Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I Prefer Mine Crunchy

This touches on why I consider myself to be a conservative rather than a libertarian. Although I am an ardent free-market capitalist, I do not consider that to be the most important value. I, therefore, consider myself to be a "crunchy con".
Four years ago, Mr. Dreher coined the term "crunchy conservatism" (as in crunchy granola) to describe hybrids like himself: political right-wingers with countercultural sensibilities. Now, in a book based largely on interviews and his own experience, he explores the type in depth. But "Crunchy Cons" is not a pallid work of sociology. It is a rousing altar call to spiritual secession from an America that Mr. Dreher sees as awash in materialism, consumerism and "lifestyle-libertarian" thinking.
. . . . .
And therein lies the significance of "Crunchy Cons." It is a reminder of the enduring tension on the right between those for whom the highest social good is freedom--the emancipation of the self from statist restraint and oppressive custom--and those for whom the highest social good is virtue: the formation of character, the cultivation of the soul.
. . . . .
America today is more broadly free and prosperous than any society in human history. We are gloriously "free to choose." But choose what?

Riots In Dublin

Monday, February 27, 2006

Context And Continuity

For your consideration from The Bussels Journal: Muhammad, the Holocaust and Good Behavior
Such laws have a telling weakness of omission: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, the Gulag, red stars and CPs are not included. While anti-Nazi, these commandments are not consequently anti-totalitarian. I have always felt that Jewish organizations should have insisted on an anti-totalitarian consistency here. Letting the Holocaust become a unique event might have brought tempting initial tactical advantages but it has hardly served the cause of preventing the repetition of the past. By taking the Holocaust out of its totalitarian context the original event was allowed to become an embalmed mummy. Detached from current affairs – what is unique is irrelevant as a pattern for the future – the Shoa became the subject of ritualistic incantations but lost its utility to serve the future.
This is an interesting thought in and of itself, but you should read it in the context of the full article.

I Never Thought Of It That Way

From The Highland Warriors: a Letter to the Editor.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Darcey's Book Report: "Hating America: A History"

Darcey has finished another book and gives us the report. Darcey also points us to a Canadian Milblog - check out The Torch.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Venezuela Watch 2/24/06

Lou Minatti has the goods on our favorite Latin pudgie boy's plan to end all (well, almost all) flights by American carriers to Venezuela. (El Presidente Chavez is looking more like a Botero sculpture every day.) On the other hand, everything is apparently going well on the homefront. The Chavistas are quite happy that this news has been made public.

Little Journeys To Eastern Europe: Budapest

Uncle Ben recounts the tale of a lonely Lutheran lad wandering the streets of Budapest. A complete listing of Uncle Ben's Eastern European travelogues can be found here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Cautionary Tale, Part I

Kate, from small dead animals, points out the irrelevence of the moderate Muslims in her discussion of Moderate German Canadians.
“Very few people were true Nazis” he said, “but, many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”
Read the rest to understand how slippery the slope can be.

A Cautionary Tale, Part II

CaribPundit gives us an excerpt from a speech by Brigitte Gabriel, given at the Intelligence Summit. Ms. Gabriel states,
I was ten years old when my home exploded around me, burying me under the rubble and leaving me to drink my blood to survive, as the perpetrators shouted “Allah Akbar!” My only crime was that I was a Christian living in a Christian town. At 10 years old, I learned the meaning of the word "infidel."

I had a crash course in survival. Not in the Girl Scouts, but in a bomb shelter where I lived for seven years in pitch darkness, freezing cold, drinking stale water and eating grass to live. At the age of 13 I dressed in my burial clothes going to bed at night, waiting to be slaughtered. By the age of 20, I had buried most of my friends--killed by Muslims. We were not Americans living in New York, or Britons in London. We were Arab Christians living in Lebanon.

As a victim of Islamic terror, I was amazed when I saw Americans waking up on September 12, 2001, and asking themselves "Why do they hate us?" The psychoanalyst experts were coming up with all sort of excuses as to what did we do to offend the Muslim World. But if America and the West were paying attention to the Middle East they would not have had to ask the question. Simply put, they hate us because we are defined in their eyes by one simple word: "infidels."
Visit CaribPundit for a longer excerpt and a link to the full text. Reading CaribPundit's commentary will show you why she will never be convicted of political correctness.

Little Journeys To Eastern Europe: Poland, Part II

Uncle Ben gives us Poland II. Find the archive of Little Journeys to Eastern Europe here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Little Journeys To Eastern Europe: Poland, Part I

Uncle Ben continues the story with Poland part I. (An updated listing of the journeys to this date can be found here.)

The Triumph Of The Swedish Social Model

The relapsed Catholic points us to the disturbing truth about Sweden’s moral decay. Among the many tidbits of interest is the following:
There is more crime in Sweden than in New York City, though they are comparable in population.
There is much more detailed information to be found in the article.

More What Goes Around, Comes Around

From The Brussels Journal: Dairy Producer Who Boycotted Israel Gets Boycotted by Muslims

But there is much more to the article than that.
According to Paul Johansen, a Norwegian citizen who is a former Muslim and now heads a Christian mission among Arabs, the West has a naive image of Islam. Mr Johansen defended the Danish cartoonists in an interview with the Norwegian Christian paper Dagen. “The artists who drew Muhammad did not get their inspiration from nowhere. Muslims need to think about why Islam is being linked to terrorism,” he said. Mr Johansen believes that what is happening today is the encounter with Islam as it really is.
“For decades Muslims have argued in the Western media that Islam is a religion of peace which respects other opinions. But we see nothing of this tolerance in the reality today. Muslims burn down embassies and consulates and are prepared to kill people as well.”
Mr Johansen, however, stressed that although terrorists and fanatics can be found among Muslims the majority of Muslims are peaceful people. “But does that mean we should be silent about Islam or the situation in the Muslim countries? We cannot. After all it is in the interests of the Muslims that the West stands firm on human rights and freedom of expression, because this is what is lacking in the Muslim world,” he said.
There is more from Mr. Johansen and others in the rest of the article.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Little Journeys To Eastern Europe

Uncle Ben is planning to publish a series of posts about his time in Eastern Europe. They will be linked here.
  1. Lithuania 2/18/06
  2. Poland part I 2/20/06
  3. Poland II 2/21/06
  4. Budapest 2/24/06

Nigerian Christians Murdered

CaribPundit asks,
"What kind of belief system is it that deems a cartoon more offensive than the taking of a life?"

Raising The Red Ensign Standard XXXVII

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West Coast Chaos raises the Red Ensign Standard #37. Read what our Canadian friends have to say about hockey and other things.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Life Is Good!

I'm having my breakfast coffee with my lovely bride and my much too precocious 4 year-old grandson while watching Disney's "The Jungle Book". The scene with Louie Prima as the King of the Apes is still worth the price of admission. This is all mixed in with beads, checkers-pool, one-on-one basketball, bingo and Hot Wheels being smashed into by a larger truck. We're into the "Making of . . ." documentary now. Time to go.

Book Reports and Film Reviews

Friday, February 17, 2006

Support VP Cheney

I Stand Behind Dick Cheney

Thursday, February 16, 2006

It's Easier Than Designing It Yourself

From EU Referendum: What's yours is mine…
But what is more significant about this cosy little arrangement, if it comes off, is the porous relationship between the UK and French defence contractors. Although Thales (UK) is regarded by the MoD as a British company, it is very clear that anything handled by this wholly French-owned subsidiary quickly becomes available to the French government.

Small wonder, therefore, that the United States is increasingly reluctant to share technology with the British –including UAV technology – when it seems the French operate on the principle of “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine”.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

It Looks Like Darwin Is Still Right

Darwinists apply "Survival of the Fittest" to themselves and find themselves headed for extinction. Read RU-486 Will Lead to Australia Becoming Muslim Country by 2050 Says Labour MP
Danna Vale Labour MP for Hughes in Sydney, said, “When you actually look at the birth rates and when you look at the fact that we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence by 100,000 abortions every year and that's only a guesstimate.”

Vale said she was referring to a comment made by an Australian Imam who claimed that Australia would be a Muslim country in 50 years. “You multiply that by 50 years, that's five million potential Australians we won't have here,” Vale said.
(Hat tip to a relapsed Catholic.)

In related news: The Feast of St. Darwin. Liberal Christianity does battle with the forces of fundamentalism by advocating its own extinction. Certainly this is further proof that Darwin is right.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

From the Kiev Ukraine News Blog: Ukraine Tells Russia to Pay More for Black Sea Fleet Base
Ukraine and Russia clashed anew Feb. 14 as Kiev called for a hike in the rent the Kremlin pays to station its Black Sea fleet in Crimea and said Moscow would have to move the naval base when its lease runs out in 2017.
. . . . .
”In our relations with Russia, say in the gas sphere, we agreed to review contracts that were in force so that we could switch to a European formula of determining the price,” Ogryzko said in televised comments.

”We think the same approach should be applied in other spheres, including the calculations for the temporary basing of the Black Sea fleet on Ukrainian territory,” Ogryzko said.

He was referring to a bitter dispute early in the year, when Russia said it was ending gas subsidies for Ukraine and demanded a four-fold-plus increase in the gas price. The dispute ended in a deal that saw the price of Kiev’s gas imports nearly double.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

God Answers The Prayers Of Sinners

As I read The Decapitation of La Passionata by The Last Amazon, I paused to meditate on Voltaire's prayer that closed the piece:

"O Lord make my enemies ridiculous."

I thought about Jimmy Carter and Al Gore - and smiled. Life is good.

Foundations Of The Clash Of Cultures

From Cranach: Collectivists vs. Individualists
Everytime they had a chance, depending on the essay assignment, they would write about wanting to kill Jews. They even brought up all of the old Nazi-era anti-semitic slanders. (Maybe that was another reason they wanted to go to a German-heritage Lutheran school!) I admonished them, reasoned with them, called on their own ethical principles, witnessed to them but I could not get these nice, affable, friendly young men to tone down their murderous venom. But in a conversation with one of them, I learned a key insight. "To kill a Jew," he said, "is our way of striking against Israel. It doesn't matter if the Jew is an American or if he has nothing to do with Israel. Jews are all connected with each other, so to strike one is to strke them all."

In other words, this young man and the culture he comes from is a collectivist. They do not see individuals, as such. A Danish aid worker in Iraq is like a cell in the body of Denmark, so that killing him does strike at the other cells that drew those cartoons. They do not see just individual guilt but corporate guilt. And, of course, Americans and Europeans have joined the Jews as legitimate corporate targets of Muslim wrath.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Paradigm Shift

From EU Referendum: Consigned to the margins
Crucially, with alternative media being used, the authorities and the MSM were completely unaware of what was going down, with the information being transmitted so quickly that, as Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen later admitted, it was "picked up and acted upon before we have a chance to correct it."

Nor is this by any means the first time that these alternative conduits have been used. E-mails, blogs and text messages were central to the campaign to boycott of Danish goods in Arab countries and a "Buy Danish" campaign in the United States. Text messages were used to organize anti-Danish protests in Brussels, while Canada's largest Muslim umbrella group sent e-mails to 300,000 members urging them to avoid such demonstrations. Text messages and blogs were also used to organize protests during violent unrest in Paris last autumn.
. . . . .
Firstly, for people whose job it is to take the temperature of the nation, such as Members of Parliament, the fragmentation of communication systems means that it is no longer possible – if it ever was – to guage the "issues of the day" by reading the newspapers, and monitoring the broadcast bulletins. And, in as much as it was possible to for the newspapers and the Today programme to set the agenda, that is no longer the case.
. . . . .
Not least, it makes a mockery of the heart-searching of the MSM over whether to publish the Mohammed cartoons. For months now, they have been freely available on the internet. Freedom of speech is alive and well, but the chattering classes simply haven't noticed.

Lest We Forget

Petit Philosophe

The Last Amazon asks, "Is the essence of Voltaire dead in the west?"

(The title is French for "My French stinks.")

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Pole Dancing?

Peter Gentle sees more tango than polka in the relationship between Poland and the US - not that there is anything wrong with that.
That Kaczynski should choose to go and see the Pope and George W. on his first trips abroad shows the direction he sees Polish foreign relations taking. The Vatican is there to defend Catholic Poland’s spiritual needs against the confusing plethora of belief systems coming in from western Europe. The Atlantic alliance is crucial for Poland’s defense needs. Poland simply can’t defend itself. And nobody takes the EU defense thing very seriously, except, maybe, for a few deluded Brussels eurocrats after one too many expense account lunches.

Bush, as he always says he does, has already established a deep, meaningful relationship with his Polish counterpart (like the one he has with Putin – stop sniggering!). They’ve only just met, after all.

"I asked the {Polish} president his advice on Ukraine," Bush said according to The Associated Press. "That's what friends do - they share information and share strategic thoughts."

I don’t know how many ‘strategic thoughts’ you have shared with friends recently. I have to admit to sharing very few. But the Kaczynski-Bush relationship sounds like it’s pretty hot. I hope they weren’t left alone together in the Oval Office. That place can do strange things to grown men (and Bill Clinton).
Read the rest at The Beatroot.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Future Of Eurabia

From The Brussels Journal: The Other Culture War: EU Brings Down Slovak Government

This has worked so well in Western Europe that they want to bring it to Eastern Europe also. What exactly is the Muslim population in Slovakia, Lithuania, and Poland as compared to France?

This Is Interesting

From Barcepundit:

A former special investigator for the Pentagon during the Iraq war said he found four sealed underground bunkers in southern Iraq that he is sure contain stocks of chemical and biological weapons. But when he asked American weapons inspectors to check out the sites, he was rebuffed.
Read the rest.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Three From The Last Amazon

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Muzzy Covers The Super Bowl

Muzzy tells me everything I need to know about the Super Bowl.

From The Mind Of Samantha Burns

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Equipment For The Cyber War

Click on the images below to see more samples of "I Support Denmark" artwork for your website.

I Support DenmarkSupport Denmark: No Veil, No Gag

Click on the "Buy Danish" link in the sidebar for a listing of fine Danish products.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Red Ensign Standard XXXVI

Red Ensign Standard

The Phantom Observer raises the 36th Red Ensign Standard.

(Hat tip to Dust My Broom.)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cyber War Updated

More information on the net war being waged against Danish websites is available here.

Surprise Attack By Irony

From the Viking Observer: Irony

Friday, February 03, 2006

Little Things Can Make A Big Difference

From Hammerswing75: There is Hope

This is how Uncle Ben does more more good in the world than Ted Kennedy.

Update: Re comment - Sola, I meant "more gooder", "mo' better", "my butter" - or something like that.

Putin Auditions As Comedian

From The Beatroot: President Putin says that Russia ‘highly respects Poland’...

"…and manages to keep a straight face."
There were many problems in our relations, a usual thing in relations between close relatives. I will not name all of these problems to avoid drowning in mutual charges, starting from the seizure of the Kremlin [by the Polish forces in early 17th century].
Peter Gentle responds:
So Poland and Russia have had stormy diplomatic relations because they are like sister and brother, husband and wife, and have been throwing their best crockery at each other because they love each other so much.

How sweet.

But it doesn’t really address the issues that have caused all the arguments in the first place. I’m thinking of Russia’s refusal to come to terms with their role in the Katyn Massacre, the inability to see that people do not have such fond memories of the Soviet period as Putin seems to (he did have a nice and cushy job in the KGB, after all) the Gazprom pipeline that will bypass Poland, and much else besides.

If Polish-Russian relations were simply like a marriage, then Poles would have issued divorce proceedings quite some time ago.

Contra Projection

From No Pasaran!: BHL Finds a Basic Difference Between America and France
Frankfurter Allgemeine: As an atheistic French Jewish intellectual, you do not exactly fit the description of the kind of person who people in rural American like seeing coming up their driveway. How were you treated?

BHL: With a lot more warmth than an American on a similar journey in France could expect. There were hardly any personal animosities or Francophobic comments.

It's A Matter Of Perspective

From EU Referendum:Cartoon wars
Even the editor of the Jordanian Al-Shihan newspaper was drawn into the fracas, suggesting Muslim anger was unreasonable, and then sacked by his publisher after he had run the cartoons - the second editor to suffer such a fate. But the point he made was difficult to argue: “What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim?” (emphasis added - ed.)
One wonders if many in the Islamic world would even understand that question.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Everybody Believes Something

Reading For Comprehension

From Dust My Broom: 52 books in 52 weeks
1 - The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (completed) Notes: An inside view of communist Russia, the prisons, the fear, the betrayal. Not light-hearted reading. Anyone who refers to Guantanamo Bay as a gulag is an idiot. (emphasis added - ed.)

Iranian Atomic Update

From Barcepundit: The Daily Telegraph reports the IAEA is infiltrated with Iranian agents.

EU Referendum has an interesting analysis of the state of preparedness of the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
However, what is interesting is that the Iranians have opted for a uranium rather than a plutonium bomb, which means that they can refine the material without recourse to a nuclear reactor (the latter being the only source of Plutonium). The down-side of this is that a uranium bomb is heavier (and also produced a lower explosive yield).
. . . . .
Clearly, such a crude weapon could not be delivered by an intermediate-range missile like the Shahab 3, which has a maximum payload of a ton and serious dimensional limitations.

To enable missile delivery, the Iranians would have to produce a much more compact implosion device, which could be engineered to fit the limited warhead space of their missile.
. . . . .
he technology required to produce this bomb is fearsome, not least the highly complex array of conventional explosives needed to trigger it, and to produce it would stretch Iranian capabilities and resources to the limit. Furthermore, such is the complexity that the Iranians would at least on live test to prove the design.

Even then, there have been doubts expressed as to whether the warhead dimensions of the Shahab 3 are sufficient even to accommodate a lightweight bomb, which raises further questions about Iranian preparedness.

Despite Rafi Eitan's concerns, therefore, an Iranian nuclear strike - or the acquisition of deliverable bombs - may be less than imminent, which raises questions as to why Eitan has gone public with his fears.
Who is Rafi Eitan? Read the rest of the article to find out why his opinion matters. By the way, while the author may argue with the analysis concerning the progress of the Iranian nuclear weapons program, he agrees as to the direction and goal of that program.

From Barcepundit: CIVILIAN USES, my ass:

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Help That Girl On The Right!

Conservative Girls Are Hot! and want to go to the CPAC convention 2/9-11/06 in Washington, DC. Some financial help would be appreciated as it is a long haul from Toronto. Go here to donate (Paypal). Get your good deed for the year out of the way early. (Hat tip to a relapsed catholic.)

Re: Joel Stein

Joel Stein proffers an inept application of Just War moral theory. Kathy Shaidle gets to the argument, while Hugh Hewitt treats the symptoms. Hugh was hard hitting and, in many ways, correct; but the discussion always seemed off point. "I don't support the troops" is a logical conclusion if you believe the war to be unjustified.