Sean's Blog

A Guide To Online
Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, December 07, 2002

The New York Times has a report from Venezuela about the murder of three demonstrators yesterday.

Venezuelan protesters want President Hugo Chavez to resign, but it may require many more strikes, demonstrations and deaths before that happens. The nation may be plunged into a civil war before all is said and done.

Iraq hands over arms declaration.

According to this report from CNN Iraq has turned over the report, but the weapons inspectors will be allowed to go over the report and screen it before turning the report over to the Security Council.

If we allow Hans Blix to screen that document there is no telling what parts he will remove.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Wow. Joshua Kurlantzick in The New Republic features a bubble busting view of the supposed Chinese economic miracle. Of course the China consumer market is massive and any company would have to be foolish to ignore it, but Kurlantzick paints a very different picture than the one we have been spoon-fed over the past several years.

"In private, and when speaking to certain domestic reporters, even China's leaders admit the fix is in. When Rawski and other leading economists chat with official statisticians in Beijing, they often hear that no one in the government believes recent GDP numbers. "American economists are going around the U.S. praising China's economy, and when I come to Beijing the people there are vastly more pessimistic," says Rawski. A cursory glance at Chinese-language newspapers over the past five years turns up reams of stories vastly different from those in the gushing foreign press--articles about economic stagnation, falling wages, and deflation. (Though the Chinese press is still censored, it has grown more open in recent years, and some groundbreaking publications like Caijing and Southern Weekend regularly print information that reflects poorly on China.) Even top officials know China overstates the figures. In 2000, former premier Zhu Rongji, the straightest-talking mandarin in Beijing, warned that "falsification and exaggeration of statistics are rampant."

More ominously, Kurlantzick warns that if the Chinese facade cracks the leadership is prepared to stoke anti-American feelings and confrontation with Taiwan or the US could become a very real possibility:

"China's growing economic weakness could force its latent anger at the United States to the surface. Already, Beijing stokes anti-Americanism in order to deflect criticism of its own actions and expends little effort explaining its relationship with the United States to its people. Imams in Xinjiang, a Muslim province in western China that I visited this September, have been forced to attend "reeducation sessions" laced with anti-American propaganda. Party-controlled media companies have produced popular videos glorifying the September 11 attacks. In one video, as the camera focuses on the rubble of the World Trade Center, a commentator says, 'Blood debts have been repaid in blood. ... This is the America the whole world has wanted to see.'"

Kurlantzick paints a disturbing picture of a China that is already regressing judicially, and economic and politcal regression could be just around the corner. A must read if ever there was one.

CNN says that Wall Street is reacting positively to the news of Paul O'Neill's resignations as Treasury Secretary:

"O'Neill and Lindsey had been roundly criticized for the economy's woes and one market strategist suggested that O'Neill's departure in particular is a message to Wall Street that the Bush administration is serious about making more tax cuts in order to stimulate the economy."

Venezuela is headed towards civil war. This could get very ugly.

I have been trying to make a point with several different posts on the idea that we are still fighting communism in Europe. When the Soviet Union fell apart we assumed that it was all over. Democracy had won. Now it is clear that the forces of Marxism have regrouped under the socialist banner and are still a quite formidable enemy. I TRIED to make that point, but I was unable. I just didn't have the words. I found someone via Instapundit who does have the words and he makes the point very well. Colin May does an excellent job of explaining the transformation of Europe from a serious ally to something not quite so friendly.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

The editors of National Review are calling on the President Bush to get rid of Saddam Hussein. There's nothing new there, but I did find this little nugget interesting:

"As the Washington Post reported, Hans Blix, executive chairman of the U.N. team, kept experienced hands off his team because the Iraqis found them too tough. "We just knew too much," complained Richard Spertzel, who once headed biological-weapons inspections for the U.N. "They couldn't pull the wool over our eyes." Instead, Blix has been beating the bushes and trolling the cathouses — in one case, literally, for the Post found on his team a Marine vet from Virginia whose munitions experience is 20 years old, and much of whose time in civilian life has been spent running an S&M sex club. Blix's Keystone Kops drive from their Baghdad hotel in Toyota Land Cruisers, shadowed by their hosts, who radio ahead to the relevant death factory as soon as they guess the destination. Not surprisingly, every time the Blixens have showed up, the Iraqis have been prepared."

I hate the UN. Hans Blix is a perfect example of the complete incompetence of that organization. Any man who would let the Iraqis, in any way, determine the make-up of the inspectors is useless and now that I read that, I understand that the whole process is a farce intended to allow Saddam Hussein to keep his weapons programs and to remain in power. That's been the UN goal all along. They have never been serious about containing Saddam Hussein or preventing him from obtaining WMD's. They are only interested in making sure the Russians and French continue with their joint economic ventures and thwarting US national security in the hope that we can be taken down a few more pegs. According the European intellectuals, we need to be brought low. We are too arrogant and need to see what it feels like to be insecure. They feel it would humble us to be the victims of a few more terrorist attacks. Sick bastards.

David Skinner of The Weekly Standard shows quite rightly how the left has become the party of partisan enmity and the right has become the party of passionate idealism.

September 11, 2001 exposed the left for what it is and for all the world to see. Deeply held anti-American feelings were exposed that day and a political philosophy suffered it's greatest defeat ever. Moral equivalence became a familiar phrase to many people who had heard the term, but never in a million years would have dreamed that it would be used to compare US efforts to fight tyranny in World War ll and the Cold War era to the slaughter of innocent people in Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and New York City. People who only thought they understood what multiculturalism stood for found out that it was code for the US is the greatest evil the world has ever seen.

I believe that the election of 2002 was a refutation of left-wing politics. It will always have supporters, but many people who rarely paid attention to politics saw what they believed for the first time and rejected those ideas. In short, the fence sitters, at least in this most important instance, chose to reject left-wing beliefs. Now the left will have to redefine themselves or else they will continue to have ever smaller support as a percentage of the population. I hope they move to the right in rejection of the knee jerk anti-Americanism that marks todays left, but it may take some time for the communist-socialist core of the left-wing to come to that conclusion.

Before the most recent election and just after the Democrats were saying that the real issue should be or should have been the economy and President Bush's poor management thereof. Well, The Christian Science Monitor is reporting that US companies' productivity grew at a "sizzling annual rate of 5.1 percent in the third quarter..."

I will be the first to admit that US presidents have little to do with the US economy, but since many people will blame the president for the performance of the economy I felt compelled to show that the economy is not doing nearly as poorly as the Democrats would have us believe.

The Atlantic features an article on interracial relationships and marriage. A sort of US history of interracial relationships that mainly discusses the three camps of opinion within the black community.

Oh good grief. Poor little rich girl sues daddy over her trust fund.

Don't even get me started.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Glenn Reynolds has a an article for Tech Central Station that explains what I was trying to say several days ago. That is, that technology has broken the monopoly of the original Big Three networks and given people alternative news outlets.

This is what Al Gore was complaining about and I said that Democrats might attempt to legislate their way out of losing the war of public opinion. I know that would be an uphill battle, but I wouldn't put anything past them.

The future of automobiles.

"But that's exactly what two Japanese automakers put on the road yesterday, with the launch of the world's first fuel cell cars.
Toyota Motor and Honda Motor are leasing a handful of the cars to the Japanese government and several public establishments in the United States in an experimental programme that marks the biggest step yet towards the mass marketing of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs).

The ultimate "green car", FCVs could be part of the solution to smog, global warming and other ecological problems that conventional cars help cause.

The technology, which was first used during the Apollo moon project in the 1960s, mixes hydrogen fuel and oxygen from air using an electrochemical process to produce the electricity that powers the car.

Far from harming the environment, its only by-products are heat and water - water so pure the Apollo astronauts drank it.

Many of the world's biggest carmakers want to make FCVs available to the average consumer. If all goes as planned, FCVs may begin replacing gasoline-powered cars in the next decade."

Simply put, water will power automobiles in the future.

I read an excellent article yesterday that I meant to link to, but when I couldn't post it due to Blogger's problems I forgot about it.

The article is in The Guardian and it's about the recent riots in Nigeria by Muslims. Most people probably aren't aware that many in the media, and when I say that I mean left-wing media types, actually blamed everyone but the murderers for those riots. You see, they were offended and thus they had every right to murder men, women and children (as an aside, it should be noted that some of these people were murdered by having gasoline soaked tires put around their necks and lit). Here's how The Guardian explains the western media's reluctance to blame the Muslims:

"The assumption appears to be that Africans or Asians can't be held to our own elevated standards. They are more like wild animals, whose savagery should not be provoked by our foolishness. When we do provoke them, the consequences are entirely our fault. It would be as misplaced to apply our moral standards to their behaviour, as it would be to expect tigers to talk. The murder of Nigerians or Indian Muslims, or Iraqi Kurds, is par for the course, unless we did it, or Americans, or Israelis."

The Times Online features an opinion piece on German economic woes that contains as much news (for me anyway) as it does opinion. Gerhard Schroder won his recent reelection to German Chancellor by diverting the peoples attention away from that countries economic troubles. Instead Schroder campaigned heavily on anti-Americanism and that proved to be the winning difference.

Personally, I am pleased. Germany is getting exactly what they deserve and voted for.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Finally, someone is talking some sense to the Democratic party. I agree with the broader points that former President Clinton made in his speech to Democrats except when he implied that even though Democrats were perceived as being weak that they were still right in their position. I couldn't disagree more. Democrats ARE weak on our national security. The tried to dismantle our intelligence services in the past 20 odd years by de-funding them. Democrats have hated the military since Vietnam. They would love to see the defense budget slashed to about half of it's present amount. I know that no Democrat would say this, but the biggest reason Democrats lost the midterm election is because they hate this nation. They would love to change it in drastic and undemocratic ways, and the American people realize this. That's why Clinton lost control of the House in 1994.

Bill Clinton told the Democrats many things they needed to hear. They were on the road to self-destruction and he was the only one who could stop them.

The second letter I wrote was in response to Amnesty International's response to a British report detailing the atrocities of the Iraqi government. Here's how Opinion Journal puts it:

"Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!

"Britain has released a second dossier on Iraq, accusing dictator Saddam Hussein of masterminding the widespread and systematic torture of his political opponents," CNN reports from London. The BBC has a summary of the report, which "examines in turn Iraq's record on torture, the treatment of women, prison conditions, arbitrary and summary killings, the persecution of the Kurds and the Shia, the harassment of opposition figures outside Iraq and the occupation of Kuwait. The full dossier, in PDF form, is here.

Amnesty International issued a statement applauding London for its "long-overdue attention" to the Iraqi regime's depredations. Oh wait, sorry, that's not what the statement says. Actually, it condemns the report as "a cold and calculated manipulation of the work of human rights activists" in an effort "to justify military action." The group's concern about human rights, it would seem, is outweighed by its opposition to actually doing anything about it.

Amnesty International won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1977."

Here's my letter to Amnesty International:

I found this in The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal:

"Amnesty International issued a statement applauding London for its "long-overdue attention" to the Iraqi regime's depredations. Oh wait, sorry, that's not what the statement says. Actually, it condemns the report as "a cold and calculated manipulation of the work of human rights activists" in an effort "to justify military action." The group's concern about human rights, it would seem, is outweighed by its opposition to actually doing anything about it.

Amnesty International won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1977."

Amnesty International sickens me. You people should have wildly celebrated and issued numerous press releases applauding this even though you might disapprove of the timing. Instead, you get in the political gutter to protect Saddam Hussein.

Absolutely sickening.

Sean Roper

Damn, Blogger has been down all day and I haven't been able to post anything. I have had to amuse myself with writing letters. Here's the set up for the first letter.

I was reading along minding my own business when, BAM!, I came across a blinding bit of insanity that virtually begged for a letter. Here's the article, but here's the blinding bit of insanity that provoked the letter:

"...radical Muslim leaders like Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat and yes, even Saddam Hussein strive for an ideal that Americans can endorse: social justice."

Apparently the writer of the piece views mass murderers as social activists. Unbelievable. Unfortunately, this is typical of leftists. Here's my letter to Ana McDonald at ana@sanmarcos.net:

I found this blurb by you in The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal:

"Radical Muslim leaders like Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat and yes, even Saddam Hussein strive for an ideal that Americans can endorse: social justice."

Have you completely lost your mind? Don't give me any gruff about context. Anyone who can say this and believe it is so far on the fringe of political discourse as to be totally irrelevant. I won't even go into the hundreds of thousands of people that these "leaders" have collectively tortured and slaughtered. You have implied with that statement that torture and murder are unfortunately necessary to achieve social justice. This is the same attitude that justified the murder of tens of millions of people in the 20th century. That is, that it was okay to slaughter millions of people in communist and socialist (remember, Hitler was a National Socialist) countries because the end result was such a noble cause.

You are a political dinosaur. All that you believe died on September 11, 2001. That was the day when America woke up and realized what moral equivalency, post-modernism and multiculturalism had been teaching for so many years. It may take years to fully purge ourselves of your poisonous teachings, but understand that the detoxification is indeed taking place. I am happy that the election of 2002 was a refutation of all that you believe. Thank God.

Sean Roper

Monday, December 02, 2002

Tech Cental Station has a piece on copy protected CD's that features several helpful links for anyone who is considering buying a new disc. The most important link is the site that features "known bad CD's."

CNN is reporting that Burger King will cut the price of it's Whopper sandwich from $2.19 to $.99 for 17 days in January.

I wonder how much real beef will be in those burgers. I know that McDonald's burgers contain very little beef and I suspect that Burger King has followed suit. In their commercials, notice how they call them "patties."

David Horowitz has this on his weblog:

The Anti-American Left and Thanksgiving

"I just happened to check out Newsmax.com this morning and they also have a Thanksgiving thank you to our men and women in uniform who are defending us. On impulse I decided to look at some sites of the left at random to see how they marked the day set aside for remembering the bounties we have been given. The Nation took no notice. Counter-punch referred to the "Holiday" in quotes but only to tell readers that they were taking the day off. The quotes one can presume were there to signify that it was a phony holiday, unlike say May Day or the birthday of Che Guevara. Zmag.org and commondreams.org had nothing to commemorate the day. The closest any site that I checked came to honoring the day was Tompaine.com which had an article on how Thanksgiving food now doesn't come to us from our family farms but across long distances -- commerce bad in other words. Bottomline: the anti-American left is just that. No gratitude whatsoever to America and its citizens for the bounties they enjoy. On with the war to bring the mother down."

Sunday, December 01, 2002

I read a lot and I can honestly say that I have never read anything like this. That doesn't mean it's not a well-known and widely practiced bit of sub-culture. It just means I haven't heard anything about it.

I don't know what to call people who are into this sort of thing. If, after reading this, someone can give me the correct name I would appreciate it.

What is it? It's hard to explain. The short version is that these people love to quote and listen to famous lines from movies and television. We all do this. Hell, I use lines from The Simpsons all the time. Radio stations play short two second MP3 sound bites from TV shows between songs. I am sure we all remember famous lines from movies. It goes back as far as Gone With The Wind ("Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn). Romantics can remember several famous lines from Casablanca ("Play it Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'). Men are most likely to remember famous lines from The Godfather ("I'll make him an offer he won't refuse"). TV doesn't bring to mind for me as many famous lines, but The Simpsons ("Worst episode ever!") and Saturday Night Live ("I live in a van down by the river!") do make their contributions to this phenomenon. When we hear these lines, and if we know the movie or TV show well, we can instantly visualize the scene in our head and it can bring back memories that make us smile.

As I said, we all do this. We all impersonate Ahnold ("I'll be back"), but the people I know have taken this to another level. They record these quotes on CD's and play them instead of music. It would never occur to me to do this, but it's not as strange as it sounds. I got to listen to some of these clips and I knew each of the movies very well. I could see Samuel L. Jackson ("SAY WHAT AGAIN!") in those exquisite scenes from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. I began to see the attraction.

The quoters (for want of a better word) don't just listen to the movies, they quote famous lines from movies in response to questions or simply out of the blue in a quasi-response to something that is said. I probably know the only few people on the face of the Earth who do this, but it's got to be more widespread than I realize. I wonder if this is a rising phenomenon or simply a sub-culture tick whose practitioners are doomed to a life of derision and ridicule once their secret is out. I am not a good judge of what's going to be a cultural phenomenom and I have no idea what's going to be cool. I don't know if people will be doing this in the coming years. I don't record these sound clips, but my friends do and they love it. They memorize famous lines from movies that they love and are likely to be quoting a movie anytime their lips are moving. Sometimes I don't know. I'm not a great fan of people reciting lines from famous movies or TV shows, but the idea of recording these on CD and listening to them has a definite appeal. There might be more to this than I know.

What the fuck happened to surprise visits?.

I hate the UN. They are wholly untrustworthy and seem to be determined to keep Saddam in power

More on European anti-Americanism.

I have two words: Fuck Europe.

Karl Zinsmeister particated in an April symposium in Warsaw that featured a discussion of American culture. The event turned out to be a bash America-fest. It's sickening to see what is happening to Europe.

Zinsmeister has loads of statistics to support his argument that Europe is increasingly becoming an irrelevant has-been and a sad shell of it's former self. This is an excellent piece and a must read for people who follow geo-political events. It's important for people who care to see where Europe is heading because the consequences of the current socialist policies will probably have a major effect in 21st century.