Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Drool Bib

I hope that Power Line's John Hindraker wears a drool bib when he associates with Republican politicians --the results can get messy. He had an encounter with Bill Frist recently and likes what he sees. "Consider me impressed" he says. He is impressed with the senator's "intelligence, competence, judgment and reliability." That's nice.

More rational people might note that Frist's main accomplishments are, while leading the party of federalism and limited government in the Senate, the great expansion of Medicare and federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case (while giving his infamous "diagnosis" on the Senate floor). Putting party above country, he has kept the Senate from conducting meaningful investigations into the corruption, incompetence and dishonesty surrounding the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

In spite of his loyal service as a partisan hack, I predict that Frist's presidential campaign will sink without a trace. By March of 2008, there will be more evidence for the existence of Atlantis.

P.S. It is fortunate that Frist has two feet to grovel at so that Power Line's Scott Johnson can join in:
Senator Frist referred to himself several times as a "citizen legislator." I was struck yesterday by how much of a throwback he is to the politicians of the founding era, men of accomplishment in arenas other than politics. He is a gentleman and a scholar as well as a man of enormous professional accomplishment. He briefly mentioned the charitable uses to which he had put his medical skills in founding and serving a hospital in southern Sudan.


Opinion Journal's James Taranto deliver's a devastating blow to my deluded anti-war world view. It turns out that Max Cleland -- who I had counted on to the exclusion of all other sources about the Iraq war -- tries to avoid hearing about what is occurring in the war because the devastating injuries that the former Georgia senator suffered in Vietnam have left him with post traumatic stress disorder. Taranto cleverly asks:

How credible is Cleland as "a vocal critic of the Iraq war" when by his own admission his approach to it is "avoidance, not wanting to connect with anything dealing with" it, and trying "to disconnect and disassociate" from sources of information about it? Something tells us he was better informed in 2002, when he voted for the war--a fact the AP inexplicably leaves out.

Taranto is obviously right -- to paraphrase Nixon's press secretary, Ron Ziegler; all previous criticisms of the Iraq War are inoperative. It turns out we were all wrong to listen exclusively to Cleland about the war -- we aren't in a Mesopotamian quagmire after all. The invasion was a glorious success. In fact, most of our troops were withdrawn after a government was formed in the summer of 2003. I bet their new currency is called the Rummy. I haven't bothered to check, but I believe that Ahmed Chalabi is the Iraq ambassador to Israel and he works closely with that country to counter the Iranian threat. When I catch up on my reading I am sure that I will find that Sadr City has become a vibrant high tech corridor with fancy coffee shops and internet cafes.

I have alerted the management of and they assure me that their new domain will be I can only imagine how embarassed Justin Raimondo is after penning three columns a week for the last three years, based exclusively on the reports of Max Cleland.

Finally, let me join Taranto in sneering at Cleland. So the former Georgia senator, who lost three limbs in Vietnam (boo hoo, he still has an arm) got a little weepy over hearing about casualties in Iraq. Hey, if you want to make a neocon souffle, you gotta break a few thousand eggs.

Monday, August 28, 2006


The New York Times exlpains why the Republicans don't seem to be getting credit for a strong enconomy:

The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity -- the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation's living standards -- has risen steadily over the same period.

As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation's gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960's. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as "the golden era of profitability."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Million Deaths . . .

What does incredible stupidity look and sound like? Rush Limbaugh notes that:
The number of highway deaths in this country, 43,443 in 2005, is 40 to 50 times our troop losses in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Well, ten or 20 times at least. And a whole lot more deaths per month than any civil war in Iraq, if there was or is a civil war in Iraq. I don't know whatever happened to "if it bleeds, it leads," but there's a whole lot more bleeding on our highways than in the war zone in Iraq out there, and a whole lot more dying going on in the American highway system than there is in the so-called civil war in Iraq . . . For every Cindy Sheehan, there are 40 to 50 mothers who have suffered far worse heartbreak. Cindy's son gave his life for his country, not for going to the drugstore. (emphasis added)
. . . there are agitators in this country who are actively promoting combat losses for political gain. They count a thousand, and then 1,500, and then 2,000, and 2,500. Well, let's do a count of highway deaths on a daily basis, see how long it would take us to get to a thousand if we're having nearly 44,000 a year . . .

Here is an equally valid statistical comparison: I own a dozen pair of socks (full disclusure -- I made that number up), the rate of American and Iraqi deaths in Iraq is vastly higher than my sock ownership level, but that tells you nothing of value.

Limbaugh is thinking like Stalin -- deaths on American highways and in Iraq are simply statistics to him. The former, in his fevered mind, somehow justifying or explaining the latter; which have become a political liability to Bush and the Republicans.

He also compares our highway deaths to civilian casualties in Iraq, while ignoring the vast population difference between the two countries. in excess of 3,400 Iraqi civilians died in July. When you take into consideration the population difference between the two countries -- the U.S. is about 12 times larger than Iraq -- you see that roughly as many Iraqis are getting killed a month in the war as Americans are a year on the highways [3400*12=40,800].

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lukacs on Neocons

John Lukacs on neocons, from an essay titled "The Poverty of Anticommunism" in Remembered Past:
Some of the shrillest prophets of anticommunism in the "conservative" camp . . . were former Communists or Trotskyites. Then in the late 1960s, the wave of neoconservatism arose -- composed mostly of men and women for whom it had taken fifty years to discover that the Russians were anti-Semitic. Since then, all of the dishonest and imbecile Revisionists and Revolutionaries of the 1960s notwithstanding, and all of the lamentable presence of Political Correctness in American universities notwithstanding, the influence of these so-called neoconservatives has been more and more evident, and in certain areas of public discourse even prominent. Are they more honest, or better thant the pinkish lib-lab intellectuals of the twenties and the thirties? In some instances, perhaps yes; generally, alas, no.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It Was 29 Years Ago Today . . .

How time flies. It was 29 years ago today that Elvis Presley (shown here sealing a drug deal with Richard M. Nixon) faked his death.

It's OK, Your Vote Doesn't Matter

Rod Dreher worries that it wasn't worth it to have voted for Bush twice for the Supreme Court picks. Fortunately neither of his votes mattered, so no harm done. My concern is that Roberts and Alito were placed on the court to support executive power, and that the next time Roe v. Wade comes up for a vote, they will uphold it.

This is based on no more than my deep mistrust of the Bush administration and some of the coy answers that both men gave when up for confirmation.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Throw out every other comment on Sen. George Allen's most recent Jackassery, and replace it with the wisdom of Larison:
The most offensive thing about the speech to my ears was not his use of the slur, but the implication that he, preppie Californian transplant and Beltway insider George Allen, was some sort of down-home boy who was in touch with the real people, while the veteran Jim Webb, proud son of Scots-Irish stock, is supposed to be a wine-and-cheeser off partying with Hollywood types.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Heroic Poddy

How do you know when you don't have to read any further? When the first sentence begins, "Norman Podhoretz, one of my heroes . . ."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Patriots vs. Nationalists

A few weeks ago, Scott Richert mentioned Remembered Past by John Lukacs in a post about Jonah Goldberg's "Invincible Ignorance." Richert noted that the book, a collection from ISI Books contains a chapter from a previous Lukacs book to disabuse Goldberg of his foolish notions about patriotism. I'm glad that he did, because I wasn't aware of the book and decided to get a copy for myself. I've only read a small part of it so far (not incuding the chapter Richert mentions), including a chapter called "The Problem of American Conservatism" from 1984. I'll include a quote for Goldberg's benefit, but I doubt it will get through since Lukacs doesn't include any Star Trek references:
They proclaimed themselves to be the prime defenders of Western civilization: yet many of them had a narrowly nationalist, and broadly Californian, view of the world -- narrow enough to be ignorant, broad enough to be flat "I was a nationalist," Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf about his youth, "but I was not a patriot." So were, unfortunately, most American conservatives, unaware of the crucial difference (George Orwell described it in one of his prime essays) between the ideological nationalist and the true patriot: the former is moved by the desire to extend the power of his nation, the latter is moved by the love of his country. . . The true patriot and the true conservative is suspicious of ideology . . . yet the American conservatives were, more often, ideologues . . .

Friday, August 11, 2006

Reality is Optional

Yet another example that for the War Party; facts, logic and reality are all optional. Daniel Henninger in Opinion Journal:

That was unfortunate timing this week for the Lamont Democrats, declaring themselves officially the antiwar party within 24 hours of the Brits foiling an Islamic terror plot to spread thousands of U.S.-bound bodies across the North Atlantic, or perhaps across New York, Boston and Washington as the planes descended. Yes, we know; they support the war on terror but are merely against George Bush's war in Iraq. How does that work?

Last week before the Lamont victory, 12 members of the congressional Democratic leadership sent President Bush a letter urging that he start a phased pullout from Iraq, euphemized as a "redeployment," starting before the end of this year. But it is becoming increasingly fantastic to argue that Iraq, with its apparently limitless supply of suicide bombers, hasn't much to do with the terror threats manifest elsewhere.

Put it this way: From the perspective as of yesterday of getting on a U.S. airliner, who would you rather have in the Senate formulating policy toward this threat--Ned Lamont or Joe Lieberman? (Emphasis Added)

Now, why is it "increasingly fantastic" to "argue that Iraq . . . hasn't much to do with the terror threats manifiest elsewhere?" Henninger doesn't say. I'm not sure how the British broke up the most recent terror plot, but I'm pretty sure that U.S. Marines getting blown up by IED's in Iraq had nothing to do with it.

The American Century

Andrew Bacevich, in the What is Left, What is Right issue of The American Conservative:

The American Century is a morality tale. It instructs and inspires but also warns. It tells of how Americans, having lost their innocence on Dec. 7, 1941, rose up in righteous anger to smite a succession of evildoers. The American Century began when the nation finally embraced its providentially assigned mission to spread liberty around the world. Present-day adherents to this school--self-described liberals like Peter Beinart no less than self-described conservatives like William Kristol--do not doubt that the events of Sept. 11, 2001 simply inaugurated the next phase of this grand undertaking. Absent a failure of nerve on the part of the American people--the bogeyman of isolationism always lurks nearby--final victory in the global war on terror is certain to be ours, thereby securing the utopia of permanent U.S. global dominion. The story of the American Century, endlessly reiterated by members of the political elite, has become our substitute for history.

In the opposing camp are those who credit America's rise to power to something other than righteousness and a dedication to liberty for all. It was not righteousness that bought Louisiana, took California, annexed Hawaii, seized the Philippines, and converted the Caribbean into an American lake. Nor did past administrations collaborate with Stalin, court the Saudi royals, depose Mossadegh, befriend Somoza, arrange the overthrow of Diem, court Mao, and tilt in favor of Saddam against the ayatollahs because of our devotion to democracy and human rights.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Count on Roger Simon to post one of the more inane commentaries on Ned Lamont's victory in Connecticut.
No one looks dopier today than the collection of self-righteous fuddy-duddies who voted for Ned Lamont in Tuesday's Democratic Primary in Connecticut. In the darkness of his soul Lamont himself must be wondering how to react to the news that another ten jets filled with innocent human beings were about to explode over the Atlantic. Not good for his campaign. It reminds me of the old LA Weekly cartoon: "Nuclear War? There goes my career!"
Since Lamont's big issue was Lieberman's continued support of the failed war in Iraq, I don't see how the terror plot in England. Fortunately, one of the comments points out Simon's logical failing:
The events in Britain do nothing to make that war seem a better idea. If anything, the foiled plot demonstrates that good policework is quite effective in stopping terrorism. It points out the futility of killing Iraqis when plots are being hatched in Britain, and more generally, the silliness of the "fighting them over there" idea.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


National Review Online is your Back-To-School Headquarters for hysterical and stupid commentary on the Connecticut primary. Their in-house talk radio cretin, Mark Levin, comments that "Lamont follows in the great tradition of his uncle, Corliss Lamont, who was a courageous pacifist during the rise of the Nazis, just as Little Neddy has been heroic in his adamant appeasement of the Islamo-Nazis." Um, whatever.

His colleague, Cliff May flogs, a Neocon dead horse that should instead be given a dignified burial.
The war we are fighting -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere -- is nasty and bloody and we are not doing very well. But this is the face of war in the 21st century. We either learn to win such battles or we get used to getting whipped; maybe we even start to like getting whipped. Think of John Murtha almost bragging about the retreats he has favored in the past, from Beirut in 1983 and Somalia in 1993 -- as though those retreats did not pave the way to 9/11/01. (emphasis added)

The lesson that neocons take from Beirut and Mogadishu is that our retreats from those occupations showed us to be a weak horse to bin Laden. And so they did. Their solution is to continue such missions no matter how unrelated to the national interest they might be.

An equally, and perhaps even more valid lesson, is to not get involved in such situations in the first place. Beirut and Somalia were unrelated to our national intersest, while Iraq was contrary to the national interest from the start. Perhaps we should stay home next time and look like a horse that can mind our own business.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Jed Babbin, in the midst of yet another hysterical, rightwing defense of Joe Lieberman ("Now the Michael Moore-Pinch Sulzberger-Cindy Sheehan Dems are about to purge poor ol' Joe Lieberman from their party in Tuesday's primary because he supports the war in Iraq.") drops this statement on the reader:
Last week the Associated Press joined Team Clinton by helping her prepare for Lieberman's fall. On Wednesday, there was an AP story written around her letter to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld commanding him to reverse course and testify at a hastily scheduled Armed Services Committee hearing on Iraq. The story, of course, quoted no Republicans, but made up a "furor' about Rumsfeld's declining to testify. Then, when the Big Dog changed his mind and showed up to debate the ankle-biters, AP obliged with another story -- again featuring Mizz Hillary and her "showdown" with Rumsfeld -- that reported him in disorganized retreat from her furious onslaught. (If he was in retreat, so was Patton at Bastogne.) (emphasis added)
Ignore his hysterical notion that there must some conspiracy involved because the AP covered a senate hearing -- Babbin believes that Rumsfeld is such a Great Man, a giant even; that the senators who dare to question him are like tiny, yapping dogs.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mr. Roberts Flops

A while back I noted the sickening campaign of Richard Roberts who ran for the Republican nomination for the First Congressional District of Tennessee. His only campaign theme, other than emty prattle about "East Tennessee Common Sense, was his steadfast support for President Bush and his Iraq fiasco:
Too many Americans seem to have forgotten what is at stake in the war on terror and the war in Iraq -- but not our Commander-in-Chief. This is a President whose moral, Christian compass is right on target and who is leading the fight for our very way of life.

These days, the so-called political "experts" are telling Republican candidates to keep their distance from a President with a 30% approval rating if they want to get elected. Unfortunately, I have seen some of that sort of thinking right here in East Tennessee.

They couldn't be more wrong.

They are wrong if they think that running from the President will make this country safer. They are wrong if they believe the people of East Tennessee do not support this President. And Republican candidates are wrong if they rely on poll numbers to decide what to do.

As it turns out, "Bush, Iraq . . . Bush, Iraq" wasn't such a good campaign theme. Mr. Roberts finished third.

UPDATE: Another real winner that I commented on earlier, Ralph McGill; received 13 per cent of the vote against the incumbent, Jimmy Duncan. McGill is the guy who favors a one consecutive term limits and who, though living in church-laden Knoxville, believes that "we have religious freedom and tolerance for Muslims, atheists, and everyone else, but not for Christians." He is gone and will be forgotten.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Is That Your Final Answer?

Steve Sailer asks:
If Shi'ites with ties to Iran are the most dangerous people in the world, as the neocons are saying this week, then why did the neocons three years ago want to invade Iraq in order to put in as President of Iraq a Shi'ite who frequently vacations at his villa in Tehran: Ahmad Chalabi?
Fortunately I have a source at Neocon Secret Headquarters who gave the following reply:

Well, um . . . You see, we wanted to force Iran, um . . . The Shi'ites in Iraq are . . . By toppling Saddam we . . .

Oh, yeah, that's it: Sailer is anti-Semitic, Sailer is anti-Semitic, Sailer is anti-Semitic. Yeah, why else would he raise such unfair questions? I bet he hates America too.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mirror Image

I see via A.C. Kleinheider, that that the Baptist-libertarian blogger Glen Dean has taken out his broad brush to tar the "world's elites," "paleo-cons" and "liberals" as anti-Semites:
Although the world's elites and America's paleo-cons may word things much differently while sober, juice them up with a little bit of fire water and they'll likely make the same types of statements made by Mel Gibson. If I am wrong please correct me, but the vast majority of these European elites and American Buchananites believe that the Iraq War, September 11, and everything going on in the middle east today is the fault of Israel and the American Jews behind neo-conservatism. . .

That's the truth, and the American paleo-cons and liberals they have aligned with, know it.

Well I would like to correct him, but his statement is so absurdly overbroad to be almost meaningless. Who qualifies as the "world's elites"? Dean further complicates matters with a comment at Kleinheider's site saying, "AC, I never called anybody an anti-Semite." Of course not, he only said that certain people, while under a Jack Daniels truth serum would drunkenly declaim their true feelings of "Fxxxxxg Jews . . . The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." And that would represent their true views.

I don't know much about world elites or liberals, but I am sometimes grouped with the paleos because I write for The American Conservative and Chronicles and many of my links are to people or organizations with some sort of paleo sympathies (some even certified). I don't know of any of them who believe that the "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" or for 9/11. There has been much criticism in paleo circles of Israel's influence on American policy, such as Pat Buchanan's Whose War? article in 2003. Substantive responses to this criticism are much more rare than charges of anti-Semitism.

Osama bin Laden made his reasons for attacking the United States clear in his 1998 Fatwah. First among them was that "for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples." Only later does he mention our desire to "serve the Jews' petty state." Pat Buchanan repeatedly pointed out bin Laden's displeasure with American presence in Saudi Arabia.

Dean's attack is only one example of how the Right is coming to resemble the Left -- nobody can disagree with them without being anti-American, anti-Semitic, etc.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Military Men

More embarrassing twaddle from Thomas Sowell about how lack of military service creates unrealistic expectations in the media and elsewhere. "The military have been criticized for everything from not protecting an Iraqi museum while being shot at to not being as nice to the terrorists imprisoned in Guantanamo as people in safe and comfortable editorial offices would like." You would never get the idea from Sowell that military men -- such as John McCain on torture policy -- have been among the strongest critics of Bush administration policy.

Even more notable are the criticisms that Sowell doesn't make. Did the lack of military experience in say, the Vice President's office or in the "safe and comfortable" editorial offices of the Weekly Standard lead to unrealistic expectations of a cakewalk in Iraq? Sowell isn't interested in that question.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Taxation Is Theft, Unless . . .

Julian Sanchez notes that in a Beliefnet interview, Ann Coulter endorses the anarcho-capitalist position that taxation is theft. "Confiscatory taxation enforced by threat of imprisonment is "stealing," a practice strongly frowned upon by our Creator." Sanchez notes that she doesn't really mean it. "If you think it's legitimate for a state to exist, however limited, you're pretty much committed to the proposition that it can legitimately demand the resources necessary to carry out its authentic functions."

I only wish that her Charlotte Allen, who conducted the interview would have asked Coulter how she favors paying for the trillion dollar war she so strongly supports.

The Real Enemy

According to Don Feder, Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite, but Pat Buchanan is the real enemy:

Pat Buchanan is much smoother than Mel in his cups.

Instead of Jews, Buchanan says "neo-cons." Thus, the neo-cons have hijacked U.S. foreign policy. The neo-cons are whispering in Bush's ear. The neo-cons are responsible for our disastrous interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The neo-cons are plotting war with Syria and Iran – all to benefit Israel. (Nobody else is threatened by whack-job mullahs with nuclear weapons, you understand.)

Soon, Pat will be warning us that the neo-cons are poisoning wells, spreading the plague and using the blood of paleo-con children to bake their Passover matzah.