Thursday, March 16, 2006

If Only Victor Davis Hanson Had Been Sober

DISCLAIMER:(if this offends anyone by being here, please remove was too big for the comments section)

By Marc Atkinson, E Pluribus

I’ve been reading VDH for close to ten years now, and while the former Professor of Classics at Fresno and current Hoover Institute member navigates the turbulent waters of history and its current crop of agenda driven revisionists with a marked lucidity, he also has the intermittent and always useful memory lapse, allowing him to assail the detractors of the defunct Dubai ports deal as two political camps in an inverted cone of silence, whereby panic-stricken isolationists and ‘anybody but Bush’ devotees can hear their individual arguments coalesce to echo a ‘collective insanity’.

Ironically, VDH (whom I admire, read, and quote on E Pluribus Reluctor on a regular basis)..parrots the left in this regard….”we know better, and you’re just dumb”.

Given the intellectual weight of the mighty Hanson, many are swayed by the sheer volume of his whispered assertions and the assumed veracity of his proclamations that “Rarely has reason been so routed by pure emotion.”...Again, VDH assumes those who are against this deal are Clinton/Gore voters, worried 'about the children'.

Hanson goes on to essentially throw his hands in the air with examples of the Panama Canal (which I remember quite well, contrary to another assumption that we all forgot) , Chinese influence, the Mexican border, et al. And these are valid points, each of which requires redress in it own forum. This argument reminds me of my 8 year-olds son objection to my telling him to pick up his room: “ why should I dad, it’s already a mess?”. Because it’s the right thing to do, that’s why. And if it had been 19 Chinese terrorists on 9/11, I seriously doubt Americans would stand for that nation continuing to operate our largest port, the port of Los Angeles because- ‘oh well, we’ve been buying cheap Chinese stuff for years now anyway’. It took more than twenty years and the power of W.Edwards Demming for Americans to look at Japan as a legitimate trading partner instead of a partner in fascism with the third reich. (Got my Hitler reference in—musn't forget that).

To be sure, the image of Hillary Clinton and Pat Buchanan shaking hands as the Dubai deal sank is naturally a convenient vehicle of validation for Hanson to point to mere emotion and hysteria as the impetus for the rejection of this business deal that apparently our president wasn’t even aware of, while simultaneously assuring us that he’s got our backs. This president and his family with their known connections to the Saudi royal family and even the Bin Ladens at one point do themselves no favors by allowing this transaction to proceed. Bush administration officials themselves refer to the less than 5% of shipping containers inspected as a gigantic hole in our security. We know that people have been successfully smuggled in shipping containers from the east. These were people only looking for a better life. Are we to suppose that terrorists and/or their weapons would be stopped by benevolent Islamic port employees in the Middle East sympathetic to American efforts in their homelands, because that is precisely where our security would reside, had this fox guarding-the-henhouse deal succeeded. The same president who has shown us through deeds that he is not interested in the very first order of business of security by simply mandating that our national sovereignty be maintained at our southern or northern borders, has ponied out the preposterous ‘guest-worker’ program, and who only this month was in India glad-handing the largest repository of out-sourced American jobs, was telling us to trust the UAE, a country that had all nineteen 9/11 terrorists pass through it, funneled money for the 9/11 atrocity, and even had its own royal family as the guests of Osama Bin Laden as late as 1999, according to CIA memo of 2/19/1999, mere months after Al Qaeda blew up two US embassies in Africa with money snaking through Dubai banks. But Dubai’s proximity to 9/11 doesn’t end there. 13 of the 19 terrorists entered the US via Dubai, with the original 20th hijacker –Mohammed al-Katani, also gliding through Dubai’s security net that George Bush wants our nation to put our trust in. Paul Sperry has outlined further indictments of this ‘ally in the war on terror’:..” It's also not surprising, given Dubai's cozy ties to bin Laden and Taleb leaders, that the hijackers were able to use Dubai as their financial base in addition to their forward staging base. As they came through Dubai, they were outfitted by the nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with credit cards, cash, bank accounts and American-style clothing. More than $100,000 in al-Qaida funds were funneled through Dubai banks. One single transfer from Dubai into al-Shehhi's and his pal Mohamed Atta's Florida checking account totaled $70,000.

The day before crashing his hijacked United Airlines jet, al-Shehhi wired $5,400 in leftover al-Qaida funds back to Dubai. Other hijackers also wired residuals there. After the attacks, investigators traced al-Shehhi phone calls back to the UAE, where he is now celebrated as a hero in mosques and other local gathering places outside the gaze of Western investors, who are too intoxicated by glittering high-rises and other signs of modernity to understand that the desert oasis is still haunted by ancient demons.”

I recommend a thorough read of the entire article here:

I fear for Victor Davis Hanson’s reputation in conservative circles, because he has stated many well-researched opinions on matters sometimes beyond his purview and been correct. This Dubai Ports World deal however, reeked of what it was: very bad policy with another assumed friend of the U.S., and all for money, once again. It seems to me that in the post-9/11 era, any country that wishes to conduct commerce with us, and especially a country in the Middle east that owns a business where we rely on them to provide security from their home ports through inspections in foreign ports- is a pipe dream that must be a proven reality before any trust is bestowed.

In fact, if George Bush ever expects to resuscitate this political cadaver, he needs to borrow a phrase from the Great Communicator once used to bring the Soviet bear to heel:

“Trust---but verified”

Ann Coulter Lets Fly on Claude Allen

Although I don't always agree with Ann Coulter on strategy, this article on the Claude Allen story is hilarious.

This is the best line:

"He became a born-again Christian at college and -- the obvious next step -- a Republican after college. These acts are known in the liberal rulebook as "strike two" and "strike three," respectively."

In case you miss the subtlety, Claude Allen is a conservative black man, which was "strike one" for him.

Someday, we will all look back at these days and laugh. "Remember when liberalism used to suppose that diversity only meant gender and skin color? Hee hee, those days were a riot!"

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Little Victor Davis Hansen for Sobriety

I know EVERYONE in the country is breathing a sigh of relief now that those crazy Arabs aren't going to take over our ports, but Victor Davis Hansen sheds a little reality on the subject with his article this week.

He points out:

"For the last half-century, we have been living in a complex interconnected world of mutual reliance"

It's true. At first, I was like everybody else. I even forwarded some of those "what America will look like if UAE takes over the ports" emails. Unfortunately, I think Hansen is one of the most brilliant thinkers around and he changed my mind. I think we made a mistake.

Here is the article.

Will They Take it all Back?

The administration is finally starting to get serious about defending the intelligence that suggested the presence of WMD's in Iraq in March of 2003, as well as exposing their connections to terrorism.

48,000 boxes of documents confiscated from the hard drives of Iraqi miltary computers are about to be released, some of them already translated. Initial reports "strongly suggest that Saddam had hidden his weapons of mass destruction from weapons inspectors - and show the Iraqi dictator discussing previously unknown plans to enrich uranium as recently as 2000" (Free Republic-March 13th).

So, if it turns out that these documents reveal the presence of WMD's, probably moved to Syria and elsewhere right before the invasion, will all the anti-war types claiming that the war was based on lies finally shut up?

Probably not, but at least good historians will have a chance to record what really happened.

Reuters, never missing an opportunity to defend a mass-murdering dictator, has a different take on the information. Their article claims that "no such weapons have been found, and the Iraq Survey Group discovered no new evidence of WMD in its review of the prewar material."

So who's right? I guess we will have to wait and see. But if it turns out that the WMD's were there, and that Sadaam was funding terrorists, don't hold your breath on apologies from the left.

Reuter's Article

Free Republic Article

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Navy Trying to Erase Tatoos

The Navy has issued new restrictions on tatoos based on an increase in the number of recruits coming in needing a waiver.

A waiver in the military basically means you have some condition or other negative criterion met that they will make an exception for. For example, you may apply to Officer Candidate School and be 37 years old. Since the age cut-off is 32, you must get a waiver for it.

How is a waiver given for a tatoo? Either it falls within the regulations or it does not. It seems that sometimes the recruit is told he must go back and have it either altered or removed.

Since I got my one and only tatoo when I was on active duty, (see picture) this article was sort of interesting to me.

Free Image Hosting at

Here is the entire article

CAIR Inner Workings

Friday, March 10, 2006

Why wasn't I entered in this contest?

South Dakota Abortion

So South Dakota Republicans and conservatives have decided to float a trial balloon attempting to see what the new Supreme Court will do if they ban all abortions.

Once again, as with trying to ban gay adoptions and marriages, the big picture is missed by Republican strategists and we run the risk of taking big losses in the mid-term elections this year.

Putting aside the theoretical basis for why some of us don't like Roe v Wade (that is dispensing with arguments about whether or not strict constructionsists care about women's rights) let us analyze this strategy for a moment.

These people apparently believe that Allito and Roberts are in favor of overturning Roe with one swill of the pen. While it is true that Thomas and Scalia would probably do so, it is not even close to clear that the two freshmen justices are persuaded in that direction. Kennedy has recently shown a little ambivalence in his opinion over "partial birth" abortions, so he is a BIG MAYBE. You can forget about Souter, Bryer and Ginsburg.

All of that not withstanding, Roe is a part of American jurisprudence, and both Allito and Roberts, while labeled "conservative" (for better or worse) have given absolutely no indication in their writings or during hearings that they would be willing to undo precedents in such a sweeping manner.

What is of even more importance is to note that the American people are actually pretty comfortable with the fact the Roe exists, even though the vast majority of them would like to see it limited from the way it is currently applied. This effort by the South Dakota legislature will make Republicans look like extremists(like on the gay adoption nonsense).

Of course, the left will try to make everybody think that overturning Roe would mean abortions would be outlawed immediately and we would see a return to back alley wire hangar procedures. They know better, because they aren't stupid. But it is precisely because they are not stupid that they will frame it that way and persuade enough of the "mall people" that this will occur.

If the effort is to get rid of Roe--and based on the language in the platform, it is--this is not the time or place to try it. Little pieces would be better. Try banning 3rd trimester abortions with reasonable exceptions and see how that holds. The MODERATE supreme court would probably go for that, and the American people have made it clear in poll after poll that they like those kinds of restrictions. It's a modestly paced, common sense approach. This defines Americans.

During the Clinton election cycle, the mantra was "it's the economy, stupid." Right now, "it's the war on terror, stupid" would be appropriate to remember. Deep in the psyche of every American, (even liberals) is a fear that September 11th will happen again, except this time with a nuclear or biological weapon. Sure,everybody appears to be on a September 10th footing, but they know we are still at risk and they want the government to be vigilant. We need to continue to make the case that we are aware of this risk and that Republicans are the solution. If a weapon of that magnitude is detonated in a major US city, nobody is going to care whether or not gays are allowed to adopt or what the governor of South Dakota thinks about abortion.

Credit goes to LGF

Monday, March 06, 2006

Here here, Mr. Prager

Here is the entire text from a great article by Dennis Prager entitled "The Academy Award Speech We Should Have Heard:"

"I thank you for this wonderful award. Receiving an Academy Award gives the recipient an almost unique opportunity to speak to hundreds of millions people around the world, so I would like take this once-in-a-lifetime moment to say this:

First, I want to thank my country, the United States of America. Every one of us here has this country to thank for enabling us to live lives of unprecedented freedom and unimaginable affluence. Too many of us forget that no other country in history has offered such opportunities to people in our profession or in any other profession, for that matter.

Second, I want to thank the men and women of the armed forces of the United States. While we bask in freedom and spend a good part of our lives going from party to party and award show to award show, tens of thousands of my fellow Americans are confronting a menace to our world as great as that fought by previous generations fighting Nazism and communism.

At the same time, I also want to apologize to these troops for my profession not having made even one motion picture about any of the heroic American fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq. This country is fighting a war, Hollywood. You may think this war is unwise, waged under mistaken, or even false, pretenses. And as an actor in Hollywood, you are overwhelmingly likely to hate this commander in chief. But even the men and women of Hollywood must recognize that America is fighting the worst people of our time, people who hurt every group Hollywood claims to care about -- minorities, women, gays -- people who engage in the sins Hollywood most professes to oppose -- intolerance and violence -- far more than anyone else on the planet.

In another era, when what many have labeled "the greatest generation" fought the German Nazis and the Japanese fascists, Hollywood made movie after movie depicting that great war and our great warriors. And Hollywood showed freedom's enemies as the cruel and vicious people they were. We have not produced one film yet depicting this war in positive terms or one depicting this generation's enemies of freedom as the cruel and vicious people they are.

In fact, the only nominated film about people who slaughter children at discos, blow up weddings, and bomb pizzerias and buses filled with men, women and children is one that attempts to show these murderers in God's name as complex human beings. Just imagine how the Academy would have reacted 60 years ago to a film depicting Nazi murderers as complex human beings. We have descended far.

We in Hollywood walk around thinking we are very important. That is why this year's nominated films for best picture are largely pictures with messages, pictures that relatively few people actually see. But although Hollywood was always concerned with politics, we have let ourselves be taken over by those for whom their message is more significant than the primary purposes of film -- to illuminate life and to entertain. Yes, entertain.

You know, entertainment is actually a noble pursuit. Life is difficult for almost every human being on earth. And if we can offer people an elevated way to divert their attention for a couple of hours from their troubled child, their marital tensions, their ill parent, their financial woes, we have rendered the world a greater service than by making another message-film against racism in America, the least racist country in the world.

My fellow actors, we walk around feeling that we are very important. But we do so only because we confuse fame with significance. We do have more fame than any other human beings in history. Far more people have heard of any actor here tonight than of any of the discoverers of any medication saving billions of lives, of any teacher of the disabled, of any nurse tending the aged, of almost any national leader.

But the truth is that, as noble a calling as acting can be, all we do is make-believe: We portray other people, and we speak words written by other people. Everyone knows our names, but almost no one knows us. All they know are the characters we play.

Thank you again. I hope I haven't ruined your evening."

I could not have said it better myself, so I didn't even try.