Monday, October 31, 2005

TenNapel Is On A Tear

Several good posts related to the NYT's editing of a soldier's letter home in order to take out the part where he states he actually likes serving his country in Iraq. He also fisks some hatemail he received as a result of the original post. Also this reflection on the majority having rights, too.

excerpt from first post:

The problem is that the bold above was edited out by the Times. It actually contains some emotional, logical, inspiring reasons why a man might go die for his country. But the TImes doesn't actually want you to know why soldiers die on foriegn soil. Their job is not to inform, it's to pursuade you that this war is wrong. They know better than you. You are stupid and they live in New York.

It's best said in this Letter to the editor:

I know it just kills you guys to think that overwhelmingly our soldiers actually, consciously support the war, are perfectly aware of the dangers they face, and are as perfectly prepared to face them. I know it comforts all the Timesmen and women to think that soldiers are just sad, pathetic, barely literate dupes (when they aren’t being babykillers and Koran flushers), but in fact the soldiers view their lives as imbued with transcendent meaning, apparently something no Times reporter can claim. Maybe it’s just envy on the part of all your reporters that these American teenagers in uniform make history every day of their lives, while you all just continue to transparently twist the news and to accumulate contempt from the American people, which is now compounding at a daily rate.

The spin put out by our media against this war is overwhelming. If the American people were ever allowed an informed opinion on the war, we would probably have 75% support instead of 37%. Thank you'd screw the entire nation of Iraq if it meant hurting the Bush administration. Your pony-tail is so old...and never really accomplished anything but filling the rubber-band your father's hard work paid for.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Coupla Good Evolution Essays

Here and here. Quite nicely written, not very excerptable.

Hallelujah! Now Let's Get Down To Some Serious Kicking-Liberal-Asses Business!

I'll let John Hawkins, who, IMHO has been the best read the last few weeks regarding Miers say it. It's a good post and rounds up some of his previous writings on the topic. Come on, George, lets go for it, and have a no-holds-barred complete-with-fisticuffs battle for the court out in the open, out in broad daylight where it belongs! Playing nice guy has gotten you precisely nowhere!

Also, I find this strangely tempting...

Sowell On Rosa Parks

Thomas Sowell has some very interesting observations about the incentives that led to segregated public transit in the South.


Far from existing from time immemorial, as many have assumed, racially segregated seating in public transportation began in the South in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Those who see government as the solution to social problems may be surprised to learn that it was government which created this problem. Many, if not most, municipal transit systems were privately owned in the 19th century and the private owners of these systems had no incentive to segregate the races.

These owners may have been racists themselves but they were in business to make a profit -- and you don't make a profit by alienating a lot of your customers. There was not enough market demand for Jim Crow seating on municipal transit to bring it about.

It was politics that segregated the races because the incentives of the political process are different from the incentives of the economic process. Both blacks and whites spent money to ride the buses but, after the disenfranchisement of black voters in the late 19th and early 20th century, only whites counted in the political process.


The incentives of the economic system and the incentives of the political system were not only different, they clashed. Private owners of streetcar, bus, and railroad companies in the South lobbied against the Jim Crow laws while these laws were being written, challenged them in the courts after the laws were passed, and then dragged their feet in enforcing those laws after they were upheld by the courts.

These tactics delayed the enforcement of Jim Crow seating laws for years in some places. Then company employees began to be arrested for not enforcing such laws and at least one president of a streetcar company was threatened with jail if he didn't comply.

None of this resistance was based on a desire for civil rights for blacks. It was based on a fear of losing money if racial segregation caused black customers to use public transportation less often than they would have in the absence of this affront.


People who decry the fact that businesses are in business "just to make money" seldom understand the implications of what they are saying. You make money by doing what other people want, not what you want.

Black people's money was just as good as white people's money, even though that was not the case when it came to votes.

Initially, segregation meant that whites could not sit in the black section of a bus any more than blacks could sit in the white section. But whites who were forced to stand when there were still empty seats in the black section objected. That's when the rule was imposed that blacks had to give up their seats to whites.

Legal sophistries by judges "interpreted" the 14th Amendment's requirement of equal treatment out of existence. Judicial activism can go in any direction.

That's when Rosa Parks came in, after more than half a century of political chicanery and judicial fraud.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hannity Traps A Democrat

Tells him he's reading quotes from Bush re:WMD's, Democrat says in essence that Bush lied, Hannity reveals that quotes are really from Kerry, Democrat says that Kerry "made a mistake", and Hannity says, "Oh, he made a mistake and Bush is a liar". Details here.

A Complete Nightmare

What the hell was Bush thinking? You need to read about what Miers has had to say about abortion, self determination and legislating morality here. And this is all from a mere 12 years ago. Nightmare.

GOP, if you don't fix this, I owe you zero allegiance. It's over.

John Hawkins demolishes 21 common pro-Miers arguments here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Principle For Examining The Intelligent Design Controversy

Regarding the refusal of Darwinists to simply address the Intelligent Design arguments as given in the primary Intelligent Design works (by Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Johnson, et al) rather than resorting to non sequitors and caricatures in order to shut down the debate, some damned creationist just had this to say:

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. The rational position for him would be suspension of judgment, and unless he contents himself with that, he is either led by authority, or adopts, like the generality of the world, the side to which he feels most inclination. Nor is it enough that he should hear the arguments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. This is not the way to do justice to the arguments, or bring them into real contact with his own mind. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them. He must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form; he must feel the whole force of the difficulty which the true view of the subject has to encounter and dispose of, else he will never really possess himself of the portion of truth which meets and removes that difficulty. ... So essential is this discipline to a real understanding of moral and human subjects, that if opponents of all important truths do not exist, it is indispensable to imagine them and supply them with the strongest arguments which the most skilful devil's advocate can conjure up.

That John Stuart Mill, what the hell does he know about science? He's just part of a Trojan horse strategy to impose theocracy!

Here's where I saw the quote.

It's Nobody's Fault

Several decades ago, Clarence Darrow managed to get a 'not guilty' verdict for his clients who had been caught red-handed in committing a crime. He argues that they really had no free will (due to our "modern" understanding of deterministic physics), so they could not be blamed (sounds like the beginning of the modern leftist judicial philosophy). Well, I know what I would have said if I'd been on that jury. I just happen to have stumbled across a nice and succinct expression of the principle here:

Murderer: Judge, since there is no such thing as free will, I cannot be faulted for my actions, and (banging table with fist) demand I be released.

Judge: You make a persuasive argument, so you'll understand why my sentencing you to 20 years is not my fault either. (Banging desk with gavel) Case closed.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Well Said

Comments from the same post referenced here:

btw. they also claim that evolution has been tested in the lab and the support is there for it. did i miss the tests that transformed one life form into another different form? as i mentioned…theyve done yrs of study with mutations and not ONCE have they changed anything into anything else. fruit flies with extra wings…e coli that are slightly bigger. but still fruit flies and still e coli.

sorry, that claim of lab testing is a false one.

Comment by jboze3131 — October 23, 2005 @ 8:30 pm


… but still fruit flies.

Fruit flies evolved over millions of years, in a complex environment, with large populations. Those kinds of experiments can’t be performed in a lab.

However, at the scale that can be reproduced in a lab, many interesting evolutionary changes have been observed.

Perhaps not satisfying to you, but that is the nature of this kind of science. It has a historical nature in the way physics doesn’t. That’s just the way it is. How you going to prove that JFK was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald ? You can’t repeat that experiment either.

Comment by tautologydna — October 23, 2005 @ 11:46 pm


You sell short what can be accomplished in a lab. Mutation rates in the laboratory can be accelerated by any desired order of magnitude. Mutated organisms don’t have to compete in order to have their genes fixed in the population.

You’re trying to obfuscate failed predictions with inability to carry out the experiment. The experiments didn’t acheive the expected results. Get used to it. NeoDarwinian evolution is the most thoroughly tested and failed theory in the history of science.

Comment by DaveScot — October 24, 2005 @ 3:24 am

taut seems to be saying that lab tests cannot show macroevolutionary change…that must mean macroevolution isnt truly science? all too many scientists claim that testability is required of all empirical science and that means ID isnt science. tho, design inference can surely be tested, so thats a fallacy from the start.

the point is- if you can speed up mutation rates via complex equipment in the hands of intelligent agents (scientists), and do it for yrs and yrs and still not get any speciation, then how on earth is it possible that its going to happen without an intelligent agent guiding it in nature? no matter how long of a period were talking about.

fruit flies surely didnt take millions of yrs to change into something else. that doesnt make sense, because we have millions of species in a few billion yrs. that means, every few thousand yrs, we should see some clear changes among life forms. theyve done nothing special with fruit flies. fruit flies that are damaged and dying…fruit flies that are slightly larger, fruit flies with wings in the wrong places, fruit flies with eyes in the wrong places. even intelligent agents (scientists) in complex lab experiments cant make any truly meaningful changes and thats after theyve drastically sped up mutation rates. even worse with e coli since the generations are even shorter, thus many more generations have been produced…but still- only e coli are left in the end.

if intelligent agents cant break the barrier with sped up mutation rates that often times equal the same time span ur talking about…and theyre indeed using large populations- how can we, with a straight face, posit that fruit flies somehow changed into some new life form merely via NS and RM? if neodarwinian evolution were true- the prediction from these tests over many decades would be the arrival of new body forms…even small body form changes. something other than what they started out with, yet they can only get more fruit flies, more e coli and nothing else. if mutation rates have been sped up, as they have, with these tests…can we not confirm that the predictions have failed? which means the predictions have been falsified, which makes it not so much a science at all?

the problem is, scientists in general wont do that- theyll continually claim- we need more time. we need different conditions to break the barrier of new body forms, new features, new novel info. additions. then, in a thousands yrs, theyll continue to claim they STILL havent had enough time. is there no limit to how many failed predictions a theory can make before its tossed aside? darwin was wrong on too many points to even count, yet we still call it neodarwinism. why? if large portions of his theory (maybe nearly all if it) were wrong, why do scientists even invoke his name? dogma, thats why. anyone, no matter how little science background they have, can see that this is a dogmatic fervor that is present in this camp, and theyll do anything to hold onto their views no matter how much evidence is mounted against it.

to me, its become a farce. in everyday life, we see that randomness acting on ANY mechanism will not produce anything of value, nor will it create anything new, nor will it create something from something else. all of these types of actions require intelligent input- ALWAYS. yet, we continue to proclaim a trillion happy accidents. can anyone name any other field of study (just one) where a trillion accidents have done anything at all? let alone anything of immense value?

Comment by jboze3131 — October 24, 2005 @ 8:47 am

What's Good For The Goose

Now this is good. A comment to this post:

When someone points out that only evolutionary biologists are qualified to make judgements about evolution I like to counter with “only engineers are qualifed to make judgements about design”.

Hey, Darwinist Peanut Gallery, I'm an engineer! You guys are totally unqualified to tell me whether or not design is detectable. If you do, you are way outside your area of expertise, and I fail to see why your mystical ideas about the accidental origin of irreducibly complex nanosystems should carry the slightest weight with me. To put it simply, you have no idea what you are talking about! This becomes more and more apparent to me as I see the real ID arguments being sidestepped and ignored in favor of the usual "ID is a theocratic Trojan Horse" claptrap being proferred by those who seem to lack any real scientific counterarguments.

Well guys, continue to ignore and ridicule the arguments that are dismantling your metaphysical system. More and more people are seeing the ID arguments (and not just their misrepresentations) for themselves. They look at your weak non-sequitors offered as a response and wonder whether you even have a real case. You are like the British command in Singapore, with their big guns pointed toward the ocean to repel a seaborne invasion while the Japanese are in actuality pouring across the causeway on the landward side of the city. I enjoy a good argument, but you guys simply refuse to join the real battle. Why?

See also this.

But The Strawberry Shortcake Rocks!

Lileks goes to the mall while in that fighting-a-cold Toon Town bizarro mode we all sometimes get to experience. Nobody writes like Lileks when he's on. On Zicam, that is.

If Being Against Miers Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right

Hawkins has a good roundup post full of recent Miers nomination quotes.

I liked this sentence by Hawkins:

Also, may I add that if being against the Harriet Miers nomination means being, "against the president," then I am against the President.

Yup. See also Hawkins' post about the mythology of Noam Chomsky's fantasy world.

Choose Wisely, And Remember: Not To Choose Is To Choose

From today's Magnificat readings:

Sirach 15:14-17

When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice.

If you choose you can keep the commandments; it is loyalty to do his will.

There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.

Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him.

And also this:

If then a man without religion (supposing it possible) were admitted into heaven, doubtless he would sustain a great disappointment. Before, indeed, he fancied that he could be happy there; but when he arrived there, he would find no discourse but that which he had shunned on earth, no pursuits but those he had disliked or despised, nothing which bound him to aught else in the universe, and made him feel at home, nothing which he could enter into and rest upon. He would perceive himself to be an isolated being, cut away by Supreme Power from those objects which were still entwined around his heart. Nay, he would be in the presence of that Supreme Power, whom he never on earth could bring himself steadily to think upon, and whom now he regarded only as the destroyer of all that was precious and dear to him. Ah! he could not bear the face of the Living God; the Holy God would be no object of joy to him. "Let us alone! What have we to do with thee?" is the sole thought and desire of unclean souls, even while they acknowledge His majesty. None but the holy can look upon the Holy One; without holiness no man can endure to see the Lord.

When, then, we think to take part in the joys of heaven without holiness, we are as inconsiderate as if we supposed we could take an interest in the worship of Christians here below without possessing it in our measure. A careless, a sensual, an unbelieving mind, a mind destitute of the love and fear of God, with narrow views and earthly aims, a low standard of duty, and a benighted conscience, a mind contented with itself, and unresigned to God's will, would feel as little pleasure, at the last day, at the words, "Enter into the joy of thy Lord," as it does now at the words, "Let us pray." Nay, much less, because, while we are in a church, we may turn our thoughts to other subjects, and contrive to forget that God is looking on us; but that will not be possible in heaven.

Venerable John Henry Newman
Parochial and Plain Sermons, Volume 1

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Terminating Undesirables

Seems to be a new principle at stake among the enlightened. Pretty good opinion piece by the mother of a Down's syndrome child who reflects that such children are becoming pretty rare. Not because we've found a cure for Down's syndrome, but because more and more we execute such children before they can see the light of day.

Here are some responses to her piece, many of which are along the lines of "how DARE you tell me who I can execute!"

A Behavioral Law, Nicely Stated

By Bill Quick:

The story is supposedly about high morale, so whose interviews does it feature? Troops just hoping for a safe return home soon, and people "just here for the job."

Here's the truth: People who are doing good, brave, soul-satisfying work up close and personal, where they see the results every day, generally have extremely high morale. People doing soul-deadening, dishonest, cowardly work from a distance, like the propagandists who make up the liberal bigstream media (and slant articles like this one), generally have awful morale, and hate those whose morale, with good reason, is much higher.

Good On You, Joan!

Can we talk?!? Joan Rivers tells a sensitive liberal race-baiter to STFU (not in so many words) during a BBC radio interview. TenNapel has the link.

the gist:

Howe went on to talk about his Channel 4 documentary Son of Mine, detailing his relationship with his 20 year-old son, Amiri, and whether it was racism or his faults as a father that were to blame for the difficulties his child had been through.

Rivers, 72, broke in, saying: "I'm so, so bored of race. I think people should inter-marry. Everybody should be part this, part that and part everything. Race doesn't mean a damn thing. Everybody should just relax, take the best of their cultures and move forward."

Purves suggested that was a "very American approach" but Howe disagreed, saying: "That's not an American approach. America is one of the most savagely racial places in the world."

And then he later suggested: "Since black offends Joan…"

This drove Rivers into a complete tizzy. "Wait!" she cried. "Just stop right now. Black does not offend me. How dare you? How dare you say that? 'Black offends me!' You know nothing about me. How dare you."

Their exchanges culminated with Rivers shrieking: "Don't you dare call me a racist. I'm sorry. How dare you."

As a somewhat harassed Purves tried to calm the situation, Rivers said to Howe: "Now please continue, but don't you dare call me that. Son of a bitch."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Bitchin' Optical Illusion


He Just Ain't That Smart, But, Yes, The Kool-Aid Really Is Kind Of Delicious

A corner posting:

GENIUS! [Jonah Goldberg]

It may be a sign of something that I get more and more email on this theme:

I can’t believe everybody is missing the real story here. Bush doesn’t want Harriett Miers on the Supreme Court – he wants McConnell or Luttig. But he knew that, after Roberts, he couldn’t just send up another white guy, especially for O’Connor’s seat. So he sends up an obviously unqualified woman, knowing that she’ll generate intense opposition from both sides. And here’s where the subtlety kicks in – because her lack of qualifications are so apparent, he knows that the attack against her will be something like, “This is THE SUPREME COURT we’re talking about!!! Quality is what matters! Look at Roberts, he could recite from memory every constitutional case since Marbury v. Madison, and has probably written law review articles about the friggin’ THIRD amendment. How can we settle for anyone less?” So after Miers is forced to withdraw or voted down, Bush comes back with McConnell or Luttig, and says, “OK, you convinced me. I tried the quota thing, but you said it was too important. So I’ve decided just to go with the most qualified person out there.” And for good measure, he might throw in something like, “I’d like to thank my good buddies Chuck Schumer and Pat Leahy for pointing out my error. I couldn’t have done it without you fellas.”

Geez, the man is brilliant.

Posted at 10:23 AM

Also this, which I think is blindingly obvious, at least to those who aren't George W. Bush:

RE: WHAT IF? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'm not sure there is actually a large contingent of people who really think Miers is the bee's knees as far as a SCOTUS pick. There are people who know her and think she's a cool person and good lawyer and support her, partly out of personal loyalty. There are people who trust the president. There are people who are just resigned. But a lot of people recognize that this doesn't seem to be a brilliant pick--and you can think she's a good person and good lawyer and generally trust the president and still recognize that.

If she withdraws and the president nominates a Luttig type, the Dems will be so rabid and the Right will be so rallied, I don't know that there's any significant long-term damage on the Right.

Posted at 10:45 AM

Yes, it would constitute one of the more radically successful turnarounds in political history. One would have to be smart to see that, however.

Rally For A Turnaround Now, Or Lose The War, Senatorial Castrati

Good advice from National Review re:Miers.

Leaving The Left

Pretty good symposium over at FrontPageMag. I've excerpted just a sample of the wealth of conversation to be found there.


Tammy Bruce: I joined NOW in my 20s because it seemed the right thing to do. I was attracted to the idea of women working together to improve women’s lives. At that time, around 1983-1984, I was a “paper” member. Interestingly, I wasn’t very interested at all in activism or politics at that point in my life.

The early and mid 80s were also the beginning of the abortion wars. While, thankfully, I’ve never had to make that decision, even as an “apolitical” woman, I’ve always felt strongly about abortion rights, simply within the framework of being able to live our lives on our own terms. The tipping point for me was on that issue—I remember the moment of my conversion like it was yesterday. I was sitting in my West Hollywood apartment in 1988 and watching CNN (that tells you how long ago it really was!) and watched their coverage of Operation Rescue blocking women’s health care centers in New York. I sat up from the couch and determined at that point that writing checks would no longer be enough and vowed to become personally active. In the event that group of bullies were to ever come to Los Angeles, I pledged I would be there.

They did, I was, and one year later I became the president of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW. For me, this initial plunge had less to do with politics than it did with my own self-interest. But then again, narcissism is what the Left counts on.

FP: Thank you Ms. Bruce, can you kindly expand on what you mean that the Left counts of narcissism?

Bruce: Narcissism, while frequently thought of as “self-love,” is in fact the opposite. It is self-obsession based on victimhood and paranoia. Narcissism is actually the belief that everything that happens, happens because of you, or revolves around you. As an example, feminist narcissists see the pro-life movement as being against women, or as a jihad against women, as opposed to an expression of those peoples’ concern for life. The issues for narcissists, whether they be feminist, gay or black, is always about them, surrounding them, or about how the opposition is out to get them. Paranoia is a key factor in narcissism and easy to exploit.

The Left’s organizing relies on selling the line that everyone who disagrees with the leftist status quo is a hater of some sort; those who disagree with leftist policy are not dealt with as serious people who have a different opinion on the issues. That would then require arguments based on reason. Instead, leftist leadership casts their opposition as haters who live every moment planning to eradicate the gay, woman or black. When your base is primarily narcissistic that’s an easy line to sell, remains emotional devoid of reason, and makes people easy to condition and control. Leftist politics, like a vicious circle, rely on the damaged as footsoldiers, while the most damaged, the “Malignant Narcissist,” as I explain in The Death of Right and Wrong, move into positions of power and leadership, furthering the cultural and political destruction of our culture and of the left in general.

FP: Thank you Ms. Bruce, this is fascinating.

I have always noticed when talking to leftists that they create fantasy victims in the world and then carry themselves with great indignation about their supposed concern for these victims -- on the assumption that these mythical victims actually have something directly to do with themselves. I have always sensed some kind of profound emotional and psychological illness here. But one thing is for sure: no amount of facts that challenge the leftist’s viewpoint will shake him, since his priority always has more to do with his perception of his self-image and identity than with the actual reality at hand.

During my doctorate in history, I spent year after year arguing with many of my colleagues about the Cold War. They insisted the U.S. was the bad guy in it. I was the heretic for thinking Stalinism had something to do with it. In any case, when the Soviet archives were opened and many of the disclosures proved, beyond reasonable doubt, myriad of the things I had argued, I approached my colleagues with the evidence. They shrugged their shoulders, rolled their eyes, and made smug and demeaning comments about how “Glazov was involved in necrophilia and chasing old ghosts.” And these were historians! And they went on as proud as ever, convinced as ever of their cause, and simply just moving on to new agendas and battles.

Hopefully our panel will give some insight into this leftist charade. It is also interesting that Ms. Bruce refers to gays, women and blacks as being the central life-force of the Left’s agenda. Today, in our Terror War, our enemy is comprised of the most fascistic gay-hating, women-hating and minority-hating despots. Yet the Left has reached out in solidarity to this enemy and refuses to mouth one word of criticism about the persecution of groups that are supposedly sacred to its mission.

I hope that the panelists can comment on some of these themes.


FP: Michael Lopez-Calderon, your dark night of the soul?

Lopez-Calderon: My doubts began to emerge about a decade ago when I was challenged by teaching colleagues who were themselves freed from the left’s university-based cloistered environment. They had been working in the real world for decades and thus uncontaminated by the latest trends in “scholarship.” My colleagues often asked one simple question: What are the left’s solutions? Real world, real time, pragmatic solutions, not fantasies about the “inevitable” Utopian triumph. I began to realize that all of the works of Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Edward Said, a then more Leftist Christopher Hitchens, the writers at The Nation, and most of my professors were heavily skewed toward criticism but incredibly light on solutions.

John R. Bradley’s statement “that the Left never offers any kind of practical solution to the world's problems” bears an uncanny resemblance to what I had written nearly four years ago about my earliest doubts of the left: “However, there was one troubling, recurring weakness about the Left that kept reappearing like termites, eating away at my wooden edifice of arguments and premises: The Left offered no solutions. … We hammered and chipped away at America, but unlike Jean-Antoine Houdon, we created detritus instead of magnificent sculptures.” The left has a tendency to embrace failed causes, losers, and the envious. As part of the latter, it reserves a special place of loathing for those that succeed in the corporate world and the market place. That's why Ward Churchill’s "Little Eichmanns" statement was met with indifference in some leftist circles and celebrated in others.

Also what I saw happening to those of us on the left was the growth of an unexpected elitist hostility to ordinary folk. Many of my leftist friends and a few colleagues adopted the position that the masses were not only deceived, but had also played a willing role in their deception. Here we were, the harbingers of an ideology that purported to stand with the ordinary folk, and yet we despised practically everything they embraced, e.g. family, faith, consumerism, money-making, patriotism, and so forth. We did not live in a world where most lived, ensconced as we were in universities. Near the end of my university years, I began to notice this strange contradiction of “loving humanity but hating people.” I’ve realized since that it was part of the stock-in-trade of the unrealistic vision of the left, and blaming the failure of that vision not on the flawed assumption of the ideology but rather on the ingratitude of the “great unwashed” that we sought to liberate.

FP: Ah yes, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s portrait in The Brother’s Karamazov of the socialist revolutionary who loves humanity from a distance but despises human people up close.


FP: Ms. Bruce, your dark night of the soul?

Bruce: Unfortunately for me, it was several events. I say unfortunately, because there were quite a few situations I chose to ignore because the price of dissenting—loss of friends, banishment—was too high. Not that I was the Golden Girl of NOW. I was a constant thorn in the side of national leadership, but still I belonged. I have always looked for family, and I felt I had found it. What I was willing to ignore to be accepted still astounds me.

One of the earlier instances was in 1991, when Bill Clinton was running for president and I was one year into my presidency at Los Angeles NOW. Clinton, of course, had asked for and rightly expected the support of the feminist establishment. I supported him then and voted for him. I believed he was the best man on our issues and was excited with the potential.

I walked into a meeting of national feminist leaders where the endorsement of Clinton was being discussed. Instead of how quickly they could endorse the man, the discussion centered around whether or not they should do so. Why? Because the election of Democrat would negatively affect their fundraising. You see, they had so associated the feminist movement with the Democratic Party, they felt the election of Clinton would send a message that there had been actual success, and so feared donations would dry up if he were to be elected.

The cynicism of this, and the willingness to sell women short for money, was my first “click,” that something was wrong.

The second episode came courtesy of my feminist mentor, Toni Carabillo. For the life of me I don’t recall the details of the issue we were discussing, but I knew I was upset that the feminist establishment wasn’t doing enough to solve a problem. Toni then shared with me a fundamental leftist maxim—every now and then you must rub salt into the wound.

If we had too much success on the issues, she explained, then we might not be here in the future, and yet we would always be needed. So, in the long run, while it seems harsh, she told me, it really is better for women overall.

In other words, we were helping destroy the village so we would be here in the future to save it. Or more likely, only save it a little bit. The cycle would never end, with success never quite reached, always within our grasp, with the Great Oppressor never quite vanquished, but weakened. Always perpetually needed, because of constant, unending victimhood, yet laced with enough success to make it seem like actual success was just around the corner. Always possible, yet never manifest.

I especially relate to Phyllis Chesler’s note that she “also still believe[s] that trying to help others, to repair the injustice in the world, is an ethical choice.” It is indeed the reason why I entered the Left, and remains at the heart of my politics and activism. Ironically, it is also why I left the left. It does come down to ethics, the deeply personal variety, where commitment to the issues eclipses our desire to please people or to belong. For women I think this is especially challenging, but then again, being free to become ourselves as women is the whole point of feminism, isn’t it?

FP: Thank you, Ms. Bruce. Can you add a little bit about the fallout when you left the Left? You had feared that you would lose your family and community. Did you? Give us a little portrait, an anecdote or two, to illuminate what happened when you informed your leftist comrades and leftist feminists that you were about to commit the greatest sin of all: leaving the political faith.

Bruce: I have to admit in many ways I envy Keith’s note that he didn’t lose any friends during his transition. I certainly did, but my “transition” was never really apparent. Perhaps it’s not our politics that have changed at all—it’s what we’re willing to put up with. It’s finally refusing to continue to go down the wrong road, knowing it leads us away from the truth of our convictions as Classical Liberals.

The most basic realization that I had been banished was the fact that my phone stopped ringing, and my calls were not taken. Activists I had worked with who were completely invested in the establishment of course were out of my life. But then, I didn’t want them in it. The most surprising thing to me, however, was the fact that reporters I had dealt with for years on the issues and with whom I thought I had a good relationship, actually stopped taking my calls or returning messages.

I also think Keith must have made better choices than I did when it came to so-called friends. There are a lot of damaged people in the feminist establishment, with leadership being the most severely troubled. It didn’t matter to me, however. I ignored the malignant narcissism, anger, betrayals, threats, and manipulation. Some people would be surprised at the “Feminist Violence” directed by so-called feminists at other women. Phyllis’s book “Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman” is a must read on this chilling reality.

While there were obvious examples that I was being shunned after I resigned from Los Angeles NOW, probably the most shocking event I experienced occurred while I was still president, and precipitated my resignation. At a press conference called to specifically condemn me by then-NOW president Patricia Ireland, I was called a racist by Ireland because I had ignored the “racial” issues involved with the OJ Simpson murder trial. She actually used the term “racially insensitive” perhaps either to avoid a lawsuit or at least as a bow to my hard-won credentials. Either way, Ireland had decided to eat one of her own, in public, because I did not bow down to the race-baiting of Johnny Cochran and dared to be a feminist first.

After “The New Thought Police” was published, invitations to fund raising events and other get-togethers also stopped. But then new ones began to arrive—I was finding that while I was indeed alone politically, there was, shall I say, an informal group of the Politically Alone. David Horowitz was the first person to reach out to me. I’ll always remember his call to me—it felt like I was on an island and there was David, rowing out to me in a little boat, waving and shouting “Hi!”


FP: I have always been intrigued by the Left’s inability to “look back” in general and how leftists never see themselves as culpable in the earthly incarnations that their own ideals spawn. For instance, anyone who promoted the ideologies that gave life to, let’s say, the former apartheid regime in South Africa, the Nazi regime, the KKK or the former institution of slavery in America, then that person is demonized in our culture and is seen as a guilty person with blood on his hands. And fair enough, that is a legitimate perspective, for that person does have blood on his hands.

But if you shared and promoted socialist ideals, and still do, for some reason it is considered inappropriate to suggest that you are complicit in the crimes that were, and are, carried out in their name. Why?

Try to imagine, for instance, a group of anti-Semites in the 1930s, holding Nazi convictions, who stood by and promoted the road toward Auschwitz, Dachau and Treblinka. We would agree that they were complicit in the spilling of human blood, yes?

And yet, to have promoted socialist ideals and to have promoted class hatred throughout the 20th century, for some reason, excuses one from complicity in the monstrosity that such ideals spawned in their experiments on the human race.

So, for the record, I guess I will just say something that is completely taboo in our culture where the Left controls the boundaries of permitted discourse: if you were a leftist during the Cold War, and you promoted and espoused socialist ideals, which means you championed class hatred, and you made excuses for Soviet barbarity and you argued or implied a moral equivalency between the U.S. and the Soviet Empire, then your hands are soaked, to one degree or another, in the human blood of the millions of victims that communism butchered throughout the 20th century.

You cannot protest the Vietnam War and then, after the communists win and a bloodbath ensues, and the North Vietnamese concede that the anti-war movement helped their victory, just pretend that you are not culpable and complicit in the crimes you helped perpetrate.


Ladies and gentlemen, as former members of the Left, you obviously know some things about the Left that many others may not completely understand. In our terror war today, the Left is in league with the Islamist enemy. Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Tom Hayden, George Galloway and many of their ilk are championing the terrorists and cheering for their victory. I remember after 9/11 in my own community, leftists I personally know were gleaming with euphoric inspiration. I hadn’t seen them so happy in years. It was one of the creepiest things I had ever witnessed.

The Left is supposed to be for women’s rights, for minority rights, for gay rights and for all democratic rights. And yet, today, the members of the political faith are vehemently cheering on the most gay-hating, women-hating, minority-hating and democracy-hating force on the face of the earth. They are in league with a repulsive and sadistic and fascist death-cult.

This is nothing new, of course, for Leftists’ support of communism throughout the 20th century, of mass murderers like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro and Mengistu was all part of the same tradition.

But what gives here in general? Can you give us a psychological analysis of why, let us say, a leftist feminist would support an ideology that enforces a vicious form of gender apartheid? What motivates these people in general to venerate ideologies and regimes where they themselves would be extinguished within 30 seconds of contact?


Bradley: Jamie, I think -- to return to your question of the "unholy alliance" between the Left and Islamist terrorism -- that it is mainly a case of my enemy's enemy is my friend. When the Berlin Wall came down and the Communist threat disappeared, the Islamist threat filled the vacuum. Those on the Left who saw the imminent triumph of free-market capitalism, and were initially filled with dread, welcomed the rise of the Islamists because they seemed to check American power by challenging American hegemony and norms.

On the personal level, I think it is a combination of ignorance and wilful self-delusion. Perhaps I can best illustrate this by way of example. I met a female British journalist in Cairo recently who is a notorious Leftist in sympathy with the Iraqi insurgents who, as you suggest, would only keep her alive for more than 30 seconds if it was to torture her before a final beheading. She is forever pointing out the supposed pitfalls of those on the Right who criticise Arab culture. And yes, she is in favor of gay and women's rights, something those she lives among of course are not.

But it didn't take me long to see how she reconciles these apparent contradictions: She just doesn't ever mix with the locals! In fact, I can tell you that she privately had nothing but contempt for Egyptians and Egyptian culture. Her whole stance was just a pose. She was exploiting the issues raised by America's role in the Middle East to promote an anti-American agenda. She was dealing with symbols and not reality. And when reality had to be confronted -- as in the outrageous arrest, torture and imprisonment of gays in Cairo, or the obvious violations of women's rights in Saudi Arabia -- she would say something about how these cultures are "different", that we have to respect other people's cultures -- cultures she actually hated so much that she couldn't bear to immerse herself in them even though they were on the doorstep.


Lopez-Calderon: On the matter of the Unholy Alliance between elements of the radical Left and Wahhabi-inspired radical Islam, I would remind people that there also exists an unofficial tacit alliance between the White Supremacists, neo-Nazis, and isolationists on one hand and the radical Islamists on the other. Dr. Chesler spoke of belief in “Paradise Now” and Keith Thompson said that the “capacity for self-delusion is an existential factor of human nature per se, rather than a specific characteristic of the Left or even a defining quality of ideology as such,” while John R. Bradley referred to the alliance as one of “a case of my enemy's enemy is my friend.” All three of these observations come closer to the reality of the American Left than suggestions of outright nefarious plans for treason.

The American Left has a faith in the overall goodness of humanity, and that belief system of theirs does not wish to be disturbed by the ugly truth that evil exists. So they misplace their anger by engaging in elaborate conspiracy theories about corporate power and Chomsky’s favorite anti-MSM charge, “webs of deceit.” The vast majority of American Leftists are misguided; however, they are neither stupid nor suicidal. Their naivety is dangerous in that it can undermine a national consensus to steel our resolve for the long war ahead against radical Islam. But the majority of American Leftists most likely would drop their anti-American pretensions in the aftermath of a catastrophic terror attack that makes 9/11 look like child’s play. They would come around as did the America First isolationists of over three generations ago.

What is different today from the isolationists of December 7, 1941 is that September 11 did not serve as a catalytic event for domestic critics of U.S. power the way Pearl Harbor did. I have always feared that 9/11 was not enough and have wondered if it would take a more devastating blow finally to awaken a sizeable number of “soft” and muddleheaded, wind-chiming Americans. I fear the answer is 9/11 was not enough. But make no mistake, if there is a massive Al-Qaeda WMD attack or a series of smaller but deadly attacks that bring war, death, and destruction to our soil, the percentage of American Leftists now thought be a “threat” would shrink to a tiny, rabid few aged communists, youthful halfwits, and a pitiful number of professorial clowns like Ward Churchill.

So in essence, the real threat posed by the American Left is one of demoralizing the military, confusing and misleading the public; undermining long-term and admittedly difficult foreign policy goals; and thus making us more vulnerable to attack. However, should those attacks occur in frequency and grow in scale you will witness a majority of the American Left finally making a stand to defend home and hearth. They’re naïve, we strongly disagree with their political positions, but they’re not suicidal-inclined traitors. They’ll realize the Islamists are equal opportunity murderers that make no distinctions between right and left.

FP: I’m afraid that I ascribe much more malicious and destructive intent to the Left and its vision than some of our guests here today.

I find it incredible that after a whole century of leftists supporting and venerating one mass murderer after another, one genocidal killing machine after another, that somehow, when the new killing machine is born, and the Left ecstatically jumps to wholeheartedly support its vicious path, we are somehow supposed to believe that, once again, most leftists are somehow acting out of some kind of good-hearted and naïve wish for a better world.

You witness Stalin kill millions, you witness Mao kill millions, you witness Pol and Mengistu and Castro and North Vietnam engage in mass murder. You witness 100 million human corpses sacrificed on the altar of utopian ideals. And yet, when you jump to support the next totality that is operating on the same principles that engendered the mass murder you just witnessed, you are somehow not entertaining any kind of malicious agenda; you are just naïve and misguided.

And now, a new totality emerges as the top enemy to freedom in the world, this time Islamism, and you know full well that it operates on the same totalitarian impulses that motivated the mass killers you supported throughout the 20th century. And it is massacring innocent human beings right before your eyes. And somehow, again, your support of this ideology and the terrorists who act in its name only involves some kind of naïve and misguided agenda.

Please. Isn’t this becoming a little tired?

I have a clue: when you support ideas that lead to mass murder, and then you witness that mass murder, and then you support new regimes founded on the same ideas that spawn more mass murder. And then you witness this mass murder. And then you support new regimes that are based on the same values and ideals as the last killing machine, and you witness more mass murder. And then a new ideology arises that begins to perpetrate the same acts for the same ideals and you support it. And this process goes on over and over again. The clue: it just may be that your motives have something to do with the end results of the earthly incarnations you champion.

Why this is so difficult to accept in our culture I have no idea. If it was racial hatred, it is a given. When it is class hatred, every and any excuse is used to exonerate what resides in the heart of the Left.


Bruce: I am particularly struck by John’s comment that the Left is simply ignorant and self-deluded. This ‘they do not know what they do’ argument is dangerous, as it lessens the seriousness of the Left and leads to underestimating the agenda, and length to which they are willing to go to achieve their ends.

But even more shocking was Michael’s comment that the American Left “has a faith in the overall goodness of humanity, and that belief system of theirs does not wish to be disturbed by the ugly truth that evil exists.”

So what does give? I can tell you in all of my years in national leftist leadership, working with the feminist, gay and the black elite, I never met an idealist. No one I knew had ‘faith in the goodness of humanity.’ On the contrary—their foundational belief was that humanity was evil; there was a little Hitler in everyone which needed to be controlled. It was their self-hatred (their admissions of racism, sexism and homophobia) which cleansed them, they felt, allowing them to see more clearly the evil in everyone else.

The apparent contradiction of the Left only exists if you actually believe what they say publicly. The Left has always presented an idealistic line, based on co-opting the issues of the underclass. They do this, of course, because no one will rally around a message based in a condemnation of humanity. So instead, it’s a message based in hatred for everyone who is not like the people listening.

Within the feminist elite, contempt for activists, other leaders, other women, the average person, was rife. The reality is Leftists truly do despise themselves and therefore despise humanity. Support for ideas and regimes which destroy humanity is ultimately a natural fit for those whose guilt is based in their very existence. The contempt and loathing within the establishment fuels in-fighting and organizational failure, and even corruption. Outside, it fuels an agenda which allows “feminists” to support predators like Bill Clinton, Communists and even Islamists.

I met more people than I care to remember on the Left (and this is pre-September 11th) who so loath this nation, they do wish her harm. If any of this had anything to do with reality, of course a normal person would see the savagery of Islamism, and the depravity of Communism. But the Left is not based in reality, it is a collection of people who are simply so damaged and so malignantly narcissistic and so self-destructive, they want to take everyone with them.

Assigning ignorance to these people is the last thing we should do. And self-deluded? Possibly, but not within the framework of the choices they make, and the end goal. Why they’re making those choices is what escapes them. I’ve heard before the argument that the Left means well, and that they truly believe in a utopia where all living creatures will live in peace. The biggest success of the Left has been their ability to con virtually everyone into thinking they actually have everyone’s best interests at heart, that they mean well.

And why do they hate America the most? Specifically because, despite our many imperfections, we do serve as an example of the goodness and decency of humanity. Our existence proves that happiness, hope and decency can and do exist. For a leftist, the values of this nation, and the nature of her people, is a constant reminder by counterpoint of what they are not—happy, industrious, hopeful, and truly free. For the leftist and Islamist, hatred of this nation, and humanity is personal. It’s that simple.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sheer Intolerant Hatred Of The Other

In brilliant and forthright display by one of the left's great thinkers, Mark Morford. Unbelievable. It's all detailed here. You'll want to read Morford's whole column, linked in the piece. It's even crazier and more vicious than the excerpts. But it does distill down a "respectable" worldview that is pretty prevalent in some quarters.

Here's another good fisking of Morford's Mein Kampf-style rant.

What Voting Never Gave Us

Coulter's latest:

The sickness of what liberals have done to America is that so many citizens – even conservative citizens – seem to believe the job of a Supreme Court justice entails nothing more than "voting" on public-policy issues. The White House considers it relevant to tell us Miers' religious beliefs, her hobbies, her hopes and dreams. She's a good bowler! A stickler for detail! Great dancer! Makes her own clothes!

That's nice for her, but what we're really in the market for is a constitutional scholar who can forcefully say, "No – that's not my job."

We've been waiting 30 years to end the lunacy of nine demigods on the Supreme Court deciding every burning social issue of the day for us, loyal subjects in a judicial theocracy. We don't want someone who will decide those issues for us – but decide them "our" way. If we did, a White House bureaucrat with good horse sense might be just the ticket.

Admittedly, there isn't much that's more important than ending the abortion holocaust in America. (Abortionist casualties: 7; Unborn casualties 30 million.) But there is one thing. That is democracy.

Democracy sometimes leads to silly laws such as the one that prohibited married couples from buying contraception in Connecticut. But allowing Americans to vote has never led to creches being torn down across America. It's never led to prayer being purged from every public school in the nation. It's never led to gay marriage. It's never led to returning slaves who had escaped to free states to their slavemasters. And it's never led to 30 million dead babies.

We've gone from a representative democracy to a monarchy, and the most appalling thing is – even conservatives just hope like the dickens the next king is a good one.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

We Have Separation Of Church And State In This Country. Therefore There Can Be No Scientific Evidence That Life Was Designed!

Seems to be the gist of a lot of pro-Darwinism arguments lately. I wish these guys would seriously address the actual arguments of the ID'ists, but they won't. I guess they can't. Anyway, here is a very reasonable explanation of just what ID is all about, from one of the scientist founders of the movement, Michael Behe. Judge for yourself if he is an irrational creationist and con artist...the type of reasoning he is using in his presentation is pretty much par for the course in the engineering profession, in which the goal is to create actually functioning products, and not just to tell each other nice-sounding stories to prop up our metaphysical assumptions.

See also this.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Give That Man A Cigar

A Massachussetts Democrat laments the ongoing cost of his party's failure to do anything serious about their disgraced impeached President when they had the chance.


Those of us moderate Democrats who fret over the current state of the party might well take a moment and look back in time to lament what might have been, had the party heavyweights possessed the moral fiber to make a few hard decisions when it mattered most.

Where might the party be now if, after President Clinton’s speech of August 17, 1998 in which he admitted that he had been lying for well over 8 months regarding his inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky, someone actually acted in the party’s best interest?

What if someone with some Democratic Party stature said:

“Hey wait a minute Bill! This admission of yours comes after you addressed the nation on January 22 and denied the relationship, and then on January 23 you assured your cabinet of your innocence. Don’t you think you might have compromised everyone around you Bill? Do you think perhaps the party is at risk now unless you do something chivalrous - like fall on your sword? Now it gets a little stickier because we find that Bill has even less morals than we thought and prefers hubris as a character trait.” When the press finally had the decency to ask Clinton if he would resign, says Bill on February 6, 1998 “I would never walk away from the people of this country and the trust they placed in me.”

What should have happened is that a good Democrat should have convened a smoke-filled room meeting of other good Democrats and said this:

“The guy is damaged goods, who is bringing the party down, and we need to jettison him now before he can do us any more damage.” Of course that wasn’t done and the scandal was allowed to go the full route to the ultimate impeachment and trial of the President of the United States. Mrs. Clinton referred to it as a vast right wing conspiracy, but we all know the number of convictions, fines, pardons or disbarments that came during the administration. In the end it was a matter of law enforcement not conspiring, but doing its job. Clinton served out his term, but the smell of his presidency lingered.

Much is being said now about the coalition of conservatives and evangelical Christians who banded together to support George Bush and defeat both Vice President Al Gore and Senator John Kerry in the last two elections. However, given the razor thin margin or lack of margin that George Bush defeated Al Gore by in the 2000, many groups can claim credit. It is just as true that a disaffected group of moderate Democrats and Independents banded together to give the Democrats a nice hard slap in the face by crossing over to the Republicans.

That slap was not limited to the presidential race, since the Republicans have benefited substantially from gains in the Senate, House, gubernatorial mansions and state legislatures through out the country. That slap came as punishment for Clinton exposing the country to four years of discussions of oral sex, groping in the oval office, sexual harassment suits and perjury.

One can only speculate what might have been, had Clinton been forced to resign by his own party.


One could say that it doesn’t matter because it is all water over the dam. That is not the case, however, if Hillary Clinton becomes the 2008 nominee. The very man who should have been forced from power in disgrace by his own party will likely attempt to return to the scene to do even more damage to the Democratic faithful. Hillary may have solid numbers in the core of the part leadership, but on the fringes and with the independents, it will be a stampede to get away from her as fast as possible.


One can only speculate how long it may be before the party recovers from [its] mistake.

A mistake compounded, it seems to me, by the broad-daylight attempted judicial theft of an election as well as a treasonous lack of support for America when the chips are down. Other than that, as well as antipathy for the weak and defenseless (unborn babies, the disabled, and the not-yet-euthanized elderly) and insane yearnings for a socialist paradise, the Democrats are A-OK in my book.

Life Is Beautiful

Probably the single most memorable course in junior high school was 7th grade biology, where we spent a lot of time looking at algae and other tiny stuff using some really nice optical microscopes. These two pages of beautiful pictures bring back memories!

George W. Soprano

Quite an interesting article examining the dynastic dynamics of families like the Bushes, as well as the trouble these can cause.


You cannot understand George W. Bush without an understanding of his family, and dynastic families in general. Indeed, it might be said that Bush’s familial approach to politics has been his greatest strength and greatest weakness — his Achilles heel. Like Bonaparte, the same dynastic habits that brought him to power may bring him down again. They don't teach a course in patronage and nepotism at Harvard Business School — but they should. Instead they pretend that it doesn't exist. That does us all a disservice.

Dynastic families are not like yours and mine (unless your name is Bush or Kennedy). They are self-conscious, multigenerational enterprises displaying strong collective discipline and an innate, untutored grasp of certain perennial modes and orders that advance the family’s interest. All the great dynastic families in history have used these methods, though in our post-dynastic age they are most visibly preserved by the mafia. Indeed, those who compare the Bushes to the Corleone family are not far off the mark. Through a tangled web of marriage, adoption, instrumental friendship, and godparenthood, the typical mafia don creates a series of concentric rings around his family that extends his power deep into the countryside. Likewise, the Bushes have created an enormous social network based on their family. Like other large successful clans they prefer their own company and that of their relatives, friends, and retainers. Such families typically have their own compounds where they gather apart from the rest of society, and when someone useful swims into their view they adopt him as part of the family. This was the way the Bushes dealt with Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, whom they christened "Bandar Bush."

In short, dynastic families are nothing but socially sanctioned mafias based on nepotism and various forms of patronage. Now that we have a dynastic family in office, it is inevitable that this will be exposed to public view. Still, it is more than a little ironic for Bush's opponents on both Left and Right to be crying foul as though cronyism is not a permanent feature of the American political landscape. As Rick Brookhiser points out, cronyism has a long history in American politics. And as Jonah Goldberg noted in his qualified defense of cronyism, it is the soul of all political machines.


[several interesting examples from history]


In all such cases, merit, and patronage were deeply intertwined, since (as I argue in my book on the subject) the informal and unwritten "rules of nepotism" require that patronage be bestowed with discretion on those who will not bring discredit on the patron. The same applies today in modern bureaucratic settings, though considerably modified by the meritocratic values of our technocratic age.

Which brings us to the Bushes. People have been trying to figure out what kind of bubble the Bushes live in for a long time. But it is not the cocoon of wealth that insulates them from reality and explains their frequent missteps and tone-deaf remarks, but that of family itself. The problem for W is that the ethic of friendship and loyalty that the Bushes cultivate and that brought him to power is threatening now to bring him down. He has made the common dynastic mistake of confusing loyalty and merit; in his eyes, the merit of people like Michael Brown and Harriet Miers consists in their being his friends. They are loyal to him, and their loyalty must be rewarded. Thus in Bush, the very loyalty that was a private virtue has become a public vice. His greatest failing is his inability to hold people accountable for their errors. Because they are his creatures, he seems unable to disown them or even to see their faults. This is an inexcusable failing in a democratic leader. As the Machiavellian FDR would be the first to acknowledge, aristocratic virtues have no place in the modern executive. For while Americans do love a prince, they want nothing to do with a king.

The Camel's Back

Bruce Bartlett sums up the growing conservative disenchantment with Bush.


The White House appears to have been truly blindsided by the vehemently negative response from conservative intellectuals to the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. In truth, this is a revolt that has been long in the making. The surprising thing is that it has taken such a long time for it to come out into the open.

The truth that is now dawning on many movement conservatives is that George W. Bush is not one of them and never has been. They were allies for a long time, to be sure, and conservatives used Bush just as he used them. But it now appears that they are headed for divorce. And as with all divorces, the ultimate cause was not the final incident, but the buildup of grievances over a long period that one day could no longer be overlooked, contained or smoothed over.

From the conservative point of view, the list of grievances is a long one, dating back to the first days of the Bush administration.

[litany of grievances listed]

I could go on, but the point is that George W. Bush has never demonstrated any interest in shrinking the size of government. And on many occasions, he has increased government significantly. Yet if there is anything that defines conservatism in America, it is hostility to government expansion. The idea of big government conservatism, a term often used to describe Bush's philosophy, is a contradiction in terms.

Conservative intellectuals have known this for a long time, but looked the other way for various reasons. Some thought the war on terror trumped every other issue. If a few billion dollars had to be wasted to buy the votes needed to win the war, then so be it, many conservatives have argued. Others say that Bush never ran as a conservative in the first place, so there is no betrayal here, only a failure by conservatives to see what he has been all along.

Of course, this doesn't say much for the conservative movement. At best, conservatives were naive about Bush. At worst, they sold out much of what they claim to believe in.

The Miers nomination has led to some long-overdue soul-searching among conservative intellectuals. For many, the hope of finally turning around the judiciary was worth putting up with all the big government stuff. Thus, Bush's pick of a patently unqualified crony for a critical position on the Supreme Court was the final straw.

Had George W. Bush demonstrated more fealty to conservative principles over the last five years, he might have gotten a pass on Miers. But coming on top of all the big government initiatives he has supported, few in the conservative movement are inclined to give him the benefit of a doubt any longer.

Friday, October 14, 2005

And You Thought The Goths Were Dark

Lileks has started a weekly podcast. The first one is pretty good. He examines a piece of classical music...

Where Things Stand For '06

According to Hawkins:

[T]he White House and Congress have been resting on their laurels for a year. They've paid little attention to issues the American people have been screaming about -- like deficit spending & illegal immigration -- and George Bush has allowed the Democrats to use him as a human punching bag since the election while refusing to fight back. Meanwhile, Bush's biggest policy issue, Social Security reform, went absolutely nowhere. Then there was Katrina. The media blew things way out of proportion, but nevertheless, considerable political damage was done.

This is where we were BEFORE the Harriet Miers nomination.

You think the last two weeks of political knife fighting have been bad? Well, the actual Senate vote on her confirmation probably isn't going to be until sometime around Thanksgiving, which means we have about 5 1/2 weeks of this intra-party brawling to go unless there is a withdrawal of the nomination.

Assuming there is no withdrawl, then it gets really fun for the Senators involved. Imagine you're poor Mike DeWine, who is expected to have a tough fight for reelection next year. DeWine was pummeled by the base for signing on to the "Gang of 14" compromise and this nomination could have been an opportunity for him to redeem himself. Imagine a Janice Rogers Brown or Karen Williams being sent to the Senate and DeWine loudly telling the press that he would vote for the nuclear option if the Democrats tried to filibuster. That would have shored up his credibility on judges and helped him get back in the good graces of the conservatives who are angry at the Republican members of the "Gang of 14."

Now, because Miers is the nominee, DeWine will be put in a position where he'll have part of the base telling him, "Either you show your loyalty to the President by voting for Miers or we won't support you next year," and another chunk of the base telling him, "If you want our support next year, you'll vote against that under qualified crony!" DeWine and the other Republicans up for reelection next year are going to get to see what, "damned if you do and damned if you don't," really means if and when it comes time to vote on Harriet Miers.

Bush will have it even worse if he manages to shove Miers through in the Senate. If Miers ends up on the Supreme Court, this isn't going to be a passing storm for him, it's going to permanently damage him with part of his base. That doesn't mean you're going to see Charles Krauthammer, Peggy Noonan, and National Review ripping Bush day in and day out like the Daily Kos, but Bush will pay a terrible price all the same. Not only will a lot of unhappy conservatives be much more willing to criticize Bush when he deviates from the conservative line, they'll also be much less willing to go to the mat to defend him. It'll be like a football game where the offensive lineman suddenly become very ambivalent about whether the quarterback is sacked -- except worse. In a football game, at least you can put in other offensive lineman. In politics, you only have one base, and if they're anxiously counting the days until you're out of office, you're in deep trouble. In Bush's case, he may not have to run for office again, but spending 3 years with an approval rating "Miered" in the forties because half his base thinks he stuck a shiv into their back on the domestic issue they care the most about will likely prove to be rather unpleasant.

Right now, the base is down, demoralized, disappointed and things are likely to get much worse before they get better. President Bush and the rest of the GOP in Washington had better take notice of that and start doing something about it -- and fast. There is still time to turn things around for 2006, but it's going to require doing more than aimlessly stumbling and bumbling forward, hoping things will work out for the best. The GOP's poll numbers aren't in the toilet today because everything's ducky, they're low for a reason, and it's well past time that the Republican leadership started pushing popular programs, appeasing the base, and tearing the hide off of the Democrats to get those numbers up.

The Lighter Side Of Conservative Gotterdammerungs

Jonah Goldberg adds some levity to the Miers mix.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sorry, But These Published Words Of Miers Are Just Frightening

In terms of shear vapidity, and vacuity. Look, the real question is: at this crucial juncture, can we afford a nominee who merely, hopefully, might work out? Sure, no one can predict the future, but that's a reason to go for someone who at least looks like they absolutely, positively, will work out. Isn't it?

An Excellent Book Review

I'm still waiting to see some sort of cogent counter-argument from Darwinists regarding ID. Here's a cool book review of one of their attempts. Well worth reading, in order to get a feel for the ad-hominem nature of most anti-ID arguments, as well as the reasonableness of the ID advocates at the Discovery Institute.

Oh, and Darwinist Peanut Gallery, I'm not calling the DI people reasonable because they are on "my side", I am on "their side" because I consider them reasonable. I wasn't always an anti-Darwinist. Okay? Ten years ago, I was with you, ridiculing "creationists" and theists. M'kay? Reasonable arguments changed my mind. Your unreasonable, beside-the-point arguments are failing to change it back.

Lileks On The Video iPod

Good tech-geek column. The part about the Kool-Aid cracked me up.

Good Comment

To this Ace of Spades post. The post is short, and says:

Repeating Myself

Whatever her qualifications or politics, Bush's nomination of Miers has succeeded in provoking open warfare in the once-united Republican Party.

There's bad blood boiling in the blogosphere, and I have to think that's pretty much what's going on in the rest of politically-attuned Red State America. It's bad now and it's likely to get worse.

Brilliant. A real masterstroke.

More than 300 comments followed. Here's a well-written one:

Look everyone who is personally attacking everyone who dares to question this nominee. I, and many other conservatives, pretty much supported Bush ONLY becuase he promised conservative SUPREME COURT justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. We put up with his very liberal domestic policies (aside from tax cuts, but those are hardly permanent), ONLY because we felt conservative Scalia-like Supreme Court justices were the most important thing (and not only because of abortion). We have kept fairly mum about our distaste for most of Bush's domestic policies, and vocally supported him most of the time. When it came his turn to do the right thing and repay the conservative base, he gave us a wink and said "trust me."

He has done nothing to earn that trust when it comes to a Supreme Court nominee, and we've been burned on the "trust me" tactic for supreme court nominees in the past. Even if Miers turns out to vote like Scalia (something I seriously doubt - I don't believe she will even be as conservative as O'Conner based on everything I've read about her), Bush has still given the big finger to conservatives with this pick.

Bush knew what the conservative base wanted, he knew why we supported him, he knew why we worked for him and defended him, and he still failed to deliver. He did not have to give us a nominee like Janice Rogers Brown who would have been very controversial. Luttig would have basically sailed through like Roberts and would have made conservatives very happy. But, Bush decided he did not care what conservatives thought, or what work they did for him, he was going to nominate his friend. That is a betrayal of the base, and asking us to just "take it" for the team is too much. This is all the conservative base has worked for for Republicans for 20 or 30 years - and they know it. Asking for Supreme Court nominees that we have confidence in is not too much to ask - particularly when it is all we have asked for. So now, we know where conservatives stand.

Our choice now is whether to simply blindly pull the lever for republicans from here on out, even though they consistently screw us, or do something to force them to move to the right. Yes, in the short term democrats are likely to win some elections if the conservative base punishes republicans, but ultimately it will force the republicans to stop screwing the conservative base and over time will move this country to the right. You have to look at the big picture. Are we interested in keeping republicans in power no matter what, or are we interested in pushing conservative ideas and principals forward?

Posted by Great Banana at October 13, 2005 08:32 AM

The Gamble Of His Career

Excellent one by Ace of Spades.


I hope in the Miers case that determination to win isn't causing him to make the biggest mistake of his Presidency.

I suppose I will mute my opposition to Miers, as Bush seems psychologically incapable of reversing himself at this point. He will press on with the nomination, and, as Hugh Hewitt observed, attempting to thwart him will only damage his political powers. In the end, Miers is almost certain to be confirmed, conservative resistance or not.

We tried to have an intervention of sorts; the Bush walked away from it and declined to go through the twelve steps. He's going to do what he wants, and what he wants to do is get Miers on the Supreme Court and win another battle, this one against his conservative constituents.

I'm not a praying man, but for Bush's sake, and for the sake of the President retaining some amount of political authority in these dangerous years, I hope to God his vaunted "gut" is right about Miers.

Because if he's wrong, that's it. The conservative base will not accept another "mistake" from a Republican President, this time with the historical opportunity of having a Republican (though not conservative) Senate behind him. We will not accept another "whoopsie" on a cause that has been central to our political agitation for thirty years.

If Bush gets this wrong, after being sternly warned off of Miers by half the Republican Party, after being presented the once-in-a-generation opportunity to truly shift the political orientation for the court, well, that's it for him then. His conservative supporters will walk away, and I'll be among those taking a hike.

Bush is a gambler. He better look long and hard at the hand he's currently in and decide whether it's smarter to lay it down or call all-in. If Miers is a good justice, he'll look smarter than all of his Ivy League critics, and he'll be owed many apologies. (I of course will offer one, despite not being Ivy League.)

And if he's wrong, he'll be a crippled president and won't have the support to fight the the only battle more important than the one for the court, the war against terrorism.

I sincerely hope he knows what he's doing.

The European Dynamic

As summed up by Ace Of Spades:

Wooden Shoes and Burkas

Dutch moving to ban burkas in public?


After that Theo Van Gogh wake up, it’s good to see some Europeans step up to the plate, face down the euro-weenie, open culture suicide pact mentality and recognize a problem growing in their midst.

Still though, bans on clothing?

It’d be nice if Europe could find some middle ground. Stop it’s cycling between a caricature of some spineless lefty-librarian, mamby-pamby and the freedom trampling “Hammer Party” from The Wall

Europe’s a funny place. Reminds me of an alcoholic, always talking bout the evils of drink, lecturing everyone on that Great Satan, droning on how it’s the furthest thing from their minds and lips, boring everybody with their rectitude.

Despite their protests though, every now and then you see a flash, letting you know somewhere, deep inside, they still itch to get their hands on a flask, guzzle down some of the good stuff – and when they do, brother, look out, cause they’re going on a bender.

Derbyshire On Opinionating

I liked this essay, although for all I know, it might not be true at all. Or maybe it is.

Wow, Even Noonan Is Giving Advice For the Retreat

Pretty good advice, too. Please take, it, Mr. President.


The White House, after the Miers withdrawal/removal/disappearance, would be well advised to call in leaders of the fractious base--with heavy initial emphasis on the Washington conservative establishment--and have some long talks about the future. It's time for the administration to reach out to wise men and women, time for Roosevelt Room gatherings of the conservative clans. Much old affection remains, and respect lingers, but a lot of damage has been done. The president has three years yet to serve. That, I think, is the subtext of recent battles: Conservatives want to modify and, frankly, correct certain administration policies now, while there's time. The White House can think of this--and should think of it--as an unanticipated gift. A good fight can clear the air; a great battle can result in resolution and recommitment. No one wants George W. Bush turned into Jimmy Carter, or nobody should. The world is a dangerous place, and someone has to lead America.

An essential White House mistake--really a key and historic one--was in turning on its critics with such idiotic ferocity. "My way or the highway" is getting old. "Please listen to us and try to see it our way or we'll have to kill you," is getting old. Sending Laura Bush out to make her first mistake as first lady, agreeing with Matt Lauer that sexism is probably part of the reason for opposition to Ms. Miers, was embarrassingly inept and only served to dim some of the power of this extraordinary resource.

As for Ed Gillespie and his famous charge of sexism and elitism, I don't think serious conservatives believe Ed is up nights pondering whiffs and emanations of class tension and gender bias in modern America. It was the ignorant verbal lurch of a K Street behemoth who has perhaps forgotten that conservatives are not merely a bloc, a part of the base, a group that must be handled, but individuals who are and have been in it for serious reasons, for the long haul, and often at considerable sacrifice. They don't deserve to be patronized by people they've long strained to defend.

And next time perhaps the White House, in announcing and presenting the arguments for a new nominee to the high court, will remember a certain tradition with regard to how we do it in America. We don't say, "We've nominated Joe because he's a Catholic!" A better and more traditional approach is, "Nominee Joe is a longtime practitioner of the law with considerable experience, impressive credentials, and a lively and penetrating intellect. Any questions? Yes, he is a member of the Catholic church. Any other questions?"

That's sort of how we do it. We put the horse and then the cart. The arguments for the person and then the facts attendant to the person. You don't say, "Vote for this gal because she's an Evangelical!" That shows a carelessness, an inability to think it through, to strategize, to respectfully approach serious facts--failings that, if they weren't typical of the White House the past few months, might be called downright sexist.

Riddle-Led Cour Vet

Apparently Bush really did go with his heart on Harriett Miers, because the standard vetting process used for all other nominees was thrown in the trash for this one. John Fund has the disheartening details.


The Miers pick had its origin in the selection of John Roberts last July. Ms. Miers was praised for her role in selecting him and the wildly positive reaction. At that point, a senior White House official told the Washington Post that William K. Kelley, the deputy White House counsel who had been appointed to his post only the month before, stepped in. The Post reported that Mr. Kelley "suggested to [White House Chief of Staff] Andy Card that Miers ought to be considered for the next seat that opened."

To most people's surprise, that happened with stunning swiftness when Chief Justice William Rehnquist died Sept. 3. Judge Roberts's nomination was shifted to fill the vacancy for chief justice, thus opening up the seat of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. A quick political consensus developed around the White House that the nominee should be a woman.

Even though several highly regarded female lawyers were on Mr. Bush's short list, President Bush and Mr. Card discussed the idea of adding Ms. Miers. Mr. Card was enthusiastic about the idea. The New York Times reported that he "then directed Ms. Miers' deputy . . . to vet her behind her back."

For about two weeks, Mr. Kelley conducted a vetting he has described to friends as thorough. It wasn't. A former Justice Department official calls it "barely adequate for a nominee to a federal appeals court." One Texas lawyer called by the White House was struck by the fact "that the people who were calling about someone from Texas and serving a Texas president knew so little about Texas." (Mr. Kelley didn't return my telephone calls.)


Regardless of whether or not the vetting process was complete, it presented impossible conflicts of interest. Consider the position that Mr. Bush and Mr. Card put Mr. Kelley in. He would be a leading candidate to become White House counsel if Ms. Miers was promoted. He had an interest in not going against his earlier recommendation of her for the Supreme Court, or in angering President Bush, Ms. Miers's close friend. As journalist Jonathan Larsen has pointed out he also might not have wanted to "bring to light negative information that could torpedo her nomination, keeping her in the very job where she would be best positioned to punish Kelley were she to discover his role in vetting her."

Mr. Lubet, the Northwestern professor, says "all the built-in incentives" of the vetting process were perverse. "In business you make an effort to have disinterested directors who know all the material facts to resolve conflicts of interest," he told me. "In the Miers pick, the White House was sowing its own minefield."

"It was a disaster waiting to happen," says G. Calvin Mackenzie, a professor at Colby College in Maine who specializes in presidential appointments. "You are evaluating a close friend of the president, under pressure to keep it secret even internally and thus limiting the outside advice you get."

Indeed, even internal advice was shunned. Mr. Card is said to have shouted down objections to Ms. Miers at staff meetings. A senator attending the White House swearing-in of John Roberts four days before the Miers selection was announced was struck by how depressed White House staffers were during discussion of the next nominee. He says their reaction to him could have been characterized as, "Oh brother, you have no idea what's coming."

A last minute effort was made to block the choice of Ms. Miers, including the offices of Vice President Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. It fell on deaf ears.
First Lady Laura Bush, who went to Southern Methodist University at the same time as Ms. Miers, weighed in. On Sunday night, the president dined with Ms. Miers and the first lady to celebrate the nomination of what one presidential aide inartfully praised to me as that of "a female trailblazer who will walk in the footsteps of President Bush."

Although President Bush is ultimately responsible for the increasingly untenable selection, the nominee bears some responsibility. She could have, as blogger Mickey Kaus has suggested, told the president to appoint her to a federal appeals court with the understanding she would be on the short list for the next Supreme Court vacancy. Or she might have said. "That's very flattering, Mr. President. Maybe another time after I'm in another job. But right now I need to keep my wits about me and give you the best possible advice I can about the other candidates. That's my one and only job, and I don't want to blow it."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Has some very good non-political writing today.

Where The Buck Stops

John Hawkins, again:

[I have no real quarrel with the pro-Miers camp, but], that being said, there is one person whom I am unhappy with. That's the man responsible for this entire mess: George W. Bush.

He took a surefire winner, a Supreme Court pick that should have inspired and motivated his base, that should have improved his approval rating, that should have helped the GOP in 2006, that should have been the fulfillment of a campaign promise, and instead, because of pure political incompetence, this may turn out to be one of the biggest political debacles of the past decade for the GOP.

Now here's the kicker: when George Bush nominated Miers, he may not have realized how bad it would get, but he did undoubtedly know this would be a deflating, demoralizing moment for conservatives. He knew conservatives would complain about the nauseating cronyism, Miers' unimpressive credentials for the job, and her questionable track record as a conservative. Yet, he chose to select her anyway.

Now, we're in a situation where we have a nominee who's so underwhelming that it has set off a fight that's getting progressively uglier between people like James Dobson, Hugh Hewitt, Newt Gingrich, Thomas Sowell on one side and George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh on the other. All of this is over a nominee who, accomplished though she may be in many respects, ranks as a bottom of the barrel selection for the Supreme Court.

Any other President, Bush 41, Clinton, Reagan, would just accept that this nomination is a political bomb and withdraw Miers. But, so far, Bush is holding off. Why? Pride? Mule-headed stubbornness? Because Laura likes her? Because Harriet Miers wrote Bush embarrassingly sycophantic notes on a birthday card and he'd feel guilty if he didn't stand behind her? Whatever the reason may be, Miers is an albatross hanging around the neck of the whole GOP at the moment. Bush made a horrible mistake by nominating Miers and he's making it worse by continuing to stick with her when he could stop the intra-party warfare by withdrawing her. Beyond that, much of the damage done so far could even be repaired by picking an exceptional candidate in her place.

Some of you are probably thinking: "Even if that's true, you should shut up about it because criticizing Bush isn't helping the Party." I'd answer that by saying that politics isn't like sports. You don't support a political party because you want to see, "your team win," but because you believe that supporting your party is the best way to get an agenda enacted that's good for the country. Sometimes, in order to move that agenda forward, you've got to be willing to make certain sacrifices and compromises for the greater good.

That being said, the Supreme Court is as important as it gets in domestic politics and, quite frankly, with a Republican President and 55 Republican Senators, conservatives should not be willing to settle for a 4th rate crony as a nominee. If we're willing to look at a nightmare candidate like Miers for the SCOTUS and then roll over and say, "This is the best we can do," well then quite frankly, it's hard to blame people who say: "Gee, what's the point of working so hard to help Republicans build a majority if this is what we get in return?"

That's why it's worth a grueling, pitched battle with the President and those who continue to support him on this. Even if we lose and Miers is confirmed, at least we can say we drew a line in the sand based on conservative principles and then fought for every inch of ground. That's nothing to be ashamed of.

Sometimes Even Girlie-Men Have To Get Into The Fight

Worthless Senators, worthless presidential leadership, worthless Party, unless they start putting in some actual effort. Here's a pretty good Corner post by Stanley Kurtz:


That New York Times article about the disgruntled Hill staffers is important in more ways than one. Beyond establishing that Miers could indeed go down, the article subtly suggests tensions between Republican staffers and their own Senators. That tension needs to be taken seriously. When the history of the Miers nomination is written, it will emerge that the Republican senate itself played a key role in the decision not to go with an openly social conservative nominee.

This article from The Boston Globe, “For social conservatives, it just doesn’t add up,” is dead on. The real reason the president did this is that he believes he doesn’t have the votes to go nuclear in the senate and/or that the battle will be too politically costly, even if it succeeds. What’s more, I believe that senate Republicans themselves share precisely the same worry.

Senate Republican’s know that nominating a strong and open social conservative will set off a paralyzing battle, and virtually shut down the rest of their agenda for the duration. The mammoth battle will also turn the pressure now being aimed at the president onto the Senate’s Republican moderates. At a minimum, that would mean exacerbating party divisions and jeopardizing the majority’s congressional agenda going into a midterm election. At worst, the internal squabbling would threaten the Republican senate majority itself. Knowing this, I believe that senate Republicans themselves begged the president for a stealth nominee.

The president believed he had found that stealth nominee in Harriet Miers. He trusted her, because he’d known her for years. And no doubt she shows her conservative face–which is genuinely a part of who she is–to the president. But I doubt that Miers went into her meetings with George Bush in 1998 and 1999 telling him in excited tones how happy she was to have pleased her liberal feminist supporters by setting up a lecture series for Gloria Steinem and Susan Faludi. The president was taken by surprise by Miers long-practiced penchant for silence about her own complex political sympathies. So the wobbly Republican moderates in the Senate, combined with a stealth nominee who was less conservative than her own backers believed, got us into this mess.

I oppose the Miers nomination. But I’m realistic enough to admit that the sort of nominee I want would mean a politically dangerous Senate battle, with real risks for the Republican majority. I think the stakes justify the battle–and the fight would have the huge political plus of uniting and exciting the base going into the mid-term elections. But Republican Senators clearly have reason to fear the pressures such a battle will place on them.

Republican office holders are always reluctant to go along with the cultural battles craved by the base. Republican officials regularly beg Ward Connerly not to come into their states with his petition drives against racial preferences. And this is true, even though clear majorities of Americans oppose preferences. The wimp out on this nomination by both the president and the congressional Republicans is the ultimate example of that familiar split between Republican office-holders and their base. What the Republican officials need to understand, is that their base has been willing to swallow that sort of wimp out for decades–all on the theory that one day we’d get it back through this nomination.

For years, politicians of both parties have avoided difficult cultural battles by passing the buck to the courts. Now we see the consequences. Court nominations themselves become the focus of politics, and when politicians try to pass the buck even on the most important nomination, the base finally turns on them. Again, I believe that it’s the Senate Republicans–every bit as much, or more, than the president–who need to get the message that we demand a real battle on this court seat, bruising and risky for Republicans as it will admittedly be.

Posted at 10:58 AM

Yup. We've put up with a mountain of crap from the feckless GOP, with the understanding that the real prize to keep our eyes on is reforming the judiciary. And when crunch time comes, these jackasses flee from the battlefield.