Sean's Blog

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Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Washington Times on the Iraqi reconstruction:
William Taylor, the State Department's top reconstruction official in Baghdad, said disbursements have now reached $5.8 billion. "It's been an exciting couple of weeks since the election," said Mr. Taylor, a reference to the historic Jan. 30 balloting that elected a 275-seat national assembly.

"I won't say everything is improving, but clearly it seems we have in fact the ability to do a lot of work in multiple areas that we didn't necessarily have that opportunity before," said Charles Hess, the Pentagon's top reconstruction official in Baghdad. "My suspicion is that the insurgents will regroup and then try and figure out other ways to get at the heart of the infrastructure and get at the heart of the democratic process that the Iraqis are trying to institute."

Providing 24-hour electricity is still not possible, said Mr. Hess. He said two new generation plants in the town of Baiji will go on line soon. But obsolete plants have been shut down so workmen can replace parts.

Insurgents have blown up the oil pipe lines that feed some plants. They also attacked the work force in Baiji, killing one worker and kidnapping another.

"It's tough," Mr. Hess said. "But it is certainly high on our radar screen in terms of things that we need to get done. ... Clearly, the insurgents understand the value of the electricity infrastructure as being a high-value target for them in terms of making the lives of the Iraqi people miserable. ... I give a lot of credit to our colleagues in the contracting community who have withstood ambush, death of principal supervisors on site, kidnappings, and have still come back to help us get these plants online."

Brig. Gen. Thomas Bostick, who commands the Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq, said the giant turbine at the power-generating Hadithah dam had not received basic maintenance in nearly 20 years. "It's that sort of neglect that has gone on for many years here, that the Iraqi government is now playing catch-up with," he said.

Good economic news:
March 5, 2005 -- Signs of a job market recovery sent blue chip stocks jumping to their highest levels in nearly four years.
Economists said the Labor Department's latest employment data was so upbeat that it dispelled most of Wall Street's concerns about rising interest rates.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed yesterday just short of a high-water mark of 11,000, hitting 10,940.55 for a gain of 107.52, the blue chip index's best showing since June 2001....

The payroll report said 262,000 jobs were created in February, the best showing in four months. It was the fifth time in the last 12 months that new jobs broke the 250,000 mark.

Despite the new jobs, the overall unemployment rate rose to 5.4 percent in February from 5.2 percent in January. Analysts said the rise was due to formerly discouraged job seekers coming out into the open again to seek work. They had been taken off the jobless rolls earlier.
America's job engine is hitting on all cylinders.

Reid Stott gives a perfect example of the sort of reporting that the MSM has been doing on Iraq:
I don’t normally watch network TV news, but tonight I just happened to catch about two minutes of Peter Jennings on ABC. And it fully reinforced why I don’t bother with network TV news anymore.
I would like to cut and paste the whole thing, but instead I insist you go and read the whole thing.

It's a must read. This is what the media has been doing all along and the only people who realize it seem to be people who read blogs. The people who continue to watch Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, and who used to watch Tom Brokaw not to mention CNN are the people who were just convinced that Iraq was a complete loss and that we were involved in nothing short of a quagmire.

Now those same people seem to be shocked at the amazing turn of events in the Middle East. All I can say to those people is this: You deserve what you got from the MSM.

Kathleen Antrim in the San Francisco Examiner explains that Michael Moore has fallen out of favor among Hollywood elites perhaps because they blame his deceitful and dishonest movie, Farenheit 911, as a primary reason conservative voters were motivated to vote in record numbers.

Antrim also explains that one of Hollywood's own, Moore's former manager Douglas Urbanski, WHO FIRED MOORE IN A TEN PAGE LETTER, yes, the manager fired his client, describes Moore like this:
Why would Moore's former manager be so forthcoming in his criticism?

"Michael Moore makes a substantial living going into peoples' private lives. Sneaking up on them," Urbanski said. So Urbanski feels no compunction in talking about the only client he ever fired. In fact, he fired Moore with a 10-page letter.

"A more dishonest and demented person I have never met," Urbanski wrote me in an e-mail, "and I have known a few! And he is more money obsessed than any I have known, and that's saying a lot."

Urbanski believes that Moore hates America, hates capitalism and hates any normal concept of freedom and democracy. This seems odd, considering that if it weren't for America, freedom and capitalism Moore's brand of expression and capitalistic success would be impossible, if not illegal.

"Michael Moore could not withstand Michael Moore's scrutiny for more than 15 seconds," Urbanski said.

Has Hollywood figured out what Moore is really about? Was that why he was snubbed?

Urbanski has given some thought to Moore's methods. "Moore has an interesting racket. A Jesse Jackson-like shakedown. He figured out he could shake down his own type of thinker, his own constituency, for his own enrichment."
Wow. A manager fires his client. That should say a lot to anyone who still worships Michael Moore.

It's time for another entry in the, "You gotta be shittin' me" file:
The (British) Government has ruled that it is now illegal to shoot a crow, rook or pigeon for the pot without scaring it first. The legislation says shooters must attempt to frighten off the birds before pulling the trigger.

Only when the birds fail to respond can he or she shoot it for dinner. The same rule applies to farmers who have shooting days blasting woodpigeons and rooks to protect their crops or gamebirds.

At this time of the year thousands of people pull on their camouflages for a day’s rough shooting. They are now acting unlawfully. They too must first engage in frightening techniques to disperse the birds. Only if their antics are ignored can they shoot legally. Failure to comply can result in a fine of up to £5,000 or a maximum six months in prison.
Hahahahaha. Yes, they're serious. This is absurd.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I always love it when a contributing editor to a far leftwing magazine (The Nation) writes a piece detailing the reasons why Democrats keep losing elections:
Now, at the urging of the UC Berkeley cognitive linguist George Lakoff, liberal America's guru of the moment, progressive Democrats are practicing to get their own reluctant mouths around some magical new vocabulary, in the hope of surviving and eventually overcoming the age of Bush.
In his best-selling manual of progressive political advice, Don't Think of an Elephant!, Lakoff asserts that political consciousness, and therefore voter choice, is determined by deeply wired mental structures—"frames"—that reflect more-general views and values. "The frames," Lakoff writes, "are in the synapses of our brains, physically present in the form of neural circuitry." Notwithstanding this neuroscientific hooey, Lakoff suggests that reframing American politics according to liberal values—in essence rewiring our collective circuitry—is but a matter of simple wordplay. When conservatives invoke "strong defense," liberals, Lakoff says, must reframe the concept by referring to a "stronger America." Instead of "free markets," liberals should speak of "broad prosperity." Likewise, "smaller government" must be recast as "effective government," and "family values" as "mutual responsibility." Those greedy "trial lawyers" excoriated by the right should be reframed and praised as brave and selfless "public-protection attorneys." And perhaps most important, when conservatives start promoting more Bushian "tax relief," liberals should respond by defending taxes as "membership fees" or "investments" in America.
See, it's all a matter of semantics. And if that doesn't comfort you as to why Democrats keep losing elections then maybe you'll buy the old, "it's a conspiracy" explanation:
And while some of these people offered sensibly straightforward and practical advice for Democrats, others had definitely gone round the bend. Juliet Schor, of Boston College, apparently unaware that in America voting is supervised by county boards usually of a bipartisan nature, wrote darkly,
Republicans have steadily consolidated their control of the electoral process. Kerry got beaten in Ohio partly by a nefarious plan that denied Democratic precincts an adequate supply of voting machines. Nationwide, he lost votes to software breakdowns. How many is unknown at this point, as is the scope of e-fraud.
Unknown, but enough for Schor to suggest that this was how Kerry was beaten. Schor's conclusion—one more stolen election—is the key to her argument: "No amount of cultural repositioning will cure this problem." That is, no need for us to change. The blame is all external. (After nearly four decades on the political left, I can't remember a moment when liberals and fellow progressives have been so eager to offload their political woes on external forces.)
Cooper's piece is a fun read....for Republicans. Democrats will want to avoid what he has to say because it's not what they want to hear.

Another bastion of leftwing thought is coming to grips with the idea that maybe they were wrong on Iraq. The headline and subheadline say it all:
The war's silver lining
We need to face up to the fact that the Iraq invasion has intensified pressure for democracy in the Middle East
I appreciate what it means for this writer to say these things, but I still have to take him to task for something he says in the piece. Here's the quote:
First, we ought to admit that the dark cloud of the Iraq war may have carried a silver lining. We can still argue that the war was wrong-headed, illegal, deceitful and too costly of human lives - and that its most important gain, the removal of Saddam, could have been achieved by other means. But we should be big enough to concede that it could yet have at least one good outcome.
Yes, we can argue all those points, but I would still like someone on the left to tell me how "the removal of Saddam, could have been achieved by other means." Is the writer talking about sanctions that we didn't already have in place? More U.N. resolutions? What exactly are these "other means" by which we could have removed Saddam? Wishful thinking? Does he mean that if we all agreed to stop whatever we were doing at the same point in time that we could all focus our collective brain power and telepathically convince Saddam to give up power? What was the alternative plan to force Saddam to give up power? No one told me and I would really like to know.

Leftists had no plan for getting Saddam to give up power and if it had been up to them Saddam and his two sons would still be in charge of Iraq. That's the truth and everyone knows it.

Goody.

Conservatives have the United Nations in their crosshairs:
What seems to have turned the tide is the oil-for-food scandal. Though largely ignored by the mainstream media—despite appearing to be the largest accounting scam and outright theft in recorded history—oil-for-food has finally gotten conservatives to consider the UN as one of the most important issues, behind taxes, spending, and guns.

And now that oil-for-food has put the UN firmly in conservatives’ crosshairs, all its other transgressions have become fair game as well.

Discussed on the main stage were the UN’s aggressive pursuit of international criminal courts, the body’s efforts to rid the world of all handguns, the Law of the Sea treaty, its inability to distinguish morally between democracies and tyrannies, and of course, the oil-for-food scandal.

Particularly irking to CPAC attendees, though, was that the UN commits its abuses with the financial assistance of U.S. taxpayers, who pay for nearly one-fourth of the body’s bloated budget. Conservatives would love to shrink the UN’s massive bureaucracy, but for now, they’re just grateful to the man seen as responsible for hitting the UN head-on.
The U.N. is in desperate need of reform. Hopefully American conservatives will lead this cause in much the same way we led the cause of bringing democratic reform to the Mid East. As was true there, we shall not expect any support from leftists and American Democrats until we have actually achieved reform and re-created a working U.N. that does good things for the world. Until that happens we can expect loud denunciations and near hysterical editorials in opposition to reform at the world's den of crooks and scoundrels.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The New York Times notices in an editorial today that something remarkable is happening in the Middle East. What's most galling is this quote from the piece:
The Bush administration is entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these advances.
A healthy share? A healthy share? Are they serious?

President Bush's administration deserves almost all the credit with the exception of the contributions of our allies and since the New York Times called our actions unilateral then now it would only be fair if they gave singular credit to President Bush and President Bush alone. I mean, didn't they say we acted unilaterally in the Middle East when it suited them? Now that wonderful things are happening they want to say that President Bush only deserves a healthy share of the credit.

What a crock of shit.

Here's my letter to the New York Times:
Editors

I thought you people said President Bush acted unilaterally in Iraq? Now that wonderful things are happening in the Mideast region, you are only giving him "a healthy share of the credit" for the Mideast Climate Change?

Everyone knows that the only reason--THE ONLY REASON--a Mideast Climate Change is taking place is because of President Bush's leadership vis-a-vis Iraq. A healthy share of the credit? How about, "The lions share of the credit." The man will deserve the Nobel Peace prize when this all shakes out.

The New York Times will deserve a "healthy share of the blame" when it comes to remembering who fought most vigorously to maintain the status quo of Middle Eastern despotism.

Sean Roper

I see that Germany's unemployment rate is at 12.6%. That's more than double the American unemployment rate.

It's too bad for Gerhard Schroeder that he has already used anti-Americanism to win one election. I don't think the German people are going to fall for it again.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I wish Excite chat was still available. There were so many people in the political room who announced, quite confidently, that Iraq was a failure. One woman, whose chat name eludes me now, told me that she personally knew soldiers who were telling her that all was lost. I tried to argue with her and asked her if she'd ever heard of Arthur Chrenkoff or read any of his "Good News From Iraq" pieces in the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal. Her reply was that she believed what her friends were telling her and that she simply didn't believe what anyone else said. End of conversation.

Now that I look back on it I suspect that her "friends" were New York Times or CNN reporters. I wonder now what she thinks. I wish I could talk to her just one more time.

The media was wrong on Iraq and more than a few writers are beginning to say it out loud. Jack Kelly in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette (via Power Line):
The news media report the attacks, but tend not to report, as StrategyPage does, that "dozens, sometimes over a hundred, of the attackers, or suspects, are arrested every day."

Unbalanced reporting has given Americans a false impression of how the war is going, said Austin Bay, a retired colonel in the Army Reserve who was called to active duty in Iraq last year.

"Collect relatively isolated events in a chronological list and presto: the impression of uninterrupted, widespread violence destroying Iraq," said Bay, who is also a syndicated columnist. "But that was a false impression. Every day coalition forces were moving thousands of 18-wheelers from Kuwait and Turkey into Iraq, and if the insurgents were lucky, they blew up one. However, flash the flames of that one diesel rig on CNN and 'Oh my God, America can't stop these guys' is the impression left in Boston, Boise and Beijing."

It will be some months before the news media recognize it, and a few months more before they acknowledge it, but the war in Iraq is all but won. The situation is roughly analogous to the battle of Iwo Jima, which took place 60 years ago this month. It took 35 days before the island was declared secure, but the outcome was clear after day five, with the capture of Mt. Suribachi.

Proof of this was provided by Sen. Hillary Clinton. Iraq is functioning quite well, she said in a press conference in Baghdad Feb. 19. The recent rash of suicide attacks is a sign the insurgency is failing, she said.
The people I read were saying a year ago that things weren't nearly as bad as they were being portrayed. I said then that Democrats where going to be upset and depressed when Iraq emerged because our MSM had assured them that it was a complete and utter disaster.

Leftists worldwide trusted the media and they delighted in believing that George W. Bush and the neocons were wrong. They embraced every American death as proof of the futility of our actions and they reveled in the seeming mayhem. The loved it all and they believed the media when they were told solemnly how badly things were going. It seemed like the happy days would go on forever. Too bad the Iraqi people disappointed them.

These quotes from Michael Chrichton are what the average person needs to understand about global warming and the people whose very careers are dependent on the idea:
Crichton, author of bestsellers such as Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain, which have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, has obvious popular appeal. But he is also a Harvard-trained medical doctor and he backs up the science in his book with a 21-page bibliography, a five-page appendix titled "Why politicised science is dangerous" and an "Author's Message" in which he states his position.

"Nobody knows how much of the present warming trend might be a natural phenomenon. Nobody knows how much of the present warming trend might be man-made. Nobody knows how much warming will occur in the next century," he writes.

"Scientists know that continued funding depends on delivering results the funders desire. As a result environmental organisation 'studies' are every bit as biased and suspect as industry 'studies'. No faction should be given a free pass."
Those quotes are from an article by Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald. Further in the piece we see how anyone who disagrees with the conventional wisdom is treated:
Danish statistician and former Greenpeace member Bjorn Lomborg copped a similar beating from the environmental establishment and its enablers in the media when he questioned the benefits of the Kyoto protocol in his bestseller The Skeptical Environmentalist. Lomborg concluded Kyoto would do little to reduce global warming, but would cost the global economy as much as $274 trillion by 2100.

What's more, he said the cost of one year's compliance with Kyoto "could give clean drinking water and sanitation to every human being on Earth".

The response was to liken him to a Holocaust denier and drag his reputation through the mud. The author of a book on climate change threw a cream pie in his face at a book-signing at Oxford.

Other dissenters have met similar fates. When Dr Fred Seitz, the past president of the US National Academy of Sciences, organised a petition opposing the Kyoto Protocol, he had 20,000 signatories - 17,000 with scientific degrees, including physicists, geo-physicists, climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers and environmental scientists. But for simply stating there was no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases was causing catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of climate, they were dubbed "The Carbon Club, foot soldiers for the fossil-fuel industries".
To me environmentalists and the other world non-governmental organizations are merely the same people who lead the United Nations. I simply don't know whether they can be trusted. And everytime I read about yet another United Nations outrage I become even more cynical towards those who are cast as our moral leaders and arbiters.

I can see a pattern here. It appears that I'm somewhat obsessed with Europe and it's being on the wrong side of history. I am. I am more than a little satisfied that events in the Middle East are turning against the conventional wisdom of Old Europe and it's intellectual pace setters.

European thought is most vividly seen in the United Nations and each time that organization is exposed for it's corruption, nonsense, and irrelevance the more I am certain that whatever they believe, the opposite must be correct.

That could change. They could reform and begin again as the world's moral authority, but it's current incarnation is nothing more than a disgusting band of corrupt diplomats who seem to be most interested in maintaining their comfy, well-paid, well-traveled, and to them, well-respected positions.

Until the United Nations reforms itself we will continue to see stories like this Reuters piece (via Tim Blair) that says the U.N. is worried that the peacekeepers in all 16 of it's peacekeeping missions may have sytematically sexually abused women and girls in the areas they were supposed to be protecting.

This has been going on in the Congo, Burundi, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Haiti, and the Balkans. Everywhere U.N. peacekeepers go, or it appears now this is the case, women and girls are sexually abused. This has been going on for years and years.

The only thing more I'm going to say is that this is outrageous and if the United States were guilty of these crimes the world left would be raising hell.

United Nations corruption and crimes are ten times worse than anything that ever occurred at Abu Ghraib and yet we don't hear anything like the outrage that was expressed then.

And people wonder why the right says there is media bias.

No thanks to world leftists and American Democrats, the Arab Wall continues to crumble:
In a surprise and dramatic reversal, President Hosni Mubarak took a first significant step yesterday toward democratic reform, ordering the constitution changed to allow presidential challengers on the ballot this fall.
An open election has long been a demand of the opposition but was repeatedly rejected by the ruling party, with Mubarak only last month dismissing calls for reform as "futile."

The sudden shift in Egypt, the world's most populous Arab country and a key U.S. ally, signaled that it was ready to participate in the democratic evolution in the Mideast. It comes after historic elections in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.