March 31, 2004

Insurgents Murder 9 of ours in Fallujah

Accounts such as this leave me consumed with cold anger. In Fallujah, nine of ours were killed by people still supporting the memory of their deposed despot.

This is not the time to falter. Now is the time to focus, push forward, and crush the idolaters of torture, rape and murder.

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posted by Linda at 06:21 PM : Comments (1)

pick of the day

In a trend that bodes ill for the November election, the Left is behaving ever more thuggishly. First there was the widely reported trashing of Republican Headquarters in Ohio, then the goon-squad tactics by Democrats in Boston, now the violent assault by pro-immigration activists on Karl Rove’s home in Washington D.C. Sunday. While many Americans may regard these recent episodes as unprecedented, the ugly truth of the matter is that they are not – mass media has merely downplayed the escalating plague of leftist violence that was initiated by the feminist movement in Seattle nearly 30 years ago. The first matrifascist vandalism occurred there in 1975 and 1976 – bridges and buildings spray-painted with the slogan “all men are rapists” and churches and public buildings defaced with “end patriarchy” and “goddess rules” – but these outrages were mostly ignored by the media. Since then the epidemic of vandalism has spread nationwide: war memorials are an especially common target. While all such hooliganism is moronic, the incident at the Rove residence was unusually notable for its ironic idiocy. Here is an especially scathing commentary from The Wall Street Journal.

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posted by at 09:41 AM : Comments (0)
March 30, 2004

pick of the day

Sometimes I run across a story that has absolutely no relationship to contemporary politics or any other “serious” topic of the day, but is nevertheless compelling. Perhaps it illustrates some dimension of human reality on which we seldom focus, or perhaps – often for reasons I can’t quite put into words – it simply appeals to my sense of whimsey. Today’s pick is one of those pieces that works for me on both these levels: it is an informative report on how scientists are probing fossilized feces for genetic clues as to whether Neanderthals communicated verbally (much as we do), or were merely limited to grunts, groans and sign language. It’s a fun, interesting read, available here

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posted by at 10:21 AM : Comments (0)
March 29, 2004

The right to peacefully assemble belongs to everyone.

During President Bush's fundraiser in Boston, the usual occurred: concerned citizens from differing political viewpoints assembled to voice their dissenting opinions; one of the strengths this nation.

Yet, as we've seen in the last few years, some elements believe that they have more of a right to speak than others, and seem incapable of practicing non-violent, reasoned discourse.

Read Matt Margolis' account of what happened. The actions of the Leftist protesters disgust me. The action of the ironworkers incenses me. Matt, in stark comparison to his vile attackers, notes:

"...I would like to say that I think it is horribly sad that anyone would resort to violence because they disagree with someone. I came to the event as a Bush supporter wanting to express that support. It is horrifically un-American to threaten, intimidate and assault another person because of who or what they support. I will always stand up for what I believe in – if I risk getting hurt then so be it. I wholeheartedly believe that George W. Bush is the only choice for leading this country down the right path."

I encourage you to read the entire.

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posted by Linda at 06:14 PM : Comments (0)

pick of the day

The outrageous prices of prescription drugs – and the ruinous cost of medical care generally – is one of the major hot-button issues in American politics. But the associated controversies seem to be losing much of their former intensity. Perhaps this is because a growing number of U.S. voters recognize they are damned no matter what – that unless they are exceptionally wealthy, they are going to be victimized by the health care system regardless of who is in charge. It is increasingly evident, for example, that socialized medicine will solve nothing -- that it would merely shift responsibility from a tyranny of greed to a tyranny of ideological self-righteousness, granting absolute and unlimited authority to a bureaucracy that is already infamous for vindictive enforcement of gender and race quotas -- note the well-documented discrimination against white male military veterans (and Caucasian males in general) by feminist-dominated social service agencies. But it is also ever more obvious that continued tolerance of the present, monopoly-ruled health care system merely reinforces the near-absolute power and authority of those who are responsible for its notorious abuses. Here is a gripping report on how drug makers sought to keep lucrative cold and diet remedies on the market even after their own study linked them to deadly and crippling strokes.

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posted by at 09:33 AM : Comments (1)
March 27, 2004

pick of the weekend

Remember the persistent allegations that the Oklahoma City bombing – though carried out by American neo-Nazis – was the result of an Islamic terrorist operation? The possibility is not at all far-fetched. LA Weekly writer Jim Crogan says the upcoming trial of Terry Nichols may finally result in examination of all the relevant evidence, including the material apparently suppressed by Janet Reno’s Justice Department, probably on orders from the Clinton White House. While Crogan does not speculate on the government’s motives, it seems obvious that – if indeed there was a Clinton Administration coverup (and it surely appears there was) – its purpose was ideological: reinforcement of “diversity” doctrines associated with political “correctness” and yet additional Clintonesque denial of Islam’s 1300-year war against civilization. Crogran’s detailed report is available here. As to the connections between neo-Nazis and Islamic extremists, the best sources are reports from the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center. While SPLC’s credibility has been severely damaged by its recent, hysterical condemnation of the pagan renaissance as “racist,” its documentation of the neo-Nazi/Moslem connection is probably the best such material available to the civilian community, accessible by clicking here.

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posted by at 08:07 AM : Comments (0)
March 26, 2004

They're so cute when they talk tech

Seems that the UN wants a piece of the Internet pie.

Check out Kofi Annan's utterly newbie statement: "[Internet standards] must be made accessible and responsive to the needs of all the world's people."

Um, Kofi? They are. The standards, as you put them, are not geography-specific. Operating systems are written in dozens of different languages. All you have to do is put a hardware infrastructure in place, study LAN/WAN networking with classes and textbooks written in your language, deploy your clients/servers/routers/firewalls ad nauseum, and golly-gee-whiz(!) you have an internet. (Don't quibble, dear readers -- oversimplification, I know.)

For me, it just further underscores how little the UN knows about anything.

Why are we still allotting them space on our soil?

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posted by Linda at 05:06 PM : Comments (8)
» Feste...a foolsblog links with: Dot Disaster
» Who Tends the Fires links with: "NEWS!" Don't try this at home, these people are professionals?

pick of the day

Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism official who has so resoundingly denounced the Bush Administration, claims he is a Republican with no political axe to grind. But Federal Election Commission records show this is untrue – that all Clarke’s financial contributions have gone to Democrats. Here are the damning details, including additional facts that shed light on Clarke’s probable anti-Bush, pro-Kerry motives.

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posted by at 09:36 AM : Comments (0)
March 25, 2004

Extended Absence Greeting

I interrrupt Loren's excellent series of posts to let you all know that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

Instead, things are dreadfully busy. So busy, in fact, that I am stealing time to write even this much. Let's just say that Monday came to dismayed exclamations of, "You want me to do what with which lack of resources?"

I shall return. Either with my shield, or on it. In the meantime, have fun, and be good. But if you can't be good, then be bad. Very, very bad. Because sometimes, bad is better.

Friendly wave,

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posted by Linda at 04:45 PM : Comments (0)

picks of the day

Astute readers will note that today the above title is plural – two “picks of the day” rather than the customary one. Both links are to reports that focus on the Clinton Administration’s ruinous failure to respond adequately to Islamic terrorism.

The shorter of the two, an article The Washington Post buried on page A21, documents how President Clinton’s “mind-set” led to repeated refusals to take decisive action against Islamic terror. It thereby exposes as a deliberate lie the double-pronged claim by Richard Clarke that fighting terrorism was among the Clinton Administration’s topmost priorities, but that the Bush Administration somehow failed to grasp the immediacy of the terrorist threat. The Post’s report is available here.

The longer piece, a full-length Front Page Magazine essay by David Horowitz, is much more damning: it reveals the alarming extent to which Clinton’s characteristic “mind-set” was not the accidental result of poor leadership but was instead the deliberate expression of hate-America ideology – the leftist ideologies of Bill and Hillary Clinton themselves and of many of Clinton’s key appointees. This article is a keeper – the best, most thoroughly documented and compellingly rational summary I have seen anywhere of the extent to which today’s Democratic Party has become a subversive cabal and thus cannot be trusted to govern. Almost as a bonus – and surely a boon to secular conservatives and conservatives who practice alternative spiritualities – the Horowitz report includes an eloquent warning against the dangers of fundamentalism. It is a long read but worth every minute it takes, something to peruse at your leisure, to download for your personal archives and to disseminate to all your friends and acquaintances, available here.

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posted by at 10:12 AM : Comments (0)
March 24, 2004

pick of the day

Ever wonder why George Soros and so many other Democrat fat-cats – not to mention that rich Democrat fat-cat named John Kerry who’s running for President – are enthusiastic supporters of higher taxes? Truth is, plutocrats of the Kerry-class aren't troubled by tax hikes because their legions of accountants guarantee that increased taxes won’t touch them at all – that the burden will be shifted entirely onto the backs of working people much further down the socioeconomic ladder. Here’s an eye-opening analysis by a conservative economist.

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posted by at 08:02 AM : Comments (1)
March 23, 2004

pick of the day

Mass media has resoundingly denounced Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for refusing to recuse himself from a case that involves Vice President Dick Cheney, stridently proclaiming a “conflict of interest” because Scalia once went duck hunting with Cheney. But in an unusually brazen demonstration of bias and hypocrisy, the same publications and broadcast outlets have totally ignored the much more profound conflicts of interest in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s association with radical feminism and her willingness to subvert the U.S. Constitution by making the American judiciary subservient to foreign laws and treaties. This outrage is detailed here in an especially damning report by Accuracy in Media.

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posted by at 09:48 AM : Comments (0)
March 22, 2004

pick of the day

Unprecedented media bias gave America the impression that John Kerry’s victories in the recent Democratic primaries were underwritten by record voter turnouts, but the truth is quite the opposite. The Democratic turnout nationwide was the third lowest ever, and in some states, these turnouts set all-time record lows. Here is a revealing report that cites data from a reliable, non-partisan source.

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posted by at 08:17 AM : Comments (0)
March 20, 2004

pick of the day

One of the many Big Lies that props up the cult of political “correctness” and its doctrines of moral equivalence and “diversity” is the claim that Islam means “peace.” In fact Islam means “submission” – a significant truth repeatedly made clear by the Qur’an itself – which explains much of Islam’s reflexive antagonism not only to American liberty but to any expression whatsoever of the human impulse toward individual freedom and democratic governance. Another of the PC-cult’s Big Lies is that American Moslems do not share the malevolent anti-Jewish hatred that is one of the defining characteristics of Islam elsewhere in the world. Here is a report that tells a very different story.

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posted by at 06:57 AM : Comments (0)
March 19, 2004

At least he has experience writing fiction.

In this story via the AP, USA Today announced that it has completed its investigation of the work of Jack Kelley, and found that the "newspapers' former star foreign correspondent had fabricated substantial portions of at least eight major stories."

When one recalls the fact that in the past, Kelley's "reports" described situations such as tagging along with Israeli settlers who shot at a passing Palestinian taxi, or the discovery of a Bosnian girl's journal a la Anne Frank; or the discovery of a three-ring notebook belonging to a Yugoslav army officer, ordering him to "cleanse" a village, these fabrications become an outrage.

Publications in mainstream media serve to inform the average American. When bald lies, fabrications, and plagarisms are presented, it can result in a poorly educated population. It is possible that this is the intent, which lends a sinister air to Kelley's practiced unprofessionalism.

In closing, journalists like Mr. Kelley and Mr. Blair should consider carrying a copy of the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics at all times. They are even strongly encouraged to read and practice it.

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posted by Linda at 08:06 PM : Comments (0)
» Who Tends the Fires links with: The DailySpam!: the Page 3 Girls Edition!

Pick of the Day

THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE to developing an adequate defense against Islamic terrorism is that the institutions of American liberty are not organized to wage war on an enemy identified solely by religion. We can make war on hostile states, and we can even (as we did in the Cold War) make war on hostile ideologies -- though there too we were severely restrained by our own legal prohibitions against the suppression of speech and ideas. But the Constitutional taboo against making war on a given religion is nearly absolute, and in the case of Islam -- which even in its most liberal forms is implacably hostile to Occidental notions of democracy and community -- this not only imposes a gag on forthright discussion of the Islamic threat, it also provides Islamic terrorists with a vast loophole through which to attack civilization and further their infinitely oppressive quest for a global caliphate. Here, by an Irish journalist, is an unusually forthright discussion of the problem.

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posted by at 04:56 AM : Comments (1)
March 18, 2004

Understanding Spain

by Loren Bliss

Mass media has generally treated the outcome of Sunday’s Spanish election as a major victory for Islamic terrorists and a huge defeat for the Bush Administration and its anti-terrorist coalition, but this assessment – while no doubt accurate – overlooks the extent to which the dismaying election result was the logical outgrowth of long-simmering Spanish anti-Americanism. From this perspective, the chief impact of the March 11 terrorist attack was that it enabled the Socialist Workers Party to turn the election into a referendum on the popularity of the United States – the first such referendum in Spanish history – which gave voice to resentments that have lingered at least since the Spanish Civil War and more likely since the Spanish-American War of 1898.

That this is the correct understanding of Sunday’s socialist victory – and that other Western European nations will probably follow Spain’s lead in repudiating alliance with the U.S. – is strongly suggested by an essay published in the Fall 2003 edition of Hoover Digest. Written by Russell A. Berman, Stanford University’s Walter A. Haas professor in the humanities and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, the essay is entitled "Europe and America: a Cultural Divide?" Its basis is opinion-poll data that describes the disturbing extent to which not only the Spanish people but Western Europeans in general were avowedly hostile toward the United States long before the atrocities of the 11th.

Here are key passages of Berman’s eye-opening work:

"According to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, 57 percent of the French, 54 percent of Germans, and 56 percent of Spaniards held unfavorable views regarding the United States in June 2003. In contrast, unfavorable views were held by only 26 percent of the British and 38 percent of Italians, figures that explain part of the history of British and Italian support for the United States in the Iraq war..."

"Data regarding unfavorable attitudes toward Americans as people (rather than toward the United States government) show less antipathy but nonetheless a still troubled picture, with a similar distribution: 42 percent of the French, 29 percent of Germans, and 41 percent of Spaniards (as compared to 18 percent of Italians and 15 percent of the British) view Americans unfavorably. The difference between the two sets of data shows that some parts of the European population do indeed distinguish between the government and the people but that there is nonetheless considerable anti-Americanism directed broadly at the people and the culture.

"When the topic of the public opinion survey shifts to the spread of ‘American ideas and customs’—as opposed to attitudes toward the government or the people—the results become even more pointed: 27 percent of the French believe that the spread of American ideas and customs is good, but an overwhelming 72 percent consider it bad. Similarly, 24 percent of Germans think of American ideas as good, while 72 percent see this influence as bad. The attitudes of the British and Italians are, again, somewhat less severe than elsewhere in Europe: 56 percent of the British see the spread of American ideas as bad, as do 45 percent of Italians. When asked specifically about American ideas of democracy, 65 percent of the French, 55 percent of Germans, and 61 percent of Spaniards said they disliked them.

"Perhaps most telling, when asked to choose between the freedom to pursue one’s goals without state interference and, alternatively, the power of the state to guarantee that nobody is in need, 58 percent of Americans opted for freedom. The results in Europe are very different. In no European country was there majority support for individual freedom as opposed to the power of the state. In Great Britain, only 33 percent chose freedom, in France 36 percent, in Italy 24 percent, and in Germany 39 percent. Interestingly, the importance of individual freedom attracts greater approval in parts of the developing world than in Western Europe: Guatemala is at 61 percent, Ghana at 63 percent, Nigeria at 61 percent, India at 53 percent, and Pakistan at 61 percent—levels of support for freedom that put Europe to shame. On this issue so crucial to the relationship between state and economy, American individualist attitudes are closer to the rest of the world than is the European trust in the role of the state.

"This difference in values between the United States and Europe is only part of the larger cultural divide. In the post–Cold War world, this gap has entered public discussion more forcefully than in the past and has contributed to the recent political dueling in the context of the Iraq war. These transatlantic tensions cannot be simplistically explained away as the fault of particular politicians..."

(Ed. note: Emphasis added. -- L.)

Since the data shows Spanish attitudes to be little different from those of France or Germany – note especially the 61 percent opposition to American modes of democracy – the outcome of Sunday’s election was clearly inevitable even before the terrorist attacks, never mind that pre-election polls showed the socialists losing by a slender margin. This fact is further reflected in the election result itself: the SWP garnered 42.6 percent of the vote, a figure significantly close to the 41 percent of the Spanish population that dislikes the American people (and is presumably antagonistic toward the U.S. government as well).

But there is another element at work here that was beyond the scope of Berman’s revealing analysis -- the harder-to-quantify fact that Spanish support for socialism never died. The ill-fated Spanish Republic (1931-1939) was primarily a socialist endeavor. Though the republic eventually deteriorated into Soviet-dominated Marxist tyranny under pressures of the Spanish Civil War – the arms embargo imposed on the republic by the U.S., Britain and France is rightfully blamed for giving the U.S.S.R. the upper hand – popular support for socialism remained strong throughout republican Spain.

All such sentiments were of course brutally suppressed by the eventual victory of the fascists under Gen. Francisco Franco in the civil war (1936-1939). But while Nazi Germany and fascist Italy were Franco’s topmost supporters, the victory left in its wake a lingering anti-Americanism as well. There was not only the matter of the embargo, which helped Franco even as it wounded the republic: there was also the fact that several American corporations, especially Texaco, had given Franco pivotal support in unpunished defiance of the Non-intervention Pact, to which the U.S. was an important signatory. Indeed it is arguable that Franco would have lost the war without Texaco’s guarantee of uninterrupted petroleum supplies.

After Franco’s death in 1975, it became apparent that socialism had merely been driven underground, and with the ascension of King Juan Carlos I and the end of the fascist reign of terror, widespread support for socialism quickly re-emerged – nearly as strong as it had been in the days of the republic. And the Spanish have long memories: with the resurrection of socialism came bitter recollections of how the U.S. paid lip-service to non-intervention but actually aided Franco.

No doubt incoming prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the winner in Sunday’s election, played on these lingering grievances by emphasizing the fact his own grandfather was one of the approximately 600,000 socialists executed by Franco. Zapatero, who has resoundingly denounced the Bush Administration and the entire war on terror, is also notorious for deliberately disrespecting the U.S. flag by sitting down when it passed during a public ceremony – an unprecedented breach of protocol for a politician that nevertheless further bolstered his popularity. (The flag incident is discussed near the bottom of a Washington Post transcript, which may be found by clicking this link.)

Indeed, there is enough documentation of Spanish anti-Americanism that it warrants a category of its own on Google. For example, a February 2003 news analysis by John Vinocur in the International Herald-Tribune states that "Spanish anti-Americanism...goes back to the Spanish-American War," in which Spain lost to the U.S. the last remnants of its once-vast colonial empire, and that today’s anti-American agitation "brings together the anti-globalist, anti-capitalist, anti-clericalist and anti-Semitic elements of the country's right- and left-wing extremes." (Here is the link to the IHT report, which is also relevant in that it details some of the ambitions of the ousted conservatives.)

Hence – despite the staunchly pro-American position of outgoing prime minister José Maria Aznar – Spain’s role in the anti-terrorist coalition was probably doomed from the beginning, particularly given the double-barreled combination of the anti-Americanism unique to Spain and the anti-Americanism common to Western Europe in general.

Which suggests that the real error of the U.S. was yet another glaring intelligence failure: the likelihood the U.S. has never understood how to make use of what the old Soviet KGB regarded as "cultural intelligence" – data about the dominant attitudes in a given society – and the apparent total disregard of the overwhelming probability Spain would prove an unreliable ally from the very beginning. As a consequence, the forces of terrorist Islam have now achieved an unprecedented propaganda victory: an opportunistic, exclamatory expression of long-simmering anti-Americanism that can easily be distorted to appear as if a once-proud Western European nation has suddenly and abjectly surrendered.

Based on the Pew polling data – particularly its troubling evidence regarding the serflike attitudes of today’s British subjects – the alliance with Britain may be similarly ill-fated. The wretched truth of the matter is that Western Europe – Britain included – is probably already lost to Islamic terrorism, just as Spain was lost long before the attacks of 3/11. If the definition of a serf is one who is slavishly dependent upon an overlord and quite content with such a restricted state, the Pew data demonstrates that the Western European majority has already reverted to a modern version of the selfsame degraded condition from which it was liberated less than three centuries ago. And as long as serfs are clothed, fed, housed and cared for, they do not care if their cause is benevolent or malevolent, or if their master is god or demon.

Hence, through absolutely no fault of its own, America may indeed stand alone, and much sooner than anyone publicly anticipates. In this dreadful context, the fact that one of our own great political parties has been captured by those who favor dependency, appeasement and surrender shows just how dangerously compelling the cult of serfhood has become – that it is literally an invitation to national suicide. The only rational alternative – the only hope for the survival of American liberty and what remains of Western Civilization – is the Bush Doctrine: warrior-like assertion of America’s absolute right to defend itself by all means necessary -- and the whining serfdoms of this planet be damned.

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posted by at 12:03 AM : Comments (1)
March 17, 2004

SCO Ordered to Produce Examples of Code (Again)

Repeating the order she issued in December, Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells has directed SCO to provide specific examples of the allegedly heisted code.

She is requiring IBM to provide certain pieces of documentation, as well. (See the linked article for all the details.)

In light of the legal brouhaha, it was only a matter of time before some enterprising soul launched a start-up to shield LINUX users who prefer to monkey with streamline the software to fit their particular deployment.

HP was the first to offer LINUX users protection, with companies like Novell and Red Hat quickly following suit, but many people in the LINUX community felt that the indemnification wasn't enough, because those companies require that users make no edits to the software. Open Source Risk Management seems to be doing it properly by providing consultation and insurance to the core LINUX demographic.

Their mission statement is certainly idealistic enough:

OSRM's vision is of a world "made safe for Open Source" - a world in which the unique freedoms and efficiencies of the Open Source Software Development Model are fully protected through comprehensive, low-cost vendor-neutral Open Source Insurance available to end-users, developers, and vendors.

I hope OSRM knows success beyond their wildest dreams. I really do.

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posted by Linda at 06:14 PM : Comments (1)
March 11, 2004

Laughing Wolf on "The Scary Looking Gun Ban"

Laughing Wolf summates the motives behind anti-gun thinking rather well. (Just follow the link.)

His post also reveals the fallacy of such authoritarian thinking, and helps me gel my own thought on the matter: ultimately, it's about fear. The authoritarians fear loss of control. People like me fear the loss of freedom. I do not think that the two psychologies can ever meet in the middle. Either someone wants to tell me how to live, what to eat, how I should think or express myself, whether I should own guns, etc.; or they don't.

I prefer the company of people who are content to let me live in peace, without interference, and trust that I am an ethical person with a strong sense of responsiblity and accountability.

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posted by Linda at 11:45 PM : Comments (0)


In the 2000 Presidential campaign, a microphone picked it up when George W. Bush leaned over to Dick Cheney and whispered that he thought Adam Clymer was a "major league asshole." By the end of the day, the various networks and news agencies had it plastered everywhere, as a lead-in, with reporters and pundits sternly declaiming GW for his "meanness and nastiness."

Yesterday, John Kerry made a very serious allegation with the statement, "these guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group that I've ever seen," and no one made a peep. It's true that ABC, CBS, and NBC played the clip, but they certainly didn't lead with it, and ABC avoided offering a value judgement about it. NBC, on the other hand, merely tagged it as "harsh", and CBS passingly suggested that it demonstrated the "dark side" of politics.

Think about that.

Then think about this: if Kerry makes allegations of that nature, shouldn't he be expected to provide real, substantial, material proof? Oh -- but he hasn't any, has he? Besides, next week he'll be claiming that he and the President have always been the best of chums.

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posted by Linda at 04:46 PM : Comments (4)
March 10, 2004

IRS Revenue Ruling 2004-06 Update

Back in January, I urged all my readers to get in touch with their elected representatives, and direct them to write the IRS in oppostion of proposed IRS Revenue Ruling 2004-06. I'm sure regular readers remember the provisions of this outrageous clause. It could impose vague, open-ended criteria on alerts sent to subscribers of online and printed newsletters from such agencies as the GOA and NRA, and apply them after the fact. This could effectively silence such organizations, thereby denying voters important information on matters such as anti-gun legislation.

I promised you all updates on this issue as appropriate.

I've been keeping an eye out, but could find no news either online, or in printed media. So, I wrote to Gun Owners of America, who were responsible for the original alert, asking them what's become of the measure.

Here is their reply:

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your email and your interest in this very important issue. To date, there is still no final disposition on the IRS regs, as the agency has not announced its final ruling. We'll be sure to alert our
members when it does.

Thanks again for the email and for your activism in defending our liberties.

Frank Pejack
Public Liaison, Gun Owners of America

I will update again on this matter as events unfold.

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posted by Linda at 07:10 PM : Comments (0)
March 08, 2004

Dreadful Alternatives

by Loren Bliss

I AM STRICKEN by such a painful sense of betrayal, its pangs have not dulled even slightly with the passage of nearly two weeks. On the basis of everything I can discover, the proposed Constitutional amendment endorsed last week by President Bush is a Trojan Horse cunningly designed by its fundamentalist Christian authors to undermine every last vestige of America’s 228-year experiment with liberty, and its clandestine intent is to clear the way for imposition of a theocracy as viciously heavy-handed as anything characteristic of the Taliban.

What I am reporting here are dire analyses by others presumably far more qualified than I to pass judgement on Constitutional matters. The following is an excerpt from libertarian-conservative Andrew Sullivan’s blog on 26 February, the day after the President announced his support for the proposed amendment:

"THE FMA AS TROJAN HORSE: Here's an email from a Republican lawyer who sees the religious right amendment as a device to do far more than just deny gay couples constitutional protection. The amendment is just the beginning of the religious right agenda:

‘Now that opponents and proponents of gay marriage are all riled about the FMA its time to talk about the true impact of including a definition of marriage in the Constitution. The potential impact of inclusion of the FMA will effect every American straight or gay because the FMA is not about gay marriage, it is a dangerous Trojan Horse that could completely redefine the powers of the federal government. As an attorney who is researching this issue, let me explain to the best of my ability, why I haven’t been sleeping well since Tuesday.’

‘Under the Constitution of the United States there is no express right to privacy, rather this right to be free from excessive government interference in our personal lives has arisen from Supreme Court precedent that cites the lack of regulation of intimate relationships and the protections of the bill of rights as the basis for an inference of the right to privacy. The right to privacy, according to the Supreme Court, is found in the penumbras and emanations of these two factors. A shadow of a right, very delicate and now threatened.

‘By including a provision regulating the most intimate of relationships into the Constitution, the traditional analysis that the court has used to limit government power will be fundamentally changed and the right to privacy, if it is not destroyed completely, will be severely curtailed. As a result, decisions like Roe v. Wade, (Abortion), Griswold v. Connecticut (Birth Control), Lawrence v. Texas (Private Sexual Acts), will all be fair game for re-analysis under this new jurisprudential regime as the Constitutional foundation for those decisions will have been altered. A brilliant strategy really, with one amendment the religious right could wipe out access to birth control, abortion, and even non-procreative sex (as Senator Santorum so eagerly wants to do).

‘This debate isn’t only about federalism, it’s about the reversal of two hundred years of liberal democracy that respects individuals. So why isn’t anyone talking about this aspect of it?’

"With luck, this agenda will be revealed as this amendment is discussed and debated. The most important thing to remember is who is behind this amendment: Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer, Robert Bork, Rick Santorum. For them, gays are just the beginning, the soft targets before the real battle. Memo to straights: you're next."

Seeking additional expert opinion, I read the above to a lawyer named David Minikel, who works out of a busy office near Tacoma, Washington, and whose judicial victories include winning one of his clients a rare pardon from President Bush in 2002. Minikel said he agreed that the proposed amendment, if approved, "would open a Pandora’s Box," because until now the thrust of the Constitution "has always been to limit government power, not expand it." Which means, Minikel added, the fears expressed by Sullivan and his correspondent are "legitimate concerns."

Moreover, "the only time the United States ever tried to amend the Constitution to discriminate against a class of people – those who drink – it was a disaster." The 18th Amendment imposed national prohibition; it required the 21st Amendment to repeal it. And the 18th Amendment, said Minikel, "was an aberration" -- apart from that one instance, the function of the Constitution has always been "telling the government you can’t take away our rights."

Astute readers will note that I have gotten this far in this essay without once using the terms "gay" or "lesbian" or "homosexual" in my own remarks. That is because what is happening here is related only incidentally to individual expressions of sexuality or love – which the demagogues of the authoritarian right are using as a kind of latter-day Reichstag Fire to stir up homophobia, encourage gay-bashing and panic the electorate into enacting dire measures.

Thus the proposed federal marriage amendment– a logical outgrowth of the kind of theocratic thinking Ellen Craswell made infamous via her allies’ own web pages. Craswell was the 1996 Republican nominee for governor in Washington state, and her nomination marked the subversion and brazen takeover of the state GOP by a vindictively authoritarian fundamentalist fringe group, a veritable Taliban of intolerance and theocratic intent. Here are some representative samples of Craswell’s ideology:

"As Christians consider their responsibility, there are three vital principles to remember.

"First, government is God's institution! Civil government exists and functions by God's command, not because cave men created a social contract.

"Civil government began in Genesis 9:1-7, when God instructed Noah after the flood. In Exodus 20-22, God through Moses gives a specific pattern for civil government.

"Scripture is full of God's sovereignty and interest in civil government. In Daniel 2:20-21, God removes and sets up rulers. In Proverbs 21:1, he turns a ruler's heart. In Romans 13:1, He ordains civil powers. Clearly, government is not a secular institution but a God-ordained institution.

"A second key principle is that God has every right to direct His institutions. Indeed, Scripture reveals God's will, rules and leadership qualities for the home, the church... and the government!

"God also gives qualifications for leadership, both in the church (1 Timothy 3:1-7) and in civil government (Exodus 18:21). Imagine our state and nation under leaders with these Biblical qualities: ‘able’ and ‘fears God’ and speaks ‘truth’ and ‘hates covetousness’!

"The third vital principle to remember is that secularizing government is an affront to a Holy God! We are often told that government and politics should be secular. But would we allow Biblical Christianity to be excluded from our homes or churches? So why quietly capitulate to arguments saying we should keep God's Word and God's people out of God's institution of civil government?

"We need to petition God for revival before privatization of our faith results in complete secularization of government.

"The role of a civil leader is to enable government to fulfill God's purposes...Having ‘done our own thing’ for decades, we are now suffering the gaping devastation of crime, broken homes, abused and aborted children, sexual immorality, drug and alcohol problems, corrupt government, reckless taxing and spending, warped welfare programs and deficient education...Half-hearted measures will never solve these full- scale problems. The answer begins with a return to God and His ways."

Anyone who is not sufficiently troubled by the Talibanic tone of the material quoted above -- or anyone who merely wants to contemplate the full text of this brazen rationale for theocratic tyranny -- can access the entire manifesto, entitled, "The Biblical Basis for Christians in Politics and Government."

Predictably, the debate over the proposed marriage amendment is already more bitter than anything I’ve witnessed in years – maybe ever. The sheer venomousness of the authoritarian fundamentalists’ hatred of homosexuals is as appalling as it is infuriating, and the fundamentalists’ self-righteous intent to prohibit civil unions merely underscores the extent to which the cancer of religiously motivated intolerance – with all the associated risk of tyranny – is still gnawing at the American body politic.

But would the amendment as proposed in fact prohibit civil unions? Here is its exact wording:

"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution nor the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

The proverbial fly in the metaphorical ointment lies in the phrase, "marital status or the legal incidents thereof," which includes health insurance for domestic partners, survivors' rights and a variety of other boons that were formerly granted only to the legally married. Extension of those benefits to unwed domestic partners was typically the result of a long hard fight, whether via the courts or labor negotiations or both, and the prohibition against "" nullifies the basis of all those victories. When President Bush attempted to reassure the public the amendment he had endorsed would in fact continue to support domestic partnerships, he apparently did not know of what he was speaking.

Nor are homosexuals the measure’s only intended victims. Prohibition of domestic partnerships could inflict particular hardship on elderly heterosexuals like myself – people retired and on fixed incomes who might choose to live together for companionship but cannot afford the tax hikes and pension reductions that would be imposed by formal matrimony. For this reason, I surely hope the American Association of Retired Persons is paying attention to this controversy. If not – since I belong to AARP – maybe I’ll send the organization’s officers a copy of this column in the hope it will alert them to the danger. It would not be incorrect to label the proposal a compulsory marriage act – an attempt to restructure law so that "the legal incidents" of marriage are available only through marriage itself – which the ensuing debate has already made clear is part of the fundamentalists’ malicious intent.

Moreover, the controversy has of course already again cloven the conservative community into its authoritarian and libertarian factions – a schism of precisely the sort I was discussing last week in "Divide et Impera" but of much greater and more potentially ruinous magnitude. The most important question is how much the split – which grows more acrimonious by the moment – will damage Republican prospects in November. Based on what happened in Washington state in the 2000 elections, when anger at the fundamentalists cost Sen. Slade Gorton (D-WA) his seat and gave control of the Senate to the Democrats, I believe the President’s decision to ally himself with those who would wreck the Constitution and impose theocracy will be a costly one – very costly indeed.

The greatest tragedy is that now we as Americans face a jarringly unsatisfying choice. We are offered John Kerry, who pledges to render us defenseless by dismissing Islam’s 1300-year war on civilization as merely a crime problem, or George Bush, who has cast his lot with those who would pervert America into the Christian version of a Talibanic state. I cannot recall a time in U.S. history when we faced such pivotal questions but were left with such dreadfully limited alternatives. It will not surprise me if voters elect to stay home in droves.

As to the fate of the measure itself, I take a lot of comfort from the words with which David Minikel concluded our conversation: fortunately, said Minikel, the Founders designed the Constitution so that it could not be changed in the heat of passion, and as a result, amendments have been few and far between. A debate of the sort underway now is healthy precisely because it compels people to think – "and when you think about (this proposal), you immediately start getting cold feet."

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posted by at 07:21 PM : Comments (2)
March 05, 2004

Victim Mentality

So, rather than crack down adequately on the criminals, British police prefer to warn citizens that they could be mugged.

Absurd. And sad.

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posted by Linda at 10:50 PM : Comments (1)

Never Again.

Kim Du Toit says it all. Just follow this link.

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posted by Linda at 12:26 AM : Comments (2)
March 03, 2004

Gun-grabbers defeated for now.

The extension of the Assault Weapons Ban has been defeated for now. (Link takes the reader to the original Fox News article, which serves as the source for the following commentary.)

Yet, we did suffer setbacks.

Senate Democrats gunning for a ban on assault weapons unexpectedly forced down a bill Tuesday that would have prevented gun manufacturers from liability after the bill's sponsor said the amendment made the measure too unpalatable.

I find the very idea of holding a gun store owner or gun manufacturer liable for the actions of a criminal "unpalatable".

The Senate voted 90-8 to defeat the bill that would deny victims the opportunity to sue gunmakers and dealers when their products are used in a crime. The vote followed a 52-47 vote to attach an amendment that would have renewed for 10 years the assault weapons ban set to expire this year.
That's the best part of this.
The Senate also voted 53-46 to require background checks of purchasers buying guns at private shows.
I'm disappointed by this. People argue that gun shows are "black markets", seething with criminal evil-doers who are just frothing at the mouth to kill hundreds of innocents, but my father is a gunsmith and a legal dealer, and I can tell you that just isn't so. Perhaps it's just my years spent as a range safety officer, but it seems to me that the vast majority of gun-owners are pragmatic, safety-minded people who understand the responsibility entailed with holding a firearm.
Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, who sponsored the bill that was strongly supported by the National Rifle Association, said it was doomed because of the amendments.

"The semiautomatic ban, the gun show loophole, a variety of other kinds of issues could simply drag this bill down and deny us substantial tort reform," Craig, an NRA member, said.

I lived in Idaho for a while. Craig is a good man. He speaks the truth: the amendments were meant specifically to bog the legislation down, and essentially pull its teeth. The gun show amendment alone was dangerous, because it required every single person entering the show to be aware of the new limitations and requirements. If so much as one person failed to receive the information, then everyone sponsoring and selling at the show could have been sued.

Even more laughable is this:

"It is a most bizarre and unusual day," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who opposed the measure to relieve gunmakers from liability and sponsored the assault weapons ban amendment.

Even more bizarre is how you manage to remain in office, Dianne. I really have to wonder how long you think you can ride on a complete lack of common sense and understanding of the term "individual liberty". Oh! Of course! I forget. These matters are far too weighty and important to be entrusted to the plebeians, erm, People. You alone have the wisdom to determine the best course for all of us.

Here's a head's up: people grow up and come to realize that authoritarian elitism is never in their best interest. Let me introduce you to one of your former constituents.

This is the type of person you would leave defenseless, Dianne. But then, I know what your real goal is. Once you defang the common citizen, you can step in with your nanny-state "protection", "for our own good", of course. It's Socialism you want to to achieve, Feinstein, and it just drives you mad to think that there are people like me standing in your way, doesn't it?

You are not fit for public office.

Feinstein and Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said they believed that the NRA heavily manipulated the vote by Republicans and accused President Bush of being absent during a time when his leadership was needed.

Pardon me? Come on! If the President had been there, you lot would have whined about his presence adding undue pressure to the outcome of the proceedings. Additionally, the NRA simply made sure that the issues were known by the People so that we could make our will known by contacting our Senators. I know that concept is anathema to you, but do try to keep at least a thin veneer of American principles on your activities.
Bush said during his last presidential campaign that he supports renewing the ban on at least 19 types of military-style assault weapons. But he has not stood up in strong support for any legislation calling for a ban.

Nonetheless, Democrats accused the bulk of Republicans of kowtowing to the National Education Association after Executive Director Wayne LaPierre sent a letter to GOP leaders announcing that the NRA opposed passage of the bill with its amendments and note recorded votes for future use.

"... Having made our decision, this vote on final passage is a key vote for the NRA and will be used in our future evaluations and endorsements of candidates for the U.S. Senate," LaPierre wrote.

"It is satisfying to know that the truth has come out... it's a pity, the American people have to look and say whose country is this?" Lautenberg said.

I'll tell you whose country this is. This is my country, and the NRA is my organization. It is not only our right, but our responsibility as Americans to notice legislators who would vote to constrain our basic God-given liberties, and thereby choose to remove them from office.

If you don't like it, I suggest that you consider moving to the socialistic nation of your choice. I can promise you one thing: unlike people who immigrate to America, you would forever be an outcast there. You would never again hold a political office.

But that might be a benefit.

House leaders said last year that they did not want to renew the ban, which opponents argue is ineffective and unnecessary. The White House had hoped for a "clean" bill — one with no amendments attached.

But Republicans, including Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner of Virginia, voted for the ban extension, saying he had changed his mind over the last 10 years when he voted against it after hearing testimony from his state's law enforcement officers.

"Law enforcement has shown that it has reduced the use of these weapons in crime, so my words pale in significance to the law officers of the four corners of the commonwealth of Virginia," Warner said.

No. Think your statement through. You see fewer of these sorts of firearms used in crime because they're harder to get. I'll make you a prediction: should all guns be banned, you would see a decrease in their use in violent crime. Conversely, you will see a marked increase in the use of knives and clubs.

The violent will always find a way to try and prey on others. The best deterrent is when they're wondering if that little Granny woman is going to pull out her .357 and help them answer the Final Question, should they accost her.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said that he supported the requirement of gun dealers at private shows to ask for government checks before selling weapons because it would close a deadly loophole.

"Today's Senate vote to close the gun show loophole is a victory for common sense ... Americans will be safer when this sensible proposal becomes law," McCain said.

Ten Republicans broke party ranks to extend the ban: Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Olympia Snowe of Maine, George Voinovich of Ohio and John Warner of Virginia.

McCain has just lost my respect in perpetuity. Remember these names. Relieve them of public office in the next elections.
Six Democrats voted against extending the ban: Max Baucus of Montana, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Zell Miller of Georgia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Harry Reid of Nevada.

Democratic presidential contenders John Kerry (search) of Massachusetts and John Edwards (search) of North Carolina broke away from the Super Tuesday campaign trail to cast votes — their first of the year. Both voted for the renewal and the background checks.

The appearance of Kerry and Edwards in the Senate for their first votes of the year underscored the political overtones of the assault weapons issue. Democrats argued that law enforcement officers and regular citizens all would be safer if the assault weapons covered under the bill continued to be banned.

Remember these names. These are the elitists who believe they know best for all of us. Remember that Kerry and Edwards voted to whittle away at your rights.
"These are weapons of war. They are designed to kill a lot of people quickly," said Schumer, who authored the 1994 gun ban while in the House

Pithy falsehoods. The ban included hunting rifles with decorative touches like folding stocks, bayonet mounts, pistol grips, or flash suppressors. The so-called "assault" or banned rifles are otherwise ordinary hunting rifles. Additionally, "assault rifle" is a misnomer, and is intended to serve as a scare tactic. "Assault weapons" are, again, merely semi-automatic hunting rifles. Semi-automatic merely means that you don't have to manually cock the hammer of the firearm each time before you pull the trigger. This is an advantage when you have a deer in your sights, and failure to bag it means that your family will eat lean over the winter.

Some of us still hunt to help fill the freezer, Schumer. Do your homework, and quit using scare tactics. I'm going to work to keep the public informed of your obfuscation and lies.

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posted by Linda at 12:21 AM : Comments (4)
March 02, 2004

The Folly: SCO to File LINUX Lawsuit Today

ZDNet has the latest.

Despite an ongoing battle of documentation between Novell and SCO, McBride and his organization have yet to provide examples of the allegedly stolen code.

Now SCO has expanded their lawsuit to include another company. McBride declines to name who it is, but he hints that the company has had licensing agreements with SCO in the past.

That could be any number of different people. There are several manufacturers out there who have given their customers the option of a SCO bundle for their servers. Lots of those companies have also offered LINUX, as well as Novell and Windows. (I have a guess as to who SCO may be targeting, but I'll hold my peace until further events unfold.)

As someone actively working in the industry, I say that this case still smacks more of sour grapes than anything else. SCO sees its end looming with the growth of stable, user-friendly open source platforms. These lawsuits are the desperate thrashings of a company drowning in its own inefficiency.

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posted by Linda at 06:01 PM : Comments (1)
March 01, 2004

Hillary Clinton: An example for birth control

That stupid, soulless bitch. She seems to think that the women of Iraq were better off with Saddam around.

There is so much material to tear apart in the article, I thought I should just link it, and invite my readers to leave a comment should it please you.

All I have to say is this: if Hillary cannot see that the women of Iraq and Afghanistan are better off without the rape gangs, tortures, and murders, then she should go live there herself. I'm sure she'd look the best she ever has in a burqa. I'd be happy to contribute to the ticket. Anyone else?

Also, her hypocrisy is tangible in her whinge about avoiding slavish adherence to unrealistic timelines that might undermine our work over there. I find it pretty goddamned laughable, considering that she's been one of the loudest proponents for pulling out.

Her Daddy should've pulled out.

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posted by Linda at 05:04 PM : Comments (2)