Monday, January 31, 2005

The Party of No

The Democrats have nothing: no ideas, no policies, no guiding principles, no decency to even muster congratulatory pabulum after the Iraqi election (unlike the French, Germans and UN who all uttered congratulatory statements, and no ability to work with Republicans, period.

At the time of her nomination, Ruth Bader Ginsburg's jurisprudence was some of the most highly controversial legal thinking that would be represented on the Supreme Court. Her nomination passed 96-3 through a Republican Senate upon her nomination by a Democrat president. Similarly, Justice Breyer's nomination waltzed through by about 91-7.

Not so anyone who President Bush nominates: as the Washington Times reports, the People for the American Way (HA!) are gearing up for a full-on battle against any Supreme Court nominee. This time, however, unlike playing defense against spurious character assassinations of Robert Bork (lost 42-58) and Clarence Thomas (won 52-48), the Republicans will fight back. And well they should:
Supporters of President Bush's judicial nominees have hired the same media firm used by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth for their efforts to defend the next nominee for any upcoming Supreme Court vacancy.

The aggressive media style of Creative Response Concepts (CRC) will be met by a "war room" already set up by the liberal People For the American Way (PFAW) on the other side, indicating that the next Supreme Court fight is likely to be one of the nastiest in history.

Reaction by uberliberal Ralph Neas -- the string-puller of the Democratic Senatorial marionette: we've been waiting for this fight.

Time for the Republicans to actually win one.

HT: Volokhians and Cap'n Ed.

Actually, it's a fiasco

BoifromTroy notes that the Iraqi voting turnout of 72% is actually between 27-28% LOWER than the last Iraq election in 2002 and that the unity shown by the Iraqi polity three years ago in uniformly voting for Saddam Hussein has been shattered in the 2005 election.

QUICK -- someone call Jimmy Carter! This is a complete fiasco! This cannot be legitimate: more than one candidate receiving votes? Less than a 95% voter turnout? How could the US fail to ensure that the Iraqi turnout would not reach the old USSR benchmark? Who's been disenfranchised? For Pete's sake, those turnout and multiple party aspects resemble Canada or Australia or Britain!

H*ll in a handbasket says The Monk. That's where this world is going.

HT: the Volokhians.

Absence of Wongdoer

Biggest problem with having a co-blogger . . . actual expectation that the SOB will pull some weight. You'd think this is . . . although Will has been supporting Stephen the Martiniswiller for the past month even though Will has a blog of his own . . .

Irrelevancies in the media

Hillary Clinton collapsed during a speech today, but declined a trip to the ER. Essentially, she was weakened by a flu-type ailment and she'll be fine, which is good.

But the irrelevancy is this: the story on her collapse mentioned that Bill Clinton had a 4x bypass last year. Why? It's not like a statement that Hugh Rodham (Hillary's brother) had a quad bypass and Hillary has a heart problem -- there's no genetic connection.

Media irrelevancies.

Monday Morning QBs

Here are some notables in a morning of notable reactions to the Iraqi elections:

First, NRO's The Corner notes three silences: The American Prospect and its blog Tapped say nothing about the Iraqi election; the DNC website discusses fighting to maintain the unsustainable status quo on Social Security, nothing on the election; and NOW has nothing to say, even though more women than men voted.

Second, Walter Russell Mead discusses how every vote for democracy is a slap in the face for the terrorists [free registration may be required].

Third, John Podhoretz declares the election a vindication for Bush's policies; Bartle Bull's report from Sadr City gives an eyewitness account of the vindication, and Bull sharply notes that "[t]he Kurdish leaders in the valleys of the north, the Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in the alleys of Najaf, the radical Shiite Moktada al-Sadr in his hiding place - all understand what they have achieved over the last two years. By showing great restraint toward one another's communities and a spectacular patience with the necessary evil of American occupation, they have woven together the long, improbable, unfinished carpet of an Iraqi future."

In non-Iraq notables, Leo McKinsry blasts Eurointellectuals for their anti-Americanism after visiting the American military cemetary at Epinal in France:

To European intellectuals, the term "American democracy" is probably an oxymoron. Though such sophisticated cynicism is contradicted by events in Iraq, where – just like in France 60 years ago – US soldiers have been sacrificing their lives to liberate a people from tyranny, anti-Americanism is now written into the European psyche, the last acceptable prejudice in a culture that makes a fetish of racial equality. Indeed, as I walked through the cemetery, my sense of gratitude at Bill's service [McKinsry's wife's uncle] was accompanied by deep, almost visceral, anger at my fellow Europeans for their constant sneering at America and their gloating over the body count in Iraq, despite all that the USA has done to free Europe in the past from totalitarian dictatorships, whether they be Nazi or communist.

And Ross Clark blasts Tony Blair for his global warming doom-mongering idiocy at Davos.

Back to Iraq: If you're feeling pessimistic, former hawk turned administration critic Fareed Zakaria supports your view that the elections mean little because the signs in Iraq point to a new dictatorship in the near future. Zakaria's just wrong because the ethnic strife he cites doesn't indicate a future dictator will emerge. Too many Iraqis are wearing that indelible blue ink as a badge of honor to allow a new dictator to rise from the ashes of the old one. And as a Shia noted to Bartle Bull (see above), if the Shia wanted to suppress or avenge themselves against the Sunnis, they could have done so easily in 2003 right after the fall of Hussein. Indeed, hawk-turned-dove Andrew Sullivan says the election is a triumph for Iraq regardless of the result.

Thus, Mark Steyn again hits the nail on the head:

When you consider the behavior of the Shia and Kurdish parties, they've been remarkably shrewd, restrained and responsible. They don't want to blow their big rendezvous with history and rejoin the rest of the Middle East in the fetid swamp of stable despotism. The naysayers in the Democratic Party and the U.S. media are so obsessed with Rumsfeld getting this wrong and Condi getting that wrong and Bush getting everything wrong that they've failed to notice just how surefooted both the Kurds and Shiites have been -- which in the end is far more important. The latter, for example, have adopted a moderate secular pitch entirely different from their co-religionist mullahs over the border. In fact, as partisan pols go, they sound a lot less loopy than, say, Barbara Boxer. Even on the Sunni side of the street, there are signs the smarter fellows understand their plans to destroy the election have flopped and it's time to cut themselves into the picture. The IMF noted in November that the Iraqi economy is already outperforming all its Arab neighbors.

You might not have gained that impression from watching CNN or reading the Los Angeles Times. The Western press are all holed up in the same part of Baghdad, and the insurgents very conveniently set off bombs visible from their hotel windows in perfect synchronization with the U.S. TV news cycle. But, if they could look beyond the plumes of smoke, they'd see that Iraq's going to be better than OK, that it will be the economic powerhouse of the region, and that the various small nods toward democracy going on in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere suggest that the Arab world has figured out what the foreign policy ''realists'' haven't: that the trend is in the Bush direction. When Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, warned that the U.S. invasion of Iraq would ''destabilize'' the entire region, he was right. That's why it was such a great idea.

Faster please.

Man bites dog = Chirac says something positive

Useless French president Jacques Chirac came out with a stronger statement in support of the Iraqi elections than any Democrat left of Joe(mentum) Lieberman:

Chirac spoke to Bush in a telephone call, said the French leader's spokesman, Jerome Bonnafont.

"The participation rate and the good technical organization of the elections were satisfactory," Bonnafont quoted Chirac as saying.

"These elections mark an important step in the political reconstruction of Iraq. The strategy of terrorist groups has partly failed," Chirac said, according to the spokesman.

Chirac's positive - if nuanced - comments were echoed by his foreign minister and by French media, although some newspapers also pushed for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Foreign Minister Michel Barnier hailed Sunday's vote as "an initial victory for the Iraqi people" and "a first important step which was indispensable for democracy and for the political process."

"We won't get out of this tragedy other than by democracy and elections," Barnier said on Europe-1 radio. "When democracy is there, when people express themselves at the ballot box, it is always a defeat for terrorism.

Is Chirac going wobbly in his anti-Americanism or is he trying to cover France's collective assets in the Arab world? After all, most of the Arabs (as opposed to their respective totalitarian governments) are hopeful for democracy and would love to have the franchise themselves. France's foreign policy has been Arabist since De Gaulle. If the Iraq elections start the dominoes falling toward democracy throughout the Middle East, France will need to be perceived as on the right side of the issue for the Arabs in French client states and Arab allies (Algeria, Syria, Tunisia, the Gulf states) who've suffered under the France-supported totalitarian regimes for 40+ years. In other words, heads you lose, tails we win for the French.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

More from the new Iraqi democracy

Courtesy the Instapundit, click the link above to see what bloggers in Iraq are saying about today's events. The brothers at Iraq the Model are jubillant. And this blog seems to sum it all up:

The permanent ink that so many people were afraid of is being worn as a mark of pride by every single person I have seen in the streets. They hold up their fingers to show that they voted. As one man said to me, "Before, we Iraqis felt as if we were in a prison. Today, we are free."



Braving the bomb threats and the terrorist attacks, turning around 50 years of totalitarianism, the Iraqis voted in free elections today.

Iraqis danced and clapped with joy Sunday as they voted in their country's first free election in a half-century, defying insurgents who launched eight suicide bombings and mortar strikes at polling stations. The attacks killed at least 36 people.

Polling stations officially closed as of 5 p.m., but the elecion commission said anyone still in line would be allowed to vote. An Iraqi election official said that 72 percent of eligible Iraqi voters had turned out so far nationwide.

The Kurds are thrilled, and stacked the polls to the gills despite inclement weather conditions. The Saudi Arab News even recognizes the importance of a free election in a bordering nation:

. . . the very fact that the election is being held, despite all predictions is a defeat for the terrorists and a much needed victory for moderation. The inevitable Shiite majority of legislators must next use their success wisely to plan the future for all Iraqis, regardless of their community. In so doing, they will inflict an even more significant defeat on the men of violence.

This is an historic day in the Middle East and the Arab world. Credit the Iraqi people with exceeding turnout expectations and showing the world that freedom and democracy are not incompatible with Arab culture or Islam. And credit the United States military and President Bush for refusing to be detered in reaching this crucial goal.

Here is the President's statement in full:

In great numbers, and under great risk, Iraqis have shown their commitment to democracy. By participating in free elections, the Iraqi people have firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists. They have refused to be intimidated by thugs and assassins. And they have demonstrated the kind of courage that is always the foundation of self-government.

Some Iraqis were killed while exercising their rights as citizens. We also mourn the American and British military personnel who lost their lives today. Their sacrifices were made in a vital cause of freedom, peace in a troubled region, and a more secure future for us all.

The Iraqi people, themselves, made this election a resounding success. Brave patriots stepped forward as candidates. Many citizens volunteered as poll workers. More than 100,000 Iraqi security force personnel guarded polling places and conducted operations against terrorist groups. One news account told of a voter who had lost a leg in a terror attack last year, and went to the polls today, despite threats of violence. He said, "I would have crawled here if I had to. I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me. Today I am voting for peace."

Across Iraq today, men and women have taken rightful control of their country's destiny, and they have chosen a future of freedom and peace. In this process, Iraqis have had many friends at their side. The European Union and the United Nations gave important assistance in the election process. The American military and our diplomats, working with our coalition partners, have been skilled and relentless, and their sacrifices have helped to bring Iraqis to this day. The people of the United States have been patient and resolute, even in difficult days.

The commitment to a free Iraq now goes forward. This historic election begins the process of drafting and ratifying a new constitution, which will be the basis of a fully democratic Iraqi government. Terrorists and insurgents will continue to wage their war against democracy, and we will support the Iraqi people in their fight against them. We will continue training Iraqi security forces so this rising democracy can eventually take responsibility for its own security.

There's more distance to travel on the road to democracy. Yet Iraqis are proving they're equal to the challenge. On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Iraq on this great and historic achievement.

Thank you very much.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The value of false speech

Thomas McCoy was my First Amendment prof in law school and he set up two matrices to explain both the Supreme Court's rulings in free speech cases and the competing theories of folks like Catherine MacKinnon who sought to outlaw various categories of speech and expression for different reasons. The MacKinnonite speech matrix entailed allowing government to regulate all speech, but it would have to meet a compelling interest test for political speech. Justice Stevens is closest to this approach.

The historical standard had four categories: general speech, commercial interest, political expression and pure political speech. The last category was inviolate under Brandenberg v. Ohio (until McConnell v. Federal Elec. Comm'n screwed everything up). The other categories had various "tests" -- if the speech fell within political expression, the state could regulate it if it could prove a compelling interest and the use of the least restrictive means in the regulation (see United States v. O'Brien); if the speech was commercial in nature, the state could regulate it if it met a midlevel scrutiny that balanced the quantum of intrusion on free speech against the state's interest in the intrusion (discussed in ConEd v. NY Public Service Comm'n, although the speech was found to be political); speech and expression that did not fall into those categories would be subject only to a rational basis test for restriction: is there a rational basis for the governmental entity to restrict this type of expression? Examples: fighting words, defamation, fraud, conspiracy, espionage.

What two of those examples (fraud, defamation) demonstrate is something that has been true in even the most enlightened societies: there is no value in false speech. Simply stated, lies and false statements are not protected because they are worthless to the political debate that both the First Amendment and the Anglosphere's tradition of free speech allow.

Facts are certainties and are provable: the Declaration of Independence is dated July 4, 1776; Australia is the only continent that is also a single nation; George Washington was the first president of the United States; the Holocaust happened; slavery was legal in the Confederate states at the time of their seccession; Sir Winston S. Churchill's mother was an American, etc. Opinions are not certainties but are disprovable if the facts underlying them are false: Australian aboriginal domestication programs have not had a deleterious effect upon the aboriginal communities in Western Australia -- a clearly false opinion.

But on college campuses, there is a devaluation of "facts" that renders them into nothing more than "opinions" and that renders the factual reality into merely one side of a "debate." Example: the concept of a "Holocaust Debate." This issue plagued various universities in 1991 when neo-Nazi Holocaust Denier Bradley Smith submitted full page advertisements that he sought to run in various college newspapers where he denied the Holocaust's existence. I was the Advertising Manager of the Cavalier Daily at the time and I told the editorial board if they wanted to run his ad (which was merely an editorial), they needed to refuse the money, run it as an editorial and ensure that they consult actual Holocaust historians to shoot down his nonsense. Ultimately, the CD ducked the question and returned the ad.

Simply stated, however, there is no "Holocaust Debate", it happened, Hitler ordered it, Himmler, Heydrich, Goebbels, Eichmann, Hoss and their lackeys carried it out and more than 6,000,000 Jews were systematically exterminated by the German state. The notion that there is another side to a historical fact devalues the fact, elevates the false opinion into a (semi-)legitimate notion and debases public discourse by lending credence to complete fiction.

Thus, the nebulous notion of academic freedom has similarly debased academe. How? Refer to the Ward Churchill fiasco at Hamilton College -- he called the 9-11-01 victims "little Eichmanns" implying that they got what they deserved for being capitalists. Hamilton's President, Joan Hinde Stewart, did not know about his remarks until recently but would not rescind his invitation to speak on campus because of "academic freedom." This is arrant nonsense.

As Roger Kimball notes in his excellent blog entry referenced in the title of this post, "[c]olleges and universities are institutions dedicated to the pursuit and transmission of the truth. Because the truth is often hard to establish and only imperfectly grasped, encouraging real intellectual diversity on important issues is a salutary part of the business of liberal education. But that does not mean that anyone can say anything he likes and have it accepted as a legitimate point of view. "

And that becomes problematic because everything is reduced to a mere "point of view":
. . . denying the Holocaust is only one of many efforts to undermine the authority of historical truth. The phenomenon of Afrocentricism (which, incidentally, often indulges in a bit of Holocaust denial as a sideline) belongs here, as do many varieties of academic literary "theory" that now reign in the academy: deconstruction, extreme examples of "reader-response" theory, new historicism, etc. For all of them, facts are fluid and historical truth is a species of fiction: what actually happened in the past, or what a given text actually means, are for them ridiculous questions. Nor are these attitudes confined to the cloistered purlieus of the academy: in watered-down versions they have become standard-issue liberal sentiment: Rather than risk having to make an unpleasant judgment about the facts, deny that there are any such things as facts.

* * *
. . . As Hannah Arendt observed in an essay called "Truth and Politics," opinion remains opinion only so long as it is grounded in, and can be corrected by, fact. "Facts," she wrote, "inform opinions, and opinions, inspired by different interests and passions, can differ widely and still be legitimate as long as they respect factual truth. Freedom of opinion is a farce unless factual information is guaranteed and the facts themselves are not in dispute." What is at stake, Arendt concluded, is nothing less than the common world of factual reality and historical truth.

There is no value in opinions that have no basis in fact. There is no "academic freedom" to inquire into or espouse demonstrably false theories. The notion that the 9-11-01 victims are just "little Eichmanns" is a horrendous and false concept. The notion that academic freedom imposes a duty to allow someone who espouses such garbage an honored place to speak is ludicrous. Hamilton College has granted a soapbox for false speech and hampered its institutional mission in the process.

Those racists in Hollywood

Harkening back to yesterday's diatribe against Halle Berry's stupidity -- this year's five nominations for black actors in the 20 spots in the four best acting categories (Lead/Supporting Actor, Lead/Supporting Actress) is a record.

Washington Gubernatorial Update

The Republican effort to a secure a new election in the state of Washington continues even as voter irregularities in Wisconsin have captured more attention of late.

OLYMPIA — Secretary of State Sam Reed filed court papers this week siding with Republicans on key legal issues in the lawsuit over the governor's election, saying, for example, that the dispute should stay in the courts and not move to the Legislature as Democrats want.

Reed said that in court, the Republicans' effort to have Gov. Christine Gregoire removed from office and to force a new election can be decided in "a prompt, orderly, and non-partisan manner."

Reed is a Republican and the state's chief election official. In the nearly three months of legal wrangling over the Nov. 2 election, he has sided at various times with Democrats or Republicans. His apparent nonpartisan approach has angered some Republicans who thought he should aggressively fight for Dino Rossi.

The next hearing in the case will be in Wenatchee on Feb. 4. Republicans named Reed, all 39 counties and their auditors in the suit. Several of those counties have asked that the case be dismissed, saying Republicans have made no substantive allegations of wrongdoing.

Here's a post from the Corner on what options the judge in the case will have:

...Washington State law specifically provides for any candidate or citizen to file an election contest here in Washington state. The minimal threshold for a judge to uphold the contest is to prove more illegal votes than the margin of difference. The judge has four courses of action: 1) void a recount and revert to the previous count ( two recounts are allowed and the one being contested can be voided ), 2.) give the issue to the legislature for resolution; 3.) nothing if he finds insufficient grounds; or 4.) order a new election.

This case will certainly wend its way to the Washington Supreme Court and likely to the US Supreme Court. Time, though is not on Rossi's side. While he has the sympathies of Washington voters at the moment there is risk that they will tire of the issue. What Rossi needs is a quick win. That means either options 1 or 3 listed above- voiding the last recount or ordering a new election. Either would put Gregoire back on the defensive to reverse on appeal.

Saudi money in America

The Saudis use their vast oil wealth to finance the Wahhabist Islam that Saudi Arabia follows. Called a "virulent" strain of the religion, Wahhabism is intolerant of all other religions and calls for the rule of Islam throughout the world.

Today Freedom House, a non-partisan group dedicated to religious freedom, published its report on Saudi-financed mosques in the US's largest cities and the doctrines those mosques are spreading, as summed up by the Dallas Morning News' Rod Dreher on National Review Online:

Freedom House has found that mosques around the country are distributing Saudi-produced literature urging Muslims to hate Christians, Jews, Americans and even moderate Muslims. One document allegedly picked up in a Houston mosque directs Muslims to quietly prepare for jihad that will install an Islamic regime in the United States. You must read this report yourself, because I have very little confidence that the MSM will report its findings. Our government and our media have a see-no-evil policy when it comes to this kind of thing.

An appropriate enthusiasm

The pundit class is ho-hum, the Western media is comprised of Doubting Thomases, but the people who count seem to be highly enthusiastic about the election they'll vote in on Sunday:
Notwithstanding insurgent terror aimed at wrecking the polls, there is finally a palpable sense in Baghdad, and other Iraqi cities, that the country is entering a new era.

Take that, Andrew Sullivan.

HT: CapEd.

Auschwitz remembrance continued

Some more notables from this week.

First, the UN held a special session of the General Assembly on Monday commemorating the Holocaust victims. None of the Arab League nations attended.

Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz survivor (in addition to Buna, Buchenwald and Gleiwitz -- the Nazis often moved prisoners) and author of the Holocaust memoir Night delivered this speech to the UN. Here are two excerpts:
. . . those who committed these crimes were not vulgar underworld thugs but men with high government, academic, industrial, and medical positions in Germany. In recent years, that nation has become a true democracy. But the question remains open: In those dark years, what motivated so many brilliant and committed public servants to invent such horrors? By its scope and magnitude, by its sheer weight of numbers, by the impact of so much humiliation and pain, in spite of being the most documented tragedy in the annals of history, Auschwitz still defies language and understanding.

Let me evoke those times:

Babies used as target practice by SS men...Adolescents condemned never to grow old...Parents watching their children thrown into burning pits ...Immense solitude engulfing an entire people...Infinite despair haunting our days and our dreams even 60 years later...

* * *

Turning point or watershed, that tremendous catastrophe which has traumatized history has forever changed man's perception of responsibility toward other human beings. The sad, terrible fact is that had the Western nations intervened when Hitler occupied Czechoslovakia and Austria; had America accepted more refugees from Europe; had Britain allowed more Jews to return to their ancestral land; had the Allies bombed the railways leading to Birkenau, our tragedy might have been avoided, its scope surely diminished.

This shameful indifference we must remember, just as we must remember to thank the few heroic individuals who, like Raoul Wallenberg, risked their lives to save Jews. We shall also always remember the armies that liberated Europe and the soldiers who liberated the death-camps, the Americans in Buchenwald, the Russians in Auschwitz and the British in Belsen. But for many victims they all came too late. That we must also remember.

And for uplift, there is this short biography of St. Maximilian, a priest who sacrificed his life for another prisoner, who had a wife and family, at Auschwitz in 1941. The saint has his followers, most notably one of our heroes in Iraq.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Never to Forget: the Jews of the Holocaust

On January 27, 1945, the Soviet Red Army liberated the Nazi death camp that has since become the emblem of the Holocaust: Auschwitz.

Located near the industrial town of Oswiecim, Poland, where more than 40 rail lines traversed the Polish countryside linking Eastern and Central Europe, Auschwitz was centrally located for the Nazi war machine, yet its supply lines were never bombed by the Allies. Expanded from a moderate size camp to an enormous complex including the Birkenau extermination center, Auschwitz was German industriousness at its worst. More than 3,000,000 people by its commandant's own reckoning, mostly Jews, were systematically killed at Auschwitz. From William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is this reckoning:
How many hapless innocent people - mostly Jews but including a fairly large number of others, especially Russian prisoners of war - were slaughtered at the one camp of Auschwitz? The exact number will never be known. Hoess himself in his affidavit gave an estimate of 2,500,000 victims executed and exterminated by gassing and burning, and at least another half million who succumbed to starvation and disease, making a total of about 3,000,000. Later at his own trial in Warsaw he reduced the figure to 1,135,000. The Soviet government, which investigated the camp after it was overrun by the Red Army in January 1945, put the figure at four million.

In 1941, Auschwitz was primarily a POW camp holding Russian war prisoners. The Soviet soldiers were the test cases for the gas chambers as Rudolf Hoss, the SS officer in charge of Auschwitz, noted in his autobiography Commandant of Auschwitz (and quoted here):
The gassing was carried out in the detention cells of Block II. Protected by a gas-mask, I watched the killing myself. The Russians were ordered to undress in the anteroom; they then quietly entered the mortuary, for they had been told they were to be deloused. The doors were then sealed and the gas shaken down through the holes in the roof. I do not know how long this killing took. For a little while a humming sound could be heard. When the powder was thrown in, there were cries of "Gas!," then a great bellowing, and the trapped prisoners hurled themselves against both the doors. But the doors held. They were opened several hours later, so that the place might be aired. It was then that I saw, for the first time, gassed bodies in the mass.

The killing of these Russian prisoners-of-war did not cause me much concern at the time. The order had been given, and I had to carry it out. I must even admit that this gassing set my mind at rest, for the mass extermination of the Jews was to start soon and at that time neither Eichmann nor I was certain how these mass killings were to be carried out.

The Eichmann that Hoss refers to is Adolf Eichmann, the ultra-organized bureaucrat who coordinated the Nazis' Final Solution that sought to kill all the Jews of Europe. From an Eichmann profile in the Atlantic Monthly from 1962, excerpted here:
This is a sane man, and a sane man is capable of unrepentant, unlimited, planned evil. He was the genius bureaucrat, he was the powerful frozen mind which directed a gigantic organization; he is the perfect model of inhumanness; but he was not alone. Eager thousands obeyed him. Everyone could not have his special talents; many people were needed to smash a baby's head against the pavement before the mother's eyes, to urge a sick old man to rest and shoot him in the back of the head; there was endless work for willing hands. How many more like these exist everywhere?

Putting perspective on this is almost impossible -- how can the blind conceive color or the deaf conceive sound? The scope of the Nazi horror is simply that difficult to grasp for rational people sitting comfortably in their homes in a free and open society like the US. Note this excerpt from a column by Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe columnist whose father survived internment at Auschwitz:
Auschwitz was a vast factory of death, the site of the greatest mass murder in recorded history. Even now, two generations later, it is almost impossible to grasp the scale on which the Nazis committed homicide there. It is suggested by a detail: From 1942 to 1944, the train platform in Birkenau was the busiest railway station in Europe. It held that distinction despite the fact that, unlike every other train station in the world, it saw only arrivals. No passengers ever left.

* * *
The very worst thing about Auschwitz was -- what? The staggering death toll? The gas chambers disguised as showers, in which thousands of naked Jews went daily to agonizing deaths? The endless cruelty and torture? The diseases that ravaged those the Nazis didn't kill first?

Was it the inhuman medical experiments carried out by doctors like Josef Mengele, such as the deliberate destruction of healthy organs or the sadistic abuse of twins and dwarfs? Was it the willing exploitation of Jewish slave labor by German corporations? The tens of thousands of murdered children and babies?

No. The very worst thing about Auschwitz is that, for all its evil immensity, it was only a fraction of the total. Even if it had never been built, the Holocaust would still have been a crime without parallel in human history. It would still have been something so monstrous that a new word -- genocide -- would have had to be coined to encompass it. Never before and never since has a government made the murder of an entire people its central aim. And never before or since has a government turned human slaughter into an international industry, complete with facilities for transportation, selection, murder, incineration. And none of it as a means to an end, but as an end in itself: The reason for wiping out the Jews was so that the Jews would be wiped out.

And for the survivors, what solace could they hope for? Aharon Appelfeld, a survivor of Auschwitz, found only this:
G-d did not reveal himself in Auschwitz or in other camps. The survivors came out of hell wounded and humiliated. They were betrayed by the neighbors among whom they and their forefathers had lived. They were betrayed by Western culture, by the Germans, by the language and literature they admired so much. They were betrayed by the great beliefs: liberalism and progress. They were betrayed by their own bodies.

What to hold onto to live a meaningful life? It was clear to many that the denial of one's Judaism, which characterized the emancipated Jew, was no longer possible. After the Holocaust it was immoral.

No wonder many of the survivors went on to Israel. No doubt, they wanted to get to a place where they could leave their victimhood behind and assert responsibility over their fate, a place where they could connect with the culture of their forefathers, to the language of the Bible, and to the land that gave birth to the Bible.

This is not a story with a happy ending. A doctor who survived, from a religious background, who sailed to Israel with us in June 1946, told us: "We didn't see G-d when we expected him, so we have no choice but to do what he was supposed to do: we will protect the weak, we will love, we will comfort. From now on, the responsibility is all ours."

Today, Israpundit is coordinating a BlogBurst, of which this site is an honored participant. Other participating sites are listed here.

Never to forget.

Oh Just Shut Up

From the whiny-a** bee-yotch files comes this entry on Halle Berry. She's complaining that Hollywood is racist and there are no opportunities for an actress of colour.

Here are her salaries from her last five movies, courtesy

Catwoman (2004) = $14,000,000
Die Another Day (2002) = $4,000,000
Monster's Ball (2001) = $600,000
Swordfish (2001) = $2,500,000
Executive Decision (1996) = $1,000,000

She won the Oscar for Monster's Ball, which was a low-budget film. She sucked in the rest of those flicks and received $21.5M to do so -- and the list doesn't even include Gothika, for which Berry reaped another big payday for a crap film.

Now she says, according to the article linked above, that "she struggles to find work and is now being forced to make and star in her own films to survive."

WHAT? Give me $21.5 M over the next eight years and I'll survive very nicely, thankyouverymuch.

Berry also claims she's been called a [n-word] to her face, which is heinous if true. Berry has also occasionally had an estranged relationship with the truth (she has accused both an ex-boyfriend [not Wesley Snipes, see below] and her ex-husband David Justice of physically assaulting her, neither charge has ever held water; but she has in fact lost most of the hearing in one ear after physical abuse from a different ex-boyfriend, actor Wesley Snipes; to The Monk's knowledge, Snipes has not challenged the accusation). So are her claims true, valid or rubbish?

Rubbish. A racist Hollywood would not have three black actors nominated for four of the 10 Best Actor (lead and supporting) spots (remember, Jamie Foxx hit a double here). A racist Hollywood would not have a Latina up for Best Actress in a virtually unseen movie while also having an unknown black woman (Sophie Okonedo) nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

So Halle, please shut up.

Diluting Eichmann

LGF has a very timely post today - timely as today is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the deadliest of the death camps where over three million Jews died. Adolf Eichmann, the head of the Jewish section of the Gestapo, was directly responsible for the logistics of the Final Solution and executed for crimes against humanity in Israel in 1962 - the only civil execution ever carried out in Israel.

Ward Churchill, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been invited to discuss an essay he wrote the day after 9/11 at Hamilton College. Churchill described the victims of 9/11 as "Little Eichmanns".

As to those in the World Trade Center . . .

Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire – the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to "ignorance" – a derivative, after all, of the word "ignore" – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it.

Eichmann can't been that terrible now if there were 3,000 of them in the World Trade Center alone?

Churchill is a freak. You can read the entire article here. Now I know all I need to know about the University of Colorado at Boulder and Hamilton College, for that matter.

Another mini-Chicago

Milwaukee remains a pit of despair for those hoping for fraud-free elections. Meanwhile, out on the Left Coast, Washington state's gubernatorial race gets more controversy: the state Republicans have confirmed that the number of felons who voted (240) is nearly double the Democratic gubernatorial candidate's margin of "victory" (129). Felons cannot vote in Washington state.

In Milwaukee yesterday, the US Attorney and the Milwaukee District Attorney agreed to pursue a joint investigation of the Milwaukee vote fraud that contributed to (if not caused) Kerry's victory over Bush in the Wisconsin presidential vote. [HT: Cap'n Ed].

Condoleeza Rice 85, liberal nutter senators 13

In the wake of Condoleeza Rice's 85-13 nomination confirmation vote, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) spanked the left-wing wackos in the Senate:
I want to step back and say to my fellow Senators and those listening: What if today we were considering for Senate approval Secretary of State Colin Powell? Just think with me. He is the nominee. He is being reconfirmed for Secretary of State. What would the Senators who were here talking about Condoleezza Rice or our President intentionally misleading, being a liar, implying they had information they withheld, what would they say about Colin Powell?

On a certain day, Colin Powell appeared before the United Nations. Remember that day? February 5, 2003 . . . I think millions and millions of people remember it: maps, overviews, a firm statement by him about weapons of mass destruction . . . I believe that neither Senators nor the people of America would believe he was not telling the truth.

* * *
There is no evidence whatsoever that Colin Powell lied, that he was misleading us, that Condoleezza Rice was a part of a policy to mislead the American people, nor that the President was. They all had the same information. One would not think that from what we have heard on the floor. One would not think that as you hear those who want to deny her this nomination.

Frankly, that argument does not wash. It is not consistent with reality. It is dreamed up. It is political. It is for no other reason than to insert false and untrue information and facts into this discussion.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Calling a spade a spade

The MSM's use of bland, non-threatening terms such as "insurgent" to describe the wanton murderers and hate-mongers in Iraq has infuriated many Americans.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 25 - The black sedan made its way down Madaris Street, the young men inside tossing leaflets out the window.

"This is a final warning to all of those who plan to participate in the election," the leaflets said. "We vow to wash the streets of Baghdad with the voters' blood."
The leaflets, like many turning up on sidewalks and doorsteps across the capital, were chilling in their detail: they warned Iraqis to stay at least 500 yards away from voting booths, for each would be the potential target of a rocket, mortar shell or car bomb. The leaflet suggested that Iraqis stay away from their windows, too, in case of blasts.

"To those of you who think you can vote and then run away," the leaflet warned, "we will shadow you and catch you, and we will cut off your heads and the heads of your children."

Calling these scum 'insurgents' is like calling the Stasi 'peace officers'.

The title of this article? Insurgents Vowing to Kill Iraqis Who Brave the Polls on Sunday

Allied with black eyes

Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz (Oswiecim) death camp by the Soviet Red Army in 1945. The Key Monk will be participating in a BlogBurst in remembrance of the 6,000,000 Jews who died in the Holocaust and will have additional information and links on the topic.

Today, Israeli PM Ariel Sharon delivered the following speech to the Knesset, Israel's Parliament:

"For the second year, we mark the day commemorating the State of Israel's struggle against anti-Semitism. We chose to mark this day of struggle against anti-Semitism on the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, that horrible symbol of the Holocaust.

The Allies knew of the annihilation of the Jews. They knew and did nothing. On April 19, 1943, the Bermuda Conference gathered, with the participation of representatives from Britain and the United States in order to discuss saving the Jews of Europe. In fact, the participants did everything in their power to avoid dealing with the problem. All the suggestions for rescue operations which the Jewish organizations presented were rejected. They simply did not want to deal with it.

The Bermuda Conference was nothing more than a continuation of the shocking story of the "Ship of the Damned" the Saint Louis which set sail from Germany in 1939 with 1,000 Jews who succeeded in escaping from the Third Reich on board. The passengers knocked on the doors of Cuba and ports in the eastern United States, but were refused sanctuary and were forced to return to the shores of Europe. Most of them were murdered in the death camps.

The leadership of the British Mandate displayed the same obtuseness and insensitivity by locking the gates to Israel to Jewish refugees who sought a haven in the Land of Israel. Thus were rejected the requests of the 769 passengers of the ship Struma who escaped from Europe and all but one [of the passengers] found their death at sea.

Throughout the war, nothing was done to stop the annihilation [of the Jewish people]. When, in the summer of 1944, the mass deportations in Hungary were carried out, the Allies did not bomb the train tracks which led to Auschwitz from Hungary, nor the murder facilities in Birkenau, and this was despite the fact that they had the ability to do so. Allied planes attacked targets near Auschwitz, but they refused to bomb the camp itself, in which 10,000 Jews were murdered daily. Thus were 618,000 Jews annihilated in a number of weeks - the Jews of Hungary.

Mr. Speaker, the sad and horrible conclusion is that no one cared that Jews were being murdered.

"Do not put your trust in men in power," said the poet author of the Book of Psalms and, indeed, during the most terrible critical hour, those in power, and the declared friends did not lift a finger. This is the Jewish lesson of the Holocaust and this is the lesson which Auschwitz taught us, the chained people.

The State of Israel learned this lesson and since its establishment, it has done its utmost to defend itself and its citizens, and provide a safe haven for any Jew, wherever he may be. We know that we can trust no one but ourselves.

This phenomenon of Jews defending themselves and fighting back is anathema to the new anti-Semites. Legitimate steps of self-defense that Israel takes in its war against Palestinian terror, actions that any sovereign state is obligated to undertake to ensure the security of its citizens, are presented by those who hate Israel as aggressive, Nazi-like steps.

Many of the manifestations of anti-Semitism in the past years are no longer aimed just at Jews as individuals. Rather, they are aimed at the embodiment of all Jews - the State of Israel, the Jewish state. As early as 1967, in A Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend, Dr. Martin Luther King wrote that anti-Zionism is no less than disguised anti-Semitism.

I quote, "The times have made it unpopular in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews. This being the case, the anti-Semite must constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison. He does not hate the Jews, he is just anti-Zionist! My friend, when people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews - make no mistake about it.

These days, the generation which was witness to the horrors is disappearing, and ignorance is increasing. Fewer people around the world have heard of the Holocaust or are aware of what happened in Auschwitz, and the manifestations of anti-Semitism are on the rise. 60 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the evil which gave rise to the horror still exists, and still threatens us.

Israel stands with governments, as well as Jewish and international organizations around the world, which remember Auschwitz and are determined to fight this evil uncompromisingly and relentlessly. We will continue to act tirelessly in order to ensure that the memory of Auschwitz and the lessons of the Holocaust will not be forgotten, so that Auschwitz will never again return.

Israel is a very small country, blessed with talented and courageous people. However, it must always be remembered that this is the only place in the world where we, the Jews, have the right and the capability to defend ourselves, by ourselves. And we will never relinquish this.

It is our historic responsibility. It is my personal historic responsibility."

Fascinating...and encouraging

CAIRO, Jan. 25 - The standard three-step program for any unmarried upper-class Egyptian girl who becomes pregnant is an abortion, an operation to refurbish her virginity with a new hymen and then marriage to the first unwitting suitor the family can snare.

But Hind el-Hinnawy, a vivacious 27-year-old costume designer, decided she was not going to playact her way through the virgin-marriage pageant. Instead she did the unthinkable here: she had the child and then filed a public paternity suit, igniting a major scandal and prompting a national debate over the clandestine marriage contracts that young couples are using to have sex in this conservative, religious society.
Ms. Hinnawy contends that the two had what is known as an urfi marriage, a practice in Sunni Islam that allows couples to marry in private with a contract they draft.

Urfi marriages have become far more common in recent years because the combination of tough economic times and a renewed emphasis on Islamic mores means that normal marriages remain an elusive dream for so many.
On one bench Selma Bakr, a novelist with short curly black hair, said she was thrilled because she was convinced that the case would help defeat the conservative Saudi values that she said had changed Egyptian society for the worse since she was a student in the 1960's.

"These values from Wahhabi Islam are completely different from our Islamic values," Mrs. Bakr said. "This is petrodollar Islam. Women are considered objects for sex, for family, for marriage. But we need to let women be citizens, to have the same rights as all citizens."

This is an example of why I still read the Grey Lady. Fascinating, relevant story told easily and well and without partisanship.

Carter and the scourge of Chavez

We've opined here and here about former President Jimmy Carter's coddling of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. In last fall's election Carter, badly conned, legitimized a rigged election consigning millions of Venezuelans to live under a brutal regime indefinitely.

Well Carter's idiocy is also contributing to the destabilization of the entire region. Thor Halvorssen writes in the Weekly Standard that Chavez has been aggressively aiding and abetting FARC, the large, vicious guerrilla group that has been trying to usurp power in Colombia for decades, which controls a big chunk of the cocaine trade and has caused the deaths of an estimated 100,000 people.

The U.S. Department of State has designated FARC a Foreign Terrorist Organization--yet FARC leaders are welcomed in Venezuela and treated as heads of state. The prominent FARC leader Olga Marin, for example, spoke on the floor of Venezuela's National Assembly in the summer of 2000, praising Hugo Chavez as a hero of the rebel movement and thanking the Venezuelan government for its "support." Weeks later, the Colombian government announced that it had confiscated from terrorists more than 400 rifles and machine guns bearing the insignia of the Venezuelan armed forces.
the Chavez-FARC connection surfaced again when Venezuela's intelligence chief, Jesus Urdaneta, publicly denounced Chavez for supporting FARC. A lifelong friend and military colleague of President Chavez, Urdaneta publicized documents showing that the Chavez government offered fuel, money, and other support to the terrorists. The documents included signed letters from a Chavez aide detailing an agreement to provide support for FARC. That aide later became Chavez's minister of justice, a position which gave him oversight of the entire Venezuelan security apparatus.
On December 14, 2004, Ricardo Granda, widely known as FARC's "foreign secretary," was arrested on the Colombian border. One of the most senior, well connected, and highly skilled political strategists in FARC's history, Granda had been living in Venezuela's capital.

Carter, one of the worst presidents in US history, has amazing lengthened his pathetic list of 'accomplishments' since leaving office with Venezuela a crowning 'achievement'. His positive contribution to history? His abject failure helped usher in the Reagan Revolution.

Truth to Power blowback

James Taranto at OpinionJournal found an interesting nugget on new UC Santa Cruz chancellor Denice D. Denton. Denton was prominently quoted harshly criticizing Harvard President Lawrence Summers for his comments at an NBER conference last week. Most memorably Denton asserted the need to 'speak truth to power'. [still don't get it - babble if I've ever heard it.]

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that UC Santa Cruz has created a new position for 'international development' for Professor Gretchen Kalonji, professor material sciences and Denton's partner for seven years, which pays $192,000. She apparently was also given a $50,000 relocation allowance (in addition to Denton's).

Now it isn't unusual for 'academic couples' to both get posts at the same institution when one of them is being recruited by that institution. There isn't anything wrong with it as both should be able to continue their career and academics, in general, are not lavishly paid.

$192,000 for a newly created position of unclear purpose is a different story. Kalonji apparently is a well regarded scientist with interest in international education. The SC Sentinel, via editorial, is demanding a clear explanation of the deal especially the parlous shape of UC finances and the fact that tuition has risen steeply. They deserve one.

Iraq beats US?

According to the Powerline post linked above as well as this piece by Michael Novak at NRO, we could be in for an election surprise on Sunday where turnout could be much heavier than anticipated.

Haider Ajina passes along a translation of an article in the Arabic newspaper Alsharq Alausat, with the results of a poll conducted by the Iraqi Ministry of Planning:

72.4 % of all of those polled said they would participate in the elections. [Ed.: If so, Iraqi voting will vastly outstrip participation here in the U.S., where 56% of eligible voters contributed to a record turnout in 2004.]

97% of Iraqis in Kurdistan said they would participate in the elections.

96% of Iraqis in the southern provinces (mainly Shiite areas) said they would participate in the elections.

33% of Iraqis in the central provinces (Sunni Area) said they would participate in the elections.

And, thankfully, it looks like the Carter Center won't be involved which won't stop the Dhimmi from declaring that the elections weren't as free, as say, in Venezuela.

Morning notables

Here are a couple of notable columns this morning:

First, Michael Novak says the press will likely be surprised at the turnout and results in the Iraqi election next week. The Monk not only agrees, he expects a very successful election whose success and peacefulness will be toned down by the media. Remember, the Afghani election of Hamid Karzai last fall did not gain front-page traction on either the NY Times or the WaPo -- a shameful display by both of those newspapers.

And it's the probable success of those elections that have the Democrats' collective undergarments in a wad, says John Podhoretz. Why? The left is more concerned that Bush will succeed than anything else.

Next, Jonah Goldberg tells the leftists to smarten up: if you don't think the US efforts in Iraq are about encouraging freedom and defeating tyranny, listen to the enemy's own proclamations.

Closer to home, Thor Halvorssen, the former head of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (The FIRE, see its website for its stance on academic freedom and the work it has done; The Monk is a contributor), discusses Hugo Chavez's coddling of terrorists. Halvorssen was born in Venezuela (his mother is Venezuelan). His mother was wounded in August 2004 when Chavez's thugs opened fire, with live rounds, on protestors who rallied against Chavez's fraudulent "victory" in his recall "election".

And last, but not least, the INS is incompetent. You knew that, but Michelle Malkin has details of the INS's latest idiocy: approving a green card for an immigrant who died in the 9-11-01 attacks.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Anti-Semitism in Russia

The Soviet Union liberated the majority of the Nazi concentration camps, but not by design. Most of the camps were in Poland and those not in Poland were in other countries allocated to the Soviet sphere of influence in the Potsdam and Yalta Conferences (that's why the Americans and Brits never liberated Prague from the Nazis, even though they had the best opportunity to do so). Stalin hated the Jews and Russian anti-Semitism has a long and ugly history.

So it's only minimally surprising that 20 neo-Nazi equivalents in the Russian Duma sponsored a letter to the Russian prosecutor general seeking to ban all Jewish groups in Russia:

[The letter] called on the Russian courts to ban "all Jewish religious and community groups" which the statement also described as "anti-Christian" and accused Jews of staging attacks against their own community as a provocation so they could pin blame on others.

"We would like to underline that many anti-Jewish acts around the world are staged by the Jews themselves as a provocation in order to take punitive measures against patriots," the letter said.

* * *
"We cannot follow the false idea of tolerance which is imposed on us, such as that of the acceptance of sin, of evil, of heresy, and in the present case, of nothing less than satanism," said the document.

It was also published by a periodical called Orthodox Russia in a version that had some 500 signatures that included editors of nationalist publications.

Russia has taken another hideous step on the way towards totalitarianism.

Not my fault

Opinion Journal discusses a "handling it internally" approach to a memo scandal from the mid-90s that you never heard of: the infiltration of the House Committee on International Relations' Majority (Republican) computer files by a Minority (Democratic) staffer, who printed and faxed two draft memos to Strobe Talbott, Clinton's No. 2 at State. Talbott confronted Committee Chairman Benji Gilman about them, and that's how Gilman discovered the leak.

The leaker is a former associate sports editor (under me during my time as Sports Editor) at the Cavalier Daily at U.Va., and the former Editorial Page Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the paper. I take no responsibility for his actions or political rectal-cranial reversal syndrome (not that such was rare: the Editor-in-Chief in my last year on the paper went straight from college to the Clinton campaign -- I saw him dancing a jig with the partiers in Little Rock on Election Day 1992).

Abusing the Holocaust

Mark Steyn on the diminution of the Holocaust in Europe:

[The Spectator]...ran a reminiscence by Anthony Lipmann, the Anglican son of an Auschwitz survivor, which contained the following sentence: "When on 27 January I take my mother's arm - tattoo number A-25466 - I will think not just of the crematoria and the cattle trucks but of Darfur, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Jenin, Fallujah."

Auschwitz, Jenin? FALLUJAH?! What Anthony Lipmann deserves is a backhanded slap from his mother who survived the camps for spouting such utter refuse.

Jenin? Would that be the notorious 2002 "Jenin massacre"? There was no such thing, as I pointed out in this space at the time, when Robert Fisk and the rest of Fleet Street's gullible sob-sisters were going around weepin' an' a-wailin' about Palestinian mass graves and Israeli war crimes. Twenty-three Israelis were killed in fighting at the Jenin camp. Fifty-two Palestinians died, according to the Israelis. According to Arafat's official investigators, it was 56 Palestinians. Even if one accepts the higher figure, that means every single deceased Palestinian could have his own mass grave and there'd still be room to inter the collected works of Robert Fisk. Yet, despite the fact that the Jenin massacre is an obvious hallucination of Fleet Street's Palestine groupies, its rise to historical fact is unstoppable. To Lipmann, those 52-56 dead Palestinians weigh in the scales of history as heavy as six million Jews. And what's Fallujah doing bringing up the rear in his catalogue of horrors? In rounding up a few hundred head-hackers, the Yanks perpetrated another Auschwitz? These comparisons are so absurd as to barely qualify as "moral equivalence".

Steyn finishes on how Europeans have substituted a virulent pro-Palestinian view since open anti-Semitism is still considered a bit churlish. Click title to for the whole article.


Citizen Smash says it all

Here is one of the stupidest statements ever to appear on this site:
"Freedom is a Human Right"

That's exactly right... but no Human being should be subjected to all out war by foreign country in order to gain that right.

*Some* Americans need to learn that the United States is not and need not be the "Superman" of the world.

The quote is from Chris Alemany, a liberal blogger from Canada.

The retort by Citizen Smash (link in title) is priceless, here's the crux:
. . . we should apologize to each of those nations that we have “liberated” by force of arms.

To the good people of Cuba, we humbly apologize. We helped you fight for your “independence” from Spain in 1898, but considering how badly things have gone since then, we should have left well enough alone. The same goes for the Philippines, which remained a U.S. possession for 40 years after “liberation.”

At various times in the past century, we’ve attempted to “intervene” in several Latin American and Caribbean countries, including Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Haiti. In retrospect, this was a bad idea. Please accept our apologies.

Twice in the past hundred years, the United States sent troops to Western Europe to fight for “freedom.” To the people of France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and Austria, we offer our most heartfelt apologies for interfering in your affairs. Please rest assured that it won’t happen again.

To the peoples of Polynesia, Micronesia, Indonesia, Indochina, the Philippines (again), China, and Korea, for whom America spent so much blood and treasure to free from the “oppression” of the Japanese Empire, we’re sorry. We’re sure that you could have handled the matter much better without our “assistance.”

After subjecting their citizens to all-out war, the United States forced Germany, Japan, and Italy to “democratize.” We apologize for being so presumptuous. In retrospect, we should have trusted you to come up with your own form of government -- we’re certain you would have been much better off in the long run, left to your own devices.

We apologize to the people of South Korea for “defending” you from your brothers to the north. This was clearly an internal matter for Koreans to decide, and we had no business meddling in your affairs.

Similarly, we apologize for “interfering” with the socialist revolution in Vietnam. It is indeed fortunate that we ultimately failed in establishing a viable democratic state in the South – as any one of the 1.5 million Vietnamese now living in America will eagerly attest.

We apologize to the people of Eastern Europe for working for 45 years to undermine the Warsaw Pact. In retrospect, you were probably better off under Soviet domination. Please forgive us.

To the good people of Kuwait, whom we forcibly separated from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq: please accept our apologies – it was all a horrible misunderstanding.

To all the Bosnians, Croatians, Albanians, and Kosovars that we “rescued” from so-called Serbian “ethnic cleansing,” we are truly sorry.

We apologize to all the people in Afghanistan for putting an end to the Taliban regime. We now understand that you preferred to use your soccer stadiums for public executions, rather than, well, soccer.

Finally, we apologize to the people of Iraq for deposing and imprisoning Saddam Hussein. Clearly, you were better off with a good “disciplinarian” running your country – we’ll just set him free, pack up our stuff, and go home.

Naturally some liberals chime in by decrying Castro, Noriega, Marcos, etc., and placing blame for these heinous men at the feet of the US (a weak complaint, at best). But these criticisms argue for GREATER US intervention to get rid of the worst SOBs. The fact remains that Nicaragua, once a commie backwater in Central America, has one of the fastest growing economies in the Hemisphere. The fact is that the most successful countries in South America are the most free (Argentina, Chile, Peru) while the worst ones are the least free (Venezuela, Colombia). And the fact is that the US influence in Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Panama has helped those countries achieve some measure of freedom and prosperity that they would not have obtained without US involvement.

And somehow the liberals have no real rejoinder when reminded of the virtues of the US's forcibly imposing freedom on Italy, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, et al. during and after WWII. The fact that some nations chose or allowed evil men to later regain control after the US liberated them (Castro, Chavez, Marcos, Ortega, Ho Chi Minh, Mao) does not negate the positive role the US played. But that argument sees both the forest and the trees, the liberals just look at roots.

Milwaukee = Chicago III

GREG J. BOROWSKI of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is bucking for a Pulitzer with his investigation of the Milwaukee election fraud. Today he reports that
"The newspaper’s review, the most extensive analysis done so far of the election, revealed 1,242 votes coming from a total of 1,135 invalid addresses. That is, in some cases more than one person is listed as voting from the address. Of the 1,242 voters with invalid addresses, 75% registered on site on election day, according to city records."

About 80% of these 1,242 cannot-find-the-address voters are fraudulent (20% were clerical snafus). The 925+ frauds in this batch are in addition to the 8,300-plus unverifiable votes. Do the math: that's 9,200+ fraudulent votes in a county that went more than 2-1 for Kerry. Add these problems to other unverified votes throughout the state, and that 11,000+ vote margin of Kerry's victory in the presidential election looks slightly more legitimate than your average $3 bill.

Courtesy: the Captain.

Oscar nominees

Hey, we're full service here at The Key Monk.

Anyway, the list of Oscar nominees is available at the link in the title to this post. A couple of comments:

(1) I'm very pleased to see Don Cheadle get a nomination. He's one of the best actors in Hollywood but because of his small stature and lack of "leading man" looks, he never gets the "we want a big star who's black" roles that go to Denzel Washington and, occasionally, Laurence Fishburne. Cheadle was far and away the best actor on the CBS drama Picket Fences and he's consistently good so it's nice to see him get recognition, even though he will probably lose . . .
(2) to Jamie Foxx, who is far more than the comic/skit actor that his fellow alums from In Living Color are (the various Wayans brothers, David Alan Grier, etc.). Foxx received deserved plaudits for his work in the otherwise abominable Any Given Sunday. Now he is the frontrunner for Best Lead Actor after his work in Ray. And on top of that, Foxx received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Collateral, and his is the best performance in that group too.
(3) I saw Sideways and quite simply that movie just is what it is. It is not a movie for the ages, and a "movie for the ages" is the type that should win Best Picture (that's why the Oscar for A Beautiful Mind over The Fellowship of the Ring was such a travesty). If no such movie fits the bill, then the best of the bunch should win and Sideways doesn't qualify for that thanks to Million-Dollar Baby. I like Paul Giamatti (son of former baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti -- the man who banned Pete Rose) and his performance was Oscar nod-worthy, but the movie as a whole is best summed up in this piece by NY Times lead movie reviewer A.O. Scott.
(4) When Hilary Swank wins her second Oscar for Million-Dollar Baby (likely, but never assured), she'll be the second-youngest double-Oscar-winning woman after Jodie Foster. Hopefully Swank will be as choosy as Foster and ensure that she has more "Iron-Jawed Angels" and "Million-Dollar Baby" roles in her future (Boys Don't Cry was a one-time role -- she can't do too many strapdownthechest gender identity switch roles or she'll get pigeonholed) than "Affair of the Necklace" fiascoes. But honestly, when it comes to buff leading ladies, I prefer Swank (who still has a feminine figure after killer workouts) to Jennifer Garner (an inferior actress who is boyishly built).
(5) Usually there is ONE movie that is the frontrunner for the big Oscars: Picture/Director/leads/supports/screenplay. This year, Million-Dollar Baby, Sideways and The Aviator are all in the mix for the big awards. Given the subtleties of Million-Dollar Baby, I think Scorsese will lose yet again in the Director race. The true tragedy was his loss for Goodfellas -- a great movie and the best mob-life film outside of The Godfather I.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Super Bowl XXXIX

The storylines are written: the new Dynasty v. the Breakthrough Eagles who finally escaped the deathtrap that had been the NFC Championship. So who wins? Let's look at some factors:

1) Last meeting: In the second-ever game at the Linc in Philly, New England was one week removed from a 31-0 beating BY Buffalo and the Lawyer Milloy release fiasco; Philly had only been smacked by Tampa Bay in the Linc's inaugural game six days previously, 17-0. Donovan McNabb had a sore thumb, the Eagles had a sore spot after a 31-10 beatdown by the visiting Pats. It was the second-straight year that the Iggles had completely honked at home against a visiting AFC team that came in to the game struggling (in '02, the Iggles were thumped by the Colts, 35-13). Since that game, Philly is 28-6; since its loss to Buffalo in Week 1 of 2003, the Pats are 33-3.

2) Common team: The Pats lost to Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh during the '04 regular season while missing Deion Branch (best deep receiver) and Corey Dillon. Yesterday, with Dillon and Branch both putting in big performances, the Pats rolled the Steelers. Right after they whacked the Pats in October, the Steelers beat the Eagles even worse: 27-3 with no excuses because the Iggles had a healthy Bryan Westbrook and healthy Terrell Owens.

3) The coaches: Bill Belichek completely outcoached John Fox in last year's Super Bowl and the Pats had the better team . . . yet they barely won (32-29, last-second field goal). Explanation? Great efforts by Jake Delhomme and DeShaun Foster and lots of big plays for Carolina against the Pats' secondary. Andy Reid has had the uncanny ability to honk against inferior teams in the '02 and '03 NFC title games.

4) X factors: Does Donovan McNabb plus (potentially) a semi-recovered Terrell Owens exceed Peyton Manning plus Marvin Harrison plus Reggie Wayne? Can Andy Reid be beaten off a bye week for the first time ever? Can Belichek plan for an equal as well as he planned for a superior opponent in SB XXXVI and as he did for an inferior opponent as he did in SB XXXVIII? Do the Iggles have the unrelenting will to win that the Pats have and that the Panthers showed last year?

The Monk says the Pats win, but he won't put money on it. Personally, The Monk just hopes for the first-ever OT Super Bowl.

Who are we?

After nearly nine months of blogging, you're entitled to some knowledge at the least; thus, a who's who at The Key Monk.

The Monk: I am the founder and title-poster of The Key Monk. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, went to the best high school in NYC (and it's not Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Collegiate, Dalton, Fieldston or Brooklyn Tech), was bowled over by a visit to U.Va. and went there for college as an Echols Scholar (BA, Foreign Affairs). While at U.Va., I worked for the Cavalier Daily newspaper for all four years, so I know the journalism business. No fewer than five of the associate editors who worked under me while I was Sports Editor became "professional" journalists. Thereafter, a stint in law school (including a concurrent position for a year at the Veterans Legal Services Project) ultimately leading to my various positions as an attorney in Texas. I am engaged to the Monkette2B and we have a house, no real yard and two moody and codependent cats (dogs eat their own poo; no dogs). I've known Wongdoer for more than 22 years. I'm a diehard Yankees fan, Giants fan, Syracuse hoops fan and Penn State football fan (and that last has been a dry hole this past 1/2 decade), and I root for U.Va. sports too.

Wongdoer: an executive of a major international banking institution and former currency trader who went to the same high school as I did and graduated Harvard the same year I graduated U.Va. He has economics knowledge, understands currency and financial markets and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He grew up in NYC and lives there today with his wife (also a classmate of ours) and two Wonglings (and thank G-D the girl looks like her momma). He is useful because he is able to procure Yankees playoff tickets; we saw the clincher together when the Yanks swept the sorrya-s Braves in 1999. He is a diehard Yankees fan, Jets fan (don't ask), and his shifting allegiances in college sports are less stable than a 1980s Italian Parliament; although he claims to be a lifelong 'Bama football fan and only to have become a Duke hoops bandwagoner after the thugathon that was 1980s Georgetown (which he worshipped) went in the tank.

Anyway, that's the basics. You can obtain more info by emailing me at my email address: (The Monk) and (Wongdoer, duh).

Democratic voter fraud update

Powerline has two posts today on Democratic voter fraud in Washington and St. Louis.

Republicans in Washington are still fighting for a new election in Washington where blogger Stefan Sharkansky has exposed the myriad imperfections of voter registration in Democratic King County. The Seattle Times large front-page headline Sunday: Scores of felons voted illegally. Sharkansky's work represents the best of blogging. He did excellent research and reported in a timely and effective fashion creating the foundation for the Republican challenge. Even if the challenge fails he's struck a lasting blow for transparent and sensible voter registration practics.

The story in St. Louis is more local and lurid involving a Democratic committeeman who is charged with witness tampering and conspiracy to murder in a voter fraud case.

A voice of reason in academia

From Harvard, no less.

Ruth Wisse is the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard and writes eloquently on the Summers' brouhaha.

Feminist complainers, not Larry Summers, owe women an apology.


Recently the president of Harvard, Lawrence H. Summers, inadvertently provided further evidence of the opposition to free inquiry that currently governs our institutions of higher learning. Invited to speculate off the record on the "underrepresentation" of women in science, Mr. Summers threw out some hypotheses, including one about innate differentials in aptitude between men and women, that may account for the phenomenon. At this point in his remarks, an female MIT professor of science quit the room, declaring to the press that she couldn't breathe because "this kind of bias makes me physically ill."

"What better proof than she of Summers's thesis?" quipped a friend of mine--and, indeed, what better evidence of underprofessionalism than a scientist who becomes nauseated at the mere hint of a theory that differs from hers? But this woman had artfully framed her outrage. Her claim of "bias" was intended not simply to discredit the male who had asked whether there may be substantive differences between men and women, but to define the permissible terms of discussion. Her show of outrage and the ensuing media attention it elicited were designed to reinforce the claim that "bias" alone is responsible for the situation Mr. Summers addressed.

...Sounding more like a prisoner in a Soviet show trial than the original thinker that he is, Mr. Summers recanted his error, has apologized at least three times for his insensitivity, and will no doubt hasten to appoint and to promote as many females as he can. The casualties of this exercise are genuine discussion of why women excel faster in some fields than in others, and the kind of intellectual independence that universities were once expected to promote.

* * *
Unfortunately, the problem Mr. Summers addressed will persist despite the attempts to silence him. No one doubts that women seeking careers in science face greater challenges than those in other academic and research fields. At a recent forum of Harvard graduate students, a succession of budding female scientists expressed their anxieties about having chosen careers that will conflict, more than most, with their no less strong desires to raise and nurture a family. More than one young woman present felt that a job with reduced pressure during her childbearing years might better suit her needs than competition at the very highest levels. The good news is that most of the young women acknowledged that their dilemma was one of choice rather than a product of discrimination against them.

The very notion of "underrepresentation," based as it is on the implicit goal of numerical parity, greatly prejudices our ability to understand why women make the choices that they do. If women gravitate to the hard sciences less than to other fields, we ought to grant them the intelligence of sentient creatures, recognizing the potential loneliness of such choices while trying to understand why groups and individuals act as they do. It is not Mr. Summers who owes women an apology; it is the complainers and agitators who owe both him and all of us an apology for trying to shut down discussion of an "inequality" that is not likely to disappear.

I just hope Professor Wisse is already tenured.

Exposing Stephanopoulos

The brash, smooth-talking George Stephanopoulos was one of the most recognizable of Bill Clinton's young Turks in 1993. He parlayed his success into a job with CBS in 1997 doing tag-team political analysis with conservative Bill Kristol. Since the 2002 campaign he's been ABC's political analyst and host of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Has the young Turk matured into an objective analyst? Hardly, but his ABC job has gained him the patina of objective legitimacy. Tim Graham of the Media Research Center exposes GS in the NRO today.

On [his] first appearance for ABC [eight years ago], Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson asked: "I understand they're going to throw you in the pit with Sam and Cokie and George [Will]... Do you look at this as getting even, or do you look at it as being able to really contribute to the political dialogue of America?" With a smile, Stephanopoulos replied: "I'm hoping to contribute, but I wouldn't mind getting even every once in a while."

That might explain the pile of gloomy news from ABC as President Bush prepared to take another oath of office. On Monday night, ABC's first Nightline of inauguration week was guest-hosted by Stephanopoulos. The subject was more of the same: When will public opinion finally sink the war in Iraq? Formally, the topic was televised pictures of flag-draped coffins.

In case you've forgotten already this is the same ABC News that callously 'advertised' for military funerals scheduled for Inauguration Day which the blogosphere found and broadcast. We wrote about it here.

Stephanopoulos began: "Its roots are in Vietnam. But the phrase wasn't actually coined until 1999, when General Hugh Shelton, the military's top soldier, said that an American war must pass what he called the Dover test — the war should be fought only if public support could survive the flag-draped coffins, returning to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. For most of this war, that hasn't applied. The Pentagon banned press coverage of the dead coming home." If you were waiting for ABC to note that this policy began in 1991 — and continued throughout the Stephanopoulos era in the West Wing — keep waiting.

...The former Clinton spin doctor said President Bush is facing "growing doubts about the war in Iraq," and although Bush "told the Washington Post this weekend that his November victory ratified his judgments on ABC News poll out today showed more American disapprove of how the president is handling Iraq, more than at any time since the Abu Ghraib scandal."

In other words, what measure are you going to trust for a democratic verdict — an election counting up the voices of more than 120 million voters, or a random sample of 1,000 adults that ABC randomly selected out of the phone listings? ABC wants you to pick B.

* * *
[On a recent Good Morning America appearance] Stephanopoulos insisted to [ABC's Diane] Sawyer that Bush's big problem is "the conduct of the war right now. People are still being pummeled by these pictures of violence every single day from Iraq. We saw over the weekend the first photos in a year of flag-draped coffins coming home, those six National Guardsmen from Louisiana, and the White House aides again concede they know, as we head to this election in Iraq, it's going to get worse in Iraq again. More violence every day."

You have to smile at the passive-aggressive tone there. Bush is somehow being "pummeled by pictures," but by whom? Stephanopoulos is suggesting that Bush may have defeated Kerry, but he cannot defeat the Permanent Media Government. Stephanopoulos and all the "news" merchants who echo him believe that the "Dover test" is a sincere measure of democracy, even if it's a ruthlessly media-manipulated democracy suffused in daily images of hopelessness and death. The networks ought to end their newscasts with the slogan "Undermining America's Resolve for Military Action Since 1968."

What they are trying to do is not enlighten the citizenry, but badger it into submission, thinking that if they keep hammering the subject of casualties to death, eventually the public will grasp their enlightened point of view. Consider this: Would George Stephanopoulos consider hosting a Nightline program exploring candidates for high office in the Iraqi elections — who they are and what their platform might be? No, because ABC no doubt believes that would only help Team Bush sell the virtues of the war. "News" is defined by what harms Bush. Any more helpful subject isn't news, but despicable advertising for the military-industrial complex.

But all they're advancing is the strange vision of Presidents Carter and Clinton that the wisest and most honorable presidents never waste an American soldier's life on any risky military mission — and along with it, the strange notion that America was safer in the late 1970s or most of the 1990s, when we did nothing about gathering threats to our national security beyond babbling about the necessity of global arms-control agreements and kissing dictators on the cheek.

January 24, 1965

Forty years ago the greatest leader in the modern world and the (real) Man of the 20th Century died at age 90: Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. The Monk's admiration of the man and his place in history is difficult for The Monk to render into words. So those who have trod this path should have their say:

At this link is the obituary of Sir Winston by Anthony Lewis in the January 24, 1965 NY Times. The second line of Lewis's obit summed up the man nicely: "The great figure who embodied man's will to resist tyranny passed into history this morning."

Steven Hayward wrote a piece six years ago for the Ashbrook Center on leadership and Churchill that bears re-reading today.

Churchill is remembered as a great man not only because he led Britain and the free world in the ultimate battle against tyranny from 1939-1945, but also because he understood and recognized both the Nazi threat from its inception in 1933, and the Stalinist imperialist threat in the immediate post-World War II years, as typified in his "Iron Curtain" speech from 1946:

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow. Athens alone-Greece with its immortal glories-is free to decide its future at an election under British, American and French observation. The Russian-dominated Polish Government has been encouraged to make enormous and wrongful inroads upon Germany, and mass expulsions of millions of Germans on a scale grievous and undreamed-of are now taking place. The Communist parties, which were very small in all these Eastern States of Europe, have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control. Police governments are prevailing in nearly every case, and so far, except in Czechoslovakia [where the Czech Communists led a Hitler-esque coup in 1947], there is no true democracy.

Churchill was a man ahead of his time and the world has been poorer for his absence these last 40 years.

[Note: I identified Steven Hayward as affiliated with The Weekly Standard. I confused him with Stephen Hayes.]

Monday Morning Reading Material

Here's your initial list to print and enjoy at lunch, coffee break, wasting time at work, etc.:

First and foremost, Victor Davis Hanson says our efforts in Iraq have strengthened the US, not weakened it.

On, economist and columnist Amity Shlaes tells Lawrence Summers to act like a man.

Robert Novak, the ultimate insider, notes the concerns that conservatives have over Bush's second term appointments.

The Independent of London has the latest BS climate change scare, only that paper presents it as actual news, sans irony.

In Germany, police detained two suspected al-Qaeda members. No word on if the German government will pay welfare benefits to the detainees whilst they are in the clink.

And the Mossad says that Iran has just about reached the point where its nuclear program will need no outside help, thereby successfully completing its attempt to play the EU for fools.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Bush the Worldbeater

Mark Steyn shows how middle Americans have more sense than Washingtonian solipsists and how George Bush is THE realist in government:

The other day David von Drehle of the Washington Post did a monster tour of what he called "The Red Sea" -- Bush country -- and went to almost painful lengths to eschew the condescension the coastal media elite usually apply to their rare anthropological ventures into the hinterland. But in the middle of his dispatch was this quote from Joyce Smith of Coalgate, Okla.: "When Kerry said he was for abortion and one-sex marriages, I just couldn't see our country being led by someone like that."

Von Drehle added: ''Later, I double-checked what Kerry had said on those subjects. During his campaign, he opposed same-sex marriage and said that abortion was a private matter.''

If the point is that Red Staters are ignorant, double- or even triple-checking John Kerry isn't the best way to demonstrate it. Insofar as I understand it, Kerry's view on abortion was that, while he passionately believes life begins at conception, he would never let his deeply held personal beliefs interfere with his legislative program. On gay marriage, likewise. That's why gay groups backed Kerry and why von Drehle's media buddies weren't running editorials warning that a Kerry presidency would end "a woman's right to choose": They understood his deeply passionately personally deep personal passionate beliefs were just an artful but meaningless formulation designed to get him through election season. Message: If Kerry's elected, abortions will continue and gay marriage will happen and he'll be cool with both. Joyce Smith understood that. Von Drehle seems vaguely resentful that she wasn't dumb enough to fall for the spin cooked up by Kerry's hairsplitters and enthusiastically promoted by his media cheerleaders.

There's a big lesson for the Democrats there that goes way beyond the merits of abortion or gay marriage. On Sept. 11, the world came unspun: There's no shame in acknowledging, as Condi Rice did last week, that previous policy -- Republican and Democrat -- toward the Middle East is wrong. But there's something silly and immature about a party that, from Kerry to Boxer to Byrd, can't get beyond spin, grandstanding and debater's points: Joyce Smith sees through it, even if David von Drehle thinks it's ingenious. If the president's speech yoked idealism and realism, that doesn't leave much for dissenting Dems except their own peculiar combination of cynicism and delusion.