Tuesday, October 31, 2006

When you see a disgruntled vet in a TV political ad 
don't be surprised if they turn out to be lying.

An interesting juxtaposition 
CNN had an unfortunate juxtaposition of subheads this afternoon:

Sen. John McCain calls remark an insult to "every soldier serving in combat"
• Vietnam vet Kerry hits back at "Republican hacks" who never served in military

Yeah. That describes Senator McCain.

A lot of us Republican hacks DID serve in the military, Senator. We just don't insult or disgrace it.

I'm willing to accept the CHANCE that he misspoke. I think it IS a chance, because there is a sizeable portion of the Democrat party that does believe the military is a collection of dupes and ne'er-do-wells at best, and rapists, torturers, and terrorizers of children. Kerry is one of those bastards.

Kerry is a first-class dolt. What he ought to do is simply apologize for his gaffe, say that's not what he meant and he's sorry, and move on with life.

No. He's got to dig his hole deeper by lumping a 5-year POW and another serving Senator with people who have never served.

What an ass.

It's his fundamental arrogance - breathtaking to behold. The man is the sine qua non of conceit. This is his "I don't fall down" syndrome taking hold again.

If I were running the Democratic party, and thought I was ahead in the polls leading up to the election, I'd have my known morons, like Kerry and Dean, playing "Prince Ruprecht the Monkey Boy."

As in, "Shut the f*ck up and don't blow this for us!" I'd say.

But never underestimate the Democrats' ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Ahead by one run in the 9th inning, the Democrats have walked the winning run into scoring position.

Splash, out


Monday, October 30, 2006

Mick O'Brien and Caomhin O'Raighallaigh 
When I first heard a bootleg version of their unaccompanied duets (Kilty Lie Over), I was blown away. That was the sound I was after.

Still chasing that sound.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"The Elephant in the Room" 
In a well-reported article, the New York Times looks at how the polarization of the election season has affected interpersonal relationships.

Here's the elephant in the room the Times (predictably) fails to discern:

In example after example, interview after interview, we see the liberals holding themselves as morally superior to their conservative peers, and looking down upon them, and genuinely angry with them (as in the woman who spent weeks so angry with her Bush-supporting mom that she couldn't even speak to her. How stupid is that?)

On the other hand, in example after example, we see the conservatives declining to talk about politics in public not because of liberal views (though they're dumb enough), but because of liberal behavior. We're just tired of dealing with overwrought, hysterical people, so we clam up. I know I do. (That's the reason I keep blogging. I still have an outlet, and I don't have to piss of my socialist, Hezbollah-supporting, IRA-loving "I'd love to live under Castro" friends. Yes, I'm still a musician!)

The bottom line: Liberals are avoiding us because of our positions, which are in and of themselves evil (to them), while we're avoiding engaging with them because of their behavior.

They object to our beliefs. We simply object to them being assholes.

Lady, call your mother.

Splash, out


The New York Times Endorses Ned Lamont 

Brits rejecting multiculturalism? 
The edifice of multiculturalism is crumbling in the UK.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Reporters Without Borders Publishes a Fraud. 
Reporters Sans Frontieres has published its fifth annual Worldwide Press Freedom index.

Here's what the RSF has to say about the United States:

The United States (53rd) has fallen nine places since last year, after being in 17th position in the first year of the Index, in 2002. Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of “national security” to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his “war on terrorism.” The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 US states, refuse to recognise the media’s right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism.

Freelance journalist and blogger Josh Wolf was imprisoned when he refused to hand over his video archives. Sudanese cameraman Sami al-Haj, who works for the pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera, has been held without trial since June 2002 at the US military base at Guantanamo, and Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been held by US authorities in Iraq since April this year.

This survey is frigging stupid. The people who put it together are a bunch of intellectually dishonest dupes.

Ranking Tonga alongside the United States is patently absurd. There is no freedom of the Press in Tonga. None. Not by statute, not by constitution, not by case law, and not in fact. Indeed, the government of Tonga has repeatedly seized the largest Tonga newspaper. The ranking is false on its face.

Secondly the idiots specifically mention Bilal Hussein - who was captured at an Al Qaeda safehouse, hanging out with an Al Qaeda leader, and personally tested positive for explosives. They also specifically mentioned Josh Wolf, who is in prison not for anything he's published, but for covering up a federal crime (a self-professed anarchist, he taped people sliding a burning mattress under a police car. He is under a court order to produce the tape in order to assist with the investigation. He refused. The government isn't censoring him. HE'S censoring his content, in order to protect criminals.)

Next, the RSF claims that relations between the press and the White House "sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of “national security” to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his “war on terrorism.”" That could be. But RSF produces not a single instance to bolster its case. Furthermore, somehow, Helen Thomas still gets a front row seat at White House press conferences. No journalist has a right to be above suspicion - and even if the RSF could demonstrate its asinine assertion, that still wouldn't do anything to demonstrate a lack of press freedom. Unless, of course, American reporters are a bunch of idiots and cowards. That I might stipulate to, come to think of it.

[quote]The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 US states, refuse to recognise the media’s right not to reveal its sources[/quote]

RSF is as ignorant as they are stupid. There is no such right for the courts to recognize, under Federal law. The courts must uphold the law as written. They cannot invent freedoms just because it makes RSF happy. There is a statutory protection in 33 states. State judges must recognize the protection. Federal judges, by law, cannot, unless Congress passes a law creating that protection.

In the meantime, the public has a right to public safety, and part of that means the right to enable their prosecutors arrest people who slide burning mattresses under police cars, committing the crime of arson, and depending on the circumstances, attempted homicide. Even in first amendment cases, courts have frequently limited freedom of expression in light of a compelling public interest. RSF, of course, has the legal sophistication and reasoning ability of an 8th grader. There's a reason newspapers are written at that level, anyway.

RSF mentions Sami Al Haj by name, saying that he was a reporter for Al Jazeera, which was true at the time of his most recent arrest.

Funny. RSF fails to mention that Al Haj also had a career prior to working for Al Qaeda, and Al Haj had been detained on numerous other occasions:

# The detainee worked as an executive secretary for Abdul Al-Latif Al-Imran, general manager for the Union Beverage Company (UBC). The Union Beverage Company has been associated with Bosnian/Chechen mujahid.
# The detainee traveled to Azerbaijan at least eight times to courier money to the Al-Haramayn non-governmental organization (NGO) on behalf of his boss, Abd Al-Latif Omran.
# Al-Haramayn has been designated under Executive Order 13224 as an organization that has provided support to terrorist organizations.
# During the winter of 1997, the detainee delivered $7,000 USD to Al-Haramayn.
# During the winter of 1998, the detainee visited Al-Haramayn’s summer camp, and delivered $13,000 USD to Al-Haramayn.
# During November 1999, the detainee delivered $12,000 USD to Munir Al-Barguoni for a new factory in Azerbaijan; he also delivered $100,000 USD to Jamal, the Director of Al-Haramayn.
# The detainee wwas detained in Azerbaijan for the transport of $220,000 USD. The money was destined for Chechen rebels and not for humanitarian support as the detainee was told.
# After serving as the Al-Haramayn Director in Baku, Azerbaijan from 1997 to January 2000, Jiman Mohammed Alawi Al Muraai, aka Abu Wafa, took a job operating the Wafa offices in Karachi, Pakistan.
# Al Wafa has been designated under Executive Order 13224 as an organization that has provided support to terrorist organizations.
# While working at the Union Beverage Company, the detainee met Mamdouh Mahmoud Salem. Mamdouh Mahmoud Salem Abu Hajir was arrested in Germany in September 1998 and extradited to the United States. He was a senior al Qaeda lieutenant and Bin Laden’s deputy in Sudan.
# The detainee founded a company on 20 May 1999 in Azerbaijan named “SAMICO Services.”
# SAMICO documents were found during a raid of locations occupied by suspected extremists affiliated with Muhammad Rabi’a Abdul Halim Sha’ib (an Egyptian extremist).
# To register a company in Azerbaijan, authorities required that a registree have a registered business in another country. Because the detainee did not have a registered company elsewhere, he used falsified documents to register his company.
# According to the detainee, the falsified documents showed him as a co-owner of Rumat International.
# According to a Foreign Government Service, the detainee and Mamduh Muhammad Salim Ahmad, aka Abu Mu’izz, are both affiliated with Rumat International.
# Ahmed was subsequently arrested on suspicion of participating in the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
# While in Azerbaijan, the detainee came into contact with Ashraf, who ran the juice distribution business for the Union Beverage Company in Azerbaijan.
# Between 1994-1998, Ashraf Abdulrahim Ayub worked for the Kuwaiti Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), a non-governmental organization.
# The Revival of Islamic Heritage Society has been identified under Executive Order 13224 as a terrorist affiliated organization.
# As of late March 2003, a foreign government was investigating Ashraf for possible ties to terrorism.
# On 4 January 2000, the detainee attempted to reenter Azerbaijan, but was detained and then deported from the country.
# The deportation was due to his alleged activities supporting Chechen rebels.
# In March or April 2000, the detainee left the Union Beverage Company and went to work for Al-Jazeera in Doha, Qatar.

The credulous losers at RSF don't want you to know that, though. They leave it out.

It's hard to imagine what that has to do with press freedom, at any rate. He was detained not for being a reporter, but for being a terrorist mule and financier. The fact that he was an Al Jazeera employee is incidental. The RSF conceals his lengthy backround and extensive terrorist ties from its readers.

Funny, that.

No, this "study" doesn't stand up to a moment's examination, and even a few minutes worth of research has the whole lie collapsing like a house of cards.

But then again, some people will believe anything as long as the U.S. looks bad.

Watch for the self-congratulatory idiots in the MSM breathlessly report the survey as though the RSF were a credible organization, without even the cursory research I was able to muster here in a few minutes.

Splash, out


Someone at Reuters needs to learn how to read 
Ann Althouse notices Reuters covering for Sheikh Taj El-Din Hamid Hilaly, the man who likened women to uncovered meat, and blamed them for provoking rape.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A man of the left ... 
He's a pretty big guy, from the look of it. And he's pretty brave when he's talking to a bunch of bereaved mothers.

No different from Fred Phelps.

A challenge 
Go out and find a DVD copy of the 1979 made for TV movie "A Man Called Intrepid."

Watch a young Barbara Hershey, playing a Canadian spy parachuted into France to work with the resistance in WWII, being waterboarded for information by Paul Harding, playing a Gestapo Colonel. It's about halfway through.

Then tell me how it is that waterboarding is not torture.

(It's a good movie, if you can get past the 1970s haircuts and stomach Michael York playing David Niven's effeminate "man-boy")

Memo to Senator George Allen 
Don't be an idiot. It's FICTION, dumbass!

Tell the freaking Church Lady to find another job, kick her off your campaign, and get back to the issues.

Splash, out


I have been getting a lot of emails asking me to help support a book which, I understand, exposes Cindy Sheehan's alleged addiction to pornography and adult chat sites following the death of her son in Iraq.

I am no friend of Ms. Sheehan's, and have objected strenuously to almost everything she's ever said since coming to the public eye.

But I will not be part of promoting such a book. To attack her on those terms is unseemly, classless, and unchristian. That sort of polemic illustrates much of what is wrong with discourse today.

I will criticize Ms. Sheehan on her public acts alone, and will not associate myself with that kind of pettiness and juvenility.

At least, not without a good laugh line in there somewhere.

If Ms. Sheehan were crusading against pornography in public while privately indulging, it would be different, but she is not. I do not sit in judgement. She lost her son and her husband in quick succession. Maybe she did something to occupy her racing mind at night, maybe not. Other people turn to drugs or alcohol.

I hereby commence the cutting of slack.

Splash, out


Media Whore: The BBC Embeds with the Taliban 
The little-girl-stoning, raping, school-burning murderous bastards in the Taliban couldn't buy better PR than they're getting for free from the BBC: Witness this fellative dispatch from from the obsequeous little tool, David Loyn.

There is no army on earth as mobile as the Taleban.

Oh, the brave little darlings!

There's only one little problem with that pretty-sounding lede: It's false! The U.S. military has superior mobility at nearly every level. The proof is in the killing: We've managed to airlift a (small) Army to the most isolated plots of real estate in the world, build or convert airfields, and then airlift our platoons and companies out there into the Taliban's faces and kill them in their own back yards. We can laterally reinforce over dozens of miles within minutes, and over hundreds of miles within hours.

Those precious little underdogs in the Taliban have us on stealth. But not on mobility. Loyn is a fool. Worse than that - he's a credulous fool.

They have surprised the British by the ferocity of their fighting and their willingness to take casualties.

This is a surprise? Only to the naive. Taliban fighters have always been ferocious and brave. Especially when shooting women and children in the back. I don't think anyone was more surprised than the Taliban when the U.S. showed up in their world and made a pink, lathery foam out of thousands of them.

They demand and get food and shelter from places where they stop, but it is impossible to say how enthusiastic the villagers really are.

What happens if the villagers refuse? Do the Taliban plan to simply shake the dust off their sandals and move on?


The Taliban would stage a massacre, as a warning to the next village. Why can't the BBC be honest about this?

Answer: Loyn is a tool, that's why.

The food we shared was just a bowl of rice, a vegetable stew made only of okra, and flat roughly-ground country bread.

The failure of aid policies to make a difference in southern Afghanistan and increasing corruption in the government and the national army, are spreading the power base of the Taleban.

Riiiiiiight. Because the Taliban isn't corrupt. Just murderous. And it's all the fault of ineffective aid policies.

No it isn't. It's because we haven't amassed the right combination of actionable intelligence and firepower to exterminate these rats like the vermin they are.

This time the checkpoints are manned by Afghan government soldiers, who demand money at gunpoint from every driver.

Yes. And the Taliban never raise funds by force, huh? You damn fool...have you no clue how insurgent movements raise taxes from the populace? (Hint: it doesn't involve a polite fundraising letter, you moron!)

The failure of the international community to stop this makes the military task of the British-led Nato force in the south much harder

It's not the responsibility of the international community to stop it, fool. Afghanistan has a sovereign government now. You may have heard of it. It is the responsibility of Afghanistan to police its own, not that of the "international community." It's not even the job of the British welfare state to reach out that far.

The Taleban official spokesman, Mohammed Anif, explained: "When the Islamic movement of the Taleban started in the first place, the main reason was because of concern among people about corruption.

"People were fed up with having to bribe governors, and other authorities.

I guess people were also fed up with those uppity women showing their faces in public without having to worry about getting gang-raped and then stoned to death under the benevolent rule of the tribal elders, too. Or people being beaten half to death for the crime of playing music. Funny. Loyn's memory seems to be a little fuzzy about those particular quirks of Taliban rule. Good thing we have the BBC's editors to put that into context. Except wait - they don't.

"We rose up and saved almost the whole country from the evils of corruption and corrupt commanders. That's why people are supporting the Taleban again now."

What is this? PR Web?

The intensifying conflict itself also plays into their hands. It is hard for Nato to promote its mission as humanitarian given the inevitable civilian casualties of conflict.

The Taleban deny British claims that hundreds of their soldiers have been killed.

Sher and Nur Ahmad were orphaned when a bomb fell on their home

They say that since they wear only the loose long cotton shirts and trousers - shalwar kameez - of any local villager, then the British cannot easily tell them apart.

Well, there's also the small matter of the fact that the Taliban deliberately obscures the difference between their fighters and the local civilian populace - in direct violation of the laws of land warfare- with the express purpose of maximizing the civilian casualties, and then parading them in front of useful idiots like Loyn. Or as members of a profession apparently more honorable than journalism would call them, "Johns."

Of course, Loyn's perception is a little weak on this point, too. Good thing he's got sharp editors who can cover for his biases and the difficulties involved in embedding with the enemy by providing adequate context here.

Except they don't.

In a village damaged by a British attack on the night of 7 October, some people were too angry to talk to me because I was British.

One merely pointed to the torn and bloody women's clothing left in the ruins of the house and said bitterly, "Are these the kind of houses they have come to build - the kind where clothing is cut to pieces?".

Hey, Loyn...you might want to lick around Taliban "spokesman" Mohammad Anif's head a bit more. You might have missed a drop.

Wouldn't want to leave a paying customer disappointed, eh, "Scoop?"

British soldiers landed in helicopters, arrested a suspect and flew away.

But they left six dead in one family, including three young girls, and partially demolished the mosque.

Did they? You can rule out the Taliban as being complicit in their deaths? How? Did the Taliban use them as human shields? (Nod your head "yes," Loyn. I know you can't talk when your mouth is full.)

Were any weapons captured? Loyn doesn't see fit to tell us.

They fear for the homes and farms they have left behind, and while not active Taleban supporters, it is clear that most blame Nato more for the worsening violence.

Yep. Ask anyone the Taliban lets you talk to, Loyn. Especially when they're standing right there with you while you conduct the interviews. By the way - do you take credit cards? Or do you just send your Johns to the ATM machine at the Pilot station?

"It's very obvious. Right now we see foreigners with tanks driving through our vineyards. They destroy people's orchards.

"They break through the walls and just drive across. When they take up positions in the village like this, nobody can cooperate with them."

"Tanks," huh? And you believe him? How many tank battalions do you think NATO has over there?

Engraved in their collective folk memory of Afghanistan's warrior history are tales of the defeat of the British in 1842 and 1880 along with the defeat of the Russians in the 1980s.

Pardon me if I don't quake in my boots, Mr. Loyn. Then again, if more Brits are like you, that does give one cause for concern.

Do let us know what your future career plans are. You have a bright future in public relations and marketing.

You've left the ranks of journalism.

Splash, out


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Self-parody, made flesh 
As if to prove that a Democrat couldn't get a point if he sat on a bed of nails, the Huffington Post decides what's really important about the Clint Eastwood dramatization of the Battle of Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, is that they didn't include enough blacks in the movie.

Splash, out


The failure of the Iraq press corps 
Michael Fumento has a must-read essay (in which I was delighted to find that I make an unexpected cameo appearance).

Splash, out


P.S., see the original Open Letter to the Baghdad Press Corps here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Only a journo could think like this ... 
From Time Magazine:

Headline: The Search for a Missing U.S. Soldier: A Double Standard?

Subhead: As a busy Baghdad neighborhood is shut down so U.S. forces can conduct house-to-house searches, Iraqis lament the loss of business — and wonder why.

The "why," of course, is self-evident: We search for him because he is one of ours. We search for him because, unlike the Arabs, we value the lives of our countrymen. American troops are honor bound not to leave a brother behind on the battlefield - and we will go to incredible - even superhuman - lengths to recover him.

It is one of the bonds of brotherhood that holds us together. It is an important part of the cement that holds all ranks together.

It is also part of the bond that holds us and the brave Iraqi troops who are risking their lives for their country together, because we would do the same for them.

And obviously, they're doing it for us.

The citizens of Hit could stop the lockdown tomorrow simply by identifying and turning in the insurgents. Their call.

There is, of course, nothing in the Time article to suggest that their editors grasp that. Rather, they write the piece as if what we're doing is an affront to the people of the city of Hit.


The citizens of Hit should join in the search. If they do not, then their complaints on this subject aren't worth worrying about anyway.

Splash, out


Monday, October 23, 2006

Ry Cooder 
Showing us how it's done.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Priest: "Naked massage didn't count as sex" 
Behold the Clinton legacy.

Ted Kennedy, traitor to his country? 

In his book, which came out this week, Kengor focuses on a KGB letter written at the height of the Cold War that shows that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) offered to assist Soviet leaders in formulating a public relations strategy to counter President Reagan's foreign policy and to complicate his re-election efforts.

The letter, dated May 14, 1983, was sent from the head of the KGB to Yuri Andropov, who was then General Secretary of the Soviet Union's Communist Party.

In his letter, KGB head Viktor Chebrikov offered Andropov his interpretation of Kennedy's offer. Former U.S. Sen. John Tunney (D-Calif.) had traveled to Moscow on behalf of Kennedy to seek out a partnership with Andropov and other Soviet officials, Kengor claims in his book.

At one point after President Reagan left office, Tunney acknowledged that he had played the role of intermediary, not only for Kennedy but for other U.S. senators, Kengor said. Moreover, Tunney told the London Times that he had made 15 separate trips to Moscow.

IF this is accurate - and to be fair, it's a big "if" - then Ted Kennedy ought to be driven from his post.


Specifically, Kennedy proposed that Andropov make a direct appeal to the American people in a series of television interviews that would be organized in August and September of 1983, according to the letter.

"Tunney told his contacts that Kennedy was very troubled about the decline in U.S -Soviet relations under Reagan," Kengor said. "But Kennedy attributed this decline to Reagan, not to the Soviets. In one of the most striking parts of this letter, Kennedy is said to be very impressed with Andropov and other Soviet leaders."

In Kennedy's view, the main reason for the antagonism between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1980s was Reagan's unwillingness to yield on plans to deploy middle-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe, the KGB chief wrote in his letter.

This is a crass, deliberate attempt by a sitting Senator to undermine American foreign policy, while making common cause with an arch-enemy of freedom and a murderous regime that had already slaughtered millions.

Unfortunately, I have zero confidence in our mainstream news outlets to take an honest look at the evidence here.

Meanwhile, thousands were still perishing in the Soviet Gulags.

Splash, out


(hat tip: Ace)

Reservists of the World, Unite! (But only on weekends) 
Two representatives have introduced a bill to significantly boost Montgomery GI Bill benefits for reserve component servicemen and women.

Although Reservists are being called to duty and mobilized for an average of 18 months, when they leave the Selected Reserves they do not receive the same educational benefits as the Active Duty soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that they serve alongside. Additionally, MGIB benefits for Reserve members have not kept up with the increases in the MGIB for Active Duty. The current MGIB-SR benefit is only 29 percent of the MGIB; historically the difference has been 47 percent.

“The contributions made by Guard and Reservists called to active duty is just as significant as those of our Active Duty military, and it is important that we provide the same benefits for their time in combat as those we provide for their Active Duty counterparts who serve in combat,” said Congressman Vic Snyder. “Nearly every unit in the Arkansas Guard and many Arkansans who serve in the Air National Guard, Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Navy Reserve and Marine Reserve have been mobilized to support our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan at least once. It is time for Congress to seriously address the disparity in benefits between Active Duty and Reserve component members.”

The ringknockers hate the idea. The counterargument -- which only a regular mentality could come up with -- is that boosting reserve component benefits will cause active component troops to leave the active military to join the reserve components.

Oh, the horror. It's not like anyone is subsidizing our housing or day care or anything.

Splash, out


Thursday, October 19, 2006

CNN: Pornographers of Death 
Most of you, by now, have seen the videos obtained by CNN depicting a series of sniper attacks. Naturally, the decision to air them was controversial, and CNN got an earful from veterans, military families, and those sympathetic to them.

CNN responds to their critics as follows:

We are assuming they included the sniper tape to prove the authenticity of the Al-Shimary interview tape and to establish their credibility. Of course, we also understood that some might conclude there is a public relations benefit for the insurgents if we aired the material, especially on CNN International. We also understood that this kind of footage is upsetting and disturbing for many viewers. But after getting beyond the emotional debate, we concluded the tape meets our criteria for newsworthiness.

Translation: We understand full well that we're providing the terrorists free advertising worldwide. We also understand full well that our airing them is cruel and insensitive for those stateside who may be witnessing the killings of our loved ones.

We just don't give a shit.


You should know we dipped to black at the moment of actual impact of the rounds. A number of us felt airing that precise moment was simply too horrific. That decision, as well as the decision to build a piece around the sniper tape -- in fact, all the decisions about this story -- were subject to hours of intense editorial debate at the highest levels here at CNN.

Yeah, well the "highest levels at CNN" also gave us Ted Turner and wholesale slanderer Eason Jordan. Forgive me if I don't hold your institution in very high regard.

You should also know we tried to put all of this in context. Our reporting included an interview with a current U.S. sniper in Iraq. He's been both under attack from insurgent snipers and he has himself operated as a sniper. We also heard from Major General William Caldwell, a coalition forces spokesman in Iraq, and CNN military analyst General David Grange, formerly with the Green Beret, Delta Force and Army Rangers.

Yeah, you tried to put it in context. You can also put a ring in the snout of a pig. It doesn't make it any less of a pig, though.

Splash, out


P.S., I am not among those who believes the sniper attacks are faked. I have no reason to doubt the journalistic integrity of the Islamic Army of Iraq, like I do pics from Reuters.

Congress to the Courts: Blow me!!!! 
John Yoo explains the colossal bitch-slap your elected representatives delivered to the Supremes.

Yeah. Diana Ross had it coming.

Jason reads Gemma so you don't have to (but maybe you should). 
Always be kind. Everyone is fighting a great battle.

Ok, so I finished Gemma. I had to stop and put it away...mostly because it turned me into a haunted, depressive, insomniac shell of a man. So what else is new?

But when I experience art, I want to be taken on a journey. It is not necessary nor expected that the journey be pleasant.

Some writer - I forget who it was - said that writing is simple: You just sit down at the keyboard or typewriter, take out a clean sheet of paper, and open a vein. The reader should be similarly open, and Gemma affected me profoundly.

A word about the plot: Gemma is an unapologetic and unhedged variation on the Nabokov novel Lolita. The 12 year old protagonist, Gemma Sullivan, is 'sold' by an abusive stepfather to a 36 year old friend, Hazen Wood, for 100 dollars. Hazen becomes obsessed with her, kidnaps her, and subjects her to a sadistic, brutal, and harrowing weeks long ordeal of rape, beatings, and psychological torture that pushes her spirit to the limits of human endurance.

The novel is told almost entirely in stream-of-consciousness style, alternating between the points-of-view of Gemma and her rapist. In terms of technique, Tilly is unequaled in honestly conveying the throat-choking fear experienced by the powerless in the grip of the evil, and does so with breathtaking detail and nuance. And the effect is both gripping and disturbing.

Not that it is a perfect book. Without giving too much away, our young heroine is eventually adopted by a loving family in a rather formulaic denouement that goes on too long. Tilly is an incredible horror stylist, with the keenest grasp of the psychology of victimhood - and the gargantuan strength necessary to overcome it, even to win the tiniest of victories - as you will find. Why? Because she herself went through Hell -- and is gifted with the courage to write so honestly.

If I tried to do the same thing - especially if I tried to crawl into the psyche of the sadistic abuser, and live there long enough to wring the last drops of a novel out of it - I am sure I would wind up mad, and meet the same fate as so many of the authors I most admire: Primo Levi, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemmingway.

As a structuralist, Tilly is not as strong. Not that she's weak - she's still better than most. But that's something that comes with practice. It's been ten years between novels.

Stylistically, the novel suffers slightly from the similarity in voice between Hazen and Gemma. While their logic and characters are naturally completely different, their language, rhythm and syntax are at times nearly indistinguishable. The novel could have benefited from one more rewrite with an exquisitely sensitive editor.

Nevertheless, taken as a work in itself, but also in its effect, Gemma is a triumph - as is Ms. Tilly's innate strength and grace.

It is not for the weak-of-heart, and it is not for those who prefer to shelter themselves from the depths of human depravity. It is also probably not for some who've undergone nightmares of their own who are not prepared to confront those emotions head-on.

And though the cover looks like it belongs in the young adult section, this is not a book for most children.

I think it was Philo of Alexandria who wrote "always be kind. Everyone around you is fighting a great battle." Gemma was a powerful reminder of this principle for me. Under Tilly's demanding tutelage, confronted with evil again - this time through the vivid force of art - I feel my capacity for empathy, kindness, and love rekindled.

Splash, out


P.S., Meg Tilly is donating half the royalties of her book to charities that serve abused women. I will likewise donate any Amazon proceeds from Meg Tilly book sales to a similar charity, and match them myself.

Please, please click on the Amazon link above.

UPDATE: Coincidentally, October is DOD Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Commanders can go through an online training module available here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How about a nice big cup of shut the f*ck up? 

The humor-impaired daughter of the model in the original poster is objecting to the famous photoshop.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Reid abuses campaign donor's cash 

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has been using campaign donations instead of his personal money to pay Christmas bonuses for the support staff at the Ritz-Carlton where he lives in an upscale condominium. Federal election law bars candidates from converting political donations for personal use.

Questioned about the campaign expenditures by The Associated Press, Reid's office said Monday he was personally reimbursing his campaign for $3,300 in donations he had directed to the staff holiday fund at his residence.

I didn't get too far out on the Reid land story, because I wasn't wholly convinced there was much there. Transfers of assets to LLCs and partnerships happen all the time - as do clerical errors.

But this seems easy enough to understand.

Splash, out


An average 14 French policemen a day are wounded in clashes in Muslim slums.

That's not much different from my back-of-the-envelope numbers for the number of coalition combat wounded each day in Iraq.

Splash, out


End segregation!!!! 
Start by putting this guy in the general population now.

UPDATE: The perp agreed to plead guilty to save himself from execution. Shasta will therefore not have to testify.

Sounds like a win-win to me. Maybe the prospect of being released into the general population got his attention!

Splash, out


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Meg Tilly interview 
Meg Tilly discusses her first book, "Singing Songs," and her own harrowing childhood in this moving interview.

I hadn't known about the autobiographical elements of either of her novels prior to starting Gemma. But in reading through Gemma, and before going out and looking at the research and promotion on either book, it was obvious to me, for various reasons, that neither Gemma, nor her abusers, Hayden and Buddy, were made up out of whole cloth.

This one time ... 
...at band camp...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Liberal bias? 
What liberal bias?

Some things are just frigging beyond parody.

No Greater Love 
CORONADO, Calif. Oct 13, 2006 (AP)— A Navy SEAL sacrificed his life to save his comrades by throwing himself on top of a grenade Iraqi insurgents tossed into a sniper hideout his unit had discovered, fellow members of the elite force said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor had been near the only door to the rooftop structure Sept. 29 when the grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor, said four SEALs who spoke to The Associated Press this week on condition of anonymity because their work requires their identities to remain secret.

"He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," said a 28-year-old lieutenant who sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him."

Ok, I admit it...I've been a sucker for Meg Tilly ever since I first saw her in "The Big Chill" when I was 13.

Well, she's not acting much these days. Instead, she's writing. So I picked up her latest novel, Gemma. I'm in the middle of it now.

It's sort of a cross between Catcher in the Rye and Lolita. Except Holden Caulfield gets raped and stuffed in a trunk, and Humbert Humbert is not only a pervert but a sadist, too.


Depressing as hell.

Don't look for the movie to come out any time soon.

Sleight of hand and twist of fait-accompli 
Writing in this issue of the New Yorker, Nicholas Lemann exemplifies what I consider to be the sophomoric, weak-minded "sophistication" of the American left - the way the confuse cynicism with skepticism and abtuseness with being thoughtful:

"Bush quickly, and evidently correctly, ["evidently???"] editor] identified Al Qaeda as the party responsible for the attacks on the United States, but he chose to present the nation with a different, more mysterious enemy: a broad category of terrorists, people scattered all over the world who "hate our freedoms" and "want to disrupt and end a way of life." These were resonant and inspiring phrases, and the framed the national situation, plausibly enough for people not to notice that it was being framed, as one in which untold numbers of unseen enemies were engaged in an ongoing and highly effective conspiracy to do us terrible harm."

Excuse me, Mr. Lemann, but what Bush said - as you characterize it - was and is absolutely correct, in every detail.

Are you going to try to argue that Al Qaeda and its many offshoots (and there are many - even if Nicolas Lemann is too naive to understand the nature of threats that are ideological movements, rather than a neat and defineable political entity, all wrapped up and packaged so even a leftard can understand it) are not a shadowy group?
Are not a broad category of terrorists? You who are so ready to implicitly deny, via the use of scare quotes, that these terrorists hate our freedoms... what is your evidence that those who force women under pain of torture to wear burkas, who embrace the tradition of honor killings, of forced genital mutilation, who murder women who dare educate themselves, what is your evidence that these people do not "hate our freedoms?"

What is the purpose of striking at a world financial center for the west if not to disrupt a way of life? And what are dreams of an Islamic Caliphate extending from Indonesia to Spain but dreams of ending a way of life for those unfortunate to live under its venomous rule?

What Lemann wants to characterize as a "framing," clear-headed people must consider to be the thing itself.

This is how a generation of post-modernist and deconstructionist "analysis" (to use the scare-quote technique against them) has crippled the intellectual capacity of a nation. They are incapable of correctly percieving the threat - thinking for all the world that what we call the threat is really a construction. While they are paralyzed by analysis and reduced to hand-wringing sycophants by the house of mirrors they have constructed to shelter their little minds from the threat, one of those mirrors is going to turn out to be real - and blow their brains all over creation.

Indeed, that already happened, on 9/11.

They can't figure out that it wasn't an illusion.

More Lemann:

"That already seems like a long time ago. Since then, the United States has not had another major terrorist attack."

Excuse me, Mr. Lemann, but you're willfully ignoring a lot that has already transpired - and was no Halloween funhouse illusion. Just because the terrorists have failed to mount another strike inside the US is not dispositive in any way. You glide right past the blood bath we saw in Bali - twice. You are blind to the carnage in Madrid commuter trains, oblivious to the viciousness of Baslan, and whistle past the graves of the victims of Islamic savagery in London - not to mention the widespread destruction ensuing from the collapse of the rule of law in hundreds of cities all over France last year.

Combined with the attacks of 9/11 themselves, if those are not a 52-ounce cluebat to the side of the New Yorker intellectual's head, then there is simply no getting through to those like them. They can be dismissed as irrational - as so hobbled by their intellectual leg-irons imposed on them by their neo-Marxist professors that they can be considered irrelevant to the solution. Ironically, Lemann's essay is entitled "The Paranoid Style -" yet Lemann himself exemplifies the very Paranoid Style of politics that he set out to deride.

Yes, Lemann does have a moment of insight - he correctly perceives that the Paranoid Style of American politics is more common on the left than the right. But he fails to understand that the cocktail-liberal's reflexive skepticism - regardless of the weight of evidence - represents the rich and nutritious whacky-turf that enables florid paranoia to take root and prosper.


"The logic of the connection between September 11th and the American conquest and occupation of Iraq has been obliterated."

Straw man. There was no direct connection between September 11th and the invasion of Iraq. Lehmann presents a false argument. No one ever seriously argued that there was such a connection.

Rather, September 11th was a catalyst that radically altered our perception of the threat. The attack on Iraq was not retaliatory. It was preemptive. It was an attempt to take the strategic offensive against the terror threat. (I would like to talk to someone like Lehmann and ask them what the strategic offensive would look like to them? How would they seize the strategic offensive from the terrorists? Hold them to specifics. Pin them down. I suspect they will be forced to concede that they would consider it to be an abuse of American power to seize the strategic offensive at all. Because we are strong, says leftard logic, we must be content with the strategic defensive. Because our way of life is superior, we must consign millions to permanent slavery under the rule of our enemies. Is there any way to seize the strategic offensive - and strike fear into the hearts of our enemies that they would support?

No. Instead, they will look past the giant hole in the ground in Manhattan and advocate policies predicated on the assumption that we don't have enemies at all. And damn the honored dead.

But I digress.

What Lemann cannot grasp is that the US did not attack Saddam because of 9/11. The US attacked Saddam because he was an obvious potential sponsor of FUTURE 9/11s.

Let the left try to demonstrate otherwise - they cannot carry the point. Logically they cannot, because a negative assertion is not readily proveable. It can only be disproved...and they would have the weight of the world against them - having to argue Saddam's innocence.

Not that that stops these rats, from doing so, even now.

Splash, out


David Lindley 
A master of the art of slide guitar. Circa 2005 at Garberville Theater.

The man has a clock that can knock down a house.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Deterrence logic 
Charles Krauthammer is calling for making U.S. nuclear deterrence policy against North Korea absolutely explicit: Seeing as there is no other nuclear power so reckless in its nuclear proliferation, the United States will consider any mystery nuke terror attack against any U.S. ally as having its origin in North Korea, and any such attack will trigger a full nuclear retaliatory strike on North Korea.

Krauthammer further goes on to argue that such a policy would collapse if Iran were to get a nuclear weapon, since the origin of any nuclear terror attack would not be clear.

My argument is two-sided: On the one hand, I don't believe such a policy collapses if Iran becomes a nuclear power. On the other hand, I don't believe the clarity of the Kennedy policy w/r/t missiles based in Cuba is as easy to achieve as Krauthammer implies.

First of all, a little game theory: Suppose Iran becomes a nuclear power. Suppose further, that the United States publicly declares that any nuclear attack by any rogue terror group will be considered the work of a North Korean/Iranian axis, and as such will trigger a massive, devastating nuclear strike on both Iran and North Korea together.

Now take a look at the risk matrices available to both countries at that point: Both countries have no less a deterrent to nuclear proliferation than they did before. The deterrent is exactly the same as it was prior to Iran becoming a nuclear power.

But more than that -- both countries have to consider the risk that the OTHER guy is a complete nutjob who will get all of them destroyed.

Yes, it is true that Iran could have motives pure as the driven snow, but if North Korea sells nukes to Al Qaeda for cash, and Al Qaeda uses it against, say Australia, millions of innocent Iranian citizens will transformed in an instant into charcoal dust.

Yes, well, nobody ever said life was fair.

But both rogue regimes now have an entirely new risk calculus to consider: By becoming members of the nuclear club, their prestige may grow locally (though I think this is really just an illusion), but their level of risk increases exponentially. Unless each is absolutely sure about the good intentions and basic rationality of the other, then they now have a powerful incentive opt-out of the collective retaliation policy to give up their nuclear programs in a verifiable way - a massive iteration of the classic "prisoner's dilemma."

Depending on how nutty one is perceived by the other, the West may even be able to extract additional concessions in a last-ditch attempt by the defecting party to avoid being dragged into a likely nuclear scenario against their interests.

If the U.S. is willing to be bold and clear, then, it is possible for North Korea and Iran's nuclear status to backfire on them.

That said, at the lower end of the nuclear first-strike spectrum, there's a certain murkiness to the issue. Would a dirty-bomb attack be sufficient to trigger the nuclear devastation of North Korea?

Well, if the radioactive isotopes used in the attack can be traced back to the Norks, then it's a no brainer. But a lot of countries have radioactive materials that could be used in a nuclear attack. And remember that U.S. policy is rather heavily hinged on the deteriorating actuarial chances of one man - President Musharrif of Pakistan. If he should fall, then Pakistan's nuclear reliability comes seriously into question.

Does the U.S. then make a policy that Pakistan shall also fall under the massive retaliation policy? And in any event, does Saudi Arabia - which would LOVE to see Iran completely neutered - now have a perverse incentive to trigger a nuclear response by staging a dirty bomb attack and then seeing that it's blamed on the Iranians?

How about Sunni Arabs? The only people they hate more than the U.S. is the Iranians. Can a radical death-obsessed Sunni cult frame the Iranians?

Curiouser and curiouser.

Splash, out


For musicians 
Interesting discussion on intonation here.

I remember as a teenage guitar player - and a pretty serious student at that time - being incredibly frustrated because no matter how careful I was, I couldn't tune the damn guitar to sound good in D/Bm and in C/Am. It was particularly apparent in upper positions.

It took me a long time to actually figure out that it wasn't me. It is mathematically impossible to tune a guitar. And what's worse is that if there is any flex to the neck at all (and there has to be a slight bow, or the lower notes will buzz against the frets), the very act of pressing the string down to the fret increases tension on the string, pulling it out of tune.

That's why I eventually became enamored with the violin -- you can play in just temperament in any key without having to retune the damn thing.

Not that I'm God's Gift to Intonation or anything. I'm not by a long shot. But when you're in tune, and in the zone...it's magic.

Splash, out


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Travel Advice for Tourists Visiting North Korea 
Fascinating stuff from a travel agency that specializes in North Korean tours.

Please be aware that whist we do the utmost for our tourists it is also important not to put our guides in danger. They are under very strict regulations as to what they can and cannot do and this is not negotiable. For example; you are not free to wander around on your own, there are photographic restrictions and video cameras are not allowed in through customs. The main problem is with journalists who have tried to enter the DPRK with us but without informing us of their status. This has led to two serious instances which put our guides in danger. We therefore ask all journalists to notify us of their position so we can suggest other alternatives.

We cannot risk putting the guides in serious danger and it is therefore only advisable visiting the DPRK if you can tolerate the following points:

In the DPRK you will be under close scrutiny from the guides and security. Use of cameras causes the majority of problems. You can only take a photograph of what the guides allow. The public are obliged to report all photography. Taking photos of soldiers, at check points, poverty, sneaked photos and close ups of people without their express permission will cause serious problems. Photography when being driven around is also restricted. Even what we would interpret as 'day to day' harmless scenes may cause problems. It is too easy to get carried away and think that it is not causing offence or would not put the guides in danger. This is not the case and therefore we ask our tourists to take a very responsible attitude even though it may mean missing the photographic opportunity. If the group gets the confidence of the guides you will have amazing opportunities for photography and you will miss out on very little. You cannot take lens over 150 mm into DPRK.

Leaving the hotel without the guides or the guides' express permission is not possible. If you are feeling the need for 'a breath of air' then a casual stroll along the river is possible but only if accompanied with a guide. It is possible to stroll in the grounds of the hotel but please ask the guide and do not take your camera.

We are 'invited' to the DPRK and therefore we ask our tourists to respect the Koreans and their vision of the Great Leader- this involves bowing at the 20 metre statue on Mansudae and on various other occasions. Chewing gum/sweets and wearing scruffy clothing in places of Korean national importance (Mansudae statue to Kim Il Sung/Friendship Exhibition/and Manyongdae birthplace of Kim Il Sung in particular) will offend guides.

In all these instances it is the guides that get into trouble and not you. We cannot risk putting the guides in danger. If you are happy just to be taken around the 'system' with all the diatribe and trimmings, then you will have the most amazing experience. If any of the above poses a problem it is advisable not to visit the DPRK as we have too many experiences of seeing guides put in serious trouble by tourists who are not aware of their actions.

Italics in original.

It's very easy to forget the millions of people in North Korea trying to live out their lives as best they can.

Splash, out


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Todd Beamer's Dad Speaks Out on the Iraq War 
Funny, I don't hear much talk about Todd Beamer's dad's moral authority being "absolute.

Indeed, the reaction of the baying hyenas on the left has been to castigate him.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

From 1995 
I was going to post the following in exerpt. But it needs to be read in its entirety.


Testimony of Gary Milhollin

Professor, University of Wisconsin Law School and
Director, Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control

Before the Senate Committee on Armed Services

January 26, 1995

I am pleased to appear here today before this Committee to discuss the United States-North Korean nuclear accord signed last October. I am a member of the University of Wisconsin law faculty, and I direct a research project here in Washington that is devoted to tracking and inhibiting the spread of nuclear weapons to additional countries.

America's principal gain under the agreement is the freeze in North Korea's plutonium production. North Korea has promised not to extract the plutonium from 8,000 spent fuel rods in its possession. There are an estimated 25 kilograms of plutonium in the rods, enough for four to five weapons. North Korea also promises not to complete two graphite reactors that have been under construction. Those reactors could produce enough plutonium for 25-30 bombs per year if they came on line as scheduled over the next two years. North Korea also promises to stop operating a small graphite reactor that discharged the 8,000 fuel rods.

I would like to cover three points: the agreement's effect on our nonproliferation policy; its effect on the International Atomic Energy Agency; and its effect on the peninsula.

The agreement with North Korea abandons non-proliferation policies that the United States has followed since the 1970s. The United States has always opposed the sale of light water reactors to countries that are proliferation risks. We talked the French out of supplying such a reactor to Pakistan and talked the Germans out of supplying two to Iran. We would not even consider selling such a reactor to Israel, a U.S. ally, because of Israel's rejection of the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty.

Only last week, Secretary of State Christopher was quoted in a speech at Harvard University as warning that Iran has a "crash" program to build nuclear weapons. According to the Washington Post, an aide said that Christopher's comment was "a shot at the Russians," who have announced that they will complete two reactors in Iran. The reactors are at Bushehr, and have a special history.

American diplomacy convinced Germany, which started building the reactors, not to finish them, and Iraq felt that they were so threatening that Iraqi planes bombed them during the Iran-Iraq war. Now, in the wake of the U.S.-North Korean deal, the Russians are stepping into the picture. If the Russians finish the first reactor within five years, which is the current estimate of the construction time, Iran will have its first access to weapon quantities of plutonium. This will be a disaster for U.S. diplomacy, which has tried for many years to prevent Iran from reaching this point. And the Russians are not stopping with Iran. There are also reports that they will build light water reactors in India. This action will break a de facto nuclear reactor embargo on India that has held since the 1970s.

Mr. Christopher's remark shows that the State Department is having trouble facing reality. How can the United States expect Russia not to sell reactors to Iran if we are giving the same type of reactors free to North Korea?

Why are light water reactors important? Because they, like all other reactors, make plutonium that can be used in atomic bombs. That is why the International Atomic Energy Agency inspects light water reactors in countries around the world, and why the United States has opposed their sale to Iran. The two reactors going to North Korea can make twice as much bomb-grade plutonium as the graphite reactors North Korea has now, including the ones under construction. The two giant light water reactors could turn out at least 70 bombs' worth of weapon-grade plutonium per year. North Korea's existing graphite reactors are only one eighth as big, and could make only 25-30 bombs' worth per year. The State Department does not dispute these numbers.

Is the plutonium from light water reactors more "proliferation resistant" than plutonium from graphite reactors? The answer is no. If North Korea wants to, it can operate the light water reactors to make plutonium that is ideal for bombs. To make weapon-grade plutonium, it would only be necessary to shut down and reload more often. In such a mode the two reactors would produce at least 400 kg of plutonium per year, enough for roughly 70 bombs if one assumes between five and six kilograms per bomb. The Iranian light water reactors at Bushehr could do the same. By contrast, the three North Korean graphite reactors would not produce more than 150 kg per year, enough for 25-30 bombs.

Neither North Korea nor Iran has a plant to extract plutonium from light water reactor fuel, but North Korea could modify its existing plutonium plant to do so, and Iran could build a plant. Both countries could do this without violating the Nonproliferation Treaty.

Why does North Korea want light water reactors? Nobody outside that country seems to know. The administration admits that the United States could provide coal- or oil-fired plants much faster and cheaper, and without creating dependence on outside suppliers for fuel. And why does Iran want light water reactors? Iran is sitting on one of the biggest pools of oil in the world. Iran can make electricity from oil or gas for a fraction of what it would cost to make it from uranium. And with reactors, Iran too would start depending on outside suppliers for fuel. To believe that North Korea and Iran want light water reactors to make electricity is to believe in fairy tales.

There is a more plausible explanation for North Korea's strange desire for a light water reactor. It is delay. If the United States supplied gas-, oil- or coal-fired plants, the deal could be done in one year instead of five or ten. But that would mean that North Korea would have to perform its side of the bargain in one year. North Korea would have to let international inspectors see the plutonium it is hiding. North Korea would also have to start dismantling its nuclear plants. But North Korea doesn't want to do that. It wants to get its economy rescued, and keep its bomb program alive, both at the same time. The light water reactor--because it takes so long to build--meets both those needs. Delay has been North Korea's strategy all along, and still is.

In effect, over the first five years of the agreement, the United States is agreeing to let North Korea keep any bombs it has already made, and is paying North Korea not to make any more. North Korea is the only country ever to join the Treaty and then openly break the inspection obligations under it. This strategy has obviously paid off. Uncle Sam is rewarding North Korea not only with oil and reactors, but by dropping the trade restrictions that are now driving down North Korea's economy.

The message to other countries is clear. If you join the Nonproliferation Treaty, and break it by secretly making bombs, you will receive billions of dollars worth of free nuclear- and fossil- fuel energy. And you will get these benefits even if you are committing human rights violations, even if you have an undisputed record as a terrorist nation, and even if you are developing and exporting nuclear-capable missiles to other terrorist nations.

The State Department, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Energy Committee, argued that the North Korean deal was not a precedent for Iran, since Iran isn't being asked to shut down any nuclear facilities. But that is because Iran has no nuclear facilities like North Korea's. The State Department's case amounts to saying that the only difference between the two cases is that Iran isn't blackmailing us--because it can't yet.

There is also the question of international inspections. North Korea is being treated as a "special case," essentially because North Korea has successfully blackmailed us. Hans Blix, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said that a country must either be either in or out of the Nonproliferation Treaty. If it joins, it must accept the whole menu of inspection rights; it can't order "a la carte." But that is what the United States has allowed North Korea to do. The IAEA asked North Korea to allow international inspectors into two waste sites under the IAEA's "special inspection" procedure. Instead of backing up the IAEA, the U.S. State Department cut a special deal exempting Pyongyang from such inspections for at least five years. This left the IAEA twisting the wind in North Korea, and undermined it everywhere else. If Iran now demands the same exemption from special inspections that North Korea is getting under the U.S. agreement--and there is no reason to think Iran won't--the IAEA won't stand a chance of finding the secret bomb program that the CIA and Secretary Christopher say Iran is running.

This lack of inspections leads to the third question: how North Korea might take advantage of the agreement to advance its program of plutonium and weapons production. The CIA says there is a "better than even" chance that North Korea has already incorporated its secret cache of plutonium into bombs. If so, North Korea can remain a nuclear power while being paid not to be. If North Korea has not made a bomb yet, it has five years to perfect one secretly, because surprise inspections are effectively barred until then. The agreement, in Section IV, gives North Korea at least five years to "come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement." The State Department says this means that North Korea is exempt from inspection of any site connected to its past plutonium accumulation from its small reactor. In fact, this loophole is big enough to exempt every suspect site in the country.

North Korea also is allowed to keep its three graphite reactors, its plutonium processing plant and its 8,000 plutonium-bearing spent fuel rods intact until the next century, when the first light water reactor will be completed. The risk is that North Korea could accept the oil, trade and diplomatic benefits until it gets back on its feet. Then, it could kick out the inspectors and make five more bombs' worth of plutonium from the spent fuel rods. A revived and stronger North Korea would be harder to deal with than the crumbling North Korea we are facing now.

Pyongyang's military threat is unaffected by the pact. North Korea's troops and tanks are still massed on the South Korean border. North Korea can also continue to develop its heavy NoDong missile for sale to Libya, Iran and Syria. The NoDong's range is estimated at 1,000 km, enough to deliver a nuclear weapon to Japan from North Korea. It could also be launched from Libya to reach Southern Europe, and from Iran or Syria to reach Israel.

I would like to close by saying that the best time to confront the North Korean nuclear threat was during the Reagan and Bush administrations. The program had not yet reached the threshold of success, and there was still time for sanctions to work. Both administrations watched the program grow. But they pushed the problem into the Clinton administration. Now the Clinton administration has made a deal that will probably push the problem into the next administration, since that is when a breach by North Korea is most likely to occur. Pushing problems off to one's successor may be tempting politically, but it is a risky way to deal with the spread of nuclear weapons.

Star Wars: Los Frikis Strike Back! 

Orcs from Nork 
Krauthammer was all over this back in 2002.

One of the proudest achievements of the Clinton administration was the Agreed Framework with North Korea. Clinton assured us that it froze the North Korean nuclear program. North Korea gave us a piece of paper promising to freeze; we gave North Korea 500,000 tons of free oil every year and set about building -- also for free -- two huge $2 billion nuclear power plants that supposedly could be used only to produce electricity. Japan and South Korea were induced to give tons of foreign aid as well, Clinton being the committed multilateralist, even in extortion.

It turns out the North Koreans took the loot and lied. Surprise! All the while they were enriching uranium. They now brazenly admit to having a nuclear weapons program and other weapons of mass destruction.

There is now a brazen campaign on the part of some to embrace the breathtaking absurdity that the entire reason North Korea's 15-year nuclear program is reaching fruition now is because George Bush included the world's biggest wholesale operator of modern concentration camps in the tripartite Axis of Evil.

This is a baldfaced lie. North Korea had been enriching Uranium for years. It should be obvious by now that the Clinton/Carter/Albright team had been taken advantage of, stooges that they were. Carter gave Kim Jong Il not one, but two nuclear reactors. Gave them to them! Barely a decade after Israeli airmen were risking their lives to take out Osiris in Iraq, Bill Clinton - always eager to please - struck a deal that leaves the free world with a mouthful of ashes.

North Korea can cause a ton of damage in South Korea, but that was it. It has not had the heat to be a truly existential threat to South Korea in some time. The only way they can take territory is to send their hapless army into a buzz saw of death down restrictive terrain in outdated BTR-60s. I doubt their spare parts acquisition and distribution systems are up to the challenge.

Il was bluffing all along, and we played right into it.

Il is a paranoid and brutal, delusional and pathetic little man. His army will not commit mass suicide for him. They might have for Kim Il Sung, but not for Kim Jong Il.

At any rate, the Chaidong gulags were built long before Bush called a spade a spade. Entire families have been perishing in North Korean gulags for generations, thanks to the North Korean policy of arresting and imprisoning entire families of dissidents, and holding hostage the families of those who travel abroad.

Kim Jong Il is the POSTER CHILD for despotic evil in the modern world. And the left objects now to the leader of the free world pointing that out?

They have no shame. No shame at all. There is no principle on Earth the left is not willing to sell out in the reckless pursuit of short-term partisan advantage.

Had Churchill known enough about the German death camps in the summer of 1939 to muster a full-throated condemnation, the left would now be accusing Churchill of inspiring Auschwitz himself.

The left objects to the characterization of Kim Jong Il's regime as evil.

I challenge anyone who agrees with that singularly noxious sentiment to read this entire page - and then convince me that George Bush was wrong.

The Sainted President Clinton can gift wrap two nuclear reactors and FedEx them to the camp kommandants himself, and gets a pass. But the left wants to blame Bush for pointing out the obvious.

The left continues to thirst for power like Gollum for the ring. Politics stop at the planet's edge for them.

Frigging runatics.

Sprash, out


Monday, October 09, 2006

On forgiveness 
An interesting discussion at Hot Air

You can take the boy out of The Nation 
...But you can't take The Nation out of the boy.

Christopher Hitchens, a longtime 'man of the Left' cum neo-con savages Henry Kissinger - and refers to Paul Bremer as his "unindicted co-conspirator."

Screedy goodness from a true master of the art form.

Of course, Woodward's book has handed a free gift to those who cannot engage their minds on any foreign-policy question without using the word "Vietnam." I have written all that I can on the ahistorical falsity of this analogy, but if Kissinger really does have anything to do with the conduct of Iraq policy, then what we should fear is not just another attempt at moral blackmail of those who call for withdrawal. For the analogy to hold, we should have to find that while this militant rhetoric was being deployed in public, a sellout and a scuttle was being prepared behind the scenes. We are not fighting the Viet Cong in Iraq but the Khmer Rouge. A bungled withdrawal would lead to another Cambodia, not another Vietnam. It would be too horrible for Kissinger to live to see two such triumphs.


That one's gonna hurt!

Splash, out


p.s., Also see this column on the role of military chaplains.

Ref. the New York Times story beginning thus: WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 — Congress removed a controversial provision in a military bill on Friday that would have permitted chaplains to offer sectarian prayer at mandatory nondenominational events.

Hitch is absolutely right here. The tendency of evangelicals to want to push sectarian prayer where it does not belong is singularly obnoxious - and does more, in my opinion, to turn off converts to Christianity than any policy of self-conscious agnosticism ever could.

I don't have many Jews under my charge. But I do have a few...and I usually have one or two Muslims on the 1379. My chaplain is welcome anywhere at any time. But if he doesn't have the sense to minister to ALL of my soldiers, EQUALLY, then as a unit commander, he will not be speaking at any function I'm responsible for. I'd rather go out and find my own clergyman who "gets it."

Fortunately, I'm convinced we've got the best chaplain anywhere in the Army - in part because he's sensitive to the needs of all our soldiers, and is well respected in the ranks.

I won't have my religious minority soldiers slighted at mandatory functions.

Splash, out


Ted Turner on the war on terror ... 
Ted, the man who married Jane Fonda, can't make up his mind who's side he's on in the War on Terror.

I think I liked him better when he was bringing Putt Putt to the masses and colorizing old movies.

Splash, out


"Everybody Raffed When I Said I Was Gonna Pop a Nuke... 

"...Well, They're Sure Not Raffing Now."

Hat Tip for the Image to BlackFive.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Blogging in Japan... 
or "brogging," as it is known rocarry, has become arr the rage in the rand of the rising sun.

I know. You're raffing your ass off.

Democratic Support of Veterans 
Memo to Democrats:

Next time your chuckleheaded staff makes a web page demonstrating the Democratic commitment to veterans, try to ensure that the pictures of veterans you run are from the right frigging country!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

God, Guns Guitars and Guts 

Friday, October 06, 2006

The great issues of our time 
While the most gullible people in America are pulling their hair out over trivialities like Foleygate and all this war stuff, the serious thinkers among us are applying some serious candlepower to the critical issues of our time:

Who's better, the Bangles or the Go-Go's?

John 15:13 
Greater love hath no man than this: That he lay his life down for his friends.

While Democrats have lured weak-assed Republicans into the mire of Foley's IMs to a 17/18 year-old kid, look at the rhetoric coming out of North Korea.

Foley will be a footnote in history in three weeks.

North Korea? Not so much.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Will we be using CS gas on the battlefield? 
The Armchair Generalist has an interesting look.

My take: Just win, baby. Gas them enough and they'll surrender without firing a shot. Then you can get intel from them. You can't get as much intel from dead people.

But the first step has to be a full-court press to get in front of the media on this. Absent that, the ignoramuses in the media will conflate tear gas - approved for use against rock-throwing hooligans in Seattle and Texan children on religious whack-job compounds near Waco - with lethal chemical weapons like nerve and mustard gas.

Then we'll be fighting a defensive battle trying to get the thumbsuckers at the NY Times to get the facts right on a story after the fact, while dealing with political fallout at home and abroad.

Don't leave it to the media to get the facts right. Get them out there in spite of them.

Splash, out


A great Christian 
...and a mensch of the first order.

I am humbled.

Just win, baby! 
Victor Davis Hanson:

At some point all these retired generals need to simply quiet down and think. In World War II, Nimitz or Eisenhower never blamed the Secretary of War or FDR for the mistakes on Iwo Jima or the Kasserine Pass. Instead, they called in their top brass, drew up a plan, followed it, and then presented a successful fait accompli to their civilian overseers. In other words, our four-stars need to summon their colonels and majors in the field, draw up a military strategy that ensures our political aims of seeing a stable consensual Iraq, and then win. Blaming Bush, or faulting Rumsfeld is a waste of time; figuring out as military officers how to achieve victory over a canny enemy is all that matters.

From the Comments 
Elevated from the comments section:

...It's not about now, it's about where the US will be in 20 years. And it's about where potential enemies will be in 20 years.

Right now, no sane air force would try and tangle with the USAF, let alone the US Navy and the Marine fliers. I think that this is a given, especially for the Chinese: they're not dumb, they saw what happend in GWI and GWII. They are also keen observers of what has been going on in Iraq, and from what I've heard - all unclassified - they have learned never to try to deal with us on our terms, as they know that means lots of dead soldiers, virtally all theirs.

But it's not about now: it's about 20 years from now. The job of the USAF is dominance of the aerospace environment to support US national security goals - duh - and while you can do that with the current hardware, in 15 years all of the current inventory will be very, very long in the tooth. Sure, a lot can be done with everyone's new darling, RPVs, but there is one area where that doesn't work: air combat. There is no situational awareness available for RPVs, especially when there is massive jamming and active interference on control channels: RPVs will replace ground attack and support, but to get air superiority using RPVs you have to introduce a massive improvement in AI/independent computing that simply isn't in the pipeline, as it will require some massive breakthroughs. Hence the need, a fundamental need, for fighter pilots: you may be able to replace them some day, but you can't today *and* for the foreseeable future.

That said, the F22 has two attributes that are killer attributes, pun intended: supercruise and relative stealth. They can be seen from the ground and AWACS under the right conditions, but they won't be seen by any of the fighter-born radars of the current or next generations, meaning that they won't be seen. Add to that supercruise and you have the following scenario: a plane that can fire its formidable missile load will outside of an enemy's ability to even detect them, and a plane that can break off combat at will by going faster than anyone else can for a sustained period. An enemy can match supercruise by going to afterburner, but they go bingo faster than they can get into range.

In other words, the F22 really is a dedication to air superiority without having to get involved in close air-to-air, where some of the contemporary challengers are very good indeed. But instead of building an even more manouverable F16 - remember, this has been tried with canards and the like - you simply change to terms of the conflict so as to avoid it where possible (and with that huge wing and supercruise speed, the F22 wouldn't be a slouch here either, with vast energy reserves and control surfaces to put them to use).

And we can afford them: we're fighting a war and spending like we're at peace. Bump the military budget back to where it was in the Cold War and we can buy all the F22s we need, as well as the F35 and all the RPV follow-ons...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Rallying the troops 
Alright, I'm tired of this shit.

Tired of the lot of ya who are willing to hand the keys to Congress over to San Francisco whack job Nancy "The War in Afghanistan is Over" Pelosi and Harry "Stop Sign" Reid and the odious John "I was for it before I was against it" Kerry, all because some jerk in Florida has an AOL account and a hard on.

You're falling right into the Democratic trap. They are going to play this to the hilt, because it is their goal to take the election by stripping the base away from the Republicans. It's the hidden ball trick.

Yes, the GOP leadership acted suboptimally. But what do you think they should have done? Expel a Congressman because he is too friendly in some emails with some pages? Well, the Donks are hoping that you'll say "yes." But they're lying to you through obfuscation.

The Donks are going to rely on the press's inability to discern the emails from the IM's. And it's in the IM's that the real damning evidence was found - not the emails. For all the Donk braying, there is still nothing to suggest that the GOP house leadership knew about the IMs. Only a few of the emails. And while I posted when I was aware of only the emails that they certainly rubbed me the wrong way, and warranted some caution, there was nothing in them to suggest a crime. A propensity to one, perhaps. But Foley was voted into office by the people of his district - not by Dennis Hastert. Absent evidence of a crime, Hastert would have had no business trying to strip Foley of his office.

Had he tried, the Donks would have gone hysterical, arguing that the GOP was rotten with homophobia, and was trying to disenfranchise the voters of Palm Beach a second time (but only after the incumbent was removed.)

You think the Democrats would have done any better looking out for kids? The last time a Democrat congressman boinked a 17 year old volunteer, Clinton granted him clemency. Then another Democrat, a former Democrat presidential candidate at that, hired him out of prison - and made him a youth counselor!!!!!!

Barney Frank's tale of scuzziness - his boyfriend was running a prostitution ring out of his home or office - I forget which - is well-known. Frank is still in office, of course. Marion Barry got busted with cocaine and a prostitute and rather than apologize and check into rehab, his first reaction was 'The Bitch Set Me Up.'

Let's take a trip in the Wayback Machine to recall how Democrat congressional leaders handle reports of scandal when they're in charge:

The year is 1991. Democrats control the House and the Senate. Capitol Hill police are investigating a single Capital Hill employee for embezzlement. The investigation begins to spread. Turns out that Dan Rostenkowski, a Democratic congressman from Illinois and a product of the old Chicago Democratic Machine, may be implicated in the scam. So what does the Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley do?

Well, he bucks up like a man.

And shuts down the whole investigation.

That's right. When the Democrats had the Hill, they enforced a code of omerta on the entire Capitol, and quashed the investigation over the objections of the Capitol Hill Police!

Talk about politicizing law enforcement!!!

Well, eventually the information got out and the Donkles were forced to admit to the obvious...they were crooked as Hell.

It took the United States Post Office to conduct the investigation that the Democrats wouldn't allow the capitol hill police to do: prove that Dan Rostenkowski and Joe Kolter, another Democrat from Pennsylvania, were heading up the check-writing scam.

Rostenkowski served more than a year in prison.

Oh, and Clinton pardoned him, too, along with that former Democratic Congressman who boinked a 17-year old.

That is what happened the last time the Democrats held the House.

Oh, and then there was the House check writing scandal, in which dear Senator Barbara Boxer, then a Representative, was found to have written more than 100 bad checks totalling tens of thousands of dollars, against the House bank.

Ms. Boxer has been reelected consistently since then, and of course, elevated to the Senate. The worst of it: The Democrat House leadership tried to keep that from you!

That's right. The Democrat leadership, then in charge of the House, sought to restrict the publicizing of the true extent of the scandal, which involved far more Donks than Republicans. It was Newt Gingrich and "The Gang of Seven" who pushed to let it all hang out. He hung a few Republicans - and got stung himself, when it came out that Gingrich himself had written a few hot ones.

The Democrats only wanted you to know about a few of the hard cases.

Nancy Pelosi, with more than 100 bad checks to her name, apparently didn't rise to the standard of a "hard case" according to the party of Marion Barry and Tedward Kennedy.

Eventually, five Congresspersons were convicted or pled guilty to crimes. Four of them were Democrats. No wonder the Donks wanted to keep the whole thing under pretty tight wraps.

I shouldn't even have to bring up the years of footdragging, obfuscation, lost Rose Law Firm records, and lying that charactarized the Clinton Administration's reaction to the investigations derivative of the Whitewater investigation.

I doubt it would do any good to do so here. (Incidentally, I never thought there was anything to Whitewater, but the law is clear: Clinton was required to cooperate with federal investigators. He did not. Well, I guess he provided the same level of cooperation with Federal investigators as Tom Foley provided to the Capitol Hill Police trying to investigate the check-kiting scandal that got Rosty.

That is to say, he did everything he could to obstruct it - violating federal law in the process (which even provides stiff penalties for a reflexive, exculpatory "no.")

That's the Democrat record on scandal management. They simply don't have one. Were it not for Newt Gingrich and the Gang of Seven, Nancy Pelosi would not have had the opportunity to snag her first national soundbite I can remember: "I'm so embarrassed."

I can remember it clear as day because I was a college student and liberal Democrat in those days and I was embarrassed right along with her.

So AllahPundit and Ace and so many others are willing to walk away from the country and help deliver the keys to the War on Terror to the likes of Representative John "over the horizon" Murtha? All in a fit of pique because Hastert couldn't move to discipline an elected official under charges of being "overly friendly?"

We're constantly accusing Democrats of hysterical, overwrought emotionalism and sensationalism - and the right wing of the Blogosphere has gotten a serious attack of the Sullies.

Hell with that.

Get some perspective people.

Foleygate is a matter for the people of the 16th District of Florida to deal with.

We were Republicans because the Democrats are totally freaking unserious when it comes to prosecuting the war on terror. Pelosi is on record as even denying there IS a war on in Afganistan, while she says it's a disaster. The Donks are fighting tooth and nail to sell out the country so their trial lawyer constituency can discover a new market in Terrorists and open up a traffic ticket and terrorists rights office right outside of the Gitmo gate.

That's right. When you've whored yourself out to the trial lawyer hammer, everything looks like a tort nail.

And none of that has changed a whit.

Foley could have nailed that kid flatter than a hockey rink and none of that changed.

Meanwhile, it will shortly come to pass that Democrats - the party that grants clemency to people who, you know, actually boink their interns rather than just IM them about it - will have sat on the knowledge of those IMs longer than Hastert had an opportunity to. They sat on it for weeks - even months. Certainly they knew prior to the primaries.

And these conservatives are willing to sell the country out to the Pelosis all in a fit of pique?

Hell, no.

I'll be at the polling place in November, and I'll be pulling the lever for people who are serious about killing terrorists.

And so should you.

No, the party's not perfect. Yes, Hastert's a lousy speaker and a weak leader who inspires nothing. So sack him and replace him with someone in the Reagan mold. Republicans can do that, AND keep their majorities.

The issue isn't whether Republicans deserve to lose the election. They probably do.

But the country doesn't deserve to lose in the process, because core Republicans want to stamp their feet and bitch and cry. The time for that was in the primaries.

Don't be weakies. Get to the polls. Vote to put anti-terrorists in office of whatever party.

Don't be distracted by the Donk lies. Most of the good Democrats have been driven out, anyway. Sam Nunn? Gone. John Kerrey, the Medal of Honor-winning former SEAL from Nebraska? A great man. Gone. Pat Moynihan passed away, rest his soul. Lieberman? All but tarred and feathered. The blue dogs, the Reagan Democrats, have been driven from their ranks - me among them.

Fine. Let there be a price. But let it be paid by the party of Cynthia McKinney, Barney Frank, and John Murtha. Let it be paid by the party of Marion Barry and Dan Rostenkowski. Let it be paid by the party of Congressman Reynolds and the surrender monkeys.

Good Republicans are still trying to win the war on terror.

Help them.

Don't get side tracked. Don't get demoralized. Don't give up. Never, ever, ever, ever give up.

This is the election where America, after all the hard-won gains, decides whether it has the stomach to finish the job.


Splash, out


Attention UK 
You used to be cool.

Now you're turning into a bunch of pussies.

Fire whoever it was that struck a deal with the Taliban. Hell, hang the son of a bitch for treason. Hand the sorry little ballerina a cigarette and put him in front of a soon-to-be-pockmarked wall.

Then go find and kill the fucking enemy and put their heads on pikes.

There's no way Al Qaeda is going to honor the terms of any cease fire anywhere, you wankers. So don't you dare.

You're acting like a defeated army. Unfortunately, there's a lot of that going around.

Splash, out


The Newspaper of Wreckard 
The New York Times launches a howler on its corrections page.

A front-page article yesterday about a new book by Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, which describes divisions in the Bush administration over the Iraq war, gave an incorrect title in some copies for Donald H. Rumsfeld. He is the secretary of defense, not state.

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