Friday, August 23, 2002

Re Those who Compare Free Market Liberal Democracies like America with National Socialist (Nazi) societies, Lileks destroys those arguments. Among other stupidities he punctures today. Link via Instapundit.
Mark Steyn expounds further on Multicultural madness, our current predicament and obstical in conducting, oh, lets say reasonable rather than annoying and pointless, security measures and discussions of what we're up against.

I still think the NEA site is getting a bad rap in some respects. It isn't as if this garbage isn't on there, but it's not the only thing on there (which is progress of a sort, considering the type of people we're talking about here). But many if not most people continue to disagree with me on that, so. . .

Well, here's a pithy quote:
Real live Arab intolerance is not a problem except insofar as it risks inflaming yet more mythical American intolerance.
This one reminded me of an old joke:
Radical Islamists aren’t tolerant of anybody"
"He treats us all the same. Like dogs." Perhaps that's why the sort of people who make a fetish out of equality of treatment don't mind these fellows that much.

This, IMO, goes hand in hand with the below post (re. Armed Liberal's discussion of the ideology that truly informs world terrorism):
The war isn’t with al-Qa’eda, or Saddam, or the House of Saud. They’re all a bunch of losers. True, insignificant loser states have caused their share of trouble. But that was because, from Vietnam to Grenada, they were used for proxy wars between the great opposing forces of communism and the free world. In a unipolar world, it’s clear that the real enemy in this war is ourselves, and our lemming-like rush to cultural suicide. By ‘our’, I don’t mean me or my neighbours or the American people. I don’t even mean the Democrats: American politics is more responsive and populist than Europe’s, and when war with Iraq starts Hillary will be cheerleading along with the rest of them. But against that are all the people who shape our culture, who teach our children, who run our colleges and churches, who make the TV shows we watch.
Armed Liberal has begun an excellent discourse on terrorism and its origins, so far in three parts (part one, part two and part three). I think he's definitely on to something.

I think he discounts the religious motivations of some of the "participants" in the latest wave of terrorism a bit too much - though it is true that they learned their methods from ideological terrorists predecessor organizations. But when I say "a bit too much" that's a matter of degree - his analysis is in my opinion sound. The groups in question are certainly influenced by the doctrines he discusses. This way of looking at the problem also sheds light upon the otherwise odd situation where educated, Western Leftist intellectuals (Sontag, Chomsky,Katha Pollit, Richard Goldstein, Oliver Stone etc, etc ad nausium) seem share grievances with religious fanatics and to identify with the "struggle" of such organizations (they are, in this sense, viewed as the latest incarnation of the "Lumpen Proletariat"). Thus they always speak of what "causes the terrorists to hate us" and the "root causes of the problem", and - surprise surprise - their suggestions for dealing with it are always identical to the issues of the hard Left generally - identical to their response to "globalization", past "revolutionary" movements, and the like. They identify the religious fanatics as co-belligerents against "the system", if acting under motives that are a form of "false consciousness" - the religious rationales of these groups - and thus they need vanguard intellectuals such as themselves to explain to the rest of us what we need to to in order to satisfy their "real" greaviences and put an end to terrorism.

It also explains why so much of what the hard Left does seems more like expressions of self-congratulation and preening than any effort to actually convince anyone (beyond trying to make it seem "cool" to be among them - these are the good people, feel their goodness wash over you in a wave - like any group of aesthetes gaining adherents simply on account of the aesthetic impression they make).

A side point that needs to be made: though many of these hard Left intellectuals masquerade as "Liberals", they are actually as contemptuous of true Liberals as they are of conservatives. It's a pose they've found useful in getting heard to pretend otherwise, however. But I wanted to point out my recognition of that in case anyone got the misimpression that when I say "Leftist" I'm speaking of "Liberals". They are different and I know that (these folks may also be called Cultural Marxists, or "Transnational Progressives", or any other number of terms).

These folks identify with not only protest-as-theater but other forms of "direct action"-as-theater. It's one part of their complex ideological mindset (this is especially the case with respect to the "Artist-intellectuals" such as Stone, a filmmaker and Sontag, a writer). They use it to advance a political cause but don't mind if the action itself is counter-productive (or even really unrelated) to that cause, because the action is a good in and of itself; an artistic expression of contempt for "The System". (the Harris article in Policy Review that Armed Liberal points to makes this connection directly).

(see also comments on a Mark Steyn point, above).
The Invaluable Ted Koppel, and how he shapes and selectively edits what you see on Nightline, discussed by David Horowitz, who comments on his appearance on Nightline the other night, what you saw of the interview. . .and what you did not see.

But of course there's no media bias whatsoever, or if there is then it's to the left's disfavor. Right?

Personally, it doesn't matter if you found (or find) Horowitz unconvincing as a spokesman for his point of view (though why people might find him so may be related to what is slipped down the memory hole in this fashion); I have little doubt that what Horowitz discusses here happens to other guests - and that when they say that they'll "edit interviews so you look brilliant", they mean that they edit interviews so that the person who's views they identify with looks brilliant and the other side of the debate looks foolish and boorish.

I've long suspected they did things like this, but as far as I know no guest has come forward to confirm such suspicions until now (likely because most of them like being on TV and the sort of people this is done to have come to expect it and see it as just the way things are).

Just why is Ted Koppel and Nightline so invaluable, as everyone and their uncle was saying last spring? Look, I've watched Nightline for years (including the episode in question here, "Required Reading"). It had its good points. But I, personally, would say it has declined in value and that if they're doing this kind of thing then it's more akin to propaganda ("invaluable" to one side, for sure) than the straight-shooting presentation and discussion of important issues that people say it is.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

On Iraq, Jed Babbin, Jed Babbin who was a deputy undersecretary of defense in the first Bush administration, discusses the recent machinations of all the involved parties in the American Prowler.
Mark Steyn skewers multuculturalist excuses for rape:
Gang rape as a legitimate expression of the campaign for social justice is a privilege reserved only unto a few.
But of course we're not supposed to draw any conclusions that there is a coherent world view behind this kind of attitude and doublethink, its adherents admonish us.

Steyn goes on to write:
After September 11th, a friend in London said to me she couldn't stand all the America-needs-to-ask-itself stuff because she used to work at a rape crisis centre and she'd heard this blame-the-victim routine a thousand times before. America was asking for it: like those Norwegian women, it was being "provocative." My friend thought the multiculti apologists were treating America as a metaphorical rape victim. But, even so, it comes as a surprise to realize they do exactly the same to actual rape victims.
and, tellingly:
What we've seen since September 11th is that multiculturalism trumps everything. Its grip on the imagination of the Western elites is unshakeable.
Me, I think we should stick up for our own values and our own culture, and re-assert some of the attitude captured in this:
Once upon a time we knew what to do. A British district officer, coming upon a scene of suttee, was told by the locals that in Hindu culture it was the custom to cremate a widow on her husband's funeral pyre. He replied that in British culture it was the custom to hang chaps who did that sort of thing.
Of course, the usual suspects will see that as a call for a return to colonialism, but that's only because they insist upon missing the point entirely. It's not a call for colonialism, it's a call for doing what is right. As for racism,
The multiculturalists are just as racist [as the old colonialists]. The only difference is that they think the wogs can never reform: Good heavens, you can't expect a Muslim in Norway not to go about raping the womenfolk! Much better just to get used to it.
The Rationales for Action or Inaction Against Iraq discussed in a article by James F. Dunnigan on Strategypage. Link found via Instapundit.
al-Qaeda in Iraq, as Rumsfeld says. We've long known that, just as we have long known that Iraq was involved in the '93 bombing of the World Trade Center and harbors one of the men responsible for planning it. But people still persist in trying to argue that going into Iraq would be a "diversion" from the War on Terror rather than a part of it.
Not the Economy this election around, claims Dick Morris. Well, ok Dick. He makes some decent points, but I'm really not sure he's spot on. People are upset about the corporate corruption that has been uncovered, as well as the decline in the stock market and the general sluggishness of the economy. While from an objective standpoint none of these things are fairly laid at the feet of either of the parties (for every example on one side in the corruption thing, there is one on the other side. And a very good reason why, while Lieberman, for example, is willing to give speeches blaming Bush for Enron, he's tardy in actually holding hearings - there's bad news for the Dems there, if the truth gets out).

But, as I was saying, in spite of the fact that objectively there is no way to fairly blame one party and hold the other blameless, life isn't fair. Usually, and I'm betting it'll be the case here, politicians get too much credit when things go right in the economy, and sometimes too much blame. And the party in power in the White House gets the blame (or credit), even if the other side is as responsible for the situation if not more (take the budget surpluses that Clinton wanted to put off when the Republicans in Congress were pushing for balancing the budget in '95, but was only too happy to take credit for when, as a result of the efforts of the Republicans at the time, they materialized).

The economy doesn't have to enter the dialogue in specific races, a point Morris makes, for it to be in the background as voters form their decisions. That, again, is often the case. So we'll see what happens two and a half months from now.
There Were No "Medicare Cuts", and Dem who tried to claim he won Haley Barbour's bet had his case tossed out, with the court saying Barbour's assertion was not false. Which means that the demogogues who were claiming that there were Medicare cuts were the ones making false assertions.
Some Additional Theories on Abu Nidal, Iraq, and Sept. 11th, by Asla Aydintasbas, including the following:
In a well-reported meeting in 1998, Saddam's envoy Faruq Hijazi visited Osama bin Laden in Kandahar. Investigators have long suspected that the visit by the top-level Iraqi diplomat was a Baghdad invitation for the al Qaeda chief.
Then there were the visits to Prague by Atta. On two separate occasions, Atta--not a man given to the earthly pleasures of sightseeing--traveled to Prague to meet Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, an Iraqi agent later expelled from the Czech Republic as a spy. Since the information surfaced last fall, there have been numerous efforts to bury the story--the most tangible evidence linking Sept. 11 to Baghdad.
The whole article is worth reading, including the familial connection of one of the Sept. 11th terrorists to Abu Nidal's group.

Monday, August 19, 2002

NEA and September 11th: So people who have read this webpage for awhile will likely know that I'm not likely one to cut the NEA a lot of slack, nor one who's going to think it's peachy-keen to suggest that no group was responsible for the Sept 11th attacks.

But in the instance of the outrage over a NEA webpage devoted to remembering Sept. 11th and providing resources to teachers about the subject, I think the NEA has gotten a bum rap. It happens.

Have the critics been to the site in question? Are they aware that it's not so much a "NEA site" (with official NEA views), but rather a site with links to a variety of perspectives, sort of like how many bloggers link to various sites, including ones that they don't necessarily agree with, for a reason that's similar to the rationale the NEA used in developing its Sept. 11th site: to provide exposure to a variety of views on the topic, ones they think are interesting, and let people pick which ones they think are informative?

It seems to consist of a grab-bag of "links", to pieces written by various "educators" holding a variety of opinions (as the person responsible for the NEA site described this section on the Ken Hamblin show last week, in the midst of a different controversy over the site, this part is "teachers helping teachers" - it's not stuff written by the NEA itself).

There seem to be a good variety of views expressed on the site. Some, like in the example people are citing from the Washington Times piece that seems to be the source for this outrage, but others that take a quite different approach. By the way, it might be good to read the NEA's own description of their Sept. 11th site.
In addition to the lesson plans, the site will also feature the Patriot Pack - text from freedom inspiring documents like the Gettysburg Address, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Another link, Voices of the Past, Visions for Tomorrow will include excerpts from some of America's most famous speeches, among them Roosevelt's Four Freedoms, Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream, and Cesar Chavez's United We Stand.

"Our goal is to show the history of the United States, to highlight American values of tolerance, democracy and freedom," Newberry says.
I'm not saying the site is perfect just regarding the above, I probably would have included Reagan's "A Time for Choosing" or his speech following the Challenger disaster, or at Point de Huc, or the like, instead of Cesar Chavez, but then I'm a partisan. There are other areas on the site where I would have wished they'd do things differently. That's beside the point, and in any case it doesn't sound like "Hate America First"), but I do think they're getting a bum rap here in this controversy.
People Escape Despotism in North Korea by raft. I suppose they could be called the new "boat people" (as the article does). A mixture of sadness that it's happening and hope because it's happening and some are escaping.
I Wonder If Abe Rosenthal will be categorized as a "Neocon" now. Just a question.
Abu Nidal, terrorist leader and "splitist" from Fatah, was found dead of gunshot wounds in Baghdad. What was he doing in Baghdad? He had been expelled from Libya several years ago, which refused to harbor him any longer. Abu Nidal was responsible for directing many terrorist attacks, not only against Israelis but against Palestinians he considered insufficiently militant, and against targets in Europe, and against Americans.

He was invited to Iraq by Saddam Hussein after being expelled from Libya, hoping to get some use out of him as the leader of a terrorist group. The reason this didn't work out had nothing to do with intent and desire, and everything to do with the fact that Abu Nidal got sick from lukemia. So next time someone tells you that Saddam Hussein has no interest in conducting terrorist attacks against Americans or anyone else, or that Iraq doesn't harbor terrorists, remember Abu Nidal.