Sunday, June 20, 2004

Site Update

I will be embarking upon a new chapter in my life that will prohibit me from blogging for at least the next month or two as I will be across the country and somewhat incommunicado. In the not-too-distant future I hope to resume regular blogging with a whole different perspective on the world around us.

I thank you as I approach the future with trepidacious excitement.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

On The Occasion of The 40th Anniversary of D-Day
June 6, 1984

Today, we pay solemn tribute to the brave souls who saved our world 60 years ago today. We also pay tibute to Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, may he rest in peace. I think it only fitting to reprint President Reagan's own words regarding these giants in whose shadow we still live and in doing so, remember his greatness as well.

"We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For 4 long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen. Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

"We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

"The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers-the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machineguns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

"Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the tip of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

"These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

"Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your "lives fought for life. . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor."

"I think I know what you may be thinking right now-thinking "we were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day." Well, everyone was. Do you remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren't. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him.

"Lord Lovat was with him-Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, "Sorry I'm a few minutes late," as if he'd been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he'd just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken.

"There was the impossible valor of the Poles who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold, and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.

"All of these men were part of a rollcall of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore: the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland's 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England's armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard's "Matchbox Fleet" and you, the American Rangers.

"Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.

"The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge-and pray God we have not lost it-that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

"You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

"The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They fought-or felt in their hearts, though they couldn't know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

"Something else helped the men of D day: their rockhard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we're about to do. Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee."

"These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

"When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured. These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief, loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together.

"There was first a great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly. The United States did its part, creating the Marshall plan to help rebuild our allies and our former enemies. The Marshall plan led to the Atlantic alliance-a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.

"In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin. Soviet troops that came to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They're still there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost 40 years after the war. Because of this, allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as 40 years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose-to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and graveyards where our heroes rest.

"We in America have learned bitter lessons from two World Wars. It is better to be here ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.

"But we try always to be prepared for peace; prepared to deter aggression; prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms; and, yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more that a reconciliation with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.

"It's fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World War II: 20 million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of ending war. I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war. We want to wipe from the face of the Earth the terrible weapons that man now has in his hands. And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to turn our hope into action.

"We will pray forever that some day that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.

"We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We're bound by reality. The strength of America's allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe's democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

"Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee."

"Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value [valor], and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

"Thank you very much, and God bless you all."

President Ronald Reagan
June 6, 1984
U.S. Ranger Monument
Pointe du Hoc, France

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Mourning in America: President Ronald Reagan, R.I.P.
"As president, Ronald Reagan believed without question that tyranny is temporary, and the hope of freedom is universal and permanent; that our nation has a unique goodness, and must remain uniquely strong; that God takes the side of justice, because all our rights are His own gifts."

President George W. Bush
Christening of the USS Ronald Reagan, on March 4, 2001.

"This is a sad hour in the life of America. A great American life has come to an end. I have just spoken to Nancy Reagan. On behalf of our whole nation, Laura and I offered her and the Reagan family our prayers and our condolences.

"Ronald Reagan won America's respect with his greatness, and won its love with his goodness. He had the confidence that comes with conviction, the strength that comes with character, the grace that comes with humility, and the humor that comes with wisdom. He leaves behind a nation he restored and a world he helped save.

"During the years of President Reagan, America laid to rest an era of
division and self-doubt. And because of his leadership, the world laid to rest an era of fear and tyranny. Now, in laying our leader to rest, we say thank you.

"He always told us that for America, the best was yet to come. We comfort ourselves in the knowledge that this is true for him, too. His work is done, and now a shining city awaits him. May God bless Ronald Reagan"

President George W. Bush
June 5, 2004
More Leftist Fascism
Do They Have ANY Idea What They Are Saying?

From Kathryn Jean Lopez at "the Corner" comes this example of the dangerous insanity that has the left has embraced. Simply read the words from a review of some preposterous theater production by someone by the name of Richard Foreman in "The Village Voice:"

No U.S. president, I expect, will ever appoint a Secretary of the Imagination. But if such a cabinet post ever were created, and Richard Foreman weren't immediately appointed to it, you'd know that the Republicans were in power. Republicans don't believe in the imagination, partly because so few of them have one, but mostly because it gets in the way of their chosen work, which is to destroy the human race and the planet. Human beings, who have imaginations, can see a recipe for disaster in the making; Republicans, whose goal in life is to profit from disaster and who don't give a hoot about human beings, either can't or won't. Which is why I personally think they should be exterminated before they cause any more harm.

This opinion is presumably not shared by Foreman; you can gauge the breadth of his imaginative compassion from his willingness to extend it even toward George W. Bush, idiot scion of a genetically criminal family that should have been sterilized three generations ago.

Less than 200 words into his hate drenched screed, Michael Feingold (the author of the review) has managed to propose extermination and sterilization of those with whom he disagrees.

Is it just me, or is there something about this attitude that's eerily familiar?
Leftist Fascism
It's Time to Get Your Mind Right

Some time ago, a friend and I were discussing the concepts of "Left" and "Right" as it applies to the political spectrum. The conversation was spurred in part by the observation that Communist regimes (what we consider "left") and Fascist regimes (what we consider "right") are indistinguishable in their actions. Really, how does one differentiate between the millions killed in the Stalinist purges in the Soviet Union, Mao's "Great Leap Forward", and the Holocaust? Is killing millions because of their race or religion any more loathsome than killing millions for some other reason?

Our conclusion was that the mechanism by which we measure our politics should not be a straight line with Fascism at one end and Communism at the other. Rather, it should be a circle whereby those who go to the farthest extremes of their ideology meet on the other side. Thusly Communists and Fascists are simply two manifestations of the same monstrous thought pattern. Communists are Fascists are Communists.

The more I see, the more I am convinced that this is true. I have written about the rise of Jew hatred at Berkeley. Berkeley! The very belly of the leftist beast has produced open Jew hatred reminiscent to that in Germany in the 1930s.

This came to mind while reading Roger Simon's interesting piece that is written in a similar vein. Roger is a former Leftist who has since "gotten his mind Right," and he observes that he didn't go anywhere, but rather the "Left" left him:

I had barely finished reading Nick Cohen's article in the New Statesman this morning (via and Harry's Place) when it went subscription only. The piece is about how the BBC spiked stories that put the antiwar movement in a bad light by revealing the movement's leadership as fascist neo-Stalinists and fundamentalist Islamic misogynists and homophobes:

Radio silence was imposed on the sinister and in many ways right-wing behaviour of the far left and has continued into the campaign for this month's elections.

That the BBC quashed this is, alas, not surprising; you can find lengthy quotes at the above links, if you haven't seen them already.

What interested me though was Cohen (a man of the left) accusing the far left-wing of being right-wing. I had been thinking about that a lot lately, because I keep asking myself whether I left the left or the left left me? (How's that for a Peter Piper sentence?) After all, I'm not young anymore (except in my own mind) and traditionally people move right as they grow older. ("Traded their used MG/For a new XKE/Switched to the GOP/That's the way things go," as Allan Sherman used to sing in his "Hava Nagila" knockoff "Harvey and Sheila").

But these days I gotta wonder. Who really is "progressive" anyway, those who have been backing democracy in Iraq or those opposing 'unilateral' intervention in totalitarian states? Even though the disasters are many (I wouldn't be surprised if there were more as you read this), we interventionists are looking better and better, more "progressive," if that word still means anything outside the sphere of DVD players (as in "progressive scan"). So maybe I do think that the left left me.

Yes, I believe you are Right, as well as correct, Roger. Which side wants to spread democracy and save the lives of the oppressed, and which side feels that "those people" aren't worth American lives or treasure? Which side is spouting vile Jew hatred, and which side is staunchly pro-Israel?

It's time to get your mind Right.

There is a very interesting article about Roger Simon on The National Review website that I would highly recommend. While he maintains Liberal positions on a number of social issues, his mind is quite Right in terms of saving our civilization.
Major Terrorist Said to Be Held by Algeria
Germany on the Wrong Side....Again

(Hat tip Instapundit) In a story that shows the maddening confusion and corruption in the backwaters where terrorists grow, a major Islamic terrorist has apparently landed in the hands of Algeria via Chad. It also shows the true nature of "allies" such as Germany and their utter refusal to assist us in any way:

Algerian forces took custody on Friday of a man believed to be one of North Africa's most powerful Islamic terrorists in a highly unusual multinational operation deep in the desert of Niger, according to an official from one of the countries involved.

"From everything we're hearing it is Al Para," the official said, referring to Amari Saifi, a terrorist with ties to Al Qaeda.

Mr. Saifi is known as Al Para because he was trained as a Algerian special forces paratrooper before joining the country's violent fundamentalist Islamic rebellion in the 1990's. He is wanted in connection with many crimes, including his suspected role in the killing of 43 Algerian soldiers and the kidnapping of 32 European hostages, both last year.

Germany paid Mr. Saifi nearly $6 million in ransom for the hostages' release, American and Algerian officials say. He is reported to have used the money to recruit fighters and buy weapons for the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, which is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Algeria.

In March, Chadian rebels captured 17 members of the group after a battle near the border with Niger. Mr. Saifi is believed to be among those captured.

The rebel organization, the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad, approached the United States and other countries involved in the American-led campaign against terrorism in hopes of delivering the prisoners and reaping a political benefit from its good deed.

But the group's leaders insisted that someone go to them to retrieve the terrorists, complicating negotiations because the group lacks internationally recognized legal jurisdiction over territory in Chad.

The controversy may have contributed to a split that erupted late last month among the Chadian rebel forces. One commander took the three most senior members of Mr. Saifi's group, all Algerians and including the man believed to be Mr. Saifi, and disappeared.

That set off a scramble by all parties involved to get Mr. Saifi from the Chadian commander. Other rebel leaders, the Algerian government and representatives of the Islamic group each negotiated with the commander by satellite telephone. The Islamists are believed to have offered a substantial payment for Mr. Saifi's release. It is not clear what the Algerians offered, but they appear to have won.

The rebel commander, whose surname is Allatchi, according to his associates, agreed to a secret rendezvous with the Algerians in Niger on Friday. Hundreds of troops were involved in the operation, according to a rebel official who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said the chief of the Algerian Army, Gen. Muhammad Lamari, had directed the transfer.

So, it would appear that a rebel group that is not even part of a recognized government, in a country like Chad, is capable of making better decisions than Germany. How many people have died because Germany chose to finance this piece of garbage rather than stand up to him? It appears that Europe, led by the likes of Germany,France and Spain, is well on its way to capitulating to these fascists just like they have always capitulated to fascists. 60 years ago we had to save the Eurotrash from themselves and they are not only ungrateful, they are belligerently treacherous.

And these are the people from whom the leftists want us to obtain advice and consent before taking action?

Friday, June 04, 2004

Pope Criticizes U.S. as "Self-Centered"

In his latest blunt assessment of U.S. society, Pope John Paul II on Friday denounced the acceptance of abortion and same-sex unions as "self-centered demands" erroneously depicted as human rights.

The pontiff said that "in the face of such erroneous yet pervasive thinking," visiting U.S. bishops should stress to congregations "their special responsibility for evangelizing culture and promoting Christian values in society and public life."

"Rights are at times reduced to self-centered demands: the growth of prostitution and pornography in the name of adult choice, the acceptance of abortion in the name of women's rights, the approval of same sex unions in the name of homosexual rights," he said.

The Catholic Church forbids abortion and considers homosexual activity a sin.

Last week, John Paul warned another group of U.S. prelates that American society is in danger of surrendering to a "soulless vision of life."

Greeting the latest group of bishops on the same day he held a private audience with President Bush, John Paul acknowledged the challenges to Catholic Church teaching and faith.

"Ambiguous moral positions, the distortion of reason by particular interest groups ... are just some examples of a perspective of life which fails to seek truth itself and then abandons the search for the ultimate goal and meaning of human existence," John Paul said.

You know, the man's making a lot of sense. When we have spent decades denying the existence of God, how can we help but come away with a "soulless vision of life?"

I am sure there will be those who will deride the Pope's views and cite them as evidence of his and the Church's growing irrelevance. The funny thing is, in doing so they are proving the Pope's point better than he ever could.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Bush to Give Pope Presidential Medal of Freedom

God knows he deserves it, and I don't use the word God lightly. I don't always agree with him, but I never cease to stand in awe of him. JPII, God bless ye.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Da Da Da Dum Clap Clap
Da Da Da Dum Clap Clap

Kerry as "Lurch?" No, this isn't the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, this is Former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines:

Former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines, on the hot seat again as controversy over the newspaper's Iraq coverage during his tenure continues to swirl, has written a column for The Guardian in London today on John Kerry that concludes that he "has to get better as a candidate." One problem, according to Raines: Kerry is "pompous" and "ponderous."

He also declared that Kerry has an "Addams Family" face--"as if Lurch had gone to Choate."
I'm glad that was said, but I'm glad I didn't say it.
Has the Sun Set on Geneva?

Via Instapundit comes this provocative piece by Alan Dershowitz regarding the Geneva Conventions and their applicability in our current circumstances. Dershowitz is certainly no neocon war hawk, but he clearly feels that the Geneva Conventions are no more than shields for the wicked. In part:

The Geneva Conventions are so outdated and are written so broadly that they have become a sword used by terrorists to kill civilians, rather than a shield to protect civilians from terrorists. These international laws have become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

Following World War II, in which millions of civilians were killed by armed forces, the international community strengthened the laws designed to distinguish between legitimate military targets and off-limit noncombatants. The line in those days was clear: The military wore uniforms, were part of a nation's organized armed forces, and generally lived in military bases outside of population centers. Noncombatants, on the other hand, wore civilian clothing and lived mostly in areas distant from the battlefields.

The war by terrorists against democracies has changed all this. Terrorists who do not care about the laws of warfare target innocent noncombatants. Indeed, their goal is to maximize the number of deaths and injuries among the most vulnerable civilians, such as children, women and the elderly. They employ suicide bombers who cannot be deterred by the threat of death or imprisonment because they are brainwashed to believe that their reward awaits them in another world. They have no "return address."

The terrorist leaders - who do not wear military uniforms - deliberately hide among noncombatants. They have also used ambulances, women pretending to be sick or pregnant, and even children as carriers of lethal explosives.

Civilized rules of behavior will only be observed by civilized people. The Geneva Conventions were adopted by civilized countries because it provided equal protection for both sides as both sides held similar views of warfare and the definition thereof, thus the word "convention." Our current enemy does not hold "conventional" views of warfare or even life itself. By restricting our actions in defending ourselves, we simply further empower the savages and, as Dershowitz says hand them another weapon with which to kill us.