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June 29, 2004

We Will Return To Our Regular Schedule Shortly « Blogging »

Howdy Fertiliser Fans. It appears that Nathan is currently unable to post or comment here at MuNu. However, he is alive and well and planning to resume blogging as soon as humanly possible.

I am Pixy Misa and I approve this message.

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Posted by Pixy Misa at 02:08 AM | Comments (2)

June 28, 2004

Britney Spears and SSM (Updated Again for clarity) « Social Issues »

As I was reading through this post, a thought struck me. No, it didn't hurt, and I didn't strike back. Juvenile humor dispensed with, let's proceed, shall we?

Dawn objects to defenders of SSM using Britney Spears' unfortunate brush with matrimony as an example to demonstrate heterosexual marriage has already sustained damage worse than SSM could inflict.

I pretty much agree with her points, but I think the problem with the argument starts even earlier than that, with Britney Spears herself. If the battle-lines are drawn between liberal-leaning pro-SSM and conservative-leaning anti-SSM camps, then she's on their (liberal) side to begin with, not ours (conservative).

Because the gender diversity within a marriage bond was never really the issue. The disagreement is over the nature of society itself. The question is: do we have complete freedom to do whatever we want as long as it cannot be proven our actions harm anyone, or do we have a responsibility to establish and adhere to standards of conduct because the full consequences of potentially damaging behavior may not be observed until years or decades later? Or another way: do we have society only for the benefit for adults, or for children?*

Obviously, Britney Spears is not a part of a society designed to protect and nurture children and help them to achieve maturity safely. Hollywood itself is overwhelmingly aimed at adults. Don't believe me? Then why do children's shows include jokes and entendres that children cannot or should not understand? Because Hollywood knows that an adult (the one with the actual cash) will spend more money on a movie that doesn't bore adults. The entire entertainment industry is based on gathering money.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to outlaw Hollywood. I'm not trying to shame or marginalize anyone or anything for the sake of "The ChildrenTM", because I'm not actually advocating for new laws or programs. But I do want you to stop and think about how liberal and moderate adults want more freedom for themselves, and want to push responsibility for the protection of children off on parents. Rather than a society that is largely safe for children, with "adult"** areas clearly marked and cordoned off, many selfish adults (including the entertainment industry and most liberals) want a society in which anything goes, and parents must withdraw into their homes to try to re-establish some sort of control over what impinges and influences their children.

The Left & Moderates (through Establishment) tells us that if we don't like foul language and unnecessary sexuality, turn off the TV (knowing that most people won't). They tell us if we don't like Howard Stern, change the channel. If you don't want your children to hear curse words, you can always not curse yourself. Then they proceed to encourage situations that escalate, pushing the envelope of acceptability, which culminate in incidents like Janet Jackson's exposure and Bono's foul language and Britney's kiss of Madonna. You can't bring your family to a ballgame these days without hearing pretty much every bad word in the book. It's getting more difficult to go to any public event in large cities without seeing excessive sexuality on display (both hetero- and homo-). The pro-crudity lobby (my term, not theirs) pursues those of us who want to protect our children into every facet of our lives. Why do the the Gay Pride parades Dawn describes have more right to display in public than a nativity scene?

And when a conservative family does withdraw and homeschools their children, or to choose a private school where traditional values are easier to enforce, the Left derides them as naive and reactionary and trying to avoid the "real world". They fight to prevent vouchers and to outlaw homeschooling, mostly because they want to continue expanding funding to public schooling, sure...but making sure children are steeped in the Politically Correct liberal and atheistic ideology is a nice bonus, at the very least, if not the actual goal.

No, Britney Spears isn't a good example for Andrew Sullivan, et al, to bring up. Her marriage is a symbol of what is wrong with American society. Her marriage was the result of the same ideological force that is pushing SSM: a Godless, lawless, standardless, amoral, vapid sub-society that worships the unholy trinity of Money and Celebrity and Hedonism. The pro-SSM lobby using a Hollywood marriage as a portion of their argument is like a socialist saying the United States should be more socialist because Mao's and Stalin's ideas of Capitalism didn't work out.

Let me put it another way. I'd be willing to bet that if you broke the percentages of support for and opposition to SSM by status of marriage and parenthood, the vast majority of the people against SSM are married with kids, and the vast majority of people for SSM don't currently have any stake in the future beyond their own lives and desires. And what does that say?

Read More "Britney Spears and SSM (Updated Again for clarity)" »

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Posted by Nathan at 04:32 AM | Comments (6)
» Mind of Mog links with: Brain Fertilizer Indeed
» The White Peril links with: Send it in a letter, baby / Tell me on the phone
A Case for President Bush's Plan to Liberate Iraq « GWOT »

This needs an Instalanche, if you ask me.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:27 AM | Comments (0)
Hard Facts and Uncomfortable Truths « Politics As Usual »

Kim du Toit is a polarizing figure. The things he says receive outrage, admiration, outright dismissal, disparagement, applause...depending on your personal political and social view. He's been around the block enough to have a good idea of what he has found to be true, and won't soften his words if he thinks your opinion lacks validity. It's not that he's close-minded, I think, as much as he's already thought things through and seen how things work clearly enough that it would be extremely difficult to get him to budge in his opinions.

I will probably be exactly the same in another 10 years.

In any case, he's got a nice summary of the problems with the ideological left over at his site today. The comments are good, as well, so don't forget to click on those, too.


...what the Left seems to fail to grasp is the fact that most Left philosophy seems to start off with a premise that sounds like: "Oh, wow! Wouldn't it be cool if...", quite oblivious to the fact that all they have to do is study history to find out that a.) that "cool thing" has been tried before and b.) it failed, with horrible consequences.

Dead on. And unstated, but I think should be understood, is that I agree that it would be cool if [insert ideological left goal] came about. Obviously, it would be cool if no one ever had to worry about going hungry, or suffer discrimination, or die from not being able to afford health care, or have to kill to defend themselves or their freedom...but as Kim pointed out, we've already tried the things they propose, and they didn't work before because of the essential selfishness/short-sightedness of the vast majority of humans.

Sure, If you got the right people, socialism could work. Heck, find the right like-minded people, and even libertarianism could work, or anarchy, or bigamy. Unfortunately, the right people really don't exist, because things always fall apart on misunderstandings of intent or disagreements on how to proceed. A system that depends on people making the right decisions is only as good as the people making the decisions, and that's a poor system indeed.

I've said it before, and I'll repeat now for emphasis: the beauty of the United States Constitution is it took into account that most people act in self-interest, and the framers made sure that the pursuit of self-interest was channeled into and aligned with the common good.

A bonus excerpt:

In the absense of fact, all that's left [sic] are slogans -- government by bumper-sticker -- and reliance on "expert" opinion (again, not fact) to buttress their philosophy.

...which sort of explains Michael Moore and Paul Krugman, no?

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Posted by Nathan at 01:05 AM | Comments (3)
The Face of Our Enemy « GWOT »

Taliban kill 10 (some reports say 14) Afghanis because they were registered to vote.

Yes, they will kill to prevent people from having a say in their government.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2004

Hostage Crisis « GWOT »

Al Qaida has found a new game: beheading hostages.


To date, they have captured:

- Daniel Pearl, reporter, beheaded on video
- Nick Berg, civilian, beheaded on video
- Paul Johnson, contractor, beheaded, pictures released
- Kim Sun-il, a Korean civilian aid worker, beheaded on video
- three Turkish contractors, to be beheaded within 3 days
- Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, a US Marine of Lebanese descent
- Amjid Yousef, a Pakistani driver for the US military

Gen. Grange, a CNN military analyst, says that it is a poor strategy. I don't think he understands.

Read More "Hostage Crisis" »

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Posted by Nathan at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)
Quotes Difficult to Use in Polite Conversation, Pt 1 « Quotes You Can Steal »
You just got to think about it like the first time you got laid. You just gotta go, "Daddy, are you sure this is right?"

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Posted by Nathan at 10:32 PM | Comments (1)

June 26, 2004

A Staggering List « Politics As Usual »

...and far too long and detailed to be a "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy", or any conspiracy at all. I've heard the "where there's smoke, there's fire" applied to troops accused of sexual harassment in Kuwait, that six unproved accusations mean something by their mere frequency/repetition. If so, what does this say about our former President? Remember, most of these accusations were made before he was ever elected. Since the supposedly unbiased news media sat on the Juanita Broderick accusation and were incredibly credulous regarding President Clinton's off-hand dismissals of other accusations, including Kathleen Willey, what does this say about our news media? Since Attorney General Janet Reno actively used her powers to quash some of the attempts to bring justice to some of these accusations, what does this say about AG Reno's willingness to abuse her position for power? And he asked America to pay his legal bills that arose from his own willful actions, despite making millions of dollars since leaving office. What does this say about his greed?

The chapter on President Clinton's administration has not been finalized, not by a longshot. Unfortunately, I fear his reputation is going to drop a lot further, until it reaches equilibrium, and probably somewhat above the level he actually deserves.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)
Reasons I'm Glad I'm Not a Woman, Pt 1 « Blogging »

My mom has never felt the need to discuss with me what to do when one has that not-so-fresh feeling.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:53 AM | Comments (4)
SSM Doesn't Affect My Marriage « Social Issues »

...but that was never more than a fallacious strawman argument, anyway.

Maggie Gallagher discusses some of the problems already emerging from the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling.


The advocates tell us the skies have not fallen in Massachusetts; nothing has changed, they assure us. Romney points out that small things have already begun to change, foretelling the bigger, sadder changes to come. First, the marriage licenses change so they no longer read husband and wife but "Party A" and "Party B." The Department of Health insists that birth certificates also change. The line for mother and father becomes "Parent A" and "Parent B."


The transformation of mother and father into "Parent A" and "Parent B" is the model of the paradigm shift now underway in Massachusetts. The distinctive features of the union of male and female are going to have to be removed from our notions of marriage and family. The experience of same-sex couples will become the new norm for family life, because the "unisex" idea that gender has no public significance is the only model that can be construed as "inclusive" of both opposite-sex and same-sex unions. The result is not neutrality but the active promotion of a new unisex ideal, in which the distinctive features of opposite-sex relations will be submerged, marginalized, cast to one side, and redefined as discrimination in order to protect the new court-ordered public moral standard of the equality of same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

Some of you will be unmoved by this point. I'm sure that to some, this isn't a bug, it's a feature.

As Maggie points out:

The needs and desires of a tiny fraction of adults in alternative families are becoming the basis of a new moral norm. Anyone who departs from it risks thundering denunciation from self-righteous elites who are no longer satisfied with tolerance and civility — living with our deepest differences — but wish to impose their vision of morality on the majority.

We are in a cultural war right now. I wonder when it will erupt into open violence?

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Posted by Nathan at 02:58 AM | Comments (0)
US Casualties In Iraq « GWOT »

I think it is worth it to stop by the old site every once in a while. Please note: it has a new URL.

March was a bad month for the United States. However, it is interesting that even with the recent upsurge in violence, US fatalities and woundings are dropping off, and will probably be at the 2nd lowest level since last September, with only February being lower.

Missed opportunities. What was going on in February that allowed the violence to be so low? What caused it to rise up again? Was there anything we could have done to prevent the surge in violence?

We captured Saddam in December. I was predicting that with his capture, we'd have things calmed down by February or March at the earliest, but certainly things we would have withdrawn the bulk of our troops from Iraq by the Transfer of Authority on 30 June.

Looking back, it appears that two significant trends developed between December and March, along with one major failure.

Read More "US Casualties In Iraq" »

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Posted by Nathan at 01:57 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2004

Liberals Represent the Bulk of Remaining Racism in the US « Social Issues »

There's much food for thought in this article.

James Taranto hits some of it lightly in this piece from Friday's Best of the Web


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Posted by Nathan at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)
» blogoSFERICS links with: When Real Racism Is Left Unchallenged
Help the Nation Return to the Ideal « Politics As Usual »
The inspiration that guided our forefathers led them to secure above all things the unity of our country. We rest upon government by consent of the governed and the political order of the United States is the expression of a patriotic ideal which welds together all the elements of our national energy promoting the organization that fosters individual initiative. Within this edifice are established agencies that have been created to buttress the life of the people, to clarify their problems and coordinate their resources, seeking to lighten burdens without lessening the responsibility of the citizen. In serving one and all, they are dedicated to the purpose of the founders and other highest hopes of the future with their loyal administration given to the integrity and welfare of the Nation.

-- engraved over the entrance to the Department of Commerce building in Washington D.C.

Why have we strayed so far from this ideal, and what can you do to help the nation return to it?

Send the above to your Congresscritter.

Suggestion courtesty of the du Toit's.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:27 PM | Comments (2)
A Question For Our Time « Humor »

Where's Joe?

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Posted by Nathan at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)
Here. « Social Issues »

Since I'm not actually blogging, go read this.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:22 PM | Comments (2)
Return Home « Stuff Important to Me »

I'll be heading home relatively soon. As always, you'll see me stop posting for 3 days, and then I will announce my triumphant and safe return home. I can't announce it in advance for security reasons.

Probably the first thing I do when I get home is boot up the computer and play Jagged Alliance 2. Then I'll hug and kiss my wife and kids. A guy's gotta have his priorities, yanno?

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Posted by Nathan at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)
Al Gore « Politics As Usual »

I wanted to post something talking about how everyone is looking at Al Gore freaking out and saying, "Wow. I'm (doubly) glad he didn't win the election! Can you imagine this wacko as President?"

I wanted to say that don't think he would have been this wacky. I would have pointed out that he is clearly more leftward than President Clinton, but I think being the President would have made a difference. His apparent insanity is his best attempt to retain some sort of presence on the National Stage. He's no longer a Senator, his political career is pretty much over, but he's not ready to ride off into the sunset. It would be nice if he'd do a rightward shift now, but without an election on the line, I guess he just doesn't have the heart for that sort of deception...

But anyway, I'm still a little too depressed/down/tired to write such a post... Just pretend I did write it, okay?

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Posted by Nathan at 12:36 PM | Comments (1)
Ugh « Blogging »

Bad Mood. Tired. Not much to blog about. Busy.


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Posted by Nathan at 04:36 AM | Comments (2)
Reading the NY Times is Like Watching Al-Jazeera... « Media Distortions »

...and Ace takes 'em to task for their blatant distortions. Then he does it again.

It would be nice if American news media would try reporting facts for once, rather than supporting the lies and falsehoods of Democrats and liberals. I won't hold my breath.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:42 AM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2004

The Next Major Campaign of the War in Iraq Has Begun « GWOT »

It's going to get bloody, folks.

At this point, I cannot even tell you what the final result might be. In every direct engagement with US forces, the enemy loses. But in an insurgency like this, they don't have to engage us directly.

Will the current campaign result in significant attrition of insurgent forces? Will the Iraqis shrug off the lessons of a decade of oppression and begin standing up for their own nation and security?

It is important to note who the insurgents are targeting: the Iraqis, both common citizens and the government.

We don't have to kill every insurgent to win. We just have to stand firm, and the Iraqis merely have to take responsibility for their nation. Right now, I can't insist that will happen. I know we'll do our part...

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Posted by Nathan at 10:32 PM | Comments (1)

June 23, 2004

Michael Moore Is a Leading Democrat Figure « Politics As Usual »

I've mentioned him before as an influential liberal and been told he's nothing more than an entertainer and cannot be considered a Democrat mouthpiece.

Let's lay that fiction to rest, once and for all. He obviously has closer connections to the Democrat Party than Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter have to Republicans.


...Michael Moore previewed his Bush-bashing documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," before a mostly Democratic audience in the nation's capital Wednesday night.

Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe said he thought [Fahrenheit 9/11] would play an important role in this election year.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:30 PM | Comments (11)
Can We Accomplish the Mission In Iraq? « GWOT »

What do we need to do to win in Iraq?

Actually, that's a trick question; the main problem in Iraq is the insurgency, and any military action we take causes as many new problems as it resolves. Furthermore, victory cannot be measured in our achievements, but in what the Iraqis do. We can't stop the violence in our own capital city of Washington DC, how can we stop the violence in Iraq? Thus, our "victory" can only be defined as being able to withdraw all foreign military forces from Iraq with the confidence that it is free, democratic, stable, and possesses enough strength to remain so.

Afghanistan, by comparison, is going quite well. The final victory hasn't been achieved there, either, as many of the warlords still retain their personal militias and are still jockeying for power underneath Karzai, and would displace or replace him with a puppet if they could. But all in all, Afghanistan is much farther down the road to stability and autonomy than is Iraq, and seemingly the gap is larger than the 18 month difference in the initiation of operations in each theater.

Why does Iraq seem to lag behind? Why has Afghanistan been so successful? What needs to happen for Iraq to catch up?

Initially, it seemed there were more similarities than differences. Both nations were suffering under brutal oppressive regimes with strong ties to international terrorist organizations. Both nations had ethnically-diverse populations that should have strong incentives to cooperate in both the battle and the establishment of a democratic government afterwards. We had already selected politically-adept ex-patriots to head the transitional government in each nation until true elections could be carried out.

Unfortunately, it is the differences that have made the biggest difference. The Afghanistan militias were experienced fighters, never fully conquered by the Taliban, and both sides were veterans or trained by veterans of the resistance that drove the USSR out after a decade of warfare. After superior US military technology, training, discipline, and firepower reduced the number and capabilities of the Taliban military, the Afghani warlord militias were able to first defeat the Taliban, then reorganize into a force capable of harrying the Taliban remnants and dealing with pockets of holdouts whenever engaged. In contrast, most Iraqis have experienced decades of oppression in which any person who stands out or rises up was brutally put down, and their relatives punished and tortured. We have spent one year training the Iraqis, but in the most recent crisis against Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, most of the police quit at the first sign of trouble. General Eaton, the officer responsible for training the Iraqi forces responsible for security (both police and military), seems to understand the mistakes he made and is taking steps to correct the problem. Specifically, we need to ensure the Iraqis realize they are fighting for their own country, not for us. It is no longer our fight, and they can no longer stand by and remain uninvolved. I'm sure that many of the police lacked confidence in the professionalism of themselves and their compatriots; thus, when faced with an armed uprising, worries over what would happen to their families if they died were more important than fulfilling their professional obligation. We have reorganized both training and the chain of command for the Iraqi forces. Stability of the government should help reassure them that if they fall in defense of the fledgeling nation, their family will be cared for.

It seems we also were extremely lucky in choosing Hamid Karzai for Afghanistan, and not so lucky with Ahmed Chalabi. Karzai has proven to be an able politicician, playing warlords off against each other and increasing their commitment to the new government with coveted positions in the government. He has made some mistakes, but has always recovered; at times, the warlords have considered trying to replace him with a more tractable puppet, or displacing him with themselves, but Karzai always manages to sidestep such challenges with timely appointments and shifting alliances. Through it all, the people have been impressed by the professionalism of the new Afghan National Army in comparison to the Afghan Militia Forces (regional units comprised largely of the warlords personal armies) and are growing more committed to a strong central government to reduce the day-to-day control the warlords currently possess over the citizens in their region.

Chalabi, on the other hand, had no natural constituency in Iraq and was not well-liked. The Grand Ayatollah Sistani had more direct power over the people, and Chalabi deferred to him. Unfortunately, Sistani had no desire to oversee the transition or maintain stability, other than trying to ensure that his Shia populace obtained the bulk of political power through proportional representation. It's not that Sistani has been an obstacle, merely that he feels his role is limited to that of a religious leader ensuring the fortunes of his followers within a democratic Iraq rather than actively trying to bring about stability in the first place. It is important to note that the Muslim faith is established on the idea of a religious "marketplace of ideas", in which religious leaders gain power only through their ability to sway people to agree and follow their personal vision. There is no way for an Islamic religious leader to "ex-communicate" any Muslim who makes even a pretense of following the Five Pillars of Islam. This is why the Grand Ayatollah feels he cannot order other religious leaders to do anything, whether to stop preaching sermons against the coalition or to encourage them to support the US or transitional government. This is why he didn't do much to stop Muqtada al-Sadr's uprising, other than attempting to counsel him personally. The most any religious leader can really do is issue a religious edict and hope his wisdom and argument are persuasive. In my opinion, the people of Iraq question the legitimacy of an appointed leader like transitional government Prime Minister Allawi enough that this problem won't be resolved until we have a free, fair, and transparent election that results in a government with a clear mandate.

In conclusion, we will win in Iraq when we successfully establish a professional military and police force that is committed to the nation's well-being and survival, and when we have a government that enjoys a firm mandate of the people. Until that time, Iraqi citizens who see their security forces too afraid to fight will be too afraid themselves to help rid themselves of the insurgents and foreign fighters who use the questions of legitimacy as a pretext to continue killing Iraqis.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)
Brain Fertilizer Insomnia Plan Update « The Brain Fertilizer Way »

I had to get up four hours early this morning, so I went to bed three hours early last night. Normally, it would be impossible for me to sleep so early...I can usually stay up later but not go to bed significantly earlier.

So I tried out the Brainfertilizer Method again. This time it took six times counting back from 30 before I fell asleep. Furthermore, I woke up after an hour, and my body said, "Nice nap! Let's get up!" So I did the Method again and was able to fall asleep after just two iterations. Finally, I had a bad dream and woke up in the middle of my I counted back from 20 and was asleep before I hit number "8".

It seems to work, for me at least. Let me know of your successes or failures using this method.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:47 PM | Comments (2)
Free Speech In Action « Social Issues »

This kids knows what he's doing, and he's doing the right thing.


Upon investigating the noise, we found a fellow student tearing the signs from the wall and ripping them into shreds. We made no attempt to stop her, but she quickly abandoned her pursuit when I removed my camera from my backpack. Apparently, her being conscious of her own hypocrisy was not enough to prevent her from forcibly suppressing our dissenting point-of-view. But facing the prospect that others might be made aware of her hypocrisy, and it's cut-and-run. Typical.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)
Blogging Alert « Blogging »

I can't really say light blogging alert, because I have no idea what's going to happen. Let me just say I have a number of other issues going on (good things, tho), so be prepared for anything over the next few days. Blogging should resume normalcy very soon. Stop by often.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)
Blogroll Addition « Blogging »

Thanks to Kevin, I stumbled across the Blame Bush blog. It's amusing; it's dead-on; it's a 2-in-1 Shampoo and conditioner.

I don't usually make a big deal about tinkering with my blogroll, but I really like this guy.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2004

Iraq Is Going Better Than It Seems Here « Media Distortions »

And here is an article that explains why reporting is flawed.

Of course, not everything is going peachy, and it could be going better. Here is an honest evaluation from the same article:

Not everything has gone well in Iraq. U.S. forces won a stunning military victory; diplomats botched the occupation. Interagency wrangling delayed establishment and hampered operation of a free Iraqi media outlet. Rather than put an Iraqi face on occupation, Bremer sought the spotlight. Many career diplomats treated President George W. Bush's goals for a democratic Iraq with disdain. Policy flip-flops confused Iraqis looking for consistency. Bremer's personal foibles, especially his tendency to treat mediators as adversaries and personalize politics, antagonized Iraqis. Because of his abuse of the Central Criminal Court of Iraq, some Iraqis now compare Bremer to Ayatollah Sadiq Khalkhali, hanging judge of the Iranian Revolution. Bremer's abuse of the judiciary has undermined Iraqis' faith in American promises of democracy as much as a small number of CIA contractors and the 800th Military Police Brigade undermined faith in American human-rights standards. The U.S. military failed to adequately secure the border; Bremer's decision last October to veto any contribution of Turkish troops to guard the non-Kurdish portion of the Syrian-Iraqi border has had profound consequence on the security of both Iraqis and American forces. Rather than encourage political parties which span ethnic and sectarian identification, the State Department and British Foreign Office did the opposite. Bremer's decision to hold party-slate elections rather than single-member constituency elections will push Iraq further toward the failed Lebanese model rather than true democracy. Ironically, Jordan abandoned nationwide party-slate elections because they disproportionately favored militant Islamists.

I still think things have already turned for the better. I have seen some minor signs that the Iraqis realize they are now working and fighting for their own country, not for the Americans. They are starting to believe that the United States will pull out someday, and the sooner they can stabilize the country, the sooner we will leave.

You see, the insurgents don't actually want us out! At least, they don't want us to leave on our terms. They want us to hang around for a few years, acting as an international recruiting tool (Jin Islamists and Get A Chance To Kill Americans, the Pawns of the Great Satan!), and then leave bloody and beaten, like the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

But the Iraqis aren't capable of standing up to the insurgents and defeating them. We are stronger than the insurgents, but the insurgents are stronger than the Iraqis at this point; the Iraqis need time, training, and equipment. But the early signs of their standing up for their own nation will accelerate, and bear unmistakeable fruit a few months down the line. I think things will be quite a bit more stable six months from now...

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Posted by Nathan at 07:36 AM | Comments (0)
The Brainfertilizer Plan for Affordable College « The Brain Fertilizer Way »

To start with, let me just say that I am slightly disturbed by the huge leap one must take from high school to college in our nation. Our high schools lag behind many nations' high schools in knowledge achievement, but our universities are the best in the world. As a result, there is a larger gap in demands from our high schools to our colleges. I don't really want to lower our college standards, but I would like to raise high school standards. However, that is another topic for another day.

It impacts today's subject in this manner: I think it is very unfair to our children to expect that after mandatory attendance in high school, they must deal with too many new situations, experiences, and temptations, while simultaneously being largely fully responsible for themselves for the first time, and still be able to choose the proper major for the career(s) they will pursue for the rest of their life. This is made more difficult since most of the college students right out of high school have no real work-experience other than fast food or perhaps retail clerking. Oh, yeah: the bulk of these students are also living hand-to-mouth and/or working part-time jobs just to have enough to eat.

Here is what I'm going to teach my children:

Read More "The Brainfertilizer Plan for Affordable College" »

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Posted by Nathan at 07:19 AM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2004

The Brainfertilizer Insomnia Relief Method « The Brain Fertilizer Way »

The main way that caffeine affects me is that it makes my mind race so fast that I cannot relax enough to fall asleep. Other things can do that, too.

When I was younger, it used to take me two hours to fall asleep, as I had to think through the whole day before I could slow my mind down enough to fall asleep. It may be why I overanalyze to this day, but that's another issue.

In college, I couldn't waste two hours trying to get to sleep, I was too busy. My body quickly learned to shut the mind down as I prepared for sleep. Now it usually doesn't take me longer than 5 minutes to fall asleep...if my wife suddenly decides there's something we need to talk about after I've brushed my teeth and changed into sleepwear, it's a battle to get back awake enough to listen, and then I have problems getting to sleep.

One thing that has worked every time I've thought of it is:
Counting backward from 20. If my mind is racing badly, I might start at 30. I start at a pace of about one digit per second. The second time through, I slow it down a little. The third time through, if necessary, I try to time it with my breathing, so it's more like "20, 19....18, 17....16, 15..." The fourth time through, I try to slow my breathing while I count.

I don't think I've ever needed more than four times through. But to be honest, I don't always remember to do it. I think I will be able to now. If it ever doesn't work, I'll let you know.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:19 PM | Comments (2)
Hey, Wait a Second! « Rhetorical Questions »

The Clintons live in Chappaqua, right? And Teddy's waterloo was at Chappaquiddick, no?

...if I were Mrs. Clinton, I might start feeling nervous about roads near bodies of water...

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Posted by Nathan at 07:42 AM | Comments (1)
Clinton Visibly Wasting Readers' Time « Rhetorical Questions »
Mr. Clinton confesses that his affair with Monica Lewinsky was "immoral and foolish," but he spends far more space excoriating his nemesis, independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, and the press. He writes at length about his awareness that terrorism was a growing threat, but does not grapple with the unintended consequences of his administration's decisions to pressure Sudan to expel Osama bin Laden in 1996 (driving sent the al Qaeda leader to Afghanistan, where he was harder to track) or to launch cruise missile attacks against targets in Sudan and Afghanistan in retaliation for the embassy bombings in 1998 (an act that some terrorism experts believe fueled terrorists' conviction that the United States was an ineffectual giant that relied on low-risk high technology).

Part of the problem, of course, is that Mr. Clinton is concerned, here, with cementing — or establishing — his legacy, while at the same time boosting (or at least not undermining) the political career of his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. He does a persuasive job of explicating his more successful initiatives like welfare reform and deficit reduction, but the failure of his health care initiative, overseen by Mrs. Clinton, is quickly glossed over, as is the subsequent focus of his administration on such small-bore initiatives as school uniforms and teenage smoking.

You can find this at The Drudge Report, too, if it requires a subscription., exactly, does Dan Rather justify giving the book 5 Stars?

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Posted by Nathan at 07:32 AM | Comments (1)
Clinton Visibly Angered « Politics As Usual »
"It is memorable television which will give the public a different insight into the President's character. It will leave them wondering whether he is as contrite as he says he is about past events. Dimbleby manages to remain calm and order is eventually restored."

Well, no wondering here...but the whole article, if it doesn't require a subscription (I got there through Matt Drudge).

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Posted by Nathan at 07:26 AM | Comments (0)
Another Quote You Can Steal « Quotes You Can Steal »

I never thought fighting the Global War on Terror would mean our own news media would be fighting against us.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:34 AM | Comments (0)
More Media Distortion « Media Distortions »

Stupid Question

The Lies Continue

A Misleading Correction

It seems the media distortions in support of Kerry's candidacy and liberal ideology are coming faster than any one blog can expose them.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:32 AM | Comments (0)
Read « GWOT »


Let there be no mistake, those of you who don't believe in this war: the Ba'ath regime were the Nazis of the second half of the 20th century. I saw what the murderous, brutal regime of Saddam Hussein wrought on that country through his party and their Fedayeen henchmen. They raped, murdered, tortured, extorted and terrorized those in that country for 35 years. There are mass graves throughout Iraq only now being discovered. 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, liberated a prison in Iraq populated entirely by children. The Ba'athists brutalized the weakest among them, and killed the strongest.

And this:

I stood on the bloody sand where Marine Second Lieutenant Therrel Childers was the first American killed on the ground. I pointed a loaded weapon at another man for the first time in my life. I did what I had spent 14 years training to do, and my Marines - your Marines - performed so well it still brings tears to my eyes to think about it. I was proud of what we did then, and I am proud of it now.

And if you think the second paragraph (actually comes first in the article) is, in any way, counter to the first, you don't understand the overwhelming majority of us serving in the military. And you don't speak for us.

Now read the whole thing.

Via Splash.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:27 AM | Comments (0)
She Doesn't Need My Link « GWOT »

But she's getting it anyway.

See, although this runs counter to conventional wisdom, I had never seen anything at A Small Victory that justified her place in the pantheon of Blogdom or the number of hits/traffic/links she gets.

But maybe I haven't stopped by at the right times. Because today I saw this. She calls it a rant, but if so, it's the most calm and cool rant I've seen. She states everything I have been feeling with absolute clarity, but without foul language, without insulting terms, without actually attacking anyone...but still managing to highlight exactly why the anti-war argument is short-sighted, self-destructive, and helpful the people who want to kill us.

So even though she doesn't need my link, and anyone who visits here probably already stops by her site more regularly than me, I'll link the rant. And I'll stop by her place more often.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2004

I'm Not Seeing It « Politics As Usual »

Perhaps it is just because I don't receive faxes from the DNC, but while this article says people are lined up to be Kerry's Veep, it seems to me like no one is really eager for the slot. The only leading Democrat figures I've seen make the national news are Al Gore and Howard Dean. The rest all seem to be keeping a low profile, at least from my perspective. Maybe they're hoping if they stay rather quiet, Kerry won't pick them? Because despite current opinion polls and smug liberal Op-Eds about President Bush being on the ropes, I think 2004 will be the Kiss of Death of future political hopes for whichever Democrats run. Kerry may linger as an incumbent Senator for a few more decades like Tip did and Teddy has, but he is following directly in Bob Dole's footsteps.

How can I be so sure? Watch Hillary Clinton. She wants to run for President. But more than that, I think she wants a legacy. Being the first female Vice President would do it. Then she could shoot for more to burnish the star further. She's rehabilitated her image somewhat, a Veep position could probably finish it off. If Kerry could win as not-Bush this year, his lack of integrity could probably make for a weak term, leaving him ripe for a takeover from within the party. A sitting President doesn't automatically get the nomination, and being Veep would get Hillary in the news much more. If she thought Kerry was close to winning, I think she'd be taking her shot at getting there through the Vice Presidency. But she's not taking a step in that direction, not even trying. Conclusion? She thinks Kerry's gonna lose.

...and maybe she'll take steps to bring that about. Some people think she's scheming to get a shot at running in 2008, anticipating Kerry will lose and she'll get a free shot at someone like Jeb Bush running without the incumbent advantage. It's possible. But aside from some actions earlier (like possibly encouraging Gen. Clark to run to help derail Howard Dean's candidacy), she's been quiet lately. Conclusion? She thinks Kerry's gonna lose without her help.

I'm just musing aloud. But if Hillary Clinton is really looking for a legacy, she's got to do more than merely make a credible run for President. Liddy Dole already beat her out of that. She can't merely make a credible run for Vice President, because Geraldine Ferraro did that long before Hillary was even a national political figure. Being a Senator probably isn't enough, either, and I don't think her ambitions have subsided at all.

In any case, she seems to think Kerry is going to lose and lose bad. I see no reason to disagree.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)
Another Reason We Need Separation of Press and State « Politics As Usual »

This goes beyond the pale.

Free speech is for individuals. The press should have free speech when it functions as news media, not when it campaigns for a specific candidate. The resources, reach, and distribution network integral to a newspaper mean that they wield an excessive influence over the way people think, and such blatant campaigning for one candidate or even one party is a breach of free speech. I do not have the resources to compete with such a campaign, nor does anyone in Philedelphia; as such, this is an unfair use of the power of the Press.

I'd be shocked if any Democrats or liberals say one word of criticism for this.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:18 PM | Comments (0)
An Open Letter to Serena LuChang « Blogging »

...are you kidding? I love your blog! ...although I consider myself more of a sort-of conservative than an actual Republican, mind you. I haven't participated in a single Republican political activity in my entire life.

I think I noticed some liberal-ish leanings in some of your posts...which is probably why you think it worthy of comment that a Republican actually likes your blog. But how could I not like it? You:
1) Are funny
2) Don't take yourself seriously
3) Are funny about not taking yourself seriously
4) You link Homestar Runner. And how cool is that?

I, on the other hand, tend to take myself far too seriously, so it's good to see someone who can lighten up like that. You write the way I wish would come naturally to me.

I would put all this in a comment, but since my only internet access is through the military LAN while on this deployment, your comments are blocked (but not your blog...intriguing, no?), and I can't find your email addy on your site, so I'm left with writing this and linking your most recent post to draw your attention.

Oh, but if you try to to tell me to stop stalking you using my brainfertilizer addy, I won't be able to read it until I return home. The stinking military LAN won't let me access hotmail/yahoo/aol or any instant messenging, either.

PS: no, you haven't been posting enough lately. But I stop by at least once a day to see, anyway.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2004

Liberals and Faith « Politics As Usual »

They just don't get it. And, yeah, I think it's even the religious ones, because secularity, humanism and atheism are too heavily emphasized in every single Democrat platform and liberal ideology. To be fair, secular Republicans don't get it, either.

And here it is:
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 1:7).

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Posted by Nathan at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)
(UPDATED) Good Enough for Ms. Malkin... « Politics As Usual »

Andrew McCarthy explains that there are credible links between Iraq and al Qaeda. The 9/11 Commission's statement is unclear; it actually says there is no credible evidence of involvement in the attacks on 9/11. Taken literally, there is still a possibility Iraq was connected to the attacks on 9/11, they just didn't uncover the evidence. More likely, however, is that there were mulitple connections between Iraq and al Qaeda, and between Saddam al-Hussein and Osama bin Laden, just not regarding 9/11. People who are emotionally committed to downplaying that link for political purposes will quote the conclusion as if it vindicates them and condemns President Bush. They should read this article.


As journalist Stephen Hayes reiterated earlier this month, Tenet, on October 7, 2002, wrote a letter to Congress, which asserted:

Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank. We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back a decade. Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression. Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad. We have credible reporting that Al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire W.M.D. capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs. Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of relationship with Al Qaeda suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.
Tenet, as Hayes elaborated, has never backed away from these assessments, reaffirming them in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee as recently as March 9, 2004.

With all due respect to the professionals, Ace actually does a better job documenting the media's dishonesty in this than Andrew McCarthy did.

I'm not trying to do a definitive round-up, and have probably missed some people, but here's Bill INDC's take. And even President Putin backs President Bush more than our own news services.

And the news services? Here's their weak and distortive counter-attack. All they can muster to support the blatantly inaccurate headlines is one lousy blockquote? Even NRO's Andrew McCarthy found three to help support his position. Someone fisk Ed Kaplan, please.

And I guess the announcement by President Putin is why Vice President Cheney spoke so confidently. Consider it as a deliberate battle plan: 9/11 Commission makes a weak statement, Cheney eggs on the media by claiming a strong connection, news media predictably distorts the whole deal in an Anti-Bush direction, then Putin slams 'em all wherever people are blown when they set themselves up to look stupid. If so...brilliant, just brilliant.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)
» Dean's World links with: Iraq & Al Qaeda
» INDC Journal links with: I'm Filled With Boundless, Visceral Hatred
Insights from Cereal « Politics As Usual »

This guy really understands economics and wealth.


...I realised that what this actually means is that the U.S. economy produces so much wealth, is such a great engine of wealth creation, that we can have that much money come back from China as merchandise rather than reciprocal trade, to the benefit (on average; the greater good for the greater number) of the American consumer. It is not that different from saying that I am not suffering from a trade deficit of $4000 a year at the grocery if I can afford to buy the food I prefer for my household.

And this guy gets it, too.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:18 AM | Comments (1)
Democrat Betrayal of the Constitution « Politics As Usual »

This just struck me a few minutes ago.

Okay, obviously, the Democrats have already violated the US Constitution-mandated separation of powers by turning "Advise" into "Filibuster to prevent a vote" on the issue of Judicial Branch appointees.

However, it occurred to me that their disregard for the Constitution goes even further than that. A Federal Judge is supposed to bring his understanding of the law into his position. The person should be appointed for their skill, knowledge and ability to interpret the law. But Democrats will not even allow a candidate to run for the Democrat nomination for President unless they promise never to infringe on abortion rights in any way. Now they will do everything in their power, including a minority filibuster, to prevent the Senate from confirming any judge who won't promise to also not infringe on abortion rights in any way. This is not only an undue influence of one specific issue onto an entire party, this represents an attempt to manipulate the the executive and legislative branches to "stack the deck" in the judiciary branch. This is absolutely a blatant disregard for and betrayal of the US Constitution. Why isn't the Free Press alerting us to this base and dishonest tactic?

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Posted by Nathan at 06:15 AM | Comments (0)
Democrat Policies Don't Work, Pt 2 « Politics As Usual »

The party that claims to represent the interests of the working class wants to shaft taxi drivers. And they can say with a straight face that they can run the nation? If this is a good example of what sort of thing they'll try to do, then I don't think we dare give them another chance. Ever.

Oh, wait. That's right, Democrat politicians don't care about doing the right thing, they only care about sizable voting blocs. How silly of me to forget.

Thanks to Donald Luskin for posting the link.

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Posted by Nathan at 04:08 AM | Comments (0)
Democrat Policies Don't Work, Pt 1 « Politics As Usual »

The Laffer Curve

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Posted by Nathan at 03:58 AM | Comments (0)
Separation of Press and State « Politics As Usual »

I'm beginning to think that one of the failings of the US Constitution* is that news/press was not treated in the same manner as religion.

The First Amendment guarantees Freedom of the Press along with Freedom of Religious Expression. Which one has actually been curtailed over the last 50 years? Which one is actually under assault? We don't allow unfettered Freedom of Religious Expression anymore, alas. An atheist minority has succeeded in enshring its belief system as the default. Shame and scorn are heaped upon anyone who professes a religious belief.

It's gotten so bad that some more extreme critics of religion are saying that it is wrong for a President or other higher official to cite or turn to his religious beliefs to affect public policy.**

I can understand and even agree with the thought behind the separation between Church and State, although the concept was to keep the government from restricting religious freedom by endorsing, supporting, or establishing one specific religion, rather than preventing religion from influencing government. One could argue that by adopting "atheism" as a default viewpoint, that separation has already been fully violated, but that's a different issue. The point is that the separation of church and state is not because religion is wrong, or superstitious, or inherently troublesome, it is merely that the goals and objectives of government and religion are different, and making decisions for one according to the priorities for the other are not good for the nation.

But isn't that true of the Press/news, as well?

It has often been said that a Free Press is vital for the well-being of the nation; I've often said that our Press is anything but free, it's already been bought and paid for. But the original statement is essentially true. Since we cannot be omnipresent to see all things for ourselves, we need a Press that is free enough to tell us what actually is happening in locations and at levels of power that the average individual cannot observe. Freedom of Speech and Press being equally important as Freedom of Religion, shouldn't there also be steps taken to ensure its Freedom? Isn't that vital for the well-being of the nation itself?

For instance, why, exactly should the anonymity of sources be inviolate? I know it isn't in the Constitution... How much harm has been done to the nation when ethically-impaired writers for the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and New York Times make up sources and invent statements for the purpose of advancing a specific ideological view? It wouldn't be an issue if sources were not automatically confidential. And how much harm has been done to the nation through leaks from Unnamed Sources High Within the Administration/Party/Department? If the news these sources are leaking is truly so important, they should be willing to stake their name and/or reputation to the leak, with two layers of anonymity at the most (source on file but only available with a SCOTUS order, or some similar protection). Sources might be less forthcoming, but wouldn't that be better? ...since it would force "reporters" to do actual investigation instead of merely parroting what someone else says and passing it off as "fact".

But that's not the most important aspect that should be considered. The most important is that I am beginning to think we need to establish a wall of separation between Press and State. How many of the Sunday morning pundits are former government bureaucrats? Should President Clinton and the Democrat Party really be able to place George Stephanopolis in a prime slot giving his version of the "news" to a national audience? What "undue influence" comes from having news and commentary from NPR, which gets its funding from the government...but most specifically defended and pushed by the more liberal part of the government? What would the Democrat reaction be if we took an equal amount of money to fund a public radio with hosts like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and Michelle Malkin?

The role of government is to protect the people. The role of the Press is to expose greed and corruption and falsehood, so that the common person can make his own decisions as to what is really going on. Or maybe a better way to describe it is that the government is supposed to ensure the well-being of the nation directly, and the press was supposed to ensure the well-being of our nation indirectly, mainly by acting as an independent investigative body focused on ferreting out cases when our government was not ensuring the well-being of the nation.

Well, they punted on that obligation. Our Press developed an agenda during the Viet Nam war and found its calling in the Nixon administration by way of the Watergate issue. Howard Raines is no longer the editor of the New York Times because he subordinated news reporting to his political views.

And from an entirely different perspective, how can the news be an effective watchdog if they exist mainly on advertising dollars?

As it stands now, our "Free" Press is all but worthless. I admit I'm somewhat at a loss as to what steps to take to liberate the Press. I have a few suggestions, but I'm not committed to any and am willing to discuss any other ideas.

1) Government policymakers*** may not work in news media after they retire.
2) Is there a term for breaking up all the news conglomerates and forcing them to function only as non-profit organizations? That's kind of what I'd like to do to help break them from their dependence on advertising
3) No anonymous sources. Would "Stephanie Plame" even have been an issue without this anonymity tradition?
4) The New York Times Ombusdman isn't doing much to correct the mistakes/distortions of Raines...can we set up an independent News Ombudsman designed to discover factual distortions and report on biases in the news media? Probably not.

To reiterate: I think the nation would be in far better shape if we were as cautious about intermingling Press and Government as we are about Church and State.

Read More "Separation of Press and State" »

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Posted by Nathan at 03:46 AM | Comments (1)

June 17, 2004

Question for the Ages « Rhetorical Questions » why does Darby even have a cat, if he appreciates them so little?

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Posted by Nathan at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)
This Is My Experience, Too (UPDATED) « Stuff Important to Me »

Why the unequal treatment of immigrants?

Maybe because Democrats are too busy pandering to illegal aliens in a naked bid to retain power to care about the illegal part.

But since when did any Democrat/Liberal politician care about legality when their power base is at stake?

And Michael Williams has another interesting glance into the illegal immigration issue.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)
Don't Believe Liberal Lies

Thanks, Junkyard Blog, for giving us the tools we need to expose the untrustworthy, fundamentally dishonest Left.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)
The GWOT's Decisive Battlefield « GWOT »
...there is simply no decisive point on the ground at which we can declare that victory over terrorism has been attained. And there's not going to be. It's not like WWII where there's an end zone called the Reichstag.

This is not even a point of contention among military officers, and never has been. Everybody knew going in that this war would not be decided on the battlefield.

You can find the rest of it here

If you aren't reading Iraq Now often, you should be.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:57 AM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2004

One Percent « Social Issues »

According to a very broad definition, still just 1%.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)
Quantum Applications « New Thinking »

Another nail in the coffin of deterministic, Newtonian physics.

Information can pass at speeds faster than light.

Interestingly, it seems simultaneous. It would have an entirely different significance if it could be proved that it were not instantaneous, but still incredibly faster than light.

This is an exciting time for science, I think. I may have to try to get a PhD in Quantum Physics at some point.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:43 PM | Comments (7)
Just Asking... « GWOT »

So, can we question Susan Lindauer's patriotism? Or does the fact that John Kerry served in Viet Nam make that off-limits, too?

In the same vein, are Democrats seriously implying that once someone has been injured while serving their country, their patriotism can never be questioned? So if I, say, get injured on this deployment, I can freely sell secrets to Russia for the rest of my life and no one can touch me? No? Well, then, I think Senate voting records are fair game.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:43 AM | Comments (6)
A New America

Do I seem a mite....miffed lately?

Yeah, you could say that.

I'm upset that the left has been hypocritical and petty over the last four years.

Read More "A New America" »

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Posted by Nathan at 04:40 AM | Comments (4)
» Wince and Nod links with: Nathan...
So... « Politics As Usual » you ever suspect we'd have gotten more of the extreme left (PETA, ELF, et al) on board for the invasion of Iraq if we'd said Saddam was destroying the habitat of the The Preble's meadow jumping mouse...?

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Posted by Nathan at 03:52 AM | Comments (0)
For Those Upset With the Coverage of the Reagan Funeral...

...Charles Austin says we should compare it to Princess Diana's funeral.

Nice point.

Even more damning to the mainstream news media, harken back to the coverage spent on searching for the wreckage of JFK, Jr's plane. It went over a week, and I don't seem to remember any prominent news anchors saying that went too long.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:47 AM | Comments (0)
A Modest Proposal* « Politics As Usual »

One of the essential hypocrisies of Liberals/Democrats is that they claim to be more compassionate, said compassion being exercised by voting for politicians who raise taxes to solve all the social ills.
Conservatives/Republicans don't deny that there are social ills, they (we) just believe that raising taxes and increasing government spending/programs is wasteful at best, and in actuality end up harming the relatively poor even worse through inflation and depressed economies.
And the worst of it is that the Liberals/Democrats who believe so much in helping their fellow man don't want to make the giving voluntary; in fact, they aren't satisfied unless everyone pays more. It seems like a personal conviction should really be personal, and not forced onto everyone. The number of rich liberals like John Kerry, Al Gore, George Soros, and the Hollywood elite, et al, who decry the disparity between rich and poor while raking in cash hand over fist is disgusting.
As above, so below, as it is truly ironic to hear Democrats so upset over state funding problems over lattes. If you have the extra money to buy yourself comfort, you have no business advocating forcible redistribution economies.

So how 'bout it? Care to put your money where your mouth is?

Technology has progressed to the point where it would be simplicity itself to cross reference voting records with tax records. What if, from now on, those who vote Democrat double their tax rate, those who vote Republican have their tax rate halved, and those who don't vote see no change. Further, Democrat-vote taxes can go to welfare, education, government-funded health care, etc, whereas Republican-vote taxes can go for college scholarships and defense spending. That way, if you have enough money in your account from your own ideological supporters, you can do what you want without interference from the opposite party.
Oh, yeah: common-use funding like infrastructure and most Department funding would come from both parties off the top.

The details can be hammered out. The generalities are the point:
Democrats pay for Democrat programs with higher taxes, Republicans pay for Republican programs with lower taxes. If we ever enacted this, I'll bet you a dime to a dollar within 4 years the Republican budget dwarfs the Democrat.

Read More "A Modest Proposal*" »

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Posted by Nathan at 02:59 AM | Comments (2)
A Question For Lawyers and Armchair Shysters « Social Issues »

The kerfuffle over the words "under God" in our Pledge of Allegience has brought out all sorts of opinions regarding the role of religion in our society. In my opinion, the atheists are grasping at any opportunity to eliminate the practice of religion or appearance of religious symbols in public. Several people cite "separation of Church and State" as if it were in the US Constitution, rather than being an opinion of Jefferson mentioned in a private letter, somehow dredged up and turned into law by a 1950s era SCOTUS ruling.

So here's my question: Does every SCOTUS ruling interpreting the Constitution become equal to the Constitution itself? If legal precedents by different judges can end up turning the Constitution against itself, is there any system of priority? For instance, the "Separation of Church and State" precept is rather vague, in that some people seem to think it is wrong for President Bush to use his religious belief and faith to guide him in his decisions as President. It would seem equally plausible, then, to prevent ministers/pastors/priests from ever running for office. It could then be equally plausible to prevent ministers/pastors/priests from voting, because they would be using religious values to affect government...

But, clearly, the separation of church and state was supposed to ensure that religion wasn't affected by the state, not the other way around. At the very worst, if one isn't forced into saying words or participating in a religious rite, there is no "establishment" of a religion, right?

Anyway, the point I'm ever-so-slowly rambling toward is:
Shouldn't the Bill of Rights take precedent over later Amendments? Shouldn't Amendments take precedent over Judicial Rulings? And if that is correct, where does the Bill of Rights stand in relation to the original document? Slightly higher? Slightly lower?


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Posted by Nathan at 02:12 AM | Comments (0)
"Abu Ghraib Bait and Switch", by Junkyard Blog « GWOT »

An excellent article, truly worthy of your time.

Way to go, B. Preston!

[sigh] I'll just add Ms. Malkin to the list of people who will never send traffic my way...

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Posted by Nathan at 12:48 AM | Comments (0)
The Brain Fertilizer Weight-Loss Program « The Brain Fertilizer Way »

The little debate I had with Dean over weight loss got me thinking about the whole issue. I already knew a good amount, but I learned some things from his linkings and my own further research. There simply wasn't enough information to even begin to sway my conviction that the biggest obstacle to permanent weight loss is the mind of the individual. But in all that thought, I began to consider what I would consider the ideal weight loss plan.

I'm not a doctor or a certified weight-loss professional, so if you think my plan sounds good, run it by someone qualified to get their input before implementing the following.

Here goes:

Read More "The Brain Fertilizer Weight-Loss Program" »

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Posted by Nathan at 12:44 AM | Comments (3)

June 15, 2004

And Again « Puns »

A young mother was speaking to her friend about the new things she had bought for her child. As the recitation grew more and more extensive, the friend became more and more disturbed.

Finally, the friend could contain herself no longer. "What are you doing to your child? You have bought him so many clothes and toys and gee-gaws that he won't know what to do! You even bought him an expensive Swiss watch, and he's a toddler, for Goodness' Sake! You're spoiling him!"

But the mother laughed, unperturbed. "Relax," she said, "It's okay, because..."

Read More "And Again" »

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Posted by Nathan at 08:02 AM | Comments (2)
I Kinda Like the New Army Battle Dress Uniform « Militaria »

Take a look.\

But then, I liked the proposed new Air Force BDU, as well.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:18 AM | Comments (4)

June 14, 2004

More Fun With Google « Blogging »

I am, in fact, #1 on Google for "work-related puns".

#5 for "Ancient Chinese Secret".

#4 for Good Slogans.

I actually get quite a number of hits from that last search string.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)
On Liberals « Quotes You Can Steal »

The mindset of the Left is much easier to grasp when you consider their only experience with tyranny is Dad not letting take the BMW to a party, and their only experience with poverty is not being able to afford an extra shot of espresso because they spent their allowance on the new Indigo Girls CD.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:41 PM | Comments (17)
It's Been A While « Puns »

The police had been after Doyle Bertram Walker for marijuana trafficking for some time, but to no avail. He was too clever, and too slippery.

One day a farmer called late Friday afternoon to say he'd found some hemp-looking plants growing near one of his fields. The young detective who took the call immediately ordered a stake-out to keep an eye on the marijuana, hoping Doyle would eventually show up and they could nab him. But they saw absolutely nothing over the whole weekend.

The senior detective was furious when he arrived Monday morning. He called the young detective into his office and yelled at him for hours about wasted man-hours.

"You should have known better!" he finally shouted.

"How, sir? How could I have known?" asked the perplexed young detective.

"Because," replied his superior,*

Read More "It's Been A While" »

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Posted by Nathan at 01:10 AM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2004

Two Guidelines for a Better Life « Social Issues »

After watching (because of nothing better to do) yet another investigative report looking into the mysterious death of the mistress of a married man, it struck me that much pain in our society could be avoided if women merely followed two guidelines rigorously:

1) Do not ever date a married man.
=>1a) If you are already dating and find out he is married, dump him immediately.

2) Make it absolutely clear that if he cheats on you, you will absolutely dump him. Remind him of this regularly (once a year or so?).

Interestingly, I couldn't think of such a simple guideline for males. About the best I could come up with was:

1) If you have fame, wealth, or authority, there is only a 2% chance she actually cares about you.

But most guys probably don't care. So I'm left with:

1) Don't cheat on the woman you love. Ever.
=>1a) avoid situations in which a minor lapse could result in you cheating on the woman you love.

Any other suggestions?

Show Comments »

Posted by Nathan at 09:55 AM | Comments (4)
The Weak and the Strong « Social Issues »

I realize that the language I use normally in talking about the ideology I support vs. that with which I disagree tends to demonize my ideological opponents. It's not so much that I don't like the people...I tend to like almost every person I know, and I actively try to find things to like about people. It's more that I cannot support their premises, their logic, and their conclusions. I use strong language because...because I feel strongly about the issue, I guess. Part of it is that while I do recognize shades of gray, I think you need to clearly delineate the results when they are more black or more white. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and the ends do not justify the means, and so if I state in strong and in no uncertain terms what I expect the fruits of liberal/left/Democrat ideology to be, then when those results appear, I have made it clear I will brook no equivocation about how those results came to be.

But in musing this evening, I think I stumbled across a patch of common ground. And this common ground also helps make the difference between my views and libertarian much more stark.

Read More "The Weak and the Strong" »

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Posted by Nathan at 09:38 AM | Comments (1)
President Bush Understands History « GWOT »

Check out some of what he said at the G8 press conference:

...there was some concern when the initiative was first proposed that this was America trying to make the world look like America. It's not going to happen. I fully understand that a free society in the Middle East is going to reflect the culture and traditions of the people in that country, not America.
I also understand it takes a while to adopt the habits of a democratic society and a free society. After all, it took our own country a while. You might remember the period of the Articles of Confederation. You do remember the period of the Articles -- (laughter.) It just took us a while. It's not easy work. It's hard work. But we believe it is necessary work, because free societies are peaceful societies. The best way to defeat terror is to speak to the aspirations and hopes of women and men.

Yes. Exactly. The President gets it.

The whole thing is here, and I found it via Kronology.

There's probably some other excellent stuff, but I haven't had time to read the whole thing.

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Posted by Nathan at 04:40 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2004

A Lesson « Social Issues »

A nice essay, linked.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2004

Told Ya « GWOT »

Although I wasn't the only one to say so, I was certainly one of the people insisting that the pre-war intelligence regarding Saddam's WMD was correct, and that I could think of at least three scenarios in which the intelligence was correct but that we still would not find a stockpile of WMD in Iraq.

The UN says one of those scenarios is true:

Saddam shipped it out. Before, during and after. Catch the significance?

And since it was the UN saying this, I now suspect that all the Democrats who have been saying that only the UN has any legitimacy will now say the UN is a worthless group of tyrant-coddling fools. It won't be logically consistent, but such a stance would allow them to continue to ignore that the war on Iraq is probably the most fully justified war since the Revolutionary War. Yes, more justified than even WWII.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:34 PM | Comments (5)
Cannot Be Emphasized Enough « GWOT »

But I'm gonna do my part to try:

Everything President Bush said before the war has been proven true, and nearly everything his opponents said and predicted have turned out to be wrong.

Do you support the failed, wrong dead-enders? Or do you support a President with the moral courage to make the right decisions to make our nation and the world a better and safer place?

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Posted by Nathan at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)
A Party For Weakness « Politics As Usual »

Wankette Ace touches on an idea that has been percolating in my brain for the last few days:

Read More "A Party For Weakness" »

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Posted by Nathan at 05:03 AM | Comments (1)
By The Way... « Social Issues »

I hope you've been taking advantage of the low interest rates to refinance your home, buy a car, transfer your credit card debt, and above all, pay down your debt, because the economic slump arising from 9/11 was probably the best chance you'll get to reduce your debt for some time, i.e., until we get a Democrat again in the White House to destroy the economy to provide a reason to lower interest rates.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:50 AM | Comments (0)
College « Social Issues »

Is there anything in our society as badly misunderstood as College?

Well, I don't think there is.

Read More "College" »

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Posted by Nathan at 03:42 AM | Comments (0)
Patriotism « Politics As Usual »

What is Patriotism?

Marty and I had a minor disagreement in the comments forthis post, and I think my final impression was we simply had different views of what was credible. But later I considered that possibly we understood patriotism itself differently.

Read More "Patriotism" »

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Posted by Nathan at 01:24 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2004

...Not That There Aren't Problems in Iraq « GWOT »

And this article describes them honestly and accurately.

I'm impressed with how General Eaton admits his fault, and I approve of their willingness to change direction when they learn something isn't working.

There's hope that Iraq will be resolved far more quickly than Bosnia/Kosovo were.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:32 AM | Comments (0)
Response to Plan Reveals Need for Said Plan « GWOT »

France and Arabic nations don't like President Bush's plan to improve things in the Middle East.

Honestly, I think that's it in a nutshell. They like things the way they are. And it is very interesting that France thinks it stands to lose if democracy, freedom, and stability come the Middle East.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:26 AM | Comments (0)
Alan Colmes Gains Some of My Respect « Politics As Usual »

Check it out.


COLMES (TO RALL): And that's where I have problems with my fellow liberals who can't get over the election of 2000. They should be focusing on winning 2004.

But you, by doing this, make those on my side look bad by showing know grace, no compassion, no sense of humanity for a man who served this country, whether or not you agree with the things he stood for.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:21 AM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2004

Stuff From Mickey « Politics As Usual »

From Kausfiles (Scroll down to Reagan Catch-up)

5. I don't defend Reagan's tax cuts, but his 1986 tax reform--cutting rates while closing loopholes--probably played an underestimated role in enabling the prosperity of the '90s by ending the waste of talent and money in unproductive tax shelters that was common in the '70s and early '80s. Too bad Bill Clinton had no feel for the virtues of loophole-closing, preferring to create loopholes (by calling them "targeted" tax cuts).

Underestimated?!??!! Not by me, at least, nor by any flat-tax proponent (hmmm: what's the difference between an "advocate" and a "proponent"?). I've said for years that the creation of loopholes is the main Democrat tactic of claiming to raise taxes for the rich while still giving themselves and their rich friends lower actual tax burdens. I'm happy President Reagan lowered taxes...but I've always insisted the only reason it worked is because he simultaneously simplified taxes. At the end of President Reagan's term of office, the average person took about 40 minutes to calculate their taxes (if I remember correctly). By the time President Clinton left office, that had jumped to something like 2 or 4 hours. Again, I don't remember for sure, and I don't feel like googling for the specific numbers...the point being that under President Clinton, the tax code became far more complicated, and rich people with clever tax lawyers love complicated tax codes, because it helps them pay less taxes than the higher bracket rates the Democrats trumpet.

If we can't have flat tax, at least simplify it back to President Reagan's level of complexity, as well as the marginal rates. Okay?

6. Reagan's 1981 breaking of the air traffic controllers' strike also seems a crucial part of the late-twentieth century boom. Union power was the mainspring of the 1970s wage-price spiral, as unions leapfrogged each other trying to stay a step ahead of the rising prices their hefty wage hikes then helped ensure. The air controllers provided the cautionary example of a labor organization that went on an ill-advised strike, was defeated, and ceased to exist. With the public's support! Big Labor hasn't been the same since--and, not coincidentally, neither has inflation.

Yes. Labor Unions served their purpose, I don't deny that. That purpose has long since been served, and they waste money, ruin lives, and are more responsible for overseas outsourcing than any other factor in the United States. It's a shame Democrats are so in bed with labor unions that they can't see it.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:34 AM | Comments (0)
Sometimes I'm a Follower « Politics As Usual »

Like when I link this post that many other people are linking.

One thing struck me. Some people have accused President Bush of failing to follow through on his promise to "be a Uniter, not a Divider".

Normally, my response to that is 9/11 changed the circumstances of his administration. He was no longer a peacetime President with a focus on domestic issues, he was now a wartime President trying to bring the fight to enemies abroad while maintaining safety back home. Under circumstances like that, you cannot always accede to the demands of your opponents...

In any case, one question and answer that was edited out of the transcript with Tom Brokaw is this:

Brokaw: “Do you think that there is too much disagreeable in American politics today?”

Bush: “I'm trying to elevate the debate as best I can. But it's pretty rough right now. And I've read a lot of history… that American politics has been rough. I remember the year of the pamphleteering, when people would write all kinds of stuff, without any without any sense of propriety.

“And seems like we may be-- some of that may be happening these days. People just write down whatever they want, whether it's truthful or not… And, you know, look, politics is a rough business. But my job is to-- I think my job as the president, is to try to elevate the debate out of the muck, focus our country's attention on where we need to go and what we need to do as a nation to make ourselves more secure and make the world more peaceful and free.”

...and it hit me: Without a shred of evidence, Howard Dean insinuated President Bush knew about 9/11 beforehand. John Kerry claims President Bush misled him and the entire Congress to get authorization for war. Democrats of all stripes and all levels, from pundits and spokespeople and elected officials down to common people writing letters into newspapers, all have accused President Bush of lying, of invading Iraq to steal oil, to enrich Halliburton, to satisfy his vanity, etc. He's been called stupid, ignorant, a pawn/puppet of Dick Cheney and/or Karl Rove.

And through it all, have you seen President Bush make one cutting remark about his opponents? Has he insinuated Howard Dean is helping terrorists? Has he called anyone unpatriotic?

Nope. He has authorized campaign ads providing factual evidence of Kerry's congressional and campaign-platform flip-flops and lack of support to the military as a Senator, and that's about the worst. As a President, he has largely confined himself to repeating his vision, rather than attacking others for theirs. He has never accused his opponents for being greedy, for lying, or for being opportunistic. He has merely repeated the reasons why we are fighting the war on terror: to make the US (and as a nice side bonus, the world) more safe, and we invaded Iraq as the best place to send a message to states supporting terror, to establish a free and democratic ideal in the Middle East, and to remove one of the most destabilizing regimes in the Middle East before it could join with the recent Islamist Extremist movement to attack the United States at a level on par with 9/11.

It takes two to tango, Dems. If you want a Uniter, you have to be willing to give something, too...and not just a butt-covering, self-serving vote to authorize war right before national congressional elections, either. I'll be surprised if it ever happens.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:18 AM | Comments (7)
Write This Down « Link O' Admiration »

Advice for the kids: don't smoke. Because one day you'll either have to quit, which sucks, or die from it, which sucks almost as much.

Heck, this is good, too:

I watched them laughing with each other and became extremely bothered. And by that, I mean jealous. These people have no debt. These people have college to look forward to. These people are as thin as they will ever be in their lives.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:53 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2004

We May Already Have Won « GWOT »

...although if we have, we won't know it for a while.

A decent article from the BBC.


However, the official also acknowledged that US forces had changed their tactics in the light of Iraqi concerns about the level of violence, switching from offensive operations to what he called a "slow squeeze" strategy.

He suggested this may be a model for the future.

As part of the transition, US commanders are said now to be thinking of adopting a more low-key approach in guarding infrastructure and protecting the new Iraqi leadership.

And from my limited viewpoint, it seems to be working.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)
The Brainfertilizer Challenge « Social Issues »

I've offered this challenge several one has taken me up on it, that I know of:

I can make my arguments against abortion using abortion terminology (i.e., pro-choice, fetus, etc)*. I would really like to see a Pro-Choice advocate attempt to make their arguments using Pro-Live terminology. I'm thinking that an obvious cognitive dissonance would result, but I'd be interested in seeing the attempt. Anyone got the guts? Post in the comments. I'm not really trying to start an argument, although I will probably challenge specific points if I think you attempt to sidestep/ignore obvious ramifications arising from your words. On the other hand, I might just sit back and moderate any discussions that result.

Read More "The Brainfertilizer Challenge" »

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Posted by Nathan at 11:07 PM | Comments (2)
What I'm Listening to Right Now « Stuff Important to Me »

Let's Pretend We're In Love (So I Can Break Up With You)

I know, I know. You're thinking: "Nathan, how can you listen to such trite and hackneyed sentimental romantic crap?" But you would be surprised how the singer is able to breathe new life into old chestnuts, and the result is a moving testimony to eternal crapitude. How can you not love it?

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Posted by Nathan at 10:22 PM | Comments (3)
Worth Reading « Politics As Usual »

Read it all, and consider.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:32 PM | Comments (1)
Confidence « Social Issues »

Gallup recently completed its annual poll of the US citizens' confidence in various institutions.

The military is still the top, natch. Here are the top Five, and the percentage of respondents who have a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in each institution:

The Military 75
Police 64
Church/Organized Religion 53
Banks 53
The Presidency 52

And at the bottom? Three of the bottom six are traditionally liberal:
Organized Labor 31
Television News 30
Newpapers 30

Yeah, Big Business is down there, too, at just 7%...

But you get more of the story if you read the whole thing

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Posted by Nathan at 03:32 AM | Comments (2)
Find Scott Speicher « GWOT »

Don't Forget:

It's been more than 13 years since Captain Scott Speicher was shot down while on a combat mission over Iraq during the first night of Desert Storm, becoming the first American casualty of the war. Initially classified by the Department of Defense as KIA/BNR (killed in action, body not recovered), Captain Speicher made history again in January 2001, when he became the first American service member ever to be switched from a status of KIA to MIA (missing in action).

On October 11, 2002, Scott's status was changed to POW, an acknowledgement by the Department of Defense that he is alive and a prisoner in Iraq

Pentagon officials did not make the decision to change his status based on a whim—a significant amount of evidence suggests that not only did Captain Speicher most likely eject from his F/A-18 strike fighter, but he also survived the landing. Even more compelling is subsequent evidence that indicates he may be a prisoner of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

From Free Scott Speicher

Obviously, he's not being held by Saddam Hussein anymore. It is conceivable he is being held by one of Saddam's subordinates who is still at large. More likely, he was either transferred out of the country, was murdered, or died in custody. We need to know what happened.

We cannot abandon our own.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:35 AM | Comments (2)

June 06, 2004

Input Needed « Blogging »

Should I take a week off from blogging? Or even just 3-5 days?
I'll follow the consensus.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:56 PM | Comments (13)
Quantum Theory and Prayer « New Thinking »

I love this passage:

Read More "Quantum Theory and Prayer" »

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Posted by Nathan at 04:36 AM | Comments (3)
Systems and Viewpoint « New Thinking »

While everyone else is posting about Ronald Reagan, I thought I'd share some more from Who's Afraid of Schrodinger's Cat?

A few things I didn't make clear before. New Science and New Thinking don't replace or invalidate Science! or the mechanistic/deterministic paradigms, they merely place them into a larger context. Another aspect of New Science is that unlike Newtonian physics, the observer is not detached and objective, but does play a role in the outcome merely by observing (that's the basic idea of Schrodinger's Cat, by the way).

One way observers affect the outcome is merely by imposing a classification system. Mechanistic thinkers like Darwin adherents insist the order is there, but they merely describe it. Quantum thinkers recognize the fallacy of that view.

Here's an example: Scientists and philosophers in historical China started noticing that everything seemed to come in "fives". There are five distinct colors (blue, green, red, yellow, and black). There are five directions (North, South, East, West, and Center/motionless). There are five visible planets. There are five elements: Air, Water, Fire, Wood, and Metal. They based their music on a five-note scale. Was that a natural system, or order imposed by the observer? The Chinese didn't really know what to do with mercury. Or the color "white". But the framework of "fives" lasted beyond the recognition of aspects that didn't fit neatly...

None of these things have been "disproved", per se, they have just been placed in a larger context in which they make more sense. Blues still uses a pentatonic scale because there is no "wrong" note, which can happen in a major scale (minor scale tone played against a major scale sounds "wrong"). There are more than five directions, but those five are definitely the most definitive. The elements are rather comprehensive, too, representing liquid, gas, energy/plasma, and two kinds of solids: living and non-living. The color concept is the most intriguing to me, because "brown" and "orange" still aren't distinct colors for the Chinese (the term for them is usually in relation to the other colors...brown is considered a subset of "yellow", incidentally), and their perception of color certainly impacts their sense of fashion from a western viewpoint....

And that applies to modern biology, too, doesn't it? The classes and families and phylums and everything are nice and consistent...but what about the platypus? It breaks several rules by itself. And what about some uni-celled creatures that have aspects of both plant and animal...? But the framework of genus classification still lives on despite clear examples that don't fit the classification scheme. Why? Because the classification isn't wrong, per se, and is still very useful in understanding how living things relate to each other. But it makes more sense to admit that it is more of a useful shorthand system representing human viewpoint and sense of order, rather than actual reality.

So if you don't like some of the things I discuss in the context of New Science vs. Science!, understand that I am not denying the accepted principles of Science!, I'm merely attempting to explain the broader context in which Science! makes more sense. To do that, however, at times I will have to point out the flaws inherent to Newtonian/mechanistic/deterministic thought. Okay?

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Posted by Nathan at 03:25 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2004

Nutrition and Exercise No Cure for Obesity? « Social Issues »

Dean says it is not.

He's got lots of scientific studies that support his position.

There's only one problem with scientific studies: they are only as good as their methodology. And I must assume one thing about these studies: they don't actually control the intake of the dieters. When the study shows that significant numbers of obese people gain weight on a caloric intake and exercise total that would cause non-obese people to lose or maintain weight, I have to assume that the dieters are overestimating their exercise or underestimating the snacks they sneak.

Why? How can I be so positive? How can I sneer so easily at the scientific studies?

Because there is a body of evidence that is being absolutely ignored. If you look in the right direction, you see the simple truth: if you exercise sufficiently and eat properly, you will lose weight rapidly. The proof? Army and Marine Corps basic training programs.

Thousands upon thousands of people, men and women, some who qualify as obese, have entered the training programs. I'd like to say, "not one has failed to lose weight", but I haven't been personally present at every graduation to verify that... Suffice to say that the military controls your exercise as well as your food intake, and even though there is no real attempt made to reduce caloric intake, the severe restriction on snacking does have that effect.

And everyone loses weight. Some put it back on immediately after leaving, but that is due to that person.

Dean has some good tear-jerker stories about people who want to lose weight so badly, but can't, that they start crying when talking about it. He describes the pain they go through as being the equivalent of giving yourself 2nd-degree burns every day with a match, and claims most people wouldn't go that far even if it would ensure they would never get cancer. It's a fallacious argument, because the pain of losing weight is not equivalent to pain undergone in prevention, it is more equivalent to something like chemotherapy: pain undergone as a cure. And most people do undergo the pain of chemotherapy, which is far worse than the pain of hunger and exercise.

Dean's got some good points, and I hardly consider my argument a slam-dunk against his. Heck, most people may still agree with him.

However, I must respectfully disagree with Dean: obesity is largely in the person's mind. Other than the something-less-than-1%-of-the-total-population who actually have glandular/hormonal dysfunction, people who do not lose weight are not willing to change their lifestyle enough to lose weight. They want to lose the weight without the sacrifice. The first step to losing weight is always to change your attitude about food, and these people simply aren't taking that step. I understand their anguish, but the first place they need to look for their failure is themselves, and the way they sabotage their own efforts.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:42 PM | Comments (13)
» Dean's World links with: Embracing Ignorance
» The Queen of All Evil links with: The Few, The Proud...The Obese?
» Michael Williams -- Master of None links with: Disabled By Fat 2
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Radio Station « Media Distortions »

Go check out this page. Or, you can merely check out the excerpt of the part I want to discuss below:

The O'Franken Factor is a Zero Spin Zone. So if you hear something inaccurate on our show, it isn't a lie--it's an error. We want to correct it. And we need your help.

If you hear a mistake, an inaccuracy, or a falsehood--no matter how boring or technical--send it to We'll be checking the box. If we find that we have strayed from the truth, we'll get to it in our semi-regular, much-beloved "boring corrections" segment as quickly as we can.

All I can do is shake my head in disbelief. The man who wrote the book "Lying Liars Lie Lie Lie" (or something like that) realizes that the same technique might be used on him, so he pre-empts any such attempt with that lame " isn't a lie, it's an error" crap. So, anyway, now you have the address to correct them in the "errors". I figure I'm going to start mailing them transcripts daily of everything Al Franken says.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)
President Bush Most Polarizing Political Figure Ever « Link O' Admiration »

More good stuff from Ace

The most revealing part? President Bush is hated by Democrats for the success of his tax cuts and decisions in making this country safer, as evidenced by the fact that the better the economy gets and the better the war goes, the more Democrats disapprove of President Bush. Bill Clinton was supported by Democrats for lying under oath, as evidenced by the fact that he had the highest Democrat approval rating shortly after the Monical Lewinsky story broke. Which is a rather sad glimpse into the priorities of Democrats today.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:29 AM | Comments (2)
Mainstream News Media Still Coddling President Clinton « Media Distortions »

The scoop from Ace.


Ever notice that when the media is reporting on something that is potentially damaging to Clinton, they get very vague about the administration the event occurred under? They can never bring themselves to say "Clinton." The best they can do is provide a vague date that allows you to figure out who was the President at the time.

I can't help but think they're hoping readers don't bother doing the math themselves.

I've seen this dozens of times. Hell, I've even seen them misidentify the President during 1999 or 2000 as George Bush in their rush to pin something on the current administration.

He gives two specific clear examples. Go read. Now, if you haven't yet. Or later this afternoon a second time, if you have once already. It's worth re-reading.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:20 AM | Comments (2)
Talking Back to the Classics, Pt 1 « Meme Stolen from Jeff G. »

"Um, I respectfully disagree, Will. The first thing we do is kill all the reporters. That should bring the ACLU scrabbling out from the baseboards. If we just kill them, and maybe a few of the worst malpractice lawyers for example, the remaining lawyers shouldn't be much trouble."

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Posted by Nathan at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)
NYT: The "T" is for "Treason" « Media Distortions »

The mainline news media continues to fight against the United States with the New York Times as its vanguard.

Need some evidence? Check out this article. (Note: I got there without needing a subscription by way of Google News)

Check out this sentence:

The deal made scant mention of the fate of Mr. Sadr himself. The capture of Mr. Sadr, who is accused of planning the murder of a rival imam, was one of the reasons American forces started the fighting, which is estimated to have cost more than 500 lives.

This is demonstrably slanted against the United States.

1) American forces did not start the fighting. We arrested one of Muqtada al-Sadr's leading subordinates, and they started the fighting in protest and pre-emptive protection of Muqtada, who is wanted for murder but protected by armed guards.

2) 500 deaths? Who died, specifically? If they know it was more than 500, can't they determine how many were non-combatants? Can't they determine how many US Soldiers were killed in ambushes? Can't they determine how many US Soldiers were killed by Muqtada's forces breaking a cease-fire they requested? The bulk of the 500 killed were thugs, terrorists, and illegal militia who broke all internationally accepted Rules of Engagement. But the New York Times obscures those facts. If that was an unintentional obfuscation, then the reporters are incompetent and the paper is a worthless rag undeserving of press credentials. If it was deliberate, it is treason, pure and simple. The editors of the New York Times should be held accountable for their actions.

Update:: If these reporters are American, then they, too are traitors.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2004

Two Requests « GWOT »

1. If terrorists attack and I am among the fallen, I demand that the United States continue to fight the war on terror anywhere and everywhere on the globe until my children can freely and safely visit the spot where I fell.

2. If I fall in the Global War on Terror, I hereby give full permission for my image, my story, my career to be used to support the Bush Administration and the choices they have made to this point in the Global War on Terror. I absolutely support what we are doing. The few things I might have done differently have all turned out better than I would have expected. The things that have turned out badly are all things I would have done, as well, because the available information at the time supported the decision President Bush made. I support President Bush in life, I want it known clearly I would support him just as strongly in even my own death.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:35 PM | Comments (1)
» INDC Journal links with: Is This in Your Will?
Biased News Media « Media Distortions »

Every time I read polls like these, I can't help thinking that each report of negative attitudes from the population should be prefaced with the phrase, "And in a victory for mainstream news media,"

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Posted by Nathan at 09:24 AM | Comments (2)

If you can only vote against, and not for, then you deserve all the frustration you encounter.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:48 AM | Comments (1)
Wow. « Social Issues »

Someone has way too much time on their hands...

Generic Names for Soft Drinks By County

Via Big Sky Dave

...and what's the deal with that "soda" aberration right around St. Louis?

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Posted by Nathan at 01:41 AM | Comments (3)
» Curmudgeonry links with: COKE? SODA? POP?
The Perfect Post? « Social Issues »

Perhaps. If not, it's dang close to it.
Judge for yourself.

Juliette (Baldilocks) addresses several social ills that are the direct result of liberal "compassion". Her points are made succinctly and strongly and are difficult to dispute. Go read it, comment, consider.

I'm still slightly stunned with the power of her writing on this.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)
MedPundit Exposes the Myth of Motherhood Infallability

Gratuitous Link to the post.

Most of the Post in Blockquotes:

[From a local newspaper's] letters to the editor:
On Mother's Day, when I saw the photo of the young woman soldier with the leash around the neck of the naked Iraqi prisoner, I thought that this was not something she learned at her mother's knee but was part of her indoctrination into the military, where the enemy is dehumanized.

Ah yes, glorious womanhood. One of the advantages of practicing family medicine is that you get a front row seat in the circus of life, and I can assure you that it is far more common for bad behaviors to be learned at a mother's knee than elsewhere.

...and good behaviors, too. I'm not anti-Mom or anything. But it is time we started exposing the inaccuracy our society's belief in the perfectness of mothers.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)
Out of Curiosity... « Social Issues »

How many unmarried heterosexuals advocating the legalization of SSM are actually unmarried and living with their girlfriend/boyfriend?

Anyone have any thoughts on the issue? Because it would seem to me that someone living an immoral lifestyle probably would have a more difficult time recognizing immorality in others...

Okay: Bring it on.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:02 AM | Comments (3)

June 03, 2004

When Given the Chance, Iraq tells France, China, and Russia to "Stick It" « GWOT » least, that's my take.

The Actual News Report

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Posted by Nathan at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)
FYI « Blogging »

I switched our schedules around a little bit here, and as a result, I will no longer be in synch with you folks back in the states. For the most part, I will be completely done posting each day by noon EST, if not by the time you wake up.

Just letting you know.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)
Former President Clinton « Politics As Usual »

Yanno? I'm just not sure what to make of this:

"If you go back and read what (Bush) said in the campaign, he's just doing what he'd said he'd do. You've got to give him credit for that... No one has the whole truth," Clinton said.
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Posted by Nathan at 11:12 PM | Comments (1)
A Gift « Humor »

Leonard Ferguson's lifetime goal was to become a chef. From a very young age, he was always in the kitchen, trying out new recipes, taking the thyme to experiment with spices...

For his 16th birthday, his parents bought him his own tools: a brand-new set of copper-bottom stainless steel pots. Leonard was ecstatic, and his enthusiasm was doubled, if anything, at the prospect of having better equipment.

But the goal of becoming a professional chef eluded him for years, stretching into decades. After another unsuccessful job interview, he was despondent. His friends gathered one evening to discuss what they could do to help. One person pointed out that Leonard was still using the old copper-bottom pans his parents had given him nearly 30 years before. They resolved to buy him a new, professional-quality set of cookware. They passed around the hat, and ended up with enough. They called Leonard over for drinks one night to make the presentation, and Leonard was moved to tears.

The next week, to thank all his friends, he decided to have a formal dinner of his favorite masterpieces, but he would not disclose the menu. On the appointed night, all his friends and supporters sat around the table, suffering in exquisite anticipatory pleasure from the delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen. Finally, one bold young lady, a lawyer by profession, decided to see if she could slip in and find out what he was making.

She stealthily opened the door and drifted inside, a silent shadow...

A scant minute later, she returned, a troubled look crumpling her countenance.

"What's wrong?" the others asked her.

"Leonard is still using the cookware his parents bought him! Why? Why? Why?!?"

Jim, a psychologist, had this to offer: "We did our best, my friends. But surely you must realize..."

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Posted by Nathan at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)
Science! and Society « New Thinking »

The Mechanistic, clockwork view of the universe mentioned in the previous post didn't immediately pervade world thought. It took time, as various philosophers and teachers and thinkers encountered and explored the ramifications. But it still dominates the thinking of most people, and is still taught in many disciplines today.

I think we will explore and expand on the new paradigms introduced by New Thinking, and in time it may become the norm. For now, though, the remnants of old-style, either/or, mechanistic, deterministic Science! are still seen everywhere, from the Evolution vs. Creationism arguments to socialism.

I'm a great believer in cause and effect, don't get me wrong. But I recognize the inherent problem of clinging too tightly to the idea that "if I do A, B will happen". I've also long been a great believer in the perversity of humanity. I would rather use fuzzy logic and say, "If I do A, B will probably (or probably not) occur", and make my plans accordingly.

I think I naturally understand New Thinking. It resonates with what I've already observed, identifies many of the same problems I've already identified, and takes steps to actually begin to answer those problems.

Well, Glenn Reynolds has nano-tech. I'm going to try to start applying fuzzy logic and quantum approaches to politics and society. It may not happen for a while, because I have some research to do, but look for more on this subject in the future.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:32 AM | Comments (1)
What I'm Reading Right Now « Stuff Important to Me »

Who's Afraid of Schrodinger's Cat?, by Ian Marshall and Danah Zohar.

One review:

The meat of the book does exactly what it says, it introduces the reader to the most advanced scientific principles of today. However, what I became even more interested in, (although I was plenty interested in the new ideas) was the epistimological difference between newtonian physics and quantum physics. In sparked in me an interest into the philosophy of science.

I'm finding that quite accurate.


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Posted by Nathan at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)
Sweet. « Politics As Usual »

Tenet resigns from CIA.

That's one down and two to go on people I actively want out of the administration: Powell and Mineta are the others.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:04 AM | Comments (0)
Putting Iraq in Perspective « Social Issues »

Check out the "combat" deaths (murders) from 2002.

And California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation.

Gun control advocates and those who oppose our involvement in Iraq on the basis of US deaths are full of crap. IMHO, of course.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2004

Mea Culpas All Around « Blogging »

I apologize if my recent attempt to channel Thomas Paine has been less than successful from your point of view. I'm enjoying it, at least. Which means I'm not going to stop.

I'd like to make it clear that I'm not trying to castigate any individual or any group. I just that most of the attitudes I encounter toward government and governing seem incorrect or inadequate or insufficient to me...

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Posted by Nathan at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)
Good Government « Politics As Usual »

It is my impression that:

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Posted by Nathan at 11:56 AM | Comments (2)

June 01, 2004

What Is America? « Social Issues »

Kerry's latest campaign slogan says something about "Let America Be America Again." I think.
Nick Berg's dad said something about America under President Bush not being the American he grew up in.

I've heard it often said that the miracle of the United States of America is an unprecented recognition of rights...

"Progressives" are advocating the expansion of rights as "progress", as if we should be on an inevitable quest to seek out new freedoms and grant/recognize them as soon as possible.

"America: It's a Free Country", right?

I submit that the basis of the experiment was not freedom. The miracle of the United Staes was not in the recognition/guarantee/granting of freedom, it was simply the recognition of the fallibility of humans, and a corresponding structure designed to prevent that fallibility from tyrannizing the citizens.

Stability, not freedom, was the goal. Freedom was always intended to be secondary to stability and power balance. Evidence? Well, originally, the only people whose freedom and rights were guaranteed were white land-owners. Freedoms and rights were expanded slowly over time only when enough people were convinced the expansion would not upset the stability or create imbalances in the power structure.

After a little over 200 years, we've finally gone off the wire, and the system is breaking down from groups of people who have learned to manipulate the system against the will of the majority.


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Posted by Nathan at 10:38 AM | Comments (1)