"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." -Sir Charles Napier
BigEarth of New Mexico sez, The warmest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great national moment, reserve their neutrality.
Bill Whittle's mom sez, If you can’t say anything of deep and meaningful scientific or political import that is not supported by fact, reason, historical precedent and in-depth step-by-step logical analysis then don’t say anything at all!
:: Friday, January 30 ::
THE SAME OLD THING, INDEED
A recent title, borrowed above, from Victor Davis Hanson precedes a brilliant subtitle: "Our Augean stables are 30 years old." King Augeus (pronounced Oh-jee-us), an Argonaut, owned 3000 oxen. Their stables were not cleaned for 30 years. Hercules diverted the river to clean them in a day. In his 2000-word essay, Hanson points to the similarities between 1973 and 2003, and reminds us that blaming it on the Jews goes on and on and on.
Today's news covers the annual Hajj in Mecca, where can be found some two million rumps in the air, and public speaking awfully similar things to the Malaysian PM's speech to the 57-nation Islamic Conference. Religion of peace, my ass... it really is the same old thing:
The reference to the knee-deep stables will escape many readers, but I about fell out of my chair laughing at his comparison. It is the funniest mythological reference since a Salon reader compared Senator Hillary Clinton to Diocletian's horse.
First, photos are photos, it doesn't matter if they are posted on Drudge. Besides, Drudge did not take the photos, nor did a National Enquirer photographer.
Plastic surgeons know. They are in the business, you know.
And the rest of us are in the business of watching politicians. Especially French-looking politicians. More especially French-looking politicians who say being called French-looking is the politics of personal destruction.
Still, is anyone thinking back to Bill Clinton's suddenly grayer hair and reading glasses in 1996? Marsha Clark's new hairdo during the OJ trial? Hillary carrying a concealed Rodham in 1992? The pearls around Patricia Bowman's neck?
We know damn well that Kerry's people are concerned about an important Democrat constituency: those who vote for the best looking. The Kerry team is trying to take votes from the boyishly charming former personal injury lawyer from North Carolina, Senator John Edwards.
Here's a quote from a crazy General Clark speech in New Hamphire that really does redeem Ross Perot:
And I led our forces in another war that saved a million and a half people. If you want someone to get us out of a war, you elect a general who's been in a war and knows how little can be accomplished by fighting.
There you have it... a million and a half people saved is an insignificant accomplishment. But hell, according to Clark, saving 25 million isn't even enough to justify fighting. Oh - Afghanistan - add that to make 50 million liberated from tyranny, but (wrong answer buzzer sound) still, so little accomplished with fighting.
I am beginning to buy more stock in the anonymous major below.
via the Hootinan, an anonymous major writes to Jonah Goldberg:
...nothing that Clark has said or done has surprised me in the least. Why? Because he acts just like the vast majority of general officers that it has been my displeasure to deal with during my 16 years in the U.S. military. Generals are, for the most part, a gigantic pain in the ass and we usually accomplish our military objectives despite their chaos-inducing presence. There are a few good generals here and there but most of them are an embarrassment. Here’s a couple of reasons why that is so: - Generals are ambitious in the same way that wolverines are aggressive. It’s their defining trait. A few years ago, the Army Command and Staff College ask during an informal survey "Would your division’s commanding general throw his own mother under a bus if it would get him promoted?" 60% of the majors and colonels replied "Not only yes, hell yes!"
...in my opinion. - Generals are dull. I don’t mean this in the cant-tell-a-good-joke kind of way. I mean the anti-intellectual, zero-curiousity, hasn’t-read-a-real-book-in-years kind of dull. Wesley Clark obviously had (and still probably has) no freakin’ idea who Michael Moore is or what he stands for. All he knows is that Moore is famous and other Democrats like him. Hell, Clark doesn’t even know anything about CAPPS II, the system he was supposedly advocating as a board member!
...Generals truly believe that they are completely right 100% of the time and woe to those underlings who demonstrate that this isn’t so. This trait is what makes generals so dangerous. They will ignore sound advice and do the stupidest things imaginable, all because "Well, I’m a general, dammit, I know what I’m doing and. . . ugh, what was the question again?" Generals can be damn near unreasonable when they get their minds made up and it’s almost impossible to get them to see an alternative way of doing things. Scary stuff to see in the flesh. Hopefully I’ll never have to experience the Wes Clark brand of hubris. - Generals are dishonest. This is a tricky charge to throw out, but it’s the sad truth. I’ve seen more out-and-out lies from general officers than any other people in the military. In a weird way, they are just like professional politicians in this regard.
'Wes Won't Get My Vote'
Hugh Shelton, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, has some harsh words for a fellow former general. The Los Altos (Calif.) Town Crier reports on Shelton's appearance at a local college:
"What do you think of General Wesley Clark and would you support him as a presidential candidate," was the question put to him by moderator Dick Henning, assuming that all military men stood in support of each other. General Shelton took a drink of water and Henning said, "I noticed you took a drink on that one!"
"That question makes me wish it were vodka," said Shelton. "I've known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'm not going to say whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote."
“assuming that all military men stood in support of each other”
That’s interesting because I tended to assume that as well, in the sense that I was very surprised at Shelton’s bluntness.
Also, this interesting historic comparison:
Is Wesley Clark another Ike or U.S. Grant? Or is he, as our Brendan Miniter suggests, another Zachary Taylor or Franklin Pierce? Twelve generals have served as president, and several more have been nominated and lost, so there is no shortage of historical parallels. B. Wayne Quist, a retired Air Force colonel, suggests in a Minneapolis Star Tribune op-ed that the best parallel is George McClellan, the man Lincoln beat in 1864:
Both generals entered the campaign highly inexperienced in domestic politics. Both finished first or second in their West Point classes, both commanded large armies in war and both were fired by their respective commanders-in-chief, Lincoln and Bill Clinton, because of abrasive, brash and bristling personalities. And both became leading Democrats out of a desperate need for the party to appear strong on issues of war and national defense. Finally, both would uneasily straddle the issue of war. . . .
McClellan repudiated the 1864 Democratic Party's antiwar platform of immediate peace with the South but assured the base of the Democratic Party that he would support states' rights and the continuance of slavery in the South after the end of the Civil War.
Noting that McClellan later served two terms as governor of New Jersey, Quist recommends that Clark "remain in his native Arkansas, where duty, honor, country and administrative talent could be put to good use."
Even without these words, and whether or not he knows Michael Moore, a general knows the meaning - the real meaning - of desertion. Clark still acts like the word is flexible - very dangerous.
I fear this is where we are increasingly heading, lead by the "Living Constitution" Party, a party which, very ironically, is also the home of the mindless and intellectually lazy zero-tolerance crowd.
I am forced to agree with Kimball that the ambassador had better channels through which to vent. We in civilization who side with civilization know better than to throw spotlights at bad art, but it still beats the hell out of admiring the shoe-throwing and screams of Jihad! just four hours fly-time to the southeast of Stockholm.
We have had a lot of fun this week with Dean's blown fuse after an arguably encouraging third place in Iowa, or, in other words, placing third in an arguably insignificant Iowa caucus. ("Huh?", you ask? See Dukakis and Bush I, 1988, or ask George Will.)
The Allah Pundit has a Dean paper doll, and, even if unintended, some interesting, on-target insight into a would-be future foreign policy towards Israel. If a Democrat besides Zell Miller told the truth this year, it was how if it were up to Dean, Saddam Hussein would still be in power.
But back to the lucky Democrat Party and the media-powered rise of John Kerry. Well, aren't they sophisticated? - and luckier still that the State of the Union address got boring once the obligatory blabbering about the children got going - so did anyone really bother to listen to Pelosi and Daschle's whining after all that?
And when it came to Dean and his behavior, did anyone get thrown back to to the political rally funeral of Senator Paul Wellstone? Where did these new standards of good behavior come from? - the same place they come from every four years.
I was at party two weeks ago when the talk turned to this. Dean asked, "How many of you hear think you are smarter than the current President?" There were nine of us. Six raised a hand. I freely admitted to not being smarter, especially since I am incapable of winning two wars in two years.
Last night's SOTU speech contained smart, winning arguments. And yes, I know, I know, Presidents have speech writers, but delivery is something a speech writer cannot control.
Delivery was especially good when announcing the expiration of key elements in the Patriot Act, followed by the predictable applause of the Democrats. I love it - Bush stopped talking and let them clap. Then he squashed them with the truth: The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule.
It threw me back to Bush's speech in London, where he paid respects to the "enthusiastic" exercise of free speech in Trafalgar Square, and then remarked that now they have that right in Baghdad as well.
Another moment was the listing of our allies, the burial of the consistently dishonest leftist argument against our unilateral, pre-emptive war:
Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq.
-not good enough for Nancy Pelosi, who in her second breath talked right into the trite and consistently dishonest mantra about Bush's "go it alone" foreign policy, at which time the TV got turned off.
Last night during his State of the Union Address, President Bush answered one of the most idiotic criticisms of his foreign policy:
Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq. As we debate at home, we must never ignore the vital contributions of our international partners, or dismiss their sacrifices.
From the beginning, America has sought international support for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have gained much support. There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations, and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.
The Democrats, by contrast, demean our true allies by demanding that America refrain from acting unless it has a permission slip from "the United Nations"--which, as a practical matter, means France. That is to say that they think America should supplicate a country whose idea of combating radical Islam is to behave like the landlord from hell.
IT MUST BE LIKE AN EXPERIENCE HE ONCE HAD IN VIETNAM
The "victory" in Iowa yesterday was not predictable because the whole thing was only wild-guessable. Add to that George Will's recent reminder that "The night Dukakis finished third in Iowa's Democratic caucuses (behind Dick Gephardt and Illinois Sen. Paul Simon ...), Robertson finished second to Bob Dole in the Republican caucuses. He handily beat Vice President George Bush, who 10 months later became the slayer of Dukakis. Which gives you some idea of just how important (yesterday's) Iowa caucuses might be."
But, waking up to a BBC voice announcing the win by Kerry and reminding their primarily British audience of Kerry's service in Vietnam, I was thrown back to Kerry's Vietnam reflex in the early stages of this particular race, and to an issue of Esquire (the one with J. Lo on the cover, not the current one where Benecio del Toro looks like Michael Jackson). That issue featured the candidates photographed in "normal life" - ha - with nice captions. The exception was the description of the setup of Kerry's photo:
Senator Kerry's initial idea for the shoot was to pose with his wife on the type of gunboat he captained in the Vietnam War. But in the end, the choice of location was dictated by when I could actually get the senator and his wife in the same place. When I entered his house in Washington, I was impressed by the art collection. It seemed every wall was adorned with a Dutch master or an exotic artifact. The senator's press people were conscious of this and didn't want the shot to seem overdone, so there were various discussions about where to shoot. When he entered the phone, he had his phone to his ear, where it remained for most of the shoot. He told me it was an ambassador on the other end and at one point offered me the hang-loose sign with his free hand. And for most of the shoot he had a very "go go go" attitude, but at the same time, he seemed a bit like a grown-up kid, flopping down on the chair, throwing his leg over the armrest, loosening his tie a bit.
Blogress Virginia Postrel pointed out that on page 32 of that same issue was a list of things a man should not do after turning 30. Among them: flashing the hang-loose sign.
Still, Dean's third-place is as oddly promising as Will notes, and, quite frankly, while a Kerry nomination is a political cartoonist's dream, I don't want to look at him for the same reason most men did not want to look at Gore - that disturbing, Little Lord Fauntleroy persona, with or without the Heinz collection of Dutch Masters in the background.
A widely circulated e-mail is around again, detailing the supposed comments of a retired Air Force general named Hawley. The monologue is actually largely copied and pasted from a Larry Miller column written 2 years ago. It is essential re-reading for those who wish a General really would say such things, especially now with a candidate General Clark running amok and running his mouth in ways that redeem Perot.. and we thought he was crazy! Miller wrote on racial profiling in airports:
Making Differences? This piece (Ahh, piece, that art world word we use to distinguish of any art object or dance routine), titled Snow White, features a pool of blood-red water and a boat. Its sail sports the image of a female suicide bomber, the woman who exploded and murdered 21 Israelis in October, and who was joined in hell by the woman who exploded and murdered 4 on Thursday.
Suddenly, Eric Fischl's Tumbling Woman seems more tactful, and was possibly better placed in the gallery space of Rockefeller Center than this suicide bomber kiddie pool in a museum of antiquities.
Where ever were the leadership skills of an antiquities museum director who actually invited this artist to come in? - - unless he recognizes that hatred of the Jews has enormously ancient roots. But that is not likely in the city that presented a Nobel Peace Prize to Yasser Arafat, whose Fatah organization is currently exchanging its suicide bombers for money and weapons from Hamas.
Not until now have I put the self-worshiping art world and the self-congratulatory European elites in the same thought: the artists and their patrons touting their artistic freedom and stifling debate with spun calls for dialog, and the alleged intellectuals of a Europe that labored to annihilate the Jewish race who will now consider how this incident will affect the Jewish nation's presence at a conference on genocide.
It's just a thought about the common phrase, "an untimely death." But as black comedian George Wallace retorted, "When is a good time to die?" I was just thinking about that yesterday when I thought a great opening to a new story: "Yasser Arafat died today and it's about God-damn time."
Today Israel announces the imminent assassination of the spiritual leader of Hamas. Interestingly, this one is a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic, and this death mark is an indication that Israel has no concern for what will be printed in the state-controlled presses of the Muslim world, nor on the front page Le Monde, nor the entirely predictable op-ed pages of the New York Times. At least it will give Krugman a chance to become boring, and Howard Dean a chance to remember he is a doctor.
It will be announced, repeated, and remembered that those cold Zionists have killed a cripple, never mind the power wielded by him and how he used it to inspire teenagers and women to embrace death as glory, to dream, as did the mother of two who exploded on Wednesday, of knocking on the doors of heaven with the skull of a Jew.
You can bet she was surprised when that door opened. And the sooner men like Ahmed Yassin are knocked out of power, the sooner young Palestinians can avoid being tricked into entering the Seventh Circle.
But I am still confused by the announcement... why would you tell the enemy what you are about to do? (The mind reels back to Bosnia - any comments, General Clark?) Perhaps this is to measure the reactions from the various Arab capitals, from which little is being said about the great fence currently under Israeli construction.
But amid my long-held impression that civil war has been imminent between Hamas and Yasser Arafat's Fatah (over the money, of course), a new step has been taken in the decline of these people. Fatah's suicide bombers are being exchanged for Hamas cash, underscoring Arafat's seizure of foreign aid that could help de-enrage the Palestinians when instead it is obviously purchasing Chanel headscarves for Suha.
THERE GOES THE FEMINIST VOTE - oh, it was gone already
Braun is out.
But even after Carol Moseley Braun would have finished somewhere even with Kucinich and got distracted by the complications of getting a re-vote, the National Organization of Women will have to endorse the nominee. But what if that's ultimately Dean, the man who Braun now endorses? The man who, it turns out, endorsed an abusive husband?
Today's story, (an interesting mutation of Clinton's Troopergate) that Dean intervened in a domestic abuse case to protect a friend who was a wife beater, is going to lead to some funny dress-up by young Republicans.
If Dean comes to my city to speak, wouldn't it be fun for all the conservatives to show up wearing wife-beaters?
Of course, that wouldn't be the man who overthrew a Taliban regime which treated women like animals. Nor would it be the man who overthrew the Ba'athists, they who used rape as a weapon to break their intended torture victims, the husbands and fathers who were forced to watch the raping of their wives and daughters.
Instead, they will want a leader like long-gone Clinton. Oh for the days of humiliating the First Lady while failing to enforce Oslo's rules on a Palestinian terror machine which sends women to explode and murder in the only Middle Eastern country where exists state-recognized women's and gay rights groups.
First, yesterday, I came across a brilliant parody by Dennis Prager a week after its release. In a similar way that brilliant Russian writers wrote great fiction to illustrate their governments, or did the author of Humpty Dumpty, Best Ex-President Jimmy Carter is served a Middle Earth dish he will never be able to eat. In this parody, however, Carter is named:
Then I later go to Drudge, whose big headline announces Carter's imminent endorsement of Dean. Carter has also invited Dean to church at Maranatha Baptist in Plains, Georgia (famous since 1976), as well as to the Sunday School class that Carter teaches when he isn't helping Asian Stalinist regimes become nuclear ready. Maranatha, by the way, is an Aramaic, and therefore New Testament, phrase declaring the imminent coming of the Lord, at which time "He will judge those who have set him at nought." Hopefully by that time, Dean, who claims to know much about the Bible, but whose favorite New Testament story is about Job, will have figured out the Old Testament from the New, hence the need for Carter's Sunday school class, even though you can bet telling good from evil is still up for discussion this week at 10am.
I suppose this is where General Wesley Clark will realize he sought the wrong Madonna for campaign consultation. He too could go to Carter's class, and how could Carter refuse him withour adopting Dean's love-thy-neighbor loophole by declaring Clark as a non-neighbor? Come on, General, it's called S-T-R-A-T-E-G-E-R-Y.
A fine Republican strategy would be to send Dale love-thy-neighbor Ungerer to Carter's Sunday school class and challenge them both on the liberal fixation on Ten Commandments removal.
And that bring us to Bosnia, and a report this morning that Howard Dean urged then President Clinton to U-N-I-L-A-T-E-R-A-L-L-Y take over the situation in Bosnia:
This begets good but potentially conflicting questions:
1) If Carter condemns Bush for unilateral action, even though unilateral means alone and without allies when in this case we were not alone had allies, will Carter rescind his endorsement of Dean?
2) By unilateral, did Dean really mean America needed to go it alone, or did he mean with, say, the blessing and aid of ten European countries, Australia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar, like our Carter-condemned unilateral action to remove Saddam Hussein?
3) With Carter's distaste for taking the lead, will he rescind his endorsement if it results in Dean taking the lead, or will he regret his endorsement if Dean actually attempted to lead?
4) As President, will Dean's definition of bipartisan mean "when both sides happen to agree" or will it be the usual Democrat definition of "agreeing with the Democrats?"
"From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," O'Neill said, according to CBS. "For me, the notion of preemption -- that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do -- is a really huge leap."
Imagine that. The head of one of the most brutal regimes in the history of the world, who gassed his own people, launched war on Iran, stole Kuwait, launched 39 scud missiles at Israel when Israel had nothing to do with Kuwait, paid cash rewards to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, expelled the weapons inspectors, and thumbed his nose at 17 UN Security Council resolutions... a bad person. It's sad enough that the meaning of the word unilateral is still being ignored, but O'Neill evidently needs a dictionary for the word "bad".
And the left continues to go on about how Bush is dumb. Will the left use O'Neill's appointment by Bush in the first place as evidence?
Madonna has endorsed General Wesley Clark, so say the headlines. Evidently his consulting with her at the turn of December has paid off. I still wonder, in the aftermath of Howard Dean's out-of-the-closet Christianity, if the General and Madonna have ever discussed this important American superstition. I'm getting the feeling they have more likely decided she would drop the affected British accent until the election (like dropping Rodham) and go back to the Rhinestone Cowgirl persona from Music album days - it's just so damned American!
And is it not clear that the former personal injury lawyer from North Carolina, Senator John Edwards, might need to retire early? From the dude-where's-my-car endorsement of Ashton Kutcher to the dude-where's-my-senator funk of North Carolinians, the voters know that qualified candidates always shoot for more star power than acerebral teen idols.
That is why I was waiting for a while to see who would vie for the endorsement of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston amid the couple's expressed desire to solve the crises in the Middle East. But like Sean Penn's fact-finding mission to Baghdad, Brad and Jen quickly became a total non-interest, a surprise to me in a liberal fantasy world of talk and intifada, a Democratic specialty.
Al Sharpton did a pretty good impression of the "Godfather of Soul." Of course, the rotund reverend has long been the "Godfather of Con." He's slick as a peeled onion. In just one short primary season, his timid fellow candidates and the even more timid media have erased the criminal Tawana Brawley shakedown. They've given this trickster who has never been elected dogcatcher a legitimacy he does not deserve: their Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval as a bona fide presidential candidate.
Still, like the forgotten FBI files, Freddie's Fashion Mart is what should be first mentioned before Tawana Brawley. Sharpton incited violence with his behavior at the rally in front of that store. Nonetheless, Zell is correct about the media and its hallucination that Sharpton is Presidential material. (Do you remember, however, the recent exclusion of an arguably more qualified third-party Presidential candidate from televised debate?) This is the same media which in the voice of the New York Times tried to claim that if Bush applied to Yale today, he probably wouldn't get accepted.