Friday, May 02, 2003


CNN reports that:

In an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Blair said the image was not only "complete bull" but "total nonsense."

He added in the interview with contributing editor David Margolick, "I was about to say, 'He's not someone who will philosophize,' but actually that's not true, because he does. But 'directness' is the best way I can describe it. He has a very, very direct way of stating exactly what he feels about a situation."

Blair added about Bush, "He is highly intelligent, and it's not clotted by so many nuances that the meaning is obscured. The good thing about (Bush) is that once he does really think that an issue has to be tackled he has big reserves of courage for doing it, and he won't really be diverted."

"I trust him, and that is extremely important at our level of politics," Blair, a chief Bush ally in the Iraq war, said.

Well said. Being straightforward and trustworthy are the two of the most important leadership qualities a president can possess. That's why people underestimate Bush so badly. They don't understand how important it is for the president of the United States to be able to develop a relationship of trust with foreign leaders.

Bush is a straight-shooter and a man of conviction like Blair responds well to that.

Wonder how a weasel like Gore would have gotten along with Tony?


Amir Taheri (hat tip Instapundit):

For the first time in 32 years Shiites were able to perform a pilgrimage that had been banned by the Baathist regime. It was also the first free mass gathering in Iraq in almost half a century not to be crushed by the regime's tanks and helicopters.

Was all that a show of anti-Americanism or, at least, a "warning" to Washington as some pundits claim? On the contrary: The gathering showed how isolated anti-American groups are among Iraqi Shiites.

Throughout Arba'in, small bands of militants, some freshly arrived from Iran, were posted at the entrance of streets leading to the two main shrines. They carried placards and posters calling for an Islamic republic and shouted anti-American slogans. But it soon became clear that few pilgrims were prepared to join them.

All the pilgrims that this reporter could talk to expressed their "gratitude and appreciation" to the US and its British allies for having freed them from the most brutal regime Iraq had seen since its creation in 1921.

Needless to say, however, most television cameras were focused on the small number of militants who had something "hot" - that is to say, anti-American - to say.

After days of talking to Shiites in Karbala and Najaf, it is clear that there is virtually no undercurrent of anti-Americanism in the heartland of Iraqi Shiaism. Even some clerics who have just returned from exile in Iran were keen to advertise their goodwill towards the US. All that, however, could quickly change.

Why can't we get an honest evaluation of this in the major US media?

It royally pisses me off that the media-pundits all paint pictures of increasing resistance among Shias to the US occupation when exactly the opposite is true.

TGFTI (thank God for the internet).


Sen. Rick Santorum recently made the following comments in an AP interview:

AP: OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?

SANTORUM: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold - Griswold was the contraceptive case - and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you - this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it's my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong, healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.
Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.

Even if you can't stand Santorum, he still has a point or rather a question to pose - what is the difference, from a legal standpoint, between sodomy (between two consenting adults) and polygamy (between three or more consenting adults) or incest (between two consenting adults)?

The disturbing answer is that there is no difference. While the mainstream of public opinion may consider the actions differently, if the so-called "right to privacy" applies to homosexual behavior then it must logically also apply to other sexual unions between consenting adults regardless of society's moral evaluation of the circumstance.

Personally, I think that the Texas law is stupid. The government has no business legislating for or against homosexuality. But the Supreme Court needs to hear the argument in greater terms than just a "right to privacy" -that is too broad and would open the way for the abolition of similar laws that cover incest, etc.

This is what happens when the Court makes up things to justify its decisions. The idea that some mythical "right to privacy" precludes the states from legislating on abortion was idiotic. Not only do women have a right to choose whether they are pregnant (abstaining from sex, birth control, etc.) but the state does have a compelling interest in the well being of the fetus (who has no choice in the matter). In the case of homosexuality, only consensual parties are involved so there is no compelling interest for government intervention.

I don't like homosexuality; I think it is wrong. I also think adultery is wrong and other promiscuous heterosexual activities are wrong. There are a lot of things that I don't like about the moral stance of American society, but that doesn't mean I think that the government should get involved.

As a general rule, it is better for the government to stay the hell out of people's lives as much as possible.

As for Santorum, not exactly the brightest guy in the Senate, he stated his opinion. Just like Tim Robbins or Jeannane Garafalo. Ridicule him if you want to. Protest against him. Send money to his political opponents. It's the American way.

It's not repression of dissent to argue with him any more than it is for warbloggers to argue with the marxist-pacifist protestors. May the best argument win!

Wednesday, April 30, 2003


All of the recent whining about the "crushing of dissent" by Tim Robbins and others has gotten my blood up again.

I have a right to wear a purple leisure suit. No one can force me not to. But people will probably look funny at me if I do. And my employer may decide that he can't send me in front of clients if I'm dressed that way. So it will hurt my career.

This isn't fair. What difference does it make what kind of clothes I wear (or haircut I have or tattoos I've gotten) if I can do my job better than someone else? Why does my conformance to social norms regarding appearance have anything to do with my compensation at my job? It shouldn't - but it does.

In some jobs it matters more than others. If I am dealing with the public my appearance matters much more than if I am an engineer, glued to a computer screen, who never leaves the office.

None of this is "fair". But then again it really is fair if you look at it from the point of view of the consumer of those services. If I am in a business relationship with a service provider, I should have the option to secure those services from someone I feel comfortable with. If I choose not to deal with a company because their representative has purple hair and nose rings, that is my perogative. It very well may be that by making that choice I have hurt myself because I have chosen on the basis of superficial appearance and not on performance or talent. People do this all the time. They buy the flashy car that has the poor maintenance record and a higher price tag. They buy the name-brand clothes instead of indentically performing knock-offs.

Each person or business has a choice about how to market themselves or their product. The choices they make influence how that person, good, or service is perceived by the pool of potential buyers. If I am marketing to people who value "green" products, I will probably be emphasizing fuel economy instead of luxury - and will tailor the product accordingly. If I am marketing to conservative Republicans, I probably don't want my spokesperson to have visible tatoos and piercings. And if my financial life depends upon my popularity, I will strive not to do things (at least in the public domain) that are unpopular.

I am free to make choices or take stances that detract from my ability to market myself or my product to the public in the most effective way. In the case of the Dixie Chicks, they made a classless political attack from stage in a foreign country during a time of war. This offended a lot of people, many of whom were consumers of their product. No one is attempting to muzzle them. I haven't heard of any federal marshalls at their door in the night dragging them off to the gulag. No restraining orders have been filed. The only consequence of Natalie Maines' petulant little tantrum (really a disgusting grab at anti-admistration applause) was that some fans were turned off and destroyed some of the CD's they owned and Clear Channel decided to drop them from the rotatation.

This is not akin to a book burning. Angry citizens did not storm Tower records and remove all Dixie Chicks products from the shelves. No government agency has taken any action whatsoever. What this demonstrates is that there are consequences to exercising your free speech rights especially if you do so in a manner which is offensive to people who make up your purchasing public.

Tim Robbins going on about a "chill wind" blowing through the nation just exposeS his massive ignorance and denial. Are there potential economic consequences for celebrities who take unpopular stances? Yes. Will you be criticized and ridiculed for making stupid or offensive remarks about the president? Probably, depending on the company you keep (certainly in the blogosphere). Is the government taking any action to suppress dissent? Not that I've heard of.

Grow up, Timmy. If you want to do battle in the political arena, you have to accept that you will be criticized. You have to understand that people who disagree with your views on such weighty matters as war and peace will tend not to spend their hard-earned money enriching you so as to enable you to further your efforts against them. Buying a Tim Robbins product, if you support Bush, is like donating to the Green Party or the DNC - you are working counter to your own interests. Why is that so hard to understand? Are you suggesting that we, as citizens, have to separate our political lives from our economic lives? I doubt you would make the same argument if economic boycotts were being used in a cause you support.

I'm not trying to make you shut up. I just don't want to financially support your cause. That's the way political and economic freedoms work. I wouldn't want it any other way.


Tim Blair notes this tidbit from Cindy Osborne:

President George W. Bush: Received a Bachelors Degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard. He began his career in the oil and gas business in Midland in 1975 and worked in the energy industry until 1986. He was elected Governor on November 8, 1994, with 53.5% of the vote. In a historic re-election victory, he became the first Texas Governor to be elected to consecutive four-year terms on November 3, 1998 winning 68.6% of the vote.
In 1998 Governor Bush won 49% of the Hispanic vote, 27% of the African-American vote, 27% of Democrats and 65% of women. He won more Texas counties, 240 of 254, than any modern Republican other than Richard Nixon in 1972 and is the first Republican gubernatorial candidate to win the heavily Hispanic and Democratic border counties of El Paso, Cameron and Hidalgo (someone began circulating a false story about his I.Q. being lower than any other President. If you believed it, you might want to go to URBAN LEGENDS and see the truth).

So who are these celebrities? What is their education? What is their experience in affairs of State or in National Security? While I will defend to the death their right to express their opinions, I think that if they are going to call into question the intelligence of our leaders, we should also have all the facts on their educations and background:

Barbra Streisand: Completed high school. Career: Singing and acting

Cher: Dropped out of school in 9th grade. Career: Singing and acting

Martin Sheen: Flunked exam to enter University of Dayton. Career: Acting

Jessica Lange: Dropped out college mid-freshman year. Career: Acting

Alec Baldwin: Dropped out of George Washington University after scandal. Career: Acting

Julia Roberts: Completed High School. Career: Acting

Sean Penn: Completed High School. Career: Acting

Susan Sarandon: Degree in Drama from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Career: Acting

Ed Asner: Completed High school. Career: Acting

George Clooney: Dropped out of University of Kentucky. Career: Acting

Michael Moore: Dropped out first year at University of Michigan. Career: Movie Director

Sarah Jessica Parker: Completed High School. Career: Acting

Jennifer Anniston: Completed High School. Career: Acting

Mike Farrell: Completed High School. Career: Acting

Janeane Garofelo: Dropped out of College. Career: Stand up comedienne

Larry Hagman: Attended Bard College for one year. Career: Acting

Very smart bunch these celebrities who babble on about the evils of American imperialism and the Bush "regime".

Tuesday, April 29, 2003


Where would we be now if we had followed the advice of the Hollywood dupes and the French and allowed the inspectors more time?

Just over a month has passed since the war began, about a week since it ended. If given this last month, where do you think the situation would have been politically?

On the ground, the inspectors would have continued to find nothing. As the weeks passed, the Iraqis would have become less and less cooperative as the political pressure from the French, Germans and Russians grew against the continuation of the American military build-up in the Gulf. The Turkish decision to deny US use of its bases for an attack would have further eroded the Allied position.

In Britain, public opposition to the war would have translated into increasing pressure against Blair in Parliament. His government may not have survived the additional delay unless it modified its support for the US.

Popular opposition to the American stance in the Gulf region would have continued to grow. Terrorist sniping at US troops in Kuwait, UAE and Qatar would have increased as the anti-American propaganda campaign reached its zenith.

In America, anti-war protests would have gained momentum as the anarchists, communists and pacifists sensed weakness in the administration's resolve. As poll numbers indicating support for a war slipping below 50% surface, the activists and their media allies at the NY Times, LA Times and CNN smell blood and step up the pressure against Bush.

Seeing the Americans increasingly isolated abroad and with Bush's support slipping at home, the French, Russians, Chinese and Germans press for the lifting of sanctions while the inspections continue. It is the "humane" thing to do, claims de Villepan.

Eventually, the adminstration would have no choice but to end the military deployment in the Gulf. Hussein would be seen as the victor by the Arab "street". Al-Qaida is emboldened by yet another American retreat - their theory about our unwillingness to do the dirty work is confirmed. Their uneasy ally in Baghdad remains in power and, when the UN tires of the inspection regime, he continues on a program of developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Bush suffers an electoral defeat to a pacificst candidate who believes in addressing the "root causes" of anti-Americanism. The United States retreats into isolationism. The Islamization of Europe continues unabated. Radical Islam sees an increase in funding both from state and non-state sources. European cities are increasingly subject to Islamic violence. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict boils over and becomes uncontrollable. General war breaks out in the Middle East. The use of WMD's against Israel leads to a nuclear response.

Yes, this is a "worst case scenario". But the consequences of inaction by the US in this confrontation with Iraq would have been disasterous in any event.

Thank God that Bush was elected president, by the smallest of margins, instead of Gore.

The task is not finished - but at least the proper road has been taken. I pray we have the vision and the courage to finish the job properly.


It is a sad day indeed when a stupid slut like Monica Lewinsky becomes a celebrity TV hostess. Of course it was only a matter of time.

And people wonder why conservatives hate Bill Clinton so much.

Everytime this show comes on, I hope Hillary takes after him with a hairbrush.


ABCNEWS.com reports:

A crew member of an Egyptian merchant ship has died in northern Brazil, almost certainly from anthrax, after opening a suitcase suspected of containing the deadly bacteria, which he was taking to Canada.

No, we aren't in danger of the spread of Iraqi WMD. Hussein would never have let that into the wrong hands would he?

Wait, I forgot, it's our fault that this stuff is on the loose because we invaded Iraq and stirred up a hornets' nest.

Give me a break, please.

I'd be real suprised if this stuff didn't originate from Iraq. Whether it was being used by al-Qaida or not, you can bet it came from Iraq (slight possibility of maybe the North Koreans). So what does this tell you about the need for taking out Hussein?

My question is this - if he is alive, has he hidden a cache of biological agents somewhere that he is now peddling to terrorist groups? I hope not but.....


Mansoor Ijaz at National Review Online with more interesting tidbits relating to the previous administration's feckless policies:

Analysis of documents found in the rubble of Iraq's intelligence headquarters show that contrary to conventional wisdom, Iraqi military and intelligence officials sought out al Qaeda leaders, not the other way around, and ultimately met with bin Laden on at least two occasions. They also show that channels of communication between al Qaeda and Iraq were created much earlier and were wider ranging in scope than previously thought.

The timing of the meetings sheds important new light on how grave the Clinton administration's intelligence failures may have been

Read it all.

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