Sean's Blog

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Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Over one million people protest against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela today.

I know it must seem strange that I follow events in Venezuela the way I do, but I have a reason. I have been following events there because I am eager to see the left repudiated.

I believe that September 11, 2001 was a very bad day for left-wing politics, maybe not in the short term, but in the long term. I believe that it was viewed as a social ideal by many people because it was supposed to be the philosophy of humanitarians. Then 9/11 happened. Many people saw the reaction from leftists around the world. They saw how they were joyful over the events of that day and how they quickly went about justifying the actions of the people responsible. Many people were horrified that a political philosophy that said it cared about people seemed to be overjoyed that the US had been attacked and many people had died. It was reminiscent of Stalinists who justified the murder of tens of millions of people in the name of social and economic justice. The same thing happened on 9/11. To many on the left, those attacks were completely justified in the name of social, economic, and political justice. It was a pity that so many people had died, but you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, right?

Since that day I have noticed a couple of trends. A couple Europeans nations have moved to the right. Official Canada shared the view that the US had gotten what it deserved and now it appears that many Canadian citizens are taking a hard look at the humane leftism of their government. How could a nation who professed to care about people be so hostile towards the nation that was attacked? I will be looking for more trends as other democratic nations around the world hold elections. I wonder if the trend will continue to the right and if so for how much longer. What will happen to those socialist governments who expressed half-hearted supported, at best, for the US? Schroder won reelection, but I believe the long term trend in that nation will be a slow evolution from contempt for the US to more aggressive support.

Of course all politics are cyclical and there are nations that moved to the left, but I believe that a seismic shift took place on 9/11. Many people are now openly mocking the declaration that that day changed everything. I still believe it did, but that it may take many years to realize the effects. Now that socialism has been outed as a rather bloodthirsty belief (which is really nothing new if you know your history), maybe people will not be so quick to elect leftist in the false belief that, generally speaking, it cares about people more than right wing beliefs. September 11, 2001 opened some eyes. Hopefully people around the world got a good luck at the real face of left-wing politics and understand that it doesn't represent humanity anymore now than when Hitler and the National Socialist held power.

The New York Times is reporting that the US is calling for an early referendum in Venezuela.

I have been disillusioned with basketball for several years now, particularly pro basketball. Michael Jordan was the only thing good about basketball in the 1990's. I was so sick of the arrogant, self-centered a-holes who demanded and got upwards of $200,000 a game. That's right, a game. It would be different if they actually won something before making these demands, but the Alonzo Mournings of the game demanded that sort of salary without even so much as winning a conference championship. They didn't give a shit about the average fan. Ticket prices went through the roof and not one of those jerks ever offered to take a measly $150,000 a game if the team ownership would cut the price of a ticket. The players didn't care about the fans and that's when I quit caring about the players or the game.

Now we have ever younger kids entering the NBA straight out of high school and I have to admit that it's a source of curiosity to see if the hype is real. I was told that Kobe was going to be greater than Michael Jordan (PUH-LEEEZE! No way, no how he will ever measure up to the greatest player ever), or maybe it was going to be Tracy McGrady (who has already shown that he could care less about having any loyalty to a team or his fans). No. Now I am told that LeBron James is God incarnate. James is a high school kid who had his HIGH SCHOOL game broadcast on national television. I don't blame this kid. He is very talented and he deserves to get paid very well for his skills, but the hype surrounding this young man is absolutely sickening.

The Washington Times has a piece that makes clear all the landmines that will be put in front of this young man. I hope for his sake that he is able to deal with everything that is happening. He could self-destruct and all the people who love him now will desert him then.

Friday, December 13, 2002

"This great and prosperous land must become a single nation of justice and opportunity.... Any suggestion that the segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive and it is wrong. Recent comments by Senator Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country." George Bush

Now President Bush's remarks should be followed up by Senator Lott's resignation as Senate leader.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Jonah Goldberg is working hard to spin the Trent Lott controversy as being good news for Republicans. It will only be good news if Lott resigns his Senate Majority leader role. Nothing short of that will be accepted.

Glenn Reynolds is taking some heat for saying that the anti-war folks are basically Saddam's stooges. The war protestors are offended by this, but I agree with Reynolds. This was the strategy the North Vietnamese relied on and every adversary the US ever faces will now be looking for this same support.

The anti-war demonstrations were mostly lead by communists and the communist North Vietnamese were counting on the war protestors to win the war for them. They understood that if they could hold out long enough that the protestors would cause the US to withdraw from the war. As a result of those protests, the war was continued and tens of thousands of people died who otherwise would not have. The 60's radicals were responsible for the continuation of the Vietnam war and directly aided the communist North Vietnamese.

Saddam Hussein is counting on the war protestors help him maintain his grip on Iraq. It may not be the intent, but if it's successful it will be the effect.

This just makes my blood boil.

According to this Washington Times report, Mexican hospitals refuse to treat people who can't pay and instruct ambulance drivers to bring the patient to the US for treatment. That's horseshit!

We need to seal our border. I'm with Bill O'Reilly. I am sick of Mexico abusing us.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Michael Ledeen has another article for National Review reporting on the historical events taking place in Iran:

"Reporters in Tehran (there is not a single eyewitness account from any other city) estimated the number of demonstrators between 1,500 and 10,000, the first being the official figure, the latter coming from the London Telegraph. I have three eyewitness accounts of between 2,000-3,000 demonstrators in Tehran alone, as well as reports of large-scale fighting between demonstrators and security forces in several major cities, from Isfahan and Tabriz to Qom, Mashad and Shiraz, all over the country. Similarly, the newspapers reported dozens of arrests, while it seems certain that roughly 2,000 were arrested in Tehran, with hundreds more locked up elsewhere. Regular police did not participate in the repression, and were rewarded by calls of "Thank you, police!" from the demonstrators. The bulk of the dirty work seems to have been done by the so-called "Afghan Arabs," brought in from Afghanistan and Iraq. As of Wednesday morning, I was still receiving reports of ongoing fighting in several cities.

It was the biggest organized demonstration, nationwide, since the revolution of 1979, and it is safe to say that foreign reporters failed to report its true dimensions because they were told they would be thrown out of the country if they did so.

Plus, there was no real coverage of the biggest breaking news of the weekend, which was the crystallization of the revolt into a truly national movement, and the continuing signs of widening fissures within the regime."

We need to help the people of Iran to get rid of the theocratic dictators that run Iran and to help them install a more democratic form of government of their own choosing.

This is one of those headlines that pretty much says it all. Iraqi regime hiding scientists.

Saddam Hussein will never comply. Mike Farrell and his fellow leftwing celebrities are idiots. The earth revolves around the sun. Some facts are beyond dispute.

Gretchen Peters in The New Republic is complaining that the US is ignoring and even insulting Mexico. Some of what she says is true, but she leaves out the sorest point of the Mexican-US relationship and that is illegal immigration. Mexico openly aids illegals in coming to this country. They openly flaunt our laws and for some reason consider it a right for Mexicans to come here at will. If the US were to clamp down on illegal immigration, not legal but illegal immigration, the Mexican president Vicente Fox would be outraged. If the US were to put soldiers on our borders to stop the massive influx of illegal immigrants from coming across that would be, in Mexico's opinion, outrageous. They will take anything from the US except our demand and resolution to stop illegal immigration. That's the real source of any ill will between the US and Mexico and Gretchen Peters doesn't mention it at all.

I trust The Economist and they have another piece on the Venezuela crisis with some interesting statistics:

"In September, unemployment reached 17%...During the nine months to the end of September, the economy shrank by 6.4%."

No wonder opponents want to get rid of Chavez.

The Venezuela crisis continues into the tenth day.

It seems like this can only go on for a few days longer before something major like a military coup happens. The people are running out of essentials and with a shortage of fuel the stores will not be able to replenish their shelves if trucks aren't making deliveries.

In case anyone is interested, here are the details of the events that led up to these strikes with a discussion of the prospects for Venezuela at the end of the piece. The piece, by Gregory Wilpert, seems to be well balanced with honest details of the events that brought on the current crisis. However, the piece was found at and a short review of the headlines at the site revealed a distinct pro-Chavez point of view. Just from reading the headlines it was very easy to tell which side of the issue is on. In short, beware.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Everything is nearly set for war against Iraq according to this report by The Christian Science Monitor.

Jay Nordlinger introduced his readers to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet several months ago. The man was tortured and imprisoned in Fidel Castro's Cuba for many years along with untold others who feel that democracy and human rights are worth suffering for. Now Biscet has been arrested again. Read the Impromptus column to get all the details.

What really pisses me off is where are all the fawning leftwingers now? Where's Barbara Walters? Why aren't the New York Times and the other leftwing newspapers covering this with the same outrage they cover the possible war with Iraq? Is it because Castro is one of their own and they understand that he must torture and imprison opponents to maintain the socialist ideal? How about those Democratic Senators and Representatives who visit Castro in Cuba and come back and tell us what a delightful host he is? Where's Jesse Ventura? Where's Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch? Where's the demand from European intellectuals that Castro abide by the standards of human rights and decency? Where's the UN? Where the fuck is Jimmy Carter!?

Collin May (via Instapundit) has written a piece on Canada's downward spiral as a coherent nation.

The articles on Canada's irrelevance as a nation and security partner are coming more frequently. It makes me wonder how much longer it will take before shame kicks in and Canadians decide to do something.

I WAS excited. I found out yesterday that I had won something in a raffle. Woohoo! Yea, that was my initial reaction, but when I called them this morning I found out that I had won a silver necklace. Whoop-tee-friggin-do. I don't mean to be ungrateful, but of all the things I could have won a silver chain has to be at the very bottom of the list of things that could have conceivably been any use to me. A silver chain. I might as well have won free makeup.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Did you see the season ending episode of The Sopranos last night?

"Initially thrilled by Tony's surprise, Carmela was quickly laid low by another surprise. An ill-timed phone call brought her fresh news of Tony's philandering. Soon his clothes and golf clubs were pitched in the driveway.

"You have made a fool of me for years ... You've had quite a time on my watch," she seethed as Tony tried to lie his way out of the jam.

Later, when the fight got uglier, Carmela took her best shot: She informed Tony of her abstinent romance with one of his soldiers, ponytailed Furio -- who, smitten in return, ducked this sticky situation last week by fleeing back to Italy.

Explaining the effect Furio had on her, even from glances exchanged when he dropped by the house to get Tony, Carmela said, "I felt probably like someone who was terminally ill, and somehow they manage to forget it for a minute."

In the finale, co-written by series creator David Chase, the clash between Tony and Carmela is as powerful as anything ever seen on The Sopranos, which is saying a lot. So is this: In her portrayal of a wife betrayed, enraged and despairing, Falco outdid herself. It was an electrifying performance."

Furio's a dead man. Way to go Carmela.

Jay Nordlinger often discusses language usage in his Impromptus column (it's really more interesting than it sounds) and he has come to the conclusion that "y'all" fulfills the English language need for a you-plural:

"A little (more) language: In a recent Impromptus, I discoursed on the usefulness of “y’all,” to satisfy English’s need for a you-plural. (We also have “youse” and, in my beloved Ohio Valley, “you-uns,” or “y’unz.”)

Many, many people — most from Texas, or the Confederate South — wrote me to say that “y’all” is singular: If you want plural, it’s “all y’all.” And the plural possessive is, “all y’all’s,” as in, “Is that all y’all’s new truck?”

Ah, English (especially American English): The greatest language ever formed, I feel."

California is facing a massive budget crisis.

I wonder what this will mean for the rest of the nation.

Trent Lott should resign as Majority Leader for these idiotic and unbelievable remarks:

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

I can't believe the man is so stupid. What's more, I would not be a bit surprised, nor would I blame them, if civil rights leaders raised hell about this. Actually, it surprises me that Jesse and Al haven't been all over the news about this.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

I am very impressed with the National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice. I have only read a couple of pieces about her and I hope to learn more, but right now the lady is very much a front runner to be the next Republican presidential candidate after Bush leaves office.

The Newsweek piece doesn't reveal much more that I have already read, but the piece does show that she is more interested in performance and ability to get the job done than she is in social engineering. If she does emerge as a presidential candidate, she will have to reveal much more about what she believes and only then can I decide if I can support her candidacy. I have great hope for her though.

To be fair, Bradsher's opinion of SUV's and their owners aren't shared by everyone. Tech Central Station (via Arts and Letters Daily) has a counterpoint view.

There is a low level debate going on in the US about the morality of driving sport utility vehicles (SUV). Some people like Bill O'Reilly of Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor argue that it's unpatriotic to be driving one of those behemoths because it only increases our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Others make the argument that those "Canyoneros" (in Simpsonese) are deadly to other drivers while environmentalists make the case that they aren't exactly environmentally friendly because they have get low miles per gallon.

Stephanie Mencimer reviews Keith Bradsher's new book High and Mighty: SUVs for The Washington Monthly Online. Mencimer says that Bradsher makes many of these same points and also does a sort of psychological profile of the average SUV owner:

"Have you ever wondered why sport utility vehicle drivers seem like such assholes? Surely it's no coincidence that Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, tours Washington in one of the biggest SUVs on the market, the Cadillac Escalade, or that Jesse Ventura loves the Lincoln Navigator. Well, according to New York Times reporter Keith Bradsher's new book, High and Mighty, the connection between the two isn't a coincidence. Unlike any other vehicle before it, the SUV is the car of choice for the nation's most self-centered people; and the bigger the SUV, the more of a jerk its driver is likely to be.

According to market research conducted by the country's leading automakers, Bradsher reports, SUV buyers tend to be "insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors and communities. They are more restless, more sybaritic, and less social than most Americans are. They tend to like fine restaurants a lot more than off-road driving, seldom go to church and have limited interest in doing volunteer work to help others."

He says, too, that SUV drivers generally don't care about anyone else's kids but their own, are very concerned with how other people see them rather than with what's practical, and they tend to want to control or have control over the people around them. David Bostwick, Chrysler's market research director, tells Bradsher, 'If you have a sport utility, you can have the smoked windows, put the children in the back and pretend you're still single.'"

Here's another quote from Mencimer's review. I have highlighted this passage because it's so shocking. Are SUV drivers really so unbelievably selfish and coldhearted?

To illustrate the kind of selfishness that marks some SUV drivers, Bradsher finds people who rave about how they've survived accidents with barely a scratch, yet neglected to mention that the people in the other car were all killed. (One such woman confesses rather chillingly to Bradsher that her first response after killing another driver was to go out and get an even bigger SUV.)

I'm sure that not all SUV drivers are like this, but I did notice that market research is the foundation for Bradsher's book. I am simply stunned. Maybe I am naive, but I had no idea.