Sine Qua Non Pundit
And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good -- Need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ------ ------ ------ ------ E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, January 18, 2003
Slow News Day or Nostalgia?
Thousands Rally in D.C. Against Iraq War
I mean thousands, man. Wow! Thousands! You know? Thousands! Okay!
DOWNDATE: David Kenner has some pics from D.C. and nice commentary on these Capitol crimes.
Has Great Britain lost its instinct for self preservation?
A Taliban soldier who fought British and American troops in Afghanistan has been granted asylum here because he fears persecution from the new Western-backed government in Kabul. Lawyers representing the 32-year-old fighter have disclosed that the Home Office has given him permission to stay after accepting that his life would be at risk if he returned to Afghanistan.
I guess the risk to lives of citizens in Great Britain is of no importance. Watching a nation slowly commit suicide is not pretty.
Friday, January 17, 2003
Live Free Or Die
This is the motto of the state of New Hampshire, but it captures how we feel about the War On Terrorism. We value freedom, or as Thomas Jefferson put it: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, above all else. Notice that peace didn't find it's way into this succinct statement of what really matters to us. Sometimes peace and freedom are not compatible. We never would have ceased to be a colony of England if this were not true. Other obvious examples of this truism can be found in the wars fought against totalitarian regimes in the 20th century, e.g., against communism as represented by the old USSR and against militarist fascists as represented by German Nazis and Japanese Imperialism. We find ourselves in another such situation again now in the War On Terrorism. The only way to have peace under the current circumstances is to sacrifice our freedom -- and that slope is quite slippery. In fact, we have already been forced into giving up some freedoms, but illiberal protestations withstanding, the freedoms we have lost to John Ashcroft's jack-booted thugs thus far are nothing compared to what we will have to give up to avoid more 9/11s if we value peace above all else.
The major problem with the UN vis-à-vis our War On Terrorism is that the UN does not hold freedom as their highest principle. If you doubt this, just take a look at the rogue's gallery of UN members for goodness sake. Setting aside the bloody-mindedness of so many nations accepted as members, the UN ideal seems to be to extend and maintain peace in the world above all else. As a practical matter, the UN falls woefully short of this ideal, being spectacularly unsuccessful at inhibiting war and genocide throughout the third world, but it does still seem to be their highest ideal. In the statements we are getting from the functionaries of the UN today, it is clear that their raison d'etre for the regime of inspections and the resolutions on Iraq is to prevent war, not to disarm Iraq. We continue to push for the disarmament of Saddam Hussein because he threatens our freedom. We are willing to sacrifice peace to keep our freedom. We are not willing to sacrifice our freedom just to have peace.
Of course, there is a thick layer of cynicism on top of the idealism of the UN applied by those who wish to nip at the heels of the US, or worse. The EU clearly has a strong statist impulse to favor peace over freedom for their own citizens, but their approach towards the US in this matter is nothing less than despicable. We don't particularly care if they don't want to help rid the world of the Iraqi menace or participate more fully in the War On Terrorism, but we certainly don't need them sniping at us from behind or trying to make us out as the bad cop so they can play good cop when it is all over. Their unprincipled gamesmanship based on a corrupt realpolitik will come back to haunt them, or at least I certainly hope it will.
The Bush administration has said the War On Terrorism is going to go on for a long time. I have no reason to doubt that, nor do I have a reason to doubt that we will eventually win because we are a free people who will continue to work and fight for a world where our children can be free. The US Revolutionary War lasted for seven years with many defeats before a final victory, which gave birth to a new idea of governance. The US Civil War lasted 4 years with many defeats before a final victory, which led to a new birth of freedom for our enslaved masses. World War II lasted for 6 years with many defeats before a final victory, which liberated Europe, Africa and Asia from unspeakable horror. The War On Terrorism is 16 months old. Iraq is only the third act. There are many battles yet to be fought and we will suffer defeats before a final victory is achieved, if, in fact, there ever will be what we would consider to be a final victory. I hope my children will live in peace, but it is not within my power to guarantee that. However, it is within my power to choose freedom for them and fight for it, taking peace when it comes rather than accept subjugation as the price for peace, whether that subjugation be to the UN ideals of peace, EU realpolitik, or Islamic fundamentalism.
Be strong, keep the faith, and live free or die.
Nothing To See Here
Yes, it was so obvious it was all predicted in advance:
Iraq had tens of thousands of 122 mm rockets, and thousands are unaccounted for, so the discovery by U.N. inspectors of 12 warheads for the rockets isn't surprising, former U.N. inspectors say.
Oh, it wasn't? Look guys, if you want us to play along with this kabuki dance, you at least need to come up with better explanations for your unwillingness to act than this.
Somebody Distract Juan Gato
I fear the consequences for the inanimate objects within his reach if Juan Gato should learn that there is something called the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity award.
Why I Oughta Pound You!
Perhaps there's still hope for Great Britain:
More than two thirds of Britons would vote to keep the pound if there was an immediate referendum, while less than a fifth actually want the euro, according to research published today.
I'm glad, since Selling England by the Euro just doesn't sound right.
Be Vewwy Quiet
Heh heh heh heh heh heh. It's Hamas season! Al Qaeda season! Hamas season! Al Qaeda season! Hamas season! Al Qaeda season! Hamas season! Al Qaeda season! Hamas season! Al Qaeda season! Hamas season! Al Qaeda season! Hamas season! Al Qaeda season! Hamas season! ...
More Silliness From the Sceptred Isle
Tony Martin shot a burglar in 1999 and for that offense he has been sitting in Her Majesty's prison for manslaughter ever since. His parole was just denied because:
... a probation report branded the 58-year-old "a danger to burglars".
Mr. Martin refuses to be cowed or to grovel to the politically correct:
Mr Starr, a Cambridgeshire businessman, said Martin told him a Probation Service report to the board criticised the farmer for "not being up to speed with the 21st century and of thinking things were better 40 years ago". Mr Starr added: "A lot of prisoners lie and say they are sorry about something when they are not. He was not prepared to lie. It is not a question of 'does he feel sorry'. He feels he should never have been intruded on and he acted in self defence." Richard Portham, another friend, said: "He told me that the Norfolk probation service was recommending that he should not get parole because they considered him a danger to burglars. "I suppose the attitude came across in this report that he would do it again."
Remember that burglary is the sort of offense the police in Great Britain will no longer actively pursue. Next, I suppose the Home Office will issue some guidance that as burglary is unavoidable, one should just lie back and enjoy it. Perhaps we could get Mr. Martin deported as an undesirable native to the US (at least some parts of the US), where we don't regard being a menace to burglars as a bad thing.
Link found by hanging out at The Corner.
Thursday, January 16, 2003
I won again!
You Go, Jesse -- Please, Just Go
I have nothing to add to this statement by the Rev. Jesse Jackson five days before we celebrate the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
No one has inspired more blacks for hope in America than I have.
But some things need to be as widely publicized as possible.
Link found hanging out at The Corner.
DOWNDATE: I changed my mind. When Jesse goes to meet his maker, do you think huge crowds of men and women, black and white, will mourn his passing as much as they did when Abraham Lincoln was killed?
Out go the lights.
Wednesday, January 15, 2003
Why Steve Spurrier Will Avoid Answering His Phone Today
49ers Fire Coach Steve Mariucci
Dan Snyder wouldn't fire a coach after one year, would he? I mean, for the fourth year in a row.
Stinker Tale or Bolder Lie
According to fiction writer John le Carré:
The United States of America has gone mad
If he really believes that, then he better not piss us off! You want crazy, we'll show you crazy!
America has entered one of its periods of historical madness
That's strange, I don't remember reading about America's periods of historical madness before. I do remember reading a lot about Europe's periods of historical madness though, especially the cowardice and appeasement that permitted Hitler's rise.
The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded.
I must have missed all those previous op-eds about how he admired the US.
The imminent war was planned years before bin Laden struck
And we thought George W. Bush was merely governing Texas.
How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America’s anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history.
I remember when the jack-booted thugs took over the government in a coup d'état, don't you?
Bush has an arm-lock on God.
Whoa dude! Then I would definitely be leery about pissing him off John.
Baghdad represents no clear and present danger to its neighbours, and none to the US or Britain. Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, if he’s still got them, will be peanuts by comparison with the stuff Israel or America could hurl at him at five minutes’ notice.
And, of course, we are the moral equivalent of Saddam. Mere possession of the weapons to defend ourselves is proof!
I cringe when I hear my Prime Minister lend his head prefect’s sophistries to this colonialist adventure.
Yes, the war plans explicitly call out for Iraq to be renamed New Texas and it's capital will be Bushdad.
Last Friday a friend of mine in California drove to his local supermarket with a sticker on his car saying: “Peace is also Patriotic”. It was gone by the time he’d finished shopping.
For all we know, perhaps the whole car was stolen. But that would provide context and we shan't allow that to interfere with our cherished misconceptions, shall we John?
You must remember this
Renault is now Hans Blix.
The EU still will cry:
We need another resolution,
As time goes by.
Saddam Hussein: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
UN Inspector Hans Blix: I'm shocked, shocked to find weapons of mass destruction here!
[Nobel chairman Gunner Berge hands Hans Blix a pile of money]
Nobel chairman Gunner Berge: Your Nobel Peace Prize, sir.
UN Inspector Hans Blix: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.
UN Inspector Hans Blix: Everybody out at once!
Balkanization: Taking It To the Next Level
How soon before we see someone refer to themselves as a Californian-American, or a Missourian-American, or an African-Californian?
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
I just finished viewing Simon Schama's 16-part History of Britain. I like it. I like it a lot. I liked it so much I now own 6 books by Simon Schama. Now I only need to find time to read them all. I like his style and I'm a sucker for the kind of arcane knowledge he presents along with the usual themes and big events. Simon and I probably sit far apart on the political spectrum, but this does nothing to diminish my enthusiasm for this effort. Simon has a deft touch, whereas Ken Burns wears his guilt on his sleeve. A hearty well done Simon.
More another time, perhaps.
Not At All the Same, Really
One of the myriad channels in the cable lineup was playing The Scarlet Pimpernel this evening, but when displayed on the channel lineup it came out as Scarlet Pimp. And it was a family oriented channel too!
Your Rabbi Souljah Moment of Zen
Lieberman Rips Hollywood in Announcing Bid
Goddess Has Spoken
Sheryl Crow opens her mouth and removes all doubts:
"I think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow."
And what about the karmic retribution for those who stand aside while evil does its worst? Goddess? Goddess? Goddess? Anyone?
"I think war is never the answer to solving any problems."
That Holocaust thing, the annexation of the Sudatenland misuderstanding, the overzealousness of the Blitzkreig, Pearl Harbor, the rape of Nanking, et cetera ad nauseum, could have been resolved through inspections and negotiation, right?
"The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies."
This is now known as the "All I Wanna Do Is Have Some Fun" foreign policy paradigm. It narrowly edged out the "I Wanna Tell Everyone To Lighten Up" foreign policy paradigm.
U.N. officials in charge of weapons inspections in Iraq said yesterday they would need up to 10 more months to complete their work.
As Marcel Marceau once famously said: "No!"
Monday, January 13, 2003
It's Poetry in Motion
When she turned her eyes to me... . Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Tim Blair sponsored a poetry contest last week to counteract the flourescent lunacy of one Andrew Motion, but, alas, my entries were too late for inclusion. Or they sucked. Or both. Since I have mentioned them to a couple folks, I thought I'd print them here for posterity. Better than my usual poetic tripe, but, well, you can be the judge.
Callous Belly of Andrew Motion
He writes bad poems, what's the raison d'etre
for the laureate's view to be so simplisme?
Still, take pity on poor Andrew Motion:
A hemorrhoid like he needs lots of lotion.
An Idiocy Shanty
As Tim Blair sailed through the idiocy
of Guardian rhymes that turned him green and queasy,
Perhaps it's not the boat, it's the ocean,
or just the poems of Andrew Motion.
Honorary Gato thwacking of Andrew Motion
The blogosphere destroys small-minded twits
entering unarmed into a battle of wits
It would seem the best our Andy can gush:
Zeeble bop fickle fackle bush Bush BUSH!!!
Smokey Gets In Your Eyes
Andrew gives into inner temptations
and hatred of the US by Euro nations.
He's just peddling antiquated notions
I will not second that, A. Motion.
Sunday, January 12, 2003
Get ready for even stronger delaying tactics as action becomes imminent:
A spokesman for the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, says the agency needs about a year to find out whether Iraq has dismantled its nuclear programme.
Haven't the last twelve years been sufficient?
There Will Always Be An England
Are you sure?
Police have been ordered not to bother investigating crimes such as burglary, vandalism and assaults unless evidence pointing to the culprits is easily available, The Telegraph can reveal. Under new guidelines, officers have been informed that only "serious" crimes, such as murder, rape or so-called hate crimes, should be investigated as a matter of course. In all other cases, unless there is immediate and compelling evidence, such as fingerprints or DNA material, the crime will be listed for no further action.
Good thing the government disarmed the populace before abandoning them. That would never happen here of course. Would it?
Apparently, Eating Grass Causes Dementia
North Korea warns of 'sea of fire' as U.S. envoy arrives in Seoul
North Korea insisted Sunday that it never admitted having a secret nuclear program — the latest conflicting signal it has given in the escalating crisis over its alleged plans to build nuclear weapons. "The claim that we admitted developing nuclear weapons is an invention fabricated by the U.S. with sinister intentions," Yonhap news agency quoted the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper as saying. ... The newspaper blamed the United States for the current crisis and warned: "If the United States evades its responsibility and challenges us, we'll turn the citadel of imperialists into a sea of fire."
Dumb Man Talking
Sean Penn on Larry King's show:
PENN: ...IT IS, UM, IMPORTANT. I AM RESPONSIBLE. WENT TO LEARN. I HAVE SEEN AND KNOW. YEAH, IT IS COMPLICATED. SURE, BAGHDAD. NO, MUCH IS REPELLENT ABOUT IT. WE HAVE FAMILIES. BELONG IN BELLEVUE. THEY DID. DISEASE. INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY. I DID NOT GO AS A JOURNALIST. AFTER THE 1991 BOMBINGS, IT WAS SOLD TO THE PEOPLE. AND THE STARVATION, I SAY THIS AS A FATHER OF CHILDREN. YES, I DO.
KING: DID YOUR WIFE WANT YOU TO?
PENN: THEY MAKE IT BUFFOONERY, WELL, IT IS A NERVE-WRACKING THING. BUT I AM MORE SHY FROM THE SHAME I WILL FEEL. NO, THIS IS A MISCONCEPTION OF THE CURRENT NARCISSISM OF THE MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY. MORE THAN TWENTY HOURS ON A PLANE. YOU START TO THINK. YOU DO. IT IS NOT GOOD TO BE FAMOUS. WHEN I WANT TO GIGGLE, I TURN ON BILL O'REILLY. ONCE EVERY 5 YEARS I HAVE SOMETHING I WANT TO DO. I AM QUITE CRAZY ABOUT IT, BUT IT MAKES ME CRAZY. GULF WAR COST $82 BILLION.
KING: WOULD YOU GO TO NORTH KOREA?
PENN: IRAQ NOT POLITICAL IS HUMAN. I DONT SPEAK OUT MUCH, BUT I FEEL IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY TO SPEAK OUT AS MUCH AS I CAN. BAGHDAD. CONSCIENCE, AND I DID FEEL, UM, COULD BE GREAT TO TRY TO, UM, DIALOGUE. ARMS INSPECTORS. REALLY UNAMERICAN. MURDOCH. BECAUSE I AM A FATHER. I'D LIKE TO WRITE MORE. NOT PROLIFIC TO WRITE SCRIPT. TO BE DIRECTOR. YES, SURE. CHILDREN BOMBS IN CONSCIOUSNESS, CAN'T READ ARABIC. THANK YOU, LARRY...
Sorry about all the caps, but Matt Drudge's keyboard seems to have caps lock on all the time. If I were vlogging, I would get the clip of Fred Gwynne from My Cousin Vinny saying, "Are you on drugs?".