Saturday, December 31, 2005

Can You Say "Ironic?" I Knew You Could!

I was listening to the report on Fox News of the New Year's Celebration at Camp Slayer (hmmm.... why does a person with the nom de plume Glaivester find the idea of "Camp Slayer" intriguing? Oh, yeah).

In any case, in the background, Green Day's "Holiday" was playing, and you could see people rocking in the foreground. Does anyone else see the irony in an anti-war song being played at a camp in Iraq?

(Maybe I am mistaken and the person reporting was actually somewhere else, but I am pretty certain they were in Iraq near a military base).

That is all.

Llewellyn Rockwell on Iraq and Price Controls

Some recent problems in Iraq show the reason why the state is bad news, says Ol' Lew.

That is all.

Iraq Stats

In a day or two, after the figures for coalition deaths in December are finalized, I will redo my analysis of coalition fatalities for 2005 vs. 2004 (also see here). The predicted number of hostile deaths was 68, and the actual number is currently around 55, so the numbers shouldn't play too differently.

I'll also redo my analysis of the American combat wounded (no stats on the rest of the coalition). This ought to be somewhat different, as my predictions for November were 627-662. and the actual number was 398. This may not affect the overall results, but will probably influence the month-by-month comparisons significantly.

Stats for December's wounded will hopefully be out sometime in mid-January, but may take a month or more to be finalized.

Stats are all taken from Icasualties.

That is all.

Happy Hanukkah/Chanukah to All My Jewish Readers

I'm really glad you weren't assimilated or wiped out by the Greeks.

Okay, on a more serious note, when I was involved with JPFO (as a proud Gentile member), I thought a little bit about Hanukkah, and from a Right-to-Keep-and-Bear-Arms standpoint, it is really an awesome holiday, in that it commemorates a people rising up and defending themselves, and overthrowing the tyrants who ruled them, something which requires the type of attitude that only an RKBA culture can really provide.

That is all.

Vegetable Oil Makes Fish Less Healthy for Us to Eat

Why farm-raised salmon may not give us the same Omega-3 benefits. I hope they still give us the same Vitamin D.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to LewRockwell.com.

That is all.

For Those of You Who Live in UnSunny Climates

A short history of nature's most perfect dietary supplement.

That is all.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Iraqi Mythology

I can't add anything to what Juan Cole has said (not right now, anyway), so I won't.

That is all.

How is Glaivester Doing?

I have been saving the emails on my stats that Sitemeter sends me since the beginning of the year. (This means that the stats I have start at Christmas of 2004).

So I can't compare my current stats to my stats for the first 2.75 months that I had sitemeter (i.e. Sept. 30, 2004-Dec. 24, 2004).

However, I can see how I have been doing this year.

Here is a graph. The blue line is my daily visit counts, and the red line is a 7-day moving average. You may notice that the graph of daily visits goes "of the chart" at one point. This represents my best day in terms of visits, November 12, 2005, when I had 399 visits (thank you, Mr. Sailer). To make the chart large enough to include this point would have made the other ups and downs in the chart too small to see easily, so I kept the range of the chart 0-250.

So here it is:

PicAttic.com

Clicking gets you the LARGE version.

My traffic looks good, doesn't it?

That is all.

Some Alterations to Glaivester

I have decided to go back to my postings from 2004 and a few early 2005 postings and add my catchphrase to my old posts. This will likely be done slowly, so you still have some time to see me before I ended every post with "that is all" or some variation of it.

In case you are wondering on which post this started, it was this one (If you are too lazy to click, or if you don't use Netscape or some other tabbed browser and it is too annoying to go to a new page or open a new window, the post was about my predictions at the beginning of the November assault on Fallujah). I suppose that after making so many predictions, I just wanted to sound sort of regal and fact-oriented, and "that is all" gave the impression that a great man had spoken and imparted all of the wisdom that was worth imparting (I'll leave it up to my readers to determine whether they felt that this was what was conveyed, and if so, whether they think the impression was an accurate one). For some reason, I just grew fond of using the phrase, and then started using it on more and more posts, until I started making it my signature for every post sometime in January or February of 2005.

That is all.

AntiWar Stories

This piece on Counterpunch about the top ten antiwar stories and the ten most underreported ignored antiwar stories deserves a mention and a link.

However, I wish he had excluded Cindy Sheehan. If we want to talk about an antiwar mother, how about Mary Tillman, who mentioned that her son Pat, although he left the NFL to fight in Afghanistan, was against the Iraq Attaq. (It probably didn't make the family any more sympathetic with the military that the military appears to have initially lied about the circumstances of his death).

That is all.

Iraqi Democracy - Pfah, I Say, Pfah!

Daniel Larison has some good thoughts on Iraqi democracy and indeed on democracy in general.

One part I disagree with though:

At the moment, Iraqis find elections exciting and inspiring because they have scarcely seen the sorts of governments elections produce,

No, the Iraqis who find them exciting and inspiring do so because such Iraqis are mostly Shiites and Kurds who see an opportunity to stick it to the Sunnis.

Also, many of them probably do see what sorts of governments democracies produce, and are excited about the possibility of getting cushy patronage jobs from elected relatives.

That, or else it's because we're paying them to be excited.

You, know, like we pay the newspapers.

That is all.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Taking Donations Here (New Posts Appear Below This One)

If anyone would like to make a donation to the Glaivester to thank him for providing you with all of these wonderful blogposts, then here are the current options:

You can pay through Amazon's secure payment system.

You also may be able to donate through Paypal (no one has yet, so I am not certain it will work, and I can't get my Paypal button to work).

To donate, click here to go to Paypal. Login to your account, then hit the "Send Money" Tab at the top. Type in glaivester@yahoo.com as the email, type in the amount you are donating, choose currency you will be using, and choose "Quasi-Cash" as the category of purchase. Feel free to type in any email subject or note that you wish.

[Note: if someone would like to make a really small (say, a dollar) donation through Paypal just so I can test it, that would be appreciated as well].

That is all.

U.S. Troops as Human Shields for Dubya

I am not very much worried about whether or not anti-war types can be "against the war" and yet still support the troops.

If antiwar types did not support the troops, that still is not half so bad as pro-war types always exploiting the troops as human shields to deflect all criticism of the Bush administration.

That is all.

New Links on Glaivester.

I am adding links to The Brussels Journal, which appears to be a conservative European publication; and to The Argument Clinic, a blog by a neoconservative commenter on Alas.

That is all.

Pro-Choice, Pro-Abortion, What?

Paul Belien believes that a new statement issued by a European Union advisory panel may indicate a willingness to compel doctors to provide abortions. However, in the comments (scroll down past the trackbacks) Bart Vanhauwaert disputes this fear.

That is all.

Disputing the "Successful Welfare State"

Martin De Vlieghere explains why Scandinavia ain't so grand after all.

That is all.

Updating My "to Blog" List

Other than my review of Red Dawn, I haven't made much progress in a month. But I'll try to get to these.

Review of Red Dawn.

Talking about blaming the CIA for bad intelligence.

Update to my post on "Citizenism."

I'll add to this list as I find things I said I would blog on but haven't yet.

I will add to this list a post dealing with "benchmarks vs. timetables," which Matt Yglesias discusses here. Done!

I will also talk some about the statement by Iraqi leaders apparently legitimizing he insurgency (Lawrence Auster discusses it here).

A discussion of AIDS and Africa.

The discussion of fatherlessness I mentioned here.

That is all.

Good-Bye, Ukraine and Bulgaria

Ukraine and Bulgaria withdrew the last of their troops from Iraq last Tuesday.

That is all.

Good News - Maybe - from Iraq

Drawdown plans are being slightly more fleshed out. It's a little like watching episodes of a TV show with a story arc involving a mystery. Teeny pieces are revealed episode by episode until the shape of the solution to the mystery begins to appear, and then gradually comes into focus.

Unfortunately, I do not think that conditions on the ground will allow any major drawdown next year, except for a drawdown by necessity, with the accompanying instability. Put another way, we are not going to be able to drawdown troops significantly in 2006 based on succeeding at our mission. We will only reduce our troop levels because we simply do not have the resources to maintain them, regardless of the consequences of doing so. And I suspect that (a) whatever unrest we are currently holding back is significant, and (b) reduced troop levels will severely inhibit our ability to hold it back, unless of course we decide to hold it back through sheer brutality (killing any insurgent, and his family, and his neighbors; wiping out recalcitrant villages, that sort of thing).

But it is nice that the government is finally coming up with at least some hazy pieces of a plan.

Nota bene: I am not saying that a troop reduction shouldn't happen. Even if we are holding back the blood-dimmed tide in Iraq, I think that we can only delay the inevitable, and the longer we wait, the worse it will get. I am just saying that I don't think we should anticipate that we are going to leave Iraq in a better state than it was in at the beginning of the war.
That is all.

Ranking of Scientific Discoveries Being Politically-Driven?

Is "Evolution in Action" really a "breakthrough" of 2005?

For most biological scientists, evolution is old hat. Moreover, none of the "breakthroughs" discussed in the Science Mag article seem to me to be that revolutionary; they are just examples of using our current techniques to make slow progress in the same old fields.

Put another way, discovering the structure of DNA was a breakthrough, sequencing the first viral and then first bacterial genome was a breakthrough; sequencing the human genome was a breakthrough. The fact that we recently sequenced a few additional genomes such as the chimp genome no longer qualifies. Nor does studying a species of bird behaving in a way that "might" lead to its speciation someday in the future. Nor does finding out that the 1918 influenza happened to be a "pure avian strain" that underwent mutation.

In fact, the only potentially revolutionary discovery they mention ("a proposed rearrangement of the microbes at the base of the tree of life") is one that they don't actually explain in any detail.

This is obviously more driven by a perceived need to refute Intelligent Design than by any actual consideration of the "breakthroughness" of the research they discuss.

Update: More on this on Rankine 911: Insane Ravings

That is all.

Katrina Rape Stories Used to Be Exaggerated, Now They Are Being Understated

Ol' Lyin' Eyes Ziel and Steve Sailer comment on this NPR report.

Apparently there appears to be an attempt to downplay the rapes that did occur, for whatever reason.

That is all.

Thank Goodness for Craige MacMillan

Who reminds us that the President should charge the New York Times for treason for revealing to terrorists that we were spying on them.

Because, of course, no one who was doing illicit terrorist communications ever considered that someone might have been listening in until this story came out.

That is all.

Disgusting EU and UN

A newspaper in Denmark published some cartoons that included caricatures of Muhammad. Angry Muslims threatened to take the lives of the cartoonists, and to bomb the newspaper's offices. In Pakistan, a bounty was put on the head of "the cartoonist" (actually, the cartoons were drawn by different artists, but those offering the bounty apparently were unaware of this) who drew the pictures. Naturally, the EU and the UN are upset at the paper.

It shouldn't upset anyone that the U.N. wants to "investigate Danish racism." After all, the U.N. is beholden to little third-world despots, and is essentially a bunch of wimps who want nothing more than to pacify little third-world crybabies by always taking their side against the west.

But that the European Union itself is more concerned about making certain that no one offends Muslims' sensibilities than with freedom of speech...

Well, here are two excerpts from the piece linked above:

The Council of Europe (CoE), an organisation of 46 European countries, has criticised the Danish government for invoking the “freedom of the press” in its refusal to take action against “insulting” cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Last week, the Council of Europe issued a warning that publications with xenophobic elements are increasing in Denmark and urged the Danish government to “take action.”

I think, though, that this is the part that I find the most amusing to my sardonic sense of humor...

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

That is all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Thoughts on Fourth Amendment and Illegally Obtained Evidence

A while back, I commented on Matthew Yglesias non-TPMCafe blog about Stephan Kinsella's LewRockwell.com article about the "exclusionary rule."

Essentially, the argument is that evidence obtained illegally ought not be excluded, and evidence that winds up being probative ought to excuse an otherwise illegal search. The mechanism for enforcing the 4th amendment ought to be prosecutions or civil suits on behalf of people who were searched illegally in cases where nothing was found. This would make the rule protect the innocent instead of the guilty.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but the Cory Maye case and Paul Craig Roberts' recent column brought me to realize the flaw in the plan. If policemen overconfidently search an innocent person (figuring that they'll take the risk that he is innocent because they are so certain he is guilty), and find nothing, then they are likely to face severe censure. Given such pressures, what are the chances that they'll frame the guy in order to protect their own skin?

Perhaps the exclusionary rule, by making illegal searches pointless, does make the best deterrent after all.

That is all.

Insane Asylum

Juan Mann reports on one of Steve Sailer's predictions coming true.

That is all.

Changes in Glaivester - Eventually

At some point, after I have a little more cash and the inclination, I will start purchasing some non-free hosting and mover my blog over to http://www.glaivester.com (there's nothing there now but a list of ads and "This web site is parked free, courtesy of GoDaddy.com®").

But you probably will need to wait awhile.

That is all.

Great Minds Think Alike

This ties into the domestic spying business. I can’t believe that President Bush can claim, with a straight face, that the details of domestic spying need to be kept secret, so as not to tip off terrorists living in the US. Remember folks, these people are devoting their lives to stopping what, in their mind, is evil incarnate, the carpet-bombing, dictator-installing, WMD-story-fabricating, atom-bomb-inventing-and-dropping, US world empire. Do you really think that these people wouldn’t take safeguards to protect their email from the FBI and CIA, until they were tipped off by the New York Times?

- Robert P. Murphy, "The Torturous Bush Administration", LewRockwell.com

In other words, none of the information that was released, as far as I know, ought to have endangered any spying operation, because from the standpoint of anyone for whom it would be justified for us to spy on, they would likely suspect that we were spying on them anyway. The only extra information they would have now is that such spying might be occurring without judicial review.

- The Glaivester "Am I Missing Something Here?, Glaivester

That is all.

Yushchenko Looking Better

This picture at AntiWar.com appears to indicate an improvement in the condition of Victor Yushchenko's face after last year's alleged poisoning.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Appropriate Skepticism...

...About troop reductions, from Jim Henley.

That is all.

On Those Sanctions

Scott Horton has a good piece on the Antiwar.com Blog reminding us of the deception about the motive for the U.S. sanctions on Iraq from 1991-2003.

So remember, kiddies, when people ask, why didn't Saddam just give us his weapons so we'd lift those sanctions, the sanctions were all his fault, they are liars or are being deceived by liars.

That is all.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Getting Slightly Less Fuzzy - Maybe

The Washington Post reports on the possibility and probability of troop reductions in Iraq.

That is all.

Linked by Elementropy

A blogger calling himself "Retardo Montalban" has linked to my takedown of Mark Steyn.

I'm flattered.

However, I don't think I would go so far as to imply that Mark Steyn was satanic (which is what I think the maple leaf (Steyn is, or was at one point, Canadian. or a resident of Canada) with the pentagram in front of it is supposed to suggest.

In any case, thanks for the link, "Retardo."

That is all.

New Blog of the Week: Ampersand's Alas, a Blog

For a bit of a change, I am choosing a far left feminist blog for my blog of the week this week.

Alas is an interesting blog run by cartoonist Ampersand. Of course, if regular Glaivester readers decide to check it out, it would be wise of me to warn you that a lot of the ideas expressed are very different from what I suspect the majority of you feel (as I suspect that Glaivester readers skew to the right). In fact, if you are like me, you may get very irritated at first by some of the ideas or (more likely) by some of the people who comment on the blog. So remember to be courteous if you decide to comment (and there is nothing wrong with just lurking without commenting), and mind the comment moderation policy and the courtesy policy for rightists.

That is all.

Happy Boxing Day

To all Canadian, U.K., and other Glaivester readers who celebrate such.

That is all.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Bait and Switch

100 of the candidates who ran for election from Sunni parties have been disqualified for alleged ties with the Ba'ath Party.

What this means, of course, is that people voting for the lists of said candidates will not be getting the representatives they thought they were voting for. They might even get candidates whose earlier inclusion in the lists might have caused significant numbers of voters to have voted differently.

This, of course, allows for more manipulation of the election, just as earlier on the secrecy of the party lists may have done. (See also here and here).

There may not be anything nefarious here; these candidates may really have Ba'ath connections and were initially allowed because no one with the power to disqualify them was aware of it.

But how many Sunni Arabs will feel differently?

That is all.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, GLAIVESTER READERS!

Have a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

That is all.

Just So You Know

My moniker is pronounced GLAYV-stir (that is, "Glaive-" rhymes with "wave" and "-ster" is pronounced "stir" as in "stir the batter.")

It is not Glay-eve-ster, or Glave-ess-ter. Two syllables, accent on the first.

That is all.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Thoughts on Iran

I would have to check to make certain that the neocons who predicted that Iraq would break out in non-theocratic, liberal democracy (because none of the people are interested in theocracy) are the same ones who think that the Iranian people would rise up and overthrow the mullahs in favor of a pro-American, pro-freedom government, but if so, then doesn't the failure to accurately gauge Iraqi opinion suggest that we should be cautious about trusting them on Iran ("be cautious" is an example of an understatement).

That is all.

Mean vs. Median

Matt Yglesias makes a good point, while discussing an article by Fred Barnes:

Although mean income (aggregate income divided by number of households) has risen over the past few years, median income (if you line up American households by income, the income of the household in the exact middle) has gone down.

This would indicate that the increase in mean income has come entirely from an increase of the income of people in the top half.

I don't agree, of course, with the liberal solution (tax those dirty rich people) to the problem (if it is a problem). But this is an important thing to realize. And it is important to call Mr. Barnes on his, if not entirely deceptive, then at least not complete statistical analysis.

A blogger calling himself RSA graphed this.

What would actually be very helpful would be graphs of the trends in income at different percentile points over the last 25 years or so; i.e. how are people at the 25th percentile doing, the 50th percentile (actually, that is on the graph; the 50th percentile is the median), the 75th percentile, etc. This would show more exactly whose income is increasing and whose is decreasing.

Anyone know of such a graph?

That is all.

Jim Henley Round-Up

Jim Henley on:

Radley Balko and the Cory Maye case
The wiretapping issue, etc.
The issue of being right, not just being positive
The elections in Iraq

That is all.

Is the Iraq War Making Female Infantry Necessary?

It's either that or get really offensive to the Iraqis by having male troops search female Iraqis.

I think that Lawrence Auster talked about something like this and about whether or not the way we were fighting this war was causing us to change parts of our military culture, but I don't have the link at the moment.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to IFeminists.

That is all.

Sure, Only the "Homophobes" Seek to Silence the Opposition

Melanie Phillips on the "anti-homophobia" hysteria in Britain.

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

That is all.

Race, Skin Color, Health, and Vitamin D

Updated Again! See below (new update in red)

After reading this post by Dennis Mangan on vitamin D and lung function, I have been thinking lately about the possibility that part of the reason why blacks in the U.S. have such worse health than whites is literally because of the color of their skin. That is, because their darker skin does not use sunlight to produce vitamin D as efficiently as it does in white people. (That is why light-skinned people tend to predominate in less sunny climes. There are a few exceptions; notably the Eskimos, but they eat a lot of fish, which is about the only significant dietary source of vitamin D).

In other words, how much would it improve the health of U.S. blacks were we to encourage them to take vitamin D supplements, or, for those who don't like pills, to take cod liver oil.

Maybe that would even reduce the IQ gap by a point or two, hmmm?

Update: Dennis Mangan has a post up about blacks and Vitamin D. I am the reader who wrote to him, by the way. It's a good post; go read it.

Apparently, a website called Little Geneva has noticed this posting and has linked to me (search the page for "more proof") because of it. While I thank them for their kindness in linking, I can't say that I agree with them on their interpretation. While I think that one could argue that God did indeed intend for racial separation for a time (as part of a "divide and conquer" strategy of mankind - I'll explain later), I think that it is not unreasonable to think that such a time has passed, and that He allowed us to make the technological advances we have made in order that there can be more interaction between the races. That is, back in the 1600s (or even into the 20th century) it would be a bad idea for a black person to live in any northern area that did not have a good supply of cod, salmon, or sardines. But now that we have vitamin D supplements, and that cod liver oil and vitamin D rich fish are cheap, plentiful, and available far from where they are caught, skin color no longer need be a biological disadvantage in unsunny, unfishy climates.

That is all.

Non-Theocracy in Iraq (Haw Haw Haw)

(Note: I prefer the term "non-theocracy" to "secularism," because in a U.S. context "secularism" is often used to mean that the government actively tries to marginalize religion).

Diana Moon of Letter from Gotham has a post out on the not-so-non-theocratic results of the Iraqi election.

I can't help but recall hearing the war-supporters insist that Iraq was so different from Iran, and how the Iraqi wanted freedom and non-theocratic government so bad. (And how popular Ahmad Chalabi was).

I expect that the charges of vote fraud will be growing fairly soon. In fact, I would not be surprised if many of the Chalabiphilic neocons insist that the vote be adjusted to reflect how they are certain that the elections went.

That is all.

Voting and Bombings NOT Mutually Exclusive

Juan Cole makes a good point that I myself have made. Namely, he has pointed out that there is no reason to suppose that by voting, the Sunnis are turning away from the insurgency.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Diana Moon, of Letter from Gotham.

That is all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Birth of the Glaivester

Although I started my blog on September 30, 2004, I actually stared using my "Glaivester" pseudonym back in March or April of 2000. I originally used it to post messages on the Sci-Fi Channel Bulletin Board, specifically on the show Good vs. Evil. Here is an early post from April 15, 2000. I'm not certain where my first post is or even if it is identifiable as my first post (this seems to be my earliest "thread-starting" post, but my very earliest posting was likely a reply on another thread).

Everyone had names related to shows they liked or to something about them. I liked the movie Krull, and the weapon that was the symbol of the movie was called the "Glaive," (from this website) so I decided to become the "Glaive - ster."

And thus a pseudonym was born.

That is all.

Actual Good New from Iraq

Chalabi's showing in the recent elections really stunk.

Which goes to show that it was smart of the Bush administration not to impose him on Iraq, as so many neocons would have had him do.

Rumsfeld announces the possibility of a small troop reduction. As I understand it, this would bring our forces to about 131,000 - down from 138,000 as the normal baseline. (Admittedly, the article is vague on whether the 2 brigades (about 7,000 troops) are in addition to the reduction of troops to the baseline level of 138,000, or if part of their number will be included in the "reduction to baseline," but it does say that the troop level will be reduced below the current baseline of 138,000.

This is probably not very significant, and may be kiboshed by future events, but it would still constitute a real reduction and so I am pleased by it.

That is all.

Fatality Trends

Using the Iraq Coalition Casualties data, it appears that this month will be another (relative to May, June, August, October, and November) low fatality one, with only 40 combat and 8 non-combat deaths so far (which would predict 56 and 11 for the entire month).

I have a feeling that this trend will likely last the month and maybe one more month, but then fatality rates will climb again.

This New Year's, I will try to gauge the accuracy of all of my predictions for 2005, and to make new predictions for 2006. But for now, this little prediction will have to do.

That is all.

New York City Subway Strike

The New York City government has only itself to blame for the strike, says Gary North.

I concur. Personally, I would fire all of the leaders of the strike for breaking the law, and then demand that everyone else get back to work.

Eventually, I'd fire all of the striking workers if they didn't come back. I would not, however, fire them all immediately, because I think a lot of them might secretly want to go back to work, but they are afraid of what the other union members would do to them if they did.

That is all.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Paul Craig Roberts on the Judicial System

An interesting article by Paul Craig Roberts discussing corruption in our courts.

You can read it in several places.

LewRockwell
VDARE
CounterPunch

That is all.

How Quickly We Forget

Arthur Silber recently put a post on his blog discussing the warrantless wiretapping issue.

One thing in particular that I noticed was this part, where he discusses a James Bovard piece on Waco (Bovard in red):

This film may help repair the profound national embarrassment that occurred in the initial reaction to the FBI's final attack. Snap polls taken on the day of the Waco fire and the following week showed that the American people overwhelmingly supported the action of the FBI. Rep. Jack Brooks (D.-Tex.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, commented that the Davidians were "horrible people. Despicable people. Burning to death was too good for them. They'd like a slower method."

That last statement is one that commentators like Limbaugh now make routinely about our enemies today.


Heck, Rush Limbaugh was making statements like that at the time, as L. Neil Smith talks about in this piece.

In fact, the famous quip by Bill Clinton:

Did you like the way Rush took up for Janet Reno the other night on his program? He only did it because she was attacked by a black guy.

was about Rush defending the actions that Janet Reno took in Waco.

So if you think that Rush has changed a lot, he hasn't.

Or that Rush only belittles civil rights when Republicans are in power, he doesn't restrict himself like that.

That is all.

"Bennifer" Was Annoying Enough

So is this the new trend? Referring to celebrity couples by making a portmanteau of their names?

That is all.

Parents and Schools

A round-up of stories about how the "Village" is raising children in ways that their parents do not approve of.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Ifeminists.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Thoughts on the Elections

The pro-warriors keep asserting that the fact that the insurgents did not manage to disrupt the elections shows that we are winning. But given that the insurgency appears to be going along at a fast enough pace between elections, why should the temporary drop during an election be seen as significant?

Perhaps (a) the insurgents don't care about elections or see them as an alternate and complementary way to pursue their agenda (and denunciations of the elections by Zarqawi simply show how out-of-touch he is with the majority of insurgents) and/or (b) the fact that we shut down Iraq during the election had something to do with it.

If we shut down Iraq completely for the long term, we could probably severely decrease the insurgency. Of course, Iraq would become a complete welfare state where no one worked and we would have to essentially bring everyone their food and other household necessities, so such as idea would be unlikely to be a doable scenario.

In any case, the pro-warriors overestimate what the elections will accomplish.

That is all.

Iraq in 2008

I got a column from the future today (I have a time machine, you see), the top of the column is a little smudged, but it appears to have been written by Mark Steyn, sometime in January 2008.

Here's an excerpt:

The Democrats are such losers, still calling Iraq a quagmire, Well, we've just had the 203rd election in Iraq. We are having three a week now, and it has been working so beautifully. Turnout is over 80%.

But the MSM will only focus on the negative, such as the four dozen American soldiers killed in the latest carbombing. Come on! Last year, only 8,000 Americans died in combat in Iraq. That is still fewer than the number of Americans that died in auto accidents or who were murdered last year.

And the so-called insurgency is obviously losing strength. They only number 60,000 now. Our troops alone outnumber them 5-to-1. Add in some odd 5,000 British, Australian, and Polish troops, and we are obviously the stronger force. Moreover, after the bombing attack by foreign jihadists on the Sunni mosque that killed 4,000 in Fallujah last month, the Sunnis will most certainly reject the insurgency entirely, leaving Zarqawi nowhere to go. The Shiites also must find their resentment of the terrorists increasing, as the terrorists, in a vain attempt to start a civil war, disguised themselves as Shia policemen.

And the civil war still hasn't come to pass, despite all of the attacks over the past few months. The utter annhilation of the towns of Najaf and of Ramadi have still failed to cause either the majority of the Sunni Arabs or the Shiite Arabs to decide to attack the other in civil war.

And in Kurdistan, things are really going wonderful, despite the Al Qaeda led attacks against Turkey that bin Laden-sympathizing conspiracy nuts blamed on the poor Kurds. The Turkomen are very pleased with Kurdish rule, as well, despite concerns that they would suffer under the new regime. In fact, they are so pleased that they have all invited Kurdish policemen to live with them night and day!


I guess you can read the rest when it comes out in 2008.

That is all.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bush Lying and Contradicting Himself during Recent Press Conference

I couldn't say it better than Yggy does.

So I won't. You'll have to read Yggy's piece.

That is all.

Am I Missing Something Here?

I keep hearing that the leaking of the "spying on Americans scandal" was a treasonous or near-treasonous act that endangers national security.

My question is, how?

Were any details about whom, specifically, we were investigating released? Did anyone who used telephones or emails to call their terrorist associates not think that there was a good chance that their calls would be monitored?

The leak, as I understood it, was not about the fact that the U.S. government was spying on U.S. citizens. It was that the administration did not go through the proper procedures to get the judicial imprimatur on their spying. Moreover, on the radio I heard that such warrants could have been issues retroactively up to 72 hours. This means that the question "if bin Laden calls someone in the U.S., should our intelligence people who are spying on him have to hang up?" (I think Hannity was the one who said this) moot. They don't need to, they just need to get a warrant within 72 hours in order to use the information.

In other words, none of the information that was released, as far as I know, ought to have endangered any spying operation, because from the standpoint of anyone for whom it would be justified for us to spy on, they would likely suspect that we were spying on them anyway. The only extra information they would have now is that such spying might be occurring without judicial review.

Which means, of course, that Bush isn't angry that people have compromised our intelligence gathering. No, he is upset that people have exposed the fact that he is playing fast and loose with the law.

And before a frothing mouth Bush-olater attacks me, let me say that, Hell, yes, I know that Clinton did this stuff, too. Lying under oath about being inflated by Monica is probably the least of the impeachable offenses he committed. I don't deny that other presidents have been bad, nor do I think that Bush is necessarily worse than most of the rest of them. I just think that he is as bad as most, and am sick of hearing the neocons and the Bush-olaters fete him as the best thing since Ronnie.

That is all.

Notice to Glaivester Readers

If anyone wants to advertise anything on Glaivester, or to publish a piece on Glaivester (I published a piece by Frank Speiser once), or wants to publish a blog post of mine, or would like me to write an article for them online, or on paper, etc., just drop me a line and we can discuss it!

glaivester at yahoo dot com

That is all.

Yes, Virginia, Matt Drudge is a Hack

Tonight I was listening to the radio, and heard Matt Drudge blast Bob Barr for getting after Bush about this latest scandal involving wiretapping without warrants.

I need to know a little more about what it was that Bus has doing before I condemn him, but it sounds as if he was engaged in some shady stuff.

In any case, though, what floored me is that Matt Drudge apparently insisted that what Bush was doing was nothing, because we already are being spied on by Echelon, run by the National Security Administration (NSA), and have been since the Clinton years.

So apparently, if Clinton did it, it's okay (that's a high standard to hold our office-holders to).

I also got the distinct impression that Drudge was thinking of Bob Barr as a Clintonite, who would criticize Bush for doing things that he would have no problem with Clinton doing.

As I recall, Bob Barr played a big role (for the prosecution) in the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. So it is rather ridiculous to imply that Barr is a friend-of-Bill in any way, shape, or form. Or that he wasn't upset by the spying activities of the Clinton administration.

But then again, the Bush supporters have never been known to shy away from the ridiculous, have they?

That is all.

More on Iraqi deaths

In a previous post, I showed this table, comparing combat death tolls in Iraq for the calendar months of 2004 and 2005 (December 2005 figures estimated based on number of deaths as of midnight between Dec. 15 and Dec. 16), from the highest to lowest combat deaths per month:


2004..2005
131...79
129...75
74....74
65....71
63....69
58....69
58....68
45....48
45....46
39....45
35....42
14....33


The average death toll per month for 2004 was 63 combat deaths per month, and for 2005 was 59.9 combat deaths per month. The standard deviations for 2004 and 2005 were 35.1 and 15.8, respectively. Which gives some quantitation to my claim that the death tolls were more consistent from month-to-month in 2005.

If we control for the two attacks on Fallujah by assuming that the death tolls for April and November of 2004 would be the same as the average of those for the other ten months in 2004, (49.6), then we find the table would change like this:


2004..2005
74....79
65....75
63....74
58....71
58....69
50....69
49....68
45....48
45....46
39....45
35....42
14....33


The average for 2004 would be 49.6 combat deaths per month, with a standard deviation of 17.6 (based on the ten months where we use real rather than interpolated data).

If we were to assume that May's high combat death toll (65) was due to Fallujah, and interpolated the three months' combat death tolls to be the average of the other nine months' (which would come out to 47.9), we would get the following table:


2004..2005
74....79
63....75
58....74
58....71
48....69
48....69
47....68
45....48
45....46
39....45
35....42
14....33


2004 Average: 47.9 deaths per month
St. Dev. (based on 9 months): 17.8

So here are the figures again:


2005 : 59.9 ± 15.8
2004 : 63.0 ± 35.1
2004*: 49.6 ± 17.6
2004†: 47.9 ± 17.8


*Adjusting April 2004 and November 2004
†Adjusting April, November, and May 2004

So overall, other than the attacks on Fallujah 2005 would have likely been a deadlier year than 2004, and 2005 showed a more consistent combat death toll, largely due to the Fallujah assaults, although it would have been slightly more consistent even without them.

I suppose one could argue that the fact that we did not need to do another Fallujah-style assault is a sign of victory; on the other hand, this would indicate that the insurgents are getting more successful in their attacks, in that they are causing about as many deaths without massive urban combat as they did last year, which included massive urban combat.

That is all.

More Thoughts on Iraqi Elections

I previously wrote:

Well, they are nice and all, but do they actually change anything in terms of the insurgency? I doubt it.

I think that Lawrence Auster sums up the situation nicely in this post.

As I see it, the general neoconservative argument seems to be that the "Islamists," who are apparently comprised of all Arabs who dislike us, and who compose a united front, are as ideology-minded as the neocons and whose main feature is both a hatred of democracy and freedom, and a vulnerability to freedom and democracy (by which I mean that freedom and democracy supposedly weaken, repulse, or somehow injure "Islamists" like sunlight does to a vampire).

Therefore, holding elections defeats the "Islamists" and weakens their power over Iraq.

I remember Ollie North proclaiming on Hannity and Colmes that the thing the "terrorists" (by which he meant all of the insurgents in Iraq) fear the most is "those purple fingers." Apparently the assumption is that once they get a taste of voting, the Iraqis who are currently pro-insurgency or ambivalent about the insurgency (or even part of the insurgency) will come around to our side.

Unfortunately, I think that this is a caricature, and not a terribly accurate one at that.

I think that a lot of the insurgents are probably Sunnis who think that violence will get them a better deal than voting in a fair election will. Of course, there is no reason why they shouldn't assume that voting and carrying on the insurgency will get them an even better deal.

Moreover, the act of voting does not necessarily imply an endorsement of democracy. It just means that people acknowledge that the election is happening, and that voting in the election will be more beneficial to them than abstaining. A man who prefers beef to chicken might buy chicken when beef supplies are limited; this does not mean that he now prefers chicken or that he won't buy beef as well, or that he endorses chicken over beef.

I think that the elections will continue on schedule, with new governments being elected every so many years, for as long as we are there. But the insurgency will go on, and the extrapolitical power plays (e.g. the insurgency) will also go on.

And we will keep having more hollow victories.

That is all.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Recent Posts on Iraq

Here is a round-up of recent postings I have made about Iraq:

An analysis of coalition combat fatalities in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. (Also see the update).
A similar analysis of American combat wounded
Pointing out Mark Steyn's total misrepresentation of the Iraq War debate.
What Bush is really saying when he says he won't set a timetable
On the embryonic civil war, and the Iraqi-ness of the insurgency.
On why "Trusting the men on the ground" is misleading.
On problems we are encountering in Afghanistan
More on the embryonic civil war.
What Bush needs to do for me to accept that he has a real "victory plan".
On the Elections.

That is all.

Thoughts on Israel

Thinking about the recent statements by the President of Iran, I wonder how many people's impression of the Zionist/Israeli situation is this?

After the Holocaust, Europe felt bad about so many Jews being killed. So they took a piece of land in the Middle East that was (at least part of) the traditional Jewish homeland and decided to give it to the Jews as Israel. Thus was Israel and Zionism born. Without the Holocaust, no one would have ever thought of making a Jewish state in the Middle East.

This is, of course, not only oversimplified, but actually an inaccurate account. But somethimes I think that most people tend to think in those terms.

In reality, Zionism began in the 19th century, and the re-creation of Israel in 1947 followed several decades of Jewish immigration intended to swell the Jewish population enough so that a state would be viable (and prior to that, there were Jews living in Israel/Palestine for centuries, perhaps as far back as the destruction of hte original Israel).

The creation of Israel was actually accepted by Europe back after World War I in the Balfour Declaration, although it was not realized until after World War II. The main reason that World War I brought about some of the earliest official recognition and plans to bring Israel into the community of nations was, as I understand it, because prior to WWI the land was under the control of the Ottomans, and after the war, the victorious western allies took control from the defeated Ottoman Empire.

In any case, an important question is whether or not Israel would have existed in an alternate universe where the Holocaust did not take place. And the answer, I think, is yes. It might have taken a decade or two more, and it might have had less external support in its founding, but it also would likely have a larger Jewish population, as there would be six million (and maybe more, depending on the Jewish birthrate) more Jews to go there. Of course, this might be offset somewhat by less feeling of a need to go there if there had been no Holocaust, but on the other hand without the Holocaust post-1945 antisemitism would likely be a lot more acceptable, so that might drive more European Jews out into Israel anyway, assuming that a vast number don't go there just because they want to be in a place where they are the majority for a change.

Five years ago, Sam Schulman had some thoughts on this and some similar issues, which are, in my opinion, worth a read.
carve out a Jewish homeland out of Germany and Austria instead of out of "Arab Land" assumes a great deal about the founding of Israel that is not really accurate.

That is all.

Review of Red Dawn

I promised earlier a review to the movie Red Dawn.

First, let me refer you to Murray Rothbard's and Stan Cox's reviews on the movie.

So what do I think of it?

It was not exactly what I expected. The scenes did not seem to flow particularly well, and I had some difficulty integrating the different attacks by the Wolverines into a larger picture.

However, the portrayal of guerilla warfare was interesting, and, to my untrained mind, not too implausible, except for one thing (to be discussed later).

The beginning of the movie, where the different events leading to the gradual empower of the U.S.S.R., was very effective at creating the impression that the U.S. was in decline, that we had lost the will to defend ourselves, and that in general we were on the losing side and needed to do something quick to change this. It also provided a not-so-subtle criticism of a lot of leftist policy goals and of European anti-Americanism.

The set-up scenes where Jed Eckert gets his brother and friends out of school and then hides up in the mountains are fairly well-done, and do a good job of showing us their abilities and what leads them to the decision to becomes guerillas.

After the guerilla war starts, however, things become a little less interesting. We see a montage of scenes of guerilla attacks on Soviet targets and see the escalating responses of the Soviets and their allies trying to contain the guerillas. While there is a lot there that provides effective commentary on how large armies deal with guerillas, from a narrative point of view it happens a little too quickly for my tastes; we see attack after attack with nary a break for a few minutes.

Complicating matters was the fact that it was sometimes difficult to tell the guerillas from the Soviets, as the clothing was often relatively similar. This was probably somewhat intentional, and realistic - guerillas need to blend in, after all - but it made it harder to identify for whom I should be rooting in some of the battle scenes.

Murray Rothbard's major criticism, that we did not see the gradual additions of new forces as more and more U.S. civilians joined in the fight (in fact, Jed Eckert refuses to expand the guerilla force at one point), is well-taken. This tended to make the movie a tad unrealistic, in that you are seeing a small band of people continuously killing Soviets and severely disrupting their was effort. In real life, I would think, you would see a lot more killing of the guerillas early on, and the inability to defeat the guerilla would stem as much from their ability to regenerate by recruiting from the populace as from their skill. Other than that, I thought that the portrayal of guerillas was accurate, at lest to the extent that it corresponded to my understanding of guerilla warfare.

The addition of a seasoned soldier to the team was nice, and provided an opportunity to get some idea of the war outside of Jed Eckert's little town. Unfortunately, I do not get the sense of coordination that I would have liked; it would have been more interesting if he had helped them to coordinate the attacks with the American Army's goals more than he did; i.e., attack convoy here, attack another convoy there; you've just prevented them from reinforcing the front at New Orleans!

Finally, there is no real sense of closure in the movie. The guerillas (some of them) finally make it through to near springtime, it becomes clear that they will die if they stay, and two of them escape while Jed and his brother make a distraction. What exactly happens to Jed is not made clear, he gets his brother to temporary safety, although his brother has severe, perhaps mortal wounds.

So Lea Thompson's character and some guy escape, and we hear about a plaque erected in Jed's honor.

But we never actually hear how the war turned out, or hear or see anything about the battles that determine the eventual outcome. Presumably, we (that is, the U.S.) win - why else would Jed be commemorated as a hero - but essentially the movie doesn't end, it just stops.

The movie was okay, and good in its essential theme and plot, but it could have used a heck of a lot more fine-tuning.

Two out of four stars.

That is all.

Bush Did So Lie!

Bob Murphy makes the case.

That is all.

Army Meets its Recruiting Goals! But How...?

I notice that this piece in the Washington Times does not indicate one of the ways in which the Army has managed to meet its recruiting goals.

Namely, it is taking more people who score low on the aptitude tests (from the Baltimore Sun, free registration required).

The Army exceeded by 256 its goal of 5,600 recruits for November, while the Army Reserve brought in 1,454 recruits, exceeding its target by 112. To do so, the Army accepted a "double-digit" percentage of recruits who scored between 16 and 30 out of a possible 99 on the military's aptitude test, said officials who requested anonymity.

Maybe those rumors about recruiting from New Orleans refugees aren't so preposterous, after all.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Steve Sailer.

That is all.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Birth Control for Men?

Not having a problem with birth control per se (don't use it myself, but that's because I don't have sex. Might use it when I get married - if I ever get motivated enough to actually go and, like, find a girlfriend), I think that it would be a wonderful idea to have more contraceptive options for men.

This is an interesting site lobbying (for lack of a better word) the development of more contraceptive options for men. Check it out.

That is all.

Thoughts on God and Morality

A while back, Thrasymachus (I think it was him) had a post on God and morality. It would have been on his old blog, which is now defunct, and sop I cannot list the initial post.

The question was essentially whether or not belief that God exists was necessary for morality. Or whether or not the existence of God affected morality. The theory being posited was that the nature of the universe determined morality, and so things were wrong or right regardless of God's existence (the assumption apparently being that the idea that morality rests on God requires that we assume that God simply makes morality by fiat).

I would disagree on two counts.

First, the existence of God, I would argue, makes the nature of the universe different than it would be without Him.

Second, because morality, in order to mean anything, requires a level of transcendence. I don't believe that you can have true transcendence without believing in the supernatural. Not that religious stuff per se is the only stuff that has transcendence, but that the supernatural is required for anything else to be transcendent.

What do I mean by transcendence? I think that this piece by Lawrence Auster gives a fairly good explanation.

That is all.

Can You Guess the Quote (The Answer)?

"No... NO! When my sceptre dies, I go too. I turn, turn, turn - I turn into... a treeeeee."

Can anyone else remember what Christmastime TV special this line comes from? (The way I remember the line is slightly different than it is listed as online, so I used the way I remember the quote - so you might have a difficult time finding it on Google).

That is all.


The answer is Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July

Here's the scene

The line is spoken when Lilly Lorraine breaks the evil wizard Winterbolt's scepter, and he transforms into a tree. Actually, he pretty much dies. The tree is obviously dead, and one of its branches breaks off, just in case we didn't get the message that Winterbolt is dead, dead, dead.

I remember watching this as a child, and it turned me off of all of the Bass-Rankin stop-motion Christmas specials because it scared me so much seeing someone turn into a tree and die like that.

What were those idiots thinking when they made that scene in the movie?

That is all.

How Does This Fit into the Christ Allegory Theme?

I'm sure that C.S. Lewis would be thrilled at the new Chronicles of Narnia Happy Meal. Oh yeah.

That is all.

New Blog of the Week: The University Blog

The new blog of the week is Aakash Raut's The University Blog. To find out what it is about, just click on the link in this post, or on the one at the top of the page, to the right of the title.

That is all.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Iraq Moved its Weapons to Syria? Well, it Must be True!

Moshe Yaalon, "a well-connected Israeli source," says so.

And of course, it's not as if Israel has any ulterior motives for accusing one of its enemies for nefariousness.

That is all.

Liberal Secular Jew Defends the Rights of the Majority Culture

Clark Stooksbury has a post up that includes a very interesting quote from Michael Kinsley defending creches against the ACLU.

Take that, Kevin MacDonald!

That is all.

Comparing Wounded

And here is the wounded in 2004/wounded in 2005 table I promised you. (Months are ordered from highest number of wounded to lowest).

[Disclaimer: the stats are, as I understand it, for American soldiers wounded in combat. This is comparable to my previous table on combat deaths in that it does not include non-hostile woundings (e.g. vehicle accidents), but not as good in that it does not include the wounded of other nations in the coalition].


2004...2005
1424...662/627
1212...634/600
895....602
757....595
706....572
648....545
589....539
552....508
544....498
323....477
189....413
150....371


(Wounded totals for November are not out yet, and December is not over yet, so I estimated the number of wounded based on the number of fatalities for that month (I used an estimate of 68 for December, as I did in the earlier post), and based on the killed/wounded ratio for 2005. The first number is based on taking the killed/wounded ratios for each month (from Jan. 2005 to Oct. 2005) and averaging them, the second from taking the total killed and wounded for the first ten months. these numbers were 9.32 and 8.83, respectively).

The average number wounded per month for 2004 was 665.8, with a standard deviation of 379, and for 2005 was 534.7, with a standard deviation of 86.7. (Taking the 10 months we have actual complete statistics for, we get an average of 512 and a standard deviation of 75.7 for 2005).

This would indicate that the month-by-month rate of injuries for 2005 is smaller than in 2004, and more consistent.

Is this all due to the two assaults on Fallujah? Well, if we take April and November of 2004 and pretend that the wounded toll for those two months was the average of what it was for the other ten, then the comparison looks like this:


2004...2005
895....662/627
757....634/600
706....602
648....595
589....572
552....545
544....539
536....508
535....498
323....477
189....413
150....371


2004: 535.5 ± 224.3
2005: 512.0 ± 75.7 or 534.7 ± 86.7

(Note: StDev for 2004 is based on ten months, not twelve)

Of course, if we assume that the high wounded rate of May 2004 was also due to the assaults on Fallujah, and adjust by assuming the wounded rates for April, May, and November sans Fallujah to be the average of the other nine months (about 510.7), we get:


2004...2005
895....662/627
706....634/600
648....602
589....595
552....572
544....545
512....539
511....508
510....498
323....477
189....413
150....371


The average for 2004 then becomes 510.7 wounded per month, with a standard deviation of 245.6 if calculated based on the 9 months where actual statistics are used, and 209.4 based on twelve months, with 510, 511, and 512 used as the numbers for the three "adjusted" months (April, May, and November).

So it does appear that contrary to my previous assertions, the assaults on Fallujah were the driving force behind the higher numbers of wounded last year, but not the driving force behind the higher variability in numbers wounded per month.

It has also occurred to me that I ought to do a more sophisticated analysis of the hostile death count. Stay tuned.

That is all.

Even Pro-Warriors are Confused

Kathleen Parker admits that victory in Iraq is a very fuzzy concept.

That is all.

Looking at Fatalities

Here is an update of a table I posted previously. It lists total coalition hostile fatalities in Iraq by month for each year. (Stats from ICasualties)


......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....79
Nov.....94...129....71
Dec.....32....58....34


So are things better this year than last year, or not?

Total hostile fatalities for last year were 756, and this year are 719 and counting. If we assume that trends for this month continue, then we should have about 68 hostile deaths for December. (i.e. we're aboiut halfway through the month, so total December fatalities should be about twice what they are now). This would make the death toll for 2005 753, slightly less than that for 2004.

Using 68 as the figure for December, and comparing the months on the basis of highest fatality to lowest, we find:


2004..2005
131...79
129...75
74....74
65....71
63....69
58....69
58....68
45....48
45....46
39....45
35....42
14....33


So 2005 and 2004 were both about as deadly, but in 2005 fatalities were much more consistent on a monthly basis (i.e. fewer highs and lows).

This is primarily because we didn't do two major assaults on Fallujah this year, and because the insurgency has increased enough in strength that months like February 2004, with blessedly few fatalities, are no longer occurring.

What does this mean for next year? My guess is that we will see some uptick in fatalties, but not a particularly large one; and that deaths per month will remain at least as consistent as they did this year (i.e. the spread between most and least deadly months will not be much more than a factor of two).

I'll do a report on wounded later, but I will say right now that I believe that wounded numbers have gone down somewhat since 2005; not drastically, but statistically significantly. And I believe that they are generally lower on a month-by-month basis, the higher wounded toll for 2004 is not entirely due to unusually high-casualty months like April 2004 and November 2004.

That is all.

Thoughts on Gold from LewRockwell.com

Intereting tidbits.

Fortunately enough for me, I'm already in the market, with 15 troy oz. to my name.

That is all.

Iraqi Elections

Well, they are nice and all, but do they actually change anything in terms of the insurgency? I doubt it.

That is all.

Thoughts on Prison Rape

Why we should do more to stop it, by Dmitry Chernikov.

That is all.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Don't Judge an Incident by the Initial News Story

James Bovard discusses the shooting of Rigoberto Alpizar.

That is all.

NewsFlash! Syria Hates the Jews!

I think that my favorite line from this article by Joseph Farah is:

If Aaron Klein can be barred from Syria because of his religion, it can happen to other reporters from other news organizations. The American public deserves to know the truth about the Syrian government. The people of the world deserve to know the truth.

Yes, because the fact that Middle Eastern Arab countries tend to be antisemitic has been such a closely guarded secret.

Actually, I have no problem with Bush condemning Syria's policy on this matter, or with the state Department doing so. My only concern is that Syria's antisemitism not be used as a justification for us starting a needless and costly war with them. Considering Joe Farah's previous thoughts on Syria, I tend to be wary of taking any of his suggestions for fear of where they might lead to.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

New Blog of the Week - Coming Soon

Sorry I haven't put up a new blog of the week. I've been busy.

I'll try to get to it soon.

That is all.

Everyone Did Not Believe Saddam Had WMDs

An interesting story I will have to try to comment on at Unqualified Offerings.

That is all.

WorldNetDaily, What Has Happened to You?

WorldNetDaily is still useful for the occasional interesting article, but it has gone from being an alternate news source with real teeth to being more and more tabloidish.

This is the lead story today. The title alone is meant to be sensational and to create "more heat than light."

Sigh. Another one bites the dust, I suppose.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Places to Visit

At some point, I will try to write something about Randy Graf, a man for whom I am running an independently funded advertisement (i.e. done by a supporter, not affiliated with his campaign). In the meantime, visit his website to find out about his campaign.

Also, I would consider it a big favor if my readers would click on the plug for TNine (T9) Tapeless paper underneath the Graf ad. A relative of mine is involved with the company and would appreciate the traffic.

Thank you all very much.

That is all.

Affirmative Action: Institutional Reverse Racism?

Looking through my bookmarks, I cam across this old book review on VDARE of Frederick Lynch’s Invisible Victims. It discusses a lot of issues, including the fact that the 1964 Civil Rights Act has produced the same quotas it explicitly forbade, and that white middle classers are often perfectly willing to sacrifice blue-collar whites either for hamrony or maybe becvause they believe it improves their status in the white community (something Steve sailer has often talked about).

Enjoy!

That is all.

You Won't Like Me When I Am Angry

Steve Sailer's comments on Tookie Williams touches on an issue that Dennis Dale makes explicit:

Just beneath the thin veneer of our socialization, deep in the base of our brains, on the wrong side of the tracks from our still developing prefrontal cortexes in the amygdala where our fear resides, we not only reflexively defer to physical superiority; we revere it.
Brute force and the audacity to use it are, deep down, considered values unto themselves, even if we don’t like to admit it.


What came to mind reading this is actually the Incredible Hulk.

Hew is the perfect example of the awe with which people revere brute force; perhaps not in the comics so much, but in many of the episodes of the TV show and the movie, a large part of the plot revolved around someone doing something bad and getting away with it, and often with David/Bruce Banner getting the short end of the stick until finally Dr. Banner erupts in righteous anger and fury and goes on a rampage against his tormentors.

The very idea that as his rage grows, he becomes more powerful and able to do damage to the bad guys is very appealing; the idea that brute force can keep being increased until it gets the desired result is something that hits some of our most carnal passions.

This also could be related to the situation in Iraq, or at l;east to where I see the situation going; but that is the subject for another post.

That is all.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Cronulla

This article here (Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Lawrence Auster gives a little perspective on the Cronulla anti-Muslim/anti-Middle Eastern riots.

Now, I don't like rioting, and definitely if the riot lasts more than a day or so, police need to consider shooting a few rioters to calm the rest down. And people who riot ought to be arrested.

But I do think that the government needs to deal with the problems that have instigated the rioting, and I don't think that the problems are all the ersult of evil white racists hating "brown people." Some of the animosity toward Middle Easterners is based on real problems that Middle Easterners in Australia are causing.

Unless Australia gets of its multi-culti butt-cheeks and deals with these problems, vigilantes will.

That is all.

Bush on the Constitution

Apparently George W. Bush has said that the Constitution is "Just a G-D- piece of paper."

Doug Thompson at Capitol Hill Blue appears to be upset about this.

So does Mike W of Lunaville.

Karen Kwiatowski, however, gets it pretty correctly.

The only thing remarkable about Bush's statement is that he actually explicitly said what Presidents and other politicians have believed since this country began.

Is what he said terrible? Yes, but let's not kid ourselves that any of Dubya's predecessors were great constitution-preserving heroes. Or that anyone in the Senate or Congress (except maybe Ron Paul) actually disagrees with Bush when push comes to shove.

That is all.

Grace's Law Strikes Again!

Grace's Law of the Counterintuitive Response states:

In any society that disdains truth, the reaction to any calamity that threatens its most dearly-held lies is much more of that which engendered the calamity. Only faster and harder.

I can't help but think of this when I hear liberals' solutions to the rioting in France.

Matt Yglesias thinks that affirmative action and even quotas are part of the solution.

Similar sentiments were expressed at Alas, a Blog. (And I thought that they believed that "blaming the victim" was a bad thing).

Eugene Robinson has a ridiculous article called "Accepting Diversity Is Hard but Necessary," which includes this little gem:

The riots in the suburbs of Paris and other French cities ought to wipe the smirk from the lips of even multiculturalism's smuggest critics.

(Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Steve Sailer and to The American Conservative for an article (not available online - at least not yet) that directed me to Mr. Robinson's little bit o' crazy).

Actually, it seems to me that the smuggest critics of multiculturalism might decide that assimilation is still too diverse, and not letting people from alien cultures in (or at least not getting them or their kid's citizenship) is a far better solution.

It seems to me that if a group is rioting in a way that is mindlessly destructive (as opposed to, say, a riot where they are burning draft cards of deliberately working toward a particular goal with a minimum of collateral damage), we should ask what is wrong with them before we ask what is wrong with us.

That is all.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Cory Maye

Here, here, and here are some posts on a death-penalty case which would be a far better candidate for protest than the execution of a gang-leader/robber/murderer like Tookie.

That is all.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

R.I.P. Richard Pryor and Eugene McCarthy

1940-2005 and 1916-2005, respectively.

That is all.

Thoughts on Hate Crimes

I am not particularly against the labeling of certain crimes as "hate crimes," or in other ways distinguishing crimes that are committed due to ethnic, religious, sexual orientational, etc. prejudice.

What I am against is the creation of "hate crimes" as a legal category that are treated differently from other crimes.

There is nothing wrong with a group specifically dedicating itself to preventing/stopping/obtaining justice for crimes that are a group prejudice. What I disagree with is the idea that we ought to punish crimes differently based on who the victim was, and based on aspects of the motivation for the crime that do not bear on how intentional the crime was or was it justified.

Put another way, I have no problem with punishing someone harder for pre-meditated crimes than for crimes committed in the throes of passion, or for distinguishing justifiabe homicide form unjustifiable. Also, to the extent that someone's prejudices may impact on the likelihood that the crime was justified is entirely appropriate. For example, if someone who is known to be an advocate for sending all blacks "back" to Africa and who constantly calls them "scum" shoots a black man and claims self-defense, his opinions of blacks certainly would be relevant to calling his credibility into question. As another example, if he claimed it was a "crime of passion," his previous statements would certainly be relevant [although not by themselves conclusive] to determining whether or not he premeditated the killing.

But I see no reason to treat the murder of a gay man by two men who decided to "get him" any differently than, for example, the murder of a shopkeeper by a robber who decided not to leave any witnesses.

(Actually, I can see several reasons, but they are all bad ones).

That is all.

Morris Dees and the SPLC

This post on Morris "Give Me Money" Dees and the Southern Poverty Cash-Machine Center by Steve Sailer reminds me of a personal story.

But I noticed that I have already related it.

That is all.

Freedom as the Absence of Coercion

Not as an increased set of choices.

An important article by Michael S. Rozeff.

That is all.

New Cereals

I hear that there are some new cereals coming out on December 13:

Tookie Crisps
Crispy Crippers

Okay, okay, he's getting lethal injection, not the chair, but still.

That is all.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Ahead of the Curve

Ha, ha!

I bought 15 oz. of gold between November 2002 and mid-2004 (I forget the exact month). So with the new gold rush, I am sitting pretty.

No real point, I'm just gloating.

That is all.

More Important than You, and Lying About it.

James Bovard on manipulations on the perceptions of the commercial airline industry by the Bush cabinet.

The main goals of the government appear to have been:

(1) Cover your tuckus.

(2) Restore faith in governmnent.

(3) Get people flying again to keep the airlines running; even if you have to lie to do it.

Given this, I wonder whether or not the November 12, 2001 airplane crash maybe really was a terrorist attack, despite it being deemed an accident.

Also, given that the administration would lie about how much security its cabinet used in order to get people to board planes, how much less should we trust them on the bigger issues, such as how the War in Iraq is going?

That is all.

Lind on Bush

A pretty good critique by Michael Lind of Bush's "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq."

That is all.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sorry, my Brain is Down

I'll try to come up with something good to post in the morning.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Kagan: No Troop Reductions

Robert Kagan suggests that there will be no significant troop reductions in Iraq for at least two years.

This is more disturbing than J. Peter Mulhern's statement that "we are in Iraq to stay." That statement at least did not preclude the possibility of drawing down troop levels.

In any case, I wonder where Mr. Kagan thinks we are going to get these troops? He doesn't seem to be making any suggestions as to how to make them available.

This also seems to put the lie to a lot of claims that we are on the verge of victory. If we cannot reduce troop levels for at least two more years, then obviously we still have a lot of enemies in Iraq who have not been defeated.

That is all.

Joseph Farah Makes a Good Point

Geroge W. Bush is a lot more casual about his faith than a lot of people think.

One has to question whether someone who seems to take his faith in God so lightly is really the theocrat that so many on the left are claiming. Particularly in the case of the Iraq War, I think that those who blame Bush's actions on his religious beliefs may be assuming that he is a lot more solemn about his beliefs than he actually is.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Comics Blogging For Exiles Fans: Is Mimic Dead?

Spoilers are blacked out, highlight to read:

In the latest issue of Exiles (#73) we discover that Proteus has indeed sapped all of Mimic's life force, leaving his body a shriveled husk. But is he dead?

I say no. I think that Mimic mimicked Proteus' power and is now traveling along with him whenever he possesses someone. My evidence for this:

(1) Mimic was able to fight Proteus to some degree; Proteus mentionedi nthe rpevious issue that Mimic was fighting him, trying to "go steel," which would have killed him.

(2) Moreover, in this issue he expressed surprise at how fast Mimic's lkife force was being up. This would make sense if Mimic was copying his powers. As Mimic can copy a power at half-strength, if he was copying Proteus he would increase life force usage by 50%, thus making Proteus use up his energy in 2/3 of the normal time.

So I think that Mimic is now a disembodied "possessing entity" for lack of a better term.


That is all.

Oh, that Progress!

Lawrence Auster reports on all of that wonderful progress in Iraq.

That is all.

New Blog of the Week: Lunaville

Lunaville, a left-leaning antiwar blog, is the new blog of the week. It is associated with Iraq Coalition Casualties website, from which I get virtually all of my Iraq casualty information for analysis.

If you don't visit it, this would be a good time to start.

That is all.

Right to be Counted Fairly

An excellent article by Steve Sailer on why whites may need a voting rights act of their own.

That is all.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Money and Abstraction

Over at Tacitus, "Yertle" has a post on he global monetary system entitled "That Shared Hallucination".

While he is right that there is danger in our current monetary system, I think he misplaces the idea as to where it is.

Essentially, his argument is that commodity money (gold, silver) is an abstraction taking us away from barter, and that paper money, initially representing a quantity of gold or silver, is another level of abstraction, and checks, banm accounts, and bonds, another, etc. As our monetary gets more and more abstract, so the argument goes, we must rely more and more on faith to keep the system going. Therefore, the system gets more and more fragile, and thus things that reduce people's faith in the system become more and more likely to lead to its collapse.

In short, a fiat money system, particularly one with sop many different means of investing and dividing ownership requires a lot of psychological conditioning to keep it going, and so is unstable.

The problem with this theory is that using money instead of barter is not the original abstraction. Nor is barter.

The original abstraction is the idea of ownership, of property.

The concept that certain objects belonged to certain people, that there was a connection allowing only one person or one family (or those who were approved by that person or family) to use a particular piece of land or object is the true first abstraction.

Not the idea of possession; that a person has objects or land that he won't allow other people to use; you find that in animals. But rather the idea that there was a moral principle at stake; that you didn't trespass because it was wrong, not just because of fear of retaliation. The idea that society as a whole would enforce ownership, and that people would protect others' property and possessions and that everyone would recognize the right to property are the true first abstraction.

And everything else from that is not, in my opinion, terribly more abstract; complicated, yes, but not that much more abstract. Money is simply a general claim on a certain amount of property that has not yet been applied.

The real danger in a fiat money system comes from the fact that commodity-based money tends to be more stable because there is less that can be done with the money supply. When the free-market determines what is used for money, it is almost always a precious metal in any economy of any advancement, because it has a more stable supply and its value cannot as easily be manipulated by outside forces.

Paper money, on the other hand, is cheap enough to print that there is little cost in increasing the money supply, which amounts to a tax on those with cash holdings. It is more easily manipulated, and that is the source of instability.

There is somewhat greater abstraction with fiat money in that its value is dependent on an authority declaring it money; whereas gold has independent value, that is, people value the metal itslef independently of any legal authority's claims about it.

But the major problem with fiat money, in the end, is its manipulability.

Some people have claimed that fiat money is irrelevant; as long as the U.S. maintains enough productive capacity, has good economic policy, and does not interfere with business, so they say, people will accept its money and trust that its money is good regardless of whether or not it is backed up with gold. This ignores the central fact that the existence of fiat money alters economic policy, alters incentives and thus has an effect on productive capacity, and in and of itself intereferes with business.

Think of fiat money as an analgesic. If you have severe pain in your leg, it may indicate a problem. With a sufficiently strong pain reliever, you may be able to use the leg normally. But if you use the analgesic in lieu of going to a doctor to see what is wrong, he analgesic may allow you to use the leg at a time when you really shouldn't be using it. The pain was there for a reason. Likewise, fiat money may allow the government to manipulate the currency in order to deal with financial problems. However, in general any fixing of problems via currency manipulation simply puts off dealing with the underlying problems, this making them worse when the day of reckoning finally arrives.

Like most government actions, the problem with fiat money is, in essence, not its abstraction or its lack of "real value" per se as much as it is the fact that it represents an interference with the free market.

That is all.

Nationalizing Day Care a Bad Idea

Thus spake Shikha Dalmia and Lisa Snell.

That is all.

From the Excrutiatingly Obvious Headline File

U.S. Unprepared for Attack, 9/11 Panel Says.

That is all.

Planted Stories and their Implications

Steve Sailer comments on the story about the U.S. planting stories in the Iraqi newspapers.

He has an interesting insight - that the Iraqis know that the newspapers are propaganda arms, so the more positive stories printed, the more oney they see that the U.S. is willing to pay people to be friendly, thus making the people friendlier to the U.S. (and presumably the rest of the coalition).

Indeed, the moral implications of trying to propagandize Iraqis are not the primary reason this story is concerning.

There are two concerns that this story actually gives me.

(1) That the military has to pay to have propaganda run suggests that the stories that the newspapers would print would not otherwise be sufficiently favorable. In other words, the fact that the government feels this is necessary suggests that things may not be to rosy in Iraq

(2) Second, this underscores that we ought to be cautious of any reports of how much Iraqis love us or of any testimonials by Iraqis of how grateful they are to the U.S. and the coalition. Such stories, testionials, etc., designed to make antiwar and antioccupation activists seem to be anti-Iraqi, should be taken with a grain of salt and this proves this.

This sort of reminds me of another "scandal" that happened two years ago, when it was discovered that some of the letters to local papers by soldiers talking about how wonderful things were going in Iraq was part of a propaganda offensive using form letters rather than the spontaneous act of soldiers themselves. In fact, there is some question as to whether in many cases, the soldiers the letter was attributed to even signed it, or when they did, whether they were free not to sign it.

Which brings me to point 3:

(3) It's one thing to propagandize Iraqis, it's another when you get the impression that some of this propaganda is designed for its effect on American audiences.

That is all.

News from my Life

I am likely going to be working 48 hours a week (maybe a little more) for the next few weeks (6 8-hour days). Add a 1/2 hour lunch and a 1 hour each way commute, and that will be as much as 10.5 hours every day but Saturday.

So blogging will likely be a little light.

But I'll try to post at least once a day.

That is all for now.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Where We Are in Iraq

An excellent article on the implications of the present situation by Tom Engelhardt.

That is all.

Immaturity

Does anyone else find the use of cute little misspellings or symbols in songs rather irritating? I'm talking about things like "Sk8er Boi."

It seems so immature and childish.

This occurred to me after listening to the Veronicas' song "4ever."

Does anyone else think that it is a little creepy for a song that is, essentially, a girl propositioning a guy (at least that is the most straightforward way to interpret the lyrics) to use cute little wordplays that are normally associated with girls who have not yet hit puberty?

(The song itself is catchy, albeit morally less than ideal, but couldn't they have titled it "Forever?")

That is all.
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