Saturday, February 09, 2008

Every Man's Evidence

If that is suggestive, several other things also stand out in Risen's account of Operation Merlin that make the issuance of the federal subpoena more comprehensible. One of them is Merlin's highly sensitive nature. Risen himself notes that it was classified as SAP, a "special-access program," beyond top-secret.
The significance of all this is hard to miss. Codebreaking and the interception of electronic transmissions are the crown jewels of American intelligence and guarded as such.

James Risen is perfectly free to pursue a prize-winning journalistic career built upon promising confidentiality to sources within government. But there is an ancient and essential principle embodied in our democratically enacted laws: the public "has a right to every man's evidence" when our statutes are trampled upon. The rest of us are thus perfectly free to applaud that Risen is being compelled to testify about a crime that has been committed, a crime in this instance in which he is fully complicit.

Inspecting The ClintoNation

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WHY GOOD PEOPLE DON'T GO INTO GOVERNMENT: "Howard Krongard worked his last day at the State Department recently, having learned a hard lesson in the ways of modern Congressional 'oversight.' To wit, if you don't follow Henry Waxman's orders, he'll try to ruin you. . . . Mr. Waxman doesn't much care if any of this is true, because his larger goal is to send a message to every Inspector General in government: They answer to him." Kind of like the Clintons and MSNBC.

Welcome To Christianity In Egypt

Witless Obama

Obama’s problem isn’t that he’s on the wrong side. His problem is he’s the latest in a seemingly limitless supply of na├»ve Westerners who think they can reason with Syria’s tyrant Bashar Assad.

“Washington must rectify the wrong policy of President George Bush in Lebanon and resort to an efficient and permanent diplomacy, rather than empty slogans,” he said.

“What is bizarre about this sentence,” Lebanese political analyst Tony Badran said to me in an email, “is that the Lebanon policy has been precisely that. While Sen. Obama’s statement — and indeed conventional wisdom — tries to paint all Bush administration policies with the old brush of arrogant unilateralism, in reality, the Lebanon policy has always been a multilateral policy of consensus, through the UN security council, through international law, and through close partnership with European and regional allies like France and Saudi Arabia. It is unclear how Sen. Obama wishes to ‘replace’ that.

We Can't Imagine

Other people, of course, may have different moral views. Dr. Goklany focuses on measures of the physical well-being of humans; others may attach more importance to the spiritual value and esthetic benefits of preserving ecosystems. But I think he points to a real risk in making large sacrifices today to address problems that will be easier to address when people are richer and more technologically advanced. If anything, Dr. Goklany writes, these projections underestimate the capacity of future generations to deal with these problems because they’ll have technologies we can’t imagine today (just as the advocates of draconian population-control policies during the 1960s didn’t envision that future famines would be averted thanks to improvements in agriculture).

IF it were true. But of course it's not.

Why Don't You People Write About This?

A few weeks ago, I was chatting to a woman who works in an advocacy role for Muslim women in an area that, quite independently of the Bishop of Rochester, she described as a 'no-go area' for non-Muslims. Her clients were women in the process of being sectioned into mental health units in the NHS. This woman, who for obvious reasons begged not to be identified, told me: 'The men get tired of their wives. Or bored. Or maybe the wife objects to her daughter being forced into a marriage she doesn't want. Or maybe she starts wearing western clothes.There can be many reasons. The women are sent for asssessment to a hospital. The GP referring them is Muslim. The psychiatrist assessing them is Muslim and male. I have sat in these assessments where the psychiatrist will not look the woman patient in the eye because she is a woman. Can you imagine! A psychiatrist refusing to look his patient in the eye?
Why don't you people write about this?'

The Failed Pagans

I don’t believe that the West is running out of energy. I know it seems that way sometimes. I think we are just in a period of dramatic change. European Christianity, and in fact, European civilization, is dying.

As Spengler at Asia Times Online puts it, the Europeans failed at being Christians and they failed at being pagans, and now it’s time for them to go. They know it, and that’s why they’ve quit having babies and spending money on defense.

If they have no future, what would be the point?

Fearless Forecast

How much of the blame laid at the feet of Islam is really the consequence of a substantial failure of the Western immune system, as exemplified by Rowan Williams' recent statements? People who die from AIDs technically succumb to some opportunistic infection. But it's really the HIV that killed them.
The mistake was to think that Soviets were the problem. We were the problem. And right after the Wall fell those same people went rooting around for strange new gods to fall before. They worshipped dirt: Gaia. Crocodiles, snakes, snail darters and whatever else caught their fancy. Why should they not admire Islam?
my fearless forecast is that if the world should ever be so unfortunate as to be convulsed with a WMD war, right after the last Muslim man, woman or child is blown to pieces, that we will be looking for some other thing to cut our throats.

The disease is in us, but not in the way the Left understands it. We will never be free of our peril until we turn inward and free ourselves.

Shame On Us

Someone once said you should never trust a cook who won't taste his own soup. But today we have 'environmentalists' who fly around in private jets; multimillionaire politicians who are 'champions of the poor' and 'Islamists' who profess a hatred for the West while applying for political asylum in it. But it's less a case of shame on them as it is shame on us.

Kyoto's End(point)

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As VHEMT Volunteers know, the hopeful alternative to the
extinction of millions of species of plants and animals is the
voluntary extinction of one species: Homo sapiens... us.

Each time another one of us decides to not add another one of us
to the burgeoning billions already squatting on this ravaged planet,
another ray of hope shines through the gloom.

When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth's biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory, and all remaining creatures will be free to live, die, evolve (if they believe in evolution), and will perhaps pass away, as so many of Nature's "experiments" have done throughout the eons.

It's going to take all of us going.

The Entropy This Time

Probably the single most devastating critique of Rowan William's advocacy of Sharia law in Britain comes from a Muslim woman writing in the Independent.

Look around the Islamic world where sharia rules and, in every single country, these ordinances reduce our human value to less than half that is accorded a male; homosexuals are imprisoned or killed, children have no free voice or autonomy, authoritarianism rules and infantilises populations.

The really scary thing about Rowan Williams is not that he is deviant but actually representative of a certain type of soft-left individual who believes in Global Warming, organic food, and the "inevitability" of certain kinds of social engineering. How much better informed are the supporters of certain US Presidential candidates than Rowan Williams, for example?

Ignorance is a form of entropy. And the West is running out of energy. Rowan Williams may have run out of energy sooner than the rest. He sees the future and it is now.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Shock And Dismay

As a liberal Democrat I hate to say this.  I do, however, find something
unsettling about the way the left finds it perfectly appropriate to use
fear-mongering about global warming to scare up votes, but then reacts in
shock and dismay when Republicans use fear of terrorism to scare up votes.
I'm not sure why "if you vote for Republicans temperatures will rise and
Florida will sink into the ocean" is any better than "if you vote for
Democrats terrorists will win and a nuclear bomb will go off in New York
City."  To be sure, I find the later much more distasteful, but I'm not sure
I can think of an intellectually satisfying reason why.


Yesterday we posted about the businesswoman in Saudi Arabia who was arrested, strip-searched, and threatened by the Saudi religious police because she was out in public with a male colleague. Today Fox News reports that two weeks before being arrested, the same woman had been boasting about how wonderful things were for women in Saudi Arabia—to President Bush’s brother Neil: American Woman Boasted of Saudi Freedoms To Bush Brother Before Arrest at Starbucks.

Two weeks before Yara, an American businesswoman, was arrested by Saudi Arabia’s religious police for sitting with a male colleague at Starbucks, she said she strolled past the very same cafe with another businessman: Neil Bush.

But on Monday, Yara learned that she had been wrong. She was thrown in jail, strip-searched, threatened and forced to sign false confessions by the kingdom’s “Mutaween” police. “When I was arrested, it was like going through an avalanche,” she said. “All of my beliefs were completely destroyed.”

They Lie To Each Other But Not To Us?

A distinguishing characteristic of many militant Islamic fanatics is that they’re easily led by pride and ego to reveal things they shouldn’t: Hamas: We’re Allowed to Lie.

( Hamas leaders spoke to the Arabic language Ash-Sharq il-Awsat newspaper recently and explained that as Muslims, they are allowed to lie.  In an interview printed on Thursday, senior Hamas terrorists explained, “A Muslim is permitted to say things that oppose his beliefs in order to prevent damages or to be saved from death.” 

This approach, known in Arabic as “taqiyya,” was behind several Hamas leaders’ recent public expression of support for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, they explained.

The sources quoted in Ash-Sharq il-Awsat explained that the Samarian terrorists’ announcement was not a sign of dissent within Hamas ranks, but rather a permitted use of “taqiyya” to deceive Abbas and avoid prison sentences.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Nexus

The massive loan may not seem unusual given Mitt Romney's self-funding, but Mitt has plenty of his own money. Where did Hillary get $5 million to loan a presidential campaign? Bill and Hillary have done well on the speaking circuit, and Bill recently got $20 million or so for backing out of his partnership from Ron Burkle. At the time, speculation had Bill wanting to eliminate any potential conflicts between Burkle's business and Hillary's election.

Now, however, one has to wonder whether Burkle may have attempted to float money into Hillary's campaign while bypassing campaign-finance regulations. Did the $20 million, which came just two weeks ago, actually represent a fair-market settlement for Clinton's services and ownership stake in Yucaipa? Or did Burkle inflate it in order to allow Hillary to "loan" herself $5 million to keep pace with a surging Obama campaign?

The Clintons always seem to live at the nexus of questions regarding cash and politics.

Good Luck To You, Senator

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As I noted, I initially believed you shared that goal. But I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party’s effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn’t always a priority for every one of us. Good luck to you, Senator.

Pining For Che'

Finally, young Cubans use internet video to embarrass the Communist dictatorship. I especially enjoyed an innocent question by a "self-avowed revolutionary" who wondered why Cubans aren't allowed to travel. She said she "would very much like to visit the place in Bolivia where Ernesto 'Che' Guevara was killed." My kind of revolutionary.

The Race Condition

Whether or not an explicit attitude towards Islamic doctrine has any practical effect on fighting Islamic terrorism is a question has been discussed in earlier posts. But the question of how to think about the issues Coughlin raises creates thorny issues. While it is certainly conceivable that Islam itself is hostile to Western civilization any official acknowledgment of the possibility would be politically explosive. So Coughlin's questions are examined in a parallel process. The concept, familiar to programmers, happens when multiple threads with different code executes on the same data. In this case official strategy is "constrained" -- as Coughlin puts it -- to process Islamic doctrines with a 'politically correct' algorithm.

Parallel processing, following the analogy, has known pitfalls. Their outputs may clash when they attempt to merge. Or the conclusion of one thread pre-empts the other by finishing ahead, the so-called 'race condition'.

Moving On

You would think that politicians would see horror scenarios coming faster than the feckless characters of B-movies. But that is apparently not the case. They didn't see either of the World Wars coming until it was too late. Politics, like cheap wine, does not improve with age. Baer writes:

Walls aside, what Israel sorely misses is the capacity to strike fear into its neighbors, deterrence. The Winograd Commission spelled it out in bleak terms in its report on Israel's failures during the 34-day war. "Israel cannot survive," the official statement said, unless it is able to deter its enemies — teach Hamas and Hizballah a lesson they won't forget.

Forgetting -- or "moving on" as it is now called -- is the politician's stock-in-trade. If voters remembered everything they would forgive nothing. No. In our mutable world "never again" means "never mind".