Monday, October 31, 2005

It's a Minefield

More and more, our enemies in Iraq are learning not to attack us head-on.

The IED (Improvised Explosive Device) is becoming the reason for a greater and greater percentage of U.S. deaths in Iraq, says The Washington Post.

(thanx and a tip o' the hat to Lunaville.

According to the Iraq Coalition Casualties website, 57 coalition troops were killed in Iraq by IEDs in Octiber of 2005, 17 more than in the next highest month (September 2005 and August 2005, tied at 40 IED-caused deaths). Put another way, that is an increase of 42.5%.

I am not certain what this portends for the future of our war in Iraq, but it isn't good.

That is all.

Yet More from Lawrence Auster

Auster discusses originalism, Brown v. Board of Education, and the "incorporation doctrine."

That is all.

Hopeful on Alito

Lawrence Auster expresses hopefulness about Bush's new nominee.

So I have a good feeling about this one.

But I still need to do some of my own research.

That is all.

Iraq Metrics

77 coalition soldiers were killed this month by hostile fire, as of the last count. This is the fourth highest total since the end of major combat operations, and the fifth highest since the war began. It is the fifth and sixth highest for total deaths (i.e. both hostile and non-hostile).

This seems to me to put a bit of a pall over any claims that we are defeating the insurgency.

That is all.

Worse than Ledeen?

"It's time for military action on Iran," says Jed Babbin.

Does that refer to the "classified Presidential Decision Directive ordering massive covert action against the Iranian regime" that he wants Bush to sign, or to additional, overt military action against Iran?

Gosh, I never thought I'd see someone who made me long for Michael "the-Iranians-will- rise-up-if-only-we-help-them" Ledeen:

To put this as gently as I can, it is not possible to read my essays on Iran and then say I am in favor of military action.

That is all.

Alito is the Nominee

Orrin Judd's prediction was correct.

Samuel Alito was nominated.

I'll have to find out a little more about him before I say this is a good thing or a bad thing.

That is all for now.

Oooo... Conspiracy!

Richard Steven Hack suggests a wider angle to the Valerie Plame scandal in the comments on Larry Johnson's article on TPMCafe.

This is far more serious than my headline would suggest, and I am definitely not trying to belittle his theory.

That is not all. Not by a long shot.

Why the Media Does not Report the Good News

W. Thomas Smith Jr. explains one reason why we are not heraing all of the good news stories from Iraq:

"Many reporters in Iraq are isolated in safe zones, venturing out only to cover dramatic events like bombings or the discovery of murdered victims."

So the reason we aren't beingtold of all the good news is because it is too dangerous for the reporters to go out of their hotels. Well, that should reassure us.

That is all.

Blog of the Week: Untethered by Dennis Dale

Untethered has a nice, calm quality to it. Some good, calm, common sense stuff there, even when I don't agree with his point of view. Previously noted here and here.

One of the better new blogs out there. Go visit it.

That is all.

Wilson, Libby, and Lies

Larry Johnson rebuts claims that Wilson was the real liar, such as this one.

That is all.

The Push Against Syria

Syria is accusing the U.S. of performing conducting raids over its borders, killing several Syrians, including two border guards.

Supposedly, we are doing this to get at Iraqi insurgents who flee to or based in Syria. However, Syria claims it is trying very hard to stop people from using Syria as a staging ground for the war in Iraq.

If I were conspiracy-minded, I would wonder if maybe the coalition is shooting at them in order to weaken their ability to police their borders. Nothing like demanding that they stop all terrorist infiltration and then making certain that they can't do so to make a good excuse for a war...

That is all.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Good News/Bad News for the Neocons

Interesting article in the Telegraph.

Good news for the neocons: the source of the fraudulent yellowcake documents may be the French government, which was allegedly using them as a ploy to discredit the push for war - which means that they can be blamed for those documents instead of Italy (one of the "good" countries, i.e. one that contributed troops to the coalition) or Michael Ledeen. In any case, if it is true it would allow the pro-warriors to say that it was the antiwar side (especially those dirt, no-good Frenchies), not the pro-war side, that lies.

The bad news: it appears that the "second source" of the British (you remember, the secret documents supporting the claim that Iraq was seeking yellowcake, the ones that Buysh was referring to when he said the infamous sixteen words about the British learning about the yellowcake, the ones the British could not show us because the people they got it from refused them permission to show us; you know, those documents) may have also come from France. That is, they may be part of the same scam as the famous forgeries.

That is probably only the tip of the iceberg of all.

161,000

The number of soldiers in Iraq is at the highest it has been at since the Iraq War started in March 2003.

Now of course this is supposed to be temporary; however, (a) our usual level is 138,000, so it is not as if returning to normal would greatly reduce our troop commit, and (b) despite constant predictions that "progress" would enable us to draw down forces, none of the milestones we have reached so far (transfer of sovereignty, elections) have resulted in any significant long-term reduction in our "usual level" of troops, nor have they made the need to increse troop levels while meeting the next milestone any less.

That is, we increased troop levels to 159,000 during the January elections to provide extra security, and now to 161,000 for the constitutional referendum, and there is an indication that we will do so again for the parliamentary elections in December.

Of course, we are told that we might be able to reduce our troop levels next year if things go well.

Don't hold your breath.

That is all.

More Supreme Predictions

Samuel Alito, suggests Orrin Judd.

Here are the Google Search Results for "Samuel Alito".

And here are the results for "Maureen Mahoney", whom I mentioned earlier who Joseph Farah predicted would be the nominee.

I myself have absolutely no idea who the next justice will be.

That is all.

Iran, Iran So Far Away...

"Israel must be destroyed," says Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This is bad on so many levels.

I doubt that Iran will actually move to destroy Israel (at least not in the traditional way, through all-out war or through a nuke attack, Iran likely will support terrorist actions in Israel, but those are not particularly effective at actually wiping a country out).

However, as the G-Gnome points out, this is exactly the kind of bait-for-the-neocons that could be used as a casus belli for us to attack Iran (or for us to try to overthrow the Iranian government through subterfuge, which will likely lead to a full-scale war, despite the fantasies of Michael Ledeen et al. that we will see a democratic revolution there).

If we get into a war with Iran, then we might very well find a situation where the Iranian government will be in a desperate enough position that they will feel they have nothing to lose and might as well try to take Israel with them (or take our troops in Iraq with them).

Let's hope someone in the Iranian government with less of a death wish gets rid of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bfore he drags Iran into war with the U.S.

But fortunately, though, as Rabbi David Vice points out, Ahmadinejad doesn't want to kill all the Jews. He only wants to destroy the country that a lot of them live in.

Oh, yeah, that sure makes me feel better.

That is all.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Ethnicity vs. Race vs. Nationality

I can't find the exact post right this minute, but I recall Steve Sailer trying to come up with a definiton og "ethnic group" that would complement his definition of race: "An extended family that inbreeds to some degree."

He wound up comparing it to cliques at school, and coming up with some sort of clunky definitions.

However, perhaps one coule define ethnicity in a very similar way to race; if one were to extend the concept of "family."

Perhaps one could define an ethnic group as an extended family that breeds within itself, and a race as an extended biological family that inbreeds to some degree. That is, an ethnic group is like an extended family that includes adopted members (for example, Gentiles who convert to Judaism).

This could also be applied to nationality. This would help to explain Sailer's philosophy of "citizenism," and to distinguish it from, e.g., "white naitonalism." American unity stems from the fact that we are, in a way, an extended family, but unlike white nationalism, we include adopted relatives as well as blood-related ones. And like any family, we have to consider our current members before we adopt new ones. I suspect that most families put a higher priority on the kids they already have than on kids that they might adopt at a future date, and that is, I think, an appropriate attitude toward immigration.

I think I will write a moredetailed post on "Citizenism," specifically one that addresses Noah Millman's critique, sometime soon.

That is all.

Don Feder on Bush

I don't agree with everything here, but Don Feder has a mostly spot-on indictment of Bush's liberalism.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Lawrence Auster.

That is all.

Thoughts on Libby

Lawrence Auster has some thoughts on the Libby indictment.

My own feeling is that the Fitzgerald investigation may be going after bigger fish, such as the Franklin scandal and the forged Niger documents (I'll try to get a posting on all of the different theories regarding that later). This may be simply a way in; get Libby to sing by threatening him with jail, and then use his testimony to uncover the bigger things.

This has been previously suggested by Tex MacRae and Justin Raimondo.

That is all.

David Gordon on Angelo M. Codevilla

Mr. Gordon has some thoughts on Mr. Codevilla's new book, which is non-neocon but quite hawkish in a more realipolitik sort of way, or should I say, is quite realpolihawkish.

That is all.

Maureen Mahoney

Joseph Farah predicts the next Supreme Court nominee (i.e. in place of Miers).

That is all.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Source of the Quote

Remember this post?

I asked if anyone knew the source of the quote: "The Arrow Pierces the Heart of the Emperor and his True Image is Revealed!"

The answer is: the video game Crystalis.

That is all.

BIG STORY!

I am listening to On the Record with Greta van Susteren, where she is interviewing Dennis Rodman.

I just a minute ago heard this exchange:

Greta: Why are you so good ay basketball?

Dennis: Heh, heh. Because I'm black? (The general tone was that of "I don't know. Maybe because I'm black, I guess.")

Let's see how long until:

(1) Some leftist gets upset that mentioned the stereotype that blacks are good at basketball.

(2) Some rightist gets upset that the leftists aren't upset (or aren't upset enough) that Dennis Rodman made this remark, like they would if he were white.

Start the stopwatch...

That is all.

On the Z-to-Z Letter

Ilana Mercer thinks it is genuine.

I'll have to check a second to see what they actually say before I make too many more comments (I previously doubted their authenticity here and here).

Of course, I may have the made the same mistake that I accuse the pro-warriors of making, namely, confusing the insurgency with Al Qaeda, and therefore doubting any statemetns of Al Qaeda weakness in Iraq because the insurgency appears to be chugging along fairly strongly. It is certainly possible that Al Qaeda-ites in Iraq feels that Al Qaeda is being "suffocated" or that the people in Iraq are turning against them, even if the rest of those involved in the insurgency are getting stronger.

While the majority (>90%) of the insurgents are Iraqis, and so the claim that the insurgency consists largely of foreign fighters is wishful thinking. On the other hand, it woul be a mistake to think that "foreign fighter" and "Al Qaeda" are synonymous; there could be quote a few Iraqi Al Qaeda members, and some of the (small number of) foreign fighters might have no ties to Al Qaeda.

So it is unclear what percentage of the insurgency is Al Qaeda-affiliated, and how much the insurgency would weaken if Al Qaeda decided to up and leave Iraq.

I(n any case, I don't think the letter is proof that we are on the verge of total victory in Iraq.

That is all for now.

Vic, Vic, Vic

I'm sure that there is a lot I could find fault wiht in Ol' Vic's latest column, but one part of the article in particular seems particularly tone-deaf.

While discussing Syria (which he more or less says is responsbile, along with Iran, for whatever failures exist in Iraq), he says:

[Syria]'s assassination of Mr. Hariri slowed the entire Lebanese reform movement.

Excuse me?

The assassination of Hariri is what precipitated the removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. That's a pretty big reform that was accelerrated by the assaassination of Mr. Hariri. One could argue that the assassination was intended to slow the reform movement (assuming that it was Syria), but if so, it hardly achieved its goal.

That is all.

Wal*Mart's Unfair Trade Practices

Llewellyn Rockwell suggests that a call to increase the minimum wage by Wal*Mart's CEO may be a ploy to drive smaller competitors out of business.

That is all.

Thoughts on Black Militants

I can't seem to find it now, but I distinctly remember reading something on a blog somewhere noting that Kamau "Kill Whitey" Kambon had written a book or a paper or something criticizing black people for not behaving well, or something like that. (If anyone has any idea where I could find such information, please put it in the comments).

As I recall, the poster reacted a little surprised that a black man with such a violent hatred and of whites and a desire to blame them for everything that goes wrong could write something asking blacks to take respnsibility for their lives (i.e. rather than just blaming everything on "whitey.")

This isn't necessarily surprising, I think. If the movie's portrayal of him was accurate, Malcolm X was a very self-controlled man with a strong sense of morality and responsibility, even before he left the Nation of Islam to become an "orthodox" Muslim. I also got the impression that he believed in responsibility and morality as a universal value, not jsut one for him.

Put another way, even when he was subscribing to a strongly anti-white and potentially genocidal philosophy, he seemed the type of man who would advocate that blacks take responsibility for their lives. So it is not surprising that Mr. Kambon could both believe in anti-white genocide and in personal responsibility.

In fact, in some ways it seems to me that any explicitly anti-white philosophy would have to involve an element of black self-suffiency, because someone who truly hates whites would neither want help from them not trust them to give it to him. Moreover, if one is to argue that all of the pathologies hitting the modern black community are the fault of whites, then trying to overcome those pathologies through self-sufficiency and responsible behavior could be seen as a way of "getting back at whitey" in and of itself.

Which ironically means that as long as the Kambons of the world do not actually get the resources to push their more asinine ideas, they may be less dangerous than the minstream leadership of today's civil rights leadership, who often pursue policies that are to an extent designed to make it unnecessary to become self-sufficient.

That is all.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

"High Standards" Hughie

Clark Stooksbury comments on the low standards that many Bushites have for calling someone a conservative.

I think that this Hugh Hewitt post is a good example of this.

Commenting on this excerpt from a piece written by Robert Bork:

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq aside, George W. Bush has not governed as a conservative (amnesty for illegal immigrants, reckless spending that will ultimately undo his tax cuts, signing a campaign finance bill even while maintaining its unconstitutionality).

Hugh decides to ridicule Bork by stating:

This is the same as arguing that "Except for opposing Hitler and later warning of the descent of the Iron Curtain, Churchill did not govern as a conservative."

The problem, of course, with this assertion is that Hugh Hewitt is essentially using "conservative" to mean "any government action I support." That is, he labels opposing Hitler and opposing Stalin as being inherently "conservative." While I see both positions as consistent with consrvatism, I don't see either as necessarily being "conservative" in the sense that they represent a position that is distinguished from liberal. I think that opposition to Hitler was fairly evenly distributed across that dimension of the political spectrum. Granted, I can see opposition to Stalin as being more a "conservative" thing in that Stalin had a fair number of liberal defenders, but I think that most liberal Americans hated him, too.

The fact of the matter is that Harry S Truman was a big-time liberal who opposed both Hitler and Stalin.

So Hewitt's admission that the war in Afghanistan in Iraq alone are enough to establish Bush's conservative credentials in his mind does not make a whole lot of sense, even put in the context of a historical analogy.

Of course, Bork himself is a little presumptuous in his asumption that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are particularly conservative undertakings; Afghanistan strikes me as a necessary measure that had the support of most of the people on both ends of this dimension of the political spectrum (and a smattering of opposition on both). Iraq, on the other hand, can be seen as a liberal folly of Wilsonian messianic democratism as much as, if not more than, an action of conservative realpolitik. So Hugh's no the only one confued about conservatism here.

That is all.

Coalition Fatality Trends

To be honest, the 2000 mark is not exactly that important a statistic to me. I am more interested in looking at the month-by-month fatality rate, to see if things are getting better or worse. Moreover, I like to look at the rate for the entire coalition, not just American troops, because in terms of analyzing the war and the insurgency, any coalition troops killed are just as important; and there are several months whose death tolls are altered significantly by whether or not you include non-U.S. coalition deaths.

So my preferred graph/table to look at is this one at the Iraq Coalition Casualty website.

From the figures there, here is a comparison of the total coalition hostile deaths for each month for 2003, 2004, and 2005:


......2003..2004..2005
Jan...........39....74
Feb...........14....42
Mar.....82....35....33
Apr.....53...131....46
May......6....64....69
Jun.....24....45....69
Jul.....28....45....48
Aug.....23....63....75
Sep.....18....74....45
Oct.....35....58....58
Nov.....94...129
Dec.....32....58


As you can see, in 7 out of 10 months so far, 6 out of 10 months, and soon to be 7 (thank you Jody from Polyscifi!) the death toll in 2005 exceeds that of 2004. Which is not exactly comforting news.

That is all for now.

Harriet Miers Withdraws

I think that this is good news.

National Review comments.

More on this as it comes and as I have time to read it and comment on it.

That is all.

On the Bush Administration Scandals

Tom Engelhardt opines.

That is all.

Start With Denying that God Exists

And you end up denying that you exist.

At least, that's what this type of writing seems to indicate.

Lucretius talks about similar issues on Mises.org.

I personally think that the idea that "consciousness is an illusion" is essentially the inevitable result of a materialistic worldview. And it is a ridiculous idea; mandated, I believe, by a religious devotion to materialism rather than by truth.

That is all.

Ticked off at Bush

Ann Coulter points out that Bush has been very much a liberal all these years.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Yet Another Poll of Iraqis

Some new polls in Iraq seem to suggest a lack of confidence in the coalition, a willingness to condone attacks on coalition troops, a resentment of the coalition presence, and significant level of pessimism about the direction in which the country is headed.

To be honest, though, I am not certain how much stock I put in these polls. They can be manipulated fairly easily, or soemone can of course lie aboutthe results; I'm sure that I would be skeptical if the results of the poll showed that Iraqis were ecstatic about the future of Iraq and loved the coalition, so I'm also willing to be skeptical of a poll that seems to support my suspicions about how Iraqis feel.

If anyone has a (recent) alternate poll giving results different from those mentioned in the Telegraph article, feel free to email me a link to the poll or articles about it (glaivester at yahoo dot com) or to post the link in the comments section (or if it is not on-line, at least give me some references to the source) and I'll try to look at it and see what I think.

That is all.

Not-Really-Antiwar-Leftists

Michael Brendan Dougherty offers his thoughts on the Musings of Sam Rosenfeld and Matt Yglesias (or Rosey and Yggy, if you prefer - I'm going to start increaing my use of nicknames, I think) on liberal interventionism.

In general, I agree with Mr. Dougherty that interventionism is troublesome, and that attempts to distinguish between interventions often seem to be, to a great extent, ad hoc rationalizations in order to justify the wars started by one's own party and ot by the other guy's party.

However, I will agree with Yggy and Rosey on one thing: Bush did botch the war. Not that the war would be winnable, at least not without an entirely different model that would be anathema to Americans (more on that later), but Bush's incompetence, and failure to plan have made an already foolhardy mission even more destructive.

For example, while it is true that we did not have enough troops to send in the 500,000 that Shinseki suggested, Rumsfeld could have at least acknowledged that we were going in short-staffed and tried to plan with that in mind, instead of just assuming that we had enough troops and it wasn't going to be a problem, as James Fallows (subscription required to read entire article) indicated.

Of course, as Yggy and Rosey also point out, there was some naivete in assuming that Bush wouldn't have "screwed up as bad as he did." To me, anyway, the fact that the president was not looking at Iraq realistically was obvious back in 2002. In fact, in an article in The American Conservative's first issue Pat Buchanan predicted the insurgency that we have come up against. No one should be able to use Kerry's excuse that "I didn't think he'd **** it up this badly."

That ranks way up there with "I didn't think that 'Ernest' movie would be so stupid!" Or, "I didn't realize that Carrot Top would use that as a prop!"

Sp in short, the war was a bad idea no matter who was running it, Bush screwed it up even more, but anyone who trusted Bush and his administration to be competent cannot be held blameless, because they should have known better.

That is all.

Thoughts on Farrakhan's Accusations

Farrakhan's ranting that the levees were intentionally blown up is asinine.

Considering the New Orleans had a much higher black population than much of the US, one immediate effect of the destruction of the city was that areas all over the ocuntry had a large influx of mostly black evacuees. In fact, some of the areas accepting evacuees were mostly white.

Anyone smart enough to know how to bomb the levee would also have known that a major effect of the destruction of New Orleans would be to increase the black population of surrounding areas.

So why would a person racist enough to want to destroy black people's homes do so when it was obvious that the result would be, in essence, greater racial integration?

Here is an alternate theory on my other blog, Rankine 911, that makes about as much sense as Farrakhan's.

That is all.

Democracy, the Antidote to Civil War

Andrew Sullivan:

"If I were further told that the inevitably embittered Sunni Arab minority had decided to throw itself into democratic politics to amend the constitution and protect its interests in a future Iraq, I would be amazed by how swiftly democratic habits can take root in a post-totalitarian country."

Which is of course a good reason to think that the civil war fears were overblown.

After all, voting in the 1860 Presidential election was what proved that the South was not going to secede from the U.S.

That is all.

Cheney's Turnabout Delusions

Steve Sailer has a lot fo good stuff in this post, including a mea culpa for not distrusting Cheney enough and a quoting of Gregory Cochran's debunking of any nuclear program in Iraq.

That is all.

I Haven't Forgotten

In addition to posting about Judith Miller, I need to post thoughts about social policy, race, and IQ and about liberal hawks put into posts, as I had said I would [try to] do.

Don't worry, dear readers, I haven't forgotten!

That is all.

Two Posts About One Thing

Juan Cole discusses the Judith Miller situation, as does Lawrence Auster.

I think that Miller has a lot of 'splainin' to do about the WMD stuff (particularly the ties to Ahmad-the-Thief). I also need to consider the claim that "everyone believed Iraq had WMDs," and also consider what role Miller's reporting had on whatever consensus did exist.

That is all for now.

Aren't the Kurds Sunnis, Too?

Interesting letter at Antiwar.com. Of course, this is why I always specify "Sunni Arabs," Shia, and Kurds, and don't just call them "Sunnis," Shia, and Kurds. (Although I stated in one of my early blogposts that anytime I referred to "Sunnis" in Iraq, I meant Sunni Arabs unless otherwise specified).

That is all.

The "Magic" Number

I don't attach any special power to the number 2000, nor do I plan to involve myself with any protests.

However, I will say that I had earlier predicted (I'll find the link later) that we would see 2000 dead Americans within a year of the 1000th death.

I was wrong by about seven weeks; had my prediction come to pass, this would have happened in very early September.

It also looks like the Dow is unlikely to dip below 10,000 this year (another prediction of mine).

Just thought I would remind everyone, including myself, of my fallibility.

That is all.

Rosa Parks, 1913-2005

I suppose I should say something about the death of Rosa Parks.

The story of the Montgomery bus boycott is very interesting. While I am not so enamored of the use of the federal courts to desegregate the buses, I like the boycott itself very much as a tactic. Bringing the market to bear through a boycott was a good example of capitalism in action (although considering that it appears that the buses were city-owned, and therefore likely subsidized, I am willing to concede that market forces alone might not have been enough, as the buses didn't necessarily have to be profitable).

And, as is often the case, it was the state that was the enemy of freedom:

In addition, city [i.e., Montgomery] officials struck a blow to the boycott when they announced that any cab driver charging less than the 45 cent minimum fare would be prosecuted. Since the boycott began, the black cab services had been charging blacks only 10 cents to ride, the same as the bus fare, but this service would be no more.

It also comes to my attention that the effectiveness and organization shown by the 50s and 60s civil rights movement shows the great competence of the black community (or at least much of it), meaning that under the right conditions there is no reason why the U.S. should not be able to have a thriving black community. Put another way, that means that even if there is an innate racial IQ gap, no one should assume that we should take that as a reason to write off African-Americans as hopeless.

Indeed, I wonder how much of the deterioration of the civil rights movement comes from the fact that Martin Luther King, Jr. decided to deal with the devil (i.e. the federal government) for much of his agenda, and how much of it came from the dissolution of the black family and of the black community following the Great Society programs of the 1960s. (Perhaps Lyndon Johnson was not a hopeless idealist whose Great Society programs failed, perhaps they were designed to do exactly what they did - bread and circuses to keep the unwashed masses in check, mm?)

Or to say something that will shock and offend everyone, I wonder whether things would have been better if Malcolm X had outlived Dr. King rather than vice versa.

That is all.

Doing Something Nice

Been usin' the "next blog" feature on the Navbar, and I came across this blog. A few political thoughts here and there, nothing in particular strikes me about it, but it seems sort of a decent blog.

In any case, it has this interesting post about old TV shows that eliza (the blogger) remembers, so why not just click on either of the links in this post and visit quickly? The blog has Sitemeter, and a relatively small amount of traffic, so a few extra visits will probably make someone's day (I know that it makes my day when I get a link and a few extra visitors).

That is all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

2,000 Deaths? Thankfully, not Quite Yet.

CNN has reported that the death toll for U.S. soldiers in Iraq has hit 2,000.

The "National Debunker" mentions this, but for some reason doesn't link to the report (maybe he heard it only on the TV news; if he saw the article on the 'net and didn't link, shame on him!

However, Yahoo!, which I believe also reported this earlier, seems to have backed off and is reporting the number of deaths as being 1,999.

In any case, I won't believe that the death toll has passed 2,000 until it is reported on the Iraq Coalition Casualties website. It is foolhardy for a blogger to report the number of casualties without confirming it at their site.

Update: The death toll officially hit 2,000 sometime this afternoon.

That is all.

Thoughts on Syria

Hack Kelly posts on why [he feels] we need to seek regime change in Syria, reiterating a lot of the (in my opinion) unfounded charges about Syria being a major contributor to the insurgency.

He has previously accused Syria and Iran of being "behind the insurgency" here.

Paul Craig Roberts, on the other hand, thinks that the whole thing about Syria helping the insurgency is just so much B.S. (read it at LewRockwell.com or Counterpunch, and probably soon at VDARE and Antiwar.com), designed to get us int oan expanded war in the Middle East (and of course, I have said that another motive is so that the administration can ignore the fact that a lot of Iraqis don't like us and that they excuse the fact that they failed to predict an insurgency by pretending that the insurgents are really not Iraqis at all).

I'm with Paul Craig Roberts.

That is all.

Gun Control, Illegal Aliens, UK War on Terror

It's all here, in a G-Gnome posting.

That is all.

The Yellowcake Forgeries

Gordon Prather discusses the forged "yellowcake" documents.

I'm not certain how important these are in terms of getting us into war in Iraq, because as I understand it, Bush's "famous sixteen lines" were not based on this document, but on other intelligence that the British supposedly had but couldn't make public. Of course, this too could be a lie, but it brings into question whether the forgery of the yellowcake documents was that important towards bringing us to war. On the other hand, the forgery is serious because it means that someone was falsifying documents with the intention of getting us into war with Iraq (unless, I suppose, some Nigerian forged them thinking that the US would pay money for such evidence, but most of the current thought seems to trace the document to Italian intelligence, which presumably would not be forging documents for mere lucre without some ideological motive). And this brings to mind who was trying to dupe us.

(As an aside, I thought that during the "Bush National Guard typewriter scandal" at CBS, Dan Rather ought to have said "the memo's not important; we have other documentation that shows that Bush shirked his duty, but darn it, British intelligence won't let us reveal them").

I have also heard claims that Joseph Wilson's denial of Iraq seeking materials from Niger was not consistent with his actual report when he had come back, although Matt Yglesias has some information seeming to deny this.

Part of this is why I have not commented a lot on the Plame case, there is a lot going on and I am not certain that I can make sense of it. If anyone wants to offer their thoughts, I am listening.

The most interesting theory so far, though, is that Patrick Fitzgerald 's investigation of "Plamegate" is actually a ruse to sniff out the yellowcake forgers. I am also interested in the theory that Larry Franklin, the spy for AIPAC, might have something to do with this.

That is all.

She's Number One!

I don't know about anyone else, but when it comes to blondes who are referred by a number instead of a name, Babylon 5's Marjorie Monaghan (Number One) beats Voyager's Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) in my book.

Heck, if it comes down to blondes who have played characters on Voyager (but without the number for a name requirement), then Marjorie wins again. Heck, who wouldn't rather have a hot, holographic Germanic warrior-woman than a cold woman with too much eye-jewelry?

Heck, Robert Picardo (the Doctor) agrees with me!

Question: Seriously… if you had a romantic relationship with anyone on the show, who would it be?
...
R[obert] P[icardo]: Oh, it’s got to be Freya from the Beowulf one ("Heroes and Demons") What a woman!


Come to think of it, in Babylon 5 she would also beat Andrea Thompson in my book.

That is all.

One Way You Can Tell I'm not a Liberal

I may be against the war in Iraq, but I don't give a rat's tail about some dead Taliban bodies being used as kindling.

There's enough real scandals in this war to get worked up about without going crazy over someone cremating enemy corpses.

Now, obviously, I will say that this may have been tactically unwise, as the action might offend some of the people whom we are trying to bring to our side. But of all the things to get outraged over, this falls somewhere behind the fact that House, M.D. doesn't have a second showing of its episodes each week like original programming on cable (e.g. Monk, The Dead Zone) do, in case you miss it the first time.

That is all.

Where Have All the Conservatives Gone?

Andrew Sullivan makes explicit a point that Matt Yglesias touched on. Bush is not a ture conservative, and in fact, the mainstream so-called conservative movement isn't really all that conservative; at least, those in power aren't. The Democrats and Republicans really are not all that different, it is not even a matter of degree anymore, jsut a matter of who gets the goodies and how to pay for them (i.e. taxes, borrowing, or inflation).

That is all.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Arrow Pierces the Heart of the Emperor and his True Image is Revealed!

Adam Bellows points out that Bush values loyalty over competence - or perhaps he confuses the two.

While this is hardly a new insight, it is good to hear NRO writers point it out.

btw, does anyone get the reference in the title? Put your guesses in the comments and I'll tell you who's right in a day or two.

That is all.

Karen Kwiatowski on Iraq

Karen Kwiatowski lays out the reasons for which she feels we went to Iraq, and the way out.

Other than the fact that she jumps the gun a little (she claims >2,000 American troops have been killed, when so far only 1997 have been), I think that her article is very good. So good, in fact, that at the present time I cannot think of anything to add.

That is all.

What's Behind these Recent Terrorist Non-Attacks?

Charley Reese thinks that Al Qaeda is engaging in disinformation, and that the goal may have been to distract us from whatever the real attack they are planning is. You can read the same article at Antiwar.com.

I guess great minds think alike.

That is all.

Kudos to Cindy Sheehan

I'm not a big very fan of Cindy Sheehan, but on the other hand, she has gone up in my estimation today for her dismissal of Hillary Clinton as a likely antiwar candidate.

That is all.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Problem

An interesting take on the Kamau Kambon affair by "Dan" at the Center for Advanced Sarcasm.

Actually, I think he hits the actual crux of the problem fairly well:

"Oddly enough, only 20% of whites disputed the basic notion that the planet would probably be better off without them."

That is, whites are a little too shy about standing up for themselves as whites.

That is all.

Derbyshire on Science v. Social Policy

Interesting piece by John Derbyshire about the possibility of innate racial differences in intelligence.

One thing that I noticed about the "great race debate" is that there has so far been very fw systematic attempts to determine what to do about it if it turns out that intelligence does vary between people of different races; that is, how ought our social policies be formed if that is the case.

Steve Sailer has touched on it here and there, but I am not certain if anyone has really made an attempt to get a large-scale picture of what policies ought to be in place if equality in all faculties is not attainable?

Well I am certain that a lot of white nationalists, supremacists, and separatists have, but has anyone come up with policy ideas that do not involve apartheid or ethnic cleansing, or that do not use IQ as an excuse to do nothing at all?

I will try to post some more thoughts on this later.

That is all.

Removal of Grace?

The Ambler (Kevin Michael Grace)'s blog has disappeared.

This is quite disturbing. Perhaps his financial woes have finally caught up to him. I would have donated, but it is only recently that I have begun to earn money after a long dry spell, and I have my own obligations for the time being.

So good night for now, Mr. Grace, wherever you are.

Is that all?

A Soldier Silenced

Interesting.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to the AntiWar.com blog.

That is all.

Fighting "Whiteness"

By now, I am sure that most of the people who read my blog have heard about the guy who stated on C-SPAN who advocated exterminating white people.

Well, according to WorldNetDaily, this guy was a visiting professor at North Carolina State University in Raleigh last spring.

So what to make of Kamau Kambon's remarks?

Well, as I said before, he looks like a cross between Willie Nelson and George Clinton, or put another way, I think he is probably a buffoon and am not worried about him having the charisma to build much of a movement.

However, it does seem to me that this is the logical progression of the phenomenon of people announcing that they hate "whiteness." Of course, the claim is that "anti-whiteness" isn't hatred of white people, but hatred of people using unearned privilege, of people trying to exclude other people, etc.. But in reality, the goal of anti-whiteness is to erase European culture to a great extent; in this old Salon article one notices that "whiteness studies" or whatever one wants to call the study of white people as white people, includes a siginificant number of people who think that "whiteness" is something to be ashamed of. I can't think of any other ethnic or other "group" studies that include people who dislike the characteristics associated with their group. When is the last time heard of someone teaching "black studies" who said that they were ashamed of "blackness" because of the large number of blacks in prison or the large number of black unwed mothers?

For that matter, if someone started talking about what a bad thing "blackness" was, and people objected to that as racist, and then they said that they used "blackness" to mean being on welfare, having babies out of wedlock, or being in prison, and have nothing against black people per se, would anyone take them seriously?

This is also a dangerous way to phrase issues of racism, because it ignores the fact that white people didn't invent racism; throughout history, plenty of people have decided that their group should dominate other groups. Just look at how many tribes' names for themselves translate to "the people" or "the true people," or something like that. As the number of minorities in the U.S. grow, there is likely going to be an increase in ethnic violence between people of two or more different minority groups (see this post by "Lying Eyes" Ziel), and this cannot be dealt with if you assume that all race-hatred has its roots in white people. Obviously, the intellectuals in the minority community can band together against the whites, but I think somehting more comprehensive is needed for the average Joes.

But it in any case, "hating whiteness" means exactly what it sounds like. A hatred of white people and white culture, and at best a desire that white people perpetually grovel at the feet of everyone else. At worst, it means a hope of exterminating white people. Kamau Kambon was simply honest enough to admit it.

So now that we see what "hating whiteness" really entails, I think there needs to be a movement against this idea.

That is all.

More on Saddam's Trial

Previously this week, I posted on an Antiwar.com blogpost by Matthew Barganier suggesting that the Saddam trial is designed so as convict him with the smallest possible "collateral damage," i.e. to prevent him from implicating other people we don't want to get in trouble, e.g. Don Rumsfeld.

Now LAmom points out that radio talk-show host, fake rock star, and Simpsons voice Harry Shearer has suggested the same thing.

I don't think that this is an unreasonable interpretation of the decision to try Saddam on relatively minor charges involving Dujail before moving on to the "big ones." Not that the killing of 143 people is a small thing, but compared to the gassing of Kurds ay Halabja or the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, this is small potatoes.

Of course, on the other hand, as Dennis Mangan and Temetwir have pointed out, this is sort of a show trial anyway; and perhaps it would have been more honest and forthright to just shoot him in the head when he was captured; at least, I think, if we are simply going to turn it into a farce anyway.

Personally, I am not exactly opposed to a trial of Saddam, for the purposes of (a) showing that the U.S., or the "Iraqi government," or whoever, is able to convict him and execute him while playing fair, and because (b) I would really love to find out whom else Saddam will be able to implicate, whether it be from Russia, the U.S., France, or whatever. But if we are going to go out of our way to cover up any part of Saddmam's tyranny that we think will make us or other powerful nations whom we wish to appease look bad, what's the point? And on the other hand, just getting Saddam dead would also provice a sort of closure and make it harder for people to make arguments that Iraq's problems are due to a fear that Saddam will come back.

That is all.

Blog of the Week: Mangan's Miscellany

Added to my sidebar and chosen as the link of this week is Mangan's Miscellany, an interesting blog by "clinical laboratory scientist and reactionary curmudgeon" Dennis Mangan.

He has international associates, and is one of the contributors to the UK blog The G-Gnome Rides Out.

Try it, you'll like it.

That is all.

What They Say and What They Mean...

It strikes me that when people say that only white people can be racist, or that blacks cannot be racist, because racism requires a "system of oppression," they are really saying something else.

Let me preface this by pointing out that the statement here is that racism requires not just oppression, but a system of oppression. This means that a black person who goes on a killing spree against white people or who rapes a white person specifically tbecause they hate them for being white is not considered a racist, even though he is definitely oppressing his victims, because his oppression isn't part of a "system."

It strikes me that the real goal behind this type of thinking is to essentially condone anti-white prejudice.

Put another way, when someone says that non-whites cannot be racist against whites, they are really saying that they don't want to label anti-white p[rejudice because they agree with and support anti-white prejudice.

I will try tie this in with this earlier posting about the man promoting anti-white genocide (who, it turns out, is a college professor by the name of Kamau Kambon), later today.

That is all until (hopefully) later today.

But They Voted!

Rich Lowry adopts the usual pro-war strategy of assuming that the political process is all-important, which I have discussed here.

He also explains our failures to hold territory "cleared" of insurgents by touting the "Iraqization" strategy, without mentioning the primary failure of "Iraqization:" namely, we seem to have troubles maintaining Iraqi forces that are loyal to the government: in June we had only three battalions capable of operating independently, and it seems that that may have decreased to one.

He also repeats the line that the insurgents' tactics, as they are killing a lot of Iraqis, will lead to disaffection with the insurgency and therefore a turning to the political process. Maybe. But haven't we heard this before, and the insurgency has just gotten stronger?

I don't know about you, but I am still waiting for the Iraqis to finally get tired of being targeted by terrorists and to quell the insurgency on their own. AFter all, it obviously has no popular support, so any day now, the insurgents are going to take one step too far and seal their fate.

Any day now. I'm waiting... Yep. For sure.

That is all.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Yes, it is a Quag-Miers

Chris Roach points out that yes, experience does count for something, especially onthe Supreme Court.

That is all.

LRC Blog on the Conservative Civil War

Over at the LewRockwell.com blog, Anthony Gregory, Casey Khan, and Charles Featherstone share their thoughts.

That is all.

Apotheosis

How did a two-bit dictator like Saddam get promoted to the rank of "This Generation's Hitler?"

Dennis Dale considers.

That is all.

Father's Rights

This is an interesting article attempting to debunk a lot of the arguments about why it is bad for kids to be in single-parent homes without a father.

Looking at the statements made, I can already find a lot of problems with the supposed debunking, which I will attempt to address at a later date.

Sample: This article mentions that juvenile crime has been falling throughout the 90s and that the increase in the number of juveniles going to jail is due to them being prosecuted as adults. Nowhere is it considered that the drop in crime may be due to the increase in trying juveniles as adults.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to the misandrists at Alas, a Blog.

That is all.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Same-Sex Marriage? Why Not? Well...

Jane Galt urges humility in predicting the effects or supose lack thereof of same-sex marriage.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Udolpho.

That is all.

More on Michael Ledeen

Scott Horton on the Antiwar blog details the possible links between Ol' Benito and the forged Niger uranium documents.

That is all.

Joseph Farah Making Me Sick Again

*Sigh*. Just as he gained a tiny bit of respect by admitting that he was wrong to support Bush in 2004, he then comes out with this.

Now, on the surface, it seems quite right that waterboarding and other practices would be justified if they got information out of people and saved lives.

But there are several problems here:

(1) First, as Farah admits, we are talking about suspected terrorist detainees. However, he quickly changes to "a few hours of degradation for a terrorist." Let's remember that one concern here is that torture might be used against suspects who turn out to be innocent. Apparently Mr. Farah trusts that anyone the government picks up as a suspected terrorist must already be guilty.

(2) Second, as Jim Henley has pointed out, the "ticking time bomb" scenario is the case in which torture is the least likelyto be effective. This scenario is brought up mainly as a foot-in-the-door for more general use of torture.

In particular, I am worried that torture at places like Abu Ghraib is designed not so much to get information, but as a way to intimidate Iraqis into seeing "who's boss."

As Linnet
points out, the old argument "if torture didn't work [at geting information], we wouldn't use it" assumes that getting information is the real goal. Torture works very well at, e.g., intimidating populations, and it is quite possible that people use torture for this purpose under the pretense of getting information. In such a case, people would be likely to use torture "to get information" regardless of how well it achieved the stated goal.

That is all.

Hey, Mac!

Here is an interesting site for Mac users (like me) that I discovered reading the Mises blog.

That is all.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Blog of the Week (New Posts Below)

In my attempts to (a) get more traffic from other sites and to (b) help to publicize other small blogs, I am going to start a "blog of the week" program.

Every week, I will put a little graphic on the upper right hand corner of my blog (near by picture) that links to the blog for that week. I think I will try to do a new blog every Sunday night.

If you would like to suggest a blog (either yours or someone else's), simply email me at Glaivester at Yahoo dot com or post it as a comment on my "General comments" link (under the "Rankine 911" illustration on my sidebar). If no one suggests one (or if I do not like the suggestions), I will pick one out myself.

The requirements:

You are eligible to be blog of the week if you have a sitemeter, or other similar account such that your stats are open to the public (i.e. someone clicking on your sitemeter icon can see how many visitors you have). It can be any system so long as I can check out your stats to see how many visits you get, and if you are ppicker, how many visits came from Glaivester) I also will only pick blogs which I think are worthy of publicity, although I will likely include blogs that are in disagreement with me on issues.

So go at it, folks!

(Note: if you have a specific graphic you would like me to consider for my link to a blog, feel free to email it to me, but please use JPGs or gifs).

That is all.

Neo-Nazis and Black Gangs and Riots, Oh My...

What do I think about the black gangs rioting at the Neo-Nazi march in Ohio?

This sums up my feelings pretty well.

Here's another post about it.

Of course, what anyone who has a brain in their head will recognize is that this is exactly what the Neo-Nazis wanted, to have a situation where there were black people behaving badly, and where they (the Neo-Nazis) could be seen as the non-violent ones.

The gangs, of course, played right along with the script.

I'm sure there is a lesson in here someplace.

That is all.

George P. and Chelsea - Now That's an Idea...

This post by Steve Sailer about the Bushes and the Clintons uniting through marriage and forming a dynasty reminds me of somethinganother blogger wrote a few months back.

That is all.

Principle, Not Just Results

Lawrence Auster and David Frum point out why Harriet Miers' stated desire that abortion be banned is not enough to make her a good conservative Supreme Court nominee.

That is all.

The Democrats are Hawks, Too

An interesting article by Sam Rosenfeld and Matt Yglesias about the liberal support of the Iraq War and the reasons behind it.

I'll post more later on this.

That is all.

Genocide?

I will try to post about the infamous incident of the black man on C-SPAN promoting the idea that someone should "exterminate white people off the face of the planet," tomorrow.

I have good news though: based on his appearance, I seriously doubt that we have to worry about him being able to organize a movement to carry out his plans.

We do, however, need to worry about how Willie Nelson and George Clinton had a love child.

That is all until I post again.

Avian Flu, Etc.

I tend not to be much of a "natural disasters alarmist." Perhaps it's my faith in God, but I tend to think that we can cope with things better than some people fear. For example, I do not think that oil running out over the next 30 years, if it occurs, will lead to either mass starvation or the re-agriculturalization of our economy. (I'll talk about this in more detail at some point).

But I also doubt that pandemic diseases will be as plague-like as they were in earlier years, for the primary reason that better health and nutrition, and better medical care in general, make a lot of these dieases a lot less serious than they used to be. While we don't have a cure for viral diseases, for example, improved health makes most people much more able to fight off the diseases for themselves. And for bacteria, we have antibiotics.

Over at Gene Expression, scottm and Rikurzhen have posts advocating the "don't panic" position. Very worth reading, in my opinion.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Democracy! Democracy! Democracy!

There is an old joke:

A man was looking all over underneath a streetlight.

Another man walked up to him and asked what he was doing.

"I'm looking for my contact lens."

"Okay, I'll help you." Looking at the ground, he noticed that the ground as very clean. "Oh, this should be easy, there isn't that much around for it to have gone under. You're lucky that you lost it here."

"Oh, no," said the first man. "I lost it across the street."

"Then why are you looking here?"

"The light is better."

This occurred to me today when listening to the Tony Snow Show on my radio. It strikes me that a lot of the neocons have essentially decided that holding the elections and capturing and trying Saddam are the only metrics for success in the War in Iraq.

He was repeating a recent criticism by Dick Durbin (I think, I'll provide a link if I find a good link to what he was talking about) that Iraq had less electricity than it had before the war, and less oil production before the war, etc. (I will admit that I am not certain whether this is true, I would need to study the issue a little more to actually endorse Dubin's statements, but here is a post from back in May 2005 discussing whether the claims that electrical capacity was constantly improving were supported by the numerical evidence)).

What is interesting is that Tony Snow did not even attempt to refute Durbin's claims. He just changed the subject to the constitution and to the trial of Saddam. "How can you say we failed when they voted on a constitution and when Saddam, the mass-murderer, is penned up in a cage?"

In other words, who cares about electiricity, oil production, etc.? We had an election! (I think I am paraphrasing a post by Lawrence Auster here, but I can't find it right now).

Hmm-mm.

Adding Michael Brendan Dougherty

I have added fellow paleoconservative Michael Brendan Dougherty to my blogroll.

He seems a very solid fellow, the only immediate disagreement I can see is that he is Catholic, while I am Evangelical Protestant (Baptist, to be precise). So check him out.

It is filed under the name "Surfeited with Dainties," which is the title of the blog, or, if you are reading this post, click on the link I provided in the first sentence.

That is all.

Let's Hope it is True

Chertoff Vows End to 'Catch and Release', by Jim Abrams.

So the DHDS is getting tough on illegals?

Well, I'll believe it when I see it.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Orrin Judd, even though he is siding with the traitors to the U.S. on the immigration issue.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Thoughts on the Iraqi Elections and Suspicions of Vote-Rigging

In a recent Juan Cole post, concerns about irregularities in the Iraqi elections are discussed. He also discusses them here.

A few thoughts occur to me on the possibilities if the election were rigged:

(1) If it were not for the "provincial veto" provision (i.e. a 2/3 vote pr mopre against the constitution in any three provinces would cause the referendume to fail), there would have been no quesiton as to whether or not the constitution would have passed. Obviously the Shia and Kurds supported it overwhelmingly, so the overall vote would certainly give the constitution a huge margin of victory.

Therefore, problems with low voter turnout in certain provinces are, in practical terms, irrelevant, as Cole himself points out.

Also, concerns over the unbelievably unbalanced vote in some provinces are also effectively irrelevant. while Andrew Sullivan draws parellels between this and the elction under Saddam, the fact of the matter is, that all of the provinces being looked at would probably have voted for the constitution in such high numbers that any rigging would not have made much difference.

(2) If the vote were rigged, it is more likely in my opinion that the Iraqi government did it than that the US did it. And while a passed constitution serves the US's PR purposes, it serves us far better to have the vote be seen as being as fair as possible, and it is the Shia and the Kurds who have the real motivation to get it passed.

What I am trying to say is that any rigging of the elections might well have been done without any US active sanction or encouragement. To the extent that the US passively sanctions any vote rigging (if it does do so), that is,m to teh extent that the US does not raise any protest, it may well be because we don't want to upset the Shia or Kurds rather than because we wish for a staged result.

Put another way, I would not be surprised if the Shia and Kurds were determined that the constitution would pass no matter what, and if they were I am not certain that there is much that the US could do to insure a fair election without causing a great deal of resentment in our Iraqi allies.

(3) Regardless of the results, the most positive PR that the US could get from vote-rigging would be to make the Sunni Arab "yes" vote seem as large as possible. That some Sunni Arabs voted "yes" was prominently mentioned by Rich Lowry, and obviously would be a major step in the right direciton, particularly if we accept the administration's paradigm that building a popularly supported government is the way to defeat the insurgency.

The point, I guess, is that if the election were rigged it would not have the major effect that some might fear it would have, unless the rigging was done to one of the "in play" provinces. And even if it were, it is not necessarily a sign of corruption in the Bush administration or in the coalition. So to me it is not as significant an issue as it might seem it should be.

That is all.

Cover-Up?

The way that Saddam is being tried is mighty strange, as Matt Barganier points out. It would appear that the goal is to get him executed on relaively minor offenses (minor, that is, compared to other things he has done) before he gets tried for the really big crimes.

The most likely explanation, according to Baranier, (and I concur) is that there is a desire to avoid getting into areas where Saddam can embarrass officials by mentioning the fact that a lot of his actions during the Iran-Iraq War were more or less condoned by the U.S. government at the time.

That is all.

Casualties from the Conservative Civil War - Maybe

"Bruce Bartlett, a Republican commentator who has been increasingly critical of the White House, was dismissed on Monday as a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative research group based in Dallas."

Was he fired for being anti-Bush? I suppose time will tell.

Lawrence Auster ponders what these things may mean.

Personally, I hope that the conservatives manage to defeat the Cult of Bush and take back the Republican Party.

That is all.

More on the Continuing Quag-Miers

Jerome Corsi expounds more on the issue of Harriet Miers and the Texas Lottery.

Of course, this is WorldNetDaily, so one has to take what they say with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, this is an interesting charge, particularly when it is coming from the guy who wrote the very anti-Kerry Unfit for Command.

That is all.

Laurie Mylroie and Company

The recent suicide bombing in Oklahoma brought to mind the person of Laurie Mylroie, who has theorized that Saddam was the mastermind behind all important anti-U.S. terrorist attacks from 1993 to 2001, including the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.

A WorldNetDaily report on the recent bombing includes Mylroie compatriot Jayna Davis in the by-line, which leads me to suspect that we will hear something from Mylroie soon, particularly with the theories that the bomber, Joel Henry Hinrichs III, was involved with terrorists, despite official denials that any link between Hinrichs and extremist groups has been uncovered.

Given that, I think that it would be wise to take a look at why people tend to dismiss Laurie Mylroie in the first place. This is a pretty devastating article on her by Peter Bergen (Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Diana Moon at Letter From Gotham). And here is another piece on Mylroie by Bergen.

What is interesting is how many connections she has with other neocons who were instrumental in the push to war, including Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and James Woolsey.

I think there is a lot here to feed my future posts, and I will try to begin making sense of all the different threads in the days ahead.

That is all for now.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Yet More Additions to the BlogRoll

I have decided to add the PolyScifi blog and the National Debunker to my blogroll.

Polyscifi has some interesting thoughts on politics, technology, science, and science fiction, and strikes me as a little bit like Jim Henley's blog in tone.

The National Debunker is very left wing, and sometimes goes nutty but some of the stuff on Iraq is good. In that respect, it's a little like Counterpunch, you gotta wade through some of the leftist muck, but there are some gems there if you know where to look.

That is all.

Bush vs. the CIA

Now we know why the neocons tend to blame the CIA when it gets into a conflict with Bush.

Hey, if the CIA doesn't allow us to have fun with our Arab prisoners, what good are they, right?

I'll post more on the topic of torture soon.

That is all.

Typical, Typical, Typical

Peter J. Wallison tells us we need to "stick with" the President despite the Miers nomination in order to keep the momentum in the war on terror.

He also compares the vote to hold the U.S. to standards in prisoner interrogation (i.e. the anti-torture bill) to the vote to stop giving aid to South Vietnam for its defense.

And that's really the issue here: surrender all of our principles and worship Bush or else the terrorists will win.

Granted, Wallison concedes that we can oppose the Miers nomination, but he doesn't seem to think that conservatives should recognize the pattern of Bush selling us out and should keep supporting Bush, as if this were an aberration.

"...opposition to this unfortunate nomination should not result in diminished support for the rest of the Bush agenda."

You mean illegal alien amnesty, huge deficits, new entitlement programs, and McCain-Feingold?

I think we have a new nominee for Bush's Bend-Over Brigade!

That is all.

Recruiting Woes not Limited to Active-Duty Army

Previously I commented on the fact that all of the talk about how the Army was the only branch of the military suffering recruiting woes (the Marines, Navy, and Air Force apparently are not) usually tends to ignore the question of the National Guard and reserves.

Well, unsurprisingly, many components of the reserves are also suffering recruiting problems.

According to Robert Burns of the Associated Press, several branches of the National Guard and Reserves failed to meet their quotas:

The Army National Guard fell short by 20% (or by about 12,000 soldiers, according to my calculations)

The Navy Reserve fell short by 12%

The Army Reserve fell short 16% (i.e., by about 4500 soldiers)

The Air National Guard fell short by 14%.

On the other hand, the Marine Corps Reserve exceeded its goal by 2% and the Air Force Reserve by 13%.

Another interesting tidbit: while we keep being reminded that in the active-duty forces, only the Army missed its recruiting goals, what is not mentioned is that the other branches barely made theirs; the Navy and Marine Corps recruited just enough and the Air Force exceeded its goal by only 2%, compared to the Army missing its goal by more than 8%.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to the National Debunker for bringing this article to my attention.

That is all.

Gosh, Who Could Have Guessed?

The diaper-free baby movement is not all it is cracked up to be, says Emily Bazelon.

(In case you don't know what the diaper-free baby movement is, look here for an explanation.

I think I will file this under "duh."

That is all.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

We Just May Have a Constitution

Initial results suggest that the Iraqi constitution has received enough "yes" votes that it will have passed once all the votes are counted. It appears that the Sunni Arabs may not have been able to muster enough "no" votes in enough provinces to veto the constitution, which as I understand it was the only obstacle to its passage.

I don't really have anything against the Iraqi constitution, although it may well have bad or dangerous provisions, I haven't really read it nor analyzed the bits I have read with any detail. So I'm definitely not going to rain on the parade of the Iraqi who voted for it by condemning the results of the elections, or by bemoaning the results as guaranteeing Sunni Arab resistance, as does Juan Cole.

The fact of the matter is that I see Sunni Arab guerilla warfare as inevitable and civil war as near-inevitable regardless of what happens with the constitution, so I don't see the acceptance of the constitution as necessarily any worse than its rejection. I freely admit that I have no idea which outcome would actually be more helpful/less harmful to the goal of a stable Iraq. I just know that I doubt a stable Iraq will occur whatever happens. Either way, someone was going to feel cheated, and I doubt that the losers would stand back and say "we lost, fair and square." Of course, Sunni Arabs who feel cheated would probably attack in a more conspicuous way than would the Shiites and Kurds, as the latter could use the government and police forces to carry out revenge, whereas the Sunni Arabs would be limited to the much less covert insurgency. As it is, it seems that the Sunni Arabs are the losers, so I expect that most of the anger over the election results will be expressed through the insurgency.

My actual attitude toward the constitution is that I feel it to be irrelevant; while we have been told that the passage of the constitution would represent a great victory over the terrorists, I see no reason to believe that the political process is going to resolve the tensions between the different groups in Iraq. Put another way, I am more interested in what our military strategy is; how we plan to defeat the insurgents and how we plan for security to be provided, e.g. how to develop indigenous security forces. I am just not convinced that the existence of a document outlining basic rights is going to actually give the Iraqi an epiphany where they decide that they want liberal democracy.

Lawrence Auster has been criticizing Bush for focusing on the political process rather than trying to actually defeat the insurgents. I think my feelings generally echo his on this issue.

That is all.

Another Interpretation

Over at the strangely named blog 8 Galloway Dr, Rm 103, Will A. Smiley (his blog address is http://wasmiley.blogspot.com and his handle is "WILL," so I am deducing here) has the opposite interpretation of the Zawahiri letters than mine; specifically, he thinks they are genuine. He posts about the topic here and here.

That is all.

A Religious Test?

On the Llewellyn Rockwell blog, Lew posts a cartoon by Mike Luckovich which reveals that Bush did indeed use a religious test when he nominated Harriet Miers.

That is all.

A Little More on Bush, the National Guard, and Harriet Miers

Forgetting the forged documents that got Dan Rather fired, there is still good evidence that Bush did not meet his National Guard service requirements.

Moreover, the forged documents drowned out other aspects of the case, such as the Ben Barnes angle, mentioned at WorldNetDaily by Jerome Corsi.

Now, I don't really care a whole lot; if Bush dodged the draft, that is A-OK with me. I think that the draft is a form of slavery, so I wouldn't blame anyone who tries to get out of it.

On the other hand, however justified draft-dodging may be, I cannot excuse negative consequences from the fallout of that decision. There is the question of whether this issue played a role in a scandal involving the Texas Sate lottery. Ben Barnes was apparently a consultant to GTECH, the company running the lottery, and there was a scandal involving possible corruption and kickbacks on his part, and involving the fact that the company was picked despite it not being the lowest bidder.

Apparently Harriet Miers, the head of the lottery commission at the time, was involved in the decision not to look at the lower bids.

I previously mentioned this back on October 5, but I didn't get around to reading teh details until today.

I can excuse draft-dodging. I cannot excuse the nomination of an unqualified crony as a quid pro quo for engaging in corruption as a quid pro quo for getting someone out of the draft, if that is what happened. Particularly as I doubt that there was any possible criminal liability for any of the Bushes for anything that happened during the Vietnam era, and as the only reason to cover up anything about Bush's National Guard service would be to protect his image and political career.

More on this as it develops.

That is all.

Iraqi Bombs Come from Irish Terrorist Technology

"Eight British soldiers killed during ambushes in Iraq were the victims of a highly sophisticated bomb first used by the IRA, The Independent on Sunday can reveal."

I guess it is time we expanded the war and went after terrorism-supporting Ireland. So when do we bomb Dublin?

That is all.

Cathartic Blogging?

Many bloggers do so for therapeutic reasons, to get catharsis, according to this Washington Post article.

Scott Gilbreath at Magic Statistics questions this:

"Most bloggers that he follows seem to be driven by other, shall we say, more altruistic, motives. By that, I mean a desire to share one’s knowledge, expertise, or opinions with ‘net surfers. For myself, this is my experience of blogging as well. My blog, and the blogs listed in my sidebar, focus on information, expert or other special knowledge, and/or commentary on current events of various kinds. Therapy doesn’t enter into it at all, as far as I can tell."

But isn't that a form of catharsis? At least for a lot of political bloggers, I would think that part of the motivation is: "Finally, after watching all these other people opine on things, half of whom are idiots than whom my dog could write better, I have the ability to tell it as I see it, and to show those half of opinionists who are idiots for what they really are!" Well, that was my motivation, anyway - at least I find that that is part of my motivation; rebutting Jack Kelly, Richard Poe, and a host of others when they say something I vehemently disagree with gives me a small sense of control that is very cathartic; I feel like I provide some sort of balance against all of the columnists whose ideas I think are wrong or who really, really irritate me.

So I can definitely see why people would see blogging as "therapy."

That is all.

Yglesias on the Plame Case

Matthew Yglesias has a pretty thorough rendering of the arguments supporting Wilson and against the administration. I said earlier that I would try and blog on this topic, so after I read an anti-Wilson piece of two (e.g. a piece saying that Wilson lied about his findings in Niger and that his wife was not a covert agent, etc.), maybe I'll try to make some sense of this and come up with a more definite opinion.

That is all.

Discussion Between Steve Sailer's Istanbul Correspondent and Lawrence Auster

I think that the recent "discussion" (for lack of a better term) Steve Sailer's Istanbul correspondent and Lawrence Auster about Islam and violence boils down to one basic question:

Does Islamic ideology cause Islamic violence, or is it the nature of the people who subscribe to Islamic ideology that creates the violence as well as causing them to subscribe to Islamic ideology? In other words, does Islam create jihad, or are Arabs and other Middle Eastern Islamic groups naturally more prone to jihad, which is why they have adopted Islam (or, if you prefer, why they adopt a form of Islam that emphasizes jihad).

Or put another way, is the problem Islam or is the problem the people who happen to be Muslims? So if we were somehow to force the followers of Islam to renounce Islam, would they become more peaceable, or would they simply find some other creed to use as an outlet for their violent tendencies?

Auster writes: "As long as Muslims remain Muslims, even if they are not personally devout and followers of Jihad, they remain always liable to return to a genuine version of the faith, and then they will be supporters of jihad violence." Yes, but the way I see it, Sailer was questioning whether or not a lot of the people who are Muslims are people who would remain always liable to turn to some sort of violent philosophy even if they did not remain Muslims.

That is all for now.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Zawahiri-Zarqawi Letter a Forgery?

Juan Cole suggests that the recently released letter from Zawahiri to Zarqawi may be a forgery (a pdf of the letter can be obtained here). He adds another thought here.

I would not be surprised if the letter was fake, as I have said before, partly because the letter reads a little too close to the Bush administration line; that is, it reveals Al Qaeda's goals to be exactly what would be the most convenient for Bush to have them be, overall, it dovetails a little too nicely with what the administration is saying, much like the memo from last year where Zarqawi claimed he was being "suffocated".

(Considering that the insurgency has lived on for more than a year and a half, even if the memo was authentic I would question the reliability of any assessment of the state of the insurgency made by Zarqawi, and by extension be at least a little skeptical of any asssessment made by any Al Qaeda member).

I should immediately point out that Al Qaeda's claims that the letter was forged do not influence my opinion one way or the other, because there is no reason to assume that Al Qaeda would be truthful about whether or not it wrote a letter. On the other hand, that they are liars and that they say that the letter is a fake does not necessarily mean that it is a fake, they could be telling the truth incidentally.

In any case, if the letter is forged it does not necessarily point to the Bush administration, Juan Cole points out that Iran or some Shiite Iraqis might have reason to forge such a letter in order to manipulate the U.S.

Another objection to the authenticity of the letter is raised here, namely that in one passage Zawahiri seems to be referring to Zarqawi as a third person rather than as the recipient of the letter, but it does not seem to amount to anything to me. At most it would suggest that the intelligence community has misinterpreted to whom the letter was addressed but it too stubborn to admit it, or that Zawahiri made a mistake when writing or dictating the letter, or that someone made a mistake during some transcription step. It does not strike me as the type of mistake that a forger would be more likely to make than the actual writer of a letter, and so really is not particularly relevant to the letter's authenticity.

In any case, I usually prefer to look at the overall facts on the ground in determining the situation in Iraq, and try not to attach too much importance to any one letter or any single anecdote.

That is all.

Yet Another Interesting Blog to Check Out

The Polyscifi blog has a bunch of interesting posts on all sorts of topics, including this one that partially debunks the idea that the higher divorce rates in the South indicate that people in red states lack commitment to marriage (rather, they are largely a function of the fact that the people in red states tend to get married at a higher rate than those in blue states, and so there is a larger pool of people who are "eligible" to get divorced).

In any case, visit the blog, it has a lot of good stuff.

That is all.

Do a Favor for the Glaivester?

For all of my readers who really like the blog, I would consider it a big favor if you would click on the link to "TNine Tapeless Paper" at the top of my sidebar and visit the website.

I have a relative who is involved with the company. They are a new company and are trying to improve their name recognition and their web traffic, so it would help them out if you visited their website even if you don't intend to buy any of their products at this time.

Plus, if you are interested in painting cars, trucks, airplanes, etc., or any sort of painting that involves masking (i.e. covering things with paper to "mask" them from being painted), you might find their products to be useful. (They sell high-quality masking paper as well as a "tapeless" masking paper that is self-adhesive [like a "sticky memo"]).

That is all.

Why People are Against "Equal Pay for Equal Work"

I think the main reason why so many people dislike the "equal pay for equal work" movement is because there is a sneaking suspicion that the real motive is "equal pay for equal effort" regardless of whether or not the quality and quantity of output is the same. That is, that the real goal is equal pay regardless of equal output.

I think that this case in Sweden, where height requirements on a Volvo assembly line (for safety reasons) were ruled discriminatory because they disproportionately disqualify women, is a perfect example of what people are afraid will happen.

Theoretically, of course, Sweden did not actually require Volvo to loosen its safety requirements, because, according to Equal Opportunity Ombudsman Claes Borgstrom,

Instead, they will have to make an individual judgment of the applicants’ physical conditions for the job, for example span of reach and muscle strength.

But in reality these qualifications would likely disproportionately disqualify women as well, so if that is the requirement to prove discrimination, then any safety requirements based on the physical abilities of the applicants will be considered discrimination.

Ultimately, I predict that the government will probably mandate that women receive special treatement (e.g., special workstations, lower productivity requirements) in order to maintain both "non-discrimination" and worker safety. Which, of course, is not "equal pay for equal work," if work is determined by productivity. But many (inluding me) question whether "equal pay for equal work" was really the goal in the first place.

That is all.

Alan Keyes on Bush's Quag-Miers

Alan Keyes expresses his thoughts on Harriet Miers.

He is unimpressed. (Hardly surprsiing, as so few are).

That is all.

Bush's Banishment of Competence

An excellent article by Nick Turse and Tom Engelhardt on how competence was punished and lock-step mendacity rewarded by the Bush administration.

Some people have chosen to give Bush the benefit of the doubt on the Miers nomination. I will admit, the fact that the person one nominated is a crony does not necessarily mean cronyism has occurred, it is possible that a particular crony may indeed be the best person for the job, and the fact that they are a crony is just coincidental. But given Bush's track record, only a blithering moron or a shameless butt-kisser would give him the benefit of the doubt.

That is all.
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