May 08, 2007

NWN: Headline Roundup

WP: Economists worried as Wal-Mart spending laps defense spending

AP: Castro says America encourages escapes from Land of Milk and Honey

AP: Congress demands larger nets for fishing expeditions

Edwards: Being rich doesn't keep me from pandering to the poor

GOP suspects that Bush's popularity may be losing ground to Puppet Shows

NEWSFLASH: Polls show that oversampling Democrats by 50% ensures Democratic victories

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May 04, 2007

Transcript: The First GOP Debate

Chris Matthews: Chris Matthews here bringing you the first Republican Presidential Debate in partnership with MSNBC and Politico.com. Gentlemen, are we ready to begin?

Ron Paul: I think…

Matthews: That was a rhetorical question. Now gentlemen, in the interests of time you are limited to 30 second answers and a possible 30 second rebuttal if necessary, followed by 30 seconds of stupefied silence if necessary. Governor Romney, we’ll start with you. You’ve been quoted as saying that you don’t care too much if we capture Osama bin Laden. What do you have to say to that?

Romney: I do care about Osama bin Laden. Everyone up here does. But I also don’t buy the Democrats’ line that this entire conflict is about one man. There is a broader conflict here that goes beyond just Osama bin Laden, beyond Zarqawi or Saddam, and cuts to the heart of…

Matthews: I’m sorry governor, we’re pressed for time. Senator McCain, how do you respond to that?

McCain: I would respond by saying that I will follow Adolf Hitler to the ends of the Earth and into Hell and back to bring him to justice! I would pursue him and bring down his evil organization…

Matthews: The question was about Osama bin Laden…

McCain: Joseph Stalin and the Red Threat are more…

Matthews: Bin Laden.

McCain: There is a serious problem for America in Vietnam…

Matthews: I’m sorry senator, your time is up. Now this is a general panel question. Show of hands, how many of you are unbelievers in evolution?

Giuliani: I would like to point out that when I was mayor of New York…

Matthews: We’ll get to you in a minute, Mayor. This is for the Christians… So, three, four of you are unbelievers? Interesting. Senator McCain, your reactions?

McCain: I believe in evolution. When I heard Charles Darwin give his first lecture on the Origin of the Species I thought it was very convincing.

Ron Paul: I’d like to point out that the evolution debate is not a debate about God or biology… it is more about the evolution of our failed policy of expensive government expansionism in Iraq.

Tancredo: I wish the immigration debate would evolve into an actual debate instead of a homecoming parade for the Mexican army.

Romney: My abortion stance has evolved… does that count?

more...

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May 03, 2007

Neither World News: Deep Mysteries

Ahmadinejad banned at Holocaust Memorial

May 2, 2007

JERUSALEM – Historian and anti-war activist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he doesn’t know why he was not allowed to perform for Holocaust survivors recently at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum as he had planned.

In a letter to The Washington Post published Wednesday, he said poet Yasser Arafat had asked him to join him last Friday at the memorial for an all-night Holocaust Jam-O-Thon and that he had naturally accepted.

"I have always been an advocate for free thought and I have stood as firmly against the Israeli Holocaust agitprop as I did the so-called ‘Women’s Liberation’ and ‘Round Earth’ fables," he wrote. "I think now that perhaps, maybe, if I had a minute or two to think about it, I might have reworded a few of my speeches to downplay the ‘death to the Joooz’ angle. Maybe that's why I didn't hesitate to accept the invitation to sing for those who survived the gas chambers and slave camps of Auschwitz. In the end, four days before the performance, I was not 'approved' by the Zionists to take part. Strange irony."

Ahmadinejad, 50, told the Post in a telephone interview Tuesday that he had no idea why he was left off the program by the Zionist Imperium. "Maybe – and I’m not quite sure about this so don’t read too much into it – maybe there might have been one or two or thee Zionist Joo-Pigs there who thought that I was, inexplicably, a genocidal anti-Semite," he told the paper. "I’m boggled as to how they came to that conclusion. Haven’t they heard me say – at least five times now, I’m sure – that I’m definitely not and anti-Semite? I even shook hands with a Joo once! Not a filthy Zionist Joo mind you… the good kind."

The Post reported that Yad Vashem administrators did not answer requests for comment Tuesday, but that in an e-mailed statement published Monday on KittensWeavingBaskets.com, spokesman Israel Rosenthal said the museum received the request for participation by Ahmadinejad just two days before the event.

"These additional requirements were not in the agreement/contract and would have required a modification," Rosenthal told the magazine's Web site. "Plus… come on. I refuse to believe even he is that much of an idiot. Come on, guys... seriously?"

Ahmadinejad's manager, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the Post that Arafat's management invited Ahmadinejad to perform in March and handled all the arrangements. The Post said Arafat's manager, Herr Hermann Goering, did not return calls requesting comment and that Arafats's publicist said the statesman was ill Tuesday and unavailable.

But Arafat earlier told KittensWeavingBaskets.com: "They didn't give me a reason why he couldn't come. We asked why and they said, ‘Are you retarded?’"

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April 26, 2007

The Rove Protocols: Dark Night of Fascism

Political exile Naomi Wolf sends out a terrible warning to the world from London, where she has taken asylum since fleeing the United States.

LONDON – In a recent editorial in The Guardian, heroic American political dissident Naomi Wolf sent out a chilling message to the world: the dark night of fascism has finally fallen in the United States instead of Europe. In her gruesome description of her former homeland, Ms. Wolf paints a nightmare landscape of the American dictatorship in which all of the worst fears of prudent and civic-minded progressives have seemingly come true.

“I never thought it could happen to America the Beautiful™,” Naomi told us as she hugged her bundle of small American flags closer to her. “I didn’t want to believe that the country I loved so dearly, the government that I respected so deeply, and the troops that I supported so unconditionally would turn into this. But after the things I’ve seen, I can’t pretend anymore.”

Naomi cried a little as she contemplated her framed copy of the United States Constitution and sipped from her 84 oz Statue of Liberty GIGA-Gulp® mug. But who can blame her? In her editorial this week she details the specifics of what she calls the new “Fascist States of Bushitlerburton,” and the story she tells may very well make the first Hitler’s spinning corpse drill its way to the center of the Earth. She outlines the ten steps that any fascist dictator takes to solidify power and describes how Herr Bush has expanded on them in ways that would make Mussolini throw up his hands in holy horror!

* Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy: “It never occurred to me that something would be amiss in the Land I Love™ when dur Fuhrer told us that there was a global conspiracy of brown people who wanted to eat our babies,” Naomi shuddered as she cradled her bust of President George Washington. “Sure, I was a little surprised that it wasn’t the Jews this time, but I was blinded by my hope, optimism, and fiery patriotism to the point that I believed the basic goodness of America would steer us true.” She shook her head forlornly as she stroked the head of her American bald eagle, Patriot, and began to hum the refrain from the American national anthem.

But there was something amiss, as she writes in her editorial. Whereas she, like most God fearing Americans, believed that the brainchild of the shadowy and reclusive Karl Rove – this “War on Terror” – was a very specific conflict between the culture of liberal democracy and the culture of Islamic totalitarianism, the truth was far more broad. Under the guise of the “War on Terror” everyone who was darker than a lunch bag was suddenly under suspicion of “terrorism” no matter who they were. Pakistani mothers weaving American flags, African humanitarians planting apple trees, and even journalists who became too tan from long hours in the sun hand-polishing war memorials were now under suspicion, while no one batted an eye as roaming troops of fundamentalist Quakers invaded schools, bombed buses, and gang raped black ballet dancers working their way through college.

* Create a Gulag: Naomi, while engraving her marble effigy of Abraham Lincoln with the Pledge of Allegiance, told us, “When the media released classified information about the CIA detainment facilities, I naturally assumed that there was nothing illegal going on, that the Constitution of the United States only applies to citizens of the United States, and that the treacherous media was trying to stir up dissent. Little did I know what was really happening in the CIA Torture Camps!”

In her article Naomi describes how, instead of just detaining enemy combatants as spies and saboteurs, the Bushitler Regime was actually plucking American citizens off of the streets of their quaint, quiet little towns at random and sending them to be brutally tortured with grisly medieval devices. As American citizens, as opposed to foreign militants captured in battle without a uniform in violation of the Geneva Convention and thus held as saboteurs, these people’s constitutional rights were destroyed as they were held indefinitely without trial or legal council, many of them “rendered” to the Torture Gulag merely for speaking aloud that perhaps America might some day consider funding the United Nations.

* Develop a Thug Caste: “When I heard the news story of a group of young Republicans allegedly menacing vote counters in 2000, I took it as an isolated incident,” Naomi told us as she tattooed “God Bless America” on her forearm. “But then more stories came out about how the Lord Protector Bush was using the Republican party to cultivate a private army of brainwashed radical Christian theocrats! When they weren’t corralling the young men into the Congressional Page Dorms for a naked sleepover, they were training them to burn history books, bomb science laboratories, and wield giant crosses as weapons to behead Jewish Justices on the Supreme Court.” As if this was not horrific enough, according to Ms. Wolf’s revealing expose of the dark regime, the Fuhrer used his Party to corrupt otherwise free-thinking Americans to betray their patriotic sensibilities and join the evil army. People, who in their right minds would not have even dreamed of supporting the evil regime, were coerced into joining; Women, Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, even Atheists were not immune to the dark allure of the Party’s new thug caste. Now, according to Naomi, they prowl the streets enforcing the will of the Emperor and intimidating or “disappearing” anyone who speaks out for freedom or is darker than a UPS box.

* Set Up an Internal Surveillance System: As Naomi sat down at her piano and swayed to the sound of her fingers playing “The Star Spangled Banner” she told us, “When the New York Times released classified government secrets during war time regarding domestic wire-tapping, I naturally assumed that the Times was just guilty of espionage and nothing more. I was led to believe by the government that the wiretapping program was actually quite legal, very clearly protected our civil liberties, and actually only spied on people making frequent suspicious calls to terrorists.” The truth, as Naomi describes in her editorial, was that the American government was actually spying on many Americans at random in an effort to keep them docile and inhibit activism and dissent. Ordinary Americans were spied upon and put under investigation, seemingly at random, though of course a pattern arose of targeting journalists and otherwise innocuous sheiks from peaceful mosques. Soon enough, the government had cultivated a climate of fear where no one was able to speak to each other over the phone or on the internet or even through the mail, lest their conversation be read and they be “rendered” to a Rovian Gulag in Cuba.

* Harass Citizens Groups: Naomi, while setting out an apple pie to cool on her window ledge, told us, “I had always thought that many dissident groups under surveillance by the government actually deserved it. It was common knowledge that Islamic terrorists and their proxies were ideological allies with leftist environmental, anti-war, and socialist groups and were known to use them as cover for more direct attacks on the United States. But, since coming to the realization that there is no threat from radical Islam, it also dawned on me that my government was harassing a wide range of peace-loving patriot groups who were every bit as America-loving as they claimed.”

But by the time she realized this, it was long since too late for her to do anything. Ms. Wolf, after learning the truth of the “Islamic Totalitarianism” myth, began to see how many of the citizen groups that she had thought were merely doctrinaire communists, anti-Americans, terrorist-sympathizers, and arguable traitors, were actually not in any danger of being used by an alleged terrorist threat, but were actually pioneers struggling against the falling dark night of fascism that Naomi, before then, was too blinded by love for and loyalty to America to see.

* Engage in Arbitrary Detention and Release: In her heroic work about the fascist regime she escaped from, Naomi describes how innocent, ordinary, and completely loyal Americans were put on so-called “terrorist watch lists” for no apparent reason. People like peaceful and America-supporting anti-war activists, extremely patriotic and politically neutral lecturing professors at Ivy League universities, diplomatic representatives from long-time friends and closely allied nations like Venezuela, and peaceful Muslim clergymen for peaceful pro-American anti-Hamas peace were all on such insidious “lists.” “All these people I didn’t bat an eye at,” she writes in The Guardian, “But then the ‘lists’ began to include almost anybody and everybody. People who may have said something in conversation to a friend about the United States suddenly found themselves being arrested on trumped up charges or no charges at all.” She goes on to retell many a harrowing tale of how innocent citizens, many of them even supporting of the Bush Regime, found themselves detained without cause or even “disappeared” to the Cheneyburton Torture Camps. It soon became obvious that, in the Fascist States of Bushitlerburton, you did not have to do anything to get arrested by the Rovian Theocrat Gestapo. On the contrary, it eventually turned out that they would arrest people completely at random most of the time, just to perpetuate the atmosphere of fear.

* Target Key Individuals: “When certain key people like academics began to feel pressured, I didn’t think anything of it,” Naomi says as she polishes her life-size replica of the Liberty Bell. “When I heard that some academics were pressured or threatened with firing when they taught students that Bush was responsible for 9-11 or discussed assassination of the Vice President, I thought they deserved to get straightened out. Or when members of dur Fuhrer’s own government in the military or CIA actively subverted his political agenda, released classified information, and publicly undermined the President of the United States, I supported the decisions to railroad and marginalize them. I thought they were betraying their station.” Naomi told us that realizing the truth behind the terror myth has opened her eyes to the world around her. “Those people are the real patriots,” she said through tears as she stitched together a home-made American flag. “Now that I know Islamic Totalitarianism isn’t real, I see the fascism for what it is! Those poor, innocent, loyal Americans were marginalized by this administration for nothing more than revealing the truth and struggling for freedom!” They were people bravely destroying the evil regime from the inside, she writes in her article, and trying to stop it before it became to powerful. They were the warriors on the front lines for liberty while the rest of America slept.

* Control the Press: “The press is a funny thing,” Naomi writes. “Because when the old media began to change soon after Bush took office, I assumed it was naturally a market consequence of them previously being archly anti-American scavengers of human misery who would sacrifice any number of American lives if it meant undermining an opposition politician.” The truth ended up being that old media like the New York Times was just losing money because no one wanted to read it anymore, but their demise was not fast enough for the Bushites. Soon after releasing the truth of the governments torture rooms and domestic spy rings, many journalists were rounded up and sent to rot in the very torture camps that they had reported upon. The news media in America soon became overwhelmingly favorable to an administration that was otherwise unpopular. News outlets only printed positive news of the degenerating conflicts in Iraq while regurgitating poll after poll conducted by the White House showing surprisingly high favorability ratings for the administration. Additionally, many news stories began to appear alleging all kinds of hideous crimes and scandals involving opposition politicians and dissident public figures, interspersed with many outlandish horror stories about the International Brown People conspiracy. All the while the administration was perpetuating a string of ghastly crimes right under the noses of the chilled American media while they dutifully said nothing.

* Dissent Equals Treason: This of course is a naked attempt to crush dissent, Naomi writes, and is pretty transparent overall. Even though many “dissenters” were, technically, engaging in espionage against the United States and giving aid and comfort to the enemies or the United States or levying war against the United States, the specific definition for treason according to the U.S. Constitution, Naomi knows know that they were right to do just that. It was legitimate dissent to release secret documents during war, and it was speaking out for freedom to support and give aid to America’s enemies: because they were not America’s enemies, but enemies of the fascist Bush regime, much like Ms. Wolf is today.

* Suspend the Rule of Law: The Fuhrer is the law. The Fuhrer rules by decree and anyone who says differently is promptly kidnapped and sent to the camps. Certainly, it is technically legal and sometimes even prudent to call on the national guard to restore order during a crisis, in the hands of this fascist regime it is nothing but a tool against the people to enforce the Bush doctrine.

“It took a great deal for me to wake up to the truth,” Naomi tells us as she hammers out the frame for her model replica of the Declaration of Independence. “But it became obvious one day that it was all just too good to be true. I must be living in a fascist regime. I looked around one day and all the congressmen, senators, mayors, governors, journalists, ambassadors, news casters, CIA agents, soldiers, veterans, staff members, attorneys, bureaucrats, teachers, college professors, scientists, actors, producers, students, protesters, activists, house wives, hippies, and civil rights leaders who had been screeching 24/7 at the top of their lungs that Bush was evil… when that army of screaming dissidents suddenly shut up, that’s when I knew they were right.”

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April 19, 2007

On Gun Control

Just a short blurb, in reference to the frenzy about gun laws in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings. It seems to me that most of the country has forgotten why we have guns to begin with.

Most of the arguments I hear are orbiting around the most ludicrous ideas that are almost entirely irrelevant to American gun ownership. Things like hunting, self defense, gun crime, "no one needs an A-K 47" etc. are simply not germane to the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

I personally don't see the immediate "need" for assault weapons. Of course no one is using a machine gun to hunt deer or fend off intruders. But I think it's distracting to try and couch the argument in terms of "self defense" and "hunting". No, people don't need automatic weapons for those things... they don't need guns at all. They can use crossbows and blow darts to hunt, and long swords to protect their homes. Self Defense and Hunting are, in my opinion, imaginary issues.

The real issue here is a very important and often overlooked principle that bears itself out in history; the right to keep and bear arms is necessary for a free state. One of the only things that keep a government from disintegrating into an oppressive regime is the threat of violence from the people it governs. Extreme example? Perhaps. But totalitarian regimes can only ever take power when people assume that it will not happen. When people give up their ability to threaten violence to their government, they free that government from any physical accountability to its people. All brutal dictators disarm their people before beginning their reign of terror, because an armed populace would not allow itself to be herded into camps.

Self defense and hunting are distractions from the issue at hand in my opinion. If deer were extinct and crime was nearly nonexistent I would support a well armed (and if I had my way well trained) population. We see the principle I'm talking about clearly when a local government trashes its gun laws: crime goes down. And not because everyone ran out and armed themselves, but because they can arm themselves. I don't own a gun and I don't know that I ever will. But I don't need one: I just need my government to know that I can get one.

Do I think America is on the verge of a new Holocaust? No. But I also think that assuming it won't happen is the first step to not recognizing it when it does.

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April 16, 2007

Church of the Metanarrative: 1

For some arcane reason, people are still talking about Don Imus as though his careless racism were the end of the world. One commenter put it rather adroitly when he said, "Good grief. This is spinning off into the PC Holy of Holies." An adroit description and an appropos metaphor for the topic at hand. The Imus kafuffle is clean-cut and easily discussed - old white guy denigrates black women, then gets canned - while other far more relevant controversies seem to drop quickly from the public eye. Imus' remarks follow the racial inequality doctrine rather closely and are easily remarkable, even while being wildly exaggerated, and yet important controversies with actual real-world consequences vanish quickly if they do not follow the canon.

The Crusade

The first such unspeakable mystery should still be fresh in our minds even if the oracles of our time have stopped discussing it. This past week, the DA in North Carolina completely cleared the 3 accused of raping Crystal Gale Magnum of any wrongdoing. And not just in the evasive, guarded way that someone says "due to lack of evidence we cannot convict." The DA went beyond my expectations and, in the strongest possible words, exonerated these three young men and condemned the shameful actions of the police, DA Nifong, and the deceitful tramp that started this mess.

The result [of our investigation] is that these cases are over, and no more criminal proceedings will occur.

We believe that these cases were the result of a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations. Based on the significant inconsistencies between the evidence and the various accounts given by the accusing witness, we believe these three individuals are innocent of these charges.

We approached this case with the understanding that rape and sexual assault victims often have some inconsistencies in their accounts of a traumatic event. However, in this case, the inconsistencies were so significant and so contrary to the evidence that we have no credible evidence that an attack occurred in that house that night.

The prosecuting witness in this case responded to questions and offered information. She did want to move forward with the prosecution.

However, the contradictions in her many versions of what occurred and the conflicts between what she said occurred and other evidence, like photographs and phone records, could not be rectified.

Our investigation shows that:

The eyewitness identification procedures were faulty and unreliable. No DNA confirms the accuser's story. No other witness confirms her story. Other evidence contradicts her story. She contradicts herself. Next week, we'll be providing a written summary of the important factual findings and some of the specific contradictions that have led us to the conclusion that no attack occurred.

In this case, with the weight of the state behind him, the Durham district attorney pushed forward unchecked. There were many points in the case where caution would have served justice better than bravado. And in the rush to condemn, a community and a state lost the ability to see clearly. Regardless of the reasons this case was pushed forward, the result was wrong. Today, we need to learn from this and keep it from happening again to anybody.

Now, we have good district attorneys in North Carolina who are both tough and fair. And we need these forceful, independent prosecutors to put criminals away and protect the public. But we also need checks and balances to protect the innocent. This case shows the enormous consequences of overreaching by a prosecutor. What has been learned here is that the internal checks on a criminal charge — sworn statements, reasonable grounds, proper suspect photo lineups, accurate and fair discovery — all are critically important.

Therefore, I propose a law that the North Carolina Supreme Court have the authority to remove a case from a prosecutor in limited circumstances. This would give the courts a new tool to deal with a prosecutor who needs to step away from a case where justice demands.

So at the end of thirteen months, once the old prosecutor had been recused for suppressing exculpatory DNA evidence, the new prosecutors found that the basic story at the heart of the matter – the cause celebre upon which the crusade against inequality had been built – was a hideous lie and that three young men had been the victims of a year long witch hunt. But why were these young men subjected to this inquisition when the evidence against them was so transparent? So nebulous? Why had so many people been willing to put faith in one woman whose stories only ever had a tangential relationship with established fact? Principally, because it was not these three young men who were on trial. These men were not men; they were a symbol, a trope, a writer’s convenience in an overarching metanarrative. Three young white fraternity men were not on trial in this; the mythology of the Young White Fraternity Man was on trial. They were thus pilloried because the story that the rape hustler was peddling was so compelling, so iconic, such a perfect symbol of what certain people believe the world is like, that it must have been true. More than that; it needed to be true.

Several Black Leaders, instead of merely defending this woman as an alleged victim of a terrible crime, treated her as a holy martyr whose truthfulness was beyond question. The truth of her claims was not even at issue: of course it was true, and the issue at hand is why racist people are attacking this poor woman and defending white rapists. The same was true of Nifong of course, and true of the Duke professors, the Duke president, and the media in general. They all peddled this story because it fit so perfectly with the Metanarrative: that "privileged" white men are racist monsters who rape "underprivileged" black women. This story was iconic – mythic even – a Perfect Storm of race, gender, and class that had Karl Marx tap dancing in Hell while the witch hunters raked these young men over the coals.

And now that these young men are declared to be beyond a doubt innocent of these accusations? Will the people who formed the lynch mob for these young men be held accountable - nay, will they even apologize at all - for contributing to this farcical inquisition?

The answer, predictably, is no. The Metanarrative is built upon faith and is only loosely based on reality. It is unfalsifiable - beyond anyone's ability to disprove or critique, and all evidence for and against the individual incidents supports the Metanarrative. According to the Metanarrative, these young men don't even deserve our sympathy, much less an apology.

* One FoxNews panelist says, "Something bad happened, even if they're not guilty of rape."

* Panelists on Barbara Walter's show say, "The little white boy" club must be guilty of something... evidence notwithstanding."

* Terry Moran, writing for ABC, says "Don't feel sorry for them"... "As students of Duke University or other elite institutions, these young men will get on with their privileged lives." Furthermore that, "they had the financial resources to hire top-notch lawyers, unlike many black americans similarly accused."

* And many more, in the face of the failure of this crusade, dismissed the results as an anomaly and affirmed their faith in the Metanarrative by reciting its catechisms: that racial inequalities exist and are malignant white social constructs, that interracial violence has been and forever will be perpetrated by whites against people of color, that criminal justice is the bastard daughter of slavery and serves as a weapon against black people, that though this allegation is not true it is typical of many such instances that no one hears about, etc etc and similar such articles of faith.

So there we have it. The Marxist Gospel was too good to pass up, and it is too good to let die. If these men had been convicted it would have proven the Metanarrative’s doctrine of racism, sexism, and classism all rolled into one. But since they were exonerated in the strongest possible way, it proves the Metanarrative's doctrine of racism, sexism, and classism all rolled into one. Heads you're a rich white racist, tails you're a rich white racist. All of this because the Metanarrative, being a creature of faith, is immune to any kind of evidence.

It is eternal, as eternal as God Himself, and if the [M]etanarrative occasionally causes some amount of cognitive dissonance, that is just a challenge to the faithful to believe even more strongly, and accept that the Metanarrative works in mysterious ways, and we can never fully comprehend all of Its Holy Mysteries.”

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April 11, 2007

Worth It: The Unsung Merits of the West

America in the past was never shy about singing its own praises. Everyone wanted to come to America, the Land of Opportunity, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. America threw itself parades, gave itself monuments, wrote songs about itself, wrote books about how great it was, and hung banners all over itself to let the whole world know, "I Am America!" America has done this from the very beginning, but after a time this praise began to be taken for granted. "Of course America is great, but do we have to say it all the time?" "Of course we love America, but do we need to have flags everywhere?" And once people began taking it for granted, they no longer sang as loudly or spoke as boldly: "America is great" became like saying "the sky is blue". But takinga thing for granted is often the surest way of losing the thing, and so it was that without people hearing that America is great, people no longer take it for granted.

Europe faced a similar problem, but for Europe the loss of self-confidence was compounded by the aggressiveness of the Germans. In the first half of the 20th century, millions of people would die because Germany and later Italy would think too highly of themselves, think themselves too great, and demanded the world give them their due. Europe learned the danger of thinking too highly of yourself and recoiled to an opposite, self-depricating extreme to avoid perpetuating another global war.

But both America and Europe have gone too far and forgotten why they are so successful, why they are so wealthy, and why everyone from the rest of the world is clamouring to immigrate. Without people singing their praises anymore, the West has begun to suspect that there is something flawed or even criminal about their success, and while every nation has its skeletons, the West has forgotten that it is the greatest construct in human history and has done more good for the planet than any human institution before it.

What has the history of the West done for this world? Why does the West deserve to survive when other civilizations would destroy it? Because the West has done more to better humanity than anything else. Greece gave us democracy and Western Philosophy, one of the bedrocks of a free society. Rome gave the world running water and public sanitation. Germany gave the world the printing press, contributing unbelievably to the proliferation of literacy and education. The Catholic Church gave us public hospitals, schools, and orphanages. The Reformation taught us individual responsibility, free thinking, and accountability. France gave us literature from Chrétien de Troys, England gave us drama from Shakespeare, Italy gave us art from Michelangelo, Austria and Germany gave us music from Mozart and Beethoven. Italy, Germany, France, and England gave us the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, doing more to further the proliferation of art and science than anyone before. Europe gave us codified law that, as a rare anomaly in history, derived its power as a mandate from the people and not the will of Kings.

And of America? She is the inheritor of the long tradition of industrious work, ingenious creativity, a personal liberty. Though Europe had long given many of her powers to her people, America was a rare creature, formed entirely from the will of the people to be free and ruled not by a distant King, but by their own voices. America, having very little history and social structures at its start, welcomed everyone from distant shores to come and be what they would be; to make their own lives in the New World. American meritocracy rewarded hard work, and so those who would make their living through hard work flocked to America. And because America rewarded industry, it produced some of the most industrious minds, establishing its presence in the world through invention, hard work, and democratic rule of law. Though she had her failings, and they were many, it was hard to lose sight of what America was and what she represented: the hope that anyone could do or be anything in America so long as they had a dream and the determination to make it come true. America based itself on the premise that everyone was created equal and deserved life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and though it has struggled to live up to this dream it has never stopped pursuing it.

And what of the modern America? America does far more good across the globe than any country in history.
- America is the single largest contributor to global charity on the planet, giving $260 billion dollars in private donations in 2005, and combined with US government aid that came out to roughly $285 billion dollars.
- More citizens volunteer their time and money for charity in the US than in any other nation.
- The US is the single largest contributor to Africa for the fight against AIDS.
- The US is the single largest contributor to global defense, stationing military installations across the globe to protect many nations that cannot protect themselves.
- America offers more opportunity and social mobility than any other country, including the countries of Europe. America is the only country that has created a population of "self-made tycoons."
- Work and trade are respectable in America. Historically most cultures have despised the merchant and the laborer, regarding the former as vile and corrupt and the latter as degraded and vulgar. Some cultures, such as that of ancient Greece and medieval Islam, even held that it is better to acquire things through plunder than through trade or contract labor. But the American founders altered this moral hierarchy. They established a society in which the life of the businessman, and of the people who worked for him, would be a noble calling. In the American view, there is nothing vile or degraded about serving your customers either as a CEO or as a waiter. The ordinary life of production and supporting a family is more highly valued in the United States than in any other country.
- America has achieved greater social equality than any other society. True, there are large inequalities of income and wealth in America. In purely economic terms, Europe is more egalitarian. But Americans are socially more equal than any other people, and this is unaffected by economic disparities. Alexis de Tocqueville noticed this egalitarianism a century and a half ago and it is, if anything, more prevalent today.
- Of the world wars of the 20th century, the United States became involved in what many called "Europe's War" at great cost to herself and for no other reason than a national, cultural altruism never before witnessed on Earth.
- Of the global powers, the United States is the most powerful and the least imperial, relinquishing control of nations more often than claiming it. The US was magnanimous in victory with its enemies after WWI, WWII, and the Cold War. The US at times intervenes to overthrow a dictator, but never stays to rule the country: Grenada, Haiti, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the United States has invaded and gone out of its way to relinquish control to the local people. And when the United States does get involved, their troops take great pains to avoid harming the civilian population, selectively targeting military and enemy targets with a care that is unprecedented in world military history.

The United States deserves her share of blame, but if she is to be blamed it is for her inaction more than her action: her failure to live up to her obligations as the superpower rather than her malice. America is uncomfortable in its role as the greatest and people have begun to retreat from that responsibility, much to the detriment of the world. Since World War II some of the greatest atrocities of humanity arose because of America’s inaction, America’s failure to uphold its promises, and America’s discomfort with its own power. People die in greater numbers when America abstains than when she acts. The atrocities of Soviet Russia, Communist China, Cambodia, Rwanda, and now Darfur stem from an inaction on the part of America: a trepidation in the face of Soviet murder, a lack of will to support nationalist China against communism, a retreat from Vietnam that led to the slaughter of millions, a hesitance to get involved in Africa leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Nearly 200 million people died in the 20th century from the actions of tyrannical regimes: many of them borne from collapse of American will.

After WWII we began to lose our faith in America. If America has one failing since the end of the last world war it is a failure to believe that their place in the world is important and that they have an obligation to the world as the greatest power. Failure to recognize its own value and its own strength has contributed to some of the greatest acts of horror in the modern age. America has never started an atrocity, but more than once she has let one happen because she did not believe she had the right or the obligation to interfere. It is a failing that America must overcome if there is to be peace, but it is a failing that grows with each generation of Americans who do not know the good America represents in the world.

The West deserves to survive and to succeed. More than that, the West must succeed for the good of the planet. If the heritage, the creativity, the generosity, the might, the ingenuity, the industry, and the philosophy of the West fail, it will be a terrible blow for humanity. No other culture has contributed and continues to contribute as much as the West, and despite its failings Western Culture is the greatest culture yet produced by human kind.

Posted by: Hosh at 09:54 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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When do people mean what they say?

In reference to news that is 100 years old by now, but whatever...

From Ace of Spades, a commentary on Barak Obama, who recently said, "No one is suffering more than the Palestinian People".

It seems to me as if, for some arcane reason, we want to believe that people don't really mean what they say when they say something inconvenient. If someone says "those Christian nutbags" a la Karl Rove, or "our idiot troops" a la Kerry/Rangel, for some reason we're incredibly credulous about claims of "misunderstanding", despite the lack of believable alternative interpretations. For some reason, I think this is especially true of historically "victim" minorities who are willing to believe almost any wild story to explain away the ambivalence or hostility of their leaders.

Case in point, this ludicrous statement by Obama that "no one is suffering more than the Palestinian People"... This is, of course, demonstrably untrue. No one is exterminating them (Darfur), their government isn't purposely starving them (Korea), and they don't suffer medieval plagues (India and central Africa). So, being demonstrably untrue, what does a statement like this tell us about how Obama views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Everyone knows the answer, but Jewish leaders at the AIPAC are asking Obama for a flimsy excuse to make them believe otherwise.

From Ace of Spades:

Democratic Jews are demanding to know exactly what Obama meant by the remark. Democratic Jews are, I've decided, idiots. Let me explain what he meant: He meant precisely what you think he meant, and he further meant all the implications that flow from that.

I'm not sure why American Jews are so willing to believe there's some subtle nuance to these kinds of statements. There isn't. Many prominent Democrats, as a general matter, support Palestinians more than Israel. So as not to lose a voting block they'll insist that this support is nuanced in some indescribable way, but given the history of the conflict and the political discourse on it, this "nuance" borders on farce. And yet here stands the AIPAC, demanding that Obama have the decency to make his press agent lie to them.

I'm kinda happy that Evangelicals didn't really demand Rove's apology or explanation... It says to me that they have sense enough to know everyone on some level means what they say.

Here's the rest of the Obama/Palestinians commentary, with the comments section thrown in for giggles:

Obama: "Nobody Is Suffering More Than The Palestinian People"

Nobody? Not non-Muslims being systematically raped and murdered in Darfur?

The Palestinians are suffering, to be sure. But their suffering is due, at least partly, to their own choices and actions. They have made the conscious choice to suffer in order to pursue the revanchist dream of extirpating Israel from the globe, to suffer in misery, poverty, squalor and backwardness to achieve this.

And they consciously choose to suffer casualties, both terrorist and civilian, through their never-ending terrorism against Israeli civilians. Oh, occasionally they kill some soldiers, which, as much as I don't like it, is a permittable choice of target in a guerilla war; but most often they find such targets to be too difficult to reach, and not providing a sufficient horror factor, and so choose to blow up schools, pizza shops, discotheques and the like.

Land can be compensated for; walls can be moved; boundaries can be redrawn. But the dead cannot be brought back to life.

The left euphemizes the Palestinians' self-defeating choices by saying "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." By which they mean the Palestinians never forgo an opportunity to kill Jewish children, nor actually choose peace over war, nor to accept reasonable, if not generous by their lights, proposals to cede back most of their lost land. All in favor of killing, and killing, and killing some more.

My own reservoir of pity for the Palestinians ended on September 11th when I saw that grotesque witch handing out cake in celebration of the American dead. They've chosen their path, and that path is misery and murder.

They are suffering. They chose to make others suffer, and to suffer themselves in return. Let their be no tears over their embrace of murder and masochism.

Democratic Jews are demanding to know exactly what Obama meant by the remark. Democratic Jews are, I've decided, idiots. Let me explain what he meant: He meant precisely what you think he meant, and he further meant all the implications that flow from that.

Grow up. Your party has collectively decided that no Muslim outrage cannot be mitigated or explained away by pointing to supposed sins of the west compelling them to behave as monsters.

I wonder how these "New York money men" got so rich while being so foolish.

Posted by: Hosh at 08:54 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 800 words, total size 5 kb.

Getting There

Toyed around with the settings and am starting to get a feel for the formatting. Will be churning out articles which no one will ever read pretty soon!

 

--edit--

Actually, I'll throw up some old crap that I posted elsewhere just to get myself rolling and make it look like I've been hard at work.

Posted by: Hosh at 08:43 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 57 words, total size 1 kb.

April 09, 2007

Up and running?

Well, sort of.

Moving things around and getting a feel for mee.nu. Soon I'll discover what magic I need to alter the layout/colors/images and make this thing unique.

- Hosh

Posted by: Hosh at 09:27 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 33 words, total size 1 kb.

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