Friday, December 28, 2007

Foreign Policy or Foreign Insanity?


Within hours of returning to her native Pakistan last October, former 2 time Prime minister Benazir Bhutto narrowly escaped an assassination attempt when a 1 year old child laden with explosives was detonated next to her motorcade. Scarcely 2 months later a second attempt was successful in ending her political comeback as well as her life. The apparent ease with which the operation was executed would seem to call into question the current Bush Administration policy of supporting the so called democratization of nations containing Muslim majorities.

In his statement today from Crawford Texas Mr. Bush failed to even mention the fact that credit for the assassination had been claimed by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an al-Qaida-linked Sunni Muslim militant group . In other words, the Islamist group that claims religious motivations for its jihad against Western civilization cannot even be named by the supposed leader of the "Free World". Does Mr Bush expect to gin up support for a heretofore unprecedented expenditure of US blood and treasure for this "war on terror" when he dares not allow the name of the enemy to cross his lips?

For many months now enormous U.S. pressure has been applied to the Pakistani President to "democratize" his nation and relinquish direct command of its military. Experience has demonstrated that pursuing such policies can as often as not lead to the opposite of what would be considered U.S. national interests.

In Pakistan a recent CNN poll revealed that 46 percent of Pakistanis approve of Osama bin Laden while Bush's approval throughout the "Islamic" world registers at NINE percent. It would appear that some serious work needs to be accomplished before the present US policy can be evaluated as being beneficial to our national interests.

There is the Pakistan of our fantasy. The burgeoning democracy in whose vanguard are judges and lawyers and human rights activists using the “rule of law” as a cudgel to bring down a military junta. In the fantasy, Bhutto, an attractive, American-educated socialist whose prominent family made common cause with Soviets and whose tenures were rife with corruption, was somehow the second coming of James Madison.

Then there is the real Pakistan: an enemy of the United States and the West.

The real Pakistan is a breeding ground of Islamic holy war where, for about half the population, the only thing more intolerable than Western democracy is the prospect of a faux democracy led by a woman — indeed, a product of feudal Pakistani privilege and secular Western breeding whose father, President Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, had been branded as an enemy of Islam by influential Muslim clerics in the early 1970s....

Popular elections have not reformed Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon. Neither will they reform a place where Osama bin Laden wins popular opinion polls and where the would-be reformers are bombed and shot at until they die.


At the behest of entrenched State Department bureaucratic careerists, the foreign policy of the United States is held hostage by insane political correctness and the counsels of those who advocate wise policies in pursuit of the national interest; such as John Bolton, are driven from the arena.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Environmental Guest Posting

The following post is a comment left on a previous post (Not Alone?) on this blog and is by Francis T. Manns, Ph.D., P.Geo. (Ontario)


Not just in America...

Abandon hope (all ye who abandon science for politics).
“Verily said Gandalf”, in a loud voice keen and clear, “That way lies our hope, where sits our greatest fear.”(J.R.R. Tolkien)
To whom it may concern:
I attempted to bring [up a protest to] the propaganda piece, An Inconvenient Truth, to the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) last year because a teacher did show it to a friend's child in a grade 5 class in Etobicoke, Toronto, Canada. TDSB put me off several months, permitted me a five minute window, but when the time came for my audience - they cut it to three minutes. I did not present. AGW is a very large topic.

Thanks to the Nobel Prize for GUFF more people are more confused than ever. If a scientific body awards prizes for alarmism, there is an assumption that there must be some foundation in the science. I have read as much as I can for 20 years on climate change and am a practicing geoscientist. I cannot find a single reference that elevates AGW beyond an unsupported hypothesis. As an unsupported hypothesis, AGW has more value than the concept that the moon is made of blue cheese because that has been disproven, and less value than fluctuations of the sun are responsible in a very complex manner for climate change (glaciations).

The other positions, discounted by the UN, that water vapour is by far the most abundant GHG, has also been ignored along with the sound astrophysical research by the Danish National Space Center (web site). The worst piece of all is throwing out the scientific balance of experiment and testing.
Propaganda ‘science’ has been happening more and more; the scientific basis for banning DDT is missing! Millions have died from malaria. Last year the World Health Organization lifted the ban... too bad for the millions of people already dead.

Propaganda junk science led the USSR to develop the dangerous Chernobyl reactor and the reactors for their nuclear submarine fleet as well. A political hack insisted their science was so superior to the capitalist west that cooling and containment were unnecessary. Now I guess Gore has lowered us to the USSR standard.
PCBs have never been shown to be hazardous. People who manufactured PCBs have not reported any increased disease or illness.

Discarded crumpled water bottles litter streams and highways. Bottled water is required for travelers in most of the world less prosperous than ours. To me the discarded plastic water bottle is the icon of mindlessness. The most overlooked of all benefits of prosperity is abundant clean water. Toronto is located beside the world’s largest supply of fresh water and ranks with the best water quality on the planet. Torontonians do not need to buy bottled water, but they do and then they throw the bottles away (called recycling by some). People who fear our excellent municipal water, that the developed world would envy, are throwing away the plastic by the tonne.

Streetcars are an icon of our self-righteous municipal face. Running on electricity, they transfer the burden of energy generation to the power plants in rural areas. They allow commuters to ride with an easy conscience, because their impact is invisible. The ozone produced, however, by electrical mass transit, trolleys and subways, is the only street level pollutant on the rise in Toronto. Trolleys are convenient, no doubt, except when they break down and clog the streets for everyone for an interminable time until help arrives. But they still clog the arteries during the tow to the barn. All other transportation must slow while the clot is towed and the line of blocked streetcars diverted. All the while, other traffic burns fuel less efficiently. Why doesn’t the city pull the plug? Optics?

Smog alert? Smog is brown nasty air resulting from a solar initiated reaction within incompletely burned hydrocarbons. Toronto smog alerts have increased to the absurd levels beginning in early spring. The alert threshold is set very low. Lowering the threshold increases the threshold for a potential smog event. I have never seen any brown smog on the days of the alert while I am commuting. What I see is white haze that is simply the natural humidity in the air next to a vast lake Ontario. What you will see are people on bicycles with gas masks.

The lake is cleaner now. The zebra mussels are abundant. What happened? Mussels are filter feeders that process the entire volume of the lake in a year. Pickerel have returned to Toronto harbour because sunlight penetrates to the bottom and grasses can grow nurseries for the spawn. Nothing wrong with that. Thanks to concerted efforts and tax dollars by the city, storm surge is diverted and sanitary sewage is being diverted away from the lake. We still have closed beaches but that not because the water is dangerous, it’s because of the extremely low threshold for alert to compete with international lake and ocean front beaches. The result is a base-level of population paranoia about water quality that borders on unhealthy. There may also be some litigation consciousness involved. What do you think?

Mindlessness is everywhere. The use of cyanide in metal extraction is a very safe industrial process and cannot be pointed to as dangerous to man. Cyanide kills fish, and spills are to be avoided at all cost, and cyanide is composed of hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen and it decomposes in sunlight in a few days.
Fill up with gasohol? Hard to justify or avoid; it increased the cost of corn tortillas in Mexico- the lower end of the economic stepladder, and methanol manufactured by fermentation, produces CO2. CO2 is plant food in my world, and pollution for the environmentalists. Plant food is good so I’m neutral on gasohol except that I get lower gasohol kilometreage and that seems counterproductive, and the poor get whacked again. Gasohol does not have the heat content of gasoline and will not take you as far on a litre unless you coast.
The hole in the ozone layer over Toronto (6% depletion) put Toronto citizens at the same risk as the people of Philadelphia. Philadelphia is not known as the skin cancer center of NA; Phoenix is. More than 160 children in Quebec contracted beri beri. The epidemic was caused vitamin D deficiency, by sun blocking moms of children that did not drink milk.

The issue really is about deception. Is it a good idea to slow international economies in order to clean up the planet?

Is the planet dirty? I’d say a lot of cities are a mess but the planet is pretty well OK. Modern mining, usually blamed for eco-disasters is subject to largely self-imposed reclamation and site remediation. Many environmentally conscious students stayed with the field of geology 30 years ago. The industry, a heavy industry, is however, laced with practical environmentalists and socially conscious human beings. Corporate social responsibility and environmental studies are part of geology curricula across the developed world and are carried into developing world prosperity.

Consider the footprint of mining as an example. Mining is a heavy industry that digs holes in the ground and extracts metal that we need for electrical power distribution (copper), rust protection (nickel, zinc), monetary security (gold), and construction of tall modern buildings, bridges, and ships (iron). Concrete comes from pits.
But, the dirty footprint of mining is an optical illusion. For British Columbia, of 94,000,000 hectares, only 0.07% is under governmental reclamation from mining activities. For Alberta, only 0.5% may eventually be strip mined for oils sands. … and the nature of the exploitation will be sequential so that only a small part of that will ever be mined at one time. Reclamation and remediation are continuous. The fear is based on an optical illusion. The arts community glazes over at the introduction of quantification. Our eyes are so small that nature looks big.

Short of energy – peak oil? Given some gradual inflation, the carbon resource from Utah to Colorado contained in kerogen shale is sufficient for more than 1,000 years of US consumption. Inflation is bad? Not if you reckon that exploitation of resources becomes lower than most value added manufactured goods adjusted for inflation with every year. There is unrecognised but enormous leverage in resources. Think of it, our increased lifespan, refrigerated food, prosperity, standard of living are inextricably linked to modest currency inflation. Currency inflation, which we are taught to fear, is the cause of prosperity because it allows exploitation of the planet’s riches to proceed in pace slightly ahead of demand. Moderation in all things (inflation). Terence (185 BC - 159 BC).

When we breathe we inhale a mixture of natural gasses including the so-called GHGs and oxygen; when we exhale we exhale the mixture minus some oxygen and more GHGs, CO2 included. Gore does it too. Plants and trees do the opposite. Oxygen is our fuel and CO2 is plant food. This is a symbiotic bargain born in the awful immensity of geologic time and evolution. If you’re not buying into evolution, I have a bridge to Brooklyn you might like. Other GHGs come from elsewhere in animal bodies. That may be too much information.
Is it insane to put mirrors in space or sprinkle iron in the ocean and second guess the wisdom of evolution? Someone thought rabbits would do well in Australia. The hubris is more serious than the fraudulent junk science proposals. The damage is that junk science will attract the tax dollars that would be better spent on water wells and medicine. I’m more concerned about the intellectual climate.

The most important information you can have is that CO2 has a property called retrograde solubility. Unlike most substances, it dissolves in cold water rather than hot. As earth heats by natural causes, CO2 is released from the slightly warmer ocean and if earth’s oceans cool CO2 goes into solution. Shake up a warm beer if you don’t believe me. CO2 trails natural warming.

In a great summary paper covering all the atmospheric CO2 analyses over the past 130 years, Ernst-George Beck (2007) exposed the superficiality of the UN IPCC reports on CO2 by showing several periods since the 1880s when CO2 was higher than today. The correlation with temperature is inverse with CO2 trailing temperature in direct contradiction to An Inconvenient Truth. We should know by now that correlation is not causation, but lack of correlation is a powerful refutation of the Gore/UN hypothesis that CO2 is causing climate change and that plant food is pollution. CO2 was 400 parts per million in the 1940s just prior to the most recent cooling period.

Don’t get me started about opening my back door in the dead of winter to feed my recycling boxes. That is a lose - lose situation. …

I guess what I am getting to is that the polarization of society between arts and engineering has left the arts side of the population vulnerable to big expensive scams, and propaganda. No one doubts that the climate changes. It always has and always will.

For many years the Nobel Committee held back on awarding a prize for mathematics to John Nash because of his schizophrenia. You may remember, "A Beautiful Mind". Gore is flat wrong, but that seems to be fine with the committee.

The world is not perfect. We can only chose the solution that solves more problems than it creates. Pollution can be crippling. I have seen polio in Jakarta; Toronto, however, has the cleanest air for a city that I have ever experienced. But the big lie is everywhere. When I see David Suzuki on a billboard holding a dim light bulb with 5 mg of mercury, I know I'm living a nightmare. Have the schools stopped requiring 1984 or Brave New World? I prescribe them for my kids.


Francis T. Manns, Ph.D., P.Geo. (Ontario)
323 Blantyre Avenue
Toronto M1N 2S6
Canada, World

"To dwell only on horror scenarios of the future shows only a lack of
imagination." (Kari Enqvist)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Venezuela Redux


A confirmation of previous reports of the events of the Venezuelan referendum on Hugo Chávez' proposed constitutional changes was published today in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. The article is in Spanish but a good synopsis is presented here as well as a complete translation here. It confirms that in fact Hugo intended to steal the election but was notified by Fidel Castro that the Venezuelan military was mobilizing for a coup d' état in such an eventuality.

According to El Mundo, the G-2, Castro's intelligence service who handles Hugo Chavez's personal security, informed Cuban dictator Fidel Castro that several of Venezuela's army units were getting ready to act if Chavez refused to accept the results, as he was initially trying to do.

The G-2 told Castro that there were troop movements in several key armed forces garrisons, including the 41 Armored Brigade in Maracay and the El Libertador air base.

According to high Venezuelan government officials who spoke anonymously with El Mundo, Castro called Chavez after midnight, Venezuela time, to let him know what the G-2 knew and to let him know that if he didn't accept the results, the Venezuelan armed forces were going to get rid of him.

Soon after that, Chavez went on national television and accepted his defeat.

These conditions did not obtain in the elections of 2004 and 2006 which one could infer were also stolen by Chávez under the aegis of Jimmy Carter, our dictator friendly ex president . An interesting question arises concerning the local military commanders' status now that Hugo has so "graciously" accepted defeat. One wonders.

ht: The Real Cuba
Babalu

Not Alone?

For many of us Americans who see individual liberty slipping away on a global scale most depressing is the news and comment coming from our so called co-culturists in Europe. They appear to be willing nay, eager, to go quietly into the dark night of tyranny and oppression as engendered in Islam and its enabler, leftist collectivism. The mainstream media, acting as the voice of the political elite, incessantly bombards us with the need to surrender more and more of our liberties to that elite in order to address the ephemeral crisis de jour be it islamaphobia, racism, fascism or global warming.

Thanks to the alternative media we are able to learn of the existence of European opposing voices. One such voice is a Swedish author, journalist and blogger whose opinions are excluded from the traditional outlets. His name is Kurt Lundgren and he posts in Swedish on his blog Östra Ölands fria horisont. The following is a translation of his posting on 15 December
The Theory of Climate Change is the Road to Slavery:

Thanks to the United States, Europe was saved from communism even though many did their best to assist in a Soviet take over. [Olof] Palme's proposed nuclear-free zone in Europe for example, was tantamount to a policy of nuclear weapons for the communists, but no nuclear weapons for democracies.

The USA can again save the free world. How? By rejecting the worst of the climate-nuts and not submitting to the proposed climate treaties.
The anthropogenic global warming idea is by far the most dangerous theory ever put forward. Not even Lenin's sharp mind, before he was completely demented, could have conceived a idea which would give politicians more power over the masses. Lenin's theory of conquering the commanding heights of society has by way of the AGW theory reached a refinement and status which is obvious to all except the intellectually obtuse.

The AGC theory gives the politicians reasons and the rationale for taxation we have never witnessed. The theory gives them control of all facets of our lives; how we are to be born; what we may eat; if we are fat or slim. It penetrates into our bedrooms and decides how we are to be processed after death. Being cremated can increase global warming. Perhaps we will need to be freeze-dried and buried standing up.

This is the ultimate and maximum political theory- -- it gives politicians complete power over the whole of society. Governments cannot tax sunspots or cosmic rays or other natural phenomena, but there is now a rationale for taxing everything using environmentalist positions as the reason, even human activity to sustain life.

The political theory of anthropogenic global warming is the road leading to humanity's greatest enslavement; it also rejects man's creativity and reduces him to helplessness without political influence. This means less freedom, increased taxes and slavery under a political power whose extent we have never witnessed.
Computers, satellites, surveillance-cameras are all available to the potential tyrant, we can not escape.
I hope that the USA and China will cooperate to reject all of the proposed agreements made in Bali. This will hopefully save humanity from a terrible oppression by a political elite.

Consider a socialist government in Sweden under Mona Sahlin [leader of the Social Democratic (socialist) Party of Sweden] armed with the climate-theory's possibilities for political power. Such a government would leave no sector of life free from control or political intervention."


Additionally, there are other voices both of individuals and the very few political parties in Europe who are protesting the onslaught of totalitarianism. They need the moral support of those of us in the U.S. willing to speak out on behalf of individual liberty.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The REAL Function of Government


I recently entered into a discussion with an acquaintance on the positions of various presidential candidates and what their agendas might be if elected next November. The conversation eventually got around to various administrative departments of the Executive branch and their functions.

Being a curious individual, a bit of research was appropriate and the recent release of the National Intelligence Estimate which seemed to contradict what we had been led for several years to accept (with regard to Iran's nuclear aspirations) appeared to be a good place to begin.

A recent news item revealing that an illegal alien from the Middle East, hired by the FBI and subsequently transferred to the CIA was engaged in obtaining sensitive US intelligence data on Hezbolla is an interesting case in point. Why would a national investigative bureau and later an intelligence agency hire a female illegal alien unvetted and untrained in intelligence functions and subsequently grant her clearance to highly classified material? The answer to this question will astound the interested citizen.

"On December 6, Donald Kerr, the PDDNI, that is, the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, laid out his agency’s 500-day plan to set things right.... The 500-day plan enters almost immediately into a discussion of the vital importance of “Equal Opportunity and Diversity.”

There you have it gentle readers. If you believed that the purpose of a national intelligence agency was to utilize the most highly qualified staff to gather and report on intelligence matters for the purpose of furthering national security you would be wrong! Its real purpose is to provide interesting and lucrative career opportunities for women and minorities not to mention foreign espionage operatives so long as they are ethnically and gender "diverse". Lottsa Luck.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

History's Greatest Scam

It becomes increasingly clear that the hugely hyped and costly circle jerk conference in Bali designed to prevent the politicians rice bowls from being threatened by objective reality will only result in the warmista political religionists e.g. politicians and their paid "scientific" shills circling the wagons. In spite of mounting scientific evidence to the contrary, the proponents of increased government power continue to insist that "the scientific" consensus is that "global warming" which has recently been amended to climate change due to lack of any measurable global temperature increase, is a man made catastrophe that can only be averted by massive accretions of government power.

“It is a circus here,” [stat]ed Australian scientist Dr. David Evans. Evans is making scientific presentations to delegates and journalists at the conference revealing the latest peer-reviewed studies that refute the UN’s climate claims.We now have quite a lot of evidence that carbon emissions definitely don’t cause global warming. We have the missing [human] signature [in the atmosphere], we have the IPCC models being wrong and we have the lack of a temperature going up the last 5 years,” [...] Evans authored a November 28 2007 paper ”Carbon Emissions Don’t Cause Global Warming.”
Evans touted a new peer-reviewed study by a team of scientists appearing in the December 2007 issue of the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society which found “Warming is naturally caused and shows no human influence.” “Most of the people here have jobs that are very well paid and they depend on the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming. They are not going to be very receptive to the idea that the science has gone off in a different direction, Evans explained.

Guess what. Those inflated salaries and other perks are NOT paid by "Big Oil".

Meanwhile, the juggernaut grinds on with the media and politicians moving forward with plans to seize more cash from and power over the industrialized world's producers of wealth.

Will this scam succeed? See this essay and cast your vote.

Cross posted at: Eternity Road

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Narrow Escape in Venezuela

After last week's "narrow" victory in Venezuela of the NO votes on Hugo Chavez' proposed constitutional "reforms" that would have made him president for life and transformed the country into a socialist state a la Cuba, it was puzzling that he did not demand a recount. Now we know why. According to intelligence sources inside Venezuela the margin of victory for the NO vote was much more than reported by the media and the massive theft of the outcome by Chavez was thwarted by the military.
As reported in El Nacional, and confirmed to me by an intelligence source, the Venezuelan military high command virtually threatened him with a coup d'état if he insisted on [stealing the election]. Finally, after a late-night phone call from Raúl Isaías Baduel, a budding opposition leader and former Chávez comrade in arms, the president conceded—but with one condition: he demanded his margin of defeat be reduced to a bare minimum in official tallies, so he could save face and appear as a magnanimous democrat in the eyes of the world.

As Chávez is in total control of the Electoral Commission (CNE) in Venezuela as well as all of the other branches of government, the true outcome of the election will probably never be published.
This situation casts further suspicions on the previous elections "won" by the Cuadillo and "certified" by Jimmy Carter who never met a dictator he didn't support.

Chávez has another 5 years remaining in office so it is premature to celebrate this setback for him. Equally as unsettling is that it was only the Venezuelan military that prevented this potential constitutional coup.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Safety or Revenue?

The advice given to Bob Woodward: "Follow the money" by "Deep Throat" in the Watergate flap is especially applicable when comparing issues of highway safety.

Your humble scribbler, during the course of his former career has not only written a respectable number of traffic citations but worked briefly as liaison sergeant between the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and several incorporated municipalities that contracted for traffic enforcement with that Department. State and especially local government politicians and bureaucrats apply continuous pressure on enforcement personnel to generate increased revenue from fines and penalties.

The average speed limit posted in most law enforcement jurisdictions is usually touted as being determined by traffic engineers for the safety of those using the streets and highways. I would submit that more often than not these limits are the result of revenue considerations e.g. governmental avarice.

One need only observe traffic flowing down a typical 4 lane divided highway where the posted limit is 45 mph to determine that traffic (depending on prevailing conditions) is moving between 10 and 20 mph over that limit with no observable hazard except when the radar alarm of the motorist ahead of you goes off and he decelerates dangerously to avoid the cost of a speeding citation.

One study by the U.S. National Motorists Association found the safest period on Montana's Interstate highways was when there were no daytime speed limits or enforceable speed laws at all. When Montana implemented a new "safety program," imposing speed limits and enforcement, the state's fatal accident rate didn't just increase, it doubled, according to NMA statistics.

Other interesting findings of the Montana study were that vehicles traveling faster than average had the lowest accident rates, and there was no positive correlation between speed enforcement and accident rates on rural highways. If anything, the highways became less safe with enforcement....The preponderance of evidence, as opposed to supposition, prejudice, hysteria and conventional wisdom, indicates speed, per se, doesn't "kill," that there are massive economic costs consequential to imposing unnecessarily low speed limits, and that there is a logical and legitimate case for raising - not lowering - speed limits [or better yet, eliminating them]!


The most effective strategy for promoting highway safety would be to concentrate on the apprehension of motorists who drive recklessly and engage in dangerous maneuvers likely to result in collisions. Such actions should result in reckless driving citations and arrests. The assertion by those who argue that increases or elimination of speed limits will result in chaos on the highways is nonsense not supported by empirical evidence.

Even more evidence that many traffic enforcement efforts are focused on revenue generation is found in the so called "weigh stations" scattered along the highly travelled highways. This is especially true in the state of California which has invested enormous funds in the construction and expansion of these facilities which have been found to be highly cost effective. At these locations commercial vehicles are randomly inspected by specially trained technicians. Almost no inspected vehicle or driver escapes one of these encounters without a citation resulting in large fines and or penalties quite often for infractions of a minor or insignificant nature

Another clue as to what is going on is found in a law suit filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association . It has documented "hundreds of safety violations by Mexican trucks rolling on U.S. roads under the Department of Transportation's Mexican truck demonstration project." These trucks when found to be unsafe were removed from the highway while minor violations that a domestic operator would be cited for are ignored, probably due to the unlikelihood of collecting the penalties. This double standard is the basis for the lawsuit filed in Federal court.

For the most part the harassment of commercial carriers is ignored by the general public as most motorists are not directly impacted by these outrages. However the additional costs of this revenue enhancement must be passed along by the carriers in the form of higher rates which are ultimately embedded in the final cost of all consumer products.

The most common arguments put forward in support of all of this regulatory nonsense are that without strict regulation the ordinary citizen would engage in behavior that would result in chaos and carnage. Such assertions fly in the face of common sense and human nature in which harm avoidance is the first natural law.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Sunday, December 02, 2007

More Deja Vu?

The highly touted "Annapolis Conference" sponsored by the current U.S. administration has just concluded with more "talks" to follow. In fact nothing of substance was resolved regarding the conflict between the Arab populations of the middle east and Israel other than a retreat of the U.S. from its previous support for the embattled Jewish state's "defensible" borders. (Does "over a barrel" come to mind?)

Future "talks" will be conducted between Israel which has ceded considerable territory along its northern border with Lebanon, Gaza, Sinai, settlements in Judea, Samaria and Jeruselem in exchange for promises from the terrorist "Palestinians" which have never been kept.

The Jewish state has agreed to continue "talks" with the Palestinian Fatah "government" which is non representative of the Arab population as evidenced not only by the most recent "democratic" elections but by the de facto exercise of authority in Gaza by Hamas, a certifiably terrorist organization.

Not only does Hamas refuse to recognize the right of the Israeli state to exist but the cabal (Palestinian Authority) led by Mr. Abbas also hedges its "supposed recognition" by refusing to consider recognizing Israel as a Jewish state . This is nothing more than a veiled insistence on the so called "right of return" to Israeli territory of exponentially augmented Arab populations currently living in refugee camps sustained by United Nations funding. Such a transfer of populations would result in the "democratic" extinguishment of the Israeli state. No proposal is on the table allowing the jewish populations expelled from Arab territory since 1948 to return to their homes even though their numbers far exceed the numbers of displaced Arabs.

The conduct of the Annapolis conference should be a severe embarrassment to the Bush administration due to the de facto apartheid imposed on the participants. The Jewish participants were denied entrance to the conference via the same (front) entrance as the Arabs and forced to arrive via the rear service entrance at the insistence of the Saudi Foreign Minister.

Additionally, the U.S. Secretary of state referred to the security measures implemented by Israel to prevent terrorist attacks by Muslim suicide bombers as "humiliations to the Palestinian people". This was in reference to the checkpoints established by the Israelis at the entrances to their territory. Apparently Ms. Rice has not been subjected to the TSA indignities regularly visited upon ordinary commercial air travelers these days in the United States.

In conclusion, the willingness of not only the United States government to sponsor but the current Israeli government to acquiesce in giving away the store in these so called "negotiations" will come home to roost in a bloody fashion on future generations. "We're depending on the righteousness of our cause and on the international community, including the United States, which is sympathetic toward the Palestinian issue," added Abbas during a brief stopover at an Amman air base.

War is not a pleasant option except when compared to slavery or genocide.
ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Blood in the Water?


Recently ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ posted on the soon to convene "peace" conference which is now under way in Annapolis. He pointed out that if past experience reveals any clue as to what may result from such a gathering, the future does not appear bright for either peace or Israel.

Some pundits have declared that the mere fact of so many of Israel's sworn enemies agreeing to attend is a major concession in that the Arab states' willingness to attend the conference is an implicit recognition of Israel's legitimacy as a nation state. I must respectfully disagree.

The results achieved by such gatherings are a mixed bag indeed, especially when not preceded by the decisive military defeat of one of the conferees. The European peace conference at Versailles subsequent to the Great War resulted in what could be termed Act II recommencing in September of 1939 due to the Central powers not suffering a decisive defeat. The Allies, attempting to achieve through diplomacy what they failed to achieve on the battlefield virtually assured the resumption of hostilities as soon as Germany was able to recover. The diplomatic gymnastics "ending" the Korean war, Suez 1956, Six Day war 1967, Vietnam 1973 are only a few examples of diplomacy failing to resolve conflicts between sworn enemies.

It is telling that the Palestinian Arabs launched their operation "Autumn Storm" rocket attacks on the Israeli towns of Sderot and Nahal to coincide with the convening of the Conference. Could it be that they sense that Israel is negotiating from a weakened position due to the inconclusive recent round of fighting with Hezbollah as well as the U.S. President pulling back from recent guarantees of Israel's security?

It must surely be something in the water supply at the White House that results in presidents from Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and both Bushes to persist in the folly of forcing Israel to make concessions to the regional Arabs in the hope of being left in peace when each such concession only results in additional conflict.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tis The Season

Fires are raging in the banlieue tonight. Two boys aged 15 and 16 riding on a [stolen] mini-motorcycle (prohibited on the road) hit a police car this afternoon in Villiers-le-Bel. The boys, who weren’t wearing helmets, were killed. Hundreds of enraged men and boys (what, no women in burkas?) are tearing up the neighborhood.

Le Parisien reports that they burned down a Peugeot dealership, sacked a train station and shops, tore up a McDonald’s, stole the day’s receipts and attacked customers, smashed and burned cars, and are still going strong. A police commissioner who tried to talk to the mob was attacked with iron rods; his face and skull are fractured. A police station was burned down, eight policemen and one firefighter were injured.

What are the chances these "youths" just happen to be affiliated with a certain "religion of peace"? Meanwhile several hundred new immigrants will enter France (mostly from North Africa) in the next month.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Historical Event Updated



It appears to have gone unnoticed for the most part both in the mainstream media as well as the blogosphere but an historical event occurred today. The Supreme Court of the U.S. today granted certiorari in the case of the D.C. Circuit Court of of Appeals decision in District of Columbia vs Heller wherein the appellate court declared the DC government's effective ban on the ownership of operative firearms and especially hand guns by private citizens unconstitutional under the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

The DC government appealed the decision to SCOTUS and arguments will begin next month.

The Second Amendment consists of a single sentence which reads as follows:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."


The arguments in the case are likely to revolve around which of the two clauses in the sentence are definitive, the prefatory clause: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State..." or the declarative one: "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

This issue has as yet to be definitively decided by SCOTUS except obliquely in the Miller decision of 1939 which only addressed the type of firearms traditionally not utilized by state militias i.e. sawed off shotguns.

The gun controllers which ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ has discussed this issue with invariably hang their hats on the prevalence of the prefatory clause of the Amendment by positing that it guarantees the right of the various states to raise and regulate militias (this would be one of the few instances wherein those of the left would support "states rights") whereas the individual rights adherents aver that all other Amendments in the Bill of Rights refer to individual rights, therefore the Amendment must be interpreted as protecting individual citizens.

There are other sub arguments on both sides which are partially discussed here and elsewhere.

You all get three guesses as to ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ' position on the issue and the first two do not count.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!

Update 21 Nov 2007 @ 13:09 EST: Academics for the Second Amendment ("A2A") will be filing an amicus brief in the US Supreme Court in support of Mr. Heller (and urging the Supreme Court to affirm the Court of Appeals decision that the DC gun laws are unconstitutional). Our brief will be written by attorneys David Hardy and Joseph Olson with historical assistance from Clayton Cramer.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Update II 22 Nov 2007 @ 09:11 EST

The following is a comment on this posting left by an anonymous commenter at Eternity Road identifying himself as Matt Burchett:

If the Founders were formulating the 2nd Amendment today, their sentiments might be better understood:

“A strong citizenry being necessary to the security of a free country, the right of the people to own and carry firearms shall not be infringed.”

I’m weary of lawmakers mentioning “hunting and sporting purposes” when trying to explain why their infringements aren’t infringements. The Founders were not recognizing the citizenry’s right to bag squirrels for dinner, but rather enshrining the right of free men—when justly aroused—to use deadly force against tyrants (foreign AND DOMESTIC). Lest we forget, the Framers had almost been bled white doing that very thing a few years before penning the immortal words of the Bill of Rights. Skeet shooting was not on their minds.

The definition of “militia” has been the subject of much ignorance and mischief, but simply refers to able-bodied citizens of fighting age without regard to their being past or present members of any of the Armed Services, or the National Guard, or even the Baptist Ladies Sewing Circle. Even the current Federal Code (Title 10 somewhere) defines “militia” as including male citizens who are NOT in the organized services or guard.

And “well-regulated” was not a reference to having a cool handbook or being subject to tons of rules or doing lots of drills on the parade ground. It simply meant “vigorous” or “strong” ... as in capable of self-defense. This usage is born out by the contemporaneous writings of Hamilton and Washington (and many others).

Also, “arms” were understood in the Founders’ time to be weapons capable of being carried on one’s person—pistols, rifles, knives, etc— as opposed to “ordnance”, which would have included big bangers like cannon then and nukes now.

Anyhow, I agree the 2nd Amendment is awkwardly crafted for our modern eyes, especially those not thoroughly familiar with law or history. But the 2nd Amendment has not been the subject of so many attacks because it is inscrutable. On the contrary. It is as clear as holy water to the legal vampires brooding in our legislative halls.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

United Nations "Human Rights"

The United Nations is the gift that just keeps giving; TO TYRANTS!

The august body recently sent a human rights mission to Cuba to underscore a new "right" to be included in its list of "human rights". This is the "right to food" which has been enshrined in the Cuban constitution. These missions are usually headed by "experts" in the various fields, in this case Jean Ziegler, a far left Swiss academic. Previous human rights missions had been denied entry to Cuba but with the appointment of herr Ziegler an invitation to Havana suddenly materialized.

Prior to and during Herr Ziegler's visit to Havana he issued several statements including the following:
1 “Cuba was the first country to promote the right to food.”
2 “Ensuring access to food has remained a priority of the Government [of Cuba].”
3 The Cubans have found solutions regarding the right to food in difficult conditions,"
4 Cuba has been able to deal with food limitations and the suffering caused by the US economic
blockade.
5 He did not see any undernourished person in Cuba, something that is commonplace in other countries...

It is unlikely that Herr Ziegler was issued a ration book as are Cuban citizens who do not utter statements objectionable to the Communist apparatchiks. The ration books are REQUIRED to be able to purchase the less than 2000 calories per day allotted to citizens other than the government officials and are routinely seized from political dissidents.

Herr Ziegler, although an erudite Swiss academic, appears to be language challenged. He is unable to distinguish the difference between "blockade" and "embargo"; or perhaps not.

In case anyone is interested, the right to individual self defense is NOT recognized by the United Nations.
The chief function (of propaganda) is to convince the masses, whose slowness of understanding needs to be given time in order that they may absorb information; and only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea on their mind ... The success of any advertisement, whether of a business or a political nature, depends upon the consistency and perseverance with which it is employed.
August Kubizek, a boyhood friend of Adolf Hitler.
much more here

hat tip: The Real Cuba

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Water Torture Experts

The following are the words of Senator Edward Kennedy on the subject of "water-boarding", a SIMULATION of drowning performed on terrorists to extract information related to terrorist attacks on civilian targets:
"Water-boarding is torture. Torture is unacceptable. Period."

Mr Kennedy, a certifiable expert on the subject of water induced real death, opposes the use of the FEAR of drowning for national security purposes. Additionally we have noted that several journalists have voluntarily submitted to the procedure and some protesters have conducted water-boarding on volunteers on the steps of the nation's capitol. This leads us to wonder how many of these volunteers would agree to be passengers in a car driven by the Senator(D) from Chappaquiddick Massachusetts after "business" hours.

It should also be noted that no volunteers have come forward to submit to having their finger nails pulled out or their heads sawed off on camera. It appears that these "experts" on torture aren't as stupid as they believe the rest of us to be.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pest Control

For those who enjoy dry Aussie humor this video was located on Crusader Rabbit and is herewith presented as several explanations for the disappearance of Baz the cane toad whose species are threatening to over- run Queensland. Enjoy.

Remembrance


It would seem appropriate today to ponder the deep philosophical question upon which so much ink has been spilt since the beginning of recorded history: to wit war.

This humble scribbler has on occasion attempted to address the subject and has never been satisfied with the efforts. Today however, a cogent as well as poignant treatment of the subject is presented by my colleague Francis Porretto at Eternity Road:

War is terrible. No decent person wants war, ever. Among Mankind's finest dreams is that of a world cleansed of war. Mighty efforts of thought and deed have gone toward that dream. All have failed. Why?

Ask a hundred people and you'll get a hundred different answers. I presume you're reading this because you'd like to know mine. As I work in the military industries, among persons much younger than myself who frequently ask my opinion on such things, I'm not disturbed by the subject. In the abstract, at least.

We make war because we are men.

Man's essence embeds two drives that can never be stilled: hunger and fear. The desire for more -- of everything -- is ineradicable from a creature of volitional consciousness trapped in the matrix of Time. Our fear of one another, and of the unknown, is merely a recognition that the Universe is populated by others like ourselves. We arm ourselves, and wield our arms, for those reasons, which are inseparable from Man as God has made him.

Forgive me if I've made it sound as if all of us hunger for war all the time. That's not the case, as you know. But to those of uncontrolled voracity, war often looks like the easiest way to get what they want. To those who fear "the other" too greatly to sit still, war often looks like the simplest way to quench their fears. When they march, so must those of us who are charged with stopping them.

As long as there are men, there will be wars, and soldiers, and great fields of graves where those who fell in battle must rest.

Even soldiers who've gone to war to further the evil designs of an evil government deserve a bit of forbearance. The great majority of these had no choice in the matter. Of the others, many were deluded, incapable of seeing through the lies of their political leaders, and were merely following the best they thought they knew. It's wrong to hate them -- indeed, it's wrong to hate anyone -- whatever the cause for which their masters hurled them into battle. Pray, rather, that their souls find the peace their rulers denied them in life.

Read more

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Three Deputies Equals One SWAT Team

During the past few decades we have witnessed what could be described as the militarization of law enforcement in the U.S. The obvious manifestations of the process are the adoption of military style uniforms by special units of the agencies as well as the acquisition of mechanized mobil equipment bearing an uncanny resemblance to military armored cars.

Probably the most radical departure from traditional law enforcement is the current mindset of todays police personnel which I will attempt to illustrate by relating the following true anecdote.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ arrived at Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lennox station on 25 December 1973 at 22:30 hrs. to relieve the evening shift watch commander who advised that a barricaded suspect incident was being handled by the adjoining jurisdiction (LAPD) in the Baldwin Hills district. He, the lieutenant, had been notified by the LAPD SWAT team commander due to the situation's close proximity to the unincorporated area in the Sheriff's jurisdiction. The LAPD SWAT team had been on the scene since 20:00 hrs. on Christmas day.

At 00:30 hrs. the Sheriff's patrol unit working the concerned area notified me that LAPD had determined that the incident was in fact located in the unincorporated area and was about to formally request to be relieved by Sheriff personnel. I decided to respond to the scene to evaluate the situation.

I arrived at the LAPD command post about one block from the location and was advised of the following by the LAPD lieutenant: The residents of the location, a single family dwelling had been engaged in a domestic altercation resulting in the female leaving accompanied by the two minor children. The woman had called the police from a relative's home to advise of the incident. She related that the male had been physically abusive to her and the two minors and that she believed he was about to shoot her with a shotgun which she stated he kept next to the sliding glass door at the rear of the residence. The woman was seated in the back seat of a nearby radio car and I interviewed her.

I noted that she exhibited no evidence of trauma and asked her if the suspect had pointed a weapon at her. She said she had not actually had a weapon pointed at her but had seen a shotgun leaning against the wall the day before. She further stated that the male was in the residence when she departed and had yelled at her.

The LAPD lieutenant advised me that the residence was surrounded by SWAT personnel and attempts to reach the barricaded suspect via telephone were not successful but there were sounds coming from within the house. I asked him if anyone of his team had knocked on the door or attempted to contact the suspect by voice and he looked at me as if I were insane.

I advised him that I would have my patrol crew cover the rear of the house while I knocked on the front door. He attempted to dissuade me and advised that the responding Sheriff's SWAT team would be wise to use gas. He was incredulous when advised that I had not as yet requested SWAT team services.

As I approached the front of the residence I observed SWAT personnel taking cover behind garden walls as well as crouching in the gutter next to the high curb. I noted that the sounds coming from within the house seemed to be that of a loud radio. My loud knocking on the front door elicited no response from within and I proceeded to the rear of the building to join the two deputies covering that exit. We approached the sliding glass doors of the rear bedroom and the drapes were open about 6 inches. I tried the sliding door and it opened. We carefully entered the house and found it to be empty of any living creature. At this time I dismissed the LAPD swat team and advised the "victim" female to reoccupy the residence or proceed to her nearby relative's home. She chose the latter.

By 10:00 hrs on Boxing Day a full investigation revealed that in fact NO CRIME HAD OCCURRED!

Domestic disputes can be the most dangerous situation a policeman encounters and each one is a potential tragedy but the requirements of police personnel are not identical to that of the military.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Monday, November 05, 2007

Here We Go Again!


In the words of the great Yogi Berra it is deja vu all over again with regard to the up coming "peace conference" in Annapolis. Wasn't all of this unpleasantness disposed of in Oslo during August, 1993 ending the 6 year intifada with something called a "roadmap" to peace?

Although Israel complied with the better part of that agreement by granting substantial autonomy to the Arab population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza in recognizing the Palestinian Authority, the Arabs failed to carry out a single item in the terms of agreement. They failed to officially recognize Israel's right to exist as well as continuing to to imbue their population with a visceral anti semitism and hatred of the Israeli state. The result was the second intifada of 2000. To this day Both the Palestinian Authority led by Mr. Abbas as well as his terrorist rivals in Hamas pursue a policy of extinguishing the state of Israel.

The exhaustion of the Arabs in conducting their insurrection (intifada) led them to the negotiating table at Oslo in order to gain a respite after suffering over 1,100 casualties in the 6 years 1987-1993 and now they (Abbas) are sorely pressed in maintaining political power due to the rising influence of Hamas. Mr. Abbas wishes the United States to pull his chestnuts out of the fire in agreeing to come to the negotiating table with Mr. Olmert this year in Annapolis. Indeed, Abbas has received substantial military aid from the U.S. this last year. Much of that military aid was seized by Hamas in both Gaza as well as the West Bank and used by both factions to murder Israeli citizens.

The question comes to mind after observing the historical results of attempting to reach acceptable agreements by negotiating with sworn enemies: Have you learned nothing? The list of modern "statesmen" in search of a "legacy" beginning with Neville Chamberlain and continuing with Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton is soon to include George Bush and Ehud Olmert.

Another question I would pose to those deluded politicians who seek the ephemera of a "middle east resolution" is: since when did "peace" become a process instead of a condition? As the old saw goes: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice (repeatedly?) shame on me."

Those deluded harpies of our recent experience who state "war never solved anything" have it just backwards. "A study of the history of mankind", observed Winston Churchill, "is the study of war". It sadly is the default condition of our species, unchanged by the best of intentions.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Religion of "Peace" Update

The following is a report from our "partner" in the war on terror, Pakistan:

» 11/02/2007 14:30

A young Christian woman was kidnapped, raped and forced to convert to Islam by a Muslim man in Faisalabad, Khalil Tahir, chairman of “Adal Trust,” a free legal aid organisation that helps minorities, told AsiaNews.

According to early reports, 18-year-old Razia went to visit her aunt on October 21 but never came home. Her parents went out looking for her but to no avail. They also contacted a Muslim man, Sajid, who had harassed her in the past, but he denied any knowledge of her whereabouts.

Razia did eventually make it home on October 31 in a state of shock. She told her parents that Sajid had abducted her, repeatedly raped her and forced her to convert to Islam. She is currently under medical care.

“The girl’s father went to the police to file a complaint on the evening of Razia’s return, but they were reluctant to register the case fearing that it might get out of proportion because of its religious element,” Khalil Tahir told AsiaNews.

For the time being “that man is free,” he said. “He can do whatever he wants,” he added, “but as a lawyer I’ll do everything in my power to help the family get justice in a Pakistani court.”

Good luck!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Morphing of a Nation (Updated)




Venezuelans waiting in line to buy milk were issued numbers representing their position in the line. The first step to a Ration Book.




ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ spent many years of his life cruising aboard a small sail boat visiting countries and places where the ordinary tourist does not venture. Two of the most interesting and contrasting cruising experiences were Venezuela and Cuba.

The Venezuela of the mid to late 1980s was a prosperous and cosmopolitan nation populated for the most part by a happy and relatively easy going citizenry with a large foreign expatriate community. The government, although left-leaning as evidenced by having nationalized the petroleum industry during the 1960s and implementing features of the welfare state, was on the whole, mostly democratic.

Venezuela has been exporting crude oil to the U.S. and other countries at the world market price (currently approaching US $90 per barrel) for at least 3 generations as well as trading freely with all nations. Evidence of this vigorous trade could be seen by visiting any supermarket such as Mercal or the other Venezuelan retail outlets where all consumer goods were available at prices the general population could afford.

The contrast with Cuba was as night and day. All Cubans must have a ration book to obtain any food items (with a daily calorie allowance of under 2000) even as the suitability of soil and climate makes Cuba one of the most fertile nations of the earth. Cubans are forced to endure the most primitive and abysmal health care in the western hemisphere, Michael Moore's socialist propaganda notwithstanding. In public, Cubans dare not speak a word of criticism of the regime but in private they related stories of terror and oppression that would curl one's hair. By forcing Cubans to use a Ration Book the regime has another way of forcing the population to obey its orders. If you do not march when the dictator wants you to march, or if you demand respect for your human rights, the regime can take your Ration Book away and make life even more difficult for you and your family.

In 1965 the currency exchange rate was 1 Ven Bolívar= 1 US dollar and many Venezuelans traveled to Miami on shopping excursions. By 1986 the rate was 1 Ven B= US $0.19. Since the so called "Bolivarian Revolution" implemented by Hugo Chávez since 1999 with his price controls and out of control spending on such items as 100,000 Russian automatic rifles, dozens of attack helicopters and two Kilo class Russian submarines, the official exchange rate is 2,144.5 VenB= US $1.00 with the "parallel" (black market) rate approaching 6,000 VenB= $1.00.

Hugo Chávez insists that Fidel Castro should be the model emulated by all "just and freedom loving societies". As in Cuba, expect the colas (consumer lines) to be blamed on the nonexistent "yanqui blockade". Heaven help the unfortunate Venezuelans.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Update 10/30/07 @1730


Venezuelan newspapers are reporting that people who were waiting in line this weekend to buy milk, bread and other food staples at government run markets, instead of receiving a number, like it has been happening up to now, had to allow soldiers to write the number on the palm of their hands!

And after they were able to buy the products, they had one of their fingers marked with indelible ink, to prevent them from going to another market to buy more.

Several consumers complained that when they tried to go to other markets to buy more milk, they were refused service when the manager saw that their fingers were marked.

This is happening in Venezuela, when oil is selling for $92 a barrel and without the excuse of an US embargo.

Welcome to the Socialism of the XXI Century.
hat tip: The Real Cuba

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Zimbabwe Sleight of Hand

If you think you have heard everything regarding the despots of the third world, prepare to be shocked. Mr. Mugabe of Zimbabwe fame has recently ordered the arrest of a resourceful scam artist in that unfortunate nation who had him and his cronies fooled for a while.

When Nomatter Tagarira, a spirit medium, claimed that she could conjure refined diesel out of a rock by striking it with her staff, ministers in Robert Mugabe’s Government believed that they might have found the solution to Zimbabwe’s perennial fuel shortage.

After witnessing her apparently miraculous gift they gave her five billion Zimbabwean dollars in cash (worth £1.7 million at the start of the year but now worth one seven-hundredth of that) in return for the fuel. Ms Tagarira was also given a farm, said to have been seized from its white owner during Mr Mugabe’s lawless land grab, as well as food and services that included a round-the-clock armed guard on the rock in the district of Chinhoyi 60 miles (100km) from Harare, the capital.

More than a year later officials realised they had been duped.
“It’s an outlandish story but the people [African bushmen] in government who believed this are the same ones who believe that Mugabe’s official policy of printing money will end inflation,” said an economist, who requested anonymity[...] According to the police docket at the court, Ms Tagarira, 35, discovered a large bowser [storage tank] of diesel last year, suspected to have been abandoned in the hills of Chinhoyi during the country’s civil war in the 1970s.

She laid pipes from the bowser to a point at the bottom of the hill. Whenever she assembled an audience, she would strike a rock and an assistant at the top of the hill would open the tap and lo, fuel would pour out. The bowser eventually ran dry but that didn’t stop Ms Tagarira. “They would buy diesel from lorry drivers and keep it in the pipe on the pretext it was coming from a rock,” the docket said.

By June the Government had decided the claims were plausible enough to warrant an official investigation. However, where a single geologist would have sufficed, they dispatched a large “task force” of politicians [more African bushmen] and members of the security forces, led by the deputy commissioner of police.

The task force duly reported to Mr Mugabe’s politburo, the most powerful body in the country, that the liquid appearing at the rock had been siphoned into lorries and that they had driven off without problem.

However, it was when a second “task force” of ministers was sent by the politburo a month later that Ms Tagarira’s ruse ended. She “failed to prove the existence of the fuel”, it said. She disappeared and was arrested this month. “It is not the woman who ought to be arrested, it is the idiots who authorised this criminal waste of public money,” said a lawyer, asking not to be named.

This is probably the scenario of what will occur as soon as Hugo Chávez reaps the consequences of his expulsion of the foreign expertise in the Venezuelan oil fields (unless of course he is able to recruit help from Mr. Putin whose Russian "experts" can succeed in equaling their achievements in the Cuban oil fields).

Hat tip: Daniel and Sheik yer Bouti

Friday, October 26, 2007

Progressive "Logic"

Finally some good advice from the Brady Center:

Last April a man who seemed to have been mentally ill went on a rampage at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Cho Seung-hui used firearms to murder 32 people before killing himself--and somehow he managed to do it even though Virginia Tech is a "gun-free school."

Or was that because it's a gun-free school? As we noted at the time, a shooting five years earlier at another Virginia institution, the Appalachian School of Law, was stopped when an armed student confronted the gunman. Appalachian, a private school, is not "gun free."

From these two incidents it is reasonable to believe that campus gun bans are more effective in preventing defensive than aggressive use of guns--a view that is gaining adherents on campus, Fox News reports:

College students across the country have been strapping empty holsters around their waists this week to protest laws that prohibit concealed weapons on campus, citing concerns over campus shootings.

"People who would otherwise be able to defend themselves are left defenseless when on campus," said Ethan Bratt, a graduate student wearing an empty holster this week on the campus of Seattle Pacific University.

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a group of college students, parents and citizens who organized after the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech University in April, launched the protest. . . .

But others believe college is no place for firearms.

"You don't like the fact that you can't have a gun on your college campus? Drop out of school," said Peter Hamm, a spokesman for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

"Drop out of school." Hamm's advice certainly reflects the degree of maturity and thoughtfulness we've come to expect from the Brady Center.

source

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Bit of Levity



The image to the left of Che Guevara's daughter would indicate that she enjoys access to more than the 2000 calories/day ration book allowance for ordinary Cubans.









Recently the observance of the 40th anniversary of the death of one of the left's martyred icons was the occasion of some amusement. Ernesto "Che" Guevara was killed in Bolivia in 1967 while attempting to spread the communist revolution to that country's peasants, who having none of it, betrayed him to their military.
On Oct. 8 1967, [...] upon finally encountering armed and determined enemies, Che quickly dropped his fully-loaded weapons. "Don't shoot!" he whimpered. "I'm Che! I'm worth more to you alive than dead!"

His Bolivian captors viewed the matter differently. In fact they adopted a policy that has since become a favorite among Americans who encounter (so-called) endangered species on their property: "Shoot, shovel, and shut-up.

To celebrate the budding islamist-leftist alliance, Guevara's spawn were invited to speak at a conference to mark the occasion at Tehran University in the Islamic Revolutionary Republic. Their expenses were paid by Hugo Chávez probably with petro dollars supplied by US motorists courtesy of Citgo aka PDVSA.

There were fraternal greetings and smiles all round as America’s “earth-devouring ambitions” were denounced. But then one of the speakers, Hajj Saeed Qassemi, the co-ordinator of the Association of Volunteers for Suicide-Martyrdom (who presumably remains selflessly alive for the cause), revealed that Che was a “truly religious man who believed in God and hated communism and the Soviet Union”.

Che’s daughter Aleida wondered if something might have been lost in translation. “My father never mentioned God,” she said, to the consternation of the audience. “He never met God.” During the commotion, Aleida and her brother were led swiftly out of the hall and escorted back to their hotel. “By the end of the day, the two Guevaras had become non-persons. The state-controlled media suddenly forgot their existence,” the Iranian writer Amir Taheri noted.

After their departure, Qassemi went on to claim that Fidel Castro, the [atheist] “supreme guide” of Guevara, was also a man of God. “The Soviet Union is gone,” he affirmed. “The leadership of the downtrodden has passed to our Islamic republic. Those who wish to destroy America must understand the reality and not be clever with words.

It doesn't get more amusing than this. Do these cretins attribute their abysmal level of intelligence to the rest of us? The question answers itself.

hat tip: John Ray

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Modest Proposal

It appears that the ongoing drought being experienced in the southeastern section of the U.S. has begun to generate more widespread notice along with the proposals put forth to address the calamity. The facts of the situation are these:
1. The southeast over the past several decades has experienced exponential growth.
2. The infrastructure to support this growth has seriously lagged.
3. The control of the bulk of the infrastructure in the area is assigned to various governmental jurisdictions.
4. Seasonal rainfall which has historically been relied upon to supply adequate water has failed to do so.
As is the case in most all calamities, our society has fallen into the habit of seeking a scape goat to blame for the situation. The evil de jour of anthropogenic climate change is vigorously touted as the culprit by the warmistas who demand that more regulatory authority be ceded to the government in order to control changing climate patterns. Others would assign the responsibility for the crisis on the failure of the various governments to rationally control the recent surge in economic and consequently population growth.

These two schools of thought both favor augmenting the powers of the very entity who is responsible for the situation which is, in the opinion of ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ, the government. As governments are want to do, they generally either ignore the laws of economics or attempt to repeal them. A case in point is the simple fact that water is a commodity and as such is subject to the economic law of supply and demand: the value of a commodity increases to the extent that the demand for it exceeds the supply. The diminishing supply of water accompanied by the increase of demand created by a growing population has not resulted in an increase in the cost of the commodity delivered to the consumers as would be the situation if it were not under the artificial and irrational control of the government. The government's only tool for its purposes is force as exercised by its police powers such as imposing penalties for what it arbitrarily designates as "excessive consumption". The additional enforcement of such ukases generates increases in costs and in no way contributes to the incentive to access more of the commodity.

If the commodity were privately provided widgets and the identical situation existed, the increased value of widgets would generate a private incentive to increase widget deliveries to cover the demand. This basic and simple method of addressing these problems appears to escape the learned discussions of many economically illiterate products of government indoctrination learning centers.

Unfortunately, the above is not satire as was the essay by Mr. Swift.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Friday, October 12, 2007

"Peace" Prize?

Today our suspicions are confirmed. This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to former vice president Al Gore for his efforts in promoting awareness of anthropogenic global warming. Mr Gore thus joins the list of "progressive" icons to receive that once prestigious award such as Yasser Arafat and Jimmy Carter. I, for one am a bit puzzled as to how Mr Gore's crusade to raise awareness of man's contribution toward the causes of climate change directly relates to the subject category of "Peace".

Upon further reflection however, we can detect a tenuous connection. Bear with me here while I assist all and sundry in connecting these dots. Peace is the absence of war; therefore anyone connected to the waging of war would necessarily impact peace. Mr. Gore's crusade to end western industrial civilization as we know it by advocating reductions in carbon emissions and the resulting economic dislocations must qualify as war by any reasonable definition. We must however expand our vision further to understand how this relates to the achievement of Peace. After western civilization is crippled by implementing the means Mr. Gore advocates (a geometric expansion of the power of government over us) to wit, socialism; "peace" will reign supreme throughout the planet, for the means to resist the islamofascists will no longer obtain. This is indeed a brilliant strategic concept definitely worthy of a prestigious award such as the Nobel Prize for Peace which has for some time now been nothing more than the leftist "Man of the Year" citation.

As for Mr. Carter, his war on the Jews obviously qualifies his justly awarded Nobel prize. When his "Pax Islamicus" prevails in the Middle East and the global caliphate is established, "peace" will reign throughout the lands of the Earth.

Mr. Arafat's terrorist war on Israel and the United States were of such worthy significance as to justify his award of the coveted "progressive" Nobel Peace prize. What a pity that the nomination of Adolf Hitler for the award was withdrawn in 1939. We wonder how the nominations of Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao tse Tung managed to be overlooked.

Update: 15 Oct 2007 @1726 EDT http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010732

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Horns of a Dilemma


Kalifornia has long prided itself on being in the vanguard of the movement to advance the "progressive" (leftist) agenda of saving the planet from the evils of industrialization and other predations engendered by human activity. The prohibition on the construction of nuclear power plants enacted some decades ago and the phasing out of existing power plants through onerous regulations has resulted in the dearth of available energy sources and the concomitant periodic shortages of that commodity. The resultant blackouts are invariably blamed on the evil, greedy and hapless businesses engaged in the supply sector.

Included in the big tent of leftist activist organizations to save the environment and promote "social justice" are the animal rights wackos as well as environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace. What is a leftist activist to do when such holy groups offer up mutually exclusive solutions for their touted "crises"?

In order to reduce the global warming crisis caused by the release of greenhouse gasses including methane emitted by the flatulence of meat producing animals such as bovines and sheep, we are urged by none other than Greenpeace to substitute the Australian marsupials known as kangaroos. This is in clear and flagrant violation of the four decades Kalifornia prohibition on the importation of any kangaroo-derived products.

It becomes increasingly unclear how a leftist wishing to bring western industrial civilization to an end can comply with the recipes cited for such policies without contravening other well meaning proscriptions. Perhaps the Islamists have the most effective method for the accomplishment of that objective; that being to slay all western infidels refusing to convert to the "religion of peace".

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!!

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Monday, October 08, 2007

Chávez and the Anthropologist


During one of Hugo Chávez' lecture sessions to his followers as well as the general Venezuelan television viewers the subject of the period of human existence on the planet came up. Hugo asserted that the period is 2000 years and asks Francois, a hapless anthropology scholar in the audience to confirm this nonsense. The intimidated scholar politely avers the the period is "Un poco mas." [a bit longer] whereupon Hugo estimates that the time frame is 2500 years and asks that to be confirmed. Fearing to anger the "caudillo" the man answers: "Sí, como no." [Sure, why not.] Hugo replies: "Gracias hermano." [Thank you brother.] "Statesmen" like Chávez can assert that the earth is flat and if you are a Venezuelan, you had better agree. Is it any wonder that Hugo's hero and mentor is Fidel Castro?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

"World to End Tuesday: Minorities and Women Hardest Hit"


ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ experienced another interesting (and hilarious) observation on the occasion of exiting the post office this morning. The front page headlines screaming at all and sundry from today's Atlanta Journal and Constitution (Urinal and Constipation?) were: "MARKET SOARS, RISKS REMAIN". Half of the headline probably refers to yesterday's surge in the Dow Jones Industrial average on the New York Stock Exchange. The message transmitted in the last two words however is for government school dropouts somewhat more esoteric. It is an announcement that the editorial board of the "news" [sic] paper finds these tidings troubling i.e. what is news about "risks" and the stock market? Fear not however, those two words do notify us of the reason these tidings are bad news: there must be a Republican occupying the Whitehouse.

We are from time to time reminded that the traditional print media are losing readership. Various explanations are submitted as to the causes of this phenomenon by the so called "punditry". Our own reaction would be: DUH?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Time Passages


Most, nay all of us mortals suffer the slings and arrows of advancing years. In the last years of my fathers 91 winters I would make it a point to transport him to our ranch, Sparta, which overlooked the scenic Klamath River valley in northern California. Although he remained alert up to the end of his life he would often sit silent and uncommunicating, facing the spectacular view and saying nothing. I found his silence somewhat puzzling at the time, but lately, facing my own advancing years I have come to better understand my father's reticence as I reflect on a life spent both tilting windmills and witnessing the inevitable changes occurring over our allotted "fourscore and ten(?) years"

A recent post on Eternity Road has alluded to the bitter experiences of the Curmudgeon Emeritus and several commenters with members of that group society has charged with enforcing the myriad and proliferating statutes and regulations enacted by a political class whose sole raison d'entre is to exercise power over the citizenry and enjoy the concomitant perquisites associated with that power.

Your humble scribbler had the dubious "pleasure" of passing most of his productive years engaged in the enforcement of the aforementioned statutes and regulations, most of which involved no conflict with either common sense or the revealed moral duties of the run of the mill members of western culture. Occasionally one of such a profession is called upon to overcome his sense of justice and visit "retribution" on one who has caused no injury to his fellow man (so called "victimless crimes" come to mind). A case in point would be the "traffic officer" who is charged, nay compelled, to apprehend a citizen for no other reason than exceeding an arbitrary velocity in his conveyance without regard to the conditions extant impacting the peril to third parties. The underlying reason for this egregious violation of justice and common sense is revenue generation for politicians pure and simple. If a speeder or violator of other minor traffic infraction in fact created a danger to his fellow citizens he should be held to account by being charged with reckless driving. The arbitrary imposition of a penalty on a citizen who has not jeopardized the safety of another is unreasonable and most law enforcement personnel instinctively realize but seldom admit it. This is the reason you will encounter law enforcement officers engaging in "professional courtesy" to those they consider "brethren" although I suspect the practice is on the wane for reasons explained below.

Times have changed in the law enforcement profession since the advent of the "civil rights" movement of the last several decades. Hiring and employment standards have undergone significant changes as a result. Violations of traditional social mores or statutes often no longer preclude the hiring or retention of personnel. Candidates and employees who heretofore would have been rejected or terminated for psychological impairment involving tendencies toward abusing authority are no longer routinely culled. This is due in part to the administrative difficulties in documenting justification, especially if the subject is a member of one of our society's so called "victim groups". Physical standards have also deteriorated to the extent that agencies often can not deny employment to applicants on the basis of obesity, of diminutive stature or advanced age. Many agencies who heretofore required that applicants be capable of carrying an average size human body such as a partner or citizen a short distance for rescue eventualities can no longer discriminate on that basis. These and other policies have often been changed due to affirmative action requirements and the awards of substantial civil damages. Also contributing to the deterioration of law enforcement standards is the de facto existence of ethnic and gender quotas in employment as well as promotion. Civil rights activists are quick to condemn any perceived disparity in ethnic group representation among law enforcement personnel and administrative bureaucracies simply avoid such confrontations by implementing sub rosa quota policies.

When ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ first entered the law enforcement profession in the mid 1960s, he was issued a copy of the California Vehicle Code which at the time seemed rather lengthy, containing nearly 600 pages. The current volume is a monster weighing multiple pounds. Additionally, when a motorist was detained for a minor infraction involving no harm to property or limb and found to be a fellow officer, the perp was invariably sent on his way with nothing more than a friendly rebuke. If the perp displayed lack of proper contrition or courtesy, the detaining officer usually sent a memo of complaint to the subject's employing supervisor resulting in disciplinary action far more inconvenient and costly than simply paying a fine at the local court house.

All of these and other changes, while not apparent to the everyday citizen and casual observer are often troubling for long time observers to ponder and are, I suspect, the subjects of my father's silent musings.