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Thursday, June 08, 2006

AH, JUST ANOTHER HUMAN BEING: Zarqawi, that is. Sad to see him go. That's the response of Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg, whose head was sawed off by Zarqawi himself, or so I seem to recall. If not Zarqawi, then one of his henchmen. Zarqawi, you see, is a very put-upon guy, a man who became a public executioner because he ran out of options you see, because we Americans did what we did. Make that: because George Bush did what he did.
"George Bush is the one that invaded this country, George Bush is the one that destabilized it so that Zarqawi could get in, so that Zarqawi had a need to get in, to defend his region of the country from American invaders."... In a telephone interview with Reuters from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, the father said: "I have no sense of relief, just sadness that another human being had to die."
Does Michael Berg here "slander" President Bush? No. George Bush might be offended by Berg's remarks, as might his wife and daughters. But George and Laura and their girls know that George has chosen to be a public figure. And people who voluntarily enter the public domain have a very difficult time proving damages by the slings and arrows of adversarial speech. Now, who will tell the New York women who became public figures when they stepped forward to accuse George W. Bush of "causing" September 11? Who will tell them the difference between being slandered and offended?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Republicans today worked to put the best face on California Republican House candidate Brian Bilbray's overwhelming near-defeat by Democrat Francine Busby, whose mere garnering of fewer votes constitutes a resounding moral victory that bodes ill for other Republican congressional candidates this fall.
That's my imagined political story of the day. You'll be hearing a lot of this kind of nonsense as the mainstream media trumpets the Democrats' message: Yes, Bilbray won more votes. And, yes, the seat stays Republican. But what really matters is that Democrat candidate Francine Busby came closer to winning than a Democrat should have in that district, oh yes. Busby herself adopts the Paul Hackett template for the "moral victory" spin: "If I get close, then we've made the point that this is no longer a safe seat..."
Archive: "Even if Schmidt barely wins over Hackett, it’s a victory for Hackett, who was told that a Democrat could never win in southwest Ohio. It’s a scary forshadowing for 2006 - if you’re a Republican. Even solid Republican congressional districts will be up for grabs in 2006, with Americans finally getting wise to the widespread corruption of the Republican government. It’s time for a change, and the time is coming soon when the Republicans will be held accountable for their abuse of public office."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

DOWN FLORIDA WAY: Katherine Harris thinks she knows why she's been shunned by GOP leadership and ignored by big donors in her U.S. Senate campaign.
"Perhaps in some elite circles, the reason I have not gotten more support...is because they don't believe I can be controlled," Harris said today during a speech to the nonpartisan Forum Club of the Palm Beaches.
No, Katherine. It's because when you make a point of declaring that if elected you would refuse to "kowtow" to the Bush administration, the donors and party leaders are no longer are certain of your sanity. They see your stunning series of gaffs and missteps as a train wreck in slow motion and they can't quite believe they find themselves actually rooting for the crash. But they're grateful to be able to write you off so early in the game, making it possible to focus their donor activity on competitive Senate races, like the one in Ohio.
HADITHA: If the charges are true, the perpetrators must be punished according to strict military law. But even if the charges are true, Americans will not stand by and allow the tragedy to be exploited by a media whose claims of nobility are no longer believed by most Americans. So says Patrick J. Buchanan, who has been struck (as I have) "listening to the breathless reports of Haditha, noting the glee and excitement in the voices of some correspondents, anchors and talking heads, one senses anticipation about what is to come." Money quote:
"But if the media are seen as exploiting Haditha -- again, assuming the allegations of a war crime prove true -- to undermine the war effort or the soldiers and Marines fighting, or damage President Bush or his secretary of defense, there will be a savage backlash. Any goodwill won by embedding reporters with troops on the drive to Baghdad will be wiped out, and the old Vietnam wounds, never healed, will reopen."
But of course the reopening of those wounds is precisely the goal of many in America's so-called "peace" movement, that callous cadre of permanent protestors who cannot identify an anti-American claim they didn't eagerly embrace. Today's sickening spectacle in this regard comes from the notorious maven of high progressive clownishness, Arianna Huffington, beside herself with excitement about how Haditha gives the anti-war left its long-awaited opening to reclaim "security" as a natural issue for Democrats:
...The killings in Haditha -- like Abu Ghraib, like Bagram, like Guantanamo, like all the everyday, unheralded horrors perpetrated on innocent Iraqi civilians -- have made America less safe. If Democrats can make this their defining issue, they can stop worrying about the laundry list of "what ifs" they are now obsessing over: What if people forget about Katrina and Abramoff and DeLay? What if gas prices come down? What if GOP gerrymandering trumps voter unrest? What if the gay marriage ruse works again? What if, what if, what if... They need to calm their nerves and keep it simple. It's about making us safe, stupid. And keeping our worn-out, stressed-out, missionless troops in Iraq is making us less -- much less -- safe.
Yes, Arianna. Urge your Democrat candidate friends in the House and Senate to focus their campaigns this fall on how American troops fighting to secure a foothold for freedom in the Middle East have made America "less safe." Mr. Bush may have had second thoughts about the following phrase, but I haven't: Bring it on.
ALL THE RAGE: The driver cuts you off, and your heart rate goes up to 180 beats per minute. He gives you the finger, and your blood pressure likewise shoots up, 220 to 130 or even higher, compared to normal readings of 120 to 80. You're not going to let him (or her) get away with it, and with that sentiment your body uses up sugar extremely fast creating a sugar deficiency. As a result you find yourself literally shaking in anger. There's nothing you can do about it, don't you see? You're in the grip of "intermittent explosive disorder." This just happens to you, it's beyond your control, you're not responsible for your actions. As many as 16 million Americans "have had" this disorder, according to the latest survey conducted by the class of persons known as social science researchers, persons who have way too much time on their hands (hence their propensity to engage in stupidity in the name of science) and who at the same time are constantly busy (conducting said stupidity). We're talking about garden variety road rage, by the way. The solution to which, say the latest social-science geniuses, is taking antidepressants. See, you go all ballistic in traffic because you're "depressed." Anger is beyond your control - did I mention that? But of course that's nonsense, it isn't remotely true. Speaking of research, there's some very good research — solid, grounded, replicated — that makes clear that rage is optional, not inevitable. The subject of that research is meditation. You don't have to be a fan of Eastern religions to take seriously the empirical evidence that sitting quietly daily for just 20 minutes or so, while noting the rising and falling of your breath, can significantly expand your capacity not to be at the effect of the passing show of emotions, thoughts, and sensations that might otherwise seem to "target" you in moments of stress. It's about witnessing the present moment as something that just is. Being skillful in the face of challenging circumstances. Self-mastery. The concept is anathema to the social-science left, with its endless array of arguments for the proposition that humans are shaped — oppressed, actually— by external circumstances, exclusively so. Over time, that belief becomes a self-validating species of victimhood. The belief that self discipline is learned — well, that's likewise self-validating — and with it comes the recognition that we humans tend to get good at what we actually do, especially what we do repeatedly. We live in a time when our culture gives us lots of encouragement to practice pretending that someone else is responsible for the way we behave. The cultural left in America has become the preeminent repository of mastery in that regard. Listen to Air America. Read left-wing bloggers. Tune into the hatred of Bush and the left's unbridled contempt for American values and institutions. Lefties are good at rage because they spend so much time practicing it. It's a perverse skill set, but mastery none the less.

Monday, June 05, 2006

AT DUKE: Oh, the piety of Duke University President Richard Brodhead, announcing that his school's lacrosse team will play again next season:
"I am, I know, taking a risk in reinstating men's lacrosse," Brodhead said in a statement. "The reinstatement is inevitably probationary."
Now what exactly are the risks?
A university investigation ... found a history of disciplinary problems involving team members, including underage drinking and public urination.
What crap. Brodhead's concern isn't underage boozing or outdoor peeing. His aim is to gain moral authority in the eyes of the feminist lynch mentality that is bent on exploiting the highly publicized (and increasingly dubious) rape allegations to jumpstart their stalled gender wars. Prove me wrong, Mr. Brodhead. If justice is your true concern, why not reinstate the three lacrosse players, against whom the case appears weak at best. Do it on a "probationary" basis, Mr. President. Throw them off the team again if the charges are later proved in a court of law.
SLAM DUNK: Punch a Capitol cop, go to jail — right? Not if you're Cynthia McKinney.