Monday, December 31, 2007

Atheist book-burners

Book-shredders, anyhow:

"This boy got up and his visual aid was a Bible and a book. And he got up and started his speech by saying 'Now, this piece of crap' and pointed to the Bible.... He took the Bible and he said, 'I'm going to do this because I can. I'm going to do something that your stupid, little minds aren't going to be able to comprehend and he took the Bible and started ripping out pages."

The funny thing about vicious little atheists like this is the way in which they project their own tiny, self-restricted minds upon others. What sort of cretin believes that it's impossible for Christians to comprehend people attempting to destroy the Bible, considering that the Bible has been outlawed and destroyed by authorities in nearly every nation in which atheists have held power?

Destruction is what atheists do, it's their historical idiom. The only thing the infantile infidel neglected was to announce that his ability to destroy the Bible was a proof of the non-existence of God. That was the common Soviet practice when destroying churches.

As for the brat, will anyone be truly surprised when he ends up as yet another school shooter?

UPDATE - if you'll excuse a very bad pun, it seems the kid was taking a page from the Soviets after all: ‘See, I can do this to the Bible and not be harmed because it is not true.’

UPDATE 2 - Speaking of taking pages, it seems only right to pay homage to some of my more hysterical critics in noting Professor Myers's unique approach to teaching: " I think classrooms should be extremely uncomfortable places for students.... Slapping students... is a good thing"

Wodehouse on Rodham-Clinton

Alex Massie turns to the great comic novelist to explain why Hillary fills all rational men with horror:

In my sourer moments I find myself persuaded that Bertie Wooster's verdict on aunts also applies to politicians: "It is no use telling me that there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof."

Never is this more the case than during a Presidential campaign. The sheer ghastliness of the front-runners is something to behold. Or not, as the case may be.

Try as I might, for instance, I find it hard to warm to Hillary Clinton even as I acknowledge that some of the hysteria surrounding her is absurdly overblown. And yet, there's something to it too. This story in today's Washington Post about Hillary's struggle to appeal to male voters won't have pleased the campaign much, (it's pretty anecdotal for one, and, for another, she is doing slightly better with white men than might be imagined). Still, it's undeniable that there's something about Hillary's demeanour that puts people off. It's not as simple as her being a woman, though that doubtless disqualifies her in some folks' eyes, but that she's a particular type of woman.

The Rodham-Clinton's come
How Hell is going to pay

And don't miss the punchline on Massie's post. We are most amused.

About the Liberal Fascism review

As I wrote in my column today, I was pleasantly surprised by Jonah Goldberg's new book, which was of particular interest to me because it was a topic that I had once considered addressing myself. Goldberg utilized a very different approach than I would have, as those who read both LF and TIA will probably recognize, but his might be the more effective approach in dealing with a reading public that is almost completely ignorant of matters historical.

The bizarre thing about much of the foolish criticism that is being directed Goldberg's way - the greater part of it by people who haven't read the book and know literally nothing about Italian Fascism, American progressivism, the Social Gospel or "the politics of meaning" - is the confidence with which these critics proudly stand on an intellectual foundation of absolutely nothing. My atheist critics look like heterodox theological experts by comparison.

For example, I read Fascisti: Gli italiani di Mussolini, il regime degli italiani by Giordano Bruno Guerri earlier this year, and while the Italian historian's focus is, understandably, entirely on Italian Fascism proper, his conclusions are often very similar to Goldberg's. Guerri finds great significance in the religious aspect of Fascism, repeatedly referring to its "liturgies", "myths" and "rites", and describes how the sacralization of the State was not only a central aspect of Italian Fascism, but also Russian Communism and German National Socialism. Guerri even notes that Fascism was the first deliberate attempt to create a new secular religion - shades of both Jean Meslier and Michel Onfray - since the French Revolution.

Since I haven't hesitated to flame the superficial and evanescent books put out by syndicated columnists such as Michelle "what is this 'research' of which you speak?" Malkin, David "Nostrawrongus" Frum, and Ben "water is wet" Shapiro, (to say nothing of the lightweight polemics written by the likes of Al Franken and Michael Moore), it only seems fair to put down the flamethrower and give credit on the rare occasion when credit is rightfully due. I should probably mention that I did not rate or review Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About Christianity but rather contented myself with an interview with the author because its subject matter has a fair amount in common with my own forthcoming book.

I am admittedly a harsh reviewer, but if you'd waded through as much sewage as I have in three years of sitting on one SFWA jury or another, I suspect you'd have a limited capacity for enduring literary drivel too. By the way, I'm interested in knowing what the Cavalcade of Evil aka the Dread Vox Ilk think of these interview/review columns, do you want more of them or are they likely to get tedious more than once every six months or so? My own experience tends to lead me to think that there's a need for such things, but then, perhaps the reason there are fewer in-depth book discussions than books out there is because no one really wants to read them.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Discuss amongst yourselves

Reason 3682

Courtesy of an Althouse commenter:

Oh you missed the good part when he [Huckabee] spoke so condescendingly about women and abortions and "doing it because of inconvenience" or the if women who choose abortion just go out for a milk shake and some fries afterwards and talk about boys to the girls.

It was nauseating. My wife, daughter and daughter-in-law and two of their local friends were in the room. He lost 5 votes instantly.

You know, I really don't care if your average member of the SS-Totenkopfverbände agonized over his specific role in the Endlosung or not. It is the evil act that condemns one, not whatever difficulty one happens to experience in deciding to commit it or not. This guy clearly doesn't realize the irony of the situation he described, because the only reason the five women reacted so negatively to Huckabee - whom, I should add, I do NOT support - is because they wish to be able to murder their offspring for exactly the reason he denigrated.

It is impossible to discuss any political issue with the average woman for more than five minutes without concluding that women's suffrage was one of the most significant avoidable disasters of the 20th century.

Stick to science

Sometimes PZ doesn't even try to make sense:

Ron Paul isn't just a small-government obsessive: he's a no-government radical. And at the same time he wants every positive function of government to vanish, he wants what amounts to a police state in place to keep the rest of the world out, all out of fear of those strangers with different customs and ideas.

How, pray tell, would one go about running a police state with no government? PZ needs to travel more. Living as he does in rural Minnesota, he has absolutely no idea how migration - not immigration - is completely destroying civilized cultures everywhere from Scandinavia to San Antonio. Like many reactive atheists, he harbors too much hatred for Christianity to think through the massive differences between one theistic culture and another. If Christianity fades away, you don't get Happy Happy Scientopia, but rather the slavery, child sacrifice and female chattel of unleashed pagan culture. If you're lucky, you might get rule by enlightened jihad.

Interestingly enough, one Pharyngulan harbors a more sophisticated understanding of the relationship between Christianity and libertarianism than many libertarians and non-libertarian Christians. Libertarianism is philosophically incompatible with atheism, at least the right wing libertarianism tradition Paul comes from. The whole tradition is based around the Lockean arguments about liberty and the state of nature and property, and every single one of these arguments is based on scripture, every one. The liberties of the libertarian have a purely religious basis as does the argument for property.

This is why I'm so amused by ignorant folk like Feckles, who actually believe there is a fundamental dichotomy between evangelical Christianity and libertarianism. In fact, the primary appeal of libertarianism is that it easily encompasses those of widely diverse creeds, including atheism, so long as they reject the idea of using government force to impose their own creed on others.


Say what you will about Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, however flawed they may be as individuals, they represent as close to perfection in coaching, execution and teamwork as exists in sports today. Last night's game was excellent, as the Giants rose to the occasion and acquitted themselves far better than anyone expected, but were still unable to defeat the Patriot machine over a full 60 minutes.

The Patriots do have an impressive collection of talent, but as we've seen many times in the past, from Madrid to Miami, mere talent is no guarantee of victory. Belichick's statement about there being 53 leaders on the team is nonsense, of course, but there is a kernel of truth in the statement as he clearly demands the same level of hypercompetitive commitment and effort from the weakest link as he does from Tom Brady. Whether they're in front or behind, they never stop competing and that's what makes them not only impressive, but downright inspiring.

All you need to really understand the Patriot mentality is to watch Wes Welker and the other wide receivers crushing linebackers and even defensive linemen when they need a yard or two on the ground.

The OC, on the other hand, has a rather different perspective: "Why, it's as if the cheating scandal last September never even happened... Kind of like the way the massive voter fraud in every presidential election is magically erased from our collective memories every four years, and our election system starts all over again as a sacred process run by unimpeachable snow-white virgins."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Now THIS is a book review!

PJ O'Rourke, at his cruel best, reviews Arthur Schlesinger's Journals:

Journals is so much more than gush. Its pages also crack open a hellgate to give us a peek at the eternally consuming fires of egotistic solipsism to which the soul of a liberal is forever condemned. Not even the undying love that Arthur Schlesinger felt for Kennedy money, power, and prestige could redeem poor Art from the perdition that awaits the bien pensant. His is the sin of pride, such that produces the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, the Great Society. It manifests itself in the deeds of the mighty. Or in the case of Arthur Schlesinger, it manifests itself in mighty bad taste.

Sometimes I love PJ O'Rourke so much that it makes Umberto Eco's mad passion for Charles Schultz look like a mere passing flirtation. This is one of those times.


The fight stage

It looks like Ron Paul has made it past the "laughter" stage:

According to the New Hampshire State Republican Party and an Associated Press report, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul will be excluded from an upcoming forum of Republican candidates to be broadcast by Fox News on January 6, 2008.

Based on the increasing amount of hatred expressed by anti-Paul Republicans and declarations of their preference for Hillary Clinton in his place, he might do even better than I've been expecting in Iowa and New Hampshire.

UPDATE - The man himself speaks on the matter: "They are scared of me and don't want my message to get out, but it will," Paul said in an interview at a diner here. "They are propagandists for this war and I challenge them on the notion that they are conservative."

He's right. They're little more conservative than the Clintons.

A rare planetary alignment

There must be something strange going on in the rotation of the celestial spheres, because I completely agree with PZ Myers on this subject:

Here is all that torture is good for: inspiring fear in a population. If you want it widely known that your ruling regime is utterly ruthless and doesn't care about individuals, all you have to do is scoop up random people suspected of anti-government activities, hold them for a few weeks, and return them as shattered wrecks with mangled limbs, while treating the monsters who would do such a thing as respected members of the ruling clique, who are immune from legal prosecution. The message gets out fast that one does not cross the government.

It's worth reminding everyone of Winston Churchill's statement about the way in which World War I reduced the Allies to near-total barbarism.

All the horrors of all the ages were brought together, and not only armies but whole populations were thrust into the midst of them. The mighty educated States involved conceived — not without reason — that their very existence was at stake. Neither peoples nor rulers drew the line at any deed which they thought could help them to win. Germany, having let hell loose, kept well in the van of terror; but she was followed step by step by the desperate and ultimately avenging nations she had assailed. When it was all over, Torture and Cannibalism were the only two expedients that the civilized, scientific, Christian States had been able to deny themselves: and they were of doubtful utility.

As I pointed out more than a year ago, the bestial Bush administration has now openly embraced torture, and judging by the barbaric enthusiasm many of its more wild-eyed supporters have shown for this position, if one could make the case for cannibalism helping win the War on Terror, they'd be the first to reach for the barbecue sauce.

Mailvox: Jew != neocon

Kidist raises a point worth underlining:

[D]isproportionate number of Jewish columnists in one newspaper, which I agree happens to be neocon, doesn't mean that Jews are the sole proprietors of neocon philosophy.

Of course they're not. Neocons come in various shapes, sizes, colors and creeds. But it's important to keep in mind that it is the neocons, of all persuasions, who have attempted to argue that Jew = neocon in order to render their revolutionary political philosophy immune from criticism. This reached absurd proportions back when Joel Mowbray was calling General Anthony Zinni a "ninny" while complaining about the "anti-semitism" of his attack on a number of neocons, precisely none of whom were Jewish.

Now, there is a lot of anti-semitism around the world, in fact, there is far more anti-semitism in Europe today than there has ever been in the USA, but no one realizes this since Jews are not overrepresented in the European press the way they are in the US media, both mainstream and conservative. So, we have the bizarre situation of Jews in the American media constantly complaining about nonexistent anti-semitism in the USA while no one ever says anything about actual anti-semitism in the very place where it has historically been most viciously exhibited.

I could not care less who the New York Times hires. If they want to establish a Jews-only policy for its editorial page, that's their business and it should be - though I suppose under current labor law, it isn't - their right. I've never read the NYT regularly and I've also never had any more desire to write for it than for Pravda or the Rénmín Rìbào. But you can bet that there are an awful lot of non-Jewish writers, especially on the left, who aspire to that kind of high-profile position and are going to harbor an awful lot of resentment about the Kristol hiring. And unlike me, they're never going to utter a word in public about it.

This is one way the seed of anti-semitism is planted. As Thomas Sowell has chronicled across numerous cultures, preferential treatment for a minority tends to create hatred for that minority on the part of the majority. This effect occurs regardless of who the minority or the majority happen to be.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The menorah of minorities

The Huffington Post has learned that, in a move bound to create controversy, the New York Times is set to announce that Bill Kristol will become a weekly columnist in 2008.

This is EXACTLY what the New York Times needs, a second Jewish faux conservative to provide balance to the Jewish liberal, the other Jewish liberal, the other other Jewish liberal, the black liberal and the woman liberal. Which makes me wonder, where's the Hispanic liberal and the gay liberal needed to complete the set? Instead of a credibility-challenged neocon, you'd think they could have found a gay Judeo-Hispanic liberal woman and killed five birds with one hire.

The story mutates

It's most amusing to see all the neocons being forced to react to the increasing probability that the man with the means, motive and opportunity to murder Bhutto was responsible for her death. Someone better get an Osama tape together, stat!

Benazir Bhutto died from a skull fracture suffered when her head slammed against her car during a suicide attack—not from bullet wounds, the government said Friday. Pakistan's interior minister blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for Thursday's assassination and said another key opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, is also under threat of militant attack....

Authorities on Thursday said Bhutto died from bullet wounds fired by a young man who then blew himself up, killing 20 other people. A surgeon who treated her said Friday she died from the impact of shrapnel on her skull.

But later Friday, Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said all three shots missed her as she greeted supporters through the sunroof of her vehicle, which was bulletproof and bombproof. He also denied that shrapnel caused her death, saying Bhutto was killed when she tried to duck back into the vehicle, and the shock waves from the blast knocked her head into a lever attached to the sunroof, fracturing her skull.

I'm just surprised they didn't call it a suicide by sun roof.

Speaking of eunuchs

This is what it looks like when you have been metaphorically castrated. In public:

Bill told me I could take off the final week of the season, go 0-for-whatever and still beat him even if he picked every game correctly. I looked up the records and, sure enough, I'm leading him by 17 wins with 16 games remaining. I thought this was really funny and demanded to write his "picks" column this week. He agreed, although he probably loved the chance to skip writing so he could spend time on more important stuff, like watching NBA games that happened in 1985, or sending taunting e-mails about his latest League of Dorks championship.

If Spacebunny ever beat me at a networked FPS, military strategy game, or on the bench press, I think I'd have to commit seppuku with a Thrustmaster. I can't even imagine what the Sports Guy is going through now. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.

On grudges and the harboring thereof

As the OC often says, some battles are vicious only because the stakes are so very small:

In Vox's case, I don't feel he should be surprised when people he's chosen to shake up and outrage have chosen to remain shaken and outraged, and yet from time to time, he is. Underneath that brassy exterior there is a very intelligent and thoughtful man, who once in a while comes up with an idea he really would like to see discussed soberly, calmly, and dispassionately, and on those occasions he seems genuinely taken aback to find that the people he would like to discuss his idea with are still holding a grudge over something he wrote years ago.

One of the most basic flaws in human character is the assumption that other people are essentially like us at heart. While I learned long ago that the most reliably self-defeating thing I could do was to assume that everyone was perfectly capable of understanding what I was doing or talking about, I still get caught off-guard from time to time in other areas. One of these is the concept of holding grudges, particularly intellectual ones. I'm simply not interested enough in most people to keep track of those I don't like and don't respect. This is why my friends are so amused when I'm accused of hating or being obsessed with someone for whom I've demonstrated complete contempt; as the White Buffalo once told a girl who was convinced that I had it in for her during our college days: "he doesn't hate you, he has no idea who you are."

In fact, the concept of disliking people simply because I disagree with them has never made sense to me, probably because my views are unusual enough that everyone, including Spacebunny, disagrees with at least a few of them. Sometimes I can win people over to seeing things somewhat my way, sometimes I can't, but regardless of the result, it seldom affects the way I feel about them. Ideas are not character and individuals are far more than the sum of their ideas. Of course, they're also less interesting than ideas, for the most part, but that's neither here nor there. I suppose that the fact I don't care what most people think on the basis of their relative retardation also makes it easier for me to separate the incredibly idiotic idea from the perfectly pleasant individual who happens to possess it.

So, it's easy for me to forget that many people don't think this way, and that the mere fact of disagreement, let alone criticism, to say nothing at all of open contempt for their ideas, is enough to stamp you with "THE ENEMY" for life. That's why I got caught off-guard in the recent discussion at Mr. Stross's blog, when the fat old women of the SFWA preferred to wax hysterical about my skeptical view of women suffrage - but NOT actually debate it, of course - rather than stick to the subject of the SFWA's governance. I had no idea that their thick woolen granny pants were still knotted over a three-year old column on the incontrovertible fact that women prefer writing vampire sex novels and strong independent woman in space romances to hard science fiction; other than John Scalzi, Charles Stross and that hapless old hag Hayden, I couldn't tell you who was involved in the original discussion if you paid me.

Now, it's important not to put too much weight on the OC's statement about my liking for rhetoric. He's only talking about the part that's used to push the emotional triggers of the brainless, not the core ideas. To give a recent example, look at the personal views of Steyn expressed in an article written about the Canadian human rights tribunals. If you read carefully, you'll see that I don't dislike Steyn at all, but my choice of the loaded words "overrated" and "overexposed" pushed the buttons that made his defenders overreact. Thank you, obedient bitches! But I fully hold to all of the controversial positions which I am defending with the occasional rhetorical provocation. Granted, the way in which I use sarcasm without the usual "WARNING: SARCASM AHEAD" signs can occasionally lead to confusion, but then, this blog is a two-way street and one has only to ask in order to receive clarification.

I should also mention that I cannot fathom why anyone who looks upon me favorably would EVER even THINK about the possibility of attacking the OC for being insufficiently enthusiastic about anything I've said, written or done. I expect my friends to freely disagree with me; their opinions and criticisms are the only ones I take seriously. Praise is nice, but honest, intelligent and constructive criticism is to be treasured.

Counting conservative sheep

Joe Carter notes that it can be a bit of a shock to finally recognize that many Republicans and so-called "conservatives" are every bit the mindless herd animals that their Democratic and so-called "liberals" regularly demonstrate themselves to be:

I have to confess that I'd always associated sheeplishness with the Left. Liberals, according to my stereotype, are more prone to collectivism and--despite what they might claim--invariably not a part of the "reality-based community." Conservatives, I foolishly believed, were different. We relied on facts and based our opinions on sound arguments. We did our own homework and didn’t rely on other people to do our thinking for us.

I know, I know, it's a silly delusion. Had I given it even a moment's thought I'd have recognized the fallacy of my own bias. But until recently, I didn’t give it much thought. It was only after the pundits started repeating erroneous claims about a topic I knew something about that I realized that they really were, as their liberal critics often claimed, regurgitating the same talking points.

Most pundits are deeply clueless. You have to keep in mind that they are the sort of people who think they know all about Europe from a semester in London plus a two-week trip to Rome five years ago. Interviewing a general makes them experts in all things military and having once heard of something means they "know" about it. They're NEVER held to account for being wrong; one thing I'd like to do someday is start a Pundit Prediction Percentage site tracking predictions and providing accuracy ratings for every significant commentator. Todd Seavey's little summary of our new friend David Frum's prophetic acumen indicates why such a site would be not only desirable, but downright useful.

...while Frum is very smart and writes well, if you take his advice on how to rebuild the GOP, you’re taking advice from the same guy who declared Bush The Right Man in 2003, ten years after he pronounced the conservative movement electorally dead in his 1993 book Dead Right — one year before the GOP took over Congress)

If history is any guide, Frum's new book Comeback should represent the final nail in the GOP's coffin for a generation. Anyhow, if this is a concept that happens to interest you, email me with PPP in the subject and tell me which pundit you'd be interested in tracking. I haven't worked out the precise formula yet, but the inevitable New Year's predictions coming up should prove to be somewhat useful.

Ancient wisdom

While I'm enjoying my Christmas books, it can be a little depressing when you realize that in our arrogant ignorance, America is simply repeating a number of well-known errors of the past. In the very first chapter of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, I noticed the following gems:

"The Emperor, greatly moved by the signs of the displeasure of Heaven, issued an edict asking his ministers for an explanation of the calamaties and marvels. A certain Ts'ai Yung replied bluntly that showers of insects and changes of fowls' sexes were brought about by feminine interference in State affairs."

I think I'd prefer showers of insects to a growing Nanny state, declining real per capita income and eight hundred thousand children sacrificed annually to the sacred cause of women receiving pieces of paper declaring their competence in Political Geography, Sociology and/or Vagina Gazing. And better to learn that the chickens are changing sexes instead of those sad psychological wrecks who think to find happiness in the surgical denial of their chromosomal inheritance.

"Tho' fierce as tigers soldiers be,
Battles are won by strategy."

The Eastern sages have known for centuries a basic truth that continues to escape the war cheerleaders in the commentariat. America's soldiers can win every single clash of arms and America not only can, but almost certainly will, lose this war because its martial strategy, to the extent that it even exists, is entirely incoherent.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Little Green Fatheads

From Little Green Footballs: "Ron Paul blames the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on the “interventionist” policy of the United States"

From Mark Steyn, earlier that same day:"The State Department geniuses thought they had it all figured out. They'd arranged a shotgun marriage between the Bhutto and Sharif factions as a "united" "democratic" "movement" and were pushing Musharraf to reach a deal with them."

So, the U.S. State Department's clever policy was to send Bhutto back to Pakistan to inaugurate a shining new democratic era there despite her extreme unpopularity with the two major Pakistani political forces, which, unsurprisingly led to her getting killed. This assassination, amazingly enough, was quite likely at the behest of the man that the State Department was trying to push out of power on her behalf. (Motive, means, opportunity....) But, according to the very little, very immature minds at LGF, to blame her predictable assassination on the State Department's intervention, or even describe that intervention in the politics of a sovereign nation as "interventionist", well, that's just crazy talk!

I'm increasingly coming to believe that Democrats are stupid, and Republicans are insane. Both conditions result in the advocacy of that which will inevitably lead to evil. In fact, that will be my explanation the next time someone asks me why I am a libertarian. I am a libertarian because Democrats are stupid and Republicans are insane.

There is no shortage of evidence to support this hypothesis.

UPDATE - this comment at LGF tells you all you need to know about the attachment of LGF and media "conservatives" to human liberty:

"I'd vote for Hillary before I would Ron Paul."

Yeah, we'd sort of figured that one out already. And why wouldn't they prefer Hillary Clinton to Ron Paul, given that their favored candidates share at least 75 percent of Clinton's policy positions?

The lawyer weasels

Or is that, the weasel lawyers? It's really synonymous, isn't it? Despite much bobbing, ducking, weaving and trying to point out that America's free speech rights are not absolute, the Canadian lawyer never quite gets around to directly answering my point:

Finally, if Mr. Day is to characterize my mention that Canada does, in fact, have constitutional protection for freedom of expression as "pulling a fast one," I am wondering how he anticipates readers might view his erroneous suggestion that Canada does not?

I shall repeat my post for the benefit of Mr. Wise and anyone else incapable of understanding how the nebulous terms of the limits on Canadian free speech "rights" negate them entirely:

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

The reason Mr. Wise still refuses to post this part of the text despite having posted the following section from it is because doing so would lead to the inevitable demonstration that the "reasonable limits" currently being applied to Mr. Steyn's speech have been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada. Moreover, Mr. Wise conflates civil and criminal law in his attempt to demonstrate that American free speech rights little different than Canada's so-called "rights" while skipping over the fact that the truth is an absolute defense in the case of perjury, slander, libel and so forth while it is manifestly not in the case before the various Canadian human rights tribunals. As for national security and other exceptions, they are overt VIOLATIONS of unalienable American rights by the U.S. federal government, they are not proof that the rights never existed in the first place.

So what, precisely, are those "reasonable limits"? And are the tribunals legally empowered to define them in the absence of any specific legal definitions? Inquiring Americans would like to know.

Feckless outdoes himself

Can you find the factual errors? There are four objective ones - plus an additional five if you're willing to get subjective, but reasonable - in this one paragraph alone:

Many of you are doubtless unfamiliar with Ted "Theodore" Beale, better known as completely insane person Vox Day. Foxy Voxy is a Christian Dominionist libertarian, a pairing that makes no earthly sense, as it's impossible to force people to worship Jesus while still preserving personal liberty. Vox has written some horrible, horrible works of fiction, and his dad is a notorious tax cheat who fled the country rather than go to jail for tax evasion. But Vox is most famous for his personal blog and his column at WorldNetDaily (purchased, I must note, by his father, who was one of the principal founders of the site). In that blog, Vox generally attacks women and minorities, and both if he has his mojo working. But Vox doesn't just attack women -- he despises them. Vox makes MRAs move away, slowly, while muttering about his needing to calm down about the ladies. Vox, in short, is just a cavalcade of evil, and I've been tracking him off and on for some time now.

Good times, good times. The comments are particularly amusing; the level of mental acumen of the women there, unsurprisingly, is such that they actually think the above passage constitutes a "takedown". Hey, this one's new: It boggles my mind that any self-respecting (or not!) woman would sleep with this guy.. Of course no "self-respecting" woman would, since the proper translation of the feminist term "self-respecting" is "fat, ugly, and unpleasant". I prefer my women to be hot, slender and blonde, as God intended them to be.

I particularly enjoyed the irony of how one woman claims I "stalked" her - I have no idea who she is but apparently I linked to her post about one of MY columns - in light of Feckles statement about "tracking" me. I hate to disappoint dear Mr. Fecke, but I'm afraid he'll have to battle Michael Medved for my favors.

Bhutto bombing

This time, they got her. Are we actually supposed to be surprised by this? To me, it was inevitable and the only real question is who got her? It might have been the jihadists, or as some of her supporters obviously believe, it could have been the current military regime which was basically handed carte blanche to get rid of a rival while blaming it on the jihadists after her return to Pakistan.

Shrieking headlines notwithstanding, I don't see it being of much global significance one way or another as she wasn't popular enough to return to power anyhow. Unless the neocons were seriously thinking of invading Pakistan and installing her as a puppet like Hamid Karzai - and let's face it, they're crazy enough to have considered it - I don't see this as being either unexpected or internationally problematic.

UPDATE - I haven't been paying any attention whatsoever to Pakistan, so it's interesting to learn that according to Bhutto's former neighbor, Mark Steyn, (!?!), the postulated neocon craziness I mentioned was, apparently, part of the grand plan for World Democratic Revolution:

The State Department geniuses thought they had it all figured out. They'd arranged a shotgun marriage between the Bhutto and Sharif factions as a "united" "democratic" "movement" and were pushing Musharraf to reach a deal with them.

Los Romney

I said a flip flop the flippie the flippie
to the flip flip flop, you don't stop

There was a Euro dance hit a few years back called Las Ketchup which reminds me of Captain Underoos and his ever-evolving positions on, apparently, everything. In like manner, Drew Cline casts a very skeptical eye on the amorphous Mormon in the Manchester Union-Leader:

OK, here’s a game for the Christmas dinner table. Try to come up with a policy position Mitt Romney hasn’t flip-flopped on. I suggest this after seeing that Romney has even flip-flopped on the one issue where I thought Romney was strongest — taxes.

It would be hysterical to see a "Los Romney" remake of this featuring three blonde women doing the little Ketchup dance in their holy underoos. Of course, it would probably have to be someone from the Ron Paul Revolution; Huckabee supporters obviously can't do it, since the dancing involved would be wrong.

A Steynian sense of humour

Anyone who would elect to not only quote this particular part of an article written in defense of him, but actually leave out the positive aspects is fundamentally all right with me, whatever his political opinions on various matters might be:


"Mark Steyn is an overexposed, overrated, Canadian opinion columnist... He's also not the distillation of P.J. O'Rourke, Ann Coulter and P.G. Wodehouse that the many gushing tributes to him written during the past few years might otherwise lead one to believe."

I also admire Steyn's refusal to kowtow to the Canadian anti-free speech fascists, pusillanimous advice from council notwithstanding. I can only assume I fall into the "another" category of defenders he mentions, but the truth is that as with the Ron Paul Revolution, there is no need for freedom's advocates to be inclined to braid each other's hair and bake cookies together in order to speak out when Man's basic liberties are under assault.

An attack on the free speech rights of a pro-war, strong government guy is an attack on everyone, including those of us who happen to be anti-war and anti-government.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Speaking of books and IP

Here's my reading list for the next month, courtesy of Spacebunny:

The Landmark Thucydides (annotated, with introduction by VDH!)
Outlaws of the Marsh (four volumes)
The Romance of Three Kingdoms (two volumes, translated by Brewitt-Taylor)
On Literature by Umberto Eco

Now, the interesting thing here is that of these eight books, only one was created during the IP era. However, since Eco's essays in this particular collection are more literary and academic than political and cultural, the chances are high that he wrote them primarily as an academic, i.e. not for the same profit motive that presumably inspires his weekly columns in L'Espresso.

Moreover, Thucydides's history and the classic Chinese romance have been ripped off by millions of dollars worth of books, movies and games, right down to the very name in some cases, with absolutely no compensation ever going to the creators.

Canada strikes back

OS correctly discerns my indifference to the NHL, but that's about it:

I suppose he's entitled to that, as well as his ignorance of America's good friend and steady partner, Canada. Mind you, when so many Canadian families are mourning the loss of their young soldiers, blown to pieces in Afghanistan, it's tough to swallow the
'irrelevance' vomit spewed out by the likes of Vox Day.

At least Condi Rice and President Bush have the good graces to thank Canada, one of the few countries who have sent many young men to their death alongside US soldiers in that Taliban hellhole. It also seems they are appreciative of the huge and reliable supplies of uranium, petroleum and electricity that come from Canada to feed America's industries, heat its homes and power its nuclear weapons.

You know Vox, we'll never be a 'big gun' like the USA. I mean, we've only got a population the size of California. Still, we do our bit and America has always been able count on us, military misadventures notwithstanding... but a MENSA member like you should know that.

Then again, maybe the standards for MENSA admission in America are just a little lower than elsewhere...

Yes, I'm deeply impressed by Canada's willingness to aid George Bush in his war on liberties which Canadians do not possess, to say nothing of Canada's noble altruism in supplying a giant market with its exports. I'm sure Canadians do it out of the goodness of their hearts, unlike, for example, the Chinese, who only sell their exports out of evil capitalist greed.

Meanwhile, Canadian lawyer GW, shockingly, tries to pull a fast one:

It might be a whole lot easier to take the arguments of writers like Vox Day seriously if they didn't employ incendiary headlines like "Heil Canada.".... Regarding the article itself and a tiny point of accuracy, while Mr. Day's statement that "there is no Canadian First amendment" is technically true (as our free speech guarantees are not nested in a constitutional amendment), his readers should not be misled.

Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affords constitutional protection to freedom of expression in Canada:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association.

Mr. Wise neglects to mention the preceding paragraph, which qualifies these "rights" with open-ended strictures such as the sort which have been applied in Canadian law since 1970.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Similar limitations are placed on the "rights" supposedly guaranteed by the United Nations and the current European charter that currently applies to its European signatory states and will be adopted by the European Union once it claims sovereign status.

And while RB didn't take offense on behalf of the nation of Canada, he was apparently upset that I was insufficiently respectful of the greatest writer that ever put pen to paper regarding matters political:

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that, judging from the ample evidence of both of your many columns, you are not fit to sharpen Mark Steyn’s pencil. He is considerably more knowledgeable than you on every topic you mention your last column. He has a grasp of real life politics and policy, unlike your Google-happy, MENSA obsessed, web-trolling egg headed know-it-all posturing. He actually travels to the places that you Imagine you understand. You embarrass yourself by trying to high-horse an intellect as strong as Steyn’s but, then again, you embarrass yourself almost every Monday, so I’m not surprised by this latest example. You are too smart by half. Or less.

Yes, this would be exactly the sort of individual I had in mind when I wrote about Steyn being overrated. He's not bad, as nominally right-wing commentators go, but he's not in my top ten either.

Illustrating the fundamental absurdity

Of Imaginary Property:

In a potential blow to themed resorts from Vegas to Tokyo, Egypt is to pass a law requiring payment of royalties whenever its ancient monuments, from the pyramids to the sphinx, are reproduced. Zahi Hawass, the charismatic and controversial head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, told AFP on Tuesday that the move was necessary to pay for the upkeep of the country's thousands of pharaonic sites.

"The new law will completely prohibit the duplication of historic Egyptian monuments which the Supreme Council of Antiquities considers 100-percent copies," he said. "If the law is passed then it will be applied in all countries of the world so that we can protect our interests," Hawass said.

What a brilliant idea! After all, if copyright can be extended from the life of the creator to 70 years after the life of the creator, there's no logical reason not to extend it to 10,000 years after the life of the creator.

I've been an enthusiastic pirate all my life, as despite being a content creator myself, I've always understood that "IP" is nothing more than a variety of state-sanctioned theft. What passes for the main "defense" of IP is simply a lie; most of man's greatest works were created before the existence of IP.

Fortunately for we IP-atheists who refuse to bow down before the idol of Imaginary Property, it's not only the technology curve that's on our side, but the generational one as well. That overwhelming majority of college students are not amoral, they're merely recognizing the undeniable fact that if you had one apple before and you've still got one apple now even though I am happily crunching away something that is a perfect replica of your apple, then no one has taken anything away from you. No theft has taken place. But using the government to force me to pay you for the apple you still possess is theft.

Information not only wants to be free, information WILL be free. And before you do anything so blatantly stupid and obvious as try to label me some sort of hypocrite, do stop and remind yourself exactly with whom you're dealing.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

2007 VPFL champions

74 Masonville
65 Winston

Christmas is particularly merry this year in Masonville, as the Marauders' wealth at quarterback- they began the season with the enviable option of choosing between Tom Brady and Tony Romo - propelled them to a first-place 9-5 regular-season finish and a close, but solid win over the Reverends.

Masonville will be back next year, along with the three permanent members, Mounds View, Greenfield and Burns. Next summer, those interested in participating can throw their names in the hat to fill up the other six team spaces.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Much has changed since I wrote this column in 2002. And yet, nothing has changed. I can still remember believing in Santa Claus, now I see the anticipation of Santa's visit reflected in younger, more innocent eyes. This year, I find myself in a warm and happy home, surrounded by love and joy, but thinking of those who languish alone in dark and joyless places. May their hearts be warmed by memories of Christmases past and the promise of Christmases still to come.

The King of Christmas

I love everything about Christmas. The white snow, the rainbow of lights and the dawn vision of presents piled under the tree. It is a happy time for my family, a time of joy. Some of our most cherished memories stem from this time of year. But we also remember the inspiration for the celebration, a truth both wonderful and grim.

We remember that Jesus Christ had to come into this fallen world because it was, and is, under the rule of a cruel and malevolent prince, who tempted Him, who slew Him when He would not submit, and who watched in helpless horror as He rose again in power.

The world is still under the rule of that cruel prince, the results of which can be seen every day in the news. Murder, war and tyranny continue to oppress many millions throughout the world, but we who refuse to submit to the ruler of this world are no longer bound by him, for we claim that truth that sets us free, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the true king of Man, yet I remain convinced His Father is a libertarian. Not only did He send His Son to set us free, but He allows us, no, He forces us to decide between acknowledging His Son or seating ourselves upon the throne of our own lives. And that freedom of choice, in the end, is the central liberty; it is the only liberty that matters.

A friend once asked how I could be so cheerful while America rots from within and endures attack from without. The answer is that despite my love for America and my passionate allegiance to the ideas upon which it was constructed, I know that its fate is immaterial. Our country, our homes and even our lives are all things of shadow which will one day disappear in the light of the glory of Jesus Christ.

Despair is the natural state of the thinking man. This is why intellectuals grasp so readily at even the feeblest straw promising hope for Heaven on Earth. But there will be neither peace nor harmony until the revolution begun in a Bethlehem manger is complete, until the murderous ruler of this world is finally deposed. Then, at last, there will be peace and goodwill to men.

Merry Christmas.

I endorse Ron Paul

And it seems that I'm not the only one. I had no idea that Tucker Carlson and Donna D'Errico would do so as well, though.

It's a fact. Babes dig libertarians.

Derb on demographics

The amusing thing about this correction is that the esteemed columnist is also the author of a book on mathematics:

Let's see … 3 plus 2 plus 1 plus zero is, er, 6; and 6 divided by 4 is … 2, right? Well, to one significant digit. Sorry about that. A little too much Christmas spirit. I really should stay away from applied. The correct TFR for our Four Horsemen of Godlessness is 1.5, and Sam Harris will have to engender three offspring to get the atheist quartet up above replacement.

As one of his emailers has already pointed out, due to multiple marriages on the part of Messrs. Dawkins and Hitchens, the more important rate per woman is even lower, especially if one were to take Bertrand Russell's five wives into account.

But even without counting the oft-married Russell, the Four Horsemen of Godlessness average only .86 children per woman.

Another bailout for bankers

Unsurprisingly, upon further review, the Bush mortgage bailout plan is only meant to keep mortgage bankers afloat by preserving the loans, it's not intended to help people keep their homes in any way, shape or form:

Every word in the proposal is intended to maximize the net present value of recoveries, nothing else.... Scheme Part 1: Say the subject property was valued at $100,000 with an 80/20 financing package in place. Now the property is worth $90,000. Using only the 1st lien, the LTV is only 88.9% ($80,000/$90,000), far below the 97% LTV. The idea is to get these suckers (borrowers) to refinance into one of those FHASecure while the 2nd lien holder agrees to subordinate to a new 1st. The old securitized 1st is now home free with a FHA/government bailout while the 2nd, though still in an over-encumbered position, has just received a reprieve. How brilliant.

Scheme Part 2: If the property has dropped to approximately $83,000 or below, then Scheme part 1 is not feasible. So it is best to keep this borrower paying in a 120%+ CLTV property. As you can see, with the property value so low, they know with certainty that a default would be a total wipe of the 2nd and a severe loss to the 1st.

This two part scheme assures that there are no crumbs left on the table for the borrowers. In summary, regardless of its devious intent, this bailout plan will not work.

The greed and shortsightedness of the financial predators is truly astonishing. Even animals usually know better than to ruthlessly wipe out the prey that sustains them.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Discuss amongst yourselves

Ye cats, but that first half was an ugly one for the Vikings.

Ron Paul on Meet the Press

It seems a bit more prosecutorial than is Tim Russert's normal style, but that's to be expected.

MR. RUSSERT: Under President Paul, if North Korea invaded South Korea, would we respond?

REP. PAUL: I don't--why should we unless the Congress declared war? I mean, why are we there? Could--South Korea, they're begging and pleading to unify their country, and we get in their way. They want to build bridges and go back and forth. Vietnam, we left under the worst of circumstances. The country is unified. They have become Westernized. We trade with them. Their president comes here. And Korea, we stayed there and look at the mess. I mean, the problem still exists, and it's drained trillion dollars over these last, you know, 50 years. So stop--we can't afford it anymore. We're going bankrupt. All empires end because the countries go bankrupt, and the, and the currency crashes. That's what happening. And we need to come out of this sensibly rather than waiting for a financial crisis.

MR. RUSSERT: So if Iran invaded Israel, what do we do?

REP. PAUL: Well, they're not going to. That is like saying "Iran is about to invade Mars." I mean, they have nothing. They don't have an army or navy or air force. And Israelis have 300 nuclear weapons. Nobody would touch them.

I'm always amused by people who worry about Iran attacking Israel. They have clearly never read Jane's and have no idea about the comparative size and construction of the two militaries. It's rather like worrying about 19th century India invading England based on the former's greater population.

If you want to worry about someone attacking Israel, worry about Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Of course, if they ever do, they'll be doing it with arms provided to them by the USA.

Nothing is too sacred to ridicule

Yukonyon appears to have missed my sarcasm when I asked about what was "borderline inappropriate":

Borderline inappropriate means that you unfairly cast conjecture at the Mormons, without scrutinizing the rest of the Christian mantra. And since you bring it up, let's call it what it is; sacred, not secret. It is something that the Mormons consider to be very sacred, and you don't hit any nerves with your conjecture, just infuriate them when you join the other hacks in desecrating what they consider to be so sacred that they don't talk about it outside of the temple walls. It is nothing special or original, and it gives you no kudos.

One does not need to scrutinize every religious idiosyncracy in order to cast a skeptical eye on the abnormal rituals of any particular group. You're conflating various commenters with me here, as I never made any reference to anything being secret; as for sacred, I think you know that I am rather well known for being a non-respecter of sacred cows of every kind, even my own. It's always easy to laugh when someone else's ox is getting gored; the strength of one's convictions is revealed in one's reaction when it's one's own ox that's bleeding.

So, I don't shy away from the various and occasionally inexplicable oddities of my faith nor do I expect others to do so. It is a testimony to Mormon insecurity that they are so sensitive, even secretive, about what is quite rightly regarded by them as an embarrassing matter. And I note that to talk about something, even in scorn, is not to desecrate it. I'm not a Soviet-style atheist, burning your underwear in front of you as proof that your Mormon god does not exist.

I must vehemently dispute the idea that "Captain Underoos" is neither special nor original. I think it's almost perfectly appropriate, combining as it does divergent elements of truth, humor, offensivenes and contempt; if Mitt Romney doesn't look like a figure straight out of Marvel Comics, I don't know who does. Can't you see him standing proudly in his temple garments, fists at his side as he juts out his jaw confidently towards the future? His superpower is one that allows him to retroactively change five seconds of the past when he slips on his magic gold spectacles.

Mormons are, for the most part, fine, upstanding people who believe some crazy things. Which is perfectly acceptable and we'd surely be better off with more of them around. But that doesn't mean the rest of us don't have a right to laugh at the craziness, and it doesn't speak well of their collective judgment that they would elect to line up behind a man I hope is a very poor example of Mormon integrity, or rather, the lack thereof, simply because he wears the same sacred underwear that they do.

The evil of MLK, Jr.

Yet even if the point were conceded that MLK was a communist, you'd still have a man who was remarkably important for the stand he took against racism and institutional discrimination and for the way he rallied americans behind the cause of desegregation. We are talking about a true American hero.

So, a "true American hero" is one who dedicated his life to destroying the right to freedom of association? Forced desegregation is far more evil than voluntary segregation; while MLK may have only opposed forced segregation, it's quite clear that the primary result of his cause has been the precise opposite of what it was supposed to achieve.

This may have been unintended, but it was absolutely predictable. And the chief accomplishments King's campaign against "racism and institutional discrimination" have been to tear down the Bill of Rights and destroy fundamental American liberties while sentencing black Americans to a society full of men in jail and women dependent upon government largesse.

MLK was undeniably important, for much the same reason that Vladimir Putin is TIME's 2007 Man of the Year. One can only imagine that one day John McCain will be celebrated as a member of the same heroic American pantheon to which MLK belongs, given McCain's dedicated war against the right to free speech.

Rhymes with "Mitt" II

In which the New York Times reminds us that Romney has a Clintonian view of the truth being whatever he happens to wish it to be at the moment:

Mr. Romney’s office proposed legislation that would have toughened penalties on those in possession of the drug and chemicals to manufacture it, but the bill stalled in the state legislature. After The New York Times pointed out Mr. Romney’s misstatement in a posting on its politics blog, he made sure to correct himself before taking questions from reporters at his next campaign stop here.

“If I said this morning that we ‘got tough’ on methamphetamines, I proposed we get tough on methamphetamine and I’ve corrected that right here for all of you,” he said. “You don’t need to make any error of reporting that somehow Governor Romney actually got it done.”

His claim of being a lifelong hunter was similar. When asked at town hall forums about his stance on guns, Mr. Romney portrayed himself as a sportsman, a “hunter pretty much all my life,” who strongly supported the right to bear arms.... After the notion was challenged by The Associated Press, Mr. Romney’s campaign initially conceded that those were the only two instances he had really been hunting in his life, but later rushed to add that he had also gone pistol shooting for “varmints” at his vacation home in Utah, although he did not have a hunting license or own a gun.

On the National Rifle Association endorsement, Mr. Romney argued the group phone banked for him, but he conceded it did not formally endorse him.

Captain Underoos is a very strange man with an arms-length relationship with honesty. His religion may be unusual and his taste in literature execrable, but it's his psychological construction that is far more troubling. It's pretty clear that for Romney, the intention IS the deed. Those looking to him to nominate conservative Supreme Court justices should keep in mind that proposing to is equivalent to actually doing so for him, as the man is, quite literally, a deceiver.

I neither like nor support Huckabee. Nor do I trust him. But given that Giuliani, Romney and McCain all seem to be legitimately mentally unbalanced to a noticeable degree, it's not hard to understand why people are gravitating to him based merely on the "probably not clinically insane" factor.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

VPFL Championship week

First round playoff results:

67 Masonville Marauders
38 Greenfield Grizzlies

45 Winston Reverends
42 Cranberry Bogs

Masonville looks like the favorite on paper, but the big game from Winston QB Big Ben may have pushed the odds in the Reverends' favor.

Of flying rodent's posteriors

And my interest therein. Yukonyon writes:

I always appreciate your criticism of Mitt, because I don't like the guy, but your mockery of his underwear is borderline inappropriate; there are a lot of secrets that Catholics will never release, albeit they are keeping potential doctrine from being made available to the public, yet no mention is ever made about any politician's avowed Catholicism. Your comments about john 3:16 is a non-sequiter in attempting to establish that there is no way that Jesus and Satan were both created by God, and therefore couldn't be brothers in some sort of context. And equivocating this to something Clintonian makes you appear disingenuous, because frankly, I can't see the comparison. You're beginning to appear less and less like the cool, dispassionate rationalist, while making you appear more and more like an anti-Mormon hack.... This is just advice; you can take what you want, and throw out the rest, because it is your funeral.

Ah, so it's Mormon tushies that we're supposed to be kissing now to further our media careers. Got it... good think I don't want one. But let me get this straight... you seriously think a national politician can get away with wearing holy underoos and NOT get mocked for it? If Hillary suddenly starts wearing a sacred snakeskin thong in public due to whatever bizarre reptilian religion she secretly practices, is everyone really expected to quietly respect that? Here's the reality. If you do something, you don't get to be the judge of whether it is weird or not. I consider myself to be the epicenter of normality; there appear to be in excess of six billion people who disagree. That's fine, I deal. I'm not telling you not to wear your underwear on your head or whatever, I'm just telling you not to be shocked when people laugh at you. And they will.

Now, what is this "borderline inappropriate" concept of which you speak?

The idea that I'm an "anti-Mormon hack" is downright amusing, as I am demonstrably not a hack, (at least in the professional sense), and I don't care enough about Mormonism one way or another to be anti-Mormon. One might as reasonably suggest that I'm anti-Scientologist or anti-Nzambi Mpunguist. Mormonism is totally irrelevant, in my opinion, except that it happily provides a fitting appellation for the ridiculous Mr. Romney. A snug, tight-fitting appellation, one might even say....

I suggest that even though he doesn't support Romney, Yukonyon's instinctive desire to defend his religion may be blinding him to the way Romney revealed his fundamentally dishonest character in this little incident, in much the same way NRO's endorsement and Hugh Hewitt's unrequited man-love has. Romney was already known to be a horrendous flip-flopper and serial stretcher of the truth; what could easily pass for an innnocent and unintended exaggeration in the mouth of another candidate is simply not credible coming from him. Does Yukonyon also think my denigration of Romney's literary taste stems from anti-Mormonism,* or is it possible that Battlefield Earth is the worst science fiction novel ever to see a bestseller's list?

Considering that even the English papers see Romney's attempted grammatical contortions as Clintonian, either there are a lot of political observers who are just as "disingenuous" about Romney as I am, or Yukonyon's view of the matter is incorrect. The thing is, there's no need for anyone to be disingenuous about it anyhow, as in my opinion, Romney has already fatally wounded himself with his own words. It will be interesting to see if the polls reflect this or not.

*It may amuse some of you to note that after I wrote my opinion of Romney's favorite book, one scientologist emailed to complain of my obvious bias against Scientology.

Derbyshire explains the Paul appeal

Sometimes, being crazy is the only sane option:

The first vote I ever cast was for Ronald Reagan in 1984. Today, I look at the Huge Government Republican establishment in Washington D.C., and read its enablers … and I have no idea who these people are, or what happened to the GOP I signed on with.

I’m in construction and get paid by the hour, so a twenty five dollar donation to Dr. Paul is roughly one pre-tax hour of my labor.

So here’s the deal: for every two weeks that Ron Paul is in the race, he gets the fruit of an hour of my time and effort. And every time another member of the conservative intelligentsia disparages Dr. Paul’s campaign for a limited and constitutional government, it will just make hitting the send button that much sweeter.

Are those supporters crazy, as some colleagues tell me?

Perhaps they are, to be shouting for liberty in 2007, after decades of swelling federal power and arrogance, of proliferating taxes, rules, and interests, of gushing transfers of wealth to politically connected elites from working- and middle-class grunts, of the college and teacher-union scams, of the metastasizing tort-law rackets, of ever more numerous yet ever more clueless intelligence agencies, of open borders and visas for people who hate us, of widening cracks in our sense of nationhood (“Press one for English …”), of speech codes and race lobbies and judicial impositions.

If those people are crazy, though, I want to be crazy with them. I’m for liberty, too. That’s why I’m for Ron Paul.

I look at those people too, the Giulianis, McCains, Romneys and Huckabees of the world, and wonder how on Earth it is possible that they are able to convince anyone of their nonsense after nearly two decades of consistent betrayal of republican principles by Huge Government Republicans. Do you, does anyone, actually believe that there is a single candidate in the race who will seriously try to reduce the size of the federal government besides Ron Paul?

Because I can absolutely guarantee you, they will not.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Rhymes with "Mitt"

The Northern Alliance's big guns appear determined to join National Review in making themselves look irrelevant by defending the GOP's Walter Mitty, especially in light of Romney's own lame attempt to defend himself. It's especially telling that none of his defenders dare to quote that defense due to how incredibly lame his foolish attempt to justify his previous statement is:

Mitt Romney has been drawing criticism for saying that he "saw" his father march with Martin Luther King, even though he did not witness the event. This strikes me as a non-story. It seems probable to me that Romney did not mean to say that he literally saw George Romney and Dr. King marching together. In that event, Romney likely would have said that he was with his father when he marched with King, or that he himself marched with King.

Here's Romney's actual words:

"If you look at the literature, if you look at the dictionary, the term "saw" includes "being aware of" in the sense I described. It's a figure of speech, and very familiar, and very common, and I saw my Dad marching with Martin Luther King. I did not see it with my own eyes, but I saw him in the sense of being aware of his participation in that great effort."

You see that Mitt Romney is full of shit. In every sense of the words "see", "is", and "shit".

When you're next on your knees

Do remember Beau in your prayers. His daughter writes: He asked me to pass on to you and the Voxologisti that he suffered a heart attack and quadruple-bypass surgery. He is now out of the hospital and resting. He wishes you God's blessing for Christmas.

My best wishes to Beau and his family. I hope he will make a full recovery with no complications and will soon be able to join us in discussing the fallout from the early primaries.

Fork, meet Rudy. Rudy, Fork.

As I have predicted from the start, Giuliani is done, much to NRO editor Rich Lowry's shock and awe:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows a continuing slide for Rudy Giuliani. In the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination, it’s Mike Huckabee at 21%, John McCain and Mitt Romney at 15% each, Giuliani at 13% and Fred Thompson at 12%.

Why is Giuliani done with 13 percent when Ron Paul is more viable than ever with less than half of that? Because all Giuliani ever had going for him was his supposed electability based on his standing in the national polls. Now that's gone too.

The Tennessee Toad is a non-starter, or if you prefer, never started, so that leaves Huckabee, Romney, Paul, and McCain. I think McCain is entirely a media creation, but we'll have to wait until after New Hampshire to confirm that. Romney's Mormonism renders him hopeless even if he wasn't a confirmed liar - his little fib about his father's march with Martin Luther King is only the latest to surface - so things should get very interesting very soon.

As he melts down, Captain Underoos has become increasingly amusing. "Admitting that he didn't see the march with his own eyes, he said, "I 'saw' him in the figurative sense."

As one wag has already commented, "it depends what the definition of 'saw' is." I can't wait to see how Hugh Hewitt attempts to explain this one away - hey, maybe Romney saw his father marching with those missing golden spectacles!

UPDATE - NRO reports that a giant fork just speared Romney too:

the Boston Globe is reporting that, in a 1978 interview, Romney claimed that he himself had also marched with Dr. King. In an email to the Globe, the campaign acknowledged that this was not true.

Pratchett on omniderigence

Just happened to notice this while reading a little Terry Pratchett over lunch:

If you are a subject in a monarchy, you are ruled by the monarch. All the time. Waking or sleeping. Whatever you - or they - happen to be doing.

It's part of the general conditions of the situation. The queen doesn't actually have to come around to your actual house, hog the chair and the TV remote control, and issue commands about how one is parched and would enjoy a cup of tea. It all takes place automatically, like gravity. Except that, unlike gravity, it needs someone at the top. They don't necessarily have to do a great deal. They just have to be there. They just have to be.

It does not speak well for the intellectual level of much Christian theology that an atheist humorist has a better grasp on the concept of sovereignty than many, perhaps even most, American Christians today.

Tramp appeal

As the Evangelical Outpost points out, Whit Stilman appears to understand the way young women's minds work:

Rick Von Slonecker is tall, rich, good looking, stupid, dishonest, conceited, a bully, liar, drunk and thief, an egomaniac, and probably psychotic. In short, highly attractive to women.

[Tramp is] a self-confessed chicken thief; an all around sleaze ball. What's the function of a film of this kind? Essentially it's a primer about love and marriage directed at very young people, imprinting on their little psyches that smooth-talking delinquents recently escaped from the local pound are a good match for nice girls in sheltered homes. When in ten years the icky human version of Tramp shows up around the house their hormones will be racing and no one will understand why.

That is fiction, of course. But there's no shortage of evidence of this sort of behavior in the real world, as JW relates in an email about his former life as a girl's best friend:

Your blog about "what happened to the nice guys" hilariously reminded me of my last week as a woman's best friend. It went something like this:

Friday: Female best friend, 38 and pretty, leaves town for a wedding. Takes 28-year old unemployed loser to keep her company. He tells her he brought no money after he orders dinner. Annoyed, she pays for everything and bangs him.

Saturday: He acts like he doesn't know her at the wedding reception, spending all his time dancing and phone number swapping with someone younger and hotter. Annoyed, she bangs him at the hotel later.

Sunday: She drops him at home and calls him a few hours later. His roommate makes fun of her for the way she serviced him in bed all weekend.

Monday: I listen to her cry about his not bringing money, ignoring her at the wedding, and cutting up about her sexually to his roommate. She just can't find a good guy (as if any of the employed and decent men in her fan club would have ever been invited.)

Tuesday: I play cards and I'm not home when she calls (and calls).

Wednesday: I return her call and she doesn't have time to talk because she needs to get showered before bad boy gets there to "talk" about his behavior over the weekend.

Thursday: She calls me and I tell her it burns me to listen to her non-stop whining about this asshole's behavior, since she'll just bang him again (and she didn't deny that happening). She yells at me not to call him an asshole since he was there for her, which is more than she could say for me on Tuesday when I knew she was hurting. I hung up on her and have barely spoken to her since.

It is amazing how hard this woman, who never seemed to have the time before, would try to get me on the phone once I didn't want to talk to her anymore. I was 34, and I was admittedly a little pathetic when it came to her. Got married at 35 to someone better.

The lesson is this: unless you're a committed voyeur, don't be a woman's best friend if you're attracted to her. The main secret of the successful man is simple: pay no attention to what a woman says. Most of the time, she has already forgotten whatever it was that happened to come out of her mouth while the gamma male is still performing an exegesis on the precise meaning of the text.

Spacebunny was never my "girlfriend". We never had a talk about our "relationship" and if we had, I wouldn't have paid attention to anything she said anyhow. Her actions sufficed to convey her opinion on the subject. Now, it may sound a little strange to cite Ludwig von Mises in connection with male-female relations, but as he writes in the first chapter of Human Action, it is only an individual's actions that are relevant, not his words.

To express wishes and hopes and to announce planned action may be forms of action in so far as they aim in themselves at the realization of a certain purpose. But they must not be confused with the actions to which they refer. They are not identical with the actions they announce, recommend, or reject. Action is a real thing. What counts is a man's total behavior, and not his talk about planned but not realized acts.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Econ is hard

Is Megan McArdle related to David Frum? I am somewhat puzzled at these obvious economic illiterates attempting to criticize Ron Paul on the subject of the monetary policy:

Ron Paul's supporters see the might of his common sense slashing through the doubletalk of the financial solons. I see a really, really smart economist responding to Ron Paul the same way you react to Cousin Mildred when she corners you after Christmas dinner to complain about the flouridation of the water supply. What Congressman Dr. Paul is saying doesn't make any particular sense; American consumers are not particularly suffering because of the decline of the dollar, the dollar is not declining because of Fed policy, and the Federal Reserve has nothing to do with a relative scarcity of oil and food, which is what is driving the CPI increases he complains about. If we were on the gold standard, oil and food would still be getting more expensive, and people on fixed incomes would still be feeling the pinch.

So, the dollar isn't declining because of its increasing supply... forget macro, McArdle obviously doesn't even know Econ 101. She also seems unaware that gold has gone from 275 to 800, which is a pretty good indication that oil and food would NOT be getting anywhere nearly as expensive on a gold standard.

To put things in an international perspective, Britain's fifth-largest mortgage bank is being propped-up to keep it from failing and Switzerland's largest bank needed to sell 10.6 percent of its stock to Singapore and a unknown Arab investor in order to secure its capital base, which was short the CHF 23 billion it managed to lose in the US housing market in only two quarters. (Notice that this meltdown is being called the "subprime crisis" in order to avoid scaring ignorant homeowners who have no idea what it means.) It's worth noting that the head of Switzerland's Federal Banking Commission told NZZ am Sonntag this week that the danger to financial institutions was far from over, as "The subprime crisis could spread to other credit markets, such as in the fields of credit cards, consumer credit, car financing, student loans or commercial credit."

Translation from the translation of the original Cherman: "It ain't over yet."

I'm sure none of that could possibly affect the American consumer, who can't possibly be suffering because the official statistics indicate solid economic growth and low inflation. What does the top Swiss banker know, in comparison with brilliant economic minds like McArdle and Frum?

In case you're not absolutely certain that she's a clueless economic illiterate with an unhealthy interest in the dismal science, Miss McArdle goes on to post this gem:

To a first approximation, zero. Oil is priced in dollars in the international market. The falling dollar has no effect on the price of oil. And inflation is a tiny contributor to the huge increase in gasoline prices.

Right, because the Fed-increased supply of dollars has only caused its value to fall against gold, the euro, the yen and the franc, but not oil. A commenter bitch-slaps her so hard that she must have done a full Linda Blair, as he quotes the Dallas Fed: "Research shows that a 10 percent reduction in the value of the dollar against the currencies of other oil-consuming countries leads to a 7.5 percent increase in the dollar price of oil."

75 percent is "tiny", right? I'd say this girl is borderline retarded, but then, as a plastic philosopher has informed us, math is hard for girls.

Uppity house negroes

Rod Dreher points out that turnabout isn't fair play on the Republican plantation:

It's funny, but when it looked like Rudy Giuliani, a social liberal, was going to be the nominee, we didn't see many, if any, establishment Republican opinion leaders freaking out over what kind of danger to the future of the party and the nation he represented….I think it's fair to say that it was assumed that Giuliani would be a sound representative of the Republican Party, and that the social and religious conservatives would do like they always do and get in line….

But lo, it turns out that the candidate who's caught fire comes straight out of the religious/social conservative wing of the coalition, and he is unsound on issues most important to the fiscal wing. It's not supposed to work that way. Nobody at the elite level seems to expect the economic conservatives to suck it up for the sake of party unity. What does that say about the place of social conservatives in the party all these years?

I don't support Huckabee nor am I a Republican, but Dreher's complaint on behalf of social conservatives is eminently justifiable. The GOP elite can't be trusted any more than the Dem elite, mostly because they both want pretty much the same thing even if one assumes that they're NOT one and the same. There may be a lot more social conservatives in the Republican party than there are blacks in the Democratic party, but the role both groups have played within their parties over the last five decades is essentially the same. Social conservatives and blacks are supposed to be there to be obedient and mindlessly supportive of the decisions of their betters, they're not supposed to actually believe that they have any right to an opinion in how massa's house is run.

I do look forward to the inventive reasoning presented by Republican establishment "conservatives" as they somehow discover reasons to vote Democrat should Mike Huckabee, or better yet, Ron Paul, win the nomination.

UPDATE - Dreher and I are not the only non-Huckabee supporters who have noticed this. Erick from Red State writes:

You know the most damnably aggravating thing about this campaign season for me? I continue to feel compelled to defend Mike Huckabee and I'm still convinced he'd hurt the party were he the nominee.... The New York-Washington Corridor of Conservative IntelligentsiaTM loves the base when it does as it is told, but let's not actually let the Jesus Freaks run things directly. You know, we're all suppose to listen to James Dobson, but God forbid one of his ideological kin actually takes charge.

I especially love the way he quotes Rich Lowry talking about Huckabee's disbelief in evolution. Um, Rich, given that 55 percent of Americans don't believe in evolution and only 13 percent believe whatever the latest scientific spin on TENS sans God happens to be, Huckabee's position would be the electorally rational one even if he wasn't a creationist.

The sound of Nazi

Yes, Virginia, you too may have to abandon your home and all your possessions to prevent the government authorities from taking your children away for the crime of not sending them to the local government propaganda mill:

A Utah woman who was ordered by a juvenile court judge to enroll her children in public school or lose custody of them has abandoned her home, furniture and other possessions to escape the order. Denise Mafi, a nine-year veteran of homeschooling, has confirmed to WND she and her children packed up their essentials – clothes and homeschool materials – and fled Utah over the weekend, spending more than 50 hours on a bus trip to another undisclosed part of the country.

There she has obtained an empty home, and is spending the Christmas break trying to find beds for her children and herself, and after the New Year, will involve the children in a local homeschooling process. "We're shampooing carpets right now. We have no furniture. We have no beds," she said. "But my kids are not going to public school. They are not going where Jesus isn't welcome."

Her home, furniture and other possessions left behind in Utah? "I'm not going back unless the judge removes the threat of arrest," she said. "I'll fight for the cause but I'm not going to be a martyr."

The case erupted for Mafi because of an apparent paperwork glitch that could very well be the fault of her local school district.

Let's see... her papers were not in ordnung so she was forced to flee to save her children. Sounds familiar, doesn't it. Interestingly enough, a nearly identical scenario is playing out in Germany right now, with a number of German families found in violation of a 1938 Nazi school law that is still in effect being forced to take their children and flee to Austria and Switzerland.

The postwar period of relative peace is over. Interesting times are here again. Be aware that this is just the beginning.

The good ship Rudy founders

Some of you may recall that I was wondering aloud about the unlikely possibility that Giuliani would be out of the picture by the convention a few months ago, and that was completely without seeing the Huckaboom coming in any way, shape or form:

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows the former New York City mayor now tied nationally with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 20% among Republicans nationally, just slightly ahead of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 17% and Arizona Sen. John McCain at 14%.

The significant thing is that Giuliani has lost 47 percent of his support before the votes start getting counted. He may well lose another half of what's left before Iowa Republicans cast their ballots since his only serious appeal was that he was supposed to be the frontrunner.

Thompson's all but out already. South Carolina should do for McCain again and Giuliani will probably drop out after Super Tuesday shows that he's got no real national appeal. The only remaining questions are if Huckabee can win big enough to knock Romney out after Iowa and New Hampshire and what sort of curve Ron Paul's expected overperformance will have on everything I wrote previously.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An upgrade for TIME

Krauthammer is half-sensible, but Kristol is reliably terrible. Ponnuru would be an excellent replacement and would give TIME an genuine conservative columnist for a change:

Two conservative Time magazine columnists are on their way out the door: Neither William Kristol nor longtime contributor Charles Krauthammer will be on contract with the magazine starting next month. Mr. Krauthammer confirmed the news to Off the Record, and a spokeswoman for Time said Mr. Kristol’s contract would not be renewed.

And according to two sources familiar with the discussions, Time is in negotiations with National Review editor Ramesh Ponnuru to sign him to a contributor contract. Mr. Ponnuru, who in 2006 published The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life, has written twice for the magazine over the past month.

I quite like Ponnuru's writing, and I hope this works out nicely for him.

Atheist Santa

The Objectivist and Pagan Santas are pretty good too:

Who's that coming down the chimney? Nobody -- that's ridiculous. Atheist Santa shows up in a gray Toyota Corolla and knocks on your door. Once you let him in and he has cookies and milk -- come on, even atheists love cookies and milk -- he will explain to your child that Santa may love all the children of the world, but he has never submitted his claims of flying reindeer and magical present delivery to James Randi, who would gladly pay a million dollars if presented with irrefutable proof of his wild claims. However, as a gesture of goodwill, Atheist Santa will leave your child with a set of wooden periodic-table blocks and a scale model of archaeopteryx.

It's funny, but let me anticipate PZ Myers and Brent Rasmussen by pointing out that it's a totally unfair characterization of atheists, who not only love cookies and milk but also have morals and ethics and love their children, (or would, anyhow, if they ever happened to find a woman willing to civil-union them who didn't later prefer an abortion to giving up her career in applied Women's Studies), and even celebrate Winterval with various traditions including but not limited to the pagan customs later shamelessly stolen by evil Christians. Because Atheist Santa would never drive a gray Toyota Carolla, he'd drive an old gray diesel Volvo with a pine-scented air freshener.

The kabuki plays out

One down, one to go for the Lizard Queen's hit squad:

The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively that Rielle Hunter, a woman linked to Edwards in a cheating scandal earlier this year, is more than six months pregnant - and she's told a close confidante that Edwards is the father of her baby! The ENQUIRER's political bombshell comes just weeks after Edwards emphatically denied having an affair with Rielle, who formerly worked on his campaign and told another close pal that she was romantically involved with the married ex-Senator....

In The ENQUIRER's Oct. 22 issue, we revealed that Edwards, 54, was involved in a mistress scandal and the shocking allegations - if proven true - could devastate the Democratic hopeful's campaign. At the time, we withheld Rielle's name, but reported that an insider told The ENQUIRER that she claimed that she began the affair some 18 months earlier. She talked about her relationship in phone calls and e-mails. After our story was published, several political bloggers correctly identified "the other woman" as Rielle, a self-described filmmaker whose company was hired by a pro-Edwards group called One American Committee and paid $114,000 to produce videos for Edwards' campaign.

The key to understanding the way the system works is realizing that most of the approved candidates are inherently broken. It's like traffic laws, you're supposed to be in violation of something at all times so there's always an excuse to pull you over. Since all the major candidates have an Achilles heel, they can be removed from the process at any time should they start to believe in their own press or if a lesser candidate accidentally turn out to be more popular with the electorate than the anointed one.

I'm no Chuck Norris

But occasionally one can hope to make a small impression on a mind here or there. GM drops a note:

I just wanted to say thanks. I have been a weekly reader of your column in WND, and read with interest your articles on Ron Paul. I started doing my own research, and have come to realize he really is the best candidate. Had it not been for your columns I may not have "discovered" him.

Keep up the good work. Go Ron GO!

I think it might have been Snowdog who wondered what my reaction to Andrew Sullivan's decision to support Ron Paul, at least on the Republican side. I don't actually dislike Sullivan, although I am not the biggest fan of him either due to a certain tendency to view every policy issue in terms of how it personally affects Andrew Sullivan. And it is regrettable that he missed so many opportunities to nail Sam Harris to the wall during what passed for their debate earlier this year.

But the entire point of Ron Paul's campaign is human liberty and his refusal to use government force to impose morality, religion or social justice on anyone. This is why his appeal is so widespread, to the atheist and the evangelical Christian, to the drug user and the teetotaller. Regardless of which way one leans on any particular domestic issue, one knows that Ron Paul will not use the powerful mechanism of government against one's beliefs... unless, of course, one's belief entails the use of the powerful mechanism of government against the people.

Never her fault

The ability of feminists to bend themselves in pretzels on any position in defense of some women's behavior is simply incredible:

Sexless marriages have typically been blamed on frigid wives, since it's assumed that men want sex all the time. But it turns out that men are just as likely to stop giving it up in the sack when in a longt-erm relationship. And guess what?! Those assholes are still blaming women for their limp dicks.

Except, of course, having an affair, or, to paraphrase Trent Reznor, maintaining a rigorous porn addiction tends to indicate that the equipment is not exactly out of order and the general interest is still there. A lot of women are boring in bed and since many women are forthright about how they view sex as a chore, it should be no surprise that men eventually find this to be a turnoff. (Key word: eventually.) This doesn't justify breaking marriage vows or trying to complete the Internet set, but it's not hard to understand why ESPN or WoW might prove more compelling than a woman doing a plausible imitation of a blow-up doll or the always popular impression Dead Fish on a Beach.

Sure, some guys very much like that, but they're the creepy sort who would also like you to hold your breath, and, if possible, take an ice bath first. Or at least a cold shower.

Men aren't robots. There's only so many times you can reasonably expect a man to hear "no" before he loses interest in bothering to ask the question. And if you think this is a problem now, just wait until the game industry and the adult entertainment industry get together. I had a hilarious conversation with a friend who is a Logitech executive a few months ago; they're not going down this route yet, but there's little question that they eventually will.

And if you're too fat to be attractive, as was the reason given in more than a third of the men's responses, how can it be anyone's fault but your own? It's also funny to read the responses insisting that women are just as interested in sex and just as visually-oriented as men... no doubt that's why the male romance novel industry is so omnipresent. This woman's comment was probably my favorite: "This is a pretty stupid survey. I do have to say, though, that I can't say I don't know any married couples where a few years later the man looks about the same, while the woman has gained a bunch of weight, has a frumpy mom haircut, and nags the shit out of her husband."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The worst politician ever

This is why you simply have to love Ron Paul. It's hilarious, the way he blithely turns the Fox guy into a stammering apologist for Huckabee. It's not as if the New Testament doesn't warn of wolves in the pulpits preying upon the unwary sheep in the congregation, after all.

As Jonah Goldberg points out in his new book, America is not only far more fascist than most people understand, one can very reasonably argue that it has already been a genuinely fascist state. Only a fool would believe that the next Fascists will come wearing blackshirts and speaking Italian.
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