Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Survival Optional

Thomas Sowell has a great piece over at National Review today.

A sample:
The great Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that law is not some “brooding omnipresence in the sky.” It is a set of explicit rules by which human beings structure their lives and their relationships with one another.

Those who choose to live outside those laws, whether terrorists or pirates, can be — and have been — shot on sight. Squeamishness is neither law nor morality. And moral exhibitionism is beneath contempt, when it sacrifices the safety of those who live within the law for the sake of self-satisfied preening, whether in editorial offices or in the White House.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How to Alienate Friends and Lose Influence, A Continuing Series

Well, the trend continues.

Now, our news Secretary of Homeland Security is doing the insulting, by angering the Canadians. To quote Secretary Napolitano,
"Nonetheless, to the extent that terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across a border, it's been across the Canadian border. There are real issues there."
Except for the tiny point that it isn't true.

I just need to make sure I understand all this correctly: so the Mexican border, with its escalating drug war, is not a concern.
The furor began when Napolitano was asked to clarify statements she had made about equal treatment for the Mexican and Canadian borders, despite the fact that a flood of illegal immigrants and a massive drug war are two serious issues on the southern border.
But those creepy syrup-chuggers across our northern frontier are.

Oh, and those evil right-wingers. (I bet they're in cahoots with the Canadians!)

With such august talent defending the nation, why don't I feel safer?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19, 1775

"Don’t fire unless fired upon. But if they want a war let it begin here."

--Captain John Parker, commander of the militiamen at Lexington, Massachusetts, on sighting British Troops (attributed), 19 April 1775

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled;
Here once the embattled farmers stood;
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps,
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream that seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We place with joy a votive stone,
That memory may their deeds redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

O Thou who made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free, --
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raised to them and Thee.

"Concord Hymn," Ralph Waldo Emerson

The British detachment, 700 strong, that marched up to the villages of Lexington and Concord were not expecting a fight. Their officers expected the show of force would quickly cow the colonials into giving up the cannon and ammunition that the militia had removed from their armory and hidden in the hills around Boston.

They were wrong.

On the Lexington village green, they arrived to find the local militia forming. The British troops fired into the assembling militia, causing them to disperse. The British then re-formed and marched on to the armory at Concord.

At Concord, the local militias of several villages were assembling. Warned by the nighttime rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes, they assembled on the north side of the Concord River, across a small bridge and north of Concord. Most of the supplies from the Concord armory were with them.

The British force marched into Concord and burned the armory, then moved to cross the bridge and continue their expedition. Then they discovered the assembled militias awaiting them. Thinking it at first a bluff, the British tried to send some men across, when someone fired. By the time the exchanges ceased, several men on both sides had fallen to musket balls, and the Revolution had begun in earnest.

Unable to cross the bridge without risking heavy losses, and suddenly aware they were in hostile territory, the British force withdrew the long twenty miles back to Boston. Trapped by the banked and stone-fenced roads, they were peppered every step of the way by Rebel snipers, losing two hundred of their men before reaching the safety of Boston.

Within days, Boston would be encircled. The American Revolution had begun.

Minuteman National Historical Park preserves much of the old original battlesite in Concord; and in Lexington the village green still remains, surrounded by much the same buildings as it was in 1775.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Love Will Not Change

Back to the bluegrass with the Del McCoury Band:

Are You an Extremist?

Are you a right-wing extremist?

According to the latest Department of Homeland Security advisory, apparently I am.

As the Washington Times reports:
The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

"It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration," the warning says.
So basically, they paint everyone whose less than happy about the outrageous spending and the various pronouncements from the White House for the last three months as a fanatic.

Way to reach across the aisle, guys.

The best part? Read the report for yourself - there isn't any actual evidence to back these claims up.

Ed Morissey at Hot Air has more; please give that a read.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to leave early. I'm running late for my militia meeting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Piracy and American Foreign Policy

Some interesting articles have come out in the wake of the successful rescue of the captain of the Maersk Alabama.

The first discusses the training and tactics of the snipers who took out three pirates in a heartbeat.

The second is a column by Ralph Peters, who advocates taking on the pirates and providing a reason not to practice piracy - namely, that a pirate stands a a good chance of getting killed. His column has the fantastic title, "The Audacity of Rope."

A third can be found by Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal: "Why Don't We Hang Pirates Anymore?"
It's a safe bet, dear reader, that the title of this column has caused you to either (a) roll your eyes and wonder, What century do you think we're living in? or (b) scratch your head and ask, Yes, why don't we? Wherever you come down, the question defines a fault line in the civilized world's view about the latest encroachment of barbarism.

Andy McCarthy at National Review has two excellent pieces, "Pirates Test the 'Rule of Law,'" written soon after the captain was taken captive, and "John Wayne to the Rescue" written after. Both are worth a read, but the first is the one I wish to quote:
“Civilized” is a much-misunderstood word, thanks to the “rule of law” crowd that is making our planet an increasingly dangerous place. Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil. It is not a historical inevitability. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, because evil doesn’t recede willingly before the wheels of progress.

There is nothing less civilized than rewarding evil and thus guaranteeing more of it. High-minded as it is commonly made to sound, it is not civilized to appease evil, to treat it with “dignity and respect,” to rationalize its root causes, to equivocate about whether evil really is evil, and, when all else fails, to ignore it — to purge the very mention of its name — in the vain hope that it will just go away. Evil doesn’t do nuance. It finds you, it tests you, and you either fight it or you’re part of the problem.

The men who founded our country and crafted our Constitution understood this. They understood that the “rule of law” was not a faux-civilized counterweight to the exhibition of might. Might, instead, is the firm underpinning of law and of our civilization. The Constitution explicitly recognized that the United States would have enemies; it provided Congress with the power to raise military forces that would fight them; it made the chief executive the commander-in-chief, concentrating in the presidency all the power the nation could muster to preserve itself by repelling evil. It did not regard evil as having a point of view, much less a right to counsel.

That’s not our position anymore. The scourge of piracy was virtually wiped out in 19th century because its practitioners were regarded as barbarians — enemies of the human race (hostis humani generis, as Bret Stephens recently reminded us in a brilliant Wall Street Journal essay). They derived no comfort from the rule of law, for it was not a mark of civilization to give them comfort. The same is true of unlawful enemy combatants, terrorists who scoffed at the customs of civilized warfare. To regard them as mere criminals, to assume the duty of trying to understand why they would brutalize innocents, to arm them with rights against civilized society, was not civilized.

We don’t see it that way anymore. Evil is now just another negotiation.

The last is by the ever-readable Mark Steyn - "Our Reprimitivized Future." It is rather somber.
So many distractions, aren’t there? Only a week ago, the North Korean missile test was an “annoying distraction” from Barack Obama’s call for a world without nuclear weapons and his pledge that America would lead the way in disarming... No doubt when the Iranians nuke Israel, that, too, will be an unwelcome distraction from the administration’s plans for federally subsidized daycare, just as Pearl Harbor was an annoying distraction from the New Deal, and the First World War was an annoying distraction from the Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s dinner plans.


Once upon a time we killed and captured pirates. Today, it’s all more complicated. The attorney general, Eric Holder, has declined to say whether the kidnappers of the American captain will be “brought to justice” by the U.S. “I’m not sure exactly what would happen next,” declares the chief law-enforcement official of the world’s superpower. But some things we can say for certain. Obviously, if the United States Navy hanged some eyepatched peglegged blackguard from the yardarm or made him walk the plank, pious senators would rise to denounce an America that no longer lived up to its highest ideals, and the network talking-heads would argue that Plankgate was recruiting more and more young men to the pirates’ cause, and judges would rule that pirates were entitled to the protections of the U.S. constitution and that their peglegs had to be replaced by high-tech prosthetic limbs at taxpayer expense.


When all the world’s a “distraction,” maybe you’re not the main event after all. Most wealthy nations lack the means to defend themselves. Those few that do, lack the will. Meanwhile, basket-case jurisdictions send out ever-bolder freelance marauders to prey on the civilized world with impunity. Don’t be surprised if “the civilized world” shrivels and retreats in the face of state-of-the-art reprimitivization. From piracy to nukes to the limp response of the hyperpower, this is not a “distraction” but a portent of the future.

Eneryone Should Pay Income Taxes

Everyone or no one.

You need to read this.

An excerpt:
Picture an upside-down pyramid with its narrow tip at the bottom and its base on top. The only way the pyramid can stand is by spinning fast enough or by having a wide enough tip so it won't fall down. The federal version of this spinning top is the tax code; the government collects its money almost entirely from the people at the narrow tip and then gives it to the people at the wider side. So long as the pyramid spins, the system can work. If it slows down enough, it falls.

It's also what's called redistribution of income, and it is getting out of hand.

A very small number of taxpayers -- the 10% of the country that makes more than $92,400 a year -- pay 72.4% of the nation's income taxes. They're the tip of the triangle that's supporting virtually everyone and everything. Their burden keeps getting heavier.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Navy 1, Pirates 0.

Nice shooting, Navy.

It's a good start to solving the problem.

The Washington Post has more.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The American Game

Ah, baseball season has begun - last Monday, in fact.

That said, is not too late for any baseball team to take me up on my offer. You see, my cheering on a particular team seems to have a damaging, even crippling effect on their performance.

So I will accept the highest bid to go cheer for your rival. Might as well get paid to watch my teams lose.

OK, OK. I might be kidding. But I'm watching you, Oakland. Blow it going into the playoffs again and I'm defecting to the Angels.

A new season has begun. May the best team win and your team lose. Play ball!

"A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request" by Steve Goodman

Friday, April 10, 2009


Continuing in our rock vein:

O.A.R., "Shattered."

Spread the Wealth

Seen at The Corner:

What's the Big Deal? [Jonah Goldberg]

All pirates are doing is spreading the wealth around.

Wanted: Ambassador to the Vatican

Have you seen these?

"Marriage: A Hill To Die On,"
by Robert Stacy McCain.

"Electricity Grid in the U.S. Penetrated by Spies."

Missile Defense Funding Cut - Immediately after North Korea tests a long range missile. No, I don't get it either.

The Furo Questus

Whomever is currently running the State Department should be fired.

A series of failures of protocol continues, as The Other McCain notes and as reported in the Washington Times:
The Vatican has quietly rejected at least three of President Obama's candidates to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See because they support abortion, and the White House might be running out of time to find an acceptable envoy before Mr. Obama travels to Rome in July, when he hopes to meet Pope Benedict XVI.

Italian journalist Massimo Franco, who broke the story about the White House attempts to find a suitable ambassador to the Vatican, said papal advisers told Mr. Obama's aides privately that the candidates failed to meet the Vatican's most basic qualification on the abortion issue.

Now, I realize that I lack the august education, elite background and haughty demeanor of my supposed betters. However, even I realize that sending a pro-abortion ambassador to the Pope would be a bad idea, roughly on the level of sending an IRA fundraiser to the Court of St. James's.

So why couldn't they?

A failure to perform well on simple matters such as this does not build one's faith in their ability to handle more complex matters.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Maersk Alabama Attacked Off Somalia

An American-flagged cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama, was attacked by pirates today. The American crew has apparently retaken control of the vessel.

Details are thin at this time.

More information here:
Information Dissemination

Monday, April 06, 2009

North Korea Launches Rocket

U.S. responds with raised eyebrow, sternly worded letter.

Well, not really, but we might as well.

What is our reply? Well, sometime this week the Defense Department will be announcing major cuts to the missile defense budget.

Apparently, there's no threat...

So I'm back to hoping for some change I can believe in, because this isn't it.

Suggested Link: 33 Minutes

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Rules of Negotiation

In light of the Obama's missteps in discussing missile defense with the Russians early last month - in which President Obama essentially offered to give up the European component of missile defense in exchange for "help" with Iran - Jules Crittenden came up with this advice:

1. Don’t trust Russians.

2. Don’t write when you can speak.

3. Don’t speak when you can nod.

4. Don’t nod when you can wink.

5. Don’t wink if you don’t have to.

6. Don’t trust Russians.

7. Don’t try to haggle in matters of vital national security.

8. Consider how far you can throw your Russian counterpart. Don’t trust him that far.

9. Never offer everything as your opening position. Also:
9.A. Don’t trust Russians.

9.B. Never offer anything that is worth more than whatever it is they don’t intend to give you anyway.

9.C. Don’t trust Russians.
10. And finally, don’t trust Russians.

It's good advice.

Friday, April 03, 2009

That's What You Get

North Korean Launch Imminent

The North Koreans have begun fueling their Taepodong-2 missile. That means that the launch will go forward. (The corrosive rocket fuels cannot be removed and have to be burned - which means the missile will be launched.)

I'm sure the Iranian missile team will be in eager attendance.

Japan continues its alert. As North Korean missile tests have in the past involved firing over the main island of Japan, the Japanese are understandably concerned about this, and are prepared to attempt to destroy the NK missile should it approach Japan. In reply, North Korea has threatened military retribution against Japan. Apparently, freedom of navigation includes the right to lob ballistic projectiles through your neighbor's airspace.

Meanwhile, President Obama is in Europe, and his administration appears to be unconcerned about the geopolitical or proliferation implications of a successful launch.

I have no doubt they believe their diplomacy will solve the problem.

I doubt it will. Although I am amused at how much their tone has changed since Obama took office.

So why worry? Two reasons.

First, the North Koreans' filed flight plan suggests that the North Koreans are developing the capability to reach American targets. Definitely Hawaii, and probably the West Coast. In the event of a second Korean War - a war that the United States would be both honor-bound and treaty-bound to participate in - the North Koreans would seek to threaten American naval bases and cities with nuclear weapons. At first it would be merely a threat, in order to sway ever-fickle public opinion and keep America out of a war; if that fails attacks on Guam, Pearl Harbor, Everett, and San Diego would cripple if not eliminate the American war effort on the West Coast.

The mere capability to visit such destruction on the United States would change how America would respond to a crisis in the region, reduce or eliminate Japan's ability to influence events (as it too would be staring down a nuclear threat), and possibly result in a second Korean war being lost before it has even begun.

Second, the presence of an Iranian missile team means the North Koreans are going to sell this technology as soon as they have anything someone is willing to buy. The Iranians are willing.

A Taepodong-2 based in Iran could hit targets in Israel, Russia, and Europe.

And the missile defense capability that could help counter both of these threat is being cut back or given up by the Obama administration.

So, I have reasons to worry. How about you?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Farewell Zimbabwe

Early last month, Jay Nordlinger commented on Zimbabwe:
I saw an AP headline reading, “Mugabe uses birthday bash to rebuke white farmers.” And I’m thinking, “There are still white farmers?” Then I read the beginning of the article:
With his nation’s economy in shambles, President Robert Mugabe threw himself a lavish 85th birthday party Saturday, using the opportunity to call on Zimbabwe’s last white farmers to leave.

“Land distribution will continue. It will not stop,” Mugabe said in Chinhoyi, 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Harare. “The few remaining white farmers should quickly vacate their farms as they have no place there.”
The sheer race-hatred expressed by Mugabe and other African leaders is one of the great undercommented-on phenomena of our time.
Today, Mr. Nordlinger related a letter he had received in response:
...Before leaving Africa, I’d like to publish this interesting and unusual reader letter:
My husband is one of the last remaining white farmers in Zimbabwe. Thank you for your column of March 6 [in which I mention the breathtaking race-hatred directed against these farmers, by their own government]. In 1999, Zimbabwe was projecting to have 6,000 tonnes of coffee for export. This year there were 400 tonnes, and my husband produced 110 of them. Out of over 600 coffee farmers in 1999, there are now only five left in the country.
It takes generations to build up a country; it can be destroyed in months. And often, as is the case of Zimbabwe, that destruction is aided and abetted by "the best of intentions."