Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Beyond the Echo Chamber, No. 3 - Embracing the Dark Side

The Patron of true Holinesse,
Foule Errour doth defeate:
Hypocrisie him to entrape,
Doth to his home entreate.

Edmund Spencer, The Faerie Queene

Michael Kinsley, former editor of The New Republic, contributes to the debate on values in American politics by throwing an empty cup into the arena: To Hell With Values. Analysis and commentary by Armed Liberal at Winds of Change.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Voodoo in Canada

Nobody wants to talk about it, of course, but we all know it's been going on up there for years. And now they're doing it on television.

Toronto MP Carolyn Parrish (a prime example of the Great Northern Loon) attempted to neutralize our magnificently controversial President by stomping on a Bush doll with her dainty little foot, on the CBC television show "This Hour". Contrary to the confident expectations of Wiccans and magic crystal worshippers, the actual Bush was undamaged.

Obviously this kind of thing just doesn't work. It doesn't even work on Canadians, as I can attest from having spent many hours beating an improvised effigy of Peter Jennings with an axe handle.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Our Poor Ability to Add or Detract

Any lonely veterans out there ought to really find some comfort in the blogs. In the blogosphere no Veteran's Day goes uncommemorated, or even slighted, as it so often is in the Obsolete Media. The kudos and memorials are too numerous to count, and the day brings out the best in people who are pretty good even when they're not at their best. Reviewing the comments at LGF ought to reassure those who have served that they are not forgotten, and never will be.

The exceptions, of course, are the two leading "liberal" blogs - who are anything but - where the day is devoted to gleefully crowing over predictions of defeat and disaster in Fallujah. Praying for every kind of disaster to befall the United States is the only weapon they have left in their endless war on George Bush. Fortunately their defeatist gloating is as factually incorrect as it is morally disgusting.

It is somehow appropriate that Arafat died today. If there was ever a symbol of war for the sake of war, it was him. If there was ever a symbol of the thing that the soldiers of the West have struggled against over the past century, it was him. He waged his senseless war not only against Israel, but against Jordan and Lebanon as well. Against all of civilization, really. He whored himself out to Marxist Leninism and radical Islam, whichever it suited him (and his idiotic admirers) to do so. Wherever he resided, he served as an unwelcome and permanent menace to peace.

He was the King of Terrorism, the embodiment of warmongering and eternal blood feud, and a butcher of his own people as well. So it is no surprise that he won a Peace Prize, and is mourned by the clueless (and probably doomed) elite of Europe. Thank God we have men and women who are willing and able to fight against the rottenness that pathogens like Arafat have spread throughout the world.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Beyond the Echo Chamber, No. 2: Unbeatable Values

"Reason cannot establish values, and its belief that it can is the stupidest and most pernicious illusion."
Allan Bloom, Closing of the American Mind

"Better to be a contrite sinner than a saint with a broomstick up your ass ..."
Martin Luther, Table Talk (1566)

Once again the best minds of the Republic turn to the subject of "reforming" the troubled Democratic Party. Two useful articles in this regard, from Armed Liberal at Winds of Change: The "Values" Gap and A Democratic Reformation.

Let's get the heckling out of the way. This is, by my count, the 12745th attempt to reform the Democratic Party, not counting the energetic efforts of Theodore Roosevelt as New York City Police Commissioner. Most of them, however, don't get past the first wistful thought. A previous example (from Charles Peters, the grouchy old founder of The Washington Monthly):

The problem with the Democrats is that they have succumbed to the politics of greed and special interests. To which the Republicans succumbed long ago.
And that's as far as that got, not that we were hoping for much. Fortunately, Armed Liberal has more patience than Peters, not to mention a more up-to-date set of mental furniture. And he correctly sees that the Democrats' political problem is a cultural problem, at the center of which is the tricky philosophical subject of Values.

Why should I, a creature from the GOP lagoon, care? Because the Democrats' problem is a problem for the entire country. It has debased public debate, degraded Americans in general, inflicted unnecessary grief, alarmed the Canadian immigration authorities, and wasted a spectacular amount of time.

What is it that the unreflective portion of the Democratic Party doesn't understand about values in America? Here are my top picks:

1. America is Good. More specifically, the idea of America is superior to the program of any imaginable political party. To put it another way, your party is not your nation. Your party is subordinate to, and subservient to, the needs of your nation and your fellow countrymen, or it is nothing but a public nuisance. (This is the biggest values problem that the Democrats have, though it is probably not the most fundamental.) If you are only in the game so long as your team is winning, then you have no moral right to be in the game at all - though you still have a civil right to participate. Which brings us to number two:

2. Civil Rights. Imagine the indignation at suggesting that there is any defect in the way that Democrats understand civil rights, but there is. They do not understand the most fundamental things about them - the fact that everybody has them, even Garth Brooks fans. They also do not understand that having the right to say something does not make you right, and if someone points this out to you, they are not violating your rights.

3. Values are Your Friends. Truly, many Democrats look on "values" as being nothing but a Republican political liability. Hence their relentless snooping after Republican sexual behavior, to fuel their self-gratifying charges of hypocrisy. Democrats, on the other hand, are imagined to be immune to value judgments, since (it is implied) they don't really believe in values. This pretty much sums up the philosophy of the Clinton Administration for the last three years of its existence.

An interesting example of how many Democrats look at values, one which periodically surfaces whenever Supreme Court vacancies are discussed: Some seriously argue that conservatives ought not to overturn liberal court decisions, because being "conservatives" they must respect Stare Decisis and not upset existing law. The logical converse of this is ignored: liberals, being "liberals", have no business appealing to Stare Decisis. But they do it anyway, because principles and values are treated as a kind of joke, which only Republicans are bound to respect because of their peculiar beliefs. Kind of like the way that only Republicans believe in God, which brings us to number four:

4. In God We Trust. When the village atheist runs for Public Utilities Commissioner, he ought to speak respectfully of religion, even if he has none himself. He ought not to warn the electorate about the menace of religion, because they're not stupid. When they hear themselves being demonized, they know they are listening to someone who would love to take away their rights in a selfish paranoid attempt to protect his own. This is incredibly basic no-brainer Politics 101, yet it goes right over the heads of some people - especially people who imagine themselves to be smarter than everyone else. Which brings us to number five:

5. Elitism is for inbred aristocratic morons who deserve the guillotine. Nuff said.

Friday, November 05, 2004

arafat lived in a bloody why time

arafat lived in a bloody why time
(when up so many needless things died)
jew muslim christian druse
he lied his didn’t he killed his did

women and men (both little and small)
bothered arafat not at all
he spilled their isn’t they buried their same
hate death war pain

murdered munich (but only some jews
so down they grieved while up he grew)
egypt libya syria jordan
that death would fatten him more by more

allah by bomb and marx by gun
he murdered his would and they wept his done
drop by blood and last by breath
arafat lived while life died death

statesmen cheered their man of state
forgot their dyings and clapped their hate
(hate death war and then) they
paid his murders they flew his flag

hate death war pain
(and only the dead can begin to explain
how the living are apt to forget to remember
when up so many needless things died)

one day arafat died i guess
(and all they lined to say his grace)
draped they carried him high by high
black by green and red by red

black by green and red by red
and year by year they draped his did
allah by bomb and marx by gun
drop by blood and last by breath

women and men (both old and young)
murder madness terror death
remember your isn’t and cry his slain
hate death war pain

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Summer Soldiers and Sunshine Patriots

Michael Moore disappeared sometime yesterday afternoon, after weeks of filling the poor heads of his lumpen-proletariat followers with the most crazed ambitions since the last days of George Armstrong Custer. Today he has apparently resurfaced long enough to close his website, putting up instead a mosiac of George Bush made up of the portraits of US soldiers slain in Iraq.

The Iraqi rebels who killed those soldiers (along with scores of Iraqi soldiers, Iraqi civilians, Red Cross workers, aid workers, and UN personnel) have been described by Moore as heroic freedom-fighters, in his infamous "Minuteman" screed. The stinking hypocrisy of his Bush display is, of course, lost on Moore's disciples. Any concept that is more complicated than hating Bush and Halliburton is pretty much lost on Moore's disciples.

Still, after all the bluster and swagger, after all the orders he has bellowed at them and all the hysterical lectures he has subjected them to, it would have been nice if "Mike" had come out and said a few encouraging words to his fans. Just a little something to cheer them up, and let them know he appreciates them.

But no. The lumpen-proletariat has let Moore down again, so he has retreated into a hateful sulk, hiding behind an emblem of his contempt for Bush, for democracy, and for -- let's face it -- the United States of America. After all the time he spent shoving his funny little home movies in their stupid faces. Moore will be back to hector the gullible and the terminally malcontented again, but for now he needs some time to stew over the terrible way everybody has betrayed him.

If Mike wasn't such a self-centered slob, he would realize that other famous idiots feel just as bad as he does. The Conscience of the Clinton Administration, Larry Flynt, no doubt speaks for them all (from a strip club in Paris): "Perhaps it will be necessary that I think of moving elsewhere, but actually I don't even dare to think of it."

Plenty of others are thinking of it, though, prompting the alert Canadians to warn everyone that their country is not a crash pad: "You just can't come into Canada and say 'I'm going to stay here'. In other words, there has to be an application."

Filling out long application forms, full of nosy questions, is exactly the sort of thing Ashcroft might ask you to do, so fleeing to Canada is not much of an improvement.

UPDATE: Moore might be hiding for good reason, because some people know who's to blame for their current misfortune. Former Dem General Pat Caddell just blasted Moore on Hannity and Colmes - "hateful thug", I think his term was. It had the look of something that he'd been holding in for a while ...

UPDATE 11/5/04: The greatest left-wing intellectual in history is back! Moore has crawled out of his Hussein-hole long enough to post "17 Reasons Not to Slit Your Wrists." Thinking of 17 reasons not to die ought to be an easy subject, even for a young student in a Palestinian school. Yet, Moore manages to make a sorry mess of it:
2. Bush's victory was the NARROWEST win for a sitting president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
Liars use statistics, but they don't normally gamble their lives on statistics. Even a CBS news editor is smart enough to know that Bush did much better than Truman or Clinton did in their own re-elections. Basically Moore is saying that Kerry did better than any loser since Charles Evans Hughes. Go figger that one.
5. The Republicans will not have a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate.
So if you kill yourself, think of all the filibusters you'll miss.
7. Once again we are reminded that the buckeye is a nut, and not just any old nut -- a poisonous nut.
If you kill yourself, who will wreak spiteful vengeance on the state of Ohio?
9. Gays, thanks to the ballot measures passed on Tuesday, cannot get married in 11 new states. Thank God. Just think of all those wedding gifts we won't have to buy now.
On the other hand, if you snuff it you won't have to listen to any more of Mike's sick humor.

Who has done this thing?

Republicans and Democrats re-elected Bush. Not just cross-over Democrats, but Democrats who championed Bush and made him more or less their own. Bush Democrats are a different bunch from the Boll Weevil Democrats who backed Reagan. Unlike the Boll Weevils, the Bush Democrats include a lot of liberals, even leftists. 9/11 was their epiphany.

This is the new alliance, which I hope will begin to transcend the tired old partisan games of Cowboys and Indians. It's founded on the recognition that, from right to left, we are the beneficiaries of a civilization that is worth saving. And we will save it.

Michael Moore, your fifteen minutes are up.

Osama bin Laden, look on us and despair.

Class at long last

My first surprise of the morning was Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury:
I know it's hard to believe there was once a time when a politician would put the country first ... But when Eisenhower urged Nixon to challenge the suspect election results in '60, he refused to put the nation through it. Nixon showed a lot of class ... Did I just say that?
Did I just read that?

At any rate, a few minutes ago, Kerry conceded. I recall Gore did that, too ... then took it back. But this time there are no "suspect election results". Bush becomes the 13th Republican to win a majority of the popular vote in a presidential election. Only 4 Democrats have ever done that against a Republican opponent: FDR, LBJ, Jimmy Carter, and Samuel Tilden (who never served as president).

This election has confirmed my own Rules of Presidential Elections:

1. Republican presidents who seek re-election tend to win re-election.
2. Republicans tend to win re-election by larger margins than they won in their first election. Not one has ever been re-elected by a narrower margin than they originally won. Republican presidents either improve with age, or they hit the bricks.
3. Democratic presidents are generally unlikely to serve two terms, and if they do, they are often re-elected by narrower margins than they originally won.

The Democrats are hard to evaluate in this manner because they have so many anomalies: FDR was not just the most politically successful Democratic president, he was more successful than all the rest of them put together. Then there's Cleveland, who won, lost, and then won again - scoring his highest percentage of the popular vote in the election that he lost.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Night (or, Apocalypse Not)

I wanted to get down some observations before this thing is called.

- The first outrage of the day was a batch of wildly inaccurate exit polls, all skewed for Kerry. Whoever is responsible for that, get ready to wear your ass for a hat. Hundreds of bloggers are probably fashioning your new ass-hat even as I write this.

- Thune pulled ahead of Daschle about an hour ago, as the returns from the heavily Democratic precincts east of the Missouri river began to peter out. No returns yet from mostly Republican Pennington county, but Thune has a 5000 vote lead.

- The cyber-donks are sinking into a funk. Even Daily Kos is unable to put up a show of bravado, with nothing to celebrate yet but Obama's fish-in-a-barrel victory over Keyes in Illinois. That contest was so hopeless they probably didn't even bother to turn out the Dead Vote.

- Fox and Drudge just called Florida for Bush, after long hesitation.

- The "international observers" are providing comic relief. The Polish observer has been griping that Florida doesn't use paper ballots, like Serbia does.

- The only thing that has really surprised me in this election season: Ralph Nader's very low numbers. I would have expected him to do much better, considering the tepid enthusiasm that Kerry inspires. Kerry won't be able to claim that Nader swung the election - in fact, I haven't heard anybody claim that.

- Drudge is calling it for Bush. Cue the fat lady.

- The internet has been sagging under the load all night. Servers are porking out, giving rise to rumors of hacker attacks.

- Fox is riding high in the election coverage, but their website is updating at something less than the speed of light. They need to coordinate better with their on-air coverage.

UPDATE (11:30): John Thune will win, though no one has called it yet. Last time, Shannon county held out their reporting until long after everyone else was done, then produced an overwhelming majority for Johnson that blew away Thune's lead.

They won't be able to do that again. There aren't enough people in the entire county to erase Thune's lead, which is over 7000 now. Still, not a single precinct in Shannon has reported, and everyone else is almost done. There is no excuse for this. The stunts that go on out there won't stop until some more people go to jail.

UPDATE (1:25): Calling it a night. Every other county in the state is almost completely counted, but Shannon County still hasn't reported a single precinct. Thune's lead can't be overcome this time, no matter how creative people get, so it's just weird, not relevant. Daschle hasn't conceded, though, or even come down to talk to his people.

Kerry is nowhere to be seen, either. John Edwards was sent out to make some remarks that were as worthless as they were short. Kerry loses class points here. But what else can he do? The Democratic Party is not forgiving to its losers. Does anybody know if Michael Dukakis is even still alive?

Election Day Blog

IN WHICH your story-teller votes, defying the Climate of Fear

The sun is shining here today and the spacious skies are blue. There hasn't been a real frost yet, and the broadleaf trees are not yet showing all their autumn colors. Could be worse; this could be Los Angeles, where you have to look at date palms all year round - or whatever those goofy un-American vegetable stalks are.

But this is not Los Angeles. The green mountains are on the horizon and the cold, clean, God-given water is rushing through the stony creek beds, so all is well with my world.

If there could be six Michael Moores, maybe one of them would have been allocated to come watch my neighborhood vote. After all, the place is crawling with Republicans. Or would be, if we hadn't learnt to walk upright thanks to the miracle of Home Schooling. I could almost see him standing on the corner, his gut hanging over a beltful of expensive Japanese movie-making crap, sullenly filming all the pickup trucks and gun racks and the red-white-and-blue ribbons.

The polling place is a massive non-denominational Christian megaplex in the middle of a commercial district. You walk in under a sign that says LOVING GOD AND INVESTING IN PEOPLE, which makes more sense than the other way around. There are more people than I usually see when I go to vote.

The guy ahead of me holds the door open for me, and I say thanks. On the way out, I hold the door for an elderly couple, and they say thanks.

That's about it. No intimidation, no terrorist attacks, no suspicious mobs, no rude behavior, and no Michael Moore. Nothing resembling a tactical situation at all - not that I wouldn't have been up to facing a tactical situation, which makes things more challenging.

There is more excitement some miles to the east, we're told. A judge has barred Republican poll watchers from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I didn't think such a thing was imaginable, let alone possible. At the Christian megaplex there was a poll watcher from both parties at every table, because we don't allow people to steal ballot boxes or engage in other such Illinois-style behavior, around these parts. Fair is fair, around these parts.

The judge who barred the Republican poll watchers is Larry Piersol, who is a long-time friend (and one-time personal attorney) of Tom Daschle. In 1980, Piersol argued the lawsuit that put Tom Daschle in the senate. Daschle had actually conceded that election, and his opponent was already in Washington, when someone "discovered" a missing ballot box in a heavily Democratic Sioux Falls district. ("Heavens to Elizabeth, how did we manage to lose that?" they must have said. "The damn thing is only as big as an air conditioner. ") When Piersol won the suit to certify these votes, they put Daschle ahead by 16 votes.

This is how Daschle earned his first Beltway nickname, "Landslide". No joke.

Piersol is a Clinton appointee who was nominated for his judgeship by Daschle, so he has to show his gratitude. Fair is fair, around these parts, but that's getting carried away.

I wasn't old enough to vote when Daschle ran for the senate in 1980. But I well remember his opponent, Leo Thorsness, who came to speak at my school. Thorsness flew for the USAF in Vietnam, winning a Medal of Honor. He spent seven years in a North Vietnamese prison, where he was tortured so savagely that he could no longer raise his arms over his head. The evil creeps had hung him by his wrists until his shoulder tendons tore loose from his ribcage.

I was thinking of Leo Thorsness today when I went to vote. Daschle reminded me of him, with his latest funny business in the Eighth Circuit Court. I was thinking of Osama bin Laden, too, who has promised to punish all of us incorrigible Red-State bastards for failing to bend over to Islamo-fascism.

To all my fellow-countrymen in the Blue States, you will have earned your safety after today, though you will continue to receive the bulk of Homeland Security's attention (fair is fair). For myself, I'm proud to be living in the bull's eye. No hard feelings. See you when it's all over, boys and girls.