the United States and the current Bush administration in liberating Iraq and progress made in rebuilding Iraq be judged against a utopian vision (which we don't seem to be able to produce here in the US), or should they be judged against a violent state of chaos, e.g., Mogadishu circa 1993?

This is more than a question of is your glass half empty or half full. It fundamentally gets to the root of whether a commentator/pundit/politician is a serious person who lives in the real world or whether they are nothing more than a cynical player of a game in which winning and maintaining power are all that matter.

I suppose I can be accused of putting forth a false dichotomy in this instance, but I don't really think I have. I did not claim that to live in the real world one must support everything the administration does, nor that we should not view everything they do with a critical eye. But that is not the same thing at all as wearing dung-colored glasses that can only see the negative and taking the phrase, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," to heart, thereby lumping President Bush into the same list of enemies as the terrorists. In my mind, this comes dangerously close to laying a bet that having our enemies win is a short term gamble that some are willing to take to secure their own sinecure.

Politics and Big Media's reporting on politics is rapidly devolving into nothing more than the automatic gainsaying of the other person's position, no matter how ludicrous it sounds or however mendacious one must be to say it. The abdication of responsible opposition to the current administration is beginning to radicalize me. And I don't think that I am alone.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2003

Culture Cloture

Ok, here's my entry to David Frum's parlor game to name 10 things from 1950 to 2000 that will still matter two hundred years hence (in no particular order):

1. The Apollo 11 moon landing (what we can do when we really try).
2. The fall of the Berlin Wall (the collapse of communism).
3. The PC/Internet/Mosaic and it's children (the real information revolution).
4. A child not yet 10 years old who will change the world in the next 50 years in ways that are impossible to imagine yet.
5. Global Positioning System technology (many variants already).
6. 9/11 and the aftermath (honestly, the fact that it will still be so prominent two hundred years hence is probably not a good thing).
7. Brown v. Board of Education (a lasting principle for the rest of the world as well).
8. The Super Bowl (it just gets bigger every year).
9. Rock & Roll (a broad category, but all encompassing from Elvis on)
10. The United Nations (Ok, I'm cheating by a few years here, and I won't say whether it is for good or ill). If you make me throw out the United Nations since it was founded in 1947, then I'll go with Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Original link from Tyler Cowen at The Volokh Conspiracy.

DOWNDATE: With just a little more thought, I think mapping the human genome probably belongs on this list. Monty Python seems more than a little frivolous when compared to this. But, for that matter, so does the UN.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:55 PM | Comments (1)

Influential Books

When one of my nieces or nephews graduates from high school (none from college, yet), in addition to the check they really want, I like to give them several books that I think might interest or help them. So I was interested when John Hawkins offered the opportunity to contribute to what the right side of the blogosphere considers to be influential books.

Mind you, this wasn't necessarily what I consider the most important, or the best books, but merely the ones that were most influential to me. Mr. Hawkins didn't specify, but to be considered by me to have been influential to me, I had to have read them before I graduated from college or shortly thereafter. Here was my off-the-top-of-my-head submission with some explanation (needed in some cases), in no particular order:

Atlas Shrugged -- Ayn Rand: Every teenager has to start somewhere when it comes to figuring out how the world works, and this is usually the place for those fortunate enough not to fall into the hands of Karl Marx first. I still find it useful, and dismiss most of the criticism as missing the point entirely. Anyway, this tome, and a strange hermit at the University of Illinois, got me reading all of her non-fiction as well, but that's another story.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance -- Robert Pirsig: A book whose impact is as hard for me to overestimate as it is to quantify.
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid -- Douglas R. Hofstadter: It probably helped that I was studying real analysis and mathematical logic in grad school from someone who had actually worked with Kurt Gödel. We spent six weeks getting to 1+1=2. Most math majors ran away from this stuff, but I loved it.
Hamlet -- William Shakespeare: It gets better with every reading. Remembering how we read it in high school with the parts handed out to the students is really kind of funny now.
Macbeth -- William Shakespeare: How anyone can not understand that William Shakespeare is the greatest writer to have ever lived is beyond me.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues -- Tom Robbins: Not an important book, but an influential one for me. At the tender, young, sheltered age of seventeen, this book made me aware that there was another world out there I knew nothing about. And it has one of the best catchphrases ever -- the Chink saying in response to anything and everything, "The world situation is desperate, as usual."
The Name of The Rose -- Umberto Eco: Multi-lingual, clever, intelligent, learned, historical and Catholic. What's not to like?
Foucault's Pendulum -- Umberto Eco: Multi-lingual, wickedly clever, intelligent, historical in a paranoid masters of the universe kind of way, and lots of fun. If anyone should ever bother, you'll find lots of casual references to it throughout this blog -- though they've got to be hard to find. I haven't read The Da Vinci Code, but from the reviews, it seems to me like a large portion of it might have been cribbed from here. Oh, and this led to a lot of wasted time screwing around with the Knights Templar.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy -- J. R. R. Tolkein: I re-read these every few years. As to Peter Jackson's version, all I can say is, "We're not worthy!"
The Foundation Trilogy -- Isaac Asimov: Everyone knows that this is structured around Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, right?
The Federalist Papers -- Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay: Civics 101, 201, 301, and 401
History of the Peloponessian War -- Thucydides: Everything old is new again.
The Guns of August -- Barbara Tuchman: At the age of seventeen or eighteen, this seemed like a great book. I'm not sure I still think of it that way, but it certainly helped spur me towards a love of history.
Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century -- Barbara Tuchman: Again, it helped cement my love of history. Oh, and if I remember correctly it had the Knights Templar in it as well.
Plato (Everything): The original Bruce.
Aristotle (Everything): So that's where my tendancy to pedantry comes from! Let's face it, Aristotle is a damn hard slog.
The Canterbury Tales -- Geoffrey Chaucer: I feel really fortunate that in an otherwise dismal blue collar high school experience, I had a few teachers that gave a damn.
The Divine Comedy -- Dante Alighieri: When first exposed to this, I think I liked it for a lot of wrong reasons. Now, it is merely sublime.
Civilisation -- Lord Kenneth Clarke: Yea, I'm an anglophile, but I still love this book and the tapes. What a remarkable man.
Civil War (8 volumes) -- Allan Nevins: I have about a hundred books on the American Civil War and I had to pick something. Did I mention that I think Abraham Lincoln is probably the most worthy human being that has ever lived?

After seeing the final compiled list, if I took more time, I'd probably change about a third of this list. I'll also note that I've still got a lot of reading to do to round out my basic education.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:43 PM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2003

The Odor Speaks

I would think that this could serve as evidence of a paranoid schizophrenic in need of hospitalization. Personally, I think it's a desperate cry for help.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:36 PM | Comments (2)

Terri Schindler Schiavo

Would Terry Schindler Schiavo's plight have gotten as much negative attention from Big Media if it had happened in a state not run by Jeb Bush?

I don't really know what the right answer is in this case. If I'm ever in that situation I hope someone will make it possible for me to die. Hell, I wouldn't have to be anywhere near that badly off before I'd want to die. I watched my grandfather fade away very slowly for five years after he had a stroke, and I'm sure he wanted to die long before he did, though we'll never know since he couldn't speak, write, feed himself, or clean himself. As the years wore on, the physical pain and attempts at rehabilitation become more and more painful for him and for those around him. His experience has had a strong influence on my thinking and feeling on these matters.

Nevertheless, I'm not willing to impose what I think is right for me on others when it comes to a decision such as this concerning someone's life or death. My inclination is to side with those who want to keep her alive, but it is based more on my feelings than my thoughts on the matter. But what sickens me are the attempts to turn this into a political issue. This is yet another of those little episodes in life that makes me wish there were a universal ombudsgod to dispense some desperately needed justice to some people who so richly deserve it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:27 PM | Comments (2)


Has anyone else noticed a massive increase in Vicodin spam since Rush went into rehab?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:12 PM | Comments (1)

Accidents Will Happen

Sharon Says Israel Not Planning to Kill Arafat

But as Elvis Costello once sang:

... it's the damage that we do, you'll never know.
It's the words that we don't say that scare me so.
There are so many people to see.
So many people you can check upon and add to your collection,
But they keep you hanging on until you're well hung.
Your mouth is made up, but your mind is undone.

I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, ...

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2003

Separated at Birth?

Has anybody seen Howard Dean and Evil Bert together at the same time?

evil bert.jpg evil bert 2.jpg

And, no, I'm not implying anything about John Edwards.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:32 PM | Comments (3)

Mutual Assured Destruction

I've been thinking for a while that one of the problems the Angry Left has with the War on Terrorism is that they are mentally still stuck with a MAD mindset. It is also interesting to look at the War on Terrorism through a MAD prism, since, to the extent they think rationally about it, our enemies probably perceive us as being bound to its logic, such as it is. While we have largely abandoned key components of MAD as the world has changed, it still has many adherents for whom the tenets of MAD seem permanently etched upon their closed minds. Italicized sections below are heavily paraphrased from the link.

Key components of MAD include:

1. Each side has enough weaponry to destroy the other side and that either side, if attacked for any reason by the other, would retaliate with equal or greater force. The expected result is that the battle would escalate to the point where each side brought about the other's total and assured destruction - and, potentially, those of allies as well.

I'm certain that our enemies don't have enough firepower to destroy us, although they can, or soon will be in a position, to do great and lasting damage. I'm not sure we have the firepower to totally eliminate them (I know we don't have the will, yet), but we can greatly inhibit there ability to act. The Angry Left, on the other hand, is always going on about cycles of violence and how any act of self defense we take is actually creating more terrorists.

2. Assuming that neither side would be so irrational as to risk its own destruction, neither side would dare to launch a first strike as the other would launch on warning (also called fail deadly). The payoff of this doctrine was expected to be tense but stable peace.

Well, the US (and the rest of the Western World) showed repeatedly that we would not respond in kind, or worse, with each "first strike," which led to ever more frequent and more massive attacks. Of course, with the advent of suicide bombers, this would seem to be a moot point, or at least one unworthy of serious consideration. And yet, the Angry Left doesn't even want us to fight back when terrorists have been irrational enough to strike first (and second, and third...). Oh, we're tense alright, but stability and peace are now a long way away.

3. MAD assumes perfect detection, i.e., we must know who did it, and further that everyone will play by the rules. There can be no false positives in the equipment and/or procedures that must identify a launch by the other side, no possibility of camoflaging a launch, and no alternate means of delivery other than a missile.

It's fairly easy to know who's with us, it is much harder to know who's against us and who's merely standing on the sidelines out of fear, cowardice, or active hostility towards us. We are scrupulous about playing by the rules. Clearly, the terrorists are not. One only need compare our treatment of enemy combatants with our enemies treatment of civilians to realize that we are not on the same page, no matter how strongly the Angry Left goes on about the captives at Guantanamo. The Angry Left's different approaches to us and them give double standards a bad name. Can you conceive of any terrorist organization or state trying to get a UN Security Council resolution passed to fly planes into the WTC and the Pentagon, or to release a biological agent in Denver, or to detonate a nuclear weapon anywhere?

As to how an attack might be carried out, well, we don't have suicide bombers in our arsenal, so we will fight back with what we have, whether the terms are "fair" or not -- and I'm certainly glad that we have an overwhelming advantage. The modus operandi of terrorists is to lie, conceal, obfuscate, and camoflage their activities, mostly, and this is key, to inflict terror on civilians. They don't want a fair fight, while we continue to do everything possible to fight fair against them. Heaven help them if we ever find it necessary to take the gloves off.

4. MAD assumes perfect rationality. No rogue states will develop nuclear weapons (or, if they do, they will stop behaving as rogue states and start to subject themselves to the logic of MAD). All leaders with launch capability care about the survival of their subjects. While MAD does not depend on the assumption that the retaliatory launch system will work perfectly, it does depend on the challengable assumption that no leader with launch capability would strike first and gamble that the opponent's response system would fail.

If rationality is required, this would appear to be game over. We might as well take the bastards out because they are not now, nor is there any reasonable expectation that they are going to suddenly become rational. As to rogue states, I'm sure that everyone looks forward to Iran and North Korea possessing nuclear weapons, and submitting to all the protocols the rest of the nuclear community abides by. Right.

Terrorists clearly don't care much about who gets hurt in their actions. That has been amply demonstrated over and over. Of course, caring about your own people also assumes rationality, which they have already discarded -- if they ever had it to begin with, what with logic and all being a "Western" construct of oppression. Strangely enough, the terrorists seem to count on our "response system" failing every time they act. And the Angry Left does everything it can to help fulfill what it would like to believe is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even successes in the War on terrorism, such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq, are spun into quagmires and hellholes. Apparently, to the Angry Left, hatred means never having to say you're sorry.

5. MAD assumes an inability to defend. No shelters sufficient to protect population and/or industry. No development of anti-missile technology or deployment of remedial protective gear.

In an historical sense, there is very little that we can do to completely defend against terrorism, except to take the offensive. The old football aphorism that the best defense is a good offense is no longer sufficient -- now the only defense is a good offense. The passengers on Flight 93 illustrated this point perfectly. And it is here that the Angry Left's colors are shown clearly, as they deem it immoral and criminal to take the battle to our enemies. Given the Angry Left's hostility to a Ballistic Missile Defense System, we can also assume that they, once again, want to prevent us from trying to defend ourselves. We must see that most of the Angry Left really doesn't carry a utopian belief that if we beat our swords into plowshares, everyone will go along, get along, and live in perfect peace and harmony. No, the Angry Left actively works against the liberal tradition that America is built on and wants to see it fall.

Transnational progressivism is an attempt to enforce some vision of peace through the sacrifice of our freedom. The talk-talk, don't act, illiberal utopianism statism of institutions like the UN are helping our enemies through sins of ommision, if not outright sins of commission from time to time. Go back and read the Declaration of Independence. We didn't break from Great Britain to secure peace, it was to secure freedom. We all value and desire peace, but some of us refuse to seek it out at the expense of our freedom.

(Note -- this argument is woefully incomplete, but I'm posting it anyway because I don't have the time to give it a proper treatment. Feel free to pick it up and run with it, if you are so inclined.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:55 AM | Comments (3)

Of Course, Arnold Still Won't Give Them Driver's Licenses

Anybody see Nancy at the A.N.S.W.E.R. rally yesterday?

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Friday police raids on dozens of U.S. Wal-Mart stores in the search for illegal immigrants this week amounted to "terrorizing" workers.

Uh huh. So enforcing the laws enacted by, you know, Congress, constitutes terrorism. Are these core principles of the Democrat Party Nancy is espousing as they try and convince 50% + 1 of us that Democrats can be trusted on national security? What voter demographic is she trying to appeal to here?

"It instills a great deal of fear in people who are only trying to earn a living and put food on the table for their family," Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters on a Congressional visit to Mexico.

Ok, so she wasn't at the A.N.S.W.E.R. rally, but she might as well have been there finding common cause with her fellow travelers. Hmm..., so it seems Nancy's trying to lock down the vote of Mexican citizens? Isn't there something more than a little unseemly about major Democrat figures like Nancy and Madeleine going overseas to criticize their own government?

"We think there might be a better way to go about this because the fact is that it is against the law for the employer to hire these people so there should be more focus on the employer and less in these terrorizing raids," Pelosi said.

Why is it either/or? If an employer broke the law, prosecute them. That still doesn't provide an illegal immigrant with a free pass to not be deported.

Pelosi said the Wal-Mart raids showed the need to legalize undocumented workers in parts of the economy other than just the agricultural sector.

Or maybe we need to stop the exploitation of illegal immigrants to provide you and me with underpriced vegetables from California year 'round. Or perhaps it shows the need to enforce the laws on the books, tighten the borders and deport those who are in violation of the laws Congress has passed. I'm sure Nancy understands what self government is all about, doesn't she? I can't quite get past a feeling that a big part of this is an attempt to slander Wal-Mart because they are big, successful, and non-union. Just another target of convenience. Maybe Nancy wants to follow the Bay Area's lead and move Wal-Mart out of all of Kalleefornya, if not the US.

Several bills to grant legal status to illegal immigrants working in U.S. agriculture are before Congress, including the Berman-Cannon bill which would let an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants earn legal residency.

If Nancy and her friends can get the bills passed and signed into law (I doubt this, and I'm certain there's no chance of a veto override), then so be it. I'll respect it as the law of the land -- so long as Nancy will begin respecting what is already the law of the land. Otherwise, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the slander, I mean, gander. Right?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:44 AM | Comments (2)

October 25, 2003

Woo Hoo!

No, I didn't win (heck, I didn't even enter!), but I did get to be guest judge one more time.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2003

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XCVI

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

I have learned from one of my blog friends that perhaps the Scourges are a bit long, if not long in the tooth. Well, as Barney Miller once said, "I don't have enough friends that I can afford to lose them," so I'm going to avoid Richard Cohen's advice one more time in How To Lose a Friend:

Oh brave and maybe foolish man that I am...

Well, Dick's half right. Hey, that's more credit than I usually give him.

Is that better?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:33 PM | Comments (4)

Pay' Em What They're Worth

Honestly, all joking aside, I think our Congressmen and Congresswomen are grossly underpaid for the responsibilities thay have:

For the fifth straight year, members of Congress will see a jump in their paychecks in 2004, with election-year salaries rising from the current $154,700 to about $158,000.

Yes, they are extremely underpaid. Just because you may not like what some, (ok, all) of them do, and just because there are a few that really need to kicked out of office post haste, it doesn't mean that there shouldn't be significantly greater compensation for what the vast majority have to do and endure.

I believe this for two reasons. First, it is rank populism to try and argue that the members of Congress don't deserve compensation greater than what an awful lot of people make for substantially less effort and responsibility. I know this can be argued the other way as well, but I don't buy it, and anyway, I cannot fix all the world's inequities at once. The second reason is that the last thing we need to do is to limit officeholders to the very small list of the already wealthy:

As in past years, the effort to deny senators their pay raise was led by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who has a policy of returning to the Treasury any pay he receives that is above his salary when he began his six-year term.

Puhleeze. So, the implication here is that a member of Congress is displaying tendencies to act like Ken Lay by raising their salaries by a few thousand dollars? Frankly, I'm a lot more concerned about the pro-rated $4 billion dollars each member of Congress spends every year for "us," of which more than a few thousand dollars manages to find its way into their respective campaign chests and post-Congress retainers.

But I'm sure Russ's heart is pure. And he can't buy this kind of publicity for a few thousand dollars.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

Head Like a Hole, Black As Your Soul, I'd Rather Die Than Give You Control

Here's a sentence that never needed to be written:

Courtney Love says she tried to make her recent drugs overdose "fun" for her 11-year-old daughter.

Little Frances has been placed into the custody of her mother-in-law, but Courtney wants her back. After all, Halloween is just around the corner.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Iraqi official says limited German, French help won't be forgotten

Yea? How about finding an American official with the balls to say it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)


The fact that the obvious eludes so many who choose to be deluded is not news concerning the leaked memo by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. I concur with those who think that Secretary Rumsfeld is just doing his job, and doing it damn well, as best I can determine. Those that prefer pollyannish apporaches to the management of our national defense are not to be trusted with it. Ever.

But I saw something somewhere that I think is a little wrong. Anyone who thinks the memo was intended primarily, if not exclusively, for those it was addressed to (Gen. Dick Myers, Paul Wolfowitz, Gen. Pete Pace, and Doug Feith) do not understand the bureaucracy Secretary Rumseld is dealing with. These guys are already in agreement with Rumsfeld or they'd already be gone. In my opinion, this was a not very thinly veiled final threat to a lot of underlings to get with the program or get out. Now whether the memo had to be leaked or not to accomplish this is an interesting question, but marginally irrelevant. The transformation of our armed forces is here to stay and I think it's about to pick up steam. I also expect a lot of retirements in the not too distant future.

This is a good thing.

DOWNDATE: Confirmation of my thesis?

Armed with a dictionary and a gleam in his eye, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Thursday he meant every word of a leaked memorandum to Pentagon leaders questioning progress in the U.S. war on terrorism.

... It was not clear whether this latest leak was sanctioned by Rumsfeld, or whether it came from one of his many critics within the government, but his spirited defense of its contents appeared to be an attempt at disarming his critics.

Three steps ahead, as usual.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:13 PM | Comments (1)

Duranty as Indulgence

By now, you've probably heard that Walter Duranty is now widely recognized as a fellow traveler, excusing the crimes of Stalin for a long, long time under the imprimatur of the NY Times, and that this should cost him his 1932 Pulitzer. Damn straight. But let's be clear about what this means and what it doesn't. Duranty was a tool in every sense of the word and deserves all the opprobrium that can possibly be heaped on him even now that he is no longer capable of defending himself. But if the Angry Left thinks that throwing an impossible to defend communist sympathizer to the wolves just because he is now long dead as some sort of indulgence that will wash away the sins of all the other fellow travelers, well, they got another think coming.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:02 PM | Comments (2)

October 22, 2003

Blogging My Weight

I am hovering right at 100 hits a day, which I consider to be the Mendoza line for bloggers who have been at this a while. For the uninitated, that means that I am dangerously close to the replacement level. I can appreciate the loss of hits due to DoS attacks and my own sporadic posting from time to time, but this is a very bad sign. Of course, I am still hitting my weight -- in kilograms.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:22 AM | Comments (8)

October 21, 2003

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XCV

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

Sometimes I wonder why Paul Krugman has several bright people who refuse to let him get away with nonsense and slander while I toil away in relative obscurity, with only an occasional assist from James DiBenedetto, fighting the partisan silliness of Richard Cohen. Oh well, no rest for the wicked as we Return to Wannsee

BERLIN -- Last night I played Schubert. I put his String Quintet in C Major on the disc player in my room and went to sleep thinking, of all people, of Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's prime minister.

Well, it’s going to take some effort to top Paul Krugman’s use of Mahathir’s slander, but let’s see if Dick is up to it. (The antidote for Paul Krugman's attempt to excuse Mahathir's blatant anti-Semitism can be found here.)

Across the lake from where I am writing, hidden in trees streaked with the colors of autumn, is the Wannsee villa where the Nazis in 1942 held a conference on how to dispose of Europe's remaining Jews.

So, Mahathir is a Nazi? Oh, and after young Alex's experience, I have become quite leery about associating any particular music with Nazis.

The stunning HBO movie "Conspiracy," re-creating the Wannsee Conference, ended with Adolf Eichmann playing the same inexpressibly lovely Schubert piece on the phonograph.

Stunning? I thought it struck the right chord as being the artistic embodiment of Hannah Arendt’s observation regarding the banality of evil, though I doubt that HBO sets out to produce movies best thought of as banal. Just because a movie is well done and reminds us that Nazi’s are evil doesn’t make it stunning. Indiana Jones certainly didn’t like Nazi’s, but I wouldn’t call those movies historical. Jake and Elwood didn’t like Nazi’s either, but at least their movie was entertaining as well as having good music. I am very careful, and usually highly critical, of taking history lessons from any movie, but I would accept that “Conspiracy” had a reasonable amount of truth to its representation of the Nazi efforts to commit genocide. I do recommend seeing it, though I found it neither entertaining nor stunning.

Things have changed.

And yet strangely, they seem the same.

We have gone from the phonograph to the disc player but as Mahathir shows, for too many people the thinking remains the same.

Of course, Richard passed up a primo opportunity to make a Led Zeppelin reference here, what with Germans, gas bags, and “the humanity.” But, I digress.

Addressing a summit of Islamic leaders in Malaysia last week, Mahathir said some ugly things about Jews. "The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy," he said. "They get others to fight and die for them," he continued, and then went on to say that Jews "have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power."

So, what’s Europe’s excuse for not being a superpower?

Mahathir did not call for violence…

This time. (Hat tip to Robert Musil.)

… but essentially asked his fellow Muslims to outthink the Jews.

So they could build the weapons necessary to finish the job?

Mahathir is a bit of a nut, given to extravagant, sometimes repellent statements.

Hmm…., he’s not running for president as a Democrat, is he?

Yet in his 22 years in office, he's been seen as a progressive, moderate leader.

That would seem to be an oxymoron.

He is also so far removed from the Western tradition of Jew-hatred that it's possible he did not even know his remarks would be deemed insulting and bigoted.

Bloody wogs can’t be expected to appreciate the nuances of Western genocidal rhetoric, no matter how progressive or educated they are, eh Dick?

In the West, most anti-Semites refrain from publicly saying what they believe.

I sense an implication that Mr. Cohen thinks there are anti-Semites everywhere here in the West, even if they don’t walk around yelling “Sieg Heil!” all the time. Bloody Republicans.

When I wrote that not much has changed since the Wannsee Conference, I was referring not to Mahathir but to his audience. They gave the Malaysian a standing ovation.

As I recall, there were no standing ovations at Wannsee. But there was the very model of a modern genocidal general in the person of Adolf Eichmann there. And once again, if the jackboot fits...

Asked afterward what they thought of the speech, the luminaries in attendance -- including some of our most cherished allies -- thought they had heard nothing untoward.

Uh huh. I have no doubt that some of our “most cherished allies” heard nothing untoward based upon their own words and actions.

Mahathir's claque included Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, our guy in Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, and even Russia's Vladimir Putin, representing his country's large Muslim minority.

The US did not install Pervez Musharaff (our guy) in Pakistan any more than we installed Prince Abdullah in Saudi Arabia or Vladimir Putin in Russia. Gee, does that make Pootie-Poot our man in Moscow? And isn't Hamid Karzai our guy in Afghanistan? After all, we certainly did install him there.

Either they chose to overlook the rank anti-Semitism in their midst or they took no umbrage.

Or both.

Islamic unity comes first.

Vladimir Putin places Islamic unity first?

Yes, indeed.


But what ails part of the Islamic, especially Arab, world, is both anti-Semitism, which is rampant and state-tolerated, and the sort of thinking that underlies it. The belief that Jews have some sort of mystical powers -- that they are smarter and, of course, more diabolical than others -- provides the Islamic world with a handy explanation of why more than 1 billion Muslims cannot seem to cope with little Israel.

Honestly, I missed the intellectual leap of faith from Arabs to Muslims here. While I can comprehend, though not fully understand, the historical Arab hatred of Israel, why Malaysian Islamists should hate Israel is, well, too bizarre for me to figure out.

But what corrupts and enfeebles large parts of the Islamic world is not Jews in either New York or Tel Aviv but its own self-serving and inept leadership -- in other words, some of the very people who stood and cheered the speech.

The really sad thing is that “better” leadership would probably only result in catastrophic atrocities attempted against Israel.

Sadly, throughout the Islamic world, anti-Zionism has been corrupted into anti-Semitism.

I assume that there’s no point in noting that Arabs are Semites as well, though perhaps this would go some ways towards explaining the self-hatred and self-loathing necessary to inspire homicide bombers.

Saudi clerics preach that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children to make their Passover matzos. That classic forgery, the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," can be found throughout the Arab world.

So Mahathir can’t appreciate the subtleties of Oriental genocidal rhetoric either?

The tenets of traditional European anti-Semitism have been adopted in the Islamic world -- the globalization of crackpot conspiracy theories. Governments either look the other way or offer support.

And one of them (Syria) currently chairs the UN Security Council!

The use of such language, the support of such ideas, is too often a precursor to violence.

That’s one clever Dick to pick up on that one so quickly.

The scenario of Germany and the rest of Europe cannot apply. Islamic countries have next to no Jews.

Sheer bloody coincidence, eh Dick? Come to think of it, a lot of European countries have next to no Jews now either, compared to their populations in 1930. Never again, indeed.

But it does transform the opposition to Israel from a political-nationalistic dispute into a kind of vast pogrom in which compromise becomes increasingly impossible.

Generally, this is where Dick reminds us that it is all Sharon’s fault, though.

In the end, such language could justify the use of the so-called Islamic bomb, an atomic weapon such as the one Iran is now developing and Pakistan already has.

No Dick, it cannot justify it. Such language may be offered up as a rationale, but it cannot ever justify it.

The Europeans were quick to denounce Mahathir's remarks -- the Germans with their customary and admirable swiftness.

Germans are known for their efficiency. At least they seem to have their hearts in the right place this time.

But the European Union itself demurred.

But don’t draw any parallels! It’s not the same because …, um …, because …, uh …, well …, because Dick says so.

French President Jacques Chirac maintained it was not the EU's place to issue a condemnation (though he did later write a letter to Mahathir criticizing the remarks).

Yes, not the EU’s place – just in case anyone was still wondering why the Balkans exploded. No doubt Jacque used stern words in his criticism. Maybe he even wagged his finger as he wrote it.

He apparently reserves moral condemnations for the United States.

No, Jacque does reserve moral condemnation for the US. There’s nothing “apparent” about it.

The Wannsee house is now a museum, its walls covered with the usual, horrific pictures of the Holocaust. They seem of the past, but Mahathir's remarks, especially the way they were received, are very much of the present -- and maybe the future.

As I’ve written before, “Never Again” seems kind of hollow right now.

The house still stands, Schubert is still lovely -- and good men still do nothing.

No Dick, good men and women are doing a lot in Afghanistan and Iraq right now. Gee, just one Scourge ago, Dick was complaining about President Bush and the liberation of Iraq, so we seem to be damned if we do and damned if we don't. But then again, if Dick thinks Jacque Chirac is a good man, that does tend to explain a lot.

POSTSCRIPT: I added a couple more thoughts, and, alas, I couldn't find an appropriate place to add this: While we're on movies and Nazis, another couple of degrees of free association takes us to the most infamous Nazi of all, Adolf Hitler, who just happened to be Austrian. And you know who else is Austrian, don't you? That's right, Kalleefornya Governor-Elect Arnold Schwarzenegger. This particular tack (attack?) has been tried and fortunately it failed miserably. Of course, had it succeeded and Gray Davis remained Governor of Kalleefornya, perhaps some admiring student of Leni Reifenstahl might have made a movie about it called Triumph of the Swill. If Arianna Huffington had won it would have been called Triumph of the Shrill. Or if Mary Carey had won it would have been called Triumph of the Thrill. As we all know, Will Smith declined to run for elected office, so we will probably never see Triumph of the Will II. That's probably a good thing, although it would be fun to be the first to see the fresh prints, listening to some cool jazz with my freinds DJ and Jeff. But, I digress.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:25 PM | Comments (1)

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XCIV

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

If it feels like you’re reading a Richard Cohen column, then it must be because you’re Not Getting the Truth:


On the road again,
Richard’s places that I’ve never been.
The life I love is writin’ Scourges for my friends,
Oh I can’t wait to get on his case again.

In 1967, following the ambush and mauling of an American unit in Vietnam, …

Don’t worry; I’ve retired the extended quagmire motif -- for now.

… Gen. William Westmoreland awarded Purple Hearts to the wounded. One of them was Bud Barrow, a top sergeant with plenty of experience, who politely told the general that his outfit had "walked into one of the damnedest ambushes you ever seen." Westmoreland corrected him. "Oh, no, no, no, that was no ambush," the general told the man who had been there. Rank has its privileges -- and one of them is to turn black into white.

Say, Dick’s not implying that General Wesley Clark is something less than completely forthright and truthful here, is he?

I cite this incident, taken from David Maraniss's magisterial and brilliant new book, "They Marched Into Sunlight," for a reason.

Pray tell.

It is not because I think that what is happening today in Iraq is necessarily what happened in Vietnam decades ago.

Not necessarily, but hey, if the jackboot fits, eh Dick?

It's because once again we have a government that baldly insists on telling us what we know is not true.

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman!"

Take, for instance, Vice President Cheney's recent speech. In it, he repeated the now-discredited charge that the war in Iraq was "an essential step in the war on terror."

Discredited? In what sense? Has the echo chamber induced tinnitus the Angry Left seems to be suffering from made it impossible to hear anything that is vaguely uncomfortable to their sheltered world view that might imply President George W. Bush and his puppeteers aren't evil morons?

He trotted out the old bugaboos of weapons of mass destruction and links to al Qaeda and, of course, reminded us that Saddam Hussein was a beast, a fact that not even critics of the war dispute.

Bugs, Dick, not just bugaboos. Sarin, and toxins, and germs, oh my!

"They must concede . . . that had their own advice been followed, that regime would rule Iraq today," he said.

A non sequitur, but true nonetheless.

Hear, hear. But also, wait a minute. We now know -- as we did even before the war -- that Iraq's links to al Qaeda and therefore to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, were so tenuous as to be nearly nonexistent.

And that would be important if anyone ever claimed that Saddam Hussein needed to be deposed because of his links with Al Qaeda, but so far as I know, that claim was never made – no matter how many times the Angry Left repeats the Big Lie.

The celebrated meeting between an Iraqi official and one of the Sept. 11 hijackers happened only in the minds of administration propagandists.

Czechoslovakian administration propagandists. Right. Link courtesy of that other den of administration propagandists, CNN.

There is no proof of it. In fact, the terrorist in question is now believed to have been somewhere else that day.

And again, this would only matter if it was used as a rationale for the liberation of Iraq. But let’s not let logic cloud the issue.

Weapons of mass destruction have not been found.

Sigh. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

It now seems possible that the much-abused United Nations inspectors did a credible job.

Oh, please. A credible job of what? Giving Saddam Hussein the chance to hide or export his WMD so it would be extremely difficult for allied forces to find them later? Of course, Saddam probably assumed he would just have to ride out the storm. Nothing before could have led him to believe that the US or the UN would really depose him.

Of course Hussein once had such weapons and used them, ...

Gas me once, shame on you. Gas me twice, shame on me.

... but sanctions and inspections -- not to mention the looming threat of war -- may actually have done the trick.

That’s right; I forgot that Richard believes in the efficacy of the stern finger-wagging threat. The unyielding hold on the utopian mind that pointing a finger at someone and squinting will do the trick is something to behold. Hmmm, where have I heard this before?

If these weapons programs still existed, particularly the nuclear one, they did so in the most rudimentary form.

And we knew that before hostilities began because of the fine job the UN inspectors were doing, right Dick?

This was no just-in-time program.

Thank God. I can only assume that Mr. Cohen would be more pleased if Saddam's weapons programs had progressed somewhat farther from this sentiment.

President Bush now says the American people "aren't getting the truth" about Iraq, and so he has taken his pitch to regional media outlets that are thought to be more compliant than the national newspapers and television networks.

Maybe it wouldn’t be necessary for the administration to seek out alternative outlets for reporting the news if Big Media deigned to offer something approaching a balanced view of what has actually transpired in the liberation of Iraq, instead of the endless doom and gloom, which somehow wouldn't be so bad if only Al Gore were in charge.

He forgets that many of the national outlets originally supported the war in Iraq -- my own Washington Post and yours truly come to mind.

Non sequitur alert! The fact that Dick supported the war before it happened doesn’t give him carte blanche to ignore or distort reality now. Not that Dick has ever needed a reason to ignore or distort reality before.

Now the president says that great and wonderful things are happening in Iraq but that the media are unaccountably fixated on the daily suicide bombings and the general chaos.

Perhaps, because it’s true. But who's General Chaos?

But there are plenty of reports about progress in Iraq -- the opening of schools, etc.

Thank goodness for blogs. I sure haven’t seen many of these stories in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where I live.

Still, both the press and the American public are entitled to wonder whether these numbers add up to anything more than wishful thinking.

And if they do, then what?

Vietnam –

Flashbacks of the glory days of marches and protests 35 years on must be a bitch.

… that awful analogy …

Yes Dick, it is truly an awful analogy.

– also produced its hopeful numbers, enemy body counts and the like, and while they were often wrong and sometimes just plain lies, even when they were true, they were largely beside the point.

You see truth is a subjective construct used by those in power to oppress those without it. Truth is whatever Big Media, uh, I mean, Big Brother wants it to be.

A school could be opened -- and the students still fight you at night.

Yea, all those massacres involving 10 year-old girls who now have a place to study and plan their ambushes have been tragic. Students? Yea, whatever, Dick.

More to the point is the administration's Westmorelandish insistence on asserting the insupportable -- that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat to the United States because he was linked to terrorism and armed to the teeth with those awful weapons.

I smell the other Big Lie of imminence nearby.

There is no truth to that -- none. And yet Bush continues to insist on it.

Yep. I can smell it a mile away. Dick can try and cover up the smell with a rhetorically perfumed rephrasing, but the stench remains.

Once, it was possible merely to argue the matter, as some of the Europeans did. Now, though, questions about facts have become questions of judgment -- and candor. How can we believe what Bush says about the reconstruction of Iraq when we no longer believe the rest of what he says?

I missed the part where the Angry Left had ever believed the administration concerning Iraq.

I am ensconced here at the American Academy in Berlin. I came to see my country from abroad, to defend it and what it did in Iraq (to the extent that I can), but the task has become increasingly difficult.

“See your country from abroad?” No wonder Dick’s task is difficult.

No one specifically mentions Vietnam –

Except you, Dick. No one except you.

… that's my own point of reference …


– but they wonder about an administration that has been ambushed by the facts in Iraq and insists it has been vindicated.

Read the Kay Report. Vindication complete.

It's one thing to be an Ugly American.

So, believing in pre-emptive self defense make one an Ugly American? It would certainly seem that way in the circles jerks like Dick run in.

It's another to be a dumb one.

Oh yea, Bush is a moron, just in case anyone forgot.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:07 PM | Comments (1)

TMQ Haiku

Fans of Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback (TMQ) on ESPN (sorry, no link available) were accustomed to reading haiku regularly about the NFL. To help overcome your Tuesday morning haiku jones I offer the following:

Gregg's fate was sealed when he made
it crystal clear he
was not a Friend of (Kill) Bill

The donnybrook over an
Easterbrook blog post
reflects badly upon all

demise is just so
M-I-C-K-E-Y Mouse

Political correctness
demands that no one
be merely wrong -- but evil

Tuesday Morning Quarterback's
a casualty
of Eisner's Rush to judgment

Limbaugh's canned, McNabb is benched
Rush now in rehab.
Bad things in threes -- Gregg is canned...

Of course, I would have published this sooner, but:

DoS attacks stopped this
from being posted
much earlier this morning

My feelings towards Mr. Easterbrook's dismissal can be inferred from the haiku above. At least ESPN is consistently stupid, if nothing else. Enter your own relevant haiku in the comments below.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:40 PM | Comments (1)

October 19, 2003

Hmmm..., Any bites?

I just heard a commercial from the ubiquitous TV as background noise in which someone asked, "If Mr. Goodwrench were a tool, what kind of tool would he be?"

My guess: a dickfor.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:26 PM | Comments (5)

Pee Wee Brains

If you read political blogs, it is sometimes annoying to read something like this from Howie Kurtz. I'm sure Howie gets paid a lot to regurgitate what I had already read a half-a-dozen times a week ago. But what really strikes me as sad are the arguments he repeats from the Left justifying their "hatred" of Bush as a legitimate response to what they perceived as the unjust vilification of their hero Bill Clinton. Come on guys (and girls), if it was wrong then, it's wrong now. Conversely, if it's fair now, it was fair then as well.

Of course, Jonathon Chait is the worst offender since it was The New Republic that accused all of us before the last presidential election (well, almost half of us) of not being serious people if we didn't elect Al Gore. So, apparently, being serious has now been defined down to the point that, "I know you are, but what am I?", constitutes serious political commentary.

Grow up.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:57 AM | Comments (2)

One Big Happy Family

Not everyone is happy about Hillary!'s upstaging The Nine at the Iowa Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner next month:

"Outrageous," one Democratic source said. This is not the first time a Clinton overshadowed the field in Iowa. In September, the candidates schlepped to Sen. Tom Harkin's annual steak fry to play supporting roles in former president Bill Clinton's show.

But, it's not like she's running for the job or anything like that:

[Iowa] State party Chairman Gordon Fischer insists the candidates should actually be thrilled. "This is the penultimate statement that she is not running herself," he said of the former first lady, who remains the dream candidate of many party loyalists.

Maybe some party loyalists need to wake up and smell the coffee. On the other hand, either Mr. Fischer doesn't know what "penultimate" means, or he's laying the groundwork for Hillary! to go ahead and let everyone know that this wasn't one of the promises she meant to keepafter all.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

I'm Back

One week in New Orleans can feel like several. I noticed an inverse correlation between sleep and alcohol consumption while there last week. But, while I was away, I won again! Woo hoo!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2003

The Big Easy

If you're in New Orleans this coming week, stop by and see me at the Northrop Grumman IT TASC exhibit at the GeoIntel 2003 conference.

Posting will be light to non-existent this week, but if you're a blogger and you stop by, I'll buy you a beer.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2003

Thank You, Andrea

Every once and a while, I need to remember to thank Andrea Harris out loud for setting me up and hosting me. Feel free to thank Andrea yourself as well.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:55 PM | Comments (3)

Woo Hoo!

About a week late, but I won again! Scroll down a week if you're not looking at "All asshat, no cattle."

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

The Tipping Point?

Have we reached the tipping point on recognition of Big Media's anti-American, anti-Bush, and anti-conservative propoganda concerning the liberation of Iraq? Hot on the heels of Andrew Sullivan raking Frontline's Martin Smith over the coals for seemingly endless repetition of the Big Lie, we have our mates Down Under taking Big Media to the proverbial woodshed over their, well, reporting. Wait until fellow Spleenville resident Tim Blair wakes up and reads this tomorrow:

The ABC has been found guilty of "serious bias" in its reporting of the Iraq war, in breach of the public broadcaster's own editorial policy.

An independent panel found 12 cases of serious anti-US bias – all relating to AM, the ABC's flagship morning current affairs radio program – opening a fresh round of hostilities between the Coalition and the ABC.

They have strengthened the Government's intention to apply more scrutiny to the ABC with a new, government-appointed watchdog now the most likely outcome.

Maybe they'll hire Tim!

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

The Crock Is Mightier Than the Glock

Missouri's new law permitting concealed carry was to go into effect today, 30 days after it become law on September 11 (no one noted the significance of that date, as I remember) after the legislature overrode Gov. Holden's veto. At the last minute (as Jack Nicholson might ask, "is there any other kind," when it comes to illiberal attempts to overturn the will of the electorate?), opponents of Missouri's concealed carry law found a city judge (a city judge!) in St. Louis willing to save us from ourselves and issue an injunction against the new concealed carry law. Or as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on dead tree headline today put it:


With a subheadline:

Judge's ruling says a 10-year-old could understand that the law violates Missouri Constitution

I guess that means it took 29 days for the opponents of concealed carry to find a judge that thinks like a 10-year-old. For the record, here's the relevant part of the Missouri State Constitution for those older than 10:

That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned; but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons.

Well, I'm not a lawyer, as people like to say, but I don't think you have to be a lawyer to understand that there's nothing here that inhibites the civil powers, i.e., the Missouri legislature, from passing a law that allows concealed weapons either. Why, oh why do these objections only pop up at the last minute? Now we are all waiting for the Missouri Supreme Court to weigh in, which unfortunately won't be any time soon since:

A [Missouri] Supreme Court official said Friday evening the court would not act immediately.

I've never been much of a fan of populism, but I may reconsider my feelings on this topic if the Angry Left continues to run to the courts to defeat the will of the people every time the damn proles don't, in their not so humble opinion, know what's good for them.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

Guilty As Charged

John S. Carroll, the editor of the L.A. Times offers up its mea culpa. No, that's not right. A mea culpa is an admission of guilt, and the last thing they are ever going to do is admit that thy were wrong. Some of what the editor of the L.A. Times has to say here regarding their reportage of Arnold Schwarzenegger is reasonable and some is pretty damn weak, but here's the final sentence:

Better, I say, to be surprised by your newspaper in October than to learn in November that your newspaper has betrayed you by withholding the truth.

As if those are the only two options. This is what is commonly known as a false dichotomy and, frankly, I expect much better from the editor of a major newspaper, and so should you.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:46 PM | Comments (0)


I was a chaperone for daughter #1's 7th/8th grade dance tonight.

Things have changed since I was in 8th grade.

A lot.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:58 AM | Comments (0)

Knock, Knock, Knockin' On Hades' Door

Arafat's private circle of Hell must be almost finished:

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is gravely ill with cancer or a spreading liver infection, according to reports yesterday.

I wonder which dignitaries will attend his funeral?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:54 AM | Comments (4)

October 10, 2003

Who'da Thunk It?

What if I told you one year ago that you'd see this headline on ESPN.com?

Painkiller addiction forces Limbaugh into rehab

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

An Ass Toot Observation

Buried deep within Paul Krugman's noxious screed Lessons in Civility, there is an element of truth, though I don't think he meant it the way it came out:

All this fuss about the rudeness of the Bush administration's critics is an attempt to preclude serious discussion of that administration's policies.

Judging by the factually challenged partisan anger generally evident in Paul Krugman's columns as documented by Robert Musil and Donald Luskin, I'd have to say that whomever it is that Paul Krugman thinks is trying to prevent serious discussion of the administration policies has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2003

NY Times Slimes Dean!

Actually, all they did was quote Howard Dean, but the effect is much the same:

"I think what the president is doing is setting the stage for the failure of America."

The failure of America. Bummer.

"If you look at what's happened to other great countries, they get in trouble when they can't manage their money — and this president's certainly proven himself adept at that — and they get in trouble when they overstretch their military capabilities."

If the single active engagement of liberating Iraq overstretches our military capabilities, then perhaps it is time to triple the defense budget and reinstitute the draft.

"This country's a great country, and the reason it's an important country is not just because I'm an American and proud to be an American, America is the beacon of hope for the rest of the world. We are the last country on earth where cynicism doesn't pervade government."

I'm sure that Howard will be shocked to wake up in February 2005 and discover pervasive cynicism in Washington should he be elected president next year.

Dr. Dean said he expects jobs to be the primary issue in next year's general election, and he expects Ohio to be the critical swing state. But he spent most of the interview answering questions about foreign policy, attacking President Bush on Iraq and North Korea and promising to send former President Bill Clinton to the Middle East as a peace broker.

I think Howard must be trying to thrill Bill, or chill Bill to get him to stop supporting Wes. (Note to self: must be careful about using Tarentino references. Impolitic, explicit use of film titles could get the Secret Service after me.)

President Bush, Dr. Dean said, is "particularly poorly suited" for foreign policy "because he has a black and white view of the world, and foreign policy depends on enormous understandings of nuances and trade-offs."

Didn't Howard Dean just accuse every other government in the world of being completely overrun with cynicism? Well, that was certainly subtle.

Regarding Iraq, Dr. Dean, who opposed the American invasion this spring, promised to bring National Guard and Army reserve troops home, leaving 70,000 American troops, and to add about 110,000 international troops, mostly from Muslim and Arab nations. Some experts say that is probably unrealistic, considering the military capabilities of American allies in the Middle East.

Who knew that the US had 110,000 men and women under arms in other nation's miltaries to order into Iraq?

On North Korea, Dr. Dean said Mr. Bush had bungled the situation by announcing at a news conference with Kim Dae Jung, the former president of South Korea, that he planned to pursue a policy of isolation toward North Korea. While the news conference was not as explicit as Dr. Dean described, Mr. Bush and the South Korean leader split sharply on Korea policy at that meeting early in Mr. Bush's presidency, and their relationship never recovered.

Must be more of that nuance stuff to just make shit up about foreign leaders.

"The president and his neocon advisers decided they were going to teach the North Koreans a lesson, and unfortunately, North Korea has the power to inflict a fairly painful lesson on us."

I think Howard is getting ready to practice some trade-offs in foreign policy here, offering our freedom and security for money, oil, food, and a promise from North Korea not hurt us.


Posted by Charles Austin at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

Dumb and Dumberer

It occured to me while reading Mickey Kaus today that if the Angry Left were half as good at executing plans to win elections as they are at coming up with conspiracies to justify their increasingly numerous failures, they could have won the recall election, i.e., kept Gray Davis in office.

Since some guy named George B. Schwartzman got almost 11,000 votes and came in ninth in the California Gubernatorial recall election, apparently for no reason other than a surnamic similarity to the Governor Elect, why didn't Bob Mulholland and fiends (non sic) go out and try to skew the election like any true DNC leader? Why, in St. Louis alone, there are over 700 listings in the phonebook for Schwandters, Schwaningers, Schwarks, Schwartzs, Schwartzbecks, Schwartzbergs, Schwarzburts, Schwatzes, Schwartzels, Schwartzkopfs, Schwartzmans, Schwartzmeyers, Schwarzs, Schwarzbachs, Schwarzbauers, Schwarzes, Schwarzens, Schwarzkopfs, Schwarzens, Schwarzenbachs, Schwarzmans, Schwarztraubers, etc. And let's not ignore the almost 400 listings for the Arnolds in the phonebook. There must certainly be at least this many people with similar given names and surnames throughout California.

I'm just saying that this might have been a much more effective way to spend all those millions Gray Davis and his minions wasted trying to fight the recall through slander and innuendo via the media. Just imagine if the recall ballot were 4, or 5, or 10, or 20 times as long with most of the names being same variant of Schwarz***** or Arnold. Do you still think Arnold Schwarzenegger would have won? Or would it have been easier to get enough people to just say screw it and vote NO on the recall.

Maybe it wouldn't have mattered this time, but in a closer election, who knows?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)

Nobel Peace Prize

There has been a fair amount of speculation going around about who's going to win the Nobel Peace Prize this year. I believe it's going to be Jimmy Carter again.

Why? Because old Jimmuh's still opposed to the war and he remains the A-1 primo representative for what the men and women on the Nobel Peace Prize committee prize most in their ignoble efforts to piece together a transnational progressive world that will always be at peace because they just declare it to be so -- just like George Orwell predicted 55 years ago in 1984. And when the transnational progressives get their way, we'll all be driving 55 again, but for no more than 12 years, when I turn 55, which is how long it might take for their Luddite visions to bring about the total collapse of the world's top 55 economies. I figure the odds that this chain of events happening, starting with Jimmuh winning the Nobel Peace Prize again, are no longer than 55-1. But since 55 is a integral palindrome, just like 2002, when Jimmuh won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, maybe the odds are closer to 5.5-1, or 11-2, which eeriely introduces 11 and 2 to the discussion -- 11, which along with 5 are the prime factors of 55, and 2 times 55 is 110, which is the total number of Nobel Peace Prize winners to date. Also, there have been 55 recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize since 1955, which brings together 55 and the most exalted 19. (If you enter "19 Farrakhan numerology meaning" into Google it returns 55 results.)

I'm going to stop here before I reveal too much to the uninitated.

DONWDATE: There was a flaw in my numerology somewhere.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2003

People I Know

Hey, that's my friend Jon making the big time over at Mark Steyn's place!

But he didn't win anything like Stefan Sharkansky did!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

Maybe Arafat Doesn't Have a Heart After All

Arafat Aides Deny He Had Heart Attack

Maybe I was wrong...

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

Maybe His Problem Was Genetic

Every time I think humanity has sunk as far as it can go, I realize, yet again, that we can always dig a little deeper:

The mother of a man who killed three people and wounded five at a factory before committing suicide filed a workers' compensation claim, saying her son suffered "death by gunfire" at work.

And why does she think she is entitled to money for her murderous offspring?

"I don't feel I should have to pay for the actions that he chose to do," said Nina Tichelkamp-Russell, who filed the claim 10 days after the July 1 shooting at the Modine Manufacturing Co. "I think if there are indicators (of a problem at work) then there are certain people out there who have a responsibility."

Apparently, she abdicated her responsibilities as a decent parent long ago.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

Say Goodnight, Gray-C

For Gov.-elect Schwarzenegger, now comes the hard part

Yea, I guess Gray Davis got the easy part of spending like the proverbial drunken sailor. Now the responsible adults are in charge. Hey, maybe the events in California are closer to the national situation than I have been giving them credit for.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

A Contest

Cruz Bustamante is as useful as ______________________.

Keep it clean.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:46 PM | Comments (4)

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Here’s a textbook example:

Navy sonar may be giving whales a never-before-seen version of the illness known as "the bends," leading them to be stranded and to die, according to a new study in Thursday's edition of the scientific journal Nature. The findings could strengthen the hand of environmental groups trying to force the world's navies to limit or stop their use of sonar during sea exercises. The U.S. Navy and the Natural Resources Defense Council this week are negotiating such limits in an effort to settle an NRDC lawsuit. In the Nature article, scientists report finding gas bubbles in the organs and blood vessels of 10 beaked whales that stranded themselves along Spain's Canary Islands in September 2002. They beached themselves about four hours after the beginning of sonar activity nearby during an international naval exercise.

Of course, not everyone thinks that cause and effect are merely temporally related.

Other top whale scientists were skeptical. Darlene Ketten, a senior whale biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and an ear, nose and throat professor at Harvard Medical School, said whales don't get the bends. "We expect that these animals over 50 million years evolved to avoid problems resulting from diving," Ketten said. Other stranded whales have not shown symptoms of the bends, she added.

But let’s not allow science to get in the way of a political agenda.

The Canary Islands cases are the first large-scale evidence that something similar to the bends is at work, said study co-author Paul Jepson of the Zoological Society of London. Those whales, most of them Cuvier's beaked whales, had gas bubbles in different parts of their bodies. The bubbles were worst in their livers, where some bubbles exceeded 2 inches in diameter, according to the study. Jepson said he didn't know exactly how whales got this condition.

But he’s certain it was caused by the Navy’s sonar. And we all know what that will lead to.

In June, a federal judge-magistrate in San Francisco ruled that the Navy must limit its plans for low-frequency sonar exercises.

Thar he blows!

Sorry about that.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

Penn. Ave Freezeout

The Boss shuts out Rummy:

The Bush administration's shake-up of its policymaking structure for Iraq was over- shadowed on Wednesday by an admission from the White House that Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary in charge of reconstruction, had not been consulted.

But, as it happens, I'm reading a lot less into this than most. I think it's a sign of maturity and seriousness that the game plan keeps changing when the facts on the ground are so fluid. Only fools and partisan hacks think that utopian plans can be completely laid out in advance. When it's safe for me to wander parts of St. Louis after dark without fear, then maybe I'll start to question what's going on in Iraq. Until all the neighborhoods near my home are safe and secure, I don't think I'll be expecting peace and tranquility in Iraq -- no matter how Big Media chooses to portray it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:43 PM | Comments (1)

Actually, There Is Such a Thing As a Stupid Question

Should America be France?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Such a Thoughtful Young Man

When things get tough here in America, we can always count on Alec Baldwin to return from exile in Europe and elevate the level of political discourse:

Alec Baldwin came bearing a gift when he attended a fund-raiser for House Democrats: a box of dog biscuits for Republican Gov. Rick Perry."I wanted to give this to Tom DeLay's lap dog, Rick Perry," the actor said Tuesday. "I thought maybe he had worked up a big appetite up there on the Capitol so Governor Perry, AKA Tom DeLay's lap dog in the Texas state Legislature, this box of dog biscuits is for you and I hope you enjoy it while you're toiling away at a redistricting plan."

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)

Damn Carpetbagger

Kerry Accuses Dean of Liking the Yankees

Maybe Hillary! can help sort the boys out. She's got some experience at being a newly minted long time Yankee fan.

But don't forget, it's Arnold Schwarzenegger that represents the unserious, unqualified, populist attack on good government.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

Move Along, No Media Bias To See Here

Bush Congratulates Schwarzenegger, 'Proud' of Race

Well, now. You see a headline like that and the mind reels as the free word association starts with 'Proud' of Race, leaps forward to the recent slanders that had Arnold Schwarzenegger admiring Hitler, and pretty soon you're staring right at Bush = Hitler writ large, though very carefully between the (head)lines, by the freedom (of the press) fighters of Reuters (caution: may contain news-like substances).

The text helps clarify a little:

President Bush on Wednesday congratulated California's Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger and said he was proud of the Republican actor's campaign in an unusual race.

Oh, I see. So the story is about President George W. Bush congratulating California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger on running a masterful race, not about George and Arnold believing in a master race. My, my, what was I thinking?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

Time to Suspend the Suspension of Disbelief

Pundits from all directions seem to be making the most common mistake imaginable regarding the meaning and existential import of the California recall election, taking a single data point and extrapolating a trend from it as far as they eye can see. You know, there's a reason all those who stand in the way of some dreamy utopia are called entrenched interests. All the evils that existed six months ago, or six days ago are still there -- well, except for one, but, come to think of it, he's still there too. It is natural, but foolish, to imagine that the scales have suddenly fallen from the eyes of all those who have built California's government-industrial complex, their vision restored, nay, enhanced, in a road to Damascus moment inspired by a relatively thin majority of a few percent of the voters. And to then extend this overnight transformation (and as yet unrealized reformation) of the promised land of milk and honey immediately to the national level reveals the romantic victory of sentimental feeling over reason.

Bold predictions of a political New World Order are more than a little too optimistic at this point. Like the ubiquitous zeitgeist of the impending demise of the Republican/Democrat Party after each general election, proclamations that Arnold's victory heralds some new transformation of power politics ring as hollow now as they did after each of the electoral "surprises" that have happened before in my lifetime.

There is one significant change to politics as it has been played, though I think Arnold surfed this wave of change, rather than causing it by any tectonic shifting of the body politic through his exertions. Tip O'Neill once famously said, "All politics are local." In these days of Big Media and with the burgeoning dominance of our celebrity culture, I wonder if perhaps this is no longer true. Certainly Arnold has no connection to "local" people or "local" politics except through the commercial transaction conducted just before we sit passively in the dark quietly absorbing the images presented to us. This is certainly no more a legitimate basis for wielding supreme executive power than having some watery tart throw a sword at you.

Arnold is a blip. I wish him well. But, eventually, the honeymoon will be over. Soon enough, the owners of the gored oxen and the sycophantic worshippers of the butchered sacred cows will be lamenting long and loud -- as they have always been -- and that's assuming that Arnold has the will and the savvy to actually follow through on his good intentions. After all, the next election is just around the corner. And I don't even want to think about what any of this means if the 28th Amendment to the US Constitution takes away the requirement for a president of the United States to be a natural born citizen.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XCIII

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

I wonder if all his efforts spent protecting Bill Clinton is what drove Richard Cohen to develop the habit of blaming the victim in Israel Is Losing.

I talked recently with an American who had just returned from more than 20 years in Israel. We did not talk for the record, so I will withhold his name and what he does for a living. But I will say he is somewhat well-known in Israel and that he loves it dearly but he has left, probably permanently, because he cannot take life there any longer. He is a nonstatistic -- a living victim of terrorism.

Mr. Cohen’s friend is still a statistic, by definition. And we are all victims of terrorism today. Thank God it’s not as bad here as it is in Israel, but it could be.

How many others there are like him I cannot say. He has the most valuable of all commodities in this world, an American passport, and with much regret and with questions about his courage, he used it to get out. His business had gone to hell, his life was always in danger and he simply could not take it any longer.

I sympathize with Mr. Cohen's friend. I think I would struggle with the situation in Israel today. I’d like to think I could deal with it for myself, but I don’t think I could deal with the threat to my family on a daily basis.

In the perpetual war against Israel, its enemies are winning.

I suppose that may be true, as long as we list all of Israel’s enemies, and not just its pathetic Arab neighbors who could not survive without the support of all of Israel’s enemies. But note the phrasing – the war AGAINST Israel -- and yet, it still is all Israel’s fault!

The economy is awful.

Terror will do that, except in the United States if it can be used against President George W. Bush.

Parents do not want their children to go out. The beach is presumed safe, but not a cafe or restaurant. A commute on a bus (I have done it) is gut-wrenching. You watch everyone.

So Dick’s lived it and still doesn’t understand. Amazing.

What does a suicide bomber look like? The last one, the one who blew up a Haifa restaurant, was a 29-year-old woman, a law school graduate. She killed Arab and Jew alike. Even safe places are no longer safe.

Safe places? Richard just said that cafes and restaurants weren’t safe.

So I cannot blame Israel for striking back.

Give Dick another paragraph or two, he’ll find a way.

It assassinates Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and militants. It razes the homes of suicide bombers. It has Yasser Arafat bottled up and may deport or kill him. It has bombed purported terrorist camps in Syria.

All justifiable, right Dick? Poor Yasser, it’s as if he is an innocent bystander. Uh oh, here it comes…

But nothing Israel has done has brought it peace and security.

See! See! It’s Israel’s fault for not figuring out how to live in peace with homicidal maniacs.

If you read the Israeli press, the despair is palpable. To some, especially those on the left, Israel has become virtually a dysfunctional society.

Sounds like the United States as well, or Iraq, or Afghanistan – at least to the Angry Left.

The government can't protect its people. Corruption is endemic. Religious zealots have inordinate influence, …

Like I said, it sounds like the United States, or Iraq, or Afghanistan -- at least to the Angry Left.

… and their vision, a Greater Israel, compels the building or thickening of West Bank and Gaza Strip settlements. With every suicide bombing, the rational course -- a withdrawal from Palestinian areas -- seems like weakness rather than wisdom.

See! See! Israel is irrational!

Israel must return to the so-called Green Line -- the border before the 1967 Six Day War.

See! See! It’s Israel’s fault for winning the 1967 Six Day War and refusing to leave their nation in the same vulnerable position again. I mean, it’s not like the Arabs would attack Israel again six years later.

It must dismantle most of the settlements. It must do this because occupation is corrupting and, in the long run, impossible.

See! See! It’s Israel’s occupation that is the root cause. Why, it was the root cause before their even was an occupation!

The more Israel expands or retains settlements, the more it gets stuck in a quagmire where the enemy is everywhere.

Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire. Quagmire.

From September 2000 until recently, some 17,400 attacks were recorded in the territories -- and 40 percent of all fatalities. Even when terrorists struck in Israel proper, they invariably came from the West Bank.

But how come the attacks weren’t happening between 1967 and 2000? Could it be that this is just another failed strategy of a desperate despot whose time is running out?

Yet Ariel Sharon recently decided to include two major settlements on the Israeli side of the fence that is being built to separate the Jewish state from the West Bank. By extending the fence to encompass the settlements, Sharon is only ensuring the continuation of his problem.

See! See! It’s Sharon’s fault. I find it amazing that Arafat is only mentioned twice in this column, and both times as a passive victim of Israel.

For a people of the book, for a country created by history as well as by men, Israel acts as if nothing that went before has any bearing on what is happening now. But history admonishes Israel.

See! See! Israel, why are you so hated?

The only places where a Western culture has successfully transplanted itself are those where great population pressure and genocidal methods were used to extirpate the indigenous peoples. This is what happened in the United States.

See! See! We are all guilty! Bad Western Civilization! Bad!

Genocide is out of the question.

I would have been embarrassed to even bring it up, but not Dick.

Neither the world nor Israeli morality would permit it.

Are you sure Dick? The genocide of the Jews is openly called for by its enemies, and yet that doesn’t even merit a stern look from the sophisticated countries of Europe.

Yet Israel keeps lengthening the odds against itself.

See! See! It is all Israel’s fault. If Israel would just quit trying to draw to an inside straight everything would be fine. Israel’s enemies are not unreasonable people who would never pass up an opportunity to pass up an opportunity.

Instead of withdrawing to where Jews are a clear majority, it continues to cling to settlements where Jews are outnumbered.

Terrible Jews! Get back to the ghettos where you can be amongst your own kind.

Every settlement, every day of occupation, puts Israel in greater and greater danger.

See! See! If Israel will only capitulate then everything will be as milk and honey.

Each settlement is a provocation.

See! See! Israel is the aggressor!

The deportation or killing of Arafat will do nothing but make him a martyr and exacerbate the chaos.

Maybe the bastard will hurry up and die of natural causes first.

The man himself is only a symptom of Israel's problem.

Yasser Arafat is only a symptom of Israel’s problem. That’s a rather amazing statement, isn’t it? See! See!

The idyllic Zionist dream is in tatters. No one wants to go to Israel. On the contrary, people want to leave. For every suicide bombing, countless others are thwarted -- 22 in the past month, according to Zeev Schiff, the esteemed military correspondent for the newspaper Haaretz.

And yet, somehow it’s all Israel’s fault.

Israel lashes out.

See! See! Israel lashes out!

It has now bombed Syria.

See! See! Out of the unprovoked frickin’ blue, Israel bombed Syria!

What next? Iran?

Be careful what you ask for, Dick.

This is not strategy.

It’s strategery.

It is fury.

Rather restrained fury if you ask me. After all, Arafat and Assad are still breathing.

I can understand.

I’d like to believe that, but Dick's words make that a difficult proposition to swallow.

But I can understand, too, why, after more than 20 years, that man I met left Israel. You could say he lost his nerve. He would say he lost hope.

Shove it, Dick. Fortunately the government of Israel and most of its people are not going to give up. Being on the receiving end of a genuine attempt at genocide will do that to you. I don’t bear any ill will or ill feelings towards Mr. Cohen’s friend at all. But I cannot abide Dick’s blaming of all these problems on Israel and his desire for that “shitty little country” to capitulate to the murderers and terrorists who oppose them.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:07 AM | Comments (1)

October 07, 2003

Birds of a Feather

Bill Clinton, the gift that keeps on giving:

Former Illinois Congressman Mel Reynolds wants his old job back.
A short time ago Reynolds announced that he's running for re-election in the 2nd Congressional District.

Reynolds lost his seat in Congress in 1995 when he was convicted of sexual misconduct with an underage campaign worker. He was also convicted of lying to obtain loans and of illegally siphoning campaign money for personal use.

What's this got to do with Bill Clinton?

In 2001, President Clinton commuted Reynolds' federal sentence.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

Who Knew Arafat Had a Heart?

Arafat has suffered heart attack, admits aide

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

The Girly Man Loses

Well, at least the margin of victory for the recall and especially the margin of victory for Arnold ought to short circuit all those intent on trying to use the courts to defeat the will of the people. Of course, the Total Recall sequel campaign has probably already started in the vacuous heads of the Anrgy Left.

In the meantime, will our Democrat friends please stop saying that Arnold's sins are different than Bill Clinton's because Bill's sexual acts were consensual. Leaving aside Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey for a moment, I want someone in authority on the Angry Left to state clearly and unequivocally that what I have been told for the last eight years in all my management training courses has been wrong. Does consensual sex between a manager and that manager's subordinate employees constitute sexual harassment or not? Does consensual sex between a manager and that manager's subordinate employees create a hostile work environment or not?

I'll await an answer. I'm a patient guy. But while I'm waiting, let me offer a little advice to soothe the overheated, throbbing temples of the Angry Left -- better put some ice on that.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

Cubs vs. Red Sox

At the very least, it would eliminate one cliche from public discourse.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

Paging Mr. Warhol

Is Ambassador Joe Wilson's fifteen minutes up yet?

Ambassador Wilson strikes me generally as a reasonable, serious man. If his accusations are true they clearly merit serious attention. But I can't help but notice that he really seems to be enjoying his time in the limelight. If my wife and children were truly in danger, I think I would find it difficult to make all the media appearances he has managed to make in the past week. Wouldn't a lower profile be somewhat in order? With every additional appearance Ambassador Wilson makes, this whole thing reeks more and more of being a partisan PR sideshow that, once again, is a triumph of style over substance. Damaging the President politically seems to be a higher priority than actually dealing with a potential security breach.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

This Blog's For You

Anheuser-Busch is funding, at least partially, the anti-recall campaign according to Mickey Kaus:

This Bud's for Cruz: I got a taped call from Al Gore last night. There was something strange about it. Here's what it said:

GORE'S VOICE: This is former vice President Al Gore calling to urge you to vote no on the recall. Gray Davis has been a solid progressive governor and deserves to finish out his term. We simply cannot let the right wing Republicans roll back the progress California has been making under Governor Davis. It is very important that you vote no on the recall. Also, as insurance against a strong pro-recall turnout, and to keep a Democrat in the governor's office, continue on the ballot and vote "yes" for Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante to keep the governorship in Democratic hands. So remember, vote no on the recall, and then vote for Cruz Bustamante, who is located on your ballot under the letter "B." Thank you.

WOMAN'S VOICE: Paid for by Progressive Democrats and Independents against the recall. Major funding by Anheuser-Busch.

Hmm..., this isn't the only time AB (a little local lingo) has been in the news recently regarding its political contributions. A couple weeks ago there was a stink in the St. Louis Post Dispatch about AB no longer funding the campaigns of Missouri Governor Bob Holden because he vetoed the concealed carry bill:

Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., the top corporate player in Missouri politics, is no longer backing Gov. Bob Holden - in large part because of their differences over concealed weapons.

Governor Holden's veto was subsequently overridden and we now have concealed carry in Missouri. What's strange in this case is why AB waited until the override to make its announcement. It's not as though Governor Holden ever changed his stance. He's always been opposed to concealed carry and he has previously vetoed concealed carry bills when they had been approved by the Missouri Legislature.

So, in one case AB supports "progressive Democrats" and in the other they oppose them. Far be it from me to tell AB how to spend their profits, but in case you thought there were any principles at stake:

Republican and Democratic sources say the brewery's decision not to support the governor's re-election next year is highly unusual in light of its long-standing reputation as a donor which gives generously to both parties and their candidates, regardless of their views.

You gotta like that "regardless of their views." I suppose I'd care more if I owned any AB stock or bought any AB products, but as it happens I prefer beers with taste.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:33 PM | Comments (1)

As If

I saw a headline in a newspaper through a vending machine window that said:

California Recall: Now It's Up To the Voters

Yea. Uh huh. Maybe I should start a pool on when the shenanigans will be over. Between guessing when the election results will finally be certified and when all the legal challenges by "friends" of the electorate will finally be thrown out of court, my guess is that Gray Davis is going to be around until at least February. Oh, and I imagine we'll be hearing for a long time from the same people who still can't quite figure out how the US Constitution works when it comes to the electoral college about how Gray got more votes to stay in office than Arnold did to replace him. And I don't expect that a probable majority of votes going to Schwarzenegger and McClintock together will do anything to assuage there misplaced anger. If there's anything we can count on from the Angry Left, it's a blind spot a mile wide when it comes to reasonable arguments concerning the election of Republicans.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2003

Perhaps You Were Expecting a Bang

I've been sick for about two weeks -- physically and emotionally.

The haze is finally lifting for my physical ailments. Memo to self: don't get on a plane again with a sinus infection. But the more serious affliction is the utter contempt I feel for so much of humanity right now.

On a lighter note, I am disgusted by the level of play in the MLB playoffs. No doubt, the atheletes are better than ever, but the level of play is atrocious by High School standards when I was playing. I'm glad the Cubs beat the Braves, but considering how poorly they hit with men on base, I'm not exactly optimistic about their future chances. And how Tim McCarver managed to play so long and be such a respected broadcaster still evades me since he still doesn't know the rules.

On a heavier note, I am disgusted by the last minute revelations concerning Arnold Schwarzenegger. If he wasn't about to win, absolutely none of this would have come out. Anyway, unless California is now going to recall their legislature, nothing much is going to change. A pox on all their houses.

I am disgusted by the Plame blame game, beginning with Robert Novak and extending to Joe Wilson and all those in the media who are using it as there latest proxy to try and pull a gotcha on the administration. I'm still not sure anyone in the administration did anything wrong, but if they did, they should have their citizenship revoked after they get out of jail. A pox is too good for what these folks deserve.

I am disgusted by the reaction to Rush Limbaugh's comments (dumb and wrong, but not racist -- there aren't six teams that wouldn't trade their starting QB for McNabb today), but even more appalled at the patina of political correctness that now covers all discussion of the topic in polite society. The on-air talent at ESPN really take themselves far, far too seriously, while the usual suspects can always be counted on to pile on. Do you think they'll ever figure out that Rush was talking about the media and it's prejudices, not Donovan McNabb? Nah.

I am disgusted by the inability of the learned, and the unlearned, to have any perspective on what is going on in the War on Terrorism. This topic is so broad as to defy any comprehensive listing, but you know what I mean. Bastards. Everywhere.

But most of all, I am disgusted with my inability to live up to the standards I try and espouse to others.

I'll be back if I can sort it all out.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:56 PM | Comments (7)