Monday, February 28, 2005


Today the pro-Syrian government in Lebanon folded after persistant pressure from tens of thousands of demonstrators who risked their lives to protest the assassination of Rafik Hariri and the occupation of Lebanon by Syria.

Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader and Lebanese parliamentarian, who has not been a friend of the Bush Administration or the US occupation of Iraq, had a change of heart as a strong opposition front that included thousands of Lebanese expatriots...Muslim, Christian and Druze protestors, took to the streets in Paris, Stockholm, London, Kuwait City and Beirut. Jumblatt once called Paul Wolfowitz a "virus" and regretted that the Deputy Defense Secy hadn't been killed in a terrorist rocket strike in Baghdad just a month ago. Soooo it says something about the changing face of the Middle East when he told Washington Post reporter, David Ignatius, "..this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing."

Indeed. The "Dominos" are falling as predicted by the neo-con visionaries in the Bush Administration, and now with Condi Rice openly condemning Syria (something new for the State Dept.?); AND with Al Jazerra televising the unlikely march for democracy to the Arab Street, I suspect many more hearts and minds have converted to Jumblatt's way of thinking. Now is the moment to make an ally of Lebanese people in their quest for freedom just as we did for the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine..the road to emasculating Damascus is through Lebanon..and perhaps the road to Peace in the Middle East is nearby?

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Donk "Grassroots" Think GOPers Should Be Executed

More specifically, blacks and women:

If I had my way, I would see Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell strapped down to electric chairs and lit up like Christmas trees. The better to light the way for American Democracy and American Freedom!

So said Stephen Crockett, co-host of "Democratic Talk Radio," which boasts its mission as "spread[ing] the message of the Democratic Party and to provide an on-line home for grassroots Democrats everywhere."

So I guess that means that "the message of the Democratic Party" is a mix of racial and gender apartheid with Naziesque mass murder - in order to "restore American democracy and freedom."

You know, we've heard so much of this hate talk from these people for so long now that it's almost become easy to tune it out, or dismiss it as "moonbattery" not to be taken seriously. But what if they're really serious? After all, nobody in Germany took Adolph Hitler seriously when his party was winning 3% of the vote in parliamentary elections in the late 1920s. But then circumstances changed, and suddenly a lot more people started listening to his message, but only the part about making Germany "great" again, not the racialism and enslavement and "Final Solutions."

In a democracy, people generally get the kind of government they want. The same thing applies to political parties. And right now the Democrat Party seems, from its "grassroots" rhetoric, to be fertile ground for near-totalitarianism and rampaging retribution against designated "enemies" of "American democracy and freedom." All that would seem to be missing is a like-minded charismatic leader who can both galvanize them and put over a "safe," reassuring face to the American mainstream.

And guess who's the prohibitive favorite for the Dem nomination in 2008.

What passes for "conventional wisdom" fears an erosion or undermining of American democracy from within via anti-terror measures like the Patriot Act and supposedly dangerous "neocons." But it may prove to be the adamant opponents of such measures who are plotting the ends they attribute to the enemies they would "strap down to electric chairs and light up like Christmas trees."

I don't want to believe that. But until the Donk "grassroots" and leadership purges such fascist agitating from its body politic instead of giving it silent, nod-nod/wink-wink assent, it will get "progressively" more difficult to draw any other conclusion.

More Grist For The "Nuclear" Option

Double-H reports the results of Vox Blogoli 2.2:

Vox Blogoli 2.2, on the question of how the Senate GOP ought to respond to Senate Democrats' obstructionism on judges, is closed. More than 80 postings were made in response to the symposium, and less than 5% called for accommodation to the Democrats. There's a message for the GOP leadership in that: There is no constituency for patience any longer. Change the Senate's rules if there is a filibuster of a single nominee.

As if to confirm the battle lines as drawn, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) has declared his opposition to the possible elevation to Chief Justice of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia:

"I would spend a lot of time making the case he shouldn't be chief justice," Biden told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.

This despite the fact that Biden voted to confirm Scalia when he was first appointed to the High Court back in 1986.

Biden insisted that his about-face on Scalia had nothing to do with the justice's conservative views. "I would oppose him because of his methodology, the way he interprets the Constitution," he explained.

In other words, Biden objects to Justice Scalia's conservative views. He confirmed this in his very next comment:

Scalia "thinks there are no such things as unenumerated rights in the Constitution, which fundamentally alters the way in which you read the liberty clause of the 14th Amendment and a whole range of other things," the Delaware Democrat complained, before reiterating, "I would vote no."

The conservative view of "unenumerated rights" is that those are for the legislative process to determine and enact, and that if there is a desire to inject such rights into the Constitution itself, that's what the Amendment process is for. The liberal view is that the legislative process is irrelevant because the Left cannot generate majority support for their extremist agenda, so an oligarchical judiciary is necessary to bypass our democratic institutions and impose that agenda anyway regardless of the will of the majority. And no less a blowhard than Joe Biden has done the nation the favor of specifically "enumerating" that view and the out-of-the-mainstream agenda it seeks to advance.

The Left has gotten so extreme that even the name of their party has become oxymoronic. Ironic given the crusade for democracy that we're carrying on overseas. But if our own democracy is to retain any practical meaning, much less relevance, this judicial confirmation dispute must be brought to a showdown.

Four f'ing years is long enough. It's time to "go nuclear."


Hyde Calls Out The EUnuchs

There's not much I can add to this.

The European Union's (EU) resumption of arms sales to China "is a dangerous development that runs counter to the advance of liberty and threatens U.S. security interests, as well as those of Japan and Taiwan," charges Representative Henry Hyde, R-IL.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Thursday, Hyde, Chairman of the House International Relations Committee disputed the EU's contention that the arms embargo against China is no longer warranted on human-rights grounds.

Hyde scoffed at the claim, noting, "The many Chinese citizens who remain in prison 15 years later for activities related to Tiananmen might feel differently."

"The Communist Party remains firmly in power and permits few choices about what can be said publicly in exercise of personal liberty," Hyde added.

"The major European countries have resumed arms sales to China at an alarming pace and plan to terminate altogether the arms embargo imposed by the EU following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre," Hyde wrote.

"This is part of a 'strategic partnership' that the EU proclaimed at its summit meeting with China last December ... The new EU policy will provide the Chinese leadership with a significant propaganda coup and strike a blow to the pro-democracy movement in China," the lawmaker noted.

Representative Hyde wrote further that he found it even more disturbing that EU security policy toward China "is on a collision course with America's extensive security interests in Asia. The U.S. security posture in Asia has been the decisive factor in ensuring regional stability and prosperity since the end of World War II.

"Today, however, U.S. military planners and commanders are confronting a substantial Chinese military buildup, which includes deployment of approximately 500 short-range ballistic missiles across the Taiwan Strait and intercontinental missiles that can reach U.S. shores."

In the face of this threat, Hyde wrote, "European arms technology will only enhance the complexity, reliability and lethality of China's growing arsenal. They will also increase the likelihood that Beijing will acquire growing confidence in resolving the status of Taiwan and countering America's security posture in Asia elsewhere with the threat or use of force."

Noting that European arms sales to China doubled in a one-year period to the tune of half a billion dollars, Hyde argued, "Under the planned EU policy, weapons technology and know-how will flow to China at increasing levels and with increasing speed, much of it unlicensed or subject to 'open' licenses which go mainly unreported."

Hyde concluded, "This is a moment when the voices of thoughtful Europeans need to be heard above those who are easily seduced by lucrative Chinese contracts. The choice for Europe could not be clearer: it is between policies that promote the development of democracy in China or those that support China's military buildup and threaten U.S. security interests. This choice calls to mind the words of William Gladstone: 'Nothing that is morally wrong can be politically right.'"

I don't think there is anywhere close to the will, either in Europe or the United States, to even privately acknowledge the burgeoning threat to the world posed by Red China. After half a century of tense Cold War struggle containing one communist superpower, and now the "long twilight struggle" against Islamist fanaticism (which Europe won't even acknowledge, much less take seriously), the spiritual exhaustion of Beijing's perceived foes will be palpable. And from the Euros' perspective of ingrained appeasenikism and anti-Americanism, if the ChiComms can be bought off with arms and then diverted to make trouble for the U.S. in the Far East, well, so much the better for them, because surely it will never come back to bite them, right?

But in such an event - say, a grab for Taiwan - would the United States really intervene militarily? Or, still not recovered from the reckless Clinton defense slashes of the '90s and heavily committed in the Middle East, would we acquiesce, rationalizing that "we do, after all, have a 'one China' policy," and "the ChiComms haven't killed the Hong Kong golden goose yet, have they?"

Others would go still further, arguing that it was part of the PRC's global strategy to divert the US in the Middle East, and use North Korea's nuclear sabre-rattling, to keep their own imperialist designs in the dark and cultivate the already active desire on the part of the West to curry their favor diplomatically as a "partner" and even "ally." In this view the Butchers of Beijing, influenced both by their communist ideology and incipient cultural leanings, think in the very long term, are limitlessly patient, and will wait as long as necessary for the right moment and conditions and correlation of forces, and then make a direct move for global domination, rather than tipping their hand and creating unwanted complications and obstacles for themselves.

For my part, I still harken back to an essay written for Time magazine by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn almost a quarter of a century ago. The theme was American retreat in the Cold War under Jimmy Carter, but this paragraph concerning Red China is still relevant today:

In expectation of World War III the West again seeks cover, and finds Communist China as an ally! This is another betrayal, not only of Taiwan, but of the entire oppressed Chinese people. Moreover, it is a mad, suicidal policy. Having supplied billion-strong China with American arms, the West will defeat the USSR, but thereafter no force on Earth will restrain Communist China from world conquest.

Twenty-five years later, there isn't even the excuse of Cold War triangulation to paper over the EUnuchs' resumption of this arms trade. Like their treacherous "commerce" with Saddam Hussein, it is driven by nothing more than greed and a "mouse that roared" frustration with no longer being relevant players on the world stage.

Europe is turning on America, the latter is focused on the Middle East, and meanwhile, the People's Liberation Army keeps growing and growing and growing, with the former's obsequious assistance.

If there is a ChiComm master plan, it sounds like it's humming along right on schedule.

Blogs On The Warpath

The MSM depicts bloggers as pajama wearing wannabees; quasi-journalists without the "sources" to get things right. Rather, accuracy is crucially important in the blogosphere; unlike the impeccably dressed reporters writing for the NY Times, the boxed in talking heads on CNN or the 6 0'clock News anchors, errors have to be admitted on the day of the mistake or readers will jump all over you... Looks like the free ride is over for sloppy opinionated partisans disguised as straight News Men.

Take the Eason Jordan story. Jordan was CNN's chief news executive who shot off his mouth when he accused US soldiers of deliberately killing journalists in Iraq. He did so on a panel that included democrats Barney Franks and Chris Dodd and the event was covered by the full Press...they didn't print a word of it until bloggers descended like locusts demanding to see Jordan's evidence. Release the Tape!! Jordan was forced to resign because of the case made by bloggers. Another embarrassment for CNN and another scalp for the blogosphere.

The NYT responded to the hoopla with a sanitized account of Jordan's comments..the presence of Franks and Dodd was omitted so that the Times could blame the "out-of control" conservative head hunters trolling cyberspace for another Liberal trophy. When Jordan tried to cover his tracks, Barney Frank, to his credit, contradicted Jordan's retro-spin, "I meant collateral damage". No, no, no..according to Franks this is what Jordan said: "I knew of about 12 journalists who had not only been killed by American troops, but had been targeted as a matter of policy." Two down.(three if you count Rather)

The Left Wing Bloggeronimos, in a feeble attemp to equal R-bloggers with the pathetic "outting" of WH reporter, James Gannon or Guckert if you choose to focus on the man's personal life rather than IF his journalistic credentials qualify him to be included in the gaggle of puffed up blow hards at Presidential press conferences; have literally exposed a lot of irrelevant behavior because, (tell me if I'm wrong), there is NO STORY...this flap amounts to a whole lotta nuttin. So what if he asked soft ball questions? I can remember some reporter asking Clinton, "Why is the RWC so mean to you?"...The usual suspects in Congress are piling on..Waters, Boxer, Conyers, Slaughter..are trying their best to link this to their other fondly forgotten story..Valerie Plame..they call poor Gannon, aka Gannon...he was a gay hooker; Worse..he was a conservative blogger on GOPUSA?

Sheeeesh..They never learn..attack the message NOT the messenger?..Ah but that's the rub for the Left..when they have NO MESSAGE, they make one up. That's our cue to check their sources and ambush them at the pass....another bad hair day for Left Wing Bloggers and the Democratic Party. Scalped!!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Missioblogging: Nights #2-4

Like Thursday of Passion Week, there was no activity recorded for night #2.

Night #3, as mentioned previously, was "outreach through flatulence" night. I skipped the chilinalia in favor of demolishing a huge mound of nachos and a fish & chips dinner at a nearby Denny's, which only served to confirm to me the mediocre quality of their food. It also reminded me why it isn't a good idea to "consume mass quantities" after not having eaten all day, as I had to, shall we say, "use the facilities" before I even got to the church building. This created a potential problem because not only did I arrive several minutes late (natch) but I feared I'd miss the beginning of the first missionary field report while "enthroned."

Fortunately my exit from the loo coincided with the beginning of said missionary's comments.

His name is Stephen Jordan. He, his wife Ginger, and their daughters Rebekah and Abagail, serve with New Tribes Mission in the Philippines. They live and serve amongst the Agutaynen people on Palawan and have begun to study their language and build relationships.

Their ongoing prayer request is that their lives will bring glory to God and draw the Agutaynens to Himself. And as Mr. Jordan related it, the burden they have on their hearts for these people has grown so large that they are moving up their return to the Philippines from July to April - just after the arrival of their third child.

What's the hurry? The building response of the Agutaynen people. Mr. Jordan spoke of a recent church dedication in a village two hours away from their home base. A bus with a seating capacity of fifty was earmarked to take parishioners to the dedication. Three times that many people showed up to go.

Another factor is that they're finally getting the additional "warm bodies" to help them. Two families, to be precise, and God's hand was clearly seen in the overcoming of a housing obstacle for one of them.

Finally, the very cultural obstacles that they have to overcome to reach the Agutaynens. Native superstitions are deeply ingrained. When babies are born, items such as ginger pouches and bullet casings are affixed to the little ones as talismanic "good luck"/anti-evil spirit charms. They also harbor a quasi-Nazarite belief that strength and vitality come from hair length. Convincing their people that none of these things matter, that all anybody truly needs is to repent and trust in Christ as Savior and LORD, must come across as an exhortation to use a smile as your umbrella during monsoon season.

But it's the Holy Spirit that works in the hearts of men (and women). Missionaries' task is to make the Gospel known to the "four corners" of the globe.

This made for a nice segue into the remarks of the conference's keynote speaker, Kameel Kilada. Mr. Kilada, his wife Rachel, and their half dozen kids, serve with Middle Eastern Missionary Organization (MEMO) in Spain and, that's right, Egypt.

MEMO has as its primary goal to place national missionaries strategically in Arab countries. In recent years, the LORD has also opened new doors for ministry in Spain, both among Moroccan immigrants and for the broadcast of Arabic Gospel radio programs from that vantage point in North African countries. Mr. Kilada frequently visits the field to encourage local workers, to help them meet new challenges in their ministries, and to provide them with the tools they need for expanding their work. The Kiladas also maintain the mission's home office where they work closely with the board of directors, raise support for national missionaries, provide awareness seminars on Islam and the Arab world, produce written materials, videos, and CDs, and manage an Arabic/English website for evangelism and leadership training.

Not to be intemperate to the theme of this post, but this man has a set on him. Given the frenzied, desperate state of Islazism across the Middle East these days, and the recent jihad perpetrated against a family of Egyptian Christian emigres in New Jersey, it takes boldness aplenty to continue to go to Egypt and oversee the "planting" of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such manifestly hostile "soil."

But Mr. Kilada is a bold man, who freely acknowledges and emphasizes that that courage comes from God as a result of the prayers of the saints offered up on his behalf.

That was the core theme of his remarks. Prayer is the foundation of God's work, including the mission field (Luke 10:2). It opens doors and facilitates clear preaching of the Word (Colossians 4:2-4). And it stirs up new hands to reap the harvest of souls all over the world.

In that context, Mr. Kilada set out some interesting population trends. For example, there are approximately 200,000 Christian missionaries worldwide to reach a global population of 6.5 billion. A quick bit of tapping on your trusty ten-key tells you that that's one missionary for every 32,500 people. A rather daunting task, huh? Now let's massage those numbers further. Of those 200,000 missionaries, only 96,000 of them serve outside their home countries. In an American context, that's one missionary for every 64,583 people. But don't stop there. Of those 96,000, only 38,000 serve both outside their own country and their own culture - i.e. in a non-Western or Westernized locale.

What was the point of this seemingly veiled rebuke? That missionary work is not a hobby, or an excuse for travel or vacations or globe-trotting, or a resume-enhancer, or an act of penance to work off guilt. It is a calling, a full-time vocation, and an act of self-sacrifice. It is leaving everything behind and going where God tells you to go to be used as God would use you. It is saying, "Here am I, LORD, send me."

Sermon outlines oftentimes make use of the alliterative template, and Mr. Kilada's was no different. It can be summarized as follows:

1) Recruitment - praying for the calling of new missionaries

2) Response - God answering those prayers by inspiring more workers to join in the harvest

3) Resources - Missionaries trusting in God to provide for their needs, and the supporting churches giving towards them as God moves them

4) Receptivity - God opening doors in other parts of the world for missionaries to go in and proclaim the Gospel

5) Regurgitation - Proclaming the Gospel and trusting God to provide the optimal means of doing so as the situation requires

6) Rescue - God's protection of His workers in the field, who oftentimes face danger and death fro the Gospel's enemies

7) Results - Bringing the harvest in as the Holy Spirit moves in the hearts and minds of the lost

The common thread running through that progression, as in the Christian walk in general, is faith. Not a blind faith, as we have God's Word to guide us. But rather a faith that is total and transcends circumstances. A faith that trusts God no matter what happens, even in the depths of despair. A faith that looks utterly irrational to the mind of the "natural man," but without which it is impossible to please God.

Oftentimes this means not trying to make things happen by your own efforts, but waiting for God to provide. Tell me that isn't counter-intuitive. Mr. Kilada related an anecdote that was wonderfully illustrative (he related several, actually, but I'll stick to this one).

When he was first called into ministry, he did what he thought was the responsible, even faithful, thing to do: he sold his Stateside house, intending to use the proceeds as seed money for his Egyptian ministry. No sooner had he deposited the funds in an Egyptian bank, however, than he discovered that they had disappeared. Every last red cent. Whether it was a mistake, or bureaucratic incompetence, or the sort of kleptocratic corruption all too typical of Third World despotisms, Mr. Kilada and his wife and then-three young children were stuck in a hostile country with no money and no way to get back to the U.S.

At that point he did what any believer would do: he got on his knees and cried out to God. Not in a fist-shaking, self-pity-fest of heavenward recriminations, but in the sense of, "Okay, LORD, you called me here and now you've let this happen, so what do I do now?"

The lesson Mr. Kilada says God taught him was that in trying to finance his own way to the mission field, he was not relying upon God, and therefore wasn't following God's plan. Since God called him, God would also pave the way for the ministry He intended Mr. Kilada to pursue.

So he sat back and waited on God. And God provided. He put it on the hearts of other Egyptian believers to provide financial support. Checks started showing up like manna from the sky. Doors started opening. Thus did MEMO gestate and develop, as it still does to this day.

It's a heady thing, faith, especially at that level. A level, I should hasten to add, that I've never reached. But who knows? I may have to one day, perhaps sooner than I know. Because, as is also a recurring them of the conference, all believers are called to missions, whether on the other side of the planet or in our own neighborhoods and communities.

As I alluded, Mr. Kilada has grapefruits, indeed. Still not convinced? He told us that God has laid a special outreach burden on his heart - for Saudi Arabia.

That'd be the biggest coup since the Ten Plagues. And just as indicative of His unchallengable power and unparallel lovingkindness.

Parallel to the main program was a children's conference. Friday night began with the Atkins, who spoke Wednesday, and Andrew Prout.

Mr. Prout is affiliated with Christar and serves in Pakistan, another decidedly ballsy assignment. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary with a T.H.M in New Testament Studies. He has "missioned" in Turkey and India as well, and has been active in Pakistan for the past four years as a lecturer at Zarapheth Bible Institute in Rawalpindi. He is currently on furlough in the Seattle area and is slated to return to the Middle East in mid-May.

Day #4 began with a men's breakfast I was unable to attend. The featured speaker was Steve Van Horn, who serves with his wife Brenda in International Training & Equipping Ministries. Dr. Van Horn is ITEM's founder and president. He established the organization as an international ministry in 2003, although he birthed its forerunner while in Nairobi, Kenya teaching theology. ITEM exists to provide training for pastors and church leaders in the world who do not have easy access to formal theological education.

Mrs. Kilada spoke to the ladies' luncheon.

This evening, which I was also unable to attend due to a prior commitment, Mr. Kilada again headlined, following a field report from Steve & Sarah Holmes.

The Holmes work with New Tribes Mission in Paraguay, where they serve as church planters. NTM is committed to planting churches among tribal peoples who have no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ - the ultimate fulfillment of the Great Commission.

A Tale of Two Basketball Games

One was a classic with honest-to-goodness playoff intensity. The other was a massacre.

I don't know who does the scheduling for upper primary grade basketball, but somebody was asleep at the switch this year. My son's undefeated team played a school called Lighthouse Christian Academy twice, but somehow both games were at their gym. The first contest three weeks ago was an easy 25-9 victory, but the rematch this morning was, shall we say, another story.

We were a little late arriving because I wanted to finish my Vox Blogoli post, and because when I emerged from my den neither child was ready to go anyway. Call us "Team Late," I suppose, because it seems to run in the family.

It didn't matter much because my son isn't a starter and warm-ups and lay-up drills are largely lost on him. For what playing time he did get he played decently - what sportscasters typically refer to as play that "doesn't show up in the box score." IOW, a greater focus on defense, diving for loose balls, that sort of thing. Though there were several occasions when he was standing out on the three point line unguarded where a quick dart to the free throw line would have gotten him easy shots that he would have swished. If, of course, he'd been passed the ball, which is always an adventure when tried, as I documented last week.

When we walked in our team was actually behind, something to which I am not accustomed. "We" never fell completely out of it (Lighthouse's biggest lead never exceeded seven points), but the kids could never quite seem to get over the hump. They'd catch up, then fall behind, catch up, fall behind. A lot of it was their aggressive play and (for fifth graders) good marksmanship, but at least as much was attributable to our matador defense, which was chortlingly passed off as a "zone." I don't recall seeing our kids playing a zone in any other game this season, and this game should firmly establish why I never should see it again. We'd just stand there, waiting for them to bring the ball up, nobody above the free throw line. They'd come down and then penetrate at will, and our defensive rotations never caught up, when they functioned at all. Zones are supposed to be "team" defenses, but this one looked like the cones on a driving course.

We got back into the game in the fourth quarter not through stepped up defensive pressure but through pounding the ball inside to exploit our kids' size advantage and their kids' cooling off at the other end. Finally catching them for good in the final stanza, the boys inexorably forged ahead, and led by five with a minute left.

And that's when the show really began.

A number of us dads (some louder than others) noticed the rather obvious bias on the part of the two referees, who were, of course, supplied by Lighthouse. The man sitting just down from me (I had the Jack Nicholson courtside position) prominently observed that our kids were playing "five on seven," and it showed with fifty-seven seconds to go.

Lighthouse had possession. They put up an errant shot, and one of their kids, blocked out but going for the ball anyway, lunged over the back of one of ours, landing on him and almost taking his head off in the process. It was a loose ball foul that even a dead blind man could have seen.

Their ref whistled the foul - on our kid.

Now I'm not going to sit here polishing my halo and claim that I didn't say anything. My bellow was along the lines of, "Oh, come on, you have got to be kidding!" But that was the extent of my commentary. And I never left my seat, or even stood up.

My counterpart down the bleachers from me, however, not only got up, but walked across the court to give that ref a piece of his mind. Not in any sort of angry mad dash (this man is 6'8" and probably 400 pounds, which means that he couldn't dash if he wanted to, but wouldn't need to dash, either), but in a relatively calm, deliberative manner. Had this been even a high school game, he'd have probably been thrown out of the gym for it, but this was only a fifth-grade contest.

Or so I thought. Next thing I knew, my son's coach, who, so far as I know (which admittedly isn't all that well) is fairly sedate, suddenly leaped out of his chair and lunged, screaming, into the same ref's face. And the ref T-'d him up!

I looked at my daughter, who was sitting next to me, and rhetorically asked, "Am I on Candid Camera?" Being not quite thirteen years old, she had no idea what I was referring to, but the message got through nonetheless. This was one of the damndest things I've personally witnessed. I mean, you hear about things like this at Little League and soccer contests and such, but you never think you're actually going to see it yourself. It was like we'd gone to an otherwise friendly athletic event between eleven year olds and suddenly the NBA Finals broke out.

The coaches from both teams, the refs, and what I'm guessing was a school official huddled at mid-court to, I assume, calm things down. And our coach went to every parent in the gym and profusely apologized for his outburst. I could understand why - he's in charge of impressionable children and he didn't exactly set the best example for them. However, I told him that I understood how he had felt. I don't know that I'd have done what he did in his place, but I did understand. It was a totally BS call designed to help the homeboys, and our kid did get walloped. It was, in short, the platform for a screwing.

Sure enough, Lighthouse inbounded and, as if things couldn't get any more surreal, one of their gunners who had spent most of the game hurling up bricks from long range drained a three-pointer. Combined with the technical foul shot, which they had also converted, they were suddenly down by only a point with still twenty seconds left to go. Then we threw the ball away. And then, in honest-to-God, can-you-believe-this?, "Havlicek stole the ball!" fashion, one of our kids stole the inbounds pass and we ran out the clock.

Final score: 33-32. Only thing that could have topped it would have been overtime. Or our coach getting ejected. Or a mass brawl. At that point I was ceasing to rule anything out. But at least justice was done.

As to my daughter's game, let's just say their opponents from Life Christian Academy, who dropped a 24-18 decision to our girls earlier in the season, appear to have circled this one on their calendars. At the end of the first quarter they led 14-0. At half it was 22-2. They played all their incredibly tall girls (and I do mean tall - one is as tall as their coach. She didn't even have to raise her heels from the floor, for heaven's sake) for the bulk of the game. They ran up the score deliberately, and could have done so even more in the second half if they'd wanted.

Suffice it to say the final score of 36-10 wasn't remotely as indicative of how lopsided this game was.

It reminded me of the end of the climactic scene from the movie Wild Wild West. The villain, Dr. Arliss Loveless, has just plunged to his death, and the co-hero, Captain Jim West (played with delightful panache by Will Smith) is hanging from a chain dangling over the abyss. As West looks down at Loveless' remains, he exclaims, "Now that's a whuppin'."

Indeed it was.

Vox Blogoli 2.2: Does the Senate GOP Go McClellan or Grant if Harry Reid "Goes Gingrich?"

"The Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, has said that if the Republicans made good on their threat and ruled filibusters out of order, he would see to it that Senate business came to a halt."

I think he's bluffing.

Not in the sense that he won't try it if Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) invokes the metaphorically overheated "nuclear option" by changing the Senate rules to prohibit filibusters of judicial nominations - as I'll get to shortly, he can hardly do anything else - but in the sense of being able to sustain such a wall-to-wall blockade.

If there's one thing that Dirty Harry's tenure has already conclusively demonstrated, it is that the Senate Democrat leader's post is little more than an exercise in puppetry. Just as Donks who harbor presidential aspirations must move way left in order to realize them, so those who seek congressional leadership posts (from which to run for president, in many an instance) must tack hard to port as well.

Tom Daschle was a conservative Democrat when he was first elected to the U.S. Senate from South Dakota. But as he rose in prominence, his Beltway bubble moved steadily off plumb, even as he pretended to be the same man he used to be to the folks back home. This deception was fundamentally unsustainable since the onset of the Blogacious Period, and last November the chickens finally came home to roost.

Harry Reid is version 2.0: from a "red" state, a moderate within the Democrat caucus, but now that he's its titular leader, he's sounding like Teddy Kennedy and Chucky Schumer. And that's no coincidence, because if you want to know who the chief puppeteer is, you need look no farther than the Massachusetts Manatee.

EMK is the de facto Minority Leader. He sits atop everything Senate Dems claim to stand for (or, more accurately, against). He just doesn't assume the post de jure because Donks are incapable of honesty and candor. Ol' Tyrannosaurus Sex became a cliché for brain-dead liberalism decades ago, so his colleagues almost reflexively choose a supposed "centrist" to serve as faceman, who then proceeds to abandon all the traits and stances that made him a leadership candidate in the first place. Because only one thing really matters to the Dem mainstream circa 2005, even more than winning elections: its rigidly extreme left-wing ideology.

Consequently, when Dirty Harry walks to the microphones and drones forth about "going Gingrich" and shutting down the entire federal government in order to perpetuate his party's ongoing attempt to nullify the results of not just one, but the last two presidential elections, you can almost hear the slurred "Baaaaaahston" accent (though hopefully you won't see Teddy's hand reaching up under Reid's coat - that could give you nightmares for weeks…).

And yet what is it that the Bush White House and Senate Republicans actually seek?

An up-or-down vote on each nominee. Which, of course, the Democrats know they don't have the votes to stop. That's what happens when you lose badly in three successive election cycles. You'd almost say it sucks to be them, except that they're determined to make it suck for everybody else if they don't get their petulant, childish way.

Just consider that contrast again: an up-or-down vote on each nominee versus "any nominee who can be suspected of believing in the personhood of the unborn or of other 'deeply held [i.e. illiberal] beliefs'…is [not] qualified to sit on the federal bench." Reasonable versus unreasonable. Mainstream versus extreme. Adults versus "I'll hold my breath till I turn blue!"

Given that this question was settled by definition in favor of Bush and the GOP last November, it seems to me that they have an entrenched PR advantage that the Democrats can't touch. I mean come on, George W. Bush versus Harry Reid? Might as well say Godzilla versus Bambi.

Thus, it seems a no-brainer slam-dunk that the confirmation process should move forward (with a symbolic taser aimed at Arlen Specter just in case), Senator Frist should nuke the Dems' inevitable filibusters, and when Dirty Harry shuts down the entire government and tries to stop Earth from rotating on its axis, just sit back, fold his arms, flash a Hannibal Smith grin, and wait for his bloc to start crumbling.

I don't think it would take long. Red-staters like Kent Conrad, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, and Jeff Bingaman who are up for re-election next year saw what happened to Tom Daschle and would have to weigh signing on to such a kamikaze run very carefully. Add in newly elected Ken Salazar, who has already said that he doesn't buy into this puerile tantrum-throwing, and you have the ingredients for a complete unraveling and propaganda disaster. Or, put another way, just how many seats to the Democrats want to lose in '06?

The real question, though, is whether Frist will have the courage to go through with it. Nobody ever went broke underestimating the Republican propensity for seizing defeat from the jaws of victory, and many such defeats have come from confrontations such as this. And this, in turn, illustrates what the point of Dirty' Harry's threat really is: to intimidate the Republicans into caving, triggering a revolt by their own base that would completely skew the dynamic of the '06 mid-terms much as happened in 1986 and 1998.

It all comes down to this: the Democrats are a minority that refuses to admit it's no longer the majority; the Republicans are a majority that still can't quite shake off the decades-ingrained habits of minority subservience. Judicial nominations are the arena in which this intractable force will collide with that moveable object.

Whether or not Senate Pachyderms "move" will go a long way toward determining whether they will remain the majority - and whether they deserve to.

Friday, February 25, 2005

And Libs Call BUSH A Lousy Diplomat?

Take a look at this cow in a china shop:

New York Senator Hillary Clinton has caused an international incident after she criticized Iraq's leading candidate to become prime minister as a result of last month's historic election, prompting a sharp rebuke.

"Hillary Clinton, as far as I know, does not represent any political decision or the American administration, and I don't know why she said this," Dr. Ibrahim Jafari, who is expected to become prime minister, told the Times of London on Thursday.

"She knows nothing about the Iraqi situation," he added.

During an interview last Sunday, Clinton complained about Jafari's nomination by the duly elected Shia coalition.

"I think that there are grounds both for concern and for, you know, vigilance about this," she told NBC's Meet the Press. "It is a historical fact that he, along with the Dawa Party, have had connections with Iran . . . There are also family ties and religious ties."

The comments angered Dr. Jafari, a physician from Karbala who fled to Iran only after Saddam Hussein had members of his party killed. He blasted Mrs. Clinton as ill-informed.

"We are not at an American traffic light to be given a red or green signal," Jafari told the Times. "I am speaking on behalf of a collective decision. I will stop when the Iraqi people say to stop."

It's worth pointing out that a number of commentators who ought to know whereof they speak on this matter, such as Ralph Peters and Amir Taheri, are backing Dr. Jafari. And, apart from that, even if you're not sure about the incoming Iraqi PM's leanings, don't you have to admit that he has a point? If we're genuinely committed to democracy in the Middle East, don't we have to respect the choices Iraqi voters have made? And haven't we ensured that the constitutional foundation has been established that will minimize the chances of a "one man, one vote, once" situation from arising?

Isn't Mrs. Clinton's the sort of cynical, hamfisted, meddlesome imperiousness that one would expect libs to impute to George Bush and the "neocons"?


The Bush Administration has not expressed concerns similar to Mrs. Clinton's, said the New York Sun, which first reported Dr. Jafari's comments in the U.S.

I said it before, I'm saying it now, and I'll continue to say it over the next few years: this is the next President of the United States, and interludes like this one give us a window into what her administration is going to be like.

We can only hope and pray that such memory markers will be enough to overcome the vaunted Clinton propaganda machine.

Otherwise, we might need Prime Minister Jafari and his people to come and liberate us.

Kofi Annan, Born-Again Crusader

Wanna know how much anti-Syrian momentum has built up after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri?

I'll show you how much:

Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary-general, added his voice yesterday to American calls for Syria to pull out of Lebanon.

He warned the Syrians in an Arabic television interview that they would face "measures" - presumably some form of sanctions - if they did not pull their army out of Lebanon completely by April.

With pressure growing every day, Waleed al-Mualem, the Syrian deputy foreign minister, committed his country to further withdrawals, but failed to make a clear commitment to complete evacuation.

Hey, when even France is ahead of the UN on the Syria-must-get-the-hell-out-of-Lebanon-or-else curve, you know that Boy Assad is in some seriously deep camel dung.

What this tells me is that Annan, whose regime is drowning in appalling scandals of all shapes and sizes, is feeling almost as much heat as the Syrian dictator and is desperate to change the subject - so desperate that he's willing to get behind {GASP!} President Bush.

A foxhole conversion if there ever was one, of course. Annan isn't serious about actually doing anything to get Syria out of Lebanon that would actually get Syria out of Lebanon (i.e. military action) - Damascus has a seat on the f'ing Security Council, for heaven's sake. But to the coward, even personal pride and self-respect are subordinate to the overarching imperative of saving one's own ass.

Ol' Kofi has made that sour-milk-swallow. Now to see if Boy Assad can be "persuaded" to follow suit.

[Hat tip: Captain's Quarters]

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Spectre Of Specter Rises Again? Well, Cry Me A River

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (RINO-PA) visited the editorial board of the Washington Post yesterday, and apparently was in rare iconoclastic, backstabbing form:

If you thought that his brush with losing the committee chairmanship had chastened the legendarily contrarian Specter, if you thought his recent diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease might have tempered his approach - well, that wasn't the Specter on display in a visit with The Post editorial board yesterday. Instead, the discussion featured Specter Unbound: the Specter who voted against Robert H. Bork rather than the one who rallied to the defense of Clarence Thomas.

Specter had some cautionary words for Democrats as well - chiding them for opposing qualified nominees such as Miguel Estrada, urging them to allow votes and avoid an ugly showdown, and placing blame - properly so - on both sides for inflaming and escalating the judicial nomination wars. For two decades, he said, Democrats and Republicans have been blocking the other side's judges, using increasingly unappetizing tactics. "Now," he said, "it's a situation where nobody wants to back down." Still, he reserved his toughest words for the extremists of his own party, pressed for accommodations from his own side and made clear that his cooperation with the administration would have its limits. All he had promised the President, Specter said, was a "prompt airing" for his nominees and a vote out of committee. "Those are the extent of my commitments," he said flatly.

~ ~ ~

His post-election comments that a Supreme Court nominee who opposed abortion rights was not likely to win Senate confirmation was reported as a warning to the president, and the groups that had hoped to unseat the moderate Specter in favor of a more conservative Republican then mobilized in an effort to deny him the chairmanship. Or, as Specter not so diplomatically put it, "the far right was ready to pounce on me if I'd done nothing but said the Lord's Prayer, and that was a crevice and they went after it."

~ ~ ~

But yesterday, though he said he had not yet taken a position on the nuclear option, Specter made clear his serious reservations about infringing on the traditional rights of the minority. "Once you plant the seed, that has enormous flourishing power in the Congress," he said. And when asked whether filibustering a nominee is ever justifiable, Specter paused for several seconds before delivering a lengthy answer that boiled down to yes: "It ought to be reserved for a truly extraordinary case and not to make it an everyday practice as the Democrats have."

Five words (not counting the preceding seven):

[Hat tip: Captain's Quarters]

What Nobody's Asking About The "Jackson 12"

All we've heard this week is how there are no "African-Americans" on the jury for the Michael Jackson child molestation trial.

Okay, here's the question: even if you buy the racist notion that racial categorization equates to "peer-ship," since the Gloved One himself hasn't been black for nearly twenty years, why is this even an issue?

Let the flying Fredersen brigades scramble....

A Little Piece of My Heart

Closure is an over-used cliche' until the remains of a loved one can not be laid to rest. 1,161 families must come to terms with the fact that closure will never be...New York City's chief medical examiner after years of painstaking efforts to ID the 2, 749 WTC victims said: "We have exhausted our options..We are pausing."

Not the smallest bodily evidence of husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers or fathers, slaughtered at the World Trade Center on 9/ll can be returned to their families for burial..not an iota of proof that these individuals once lived and breathed and loved and cherished life can be commemorated and resolved at a funeral with a coffin containing the body or a plot in a cemetery to tend. Thousands vanished into the cloud of smoke and ash that rose to the heavens three years ago in NYC.

As time goes on many lament the loss of soldiers' lives and the monetary cost, spent in the fight against the terror net work that targets our fellow human beings. Some far removed from the tragedy have forgotten the despicable affront to humanity..soldiers avenging us in this War have not..GW Bush has not..we must keep on fighting the monsters that would see us all dead if we become complacent and drop our guard..Never forget the lesson learned by the victims of the attack on 9/ll..there is no such thing as closure...all that remains is memories.

The Price Tag of Montezuma's Revenge

According to Columbia University economists David Weinstein and Donald Davis, it's $68 billion a year and counting:

Unlike earlier studies, this new model does not treat the movement of immigrant labor into the country simply as a result of abundant resources and demand for labor, assumptions more appropriate to the 19th century.

Rather, the model takes into account globalization, the technological superiority of the American economy, and the resulting high standard of living.
Among the report’s findings:

-In 2002, the net loss to U.S. natives from immigration was $68 billion.

-This $68 billion annual loss represents a $14 billion increase just since 1998. As the size of the immigrant population has continued to increase, so has the loss.

-The decline in wages is relative to the price of goods and services, so the study takes into account any change in consumer prices brought about by immigration.

-The negative effect comes from increases in the supply of labor, and not the legal (or illegal) status of immigrants.

-While natives lose from immigration, the findings show that immigrants themselves benefit substantially by coming to America.

-Those who remain behind in their home countries also benefit from the migration of their countrymen.

Small wonder that more and more center-right commentators are citing this issue as the one that can blow apart the GOP majority coalition. Dems, of course, have no respect for the rule of law and will welcome anything that can get them back into power, the law be damned. It is Republicans who have to step up and deal with this problem, and that is the precise opposite of President Bush's amnesty-by-any-other-name stance.

This matter has been slowly rising to a high-rolling boil for years. Throw in the national security imperative vis-a-vie the intersection of WMD proliferation and Islamist terrorism and the breaking point cannot be very far off.

Here's another of my old sayings: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

Keep that one in mind after the next 9/11, if the Bush White House doesn't keep it in mind beforehand.

An Army of One

In France, it's literally true:

From the Washington Post story I linked to below, there is a fun fact worth pointing out. In the agreement reached with NATO to train 1,500 Iraqi forces, France had agreed to commit a single military officer. From the story, "France on Tuesday became the final NATO member to commit to the training effort, following recent commitments by Germany, Greece and Belgium. France pledged one military officer to help in coordination at NATO headquarters."

Makes sense. How many advisors does it take to teach Iraqis how to throw their hands in the air, or make and wave white flags? Besides, it will keep the BO problem at the training facilities at a manageable level.

The big question is, will the "single military officer" be surnamed Clouseau?

[Hat tip: GOP Bloggers]

Missioblogging: Night #1

Last night was the kickoff of Valley Bible Church's annual missionary conference. It runs through this coming Sunday, February 27th.

Each year for five days VBC invites a number of the numerous missionaries that it supports to come and speak to the congregation. This takes the form of sermons, reports, as well as displays, slide shows, materials, and a children's program. There's also a chili feed on Friday evening. I'm not sure what the natural or logical connection is between missionary outreach and the stimulated production and emission of greenhouse gases, but it's been a tradition since before my family began worshipping there, and that's been nearly sixteen years.

The proceedings were inaugurated by the Reverend H. Ben Benthien. Ben has pastored churches in the Pacific Northwest since 1983. Prior to that he and his wife Linnea were missionaries for years in the Phillipines. After a hiatus a few years ago Ben resumed his ministry, working with Tacoma Pierce County Chaplaincy. He also serves through Northwest Independent Church Extension as a minister-at-large.

Ben delivered a brief field report with an emphasis on providing witness and loving assistance to people in need in times of crisis and tragedy. In what would surely have caused Christophobes' jaws to drop, Ben also stressed the importance of {GASP!} not judging said people, but rather loving them with God's love. If there was a theme to his comments, it was a fair "borrowing" from Nike's old slogan: Don't offer to help, "just do it."

The main event speaker (delivering the "missionary challenge," which is essentially a sermon brought by a missionary) was Tim Atkins of the aforementioned N.I.C.E. Tim and his wife, Brenda, are planting a church in the South Hill area of Puyallup, WA. Their ministry goals are to (1) establish evangelistic contacts in the Puget Sound area, (2) proclaim the Gospel with the intent of seeing new converts come to Jesus Christ for salvation, (3) train new believers in evangelism and discipleship through weekly Bible studies, (4) build a core group of twelve to fifteen families into an organized church body, and (5) see the establishment of an Independent Bible Church impacting the community and reaching out with the Gospel.

Needless to say, they are a very busy couple. To find out more, be sure to visit their website.

But Tim found the time to bring a very emblematic message from the first chapter of the Gospel of John.

Focusing on v. 35-42:

Again the next day John [the Baptist] was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"

The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him," Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?" He said to them, "Come, and you will see."

So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

I'll put Mr. Atkins' message in the form of a question: whom do you think was the "star" of this passage?

If you guessed Andrew, go to the head of the class.

Now what was it that Andrew did in this passage? (1) He was led to Christ (by John the Baptist); (2) he followed Christ; (3) he listened to Christ; and (4) he responded by bringing his brother to Christ.

What's the point? That this is what missionaries do. Whether overseas or right here at home, missionaries bring people to Christ by bringing Christ to the people. And all Christians are to be missionaries.

Mr. Atkins brought out that Andrew is among the most obscure of the twelve disciples/apostles. He's only mentioned two other times in John's Gospel, in chapters six and twelve respectively. And what is he recorded as doing in these two instances?

-Bringing the little boy with the five loaves of bread and two fish to Jesus, from which He fed the five thousand (John 6:8-9);

-With Phillip, bringing some Greek worshippers to Jesus (John 12:20-22)

Andrew never addressed three thousand people, as Peter did. It's not recorded that he performed any miracles. He's not once mentioned in the Book of Acts, and he never wrote a single epistle.

But without Andrew, Simon would never have become Peter. And the Church of Jesus Christ would have had no rock.

Missionary work, in short, is, for the most part, unglamorous, sometimes hazardous, and certainly not vastly pecuniary. It's long, difficult "grunt" work. But it's not unrewarding, because any service rendered unto the LORD is worthwhile and can have eternal compensations in the form of a vast harvest of once-lost souls.

I believe it was William Borden, the saintly young missionary who died of disease before he ever got to his mission field, who said, "A man is no fool to give up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Not for nothing will Jesus greet raptured believers with the embracing words, "Well done, good and faithful servant." And every last one will be there because another "found them, and brought them to Jesus."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

"I'm In..."

Thanks Jim: Invitation accepted with relish!!

Finally I've made the big time in the blogosphere..cleared all the technical frustrations and can give you all a piece of my mind.

Fasten your seat belts boys and girls..this is gonna be a bumpy ride..


btw: This must be my lucky day..Scott has a new conservative forum up and's gotta be better than what the Prospero-nazis did to Rs?

JAS P.S.: Kay has been a long sought-after free agent to our team. Kind of like if Peggy Noonan decided to moonlight from the Wall Street Journal by joining the gents at Powerline.

I don't know that we're in the "big time" yet, but I just managed to put over Kay, John Ross, TC, the Republican Forum in a mere nineteen words, so if that threshold is approaching, it looks like I'll be ready for it.

But enough about me. Kay has her own blog (Little Mercy), her own mind, her own opinions, and no reluctance about dispensing them.

And, like the Romulans, she takes no prisoners.

Business is definitely picking up.

Why Bother With Europe?

Mark Steyn attempted to answer that question yesterday in his inimitable way. And the gist of his answer seems to be, "for the hell of it."

[I]n the broader sense vis-à-vis Europe, the [Bush] Administration is changing the tone precisely because it understands there can be no substance. And, if there's no substance that can be changed, what's to quarrel about? International relations are like ex-girlfriends: if you're still deluding yourself you can get her back, every encounter will perforce be fraught and turbulent; once you realise that's never gonna happen, you can meet for a quick decaf latte every six – make that 10 – months and do the whole hey-isn't-it-terrific-the-way-we're-able-to-be-such-great-friends routine because you couldn't care less. You can even make a few pleasant noises about her new romance (the so-called European Constitution) secure in the knowledge he's a total loser.

I can't speak from personal experience on this aphorism, as I married the first and only girlfriend I ever dated. And frankly, if put into it, I would think I wouldn't want to see my one-time beau's face ever again.

That's what puzzles me about the Administration's efforts to "reach out" to Old Europe. The whole thing is nothing more than diplo-diddling. We're not going to change their minds about Iraq and arming Red China and de-nuking Iran and getting Syria out of Lebanon and otherwise making foreign policy actually relevant to the world on which we all live, and they're certainly not going to sway Dubya, either. The President keeps talking about "transatlantic unity" and yet the EU continues on its adversarial path against us and our interests, all in a misguided effort to "counterbalance" America out of a plaintive effort to remain relevant in an arena of great-power politics that their post-military enfeeblement has caused to pass them by and leave them behind.

Put another way, bullets are a prerequisite to ballots, and the EUnuchs have little real interest in either, other than selling gobs of the former to hostile powers who will use them against us.

So what makes "the backwater that would rule the world" worth a presidential visit?

Preserving NATO, perhaps, as a "counterbalance" to the EU?

[T]he "collective security" blather is completely bogus. In the column I wrote on September 11, 2001, I mentioned en passant that among the day's consequences would be the end of NATO - "a military alliance for countries that no longer in any recognisable sense have militaries". I can't remember why I mentioned Europe and NATO in that 9/11 column. It seems an odd thing to be thinking about as the towers were falling.

But it was clear, even then, that the day's events would test the Atlantic relationship and equally clear that it would fail that test. Later that week, for the first time in its history, NATO invoked its famous Article Five - the one about how an attack on one member is an attack on all. But, even as the press release was rolling off the photocopier, most of the "allies" in this post-modern alliance were insisting that the declaration didn't mean anything. "We are not at war," said Belgium. Norway and Germany announced that there would be no deployment of their forces.

Has that sorry attitude improved since then? Nope.

Remember last year's much trumpeted NATO summit in Turkey? This was the one at which everyone was excited at how the "alliance" had agreed to expand its role in Afghanistan beyond Kabul to the country's somewhat overly autonomous "autonomous regions".

What this turned out to mean on closer examination was that, after the secretary-general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, put the squeeze on Nato's 26 members, they reluctantly put up an extra 600 troops and three helicopters for Afghanistan. That averages out at 23.08 troops per country, plus almost a ninth of a helicopter apiece. As it transpired, the three Black Hawks all came from one country - Turkey - and they've already gone back. And Afghanistan is supposed to be the good war, the one Continental officials all claim to have supported, if mostly retrospectively and for the purposes of justifying their "principled moral opposition" to Iraq.

So, then, is it a case of cultivating the marginally lesser of two obnoxious evils? Ah, now we're getting warm:

NATO will not be around circa 2015 - which is why the Americans are talking it up right now. An organisation that represents the fading residual military will of mostly post-military nations is marginally less harmful than the EU, which is the embodiment of their pacifist delusions.

Or perhaps it's an attempt to forestall as long as possible the rise of "Eurabia":

America and Europe both face security threats. But the difference is America's are external, and require hard choices in tough neighbourhoods around the world, while the EU's are internal and, as they see it, unlikely to be lessened by the sight of European soldiers joining the Great Satan in liberating, say, Syria. That's not exactly going to help keep the lid on the noisier Continental mosques.

It comes, in other words, back to the question of culture. When you deChristianize a society, it will not remain an empty vessel for long. Since "nature abhors a vacuum," sooner or later something else will come along and fill it up. And in Europe's "post-modern" case, that something is an unstoppable tide of Muslim immigrants that is, ironically, accomplishing what the initial Islamic hordes of the seventh and eighth centuries never did: the conquest of Christian Europe. It essentially closes the circle on the Crusades, when you stop and think about it.

I'd wager President Bush has thought about it quite a bit. But I wonder if even he truly realizes that the ultimate purpose of his Continental junket is not so much to speechify or pose with other leaders for the paparazzi or "climb into the old soup-and-fish, make small talk with Mme Chirac and raise a glass of champagne to the enduring friendship of our peoples," but to serve as pall bearer and eulogist for the birthplace of a Western civilization of which his own country is looking more and more like the last outpost.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Karl Rove Is Still Omnipotent

It just never ends with these people (via Little Green Footballs):

Yesterday Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) hosted a community forum in Ithaca, New York, on The Future Of Social Security.

Doesn't it figure that the only newsworthy story to come out of such a community forum had nothing remotely to do with Social Security? (Sounds familiar somehow...)

An LGF reader was present in the audience and happened to be recording as Representative Hinchey launched into a barking moonbat conspiracy rant worthy of Democratic Underground, telling the audience he believed the fake CBS memos were planted by Karl Rove to discredit Dan Rather, and divert attention from President Bush’s “draft dodging.”

When our reader asked Hinchey if he had evidence for these charges, he first said, “Yes, I do,” but when asked a second time he admitted he did not.

Paranoid delusions and pathological dishonesty - sounds kinda like Eason Jordan, doesn't it?

Our reader pressed the issue, “Don’t you think it’s irresponsible to make charges like that?” Hinchey replied, “No, I don’t, I think it’s very important to make charges like that ... I think it’s very important to combat this kind of activity in every way that you can, and I’m willing, as most people are not, to step forward in situations like this and take risks.”

Three questions, just for the hell of it:

1) What kind of "activity" did Congressman Hinchey (whose surname is two letters removed from "hiney," BTW...) imagine himself to be combatting?

2) How did his method of "combat" affect something that, if it had ever been possible, much less ever actually took place, would now be nearly six months in the past?

3) What was he "risking"? Looking like one of the inmates in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest? Hell, look at the response he got from the audience:

And the crowd burst into applause and cheering.

Never mind Hinchey - he's obviously got a safe House seat to openly engage in this kind of loony behavior. It's the crowd's reaction that is disturbing. It provides redundant proof that in the Democrat Party, circa 2005, the inmates really are running the asylum.

And someday, perhaps sooner than we think, that Party, run by those people, will regain power over us all.

Hopefully Karl Rove will listen to our prayers, and smite those all those crazy nutbags in two.

Hollywoodies Are Such Predictable Hypocrites

Remember recently when the conservative group Citizens United purchased billboard space in Tinseltown in plain view of the Kodak Theater, home of the upcoming Academy Awards show, rubbing the noses of the Hollywood Left in George W. Bush's re-election and their unintentional but inevitable role in helping hand their hated boogeyman a second term? Well, it seems that one or more of those lefties have reacted as we've come to expect:

Some in Hollywood are so angry with a conservative group for posting pro-Bush billboards in their town that they have vandalized them with graffiti – including a Nazi swastika.

For a long time, Hollywood claimed it was for diversity – but that apparently does not include someone expressing a conservative or Republican viewpoint.

CU, however, is having the last laugh by thinking several steps ahead:

David Bossie, the president of Citizens United and the author of the new book The Many Faces of John Kerry, says he and his organization were expecting such shenanigans – arranging in advance with the sign company that the billboards would be immediately repaired if damaged in any way.

The overnight damage was repaired within hours.

Not only that, but....

The group is scouting for additional locations to place additional billboards.

Bossie speculates on whether or not Chris [BLEEP]ing Rock will mention CU's tokens of bipartisan esteem during the Oscars telecast. Ordinarily I would think not - why hand your adversaries free publicity and let them know that you're getting under their skin? - but given the manic state of mind of libs of all stripes these days, CFR may not be able to help himself.

"We're taking on Hollywood. We've done it in the past," says Bossie. "We want to remind the Hollywood elitists that America supports President Bush on the war on terror and that Americans will no longer stand these elitists cramming their liberal agenda down our throats.

"Our Hollywood billboard campaign wants to remind Americans that these Hollywood elitists helped George Bush win by pushing their far left agenda."

And the only riposte they can muster is obscene graffiti and vandalism. My, how the pompous have fallen.

I'll have to watch the Parade of Arriving Pampered Potentates (PAPP) segment this Sunday evening to see how the cameras manage not to capture any of CU's political valentines. If Bossie and co. blanket the vicinity heavily enough, the glitterati may have to slink in the Kodak's back door instead.

Hinderaker Did The Right Thing the first place.

Well, maybe not the first place. Having over twelve years of online debate experience, I've long since learned to separate "wheat" messages (civil, substantive posts) from the "chaff" (insults, invective, sneering hatred). As a general rule the latter are easy to ignore because it doesn't take long to identify them.

However, on a message board, when you're a rank & filer as opposed to a member of the Forum staff (i.e. a system operator or "sysop"), you don't have the ability to delete or remove personal attacks, so you have to deal with them in some way, shape, or form. When it comes to emails, which nobody sees except the sender, recipient, and whomever is cc'd on them, I would think that the "chaff" would be even easier to dump because they're no "audience" for the sender to play to.

This is my roundabout way of questioning why Brother Hinderaker subjected himself to reading through all the "inexpressibly vulgar and vile" left-wing missives over the absence of commentary from him and his two Powerline colleagues regarding the Jeff Gannon tempest-in-a-teapot.

I've seen its like many times; we used to call such mass invasions "the flying monkey brigades." Sometimes they would leave huge messes to scrub off the board. Other times they would even succeed in driving wedges between staffers. One occasion of the latter resulted in a full-fledged staff split and the departure of the losing side (of which I was one).

And then there's my long, storied history with some California raisin who employed the nom de plumes "Wake4Democracy," "Eyes2Windward," and a final flurry of aliases after he had worn out his welcome and we kept locking him out as fast as he kept slipping back in. This is the individual who, it should be remembered, assumed my identity and proceeded to make an even bigger ass of himself than he usually did all in a pointed attempt to trash my personal reputation and good name. One of his aforementioned pseudonyms was "Blurred Fist," which should tell you all you need to know.

I rather doubt there's any chance of the Powerline guys being turned against one another. But, as Hinderaker admitted, they'd never been subjected to a mass lefty attack, either. Given PL's success as a megablog, that fact frankly astounds me. But, in any case, now they have, and now that Rocketman has, you should pardon the expression, lost his cherry, he should know better in the future than to wittingly plow through such rabid hostility.

But I would urge him not to regret sending those two "irate and intemperate replies." Even if they were somewhat misdirected, as a symbolic, cathartic gesture, it was something that needed to be done.

The pity for me is that Rocket Man didn't include a link to the one that got published on a site called "Minnesota Politics." I hunted all over their establishment, and I'll be hanged if I can find it.

Something tells me it would have made my day.

Charlie Rangel sides with the lunatics

Perhaps seeking to change the subject from his recent spat with the Clintons over one of his pet causes, the New York Jackass told a local New York City radio host that it is wrong to refer to Islamist terrorists as, well, Islamist terrorists:

Asked about the refusal by some European governments to declare Hezbollah an Islamic terror group, Rangel told WWRL's Steve Malzberg and Karen Hunter, "To call it Islamic terror is discriminating, it's bigoted, it is not the right thing to say."

Ordinarily I'd have exclaimed something like "unbelievable," but we all know better. One wonders what Rangel's answer would have been if either Malzberg or Hunter had asked him what "Islamic terrorists" should be called.

In point of fact the center-right blogs and sites that I frequent usually distinguish the terrorists from Islam in general with references like "Islamist" and "Islamofascist." My personal favorite, which I coined, is "Islazi," which seems to roll off the tongue a lot smoother than "Islamofascist." But the sentiment is still the same.

Rangel even questioned whether, in fact, a worldwide Islamic terrorist movement even existed, saying, "We just take for granted that there is an Islamic terror movement because we do have some fanatic people who come from Islamic countries."

This eyeroll-inducing comment is akin to saying that, "We just take for granted that it rains because we do have moisture that comes from clouds." Using the term "Islamic terrorists" is not a suggestion that every last Muslim on the planet works for Osama bin Laden. The word "terrorists" is the means of distinguishing between "some fanatic people" and the "Islamic countries" from which they come.

The Harlem Democrat complained: "When we had the Ku Klux Klan we didn't call them Baptist terrorists. When Hitler was killing Jews, we didn't call it Christian terrorists."

True. But no sect or branch of Christianity has a jihad imperative, either. Islam, by stark contrast, has always been an imperialistic religion of the sword, spread not by personal witness, one soul at a time, but by military conquest.

Mohammed founded Islam as a reactionary riposte to the refusal of Jews and Christians to buy into the modifications and additions he wanted to make to the Bible based upon the visions he claimed to have experienced. It was intended to be fueled by resentment and revenge, to conquer the "peoples of the book" and impose Mohammed's "alternative views" upon them (i.e. dhimmi-zation). During its first century of existence, Islam erupted from the Arabian peninsula and swept across the Middle East, North Africa, and into what is now Spain and Portugal. It was only the Muslims' defeat at the hands of Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732 that halted this expansion, and began the long, slow decline that led to their being left behind by the emergence of the Christian West from the "Dark Ages" and their part of the world relegated to subjection to Western colonization and then futile, quasi-tribal dictatorships.

It is to that early era of Islamic pre-eminence that "Islamic terrorists" aspire to return the entire world. A "global caliphate," a world theocracy, Iran on a planetary scale. Not every Muslim agrees with this, but many do, even if only ten percent or so are sufficiently committed to actually go forth and wage "holy war" against the "infidels." And that makes the jihadis indellibly "Islamic," no matter how much Charlie Rangel dislikes it.

Rangel said Americans needed to realize "that a lot of countries may be poor, but they still have pride. And that is one thing that we completely ignore."

I think it's Charlie Rangel's pride that is the problem. Maybe if he'd swallow some of it, he might be able to acknowledge all that President Bush has done and continues to do for the "poor" countries on whose behalf such left-wing numbnuts phonily bleat.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Can You Say "Linda Tripp"?

Here's yet another illustration of Big Media bias.

Yesterday the New York Times ran a banner story yesterday on audio tapes of conversations of then-Governor George W. Bush recorded without Bush's knowledge or consent by one Douglas Wead, an ex-Pentacostal minister who is evidently looking to cash in on the fumes of last year's Bush-bashing craze. He's got a book based on these tapes and the rest of the proverbial nine-yards.

However, the tapes really don't disclose anything that we didn't already know about the President. He's not a "homophobe"; he's humble; he's learned from and atoned for the mistakes of his wayward youth; and he really did detest Al Gore.

Contrast this with the tapes Monica Lewinsky has in her pudgy possession:

Only last June, former White House paramour Monica Lewinsky revealed that she's sitting on a stash of never-before-heard tapes of her own - recordings of President Clinton whispering sweet nothings into her answering machine.

At the time, Lewinsky threatened to make the tapes public, telling London's Daily Mail:

"If I chose to, I could bring out ... the messages on the answering machine tapes that no one's heard. I could make it into something big to try to demonstrate that this wasn't just inappropriate intimate contact - that it really was something."

Really something?

Whatever Clinton said on those still-secret recordings, it doesn't sound as if Monica's tapes are going to be particularly helpful to Hillary's 2008 presidential campaign.

But if the Times or any of its American counterparts are interested, they have a strange way of showing it. The U.S. media have yet to print a single word about Monica's secret tapes.

Now I'm sure libs would be lining up to trash (again) Monica as, among other things, lacking credibility - along the lines of, "Surrrrre she has these tapes - if they really exist, why didn't she whip them out five years ago when it might have mattered?" But I would suggest that "Ms. Lewinsky" has at least as much credibility as Mr. Wead does, and yet of which nobody in search of fifteen minutes of fame did the New York Times grant the wish of unwarranted publicity?

Put another way, if some bimbo suddenly surfaced with tapes of of GDub "whispering sweet nothings into her answering machine," does anybody seriously believe it wouldn't be headline news from coast to coast?

For Mr. Bill, and the Times, it was just another day at the office.

UPDATE: Well, this was a quick el foldo:

"My thanks to those who have let me share my heart and regrets about recent events," Mr. Wead wrote in the statement, posted on his Web site Wednesday. "Contrary to a statement that I made to the New York Times, I know very well that personal relationships are more important than history."

Mr. Wead, an author who drew on the tapes obliquely for one page in his recently published book, The Raising of a President: The Mothers and Fathers of Our Nation's Leaders, said, "I am asking my attorney to direct any future proceeds from the book to charity and to find the best way to vet these tapes and get them back to the president to whom they belong."

So...what to think about Wead? Did he have it out for the President? Or was he just seeking publicity for his book and was so completely naive that he didn't realize surreptitous recordings of Mr. Bush from years ago would be a scandalmongering aphrodisiac to Big Media and the slavering Bushophobic Left?

I tend to think the latter, since if Wead was out to get Bush, last year's campaign would have been the obvious time to go with something like this. It's for the same reason that I doubt, despite the Times' wishful speculation, that there's anything damaging on his tapes.

But as Captain Ed points out, "However one wishes to spin Wead's actions..., one fact comes through very clearly: just the act of recording these conversations surreptitiously demonstrates a perverted sense of ethics and certainly shows that Wead, despite his protestations above, values his own pocketbook more than personal relationships."

One hopes that this chastened, tail-between-the-legs withdrawal is evidence of genuine contrition on Wead's part. And maybe it is.

The shame for his sake is that we simply cannot be sure.

George Patton She Ain't

Looks like Hillary Clinton is going to have to work on her sabre-rattling quite a bit if she expects to be taken seriously in 2008:

New York Senator Hillary Clinton hoped that her trip to Iraq this weekend would help convince Americans she's tough enough to take over as commander in chief. But during an interview on Meet the Press Sunday morning, Clinton sounded reluctant to even consider using military force to stop Iran from going nuclear.

Asked point-blank if she agreed it wasn't wise to rule out the military option, Clinton bobbed, dodged and weaved through her first answer:

"Well, I think, first of all, we do have to get engaged. I believe that the United States should be at the table and not just outsource this important negotiation to the Europeans."

The top Democrat proceeded to meander through several related topics, hoping host Tim Russert wouldn't notice she was avoiding his question. It didn't work.

"But you would not rule out a military option?" he coaxed, trying to push her in the right direction.

Despite Russert's best efforts to help, Clinton stammered her way through a nonsense answer that made it plain that the use of military force wouldn't be in her playbook.

"Well, you know, Tim, I don't think that you either rule it in or rule it out. I think that, you know, depending upon circumstances, it's something that, you know, the American government would have to, you know, consider.

"But, for goodness sakes, I think we are a very long way from beginning to have that conversation, if we ever have to have it. But I don't believe in having any President of the United States or anybody, you know, in a position like Senator McCain and I in the United States Senate, you know, saying we would take anything off the table. But before we get to that question, let's try to, you know, deal with the many other possibilities."

For those counting, that was seven "you knows" in five sentences.

And look at the grief President Bush takes for saying "and ahhhhh" all the time.

This is your next POTUS, folks. And she has three-plus years to get better at selling herself as a generalissimo.

But if/when the time comes when military action becomes inevitable, it will be the stammering, indecisive, "Why can't this all just go away?" Hillary Clinton that will be making the call.

I hope three years is long enough to get a fallout shelter constructed....

The Senator Who Will Not Leave

The Los Angeles Times reports via Newsmax that Senator John Finger Kerry still thinks he's a legitimate national figure and rightful frontrunner for the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination:

After nearly drowning in a sea of red states, John Kerry is keeping his head above water and is making it clear that he has no intention of disappearing beneath the waves despite his loss last November.

As the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday, unlike Al Gore, who the Times recalled virtually disappeared for months after the 2000 race, traveled to Europe, grew a beard and gained weight, Kerry hasn't done any of these things.

Instead, he climbed back up to Capitol Hill, reclaimed his seat in the Senate, and, as the Times, put it, is "working hard to fashion himself into something rare in American politics: a presidential also-ran who isn't an afterthought."

Um-hmm. Perhaps Lurch should ask himself why that "something" he's trying to "fashion himself into" is so rare. Somehow I don't think it's solely or primarily a function of defeated presidential candidates losing all their political ambition.

And, sho 'nuff....

But the large amount of money left over from his campaign looms as a problem for Kerry's hopes.

The problem, according to the Times, is that Kerry infuriated many Democrats when they learned that he ended the presidential campaign with more than $14 million, unspent and sitting in the bank, which they say could have made a difference in Ohio, where Kerry lost by a narrow 119,000 votes.

"...infuriated many Democrats..." That's not a real smart thing to do when you're attempting the daunting task of getting those same Dems to grant you a second crack at being their national standardbearer.

That's on top of the problem that all also-rans face:

"The question for Senator Kerry that he has to answer is: Why would he win this time in 2008 when he wasn't able to pull it off in 2004?" Gordon Fischer told the Times. Fisher, the recently departed head of the Iowa Democratic Party, is reserving judgment on a possible comeback try by Kerry.

Dick Harpootlian, a longtime party leader in South Carolina, was more blunt. "I think John Kerry is a decent, thoughtful, heroic American," Harpootlian told the Times. "I do not think he can win the presidency."

The Times speculates that Kerry's biggest obstacle to another try at the White House is the feeling among many Democrats that he had his chance - that with all that money, all those volunteers and a shaky economy [sic], he still could not beat a President waging a controversial war [i.e. the Left didn't like it] and saddled with middling approval ratings [which one would expect in a "closely divided" electorate - have they dropped the "50-50 nation" template that quickly?]

Adds Harpootlian, "He never connected."

Or he was simply a horrible candidate who lost to a far better man by a margin much more decisive than the numbers would ordinarily indicate.

Democrats won't begin "moving on" from their Bushophobia until after Dubya's second term concludes, but the Boston Balker is a different story. They were never really enthusiastic about his candidacy in the first place (which is why such a premium was put upon stoking up Bush-hatred in order to energize their base); how much less so now (and in '08) given that he lost.

Look at it this way: if Donks couldn't gin up any fresh enthusiasm for, or loyalty to, Al Gore after the agonizing defeat in Florida, why would they want to reprise a Kerry campaign that fell even further short? Especially when You-Know-Who-llary is warming up in the on-deck circle.

Once again, it seems that the only person John Kerry is fooling is himself.

How ironic and fitting that he's the only one who seems to still care.

[Don't miss Captain Ed's analysis from yesterday!]

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Runaway Christophobia

No matter how much of a jurisprudential upper hand they get, the God-haters keep raising the bar of their own paronoid bigotry.

As the appetizer, I offer a Democrat state legislator in Arkansas tried to get enacted a resolution affirming the separation of Church and State:

Democratic Representative Buddy Blair said he offered the measure because he was tired of conservative colleagues "making every issue into a religious issue."

Apparently Blair was referring to bills offered in the current legislative session to proscribe homosexual foster parentage; reiterate the traditional definition of marriage in school textbooks; require minors to get a parent's permission before obtaining an abortion; and offer "In God We Trust" license plates.

The report doesn't say if any of these bills have been passed, or even voted on. But Blair's bill has been, and was rightfully defeated, though only by five votes (44-39), which suggests a party-line vote.

What strikes me about the bills about which he complained was that they weren't eminating from the bench, but from the people's elected representatives. Yet another example of how "red"-staters work through the democratic process, while "blue"-staters seek to suppress and subvert it in order to force their unbelief and intolerance down the throats of those they hate and disdain.

What strikes me about Blair's effort, in addition to his Christophobia, is his tell-tale ignorance of the U.S. Constitution:

"It's unbelievable to me. They have just voted against the U.S. Constitution and the constitution of the state of Arkansas," Blair said.

For the umpteenth time, neither the phrase nor the concept of "separation of church and state" is anywhere in the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

That is the Establishment Clause. Tolerating free religious expression does not constitute "establishment"; rather, free religious expression is what the second half of the Clause explicitly protects. For that matter, even "separation" is far less than what these people are seeking.

Case in point:

A Christian rock band banned from playing at a public school assembly filed a federal lawsuit against the suburban Toledo district on Thursday, claiming discrimination and violation of their right to free speech.

Rossford High School officials in December canceled the band Pawn's performance at an anti-drug assembly...

...Band members said in the lawsuit that they did not intend to play any songs at the assembly that referred to religion and had agreed to stick to the anti-drug message.

So on what grounds could Rossford High have banned this Christian band? Because they play Christian songs in other venues. Or, even more to the point, because they are Christians.

This discrimination could not be any more blatant, and would never even be conceived of were the target any other demographic group. But of course it's open season on evangelicals and always will be. One can only imagine the level of persecution that would ensue were that "blue" state mentality to regain power nationally.

The irony for these Toledo educrats is that they were probably trying to steer clear of ACLU litigation with this ban. It's heartening to see them getting, well, "hell" from the opposite direction. It'll be most interesting to see how this suit pans out. If the plaintiffs don't win, or the school district doesn't settle out of court before it can get that far, it'll set a new precedent for official intolerance of Christianity in this country, and re-emphasize all the more how imperative the recapture of the judiciary from the pagan extremists on the part of the Bush White House has become.

People of faith have been warned: we must fight for our rights now while we still nominally have them, and to prepare for the persecution yet to come.

[Hat tip: Blogs for Bush]