Sunday, April 29, 2007
It's over? Who won?
Does anyone, including Mr Younge, really believe that if the Americans leave Iraq (other Coalition members are seldom mentioned) that the killings will stop? Will we really have peace in our time? Mr. Younge does not say.
"If President Bush's veto is not challenged tomorrow, thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of US troops are certain to perish", the sub-heading claims.
Who is killing all these Iraqis, and why should these killings stop if the Coalition troops leave? Are these killings being committed by the potential winners in Iraq, who Mr. Younge doesn't mention?
After giving the tradition Guardian view of the relationship between the American people and their military, Mr. Younge says "Finally, in a nation with no safety net, the military is one of the few government-backed means of advancement for the poor".
Perhaps Mr. Younge can explain how people advance through government backing, apart from being one of its employees. It is odd that he mentioned the G.I.Bill in his article, and its success, yet says there are neither social social programs or a safety net.
There is absolutely no reason why the writer should not be aware of the dozens of social programs in the United States, easily googled on the Internet.
We can only wonder at his competence, or motives, in making such an obvious error.
"I was living in a trailer with my grandmother," says Darrell Anderson, 25, who earned a purple heart in Iraq and later went awol. "I was broke and I needed education and healthcare, and if I had to go to war for them that was just what I had to do. Going to the military was my last chance. My last option."
Canadians have been well aware of Mr. Anderson for quite some time, his varying stories, and willingness to tell anyone what he feels they want to hear.
Few here in Canada will be missing him.
"If all else fails, you can yomp and shoot your way to the American dream".
Yomp? If only it was that easy! Shooting your way to the American Dream has been tried, certainly, but has usually met with greater success elsewhere.
What, it might be asked, is this "American Dream" he refers to? I suspect Mr. Younges idea of this dream, judging by the tone of his article, would be quite cynical. Would he ever consider what the British dream might be? Or the German or Australian dream? I doubt he has ever thought far.
"The showdown between the Bush administration and the Democratic Congress over the war in Iraq currently hinges on which side can claim ownership of the troops' interests, and harness that public affection to bolster their position".
It is the military leadership and the Copmmander in Chief who are responsible for the troops interest, not the US Congress or the Democratic party. If there has been neglect in the welfare of any troops then their leaders will make this known. Mr. Younge obviously knows little of the US Constitution, or chooses to ignore it.
"President Bush has requested more money from Congress for the war. Congress has passed a bill that gives him more than he requested so long as he sets a timetable for withdrawing the troops. Bush has vowed to veto the bill, effectively demanding a blank cheque for the war".
Mr. Younge has choosen to overlook completely all the pork in this bill, well over $20 Billion worth, used to bribe those members who might otherwise have voted differently.
It is a bill that shames everyone who voted for it.
"The Democrats do not have enough votes to override the veto".
Obviously not everyone can be bribed, surely a healthy sign.
"Bush cannot get the money without Congressional approval. For as long as the stalemate continues no money can be earmarked for the war, and at some stage the cash will dry up. In these deliberations the plight of Iraqis, who are dying in their scores every day, is subordinated to more local concerns: which side can convince the public that they are standing their ground to protect the troops, and thereby force the other side to compromise before the money runs out.You would think this would be a slam-dunk for theDemocrats".
The cash will not dry up. The American people, who Mr. Younge acknowledges strongly admire their military, will not allow that to happen. If he had thought much about his earlier remarks, instead of just including them as the usual cliches, he would realize this. And, again, he makes the suggestion that if the Americans leave Iraq the killings will somehow cease. That is highly unlikely, which is probably why Mr. Younge is avoiding this scenario.
"Not only is Bush weak, but so is his standing with the troops. Since he announced the surge, the US death toll has remained steady at around three a day, whilethe situation on the ground has deteriorated and theIraqi government has disintegrated".
This is not any evidence whatsoever that the President's standing with the troops is weak, and is in fact known to be untrue. If he had any evidence to the contrary there is little doubt he would have included it in his article.
"Last month camethe debacle at Walter Reed hospital, where wounded veterans testified to lying in rooms infested with mice and cockroaches, with mould on the walls".
The person responsible was fired and how the US President is responsible for mould on hospital walls, or how it relates to the war in Iraq, remains unsaid.
Mr. Younge then goes on to Jessica Lynch and the Pat Tillman tragedy, though what connection this has to the war in Iraq is also left unclear. Is he suggesting that the terrorists have the moral high ground in Iraq, not the American people or thier military? The suggestion is certainly there.
"All of this provides ample space for the Democrats to establish an alternative narrative for both supporting the troops and stopping the war. One that says the best way to support them is to remove them from a war they cannot win, and return them home where they will be cared for".
It is not up to the public to care for the military, it is up to the military to protect and defend the public. One can only wonder at what Mr. Younge's opinion of the role of the military might be. While the US military might be quite comfortable on their American bases, being cared for there is not their raison d'etre.
"An opportunity to represent the people who elected them, implement their mandate, and in so doing fulfil their constitutional duty to check and then balance executive power. Like most acts of principle, making this move carries significant political risk.
The executive Branch of the US government also has a balance of power, and the American system was designed with this in mind. And of course if the American people were behind the Democrats there would be little political risk whatsoever. But of course the Democratic Party, far moreso than a Guardian commentator, understnads this quite well.
Monday, April 23, 2007
I got a feeling I’m not the only one
All I wanna do is wipe my bum
Until the TP comes off the roll by the yard
(Thanks to Mr Surber.)
On a day when the Australian Greens have yet again proved that they are completely insane and disconnected from reality, calling for an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but without any idea as to how much this would cost and, if the truth is to be told, no idea about how it is to be achieved either.
(I mean, are they really mad or naive enough to believe that wind and solar power are going to make up the difference in generating baseload power? Surely not? So that leaves us with one alternative only - the end of the modern world as we know it and a retreat away from all the benefits that this world's science, technology and medecine have brought us. And if you think reading by candle light in an otherwise dark and cold home sounds romantic, then you're mad as well.)
But anyway, the latest instalment from the climate hysteria brains trust comes from that noted scientist and thinker Sheryl "Stinky Finger" Crow.
Her idea to help beat global warming or save the environment or...whatever...is to, wait for it guys, restrict ourselves to one square of toilet paper per visit to the dunny.
Why haven't the eggheads thought of this? Bludgers.
Jesus, we've got vast rivers of public money - billions of dollars a year worldwide - flowing to these people in their brand spanking new research facilities, full of newly employed scientists (who would never have believed you just a few years ago if you'd told them there would be a day when climate science wasn't an under-funded backwater), and it takes an intellect such as Crow's to cut through the crap (as it were) and solve the problem!
Let's stand back shall we and marvel at her in her very own words:
Crow (4/19, Springfield, Tenn.): I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming. Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating. One of my favorites is in the area of forest conservation which we heavily rely on for oxygen. I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required.You know, I'm not sure what about this offends and annoys me the most: the stupidity or the hypocrisy?
Crow (4/19): I also like the idea of not using paper napkins, which happen to be made from virgin wood and represent the height of wastefulness. I have designed a clothing line that has what's called a "dining sleeve." The sleeve is detachable and can be replaced with another "dining sleeve," after usage. The design will offer the "diner" the convenience of wiping his mouth on his sleeve rather than throwing out yet another barely used paper product. I think this idea could also translate quite well to those suffering with an annoying head cold.
I really don't know. Maybe it's an equal measure kind of thing.
But this is just the latest example of the madness that seems to be taking over even intelligent people, who you would expect should be smart enough to spot a crock of shit and other generalised bad and illogical thinking at 50 paces.
And then there is the out and out hypocrisy.
Laurie David, the producer of "An Inconvenient Truth" and global warming activist, told Texas A&M students to change their "individual behavior" in order to consume fewer resources and to help battle global warming. As an employee of Easterwood Airport, I would like to point out that Mrs. David flew to our campus in a luxurious private jet, which could be seen from 10 miles away due to the thick plume of smog it left in its wake. I am neither denying nor confirming the epidemic of global warming, I am simply pointing out that hypocrites such as Mrs. David don't care about the environment, only their own political agendas. This is proven time and again by these celebrities' and lobbyist's "do as I say, not as I do" attitude.
So take your pick - stupidity or hypocrisy.
Laurie David has been labeled a "Gulfstream liberal" by Eric Alterman, himself a proud member of the Left and a regular columnist for the Nation. He recognizes that Ms. David's brand of environmentalism is nothing more than a facade, a distraction from the financially secure yet intellectually boring life of the fabulously wealthy. But this hobby has dire consequences for the rest of us.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
I'm completely uninterested with ultimately boring questions about his sexuality.
But as a crafter of words he has few peers (and I prefer to keep his writing in the present tense). Not fancy words, but simple words that speak clearly to the heart and to the head.
A man with a beautiful turn of phrase and an ability, (all the more precious in these times of overblown postmodern tripe, where banal inanities are hidden under mountains of words ordered into sentences that go on for page after meaningless page), to say so much in just a few well chosen words.
But here's an unusual reciting of the Gettysburg Address, electric guitars and all!
Thanks to the ever entertaining Knowledge is Power for the video.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Despite desperate attempts to deny reality, the fact remains that, as any Sydney-sider will tell you, the lights may have dimmed a bit, but they didn't go out by any means.
Interesting too that both The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald had to doctor before and after photos in an effort to make it look like it had been a success. The Age had a night time photo of the Harbour Bridge and surrounds lit up so brightly you'd have needed sunglasses while driving! (See here - also for some untouched-up night time photos of the Bridge).
Now, apart from the sheer pointlessness and uselessness of such conspicuous gesture making, I really wonder as to whether the naive and the gullible caught up in this kind of neo-religious puritanism have really bothered to sit down and think about just what it is they are being asked to accept here.
The more radical fringes of the green movement have for years preached and railed against the evils of the modern world, calling on us to renounce, not the devil and all his works, but his latter-day substitute - material abundance and technology.
Just as the 16th Century Puritans in England and the American colonies wanted to reject a world that they saw as evil and corrupting and create of new one that was simple and pure - no dancing and no Christmas (and certainly NO!!!! kissing under the mistletoe), but rather an austere life of simple things and simple food - so the Greens want a return to some kind of fantasised pre-modern world unsullied by technology, a return to nature (whatever that actually means) and a mythical golden age.
There were of course two problems with this.
The so-called natural existence they dream about never existed to begin with. The pre-modern life of human beings was one of hunger, pain and disease. A world where parents expected to watch several of their children die in front of them from sickness and for them to often die early from disease too, after years of agony from mouths full of rotting teeth.
The reason why we are healthier and longer lived now than at any time in human history, despite the fashionable angst of we "worried well", is because of science and technology.
And I'm sorry, but you can't run that science and technology on wind or solar power.
It is, for the moment (and I'll wager for many, many years to come), impossible.
Put your windmill up if you must, but be prepared for your fridge not to work on a still summer's day.
It's interesting that the other great exercise in futile self-abnegation in front of the Great Goddess Gaia, the one where you turn all your appliances off for a time, has been reduced to just 24 hours this year, because doing it for a whole two days last year proved to be such a nightmare for those involved. (I mean really, isn't there a lesson here folks?)
The second problem they had, following on from the first, is that basically nobody listened to them.
But there's nothing like a prophetic vision of the coming apocalypse to get people worried and listening to you, especially when even some scientists started talking in similar ways.
There was a false start back in the 1970s with warnings of a new ice age, but the Greens finally hit pay dirt with global warming.
It's perfect for them. Nothing much has happened, and the scientific data is in truth inconclusive and equivocal about the future effects of climate change.
Just the field of grey doubt they need on which to pour all their hatred of the modern world and, just like the old-fashioned fire and brimstone preacher, foretell the coming wrath of the Goddess.
Repent! Give up your whoring with those plasma TVs and digital recorders. Abjure those cars, those overseas holidays and the foreign gourmet treats tainted with the carbon used to get them to you, sinner!
But hang on a minute! Is this the kind of life you want to lead? A world where people like George Monbiot seriously suggest the banning of major sporting events, or others Christmas lights, even for your tree at home?
(Bloody hell, these people really are the direct descendants of the Puritans.)
All to save inconsequential amounts of carbon?
All on the basis of unproven and unlikely doubts about the future, based upon computer modelling unable to accurately reproduce the known climate history of the 20th Century without the programs being fudged and fiddled to get the "right" answer?
And make no mistake, the nightmare scenarios of Gaia's chief prophet, the Holy Goracle, are very, very unlikely.
Ignoring the overwrought headlines in the media, once you boil down the latest assessments of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change you are left with a much less scary scenario. Yes, the planet has warmed a bit. It will warm a bit more over the coming century and sea levels will continue to rise very slowly.
But in many respects it doesn't matter to the Greens whether it's global warming or global cooling or the population bomb (remember that scare that came to nothing, despite the pious injunctions that we 'live simply, so that others may simply live'?).
It's the modern world and all its comforts and opportunities - things hated by the religiously pure zealot - that is in their sights.