January 31, 2006
The Islamic world
is all in a froth---OK, it is always in a froth---about those Danish cartoons.
Here is one of them:
The rest can be seen at Michelle Malkin's
What would you think if Christianity acted as Islam acts? If Christians
made war upon cartoons? If Christians made war upon Buddhist statues? If
Christians chopped off heads on camera? If Christians sent legions of
suicide killers into schoolhouses? If Christians murdered their
daughters for violations of 'honor?' If Christians boasted about
blasting civilian airliners from the sky? If Christians were involved in
almost every war on the planet? If Christians at the Vatican regularly
stampeded and trampled to death hundreds of their own? If Christian
youth made a sport of raping non-Christian girls? If Christians hunted
down and killed all who tried to leave the faith? If Christians sent out
hit squads to murder all who insulted the faith? If Christians around
the globe jumped with glee after the towers fell? If Protestant and
Catholic Christians engaged themselves in mutual slaughter? If
Christians sexually mutilated their adolescent girls?
You know the answer. Civilized peoples of all kinds would jump out of
their skins to call such a faith infinitely degraded. There would be
Écrasez l'Infâme throughout the land. Yet when Islam does these
things the world oozes understanding. Moslems appear on Oprah to explain
it all away to the cooing crowd, writers censor themselves so as not to
be seen as intolerant and politicians do back flips to appease. Why?
Here is a short list of types of people killed and types of things
broken by Islam since 2001:
Jews and Christians and
Hindus and Buddhists and agnostics and surfers and disco habitués
and businessman and children and guards and pizza lovers and airline
passengers and diplomats and diplomats' wives and diplomats'
children and teachers and writers and missionaries and stewardesses
and professors and journalists and free thinkers. Islam builds
nothing yet blows to smithereens busses and schools and synagogues
and churches and skyscrapers and houses and buildings and embassies
and cemeteries and cars and ships and planes.
Where is life in all of this appalling destruction? or Love? or Mercy?
or Hope? Look at the Moslem world and what do you see? Where would you
In the world of Islam it is
dog-eat-dog, a world gone nuts and mad and spooky with crazed
theology and murderous intent: Iraq invades Iran and Kuwait---all
three are Islamic states; Algeria murders 200,000 of its own---all
Moslems; half of the Sudan---the Moslem north---literally enslaves
the other half---the Christian south; The Moslem Taliban terrorized
an entire Moslem nation---Afghanistan; Moslem al-Qaeda makes war
upon the spiritual center of Islam itself, Saudi Arabia; Islamic
Somalia is at war with itself and with Islamic Eritrea---and both of
these Hobbesian nightmares join with their Moslem brothers in the
Sudan to sexually mutilate their adolescent girls; Moslem Syria
sponsors terror brigades in whatever is left of Moslem and Christian
Lebanon; Moslem Turks slaughter Moslem Kurds; Sunni hates Shiite;
Palestinian mothers exult when their sons and daughters march off to
the oblivion of suicide bombing; and on and on and on---always more
blood, always more terror, always more degradation. In almost every
part of our globe wherever there is violence you can bet that one or
both of the parties is a Moslem group or nation.
If such grotesqueries represented only a tiny fraction of Islam, where
is the Moslem outcry against all of these grim atrocities, most of which
are committed by Moslem upon Moslem? Where is the honor in all this?
Where is the decency? Where is any creative power in all of this?
And if all of this were
not enough, you might enjoy this candidate for Moslem
mother of the
Mariam Farahat, who
was elected to the Palestinian parliament, can work a crowd like
a veteran politician -- shaking hands and greeting supporters.
When she gets on the stage at a Hamas rally, she is the star
attraction. She was one of Hamas' most popular candidates in
In Gaza, Farahat is
known as Um Nidal, or Mother of the Struggle -- a mother who
sent three of her six sons on Hamas suicide missions against
She is most famous
for her presence in a Hamas video, showing her 17-year-old how
to attack Israelis and telling him not to return. Shortly
afterward, he killed five students in a Jewish settlement before
he was killed himself.
What the Hell is wrong with these people?
For some perspective, here
is the type of
cartoons that regularly appear in the Islamic press every day around
January 30, 2006
Not Quite Soldiers of
The Jesuits are at it again. Once known for their Catholic fervor they
have for half a century slowly morphed into a trendy and hip ecumenical
professoriate. Their teachings and practices far more often than not
confound Catholic teaching rather than affirm it.
Their house propaganda organ
America very clearly shows how far the Jesuits have abandoned
Catholic teaching and morals. Unless a reader knew it was produced by
the Jesuits he would have little idea it came from a group of guys once
known as front line warriors of the papacy. A recent
editorial could have been written by fans of Brokeback Mountain.
It concerns---what else---homosexuals and the priesthood. The position
of the Jesuits is striking, and simply drools condescension and
There has been a notably
wide variety of interpretations from Catholic leaders of the Vatican
instruction, published on Nov. 29, concerning the admission of gay
men to orders.
The teachings of Christ also suffered a 'wide variety of
interpretations'---you know, from the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees
and other such white-washed tombs.
It is difficult, therefore,
to determine exactly what effect it will have on future applicants
to seminaries and religious orders.
No it is not. It will result in far fewer sodomites in the priesthood.
Here is the key point made by the Jesuit author, and it admits to open
rebellion against Catholic teachings:
Like any Vatican document,
this latest directive, in keeping with the Code of Canon Law (Canon
17) will have to be interpreted and applied, in this case by
bishops, seminary rectors, vocation directors and superiors of
So all Vatican
documents are simply loose guidelines and vague suggestions that do not
There is a valid concern
that the priesthood should not become exclusively or even
predominantly the domain of gay men. In the same way that one would
not want to see all or most priests coming from a particular ethnic
group, or from a particular region of a country, one hopes that the
priesthood reflects the great diversity of Catholics.
To the Jesuits it is a 'valid concern' that most priests should not be
sodomites in the same way that most priests should not be of one ethnic
group. So homosexuality is to be equated with race, something you were
born with and cannot change. Here the Jesuits have effectively removed
the sin from sodomy. And as always here is that all encompassing goo-goo
word, 'diversity.' The Jesuit author performs a logical sleight-of-hand,
for there is no 'great diversity of Catholics.' They are all to strictly
conform to Catholic teaching no matter their nation or skin color. If
not, they have ceased to be Catholic in any meaningful sense. But then,
so have the Jesuits.
It would be tragic,
however, if this
attempt by the Vatican to confront the sexual abuse crisis were the
occasion for division within the church or prompted any increase in
prejudice against gays and lesbians.
The division in the Church started with Judas and is not new. Jesus said
that there would be sheep with the goats until the end of time. These
Jesuits are the goats.
Anything that seeks to
remove gay men and women from the place that is theirs within the
body of Christ by virtue of their baptism or to deny their
contributions to the church should, of course, be rejected. So
should anything that conflates homosexuality with pedophilia or
ephebophilia. The connection between them is unsupported by any
credible empirical evidence, and the scapegoating and vilification
of gay priests is against Christian charity.
No Catholic has the right to be a priest, and Baptism does not grant
this. Allowing homosexuals into the priesthood is expose these poor men
to temptations of a horrible sort. It is a great cruelty to them and to
their flock, and would be anything but an example of Christian charity.
Would you allow heterosexual priests to live among nuns? What would be
the point except to see these men fall into sin? And the claim that
there is no connection between homosexuality, pedophilia and
ephebophilia is a great lie from the Father of Lies. I would ask this
morally confused Jesuit: Just who then is molesting boys and young men?
And sometimes doing so right in the Church?
Some have predicted that the
instruction will discourage gay men from applying to seminaries and
religious orders in the future, and will lead to the ejection of
celibate gay men from seminaries and religious formation programs.
I most certainly
John Neuhaus tosses his
hat into the
So the response of the
official magazine of the Society of Jesus in the U.S. would seem to
be that homosexuality is no more morally problematic than one’s
ethnic identity or geographical origins, and that there should be
room in the priesthood also for men who are not gay. Rome says gay
men should not be admitted to the priesthood. The Society of Jesus,
insofar as it is represented by America, responds that men
who are not gay should not be excluded from the priesthood. There
would appear to be a problem here.
Yes there would be. The problem is one of rebellion against Catholic
Doctrine and Morals set down in the teachings of Christ and Catholic
Tradition. Either the Jesuits are right or Christ is. Homosexuals are to
be loved and prayed for--- and kept far away from children.
Just to clear things up, here is what the Catechism of the Catholic
Church actually says about homosexuality:
Its psychological genesis
remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture,
which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition
has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically
disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the
sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine
affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can
they be approved.---2357.
So the Jesuits have no
problem with allowing into the Catholic priesthood men who are gravely
depraved, intrinsically disordered and act contrary to natural law. And
these men claim to be spokesmen for Christ? They actually represent the
No one is forced to be Catholic. It is a demanding faith and a
confrontational one, for it sets its face against the world and does not
accommodate it. If the Jesuits do not have the moral courage to abide
her doctrines then they should get the Hell out.
January 29, 2006
The Deadly Daintiness of
Say what you want about those fundamentalist Christians, they sure seem
a rather calm lot. Insult them, take away the prayers of their God from
schools, make fun of them in the media, use all sorts of legal wiles to
keep them far away from abortion mills, remove their Ten Commandments
from public spaces, make movies where Jesus marries, write plays where
He practices sodomy, write books that call the whole edifice of
Christianity a sham, and what happens? Not much. They keep going to
their churches to pray for their enemies---and they seem to have lots
these days. Yet they always turn the other cheek. You can create a piece
of 'art' called
Piss Christ or one with dung spread all over an image of the
Virgin and all you will get for your time will be a few complaints and
more of those prayers for your soul. That's it.
Ah, but try something like this with Islam! I dare say that its response
will be---how does one say this?---a bit more memorable. Recall the
Salman Rushdie. He published an obvious slander of Islam in his
Satanic Verses. Hey guys, it was funny! But Moslems were not
amused. The Islamic world, especially the mullahs in Iran, went stark
raving ballistic. A fatwa
was issued by the Iranians that called for Rushdie's death by whatever
On February 14, 1989, a
fatwa promising his execution was proclaimed on Radio Tehran by
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran, calling his book
"blasphemous against Islam"...Khomeini called on all "zealous
Muslims" to execute the writer, as well as those of the publishers
of the book who knew about the concepts of the book.
Those mullahs seem a bit touchy. Over a book. They never got
Rushdie---not yet anyway---but they did get Theo van Gogh, who had the
impertinence to make a film about Islamic culture. He was shot dead by a
half-Moroccan on the streets of Amsterdam. No more film making for
You see the point. No matter what the modern world throws at Christians
they just go about their lives. But offer the mildest reprimand or the
slightest insult to Islam, and it breaks out in mayhem and murder.
Now it is making war over...cartoons. A
Danish author is writing a book about Mohammed. He had a hard time
finding an illustrator as few wanted the possible fatal attention such
drawings might get from Islam. A Danish newspaper
forty artists asking for depictions of Muhammad and received in
response twelve cartoons of the Prophet — several playing on the
violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam around the world
Danish Imam Raed Hlayhel was the first to react. “This type of
democracy is worthless for Muslims,”
“Muslims will never accept this kind of humiliation. The article has
insulted every Muslim in the world. We demand an apology!”
have generated all sorts of responses from the entire Moslem world.
ambassador in Denmark has said that the case no longer rests with
the embassy. It is now being treated at an international level. As
far as I have been informed by my government, the cartoon case has
already been placed on the agenda for the Islamic Conference
Organization’s extraordinary summit in the beginning of December
response has been somewhat more vigorous:
Jamaaat-e-Islami party offered five thousand kroner to anyone who
killed one of the cartoonists.
And one Islamic
cartoons had “trespassed all limits of objective criticism into
insults and contempt of the religious beliefs of more than one
billion Muslims around the world, including thousands in Denmark.
Al-Azhar intends to protest these anti-Prophet cartoons with the
UN’s concerned committees and human rights groups around the world.”
Rather than get bent out of shape over cartoons I would advise Moslems
to use their energy to do something really radical. Like
supplying clean water to their cities. Like stopping the honor killing
of their women. Like figuring out why their nations are convulsed in
poverty, violence and goof-ball Jew hatred. Like figuring out why tiny
Denmark (population 5,432,335) has
a per-capita GDP of $33,500---ten times that of the Indonesia, the
largest Islamic nation.
So naturally there is a cry from Islamic lands for a boycott of Danish
goods. I would say that the non-cartoon-hating world should simply
increase its purchase of all things Danish.
Lost Budgie has a list of them.
Will these folks be the next victims of Islamic irrationality?
(More silliness here.
And some background
(Update: While writing about Islam's war on cartoons I recalled
I had written in 2003:
Hmm...when a Catholic
gets angry he goes to Confession. When a Protestant gets angry he
gets on his knees to God. When a Buddhist gets angry he spins a
prayer wheel. When a Hindu gets angry he sighs that he has not yet
achieved a higher existence. When a Confucian gets angry he mourns
the loss of modesty. When an agnostic gets angry he mumbles to
himself over a scotch and soda.
But when a Moslem gets
angry he has the right to go on a killing spree.
Horror of horrors. I just
Kennedy to Publish Children's
So old, fat, corrupt and degenerate Ted
Kennedy is going to use the skills he has garnered from his entertaining
life and put them to use for the edification of our kids.
I am very excited about the
opportunity to create a book for young readers and their families
that will deepen their understanding of how our American government
Well, in the spirit of letting bygones be
bygones, I would like to volunteer my services to the senator. I can
actually help him put words to paper. So let's get started. But how to
begin? Hmm...let's see:
See Ted. See Ted run. See Ted run his
Oldsmobile into the water...
Woh! Where did that come from? This will not
do. Let us try again.
See Ted run. See Ted run from the police after running his
Damn. It happened again. OK, let's try a
See Ted. See Ted run. Run Ted run!
Whew! So far so good. So...where were we? Oh
See Ted run. Run Ted run! Run after Mary Jo at that party on
Hmm...some sort of problem here. But I do not
give up so easily.
See Ted run. See Ted run into the welcoming arms of his best pals
Johnny Walker and Jack Daniels...
Stop it! Whoever is doing this, stop it now! I
am trying to help a US senator! Do you mind? I will begin again.
See Ted. See Ted run. See Ted run for
president. See Ted lose.
Well, that is not too bad I guess. So...
See Ted eat. Eat Ted eat! Eat until you are the fattest man in the
senate, until your very appearance is a grotesque monstrosity, until
you can no longer see your feet, until you have to grope and search
when you stand in front of a urinal, until you have surrounded your soul
with so much fat that you fancy yourself protected from the avenging furies that
seek to devour you...
OK. I give up. I'm beaten. But wait! I can at
least help Ted write the dedication to his book. So:
to Mary Jo Kopechne. You will never be forgotten. I hope one day to
see you again, my darling.
You will, Ted. You will.
January 27, 2006
Just to Clarify Things
Today I am a happy lad. For Hamas has won the Palestinian 'elections.'
The boys of Hamas were pitted against the wholly corrupt and incompetent Fatah. Now
there can be no hiding, no wiggling about, no shilly-shallying about the
intentions of the Palestinian state. Whereas before the Palestinians
would say one thing to the Western media and another to Arabs, Hamas
does not have this problem. It is absolutely and perfectly clear about
what it wants.
There is no solution for the
Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals
and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain
endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to
having their future, rights and fate toyed with.
Got it. Israel must go. War is the answer. International
conferences---like the Oslo Accords---are a sham. OK, but what of this
hatred of the Jews?
The Zionist invasion is a
vicious invasion. It does not refrain from resorting
to all methods, using all evil and contemptible ways
to achieve its end. It relies greatly in its
infiltration and espionage operations on the secret
organizations it gave rise to, such as the
Freemasons, The Rotary and Lions clubs, and other
sabotage groups. All these organizations, whether
secret or open, work in the interest of Zionism and
according to its instructions. They aim at
undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting
consciences, deteriorating character and
annihilating Islam. It is behind the drug trade and
alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its
control and expansion.
Wow! I had no
idea that those clever Zionists had infiltrated our Oklahoma City
Rotary Club. Good to know.
Zionism, together with imperialistic powers, try
through a studied plan and an intelligent strategy
to remove one Arab state after another from the
circle of struggle against Zionism, in order to have
it finally face the Palestinian people only.
Well, now I understand the
Iraq War: It was waged really to remove one Arab state
after another so that the US military could at last use
its weapons upon the people of Palestine. Glad that is
So there it is, folks,
pure, unadulterated Hamas.
Its goal is clear, its aim
is direct and its audience now has no excuses for
ignorance. And as if to pound this lesson in, I read
that it has promised to open an Iranian embassy in
Ramallah. From DEBKA
we see that
leader Khaled Mashaal promised Tehran an Iranian
embassy in Ramallah very shortly after its victory –
five days before the Palestinian election.
Even considering that this
comes from DEBKA this move makes inherently good
strategic sense. Since all is open now, why not just be
frank about things and allow the terror regime in Tehran
a redoubt a few feet from Israel herself?
of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight
the Jews and kill them.
Crystal clear yet again.
good time type into yahoo search the words Hamas +
Terror. You can choose among 192, 363 entries and then
read to your heart's content. Then type in Hamas + Terror
+ Syria----110, 207 entries. Then type in Hamas +
Terror + Syria + Iran---88,665 entries. At long last
type in Hamas + Terror + Syria + Iran + Hezbollah---a
mere 52,440 entires. Of course there is much overlap among
these articles, but you get the point.
Iran has clarified things as
well as the killers of Hamas have clarified things. We have
been given the truth, and it has set Americans
a Fox News poll published Thursday, 59 percent of
Americans believe the United States should take all
measures necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining
nuclear arms. The poll also revealed 51 percent of
Americans support an air strike in Iran, while 46
percent back aerial, as well as ground operations.
Push has now become shove. So
cry havoc, and the sooner the better.
January 26, 2006
Heath Ledger Knows Best
I am always amused by the antics of our entertainers, especially the
Hollywood variety. They are completely reliable---not to their spouses
of course, but in their ability to play the public ape. It is well and
good that they have neither shame nor conscience nor discernment, for
otherwise we would not be treated to such deep thoughts as the following
from pretty boy and Wyoming wrestler Heath Ledger.
Personally, I don’t think
the movie is [controversial] but I think maybe the Mormons in Utah
do. I think it’s hilarious and very immature of a society,” Ledger
said in The Herald Sun. “I heard a while ago that West Virginia was
going to ban it but that’s a state that was lynching people only 25
years ago so that’s to be expected.”
He speaks of course of his
pro-sodomy flick, Brokeback Mountain. Poster boy Heath is deeply
disturbed that there are still---still!---some people in this day and age
who would rather not see a movie where two men engage in doing the sort of thing
that a generation ago few thought of doing and fewer still thought of watching.
Yet, being the
excellent moral philosopher that he is, he boldly speaks out against the
Greatest Crime of Our Age, intolerance. The poor Mormons come in for a
severe chastisement, holed up as they are in that redoubt of morality,
Utah. (I am cut to the quick that Ledger did not include my home state
of Oklahoma along with Utah, alas.) These pitiful souls, laboring under
an ancient and decayed belief, refuse to raise themselves to the level
of the breathtakingly tolerant and hip Heath Ledger. Damn them!
You see, poor old
Mormonism---and Christianity and Judaism and Islam---all refer to a
bunch of old books as guides to Life, the Universe and Everything. These
writings are quite specific on those activities that Ledger the Wise has
done in public, boosts in public, and insists that one and all praise in
From an old
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an
abomination...If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of
them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death,
their blood is upon them.---Lev. 18:22, 20:13
From an old Jewish guy
who became a new Christian guy:
...God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged
natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up
natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one
another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in
their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they
did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind
and to improper conduct. . . . Though they know God’s decree that
those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but
approve those who practice them.---Rom. 1:26–28, 32
Do you not know that the
wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:
Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male
prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor
drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of
God.---1 Cor. 6:9–10
From a Moslem
guy---and hold onto your hats, because it sure ain't pretty:
This sin, the impact of which makes one’s skin crawl, which
words cannot describe, is evidence of perverted instincts, total
collapse of shame and honor, and extreme filthiness of character and
soul…The heavens, the Earth and the mountains tremble from the
impact of this sin. The angels shudder as they anticipate the
punishment of Allah to descend upon the people who commit this
So that which
Heath the Magnificent calls uncontroversial and very mature is called by
that God fellow "an abomination...dishonorable...unnatural...shameless."
In fact, old Yahweh really gave it to Sodom and Gomorrah for engaging in
an early example of Brokeback Mountain. (Hey Heath, all those guys
in those cities were sheep ranchers too!) Those places were burnt to a
because the outcry against
its people has become great before the Lord.---Gen. 19:13
Jude 7 records that Sodom
and Gomorrah "acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust."
Ezekiel 16:50 says that Sodom committed "abominable things."---Word
So now what do we
do? Should we defer to some old texts from those religious types, or
should we fall in line with Heath Ledger and all those Hollywood types?
Good old pretend
sheep rancher Heath should hope beyond hope that God is dead, that all
that monotheistic morality is false, that it is sweet and honorable to
do unto men that which is done between married folk---a man and a woman
that is, just to clarify things.
And another thing.
Is it just me, or is there something more than strange that it is fine
with Ledger that for all his life natural and not he will be faced with
what he did on screen in Brokeback Mountain? That forever and
ever his wife will go to bed knowing that her husband promoted anal sex
for money? That his children and grandchildren will always live in the shadow
of that mountain in Wyoming?
So Heath, one day
you will have the great honor to pull your granddaughter upon your lap
and tell her again what you did as a bright and shining Hollywood star.
January 25, 2006
Axis of Imbeciles
As if America did not have her hands
full in Iraq and with trying to find a way of denying nuclear weapons to the
grotesque Iranian mullahs, now she must deal with a host of her enemies forging
alliances and ganging up on her. All sorts of ominous winds appear to be blowing
from Asia, from the Middle East and from South America as the Iranian president
woos unsavory Syrians, Venezuelan blow-hards, a weird-haired midget
monster from North Korea and the grubby killers of Hamas and Hezbollah. All of the sudden we are told that
we should be afraid---very afraid.
No we should not. The countries
aligned against us at the behest of the Iranian nut-jobs are broke and
incompetent. They are more of a threat to themselves than to us. I should add
that anti-American alliances have always failed. Always.
Our first wars were against France
and her Indian allies in North America. There were four of these
French and Indian
Wars and they represented the first anti-American alliances. We defeated them
all: France was almost eliminated from North America and her Native American
allies were pushed into the Ohio River Valley. The next war we were matched
against another anti-American alliance, the British and most of the Indians. We
won again. The superpower of the day was beaten handily.
The results of the first set of
anti-American alliances were victories over France and Britain---the strongest
nations in the world---political
independence for our new nation and the first stirrings of an American power
that would eventually dominate in one form or another the entire world. Not bad
for the first set of anti-American axes. These really set the tone for future
struggles against a host of foes: a group of nations would unite against us, we
would defeat them, and the result would be a vast increase in our power and
France was at it again while under
the spell of Napoleon. He was recognized as the greatest captain of his age and
the 'disturber of the world.' The Corsican planned an invasion of our nation,
first by cementing his strategic base on the island of Santo Domingo---the
present day Haiti and Dominican Republic---and then using it to ship thousands
of tomahawks and muskets to Indians who would bring fire and massacre to
American settlers. His goal was New Orleans and then all of Louisiana.
Napoleon's aim was
to raise Louisiana to a degree of
strength which will allow him in time of war to abandon it to its own
resources without anxiety; so that enemies [Americans] may be forced to the
greatest sacrifices merely in attempting to attack it.---Our Oldest Enemy,
He also enlisted Spain in his cause.
So what we had against us was a brilliant conqueror using all the resources the
French overseas empire, the North American empire of Spain and thousands of
France's Indian allies. When it was all over Americans owned all of Louisiana
and Napoleon had abandoned his dreams of American conquest---"Damn sugar! Damn
coffee! Damn colonies!" So the third anti-American coalition ended as had the
first two: the defeat of our enemies and a tremendous increase in our national
power. But Britain was not yet done, and formed yet another alliance with
Indians in an attempt to defeat America in The War of 1812. This war was really
an sideshow of the Napoleonic Wars, and really ended not with the Treaty of
Ghent but with one of the greatest strategic victories of American arms,
Battle of New Orleans. It was this vastly under-appreciated defeat of Britain's
finest soldiers that cemented our independence from Europe, ended forever
British wars on our soil and opened the entire West to American expansion.
The next anti-American fantasy was
the clumsy attempt by
Napoleon III to get Mexico into
an alliance against us during our Civil War. He sent the hapless, brave and
there to rule as the Emperor of Mexico (1864-1867). Napoleon harbored all sorts
of anti-American schemes, including uniting France with the Confederacy and so
splitting our Republic into separate parts. His rococo foreign policy was
defeated by the Union victory and by the Mexicans themselves. Napoleon III
became a perfect example of what happens to anti-American foreign leaders:
Maximillian was shot, French dreams of influence in North America were over, and
Napoleon himself was captured by the Germans in the
The dream of anti-American types to get
Latin America united against us was continued by Germany in 1917---the famous
The note promised Mexico all the lands lost in the Mexican-American War
(1846-1848) if she would unite with Germany, and also suggested that Mexico try to convince Japan to join Germany's
anti-American alliance. The result was America's entry into World War I and the
defeat of Imperial Germany. The next anti-American alliance formed after Pearl
Harbor. After we declared war upon Japan Germany declared war upon us, dragging
the hapless Italy along. (Mussolini was really a proto-Chavez.) So there we
were: the greatest powers in Europe and Asia united against America, an America
with a small fleet and an army the size of Romania's. The results of this sixth
anti-American coalition were the destruction of the Nazi, fascist and Japanese
regimes, an American influence that now stretched across
the world and American armies permanently in place in Europe and Asia.
The Soviets put together another
group of nations dedicated to the defeat of the United States, the
It ended the usual way: the Soviets disappeared from history and many of her
former allies are now American allies.
The latest Iraq war saw a great
coalition united against America. Russia, China, Germany, France, Canada, the
UN, much of South America and about the entire Islamic world worked to prevent
our invasion of Iraq and later to insure our defeat there. All was for naught.
We invaded, we conquered, and now we have a superbly trained military on the
border with Iran and Syria.
Which is a good thing. For now we
hear that Iran and Syria have formed an axis against the US. From the
Turkish media come
Iran, Syria leaders close ranks
Under-fire allies Damascus and
Tehran, faced with growing isolation, closed ranks in talks between Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
has the right to build up nuclear technology for peaceful purposes," Assad
said at a joint press conference after their meeting.
expressed our support for Iran in its pursuit of peaceful nuclear technology
and we back the idea of a dialogue with international parties," said the
reject the pressure being exerted on this country" over its nuclear program.
Should we be be now doubly worried that these two
nations have bonded against us? Actually, no. Syria has been an American enemy
since the rise of Hafez Assad.
His career of murder and terror neatly paralleled that of Saddam Hussein. Under
his rule---now weakly and incompetently continued under his son, Bashir---Syria
became little more than a
gangster state, a Capone-ruled Cicero, Illinois writ
The Syrian-Iranian terror alliance goes back a
long time, at least to the mid-1980s, when Hezbollah was created to wage
terror war against American and French forces in Lebanon. There was a neat
division of labor: Syria controlled the territory, and Iran ran the
organization. Hezbollah's murderous successes are legendary, from the
suicide bombings against the French and American Marine barracks to a
similar operation against the American embassy, all in Beirut, to massive
bombings of Jewish targets in Argentina. That alliance remains intact, and
provides the base of the terror war in Iraq today.
Always keep in mind that both of these nations have
done and are doing all they can do defeat the US. Their alliance is not new and
cannot suddenly---and magically---increase their power. This anti-American
coalition is nothing more than an open declaration of weakness, an expression of
fear, not of strength, and a public admission that when one of them falls, they
will both go down together.
South America well illustrates the absurdity
of anti-American alliances. Chavez is a whirling little dynamo of
anti-US activity: mouth always open, vulgar insults spread all around,
cuddling up to Castro---even putting the old killer's face on Venezuelan
currency---tossing out threats thither and yon, sending his
Bolivarian goons into the streets of Caracas to bully his
opposition, hanging out with Ahmadinejad and expressing that ultimate
word in socialist goo-goo, 'solidarity.' And somehow all of this makes
Chavez a threat to us? How? Commentators who write that we should be
concerned about all of this have really just bought into Chavez' own
delusions of grandeur.
It is true that he has attempted to forge a
grand anti-American axis in South America made up of Brazil, Argentina
and Bolivia. It really is to laugh. Having lived among and studied South
Americans for 12 years I can say with accuracy that they have no
competence at military and political affairs. Pick up any encyclopedia
or history book and read to your heart's content. The history of the
South American states---Venezuela especially---is one of mind-boggling
corruption, grotesque economic mismanagement, opera-bouffe
military prancing and the most odd-ball leaders this side of Africa.
South Americans can scarcely unite on the simplest of economic
Mercosur---and to somehow believe that they will come together in a
grand coalition to defeat American foreign policy aims is beyond
Just consider one of Chavez' potential
anti-American allies about whom much has been written. We should worry
about Venezuela fortifying itself through some alliance with----of all
countries---Bolivia. Bolivia? Yes, that landlocked state where
life expectancy is 60 and whose GDP per capita is $3100, a place where
strikes occur as regularly as they do in France, a nation that has lost
every war, a state whose number one export
is cocaine and where one-third of the populace is infected with
Chagas Disease. Bolivia inspires pity, not fear. As does Venezuela.
There is no possible coalition of nations
that can come together and defeat us. If our history shows anything it
Bu we can be defeated, though not by any
conspiracy hatched by foreigners. America will fall---if she
falls---through that tried and true formula of moral collapse. That, and
not any imagined terrors beyond our shores, will send us the way of the
January 24, 2006
File Under Way Too Many Movies:
Remember that scene in the
silly Arnold movie
Commando where he is forced onto an airplane but then kills one
of his captors? He then makes his way out of the plane by jumping out of
it as it is almost airborne. Impossible of course.
Man jumps out of plane onto
tarmac at Fort Lauderdale Airport
passenger on a commercial flight jumped out of the airplane as it prepared
to take off Monday from Fort Lauderdale, authorities said.
Now what will this idiot try to do, run for
governor of California?
File Under Way Too Many Movies:
Remember that scene in the
Tom Cruise film
Collateral where Cruise says to Jamie Fox that some guy had died
on the A train but nobody knew it? His dead body was transported around
the city for hours.
Dead man rides subway
It took more than six hours for anyone to realize that a 64-year-old
Brooklyn man had died on a New York City subway train.
I know that there is some
lesson here---about Man's Inhumanity to Man, about the heartlessness of
urban life, about the coldness of city folks---but damn if I can figure
it out. But somehow I don't think we will ever read in the papers,
Dead Man Rides Tractor For Hours.
File Under Fix Or Repair Daily:
When I was a teenage punk
I had a Chevy Impala with a 327, Hurst linkage and a Holley 4-barrell
carb. It also boasted dual glass packs, which made it loud and a terror
to my neighbors. My fellow punks and I would always make fun of Ford
cars, saying Ford was really an acronym for Found On Road Dead, or
something like that.
Ford Motor Co. on Monday said it would slash up to 30,000 jobs and
shed more than a quarter of its production capacity as it moves to
cut costs and stem market share losses, building on a surprising 19
percent gain in fourth-quarter earnings.
Ford, which has faced a deepening financial crisis and struggled
with a junk bond rating on its debt, said it would shut 14
manufacturing sites, including seven assembly plants, and cut
between 25,000 to 30,000 jobs from plant payrolls by 2012.
Alas, now they are coming after my old
The announcement follows a similar announcement from Ford's larger
rival, General Motors Corp., which said in November it would cut
30,000 manufacturing jobs and close a dozen plants. Both automakers
are struggling with high pension and health care costs and increased
What's good for General Motors may not be
good for the USA. We're turning Japanese, Japanese, Japanese...again.
File Under We're Coming to Take You
Away, Hah Hah, Ho Ho, Hee Hee:
Please. Let us all stop
asking, "Are we going to war with Iran?" We have been at war with the
mullahs since 1979, or rather they have been at war with us. Seizing
embassies, taking hostages, blasting airliners out of the sky, blowing
up barracks, shooting at our ships---all these are acts of war. We
simply have not done anything about it. Until
now. They have wanted war, and now they will get it. Playtime's over
US President George W. Bush will not accept a nuclear Iran, John
Bolton, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said Monday.
No! Who would have guessed this?
File Under Texas Cowboys Are So Stupid:
Stop the presses! President Bush has just
He will not see Brokeback Mountain.
At a session here Monday
at Kansas State University, after talking about terrorism and
wiretapping and Iraq, Iran and China, Mr. Bush called on a
questioner who said: "You're a rancher. A lot of us here in
Kansas are ranchers. I was just wanting to get your opinion on 'Brokeback
Mountain,' if you've seen it yet."
The movie, of course, is
the adaptation of a story about two male ranch hands who fall in
love with each other in the 1960's. After some nervous laughter
settled down, the questioner added: "You would love it. You
should check it out."
Mr. Bush paused. "I
haven't seen it," he said. "I'd be glad to talk about ranching,
but I haven't seen the movie."
There was more
nervous laughter as the president added: "I've heard about it."
Alas, who has not?
January 23, 2006
Don't Worry. Be
As the day of Iran's
acquisition of nuclear weapons slouches closer and closer, there is a
great to-do in the blogosphere, among pundits, with the striped pants
set in the State Department and with professional military guys. Some of
the arguments state how Iran's nuclear facilities can be taken out---and
rest assured, they can be, if one is willing to deal with the cost. Some
state that Iran is too far along in development and may even have one or
two weapons. Some say that Iran has ways of striking back at the US and
so rendering any pre-emption impossible.
The boys at
Change have a sobering analysis of the coming war in Iran. It is a
bit scary but sums up many possibilities and directions the Iranian
crisis could take. It is a necessary read. And top off these
essays with a visit to
The Officer's Club.
Regime Change Iran there
is a nice variety of quotes, some of which are unduly pessimistic.
Rational people understand well that Iran must not, under any
circumstances, be allowed the possession of nuclear weapons. Civilized
nations---there are only a handful of these really---must do what it
takes to prevent this. If it occurs it will spell the defeat of the US
in Iraq and led to a regional nuclear conflict.
The pessimists have a
number of points, though none are persuasive. One says that
Iran simply has too many
ways of striking back, in the oil markets, in the Persian Gulf,
she does not. The mullahs have been striking at America around the
world, in the sea and in the sky for 26 years. She is already doing all
she can do to defeat us. Iran seeks nuclear weapons both to do more
against us and to insure that we cannot strike back. Iran will wage
war against us until one of us is gone.
The so-called 'oil weapon' is a weak policy instrument indeed. If Iran
shut off her oil she would simply collapse. Oil producing nations need
to sell their oil, not threaten to keep it in the ground. And if with
her back to the wall the mullahs blow up their oil installations, why
should we care? The government would collapse, we would rebuild the oil
facilities---recall how rapidly we got everything working again after
Katrina---and that would be that. As far as Iranian activity in the
Persian Gulf...well, the Iranian navy would have to deal with the most
powerful fleet in history. It would certainly have 'a short and exciting
life.' And Hezbollah already bedevils American policy in the region. It
is a pest but little more. When Iran falls, Hezbollah loses its funding
and will collapse.
"Could we do it?" one
administration official who was deeply involved in planning the Iraq
invasion said recently. "Sure. Could we manage the aftermath? I
will not have to manage the aftermath, for we will go in, get it done
and get out. We have learned from our occupation of Iraq. The US
military does not make the same mistake twice.
The problem is not that
Washington lacks targets...The problem is the global consequences of
an attack to cripple them.
What 'global consequences' might occur? China does not want her foreign
policy and economic development tied to an unstable Iranian regime with
nuclear weapons. She already has to deal with one nut case, and that
right on her border. Russia might wail and gnash teeth but nothing more.
She has had some recent experience herself with Islamic terror. Why
would anyone expect Russia to like an nuclear Islamic terror regime
right on her frontier? Europe will...well, who really cares?
You should finish up your reading day with
this from Michael Ledeen. It is rather optimistic---an unusual tack
for him. He believes that any Iranian war would pull in Syria, but not
to that nation's interest.
You can be sure that, as
Assad collapses, the reverberations will reach Baghdad and
Tehran. The Iraqis will gain the security they desperately need
in order to advance their brave democratic project. And the
Iranians, turbaned and bare-headed alike, will see the hour of
their own freedom draw ever closer.
And so it will be an
added bonus that Syria will collapse when Iran does---two for the
price of one.
pull it together, have a stiff drink, and prepare for the coming
American war with Iran. It will be a short, sharp shock, will briefly
raise the price of oil, will make for some great headlines and will put
an end to the terror masters of Tehran.
Update: The literate and perceptive
Kobayashi Maru as usual has
some thoughts on the matter, though he does seem a bit depressed:
I was struck over the
weekend by two things: deep fatigue on the Iranian crisis and an
equally deep, ominous sense that this is really going down.
Stop by and cheer him up. He is always a
January 22, 2006
Cyrus the Great and Ahmadinejad the Not
Let us all agree: Iranian
President Ahmadinejad hates Jews. Hates them with a bloody passion.
Wants them out of the Middle East. Wants them to move to Europe.
When---if---his nation gets nukes he has promised to destroy Israel. His
mullah masters of course feel the same way. The anti-Semitic ravings
coming from Iranian officialdom are hair-raising indeed. And Iran puts
her money where her mouth is: She has long engaged in tracking Jews down
and killing them wherever she can get at them. She has made no secret of
this stupefying hatred of God's Chosen.
But there is no
particular reason why such grotesque anti-Semitism should find a home in
Iran. Historically Iran has not sought out Jews to murder them but to
protect them, even to favor them.
The very first entrance of
Iranians on the international stage was when they seized Babylon from the
Chaldeans, they of Nebuchadnezzar fame. The great Persian King Cyrus (ruled
539-529 BC) was known for his tolerance, and he let the Jews, forced to live in
Babylon since 587---the
in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the
Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah
might be fulfilled, the Lord
stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a
proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing,
saying, Thus says
Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord
God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at
Jerusalem which is
in Judah. Who
among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to
Jerusalem which is
in Judah, and build the house of the
God of Israel (He is
God), which is
in Jerusalem. And whoever is left in any place
where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold,
with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of
God which is in Jerusalem.---Ezra 1:1-4
And there is the charming tale of the
Book of Esther, of how the Persian King Xerxes (ruled 484-465) took a fancy to a Jewess.
She was a real knockout and such a great girl that Xerxes divorced his prickly wife Vashti to possess her. But there was his wicked prime minister, a real Ahmadinejad type, Haman by name, who
was eaten by envy, and sought the
destruction of all Jews in Persia. He came to an evil end due to the cleverness
of Esther and her father Mordecai.
And the king Xerxes laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles
of the sea. And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the
full account of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king
advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of
the kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was next unto
king Xerxes, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude
of his brethren, seeking the good of his people, and speaking peace
to all his seed. ---Esther 10:1-3
Mordecai reached the same
level of prominence in ancient Persia as that other Hebrew Joseph---he
of the multi-colored coat---had in ancient Egypt. Jewish success in Iran
2500 years ago is today celebrated as
And as recently as the 2003
Day earthquake in Iran
A cab driver in Tehran was heard
saying: "What nerve these mullahs have to turn away aid offered by the
Israelis...those poor people over there are constantly dealing with those
suicide bombers, who are probably financed by the clerics of the Islamic
republic of Iran, and yet they are kind enough to offer us their aid and
these audacious zealots over here threaten to attack them!"
What we have with Ahmadinejad
and the nut-job mullahs is something confined to the grubby mentality of
the ruling class and not part of the Iranian people. A normal state of Iran would be less
of a threat to Israel than France is.
There is something that
should give the Iranian rulers pause if they were men prone to calm
introspection. It is that for the last 4000 years all civilizations who
sought the destruction or enslavement of the Jews were brought to a bad
end, sometimes by fire and sword.
Ramses II's Egypt, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany and the Arab world are
some outstanding examples of what a people can expect once it begins to
bring terror to God's Chosen. It is almost uncanny that a
sure sign of a nation's imminent destruction is when it begins to
push Jews around.
There is one good thing about anti-Semitism: It lets you know who
the bad guys are. Right, left, black, white, freak or straight, the
minute someone starts rattling on about the evil Jews, you know your
train just pulled into Slimeball Station.
All bigotry is wrong, of course, but there's something about this
particular form of prejudice that is weirdly reliable as a sign of
deeper wickedness. Perhaps it's because the Jews contributed so much
to humanity's moral code that to hate them as a race is to despise
the restraints of morality itself
Whatever the reason, true, virulent anti-Semitism is such a good
indicator of the presence of evil that I'm tempted to believe that
when God made the Jews his chosen people, this is what he chose them
for: to be a sort of Villainy Early Detection System for everyone
else. (Hat tip:
It is thus a certain thing
that Ahmadinejad and his masters will be booted off the world stage. But
probably they will need a big push. They will get one.
January 21, 2006
Wild, Weird Climes
I sometimes wander around my
travel diaries. They were
written in times that seem long ago and about climes that seem far away. Some of
the places I went were worth the time and effort to get there. But some of the
others were...well, here is one village in Honduras that I can say with utmost
confidence I will never see again.
village of Dulce Nombre de Culmi was borderline hostile. The people were
indifferent and suspicious, and the "hotel" I stayed in was the worst I had
seen, a truly ghastly place filled with insects, ancient filth, blocked
plumbing---if that bizarre series of oozing pipes could be termed such---a
terrible stench and shady characters. But wait, there is more: Because I
arrived there on Passover Thursday, there would be no transport the next
day, Holy Friday. So I was stuck in this pestilent s*** hole ( pardon the
expletive, but I am in a foul mood) for two days. But wait, there is more:
There were no places to eat in this damned place. I lived off beer and stale
bread, and a dish of typical Honduran food that a woman agreed to make for
me. Returning to Tegucigalpa was like crossing the Jordan River.
praise the Risen Lord for bringing me out of that forsaken spot.
The shore of Lake
Atitlán in Guatemala experienced a terrible flood
some months ago. But it had long suffered under an invasion of
Some years ago it was a magnet for hippies and Euro-trash: Kerouac
aficianados, drug users, drop outs and hygiene-o-phobes who could
not cut it in the real world of truth and responsibility and so
vanished into the oblivion of life-long loserville and the permanent
bong hit. The ones who are not in prison and who are still among the
living have showered, brushed their remaining teeth and set up nice
little capitalist enclaves that serve up, among other things legal
and not, massages, yoga, fruit juice, Fen Shui classes, organic
gardening methods, natural food, Pink Floyd seminars, energy
chanelling, Zen sandal-making and the like. The entire touchy-feely
creepy-crawly dippy-trippy-hippy Eastern mystical nonsensical
kumbaya peace-love-dopey if-it-feels-good-do-it goofy slam-dunk jack-ass
stupid smorgasboard of San Francisco and Amsterdam is now available
on the shores of Atitlán.
Few travelers visit Paraguay. They have
their reasons for avoiding the place.
this forlorn country from Bolivia and traveled through its Chaco
here.) Surely this
place is the most isolated piece of real estate I have ever seen.
There is no real backpacking as there are no real trails. One cannot
simply bushwhack cross-country because of the difficulty in finding
water, the host of dangerous creatures who have little fear of man
because he is so seldom encountered, a plague of mosquitoes and tiny
biting flies (polverines). Maps are worthless here even when
you can find them. Most roads (so-called) are little more than dirt
tracks useful only for a four-wheel drive and then only in dry
most of the Chaco is seldom if ever visited. Some parts are simply
inaccessible, four-wheel drive or not. There are still near-naked
savages roaming about, and they have a nasty habit of killing the
Mennonite missionaries who venture forth into the nether regions to
bring civilization, defined there as Christ, clothes, soap and
water. There is a national park, El Parque Nacional Defensores
del Chaco, but it is very difficult to get to---it lies hundreds
of kilometers off the road from Bolivia---and if you got there you
would find no water and would have to deal with an ubiquitous thorn
tree whose spines can penetrate all of your fancy backpacking
clothing. And recall that temperatures reach 50 degrees at times,
and there is no shade.
But of course it is all worth
it. Travel involves heading out to see the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Some places you plan for years to visit annoy once you see them. Some
places you stumble into by accident remind you of why you travel.
All was new. I went to places I had dreamed of but never visited.
Iruya, Argentina---a type of village one cannot find elsewhere:
shimmering in frozen sunlight, shockingly beautiful huddled beneath
its canyon walls, hovering in crystalline air. Putre, Chile---a
delight, all small and comfortable, guarded by a family of
ice-capped peaks, living under sun-soaked days and frozen nights.
Cotahuasi, Peru---the deepest canyon in the world, home to Inca who
still speak Quechua, reached by vertigo-inducing stages of descent
(and not for the faint-of-heart), where the route passes
pre-Colombian ruins. Camp there---you will be alone---and hear the
voices of Inca long-dead.
I remember all of this because
something odd and unsettling will occur in a few months. In April more
than two years will have passed since my return from Latin America.
Since 1983 I have never spent more two years away from it. I am not
quite sure what must be done about this except to say that something
must be done about this.
January 19, 2006
Rumors of War
Iran is hell bent to get nuclear
weapons. Niall Ferguson
imagines a future historian writing about the Great Middle Eastern War of
2007-2011 if she succeeds.
devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007 represented not only the failure
of diplomacy, it marked the end of the oil age. Some even said it marked the
twilight of the West. Certainly, that was one way of interpreting the
subsequent spread of the conflict as Iraq's Shi'ite population overran the
remaining American bases in their country and the Chinese threatened to
intervene on the side of Teheran.
Scary stuff for sure. But how
likely is it? Not very.
Iran labors under an
insoluble strategic problem. Here was her situation pre-September 11:
She had six
terrorist buddies in her neighborhood---Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, the
Taliban, al-Qaeda and Lebanon; they worked together sending suicide bombers
to Israel and suicide planes to New York; they worked feverishly to get
nuclear weapon capability for Iraq and for al-Qaeda and for Iran; they
had successfully pulled off dozens of terror incidents in the US and around
the world, killing Jews and Americans wherever they could be found; they
managed to blow to pieces airliners from several nations; they shared
intelligence and assets and resources; they supported one another
diplomatically and clandestinely; they all kept their populations in a
vice-grip of tyranny.
Here is her situation today:
Iran is surrounded
by the US military in Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Four of her
pals---the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Iraq and Afghanistan---are either destroyed or
occupied by the US. One more, Syria, has been receiving very unpleasant
attention from the US. The US Navy completely controls the Persian Gulf,
through which almost all Iranian oil must pass; Iran herself has seen
hundreds of thousands of anti-regime and pro-US demonstrators in her own
streets. The enemy whose citizens she has murdered, whose ambassadors she
has held hostage, and whom she calls 'The Great Satan' now has a leader who
has a proven war record, an invincible army of [150,000] on her border and a
Iran has experienced a text-book case of foreign policy failure
of near unprecedented dimensions.
But there is more. Iran's
economy is rust bucket and ramshackle.
Years of sanctions and economic incompetence have had their effect: unemployment reaches 50 percent among
the young, for example---and most Iranians are under 20 years of age. They have
no personal experience of all the glorious hordes of 'students' who seized our
embassy, ruined a presidency, humiliated our nation and daily screamed into the
news cameras, "Death to America!" But they see all around a ruined economy and
grimy tyranny. Certainly most Iranians would not mind at all if their nation
possessed the bomb. It is a status thing, like driving a Lexus. But most
Iranians are not only rational, they are pro-American---which is the
But there's the rub: Iran is in no
way a rational state. Her
rulers are a group of ferocious America haters, practiced killers, bloody-minded
tyrants and gruesome anti-Semites---a real bunch of Mad Hatters. They are clever
but their hatred addles them. The Soviets were killers but they were not
nuts, and they were not driven by any suicide impulse. Their possession of
nuclear weapons could scarcely have led to nuclear war---unless they
wound up in the hands of a real nut, like the Soviet puppet Castro.
But here is Iranian ex-President Rafsanjani, who said two years ago that
day the Muslim world gets nuclear weapons the Israeli question will be
since a single atomic bomb has the power to completely
destroy Israel, while an Israeli counter-strike can only cause partial
damage to the Islamic world.
There is a definite sense of desperation in Tehran,
as if it knows that the window of opportunity to acquire nukes is closing, and
not slowly. Thus the almost daily threats, the dog and pony show with Europe and
the UN, its on-again off-again love affair with Russia. Its tactics are those of
a boxer who is being cornered: dance around, throw false jabs, duck and cover,
bob and weave---and all the while hoping for the ring of the bell.
But that bell will not
ring. No American president, no Israeli prime minister and no Arab state
can possible allow the mullahs to succeed. Not even corrupt old Russia
could relax with a bunch of nuclear nuts on her border. An Iran with
nuclear weapons would be simply intolerable and would inflict a massive
strategic defeat upon the US. To state the matter simply in my Oklahoma
dialect: It ain't gonna happen.
So be not afraid. Do not
worry that a cornered Iran will send her terror mobs thither and yon to
wreak havoc and murder, for she already does this. Do not worry that a
cornered Iran will call upon China to come to her aid, for China is a
nation with little strategic reach and whose threats are nothing but
bombast. Do not worry that a
cornered Iran will shut off her oil in an attempt to strangle the West,
for oil in the ground is useless and only acquires power when it is
transformed into money, something that Iran needs to fulfill her nuclear
ambitions. A mullah-ruled Iran without money would disappear from
Ahmadinejad thus labors under a bizarro fantasy. His latest
ranting can be answered quite easily:
Who are you to deprive us from fulfilling our goals?
We are the United States of America.
You think you are the lord of the world and everybody should follow
Very perceptive. Move to the head of the class.
But that idea is a wrong idea.
January 17, 2006
File Under Alien V. Predator:
Our enemies recently had
bad luck on a visit to Pakistan.
the first official confirmation by Pakistani
authorities that militants were killed, the
administration of Pakistan's semiautonomous
tribal regions bordering Afghanistan said in
a statement that the four or five bodies of
"foreign terrorists" were taken away "by
result, a Pakistani intelligence official
said, authorities do not know the
nationalities of the foreigners killed. The
provincial authorities' statement did not
identify the dead militants, who it said
were among 10 to 12 extremists at the
Killed at their dinner like old Joey Gallo, who
was whacked at a Manhattan clam house back in
1972. Those whacked in Pakistan were not
Pakistanis but Egyptians, foreigners and aliens.
I hope they enjoyed their last supper.
That which brought about their demise was a
small little aircraft, Predator by name. I love
its description at
Air Force Link:
MQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude,
long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft.
The MQ-1's primary mission is interdiction
and conducting armed reconnaissance against
critical, perishable targets.
Well, yes. Here is a picture of the cute bird.
That odd device hanging below is
the Hellfire-C laser-guided missile. Here is a better look.
The Officers' Club)
The noise it made as it
neared its target was the last thing on earth those terrorists ever
heard. Too bad the Hellfire could not play The Ride of the Valkyries.
File Under Dog Eat
As if the al-Qaeda thugs
did not have it bad enough in Iraq. Now their erstwhile pals are
The best news from Iraq this year would certainly be the long
New York Times
of Jan. 12 on the murderous strife between local "insurgents" and
al-Qaida infiltrators. This was also among the best news from last
year. For months, coalition soldiers in Iraq had been telling anyone
who would care to listen that they had noticed a new phenomenon:
heavy fire that they didn't have to duck. On analysis, this turned
out to be shooting or shelling apparently "incoming" from one
"insurgent position" but actually directed at another one.
No honor among
thieves---or terrorist killers it would seem. The foreign (damn aliens
again!) terrorists were involved in the kidnapping and torture of Iraqis
both Sunni and Shiite, one of whom was found at room temperature after a
gruesome time for sure.
His legs bore drill holes revealing bone. His jaw had slid off to
one side of his head, and his nose was broken. Burns marked his
The locals had had enough
and turned on their 'liberators.' The fact is that even anti-American
Iraqis know who will win this war. They are simply betting on the
File Under Please
Just Go Away:
Old Walter Cronkite is
(Will he ever depart us, alas?) I had just
recovered from his last bit of treason, and---shazaam!---there he is
appearing before reporters and slandering his nation, an activity at
which he is second only to Jimmy Carter.
We had an opportunity to say to the world and Iraqis after the
hurricane disaster that Mother Nature has not treated us well and we
find ourselves missing the amount of money it takes to help these
poor people out of their homeless situation and rebuild some of our
most important cities in the United States...Therefore, we are going
to have to bring our troops home.
If any of my readers can follow the logic
there, could you please e-mail me?
And Wally even dusted off the same political
advice he gave to LBJ after Tet:
Mr. Cronkite's notions of statecraft and national security are
airily free of practical concern. What message would running from
Iraq at its moment of greatest need send to U.S. allies? What effect
would it have on American credibility? "I think we can retire with
honor," Mr. Cronkite said.
Sure Walter, it worked so
well last time. Our retreat from Vietnam caused hundreds of thousands to
perish. And now you wish the same upon the Iraqis?
What is with this guy and
all of his acolytes---the Durbins and Murthas and Kerrys and Kennedys,
Democrats all---who preach defeat for America and worse for her allies,
while carrying as much water as they can for the most dreadful killers
on the planet? Can they at the very least not publicly insult our
country? Is that really too much to ask?
January 16, 2006
High on the Blog
I started to write on my first day at Saint Michaels. I was in 1st grade, and the
sister dutifully wrote upon the board the words John and God. I
had in my hand one of those impossibly thick pencils that were standard
equipment among my peers. The sister watched with alarm as I tried
ever-so-carefully to copy out the words on the wide-lined paper on my desk. Her
ruler came down hard on my knuckles and the improvement in my handwriting was
immediate. At the end of day the sister proclaimed my two words the best in
class. As an example for all to see, she posted my paper on the classroom wall.
I was now a published author.
The desire to write has never left. All through middle school and high school
writing was the one and only thing I could do well---and do better at than all
the math whizzes and science geeks and bullying jocks public schools could throw
at me. Writing became a haven from the sometimes freakish reality I lived in. I
was in it but not of it---as the Catholics like to say. I wrote fanciful tales
of derring-do and imagined writing more. Along with writing came books---lots of
them, mountains of them, all to be read and re-read. The coolest to my
adolescent mind were encyclopedias and adventure tales. Oddly, stories of tiger
hunters in India became one of my minor specialties. Even today I can almost
rewrite word-for-word some of them.
Reality intruded---it has a habit of doing that, alas---and for some years I was
too concerned with mundane things like eating to leave much time and space for
writing. The United States Air Force entered my life---or I entered its
life---in 1972. After Basic and Medical Corpsman Tech School I settled at my
permanent base in Big Spring, Texas. Now that I had much free time the old
writing bug returned. And books returned, more than before.
I was discharged in 1975 and headed to Portland. College was my goal, but no 4
year school would accept me. You see, my GPA in high school was between D- and
F+. I enrolled in a community college after whizzing through the writing test. I
had to take the usual requirements: Math---I loved it; Science (in the form of
Chemistry)---I hated it because I could not understand it (there is a lesson
there somewhere); English---Home at last. Most students grumbled about the
writing but I loved it. Here I could feed the addiction and actually earn
college credits doing so. A perfect world, yes? My first essay was titled The
Dangers of Sugar. It was tripe ("something poor, worthless, offensive") but
it was writing. I was off and running.
My English instructor deserves special mention. He really wanted to be a 19th
century French intellectual---a Zola type, or perhaps a de
Maupassant---and he largely succeeded. The beard, the bohemian look and the
constant air of tobacco were as much a part of him as a rifle is to a Marine. He
was also tubercular and must have weighed 150 pounds while standing 6 feet 4. He
was funny, ultra-liberal and he liked my writing. That was good enough for me.
Wandering into a History class was a marvel. Term papers, essay exams, seminar
projects and stacks of books: I was as elated as a Ted Kennedy who had wandered
into an open-bar brothel that had an all-you-can-eat buffet attached to it. I
still have all of these papers. Some are junk, some are still readable. I wrote
on Sejanus, Assyria, the Parthians, Germanicus, US Foreign Policy in the
Middle East, Alexander, Auschwitz---on everything I could.
And I still do. Years after leaving college the writing bug now has a regular
outlet, my blog. I can write to my heart's desire and fulfill every whimsy. It
began to take shape in early 2003. I was teaching in Argentina but leaving for
good that June. The plan was to solo backpack through South and Central America
from June 2003 until the late Spring of 2004---what later became my 'Year
of Living Dangerously.' Trouble was that I would be unemployed upon my
return to the US. I came up with the idea of constructing a web page---mikeaustin.org---where
I would place all things relevant to my 12-year teaching career: resume, letters
of recommendation and so on. That way I could keep in touch with any number of
US schools and any interested superintendent could simply view my web site and
think, "This guy is an idiot!" or "This guy is a genius!" (I fall somewhere in
And my web site gave me the tremendous advantage of allowing my to put my
thoughts to web all during my year out and about. I was never one for diaries,
not having the ambition or discipline that they required. But the web was
different. And so began my almost daily habit of writing. It was easy to do
while traveling through Latin America, as about every city and town had an
internet cafe with an html editor (mine is FrontPage).
My idea worked, and brilliantly so---for it got me my present job, the Best Job
in the World.
Which brings me to my blog, now 1 year old. It is really a subdomain of
mikeaustin.org---mikeaustin.org/blog. Much of the writing on it was originally
done for mikeaustin.org. There are no particularly 'bloggy' things about it: no
trackbacks or comments section or any of the professional blog stuff. I keep
things simple. For now at least. But things change.
And so has the focus on my writing. When I first started in January of 2003 I
wrote about was then current in the news---the Iraq War mainly. When I began my
year of traveling my focus switched naturally to Latin American things,
especially solo backpacking. When I set up the blog I began to write on whatever
caught my fancy: history, theology, politics, my new life in the US. I began to
write longer pieces, a habit that has stuck.
And it is a marvelous habit. For it wonderfully concentrates the mind and keeps
it sharp and useful. And it does not matter who reads my writing or how many do
so. What matters is the writing itself. It is both means and end, written
not for fortune or fame
but because God is watching. And He gave me both the desire and the method to
Deus lo volt.
January 15, 2006
Soldiers of God
Today is Mass. On this day hundreds of millions of Catholics will kneel before the
Body of Christ and recite the words of a soldier:
Lord, I am not worthy to receive You,
But only say the Word and I shall be
Who was this soldier? He was a Roman and a pagan who lived 2000 years ago. He
was a centurion---what we would call a staff sergeant---and he knew Christ.
A servant of the centurion was sick unto death. And so this Roman soldier---one
of those men who had forced half the world through force of arms into the
Roman imperium---went to Jesus to ask a favor.
Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion,
beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant
lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will
come and heal him. The
centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come
under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under
authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this
Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do
this, and he doeth it.
There is neither doubt nor fear in the centurion's
voice. There is only knowledge of his own unworthiness and his faith---a faith
absolute---that the request will be answered.
Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say
unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Jesus is telling us that this soldier had more faith
than anyone in all of Israel---more faith than even that possessed by His
disciples. And the result of this soldier's faith?
And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as
thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in
the selfsame hour. ---Matthew 8:5-13 (KJV)
Three years later the centurion was at the Cross,
and was one of the few who recognized Christ for what He was:
the centurion, who stood by over against him, saw that he so gave up the
ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.---Mark
So from Scripture and the 2000
year old Christian
tradition we learn that Christ has a special place for the soldier. For it is
his words---not those of the poet or politician or philosopher---that are said
millions of times a day at every Mass.
God has always used soldiers to make His point in
the world. We remember the great conqueror
Joshua ('God is his help').
Even before the death of Moses Joshua was the commander of the Israeli host in
the war against the Amalekites. Joshua was also sent on a spying mission among
which later led to the near extinction of these grotesquely immoral peoples. He eventually conquered 6 nations and 31 kings. At this soldier's
death 'the light of Israel for a time faded away.' Keep in mind the words that Edersheim used in his
Bible History to describe Joshua, for they could be used to describe the
American soldier of today.
outward calling his character also corresponded. It is marked by singleness
of purpose, directness, and decision...He sets an object before him, and
unswervingly follows it.
From Joshua to Saul to David to Solomon and on to
the armies of Assyria and Babylon and Persia, the Old Testament is full of God
using soldiers to work His will. Three hundred years after the death of the
centurion He again uses a Roman soldier,
(272-337), to fulfill His purpose in history. It was Constantine who before the
Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), had a dream where he saw in the sky the
words In Hoc Signo
Vinces ("in this sign shall you
conquer.") The sign was the chi-rho,
a symbol of Christ.
Constantine carried this standard with his army and
conquered. The result was the
Edict of Milan which
legalized the Christian faith in the empire of Rome. No more the horrific
persecutions of Nero and Diocletian, for the soldiers of God had ended them.
Their like would appear again at
Tours (732), in the
first three Crusades
and at Vienna
(1683), each one a part of the age-long war between Islam and
And this struggle
continues today. For it was the US military, nearly all of whose members
are Christian, that brought the Afghanis out of a medieval tyranny and
the Iraqis out of a nightmarish barbarity. To put the matter clearly,
God used the US military to free 50,000,000 million people---just as
He used it to free Europe from fascism and communism and Asia from
Japanese militarism. He uses it still. And He is not finished yet.
Onward Christian soldiers.
January 12, 2006
Blowhards and Big Bellies
I have a great weakness for Ancient History. Of the 400 or so
books I have read since 1996 maybe half have been
about dead men in togas, phalanxes or legions. Such is my addiction. I make no
apologies. I simply love the classical world. My love of these dead white males
has fine company. Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Washington---in fact the entire
pantheon of America's founding fathers---were well-versed in classical history.
The lessons of Athens, of the Roman Republic and of the
Achaean League are
echoed in the US Constitution. In my heart of hearts I believe that I should
have been born in Rome around 220 BC so that I could have served with P.
at the Battle of Zama. But God knows best, and He has put me into the here and
now. So be it.
At times while reading about all those long-dead guys I come across something
that at first seems out of space and out of time, something that fits a living
man as well as the dead one. This occurred a few days ago as I was finishing
From Alexander to Actium, a history of the Greek world from the death
of Alexander (332 BC)---see
here--- until the death of
Cleopatra (30 BC). There are few heroes in the book. Mostly it is a sad tale
of wars and rumors of wars, of assassinations and poisonings, of gross
incompetence and grotesque immorality. Much of the book is concerned with the
Ptolemaic dynasty in
Egypt, Cleopatra being the last of that breed.
The first Ptolemy (367-283) was a boyhood friend of Alexander and served with him until
his king's death in Babylon. The empire split into areas controlled by
diadochi---who immediately began to make war upon each other. Ptolemy
was the most clever. He took control of Egypt and survived the
competition--that is to say, his part of Alexander's empire was the last to be
devoured by Rome.
Ptolemy started well---he was called soter, 'savior'---but his dynasty
began to decline after his death. I read this description of one of the Ptolemies, Ptolemy
VIII Eugertes II 'Physcon'(182-116)---'potbelly.'
Everything wrong in the Ptolemies is summed up in the gross person
of Physcon: the unswerving pursuit of sensual gratification (through
food, drink, sex or power), unhindered by any moral restraints,
guilts or fear of retribution; the acts of wanton, indeed sadistic,
cruelty against his subjects; the treatment of a whole country as a
monarch's vast private estate, to be milked for personal profit; the
inability to see beyond the cycle of self-perpetuating rule that
these assumptions engendered. There is also, less often noted, a
strong and obvious component of fantasy, of megalomaniac unreality,
due to the accident of Egypt's secure frontiers and virtual immunity
to external invasion.
(Update January 15: The quote above is from
From Alexander to Actium, page 538.)
Change a few words and we have near perfect description of America's own
Physcon, Ted Kennedy. He is the most corrupt scion of a manifestly corrupt
dynasty. To compose a list of his immoralities and crimes would take too long and would
ruin my breakfast. It is enough to list adultery, gluttony, alcoholism,
megalomania, mendacity, treason---recall his comments about Abu Ghraib---and of
course what Ted did to
Mary Jo Kopechne. And Americans will have to tolerate this fine human being
until death takes him off. For Kennedy has burrowed into the Senate like an
Egyptian scarab beetle burrows into dung.
I was reminded by all of this while reading of Kennedy's antics at the Alito
hearings. Again the lies, the distortions---so riddled with meanness and slander
that Alito's wife left the hearings in
Our old Ted was up to his usual bullying of women.
The sins of Kennedy have worked themselves into his very flesh---as sins tend to
do. And on the day that Christ calls him, corrupt old Ted will realize more about his
life than he ever wanted to know. I tell you, there will be tears and much
wailing and gnashing of teeth---probably about what Mary Joe went through as the
water in the Oldsmobile rose higher and higher.
January 11, 2006
No Coffee en Caracas? ¡Caramba!
I have lived around and worked with Latin Americans for 14 years, and have
studied their language, culture, politics and history for even longer. I have
visited every single Central and South American nation, most of them many times.
I have lived and worked in Costa Rica and Argentina, and have hung my hat in
Guatemala and Peru and Chile and Honduras more times than I can remember. And
the one thing that strikes me right in the face when I contemplate their
political economies is this: Latin Americans have absolutely no talent
whatsoever---none, zip, zilch, zero, nada---for running a country. From
Mexico through Panama and all the way to Argentina (let's skip Chile until a
another time) we see outlandish corruption, bankrupt economies, worthless currencies,
socialist policies and a ridiculous, buffoonish political culture.
I could carry on like this for pages, but you will be spared, dear reader! I
will present my case with a few anecdotes and then be done. But I must add:
Never think I do not love these people who live south of the Rio Grande. It is a
damn shame that they must labor under such absurd economic and political
systems. Those that can get the hell out, taking the advice of that great
liberator, dancer, killer and prostitute frequenter,
The most sensible action to take
in [Latin] America is to emigrate.
Millions of Latins take have taken the guy at his
word and have fled their homes for the shores of the United States. Which is of
course very cool for us: we get their food, their Catholicism, their delightful
company and their beautiful women; they get to share our economic and political
freedom. We win, they win, everybody is happy. But I
headlines reminded me of the Latin penchant for incompetence.
Venezuela's coffee industry in
chaos as price of beans doubles
It seems Venezuela's dictator Hugo Chavez has been
meddling with the economy again.
Chávez, who maintains price controls on basic foodstuffs, raised the
price of coffee beans by 100% last month after weeks of protests by
But most of
the country's coffee producers, who buy, roast and grind the beans,
refused to sell on the coffee yesterday, claiming their margins had
been cut, and began hoarding thousands of sacks of unprocessed
The entire discipline of economics since Adam Smith has
escaped this fool. Why could this idiot not open any Econ 101 text and
turn to 'price controls?' And then Chavez takes a page from Stalin:
instructed the National Guard to look for the missing coffee and to
find every single kilogram of it. The army has the permission to
seize the coffee with the power of attorneys and judges. We will
sell the coffee at prices set by us.
No Hugo, you will most certainly not set the
price for your coffee, the world market does that. You will either have
no coffee to sell or you will create mountains of coffee beans priced so
high that Venezuela will have no buyers. The expense of these coffee
mountains would go far to bankrupt your nation. By forcing Venezuela out
of the coffee market you will give a welcome bonanza to other coffee
producing nations who will simply sell more coffee and earn the extra
income that once went to your country. And then you will have a hard
time coaxing buyers back to Venezuelan coffee once you lose world market
For Venezuela to experience a shortage of coffee is like
Clinton experiencing a shortage of lies. Very difficult to imagine let
But wait, there is more. Two years ago I was
around the Nicaraguan island of Ometepe. Oddly, I found that
Water is very scarce everywhere on
the island, in all hotels and restaurants and homes. It simply quits,
sometimes for the entire day. And the island sits in a huge freshwater lake!
Granada, the third city of the republic, also suffers from water problems,
and it is on the shores of Lake Nicaragua.
While the Americans look for water
on Mars, the Nicaraguans cannot seem to find it in their own backyard. It
The place was awash with water yet Nicaraguans could
not figure out how to get it to their homes. I remain baffled.
Argentina presents yet another case. During the
dictatorship of Perón
the nation ran out of beef! This in a nation that prides itself rightly so
as having the finest steakhouses in the world. The reasons for this fiasco were
the usual ones, economic lunacy and ignorance. Argentina has learned little in
the ensuing years and still labors under corruption, national bankruptcy and
socialism. Is it any wonder that 67 percent of Argentines have expressed the
desire to emigrate?
Of course Latins have always blamed their troubles
on---guess who!---the United States. Now there is an original thought!
They should listen to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is no friend of the US:
immeasurable pain and violence of our history
result of age-old inequities and untold bitterness, and not a conspiracy
plotted 3000 leagues from our homes.
And everyone with an interest in Latin American
economy and history should read this book, written by Latins themselves:
The Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot. Buy two and send a copy
Kobayashi Maru also recommends
The Mystery of Capital, by Peruvian economist Hernando De Soto.
I have read much of De Soto. He is one Latin who really gets it---about
markets, about freedom, about wealth creation, about property rights.
De Soto would have been right at home in Philadelphia in 1787.
January 10, 2006
Forget Benedict XVI and every pope before him. Forget Augustine. Forget
Aquinas. Forget Francis and Loyola. Forget C. S. Lewis and Chesterton.
Forget Martin Luther and Calvin and Spurgeon. Forget Peter and Matthew
and Mark and Luke and John. Forget Paul. Forget Mary and the Saints.
Hell, forget Christ Himself. For at last the moral and reasonable and
patriotic Hollywood and entertainment elite has found a religious
type with whom they can
readily and heartily and oh-so-willingly identify. Here is the
for NBC's new TV drama.
The Book of Daniel
focuses on the family of an Episcopal priest who regularly pops
vicodin. His wife is a little too fond of martinis, his daughter is
dealing drugs, one son is gay -- and the other is sleeping with the
daughter of the church's warden. The priest has a newly widowed
sister-in-law engaged in a lesbian affair, one of his confidantes is
a Catholic priest with Mob ties...
far as I can tell every social pathology is touched upon except treason and bestiality ---but it is early in the season. Crime, sodomy,
fornication, drug abuse, alcoholism, lesbianism: about everything Paul
railed against in his Epistles are here presented as a normal part of a
And here is
the portrayal of the big guy Himself:
Jesus Himself is used in the
same way. The character's "laid-back" demeanor...sends a message in
itself, insofar as the attitude is one commonly associated with a
liberal social mind-set. "Jesus" reacts to the priest's daughter's
drug peddling by declaring, "She'll be fine; she's a good girl."
About the son engaging in premarital sex with the warden's daughter,
He's dismissive: "[The son] is a kid; let him be a kid." The
message? Jesus has no problem with drug dealing and premarital sex
-- so why should you?
So here yet again are the
lovely and wholesome entertainment media, fresh from their self-abusing fantasies of wrestling with Heath Ledger in the Wyoming mountains. You
can almost hear them purr, "Ah! Let's stick it to those Red Staters
again!" Someone should tell them that the Red State types will not drink
from their cup that seems so clean on the outside but is really full of
filth on the inside---like a whitewashed tomb, a Carpenter once said.
What these folks are up to is something as ancient as Babylon, and their
fear and hatred of Christianity is real and palpable. They cannot bear to look
in the mirror and see themselves as they are---in the grip of grotesque
immorality, spiritually sick unto death. So they comfort themselves with all
sorts of oh-so trendy lies: religion is a sham, sodomy is cool, sex anywhere
with anyone at anytime is natural, drugs are fun. So they eat drink and be
merry, and pretend all is well.
But all is not well. They know it, just as the Pharisees were convicted by the
words of Christ. And just like the Pharisees, Hollywood and its avatars would like nothing more
than to put an and to Christianity, to Christ Himself. (Thus their natural
hatred for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.) What they do is set
up a counterfeit faith where all of their crimes and illicit passions and moral
degradations are presented as normal.
The Book of Daniel is really a perfect view of the inner life of
Hollywood and their New York admirers, into their very soul. Take a look at it if you want, but do not stay
for long. You might vomit.
Carol Platt Liebau)
January 9, 2006
I wrote yesterday about the international and domestic left, how it romanticizes
murderers and tyrants and lends them its support however it can. Well, well, lo
and behold right on cue a bunch of those addled jackasses, calypso singer Harry
Belafonte, actor Danny Glover and Princeton University's Cornel West, popped up
yesterday. There in front of the entire world and with the smiling approval
of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, Belafonte claimed
No matter what the greatest
tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W.
Bush says, we're here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but
millions of the American people ... support your revolution.
How utterly banal, how mind-numbingly trite. These useful idiots
traveled to Venezuela and insulted their own nation in the presence of a
buffoonish dictator. And then, just to show how novel is his thinking,
Belafonte yelped, "Viva la revolucion!"
Now these morons will fly back to the US and enjoy all the benefits of
American citizenship. They will live in the freedom and prosperity that
their nation offers, drive in their fancy cars and collect their hefty
paychecks. They will suffer no recrimination for their slander, but
rather will no doubt receive the adulation of their fellow travelers.
And during all this time 'the greatest terrorist in the world' will
ignore them and continue doing the job Americans elected him to do.
Tell me , how bold is it to slander a nation knowing all the while that
your words will carry no consequences? What if these dolts were Syrians
and did such a thing? Is there really a question about what would be
awaiting them back home?
America's domestic idiots will simply fall over themselves in the race
to perform for tyrants the same thing that Monica Lewinski performed for
January 8, 2006
Champions of Moloch
What is it with leftists, both the international and domestic varieties? Why do
they worship at the feet of tyrants? As long as I have been a sentient being I
have noticed that those who yelp "Power to the People!" and who claim a
particular reverence for such things as freedom and democracy have always
scattered their seed among men whose claim to fame rests upon mountains of
corpses and miles of barbwire.
The first recipient of such perverse hero worship must surely have been
Paul Johnson calls the Corsican a 'proto-Hitler,' a new type of man for a
new age, an age suitably brutalized by the French Revolution. This unpleasant
event is better symbolized by the guillotine than any fantasy of liberty,
brotherhood and equality. Napoleon managed to ride out the waves of violence
tossed up by Revolution---though not before himself engaging in wanton slaughter
in Italy, in Egypt, in France herself (the 'whiff of grapeshot')---and became
First Consul, Dictator for Life, Emperor. As such he inflicted upon Europe 15
years of warfare and rapine not seen since the horrors of the
Thirty Years War
(1618-1648). Perhaps 5,000,000 died for Napoleon's quest for eternal fame and
Napoleon Crossing the Alps---Jacques-Louis
He certainly had his admirers. None other than the philosopher
Hegel (1770-1831) not only
accepted the Reign of Terror as necessary to expand human
freedom but became star-struck by the sight of Napoleon himself. After the
Battle of Jena
(1806), Hegel wrote
the Emperor - this world-spirit - go out from the city to survey his
realm...It is a truly wonderful experience to see such an individual, on
horseback, concentrating on one point, stretching over the world and
Hegel saw the emperor as a world hero of the age, as God working in History. In
this Hegel set the stage for all sorts of intellectuals of our own time to
idolize 'men on horseback' who seize control of nations and peoples. Paul
Hollander in his book
Political Pilgrims tells the whole sordid tale of those who worship men
whose primary skill is mass-murder.
After Napoleon there were slim pickings for hero worshippers. At last arrived
Lenin (1917), who ended the
Czarist regime and began the Soviet Union. He and his acolytes were responsible
for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of their countrymen, but this love of
terror and murder did not keep Lenin from being a darling in leftist
intellectual circles around the world. But the real Soviet rock star was
Stalin (1924-1953). The list
of fellow travelers who made pilgrimages to sit at the dictator's feet is
surprising---George Bernard Shaw, for one. Stalin reached the apogee of his
popularity even as his Soviet state-induced famine carried off millions.
Lenin and Stalin
After World War II another hero emerged on the international scene,
Mao Tse-Tung. He had all
the right romantic traits beloved by the left: peasant background, heroic
soldier, dramatic speaker, writer and a self-styled philosopher. He was also the
greatest killer in history, his programs of collectivization and revolution
costing perhaps 100,000,000 Chinese lives. Mao's
Little Red Book and his theories on guerrilla warfare are still popular
today among the addled leftists who inhabit American college campuses.
The Greatest Killer of All
It was not long after America began its Vietnam fiasco that the international
left adopted another star, Ho
Chi Minh (1890-1969), darling of 60s campus activists and buddy of Jane
Fonda. Pictures of 'Uncle Ho' were all over the halls of academia even though
his political habits resembled in smaller detail those of Mao.
Leftists also looked south, to Latin America.
There they found their dream come true in
Ernesto 'Che' Guevara (1928-1967)
who, along with the Tango and a great steak are the only notable Argentine
contributions to civilization. Che
really had it all: looks, youth, military fatigues, scruffy beard, calculated
ruthlessness, a loose
lifestyle and a talent for violence. In his words and deeds he glorified
hatred as an element of
struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being
beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective,
violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine...To
send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary...These
procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution!
And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by
Not quite the Sermon on the Mount but more than adequate to help Fidel Castro set up the Cuban
police state, where Che personally executed hundreds and oversaw the deaths of
thousands. His favorite activity besides adultery was shooting bound prisoners
in the head. Che was a true revolutionary and fanatic, and traveled to Africa,
Asia and South
America in fruitless attempt to start a world-wide revolution against the United
States. Che believed himself able to start "one, two, many Vietnams." Che's
fantasy met the real world when he was run to ground and shot full of holes in
Bolivia but not before he had murdered a few dozen Bolivian peasants. Now began his apotheosis into true
international leftist pop stardom, a position the dead revolutionary has held
for 40 years. The most recent contribution to the hagiography of Che is the
mendacious and trivial
Motorcycle Diaries (2004), which naturally received a standing ovation from
the equally mendacious and trivial Hollywood elite at the Sundance Film
Che as pop icon
Che in a characteristic pose
Che's sponsor in murder and rapine was
Fidel Castro, and he
still reigns at the top of the leftist list of heroes. A practiced killer and
tyrant, Castro excites the left in some rather bizarre ways. Like feces and
flies Castro has attracted a whole swarm of leftist glitterati, including such
flotsam as Norman Mailer, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, Steven Spielberg, the
mainstream media, George McGovern, Oliver Stone, Jesse Jackson, Yoko Ono,
Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Rigoberta Menchu---really, the list of Castro
admirers is endless. It includes the democratic governments of Canada, Germany,
France and Spain. Castro has inspired all sorts of imitators in Latin America,
the most recent being the Venezuelan tyrant and buffoon Hugo Chavez.
Chavez and Castro
What is the point of all this love and admiration given to dictators by
so-called and self-styled intellectuals? While some reasons lie within the realm
of clinical psychiatry, there are a few recurring themes. There is a strong
element of America hatred in all of these (though perhaps Napoleon merely
despised her). From Lenin to Chavez all have tried to reduce the power and
influence of the United States---or even, as Castro and Mao fervently wished, to
destroy her. Intellectuals tend to be 'men of words' rather than 'men of
action.' They admire men who can impose their will upon an entire nation, a
dream they themselves secretly nurse.
But there is also an element of self-loathing. Every tyrant in history except
for Julius Caesar has imprisoned, exiled or murdered his political opponents,
including all artists, writers, journalists and academics who were opposed to
the regime. So we should ask: How long would a George Bernard Shaw have survived
had he lived in Soviet Russia? How long would a Jane Fonda have been allowed to
travel and speak against the North Vietnamese regime had she been North
Vietnamese? How long would a Cuban George McGovern or Jesse Jackson have been allowed
to roam and speak freely? The answers are obvious: all would have been arrested
and frog marched either to the camp or the gibbet. Tyrants have no use for
domestic versions of the international left. The purpose of the left is solely
to create mischief in democratic and free societies, the prime example of which
is---of course---the United States. These creatures who support every ghastly
dictator are really just dupes and fools, true champions of Moloch. To put it
plainly, they are in love with evil.
I will end with some anecdotes from my 14 years spent traveling and teaching in
Latin America. I have taught perhaps 1000 students from dozens of nations. A few
of my Latin students were admirers of Castro, sometimes grotesquely so. In every
case but one their family lives were shambles, with either an absent or
worthless father. The one student who admired Castro but had an intact family
was an wealthy Argentine girl, a brilliant student, a fine writer and possessed
of a penetrating and curious intellect. My arguments had no effect,
and as far as I know she admires Castro still. The curious thing was this: If
Fidel Castro or any of his ilk ever come to power in Argentina he would sooner
rather than later eliminate all those of independent wealth and mind. In other
words this young lady supported a man who, as ruler over her nation, most certainly
would have murdered her own family.
What a world.
January 3, 2006
Heaven and Earth
School begins tomorrow,
and again my reason for being will be renewed. There is no greater joy
for me than to fulfill that which God has given me to do.
He has also given me the
desire to see His creation, and to see it alone. Christ Himself went off
for those '40 days and 40 nights' alone in the desert. And so I will
copy Him and get out in His 'wild, weird climes' for ten weeks in June.
But where? Oregon or Peru
are the only candidates. I lean toward Peru, but at times something
causes me to reflect. This
It is of Crater Lake. This jewel
lies on the route I plan to take along the Pacific Crest Trail. It stuns with
its beauty. I marvel at the carpentry of God. But He has been at work elsewhere
too. Here is Laguna de los Cóndores in
Peru. It is reached only by horse or on foot.
This little Andean
near the town of Chachapoyas, a place I know well. Here is another
To explore this lake and the
surrounding jungle would mean to bring a dream from fantasy into reality. This
is what men do. We imagine a place we want to be---on earth, in a marriage, at a
vocation--and then we move Heaven and earth to get there.
And I will move Heaven and
earth this June.
January 1, 2006
New Year Resolution
Yeah, just one. Of course I have made many others, but those tend toward
the supernatural and so are only revealed to God. What I plan this
year---before June, that is---is to score at least a 225 on the Marine
Corps Physical Fitness Test (PFT). What does this mean? It means that by
June 1st I should be able to:
1. Run 3 miles in 22 minutes and 10 seconds.
2. Do 15 pull ups.
3. Perform 75 abdominal crunches in 2 minutes.
See full details
The highest score is 300---100 points per event---which means running 3
miles in 18 minutes, doing 20 pull ups and performing 100 abdominal
crunches in 2 minutes. There were times in my life when I could do this,
the most recent being September 2003 when I walked out of the Andes
after solo backpacking 12 days to and beyond the Inca ruins of
Choquequirao. I wrote
this high-octane piece after returning to Cuzco to recover and drink
Veni. Vidi. Vici.
returned today from the most extraordinary and difficult backpacking
experience of my career---and I have walked the Darien Gap. Twelve
days were spent backpacking alone through the Andes from the village
of Cachora to the Inca ruins of Choquequirao and then on through the
mountains to the road head at Huancacalle. The route I chose was 100
kilometers long. Several passes were crossed, one at 4200 meters and
another at 4600. All told over 10,000 meters of ascent and descent
were involved. Yes, I was worried at times, scared at others and
delirious at others. At all times I was astounded at the sheer
magnitude of what was all around me, surely God's creation in all
its frightening magnificence. I am a bit thin now, my waist being
what it was in college 25 years and 1000 summers ago.
And I am invincible.
Oh...did I say that was alone? Well, not exactly. At my every step
walked Christ: encouraging, challenging and carrying me. Of miracles
there were many. I live, that is one.
After this there was more such in Central America, but I gradually lost
the physical condition I was in two years ago. Sloth, beer and Krispy
Kremes have all taken their toll. If I were to take the Marine Corps PFT
right now I would score between 100 and 130. Yikes!
So there is method to this madness of achieving 225 on the Marine PFT.
Sure, I want to be in better shape. But the overall reason is to be able
to do the things I want---I need---to do come June. These will concern
very demanding physical things in either Oregon or Peru. To tell the
truth, right now I could not do them: I could neither spend 30 days
walking the Pacific Crest Trail nor 20 days crossing the Andes. I would
run out of steam, become seriously injured---or worse.
Simply stated there are three elements---physical, mental and
supernatural---to the kind of success I am looking for. The mental is
merely the desire---and this I have in spades. The supernatural is to be
in a right relationship with God---which for me means regular use of the
Sacraments (Mass and Confession), daily Bible reading, constant
witnessing for Christ and an active prayer life. Being right with God
means having no fear. And this fear is actually a person, indeed
it is a monster always telling you to stop, to go back, to give up and
give in. The Spartans believed that 'flesh was the factory of fear.' To
walk with Christ is to remove this fear, to remove the fear of pain and
death and failure while all alone in the wild, to actually obey and 'be not afraid.'
There remains the physical part---and this explains the Marine PFT. A
body physically fit is one less prone to injury and more able to 'walk
the extra mile' that might save your life. Here are the minimum
Fitness Requirements for Each PFT Event
score for me right now would equal a 65, as shown here:
Marine Corps PFT
My desired score of 225 would put me better
than 1st Class among those 46 and over. (I am 52.) Then there is my
weight, which is about 175. I need to lose 20 pounds, which comes out to
one pound a week.
The race is on.
God be with you. And with me. Happy New Year.
No Water No Cry
Camping in the Ouachita Forest was not a disappointment but neither was
it as cool as I wanted, as I needed. I camped around Cedar Lake, hoping
to backpack from the lake across the Ouachita Trail and down to
Horsethief Spring, taking perhaps four days in all. Alas, no such luck.
Apart from Cedar Lake itself there was no water to be had. None. Not a
drop. All springs, creeks and waterholes had dried up. Which meant that
all water had to be carried while hiking. For day hikes that is no
problem. But for backpacking it is a serious problem, one impossible to
solve. One quart of water weighs about 2 pounds. A winter backpacker
needs perhaps one gallon per day to drink. Over a four day hike that
works out to 32 pounds of water---and that does not include water
for cooking or cleaning.
Fact is that the Ouachita Forest is suffering a drought. Rains have been
less than half of normal and the lake itself was down several feet. Some
of the lakes in the area had simply vanished, had become great muddy
holes in the ground. The forest itself has become dry and crackly.
Walking upon a forest floor is usually like walking upon swaths of
cotton. Now it is like walking upon a bunch of wadded up
newspaper---noisy and crinkly, and impossible to be subtle while
wandering about. The local animals had the same problem. Normally they
can scurry silently, but now their tiny footpads are heard at quite a
distance. Armadillos, raccoons, skunks were easy to see and hear whether
you wanted to or not. The most seen critter on my day hikes was this
The photo is stolen, alas, as I could not get close enough to the
armadillos to sneak a picture. They have poor eyes but good ears, and
just as I could hear them they could hear me.
While days hikes were OK, they were not the reason I came to the
Ouachitas. So I still yearn for some real backpacking somewhere. The
next break in in March, though only for nine days. I have no idea where
I would go. Oklahoma is not exactly a haven for hikers. True wilderness
is far and away from the city. Even most lakes in this state are
artificial and serve really as places where noisy boats and huge RVs can
congregate. Obviously this makes it impossible to be alone with God in
His creation for any length of time. So right now I am 'trail shopping.'
But the real stuff comes in June and lasts until August when I will have
ten weeks to so something in a 'wild, weird clime' somewhere. Peru first
comes to mind---Peru always first comes to mind---but there is
also Oregon, where live the extremely cool David and Kristina and Tim
and Kaitlin. It has long been a dream to walk much of the length of that
state along the Pacific Crest Trail, starting at Crater Lake and continuing to Timberline Lodge, all told
about 250 miles. This would take about one month.
So I sit and wait, I dream and plan, and always I ask the Carpenter for
His view on all of this. Deus lo volt.