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Thursday, January 19, 2006

SPIRITUAL, ONLY WITH GUNS: The father of the famous American Taliban recruit wants the president to pardon his son, John Walker Lindh, whose story is that of "a decent and honorable young man embarked on a spiritual quest." That's really rich. I lived in Marin County during my 20s. I was keenly interested in spirituality, especially various meditative traditions. A lot of my friends were likewise interested in the spiritual practices of the world's great contemplative paths: Buddist, Hindu, Sufi, along with Native American ceremonies of various kinds. A couple of buddies even went to south Asia to practice meditation. Nobody I knew took up weapons for or against any religious, political, or "spiritual" cause.
"I went to Afghanistan with the intention of fighting against terrorism and oppression, not to support it," Lindh told the court. Alas! His "good intentions" paved the way to... well, you know. Lindh fought terrorism by signing up with the Taliban, attending al Qaeda seminars on how to kill Americans, staying in guesthouses funded by Osama bin Laden, sharing campfire tales about suicide terrorists being dispatched against the United States (just before 9/11 and practicing his anti-terrorism skills with rocket-launchers, pistols and Molotov cocktails (a favorite tool of anti-terrorism forces everywhere). During the summer of 2001, Osama bin Laden personally thanked Lindh for everything he had done to "fight terrorism and oppression." However, when Lindh was invited to take the fight against terrorism to U.S. soil, he declined in favor of a Rambo-style battlefield experience.
The parents of Mike Spann make a convincing case that Lindh is directly responsible for Mike's death. I don't know enough to offer an informed opinion. I'll just say this: If John Walker Lindh's journey is "spiritual" I'll settle for a secular life, thanks very much.
PITY THE POOR THIEVES: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom continues to offer himself up as poster child for everything that's wrong with the worldview that pompously and pathetically calls itself progressive. Newsom says he's convinced that some cable car conductors are stealing fare money. Here's how he put it:
"I am convinced, based on my own personal experience, (the money) is not going to Muni, but it's going in the pockets of some of our well-meaning operators."
Notice the reflexive attribution of good intentions to the alleged thieves. They may steal, but heck, they mean well. This from a guy who famously advocated violating civil marriage laws in the name of a higher, better good. (Unlike Rosa Parks, Newsom conveniently didn't volunteer to go to jail when he violated San Francisco statutes.) Here we have the very essence of the disease that rots the left and the once-great Democratic Party. The rules that ordinary people must follow don't apply to us. If Enron's Ken Lay were to say the acts for which he now stands indicted were motivated by a higher purpose, do you suppose Gavin Newsom would simply shrug and say, "I can see his point. Sometimes there's just no other choice."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

CARVILLE'S PROGNOSIS: James Carville starts out making sense. The Democratic Party "has a disease" that must be treated soon if the party is to have a chance of gaining back the White House or the Congress. Then he and his buddy Paul Begala descend to sheer jibberish when they say the Dems need to take command of a master narrative, just as they believe the Republicans have done. how the Dems must imitate Bush's success. Says Carville:
"See, Bush says, 'I was a shiftless drunk, I was transformed by the power of Jesus Christ, I was further transformed by 9/11 and I will protect you from the terrorists in Tehran and the homos in Hollywood.' And he sticks with it!"
If Cajun James really believes that's the essence of Bush's master story, he should go the rest of the way and say he believes the American public are morons. That's got to be what's on his mind when he says
"We [Democrats] should wrap ourselves in the flag just like Republicans have done so successfully post-9/11 and even back to 1994 when House Republicans developed their 'Contract with America.'"
Carville can't acknowledge — maybe he doesn't remember — the groundswell of patriotism in America after 911. Apart from Carville's obvious cynicism, the problem with his flag-wrapping strategy is that there is no longer a consensus for national defense and national security within the Democratic Party's leadership — which is why Hillary Clinton was so roundly booed when she spoke publicly in the immediate aftermath of September 11. The only time most Kerry Democrats get excited about the American flag is when it's being burned and they rush to defend that act as "constitutionally protected speech." What Americans don't hear anymore are credible statements from Democrats about loving their country. The statements aren't heard because they aren't being made.
RECREATING REAGAN: Is the spirit of Reagan alive — if only on life support — in GOP circles? Even so much as an echo would be nice to hear at a time when the Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue seem to have settled on liberal-lite. Meanwhile, in Sacramento: uanble to beat 'em, Arnold has pretty much decided to join 'em. No big surprise. For one thing, California's become a moderate-to-left state. Arnold's instincts are split: In his heart he's a Milton Friedman conservative/libertarian. But he's also used to big box office results. He likes being liked and he wants to keep his job next year.
WHEN EVIL COURTS EVIL: So Russia doesn't want to join an international effort to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. One assumes Putin imagines Moscow beyond the range of the mullah's missiles, because he's only kidding himself if he thinks these theocratic fanatics view Russian culture and politics as any less abominable than the United States. Iran is ruled by people whose psyches are possessed by the orgasmic potential of global apocalypse. Mutual Assured Destruction doesn't work with people who are MAD in this sense. People who believe they get to paradise through martyrdom will gladly risk destroying themselves in the process of taking out the capitals and population centers of Israel, Russia, China, Western Europe, and the United States: all in the name of pleasing Allah. Meanwhile, Europe's confederacy of eunuchs is getting ready to play badminton: by presenting a resolution that asks member countries of the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council. In high school we called this "detention." Unlike high school, Iran can (and will) simply respond: "And exactly who is going to make us stay when school lets out?" Let's not kid ourselves about the dangers we face no matter what action we take. If we do nothing, see above scenario. If we support Israel in attempting to deter Iran militarily, look for massive disruptions in global oil supplies. But of course even with these kinds of possibilities, the greatest and most imminent danger we face is: Sam Alito — oh yes.
POST-HASTE: Ted Kennedy just this week realized he's a member of an all-guy club. He plans to resign “as fast as I can.” He can use this week to send in his resignation, given that he and his colleagues have delayed a vote on Alioto. One wonders whether he'll dare refer yet again to much-ballyhooed Alito's Princeton association. Here's the clincher. Could Kennedy himself pass Judiciary Committee muster? “Probably not . . . probably not,” Kennedy said. Oh, Ted. Don't be so hard on yourself. Let's just go over the timeline again because I'm sure everything falls in place just as you said. How exactly did you spend the nine hours after driving off the bridge? Take all the time you need to answer, Senator.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

DIFI FACES FACTS: Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she disagrees with Alito but "it doesn't mean he shouldn't be on the court." She offers this thought as if speaking from the highest pinnacle of statesmanship, where in fact she's simply confirming how the Senate has functioned since the Republic was founded. Meanwhile: In what passes for breaking news at the New York Times, Democrat senators have reached the startling conclusion that "President Bush is putting an enduring conservative ideological imprint on the nation's judiciary, and that they see little hope of holding off the tide without winning back control of the Senate or the White House." Who would have thought: The party that controls the White House and the Senate gets to shape the Supreme Court!