A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Road To Hell

I work for a large ``scattered site`` property management company in the City of St. Louis, and often visit the sleazy underbelly of the city as part of my duties. (My job is a bit hard to define; I show apartments for lease, I collect rent, I speak with tenants when there are complaints or police problems, I sign up new clients, I check units for maintenance, and I check to see if properties are vacated. This job is not for the meek or squimish; we occasionally find dead bodies in places, we ALWAYS find roaches and spiders, we go into places full of rat and mice droppings, etc. People with Compulsive Disorder need not apply. Although it can be disgusting and aggravating, I generally enjoy it; it is much like being a cop, although less dangerous. I never have the same day twice.

Recently I visited Hell; more specifically, I visited a crack-infested area of north St. Louis. We have a client who purchased his buildings full of people, and who found that he had been scammed because the previous owner had filled the place with lowlifes from the street so it LOOKED like a full, income producing property. These tenants stole everything that wasn`t nailed down, then left the building in dreadful condition.

Two weeks before my visit, our maintenance staff secured the building with plywood. At that time we had two tenants still living in the upstairs apartments, while the two first floor apartments were vacant. One of the upstairs tenants had returned her keys to our office, and a collegue and I went to check on things.

The building looked long abandoned. Every window on the first floor had been broken out, and all of the back doors were standing open; the vandals had succeeded in cutting through the plywood we had used to secure the doors. They had entered both first floor units, both basement units, and the recently vacated upstairs. There was a huge hole in the side wall of the building where vandals had tunneled through the bricks with the intention of stealing the entire window. (It was obvious that they had thrown the bricks they removed from the wall through the other windows of the building.) Trash and debris was strewn throughout the yard, and the fence had been pulled down.

The basements had been stripped of copper and other hardware.

We went through the vacant units methodically. Inside was pure filth, with trash, dried food, used cotton balls and Q-tips and used condoms on the floors. It was obvious that people were using drugs and prostituting in this horrible place. (I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine performing a sex act inside this disease infested place!) Walls were down to bare studs in spots, or had food or human discharge on them. I feared sticking myself with a used needle accidentally.

Fortunately, since there was no heat and the food supply was exhausted, we weren`t met by an army of bugs, as is common. (Have you ever seen a living carpet? It looks like a ragged brown carpet until you see it move!)

We went upstairs into the vacated apartment and found an electric heater running at the head of a bed, and realized that a squatter had just fled through the front door while we were coming up the back stairwell. This place was as trashed and filthy as the others, yet someone was living here! We went down the front and around to the back where our ``tenant`` was waiting for us to leave. He tried to claim that he had come to help the former tenant move, and we chased him away. Of course, he would come back as soon as we left.

While we were talking to our squatter, the one remaining tenant came down to talk to us. She had been living in this apartment with no heat, since she couldn`t pay her gas bill. She had two school-aged children, who are never in school whenever we go to this property, living in this hell-hole. Since the theft of her water lines (they steal them to for copper) she had been without any water, and hadn`t bothered to call this in to the office. They had continued to use the toilet, and the feces had formed a cone which rose above the toilet seat, forcing them to defecate standing up. When they grew thirsty enough, they walked the two blocks to the nearby gas station and bought a bottle of water. No big deal!

Maintenance came with 30 pieces of plywood and extra-long screws to resecure the place (at the owner`s expense) but it won`t be long before they have to head back there to do it all again. We decided to give this tenant notice to vacate, and my co-worker was going to contact family services, because those children were being raised like animals.

The plight of those kids really struck me; they are the walking dead. The boy was undoubtedly going to join a gang in a couple of years and would either be dead on in prison by the time he was 17. The girl would probably become a drug addict (as I`m sure is true of her mother) and would go into the family prostitution business. She would probably die of some easily treated illness after first spitting out a couple of children of her own, thus perpetuating the cycle. I see nothing but coffins in their near futures.

This is what Liberal policies and good intentions have wrought! (What is paved with good intentions?) Feminism, welfare, and the sexual revolution, along with the explosion of narcotics, have completely destroyed the black family. This woman had a father, who was probably a dope-fiend who lived on welfare. In another time, he would have been poor and uneducated, but would have worked and stayed around to care for his children. Thanks to the compassion of the left, he was freed of any responsibility and could destroy himself and everyone around him at his leisure. Because more children mean more government largesse, women in the ghetto become baby factories, spitting out more hopeless welfare recipients and keeping our prisons functioning at peak capacity.

Those children deserve better. They deserve an education, a clean home, hope. The nanny state steals hope. It offers the easy way to live at the expense of real pride and any upward mobility. Sloth is the hallmark of the welfare state, and sloth leads to ignorance and despair.

There is absolutely no reason for a place like this to exist. This building and this family are a monument to the insanity that is Liberalism. Without decades of leftist social experimentation this place would never have been.

But Liberals meant well, they are always well intentioned.

We know what is paved with those intentions; I just made a visit to that place.

Monday, January 30, 2006


I thought that I was clumsy! This guy has me beat hands down!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The View From Jerusalem

One Jerusalem has a couple of excellent posts that you will not want to miss.

They chronicle a series of bombings in western Iran which the Iranian government is attributing to the British and may be the rumblings of a Coalition action against the Terror Masters. At the very least, it means that the Coalition isn`t putting up with Iranian meddling in the insurgency. Any way you slice it, it is welcome news.

Also, we get a birds-eye view of the sweep by Hamas of the Palestinian elections, and what possible scenarios Israel may be facing. Considering that the writers are in Jerusalem, we get a truly first-hand account!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Static Noise on I.D. and Darwinism

Our old friend Craig over at Static Noise has some thoughts on the conflict between Intelligent Design and Darwinism. Don`t miss it!

Saddam`s WMD`s and Willful Ignorance by the Media

Where are Saddam`s WMD`s? Find out at the American Thinker!

Border Contraband

Isn`t it about time we did something about border security?

This from the NY Times:

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 26) - Drug smugglers have dug one of the longest, most sophisticated tunnels discovered in recent years along the Mexican border, and the American and Mexican authorities have hauled nearly two tons of marijuana out of it since they entered it on Wednesday, officials said.

The tunnel is 60 feet below ground at some points, five feet high, and nearly half a mile long, extending from a warehouse near the international airport in Tijuana, Mexico, to a vacant industrial building in Otay Mesa, Calif., about 20 miles southeast of downtown San Diego. The sophistication of the tunnel surprised officials, who found it outfitted with a concrete floor, electricity, lights and ventilation and groundwater pumping systems.

The authorities said a tip led to the discovery.

"The tunnel is absolutely amazing," said Michael Unzueta, special agent in charge for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency's San Diego office. "It is probably the biggest tunnel on the southern border so far."

On the American side, agents found about 200 pounds of marijuana in the building in Otay Mesa, which had several bays for tractor-trailers. On the Mexican side, drug agents found a pulley system at the entrance to the shaft and several thousand pounds of marijuana and hauled it out for several hours Wednesday. Mexican authorities also found seven cellphones, two trucks, a van and various documents in the warehouse, according to a statement from the Mexican attorney general's office.

The customs enforcement agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Border Patrol are sending a forensics team from Los Angeles to determine how long the tunnel has been in use.

The tunnel is one of the latest to be found along the border. Most are attributed to Mexican drug cartels searching for ways to move contraband into the United States, but some appear to be the work of smugglers of illegal immigrants.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, when border security was tightened, agents have uncovered 21 tunnels of varying degrees of length and sophistication, from "gopher holes" to engineered marvels like Wednesday's discovery, Mr. Unzueta said.

The builders, he said, "had to have access to money and somebody with a strong construction and engineering background."

"Our quick assumption is it's the drug cartels," he said.

The tunnel, Mr. Unzueta added after touring it, " is almost like a mineshaft."

Wednesday's discovery was the result of a tip investigated by a task force of federal agents devoted to tunnels. On Monday, they narrowed their search to the area in Otay Mesa and notified Mexican agents about what they suspected was the opening of the tunnel near the airport.

Both sides began digging. Mexican agents discovered a concrete-lined, 85-foot-deep shaft in a warehouse, descended, walked through the tunnel and popped up on the American side, Mr. Unzueta said. Officials on each side are searching records to determine who owns the buildings.

Also on Wednesday, several miles west of the big tunnel, the authorities found a smaller one about two feet underground and extending 30 feet across the border near a storm drain after a United States Border Patrol vehicle hit a sinkhole.

01/26/06 22:41 EST

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Like, How Does the Pope Get to be Bishop of Rome?

Richard Neuhaus illustrates the ignorance of journalists, and deals with Andrew Sullivan in First Things today.

Unconstitutional Obstruction

Matt May makes some great points on the constitutionality of the current efforts to obstruct judges in the Senate in an article in the American Thinker today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Conservative Friend of Terror

In a shocking post, our friend Always on Watch outs Grover Norquist as a friend to radical Islam. This is something that must be read!

Birdblog Gets `Lost`

I`ll admit it-I am a fan of the television show Lost. (It`s about the only t.v. show I really watch.) I`ve been following the adventures of Oceanic flight 815 (I`m sure the flight number has relevence-I`m not sure how) since the beginning, and thought I`d go ahead and post what I`ve gleaned from it thus far.

First, the ground rules; according to the producers, everything has a real world explanation-even if it is not scientific or likely-and all of the names of the characters are important to the subject. Many people have put forward the idea that these people are dead and in purgatory; this may be the case, but the answers to the mystery lie in the clues, not some supernatural deus ex machina, at least according to the producers. We have to look at things as they come.

I`m going to start with Desmond and the Hatch, and work my way backwards (and forwards, and sideways) so bear with me; this may be a bit confusing.

First off, I`ve read that the name Desmond means ``kindly protector`` although I haven`t been able to verify it. This fits, though, because the word Dharma comes from the Buddhist concept of ``peace of mind`` and, according to a Buddhist website I checked, literally translates ``protection``. So Desmond is the protector, pushing that silly button every 108 minutes to ``save the world`` as he was told by his partner. Now his partner came out of the jungle and rescued Desmond when he crashed his boat, and we don`t know exactly what became of him. Desmond seemed very nervous but no totally exhausted-as anyone would be if they never slept more than an hour and a half at a stretch. What does this tell us? That Desmond`s partner was not gone long. I think this is important.

Remember, names are important on this show. Who did Anna Lucia kill? His name was Goodwin (Good One?) and he, much like John Locke on the other side of the island, was well versed in survival skills and woodcraft. Goodwin killed Nathan (just as Charlie killed Ethan) who was probably one of the Others. (Consider the similarities between the names Nathan and Ethan.) When pressed by Anna Lucia, Goodwin said ``Nathan was not a good person`` and was prepared to explain further, but that stupid b**** Anna Lucia killed him before he could say more.

I think Goodwin was Desmond`s partner. I think he left to guide the tail-enders out of the bad zone.

The hatch the tail-enders were living in was in ruins (unlike Desmonds) and the Dharma logo was different-it had an arrow in the circle. The Desmond hatch had a swan neck forming the yin/yang symbol. This suggests that the far side of the island is the war side, while the front end side is the balance; the far side is Haelin, the near side Shaolin. A balance of good and evil.

This fits with the abductions; most of the tail enders were abducted, and the Others tried to abduct Mr. Ecko (who we learned in the last episode had been a very bad man.) Perhaps the plane`s seating arrangements had been good people in front, bad in back? Granted, many of the front people were not that good. Sawyer, in particular, was a bad egg. But they were REDEEMABLE. Look at Kate; bank robber but killed her lover to stop him from killing innocents.

There was an old sci-fi classic called Forbidden Planet. In this movie a group of astronauts go on a rescue mission to save a stranded scientist and his daughter. The scientist found an ancient civilization, and was reconstructing their technology. An invisible monster roamed the land, and eventually killed the scientist. The monster was a manifestation of the Id, the hidden emotions of the scientist. This, I think, is the smoke monster on Lost.

I think the smoke monster is triggered by emotions, and I think it keeps the two sides divided. In fact, I suspect that the button has to be pushed every 108 minutes to ``reload`` the creature (because of the `incident` which somehow damaged the automatic reload feature.) The monster came after Mr. Ecko because he was a `bad` and began thinking like one when he was with Charlie. But Ecko had repented, and made his final decision when the monster came for him, so the monster stopped (right at the moment of decision) and left. I think the monster does other things as well; Locke wanted to get in the hatch so badly that the monster tried to grant his wish by pulling him into the hole.

I think the smoke monster keeps the Others from attacking the front-enders. I`m not sure how Ethan managed to infiltrate them, but I suspect it has something to do with the injections Desmond was giving himself. Why did the Others wait until Jack, John, and Sawyer were at the center of the island to make their move? I think it was the boundary (in fact, Zeke SAID that was the boundary), the place THEY couldn`t cross.

I think the children were all on that flight because they had special psychic abilities, and they have been taken for training. Remember, the Dharma training film said that the project was researching ``physics, zoology, psychology, and parapsychology``. I think Walt`s appearences have been psychic or holographic projections. He has appeared to give information, or warn the survivors.

I suspect Rose and her husband are more guides from the ``good ones``; we haven`t gotten any personal information on Rose, except that she had a husband on the tail-end. Why was he on the tail-end, while she was in front? I suspect she is a psychological reinforcement to keep their spirits up, and help keep them calm.

I suspect Jin`s father-in-law and Locke`s father are the financiers of the Dharma Initiative. I think both Locke and Jin were trained for their roles on the island by these men. Locke learned about hunting and woodlore from his father while Jin learned to fight.

In short, I think that this is a controlled experiment to understand good and evil. I think they have isolated these people for that purpose.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Family Fun Night Cancelled

It appears that cock fighting in Southeast Asia may be spreading avian flu.

There just isn`t anything left for families to do together!

The Devil Claims His Due

There is a piece in the American Thinker today in which Bookworm argues that the Democrats have become a cult of death. Her arguments mirror my own thoughts on the matter.

The Democrats shouldn`t be surprised by their slide into obscurity; how can a political party a. believe in materialism ie. nothing and b. advocate sending people to the abyss whenever they have outlived their usefulness or are inconvenient? If there is nothing beyond the grave, life must be precious. If life isn`t precious and there is nothing beyond the grave then an advocacy of abortion or euthenasia is truly monstrous, and the Democrats DESERVE to become footnotes in history.

The fact is, the Deathheads are more concerned with their own power, with their own godhead. This has always been the case with tyrants and despots and those who view themselves as deities. Mortal man cannot give life, but a would-be deity can imitate the divine by taking it. This gives the illusion of godlike power, and the Left has always sought to seat itself on the Throne.

But to advocate death is a two-edged sword, and is as likely to cut the wielder as the victim. The Democrats made a pact with the devils of Planned Parenthood and the like, and those demons must now be paid.

The Democrats haven`t lost their souls-they sold them. Payment is now due.

Going On Their Mariana Way

Is President Bush`s guest-worker program a good idea? The experiment has already been conducted-with disasterous results.

How bad could it be? Just ask any U.S. citizen of the Northern Mariana Islands. For example:

Distortion. But moves to limit abuse are irrelevant to the more fundamental impact of a foreign-labor program: the abnormal development of the host society. The foreign-labor program has completely transformed the CNMI's society in a single generation. About 70 percent of the population is now foreign-born, almost all of it non-citizen. Chamorros, the main indigenous ethnic group, used to be a clear majority; they are now barely a quarter of the population.

The guestworker system has also reinforced in the locals a culture of pervasive dependence on government. Fully 70 percent of the labor force is non-citizens, and at least 85 percent of all private-sector jobs are held by Asians. U.S. citizens have an unemployment rate triple that of non-citizens; of the indigenous Chamorros who do have jobs, 56 percent work for the government, fueling a doubling in the size of the bureaucracy since 1980.

The 2000 census found a poverty rate on the islands of 46 percent, up significantly from just two years earlier, and nearly quadruple the U.S. rate. A recent survey found that two-thirds of children in the Commonwealth received food assistance from the local or federal government. The number of people receiving federal Food Stamps specifically has increased more than sevenfold in less than a decade.

What is more, the system is ripe with corruption-just ask their lobbyist Jack Abramoff!

``Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it``

George Santayana

Monday, January 23, 2006

Will the Last Western Man to Leave Please Turn Out the Lights

I came across this excellent piece from Tech Central Station which analyzes the empty cradle syndrome here in the Western World, and considers the serious ramifications in Europe and elsewhere of western depopulation. This dovetails with a piece by Mark Steyn in which he argues that Europe is finished, and will probably be completely gone in 50 years or less.

We may well be on our last legs; with Europe sliding into a morass of beaurocratic ineptitude and political correctness, Islam continues to grow and expand, and will eventually take over. Russia has even greater population problems (what with abortions outnumbering births) and both the Islamic world and the Chinese are pressing hard. American fertility is a bit higher, but we are likewise being inundated with peoples from Latin America (of the three, I think we are the most fortunate; our invaders want to work and live decent lives-not overthrow us and institute sharia.) Any civilization requires a certain number of people to continue. Those people must pass on the values and traditions of that society, or the society will perish. We in the West have lost all confidence in our values and traditions, and think that ``tolerance`` requires we commit cultural suicide. That, coupled with a non-replacement level birthrate (the wages of sin...) means that our civilization will go out not with a bang, but with a whimper.

With Islam poised to conquer in Europe and Russia, with Chinese men rampaging in Asia (remember, hardly any girls are being allowed to live in China thanks to the one child policy), and with the massive surge of dirt-poor Latinos invading the United States, we are facing a new Dark Age.

A Dark Age with nuclear devices and bioweapons is a frightening thought.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Europe continues its slide into politically correct despotism.

EU Passes Resolution Banning “Homophobia” 468 -149

By Terry Vanderheyden

STRASBOURG, January 19, 2006 ( – Members of the European Union passed a resolution Wednesday to ban all so-called homophobia within its member states. The resolution passed by a significant majority – 468 in favour, 149 against and 41 abstentions.

Among other things, the resolution called for action against member states who fail to implement programs directed at fair treatment of homosexuals in employment and occupation, and to “ensure that same-sex partners enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of society.”

Polish MEP Konrad Szymanski called the debate a “waste of time.” “Member states have their legal instruments to protect the rights of their citizens, and there is no need to organise some sort of union to protect homosexuals, as it would – quite on the contrary – undermine European integration,” he said.

Franco Frattini, EU commissioner for justice, freedom and security riled homosexual activists when he suggested that a resolution was unnecessary. He argued that the European Community already has the power to prosecute hatred against homosexuals through Article 13 of its Treaty on discrimination. Discrimination is already “expressly forbidden” by the Treaty, he said, adding that the Commission would continue to “fight against homophobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

One commentator, former MEP and homosexual rights advocate, Joke Swiebel, commended Christians and conservatives, who she referred to as “lunatics,” for not being more vocal against the resolution. “Another positive point is that the lunatic fringe was apparently very silent,” she said. “It does not pay anymore to shout against gays and lesbians in the Parliament itself.”

Wearing the Conservative Burke-a

My brother e-mailed me this essay from the Wall Street Journal. It`s good, although I do have some problems with it:

The Burke Habit

Prudence, skepticism and "unbought grace."


In "The Conservative Mind" (1953), a founding document of the American conservative movement, Russell Kirk assembled an array of major thinkers beginning with Edmund Burke and made a major statement. He proved that conservative thought in America existed, and even that such thought was highly intelligent--a demonstration very much needed at the time.
Today we are in a very different and more complicated situation. Nevertheless, a synthesis is possible, based on what American conservatism has achieved and left unachieved since Kirk's volume. Any political position is only as important as the thought by which it is derived; the political philosopher presiding will be Burke, but a Burke interpreted for a new constitutional republic and for modern life. Here, then, is my assessment of the ideas held in balance in the American Conservative Mind today.

Hard utopianism. During the 20th century, socialism and communism tried to effect versions of their Perfect Man in the Perfect Society. But as Pascal had written, "Man is neither angel nor brute, and the misfortune is that he who would act the angel acts the brute." In abstract theory was born the Gulag. One of conservatism's most noble enterprises from its beginning was its informed anti-communism.

Soft utopianism. Both hard and soft utopianism ignore flawed human nature. Soft utopianism believes in benevolent illusions, most abstractly stated in the proposition that all goals are reconcilable, as in such dreams as the Family of Man, World Peace, multiculturalism, pacifism and Wilsonian global democracy. To all of these the Conservative Mind objects. Men do not all desire the same things: Domination is a powerful desire. The phrase about the lion lying down with the lamb is commonly quoted; but Isaiah knew his vision of peace would take divine intervention, not at all to be counted on. Without such intervention, the lion dines well.

The nation. Soft utopianism speaks of the "nation-state" as if it were a passing nuisance. But the Conservative Mind knows that there must be much that is valid in the idea of the nation, because nations are rooted in history. Arising out of tribes, ancient cosmological empires, theocracies, city-states, imperial systems and feudal organization, we now have the nation. Imperfect as the nation may be, it alone--as far as we know--can protect many of the basic elements of civilized existence.

It follows that national defense remains a necessity, threatened almost always by "lie-down-with-the-lambism," as well as by recurrent, and more obviously hostile, hard utopianisms. In the earliest narratives of the West, both the Greek "Iliad" and the Hebrew Pentateuch, wars are central. Soft utopianism often has encouraged more frequent wars, as it is irresistibly tempting to the lion's claws and teeth. The Conservative Mind, most of the time, has shown a healthy resistance to utopianism and its various informing ideologies. Ideology is always wrong because it edits reality and paralyzes thought.

Constitutional government. Depending on English tradition and classical theory, the Founders designed a government by the "deliberate sense" of the people. The "sense" originated with the people, but it was made "deliberate" by the delaying institutions built into the constitutional structure. This system aims at government not by majorities alone but by stable consensus, because under the Constitution major changes almost always require a consensus that lasts over a considerable period of time. Though the Supreme Court stands as constitutional arbiter, it is not a legislature. The correct workings of the system depend upon mutual restraint among the branches. And the court, which is the weakest of the three, should behave with due modesty toward the legislature. The legislature is the closest to "We the people," the basis of legitimacy in a free society. Legislation is more easily revised or repealed than a court ruling, and therefore judicial restraint is necessary.
Free-market economics. American conservatism emerged during a period when socialism in various forms had become a tacit orthodoxy. The thought of Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman informed its understanding of economic questions. At length, the free market triumphed through much of the world, and today there are very few socialists in major university economics departments, an almost total transformation since 1953. But the utopian temptation can turn such free-market thought into a utopianism of its own--that is, free markets to be effected even while excluding every other value and purpose . . .

. . . such as Beauty, broadly defined. The desire for Beauty may be natural to human beings, like other natural desires. It appeared early, in prehistoric cave murals. In literature (for example, Dante) and in other forms of representation--painting, sculpture, music, architecture--Heaven is always beautiful, Hell ugly. Plato taught that the love of Beauty led to the Good. Among the needs of civilization is what Burke called the "unbought grace of life."

The word "unbought" should be pondered. Beauty has been clamorously present in the American Conservative Mind through its almost total absence. The tradition of regard for woodland and wildlife was present from the beginnings of the nation and continued through conservative exemplars such as the Republican Theodore Roosevelt, who established the National Parks. Embarrassingly for conservatives (at least one hopes it is embarrassing), stewardship of the environment is now left mostly to liberal Democrats.

(Editorial note: Here is where I begin to disagree; What of early Conservative writers such as C.S. Lewis? We are in an era almost completely devoid of real art-it is not just a conservative issue.)

Not all ideas and initiatives by liberals are bad ones. Burke's unbought beauties are part of civilized life, and therefore ought to occupy much of the Conservative Mind. The absence of this consideration remains a mark of yahooism and is prominent in Republicanism today. As if by an intrinsic law, when the free market becomes a kind of utopianism it maximizes ordinary human imperfection--here, greed, short views and the resulting barbarism. (See the above comment. It seems Dr. Hart is a bit of a snob.)

Religion. Religion is an integral part of the distinctive identity of Western civilization. But this recognition is only manifest in traditional forms of religion--repeat, traditional, or intellectually and institutionally developed, not dependent upon spasms of emotion. This meant religion in its magisterial forms.

What the time calls for is a recovery of the great structure of metaphysics, with the Resurrection as its fulcrum, established as history, and interpreted through Greek philosophy. The representation of this metaphysics through language and ritual took 10 centuries to perfect. The dome of the sacred, however, has been shattered. The act of reconstruction will require a large effort of intellect, which is never populist and certainly not grounded on emotion, an unreliable guide. Religion not based on a structure of thought always exhibits wild inspired swings and fades in a generation or two.

Abortion. This has been a focus of conservative, and national, attention since Roe v. Wade. Yet abortion as an issue, its availability indeed as a widespread demand, did not arrive from nowhere. Burke had a sense of the great power and complexity of forces driving important social processes and changes. Nevertheless, most conservatives defend the "right to life," even of a single-cell embryo, and call for a total ban on abortion. To put it flatly, this is not going to happen. Too many powerful social forces are aligned against it, and it is therefore a utopian notion.

He just devoted two paragraphs to the need to support traditional religion, then chucks it all away with his diatribe against the pro-life stance. Opposition to murder can hardly be called Utopian, and a belief in the sanctity of Life is the cornerstone of Conservativism. OF COURSE there are powerful forces driving the ``right to choose``; those are the same forces of selfishness which drive crime, drug abuse, alcoholism, sloth, etc. They also belong to those who seek a more genetically pure nation. As Conservatives, should we accept this?

Roe relocated decision-making about abortion from state governments to the individual woman, and was thus a libertarian, not a liberal, ruling. Planned Parenthood v. Casey supported Roe, but gave it a social dimension, making the woman's choice a derivative of the women's revolution. This has been the result of many accumulating social facts, and its results already have been largely assimilated. Roe reflected, and reflects, a relentlessly changing social actuality. Simply to pull an abstract "right to life" out of the Declaration of Independence is not conservative but Jacobinical. To be sure, the Roe decision was certainly an example of judicial overreach. Combined with Casey, however, it did address the reality of the American social process.

The purpose of abortion was Eugenics and the enabling of an immoral lifestyle, and had nothing to do with the rhetoric of Libertarianism. Dr. Hart is wrong in saying this was not a liberal ruling. Planned Parenthood can be traced directly back to the Eugenics movement, the same movement which spawned Naziism. Furthermore, refering to the ``right to life`` as Jacobinical would horrify our Founding Fathers!

Wilsonianism. The Republican Party now presents itself as the party of Hard Wilsonianism, which is no more plausible than the original Soft Wilsonianism, which balkanized Central Europe with dire consequences. No one has ever thought Wilsonianism to be conservative, ignoring as it does the intractability of culture and people's high valuation of a modus vivendi. Wilsonianism derives from Locke and Rousseau in their belief in the fundamental goodness of mankind and hence in a convergence of interests.

George W. Bush has firmly situated himself in this tradition, as in his 2003 pronouncement, "The human heart desires the same good things everywhere on earth." Welcome to Iraq. Whereas realism counsels great prudence in complex cultural situations, Wilsonianism rushes optimistically ahead. Not every country is Denmark. The fighting in Iraq has gone on for more than two years, and the ultimate result of "democratization" in that fractured nation remains very much in doubt, as does the long-range influence of the Iraq invasion on conditions in the Middle East as a whole. In general, Wilsonianism is a snare and a delusion as a guide to policy, and far from conservative.

I suppose Dr. Hart has forgotten that we were attacked on Sept. 11, and that we had an ONGOING state of war with Iraq with the Iraqi government shooting at American planes and attempting to assassinate former President Bush. What would HE suggest? This is not Wilsonianism, which sought the democratization of the whole World through a myopic vision of peace. These are practical measures-just as they were in Germany and Japan after the Second World War, and as they were in the South after the Civil War. Dr. Hart wishes to return to the an isolationist policy which simply cannot work in the modern era. If we ignore our enemies they will multiply and destroy us.

The Republican Party. Conservatives assume that the Republican Party is by and large conservative. But this party has stood for many and various things in its history. The most recent change occurred in 1964, when its center of gravity shifted to the South and the Sunbelt, now the solid base of "Republicanism." The consequences of that profound shift are evident, especially with respect to prudence, education, intellect and high culture. It is an example of Machiavelli's observation that institutions can retain the same outward name and aspect while transforming their substance entirely.

The Conservative Mind is a work in progress. Its deviations and lunges to ideology and utopianism have been self-corrected by prudence, reserved judgment as an operative principle, a healthy practical skepticism and the requirement of historical knowledge as a guide to prudent policy. Without a deep knowledge of history, policy analysis is feckless.
And it follows that the teachings of books that have lasted--the Western tradition--are essential to the Conservative Mind, these books lasting because of their agreements, disagreements and creative resolutions. It is not enough for conservatives to repeat formulae or party-line positions. The mind must possess the process that leads to conservative decisions. As a guide, the books, and the results of experience, may be the more difficult way--much more difficult in a given moment than pre-cooked dogma, which is always irresistible to the uneducated. Learning guards against having to reinvent the wheel in political theory from one generation to the next.

Now here is an interesting point of disagreement; Dr. Hart is one of those who believe in a small, disciplined Conservativism. One that maintains purity and which daily fights in David-like fashion against the Goliath of the mainstream. This is the Conservativism which accomplished little.

We must bring the common man into our tent in order to win, and to do that we must have formulae or party-line positions, since the average person does NOT ``possess the process that leads to conservative decisions``. Let`s face it; most people do not adjust their lives based on high ideals or well thought out principles; this is the reason the mainstream media is successful-they drum slogans and easy answers into the heads of the non-intellectuals. You don`t succeed with the Proletariat with fancy arguments and intellectually stimulating conversation-you do it with ``pre-cooked dogma``. The next generation accepts this dogma as a natural part of their background, if you do a good job of it. (How many people actually thought about social security when it was implemented? How many take it for granted today?) The intellectual processes are for the core of the movement. I`m not arguing that it is ONLY for the core of the movement (which is true in liberal circles) but that we simply won`t get far if we try to teach philosophy to those who care not a wit for philosophy. We have to act realistically.

For the things of this world, the philosophy of William James, so distinctively American, might be the best guide, a philosophy always open to experience and judging by experience within given conditions--the experience pleasurable or, more often, painful, but utopia always a distant and destructive mirage. Administrations come and go, but the Conservative Mind--this constellation of ideas--is a permanent achievement and assesses them all.
Mr. Hart, professor of English emeritus at Dartmouth, is author of "The American Conservative Mind Today" (ISI, 2005). This is the last in an occasional series.

All in all, I think this was a good piece, even though I had some disagreements. I think it is important for us to understand ourselves if we are to avoid the snares and pitfalls which frequently destroy a movement like ours.

A Tribute to Reagan

James Joyner has a nice tribute to Ronald Reagan at Tech Central Station. He includes some economic figures from the `80`s which put things into perspective.

Opinions Wanted

Don over at Current Observations is soliciting opinions on the line between freedom of religion and the ``compelling interest`` of the State. Everyone should drop by and throw a penny in the pot.

While you are there, don`t miss Embracing Socialism, his punch-out of the Democrats. In fact, be sure to check out everything Don writes! It will reward you handsomely.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Tough Love

Christopher Orlet wields some tough love for the CIA at the American Spectator. He hits a bullseye!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Puppet Masters

According to the BBC, Kim Jong-the mentally Ill, fearless leader of North Korea, has just concluded a secret state visit to our good friends in the Peoples Republic of China. The reasons for the Ill one`s reticence are fairly obvious, but the motives of the Chinese seem a bit obscure.

According to the article;

Beijing has been under pressure from Washington to use its leverage as the North's main ally to persuade Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table to discuss its nuclear programme.

I think that misses the whole point.

The communist leaders of China all believe that the 21st Century is going to be the Chinese Century. Most of the top military people in China see war with the United States as inevitable, and China has made the reabsorption of Taiwan into their Red Dragon system the cornerstone of their future plans. Thanks in large part to Bill Clinton`s determination to hang onto his 43 percent plurality and remain President of These United States, a great deal of restricted dual-use technology made its way to China in the `90`s for campaign contributions(remember Loral Aerospace giving the Chinese technical support to fix their satellite launches?)thus giving our Confucian friends a means of actually hurting us. Couple that with the power vacuum left as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of radical Islam, and the progressive deterioration of Western Civilization, and it should seem obvious what path the rulers of China will follow.

This all goes back to the Cold War; the Soviet Union, ever determined to stick it to us Capitalist Pigs, sided with the Arab nations in the Arab/Israeli conflict, and gave material aid and assistance which led to the formation of many of the terrorist groups with which we now grapple. Iran and Syria have been two major players in the world terrorist trade, and they were mentored by the KGB and Red Army. Once the Soviet Union collapsed there was no longer anything to restrain monster which had been created. (I remember during my misspent college years we had to translate speaches by Gorbechev. In one speach he gave to the Politbureau shortly before the end he pointed out to America this very danger-along with the fact that the Soviet Union was full of terrible weapons which would scatter to the far corners of the Earth..)

So, as a side effect of the Cold War (and our own assistance to the Mujihadeen in Afghanistan) and the value of Middle-Eastern Oil, we have witnessed a resurgent Islam attack this nation and Europe.

But what, you may ask, does this have to do with North Korea? I quote the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu;

``Thus one who excels at employing the military subjugates other people`s armies without engaging in battle, captures other people`s fortified cities without attacking them, and destroys other people`s states without prolonged fighting. He must fight under Heaven with the paramount aim of `preservation`. Thus his weapons will not become dull, and the gains can be preserved.``

The Chinese have sold weapons to state sponsors of terrorism. They have given training and technical advice to Iran, Syria, Yemen, etc. They have wormed their way into Cuba and the Panama Canal.

Does anyone think that North Korea acts against the wishes of Peking?

That old stinker Vlad ``Pepi`` Le Putin may hope to pull their chain, but Russia simply doesn`t swing that kind of lumber any more-China does. North Korea is a proxy for the Chinese.

China is playing an old game; one played throughout history. They encourage ``brush fires`` and hide their hand. When they feel they are strong enough they will stand up.

This is a true axis of evil. It includes the Russians, the Chinese and North Korea, and the Islamic Terror network. Our failure to deal with China as part of the Cold War left an enemy at our backs. How could we claim victory against communism when over a billion people still live under that wretched system? We can`t. We may pay dearly for that failure. We are eventually going to have to face the puppet masters.

Let us not forget that radical Islam is the beginning; this is truly a world at war!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Justice Is Blind

Moonbat Leftie ``peace activist`` and St. Louisan Bill Ramsey brags to an audience about not having paid taxes in 33 years:

Instead of paying taxes, he said, he and others put an equivalent amount into a common pot. They fund causes they deem appropriate, such as food pantries.

"Most war-tax resisters believe it is right for a nation, a country, a government to collect taxes as long as it will be used for the common good," he said. "They just don't believe the Pentagon has anything to do with the common good."

Ramsey said it is rare for the federal government to prosecute war-tax resisters, especially those with little income.

"What happens if you don't pay your taxes?" he said. "The IRS would like us to think we go to prison. That is not what happens — for the most part.

"If you make $25,000 you are not a big fish in their pond," he said. "And they are not interested in long processes. The agents are paid bonuses for collecting money. Anything we do to string out the process generally deters them."

Ramsey has gone to prison once for not paying his taxes. Technically, it was for violating his parole.

When his former employer, the American Friends Service Committee, agreed to garnish his wages, Ramsey quit and started his own organization, the Human Rights Action Service.

"That way I would not have to put an employer between me and the IRS," he said

Considering the indictment of Tom Delay on bogus political charges, the question leaps into mind-why isn`t this guy in jail?


Thomas Lifson, over at the American Thinker, has learned that one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU case against President Bush and the NSA is a communist and granddaughter to the Rosenbergs.

You may remember the Rosenbergs; they were the couple who betrayed their country by giving nuclear secrets to the Soviets and ushering in the age of Mutual Assured Destruction.

Once a Red, always a Red, I guess. This illustrates the real agenda of the ACLU; it is not about protecting American liberties, but about hurting America to advance their leftist agenda.

If you don`t believe that, ask Jay and the folks from Stop The ACLU!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tequila, Tortillas, and Al-Quada

According to Jihad Watch, people associated with Osama Bone-Laden have been offering money to be smuggled across the border from Mexico into the United States. This should come as no surprise; as porous as the border is, it is a logical point of entry for terrorists who are on the watch list.

If you can move people into the United States illegally, what is to stop you from bringing in nerve gas, or anthrax, or a nuclear device?

What ever happened to the old Soviet suitcase nukes, anyway? Last I heard they were missing a few...

Nuclear War Approaching

Michael Simpson, writing at the Reform Club, links to a ``future history`` retrospective on the nuclear war between Iran and America.

I am forced to concur; if Iran developes atomic weapons, they will use them-probably through terrorists to avoid retalliation. What can we do? The World will oppose any action by us, and we will be in the terrible position of either taking the loss of one or more cities (and emboldening our enemy) or retalliating in kind and murdering millions of innocent people. Neither option is acceptable.

But we are fast approaching the point of no return. Iran learned from Saddam and has buried their facilites in bomb-proof bunkers. (Remember the Israeli raid on the Osirak reactor?) Given the abyssmal intelligence we have on Iran, it is doubtful we could destroy their program with air strikes. We would need to send in black-ops, if we even know where all of their facilities are located, which is doubtful. We risk angering the pro-American civilians with air strikes, I might add. Furthermore, we really need to use those nuclear bunker busters to accomplish our objective. THAT would earn us universal condemnation.

Regime change was the only viable option. This could have been accomplished through a Contra-style assisted rebellion, but that solution is doubtful at this late hour. Are we prepared to invade Iran? That may be our only alternative.

I fear we will fiddle, play our silly partisan games, and make merry until the awful day is upon us.

The Missed Fork in the Road

Sorry for the light blogging; I`ve been a bit under the weather, and have been having computer troubles.

I was going to write a lengthy piece on Booker T. Washington, his views, and the battle he eventually lost with W.E.B. Dubois and the NAACP. I thought that this would be fitting for Martin Luther King Day, since MLK came more from the NAACP camp than the Washington camp, and I believe that ultimately did a great disservice to the black community.

Washington believed that financial success would lead to ultimate acceptance of African Americans (just as it did for every immigrant group which came to America) and he advocated hard work and righteous living. The Leftist Dubois and his compatriots at the NAACP (which was founded as a rebuttal to Washington`s policies) sought advancement through political power. Theirs was the easy path, and they were the more successful because of it. Who wouldn`t choose political power over sweat and toil?

The fact that such a group would look to politics and law to advance their status was illustrative of the times; the Twentieth Century was the era of big government and imperial legalism, and the idea of using the government to make advances in the interest of ``fairness`` would never have been considered at any other time.

The triumph of the views of the NAACP over the Washington camp reached fruition with the King movement, and his subsequent assassination elevated those views to unchallengeable by giving the cause a martyr. The African American community has been held in bondage to government largess, the professional civil rights leadership class, and the Democratic Party ever since. The black family has collapsed, crime has run rampant, out of wedlock pregnancy and drug abuse have become commonplace. These are all ``benefits`` of the welfare state.

Even those who adhered to Washington`s philosophy, who worked hard and made themselves successful, are never free from the taint of Duboisism. They can never point to their success in an unqualified manner, because they know that someone will say they were given this success by the programs and policies, by the helping hand of civil rights laws. They always feel second class, because those policies taint their accomplishments. Furthermore, the more successful they are, the more their own community despises them. Consider the ``House Slave`` accusations against Condoleeza Rice; Dr. Rice clearly deserves to be where she is, but the policies of racial discrimination FOR blacks has made her an object of suspicion. Since all upward mobility is viewed through the prism of politics it appears to other blacks (and many whites) that Dr. Rice was advanced through affirmative action (and probably with the assistance of strong legs)and not because of her accomplishments.

This is a self-reinforcing cycle of failure. Anyone who succeeds is suspect, and those who fail are rewarded with government money and assistance programs. That is why a black student who does too well is accused of not being sufficiently black. Who wants to face that kind of thing? Who is strong enough to not care what is being said about you at school? As a result, the talented black students quit aiming for higher things, and settle for being in the heirarchy of the civil rights class. This is abominable.

What have we lost on account of this? How many medical breakthroughs, how many solutions to problems have we lost because people of talent were told not to succeed?

When Booker T. Washington lost his battle, the entire Nation lost. The triumph of the NAACP enslaved the African American community to statism, poverty, and second class citizenship far more effectively than Jim Crowe. While Martin Luther King and his supporters had high ideals and genuinly wished to improve things, the net result of their efforts was to reinforce a destructive view of things, one which had opposite results from those Dr. King intended. It has been an American Tragedy.

It`s never too late for a new beginning. The initiative must come from the black community itself; they must rediscover their roots, learn about men like Washington, Carver, etc. who believed in the value of the individual, not in the power of the State. There are encouraging signs that this may be starting to occur.

So, enjoy your day off of work (if you get one-I don`t :() and bear in mind that there are two sides to every coin. MLK accomplished much good, but his legacy has not born such good fruit. It really is too bad that more people hadn`t listened to Booker T. Washington.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Rottweiler Fundamentals

Christian artist and blogger Tom Graffagnino has some thoughts on Richard Dawkins and a good poem on Rottweiler Fundamentals.

Here is a small taste:

Just Imagine for a moment,
There's no God who really rules...
Just Rottweiler Schools all preaching
How to cleanse Genetic Pools.

Tom has a lot of other great stuff, so be sure to look around while you are there.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Fightin` Words

This from First Things

If you win, then white supremacist organizations and the Ku Klux Klan can have license plates. There’s be a lot of road rage following that. So said a judge hearing a case brought by the Children First Foundation (CFF), headed by Elizabeth Rex. CFF encourages desperate women to choose adoption rather than abortion, and wants New York State to allow license plates with the motto Choose Life. Many states do allow them, and part of the proceeds from the higher-priced plates goes to the sponsoring organization. It has been a successful fundraising instrument for pro-life organizations. Some states also allow pro-abortion plates, but apparently there are few takers. New York has special plates for more than two hundred organizations, including the AFL-CIO and other labor unions, environmental groups, and Masonic lodges. The Choose Life plate is the only one that has ever been rejected. The state’s worry that such a plate would provoke road rage is a risibly thin disguise of animus toward the cause advanced by CFF. Perhaps the state should ban provocative bumper stickers. And I expect there are people who intensely dislike the AFL-CIO. Free speech for one is free speech for all, unless it involves incitement to illegal actions. Adoption is not illegal in New York State, at least not yet. Some readers might want to drop a note to Governor George Pataki and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Mexican Shooting Gallery

Tension is rising on the Mexican border:

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - U.S. Border Patrol agents have come under fire twice along the Rio Grande in Texas in recent days amid rising tension on the frontier with Mexico, although no one was reported wounded, U.S. authorities said on Thursday.

A Border Patrol spokesman said unknown gunmen fired on agents on patrol in Brownsville, Texas, late on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if the shots came from Mexico or from within the United States.

"Shots were fired, no one was injured and the FBI have taken the case over," Jose Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas, said by telephone.

Rodriguez said the shooting was the second along the same stretch of the Rio Grande in the past week, after agents patrolling the area in a launch on Friday came under a volley of gunfire from Mexico.

"On that occasion the shooters were hiding in brush on the Mexican side of the river ... The launch was struck by five bullets, although there were no injuries," he said.

That incident came on the same day a Border Patrol agent fatally shot a teenage Mexican immigrant as he crossed the border near San Diego on December 30, triggering widespread anger in Mexico and calls for a full investigation.

Speaking to Mexican diplomats late on Wednesday, President Vicente Fox reiterated calls by the Mexican government for clarification of the killing, and pledged to "ensure that total justice is done in the case."

The 2,000-mile (3,200-km) U.S.-Mexico border has always been dangerous, although violent attacks on Border Patrol agents have risen in recent months, especially in Arizona, where around half the 1.2 million undocumented immigrants nabbed crossing from Mexico were detained last year.

The Tucson sector Border Patrol said attacks on agents have almost doubled in recent months, and included cases in which officers have been shot at, rammed with cars and pelted with rocks by immigrants and smugglers.

We have seen criminality rising along the border in recent years, and now they`re shooting at border guards. (Our friend Alnot has confirmed this.)

Don`t we have enough problems with crime? Do we really want to import the criminal element from Mexico?

President Bush has an irritating tendency to think well of everyone, and he treats Mexican President Fox far too kindly. It`s time we crack the whip on Fox; either he takes steps to stop the illegal invasion of the United States and control the crime along the border, or we punish him. Mexico owes us a lot of money-we could threaten to call their loan, for starters. THAT would get his attention!

Fox is a big part of the problem; he is trying to export his own crime and unemployment problems to America. He needs to be made aware that we won`t tolerate this.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Serpent in the Apple

Our old friend Mattias Caro dishes on a new reality show which could be titled Temptation Seminary.

Mattias also shows that the makeover craze is getting completely out of hand, as illustrated by this story.

For those of you who haven`t visited Icarus Fallen you don`t know what you`re missing!

A Steaming Plate of Hypocrisy

Our dear friend Aussiegirl illustrates the Democrats ever shifting views of the Constitution in their manic attempt to stop a conservative from being seated on the Supreme Court in a terrific piece at Ultima Thule.

On the one hand when it comes to abortion, the Democrats demand that Alito admit that abortion is "settled law" -- meaning, I suppose that it is inviolate and carved in stone forever.

On the other hand, they also insist that the Constitution is a "living, breathing document" which is subject to reinterpretation in light of modern understandings and even the considerations of foreign law.

This is yeoman work-don`t miss it!

More Saddamy

Deroy Murdock gives us more on the Saddam/Terrorism connections in National Review Online.


Happy Friday the 13th!

If you are afraid of the number 13, and are especially fearful when Friday lands on the 13th day of the month, you are suffering from Triskadecaphobia.

According to

FRIDAY THE 13TH - how did Friday the thirteenth become such an unlucky day?
fear of Friday the 13th is rooted in ancient, separate bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday. The two unlucky entities combine to make one super unlucky day.
There is a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Balder died and the Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned.
There is a Biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.
A particularly bad Friday the 13th occurred in the middle ages. On a Friday the 13th in 1306, King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil.
In ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.

Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment. In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.
It is traditionally believed that Eve tempted Adam with the apple on a Friday. Tradition also has it that the Flood in the Bible, the confusion at the Tower of Babel, and the death of Jesus Christ all took place on Friday.
Numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. In exceeding 12 by 1, 13's association with bad luck has to do with just being a little beyond completeness.
FRIDAY THE 13TH - how is fear of the number thirteen demonstarted?
More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor.
Many airports skip the 13th gate.
Airplanes have no 13th aisle.
Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery.
On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.
Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue
In France, socialites known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
Many triskaidekaphobes, as those who fear the unlucky integer are known, point to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.
If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck . Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names.

Beliefnet has this to say about the matter:

Ever wonder what the big deal is about this silly date? We did. It turns out the history of Friday the 13th is complicated. There are superstitions about Friday, superstitions about the number 13—-which together seem to create the fear of Friday the 13th. Most of these superstitions are rooted in religion.

Amazingly, folklorists say Friday the 13th is probably the most widespread superstition in America. There’s even a name for the phobia attached to it: paraskevidekatriaphobia. Maybe a little information (see below) will help sufferers of this phobia. Or maybe we’ll all just dive for cover on Friday the 13th.

Superstitions about the Number 13

According to the 1925 book Popular Superstitions, fear of the number 13 is so widespread around the world that “it seems clear that, to the primitive mind of early Man, [13] had no real meaning--he stopped at 12. So persistent are these old instincts that, even today, we stop at ‘Twelve Times Twelve’ in our school multiplication triplication tables, though there is absolutely no reason whatever why we should do so.

According to this theory, since 13 represented the unknown to primitive people, it was “dangerous.”

According to David Emery of, 13-phobia may have come from the Hindus, who apparently believed it was always unlucky for 13 people to gather in one place. A version of the same superstition also from the Vikings: Twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, god of mischief, had been excluded from the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the total to 13. Loki then proceeded to incite Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who was a favorite of the gods. Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly.

Sometime after that moment in history, the superstition attached itself to the story of the Last Supper of Jesus and the 12 disciples. (Twelve plus one equals 13.) Judas, who rose first from the table, was the first to die.

On the other hand, the Egyptians at the time of the pharoahs considered 13 lucky, because they believed life unfolded in 12 stages, and that there was a 13th stage—the afterlife—beyond. That meant the number 13 symbolized death—as a happy transformation. Egyptian civilization perished, but the symbolism of the number 13 lived on as fear of death. (In Tarot decks the "Death" card bears the number 13 but retains its original, positive meaning: transformation.)

So it seems that if you are one of the unlucky sufferers of Triskadecaphobia, you are not alone! Millions of people worldwide are afflicted with this unfortunate malady.

(By the way, a black cat crossing your path needn`t be fatal; just make sure it wasn`t born in a blackberry bush. I`ve had a black cat for several years now, and he has brought nothing but good fortune!)

Remember, the men and women at the Center for Disease Control are working round the clock to find a cure for this malady, and fetal stem-cell research into the matter is showing great promise! Write your Senator or Congressman and demand that they fund stem-cell research, so that those unfortunate sufferers of TDP may have a brighter future!

(Paid for by George Soros and the Teddy Kennedy School for Driving.)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Moslem Lovin` Libbies

Jason Pappas from Liberty and Culture has a couple of great posts on Islam and the Left. Check them out here and here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


The incomparable Michael Ledeen explains Iranian intervention in Iraq, and why our incompetent intelligence community keeps calling them insurgents.

I`ve said it before, and I`ll say it again; Iran and Syria are the reason why the ``insurgency`` in Iraq continues, and we are going to have to deal with them if we are to establish a stable Iraqi democracy. Whenever we launch major offensives, we always bomb groups along the Syrian border. Why? Because they are hiding in Syria (along with Saddam`s chemical weapons.) Meanwhile, Iran maintains a revolving door policy while forging onward with her nuclear program.

If we had handled things properly, we would have taken steps to foment revolution in Iran and Syria. Ronald Reagan did this with the Contra solution in Nicaragua; he gave aid and training to those who would overthrow the tyrannical regime. Revolutions do not occur spontaneously in totalitarian states; they have to be made. (Revolutions are not cases of one group taking power from another; rather, they are the result of the collapse of control by the rulers leaving a power vacuum into which steps the revolutionary group.) Iran has been poised for one for some time, but the Iranian people need our backing. Iran has been trying to destabilize Iraq-we should have been returning the favor. That we have failed to do this has meant that the ``insurgency`` has dragged on and on (thanks also to the traitorous behavior of the Democrats and news media). We should have been setting up a rebellion since our invasion of Iraq.

We are now faced with the possibility of a nuclear Iran. Once Iran goes nuclear, they will be able to blackmail the entire region and there will be little we can do to stop it. We must prevent this from happening! Iran has been the cornerstone of terrorism throughout the world, and the madmen who rule Iran will have no qualms about giving nuclear weapons to terrorists. Given our completely open borders, it would not be difficult for some holy warrior to obtain his seventy two virgins and a mule by taking out Los Angeles or Houston. Can we afford that? Will WE take out Tehran in retaliation?

We need to deal with this problem yesterday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Racist Swiss At It Again!

The United Nations is sending ``the independent expert on contemporary racism`` to that hotbed of Naziism, burning crosses and bedsheeted Klansman-Switzerland! It seems those nasty Swiss are at it again! When will they ever learn?

I`m so thankful we have the United Nations to protect the World from this kind of thing!

In a related story, the United Nations has taken it upon themselves to act as guardians of diversity of cultural expression. My question is, if the U.N. calls Switzerland Xenophobic for maintaining their unique culture, how can they claim to promote diversity?

Could it be that some are more equal than others?

Unsealed With a Kiss

The Mullahs of Iran have unsealed their nuclear reactors.

Isn`t it about time to stop wooing and start doing?

Napoleon was a Moslem?

According to this piece in Human Events Online, Napoleon began the French practice of pandering to Moslems when he was in Egypt. This is a fascinating concept; don`t miss it!

Re: Come Pence?

It looks like David Hogberg`s pick is wrong and Mike Pence won`t be replacing Tom Delay.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Crossing the Line of Liberty?

John Tabin posted a quiz to see how far people think our government should go in matters of civil liberties and the War. (I pretty much agree with John.)

What do you, my learned readers and Sons of Liberty, think?

A Pence-ive Choice

David Hogberg argues for Mike Pence to replace Tom Delay in TAS this morning.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

No Links to Terrorism?

Clarice Feldman deals with pre-war Iraqi ties to terrorism in the American Thinker.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Laying Out the Welcome Mat

The Paragraph Farmer has learned that Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff sees no reason to defend our southern border.

May as well lay out the welcome mat!


Always On Watch said...
Have you seen this?

5:55 PM
Alnot said...
When I was working security near the border just North of San Luis several years ago a Border Patrol Agent who was demonstrating his infrared gear for me on a job site was fired on by a drive by with a semi auto. The guy was a lousy shot he did not even hit the vehicles we were standing next to. I hit the deck and had my nine pointed before the officer could even flinch. Since he was slow to react I did not fire. I always take the lead on agressive reaction from the law enforcement people and there where houses across the street I might have hit after they went through the shooters vehicle. I always insist on being armed when near or South of Gadsden. Those people have a crappy attitude but they respect weapons.

The Foolish, Fearless Left

Static Noise discusses fear, stupidity, and the Left. Don`t miss it!

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Blackness of the Hole

This post is going to be rather wordy, and probably dreadfully dull, so those of you without true grit may want to turn back now. For you, the intrepid adventurer into the cosmos, I must warn that we will be discussing such thrilling topics as stellar evolution, subatomic physics, Newtonian gravitational physics, General Relativity, and the final destiny of the Universe. If this fails to send you fleeing from your computer in a panic, you may proceed-but at your own peril! Don`t say I didn`t warn you.

Our topic today will be black holes. No, I`m not speaking of the yawning chasm between Jesse Jackson`s jaws, nor the place my taxdollars go, nor even Ted Kennedy`s liver or the region enclosed by Cindy Sheehan`s cranium. I`m speaking about collapsed stars (and I don`t mean Madonna!)

I thought this might be a good time to explain this, since I`ve been discussing black holes in relations to Entropy, and many of you, my learned readers, may be a bit hazy on the whole concept.

To begin this discussion, let me first explain the classifications of stars. There are, essentially, two groupings of stars-main sequence and non-main sequence. Main sequence stars have been carefully catalogued based on their temperature, and if an astronomer determines this (by studying the stellar spectrum) he can determine the absolute magnitude (real brightness, or luminosity) of a star and where it will fit into an exact pidgeonhole on the main sequence. Astronomers catalogue this using the Hertzsprung-Russel diagram, which places a star where it ought to be. Stars of the same class will display similar spectrum when analyzed, and this allows the astronomer to determine a great deal about the star-such as where it is and how it is moving relative the the Earth. If the star is classified as a G2, for instance, the shifting of the spectrum will tell if the star is moving towards or away from us, and at what rate. The classifications of main sequence stars is a vital part of astronomy.

Now, the main sequence stars are classed as follows: M,K,G,F,A,B, and O. (They are also classed by a number to denote temperature-e.g. G2 for the Sun.) The M class stars are the red dwarfs, and 9 out of every 10 stars in the galaxy are M. These are also the oldest, many of which date back to the beginning of the galaxy, and, thanks to their niggardly output of energy, will outlast most other stars. Proxima Centari (the closest star to Earth) and Bernard`s star are two examples of M class stars.

K class stars are yellow-orange stars, generally smaller and cooler than our sun. 61 Signi A and B are examples of this type, as is Alpha Centari B.

Our own sun is a G2 star, a yellow dwarf. Alpha Centari A is likewise G2, although it is slightly larger than Sol. Tau Ceti is a G0 star.

F stars are yellow white. An example is Fomalhaut or Procyon.

A`s are Blue white-eg. Sirius.

B`s are the blue Supergiants, such as Rigel, and O`s radiate mostly in ultraviolet becaus they are unbelievably hot.

Now many of these stars will eventually move off of the main sequence to become non-main sequence stars. Stars similar to our sun generally swell and cool, eventually expanding their wastelines worse than Sally Struthers and becoming Red Giants. Red Giants are generally M class stars, and are the largest in size of all known stars. (Betelguese and Aldebaran are examples of Red Giants.) Many of these great gas bags would swallow much of the solar system, if they were to replace our sun. In fact, the Sun will someday become such a star, and will probably swell to the orbit of Mars.

Red Giants remind me of Howard Dean; red, dull, and full of hot air.

After a red giant exhausts its fuel, it collapses into a white dwarf. A white dwarf is generally an A class star, fairly hot and rich in ultraviolets. There is no longer any fusion process occuring in a white dwarf, and the radiation coming from such a star is the result of pressure and friction caused as the body contracts. Most white dwarfs last only about a million years.

There are a number of other non-main sequence stars, which do not particulary concern us here.

Now, this process of expansion holds for many stars comparable to our sun, and is a normal event in our Universe. But what about larger stars?

At 1.4 times the mass of the sun a strange thing can occur. Indian Scientist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar worked out that any star above this mass limit will Supernova (explode) rather than collapse into a white dwarf after it has exhausted its nuclear fuel. That is, most stars above this limit will supernova. There are exceptions.

Sometimes, a star will refuse to blow, and will lose internal pressure. A star above Chandrasekhar`s Limit cannot become a white dwarf-it is simply too massive. It shrinks and shrinks, and eventually undergoes a frightening metamorphosis; it becomes a neutron star.

When the pulsars were first discovered, scientists thought that aliens were sending signals to them! They flashed radio waves with regular frequency, and appeared to be beacons of some kind. Eventually, it was discovered that they were rotating neutron stars.

Now, the matter we normally encounter is composed of protons (and neutrons) in the nucleus with electrons orbiting. These electrons generally maintain the same orbit (basic state) unless the atom is pumped with energy, in which case the electrons move into higher, set orbits (which are numbered) where they remain until the atom can spit out a photon of energy and the electron can return to the lowest orbit. (This fact laid the groundwork for quantum physics, by the way.) Now, inside of a star, matter is squashed together so tightly that the electrons are no longer able to maintain basic state. In fact, by being forced into the same space, the electrons cease to function as independent particles but become a kind of gas while remaining outside of the nucleus. This is called Degenerate Matter, and exists inside of many stars.

But this process can go further, and the electrons can be forced inside the protons in the nucleus of the atom. When this happens, the positive electical charge of the proton is canceled out by the negative charge of the electron, and the particle becomes a neutron.

A neutron star forms when a star with a mass higher than 1.4 solar masses fails to supernova, and collapses into a sphere generally about 10 miles in diameter. For two weeks during the collapse the dying star radiates x-rays, and then cools down. Often the collapse is accompanied by an acceleration of rotation, so a neutron star can rotate very rapidly (often a number of times per MINUTE). A hot spot on the surface of this strange star allows the body to release pent-up energy, and this causes the radio effect we witness with a pulsar. A neutron star is composed of pure neutronium-neutrons held by together by gravity and pressure. It is the densest matter in the Universe.

But what about the really big stars? At 5 solar masses, a very disturbing thing can occur; the star passes through the neutron star stage and continues to collapse. Eventually, it reaches a point where it disappears...

Isaac Newton described the behavior of the force of Gravity with his equation g=G x m1xm2/d. (It`s hard to write equations on the keyboard!) This means that (g)gravitational attraction equals the (G) the gravitational constant times the (m1xm2)mass of the two bodies in question multiplied together and divided by (d) the distance between their centers. What this means is that, as a massive body contracts, its total gravitational influence remains the same, but the gravitational attraction at the surface of the body increases. A neutron star is no more massive than the star from which it formed, but the gravitational attraction at its surface is enormous, since the center of the star is only about 5 miles away.

Now we have to get into General Relativity. (I promise I`ll be easy on you!) Einstein did not view gravitation as a force so much as a geometric configuration. Imagine, if you will, Bill Clinton snagging a leggy blond intern. After removing her panty hose he stretches them between the bedposts. Now, as he and his latest conquest remove jewelry and other items they toss these on top of the panty hose. What happens? The lighter objects make slight indentations on the surface of the hose. The heavy stuff (such as Bill`s little black book) make deep impressions on the hose. Now, when Bill rolls his wedding ring across the silk fabric (or cheap nylon), it does not move in a straight line but turns at the indentations in the fabric. Einstein viewed matter as bending the ``surface`` of the Universe in this manner. He saw gravity as being a matter of going down hill.

Vagueries in the motion of Mercury have proven his theory correct. (Einstein corrected problems in computation of orbits.) Anyone who has dropped a penny into a ``gravity well`` has seen just how this works.

This means that gravity can bend a beam of light; this effect is called the Gravity Lense, and is important if we are to understand why a black hole is black. Essentially, light can no longer strike the collapsing star. Gravity at the surface of the star is unbelievable, and the matter forms what is called a singularity. A singularity is a place where the mathematics which govern natural phonomena break down. Light can no longer strike the star, because it is being bent around it. This is called the event horizon because we can no longer see or experience any events beyond this point. This is also refered to as the Schwarzchild radius. Our star has disappeared from the perceptual universe.

Bear in mind, the total gravitational pull of the star remains the same (actually, it does grow a bit, as a result of swallowing up matter), but the gravitational attraction near the hole is tremendous. A normal star puts out radiation and solar wind, and has a magnetic field. A black hole has none of these, so black holes tend to suck in matter which comes too close (since they no longer have any repulsive forces). The diameter of the event horizon is generally a few miles.

For all intents and purposes, this object no longer exists as a part of our universe. Nothing can get out of the event horizon-not matter, not energy, not information. Black holes can only have three properties; Mass, Spin, and Charge. (A black hole can spin, and can hold an electrical charge under some circumstances.)

Anything pulled below the event horizon is lost to our universe.

As a result, black holes act as great entropic sinks (contrary to what reader Tice with a J thinks. Matter and energy enter, but they cannot leave, and this increases the overall entropy of the Universe, since that matter and energy is sequestered inside the hole. Since most stars are not single (like our sun) but are part of a binary system or cluster, matter is readily available to ``feed the beast``, and this is visible as an accretion disk. An accretion disk is like the whirlpool which forms when you pull the plug in your bathtub; it is a swirling vortex of matter and energy. Since most binary stars are relatively close together (Alpha Centari B is about as far from A as Uranus is from the Sun) there is usually plenty to go down the drain. This is all lost to the perceptual Universe we live in.

On exceedingly rare occasions a black hole can decay. This happens because of quantum mechanicals affects; a charged black hole can form a particle and antiparticle (a virtual particle) just below the event horizon. (This happens all of the time in the perceptual universe, but since they are opposites they cease to exist immediately as they are in direct contact.) In a charged hole, if an electron and positron form and the hole holds a negative charge electromagnetic repulsion can split these particles, ejecting one from the hole while keeping the other. This ``particle fountain`` can eventually decay the hole.

On the topic of decaying black holes, I need to point out that our Universe itself bears an eerie resemblence to a decayed black hole. It started as a singularity, the so-called cosmic egg, which exploded for no apparent reason. This Big Bang started the Universe on a major course of expansion, and with it came stars and galaxies and the physical laws by which everything operates. Maybe we are inside of the event horizon of someone else`s Universe?

There is a theory which postulates the existence of white holes, which act as counterparts to black holes. The idea is that the black and white holes connect via a wormhole (which is like a tunnel cutting across ``underneath`` the surface of space-time. The matter absorbed by the black hole is ejected by a white hole. It was suggested that the Quasars (Quasi-Stellar Radio Sources) were white holes. Quasars are the most distant objects know, and we really don`t know much about them, except they put out lots of radio waves and must generate unbelievable energies. This theory is no longer considered seriously, as black holes can account for the output of the quasars.

Oh, by the way, there may be a black hole at the center of our galaxy!

Another thing about black holes; they needn`t be formed from the great stars, as I have suggested in this piece. At the time of the Big Bang pressures on the newly liberated matter were immense, and black holes of all sizes could form. Many of these mini-black holes have disappeared through the process of decay, but we should eventually find some out there. It is thought by some that the Tunguska meteorite which flattened forest land in Russia in 1908 may not have been a meteorite or comet at all, but a collision with a mini black hole. (The strange way the trees fell makes some people think that heavy tidal forces whipped through the forest.) Mini black holes can be asteroid mass and up.

Einstein showed that time is dependent on the observer. He also showed that the faster the observer is moving relative to an event, the slower time proceeds from his viewpoint. Also, the deeper into a gravity well an observer travels, the slower time seems to proceed to him. As a result, if you were to fly into a black hole, you would never make it. (Of course, tidal forces would crack you like a walnut long before you could come to the event horizon.) The closer you got to the singularity, the more time would stretch out so that you would fly for your entire life and never quite get there. You could spend a million years flying into the hole, but you would never reach it! That is from your vantage point, however; to the outside observer you would fly right in!

Just think what a boon that would be to your wine-cellar! You could buy new wine at bargain-basement prices, fly it close to the singularity, and bring it out aged to perfection! Of course, the cost of this little sortie may be a bit steep...

Finally, I would like to take a moment to think about the end of things. There are three options currently considered for the final fate of the Universe. If the Universe does not contain sufficient mass it will continue to expand. As matter gets farther and farther apart, entropic decay (the tendency to wind down) will result in a continual loss of heat/energy until the Universe reaches absolute zero. This is refered to as heat death. A second option is the Steady State; virtual quantum continue to form new matter in the gaps between galaxies, and the Universe continues along as it is. Not many people are Steady Staters any more. Finally, if there is enough ``dark matter``, matter we don`t see floating about, gravitational attraction could cause the Universe to contract. It will eventually crush down into a giant black hole. This is called the Big Crunch, and many astronomers believe that we are inside a giant oscillating black hole-ever expanding and contracting.

What of God in all of this? Well, what is beyond our meagre little Universe? Everything, including the Universe itself, moves; what of the unmoved mover? Our answers simply bring more questions. We are placing the world on the back of an elephant, which we place on the back of an elephant, etc. Darwinists would have you believe it is elephants all the way, while those of faith say that God lies at the bottom of the elephants.

Remember, in the Book of Genesis, God said ``Let there be light`` and there was light! Well, what happened when that cosmic egg exploded? There most certainly was light! Light is the measure of everything in this Universe, and the photon is the only thing we know for certain is real. Isn`t that an interesting concept? Isn`t it interesting that the author of the Book of Genesis understood this?

The study of such things should be a source of great humility for the Human race. Consider how puny and inconsequential we are in the grand scheme of things! We are like frogs in a pond; aware only of what is directly in front of our faces, while remaining blissfully ignorant of the majesty before us!

``There is more under Heaven and on Earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy`` according to the Bard. He was more right than he knew.

Anyway, I hope you diehards who stuck this out enjoyed it.

A Bug in the Ear

(This piece is reprinted from The Federalist)

Bug 'em and bag 'em!

Eight months after George W. Bush was sworn in as our 43rd President, al-Qa'ida terrorists, under the direction Osama bin Laden, hijacked four commercial jets and used them to kill almost 3,000 of our countrymen, all of them noncombatants in a decades-old asymmetric war between Islamofascists and liberty.

Three days after that bloodshed, the U.S. Senate and House voted 98-0 and 420-1, respectively, to authorize the President by war resolution "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

Bin Laden and his terrorist cadre planned the 9/11 attack during the last three years of Bill and Hillary Clinton's regime, training the cell leaders and pre-positioning assets in the U.S. Bin Laden's actions were largely unabated by the Clinton administration, which was more interested in sending thousands of federal agents to search for a lone abortion-clinic bomber in the mountains of North Carolina than killing or capturing Osama. Eric Rudolph was a much more politically attractive target than Bin Laden back in 1998. Unfortunately, Rudolph evaded capture during that two-year manhunt. In the same time period, the CIA and military had several opportunities to take clear shots at Osama—but Clinton declined.

Fortunately, since 9/11, there have been no "future acts of international terrorism against the United States," in large measure because of the vision and determination of President Bush to implement his Doctrine of Preemption. Mr. Bush and our Allies dispatched the best fighting forces on earth, to Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations undisclosed, in an effort to take the fight to the enemy—the only way to prevail in The Long War against an asymmetric threat, particularly in the nuclear age.

Terrorists have not been able to strike again, but there have been plenty of acts of treason against the United States, most of which have been led by political opportunists like Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, John Kerry, Chuck Schumer, et al.

Insisting they "support our troops," these consummate leftists have emboldened the enemy by attacking our troops' Commander in Chief, with the insalubrious goal of gaining political ground. In other words, key Democrats are willing to use the lives of America's Armed Forces for nothing more than campaign fodder, going into midterm elections.

The Left's labors to undermine the administration's effort to protect the U.S. from a catastrophic WMD attack know no bounds.

In recent weeks, the Left attempted to derail the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act. As you know, first and foremost, the Patriot Act removes most of the legal and bureaucratic barriers preventing law enforcement and intelligence authorities from sharing vital information about terrorists and terrorist organizations targeting the U.S. and our citizens around the world. Implementation of the Patriot Act has, according to well placed intelligence sources, resulted in the prevention of significant terrorist acts on U.S. soil, including two interdictions of WMD, one of those being nuclear WMD. (For more details on the latter, see next week's edition.)

As the debate about Patriot Act reauthorization got underway in mid-December, it became clear that Democrats are making "privacy" a central theme of their midterm-election campaigns. Concurrent with that debate, but hardly coincidental, on 16 December The New York Times published a front-page story accusing President Bush of using the NSA to spy on U.S. citizens without a court order. As you now know, the story detailed how the National Security Agency targeted certain communications between known international terrorists and their U.S. counterparts or supporters.

Of course, the timing of the story not only bolstered the Democrats' privacy complaints against the Patriot Act, but it was dropped the same week Time's reporter James Risen released his book ostensibly detailing all kinds of Patriot Act abuses.

The Times and all their follow-up media claim their articles are "in the national interest" —to determine if President Bush has broken any laws authorizing the NSA surveillance. However, The Times had already determined, a year earlier when information about the NSA's surveillance program was first leaked, that President Bush had not violated any laws related to procedures outlined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. The President's actions were fully within his prescribed constitutional authority.

"The Constitution vests in the president inherent authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance (electronic or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents, and Congress cannot by statute extinguish that constitutional authority," wrote Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2002.

General Ashcroft's opinion was similar to that of previous administrations. Back in 1994, after the first attack on the World Trade Center by Islamists, Clinton's Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick argued, "The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General."

In fact, the only law that has been broken in regard to the NSA's activity is U.S. Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 37, Section 798, pertaining to the illegal release of national-security information.

Ironically, when former CIA case officer Valerie Plame was identified by the press as being with the CIA last year, Democrats were in full protest, accusing the Bush administration of disclosing the information to The Times as political retribution and calling for an independent counsel and a full investigation. They got that investigation, and it resulted in no criminal charges of a leak, because Plame was not a covert officer at the time she was identified as being with the CIA, and her name was mentioned by an administration official only after her husband, Joe Wilson, wrote an article for The Times about his CIA mission to determine if Iraq was procuring yellow-cake uranium from North Africa.

The exposure of Plame's association with the CIA had exactly NO implications or consequences for U.S. national security. However, the exposure of the NSA's methods and capabilities in regard to intercepting communications between terrorists targeting the U.S. has significant and immediate implications for our national security.

Why? Well, for example, in 1998, as al-Qa'ida was preparing their 9/11 attack, the NSA was tracking electronic communications from senior al-Qa'ida operatives, including Osama. When that information was leaked to, and by, the press, Osama disposed of his old satellite phone system and set up a whole different set of communication protocols, thus eluding detection of his 9/11 plans.

The same realignment of communication protocols is now taking place as a result of The Times NSA disclosure.

"Our enemies have learned information they should not have," said President Bush this week. "The unauthorized disclosure of this [NSA] effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies and endangers our country... It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war." Treasonous, actually—and the Justice Department will soon determine which Democrat operative is the culprit.

More to the point, former NSA director, Gen. Michael Hayden, said last week, "This program has been successful in detecting and preventing attacks inside the United States." Indeed it has, as we noted above.

So where are the Democrats protesting this traitorous leak—and demanding investigations? Don't hold your breath... Ironically, the Democrats have made "intelligence failures" the staple of their criticism of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now they seem determined to ensure intelligence failures.

As for The New York Times, to date, it has not even answered its own ombudsman's inquiry about the timing of its 16 December article. Not to be outdone by The Times, national media outlets have, in the last two weeks, published irresponsible headline stories on other intelligence methods, including secret U.S. detention centers for captured terrorists around the world and technology used in major cities to detect transit of fissile material.

For now, the Left got what it wanted—Patriot Act debate was reauthorized but put on a very short renewal lease of only one month. So the debate begins all over again this month. Regarding the privacy issue, The Patriot editors certainly advocate for redundant oversight of all domestic surveillance procedures because of the potential for civil-liberty abuses. But Democrats' objections to the Patriot Act have nothing to do with civil liberties and everything to do with political appearances.

There is no place for such trivial objections on the warfront with a determined enemy.

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