Saturday, January 31, 2009


The Truth About CO2 Forcing

Here is more on what this graph means. To paraphrase--Beer's Law says that after a while of increasing atmospheric concentration of a greenhouse gas, there is simply no more energy to get out of the sunlight filtering through the gas, here CO2. The fuzzy blue line starting at about 280 ppm (the agreed upon pre-industrial concentration of the gas) and ending, where we were a decade ago, at about 360 ppm, shows how little rise in temperature there is to be had from the "greenhouse" effect of CO2 now. This is not news to meteorologists and climatologists; some people are just willing to fib for fame or money.



But is There Any Social Justice for the Unicorns?

U Mass economics professor Robert Pollin writes, in the Nation Magazine, a long article praising the coming Green Energy Revitalization. Here are but a few of his pearls of wisdom.

The transformation of our fossil fuel driven economy into a clean energy economy will be the work of a generation, engaging a huge range of people and activities. But focusing on essentials, there are only three interrelated projects that will drive the entire enterprise: dramatically increasing energy efficiency; equally dramatically lowering the cost of supplying energy from such renewable sources as solar, wind and geothermal power; and mandating limits and raising prices on the burning of oil, coal and natural gas.

I like the first one--increasing energy efficiency. Who could be against that? The technical question of whether there is a whole lot more to be gained with efficiency improvement alone is not discussed. Pity. But lowering the costs of solar et al.? That I know a little bit about. Generally not possible now. Even if we threw several billion dollars at a T. Boone Pickens plan (and perhaps we will as we reach 1937 depths of the depression forming up), we would get to about 12% of our present electrical needs within 15 years. Even Pickens has abandoned his windy pipe dream. The energy production is just not good enough (unless we make things 88% more efficient). But it's the last thing, making fossil fuels more expensive so that the unreliable and very expensive "green" alternatives don't look so bad, that is the tell tale here. You realize this guy's a watermelon. All he's interested in is hobbling free enterprise in the name of curbing global warming (don't get me started). Making available energy more expensive by excessive taxation is a very dumb idea. What social justice is there in increasing what poor people have to pay to drive their 12 year old cars by 50%? I guess that's why he wanted to spend billions on public transport, so the working poor can get to work.

But let's move on to the central supposition of his piece:

The green investment project can advance a full employment agenda because it will create about seventeen jobs for every $1 million in outlays, whereas spending the same $1 million in the oil and coal industries creates about 5.5 jobs--i.e., the job-creation effect of green investments is more than three times larger than that for fossil fuel production.

Where does he get that figure? Not footnoted. Does the government have to "invest" in fossil fuels for there to be production? No, the evil big oil and gas companies do it on their own. All it takes is the government's getting out of the way. But there is no construction of any scale of solar, wind or geothermal without heavy government spending thereto. It's silly to compare these and to have a firm number. Where does that 11.5 net new jobs figure come from? I think the mind of Professor Pollin.

If you really are for producing a real amount of power without any of the trace greenhouse gasses, you'd clear the way for private investment in nuclear power plants. But there is no mention by Professor Pollin of this actual possible alternative. He's left the real world, in my humble opinion, and is in the land of widgets, but nicer widgets, more like unicorns. As we used to say during the Vietnam War, get real.

There's more, but it doesn't get any better.



I've Been Looking at the Site Meter

And I've decided that I need to modify Dartmouth College's motto for this blog. Vox Clamantis in Deserto Lectoris--A voice crying in the desert of readers. Oh well, being read is secondary to being right. Or so I rationalize.



Steyn Remains Brilliant

Mark Steyn on the horrible bloated stimulus spending bill which, it appears, will be passed but by Democrats alone. Money quote.

But the "stimulus" package is just politics as usual with a few extra zeros on the end. Will you notice anything? No. Don't get your hopes up. If you're broke now, you'll be broke in October. The Congressional Budget Office estimates only 25 percent of it will be spent by early next year. The other 75 percent is as stimulating as the gal in the Nancy Pelosi Pussycat Lounge telling you she had such a good time she's penciled in a second date for spring 2010. A third of all the spending won't come until after 2011.

In a media age, politics is a battle of language, and "stimulus" is too good a word to cede to porked-up statist hacks. "Stimulus" has to stimulate – i.e., it's short-term, like, say, an immediate cut in payroll taxes that will put real actual money in your pocket in next month's paycheck. That way, you don't need to wait for ACORN: You can start "stabilizing" your own "neighborhood" right now.

It is not unusual for a couple in America with a yearly earnings of $200,000 to borrow three times that amount, $600,000, to buy a house and spend the rest of their productive years paying it off. Can't this nation then borrow three times the GDP, say $14 Trillion, that is, borrow $42,000,000,000,000, and spend the next 30 years paying it off? Because when Obama leaves office in 2017, that is my guess of what the national debt will be. It is a mere $10 Trillion now. Oh, I see the problem, we never pay it off. You know, you talk a Trillion here and a Trillion there and pretty soon you're talking real money (my apologies to Everett Dirksen). As Rahm Emanuel says, no crisis can be wasted. What will we do when there is no one to lend us money past the $42 Trillion we already owe. That, my friends, will be a crisis.



Thought of the Day

The good thing about electing a Democrat as President is that, as he nominates fellow Democrats to senior positions in the Executive Branch, millions of dollars in unpaid tax liabilities come to light and are belatedly paid to the IRS, with interest. It is, perhaps, the most tangible advantage of electing Democrats to office.

John Hinderacker


Friday, January 30, 2009


Racist Republicans Elect Black Man to Head National Committee

Surely that must have been a mistake to elect good guy Michael Steele as RNC Chairman. I mean it's the Republicans. I have had people on this very site tell me that all the Democrats who were KKK in the past have reformed and their places have been taken by racist Republicans. It's complete bullshit, but I am sure there are plenty of Democrats who believe it despite a very clear history of racist Democrats, and the inconvenient fact that the Republican Party's primary raison d'entre was to free the black slaves from their Democrat owners. Yeah, the die hard projection prone Democrats say, that was in the past, since 1964 (when more Republicans, proportionally, voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats) all the racism has been in the Republican party and the Democrats all changed.

It must be comforting to live in the imaginary universe where the liberals live.

And what was the response of the delegates when Steele was announced the winner? They cheered. I said recently that if anyone said America was racist after President Obama's election, I was going to slap them silly metaphorically. If any one calls the Republican party racist, I'm going to punch them hard in the face, metaphorically.



Ever Slimming Time Magazine Becomes Propaganda Arm of Hamas

This report in Time is one of the myriad examples of recent airing in our media of unfiltered, unchecked stories from Gaza residents of how wantonly terrible the IDF was. I don't believe that IDF soldiers shot and murdered these women and children just as the article claims. The first thing I want to know is whether the wound trails in the dead are 5.56mm or 7.62mm in diameter. Until Time establishes that fact, this story is suspect.

The moral of the story, in any event, is when the IDF tells you to leave an area where Hamas is firing rockets into Israel, maybe you should.

The collateral damage in Gaza, and there had to be some--war really sucks for civilians in a war zone--is almost exclusively the result of where Hamas chooses to put its war crime rocket launchers and where and how it chooses to fight. As this Dershowitz analogy makes clear, when a criminal takes a hostage to shield him while he is killing others, if the police sharpshooter kills the shielding hostage while trying to kill the criminal in order to protect others, the hostage's death is the criminal's fault, not the police's. Not everyone is Carlos Hathcock.

I hope that my unwillingness to believe this story is not a result of prejudice; indeed, I usually am willing to believe first hand accounts of things I don't want to believe, unless the source has lied to me before. And the Palestinians have lied before to the world, and therefore to me too, about their casualties. Mona Charon talks about some of those lies here. So the Palestinians in this story start out in the hole because of other Palestinian liars.



Thought of the Day millions in his al-Arabiya interview, [about] the need to "restore" the "same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago."
Astonishing. In these most recent 20 years -- the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world -- America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved -- and resulted in -- the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The two Balkan interventions -- as well as the failed 1992-93 Somali intervention to feed starving African Muslims (43 Americans were killed) -- were humanitarian exercises of the highest order, there being no significant U.S. strategic interest at stake. In these 20 years, this nation has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any nation, Muslim or non-Muslim, anywhere on earth. Why are we apologizing?

Charles Krauthammer


Thursday, January 29, 2009


Taunting the Goracle

It's difficult to get a handle on just what Dana Milbank is trying to achieve with this piece today in the Washington Post, but there is no mistaking his tone. He's mocking Al Gore. You doubt me? Take a look at these representative quotes.

The lawmakers gazed in awe at the figure before them. The Goracle had seen the future, and he had come to tell them about it...

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry (D-Mass.), appealed to hear more of the Goracle's premonitions. "Share with us, if you would, sort of the immediate vision that you see in this transformative process as we move to this new economy," he beseeched.

"Geothermal energy," the Goracle prophesied. "This has great potential; it is not very far off."

Another lawmaker asked about the future of nuclear power. "I have grown skeptical about the degree to which it will expand," the Goracle spoke.

A third asked the legislative future -- and here the Goracle spoke in riddle. "The
road to Copenhagen has three steps to it," he said....

The Goracle chuckled. "I don't claim the expertise to answer a question like that, Senator."

It was a jarring reminder that the Goracle is, indeed, mortal. Once Al Gore was a mere vice president, but now he is a Nobel laureate and climate-change prophet. He repeats phrases such as "unified national smart grid" the way he once did "no controlling legal authority" -- and the ridicule has been replaced by worship, even by his political foes....

The chairman worried that the Goracle may have been offended by "naysayers" who thought it funny that Gore's testimony before the committee came on a morning after a snow-and-ice storm in the capital. "The little snow in Washington does nothing to diminish the reality of the crisis," Kerry said at the start of the hearing. [There is apparently no meteorological phenomena which could diminish the theory, for the true believers.]

The climate was well controlled inside the hearing room, although Gore, suffering from a case of personal climate change, perspired heavily during his testimony. The Goracle presented the latest version of his climate-change slide show to the senators: a globe with yellow and red blotches, a house falling into water, and ones with obscure titles such as "Warming Impacts Ugandan Coffee Growing Region."...

Prospects for regulating a future carbon emissions market? "There's a high degree of confidence." The future of automobiles in China and India? "I wouldn't give up on electric vehicles." The potential of solar power in those countries? "I have no question about it at all."

Of course not. He's the Goracle.

I told you living Green was no longer cool and that the tide has turned on those who have perpetrated the largest scientific hoax since Piltdown Man.



Like It's Raining Lightning

This is multiple images from a storm over the Adriatic. Credit goes to darkmatter, if that really is his or her name.



Folk Rock Loses Another Founder

John Martyn, OBE, died earlier today at age 60. He was an uncompromising singer/songwriter who could make a grown man cry, and not just me*. Perhaps his best album, Solid Air, the title song of which is about Nick Drake, contains quite a few classics, but I like Bless the Weather almost as much. Some of his best songs, in order of my enjoyment, are:

Head and Heart
May You Never
Bless the Weather
Solid Air
The Man in the Station
Go Down Easy
Don't Want to Know
Over the Hill

Thank you, man, for hours and hours of enjoyment. RIP

You can hear and see some of his work here.

*Mike and I at Stanford vied for the affection of the beautiful and talented, La Jolla strawberry blond, Barbie (her real name), especially after she got over her anorexia and grew breasts. Mike went abroad for a quarter or two and wrote often to Barbie who clearly returned his long distance love and he considered her his long distance girlfriend. Soon after he returned he went to her room only to discover that she had a brand new boyfriend. As he drove his Porche back to his home in the Crick, John Martyn's May You Never was on the radio and as the last line repeated "May you never lose your woman over night" he felt tears rolling down his cheeks. Barbie could definitely be a heart break.



Thought of the Day

Absolutely nothing can ever be gained by Israeli restraint, except to demonstrate weakness and fan terrorism.

Steven Plaut



If The War on Terror is Really Over Now, We Lost

Roger Cohen at the ever declining New York Times has an editorial today where he states that President Obama has declared that the war on terror is over. Really? Has anyone asked the opinion of the terrorist? It seems to me that there a word for a unilateral cessation of hostilities, it's called surrender. Lowlights from Mr. Cohen include:

The war on terror is over.
Yes, the with-us-or-against-us global struggle — the so-called Long War — in which a freedom-loving West confronts the undifferentiated forces of darkness comprising everything from Al Qaeda to elements of the Palestinian national struggle under the banner of “Islamofascism” has been terminated.
What’s left is what matters: defeating terrorist organizations. That’s not a war. It’s a strategic challenge.

Semiotics aside, have the undifferentiated Islamofascists stopped waging war against us here in the Great Satan? If not, I fear the war strategic challenge is still on.

Regarding Iran, Mr. Cohen writes:

Carrots and sticks will lead nowhere. Nor will an exclusive focus on the nuclear issue that fails to examine the whole range of American and Iranian interests, some shared, some hotly contested.

Let me translate that. Iran will get nuclear weapons and we will do nothing but bitch and moan. What Israel will do depends on the rapidly approaching elections.

Well, it certainly is a change.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The Façade Continues to Crack

Another scientist joins the flat earth, deniers of anthropogenic global warming climate change and tells the truth about Al Gore's go-to chicken little, James Hansen. Money quotes from Hansen's former boss, Dr. John S. Theon:

...climate models are useless....My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit. Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy.


Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress.

It was funny to note how characteristically Hansen played the bullying victim Ann Coulter describes so well by claiming he was "muzzled by the Bush administration despite doing 1,400 on-the-job media interviews!" Some muzzle.

Pre-industrialization levels of CO2, say, 280 ppm, produce 95% of the possible 'greenhouse' effect and any increase of CO2 above 280 has almost no effect on mean global temperature. That's an inconvenient rock of a fact on which Gore's and Hansen's fantasy ship of anthropogenic global warming has struck and is rapidly foundering.



Democrats Find a Place to Spend Less

And it is as unsurprising as it is pathetic. Russia and Iran gains; Europe suffers. Well, better them than us. Obama tells the Russians we will not implement the missile defense system designed to protect Europe from Iranian missiles. Yeah, that's the ticket, cut defense spending and give the excess saved, wait, there is no excess saved--all of the spending proposed is borrowed or printed money, to... ACORN. Brilliant.

Really not that much of a change is it?



A Wonderful Start

The Obama Administration seems poised to allow California legislators (und die Governator) to set fuel efficiency standards for the nation. That should help out the troubled big three automakers. A gallon of the high octane gas I have to use in my runabout is well below $2.00 now, so I'm not really looking to improve on its 20.5 mpg in town; and if the 35 mpg model is small, underpowered and light (that is, not as crashworthy) as it must necessarily be to satisfy the dudes in LA and the fiat of Washington, I'll probably pass on replacing my 17 year old Mitsubishi with an American designed car, when I have to. I don't think I'm alone regarding that choice.

Yet the ever declining New York Times praises the decision and calls for more. Really.

The California rules cannot by themselves stop the rise in greenhouse gases. In addition to regulatory controls, Mr. Obama must eventually embrace a broader strategy involving major federal investments in clean-energy technologies and, down the road, some effort to put a price on greenhouse-gas emissions in order to unlock private investment. But after eight years of inaction, this is a wonderful start.

In other words, after killing GM et al. by making them make cars very few will buy, the government should spend more (major federal investment) on 'alternative' energy and tax (put a price on) energy use (other than nuclear). All for a goal that is the worst sort of pseudo-scientific hoax about the latest apocryphal apocalypse--global warming climate change. Tax and spend, destroy the auto industry, serve a purpose that only exists in the lofty lefty mind.

I suddenly have this vague sense of deja vu circa 1979 or so.



Beinart v. Hewett

Yesterday on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, Peter Beinart talked world politics including the subject of Israel v. Iran. I kind of miss Beinart on Hugh's show (nothing like I miss Michael Kelly however) because Beinart is a lefty true believer with a strong intellect and it's good to see exactly and clearly what a lot of the elite left believes. Hugh asked Peter how what he and President Obama were proposing vis a vis Iran was any different from European appeasement of Hitler in 1936 and '37?

Beinart bridled a little at the question and later called it a sloppy historical comparison. Condescension aside, I have to admit that it is not an exact comparison. The Nazis were German lefty narcissists dedicated to the ultimate destruction of European Jews and the theocrats in Tehran are Persian lefty narcissists dedicated to the utter destruction of Jews living in Israel. I mean that's a huge difference.

I can't now recall if Beinart ever answered the question.

UPDATE: Here is the transcript. And no, he didn't answer the question.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


We Don't Reject the Jews so Much as They Reject Us

What makes the Jews so special? History.

What is their greatest asset? Family and clan.

Why are they so hated? It's largely jealousy with a little payback for rejection.

What is the greatest country, by far, in the Middle East? Israel. Or so I believe.

I was talking to a very educated woman on Grand Cayman and she repeated the Carter libel that Israel practiced apartheid. I asked her in what way--there were hundreds of thousands of Arabs living in Israel with full citizenship rights? She said that those Arabs couldn't go to the best schools. That was it. I just shrugged.

What I should have said is: "Is that it? A Jew can't even live in most Islamic nations, but you compare Israel to the racist regime in South Africa decades ago because Jews own the entry spots in the top universities in Israel?" I might have thrown a Latin quote at her, from the vulgate--quid autem vides festucam in oculo fratris tui et trabem in oculo tuo non vides.

But I didn't, I was the quiet American. Kind of felt like Peter in Gethsemane later.



Thought of the Day

[Pat] Buchanan is one of those conservatives who hate Republicans...He's a safe Republican.

Bernie Goldberg


Monday, January 26, 2009


Antarctic Warming

The Warmie theory is that increased anthropogenic CO2 causes global warming and it is worse at the poles. Both poles. However, most of Antarctica, where the south pole is, was getting colder over the last few decades, as shown by measurements at the few places where people live in Antarctica (necessarily anecdotal) and generally over the continent as shown by the reliable satellite measurement. See the University of Alabama chart above. West Antarctica was flat (neither warming nor cooling) and East Antarctica was getting colder since 1979, when the satellite was launched.
Uh ho. That's not what the theory stated would happen. So the Warmie true believers first changed the theory. Here is what Warmie Central--Real Climate--said just a few months ago.

...we often hear people remarking that parts of Antarctica are getting colder, and indeed the ice pack in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica has actually been getting bigger. Doesn’t this contradict the calculations that greenhouse gases are warming the globe? Not at all, because a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict… and have predicted for the past quarter century...

Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that.

It was like PeeWee Herman saying 'I meant to do that' after he crashed his bicycle, except not as convincing.

Recently the Warmies have produced data which fit the original theory, that is, they have published a paper which shows warming in most of Antarctica after all. The data is cooked and worthless, in my humble opinion. Here is a sample of scientists who say similar things here, here and here, as well as a general uneasiness with GISS and NASA global temperature numbers.
The truth is that it's been getting colder over most of Antarctica (the Antarctic Peninsula is an exception, perhaps from volcanic activity) and that's not what the Warmie theory says should happen. When real scientists see that empirical measurements cause doubt on the theory, they look to see if the theory is valid. They don't change the theory and they don't create false data to support the theory. That's not science, it's fraud.
UPDATE: Christopher Booker in the Telegraph UK makes the same point (more elegantly). Best quotes:

....a team led by Professor Eric Steig, claimed to prove that the Antarctic has been heating up after all. As on similar occasions in the past, all the usual supporters of the cause were called in to whoop up its historic importance. The paper was published in Nature and heavily promoted by the BBC. This, crowed journalists such as Newsweek's Sharon Begley, would really be one in the eye for the "deniers" and "contrarians".

But then a good many experts began to examine just what new evidence had been used to justify this dramatic finding. It turned out that it was produced by a computer model based on combining the satellite evidence since 1979 with temperature readings from surface weather stations.

The problem with Antarctica, though, is that has so few weather stations. So what the computer had been programmed to do, by a formula not yet revealed, was to estimate the data those missing weather stations would have come up with if they had existed. In other words, while confirming that the satellite data have indeed shown the Antarctic as cooling since 1979, the study relied ultimately on pure guesswork, to show that in the past 50 years the continent has warmed – by just one degree Fahrenheit.
(Emphasis added.)


Sunday, January 25, 2009


Travel Report--Grand Cayman

Here are some photos of the Grand Cayman Island. Perhaps not quite up to Glenn Reynold's standards, but... We had a good time, and were sorry to leave the warm Caribbean for the cold western edge of the Great Plains. The best part of the island is just off the coast about 30 feet down in the reefs, but I didn't have a camera then.

A blue Iguana. Wish I could have taken a picture of the snake we saw but my new bride was attempting to climb up on my shoulders at the time and it slipped off into the bushes. Pity, really, because it was so beautiful.



Thought of the Day

The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.

Margaret Thatcher


Sunday, January 18, 2009


Weak Tit Excuse for Lite Posting

We had the big mainly family party last night. It went pretty well. There was drinking and dancing. Thanks to everyone for coming and helping us celebrate our marriage. Anyway tough to post through the last minutes of work and preparations. Off to the Caribbean for a short week of sun and stuff. Ta.

Oh wait, last minute question. Since we've made an elite from the Ivy Leaguers, I've noticed that there are tons of evangelicals speaking out in favor of Israeli self defense and conservative guys and gals do so in slightly fewer numbers. At the rally last Sunday, there were several ministers among the non Jewish speakers and former Congressman Tom Tancredo. So it too fit the pattern emerging. OK finally the question: Where are the Ivy Leaguers regarding Israeli Self Defense? Like one. Is there a single Ivy Leaguer who has come out strongly in favor of what Israel is doing in Gaza to protect itself from rocket attack, et al.? Is there one?

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Ingress and Egress Regarding Gaza

It appears that when the last Israeli left the Gaza on September 12, 2005, the border crossings at Erez, Karni, Kissufim, and Sufa were closed to Palestinians seeking to get out of the Gaza strip. Rafah, in between Gaza and Egypt was left to the Egyptians and the Palestinians so it appears that it was open to traffic both ways. Karni may or may not have been open to humanitarian aid entering into Gaza, but humanitarian aid was getting into Gaza somewhere and not just through Egypt. Then the mists of time swirl and the picture is hazier. Then in November, 2005, Secretary of State Condi Rice made the Israelis, Egyptians and Palestinians agree to open Rafah and Karni was going to be open to truck and then bus traffic, in convoys, between Gaza and the West Bank. The EU ran the crossing at Rafah for about a year but then began to close it from time to time.

How it is that the Europeans and Egyptians don't let much travel between Gaza and the rest of the world via Egypt (at least above ground) is lost in time as well. Does anyone make the case that the Egyptians have closed the border at Rafah because the Israeli's asked them to? Anyone, anyone? Bueller?


Monday, January 12, 2009


Saturn Eclipses the Sun

You have to love our robot photographers, here the Cassini space probe. Beautiful



Thought of the Day

Today there are more men who are sexually aroused by women in stiletto heals crushing live frogs to death while talking erotically to the frogs than there are members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Ann Coulter


Sunday, January 11, 2009


Insomniac's Theater: Mountains of the Moon

I've always liked the movie director, Bob Rafelson, from his first movie, the mildly distrubing Monkee movie Head through the excellent Five Easy Pieces and The King of Marvin Gardens to the less successfuItalicl Stay Hungry and The Postman Always Rings Twice. I stopped watching his movies at The Mountains of the Moon, not because it was a bad movie, on the contrary, but because he quit making them pretty much after that; he did a lot of TV with a marginal movie from time to time.

I saw it in theatrical release during the two or so weeks it played in theaters. It was not a success but I thought it was good. I bought the DVD a while ago and played it last night. Not quite as good as I remembered it, but not at all bad. One thing wrong is the DVD is pan and scan not the very wide screen shown in theaters where the grandness of Africa (Kenya) was conveyed well. Also, there is little of consequence, ultimately, in the main friendship in the movie. Omar Shariff is in it and shines for about 20 seconds. Richard Grant is in it and an oily bugger he is. Delroy Lindo is magnificent as the slave who wears someone elses ears hanging from his. The guy who plays Theoden in Lord of the Rings, Bernard Hill, is here playing the explorer/missionary Livingston and he looks exactly the same as he does playing Theoden. The main heterosexual love interest is Fiona Shaw, more famous to us now as Aunt Petunia Dursley to Harry Potter, a thankless role. Here she is younger, full of life, big chin, English teeth, sloppy breasts and oh so sexy. Patrick Bergin has not been better, even in Patriot Games as Sir Richard Burton (Not Liz Taylor's two time husband) but the explorer and writer, one of the few non Muslims to make the Hadj and get to Mecca. What a brilliant life here minorly explored. Bergin plays Burton with a carpe diem theme (a safe route).

A more difficult role fell to Brit Iain Glen who plays the almost unknown Jack Speke, who actually was the first white man to look on the source of the Nile and know it. What is his motivation? Does he really have a sense of loyalty to Burton and to the black men who travel with him? Iain Glen did a good job but I have never seen him again in a movie. Certainly he has not been the lead or even the co-lead of a big budget film. Kind of a waste. However, Bergin never became the star he might have been in a parallel universe. Maybe this film was the anti-boost to careers.



Thought of the Day

Bringing the government in to run Wall Street is like saying, "Dad burned dinner, let's get the dog to cook."

P.J. O'Rourke


Saturday, January 10, 2009


Cross Complaints

Alan Dershowitz, writing in the LA Times, accuses Hamas of war crimes in Gaza and Bay Area law professor George Bisharart, writing in the Wall Street Journal, accuses Israel of war crimes there. Dershowitz is right, but let's look at some details of the opposing view. Here is the first head scratcher:

Israel had not suffered an "armed attack" immediately prior to its bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Since firing the first Kassam rocket into Israel in 2002, Hamas and other Palestinian groups have loosed thousands of rockets and mortar shells into Israel, causing about two dozen Israeli deaths and widespread fear. As indiscriminate attacks on civilians, these were war crimes.

So Israel was bombarded by thousands of rockets and mortar shells, and each of these attacks is a war crime, but Israel was not attacked immediately before it launched a counterattack to stop the bombardment. Does the attack need to be immediately before a response to matter? It took us months to get back at Japan for Pearl Harbor. I guess we were in the wrong for bombing Tokyo in April, 1942, when we had not been attacked immediately prior to Doolittle's raid. Complete bull, utter idiocy from Mr. Bisharart. But is the first sentence of this paragraph even true? Here is what the California law professor writes:

But on June 19, 2008, Hamas and Israel commenced a six-month truce. Neither side complied perfectly. Israel refused to substantially ease the suffocating siege of Gaza imposed in June 2007. Hamas permitted sporadic rocket fire -- typically after Israel killed or seized Hamas members in the West Bank, where the truce did not apply.

More on the "suffocating seige" below. OK, so there were rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, sporadically, during the so called truce. Is that keeping the truce? Isn't rocket fire from Gaza into Israel just what the Israelis are trying to shut down now? The truth is that Hamas did not keep the truce and Israel was fully justified to attack rocket caches or other proper targets after the first post June 19, 2008 rocket flew, which appears to be just what the IDF did in November.

Israel then broke the truce on Nov. 4, raiding the Gaza Strip and killing a Palestinian.

So the November 4 attack on a tunnel is Israel breaking the truce, which the professor just admitted Hamas broke, sporadically, throughout the period. I didn't know international law was so complicated. If the Arabs in Gaza break the truce it doesn't count as breaking the truce, but if Israel responds to breaking-the-truce rocket fire from Hamas et al., then it's Israel who has broken the truce. I guess if you keep in mind that no matter what happens, it's Israel's fault, it's less complicated. There's more:

Hamas retaliated with rocket fire; Israel then killed five more Palestinians. In the following days, Hamas continued rocket fire -- yet still no Israelis died. Israel cannot claim self-defense against this escalation, because it was provoked by Israel's own violation.

Wait. You actually have to kill someone with your rocket fire to have it count as an attack? Oh, so if Hamas shoots several thousand missiles and shells, each and every one a war crime, but they all, or mostly all, miss, no harm, no foul--not an attack? Israel, on the other hand, acts in self defense to stop the war crime attacks and is precise in its targeting of proper non-civilian targets, which kill bad guys, and Israel is the bad guy. OK, getting clearer.

An armed attack that is not justified by self-defense is a war of aggression.

OK, so each and every attack out of Gaza by rocket and mortar shell is part of Hamas' war of aggression because it is not justified by self-defense? No, not to Mr. Bisharart--it is the IDF and IAF which are the war criminals, because they are trying to hit proper targets to stop the war crime Hamas attacks. I think we have achieved full Tweedldum logic here, emphasis on the 'dum.'

Israel has also failed to adequately discriminate between military and nonmilitary targets.

I have to ask: Did the Israelis make Hamas put its forces in among of the civilian throngs? Did Israel make Hamas use civilians as shields for the Hamas 'fighters'? No, it was Hamas which chose to put the rocket launchers, et al., right in among the civilians of Gaza, which siting is a war crime in itself. So, because of Hamas' siting war crime, the very fact that Israel attacks the rocket and mortar shell launchers, at all, is proof of Israel's war crime. Ah, ever clearer. Then there's this historical nugget:

Eighty percent of Gaza's 1.5 million residents are Palestinian refugees who were forced from their homes or fled in fear of Jewish terrorist attacks in 1948.

Wait, wasn't it Israel which was attacked in 1948 within hours of its UN creation? And didn't the bulk of Arabs leaving the newly formed Israel do so based on the requests of the governments providing the 5 invading Arab armies? Yes, and the Arabs left their homes in the near certain hope that they would soon return to them after the conquering Arab armies converged on Jerusalem in triumph. Alas, for the Arab refugees, the conquest has been somewhat delayed. There are hundreds of thousands of Arabs living in Israel as full citizens and in safety (except from other Muslims) but Israel does try to keep out the Arabs who want nothing more than to kill Jews. The Israelis strangely find it safer that way. But no, the clear self defense, in which Israel is now fighting in Gaza, is merely another in the long line of "Jewish terrorist attacks" since 1948. Of course, I was blind not to notice.

Although Israel withdrew its settlers and soldiers from Gaza in 2005, it continues to tightly regulate Gaza's coast, airspace and borders. Thus, Israel remains an occupying power with a legal duty to protect Gaza's civilian population.

What? Israel is an occupying power regarding Gaza even though it does not occupy Gaza, and has not since 2005? Wow, you really have to admire the intellect that can call a nation an occupier when it does not occupy--any fool, of course, can do the opposite. So if we protect our own border and try to prevent our neighbors from attacking from the air or sea nearby, we're an occupying power as well? I did not know that. I thought that was merely, well, acting like a normal sovereign nation in, you know, self defense.

But Israel's 18-month siege of the Gaza Strip preceding the current crisis violated this obligation egregiously. It brought economic activity to a near standstill, left children hungry and malnourished, and denied Palestinian students opportunities to study abroad.

Wait, wasn't the closing of the border 18 months ago in retaliation for the thousands and thousands of rockets and mortar shells since 2002, each of which is a war crime? Wasn't the closing of the borders an act to protect Israel from attack by preventing rearmament of the Arabs in Gaza, a relatively humanitarian act as opposed to air-strikes or invasion?

The blame for the condition in Gaza is 100% on Hamas, and upon the citizens of Gaza who voted overwhelmingly for Hamas to rule them. Elections, as we are fond of saying here in America, have consequences, and not all of them are good ones.



Steyn on Point and on Line

Mark Steyn has a lot of bad to say about the state of the World vis a vis the Juice, for whom there is the oldest hatred. One sure way of looking at the fairness of the situation is to switch the parties around, as Mark does here:

Just last month terrorists attacked Bombay, seized hostages, tortured them, killed, and mutilated their bodies. The police intercepts of the phone conversations between the terrorists and their controllers make for lively reading:

“Pakistan caller 1: ‘Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims. Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire.’

“Mumbai terrorist 2: ‘We have three foreigners, including women. From Singapore and China.’

“Pakistan caller 1: ‘Kill them.’

“(Voices of gunmen can be heard directing hostages to stand in a line, and telling two Muslims to stand aside. Sound of gunfire. Sound of cheering voices.)”

“Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims.” Tough for those Singaporean women. Yet no mosques in Singapore have been attacked. The large Hindu populations in London, Toronto, and Fort Lauderdale have not shouted “Muslims must die!” or firebombed Halal butchers or attacked hijab-clad schoolgirls. CAIR and other Muslim lobby groups’ eternal bleating about “Islamophobia” is in inverse proportion to any examples of it. Meanwhile, “moderate Muslims” in London warn the government: “I’m a peaceful fellow myself, but I can’t speak for my excitable friends. Nice little G7 advanced western democracy you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it.”

But why worry about European Muslims? The European political and media class essentially shares the same view of the situation — to the point where state TV stations are broadcasting fake Israeli “war crimes.” As I always say, the “oldest hatred” didn’t get that way without an ability to adapt:...

Absolutely chilling to the supporters of Israel.


Friday, January 09, 2009


Good Sense From a Good Student (and Steny Hoyer)

Here is a clear eyed view of the Gaza conflict from the House Minority Whip, Eric Cantor, whom I taught English in 1988-89. I'm glad he listened to me regarding grammar and that he joined the right team politically. The only disturbing thing is the ahistoric anti-Semitism rife in the comments following the article. Sheesh.

Here are my favorite parts:

Our 2005 visit to Israel took place during the "disengagement" period, when Israel painfully uprooted its military and all Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip. Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made the decision to leave in spite of significant domestic opposition. We remember how divided Israeli society was, with critics defiantly brandishing orange protest ribbons from their cars. Mr. Sharon's goal, however, was an international show of good faith to kick-start a moribund peace process by giving the Palestinians what they asked for: full control of Gaza.

The plan collapsed. Israel's good intentions were never reciprocated. Instead of building roads, bridges, schools and industry, Hamas and other terrorists wasted millions turning Gaza into an armory. The already flimsy notion that Palestinian terrorism was a consequence of Israeli occupation -- an article of faith among those currently decrying Israel's "aggression" -- blew up along with the 7,000 indiscriminate rockets Palestinian terrorists began to launch into Israel.


Prior to military action, Israel tried a number of other options to stop the rockets, all to no avail. Israel pleaded with Palestinian terror groups to stop their attacks. Israel raised numerous complaints at the United Nations that fell on deaf ears. Israel imposed a blockade of Gaza to deprive Hamas terrorists of the rockets and weapons being used to attack Israel. Israel pressed Egypt to cut down on smuggling tunnels used to deliver rockets and weapons to terrorists. And most recently, Israel worked with Egypt to broker a six-month cease-fire with Hamas.

As Israel negotiated for peace, Hamas built up its weapons supply, acquiring longer-range, more powerful rockets, which are now paralyzing almost 1 million Israelis. Israel's decision to go to war came late last month when Hamas declared that it would not renew the Egyptian-brokered, six-month cease-fire (a cease-fire, it should be noted, that Hamas frequently violated and was urged by Egypt to restore).


America would never sit still if terrorists were lobbing missiles across our border into Texas or Montana; and just as we assert our right to defend ourselves, Israel has every right to protect its own citizens from the implacable foes on its borders. Support for Israel in her time of need, from both Democrats and Republicans, is not just the logical choice. It is both a strategic and moral imperative.

Good work, Eric, and you too Steny, if that really is your name.



Another Source of Rising Mean Global Temperature

This is not the easiest graph to read but there are two big changes on it: As the number of reporting surface stations drops by over 2/3rds (from nearly 6000 to less than 2000) the temperature jumps up. That's because the stations lost were in Siberia and Canada and otherwise in rural areas and the remaining ones were in urban and suburban areas where, more often than not, they were improperly sited to record a higher temperature than a properly sited station would show. It's not the rising CO2, it's the measurers and even the unreliable measurers show cooling for the past decade or so. More on the subject here. From Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, AMS Fellow, via ICECAP


Thursday, January 08, 2009


Yet Another Democrat Leader Sides With the Palestinian War Criminals

But it's just Jimmy Carter.

He starts out OK, ("After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be inexcusable and an act of terrorism.") but then he distorts a little history. Behold:

[June 19 cease fire was unacknowledged by Israel] but rocket firing was soon stopped and there was an increase in supplies of food, water, medicine and fuel. Yet the increase was to an average of about 20 percent of normal levels. And this fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.

So the cease fire was broken by Israel? No rockets were fired between June 20 and Nov. 3? Is that right, Mr. President? That's not what the New York Times said in December. The post June 20 count seems to be in the several score area.

What the heck is a defensive tunnel? If the defensive tunnel is used to import serious sized rockets into Gaza, is it still defensive? How do you tell the purpose of a tunnel from the outside?

The wall around Gaza is, I believe, an actual defensive wall, used to keep Palestinians from murdering Jewish citizens by using vest bombs.

Anyway, more duplicitous coverage of the situation from a leading Democrat. American Democrat Jewish persons, are you sure you're in the right party? Dennis Prager has real doubts.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Thought of the Day

Willie Peter*, make you a believer.


Military slang for White Phosphorus, a very brutal incendiary and also the fuel for smoke rounds. We still use it to kill people, the more civilized Israelis are using it only for smoke screens to protect the IDF grunts.



Occulting Jupiter's Moon Ganymede

Jupiter is, I think, our most beautiful planet, even in real color. Saturn is just a paler version of Jupiter with some impressive rings. The moons of Jupiter are largely named for some of the maids and lads that the god Jupiter screwed, usually raped. The Greek gods, I think, were not homosexual or ambisexual but, like the Greeks and Romans, treated children of either sex as proper sexual objects. Ganymede was in fact a handsome young lad. All the rest are girls though. When Hera (or Juno) complained to Jupiter about his philandering, he defended his actions by saying that women enjoyed lovemaking so much more and, just to keep even, he had to have a lot of sex. His wife doubted that, so he called in Tiresias who was born a man and then changed into a woman when he saw snakes copulating. Tiresias said--If the parts of love's pleasure be counted as ten, thrice three goes to women, one only to men. Things didn't go well for him/her after that with Hera, but I think he/she was punished for merely saying the truth.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009


More on Glen Greenwald

I half listened yesterday to Hugh Hewitt interview Glen Greenwald about the Israeli bombardment and armed incursion into Gaza; and Greenwald sounded much more reasonable than he did in his recent writing, about which I have commented. However, then I read the transcript, and Greenwald is again proven, by Hugh's careful questioning, to be basically ignorant of the essential nature of Hamas and a groundless Pollyanna about the likelihood of a successful diplomatic solution to the incessant, illegal bombardment by Palestinians in Gaza of Israel by rocket and mortar.

Here are the two central problems with Greenwald's Weltanshaung.

1. He thinks that the United States, sneak attacked and declared war on by Japan and then declared war on by Germany in December, 1941, waged a disproportional war against those two nations. (Or perhaps he doesn't as he immediately retracted, but then said WWII was fundamentally different from the long Israeli-Arab conflict, so that different rules applied).

2. He thinks that Hamas in particular and the Palestinians in general can be counted on to respond well to appeasement and poorly to having war waged back against them.

He kept conflating Gaza with the West Bank but it is not the West Bank which has sent thousands of rockets and mortar rounds into Israel. He said, as all lefty armchair generals say, that there is no military solution and worse, bombing Hamas leaders, fighters, infrastructure and weapons caches will be counterproductive.

HH: Well, that brings me back, then, to the actual concrete steps that you think Israel ought to be doing, because should they negotiate despite the fact that 7,200 missiles have fallen on their land over five years?

GG: Well, I mean I think you know, those are a lot of missiles, the damage that has been done relative to the damage inflicted on the Palestinians over the course of that time period, of course, is something like 1/100th of the number of Palestinians who have been killed during that same time. So the rockets are definitely a problem. The government can’t allow rockets to be shot into their civilian populations. There’s no question about that. The question is what is the more effective course for ending terrorism? Is it to find a diplomatic solution, to offer concessions, even if they’re unilateral concessions, that diffuse the anger in the population? You know, we’re going to dismantle these settlements in the West Bank, we’re going to give you the right to control your own airspace, we’re going to let you have an airport, we’re going to stop blockading medicine that your children need. If you start doing that, isn’t that more likely to diffuse the extremism that feeds terrorism?

When Hugh pointed out that such appeasement was similar to the West's appeasement of Hitler in the 30s, Greenwald had this to say:

Would [military force] have been justifiable after only Austria and not before Czechoslovakia or Poland? You know, that’s hard to say. But certainly once a country starts indicating that they are a threat to their neighbors and to world security, and have the ability to carry that out, then force becomes something that is a lot more justifiable. (Emphasis added).

So because the missiles and mortar rounds used by Palestinians in Gaza to bombard Israel over the past few years are limited in number and range, Israel is not able to respond morally and legally. They just have to take it and give additional appeasement. (That total withdrawal from Gaza unilaterally was not a sufficient appeasement to produce peace in Gaza is wholly ignored by Greenwald). What action Israel could take against Iran armed with nuclear tipped missiles which could reach Prague, for example, is apparently part of that different matter. I would fully expect Greenwald to condemn without reservation an IDF airstrike on Iranian nuclear facilities. We'll find out soon.

As a final issue:

Israel, when it withdrew completely from what I guess is Egyptian territory, the Gaza strip, did not open the border crossing between Gaza and Israel to export from Gaza, for sound security reasons. The Israelis allowed imports of humanitarian aid into Gaza, as they continue to do (just as Israel supplies about 3/4 of the electrical power in Gaza). The sole egress from the strip was to be through Egypt. Here is what was proposed. Here is how the Palestinians, and especially Hamas, screwed up that proposed (and, for a while, actual open) border crossing. That Egypt continues to close that border crossing is hardly I think Israel's fault. Right thinking people know whom to blame.

Brilliant Andy McCarthy has some very good thoughts on the general subject. Neither Israel nor the U.S. have agreed to be bound by so called international law touted by the left and clueless, toothless old Europe. Who knew?


Monday, January 05, 2009


Thought of the Day

For most combatants, the object is to kill the enemy while not being killed. Hamas had the idea, “Hey, what if we kill the enemy and kill ourselves at the same time?” And thus suicide bombing was born. It’s not a great idea, but you have to give Hamas props for thinking outside the box.

Frank J at IMAO


Sunday, January 04, 2009


Easy Money

We had the friends mainly, informal, celebratory wedding party last night. We didn't drink as much as I thought we would, which is good, I guess. My new brother in law and hunting partner and I had an argument about anthropogenic global warming. I was trying to show him that at 280 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere almost all the heat was 'trapped' but we never got that far because he thought that the CO2 in the atmosphere was .23%. I knew that was an order of magnitude high so I bet $100 and we looked it up on Wikipedia. The results:


That adds up to just over 99% which means that all the other gasses, and all of the greenhouse gasses (not including water vapor) are less than 1%, far less it seems because the next gas, a noble gas not greenhouse at all is:


which means the top three are 99.96% of the atmosphere. That means only .04 of the dry gas atmosphere of this planet are all the trace gasses, including all the greenhouse ones. Here's the next:


That brings the total of the top four to 99.998%. Of course, of the tiny bit of CO2 diffuse in the atmosphere, only a tiny portion is man made. So there's a lot supposedly happening from just .0019% of the atmosphere. Actually, it's doing nothing at all, at least nothing measurable.

By the way, at the Huffington Post, of all places, there is this good overview of the truth about the Global Warming Hoax. My favorite part by Mr. Ambler:

Mr. Gore states, ad nauseum, that carbon dioxide rules climate in frightening and unpredictable, and new, ways. When he shows the hockey stick graph of temperature and plots it against reconstructed C02 levels in An Inconvenient Truth, he says that the two clearly have an obvious correlation. "Their relationship is actually very complicated," he says, "but there is one relationship that is far more powerful than all the others, and it is this: When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer." The word "complicated" here is among the most significant Mr. Gore has uttered on the subject of climate and is, at best, a deliberate act of obfuscation. Why? Because it turns out that there is an 800-year lag between temperature and carbon dioxide, unlike the sense conveyed by Mr. Gore's graph. You are probably wondering by now -- and if you are not, you should be -- which rises first, carbon dioxide or temperature. The answer? Temperature. In every case, the ice-core data shows that temperature rises precede rises in carbon dioxide by, on average, 800 years. In fact, the relationship is not "complicated." When the ocean-atmosphere system warms, the oceans discharge vast quantities of carbon dioxide in a process known as de-gassing. For this reason, warm and cold years show up on the Mauna Loa C02 measurements even in the short term. For instance, the post-Pinatubo-eruption year of 1993 shows the lowest C02 increase since measurements have been kept. When did the highest C02 increase take place? During the super El Niño year of 1998.

So maybe the relationship between temperature and CO2 is not that complicated at all.



Report on American War Dead in Afghanistan and Iraq

It was another month when non combat caused more deaths than combat. According to Department of Defense releases for the month of December, 15 American servicemen died in Afghanistan and Iraq, 7 in combat and 8 from non combat causes. This is continued evidence of our military success against Muslim extremists. Here is a further breakdown.

In Iraq, 12 American servicemen died. Three were killed by IEDs, one died in combat operations in al Anbar, and one was killed by a mortar shell. Three died in a single roll over accident and three died from non combat causes (including a death in Bahrain) and one died from a non combat illness. In Afghanistan, one died from an IED, one from a rocket attack and one from non combat causes.

Two officers were killed: Capt. Robert Ylescas, 31 of Lincoln, NE, who died from an IED in Afghanistan; and, Major John Pryor, 42, of Moorestown, NJ, who died of a mortar round in Iraq.

Our thoughts and prayers go to the families and loved ones of these fallen warriors, but this is move evidence of our continued success, primarily in Iraq.


Saturday, January 03, 2009


The Far Left Support of Israeli Self Defense

The more I read Glen Greenwald, and it is ever more painful, the more I think that he and I must inhabit different planets. He and I both noticed the Rasmussen polling which shows the Republicans strongly supporting Israeli self defense and the Democrats strongly condemn it. But then our world views, Weltanshaung, well, they kind of differ. Here is some criticism of his worst excesses in his latest work. He writes:

Not only does Rasmussen find that Americans generally "are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip" (44 percent to 41 percent, with 15 percent undecided), but Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive -- by a 24-point margin. By stark contrast, Republicans, as one would expect (in light of their history of supporting virtually any proposed attack on Arabs and Muslims), overwhelmingly support the Israeli bombing campaign (62 percent to 27 percent). (Emphasis added).

Yeah, we Republicans are primarily rabid anti-Arab war mongers. The events of 9/11/01 have nothing to do with it; it is our personality flaws, that is, our being pro war. What an asshat Greenwald is. We do tend to support self defense and are faithful to our loyal allies. We think military solutions are possible and sometimes necessary. But to Greenwald it's our inherent blood thirsty hatred of Muslims. Nice. There's more:

It's not at all surprising that Republican leaders -- from Dick Cheney and John Bolton to virtually all appendages of the right-wing noise machine-- are unquestioning supporters of the Israeli attack. After all, they're expressing the core ideology of the overwhelming majority of their voters and audience. (Emphasis added).

Right wing noise machine? What's that? I guess to Mr. Greenwald and his ilk, we Republicans can't even engage in speech and, gibbering idiot like, we merely make noise rather than rational discourse. And along with our blood thirsty hatred of Arabs is our unquestioning support of Israel. Of course it's unquestioning, we're all clearly too stupid to ask meaningful questions. That Israel is a great nation--civilized, moral, tolerant and just--and the Arabs, who chose Hamas to be their leaders in Gaza, are war criminal, barbarians who cause untold suffering of the Arabs in Gaza and seek to export death and destruction to Israel via rocketry, they couldn't possibly provide the well reasoned source of our support of Israeli self defense. No, it's just knee jerk stuff. Then there's this goldmine of a paragraph:

There are certainly meaningful differences between the U.S. attack on Iraq and the Israeli attack on Gaza (most notably the fact that Hamas does shoot rockets into Israel and has killed Israeli civilians and Israel is blockading and occupying Palestinian land, whereas Iraq did not attack and could not attack the U.S. as the U.S. was sanctioning them and controlling their airspace). But the underlying logic of both wars is far more similar than different: military attacks, invasions and occupations will end rather than exacerbate terrorism; the Muslim world only understands brute force; the root causes of the disputes are irrelevant; diplomacy and the U.N. are largely worthless. (Emphasis added).

Where to begin? Good that he has the wit to notice that Hamas was bombarding Israel. It would be difficult to ignore several thousand rocket and mortar attacks. But then he goes off the rails. Occupying Palestinian land? Gaza belongs to Egypt, from whom it was captured by Israel in 1967. And are there occupying Israeli forces in Gaza recently? NO. They left in 2005. The forcefully evicted all Jewish settlers, because as further proof of Israeli tolerance and righteousness, Arabs can live in peace as full citizens of Israel but no Jew can live in the surrounding Arab land and prosper, or even survive. Does Glen not know that Gaza was turned over to Palestinian control, Judenrein, more than three years ago? Because it is a pretty important historical fact right now.

How about the blockade? Did Israel turn over a blockaded Gaza? No, they invited peaceful exchange of goods and services. The blockade only came after Hamas began to export only its rocket technology. The blockade is not absolute; even as the IDF wipes out Hamas fighters and rocket caches, Israel sends the Palestinians medicine and other humanitarian aid. That's what good guys the Israelis are. Does Greenwald know about it? He certainly seems ignorant of that telling fact.

Now for the Iraq/Gaza comparison. Iraq not attacking? Perhaps Mr. Greenwald is also ignorant of Gulf War I and the survival of that righteous causus belli through the failure of Iraq to keep even one of the many cease fire promises it made. But perhaps that's too arcane or legalistic. Does Mr. Greenwald not know that our airplanes enforcing humanitarian no-fly zones were fired on almost each and every sortie? Can he be that ignorant? The no-fly zones were primarily to prevent slaughter of Kurds and Shia Arabs by helicopter, et al., and were instead of a full blown invasion to oust Saddam from power for his war crimes, including the invasion of Kuwait.

He stumbles on the truth in the last part of the paragraph. Although I suspect he is being sarcastic, its true that only military force will eradicate terrorism from Islamic extremists. Does he share the lefty delusion that they can be bought off or dissuaded by talk? Any evidence that such a course of action would be persuasive? In the end I have to shake my head and say to myself... not even on the same planet.

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Friday, January 02, 2009


The Big Day Arrives

I got married today. It was my second wedding; the first was over a quarter century ago and ended in divorce before 12 years. I got the primary slot, in joint custody, of the children and that involved some sacrifice, but looking back it didn't seem like much sacrifice. My lovely new bride and I have dated, off and on, for over 12 years. There were a lot of breakups and breaks, some lasting a few years. However, it seemed to be written that we would be together and the last time we started seeing each other again, at a Crowded House concert, I began to think we should get married and 17 months later, we did.

It was a very small ceremony in the Presbyterian Church near my home. I was raised Presbyterian but converted to Catholicism about 14 years ago. I still have enormous faith problems, but I believe I am a Christian, even though I rarely go to Mass anymore. I couldn't get married in my church unless I annulled the first, which has been suggested to me a few times, but I think that an annulment after 11 years of marriage and three children renders the distinction between annulment and divorce meaningless. Generations from now will look back on Catholic annulment like we now look back on Catholic indulgences. I'm not doing it even if that means I'm living in sin, a mortal sin, now. The Catholics are such sticklers for details; whatever happened to the thought counting? We first thought we'd do a civil ceremony but I'm glad none of the judges I know were available. It was a very nice service--intimate, meaningful, and short.

I thought I was pretty calm until I was directed to look into Kit's eyes, holding her hands, and repeat the vows. My voice choked up quite a bit. She just plain cried when it was her turn. I believe her when she said they were tears of joy. I hope I never give her cause for any other kind.

Dr. Johnson cynically called a second marriage the triumph of hope over experience. Yeah, exactly.

And love has a lot to do with it too.


Thursday, January 01, 2009


Our Miss Brooks and the Myth of Military Victory

Law Professor and LA Times columnist, Rosa Brooks, comes through again with the quintessential, a-historic, lefty take on Israel's recent self defense. Let's review the concept of morally and legally justified war first, starting with Iraq. Saddam Hussein's forces crossed a well established (since 1845) border with neighbor Kuwait nearly 20 years ago. We spearheaded a coalition with UN approval to kick his invading forces out of Kuwait. And we did, rather easily. The war Saddam started, however, did not end in a treaty, but in a cease fire (like the Korean War) with several requirements of Iraq's government. Iraq did not keep up many of these requirements, none over the long haul. Thus, any resumption of fighting against Iraq and the government of Saddam Hussein was both perfectly legal and morally justified. We didn't need any one's permission. The original causus belli survived through the cease fire promises broken. Our president asked for and received an authorization from Congress to use military force against Saddam (it had been established in 1998, under the previous administration, that regime change in Iraq was the official policy of the United States) which Congressional authorization satisfied the requirement in the Constitution that Congress declare war. We don't actually declare war any longer--haven't since 1941. So defense of another, in this example a sovereign nation invaded by a foreign power with no justification, is legal and moral justification for war, and it allows other nations to wage full, even total, war against the invader. It is even more justifiable to wage war against another nation who has attacked you without justification, that is, in self defense, say like when its citizens lob thousands and thousands of rockets and mortar shells over the border into the other nation. OK, background established.

What I call the lefty position on Israel is the idea that Israel cannot morally defend itself. That's it. I call it the lefty position because of all the lefties out there calling the Israeli Defense Force's actions reprehensible and wrong. That is opposed to the right wingers calling the same actions perfectly justified, and there are lots and lots of these opinions out there, even some from lefties. As final support, there is polling from Rasmussen. Nearly two thirds of right wingers support Israel's actions, while less than one third of lefties do. Indeed, only about half of Democrats polled consider Israel an ally. Could any difference between right and left be so clear?

So, what did Professor Brooks say? This:

In a strictly military sense, Israel will "win" this battle against Hamas. For all its threats and bravado, Hamas is weak, and its weapons -- terrorism, homemade rockets -- are the weapons of the weak. Since 2001, Hamas has fired thousands of unguided Kassam rockets at Israel, but the rockets have killed only a handful of Israelis.

Israel's military, in contrast, is one of the most modern and effective in the world (thanks in part to an annual $3 billion in U.S. aid). Israel can easily bottle up the tiny Gaza Strip and its 1.5 million people. On Saturday, the first day of the offensive, Israeli bombs killed at least 180 Palestinians. By Wednesday, the Palestinian death toll exceeded 390.

You see what's being set up there? There's no discussion of Hamas' war crimes (targeting civilians), it barely gets mentioned in passing. It is the difference in ability of the two political entities, the competent and civilized Israelis versus the blundering, criminal Hamas, which is the focus of the article. You could almost think that it wasn't fair for Israel to fight back and kill so many of Hamas illegal combatants (which the overwhelming bulk of the 390 are--Ms. Brooks fails to mention that somewhat important fact). To her credit, she did not actually misapply the proportionality argument, as so many of her ilk do. No, she skips over that to the "it's just so pointless" argument. Behold:

But if there is no reason to doubt Israel's ability to pulverize Gaza, there's also no reason to think this offensive will improve Israeli security. Destruction of Hamas' infrastructure may temporarily slow Hamas rocket attacks, but sooner or later they'll resume.

The Israeli assault may even strengthen Hamas in the longer run and weaken its more moderate secular rival, Fatah. As Israel should know by now (as we all should know), dropping bombs in densely populated areas is a surefire way to radicalize civilians and get them to rally around the home team, however flawed.

Oh, I get the picture. Not only is the bombing of Hamas fighters and rocket caches merely temporary but it is counterproductive as well, by rallying the Palestinians around the "destroy Israel" flag. Unremarked on is the reason the bombs are falling on densely populated areas. Hamas is committing another war crime in stationing its combatants and war materiel among civilians. The leaders of Hamas counted on Israel acting like the good nation it is and avoiding civilian casualties by not attacking at all. It worked for a long time. No longer. Although Charles Krauthammer lets us know the IDF soldiers still call up to warn the Arabs that bombs are coming to the apartment in which they dwell. Are the Israelis mensch or what? Yet of course Israel gets the bad press for killing a few unavoidably, which bad press should go to Hamas for its criminal act of putting its forces and rockets, etc, in the heart of a dense civilian population. (And Hamas seems to have avoided most of the bad press it deserved for the thousands of rockets it has sent to kill Israeli civilians. I guess we expect them to be criminal, evil. They certainly are).

But here is the sine qua non of the lefty view here:

There's just no clear route from bombardment to a sustainable peace.

Huh? While it is true that the bombardment of Germany and Japan 65 years ago did not 'break' the fighting spirit of the civilians and cause a collapse of their will to fight on, it did have a serious effect on their ability to fight. Indeed, in both theaters of the war the fighting ended about the time we ran out of targets to bomb. The destruction, from the air, of the means with which to produce and move about war materiel was essential to our rather swift victories in WWII. If history is any guide, you can achieve victory and a very sustainable peace through bombardment, and in Japan's case, through bombardment alone. Look at the former Yugoslavia, bombed into submission (of a kind) when President Clinton, without any UN or Congressional authorization, attempted to stop genocide from 20,000 feet.

Ms. Brooks and the other Hamas apologists, don't appear to know this central military fact of history, which ignorance makes their opinions rather worthless.



Happy New Year

I'd say that 2009 couldn't be as bad as 2008, but, of course, it can, and, knock wood, it could be much, much worse.

Nothing like starting off the new year with the happiest of thoughts.


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