Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Inside Story

Dymphna’s kneeThe wily a4g figured it out: that’s not Dymphna’s real photo on her profile!

We are ready to show the world the real Dymphna. Yesterday the orthopedic surgeon took some snazzy photos of Dymphna, from the inside of her knee. So here you are.

Isn’t she the woman of your dreams?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Knees of Vienna

The knee jointThis morning at the crack of dawn (EST) Dymphna will go into the hospital to repair the damage caused by her little argument with the ladder and the fig tree back in September.

It will be arthroscopic surgery, the kind where the surgeon drills a hole in the side of the knee and inserts an optical device. Even though it’s an outpatient procedure, she will be under general anesthetic, and the whole thing will take a while. Afterwards she will be off her feet for a few days, and will be waited on hand and knee by the devoted Unspiek, Baron Bodissey.

As a result, Gates of Vienna may be missing in action for a little while. Please keep Dymphna in your prayers. Or, if you’re an atheist, kind of hold her in your mind. Picture her as a fey Irishwoman wielding a sword…

No more knee-jerks for her!

Update: We just got back from the hospital, and everything went fine. Dymphna is all doped up and asleep right now.

But her new laptop was waiting for us on the porch when we got home! So you all may hear from her before too long…

Monday, November 28, 2005

Vaya Con Dios, e-Claire

Watcher's CouncilWell, there are winners, but first let’s talk about a departing Watcher.

I am going to miss e-claire. You could count on her for felicitously turned phrases of indignation or disbelief. She calls herself “a simple tootsie from the country.” Right. And I’m the King of England…Just read her take on the strange videos of black men in ties breaking up a liquor store, "Ya Need a Scorecard." E-claire is the last of the founding members to depart. But that doesn’t mean you can’t blog roll her and continue to read her entertaining views on the news and obscure bits of information she digs up.

In the Council posts, the Watcher had to break a tie for first place between Gates of Vienna and New World Man. If you’re here, then you already know about the acute attacks of Senatitis going ‘round Capitol Hill.

Therefore be sure to read New World Man’s essay on a consideration of the future of the courts. It’s a tight, deliberative piece, one that is difficult to snip from. However, here’s a taste from the opening paragraph:
     As everyone prepares for a battle of Biblical proportions for control of the courts, do you ever wonder why we're not seeing the same kind of war being fought for control of public schools?…Both are powerful institutions and [have the] means by which to enact your agenda when you can't seem to have any luck persuading people via the democratic process that you're right.
Go see the rest for yourself. It’s a cheering consideration which drills down to the idea that we might eventually have local jurisdictions deciding local matter. Imagine that.

"Murtha’s War" by Done With Mirrors placed first in the non-Council posts. Again, another post which defies easy description. He is thorough in his assessment of Murtha’s credentials and his integrity. He also fisks very well what the media does to war reports. This post definitely falls into a “read-the-whole-thing” category; DWM deliberately lays it out to let you decide what might be going on with Mr. Murtha and with the lack of leadership — or at least decipherable signals — in this administration. DWM is thoughtful and he is angry — here’s the close of his description from a book about Fallujah:

     Yet somehow, the Marines flushed them out and beat them. They took casualties along the way, but far fewer than seemed possible from the intensity of the firing (insurgents are not terribly accurate shots, it seems). While this was going on, Fallujah and Najaf and Sadr City already were up in full revolt. To have added Ramadi to the list of cities in flames might well have tipped Iraq into full-blown revolt. The Marines, with smarts and skill, cut that hydra's head and snuffed it out.
And it wasn't until I got to the end of that un-put-downable chapter, and West noted in passing that the domestic newspapers the next day only carried the blaring headline "12 Marines killed in Ramadi," that I recognized the fight he was describing. That is, I recognized reading about that day in the newspaper I work for. How the editors I work with shook their heads and cursed Bush for getting us into this, for the futility of it all. There was no context to the reporting. So far from having headed off another "Tet," the reporting made it seem this day in Ramadi was further evidence that we were well into one.
That is the fear of those of us who remember how the MSM destroyed our efforts in Vietnam and left millions to die, flee, or be re-educated just for the luxury of “speaking truth to power.” Whatever that means. Those boomer journalists never got over the thrill and the glory of bringing down an American government. Every time another Republican comes to power, they roll out their cannons and begin firing.

But this is not 1969. And Iraq is not Vietnam. And these journalists have no credit left. They’ve spent it on cheap tricks and outright lies, not to mention the disappearance of any integrity.*

Journalism in Iraq is Bing West (see DWM’s post), Michael Yon and, soon, Bill Roggio. If the Old Guard have any sense, they’ll tiptoe off the stage and leave the story to those who’ve seen it up closer than the confines of the Green Zone.

Thanks again to the Watcher for this week’s Council. It’s all here.

* If you want a real story from one of the survivors of our forays into Vietnam, meet Minh Duc:

     My journey to the US was not an easy. I risked death and imprisonment to escape political oppression in my birth country. We escaped on a small wooden boat – and most of us did not make it.
Minh Duc went on to grow up in this country and he served in Iraq. If that's not an irony, then life doesn't have any. Somewhere on his blog is a picture of him with an Iraqi army officer.

State of Flux is an intelligent blog with the most whimsical (though not primitive) English you'll find anywhere. What a life he's led!

Seeing the Clouds from Both Sides

One of our cultural shortcomings is a disinclination toward studying history in anything but its barest outlines. With each generation this tendency gets worse, especially after the vested interests in the MSM get finished with the material.

On our blogroll, you’ll notice the World History Blog. The Baron found it and we immediately added it to the list. To my knowledge, no one else is attempting this in the blogosphere. It’s not only good material for adults, but would be a welcome resource for homeschoolers or parents concerned about their children’s woeful history “education” in school.

The site features both the prominent stories of their time and the obscure tales that don’t get told elsewhere. A recent feature offers two links to the history of Panama. One lesson you can take away from it is that the caliber of our Senate chamber hasn’t improved much. No wonder the esteemed Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska threatened to resign and “ be carried out on a stretcher” if the vote on the Bridge to Nowhere didn’t fund this pig project. He had precedent on his side, in the Senatorial goings-on that led to the building of the Panama Canal, and in fact to the creation of the state of Panama itself. It’s not a pretty story:
     In 1900, a group of investors led by William Nelson Cromwell, the founder of the prestigious New York law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, and the banker J.P. Morgan, created a secret syndicate of Wall Street financiers and politicians to buy the shares of the bankrupt French Panama Canal Company, which owned the right to build the Panama Canal, from thousands of small shareholders throughout Europe. They invested about $3.5 million and gained control of the company.
The covert investors then spent the next three years getting the United States government to buy the holdings for $40 million, the payment of which would flow back to them. In order to do this, they first had to defeat an entrenched Nicaragua lobby. Nicaragua was the preferred route for the canal because of its two big lakes, and also because the French had already tried to build a canal in Panama but had failed miserably.
And the U.S. was already on its way to building the canal in Nicaragua. The House of Representatives unanimously passed a Nicaragua canal bill, a treaty was signed with Nicaragua, President McKinley had already signed the bill, and the excavation had already began in Nicaragua. It was a done deal—until Cromwell arrived on Capitol Hill and began throwing money around.
Senator Mark Dollar Hanna, who was at that time the chair of the Republican Party and probably the most powerful man in America, received $60,000, at the time the largest donation to any politician.
In return, Hanna began a campaign to build the canal in Panama instead. U.S. policy was reversed, and in 1902, Congress decided that the Canal was to go through Panama.
Only one problem—Panama was at the time a province of Colombia, and the United States needed Colombia's approval to move ahead. Teddy Roosevelt sent Cromwell, who stood to benefit financially from the deal, to negotiate with Colombia. Colombia balked, demanding more money. Cromwell decided to circumvent Colombia, and to instead get Panama to secede and create it's own country—which it did…
The whole story, laid out by Ovidio Diaz Espino in How Wall Street Created a Nation: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt and the Panama Canal, is contradicted by one of the book’s reviewers, Roberto N Méndez, a professor of economics at Panama's National University:
     His [Diaz’] purpose seems to be convincing us that Panama's independence was an episode characterized solely by the selfish-ness, corruption and cowardice of its participants. But in doing so Ovidio-Díaz contradicts himself, and seems to forget that all historical events are the result of interactions between positive and negative elements, which in one way or another contribute to the material and spiritual advancement of the people..
This whole imbroglio brings to mind the present-day machinations behind the discrediting of Ahmad Chalabi for his role in the Iraq war and his on-going political life in the new Iraqi government. First he was the good guy, then he was the villain, and now he’s being resurrected again. In the latest print edition of The National Review, Michael Rubin lays it out for us in “Iraq’s Comeback Kid”:
    …in the months before Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Chalabi returned to Iraq. And after liberation, he became an irritant to Washington policymakers. While Coalition Provisional Authority administrator L. Paul Bremer sought to run Iraq by diktat, Chalabi agitated for direct elections and restoration of Iraqi sovereignty. He clashed with Meghan O’Sullivan, now deputy national security adviser for Iraq, when she worked to undermine and eventually reverse de-Baathification. He undercut White House attempts to internationalize responsibility for Iraq in the months prior to the 2004 U.S. elections when his Governing Council auditing commission began to investigate the UN Oil-for-Food scandal.
In a West Wing meeting, then–national security adviser Condoleezza Rice called Chalabi’s opposition to the ill-fated Fallujah Brigade “unhelpful.” Soon afterward, she directed her staff to outline ways to “marginalize” Chalabi. There followed espionage and counterfeiting charges — the former never seriously pursued by the FBI and the latter thrown out of an Iraqi court. Following the June 28, 2004, transfer of sovereignty in Iraq, John Negroponte — then U.S. ambassador to Iraq and now the director of national intelligence — refused to meet Chalabi. Cut off from U.S. patronage and without any serious Iraqi base, the analysts said, Chalabi would fade away.
Of course we know now that he didn’t “fade away.” Reading of his sudden persona-non-grata status in the post-war Iraqi negotiations, I wondered what political machinations had been put into play and if we would ever be told why he was cast into the outer darkness so suddenly. Rubin tells us how he came back, despite the bad-mouthing he got inside the Beltway:
     Unlike those of other Iraqi figures embraced by various bureaucracies in Washington, Chalabi’s fortunes have not depended on U.S. patronage. His survival — and, indeed, his recent ascent against the obstacles thrown in his path by Washington — underlines the failures of diplomats and intelligence analysts to put aside departmental agendas to provide the White House with an objective and accurate analysis of the sources of legitimacy inside Iraq.
Rubin faults the young and untested security officers in the CIA. They are in their twenties and thirties, and most lack any in-depth understanding of Iraq’s cultural system. Obviously, Chalabi doesn’t:
     Chalabi’s grandfather built modern Kadhimiya, a sprawling Shiite town that has since been absorbed into modern Baghdad; his father was president of the Iraqi senate during the monarchy. Genealogy gives gravitas. In contrast, even as Iraqis suffered under Saddam Hussein’s rule, they expressed disdain for Saddam with reference to his uncertain paternity. (In post-liberation Iraq, the CIA’s blind eye toward genealogy has been evident in its embrace of powerful Baathist families — the Bunias and al-Janabis, for example — even as many Iraqis dismiss such figures as déclassé and embarrassing beneficiaries of Saddam’s largesse.)
According to Mr. Rubin, Iraq functions with a system of religious patronage which has no parallel in this country — though one might add that such similarities could have been found in the Middle Ages in much of Europe. But CIA security analysts don’t study history, do they? Like the rest of the American political system, they stay safely in the Green Zone, probably the largest filter in Iraq:
     The sources of Chalabi’s legitimacy have remained constant. What has changed is the growing realization that neither Langley nor Foggy Bottom has accurately assessed the Iraqi political scene. Part of the problem may be that reality did not mesh with their political agendas, but a far more serious American handicap has been an inability, more than two and a half years after the fall of Saddam, to understand the sources of legitimacy in Iraq. Washington may run the Green Zone but, for Chalabi, it is the rest of the country that matters.
And if our Senators have their way, that Green Zone is going to be dismantled and our “security analysts”/CIA will return to Langley no wiser than when they left. As for Foggy Bottom, no one really expects them to learn anything. How does an entity which believes it knows everything already have any room to take in new information?

Do we know why it was named The Green Zone? Is it because those ensconced inside are inexperienced and lack knowledge? That’s certainly one definition of “green,” isn’t it?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Scare Quotes for Us

Gates of Vienna is fortunate to have a select group of readers, a cozy set of like-minded people drawn from the ravening beasts on the neo-fascist right.

Or at least that’s the way that certain folks see us. Occasional visitors such as James Wolcott and his friends take a break from their usual activities and drop by here to curl their lips briefly before returning to their customary haunts.

That’s more than I do with respect to my political opposites. Charles Johnson and the lizardoids often shoulder the onerous burden of monitoring Daily Kos, the Democratic Underground, and all the other prominent leftist sites. But not me — I like to stay in amiable company.

So I was not aware of Al Franken and the Air America blog until referrals started showing up on our site meter the day after Thanksgiving. We got a link on Eric Hananoki’s blog:
     Actually, you may be surprised at the level of discontent on the right. Especially the FAR right. Here’s “Baron Bodissey” over at “the Gates of Vienna” who has some choice words in response to a GOP fundraising letter. Check it out.
Contrary to the impression that is created by some of the right-wing trolls and dittoheads we frequently get here who are, for the most part, simply drones and pale echoes of blowhards like O’Reilly, Rush, et. al. who simply repeat the administration’s daily talking points, there is significant disatisfaction [sic] with Bush from within his own party.
Schadenfreude… gotta love it.
Well — once again, it appears that we have arrived. We not only rated two sets of scare quotes, we got the loud caps in our designation as “FAR right.”

This pleased me no end, just as Mr. Wolcott’s little screed did a few weeks ago. It’s good to be noticed by one’s enemies. And just think — we’re far right! I always thought we were regular middle-of-the-road Americans, loving our country and wanting to defend our way of life. But no, apparently we’re reincarnations of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. We just have to face up to that unpleasant truth.

And it’s fun to be reminded of all the lefties who lurk here, doing reconnaissance for the good of the Cause. We’re under observation. Hi, Alistair! I love the Che shirt! And Olivia — good to see you! I notice you have a new Volvo…

But look at what commenter 2rarely noticed about us: “there is significant disatisfaction [sic] with Bush from within his own party.”

Some people would prefer that we hide this dissatisfaction in the interests of party unity. Revealing this dissent gives aid and comfort to the enemy, right? We’re feeding their schadenfreude, after all.

I say, let them enjoy their moment. One of the great strengths of the conservative coalition is that it can endure disagreement without having to turn the dissenters into reviled apostates. No one gets excommunicated and cast into the outer darkness for deviating from the party line. The right doesn’t even have a party line. Hugh Hewitt and Bill Quick could fight to the death with nerf bats, but neither one will ever gain control of “conservatism.”

So let’s continue to disagree.

What our lefty friend failed no notice was the substance of our disagreement. We are arguing about serious issues, and not just calling each other names. It’s not so much that the sailors are all fighting to get their hands on the tiller; it’s more that they are standing around the charts with ruler and compass arguing about the best course to plot through the political shoals.

And when the crisis comes, when the next awful moment like September 11th arrives, we will all drop our differences and stand behind our country and our Commander-in-Chief. That’s the way we are.

And that’s what distinguishes us from the Lurking Left. The Left will view the next murderous event as another glorious opportunity to snap at the heels of the President and the Republicans and bring them crashing down into the dust.

The fact that they themselves will be crushed underneath does not seem to matter. Push out the pillars and bring the Temple down on everyone! After all, we deserve it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

EU’s Job Corps Mandate: Mohammed to the Mountain

Why the European Union is a farcical waste of time.

They don’t have enough jobs for everyone, so they have to create layers and layers of bureaucracy to decide decisions and then undecide them so they can deliberate about whether or not to decide them again. Until they change their minds, that is.
22 November 2005
Opinion of the Advocate General in Cases C-317/04 and C-318/04
European Parliament v Council of the European Union
and European Parliament v Commission of the European Communities
In his view, neither the Council decision approving the agreement nor the Commissiondecision holding that information to be sufficiently protected by the United States have an adequate legal basis.
Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the United States adopted legislation to the effect that airlines carrying passengers to, from or across United States territory are required to give the American authorities electronic access to the data contained in their system for controlling and monitoring departures (Passenger Name Records).
Taking the view that those provisions might conflict with Community and Member State legislation on the protection of personal data, the Commission began negotiations with the American authorities. At the conclusion of those negotiations, on 14 May 2004, theCommission adopted a decision (the adequacy decision), holding that the United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offered a sufficient level of protection for personal data transferred from the Community. On 17 May 2004, the Council adopted a decision approving the conclusion of an agreement between the European Community and the United States on the transfer of data from Passenger Name Records by airlines established in the territory of Community Member States to the CBP. The European Parliament has asked the Court of Justice of the European Communities to annul the Council’s decision (Case C-317/04) and the adequacy decision (Case C-318/04)…
REMINDER: The Opinion of the Advocate General is not binding on the Court ofJustice. The task of the Advocates General is to propose to the Court, entirely independently, a legal solution in the case submitted to them. The judges of the Court of Justice of the European Communities are now starting to deliberate in this case. The judgment will be delivered at a later date.
Since the French can’t discern “youths” from “yobbos” and seem to believe that letting conflagrations burn themselves out is the best course when confronted with wide-spread lawlessness, this new proposition makes perfect sense to anyone from Alice in Wonderland Europe.

Now we will have to see what this “Court of Justice of the European Communities” think of Advocate General Leger’s proposal. After that, let’s see if Homeland Security buys this version of suicide for America.

Since Europe can’t make this mountain — i.e, the United States of America — go away, obviously they are preparing to makek it easier to let Mohammed come to the mountain.

Let’s hope it’s just more UN-like grandiosity, along the lines of giving control of ICANN to Tunisia.

Thank you, President Bush

Dear Mr. President:

Had you not used your right to a recess appointment to send John Bolton to the UN, we would not have achieved the singular condemnation of Hizbullah ever to leave the confines of Turtle Bay.
     Following intense US pressure, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday [November 24th] issued an unprecedented condemnation of Monday's Hizbullah attacks on northern Israel.
This condemnation - slamming Hizbullah by name for "acts of hatred" - marked the first time the Security Council has ever reprimanded Hizbullah for cross-border attacks on Israel. The condemnation followed by two days a failed attempt to get a condemnation issued on Monday, the day of the attack, when Algeria came out against any mention of Hizbullah in the statement.
When asked what changed from Monday to Wednesday, one diplomatic official replied: "John Bolton”…
Things are looking up, if only a little, because this condemnation not only wasn’t “balanced” by a reprimand to Israel for fighting back, but it also called on Lebanon to take more control over dismantling militias in the southern part of the country.

In addition,
     The statement against Hizbullah came just a few weeks after the Security Council condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his call to wipe Israel off the map. That was also a precedent-setting condemnation, marking the first time the UN body ever condemned an Islamic state for statements against Israel.
That announcement probably has John Bolton’s fingerprints all over it, too.

Thank you again, sir.

Congressional Pork is a National Security Issue

Pastorius has added another comment to my Thanksgiving post:
     And, one more thing, if you think you are going to turn “The Gates of Vienna” into a metaphor meaning the defense of conservatism itself, then once again, you are amusing yourselves.
We can not afford the luxury of metaphor in time of war.
I am very surprised and disappointed in the people who are commenting here. That I am the only dissenting voice shows what the problem is with Bush’s second term.
For God’s sake.
(Update added: to be fair to Pastorius, he was responding to commenter anti-fraud’s call for a third party, and not directly to me)

The problem with the current batch of Congressional Republicans is that their appalling behavior is a threat to our national security.

Our defense against the Great Jihad is ill-served by the likes of Bill Frist. Republican leaders need to hear our outrage, and be motivated by it to change their behavior — which, if they are the opportunists that I think they are, they surely will. Otherwise we need to throw them out and elect people who will truly defend our country, even if the New York Times does not like it.

But I propose to do this without losing the Republican majority by strategic targeting in the Republican primaries — see my previous post. A few notable upsets in the primaries will send a message loud and clear to the rest of the pork-loving spineless bunch.

The profligate spending by Congress (without a single veto by the President, mind you) does great damage to our national security by sucking resources away from vital operations. When defense authorization bills come up, they get resisted more than they would otherwise, because the money has already been directed to the pals of Congress. When the time comes to make a strategic decision — to mount an operation against a state sponsor of terrorists, say — the President may have to think twice about taking action if knows he faces resistance in Congress to funding it.

This is scandalous and it has to stop, the sooner the better. Ten years from now, when Iran has nukes and Europe has collapsed, it will be too late.

The time to take action is now. Our only hope is to put the fear of God (and the voters) into the people we elected. A grassroots effort to take out the most egregious Republicans in the 2006 primaries is our best bet.

Update: Pastorius has responded: Our House Is Being Shelled -- Quick, Balance The Checkbook.

Pastorius, I’m honored to debate you. Open and frank discussion is essential to our mission.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday

I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. Urp.

Yesterday’s post about fund-raising appeals from the RNC brought in a range of interesting comments. Certain fellow members of the VRWC seemed to be dismayed by the idea of withdrawing support from the Republicans simply because they behave almost exactly like Democrats.

El Jefe Maximo probably said it best:
     In general I agree with this post, but given that it’s true, what can we do at present ? We have between 20-30 or so percent of the electorate that is actively dangerous, or supports dangerous candidates and policies (one part intractable poor, one part very bright and rich movers and shakers); then 30-40 percent that is reasonably conservative; and everybody else wishy-washy in the middle…
This being the case, what can we do? Yeah, I’m disgruntled at the Republicans on many levels right now, but I don’t see any alternative to them other than handing the country over to Cindy Sheehan and company. We will then lose the war…
If the Democrats even get control of one house of Congress in 2006, we will see hearings and investigations on a staggering scale. The President will have difficult avoiding impeachment…
As I say, I share your concerns. But I see nothing we can do about them, at present, that won’t make matters worse, other than to keep yelling at the solons when they get it wrong. We must hang together now or hang separately next year.
Well, Jefe, you may be right. I hope the possibility that you are right will concentrate the minds of senior Republicans, and maybe steer them onto a new track. Both trains are headed over the cliff right now — does it really matter which one we board?

If it weren’t for the war against the Great Jihad, I would not have felt so compelled to vote a straight Republican ticket in 2004. I don’t agree with President Bush on everything about the “War on Terror,” but at least I know he is serious about it and not swayed by every little shift in the political winds. Most of the rest of his policies are not conservative, if the word “conservative” means what I think it does.

But I don’t see anyone coming up in 2008, Republican or Democrat, who looks likely to continue the war in the same spirit. Every Republican whose “turn” might be due has already shown himself to be less than adequate for the job. Or herself — consider Condi’s shameless toadying to the Saudis.

So I think the next three years will be our last shot for a while.

In the meantime, we need to look to the long term. We need a national political party that adequately represents a majority of the American people, and right now we don’t have one.

We know what the Democrats stand for: pandering to left-wing interest groups, expanding the government, and turning over our national sovereignty to unaccountable non-democratic trans-national institutions.

We also know what the Republicans stand for: “We’re just like the Democrats, only we’ll spend less money,” plus doling out favors to their buddies in big business.

If we want to be represented by a national party, one or both of the existing ones will have to be hit where it hurts. When moths start flying out of their empty pocketbooks, they will start paying attention.

I’m not in favor of a third party, at least not yet. But there’s an alternative, one which I keep harping on. Since I don’t seem to be getting through, I’ll make it prominent enough for everyone to notice:

The Republican Primaries in 2006

If the GOP gets a wake-up call in the midterms, it might have enough of a salutary effect to allow us conservatives to pull the (R) lever in 2008 with a clean conscience.

And if the Republican majority gets shaved a little thin next year, or even if one house turns Democrat, would that be so bad? Until Jan 20th, 2009, President Bush will still be Commander-in-Chief. And most of us remember how much Ronald Reagan was able to accomplish, even when both houses were controlled by the Party of Pinkness.

The Club for GrowthBut, by my troth, the Republicans in Congress need to be shaken until their back teeth rattle. And, as I’ve said repeatedly, the shaking device required is the Club for Growth. Remember, these are the people who backed Pat Toomey against Arlen Specter, when President Bush and Senator Santorum supported Snarlin’ Arlen. These putative “conservatives” let a true conservative go down rather than violate a mindless “party loyalty.”

What the heck is there to be loyal to when it includes the likes of Arlen Specter? Remember the consequences of this loyalty: the Gang of Fourteen and a likely uncontested filibuster of Judge Alito. That’s what party loyalty gets you.

The Club for Growth finds good, solid, Constitutionally-minded conservatives and backs them in the party primaries against the good ol’ boys in the Pork-’n’-Pay Club. The CFG has a very impressive track record in its efforts.

Here’s their mission statement:
     The Club for Growth is a national network of over 30,000 men and women, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom.
The Club for Growth exists to encourage, and make possible, the enactment of pro-growth economic policies by the federal government. The primary tactic of the Club for Growth PAC has been to provide financial support from Club members to viable pro-growth candidates to Congress, particularly in Republican primaries.
Club for Growth Policy Goals:
  • Making the Bush tax cuts permanent
  • Death tax repeal
  • Cutting and limiting government spending
  • Social Security reform with personal retirement accounts
  • Expanding free trade
  • Legal reform to end abusive lawsuits
  • Replacing the current tax code
  • School choice
  • Regulatory reform and deregulation
And they even have a blog. Go over to the Club for Growth Blog and see what they have to say.

By all means, write a sharp note to your senator or congressman. But, while you’re at it, drop a check in the mail to the Club for Growth.

If you’re going to keep bitching about the darkness, for Heaven’s sake, light a few candles.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanks for Nuthin’, Boys

What the poll numbers for President Bush don’t tell you is how much of the decline in his approval ratings comes from people to his right. Those of us who thought that Mr. Bush might really change the political culture of Washington D.C., who thought he might rein in spending, who thought he might limit the intrusiveness of government in ordinary peoples’ lives — well, we had another think coming.

Contemplating the craven and profligate behavior of Republicans in Congress, the ordinary grassroots conservative is disgusted. With the exception of the President’s conduct of the war against the Great Islamic Jihad — and even that has had its wobbly moments — there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties.

I have argued previously that the only way to effect change in the national GOP is to hit them where it hurts: create a hemorrhage in their beloved supply of cash. Fortunately, we at Gates of Vienna were provided another opportunity yesterday to put our (withheld) money where our mouth is. The following message arrived in our mailbox, with my name on the envelope, but, strangely, someone else’s name and address on the letter inside:



Mr Buddy Dudley
[Redacted address]

Dear Mr Dudley,

I don't want to believe you've abandoned the Republican Party, but I have to ask ... Have you given up?

What on earth might have given you that idea? Could you have possibly acquired a Clue Bag?

Our records show we have not yet received your 2005 Republican National Committee membership contribution.

Your records are correct: don’t hold your breath. You might look in the Clue Bag for the following message:
     The world is tilting, and you useless, ineffectual, dithering moneysuckers seem increasingly to be empty suits, given shape and movement not by ideas and a willingness to serve the electorate, but by wispy tufts of ambitious smoke. You seem directed toward nothing more than keeping your almighty Senate or House seat in your name. You give away your power, you give away your advantages in committee, you leave in place utterly feckless people like Arlen Specter and then, when you finally seem like you are on the cusp of doing something productive and right, like investigating the CIA or okaying drilling in a bare, muddily, uninhabitable tundra, you fall into a faint and go slinking back to your states and districts to gladhand and pump for money and then gladhand some more.
Mr Dudley, President Bush is counting on Republican leaders like you to help him with the tough challenges that lie ahead in his second term.

Mr. Bush can’t even count on his Capitol Hill colleagues or his own cabinet; why should he count on me?. His only true allies seem to be his Vice President and his Secretary of Defense, not to mention the soldiers in Iraq laying their lives on the line for his belief in the spread of liberty.

While we strengthened our majorities in Congress, the margin is still narrow -- and that means liberal Democrats will continue their delay and filibuster tactics.

A fat lot of good our “strengthened majorities” did. With RINOs like Arlen Specter on our side, we might as well be campaigning for Joe Biden. As for “delay and filibuster”, would you like to talk about the Gang of Fourteen? With so many turncoats in the current Congress, it’s hard to tell the elephants from the donkeys.

But as we learned during the President's first term, the Clinton/Kennedy/Kerry Democrats will obstruct and delay our agenda at every turn.

Pray tell, what has changed here? Obstruction and delay is not just a Democrat preoccupation.

So if you have delayed in renewing your membership because you feel the RNC has let you down or no longer needs you, please let me know. I need to hear from you.

That’s what this is. I’m putting you on notice. This shameless bunch of invertebrate poll-readers are embarrassing the rank-and-file conservatives. We’re looking for alternatives, and we do not expect to find then at the RNC. We’ve long since quit looking under that rock.

If isn’t already, the Republican establishment should be lying awake at night in a cold sweat thinking about the 2006 primary season. Check out the plans at the Club for Growth.

Just include your comments and suggestions with the enclosed Membership Confirmation and return them with your 2005 membership renewal check.

In summary, Ms. Gazdo,

  • Get a Clue Bag.
  • Look in it early and often. Conservatives, compassionate and otherwise, are already sending you angry, desperate messages. So far, they’re going unread.
  • Arlen Specter et al. are worse enemies than any Democrat. The political expediency that “required” the President to endorse this specter has come back to haunt him. Sometimes integrity is essential.
  • See “delay and obstruction.”
  • Watch the Republican primaries in 2006.
  • And consider joining a Twelve-Step group to overcome your Pork Addiction.

Please don't quit now! Renew your RNC membership today. Thank you.


Susan Gazdo
Membership Director

P.S. Our nation is closely divided politically. We need the support of every Republican to provide the resources President Bush and the GOP Congress needs to defeat the liberal Democrats and fully enact our agenda.

“Agenda”??? What agenda? Oh, you mean ladling out the big slimy gobs of pork into every outstretched hand? And then cowering under the bed every time the New York Times or CNN says a disapproving word?

While you’re at it, why don’t you proclaim our renewed friendship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, our faithful ally in the War on Terror? What? Oh. You already did…

Please don't give up now. Please renew your RNC membership today. Thank you.

Oh, I won’t give up now. I gave up long ago.

Happy Thanksgiving, RNC. Gobble, gobble! Oink, oink!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Unfair, Unbalanced and Off the Wall

X Marks The SpotA few days ago, I found the CNN display of vice-President Cheney — a black “x” flashing across his face as he spoke and a headline at the bottom of the picture proclaiming: CHENEY: “I DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS WRONG TO CRITICIZE” — a truly creepy example of (to put it politely) “media bias.” I thought then, and I still believe, that it was just one more example of the dark thread of evil which runs through the MSM. Only the strand seems to be assuming the proportions of a rope. One can only pray it is eventually long enough that they will all hang themselves from the pile of their own lies.

Commenters came to reassure me it was a “technical goof”, a “glitch,” etc. Michelle Malkin was pointed to as the final arbiter. Michelle says nothing to it, so nothing it is. I was skeptical, as I said at the time:
     I'm not the paranoid type except when it comes to the MSM. Too many decades of "true technical goofs" that somehow never happen to the politicians the MSM favors...
...sorry, but I simply don't believe them. Someone with better equipment than I --the political teen, I believe -- had the video on just as I went to bed last night. So "the x marks the spot" went on for a while.
...and Michelle Malkin is welcome to diverge from my belief; that's okay. It doesn't change my mind that some idjit was having a bit o' fun...
...who are you going to believe, CNN or your lying eyes?
Well, readers, it turns out my intuition was correct. In fact, when it comes to the MSM, believe your worst intuitions because they will usually be correct, conditioned as they are by decades of lying, smearing, leaning, obfuscating and otherwise contorting the truth.

Surely a romp through one issue of the New York Times — lately known as the old Gray Whore as her numbers plummet — would convince you? If not willing to attempt that heady experience (I’m not — Shrinkwrapped does it for me), try:

  • AL-Reuters
  • NPR (National Palestinian Radio)
  • Associated Press (Arab Press, which Wikipedia cites as having 210,000 hits regarding its slant — “slant” hell, it’s made-up news).
  • And how could we leave out USA Today’s website picture of Condi Rice and her demon eyes?
  • If the MSM coverage of Hurricane Katrina didn't convince you of their mendacity, what will?
Up the CreekA picture, perhaps, of a reporter in a canoe "paddling" in a street flooded with three inches of water? Trying to be cute, the Today Show, just before going to a segment in which it would claim that the Administration staged its video of a conversation between the President and some soldiers, staged its own attempt to embarrass the President with the dangerous floodwaters of ace reporterette, Michelle Kosinski.

Well, Bill Quick has the story now. And you can forget the candy-land dreams of “glitches” and “goofs.” This is more in line with witches and cloven hoof:
     Unfortunately for CNN, a large number of their demographics also participate in Internet communities and Blogs, representing a large portion of their viewership and posing a threat to news cable and newspaper subscriber's fees.
Millions from across the country telephoned CNN to alert the network about an accidental "X" over the Vice President's face, only to be told that the "X" was intentional against the present administration.
Okay. At least they’re honest about it. Or does this represent a turning of the tide, an open break between the media’s hatred for this administration, referred to by many reasonable people as “Bush Derangement,” and their schizophrenic demand to be seen as neutral and unbiased?

They can’t have it both ways. Nor should we simply dismiss this as trivial. By itself, it would be nothing. But this disrespect, this targeting of vice-President Cheney, is part of a much larger system. And it is building. Fueled by lots of money from the Saudis, who spread their disinformation with impunity in this country, and driven by a visceral left wing hatred, this is a dangerous and growing phenomenon. Sure, this newest episode is just one stupid, sophomoric trick. But so have been many of the others.

And some are not so naïve; when Eason Jordan casually claimed that American soldiers were targeting journalists, he made the remark in off-the-cuff statement in Davos. He never expected to be called out for it, even though it was a lie, calumny against the military which defends his elitist ass. This episode is paradigmatic of the journaliste attitude to America’s foreign policy efforts. What Mr. Jordan said was not a political disagreement, it was a terrible slander of our military. We rose up against this lie and he lost his job. Deservedly so. He should have lost it years ago for his very unprofessional relationship with Saddam Hussein's regime. He sold his soul for access and hundreds of thousands of people died because of it. Unlike Duranty with Stalin in the 1930's Mr. Jordan didn't get away with it.

We are lied to every day and we are lied to relentlessly. The fact that we haven’t given up, the fact that we continue to make fun of them and to point out their wildly obvious biases shows that we’re in this for more than trivial pursuits. It speaks to our resiliency and to our on-going demand that the powerful media learn to discern the difference between the facts and what are merely their own opinions.

They want to be respected but they’re not because they’ve thrown away their good name repeatedly. The MSM in this country is a joke. A sick joke played at our expense. Fortunately, like Dan Rather and Mary Mapes and Eason Jordan and the photographers in Palestine who set up their “candid” pictures, and the reporters who claimed Jenin was a “massacre,” they will be uncovered and booted. But only if we keep the pressure on.

So good on you, Bill Quick. Thanks for the effort, thanks for the capture of their self-condemning audio.

And good on us, everyone of us out here who refuse to simply glance at the mayhem out the window and drive on by. “Not my problem”? The hell it’s not. It’s my country, dude. And it’s your job, you “journalists” at CNN, to present the facts — in this case, the speech being given by the vice-president — without your slimy, dangerous editorializing.

CNN has a new motto: “X” Marks The Spot. They deserve it.

Hail Mary Pass

The American Muslim Union, using their usual strong-arm tactics, have convinced the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, to set aside a special area for people who want to pray while watching sporting events.

As you may remember, back in September five Arabs were detained during a charity football game at Giants Stadium for Praying Football While Muslim.

The FBI, who were present as part of the security detail for former President Bush, observed the men huddled around a main air duct of the stadium for an hour before escorting them separately to other seats. The nice agents even sat with the five men during the game, later walking them back to their cars.

Subseequently there was the pro-forma ballyhoo, since the men — who’d done nothing more than gather innocently around an air duct — decried the profiling as another example of picking on Muslims.

Well, actually, in true American fashion, their lawyer decried the situation.

And in true American fashion, the stadium authority caved agreed to set aside a prayer room at the sports complex in case anyone feels the call.
     A special area for people who want to pray will be set aside at Giants Stadium, where several Muslim fans were detained and questioned by the FBI in September, the stadium operator said Tuesday.
One presumes there will be a prayer room for Muslims, but also one for Hindus (so the Muslims don’t kill the praying Hindus), another for Christians (without any sign of the cross, thank you very much, no idolatrous icons), and one for the beer worshippers. Oh, never mind. That’s the stadium, where believers are identified by the sign of the plastic cup.

Hmmm…that will be one of the first things to go when the Ummah arrives. No more beer cups. No more Hindus. No more Christians. Nor more Muslims of the “wrong kind.” Of which there are millions.

Wait a minute… does the title, “the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority” mean this place is partly funded with New Jersey tax dollars? If so, is this a separation of state-and-mosque issue? Where is the ACLU? Where is a4g?

All right, Wiccans and Druids, time to line up for your share. Not to mention the set-aside for atheists. The beer drinkers already have more than their share.

Hat tip: LGF.

The 2005 Weblog Awards

Kevin Aylward’s annual Wizbang contest has begun. Everyone should go over to the 2005 Weblog Awards and make sure their favorites get put onto the different ballots.

Feel free to nominate… umm… your favorite anti-Jihad blog for any appropriate category. I was too modest to nominate Gates of Vienna myself, but a4g seems to have put us in the Ecosystem 500-1000 category. Thanks, Mr. a4g! I was going to nominate you for humor, but then I saw you were already up.

I went around plastering my favorites into the different categories until my fingers got tired. Go and do ye likewise. And then, when the time comes, vote early and vote often.

A final note: vote for Belmont Club for “Best Blog.” Let’s give Wretchard the recognition he deserves!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

One Ring to Rule Them All

Thanks to the timeliness and popularity of the movie version of The Lord of the Rings, comparisons between the hobbits’ quest and our own struggle against the Great Jihad have become commonplace. It’s hard to avoid goosebumps of uncanny recognition when Aragorn says, “This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you, stand, men of the West!”

Sauron is clearly a composite of Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Mullah Omar, Saddam Hussein, with all of al Qaeda and the other mujahideen for his legions of orcs. And Saruman? I would vote for Hugo Chávez, Robert Mugabe, Fidel Castro, and Kim Jong-il, all rolled into one. And the Fellowship of the Ring represents… well, it represents all of the rest of us, doesn’t it? “The Men of the West,” indeed.

The analogy really struck home the other day, when I was thinking about how invisible George W. Bush had become as his political enemies did everything they could to bring him down.

“I know what is,” I thought. “He found himself in danger, and has put on the Ring!”

It was Boromir, in the person of Senator John McCain, who induced this behavior in President Frodo: “Just let me have the Ring, Mr. President! I could do great things with it!”

Then he looked around in surprise as the wily hobbit vanished and slipped from his grasp.

So how far can one extend the metaphor? Bilbo is obviously Bush 41, who had the Ring in his possession for a little while, but relinquished it to his younger kinsman. George Galloway does well in the part of Grima Wormtongue, sneaking around the back corridors of power with his all his lying and scheming. And Gollum is a certain Massachusetts Senator and former presidential candidate: “It’s ours, precious, yes it is! The nasty hobbitses stole it from us!”

And the Riders of Rohan? I vote for the doughty Australians for that role. But that puts their Prime Minister in the part of Theoden, so Mr. Howard will have to watch out that his horse doesn’t fall on him.

I see Jacques Chirac as Denethor, burning down the palace around himself as his countrymen despair of their ability to withstand the onslaught of the evil horde from the east.

The analogy is not perfect. We lack Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and all the other Elves. I might hand their parts to Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher, but these greats have already departed for the Grey Havens, or are waiting on the quayside.

And Aragorn has not appeared on the horizon. The Sword That Was Broken has yet to be reforged.

So, for President Frodo, a brief word of advice: while you have the Ring on your finger, avoid the gaze of the lidless eye.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

Clinton Lied! People Died!

Just google it; you’ll see what we mean.

Google it!

Hat tip: Point of View.

The Council Comes, Bearing Votes

Watcher's Council

Dr. Sanity wins again! This time with her re-visitation to Bush Derangement Syndrome, a truly fascinating disorder.
     The number of things that Bush has been blamed for in this world since 9/11 (even acts of God like Tsunamis, hurricanes and other natural disasters) is the stuff of major comedy. You name the horrible event, and he is identified as the etiologic agent.
He is blamed when he does something (anything) and he is blamed when he does nothing. He is blamed for things that ocurred even before he was President, as well as everything that has happened since. He is blamed for things he says; and for things he doesn't say.
What makes Bush Hatred completely insane however, is the almost delusional degree of unremitting certitude of Bush's evil; while simultaneously believing that the TRUE perpetrators of evil in the world are somehow good and decent human beings with the world's intersts at heart.
This psychological defense mechanism is referred to as "displacement".
One way you can usually tell that an individual is using displacement is that the emotion being displaced (e.g., anger) is all out of proportion to the reality of the situation. The purpose of displacement is to avoid having to cope with the actual reality…
Good on her. This topic is fascinating. The Baron’s Boy has described having to wipe spittle off his shirt as otherwise-normal college kids start foaming (literally) at the mouth with BDS. A strange derangement indeed. Politics seems to be where the unresolved personal issues get dumped.

The Glittering Eye and Gates of Vienna tied for second place. Questioning Their Patriotism is a thoughtful and — to use a ruined word, nuanced — look at the divisions in this country over the Iraq war. Or at least some of the main issues. He puts his own case well:
     This might be an appropriate time to re-state my own position on the war: I opposed the war in anticipation but I believe that once we had invaded and removed the detestable Saddam Hussein government we were legally, morally, and strategically required to create an environment in which a decent, stable one would replace it.
Prudence requires that we adapt means suitable to that end. Other countries do not understand the degree of openness and self-criticism which we routinely engage in here. We have needed to be much more circumspect in the tone and content of criticism lest it be misunderstood as confusion and weakness. And we shouldn’t demoralize our troops in the field with loose talk. If you are absolutely unable to give open, enthusiastic support to the troops and their mission (which are indivisible), silence is the best recourse. Now. When are boys and girls in the military are out of harms way there will be lots of time for open and even bitter and angry debate.
The strongest point for me is the demoralization of our troops by all the bitter contention. As though only “my” point of view mattered and must prevail and if a few American kids die for that, well…whatever. I find both “the tone and the content of criticism” to be harmful to the point of malevolence. Evil does not have to be intentional to do its harm. Were I the parent or relative of someone in Iraq I would be furious with these people for creating a civil war at home while our kids are dying somewhere else. It’s unconscionable.

“The Untouched Hot Potato” at Gates of Vienna was The Big Pharaoh’s phrase for the problem of bringing a truly democratic government into being in Egypt — and the rest of the Arab world. He thinks that Islam must undergo its own Reformation before that can happen and this fact is not one that those in power are willing to face.

I don’t usually go so far down the list in the Council posts, but Rightwing Nuthouse’s reminiscence of his father for Veteran’s Day made me cry. So you should have to sniffle a bit, too. I hate suffering by myself.

The Anchoress was a clear winner -- loud and clear! -- for her rap on the knuckles of the GOP leadership:
     If your plan was to make people so disgusted with your cowardice, your disorganization and your political tone-deafness that they either stop contributing to the RNC, or they decide to just sit out the next election (because what’s the point), or they decide to vote out every stinking one of you in the next elections, because you freaking well deserve ouster for literally doing nothing constructive and squandering your majority…well…you have succeeded spectacularly! Beyond your wildest imaginings, I am sure.
I can’t think of a single reason to vote to re-elect a any one of you.
The world is tilting, and you useless, ineffectual, dithering moneysuckers seem increasingly to be empty suits, given shape and movement not by ideas and a willingness to serve the electorate, but by wispy tufts of ambitious smoke. You seem directed toward nothing more than keeping your almighty Senate or House seat in your name. You give away your power, you give away your advantages in committee, you leave in place utterly feckless people like Arlen Specter and then, when you finally seem like you are on the cusp of doing something productive and right, like investigating the CIA or okaying drilling in a bare, muddly, uninhabitable tundra, you fall into a faint and go slinking back to your states and districts to gladhand and pump for money and then gladhand some more.
Yes, yes, and yes. They all suffer from what James Lileks terms “Senatitis,” even some of those in the House. There will be an accounting in 2006, fellows. Better start herding yourselves away from the cliff. Idjits.

Second place went to Varifrank for "The J. Patrick Buchanan Memorial Library for Failed Prophets of Doom."

I must admit it struck a nerve with me, so much so that I made a much too long comment that was trying to turn itself into a post so I went back to my own neighborhood and put my thoughts there. See if it doesn’t strike the same nerve in you:
     Imagine if you will, a library that is stocked with books that relate to one thing, the Cassandra like predictions from the past that have failed to come true. A Library entirely dedicated to the published works of blowhards, pundits, college professors, and economists everywhere who like the sound of their voice and are certain that they have seen the end times just around the corner. But for some reason never seem to be able to predict the disaster we all know is waiting for us out in the murky future. The Library should serve as a warning to all who wish to see the future darker than it really is.
As always, there are more goodies over at the Watcher’s place.

Bon apetit!

And now, thanks to my procrastination, it's time to nominate again...jeez.

The Christmas Truce Leaves Living Memory

A Scotsman named Alfred Anderson was the last person alive who could remember the Christmas Truce of 1914. With his death on Sunday at the age of 109, that definitive moment of the Great War leaves memory and enters history.

Sgt. Alfred AndersonAccording to the Scotsman,
    Alfred Anderson was the last of the “Old Contemptibles” - the British expeditionary force which went to war in 1914 - and the last surviving witness of the historic Christmas truce when opposing troops declared a brief and unofficial ceasefire to play football and share drinks and cigarettes in the hell of no man’s land. Mr Anderson served with the 5th Battalion the Black Watch until he was wounded by shrapnel in 1916.
The Great War divides our time from the age that came before. The four years of slaughter on the Western Front tore down the European structures that had existed since the Enlightenment, replacing them with what we call Post-Modern Times.

Men like Sgt. Anderson bridged the chasm between those two worlds. It’s staggering to think that until two days ago there still lived someone who had stood in the stinking mud in Flanders in 1914. He was a relic of what was truly a different age.
     Neil Griffiths, a spokesman for the Royal British Legion of Scotland, said: “He was our last surviving link with a time that shimmers on the edge of our folk memory. There was something old worldly about him — he was honourable, dignified and had a tremendously droll sense of humour. He always stood erect and was always immaculately turned out. We will not see his likes again.”
Sgt. Anderson was compos mentis until near the end, giving an interview last year:
     He said he found the two-minute silence on November 11 “remarkably poignant” because of the “terrible constant noise in the trenches”.
“It’s special to think that Britain is united in silence remembering a time that I will never forget,” said Mr Anderson. “The country stops for a few minutes each year and remembers those who fought and died but there’s not a day goes by that I don’t think of those I left behind. Young men I went to school with, played football with and trained for war with. All dead, all gone.”
All dead, all gone for these past ninety years. And now he has joined them at last.

Rest in peace, Sgt. Anderson.

Update: Florida Cracker supplies this link to a useful historical account of the Christmas Truce of 1914.

The MSM is Creepy

X Marks The SpotWho can resist this Drudge story in all its naked truth? The MSM has tilted so far left they've fallen overboard.

This screen capture provided by Matt Drudge ought to be spread far and wide across the blogosphere. While Miz Mapes blathers on about those "forgeries" from President Bush's National Guard days, let's all take a good hard look at CNN's bizarre silent message.

Eason Jordan's Icarus-like fall from the sky taught these people nothing. Nothing at all.What's next, CNN? Bulls'eye targets on the face of the Secretary of State? Or are you saving those for bigger game?

The MSM is not only biased, it's so far out there as to have lost its already tenuous grasp on reality.

Let's tiptoe away...this is too creepy for words.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Acute Senatitis

James Lileks refers to the affliction of those who inhabit the U.S. Senate as “Senatitis.”

Any medical term with “-itis” on the end of it means an inflammation of some sort. Thus we all have tonsils, appendixes (or appendices, if you’re a pedant), etc., and can come down with infections of these organs, resulting in tonsillitis, appendicitis, and so on. Such infections result in overt signs and symptoms. When the discomfort becomes too much we haul ourselves off to the doctor or the Emergency Room (depending on how long we tried to tough it out first) to have the problem remedied with medication or surgery.

But Senatitis is different. This apt term for the disorder welling up from the Well of the Senate Chamber is a special case. It’s not contagious, nor is it — under normal circumstances — heritable. However, if you carry the senatus mutation on your electoral gene, it becomes activated once the oath of office is administered. From then on, you will exhibit some version of this condition. Depending on your characterological traits previous to taking your oath of office, you may or may not succumb to the worst effects.

The first thing the practiced diagnostician notices about Senatitis is an inflamed ego. Another symptom is the tendency to speak boiler plate, even in the men’s room. The flight from reality differs in velocity depending on how long an individual member of this ‘club’ has been in office, but at its extremes you find Senators naming office buildings after themselves or proposing pork riders to bills already so laden with fat that they’re about to die from obesity.

In the first case are Senators Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter, who have proposed legislation which would rename Buildings 19 and 21 at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in their honor. No memorials for these august deliberators — they grab the goodies while they’re still among us. Thus, Headquarters for CDC will be called “The Arlen Specter Headquarters” while Harkins has to settle for the Thomas R. Harkin Global Center” since he is merely the ranking member of the Senate subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education while ol’ Arlen is the Chairman. Rank hath its privileges, don’t you know. Of course, there is supposed to be a rule against this kind of narcissistic self-appointment while one is still in office, but another sign of Senatitis is the tendency to honor rules more in the breach than in their observance.

The most infamous pork rider of this Congressional season arose in the House, via Alaska’s Representative Young. This is the uproarious and now-defeated Bridge to Nowhere, the pork butt of political pundits for some weeks. And sure it was defeated, but guess what? Alaska gets to keep the money. This is because the Senator from Alaska, Ted “Big Spender” Stevens, threw a tantrum on the Senate floor, threatening to resign and “be taken out on a stretcher.” Too bad for the commonweal: his colleagues acceded to his tantrum and Alaska gets to keep the money for other pork transportation projects.

Thus, you witness clear regressive traits in those who suffer from Senatitis: when frustrated, they resort to the emotional repertoire of the average four-year old: breath-holding and threats to run away from home.

There are myriad symptoms to Senatitis: everything from a personality disorder to clinical insanity. Their latest tantrum edict to the White House and Pentagon that members of the Executive Branch appear before their august selves and explain when the cut-and-run, or so-called “exit strategy” will begin in Iraq is an example of the latter. Or perhaps, as Mark Steyn suggests, alternatively, it is merely “gross irresponsibility.” With the level of maturity in the Senate, perhaps this order is simply one more example of irresponsible stupidity, but he’s being charitable. Given the consequences of senatitis being inflicted on the struggle in Iraq, clinical insanity, reduced intelligence, and repeated attacks of grandiosity may well result in a hemorrhage in the Middle East.

Senatitis sufferers are all addicted to pompous circumstance. Surrounded by the obsequious, the self-servers, and the eternal lobbyists, they have long since succumbed to a belief in their own publicity. John Stossel reported this exchange with an infamous and major sufferer of terminal Senatitis:
     When the Democrats held power, I confronted Sen. Robert Byrd about wasting our money on "Robert Byrd Highway"-type projects in West Virginia.
His answer was as arrogant as he was: "I would think that the national media could rise above the temptation of being clever, decrepitarian critics who twaddlize, just as what you're doing right here."
"Twaddlizing?" I asked.
"Trivializing serious matters," he explained.
I persisted, "Is there no limit? Are you not at all embarrassed about how much you got?"
Byrd glared at me in silence, and finally demanded, angrily, "Are you embarrassed when you think you're working for the good of the country? Does that embarrass you?"
Grandiosity? Narcissism? Terminal Senatitis? Pompous old windbag? Right you are. Foghorn Leghorn lives.

Stossel reports another conversation, this time with Walter Williams, in which the economist explains the difference between a thief and a politician: when a thief takes your money, he doesn’t demand that you thank him.

But Lileks said it best when he explained why so few senators ever inhabit the White House (though Lord knows, it’s not for lack of trying):
     Perhaps there's a reason not many senators make the leap to the presidency. As we're constantly reminded, that august body is collegial, respectful, suffused with history and utterly besotted with self-importance. That leads to Senatitis, a disease in which otherwise rational men believe that the rest of the country doesn't see through equivocating bloviation in a second. There is no cure.
Maybe, as an act of mercy, we could send them all to some kind of colony, and find a new Saint Damien to take care of them until the CDC comes up with a vaccine. These folks have beome a much closer and more present danger to our well-being than any old avian flu ever will be.

Cross-posted at The Neighborhood of God

Marriages Made in the Socialist Paradise

Socialist loveI found this ad on the web this morning.

She’s a file clerk in the Ministry of Information. He’s a junior commissar in the Young Communist League.

How do you reckon their chances? Headed for wedded bliss, marching together in service to the Proletarian Future? Producing many happy children for the Socialist Cause?

Or doomed to breakup and failure as vodka-soaked counter-revolutinaries?

You decide.

UPDATE: The course of their relationship has been revealed! Commenter Chris has looked into this couple’s Socialist future:
     Alas, soon after they are married, she comes across a secret report that he has been engaged in counter-revolutionary activity. Disillusioned, she enters an affair with a young militia officer.
Meanwhile, her husband, unaware that he has been denounced, and under surveillance by the secret police, suspects his wife of black market activity, after “gifts” begin to show up in their apartment. He denounces her, and she is placed under surveillance as well.
He begins to drink heavily, and she becomes shrewish. Their relationship soon reaches a breaking point, and in a drunken stupor he accuses her of anti-socialist behavior. She lashes back that he is an agent of a capitalist government.
Their quarrel escalates into a physical confrontation, ended when he falls down the stairs after pushing her out the door of the apartment.
Two secret policemen (slightly surprised to meet each other) arrive after hearing the quarrel (via listening devices) and arrest them both.
Under questioning, they denounce each other, wanting revenge for their feelings of betrayal. She is sentenced to 5 years in a gulag. He is sent to a mental hospital for re-education. The militia officer is also arrested, and after questioning, is demoted and re-assigned to onerous duties in the hinterland of the country.
Later, the woman emerges from prison and remarries a mechanic, who is an alcoholic and beats her occasionally. Her ex-husband succumbs to injuries sustained in the fall, exacerbated by his interrogation. The militia officer becomes a homosexual, and is later slain in a jealous rage by a spurned lover, who is arrested himself and hanged.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Freedom Folks at the Immigrant Justice Convention

This note was in our email this morning. It’s from The Bald Chick, who runs the blog Freedom Folks along with her husband. This tonsorially deprived young woman changed out of her pajamas to blog yesterday’s Immigrant Justice Convention:
     I am trying to get the word out about a convention I attended yesterday in Chicago. As of almost 4 a.m. on Sunday, I am the only blog that comes up in both Technorati & Google blog searches when you type in “Immigrant Justice Convention. ”
In short, local leaders, activists, and politicians (including Illinois state representatives, house representatives, and Governor Blagojevich) gathered with thousands of immigrants to promote legalization, funding, and “justice” for illegal immigrants.
I will continue to post on the convention today, but hope you will read any or all of the three posts I made yesterday. Any blogs/mentions/links would be greatly appreciated. I think people need and will want to know about this, but I need help!
Immigration Justice Convention Held in Chicago (overview)
Justice for Immigrants vs. Justice for Citizens (mis- and over-use of the word justice in reference to illegal immigrants)
Making Heroes of Rosa and Jorge (illegal immigrants used to smear Republican Jim Oberweis portrayed as heroes rather than criminals)
She must understand Spanish, because it seems that a lot of the speeches at the convention were in Spanish. That surprises you, right?

Go to The Bald Chick for the bald truth!

Another Invertebrate Attack

UDATE: James Lileks shares the sentiments of Gates of Vienna. In referring back to his appearance on the Hugh Hewitt show (transcribed here), Mr. Lileks says:
     I was rather exercised, and I have a dim recollection of referring to the Senate as opportunists, boozebags, kluxers and well-oiled weathervanes. Well, if the shoe fits, drive it up their hindquarters. You could say I’m overreacting – well, I dearly hope so.
Over-reaction is the only way to get through to the stoned-deaf Senate. These people are from another moral universe. As Lileks says, they suffer from Senatitus. That's short for being surrounded by the obsequious. Look for a more detailed description of this word on this coming Monday's post on The Neighborhood of God.

We admit to being secretly pleased when the witty and intelligent among us come down on the same side of the issues as we do. It's a warm and fuzzy imprimatur.

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Herakles destroys the HydraIf you don’t think Congressional legislation is a hydra-headed monster, worthy of the labors of Herakles, perhaps this latest item will persuade you. Not that Gates of Vienna readers need much convincing.

The Denver Post reports that Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) has filed a bill seeking to repeal an amendment to the Agricultural Appropriations FY2006.

What do you suppose the Hon. Tancredo wants repealed? Some restriction on food additives? Maybe he’s out to abolish farm subsidies?

Not at all, at all, dear readers. Rep. Tancredo wants to slice off one of the many heads growing out of this appropriations bill. And an ugly head it is indeed.

This particular amendment, SA 1803 to H.R. 2744, which passed by voice vote in late September, which was cleared by Homeland Security, and which was signed by your President, is the creation of Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT). SA 1803 to H.R. 2744 amends the Immigration and Nationality Act.

How’s that for hydra-headed? An agricultural appropriations bill grows a piece of tissue designed to protect illegal aliens by changing the laws on immigration. We’re talking about the Agriculture Department, not the Justice Department. We’re talking about the people who deal with the cows and the corn. What are they doing amending immigration laws?

Here’s the amendment:
    Section 274(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1324(a)(1) is amended by adding at the end the following: “(C) It is not violation of clauses (ii) or (iii) of subparagraph (A), or of clause (iv) of subparagraph (A) except where a person encourages or induces an alien to come to or enter the United States, for a religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the United States, or the agents or officers of such denomination or organization, to encourage, invite, call, allow, or enable an alien who is present in the United States to perform the vocation of a minister or missionary for the denomination or organization in the United States as a volunteer who is not compensated as an employee, notwithstanding the provision of room, board, travel, medical assistance, and other basic living expenses, provided the minister or missionary has been a member of the denomination for at least one year.”
Translated, the practical implications — and explications, for that matter — are these: At the behest of the Mormon Church in Utah, which serves to keep Sen. Bennett in office, Mormons (and any other religions so inclined) are now free to use illegal aliens as volunteer missionaries in this country.
     A spokesman for the church, Michael Purdy, said the law will allow illegal immigrants to serve as Mormon missionaries, which they previously could not do. “This narrow exception to the immigration act allows people of all faiths to fulfill their religious obligations,” Purdy said.
Rep. Tancredo wants this particular hydra head severed.

On November 16th his office sent out the introduction of H. R. 4321, a bill to repeal Sen. Bennett’s rider to the fiscal appropriation for the Agriculture Department.
    “By repealing this dangerous law, we will send a clear message to terrorists plotting against our country: no church, no synagogue, no mosque, no religious group of any kind will be a safe haven for terrorism in America,” said Tancredo. “Since 2003, federal prosecutors have charged more than 500 suspected terrorists with immigration violations. Shielding radical religious organizations from immigration prosecution may have prevented those terrorists from being brought to justice expeditiously.”
Bennett’s provision, Section 796 of H.R. 2744, protects religious organizations from prosecution on immigration charges when the illegal alien is a volunteer for the organization. In addition, Bennett’s amendment specifically allows religious groups to provide “room, board, travel, medical assistance, and other basic living expenses” to illegals.
In other words, Sen. Bennett’s amendment might be intended to cover only missionary volunteers, but it could equally applied to terrorists under the cover of religion. It seems to us at Gates of Vienna that Sen. Bennett is either ignorant of the Law of Unintended Consequences, or he simply doesn’t care.

For what it’s worth, Sen. Bennett’s amendment had no co-sponsors. Rep. Tancredo, on the other hand, gathered fourteen co-sponsors to repeal the amendment
    made by section 796 of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006, exempting from harboring sanctions compensation for alien volunteers for certain religious organizations.
The co-sponsors so far are:

Rep Akin, W. Todd [MO-2]
Rep Foxx, Virginia [NC-5]
Rep Gohmert, Louie [TX-1]
Rep Goode, Virgil H., Jr. [VA-5]
Rep Gutknecht, Gil [MN-1]
Rep Hayworth, J. D. [AZ-5]
Rep Hefley, Joel [CO-5]
Rep Hostettler, John N. [IN-8]
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3]
Rep King, Steve [IA-5]
Rep Kingston, Jack [GA-1]
Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6]
Rep Weldon, Dave [FL-15]
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-8]

On November 15th, Rep. Tancredo’s bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, chaired by the Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI). To contact a particular member of the Committee, visit the linked page. Or, you may go to contact page to express your sentiments regarding this bill to repeal an amendment, made by a United States Senator, which undermines our sovereignty.

Whatever your opinion, remember to use temperate language. Vitriolic diatribes may be satisfying to write, but they leave no trace in the minds of the recipients.

If you’re not familiar with the legend of the Hydra, here’s a summary:
     A snake-like monster, living at Lerna in the Argolid, with numerous heads, which Herakles had to destroy as his Second Labour. As fast as the hero cut off one head, another (or two more) grew up in its place. Herakles therefore enlisted the aid of his companion and charioteer Iolaos, who used firebrands to cauterise each stump severed by Herakles, until eventually the monster was slain.
Rep. Tancredo and his band of co-sponsors — including our own Virgil Goode — find themselves of the unenviable position of Iolaos.

Cauterize those stumps, boys!

Hat tip: Jeff at Geopolitical Review.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Our old pal USMC_Vet is closing up shop at The Word Unheard, but he’s not getting out of the blogosphere. Along with Marvin Hutchens and Bill Roggio, he has set up a site called ThreatsWatch. The new site is a sophisticated operation, with headlines, news briefs, multimedia, and commentary in an easy-to-navigate tabbed format. This is a place you’ll want to visit frequently.

I can recommend Bill Roggio’s commentary, For Our Servicemen, We Blog:
     Concerned Americans will continue to seek alternative sources of reporting. And more political leaders will recognize that polls don’t show the state of the war, only the state of our misgivings. As such, more will follow the lead of the Senate, which this past week began reading the accounts of servicemen and women in Iraq. This act is one of recognition and respect and highlights the need for all of us to remember, no matter our general awareness of the war or its status, that these Americans are our friends and neighbors, our husbands, wives, children, and parents.
Also, the multimedia section looks wonderful. Unfortunately for us, our slow dialup is going to prevent us from utilizing it effectively.

I’ll be changing our blogroll shortly. In the meantime, drop by ThreatsWatch.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Battle of Vienna

John SobieskiA reader has emailed me with the following request:
     Given the name of your website, which I read regularly and tend to agree with, I wondered if you could point me to any comprehensive history books that chronicle the Battle of Vienna - what would you recommend? Thanks.
Since I am a history buff, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never read a book dedicated solely to the Battle of Vienna. Everything I’ve read treats it as a part of the much larger history of the advance and decline of the Ottoman Empire.

However, I know that many of our regular readers are more well-read on this topic than I am. Axis of Islam, this means you! Among many others, of course.

Everyone: please weigh in with suggestions, with Amazon links if you have them.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mr. President: “Build That Wall!”

Virgil Goode, VA 5th Congressional DistrictGates of Vienna is fortunate in its Congressional Representative. In his newsletter this week, the Honorable Virgil Goode has announced his co-sponsorship of a bill designed to seriously halt the flood of immigration from Mexico that is wreaking havoc on our social services and cultural infrastructure.

He says what the citizens of this country already know: we must stop the flood of illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States. We must effectively seal our southern border and we must enforce our laws. The sovereignty of the US has become a joke; it will take strong measures to re-establish respect for our laws regarding citizenship and residency in our country. From New York to Colorado to Florida, the judicial system and immigration policy colludes in a "catch and release" program, even letting criminals go. This must cease. From the Goode Newsletter:
    The safety of the United States and the integrity of this nation’s immigration laws are at the heart of legislation introduced last week by Congressman Duncan Hunter of California and me. The bill is known as the TRUE Enforcement and Border Security Act. This legislation requires the construction of a land barrier and necessary infrastructure along our international border with Mexico and addresses many of the inadequacies in the enforcement of America’s illegal immigration laws.
In other words, he and Congressman Hunter want a fence between the borders of Mexico and America.

But that’s just for starters. As he points out, this move is one that is backed by a majority of Americans. And while he doesn’t say so, you can bet it will be a big, gigantic issue in the 2006 elections:
    Over the past few years as it has been demonstrated that the flood of illegal immigration poses a growing threat to our national security, the number of Americans calling for tougher immigration laws and stricter control of our borders has grown. A poll by the Pew Research Organization in 2003 found 80 percent of Americans believing that we should restrict the number of immigrants coming into our country to live more than we do now. Two polls in the Rasmussen Report this year found close to two-thirds of Americans believing that current immigration is a threat to our national security and to our economy. It is estimated that there are at least 12 million illegal immigrants in the U. S. Some estimates put the figure as high as 20 million.
In other words, we’re long past the time when we even know how many people have come across, or even where they’re all from.

Gates of Vienna has copied and formatted the information from Congressman Goode’s office about The TRUE Enforcement Act of 2005. It’s a comprehensive, tough piece of legislation. Those whose oxes are gored — e.g., localities who provide sanctuary laws will be financially penalized — are going to be screaming about this. But that is as it should be: this is a showdown between two views of what America is and is going to become. Here are some of the highlights, beginning with the opening section (note that the sponsors’ names are at the end of each item):

Title I — Federal State, and Local Law Enforcement

Federal Enforcement — Cornyn/Kyl
  • Adds 10,000 new border patrol officers, 1,250 immigration investigators, 500 adjudicators, 2,000 worksite investigators and provides anti-fraud training
  • Creates a new Assistant Attorney General for Immigration Enforcement and adds 250 litigators, 250 U.S. attorneys, 250 Immigration judges over five years to facilitate litigation in courts, removal/deportation processes, employer sanctions enforcement, alien smuggling/trafficking enforcement, etc.
That is just the first sub-section of Title I. You can go to the whole document to read the others, which lay out effective methods for preventing visa abuses.

Moving down to Title II of TRUE, we find visa reforms with teeth. For Gates of Vienna, this is the heart of anti-terrorism reform because it calls other countries to account. As it stands, the US is either treated with contempt for its supposed hegemony, or sneered at for its lax and trusting attitude. That needs to change and this piece of legislation may begin to turn the tide:

Title II Reform and Alien Status

Limitations on Visa Issuance
  • Denies visas to countries with worst records in accepting deported nationals — Barrett
  • Eliminates judicial review of visa revocation for aliens who improperly received visas — Cornyn/Kyl
  • Suspends Visa Waiver Program until entry-exit system is fully operational — Tancredo
  • Adopts Jordan Commission recommendation to eliminate preferences for adult brothers/sisters and adult sons/daughters — FAIR
  • Increases income requirement for sponsorship of new immigrants to 225% federal poverty level
  • Eliminates Visa Lottery Program — FAIR
This is a very comprehensive bill, with workplace enforcements and penalties for those who try to get around them.

Don’t forget that Mexico has made itself an adversary in this process. It is aggressively promoting Mexican illegal immigration and has set up public relations departments in its consulates to promote bi-lingual education for Mexican children who go to school here.

In the long run, Mexico wants its “territory” back — flooding us with immigrants and overwhelming our resources is only part of it. The remittances sent back to Mexico each year come to over sixteen billion dollars. No wonder we get no cooperation from Vincente Fox.

In the most recent edition of City Journal, Heather McDonald lays out the case against Mexico, and a damning one it is:
    Diplomacy may be the art of lying for one’s country, but Mexican diplomacy requires taking that art to virtuosic heights. Sitting in his expansive office in Mexico’s Los Angeles consulate, Deputy Consul General Velázquez-Suárez gamely insists that he and his peers observe the diplomatic duty not to interfere in America’s internal affairs, including immigration matters. “Immigration is an internal discussion,” he says. “We have to respect that regardless of whether it pleases us.”
Remember that diplomats are nothing more than politicians squared. As Ms. Mc Donald says,
    Mexican officials here and abroad are involved in a massive and almost daily interference in American sovereignty. The dozens of illegals milling in the consulate’s courtyard as Velázquez-Suárez speaks, and the millions more radiating outward from Los Angeles across the country, are not a naturally occurring phenomenon, like the tides. They are there thanks in part to Mexico’s efforts to get them into the U.S. in violation of American law, and to normalize their status once here in violation of the popular will. Mexican consulates are engineering a backdoor amnesty for their illegal migrants and trying to discredit American immigration enforcement—activities clearly beyond diplomatic bounds.
Eighty percent of Mexicans who come here are illegal aliens. The number may even be higher than that. The government of Mexico aids and abets its citizens in this disregard of our sovereignty by publishing pamphlets explaining how to get around the laws and how to stay away from the border guards. It also issues “consular cards” which are a form of ID which illegals can then use to get American drivers’ licenses, etc.

This Mexican onslaught amounts to usurpation and has become a clear and present danger to the borders themselves. Ms. McDonald quotes a poll conducted among Mexicans:
    Mexicans view migration to the U.S. as a fundamental human right… no laws should stop it, they believe. In addition, nearly 60 percent of Mexican respondents polled by Zogby in 2001 said that the southwestern U.S. really belongs to Mexico. Only 28 percent disagreed.
On the other hand, Mexico keeps a tight border on its side. The Mexican government is very particular about who may enter and who may stay:
    Mexico’s own immigration policies are the exact opposite of what it relentlessly advocates in the United States. Its entry permits favor scientists, technicians, teachers of underrepresented disciplines, and others likely to contribute to “national progress.” Immigrants may only enter through established ports and at designated times. Anyone not presenting the proper documentation and health certificates won’t get in; the transportation company that brought him must pay his return costs. Foreigners who do not “strictly comply” with the entry conditions will face deportation. Steve Royster, who worked in the American consulate in Mexico from 1999 to 2001, presided over several deportations of Americans who had overstayed their visas. “They were given a choice: accept deportation or go to jail,” he says.
It’s time for change regarding our immigration policies. Sadly, President Bush not only hasn’t led our country in this regard, he doesn’t even seem to be willing to follow good advice. Thus it is up to Congress to staunch the wound. Congressman Goode’s proposal of a fence on our border, and the TRUE Enforcement Act of 2005 are crucial to our sovereignty and our safety.

Think about it: 80% of Americans want enforcement at the borders while 80% of Mexicans think much of the territory in the Southwestern part of this country belongs to them. And their government is pushing them toward this view.

We may be in for a rough ride, but it's a relief to know that Congress is willing to pick up the reins and get in the seat our President has vacated.

Cal Thomas, writing today, says the same thing:
    Conservatives, and the Bush administration, if it wants to save itself, should get behind the TRUE Enforcement and Border Security Act introduced by Representatives Duncan Hunter, California Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Virgil Goode, Virginia Republican.