Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thoughts on “Progressive”s


One comment I hear over and over, is that everyone in America supported the cause in World War 2, for a variety of reasons, and this claim is used to support the claim that the present mania exhibited by the likes of Michael Moore and Al Gore is a new phenomenon. Sadly, that is not at all the case. The notion that America was once united in the cause of Liberty and the fight for Freedom is a quaint but false myth. Throughout American history, the cry of the loonbat has disturbed the idyllic notions of the Founding Fathers, then the Union Army, and so today’s bad-smelling, non-thinking devolutionary troglodytes are trying to harass the far better men and women who are setting America's course and saving millions of people from destruction in the process.

Without dragging the reader through the whole of history, I will simply begin in 1910, and show the procession of protests, crowd-mollifying policies and milktoast doctrines which have made the job of the true patriot even harder. By 1910, it was true that many people saw the approach of World War I, and many rightly feared the fight. In the United States, it was often difficult to explain why the United States should care what Europe got itself into, and so politicians, notably President Wilson in 1912 and again in 1916, made a point of promising to keep America out of the war. Of course, when it did hit we were unready and the war still cost us dearly, especially when one considers the loans made by the United States in 1924 and 1928 to prevent economic collapse in Germany, which would have led to more fighting between nations ill-equipped for more violence. One might note that a competent force in Germany during the 1920s might have kept the nation from falling into the near-civil war which gave the Nazis their opening, but pre-emption of terrorism is hard enough now, even with all the history we have as warnings. Anyway, the United States was pretty happy to be an ocean away from all that, and things were great. Until the Stock Market crashed, along with a lot of banks, and many businesses began wholesale layoffs and so Unemployment shot sky-high at the worst possible time. Not only did this cost President Hoover his job, but both the House and Senate switched over to Democrat control.

Franklin Roosevelt knew where his power came from. Having swept into office on a Republican scandal and loss of confidence, he understood that he had to listen to the tune of the day. So in 1936 and again in 1940, just like Wilson before him, FDR promised America would stay out of ‘Europe’s War’. Then came Pearl Harbor. In spite of all the movies and common beliefs, there were a lot of Americans who didn’t think we should be in World War 2. Pearl Harbor shut them up, but not forever. Most people don’t know that Charles Lindbergh, the pilot who flew solo across the Atlantic in “The Spirit of St. Louis”, was an admirer of the Nazi Party for many years, as just one example of a famous and well-respected American who opposed the government position. By 1944, the war was not at all the universally popular enterprise we are told these days. If the Normandy Invasion in June had gone a bit differently, or if General Patton had not made such obvious progress by October, it’s entirely possible that FDR could have lost his bid for a fourth term. As is common in such matters, wars are generally popular only when we appear to be clearly winning. When the war is in doubt, so is the President.

After World War 2, America faced one of its toughest gut checks; the Soviet Union. The Communists’ plan was simple; when everyone else sent their armies home to their families, they would not, and so would be ready to take whatever land they felt they could hold. Harry Truman had no intention of allowing that, but it took every marker he could call in to keep the U.S. ready for a fight, and to step in when the pot boiled over in Korea. One reason the crisis over MacArthur’s actions was important, was because public support for the Korean War was not at all complete.

You see the trend. The abomination that was the anti-war movement against Vietnam cost the lives of thousands of U.S. servicemen, and countless more asian civilians, simply because the public deserted the troops and the ideals on which America was founded. It was not new, just more successful in depressing confidence and wearing away at our leaders’ resolve than previous attempts. And just as FDR had always watched the mob to see their mood, Democrats began to shift from positions defending Liberty, to positions dependent on the whim of the moment. Increasingly, Democrats began to listen to whomever seemed the loudest and the most unhappy. Where Harry Truman had been willing to stand up to the anger of outraged voters, Jimmy Carter put on a fake smile and said what he though they wanted to hear. Where John Kennedy had been willing to submit a tax cut, knowing it would invigorate the economy, Ted Kennedy now blames every occasion where taxes are not raised. And as their ideals died, so also died the control of the Democratic Party, and those who used to be called ‘Liberals’ for their broad minds and bright hopes, found themselves voting more and more for Republicans, and those who claimed the Leadership of the Democratic Party made sure to destroy the maps and rudder, and to get rid of their anchor forthwith, and so they celebrate the meandering of their odyssey to lunacy, as some new form of ‘diversity’, even as they demand compliance with their mindset and rhetoric.

There was a time when some people were angry because America had declared her independence from England. There was a time when some people were angry because Slavery was banned in the United States. There was a time when people were outraged by women voting in America. There was a time when equal rights for all races by law and actual practice angered some who thought Jim Crow was a good way to live. Such people have always existed, have always been wrong, have always been a pain and a test for true leaders to endure, and though they may now control the MSM and hold most of the faculty seats at universities, they areno more right now than ever before. God has always saved the United States from them, be they Tories, Klansman, or Progressives, and I depend on His grace again now.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Grading By Reagan – My Report Card


Gay Patriot opened a forum to discuss how President George W. Bush should be compared to Ronald W. Reagan, arguably the greatest Republican President in the past century, if not one of the greatest of all American Presidents. I was honored to be asked to comment as a member of a panel of “Reagan Scholars”, to “adjust” the grades handed out by Gay Patriot and to respond to the comments from the readers. This column is my considered opinion, which will be added to those from Bridget Johnson and Sondra K on Monday for the final grade.

I have thought about this matter for a few days, and the first thing I would say, is that we have to establish a standard by which to rate Bush. I do not think it would be appropriate to use Reagan as the absolute, because for all my admiration and respect for President Reagan, he was human and therefore made his share of errors and had his own limitations. So, I have chosen to compare five Presidents here to what I call the “Reagan Ideal”; that is, how well each of the past five Presidents has done (or appears to have done, since Bush’s work is still in progress) in performance of the ideals exemplified by Ronald Reagan. It is fairly accepted as consensus that Reagan’s Presidency was the most successful in memory of any President in our generation, and so his ideals would appear to be the most salient in comparing performance. As a rule of thumb, the default for a President is “C”, that being the average grade in common use. If a President has done some damage to the country or his office in that category, then a lower grade would be used, although an “F” would not necessarily mean the President was completely incompetent or mendacious. If a President has done some service beyond the norm in a category, then a higher grade would be used, though even an “A+” would not necessarily mean perfection. While a bit more complex, matching up grades on the Reagan Ideal for not only Dubya, but his father, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Reagan himself helps demonstrate not only a proper comparison between the modern Presidents, but also demonstrate how some Presidents have had to recover from the damage done by a predecessor. With that in mind, I turn my attention to the nine selected categories:

Vision/Optimism (A- from Gay Patriot)
Communicating That Vision (D+/C- from Gay Patriot)
National Security (A- from Gay Patriot)
Foreign Policy (A- from Gay Patriot)
Free Trade (B/B+ from Gay Patriot)
Domestic Spending/Size of Government (D+ from Gay Patriot)
Federalism (D from Gay Patriot)
Judicial Appointments (A- from Gay Patriot)
Leadership/Tenacity (A- from Gay Patriot)
Overall Grade (B/B+ from Gay Patriot)

First, Vision/Optimism. Here is how the last five Presidents fared in my scoring:

Carter: D
Reagan: A+
GHW Bush: B
Clinton: C-
GW Bush: A-

Here's how I got there. Carter got the lowest grade, for basically giving up on America’s mission in the world. He tried to make Diplomacy a bigger part of the process, I will give him that, but he downgraded the military, and refused to support his commitments when pressed. Clinton tried to sell America’s place in the world like a Marketing campaign, but he too had no stomach for the tough road. The elder Bush did what was necessary, and his vision of a post-Cold War world was important in crafting some signal treaties and agreements with Russia, China, and other important countries, but he did not see far enough. Dubya and Reagan are true visionaries, men who not only faced their challenges squarely, but who also established programs and doctrines to set a wise course for the future.

Communicating That Vision. Here is how the last five Presidents fared in my scoring:

Carter: D
Reagan: A+
GHW Bush: B
Clinton: A
GW Bush: A-

Again, Carter is at the bottom. Partly, it’s because trying to persuade a nation to adopt a despondent policy, as Carter did in his “Malaise” speech, is poor strategy to begin with but also, Carter consistently failed to demonstrate any sort of plan for restoring America to greatness. On the other end is Reagan, whose delivery in speeches was perfect, legendary. Next comes Clinton, whose true gift was the common touch, the ability to speak in terms the average man and woman would recognize and accept. Some people may be surprised I grade Dubya so high, but for all the apparent clumsiness of his elocution, it should be observed that when the stakes matter, he gets results. The last three elections, the Congressional vote on invading Afghanistan and Iraq, and on tax relief, the President is effective in his communications, as evidenced where it counts most – the results. Too many people are influenced by poor poll numbers, which are not only invalid in many cases due to the way they are constructed, but also miss the fact that the polls have never demonstrated the actual success of failure of a doctrine or initiative.

National Security. Here is how the last five Presidents fared in my scoring:

Carter: D-
Reagan: A-
GHW Bush: A-
Clinton: F
GW Bush: A+

Clinton personally approved deals which allowed his personal friends to sell cutting-edge U.S.missile and satellite technology to Communist China, and he did nothing to slow down the proliferation of a new WMD-components market, which helped a number of nations ramp up their nuclear and biological weapons research, including North Korea and Iran. So, while Clinton was also responsible for the creation of an Infrastructure Protection Agency and a Cyberwarfare Counter-Operations office, his grade must be regarded as a complete failure in this section. As for Carter, his policies and despondent doctrine of retreat led to an across-the-board degrading of military readiness, the abandonment of numerous commitments in strategic locations, and denied vital R&D and HUMINT programs. The only saving grace for Carter is that the Soviets made less of the opportunity than they might have done, and Reagan was able to restore the condition of the military.

It next needs to be said that Reagan, for all his greatness, was not really a ‘wartime’ President as the term is understood. Yes, he fought the Cold War, which was a real war, and he won it. But the conditions of a “hot” wartime are different than others, and every American President who has had to face a “hot” war has found it unpredictable, expensive on several levels, and difficult to bear for any sustained length of time. Reagan’s management of the Cold War was masterful, but far less so his attention to the Middle East and Central America theaters. It’s not to say Reagan did badly at all, but rather that his accomplishments were less effective than George W. Bush’s, and yes I know that claim will be argued. GHW Bush, whether by insight or luck, chose the right crisis to apply his team-building to, and his efforts paid dividends in building the foundation for a strong U.S. credibility in the Middle East. The knocks on the elder Bush are simple; he did not plan far enough ahead to see what to do about Iraq, and he allowed the United Nations far too much of a role in the matter. As for George W, his problems with resolving Immigration Reform would ordinarily count against him, were there not so many signal accomplishments to name, including passage and renewal of the PATRIOT Act (which essentially took the handcuffs on the Intelligence and Law Enforcement agencies’ ability to share information and act to pre-empt threats), the destruction of the Taliban and effective elimination of the old structure of Al Qaida, the removal of Saddam Hussein, the establishment of the Bush Doctrine in response to terrorist threats, the consolidation of National Security operations under the Department of Homeland Security, and the creation of a National Director of Intelligence (Bush is essentially the first US President to reform the Intelligence Community without attempting to castrate it, to support the field agents and weed out the politics players).

Free Trade. Here is how the last five Presidents fared in my scoring:

Carter: C
Reagan: A
GHW Bush: A
Clinton: A
GW Bush: B

Reagan, the elder Bush, and Clinton all worked to improve international commerce and improve confidence in the economy. Dubya did much of the same, but security concerns hampered his efforts. It should be noted that the Enron and similar scandals, in my opinion, were largely unrelated to any Administration, and so did not cost any President points. It should also be understood that the Bush Administration’s role in the creation of Sarbanes-Oxley is unclear, and so that is neither applied to his advantage or cost.

Domestic Spending/Size of Government. Here is how the last five Presidents fared in my scoring:

Carter: D
Reagan: A-
GHW Bush: B
Clinton: D
GW Bush: B+

Dubya gets a bad shake when the subject of federal spending comes up. Oh how the critics squeal about higher spending. But wait a minute – USA Today has finally done a but of real journalism, and it turns out a lot of that increased spending has nothing at all to do with a program crated by President Bush, but rather comes from a jump in enrollment in the existing program; USA Today revealed that of 25 major federal programs, enrollment between 2000 and 2005 jumped 17% while the population only increased by 5%. This highlights a problem in criticizing the President. Too many people see him as a man who must be able to foresee and address every crisis perfectly, and no man can do that, especially a President who operates within the Constitutional limits of his office (granted, not every President obeyed such limits, but such Presidents do not fare well in my scoring). For me, there are two components to the score in this area: The intent of the President, and the conditions he faces. The grades received by each President should be self-evident in this context. I would also suggest that the reader compare deficits and spending levels in terms of portion of GDP, which is the best simple barometer.

Federalism. Here is how the last five Presidents fared in my scoring:

Carter: D
Reagan: A-
GHW Bush: B
Clinton: D
GW Bush: A

This is the area where I probably disagree most sharply from Gay Patriot. Every President since Washington has had to wrestle with the opposing forces of ideal and practical need. It is well known, for example, that Washington opposed the creation of a standing Army and Navy, yet when they were later created Washington applauded the move, knowing it was necessary. As with Domestic programs, one must examine the intent as well as what is done. What I mean is, the Department of Homeland Security was a necessary coalescence of the federal powers to address border security and national threats. On other levels, however, such as Education and Financial Aid and judicial authority, Bush has done an admirable job of scaling back and directing attention to the restoration of State powers. In this light, even Reagan does less well than Bush.

Judicial Appointments. Here is how the last five Presidents fared in my scoring:

Carter: C
Reagan: A-
GHW Bush: C-
Clinton: D
GW Bush: A+

In another statement bound to get me some dispute, Bush actually did better in his appointments than Reagan has. This is because Bush paid attention to the need for solid appointments to the Federal bench, and applied no political consideration to them, something which Reagan allowed a few times. And as for the Supreme Court nominees, you simply cannot do better than Roberts and Alito. While some wish to complain about the Miers nomination, I would remind them that A - we still do not know for sure how well Miers would have done as a justice, B – the Miers nomination is not really relevant since it did not even go so far as hearings, and C – too many people forget that the nomination was to replace the unfortunate Justice O’Connor, who did serve as a SCOTUS justice, and who was a Reagan appointee, the same as Justice Kennedy. This dilutes the Reagan score in this area. Obviously, the Souter choice hurts Bush 41. Carter did not appoint anyone to SCOTUS, but he did make Breyer a Federal Appeals Court judge, which made it possible for Clinton to pick Breyer, along with Ginsburg, for the high court. The low scores for Clinton and Carter do not reflect the liberal preference of those men, but rather the tendency to favor judges who would ‘create’ law from the bench.

Leadership/Tenacity. Here is how the last five Presidents fared in my scoring:

Carter: F
Reagan: A
GHW Bush: C+
Clinton: C+
GW Bush: A

First, the easy part – tenacity. All you need to know about how tough a given President is, is to look at how hard the Press is trying to tear into him without justice. Clinton even gets some props for toughness there, because around 1999 the press decided to make him a chew-toy. Yeah, he did what was alleged so that takes away from him, but I have to admit Bubba stood and took it. But if I give that much to Clinton, I have to praise all the louder for Reagan and Dubya, who took fire from the day they announced they were running, and which never let up. That said, the hail of lies and vicious slander from the press against President George W. Bush is literally unprecedented in my lifetime, and the fact that he has held up this well this long speaks for steel in his backbone that no man in a few generations could boast. As to Leadership, that’s less clear on the surface. The idea there I think, is to mix the tenacity with the Vision we talked about earlier, and then look at the results in fact. Basically, everyone knows Jimmy Carter for his humanitarian work and his political second-guessing, but no one brings up the Carter Administration as an example of how to get the job done. Clinton had tenacity, but does anyone, even six years after he left office have any idea what the “Clinton Doctrine” would be?

Overall Grade . Here is how the last five Presidents fared in my scoring:

Carter: GPA 1.06, earns a D
Reagan: GPA 4.03, earns an A
GHW Bush: GPA 3.00, earns a B
Clinton: GPA 1.91, earns a D+
GW Bush: GPA 3.88, earns an A-

Now the fun part: your thoughts!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Tale of Two Heroes: Abdul Rahman and Hao Wu


I hate to say it, but if you are not a blogger or a reader of blogs, you probably have not heard a word from the media about either of these two men. That’s for a number of reasons, ranging from a malicious prejudice against true conscientious protest to simple apathy. It should also be understood that in both cases there needs to be follow-up, if only to show that valor is seen and acknowledged. In the headline, I called Abdul Rahman and Hao Wu “heroes”; I think that once you know their situations, you will agree that these men have earned that title. Abdul Rahman is on trial in Afghanistan, facing the death penalty. In the West a man could only face such a sentence for murder, and in many countries the death sentence is not an option at all. In Abdul Rahman’s case, he is facing execution for having converted from Islam to Christianity.

For many people, that is the story in a nutshell, but in Rahman’s case the story is much deeper than a simple political-religious crisis. You see, Rahman’s family is still very much Muslim, and so he has no real access to support; the government has denied any visitors, and his own family has condemned his conversion. Even were he freed from prison, Mr. Rahman might be forced to flee the country to survive death threats already made against him.
It is not likely, however, that Rahman will be sentenced to death. First, while the prosecutor has claimed that Sharia requires Muslims who convert to another faith to be killed, the Quran is silent on that question, and no specific hadith considered to be credible is clear, either. Further, the Constitution of Afghanistan says that capital punishment must be approved by the President (Article 129[2)], and President Karzai is certainly sensitive to the American opinion of Afghanistan; killing a man for being Christian is not at all something Mr. Karzai is likely to endorse.

And even the prosecutor has backed off a bit suggesting that Rahman may be found ‘mentally unfit’, in which case “Islam has no claim to punish him. He must be forgiven”. The question at hand is serious on several levels, as any decision is likely to serve as a key precedent.

It should be noted that Abdul Rahman did not become a Christian anytime recently, after the U.S.-led invasion, but fifteen years ago, when Afghanistan as anything but a friendly place for Christians. Imagine living under the rule of the Taliban, and then & there choosing to follow the way of Christ. That folks, is courage!

The other case is Hao Wu, whose fate is at least as uncertain as Abdul Rahman’s. Hao Wu, who is a documentary filmmaker (the real kind, not like Michael Moore) and political blogger, was arrested February 22 in Beijing, and he has since been held without charges, visitors, or any sort of information release by the government.

Wu writes under the blogger name “Beijing Loafer” and also the pseudonym Tian Yi. Wu’s main blog, “Beijing or Bust” (hmm - notice it’s a Blogger blog?) is a lot like any regular person’s blog. Note that a February 20 entry mentions a family fight with his mom, including this comment:

“I kept on calling her back, apologizing for my behavior and comforting her.

What could I have done? She’s my mother.”

Ironically, in that same post Wu also mentions that his Chinese readers

“expressed annoyance and incomprehension at the West’s criticism of China. So did most of the Chinese bloggers I’ve read thus far…please understand that Chinese are very defensive about these criticisms because in our modern history we’d been repeatedly humiliated by Western colonial powers; in addition, we Chinese believe in ‘A son doesn’t complain about his mother’s plain looks, and a mother doesn’t pick on a son’s destitution’”

A single-stop web site has been set up by Ethan Zuckerman to provide the known information about Wu’s arrest, which is not much, and to organize support to demand his release.

It’s difficult to say which situation takes more courage; to stand for your faith in an Afghanistan which may or may not have grown morally in the past few years, or to speak truth in a country where people can simply disappear for being inconvenient. In my book, both of these men are true exemplars of valor and courage. Both deserve their lives and their freedom – and your voice in their defense.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Blogger Writes Back


As many in the Blogosphere know, an undetermined number of blogs managed by Blogger, a free service offered by Google simply disappeared last week. For a number of days, bloggers were unable to even see their blogs, much less edit or post columns. Attempts to contact Blogger about the problem produced no response, except for a single automated e-mail response which neither addressed the problem nor promised a solution.

I published an open letter to Google/Blogger, wherein I thanked them for the convenience and affordability of Blogger, but also reminded them of the implicit responsibility they held in creating such a service. I also warned them that continued silence on the cause and remedy for the blog removals would create an impression they might wish to avoid. By this weekend, service had been restored to every Blog*Spot site which I knew to have been affected, but there had still been no explanation.

On Tuesday, March 21, I received an email response from Jason Goldman, the product manager at Blogger. I can’t be sure whether or not the email was a form letter, which in itself was something of a good sign and a bad one, simultaneously. Here is the text from that email:

“Those of us who work at Blogger do so because we want to give a voice to as many people as possible. That’s why it upset me to see that your blog was mistakenly removed from Blog*Spot last week.

I’d like to personally apologize for this mistake and assure you that your blog’s accidental removal was in no way reflective of a policy decision on the part of Google. As a result of this error, we have implemented additional controls on the tools used by our team. Also, it shouldn’t have taken this long to resolve the issue, and we apologize for the delay in restoring your site.

Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do.


Jason Goldman
Project Manager, Blogger”

First off, I think it is important to thank Mr. Goldman for his letter and accountability. When something like this happens, no one wants to be the person who has to step out and take responsibility. Whatever you think of Google, give Jason credit for answering the call to put out a rather large fire. Next, having seen some disasters myself, I am quite willing to believe the removal of these sites was accidental. To be blunt, if Google had wanted to delete a certain type of blog or site, they could have found a way to do so which wouldn’t have reflected on them the way this incident did. I can’t prove it, but I get the feeling that when the sites started disappearing, Blogger was not aware of it at first, having no process in place to track such a possibility, and also they had no idea what to do if that scenario happened. I find it easy to believe that the first couple days at Blogger were filled with confusion and panic – after all, if Google decided this whole ‘free blog’ thing was just making them look bad, they could just dump the project and fire everyone at Blogger. After all, other companies have done this sort of thing before, especially to avoid looking bad on the surface. Google, whatever else they have been up to, worked to get the blogs back up, and allowed Mr. Goldman to do his job. Sure, it would have been nice if the blogs had never disappeared, but then I would have liked to not have had to replace the oil pan on my car; stuff happens.

In the end, I only have one important piece of advice for Blogger and Mr. Goldman. We live in a rapid-fire age of information, and word spreads quickly, and what’s more, some of the most modest blogs are well-respected and get immediate attention in influential places. So, even though Blogger did not mean for this to happen, the silence which greeted blogger inquiries for so long created an impression, and not a good one. It would be a very good idea for Blogger to think about the possible worst-case events, and prepare statements to address them. In this case, it would have made a great difference if the Blogger Help page had immediately announced they knew there was a problem, and were working on it. By leaving up a page which seemed to claim nothing was wrong, and that a former problem had been completely fixed, Blogger made worried people into angry people. Last year, my company saw what happened during Hurricane Katrina, and so made preparations for responding to customers if we needed to close the company, which actually happened during the voluntary evacuation from the path of Hurricane Rita. The same kind of foresight and planning could really help Blogger avoid falling on its face again.

But all in all, I appreciate Blogger’s efforts to fix the problem and apologize for the accident. Thank you, Jason.


DJ Drummond

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The MSM War - Cleveland


The President gave a great speech in Cleveland yesterday. Funny, you’d never know it, from the response by the MainStream Media. Nothing on CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, or even Fox. Sadly predictable though. You see, the President came out strong and was compelling in his reasoning and delivery. Which is not the desired image the MSM wishes to portray. This of course is nothing new, which is the point of this column.

Many people have claimed that President George W. Bush is a bit of a fumble-tongue, unable to always articulate why he supports one proposal or opposes another. But how much of that comes from the filter placed on the President by the media? Just after 9/11, while visiting Ground Zero, President Bush made one of his best-known quotes, and it was off-the-cuff. Today, again we saw him at his best in the Press Conference. I have lived long enough to remember days when Reagan looked old, Clinton stupid, and Carter simply out of it, because anyone who has a camera in front of him at all times will sooner of later flub his lines. How much to Dubya’s speech, do you think, is not so much a matter of poor elocution and selective editing?

America is at war. Against terrorists, against Jihadist fascism, and against the MSM. We need to remember that.

Murder Most Foul

There used to be certain accepted moral boundaries, things which were always done or not done in a unanimous sense of moral law. You didn’t deliberately cause needless suffering, or deny justice to those most in need of it. And the best of men, the doctors, took an oath of conduct which says in part “I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel”. It was understood for many centuries, regardless of culture or faith, that life was precious and not to be discarded, especially at the desire of another person.

So it should have been a simple and easy decision, when the husband of a woman suffering from brain damage, on no evidence or documentation of any sort that she so desired, demanded that she be killed, in apparent desire that he be done with her as an obligation (the man not only had taken a mistress while married, but had children by her while claiming he still loved and was “devoted” to Terri). Absent compelling evidence that she wanted to die, Terri Schiavo should have been allowed to live.

But Michael Schiavo had smart lawyers, if few scruples, and pressed his case until Terri was dead. And not just killed, but starved to death in an excruciating ordeal which took thirteen days to finish.

Think about that. A convicted murderer in California remains alive because doctors worried that his much-deserved execution might cause him pain for a little while, perhaps a minute or so, but no court found it unreasonable to starve an innocent woman to death over a two-week period, even in the total absence of evidence that she had any desire to die. Her parents were barred from her hospice room until after she was dead, and were not even allowed to go to her funeral.

If this nation holds any true ideals, Terri Schiavo must be remembered, and this cruel injustice called plainly what it was; court-abetted murder. Do not forget.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Blood and Bigotry – The Coming Civil War In Islam Part 3 – The Jihadists’ Strategy


Readers have responded in a variety of ways to my warning that Islam is headed for a Civil War. The most common responses, whether in agreement or (more common) disagreement with my statements, miss the signal facts of my presumptions. I have examined the historical evidence of Islam, and when I say that the vast majority of Muslims prefer peace, that in no way means they shall have it. Always, the majority of Islam has desired peace, and few acts of violence are supported by the mainstream of Islam. Iraq’s Prime Minister, Ibrahim al-Jafari, understands this. Addressing the matter of political opposition from Moqtada al-Sadr as an example of advancing democracy in Iraq, al-Jafari writes:

“During my term as elected prime minister, Sadr's group has not attacked any coalition troops. Furthermore, Sadr and several Sunni leaders are now catalysts for maintaining the peace in Iraq, calling on their followers not to retaliate against terrorist provocations, which aim to ignite civil war.”

Islam, as I have said before, is a religion of a number of sects, some of which are militant and some distinctly apocalyptic in nature. The ‘Mahdi’ virus shows up from time to time, generally inciting violence not so much out of a vision for the future, but out of individual lust for power and misappropriating Islam as a vehicle towards that power, and corrupting the hopes and dreams of young men to recruit them to that end. Al-Jafari makes a critical observation when he points out that despite the image cast by the MSM, “the Iraqi people have demonstrated their bravery, determination and resolve”. There are good Arabs and good Muslims in this fight on our side, and the West needs to support them and show solidarity with them, on all levels.

Yet it is a grim fact that the few which seek violence have been able to act with relative impunity within the Muslim world, and so the terrorism embraced in the 20th Century and now has a historical character and bloody tradition in those murderous sects which favor terrorism. There can be no question that the Jihadists will continue to carry out terrorist acts until such time that they feel they are strong enough to conduct outright wars of conquest. This is the pattern from History, and there is every reason to believe that the template is still in use. Understanding that template is vital to seeing the risks and opportunities ahead for the West.

The Jihadists operate on the strength of three key assets:

1. Mideast Education Limits
2. Arab Culture
3. Media Manipulation

Most Americans, even the ones who believe the lies from Michael Moore, are aware of the signal accomplishments and historical milestones of human history, and are willing to grant credit to the Arabs, the Chinese, the Greeks, Romans, French, British and so on, as well as to key American contributions. This balance allows for Americans to view the world realistically, and to make improvements where needed. While it was amusing to see Spike Jones and cartoonists lampoon the Nazis and Japanese Empire, the American citizen was under few illusions about the peril posed by Hitler and Tojo. This candor added credibility to wartime correspondence, and when the Allies began to win the claims were believable because the U.S. had been straight from the start. The forces for Democracy have always found straight talk an asset, as evidenced by the Soviet fear of Radio Free Europe. The Jihadists, on the other hand, have taken the shorter road through controlling history and culture in schools. The extensive use of Madressas has allowed Jihadists to bring up a generation unaware of Western values or objective history. As a result, many Arabs are actually unaware of the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party thugs in Iraq, or the bloody history of Hamas and similar groups.

Also, Arab culture is causing problems for the West. Simply put, Shiites especially are possessed of an inferiority complex, largely brought about by their leaders’ decisions. In both World War I and World War II, the Arabs too often backed the wrong horse in Germany, and the Shiites were especially poor predictors of who would win. The German resolve and martial discipline seemed fine attributes to the Shiites, never seeing the deeper character of the British and Americans. To the Arabs, the Americans always seemed a bit too casual, too free in their ways, and this has often been mistaken for weakness. Look at the 9/11 attacks; only a madman or a man badly mistaken about the character of the United States, would believe that a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center would lead to a collapse of resolve and determination. Only a very great fool would fail to consider the character of America in such a decision.

And of course, the media played its role. Not only Al-Jazeera, which is still learning the basics of journalism, but CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC have played a game of money and influence for so long, it’s no wonder so many Arabs see us as mercenaries and hedonists; they judge us by the network narcissists. It’s actually a good thing we sent troops in, for Arabs to see our best young men in person. Unfortunately, the average Arab sees an America very different from the real one, and the Jihadists will certainly make the most of that opportunity.

Bottom line, the coming Civil War for Islam will be a nasty one. Almost no one sees it, but it will change the faith for good or ill, and cost millions their lives over the next half-century. The West must be concerned because, unlike an ordinary civil war in a single country, Islam's Civil War will be global, with all the weapons of terrorism, fascist evangelism, and cultural conquest employed. With the exception of Antartica, every continent will be affected, and will suffer cost.

Spain, Italy, and parts of France, along with the present Macedonian coastline and the Baltic regions are likely to fall to Jihadist control.

Shi'a and Sunni will battle for reasons both historical and personal, cultural and religious, and with great emotion and destruction. Shortly after the first European country falls under JIhadist control, an Arab nation will lead an alliance against the Jihadists, most likely to include Egypt, Jordan, and the small Sheikhdoms, with the Jihadists forming along the axis of Iran, Syria, and Yemen. The fate of Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia remain uncertain now, though Bush's efforts in Iraq have given the West a chance to save that nation.

At its worst, a Muslim version of the Inquisition will be created, with atrocities committed beyond present imagination. Our only hope to mitigate the carnage and destruction is to install stable representative democracies wherever we can.

(to be continued)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Induced Evolution Of Bloggers


My friends Betsy Newmark and Eric Lindholm have finally been able to start blogging again, although damage was done to their sites, possibly permanent. I was much luckier, getting my blog back Thursday night and pretty much intact. At this writing Blogger/Google has yet to release any explanation for what happened, much less any sort of apology or proper confirmation of expectations. As a number of readers have observed, you get what you pay for, but as I observed in an open letter to Google, such tactics satisfy the lawyers, but never the customer. The clear message sent by Google, intended or not, was that they would like serious bloggers to leave Blogger for more reliable and trustworthy hosts, and leave Blogspot domains to fools and knaves. The message is compelling, in that measure.

I have to say that one reason I began to blog was the ease of it. I could choose when to blog, at no out-of-pocket cost except time and effort. For almost three years I have clattered away at my keyboard, with few disappointments againt many successes. I was able to meet my work and family commitments while still opining in print. Life was good. But the Bible warns us there comes a time to “put away childish things”, and every so often I got a wake-up call. Like the first time I received e-mails from active-duty soldiers in Iraq. Like the first time a news agency asked me for an interview about polls and the likely candidates for the next Presidential election. Like the first time an executive at a major polling agency called me at work to discuss, off-the-record, how they developed their methodology and question wording. Serious stuff, which reminded me to take my responsibilities seriously. Well, now Blogger has sent another shot across the bow. I am by no means a major-league blogger, but I have a history and I have a name, of sorts, and all it takes is a petulant server or programmer at Google and -poof- bye-bye blog.

This is going to take some thought. As always, I will report what I decide, especially if it is worth the noise.